On July 18th of this year, the US House of Representatives passed HR 8404 Respect for Marriage Act. The title of the bill can be a bit confusing to the average American. First, the bill is not a defense of marriage as we knew it for thousands of years. It, in fact, repeals the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) which became law in 1995. DOMA defined marriage as between a man and a woman and defined a spouse as a person of the opposite sex. However, with the SCOTUS ruling on Obergefell vs Hodges in 2015, the Supreme Court ruled that the 14th Amendment requires all 50 states to license same sex marriage. Accordingly, this new bill repeals DOMA, but does not replace it with any comprehensive standard and throws authority for defining marriage back to the state governments. However, and this is critical, it “requires all states” to recognize as valid all other state laws referencing what is marriage. This bill is now before the Senate and appears to have a strong likelihood of passing (60 votes) and becoming law.
What does this mean to Kentucky? If it becomes law, regardless of how Kentucky defines marriage for its own citizens, it must recognize all marriages which are legally entered into in other states…meaning not only traditional and same sex (mandated by SCOTUS ruling), but also ANY union defined as “legal by another state” is thus legally a marriage in Kentucky. It in essence calls into question the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution which declares, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or the people.”
What is truly unusual is that in addition to all Democrats, 47 Republican members of the House voted for this act, meaning it received an overwhelming majority. Additionally, the Republican Party took NO position on the bill and allowed its members freedom to vote as they chose.
How does this impact the citizens of Meade County?
Most importantly, it sets a precedent at the Federal Government level to eliminate standards for some moral or social conduct and to defer to State law for policy (as they did with abortion). By returning the decision to the states, it allows for local standards (which would be in accordance with the Tenth Amendment). However, the Respect for Marriage Act, by forcing states to accept the standards of all other states, in essence “denies” states the right for defining standards for unions between human beings. In considering marriage, if one state wants to accept polygamy, all states must accept those married in that state. That is a valid concern since the state of Utah decriminalized polygamy as of 2020. Do all states now have to decriminalize a polygamous union? If one state permits young teen or young child marriage must all states accept this form of marriage? Are we in fact opening the door for the redefining of all social and moral community standards?
George Soros wrote in the “The Crisis of Global Capitalism” that in his opinion, society could not prosper or progress without a “uniform social order.” Of course, the social order George Soros is advocating is not the order most Americans would prefer!
It appears we are in fact returning to a situation we faced 162 years ago where there was no federal uniform policy concerning racial slavery (the Constitution was unclear). There were both free and slave states. States which prohibited slavery were forced to accept a fugitive slave law which required them to arrest and return escaped slaves. It also allowed slave owners to take their slaves to free states or federal territories and still maintain those slaves in slavery (per the Dread Scott court ruling). As Lincoln famously said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” Can a United States without a uniform standard for moral and social behavior also endure? Should we be concerned when the fabulously wealthy Soros Open Society Foundation (11 billion in assets and 18 billion in expenditures over the past three decades) cannot only propagate a “new social order” but fund the election of hundreds of prosecutors to implement his ideals of moral and social policy?
These are fair questions for Meade County residents to consider.