It’s no secret that opposing same-sex marriage is an unpopular position among the media and political elite, but among the American people, the debate is wide open. An AP poll taken last month showed a dead tie between support for same-sex marriage (31%) and opposition (31%). Another poll by Democratic pollster Pat Caddell, also last month, found an overwhelming majority opposes using same-sex marriage as a bludgeon against the religious freedom of those who dare to disagree with elite opinion. Perhaps most tellingly is that support for same-sex marriage has gone down, not up, since the Supreme Court ruled for it in June, as verified by three separate polls.
So the response of the GOP presidential candidates to the National Organization for Marriage’s Presidential Pledge speaks a lot about who they are listening to: the people, or the media and cultural/political elites.
The short and simple pledge NOM asked candidates if they would sign is this:
I pledge to the American people that if elected President, I will:
One, support a federal constitutional amendment that protects marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
Two, oppose and work to overturn any Supreme Court decision that illegitimately finds a constitutional “right” to the redefinition of marriage. This includes nominating to the U.S. Supreme Court and federal bench judges who are committed to restraint and applying the original meaning of the Constitution, and appointing an attorney general similarly committed.
Three, conduct a review of regulatory, administrative and executive actions taken by the current Administration that have the effect of undermining marriage and work to restore our policies to be consistent with the proper understanding of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Consistent with this, prevent the promotion of a redefined version of marriage in public schools and other government entities.
Four, support the First Amendment Defense Act and other legislation that recognizes the right of organizations and individuals to act in the public square consistent with their belief that marriage is the union of one man and one woman without fear of retaliation from the government.
Five, direct the Department of Justice to investigate, document and publicize cases of Americans who have been harassed or threatened for exercising key civil rights to organize, to speak, to donate or to vote for marriage and to propose new protections, if needed.
Four candidates have signed the pledge thus far: Ted Cruz, Rick Santorum, Ben Carson, and Bobby Jindal.
These four are standing tall against the pressure of big government, big business, the media, Hollywood, and a Supreme Court that thinks it is the supreme being.
Where are the rest of them?
For their part, Mike Huckabee and Scott Walker said they do not sign any pledges but will stand against the redefinition of marriage. That’s nice, I guess. But why don’t they put it in writing? Why not guarantee the American people that you mean what you say?
As for the others who have not signed yet, I have a question.
Clause one of the pledge means standing for natural marriage. Two means standing for the Constitution and against judicial activism. Three means stopping big government from inserting itself into a social debate it does not belong in. Four and five mean protecting free speech.
These seem like perfectly reasonable positions that all conservatives and even moderates [should] share. So my question is, what part of the pledge do you disagree with? Do you not support the Constitution, small government, and free speech?
Another question for Jeb Bush, Donald Trump, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Chris Christie, John Kasich, Rick Perry, Carly Fiorina, Lindsey Graham, George Pataki, and Jim Gilmore: Whose side are you on? Are you on the side of the American people, who want the debate over our most important social institution to continue, or are you going to cower because your elitist friends in the media, Washington, and and Wall Street told you to shut up?
Cruz, Santorum, Carson, and Jindal won’t shut up, and for that, they deserve some serious consideration from the people of Iowa and across the nation.
Thomas Valentine is a researcher for APIA and a junior at the Franciscan University of Steubenville.