We Hold These Truths

The White House recently told the press there couldn’t be more difference between my position on gay marriage and President Obama’s.

On reflection, I agree.

President Obama’s position on marriage is constantly “evolving,” as he so often says.  He’s not sure what marriage is, or what it should become, and no doubt right now he’s consulting highly-paid polling experts to determine how his position – and marriage itself – should morph next.  This should come as no surprise given the President’s musings about the other great moral issue of our time, the protection of human life.

In a 2008 campaign forum, Pastor Rick Warren asked, “at what point does a baby get human rights, in your view?”  Obama answered, “Well, you know, I think that whether you’re looking at it from a theological perspective or a science perspective, answering that question with specificity, you know, is above my pay grade.” But as an Illinois State Senator, Barack Obama articulated a very clear view of when a baby was granted rights.  He was the only senator to vote against the Born Alive Infants Protection Act in committee; legislation that protected babies who survived an abortion and were born alive. He was the only senator to speak against it on the senate floor. 

At the time, the constitutional law professor boldly asserted, that “whenever we define a pre-viable fetus as a person that is protected by the equal protection clause or other elements of the Constitution, what we’re really saying is, in fact, that they are persons that are entitled to the kinds of protections that would be provided to a–a child, a 9 month old–child that was delivered to term.” He says children only have rights who are 9-months old and delivered at term. So, does that mean any child born before 9 months is not entitled to rights?

By contrast, millions of Americans, including myself, know what we think about human life and marriage. We know not only what we think but why we believe what we believe.  We know that some truths are bigger than the next election and should not shift with political consultants’ advice. And among those great, enduring, and foundational truths, I believe, are life and marriage.

An unborn child is not just a clump of cells.  He or she is a human life, as worthy of basic dignity and respect as any one of us.  Each precious, irreplaceable human life is too infinitely valuable to permit courts to redefine its meaning away. I fought against Partial Birth Abortion, a horrific procedure supported by President Obama, all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. When the highest court found the law banning the practice unconstitutional, I sent it back to the justices a second time so they could get it right.

Marriage is, and has always been through human history, a union of a man and woman – and for a reason. These unions are special because they are the ones we all depend on to make new life and to connect those new lives to their mom and dad.

A husband is a man who commits to a woman, to her and any children she may give him. He commits to his wife without any reservations, to share with her all his worldly goods and to exclude all others from this intimate communion of life.  From this vow of marriage comes a wonderful and unique good: any children their union creates will have a mom and a dad united in love, in one family.

That’s the special work of marriage in law – to connect things that otherwise fray and fragment: love, life, money, moms, and dads.

A man who does not seek to do this – who doesn’t choose to give himself to a woman and any children they may have together in this unique and special way – may well be a very good man and have wonderful other kinds of relationships, but he isn’t seeking to be a husband. We can’t redefine reality to accommodate politically fashionable wishes.  Words matter because they capture enduring and timeless truths about human nature and about the common good.

Lawyers cannot create life and did not create marriage. And lawyers (whether on the bench or in politics) have no business redefining either to suit the shifting winds of fashion, or worse, for political expediency.

I know so many single moms who work so hard and do such a great job raising children. We need to applaud every heroic parent working hard to raise good kids regardless of whether or not they are married; just as we need to protect all our children, born and unborn, those lucky enough to have the gift of a married mom and dad and those who do not.

We can do this without cravenly surrendering timeless truths about marriage and human life.  We don’t want liberal media-approved lawyers and politicians massaging the meaning of words, or judges implementing vast social changes without the consent of the governed, or, frankly, politicians like President Obama who cannot even tell you what marriage will be next week.

In positions of power, we need men and women of character, willing to stand up and defend what they think is right and to level with the American people.  America is hungry for leadership.  I have found everywhere I go across this great land that people appreciate it if they know you’re the kind of man they can trust to tell the truth on important issues even if they do not agree with you on every issue.

Marriage is a society’s life blood.  Not everybody can or will marry, but all of us (married or not) depend on marriage in a unique way.  Marriage is foundational: it creates and sustains not only children but civilization itself.  This is an institution which protects our liberty.

A president who, after thousands of years of human history, a Harvard law degree, and four years in the White House, cannot tell us with certainty what he thinks marriage or life is, is not worthy of the trust of the American people or a second term in office.  It is time for leadership in America.  It is time again to stand for self-evident foundational truths.

  1. Crow

    Because of the time zone difference, I awoke this morning to find that Sen. Santorum had posted on marriage, and the thread had some 200 responses.

    At so many posts, I’m not going to join the argument here.

    But I will say, Sen. Santorum: thanks very much for stopping by and taking notice of, and part in, our conversation here on Ricochet. 

  2. Michael Labeit

    I still can’t quite abstract from this post the justification behind the inference “And therefore, gay marriage should not be recognized by the state” Senator.

  3. ultra vires

    Mr. Santorum you speak as is marriage if some entity not to be tinkered with by the state, does this mean you would want to get the government out of recognizing any and all marriages? If not, then why not allow same sex couples to marry? I certainly hope the reason is not because they cannot procreate, because neither can some heterosexual couples.

  4. Peter Robinson
    C

    “Marriage…creates and sustains not only children by civilization itself.”

    Beautifully put, Senator.

    Welcome to Ricochet–and although this site hasn’t endorsed a candidate, I think we all agree that this is a better race for your presence in it.

  5. Pseudodionysius

    Thank you, Senator Santorum, for setting the cat among the pigeons here on Ricochet.

  6. The King Prawn

    Welcome, Senator. I hope you’re up for some real debate.

  7. Tom Lindholtz

    I thank you, too, Senator.  I must say, however that your statement is a good, but not sufficient reason to support you.  I would hope that you will provide us some succinct ideas of other qualities you would bring to the office of President.  It is nice to have you join us.

  8. flownover

    I’m with Ultra, government shouldn’t be in the marriage business or the baby business or, for that matter, the medical business. The fuel business, the commodities business, the media business, the ………..

    you get the point.

    Welcome to Ricochet Senator. Thanks for gracing us with your words. You could have dumped all the Obama stuff though , that guy gets no ground here.

  9. DocJay

    Thank you regarding your advocacy for our unborn sir! I wish you luck during the rest of your campaign and you may very well have my vote.

  10. Chris Deleon
    Michael Labeit: I still can’t quite abstract from this post the justification behind the inference “And therefore, gay marriage should not be recognized by the state” Senator. · Jan 13 at 2:32pm

    He answered this.  I’m not sure if it was because you were so eager to be the first comment that you didn’t read the post fully, and missed it.  The State has an interest in recognizing and even promoting traditional family life, because:

    Marriage is, and has always been through human history, a union of a man and woman – and for a reason. These unions are special because they are the ones we all depend on to make new life and to connect those new lives to their mom and dad.

    This issue has been hashed and rehashed so many times on this site, and you know well what is the answer to your question. 

    [Comment redacted by editor]

  11. Humza Ahmad
    Peter Robinson: … I think we all agree that this is a better race for your presence in it. 

    At the risk of being rude, I completely disagree, Mr. Robinson. What this race needs is more centrist candidates who do not repel a wide swath of American voters by virtue of one or two key issue areas. Unfortunately, Senator Santorum’s social views have tainted not only his own electability, but the perception of the party for many, many independents. Regardless of who our nominee will eventually be, I fear strong and vocal social conservatives such as Governor Perry and Senator Santorum have made it a good deal harder for the Republicans to take back the White House.

  12. The King Prawn
    Humza Ahmad

    Peter Robinson: … I think we all agree that this is a better race for your presence in it. 

    At the risk of being rude, I completely disagree, Mr. Robinson. What this race needs is more centrist candidates who do not repel a wide swath of American voters by virtue of one or two key issue areas. Unfortunately, Senator Santorum’s social views have tainted not only his own electability, but the perception of the party for many, many independents. Regardless of who our nominee will eventually be, I fear strong and vocal social conservatives such as Governor Perry and Senator Santorum have made it a good deal harder for the Republicans to take back the White House. · Jan 13 at 2:47pm

    Do you want the nation saved or merely the White House taken? Strong social conservatism may make the latter more difficult, but a lack of it makes the former impossible.

  13. Michael Labeit
    Chris Deleon

     Michael Labeit:

     
    Marriage is, and has always been through human history, a union of a man and woman – and for a reason. These unions are special because they are the ones we all depend on to make new life and to connect those new lives to their mom and dad.

    -Marriage has always been a union between men and women

    -We depend upon heterosexual marriage (“these unions”) “to make new life and to connect those new lives to their mom and dad.”

    Therefore, what? Down with gay marriage? I think this argument lacks the necessary rigor to make such a connection.

  14. Anon

    If the question is whether a human zygote is alive from the instant of conception, the only rational answer is, of course it is.  Those who claim that it is inert is ridiculous on on its face.  As a biologist, I have no reservations at all in that regard.  From the human zygote on, it is alive – a product itself of two living cells.  And, while developmental changes occur much more rapidly in the gestational period, they continue on through the end of life.  It’s possible, of course, for politicians to construct certain criteria of staging of their own, but they have no rational basis in science.  I’ll go along with politicians telling us who is old enough to see an ‘R’-rated movie, that could be related to a popular consensus, but telling us when a human embryo is really human in the sense of constitutional grounds for protection is just plain stupid. But it gets them elected.

    Shame on us.

  15. Crow

    Okay, one addendum to what I said in #211:

    I’m heartened to see the emphasis that marriage advocates (on both sides) have made on this thread about the numerous social goods that the institution serves, and the fact that the regime (note: not just “the State”) does have a broader interest in the social and sexual lives of its members (this does not mean it must legislate on these matters, just that they are important facets of the life of the community and it cannot avoid taking notice of them) then ONLY in cases where procreation is involved.

    As others have noted, this was always implicit in this argument, and has been explicitly made on other threads devoted to marriage that did not broach the question of gay marriage, but it is necessary to recall them in this context.

    I would also note, while on the subject, that because the regime cannot help but take notice, via public law, civic associations, religious affiliations, and other intermediary institutions, that it also cannot help but affect the character of the citizenry via laws and mores formal and informal, via their presence, content, or absence. That is the nature of political life.

  16. DocJay

    Humza, you could not be more mistaken in my mind. Social conservatives need a voice and quite frankly are the very reason Bush won twice. Moderates have a voice as do libertarians. Would you deny the same to those who feel passionately about social issues.

  17. ultra vires

    Humza, I agree and yet disagree with you at the same time. While I see more opinions as a great thing in a national debate I happen to not only disagree with Senator Santorum on social issues but be repelled by him, if I vote for Romney it will be more of a vote not to nominate Santorum than a vote to nominate Romney. While Santorum does repel voters he may have the ability to bring more people to Romney.

  18. Casey Way
    flownover: I’m with Ultra, government shouldn’t be in the marriage business or the baby business or, for that matter…

    Not too sure if I’d agree with that as the government is interested in protecting the mutual rights of citizens, especially those most vulnerable to the subjugation of others. Consider the voice and opportunity our form of government gives to the minority or the party out of power, or the equality idealized in the judicial system. Since babies and the unborn are arguably most vulnerable, there is a justified role for the government in this regard. Where the right to life is involved, the government has a role in protecting it to thus further liberty.

  19. Joseph Stanko

    Welcome Senator!  

    I sincerely admire you for always speaking up for what you know to be right.  I suspect that if like Obama you calibrated your positions to the latest polls you’d have a much better chance of winning the nomination, so I’d like to thank you for your honesty and clarity.

  20. Aaron Miller

    Thanks for joining us, Senator.

    I hope you will challenge the other candidates to written, untimed debates here on Ricochet. Voters need to know where y’all stand, not see y’all compete for zingers on political gameshows.

    ultra vires: Mr. Santorum you speak as is marriage if some entity not to be tinkered with by the state, does this mean you would want to get the government out of recognizing any and all marriages?

    Saying government cannot redefine a fundamental ritual which precedes any government is not the same as saying government cannot recognize and reward that ritual.

    Without government, marriages would continue. But marriage is inherently public. Otherwise, why should anyone care if it is legally recognized? That said, I’m all for eliminating the national income tax and the consequent tax credits.

    Marriage is the most basic and pivotal element of any society. That’s why it can never be ignored. Abortion is murder. That’s why it can never be ignored.

    But, Senator, I agree with Mark Steyn about where this nation is headed. A fat lot of good legislation on either of these issues will do if our society crumbles first from debt and tyranny.