Dr. Ben Carson, who has come under criticism from social conservatives (including me) for some of his rhetoric on abortion and (in my case) for his lack of rhetoric on gay marriage, has just emerged as a marriage champion, signing the National Organization for Marriage’s extensive marriage pledge, along with Ted Cruz, Bobby Jindal, and Rick Santorum. Mike Huckabee has refused to sign any external pledges.
NOM’s marriage pledge is extensive, far more extensive than I would ask a presidential candidate to sign onto.
Carson, Cruz, Jindal, and Santorum have now vowed to support a constitutional amendment defining marriage as involving one man and one woman, to work to overturn Obergefell by appointing originalist judges and by choosing an attorney general committed to this goal, to prevent the use of public schools to promote a redefined version of marriage, to ask the Justice Department to document and publicize cases of harassment of gay-marriage dissenters, and — in my view most important — to support the First Amendment Defense Act, which would prevent the federal government from stripping an employee or a corporation of equal access to a government benefit because of opposition to gay marriage.
Carson, you may recall, decided in early March to apologize for remarks suggesting that some gay people have a choice about their sexual orientation, after the media deluged his campaign with questions that made it difficult to get any other message out.
But when the Obergefell decision came down, he followed up this tactical retreat with a surprisingly brief public statement whose first sentence emphasized: “While I strongly disagree with the Supreme Court’s decision, their ruling is now the law of the land.” Carson called for general religious-liberty protections from Congress, but made no specific promises.
Maggie Gallagher is a senior fellow at American Principles in Action.