Anti-Marriage Equality Leader Says America Cannot Remain “Half Slave and Half Free”

NOM President Brian Brown at a 2010 rally in Wisconsin.<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/emilymills/4838821558/" target="_blank">Flickr/Lost Albatross</a>

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Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, which since 2007 has successfully fought to ban same-sex marriage in several states and fought to punish legislators and judges who have supported it, offered interesting analogy on the eve of Supreme Court arguments over the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act. Friday, appearing on the show of conservative radio host Steve Deace, Brown argued for a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, saying “We need a solution in this country, we cannot be, as Lincoln said, half slave, half free.”

Here’s the transcript from Miranda Blue at Right Wing Watch (emphasis mine):

I think we’re going to win these cases. But say the worst happens and we lose in a broad way—that means that the Court somehow does a Roe, a Roe v. Wade, on marriage and says that all these state constitutional amendments are overturned, gay marriage is now a constitutional right – well, we’re going to press forward on a Federal Marriage Amendment. We’ve always supported a Federal Marriage Amendment, and there’s a lot of misconceptions about it. Some people try and argue, ‘Well, this is against federalism.’ No, our founders gave us a system where we can amend the Constitution. We shouldn’t have to do this, we shouldn’t have to worry about activist judges, you know, making up out of thin air a constitutional right that obviously none of our founders found there and no one found there until quite recently. But if we do, for us, the Federal Marriage Amendment is a way that people can stand up and say, ‘Enough is enough.’ We need a solution in this country, we cannot be, as Lincoln said, half slave, half free. We can’t have a country on key moral questions where we’re just, where we don’t have a solution. And if the Court forces a solution, the way we’ll amend that is through the Federal Marriage Amendment.

Brown is referencing Abraham Lincoln’s famous “House Divided” speech, which was about the inevitability of conflict within the Union over the issue of slavery. In Brown’s analogy, presumably, the states where relationships between same-sex couples are legally recognized are the “slave states.”  

The issue of same-sex marriage will most likely be resolved with less bloodshed than the abolition of required. But judging by the evolution in public opinion on the issue, the marriage equality “solution” won’t be the one Brown is hoping for.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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