This year's presidential inauguration was an opportunity for President Obama to unite Americans who have recently been through a particularly difficult and heated election season and set us on a better path, one that would uplift all Americans.
Sadly, the President squandered this opportunity when he chose to proclaim that our journey as a people would not be complete until gay and lesbian people are "treated like anyone under the law," a not-so-veiled reference to his politically-motivated decision to endorse the radical movement to redefine marriage, one of our most sacred institutions.
First of all, gay and lesbian people are already treated equally under the law. They have the same civil rights as everyone else. They're free to live as they choose and love whom they wish.
What they don't have is the right to redefine marriage for society.
Indeed, six federal courts (including the Supreme Court in 1972) have rejected the radical idea that there is a Constitutional right to same-sex marriage under the Fourteenth Amendment's equal protection clause.
Marriage as it has been defined throughout history - as the union of one man and one woman - is a great cause of unity for any culture, including our own. We know all too well what happens to society when marriage breaks down and government interferes with the rights of men and women to come together and form healthy, lifelong marriages. The President's obsession with redefining marriage has prevented him in his first term from doing anything of substance to support and advance the institution of marriage for the vast majority of Americans. That is where his emphasis should be.
Americans remain united in support of the commonsense definition of marriage. A poll taken after the most recent elections showed that 60% of Americans agree that marriage is between one man and one woman. Twenty percent of Americans in that same poll said marriage was one of their top three issues. The vast majority of states define marriage as the union of husband and wife and the vast majority of Americans who have been given a chance to vote on the question have supported that definition as well.
This spring and summer the Supreme Court will take up Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act. Proposition 8, which Obama opposed, defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman, was approved in 2008 by over seven million California voters. The Defense of Marriage Act was passed overwhelmingly by Congress and signed into law by President Bill Clinton.
And yet, President Obama refuses to acknowledge the right of all these Americans and elected officials to protect marriage. We eagerly await the Supreme Court's decision on the question of whether Americans have a right to protect marriage in law.
In the meantime, Americans should unite in support of the commonsense definition of marriage. The longer our leaders insist on throwing their words and weight behind the movement to redefine marriage the more they will continue to divide our beloved nation.
Editor's Note: Brian S. Brown is the president of the National Organization for Marriage.