Flag Amendment and Marriage Amendment: What’s the Connection?

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, called the narrow Senate defeat of the flag amendment “a regrettable loss” that will send “a terrible message” to U.S. soldiers fighting overseas. At the same time, Perkins complained about the recent (wide) defeat of another amendment, one to write discrimination into the Constitution. “There is no doubt a connection,” claimed Perkins.

In an e-mail to supporters yesterday, he wrote:

Still, I cannot help pointing out that we gained sixty-six votes in the U.S. Senate for an amendment that would have protected the symbol of our beloved country. Compare this with the vote earlier this month on the Marriage Protection Amendment (MPA). There, we got forty-nine votes. Consider this: Sixty-six votes for a revered symbol versus forty-nine for the foundation of society. That means there are at least seventeen senators who are readier to protect symbols than substance. As for the critics who have complained of misplaced priorities and symbolism, they are just flat wrong. The Senate should have approved both amendments. There is no doubt a connection. A country that dishonors marriage is sure to see its revered symbols dishonored as well.

There is a connection, but not the one Perkins sees: Both amendments would mar the Constitution’s protections for our liberty and equality, and both votes were timed for maximum political opportunism.