- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 18, 2008

OP-ED:

Homosexual marriage is not a civil right guaranteed by the Constitution - life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are. In fact, traditional marriage isn’t even a civil right. But don’t try telling that to the gay-rights activists who have descended upon the left coast to protest the passage of California’s Proposition 8. Most telling is the outrage by these activists, the media and at least one washed-up celebrity being hurled at black voters in California. At the same time 95 percent of black Americans were casting their ballots for Barack Obama, black Californians, at a ratio of more than 2-to-1, rejected homosexual marriage by passing Prop 8. The “people” - not the politicians or the activist courts - have spoken. But liberals can’t leave well enough alone.

In San Francisco, signs of protest read: “Marriage is for everyone.” No, it is not. With that logic, we could marry off children (say 8 or 10 years old) or “kissing cousins.” Marriage, as clearly defined through the ages, is between one man and one woman. You don’t need a constitutional amendment for that - it is inherently implied commonsense.

Another protest sign read: “No on Hate.” Disagreement does not equate to hate. Opposition to homosexual marriage has nothing to do with discrimination and activists need to stop mixing the two. Whether a person’s rights are violated based on discrimination is a wholly separate issue and should be handled that way. Tolerance doesn’t preclude clearly defined lines between what is and is not acceptable in modern society.

Most fervent - and troubling - of this debate though is the bubbling race war between white liberals and black conservative Democrats. Comedian Roseanne Barr (who knew she still existed?) wrote on her Web site this week: “they [black Californians] are just as bigoted and ignorant as their white Christian right wing counterparts.” And she is just as ignorant as the activists who equate civil rights and gay rights.

Black civil and religious leaders - rightfully - have expressed outrage at the gay community’s co-opting “civil rights” to include gay sex. Blacks were stoned, hung, and dragged for their constitutional right to “sit at the table.” Whites - gay or not - already had a seat at that table. There is no comparison. Activists argue that, like skin color, gays don’t choose their lifestyle. Even if, for the sake of argument, that were so, homosexuals are still “choosing” to get married. To compare voters denying what is not a right to blacks dying for what is - is beyond the pale.

The media hasn’t helped. One news headline trumpeted: “Who is to blame?” (for this apparent voter lapse in judgment). When the public has so clearly spoken on the issue of gay marriage (just as they gave Mr. Obama a mandate), why would the media suggest something is wrong with voters? Is there blame for voting for Mr. Obama?

The media, just now waking up to what’s happened, seem genuinely shocked that “blacks overwhelmingly voted down gay marriage.” Why is that, one news anchor questioned. How could blacks vote for Mr. Obama and Democrats in such striking chorus, while supporting an amendment that Mr. Obama actually opposed? Because black people are people of faith and, overall, have always opposed homosexual marriage. That the media failed to correlate religious views and moral issues in the black community - or even report on this - is telling. Instead of asking “what’s wrong” understand that they - like most of America - are opposed to gay marriage. An individual cannot be separated from his faith - or convictions. What’s wrong, is that the media is asking the “wrong” question and missing the point.

In order to grasp the “message” black voters sent, it must be understood that while black Americans do traditionally and overwhelmingly vote Democratic, they are also more socially conservative than given credit for. And blacks will vote, based on that conviction, more so in the form of a ballot initiative, if not their personal choice for a candidate. And this was not the first time. Even in off elections - such as in Texas where black pastors mobilized with white conservatives to ban homosexual marriage in 2005.

Just as voters across the country issued a resounding “no” to gay marriage (i.e. gave a mandate) this election, churches are reclaiming sex for married couples. One pastor in Texas offered a challenge to his married congregants to have “sex for seven days straight” and he guarantees it will strengthen their marriage. It is a light-hearted look at rekindling romance, but the message of encouraging strong, traditional marriage is a sober one. Preserving traditional marriage is particularly important and relevant now, when now 68 percent of black children are born out-of-wedlock. Thirty years ago, a majority of blacks’ homes were intact with a married father and mother. A re-awkening must take place. This is where activist energy needs to be focused. The goal is to strengthen, not cripple, marriage. Passively condoning illegitimacy, rewarding fatherlessness, advocating same-sex marriage runs counter-intuitive to that goal.

One husband of that Texas church project enthusiastically (smiling) said he was adhering to the challenge because: “The Bible says so.” The Bible also says “so” about homosexuality (love the sinner, hate the sin), as do most religions.

These so-called wedge issues don’t necessarily drive an entire campaign or candidate, but they do define the beliefs and value system of every American - black or white. They are issues that should not be mocked or ignored, at election time or any other.

Tara Wall is deputy editorial page editor of The Washington Times. twall@washington times.com.