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Note to GOP Candidates

Editor’s Note: This piece was originally published in the National Catholic Register‘s blog. It is reprinted here with permission.

By Bill May

Evangelical blogger/columnist David Brody recently wrote an open letter to GOP presidential candidates challenging them to take the risk of dying on a sword in the defense of marriage. He accused them of cowardice for not speaking out for marriage. It is true that politicians have back-pedaled away from marriage and are now focused on religious liberty.  He is correct in recognizing that religious liberty, albeit important, is not about marriage.

Plenty of you strode to the podium strutting your strong prolife stances at the National Right To Life Convention. … But here’s the real messy question: Would you all show up for a “Traditional Marriage Convention” that emphatically emphasized the need for traditional marriage? … I know that all of you will line up for any sort of “Religious Liberty Convention.” That’s a no-brainer. Of course you should. It’s not only a major legal, moral, and constitutional issue going forward, but it is also red meat for the base. But back to that marriage convention for a moment. Any takers? Too much of a risk?

Brody is reflecting the frustration and anger that many are feeling today, and in this case he is lashing out at Republicans. But the fact of the matter is that lashing out does not serve anyone without a strategy and direction. The first step is evaluating where we are and where we want to go. That will then give us an idea of how to get there.

Here is reality:

  1. The debate over same-sex marriage is over. We lost. This is a grace, because we don’t have to oppose it any more.
  2. The gay rights movement has lost the ability to advocate for the “right” for same-sex couples to marry, because they can.
  3. The reality of marriage still exists but it is no longer connected to the word “marriage” in language and law, as Sacramento Bishop Jaime Soto has said. When the reality of marriage is understood in language and law, it is also recognized as forming the only institution that unites children with their moms and dads. That institution was deleted from the law when the court removed “a man and a woman” and substituted “two people.”

Candidates can best support taking back marriage by focusing on government statistics related to the social and human consequences of the fact that only 46% of children now live in a home with a married mother and father and by simply asking the question, “Do we need a civil institution that is specifically geared to unite children with their mothers and fathers?” There is absolutely no risk in asking that question, but it is expressing the reality of marriage, which can only be between one man and one woman.

So rather than asking our candidates to risk dying on a sword for marriage, we can help them by asking them if they would support a new civil institution that unites kids with their moms and dads and support promoting the unique value of men and women marrying before having children. Ask them to support the Marriage Reality Movement and join the effort to take marriage back for our children and families.