By JOE HARRIS
The ink on the Republican National Committee’s 2012 Party Platform wasn’t even dry (at least on the part that reads “we believe that marriage, the union of one man and one woman, must be upheld as the national standard, a goal to stand for, encourage, and promote through laws governing marriage”) when the party mandarins took the RNC Old-Timey Religious Revival show on the road, for a stop at this year’s Values Voters Summit, an event held by the family (although not “family”)- friendly Family Research Council (FRC), in Washington, D.C. FRC President Tony Perkins used the right’s boilerplate rallying cries, with calls to “limit government,” “reduce spending,” “champion traditional values,” and “protect America,” and then invited the usual suspects to declaim the gay rights agenda and the many ways it threatens those sacred bovines.
An estimated 2,500 attendees to the three-day event egged-on speakers, including Republican vice presidential hopeful Paul Ryan, who criticized President Obama’s anti-family (read: pro-gay) policies, and lionized traditional values, among the most popular of which proved to be prohibiting marriage rights for gay couples.
It was Ryan who packed the most “star power” (of the Hollywood variety that is, ironically, so outwardly loathed by his biggest fans), reassuring the assembled that, “We can be confident in the rightness of our cause, and also in the integrity and readiness of the man who leads it,” referring to running mate Mitt Romney. “He is a solid and trustworthy, faithful and honorable man. Not only a defender of marriage, he offers an example of marriage at its best.”
U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Virginia) spoke to the assembly about the many benefits that marriage provides to families and the economy alike (just as long as, we suppose, one is speaking of “Adam and Eve”). Said Cantor: “Marriage—more than any government program ever has or ever will—has lifted up people out of poverty, even those who felt there was no hope. Marriage has proven to be that formula which has been more successful at allowing for that pursuit of happiness.”
So far, so good. “And that is why we stand tall and stand proud for traditional marriage,” Cantor concluded. Uh-oh: Sorry, Adam and Steve. (President Obama announced last year that the Justice Department would no longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act [DOMA] in court. Cantor, you may recall, was part of the House GOP leadership that established the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group to take up the slack, a move that was widely seen as a stab in the back to gay Republicans.)
Although the Man-Who-Would- Be-President did not make a live appearance, he spoke via recorded video, telling the assembled that a Romney Presidency “will defend marriage, not try to redefine it.”