Watch the debate or read the transcript below.
Megan Robertson was the political director and campaign manager for the organization known as “Freedom Indiana,” the group whose sole purpose was to prevent the people of Indiana from having an opportunity to vote on what their state constitution defines marriage to be.
Through a remarkable fundraising advantage, overwhelming media support, and good old-fashioned propaganda, Freedom Indiana got their wish as Republican and Democrat lawmakers alike caved to the threats and intimidation from pro-gay forces.
Megan and Freedom Indiana “won” the political battle. But where will that leave us? What is the objective people like Megan have for the future of marriage? Are there to be any moral boundaries for the institution? If so, what should they be? How do we draw them without being “bigoted” or “discriminatory?” I pushed Megan on these important questions when she appeared on my radio program, and her answers are not encouraging for anyone who understands the vital importance of the family unit in a healthy society. Here are the key portions of our lengthy conversation:
Pete Heck: Would you agree if I said to you that you and I both have moral boundaries and parameters for what we would call marriage?
Megan Robertson, Freedom Indiana: Uh, yes. I would say so. I think that most people that believe in some sort of marriage has some kind of moral boundaries for it.
PH: Okay, well and I – see that’s exactly what, that’s exactly the acknowledgement that I wish we could all, we could all make because obviously you would know with any basic research into me, you would know what my boundaries would be. I’m curious what yours would be. If someone said to Megan Robertson, ‘Set up the boundaries for what marriage needs to be in the state of Indiana or in the United States,’ what would you define it as?
MR: Well I think the bigger question is not what I would define it as, but what the law should define it as. And the question is ‘what should government be doing in regard to marriage?’ I think if you really want to get to the heart of it, um, to the heart of this issue. If you’re asking my opinion, it’s not up to me to determine what is appropriate in someone else’s marriage, or for someone else to determine what’s appropriate in my marriage. But what’s important from this aspect is that the government is, is involved in marriage. Whether it’s granting marriage just to same sex couples or granting marriages to, uh to, you know, kind of a more traditional couple. And it seems to me that’s not something the government should be deciding. Uh, and so I think that’s why a lot of people are up in arms that, you know, people are deciding whose relationships are valid based on their own personal, uh own personal beliefs. And, you know, it’s not my decision whose relationship is valid. It’s not my decision if your relationship is valid or anybody else’s is valid. It’s just really not my place.
PH: Well, and I hear that, but that sounds more like the other side that says ‘I don’t have moral boundaries for marriage.’ Because if you do have moral boundaries for what you would define as marriage then you are essentially putting yourself in that position where you say, ‘I’m going to determine that at least some people’s view of relationships and marriage isn’t acceptable.’
MR: Well I mean there are lots – there are certainly uh certainly lots of heterosexual couples that you know, their uh their relationship is certainly not what I think is uh think is a healthy relationship. But again, I don’t get to determine, you know, what they deem is appropriate within their relationship. Uh, but you know, I uh think people have their own standards and their own ideas and you know some people have monogamous relationships, some people don’t. Some people are married and, and have external relationships and, and I know that certainly wouldn’t be uh, something that I would be okay with in my relationship but I’m not in their relationship, so.
PH: Right, right and I think that um once a marriage or whatever a state does, or is granted, I think what a person does in the privacy of their own bedroom, I don’t know that the state has a vested interest in that. But when we’re talking about marriage, obviously you know as well as I do there are, there are other groups out there, whether they are polygamists or they’re incestuous groups – these organizations, these individuals, they are fighting lawsuits. And I know a lot of folks from Freedom Indiana would stand in opposition – I don’t know what you think about those kinds of relationships – but they would stand in opposition and say, ‘No, we don’t want to open up marriage to polygamy or to incestuous relationships.’ But my concern is and my question is when we go to try to throw moral stakes in the ground and say, ‘Okay we’re going to forbid those kinds of consensual adult relationships from defining themselves as marriage,’ how do we have a leg to stand on if we have uprooted those moral positions and said ‘it’s wrong to draw moral boundaries?’
MR: Well I think first off, I think it is in poor taste to compare committed uh same-sex couples who uh decided, determined that they’re going to devote their lives to one another to a polygamist relationship or these other things. I just don’t think that it’s appropriate and I want to say it and be very clear about that. But I think the other side – no go ahead, I’ll let you jump in.
PH: No I was just going to say that I want to be clear I am not comparing the act of consensual homosexuality to the act of incest or to the act of polygamy, but those are consensual adult relationships that we find distasteful. But if you’re going to tell me that me finding homosexual relationships distasteful is bigoted and wrong then I question –
MR: I didn’t say that.
PH: Oh I know, I know, but there are others that do, and think that it’s inappropriate for me to draw that kind of moral distinction between my relationship and, say, what a practicing homosexual relationship would be, it’s not so much that I’m comparing the acts, it’s that I’m saying ‘How do we logically refuse those who are making the same legal arguments. And that’s what I’m really confused about…
We started off and I said that, you know, there’s no question that I have certain standards by which I would use to declare what marriage is. And you said that you did too. I’m curious what those standards are. How do you determine, what do you refer to? Is it popular opinion, is it whatever the culture is? I’m not insulting you when I say that, I’m just curious, what is the standard that you go by to know what is appropriate and what isn’t?
MR: I think uh, a monogamous relationship between consulting adults, consenting adults who’ve entered into a, into a marriage situation with obviously a great deal of thought and preparation. That would be my definition of what marriage should be. It should be something where um, only obviously respect the institution um, and frankly I think that’s what a lot of couples are actually trying to do. Some of these people have been together for some 35-40 years, um unable to be married but still acting within the confines of that marriage between themselves. And so that’s really what I view it as.
PH: Can I push you a little bit and ask you why? Why do you come to that conclusion? What – if somebody who didn’t agree with monogamous being part of it, why is your definition –
MR: Well there are lots of people who don’t cause not everybody, not everybody sticks to it.
PH: Right. No there’s no – there’s no question. There’s, that’s what I’m asking –
MR: within a lot of communities. But again it seemed to me that that, and again I told you and this isn’t a Freedom Indiana talking point or anything of that nature, you’ve just asked my opinion.
PH: Right, right.
MR: And my opinion is, as I said earlier that the type of, the type of relationship that marriage brings about is a relationship that can only really only have with one other person. A contract that is an exclusive contract that you can really only have with one other person.
PH: Okay, so monogamous between two people, incest or no?
MR: Uh, I mean, I think, I’m I’m certainly not going to be advocating for incest.
PH: …people say this is slippery slope stuff. It can’t be argued that it’s slippery slope when these lawsuits are actually in the courts. I just worry about the unraveling of this institution with as important as what family is to any society – any vibrant society – I think we’ve got to be very cautious before we allow that unraveling to take place, and think about the logical next step. And I, I don’t know that we’ve come to a conclusion as to whether or not there’s any way to prevent those next steps from being taken besides just whatever the whims are that are out there.
…Megan seems like a very nice person I have no reason to think otherwise, but here’s the thing that I have to draw out to you, and you heard Megan say it repeatedly throughout that interview. These are good people. This is a healthy relationship. This is a strong family. Okay when we use those kinds of descriptors, we have to be able to measure them against some kind of standard. What makes a relationship ‘good?’ What makes a relationship ‘healthy?’ What makes a family ‘strong?’ Megan didn’t really give me – I mean she told me what her thoughts were, but she didn’t tell me what her standard was that she measured it by.
Now I can do that. I can tell you what makes a good relationship and what makes a strong family. And I measure it by a Biblical standard, by God’s standard of moral authority and Natural Law. Now those are things that homosexuality violates. Those are things that incest violate. Those are things that polygamy violate. Those are things that all of these sexually immoral behaviors that God’s Word declares, all of those things violate it.
Therefore I can easily say ‘this’ is the kind of relationship that we should be promoting. That’s my standard. You just heard Megan doesn’t really have one. And when you don’t have a standard, friends, it’s a free for all.
Megan even said herself, ‘monogamous relationship between two people.’ I said, ‘what about incest?’ ‘Well I’m not going to advocate it.’ Well, I didn’t say that she would because that’s not her desire. But when people whose desire it is start advocating it, can Megan tell them no? Not without a standard. And that’s the problem.
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.