In 2006, then-Sen. Joe Biden ranted against the supposed irrelevance of a proposed constitutional amendment to define marriage in federal law as one man, one woman.

“We already have a law, the Defense of Marriage Act,” he said. “I’ve voted, and others have said, look, marriage is between a man and a woman and states must respect that. Nobody’s violated that law, there’s been no challenge to that law. Why do we need a constitutional amendment? Marriage is between a man and a woman.”

Sixteen years later, President Joe Biden stood on the lawn of the White House and chortled that he had finally enshrined same-sex marriage into federal law. “Today’s a good day,” he said. “A day America takes a vital step toward equality, toward liberty and justice, not just for some, but for everyone.”

A vital step. Not the final step. Not the culminating step. A vital step.

The language here is important because it is revealing. Biden and his allies have an agenda that goes far beyond the redefinition of marriage. The agenda is simple: use of government to obliterate traditional values and intermediary social institutions that embody them.

Biden made this clear in his speech, in which he lumped together opposition to same-sex marriage with “racism, antisemitism, homophobia, transphobia.” This is patent nonsense, of course. But it does set the groundwork for the actual transgressive agenda: to liken traditional views about marriage to pure bigotry.

And this will necessitate governmental action against those who believe in marriage. After all, we as a society don’t tolerate racism on the basis of religious freedom. If Christian views about marriage are treated similarly, why should churches maintain their tax-exempt status while “discriminating” against same-sex weddings?

Biden went still further. In championing same-sex marriage, he said that Americans “need to challenge the hundreds of callous, cynical laws introduced in the states targeting transgender children, terrifying families, and criminalizing doctors who get children the care they need.” In other words, if you oppose the hormonal sterilization and surgical mutilation of minors as a pseudo-palliative for gender identity disorder, you are evil, and you must be stopped by force of federal law.

The natural outcome of this agenda will be precisely what Democrats pretend now to oppose: anti-religious discrimination, educational cramdowns, threats to traditional parenting. And make no mistake: They are pretending. They have no rationale for drawing lines to hem in their cultural imperialism.

When asked by CBS News correspondent Steve Portnoy whether protections for religious practice were “codifying discrimination,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre answered, “Is there more work to do? Absolutely. There’s always more work to do.”

In the early 1990s, Democrats denied that they wanted civil unions. They were lying. In the mid-2000s, Democrats denied that they wanted same-sex marriage. They were lying. Now Democrats say they don’t want religious discrimination or educational indoctrination. They are lying. In the end, what transgressives want is simple: a national state that stands as the god of a new moral system, and atomized individuals without recourse to intermediary institutions of community or civil society.

And if the Republicans who voted for the Orwellian Respect for Marriage Act think that they have bought a respite from the predations of the Left by signing onto an erstwhile compromise, they will soon learn the error of their ways.


The Daily Signal publishes a variety of perspectives. Nothing written here is to be construed as representing the views of The Heritage Foundation.

Have an opinion about this article? To sound off, please email and we’ll consider publishing your edited remarks in our regular “We Hear You” feature. Remember to include the url or headline of the article plus your name and town and/or state.