Skip to comments.Backers of Gay Marriage Ban Use Social Security as Cudgel
Posted on 01/25/2005 8:30:22 AM PST by HostileTerritory
A coalition of major conservative Christian groups is threatening to withhold support for President Bush's plans to remake Social Security unless Mr. Bush vigorously champions a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.
The move came as Senate Republicans vowed on Monday to reintroduce the proposed amendment, which failed in the Senate last year by a substantial margin. Party leaders, who left it off their list of priorities for the legislative year, said they had no immediate plans to bring it to the floor because they still lacked the votes for passage.
But the coalition that wrote the letter, known as the Arlington Group, is increasingly impatient.
In a confidential letter to Karl Rove, Mr. Bush's top political adviser, the group said it was disappointed with the White House's decision to put Social Security and other economic issues ahead of its paramount interest: opposition to same-sex marriage.
The letter, dated Jan. 18, pointed out that many social conservatives who voted for Mr. Bush because of his stance on social issues lack equivalent enthusiasm for changing the retirement system or other tax issues. And to pass to pass any sweeping changes, members of the group argue, Mr. Bush will need the support of every element of his coalition.
"We couldn't help but notice the contrast between how the president is approaching the difficult issue of Social Security privatization where the public is deeply divided and the marriage issue where public opinion is overwhelmingly on his side," the letter said. "Is he prepared to spend significant political capital on privatization but reluctant to devote the same energy to preserving traditional marriage? If so it would create outrage with countless voters who stood with him just a few weeks ago, including an unprecedented number of African-Americans, Latinos and Catholics who broke with tradition and supported the president solely because of this issue."
The letter continued, "When the administration adopts a defeatist attitude on an issue that is at the top of our agenda, it becomes impossible for us to unite our movement on an issue such as Social Security privatization where there are already deep misgivings."
The letter also expressed alarm at recent comments President Bush made to The Washington Post, including his statement that "nothing will happen" on the marriage amendment for now because many senators did not see the need for it.
"We trust that you can imagine our deep disappointment at the defeatist position President Bush demonstrated" in the interview, the group wrote. "He even declined to answer a simple question about whether he would use his bully pulpit to overcome this Senate foot-dragging."
The letter also noted that in an interview before the election Mr. Bush "appeared to endorse civil unions" for same-sex couples.
The group asked Mr. Rove to designate "a top level" official to coordinate opposition to same-sex marriage, as a show of commitment.
Trent Duffy, a spokesman for the White House, said on Monday that "the president was simply talking about a situation that exists in the Senate, not about his personal commitment or his willingness to continue to push this issue." Mr. Duffy said the "president remains very committed to a marriage amendment" and added, "We always welcome suggestions from our friends."
Some Senate Republican leaders were not optimistic on Monday about the amendment's prospects this year.
"I think if we had the vote right now we'd come up short," said Senator Rick Santorum, the Pennsylvania Republican who is a member of the leadership and one of the amendment's most vocal backers in Congress. "We'd like to bring it up when we have the best possible chance of getting it passed."
The members of the coalition that wrote the letter are some of Mr. Bush's most influential conservative Christian supporters, and include Dr. James C. Dobson of Focus on the Family, the Family Research Council, the Southern Baptist Convention, the American Family Association, Jerry Falwell and Paul Weyrich.
Several members of the group said that not long ago, many of their supporters were working or middle class, members of families that felt more allegiance to the Democratic Party because of programs like Social Security before gravitating to the Republican Party as it took up more cultural conservative issues over the last 20 years.
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, declined to talk about the letter, but said, "The enthusiasm to get behind his proposals is going to require that he get behind the issues that really motivated social conservative voters."
Asked to estimate the level of discontent with the White House among the group on a scale from one to 10, Mr. Perkins put it at 8.
I think President Bush is very wise to stick to substantive issues like the privatization of Social Security rather than becoming entangled in cultural issues like abortion rights and gay marriage. The privatization of Social Security is going to be a more difficult struggle than we expected, and the administration cannot afford to expend political capital in polarizing cultural issues. Although it is true that a majority of Americans oppose gay marriage, that is not the same as saying a majority of Americans support changing the constitution to address it. Numerous states passed amendments to their state constitutions this last election to handle this. I'm not sure there is universal enthusiasm for taking it to the national level.
well said. I agree. Republicans are supposed to be for state's rights anyhoo....
If these groups really do sabotage SS reform for this somewhat unimportant idea it will be absolutely discraceful. I think they will loose a lot of allies and make a lot of enemies and it will start to splinter the republican party.
The democratic party has to be looking to ways to splinter the economic and social wings of the republican party and must be loving this... :(
I diagree. This is an important idea. It won 11-0 on election day. Bush is supposed to be championing it, but he is not. It helped get him elected. This is one way to get his attention, since social security reform is probably one of the three biggest ideas he has.
Whether the government will acknowledge Man & Man/Women & Women unions as legitimate marriages SHOULD NOT be a state issue. This is a federal matter if ever there was one. Personally, I have always thought the idea of augmenting the US Constitution to limit the"rights" of its citizenry as repugnant, however this is a very different matter. If the US Constitutuion can be used to outlaw slavery, then it can be used to outlaw Homosexual marriage, both unnatural and socially malignant institutions. Homosexuality is, like it or not, seen as morally acceptable by a large number of Americans. It is an unfortunate truth, IMAO, that the Federal government must now legislate morality because our religious & social institutions were too weak to do so.
Indeed. "Gay Marriage" opens up the door to "legitimize" all sorts of of depravity, accelerating the downslide of a very slippery slope.
"Homosexuality is, like it or not, seen as morally acceptable by a large number of Americans. It is an unfortunate truth, IMAO, that the Federal government must now legislate morality because our religious & social institutions were too weak to do so."
You have stated exactly why it would be a waste of time for President Bush to put all his energy into passing a constitutional amendment that would prevent gay marriage nationally. It would ensure that all gay sex would be extramarital, but would do nothing to legislate morality. As you point out, a large number of Americans do not worry about other adults' sex lives anymore. Only religious and social institutions CAN effectively control private behavior in this climate.
There are more urgent matters on which Republicans can achieve a consensus, and legislation will actually achieve its end.
The right answer, IMHO, is Social Security reform including appropriate provisions about dividing the surviving spouse benefits amongst all the surviving spouses. That would lessen the attractiveness of gay marriage.
She had to get THAT in there, eh?
It would also protect us from being forced to recognize their deviant practices as normal. It would allow us to protect children from being adopted into sodomite households by requiring adoptive parents to be married. It would protect the 38 states with Defense of Marriage laws from being overruled by one liberal court in mASSachusetts (due to the 14th ammendment). It would protect my tax dollars from going to support perversion via spousal benefits to sodomites. It would save millions of insurance dollars in medical costs to self-inflicted aids patients who "married" someone just for the coverage.
It would not legislate morality or prevent perverse sexual relations. But that is not the goal of the ammendment (directly at least). If we do not protect marriage, making the institution and the benefits of marriage available to any couple no matter what the make-up, then we are encouraging people to stay trapped in a dangerous and damaging lifestyle. That would certainly not help the situation. Remember that Marriage is a social institution and that it does regulate behavior. It must be protected.
While it is true that most Americans don't care about others sexual behavior it is also true that most Americans care about others sexual behvaior when it affects them. They are welcome to behave however they want as long as they keep it in the bedroom and out of our face. "gay marriage" waves it right under our noses
There are more urgent matters on which Republicans can achieve a consensus, and legislation will actually achieve its end.
Protection of marriage is the most important issue facing America today. Everything else pales in comparison. If we lose the family, we lose the country.
President Bush was elected on moral and values issues. If he deserts us on this most important issue then why should we support him on less important issues? Who cares about social security if the country is going to hell in a generation anyway? Why bother securing the borders if America as we know it is already dead? etc
Republicans win when they run as conservatives. Over 60% of the American population (as seen by the recent election) supports a protection of marriage ammendment. It's a no lose situation for the President. He can cement his party's position and, at the same time, do the right thing with the approval of a vast majority of the citizens.
Fortunately we don't have legal polygamy in this country (yet) so we don't have surviving spouses. We only have a surviving spouse.
Of course if 'gay marriage' is legalized we'll have legal polygamy within a year.
The amendment will not work at least until prior to the next election when moderate senators and reps will have reelection reasons for supporting it. In any case, the Republicans do not have the required 2/3 vote in the Senate, and they will not have it anytime in the near future. They certainly cannot overcome a filibuster in the Senate.
Their only recourse then is a called "constitutional convention." That is too dangerous even for them to contemplate, although they might get mischievous liberals to support such a call.
Good! I hope they can tie the PR campaign to include this as protecting grandmother's social security from the government paying fo the recreational sex of homosexuals.
The implication of the quote is that "a large number" equals a majority.
Remember the homosexuals called 3% a large number to justify their demands.
There is no reason for social secuirty to pander to homosexual lifestyle choices.
Today social secuirty, tommorrow the want IMMIGRATION VISAS. That will open the door to gut or remove DOMA sooner.
We need the FMA just as much as SS reform.
If a marriage has lasted 10 years, the surviving spouses may collect if he/she has not remarried even if the deceased spouse has remarried. So yes, we can have surviving spouses.
but only proportionate to the duration of the marriage. It is a pie divided.
folks homosexual marriage is now a federal issue.
Should a homosexual "fiance" in Mass be able to apply for a FEDERAL immigration visa?
How about immediate family visas?
A US citizen is ENTITLED to bring a "fiance" into the USA. (even overcoming felony excludability)
The law NEVER inquires as to love, it is not relevant to the debate.
It is a federal debate because the FMA will put marriage back to the states.
No, the pie is not divided. Check the SS web site for rules regarding surviving spouse.