As we have noted repeatedly, Ted Cruz has enthusiastically welcomed the endorsements of and associated with a lot of extreme anti-gay activists, including the kind who scream from the stage that gay people should be executed. But not all anti-gay activists are of the ranting sort; some are prominent lawyers who draft legislation and devise legal strategies for restricting equality. Today, Cruz trumpeted the endorsement of the most prominent of these “respectable” anti-gay activists, Robert George.
George operates from Princeton University, where he teaches law and directs the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions. He is a prime mover behind the effort to brand opposition to abortion and LGBT equality as religious liberty questions. He is a very busy man. In fact, it seems as if there are few anti-equality efforts that don’t bear his fingerprints in some way.
- George co-authored the Federal Marriage Amendment that was introduced 2002, which would have enshrined discrimination against same-sex couples in the U.S. Constitution.
- He wrote the legal brief filed by Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council in the Lawrence v Texas case, defending state laws that made gay people de facto criminals.
- He is co-author of the Manhattan Declaration, published in 2009, whose signers pledged that they would not “bend to any rule purporting to force us to bless immoral sexual partnerships, treat them as marriages or the equivalent, or refrain from proclaiming the truth, as we know it, about morality and immorality and marriage and the family.”
- In 2009, according to a New York Times profile, George addressed “an audience that included many bishops” where he said they should stop promoting policies intended to address poverty and injustice, like progressive taxes and minimum wages, and concentrate on issues such as abortion, embryonic stem-cell marriage, and same-sex marriage.
- He was a founder and chair of the National Organization for Marriage, which devised strategies meant to “drive a wedge between gays and blacks” and, in addition to its work across the U.S., has helped promote anti-gay policies overseas.
- He is founder of the American Principles Project, which promotes social conservatism alongside the gold-standard fetish of funder Sean Fieler.
- He appeared in Rick Santorum’s 2014 movie, “One Generation Away: The Erosion of Religious Liberty.”
- He serves on the advisory board of the Love & Fidelity Network, which trains college students to become advocates for traditional marriage.
- George has referred dismissively to same-sex couples’ relationships by saying that same-sex marriage redefines marriage as “an emotional union for the sake of adult satisfaction that is served by mutually agreeable sexual play.” In 2011 he suggested that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo should not be considered a Catholic given that he “flouts his Catholic principles” by, among other things, signing marriage equality into law.
It goes on and on. According to his bio at the Witherspoon Institute, where he is a senior fellow:
Professor George serves on the boards of directors of the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, the Ethics and Public Policy Center, the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, the Institute on Religion and Democracy, and the Center for Individual Rights.
George’s dual role at the Witherspoon Institute and the Bradley Foundation were noted during the controversy over the infamous Regnerus study, which has been widely discredited but it still cited by anti-equality advocates as “evidence” that gay people and couples should not be allowed to adopt or be parents. Witherspoon sponsored the research to the tune of nearly $700,000 and Bradley kicked in $90,000.
George’s influence extends beyond his own work. A former student and George protégé, the Heritage Foundation’s Ryan Anderson, has become a leading voice in opposition to marriage equality; they co-authored with Sherif Gergis the book “What is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense.”
The Cruz campaign released a gushing endorsement from George, who says that Cruz was one of his most brilliant students and is among “the most principled and dedicated public servants” he knows. George’s endorsement of Cruz will come as no surprise to anyone who saw the mutual admiration society that passed for George’s interview of Cruz for EWTN last November. The two commiserated about the Supreme Court’s marriage equality decision, which George called “another tragic mistake in imposing same-sex marriage on the entire country.”
George recently joined other conservative Catholics in denouncing Donald Trump, who they said degrades our politics and culture and threatens their ability to use the Republican Party to promote Catholic social doctrine. Notably, George did not endorse Cruz until after Marco Rubio suspended his campaign. Rubio’s faith outreach director, Eric Teetsel, was formerly executive director of the Manhattan Declaration, and George is included in the acknowledgments section of Teetsel’s own book on (one man, one woman) marriage.