Oct. 19, 2012
Ever since I marched in the Yorktown Victory Day Parade (October 19th) years ago, I have had a strong appreciation of the fact that the French provided the essential aid to America that enabled us to become an independent nation. Helping the French whenever I can therefore seems only right to this American.
Following last summer's visits with the Tocqueville Fellows at FRC, it was good to hear how one of our guests had gone home to France to take an enthusiastic part in the effort there to save marriage. Young Pierre Jovanovic is writing and speaking against plans to eliminate marriage in his country. The new Socialist government of President Francois Hollande is wasting no time in its drive to move France far to the Left. And abolishing marriage is part of their agenda. How gauche!
This week, we welcomed a small but distinguished delegation of French marriage advocates. Mme. Christine Boutin was a candidate for President of the Republic seven years ago. Today, she heads the Christian Democratic Party of France. Joining her were Franck Margain, a knowledgeable banker, and Mme. Beatrice Bourges, president of the Association for the Protection of Childhood.
Our FRC team led off with Dr. Patrick Fagan telling our visitors about the resources of MARRI, the Marriage and Religion Research Institute, which is one of Family Research Council's most important mission areas. Irish-born Pat understands European culture better than most Americans and has deep wells of sympathy for the home of Christendom.
Pat showed the French how social science data supports the model of a married mother and father, preferably a couple that worships regularly, that unquestionably produces the best results for the health, education, and welfare of children.
Peter Sprigg directs FRC's Center for Human Sexuality. He shared the research of reputable scholars that shows that the case for same-sex parenting has been much harder to demonstrate. That's because, in part, that there are so few examples of children being raised by parents of the same sex, and because so many of the "studies" cited by our opponents in the marriage debate are flawed. Oftimes, these so-called studies are merely surveys of the gay parents themselves. They are hardly unbiased respondents. Or, they may suffer from volunteer bias, from the fact that the respondents answered ads in gay publications.
I spoke to our friends about my experiences on the Values Bus. This is a joint venture of Family Research Council and Heritage Foundation. Heritage is taking its case for reduced federal expenditures and lower taxes to the heartland. FRC speaks for hard-pressed families, for the right to life of the unborn, for the defense of marriage, and for our increasingly menaced religious freedom.
Faux-monnayeurs-counterfeiters. It's a title I remembered vaguely from long-ago French literature classes, but it is the essence of my argument against counterfeiting marriage. (Ironically, the French novel of that name was one of the first gay-themed novels by Andre Gide. It's one of the reasons I didn't major in French.)
The key to understanding the fight over marriage is to understand that advocates for same-sex couplings being recognized as marriages do not seek merely to expand the numbers of happily married folks. They are seeking the end of marriage.
Peter Sprigg proved this by showing our guests the statement of a host of very influential left-wing scholars and activists titled: Beyond Same-Sex Marriage. Although the signatories don't come right and say it, their goal is clear: polygamy, polyamory, polyandry. "Marriage" would be re-defined out of existence if these signers have their way.
Most menacingly, President Obama has named Chai Feldblum, Georgetown University Law Professor and lesbian activist, to the very powerful Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. From this strategic high position, Prof. Feldblum will be able to to assail marriage. What? You run a small business and you don't want to give spousal benefits to a man, his wife, and his same-sex lover? You may find yourself in court.
I tell our French friends the good news: In every state where voters have been free to render their judgment, true marriage has been affirmed. This has been true in liberal, moderate, and conservative states.
It is especially significant here that black, Hispanic, and Asian voters usually provide the margin of victory in these state marriage referendums. I encourage the French to reach out to ethnic minorities in their country. Even with its large Muslim population-and the known approval that Islam gives to polygamy-it is doubtless the case that many of the women in these minority homes do not want polygamy brought to France. In fact, it is to escape many of these elements of sharia law that France's immigrants first came to this European country.
Only half in jest, I suggest to our distinguished visitors that they might consider a Values Bus tour of the French countryside. It is well known that the provinces of France are more conservative than Paris is. Might it be possible to spark a resistance movement in French countryside for marriage? Let us pray.
My own time on the Values Bus is rapidly coming to a close. This weekend, we're headed to Pennsylvania. After that, Virginia will be our next targeted state. What an honor it is to carry the FRC message to America's heartland. And if--just if-- there should be a Values Bus tour of France ("L'autobus de Valeurs?"), I would be the first to volunteer!
As I bade farewell to our distinguished visitors, I added one more argument:
We want there to be a France in a hundred years. Without true marriage, France herself will disappear. This fight is not for today alone, but for a vast future. Long live France-and long live the French.