Sen. Danforth on the Question of Marriage — A Man Lacking in Seriousness

Sen. Danforth on the Question of Marriage — A Man Lacking in Seriousness

R. Albert Mohler, Jr.
May 2, 2006

Former Sen. John Danforth addressed the Log Cabin Republicans this past Saturday night, accepting the group’s enthusiastic approval when he called efforts to ban same-sex marriage as “silly.” The Log Cabin Republicans are committed to the homosexual agenda, and seek to influence the Republican Party in this direction. Sen. Danforth, who retired from the Senate in 1995, is just the kind of Republican the Log Cabin Republicans would like to see set the direction of the party.

In his address to the Log Cabin group, Danforth described the proposed Federal Marriage Amendment as silly, stating: Some historian should really look at all of the proposals that have been put forth throughout the history of our country for possible Constitutional amendments. Maybe at some point in time there was one that was sillier than this one, but I don’t know of one.


And once before the Constitution was amended to try to deal with matters of human behavior, that was prohibition, that was such a flop that that was repealed 13 years later.

It is a concept which is contrary to basic Republican principles. As I understand, the basic concept of the Republican Party is to interpret the Constitution narrowly, not expansively, so that legislatures and especially state legislatures can work out over a period of time the social issues in our country. And not to have these evolving issues fixed and concrete in the Constitution of the United States, taken out of the hands of legislatures and turned over to the federal courts. So this amendment is contrary to what I understand to be a basic tenet of our party.

And then it’s said that this is necessary to protect marriage. Whose marriage is this going to protect? How conceivably could it protect any marriage in the United States?

There is room for honest debates about the best way to protect and defend the integrity of marriage and the most appropriate way to approach the U.S. Constitution as the nation’s formal commitments. But Sen. Danforth has not made a serious proposal here — not even a serious argument. As a matter of fact, his address is an example of simple political pandering.

Sen. Danforth has been at this game for some time, and he is also pushing his new book, Faith and Politics, set for release on September 12. An ordained Episcopal priest, he apparently feels no compulsion to defend the church’s commitment to marriage or a biblical pattern of human sexuality.

The inner contradictions in his address would be ironic if they were not so clumsy. He seems to resist laws that seek to regulate human behavior, but this is the very function of law.

The most interesting section of Sen. Danforth’s remarks came when he suggested that divisive moral and social issues should be left to state legislatures rather than “turned over to the federal courts.” The problem with this argument is the experience of history. The divisive issue of abortion was not calmly settled by state legislatures, but was, to use Sen. Danforth’s own words, “taken out of the hands of legislatures and turned over to the federal courts.” The Federal Marriage Amendment seeks to avoid that fate for the question of marriage. Sen. Danforth calls that approach silly, but in his speech to the Log Cabin Republicans, he never asserted that he opposes same-sex marriage by any means.

As a matter of record, Sen. Danforth actually described efforts to prevent same-sex marriage as “just cussedness” earlier this year [see article in The Washington Post, February 2, 2006].

Perhaps he will offer a more serious argument in his book. Perhaps not. Time will tell.

SEE ALSO: My article of February 6, 2006.

R. Albert Mohler, Jr.

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