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>

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


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.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest