Alan Keyes: What O's homosexual 'rights' position really means

Worldnet Daily Posted: October 16, 2009 1:00 am Eastern

© 2009

In a column on Catholic Online, Deacon Keith Fournier reacts to Obama's speech to the Human Rights Campaign, an anti-natural family advocacy group, saying that "President Obama sent the signal. He will not defend authentic marriage." In the article that follows he provides an excellent summary of the natural right arguments that justify the Catholic Church's stand against so-called "homosexual marriage." I highly recommend it.

On one point, though, I must take issue with the impression Deacon Fournier's article creates. It is written as if a doubtful world was waiting for some indication of Obama's determined refusal to defend the natural family. This impression gives unwarranted comfort to the Catholics and other self-styled Christian people who voted for Obama in 2008. For in fact, he long ago consigned the natural family to the ash heap of history (to speak as the Marxists do). His actions now can come as no surprise to anyone.

Prior to his participation in the race for the Democrat nomination for the U.S. Senate seat in Illinois in 2004, there was some suspicion that he actually cared to defend the natural family. But in February 2004, he sent a letter to an Illinois newspaper that caters to the homosexual community declaring his staunch opposition to the Defense of Marriage Act, the federal legislation aimed at protecting the right of state governments to decide the definition of marriage at the state level without dictation from the federal bench:

For the record, I opposed DOMA [the Defense of Marriage Act] in 1996. It should be repealed, and I will vote for its repeal on the Senate floor. I will also oppose any proposal to amend the U.S. Constitution to ban gays and lesbians from marrying. This is an effort to demonize people for political advantage, and should be resisted. DOMA passed (supported by an overwhelming bipartisan majority) when members of Congress sought an opportunity to go clearly on record doing something to prevent federal court action from imposing homosexual marriage on all the States once such marriages were somehow made lawful in any one of them. The constitutional logic of the legislation may leave something to be desired, since the federal judiciary may still, in any given case, refuse to apply it on (albeit specious) constitutional grounds. It serves a political purpose, however, providing cover for politicians who refuse to support a constitutional amendment protecting the states from federal court dictation on this subject.

Some politicians who oppose a constitutional amendment on the marriage issue express concern that it would wrongly usurp the legislative prerogatives of the state governments. However, Obama opposes it as "an effort to demonize people for political advantage." This position implies that there is no good and proper justification for the defense of the natural family. Since he appears to believe that the legislative preference for the natural family unjustly abuses homosexuals for political ends, Obama's opposition to the Defense of Marriage Act thus follows logically from his stand against a constitutional amendment.

Evidently, Obama refuses to entertain the possibility that the natural prerequisite of procreation (requiring contributions from a male and a female) provides at least arguably proper grounds on which to establish the characteristic elements for the institution of marriage. Otherwise, he might disagree with the legislative preference for the heterosexual institution, but he would not pretend that only a bad motive can account for it. This pretense suggests that at the very least he rejects the notion that the natural prerequisite of procreation has relevance for the definition of marriage. Of course, it also raises the possibility that he rejects the thought that any consideration of the natural human condition is relevant.

But if procreation has no relevance to the definition of marriage, what becomes of the society's respect for the natural ties between parents and their offspring? In the strict sense those ties constitute a primordial form of natural property. The child belongs to the parent, the parent to the child. In the first instance, it is right for parents to care for their children (the children that belong to them.) They have the right to demand that others respect (i.e., refrain from interfering with) the reasonable actions they take in order to do so (assuming of course that those actions do not interfere with the unalienable rights of others in any way.) What becomes of this parental right if and when the law defines marriage in such a way as to exclude the right of one parent or the other? In doing so, it assails the sense of obligation that rightly follows upon the natural connection, for in this case as in every other the individual natural right arises in connection with a natural obligation. Respect for the obligation is impaired whenever the right is disrespected.

Obama (and organizations such as the Human Rights Campaign) claim to act out of consideration for human rights. But they are indifferent to the natural tie between parent and child that arises from procreation. Claiming to respect the subjective human values that arise from sexual relations between people of the same sex, they insist that society cease to respect the objective obligations that arise from procreational relations between people of different sexes. But can a just society do so? According to the standard of justice by which government in the United States is established, the aim of just government is to secure the unalienable rights with which God has endowed every human being. Can government at any level claim to respect this aim when by law it adopts an understanding of marriage that by institutional design severs the ties of right and obligation between a child and one or another of its natural parents?

Obama's unsurprising refusal to defend the natural family may thus be the counterpart of a surprising (to many) assault on the very idea of just government on which American liberty depends. Do people like Obama seek to overturn the doctrine of unalienable rights in order to promote homosexual marriage? Or do they promote homosexual marriage in order to undermine and ultimately overturn the doctrine of unalienable rights?

To substantiate and explore this question requires more words than this space allows. I pursue it further in the companion piece I have posted today at