President Donald Trump has long championed the concept of “natural marriage” between one man and one woman.
But in recent years, Trump has made a concerted effort to use the phrase “marriage” to describe the union between a man and woman, something he described as “the greatest blessing ever given to man” in his 2016 presidential campaign.
On Wednesday, the president used a question about the concept in his first speech to Congress since becoming president to announce his support for “marriage equality.”
“I want to be very clear on this, when it comes to marriage, it has nothing to, I think, do with any marriage at all.
That’s a fact.
It’s a state thing,” Trump said.
“And it has been, and it will continue to be, the greatest blessing of man on earth.”
Trump’s support for marriage equality is a reversal from his earlier positions.
While he supported marriage equality in 2008 and 2012, he ultimately abandoned the idea in 2016, telling ABC News that “I think that it’s very important, but it’s not going to happen with me, it’s going to have to come from somewhere else.”
He has also spoken at length about his desire to “take a page out of the Roman Catholic Church’s book” in advocating for marriage in the wake of the Supreme Court’s landmark Obergefell v.
While Trump is not the first president to advocate for a more inclusive definition of marriage, he has used the term to address the issue from a position of political strength.
His support for the “traditional definition” of marriage as the union of a man & woman is not a new idea, nor is his willingness to align himself with traditional marriage proponents.
In 2017, Trump signed a bill that would provide federal funds to states to offer protections for same-sex couples, and later pledged to defend the right to marry in court.
In the same year, he signed a letter urging lawmakers to support marriage equality as a “matter of conscience” in a bid to reverse the Court’s decision.
“We can’t just say that it is a matter of conscience.
That is the whole purpose of the Constitution.
The Constitution says that every person has the right not to be forced to marry,” Trump told the New York Times in 2018.”
There’s no question about it.
And we should have no problem making that a matter as well,” he added.
While the president’s embrace of the term “marriage,” as he has said in the past, has been welcomed by many conservatives and LGBT rights advocates, it is not without its detractors.
Many argue that it fails to recognize the dignity and worth of marriage and should be avoided by all who claim it.
“The concept of marriage is a concept that has nothing whatsoever to do, in any way, with the institution of marriage,” said David Stacy, director of the Center for Marriage Policy at the Family Research Council.
“Marriage is a lifelong commitment between a person and their partner.”
“Marriage should be the institution that best embodies the institution and best honors the institution.
And the president is just not that person,” he said.”
He has made it abundantly clear that he doesn’t believe that the institution has anything to do or has anything of value to offer as an institution, and that the concept is totally divorced from his core values and his beliefs,” Stacy said.
Despite his efforts to shift his stance on marriage from a matter for the courts to the institution itself, Trump’s support of the “marriage freedom” bill is likely to be challenged in court, as he and his allies have repeatedly said they would defend it in the courts if it comes before the Supreme Judicial Court.
The bill’s passage has also been met with backlash from religious conservatives, who argue that the measure will be used to justify the discrimination they are already experiencing in the country and that it will ultimately lead to the end of traditional marriage.
“This legislation will help redefine marriage as a state issue,” said Mike Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas and 2016 GOP presidential candidate.
“If it passes the courts, it will have the effect of legitimizing the very discrimination the president has made so very clear he is opposed to.”