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Same-sex "marriage": Divisive issues require real leadership

By Brad Jewitt
web posted June 7, 2004

Ever since the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled by a 4 to 3 margin that the Commonwealth was constitutionally obligated to extend marriage to same-sex couples, it has been interesting to observe some elected representatives react with courage and others with fear. Whether one supports or opposes same-sex marriage, we need leaders who can step forward and do just that -- lead.

As I reflect on previous leaders of this great country, I have been impressed with their courage in facing truly important yet very divisive issues in their own time. For example, Abraham Lincoln strongly disagreed with the Supreme Court in the infamous Dred Scott decision. He respected the Court in that case, and allowed Dred Scott to remain in slavery. But thankfully he did not allow the decision to extend throughout the United States. He held his ground, even though the decision was divisive and controversial.

The signers of the Declaration of Independence were no less courageous. Rejecting the king was treason and surely put every signer's life at risk. Recognizing this, they closed with these famous words: "And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor."

As we move forward here and now, I will support marriage between a man and a woman because I believe it is right, it reflects the traditions of this country, and it represents the will of the people. I will also stand with President Bush and 118 congressmen in their support of the Federal Marriage Amendment.

Although some representatives, including my opponent Rep. Steny H. Hoyer [Brad Jewitt is the Republican Nominee for U.S. Congress (Md.-Dist. 5) – ed.], have dismissed the issue as merely political, I disagree. Many Americans believe the institution of marriage has fundamental impact on our society. It provides the foundation for role models that only a mother and a father can provide. It prepares the rising generation to be a responsible, self-governing citizenry. It reduces poverty, and by extension, strengthens the economy.

Last year, Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby wrote: "My foreboding is that a generation after same-sex marriage is legalized, families will be even less stable than they are today, the divorce rate will be even higher, and children will be even less safe." Sadly, I believe he's right.

Scandinavia legally recognized same-sex relationships in the early 1990s. Unfortunately, marriage is now suffering in that region of the world. Stanley Kurtz of the Hoover Institution pointed out that "data from European statistical bureaus and demographers" revealed that the "majority of children in Sweden and Norway are born out of wedlock, as are 60 percent of firstborn children in Denmark."

While it is likely that the acceptance of same-sex partnerships has not alone caused this dramatic increase in illegitimacy, it is clear that it does contribute to the problem. Observing this, Kurtz wrote: "In those socially liberal districts of Norway where acceptance of same-sex marriage is highest, marriage has virtually ceased to exist."

This is not surprising when we recognize that our laws reflect and reinforce our values. If we redefine marriage to mean, as the Massachusetts Court boldly declared, "the voluntary union of two persons," we begin to wonder if it means anything at all. If gender is not an essential component of marriage, we begin to question what is.

Gender is an essential component of marriage. Children need both a mother and a father. Some circumstances may not permit the ideal, but we must not give up on that ideal.

As your Representative for Maryland's 5th Congressional District, I will take a stand for marriage and defend America's right to establish the will of the people, not the will of activist judges.

Brad Jewitt is the Republican nominee for U.S. Congress in Maryland's 5th Congressional District. To learn more about the Jewitt for Congress campaign, please visit www.jewitt2004.com, or call (301) 486-0089.

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