Marriage and Energy Policy: A Winning Union of Issues

Certain Republicans with national aspirations continue to advance the idea that America’s ballooning budget deficits should be the party’s sole focus in the run-up to the 2012 elections.  But President Obama and the Democrats are vulnerable on a broad range of issues, including, now more than ever, marriage and energy issues.

Last week Obama announced that his administration will abandon legal support of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in certain court cases.  DOMA, which defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman for federal purposes, denies federal recognition and benefits for married same-sex couples.  It also allows states not to have to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.

In a statement about the decision, Attorney General Eric Holder said that the administration believes the law is unconstitutional because it discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation.

The practical effect of Obama’s decision will be to assist various court challenges to DOMA across the country.  The administration will drop appeals it has filed in various jurisdictions and tell courts that it considers the law invalid.

The administration’s decision doesn’t mark the end of DOMA—for that to happen the law needs to be struck down by a court or repealed by Congress.  But the unilateral decision is a breathtaking violation of the responsibility of the Justice Department and President to defend the law.

Obama’s decision to abandon legal support for DOMA is only his most recent gift to the gay rights movement.  Last April, Obama mandated that most hospitals begin extending visitation rights to the partners of homosexuals and extend to them the right to make critical health care decisions for incapacitated partners.

Obama has also championed the repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” signed so-called anti-hate crime legislation, and pushed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which makes homosexuals a protected class.

Curiously, Obama continues to maintain that he opposes same-sex marriage.  “I’m wrestling with this.  My attitudes are evolving on this,” Obama told a gay activist in December, echoing previous statements in response to questions about whether he supports gay marriage.

Listen up whenever Obama says he’s “wrestling,” “grappling,” or “struggling” with an issue:  It usually means that he’s made up his mind but cannot speak it because most Americans disagree with him.  He’s made similar statements about abortion and other social issues.

Does anyone believe Obama opposes gay marriage?  Obama declared his support for gay nuptials in the 1990s, back when Democrats were seen as “progressive” for endorsing civil unions but only the most radical supported gay marriage.

Today, many liberals despicably compare marriage protection amendments to miscegenation laws and traditional marriage supporters to racist bigots.  Are we supposed to believe Obama places himself among those whom his supporters compare with racists?

Republicans should highlight Obama’s hypocrisy and force the President to come out of the closet on his support for gay marriage.  Instead, most of the possible presidential contenders said nothing.  Congressional Republican leaders weren’t much better.

Pressuring Obama to admit his support for gay marriage would, as the President’s reluctance to do so makes clear, damage him politically.  After all, polls continue to show that a majority of Americans support traditional marriage.  In fact, the people of 31 states have voted to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.  Traditional marriage enjoys more support than many other items on the GOP agenda.

Surely our GOP leaders can make the case for responsible budgeting and at the same time make the case for preserving normal marriage.

The list of key issues does not stop there.  On energy policy, too, Obama’s agenda is ruinous, and the GOP needs to say so every day.

With the crises in the Middle East endangering global oil supplies, the Obama administration seems to be doing everything it can to hinder access to our domestic oil supply.

Obama says he wants to erase “the billions in taxpayer dollars we currently give to oil companies,” and his budget calls for higher taxes on oil companies.  What he means is he wants higher taxes on domestic oil, which will raise the price of gasoline and further slow America’s already sluggish job growth.

The Obama administration refuses to approve new exploratory drilling plans and reversed an earlier decision to allow exploration of coastal waters.  Oil companies are going out of business, and, according to Reuters, many of the more than 30 deepwater oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico have moved to other markets.  Each rig employs at least 200 people.

Meanwhile, Obama’s Energy Department has announced that it will seek huge increases in funding for clean-energy projects, while scaling back research on fossil fuels.  Obama calls oil the energy source of “the past.”  But while it’s fine to work toward a future less dependent on oil, we need a reality check:  America will rely heavily on oil for decades to come.

If the GOP is going to be the governing party of the U.S. in 2012, it must present a unified agenda across the policy front.  Yes, cut the budget, and advocate pro-growth reforms.  But don’t forget to defend marriage, speak out for unborn children, and fight for energy self-reliance.