On Marriage, the GOP Platform is Solid. The Democrats Just Don’t Care.

By Maggie Gallagher Published on August 17, 2016

The Republican and Democratic platforms drafted and approved in the last few weeks by the Party faithful in Cleveland and Philly are not exactly governing action plans. They will not tell you what a candidate will do or not do if elected president, as members of the GOP drafting committee freely confessed. And Donald Trump kept a hands off stance with the platform language, as Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) who co-chaired the GOP platform committee told The Washington Post.

Patricia Longo, who co-chairs the subcommittee on family, health, education and crime, told the paper that Trump indicated “they’re going to have nothing to say about the platform,” adding “He’ll do what he wants anyway.”

The result? “It’s Donald Trump’s Nomination but Ted Cruz’s Platform,” announced the The Daily Beast.

That being said, the GOP platform takes courageous and principled stands on a number of divisive issues, including abortion, religious liberty and the central importance of marriage. This week I’d like to compare the two party’s platform planks on the embattled institution of marriage.

The GOP Sees Marriage as a Central Institution of Freedom

The Republican platform makes a relatively deep, long and powerful case for natural marriage as the cornerstone of civil society, the primary institution that protects children’s well-being:

Traditional marriage and family, based on marriage between one man and one woman, is the foundation for a free society and has for millennia been entrusted with rearing children and instilling cultural values. We condemn the Supreme Court’s ruling in United States v. Windsor, which wrongly removed the ability of Congress to define marriage policy in federal law. We also condemn the Supreme Court’s lawless ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, which in the words of the late Justice Antonin Scalia, was a “judicial Putsch” — full of “silly extravagances” — that reduced “the disciplined legal reasoning of John Marshall and Joseph Storey to the mystical aphorisms of a fortune cookie.

In the section on the Judiciary, the document makes the case that

only by electing a Republican president in 2016 will America have the opportunity for up to five new constitutionally-minded Supreme Court justices appointed to fill vacancies on the Court. Only such appointments will enable courts to begin to reverse the long line of activist decisions — including Roe, Obergefell and the Obamacare cases — that have usurped Congress’s and states’ lawmaking authority, undermined constitutional protections, expanded the power of the judiciary at the expense of the people and their elected representatives, and stripped the people of their power to govern themselves.

Republicans specifically call for Obergefell’s reversal “whether through judicial reconsideration or a constitutional amendment returning control over marriage to the states.”

But in addition to criticizing gay marriage and judicial tyranny, the GOP Platform makes a more basic case for the importance of marriage to society, and to a Republic founded on the idea of limited government power:

Foremost among those institutions is the American family. It is the foundation of civil society, and the cornerstone of the family is natural marriage, the union of one man and one woman. Its daily lessons — cooperation, patience, mutual respect, responsibility, self-reliance — are fundamental to the order and progress of our Republic. Strong families, depending upon God and one another, advance the cause of liberty by lessening the need for government in their daily lives. Conversely, as we have learned over the last five decades, the loss of faith and family life leads to greater dependence upon government.

Not only religion but reason testifies to the importance of marriage in protecting child well-being, according to the Republicans:

Children raised in a two-parent household tend to be physically and emotionally healthier, more likely to do well in school, less likely to use drugs and alcohol, engage in crime or become pregnant outside of marriage. We oppose policies and laws that create a financial incentive for or encourage cohabitation. Moreover, marriage remains the greatest antidote to child poverty. The 40 percent of children who now are born outside of marriage are five times more likely to live in poverty than youngsters born and raised by a mother and father in the home. Nearly three-quarters of the $450 billion government annually spends on welfare goes to single-parent households. This is what it takes for a governmental village to raise a child, and the village is doing a tragically poor job of it. The data and the facts lead to an inescapable conclusion: Every child deserves a married mom and dad.

The value of adoption and the importance of requiring men to support their children even outside of marriage are embraced. And the millions of Americans families who “do not have the advantages that come with that structure” are to be honored and treated “with dignity and respect.”

Nonetheless, “Our laws and our government’s regulations should recognize marriage as the union of one man and one woman and actively promote married family life as the basis of a stable and prosperous society.”

On Marriage, the Democrats Have Almost Nothing to Say

On marriage the divergence between Republicans and Democrats is extreme. The Democrats do not mention the word “marriage,” or any form of the word, except once praising the Supreme Court’s ruling imposing gay ‘marriage’ on all 50 states: “Democrats applaud last year’s decision by the Supreme Court that insisted that LGBT people — like other Americans — have the right to marry the person they love.”

That’s all the Democrats have to say. The only kind of marriage that apparently concerns them is gay marriage.

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