The Congressional Appropriations Power and Same-Sex ‘Marriage’
He said, “You know, we differ on abortion. But if the Supreme Court had said that they were going to tell us how to spend our (i.e., taxpayer) money, I would have put in court-stripping bills faster than you could!” I remember Rangel pressing his finger on Dornan’s chest as he spoke, in a firm but friendly manner.
The appropriations amendments which will be required to blunt the effect of a Supreme Court decision mandating recognition of same-sex marriage must prohibit the use of monies or fees administered by an executive agency, judicial agency or court, or presidential executive order, directive or guideline or similar agency action to implement any aspect of the ruling in the Supreme Court marriage case, Obergefell v. Hodges, to prevent the following:
- Removing the tax exempt status of any church, institution, university, school or non-profit entity declining to facilitate or participate in same-sex “marriage:”
- Requiring any federal contractor or grantee to accommodate same-sex “marriage;”
- Disciplining or fining any person who declines to participate in a same-sex “marriage;”
- Requiring federal employees to undergo sexual attitude restructuring education to ensure their acceptance or accommodation of same-sex “marriage;”
- Withholding any federal grant or contract money to any state, territory or possession declining to implement same-sex “marriage” in schools or other agencies of state government;
- Withholding federal money from any state, territory or possession which does not change state, etc. legal codes to accommodate same-sex “marriage.”
- Allowing federal courts to hear challenges to any state or federal law affirming that marriage is only a relationship between one man and one woman. (See Article III Power to Curb Federal Court Jurisdiction.)
An appropriations bill is much easier to pass than a normal bill. Because funding bills are necessary to keep the government open, they must be considered and passed yearly. Other bills can be buried in committee, but appropriations bills cannot be ignored.
If our Republican House of Representatives and our Republican Senate place an appropriations rider on all spending bills stating “no funds appropriated hereunder may be used to implement the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in Obergefell,” it would not undo or reverse a Supreme Court same-sex “marriage” decision. However, it would make Obergefell a decision that was never enforced at the federal level.
If Congress wanted to get creative, and send a message to a Supreme Court that had usurped Congress’ and the states’ role to decide policy, it could also consider an appropriations amendment to limit the number of clerks assigned to each Supreme Court Justice to a single clerk. If the Justices have so much time on their hands that they can attempt to defy the laws of Nature and Nature’s God, they may become more circumspect in crusading for the liberal agenda. (I actually had such an amendment drafted for Congressman Dornan while the Harris v. McRae case was pending. Had the Hyde Amendment been declared unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court, Congressman Dornan intended to offer that amendment.)
It is most crucial that citizens upholding one man, one woman marriage make it immediately clear that they expect their Members of Congress to support anti-same-sex marriage appropriations riders, and to secure record votes to show the public how they voted on the specific question. To avoid taking a stand with a recorded vote, Members of Congress might try to lump all the appropriations bills into one “Continuing Resolution.” (A continuing resolution is a measure which generally funds the entire federal government in one appropriations bill utilizing spending conditions from previous years but with different spending amounts.)
Should the Republican leadership decline to take separate votes on individual appropriations bills to protect marriage, then the leadership should be removed for abandoning their stated policy beliefs as contained in the 2012 Republican Platform: “The union of one man and one woman must be upheld as the national standard.”
In April, 2013, the leaders of thirteen social conservative organizations wrote to Republican National Chairman Reince Priebus challenging the conclusions of a RNC report which concluded that the Reagan Coalition embracing social issue conservatives was a political relic and should be abandoned. The conservative leaders told Priebus, “We respectfully warn GOP leadership that an abandonment of its principles will necessarily result in the abandonment of our constituents ….”
Incumbent Members of Congress who fail to amend appropriations bills to protect natural marriage need to face primary opponents who will amend appropriations bills. We must ensure that protection of marriage becomes a necessary condition for receiving our votes in the 2016 elections and beyond.
No Congressman or Senator should be given a pass or be excused if they claim that the House or Senate Rules prevent record votes. There are procedures to ensure record votes are taken. For example, in the House, only 25 members are needed to call for a record vote on an amendment to an appropriations bill.
The risk of permanent damage to individuals, our institutions, and our nation is too great to allow those who represent “We the People” to duck accountability for defending marriage as it has been understood for millennia.
Failure on our part to demand that our representatives use all legal powers they have, means we are giving up the fight, which would make us partially responsible for the evils that will ensue.
Virginia Delegate Robert G. (“Bob”) Marshall is a senior member of the Virginia House of Delegates, currently serving his 12th term. First elected in 1991, he has consistently addressed a wide range of policy concerns including fiscal, social as well as civil liberty issues. Marshall is the co-author of the 2006 voter-approved traditional Marriage Amendment to the Constitution of Virginia.
He is also the author of 2012 statute preventing Virginia from assisting the federal government in the arrest and detention of American citizens without trial, presentment of charges or representation by counsel of alleged violations of federal security laws, and the author of a 2015 law requiring Virginia law enforcement to secure a warrant to track cell phone or computer identification and location data. Marshall has been married to his wife Cathy for 39 years, and has five children and five grandchildren. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article is part of a series on “Building Resistance to Same-Sex Marriage.” Please support this important work with a contribution to the U.S. Justice Foundation. Permission is freely granted to publish, copy, reproduce, distribute, or excerpt from this article for any purpose.
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