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Rally in defense of marriage
Alan Keyes
May 14, 2004
Boston, Massachusetts

Well, I'm here. It's one of those times when one can be grateful to God for traveling mercies. Absolutely. I certainly am.

I'm not going to spend a lot of time on preliminaries, because I know you all have been here a long time. I think we come together obviously on occasion of great and deep critical importance to this state and to the country--though I have to tell you that, looking at the way some folks respond to it in our politics, I'm not sure they appreciate its real importance.

At times like these, though, when we are especially tempted on all sides to be carried away by the strong emotions that are generated by the political nature of the subject, I think it's especially incumbent upon us to resist the counsels of passion and indignation, and to call on our common sense and our faculty for rational discourse and persuasion, in order to think through the crisis we confront.

And that's what I'd like to spend the next few minutes doing, if you will have some patience with me, because it is going to require a little bit of patience in order to look at some things in a way that I think is necessary, but can sometimes, especially in our day, be a little tedious because it doesn't immediately reflect anymore, sad to say, the understanding of things that prevails in our public mind.

So, to all of the folks who have an interest here and around the country, and to all of you who have come together tonight--I know with a heart that hopes for both the survival of marriage and the survival of our institutions of self-government--I would invite you to join me, and as the scripture says, "Come, let us reason together."

In order to do so, we must first start by trying to get a right understanding of just what is the question in front of us--and actually, it turns out that there are two questions that are posed, I think, by the present crisis in Massachusetts. One has to do with the institution of marriage, the other has to do with our constitutional institutions of self-government.

The first question can, I think, be put pretty simply, though people try to make it into something else. It's a simple question of whether same-sex couples shall be admitted to participation in the respectable estate of lawful marriage.

Obviously, in the course of time and the course, indeed, of our whole history and tradition, up until this moment, the people of this state, the people of the states around the country, the people of the country have, through their representatives, continuously, over the course of years--indeed, without really ever considering any alternatives--they have continuously reached the judgment that the answer to that question is "no."

They have done so, by the way, not because they wish to discriminate against this or that sexual activity--which, of course, in the course of things, it probably never occurred to them. They did so out of respect for their understanding of what that marriage estate is all about.

But that means that in order to consider this question carefully, we've got to really look at two questions. One has to do with the nature of human sexual relations. (Notice I didn't say "homosexuality"; no, really, the question is about sexuality, itself.) And the other has to do with the question of the nature of marriage.

Now, with respect to the first, there is obviously a view now abroad which asserts that homosexual relations, same-sex couples, have their right to love and intimacy, and to express themselves as they would in the use of their physical organs to derive pleasure, and so forth and so on. And at one level, the simple level of personal choice, there are many who would say, "Oh, yes, fine!" And they say so, by the way, because they want to grant to homosexuals that "prerogative," shall we call it? Some would call it vice, but [we'll call it] that prerogative which they have arrogated to themselves.

This is part of what causes the difficulty on this question. People try to act as if we are talking about homosexual relations. No, we are talking about a certain understanding of human sexual relations that is epitomized in the same-sex relationship.

Now, let's take a look at that for a minute. There are some things that one can see pretty obviously on the surface, and they are actually things that in some ways come through, if you have any familiarity with the literature, movies, other writings that are done by homosexuals, themselves, there's something that they actually talk about with reasonable frequency, in terms of what makes this kind of sexuality so attractive--and what makes it attractive is that it is free of consequences. It is the indulgence in sexual relations for the sake of that sensual, and sexual, and emotional fulfillment that the parties involved can derive from the relationship, and that's all there is to it.

There's a certain "freedom" to it, which they often comment upon--but freedom in what sense? Well, truth is, it's by contrast, isn't it? Because, try as we might in our society, with pills and condoms and rampant abortion and so forth, truth of the matter is that in the sexual relations between man and woman, there's always a certain shadow that hangs over things. There's that possibility that, quote, "an accident" might happen, and then there you'd be with a, quote, "crisis pregnancy," and so forth and so on.

What all that verbiage actually is talking about is the fact that sexual relations between a man and a woman are actually haunted relations. They are relations in which two parties are involved, but in which the relationship between those parties, sexually, is haunted by the possibility of another party, of a third life, of a third being, which would be the fruit of their relationship.

Now, of course, one might call that third being coming into the picture, you could call it an accident, if you like, but the truth of the matter is, in one sense, that child's life is not an accident.

It is from the point of view--wait, wait. No, no. From the point of view of the sexual relationship, itself, the actual sexual relationship, that is to say the relationship based upon the sexual distinction--can I pause here for a minute?

A little aside, because we use this word in such careless ways, and I actually think that in some sense, we have allowed the careless use of it with respect to those activities that are engaged in by same-sex couples. You can call them many things. It's not entirely clear to me you can call them sexual, because in point of fact, sex is no part of what they do. Indeed, they have, in forming that same-sex relationship, turned their backs on the sexual distinction. So, though they use, in the course of it, those organs which conform to and express the sexual distinction, their use of the organs has nothing to do with that distinction, and therefore, nothing to do with real sexuality.

Real sexuality is about the distinction between male and female, as expressed in the body and its differences. And the reason I say that the child isn't an accident, is because everything about those differences points in one direction: procreation!

Now, see, this is the kind of thinking, though, that we really have to take patiently because we use the word so carelessly most of the time, but the truth is that the sexual distinction as such--that is to say, human sexuality as such--exists for the sake of procreation and nothing else. It's that simple.

So, that means that the child's life is not accident, it's essential! It's not an incident, no. It is expressive, in fact, of the essence of human sexuality, and it is in consequence of that essential truth about human sexuality that the relations between men and women are always haunted by the possibility of procreation.

But haunted, in what sense? Haunted by that possibility in the sense that that life represents, what? It represents the possibility that there would be an obligation, a lifelong obligation that transcended the immediate and momentary satisfaction of the parties to any given sexual episode or relationship.

That is the truth, in fact, of human sexuality. It is haunted by that line which separates the choice of pleasure from the obligations and responsibilities that are the consequence of procreation.

Now, I go through this because that sets up a clear distinction--and it's not a distinction that prevails just between homosexuals and so-called heterosexuals. No. It's the distinction between what we could call an understanding of human sexuality that is based in the end upon hedonism and self-gratification, and an understanding that is based upon the essential acknowledgment of the responsibilities and obligations of procreation.

These are two distinct alternatives. And I use the word "hedonism," by the way--and some people will think that that's pejorative. It's not. The word "hedonism" comes from the Greek hedone, and it means "pleasure."

And I think that it would be kind of absurd on the face of it for people who advocate same-sex relationships to turn to us and say that those relationships are not about pleasure--the point being that, at one level, that's all they can be about.

The relationship between man and woman can be incidentally about pleasure, but essentially about procreation and family, and things that in fact transcend the immediate gratification of the parties involved. The same-sex relationship is haunted by no such necessities, no such obligations. It is essentially about fulfillment of the passions, the needs, the dreams, the ambitions, the this or that. You can put up any words you want, but at the end of the day, it's just the people that are there. It's about them!

It is not about the future! It is not about the society! It is not about that which at any given moment can transcend the pleasure of the individuals! It's not about that.

Now, wait. I'm walking through all of this, y'all, because I think it's important to remember, though. And that's why I call it the view of sexuality based on hedonism and self-gratification, but you and I both know that this understanding of human sexuality is not confined to same-sex couples.

Whole industries, both in the entertainment media and in the production of all kinds of contraceptive devices and pills and this and that--all based upon, what? All based upon the pursuit of this form of sexual fulfillment, to free oneself from the shadow of procreation, so that it will no longer haunt the relationship, no longer burden the relationship, no longer be there as something which calls one away from the vocation of self-gratification toward a vocation that requires responsibility and self-sacrifice.

Now, I have walked through this, and I understand why y'all are applauding, but in point of fact, these are just subjective differences. And we are asked, well, shall be one, shall be the other--and let's not deny that there is something in our nature that finds that kind of view of human sexuality, what one of our authors called the "zipless you-know-what," that finds it kind of attractive, like sort of taking off all of the constraints, running through the fields of flowers with nothing to answer to except the call of your own fulfillment. And there is an understanding in this society of happiness and individual choice and freedom, and all of that, that fully conforms with this understanding, and for which this is in fact the notion of human sexuality that predominates.

Now, we do have to ask ourselves, though, from another point of view--the point of view of the question that we're raising here. Which of these do you think constitutes a better basis for the marriage estate? Well, to answer that question, we have to kind of take a look at what marriage is all about--don't we? We have to ask ourselves, why does it exist?

It doesn't exist, by the way, so people can get pleasure from sex. I think most people could manage this without an institution. They could manage it without the government. They could manage it without the approval and participation of society--and by and large, they do. Why does society get involved?

I saw a columnist right here in the Boston Globe was asking that question some while back, in an article that was like Michael Kinsley in Slate, where he actually raised the possibility that the government should just get out of the business of marriage, have nothing to do with it. It would just be private. People could go to their churches, do what they please.

The problem is, it begs the question. We look at the whole range of human history, and guess what? We will find, in every society, in every civilization, we will find that society gets involved in the business of regulating the marriage relationship--of understanding about what constitutes that relationship, what shall be the obligations and expectations that flow from it, what shall be society's attitude toward it, what shall be society's reaction in enforcing those things. Why?

You see, I think the answer to that question is pretty simple. It's because, throughout human history, there has been an acknowledgment that, well, marriage is about family; it's about having kids. And guess what? Though because we have lived for a long time in a civilization in which this is done in an orderly way, we forget it--we ought to be reminded just by a visit to the family court on any given day of the week--there are some very complicated, emotional, even violent issues involved in the consequences of marriage.

See, because once you have a sexual relationship and children result, somebody's got to decide whose are they, first of all. Who's responsible for them? Who has to take care of them? That's step number one. Step number two: what expectations exist, in terms of who they have to listen to, whose household they shall belong to, whose authority they will be subject to? Then, of course, there's a whole range of issues that have to do with inheritance and kinship relationships and obligations.

There are, of course, in our society, as well, a whole set of obligations that everybody seems to be forgetting about, which arise from the fact that--though they may not last too much longer if the folks on your [Massachusetts] supreme court have their way--there are still laws on the books against things like incest.

One of the questions I've had about the whole train of things in our society--this whole idea of sexuality without responsibility, without respect for the essential mission of procreation, what has it resulted in? Leave aside homosexuality. It has resulted in rampant illegitimacy. It has resulted in the black community and other communities in a situation where there are many, many children being born who don't even know who their father was, where the mother couldn't identify the father if she tried. And we can all talk all we like about DNA and this or that. You think everybody's going to have a DNA test before they hop into the sack? You've got another think coming.

And that basically means that as we lose track of who's fathering whom, and who's mothering whom, we lose track of who's your sister and who's your brother. We lose track of those things which are essential to know if you are to respect what still remains the society's sensitivity about incestuous relationships.

We won't even go into that question, at least not right this minute. The other question about how you deal with whole question of parental authority and honoring your father and mother, that's a question for a different venue--but I do get into it sometimes when I'm talking to church people less exclusively, you know. I try to point out to them it's hard for me to understand how you can honor your father and your mother when you don't even know who they are. OK, well, that's a kinda hard one.

And why is this relevant? Well, if you know of the practices of some of the same-sex couples who want to get involved in procreation--I was reminded of it the other day. I was reading an article about this case in California, where two lesbians were fighting over the custody of children that genetically were traceable to one, but which the other had raised. And I know, probably nobody else reading that article--well, no, I won't say nobody, because Sandy thought of it, too--was sitting there, thinking how ironic it was that they're fighting over whether the genetic mother should have any claim, while whether this other person in the lesbian relationship who has no genetic relationship should continue to have a claim. You know what? Nobody even thought about or mentioned, nobody asked a simple question about whether the father of those children should have any claim, because, very often in these relationships, they are conducted in such a way and conception occurs in such a way as to intentionally mask who the father might be, so that children must grow up without knowing who their father is. And that means that an incestuous situation could easily arise in our society, it's more than likely to arise--not to mention every other kind of incestuous complication.

We're not thinking, are we?!

No, we're not. But I wish to get back to the process of thought that we're going though, and asking the simple question: which will be the better basis for marriage--that hedonistic self-gratification approach to human sexuality, or the approach that sees procreation as its heart?

Well, that must be asked from society's point of view, so that we understand why society gets involved. It gets involved to regulate the consequences of procreation. It gets involved in order to avoid the feuds and disputes and conflicts that lead to violence and war when they are left to fester in a society. And it gets involved also with a larger view to assuring that the society, itself, shall be perpetuated, through citizens who are reliably conceived, responsibly raised, in order to constitute the future of the society.

That means that from society's point of view, marriage is essentially about the children. Marriage is essentially about the future. Now, you see, this an understanding we get away from, but we shouldn't. See, because we have, in some ways--and I understand why, because there's a certain charm to it that helps people to be attracted to the marriage estate. Why do we need them to be attracted to the marriage estate? So we can have children who will be responsibly raised, and who will become the basis for a decent future for the society--and as a result, we want to make marriage as attractive as possible.

We paint it in rosy and romantic terms. We portray it in the movies as the "choice of the heart" as people go toward one another, and so forth and so on. Well, on the other hand, there may have been a certain greater honesty in the past, when people called it the "bonds of marriage," when they referred to "holy wed-lock."

And when, in the context of that discussion, it was quite clear that, yeah, it's definitely a choice--at least at first. It's sort of like the choice that a prisoner might make to take the first step forward and hear the door clang behind him.

Now, you and I both know that I don't really take this dim view of marriage. I rather like being married. I like being a father. A matter of fact, I love it. I couldn't think of myself any other way. But we should look, though, at the truth, that underlying it is not this well of airing about with choice and liberation and so forth. No. Marriage is about bondage, marriage is about obligation. Both words mean a tie that binds you, obliges you, puts you in a position where you must meet certain responsibilities, or fail in your moral obligations.

And if we adopt an understanding of marriage that is on the wholesale basis of hedonism and self-gratification, one of the problems with it is that we're lying to people. We're giving them the impression that you enter an estate by your will, and that you can stay in it, leave it when you please; it's all about freedom. Marriage isn't all about freedom. It's a little bit, I think, like military life.

No, no. I mean this seriously. It's a little bit like military life. My father was a soldier. There are some great joys in military life. There are. It is an experience that has to it sometimes a kind of fulfillment that I doubt you get in any other estate in human life--especially after you have been through the business of risking your life with courage for the sake of your country, and can look back upon what you have done with a sense of pride, a sense of honor, a sense of fulfillment, a sense of verification of who you are and what God has made you, that you get in no other way.

And those who have known the camaraderie of the military life will tell you that there is a degree of friendship and trust and loyalty that binds human beings together and reaches into places of the heart never known to any others but those who have had to rely upon one another in the face of an enemy meaning for you only death.

Yes, there are some really deep and profound joys and gratifications involved in military life, but nobody in their right mind would think that's what it's about. What it's about is getting yourself ready to fight and face death and go through a whole lot of miserable conditions in order to make sure that you can effectively pursue the mission of defending your country, defeating the enemy. So, though it involves joys, those joys are kind of incidental, they're kind of nice spin-offs--but the truth is that there's an essential discipline, an essential sacrifice, an essential conformity of the heart to the requirements of the institution.

At the end of the day, until you have accepted the discipline, until you have learned to redefine yourself in terms of that conformity, you do not discover the pleasures, and you do not know the happiness that the institution can provide.

And as I think this is true of military life, so it is true of marriage. See, the joys of marriage are there, but they are a part and parcel of a heart that understands that it is not the whim of the heart that decides what happiness is. It can be the needs of the child. It can be the potential of the offspring. It can be the hopes that are born of the talents that you see in them, which become for you a discipline--rising early and staying up late, and working at jobs that you hate so that they can have what they need, forgoing the pleasures you used to know so that they can be moved forward. At the end of the day, it's all at the heart of it about a willingness to shape the heart in an understanding of love that has at its heart not gratification, but service; not passion, but the deep commitment to do what serves the good of others.

So, we have to ask ourselves: what do you think is a better basis for marriage that will satisfy the need for that kind of a response, that kind of a formation of the human heart and character?

Is it marriage to which we have admitted the idea of human sexuality based upon hedonism and self-gratification?

Now, people will say, "Well, homosexual couples who adopt children. . . ." Well, yes, but see--if, though, you start out with a relationship that has at its base a paradigm of hedonism and self-gratification, it will not be true of everyone, but it's certainly going to be true of some folks that your desire for children will be an outgrowth of that same view.

I think it's one of the things that not only is a problem in terms of considering homosexuality. The whole hedonistic understanding of human sexuality has infected the view that people have of who children are. You're going to have your children when you're ready for them, and then when you're ready, and they fit into your life, and they fit into your career, then when they're a fulfillment for you--I listen to all these actresses talk about this sometimes. That's entirely the way they talk about it. "Well, I reached that stage in my life when my needs would be fulfilled by a child."

That is the extension of the mentality of self-gratification to the business of the child--and what does that mean? It means that, in the end, that child has not come into this world for its own sake, for the sake of what it represents to the future and in the eyes of God. It has come into the world for the sake of that individual who saw it as a source of fulfillment, a source of gratification. In that sense, it comes into the world not as an end in itself, respected as human beings ought to be for the sake of their intrinsic dignity, but rather as a commodity meant to serve the convenience, and the pleasure, and the self-gratification of the one who has welcomed the child into the world.

It may very well be that in many of these cases, the presence of that child will turn the heart in a different direction, but the turning may be required--and that's the problem.

Now, why is that a problem? Well, see, it's a problem because, when we talk about what marriage ought to be from the point of view of society and the law, we are talking about the law, aren't we? And that requires that we remember what law is.

This is hard, too, for people these days. What is law? People say ridiculous things about law sometimes. One of the most ridiculous things they say about law is that you can't legislate morality. I mean, there's a great problem with this, because the truth of the matter is, when you look at it, what is law, essentially? It is the codification of rules of behavior or conduct--in the light of, what? In the light of standards of what constitutes correct and incorrect conduct, right and wrong conduct.

And meaning no offense to anybody, when you are considering what constitutes right and what constitutes wrong, you are making a moral decision, you are involved in moral issues.

And in point of fact, there's hardly a law that one can consider that doesn't involve such issues. The laws that have to do in our society right now with all the issues of social welfare, are at their heart pieces of morality legislation--legislation that is based upon, what? The appeal politicians get up and make and say, "We must care for the poor! We can't leave people behind when we are enjoying prosperity!" Why not? Romans didn't care about it. They left people behind with glee. They figured it was their tough luck, they weren't favored by the gods. See?

When we decide that it is wrong to neglect the poor, to leave them without our aid, that it is wrong unfairly to structure a society so that others will be left behind and neglected, when we decide to tax people for that reason, and to set up huge bureaucracies for that reason, and to send people out in welfare programs and housing programs for that reason, we are legislating morality! We are deciding what is right and what is wrong!

We do so when we pass the criminal laws, we do so when we pass the laws that govern our economic life. Caveat emptor was the great byword of human economic life at one time. What did that mean? It meant, "Let the sucker beware."

But the truth of the matter was that just like military power at one time was seen as a legitimate basis for acquiring dominion over people, at another time superior knowledge was considered quite a legitimate basis for acquiring money from people. If I knew something you didn't, and took advantage of you, that wasn't fraud, that was clever business! If I was in a position to gouge you with usurious interest rates, that wasn't fraud, that was clever business! The change, where you start to look askance at such practices, and decide that you must put down in legislation codes of conduct that require that people respect the needs of the (what do we call ourselves these days?) consumer, that's a decision about conduct, about what conduct's right, what conduct's wrong. That is legislating morality.

And it turns out, doesn't it, that as you go down the list, taxation is the same way. When we're considering what is a fair and equitable tax code, we're asking a question about what shall be the right distribution of the burden for supporting societies, what shall come from the rich, what shall come from the laborers. And you know what that is? That's a decision about right and wrong. That's a decision about equitable treatment. That's a decision about what conduct in the society as a whole constitutes right conduct, and what conduct would be wrong because it neglects fundamental principles of fairness.

We are legislating morality. These moral issues not only are involved in legislation, it turns out that they are the very substance of the law. They are the very heart and essence of almost every decision that is codified in the law, because the laws represent standards for regulating conduct, and standards for regulating conduct and decisions about what conduct is right and what conduct is wrong.

Now, this brings us to a very important point, because in point of fact, that's what we've been considering. We have these two different understandings of human sexuality: the hedonistic, self-indulgent understanding, the self-interested one; and the one that has procreation at its heart, and that is characterized by the need to acknowledge responsibility and obligation. Two separate understandings of how human beings should conduct themselves, how they should behave with respect to the pleasures and gratifications that are involved in sexual relationships.

And just so no one will miss the point: the reason that homosexuality epitomizes the [first] one is that homosexuals are not haunted by the prospect or possibility of procreation--because they're simply not capable of it. I think this is pretty obvious, isn't it? And it was understood in human society at one point that if you're not capable of procreation, marriage doesn't have anything to do with you, because marriage is about procreation.

But now comes along the supreme court of Massachusetts in order to tell us, what? Well, in order to tell us, under the specious argument about rights that they prefer the understanding of human sexuality that regards hedonistic self-gratification as right conduct that must be legitimized, made lawful and acceptable to the society.

And yet, the law of Massachusetts embodies another view that says that marriage is based upon a sexual distinction haunted by the essence of that sexual distinction, which is the capacity for procreation and the responsibilities and obligations that are involved; that marriage should be based upon a clear understanding embodied in the very flesh of the parties to the marriage that that vow, that commitment to the married estate, means that one has acknowledged the stepping across the line from a realm of simple choice and free pleasure to a realm where pleasure will be connected with procreation and obligation and responsibility.

Which should we choose?

Now, of course, I know if I were in the Massachusetts legislature or if I were just talking to the people myself, I know what I'd ask them to choose, and I would make the arguments I have been making tonight, and I would point out that if you want to get safely to the future, you need to base your family system on an institution that encourages people to have the heart, to have the character, to have the discipline, to have the understanding that is needed in order to dedicate themselves to the business of raising children responsibly for the future.

This is what I would say to them, and I would say that they must remain committed, as they always have been, to that understanding of marriage which has procreation at its heart--not because they are against homosexuality, but because they are in favor of the future!

I would say such things if I could speak to the legislature, I would say such things if I could speak to the people--but guess what? And now we get to the second element of this crisis. We live in a society based upon constitutional self-government, and in all the constitutions of the states and the federal government of the United States, that constitutional self-government embodies an understanding of the separation of powers--an executive branch, a judicial branch, a legislative branch.

And for the sake of maintaining what our Founders called republican--small r--government, that is, what Lincoln defined as "government of the people, by the people, for the people," all those constitutions respect this fact, that no law can be made in our country that does not emanate from the people or their representatives.

What does this mean? Now, see, what I just said, by the way, has to do with what goes into making a law. Now, you say, "What do the judges do, then?" Well, the judges decide cases in conformity with law. They decide whether this or that is done against the law, whether this or that conforms to the law. They decide whether conduct conforms to the rules, they do not decide what the rules shall be!

They decide what outcome conforms to the law, they do not decide what the substance of the law will be!

Our Founders warned us unequivocally. And I think it's time that the legislators of Massachusetts and Governor Romney and everybody else stopped talking in abstractions, and went back to look at the understanding of republican government on which this nation was founded!

That understanding is clear and explicit--in this especially, that without the separation of powers, where any two of the powers are joined in the same hands, where the executive is the judge, where the judge is the legislature, where the legislature is the executive, when those powers are joined, you do not have the rule of law, you have the tyranny of the judges, the tyranny of the legislature, the tyranny of the executive!

We are faced in this country now, at the federal level and at the state level, with judges who have arrogated to themselves the prerogatives of the people--and in this particular case, they have masked their decision about what shall be the right basis for marriage under a specious argument about rights.

But the specious argument about rights can't mask the truth! They are not deciding about someone's rights, they have usurped the right of the people to decide in the law what is right, the right of their representatives to decide in the law what is right!

And that means that if the officials in this state, from the governor on down, acquiesce in their decision, they have not respected the rule of law, they have put it aside to allow the reign of abusive judges!

Now, that gets us to the question, finally, of what are the remedies here. What are the remedies? Well, see, there's actually a remedy that's supposed to be in our system, and that is implied in the separation of powers and in pretty much all the constitutions of our country. It's called the system of checks and balances. People used to talk about this when I went to school. Do they talk about it in school for you? They used to. I don't know, because some of the schools have been dumbing down our education so much that they don't let the children understand these things anymore.

But the thing is that the system of checks and balances meant that the powers were divided, but it also meant that each branch of the government was armed with something that allowed it to defend itself against unlawful usurpation of its prerogatives by the other branches. Why have people forgotten this? The most important prerogative of the executive when faced with unlawful action by the judiciary is, what?

[audience: "Impeachment."]

No. The executive, what can the executive do? Well, I'll tell you what the executive can do--and this is what I think governors need to remember, the president has to remember at some point when faced with lawless judges. They need to remember exactly what all of us in our hearts know that those soldiers over in Iraq should have remembered: that when you are bound by oath to respect certain rules of conduct--whether they are in the uniform code or the constitution of the state of Massachusetts--when you are bound by personal oath, if you stand aside while others abuse and destroy those rules and that constitution, you have not secured the rule of law. You have in fact abdicated your oath, abdicated your responsibility, and destroyed the rule of law!

The right response when, in the army, you are given an unlawful order, is to refuse that order. The right response of a chief executive in this state and in this nation, when faced with an order by a court that he conscientiously believes violates the constitution he is sworn to respect, is to refuse their order!

And then, so that the constitution of his state and the fate of his people will not be left at the mercy of this crisis in the government, it is his responsibility to turn to the legislature and ask on behalf of the whole people that those who refuse to respect the constitutional prerogatives of the people and their representatives be removed for the sake of law, for the sake of self-government, for the sake of constitutional integrity!

The simple truth is that if the governor doesn't understand his responsibilities and refuses to act on them, if the legislature doesn't understand its responsibilities and prerogatives and refuses to act on them, then guess what? There are no checks, no balances, there is no constitution. And do you know who loses?

[audience: "We do."]

Because the sad thing is--and this is a thing I think we need to think about as we decide how we're going to hold these people accountable. If they allow the consolidation of power in such a way as to destroy and undermine the representative nature of our government, to substitute the will of a few judges on the substance of the law for the will of the representatives elected by the people, then elections mean nothing, then laws are no longer being made by the representatives of the people, they are being made by an irresponsible oligarchy answering to no one except their own whims, their own will, their own perverted judgment.

I'm afraid, when you think it through, we are not only in a crisis that has as its import the destruction of the institution of marriage as it respects the essential mission of procreation, we are also faced now with a crisis that involves a deep threat to our system of constitutional self-government, to our entire way of life.

If a handful of individuals responding to the immoral clamorings of a small minority can substitute their judgment of right conduct for the judgment of the representatives of the people, can impose their dictates as laws, even upon those who are, according to the Constitution, the right fount and source of law, then our republic is dead, and our freedom is gone.

And I don't say that with a light heart. I look at what's going on in this country with a sense of deep grief and almost betrayal. I come, as you know, from a race of people who, for the longest time, did not know full participation in this society based upon real liberty, self-government of, by, and for the people--and now, after all the years of struggle, they have been admitted to the precincts of full participation only to see some abuse the heritage of civil rights, in order to promote an approach that will destroy the very legacy of self-government for which people fought and died, in the name of civil rights.

I was on one of these programs the other night, and the interviewer asked me about a comment apparently made by Barney Frank--that he said that in six months, this whole thing would blow over, and everybody will have forgotten about it.

[crowd reacts]

Well, wait. Wait, wait. I would remind Barney Frank that that's what they said about Dred Scott, and you see what happened. It's also what they said about Roe vs. Wade, and you have seen what is happening.

I think that in spite of the corruption of our elites, the corruption of our media, the corruption of our professional leadership, the corruption and gutlessness even of many of our political leaders, I think the conscience of America is still a conscience that fears God, that seeks truth, and that knows that it cannot sustain real liberty if it is willing to surrender to tyranny.

I believe this, but you know, just as checks and balances won't work if the branches don't have that understanding, courage, and conviction to stand for their prerogatives, so self-government will not survive if, in this great crisis of our land, we, the people, do not stand together to demand that which is our right--and it is our right to make the laws in this country, through our representatives. It is not the right of judges to usurp that prerogative.

In Massachusetts, that will mean that, even as we listen to the temporizing verbiage of politicians at play, the people conduct their serious business. And I have to tell you, I think your serious business is clear. Some people have stood aghast at the thought that you would try to remove the judges because they made this decision, but when the judges are in the business of destroying both the fundamental, moral institution of your society and the constitutional balance of power that sustains self-government in your state and in your land, I think that you had better organize relentlessly to remove them, or they shall remove your freedom!

So, I would say that far from what Barney Frank has said, whatever happens on Monday in this state, I think that in every way that we can, by those means that our Constitution and our freedom leave within our reach, we must organize and work to send clearly the message in this state and around the country that those who sit by and tolerate the destruction of our constitutional liberty will and must be replaced by others who will defend them.

Commit yourselves to this: across every line of party, across every line of affiliation, across every line of religious belief and faith, commit yourself to this defense of self-government and liberty, and then, like the true marriage-based family, you shall be what is required to secure for our posterity the blessings of liberty.

God bless you.

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