In Defense of Marriage


One of the most heated and controversial debates happening in our culture right now is over gay marriage. In a culture that is ever increasingly guided by relativism, progressivism and hedonism it is to be expected that the traditional definition of marriage (that is, a monogamous and publicly recognized relationship and commitment between a man and a woman) should be challenged. Marriage should be “whatever we want it to be” and anything that two consensual adults agree to is “no one else’s business.” ProCon.org provides some of the most common arguments in favor of eliminating any objective standard defining “marriage,” including:

“It is no one else’s business if two men or two women want to get married. Two people of the same sex who love each other should be allowed to publicly celebrate their commitment and receive the same benefits of marriage as opposite sex couples.”

Now, from a libertarian perspective, the pro-gay marriage crowd seems to have the upper hand. After all, libertarians love contracts: if two consenting adults want to enter into a contract then, as long as no harm comes of it, they should have every right to do so. Government should stay out of the “marriage business.” But what if marriage isn’t just a matter of business? Certainly there is a legal, contractual aspect to marriage but what if its more than just a contract?

Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D., Founder and President of the Ruth Institute and the author of Love and Economics: It Takes a Family to Raise a Village, makes the case that 1) marriage is more than just a contract, 2) Libertarians should oppose the privatization of marriage because it will actually expand the role of the State, and 3) privatization of marriage is unjust to children.

It is the third point that is the most important. Traditional marriage is important, not because straights are better than gays or because gays cannot be allowed the same rights as straights but because, as Morse states “Marriage is society’s institutional structure for protecting these legitimate rights and interests of children.” Traditional marriage does this by “attaching mothers and fathers to their children and to one another.” Furthermore, Morse argues, “This is an irreducibly public function” and, therefore, as a public institution it must be defended by the State in promotion of the common good.

Morse argues that we must approach the issue of marriage from the perspective of children.

We can’t begin our lives as objects to which other people have rights, and somehow, magically, become persons with rights of our own. Yet, the redefinition of parenthood is doing precisely this: treating children as objects. The idea of “contract parenting” is becoming the new institutional structure proposed by people who want to “get the government out of the marriage business.” Under this concept, two or more adults negotiate among themselves for parental rights. Perhaps the sperm donor will be a friend of the lesbian couple. They all agree he will be called “uncle” and get to see the child once a week. Or perhaps one woman will “donate” the egg, which is implanted in another woman’s womb. The women agree that they will both be mothers, and exclude the anonymous sperm donor father.

These cases suggest that there is something fundamentally flawed about the contractual approach to children. Rather than just recoil from the weirdness of it all, let me spell out these conceptual flaws.

You can read the rest of Morse’s argument in her article, Privatizing Marriage Is Unjust to Children.

Morse’s conclusion is that privatizing marriage to mean “whatever we want it to” is unacceptable because it violates children’s rights and does them harm. Now, while Morse offers strong reasons why this is the case, many proponents of gay marriage will argue that “the evidence” proves that children outcomes are the same or even better in gay marriages than in traditional marriages. The evidence, however, would be against them.

First, the evidence cited in favor of the “no difference” thesis is insufficient for making any such claim. Family studies scholar Loren Marks of Louisiana State University reviewed the 59 studies that are referenced in the 2005 American Psychological Association brief that came to the conclusion that there are “no differences.” Marks concludes that “not one of the 59 studies referenced … compares a large, random, representative sample of lesbian or gay parents and their children with a large, random, representative sample of married parents and their children. The available data, which are drawn primarily from small convenience samples, are insufficient to support a strong generalizable claim either way.”

Second, sociologist Mark Regnerus of the University of Texas at Austin, presents new and extensive empirical evidence that shows there are differences in outcomes between the children of a parent who has same-sex relationships and children raised by their married, biological mother and father. This new evidence was gathered by Dr. Regnerus, the lead investigator of the New Family Structures Study (NFSS) of the University of Texas, which in 2011 surveyed 2,988 young adults for the specific purpose of collecting more reliable, nationally representative data about children from various family origins. (The Witherspoon Institute provided funding for this study.) Already, the NFSS has been acknowledged by critics to be “better situated than virtually all previous studies to detect differences between these groups in the population.”

In response to Regnerus’ findings The Witherspoon Institute concludes:

On 25 out of 40 outcomes evaluated by Regnerus, there were statistically significant differences between children from IBFs and those of LMs in many areas that are unambiguously suboptimal. On 11 out of 40 outcomes, there were statistically significant differences between children from IBFs and those who reported having a GF in many areas that are suboptimal. The “no differences” claim is therefore unsound and ought to be replaced by an acknowledgement of difference.

Acknowledging the differences between the children of IBFs and those from LMs and GFs better accords with the established body of social science over the last 25 years, which finds that children do best when they are raised by their married, biological mother and father. At the turn of the millennium, social scientists widely agreed that children raised by unmarried mothers, divorced parents, cohabiting parents, and step-parents fared worse than children raised by their still-married, biological parents. Although data on gay and lesbian parenting were not yet available at that time, it was difficult to imagine that gay and lesbian parents would be able to accomplish what parents in step-parenting, adoptive, single-parenting, and cohabiting contexts had not been able to do, namely, replicate the optimal child-rearing environment of married, biological-parent homes.

Furthermore, there is the evidence provided by the personal accounts of actual flesh-and-blood people. One bisexual man tells his story of growing up with two moms and the effect that it had on him. Robert Oscar Lopez’s testimony is powerful and I recommend that you read the whole thing.

In his testimony he does not say that it was a bad family environment that led to his poorer outcomes, making his case indistinguishable from other kids brought up in a bad traditional marriage. No, he argues that it was his non-traditional upbringing specifically that caused him so much harm. Furthermore, Lopez goes to great lengths to defend Regnerus’ study. Far from condemning it as homophobia thinly-veiled as research as many gay activists have, Lopez views it as one of the few doses of honesty to penetrate the LGBT rhetoric. With that, I’ll end with a quote from Robert Lopez:

I thank Mark Regnerus. Far from being “bullshit,” his work is affirming to me, because it acknowledges what the gay activist movement has sought laboriously to erase, or at least ignore. Whether homosexuality is chosen or inbred, whether gay marriage gets legalized or not, being strange is hard; it takes a mental toll, makes it harder to find friends, interferes with professional growth, and sometimes leads one down a sodden path to self-medication in the form of alcoholism, drugs, gambling, antisocial behavior, and irresponsible sex. The children of same-sex couples have a tough road ahead of them—I know, because I have been there. The last thing we should do is make them feel guilty if the strain gets to them and they feel strange. We owe them, at the least, a dose of honesty. Thank you, Mark Regnerus, for taking the time to listen.

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Dan Cathy’s Damning Words of “Hate”


By now everyone is certainly well aware of the recent controversy concerning Chick-fil-A. Gay marriage advocates have been in an uproar, condemning Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy for his “hateful” remarks and demanding a nationwide boycott, even calling for legal action prohibiting the company from doing business at all.

So, what were Dan Cathy’s remarks that were so scandalous? Most news articles don’t say. They simply categorize his elusive words as “anti-gay” or “in defense of traditional marriage” depending on the source’s political slant. However, the interview with Baptist Press that caused such an outcry can be found here. Most of the interview has nothing to do with marriage but here’s relevant and apparently “hateful” portion:

Some have opposed the company’s support of the traditional family. “Well, guilty as charged,” said Cathy when asked about the company’s position.

“We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that.

“We operate as a family business … our restaurants are typically led by families; some are single. We want to do anything we possibly can to strengthen families. We are very much committed to that,” Cathy emphasized.

“We intend to stay the course,” he said. “We know that it might not be popular with everyone, but thank the Lord, we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles.”

That’s it. That is all he said. Never once was homosexuality mentioned. Never once did Dan Cathy say anything regarding gay marriage. What he did say is that his views on marriage are based in his faith and that he wants to strengthen families. He did not target anyone with his words, he did not disparage or condemn, he didn’t even disapprove. Frankly, what Dan Cathy actually said is completely irrelevant to the entire Chick-fil-A controversy – which is probably why most people don’t even know what it is that he actually said. What is relevant, however, is the response that his words have received. According to a highly vocal and highly visible militant fringe, simply stating that your views on a millennia old institution are grounded in a millennia old religion is an offense so terrible that constitutional rights should be suspended and the offenders banned from the market. This is not tolerance; this is thuggery of the worst form. This serves as more evidence that, unfortunately, the gay marriage movement has nothing to do with being treated equally and everything to do with forcing everyone else to publicly embrace the homosexual lifestyle – or else.

Thank you gay-rights activists for proving Dan Cathy wrong: I guess we don’t live in a country where we can share our values after all. “Tolerance” to the busy-bodies trying to tear down Chick-fil-A simply for trying to follow biblical principles apparently means that everyone is allowed to share their values only if those values are all the same. Something else Dan Cathy said in the interview that started this all, but did not receive any press was that  ” . . . our performance in the workplace should be the focus of how we build respect, rapport and relationships with others that opens the gateway to interest people in knowing God.” Chick-fil-A put these words into action when they went out of their way to provide water to the very protesters trying to destroy them. Their decision to “turn the other cheek” was of course motivated by the same “biblical principles” the protesters were calling “intolerant” and “hateful” in the first place. Chick-fil-A’s opponents might see the irony if they weren’t so busy plugging their ears, accepting free water while simultaneously complaining about how they “can’t stand the hate, you’ve got to stop.”

Thankfully, most Americans are normal people who readily see through such duplicity and bullying and thus the initiative to destroy Chick-fil-A  has utterly failed. If you want to know what Americans really think about Chick-fil-A don’t read the headlines or scroll through the photo galleries of angry picketers. Look at how they vote with their money. Americans don’t like a bully but Chick-fil-A’s business is booming. I think that says something about who the real bullies are.

No apologies will be forthcoming from the pro-gay marriage militant, however. If Christians all over the country are supporting Chick-fil-A, well, then its not just Chick-fil-A who’s intolerant. All Christians are selfish hypocrites who only want to oppress gays but won’t lift a finger to help those in need. Oh, wait, that’s not true either.

Its time to drop the political demagoguery demonizing Christians. Not all Christians behave charitably all the time, but most Christians are tolerant, charitable and kind-hearted most of the time. We need to stop blaming the pitfalls of human frailty on the church. Gay-rights activists can continue to spit their vitriol at Christians but by doing so they only serve to deface one of civilization’s greatest institutions while further poisoning their own well.

Does Romney Live Up to the Culture of Life? Part 2


In part one, I discussed unjust war, assassination, torture and the death penalty and how Mitt Romney has failed to live up to the culture of life on every one of those issues. In this second part I will cover euthanasia, abortion, contraception and gay marriage:

Euthanasia

Unlike many of his fellow Republicans, Romney has been startlingly silent on the issues of euthanasia and assisted-suicide. However, while Romney has failed to make any categorical statement regarding his stance on euthanasia and assisted-suicide what is known is that Mitt Romney made a statement that the government should not have tried to stop Terri Schiavo’s euthanasia and that the courts should “make the family make a decision.”The “family” in this case that Romney was referring to was Terri Schiavo’s husband who, during her coma, had two children with another woman and demanded that the doctors let Terri die by slowly starving her of food and water.

The only other time at which Romney seems to have come out on this issue is in the case of Haleigh Poutre, in which Romney’s Department of Social Services petitioned the courts to pull the then-11-year-old girl off life support. Mitt Romney remained silent on the issue until after the Poutre case received national attention and the young girl began to respond, at which point Romney put together an independent panel to look into the matter. It suggested changes for how the state handles such cases including more closely investigating requests to remove life support.

In light of these two scenarios, it seems that Romney has no qualms about allowing euthanasia and assisted-suicide if its what family members want or the courts rule in favor of such action. If, however, there is sufficient political pressure as in the high-profile case of Haleigh Poutre who was already beginning to respond on her own, then we can expect Romney to oppose euthanasia.

Ultimately, if my life were in Romney’s hands my mind would not be put at ease.

Abortion

Abortion is possibly the most emotional and controversial issue facing our country today and, given Romney’s history of bending with the wind, doing whatever is most politically expedient and never taking a firm stance on anything (at least, not for longer an election cycle), we can expect Romney to do absolutely nothing in defense of the unborn.

During his 1994 Senate Run, Mitt Romney argued that he was more pro-choice than Ted Kennedy: “When Kennedy called him ‘multiple choice,’ Romney demanded an extra rebuttal. He revealed that a close relative died of an illegal abortion years ago and said, ‘Since that time, my mother and my family have been committed to the belief that we can believe as we want, but we will not force our beliefs on others on that matter, and you will not see me wavering on that.’” (Joan Vennochi, “Romney’s Revolving World,” The Boston Globe, 3/2/06). “I believe that abortion should be safe and legal in this country. I have since the time that my mom took that position when she ran in 1970 as a US Senate candidate. I believe that since Roe v. Wade has been the law for 20 years we should sustain and support it.” (Joan Vennochi, “Romney’s Revolving World,” The Boston Globe, 3/2/06)

 When he went to conservative Utah, Romney refused to take a firm stance on the issue, “When I am asked if I am pro-choice or pro-life, I say I refuse to accept either label.” (Glen Warchol, “This Is The Place, But Politics May Lead Romneys Elsewhere,” The Salt Lake Tribune, 2/14/99).
But when he ran for office in Massachusetts again, he was pro-choice again, “I will preserve and protect a woman’s right to choose, and am devoted and dedicated to honoring my word in that regard. I will not change any provisions of Massachusetts’ pro-choice laws.” (2002 Romney-O’Brien Gubernatorial Debate, Suffolk University, Boston, MA, 10/29/02). In 2002, Romney Offered His Completed NARAL Questionnaire, Filled Out With “Mostly Abortion-Rights Positions,” To The Media Even Before Returning It To NARAL. “Yesterday, Romney also aimed to head off confusion about his stance on abortion rights by answering a Mass National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League questionnaire with mostly abortion-rights positions. He offered the questionnaire to the press even before he returned it to MassNARAL…”

Then he started thinking of national office as a Republican. That’s when he claims to have had his conversion. ”Romney said he had a change of heart on the issue after speaking with a stem-cell researcher, Dr. Douglas Melton. Romney claims Melton said  ‘Look, you don’t have to think about this stem cell research as a moral issue, because we kill the embryos after 14 days.’‘It hit me very hard that we had so cheapened the value of human life in a Roe v. Wade environment that it was important to stand for the dignity of human life,’ Romney says.” (Karen Tumulty, “What Romney Believes,” Time, 5/21/07)

Keep in mind, however, that after his pro-life conversion he appointed pro-abortion judges, stated that he will “maintain the status quo” regarding abortion laws, attended a Planned Parenthood fundraiser in 2004 despite his claims to de-fund the organization, and invested in two different companies involved in embryonic stem cell research – all of this occurring after his publicly recognized the sanctity of life and personhood of every unborn child.

And less than a month ago lifesitenews.com reported the following:

MIAMI, FLORIDA, May 17, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney scheduled a $50,000-a-plate fundraiser at the home of Phil Frost, the executive of the company that makes the Morning After Pill, on Wednesday night. Plan B One-Step is produced by Teva Pharmaceuticals, Frost’s company.

Additionally, Romney has provided for tax-payer funded abortions in RomneyCare, including a mandate and tax payer funded abortion on demand. Romney enforced a law that required Catholic hospitals to perform abortions. Obama’s recent health care mandate that forces religious institutions to violate their conscience is trampling on America’s most sacred right, The Freedom of Religion. But before Obama discarded the first amendment to the U.S. Constitution, Mitt Romney had done it in Massachusetts, forcing Catholic hospitals to give out abortion causing pills.

Romney remains pro-abortion in the cases of incest, rape and in saving the life of the mother, stating, “I believe that abortion is the wrong choice except in cases of incest, rape, and to save the life of the mother. I wish the people of America agreed, and that the laws of our nation could reflect that view.”

Contraception

On July 25th, 2005 Romney vetoed bill to ensure emergency contraception for rape victims, known as the morning after pill. Arguing that the hormone drugs “would also terminate life after conception.” However, on December 8th, 2005 Romney reversed that decision on the advise of his counsel and ordered all hospitals in the state to make the “morning after” pill available to rape victims, over the protests of Catholic hospitals, who argued that this went against their religious beliefs. A Boston Herald editorial said that Romney had “executed an Olympic-caliber double flip-flop with a gold medal-performance twist-and-a-half on the issue of emergency contraception.”

On October 5th, 2005 Boston Globe reports that Romney had signed a bill seeking federal waiver to expand the number of low-income people eligible for family planning services, including the morning-after pill, over protests of pro-life activists. “The guy’s not coming around,” said Joseph M. Scheidler, the national director of the Pro-Life Action League. The action appears to contradict Romney’s June 18, 2007 claim that “I came down on the side of life” in every decision he made as governor of Massachusetts. See video here.

Inadvertently or not, when asked if he supported the Blunt Amendment, a Republican bill that would exempt Catholic and other religious-backed hospitals and schools from a White House rule requiring them to provide free birth control insurance coverage, Mr Romney said he did not.

“I’m not for the bill,” Mr Romney told an interviewer while campaigning in the crucial swing state of Ohio. “The idea of presidential candidates getting into questions about contraception within a relationship between a man and a women, husband and wife, I’m not going there.”

An hour later campaign officials said that Romney had “misunderstood” and was in favor of the amendment. In response to the HHS mandate that would require Catholic employers to provide insurance that covers, not just contraception, but sterilization and abortifacients as well, Romney stated, “This kind of assault on religion will end if I’m president of the United States,” Romney said, calling it “a real blow … to our friends in the Catholic faith.” However, Romney was largely silent about the Massachusetts law, which essentially mirrored Obama’s proposal and was signed by Romney’s predecessor in 2002, the year before he took office, that required virtually the same contraceptive coverage. Romney did not seek its repeal.

Gay Marriage

Romney favors “domestic relationships” for gay couples and states that it is a state issue and that he “did nothing to change it” as governor of Massachusetts. However, he has also chosen to nationalize the issue by calling for a constitutional ban on gay marriage. If the ban does not apply to civil unions, it will not stop states from allowing legal arrangements “identical to marriage” but for the name, which Romney says he opposes. But if the federal government tries to prevent those, states won’t really be free to “make decisions with regard to domestic partnership benefits,” the approach he says he favors.

Either way, Romney is against gay marriage. But when pressured to take a stand what can we expect from a Romney presidency? He seems to pride himself for sitting on his hands regarding Massachusetts’ gay marriage laws and Romney displays that same passivity regarding religious freedom and gay privileges:

In 2006 the Archdiocese of Boston stated that it would no longer place children with homosexual couples (as the Church considers homosexuality “gravely immoral”). A media storm quickly followed. Responding to charges that it was illegally discriminating against homosexuals, the Archdiocese then asked the state to grant a religious exemption to Catholic Charities, but the Legislature balked. Existing Massachusetts non-discrimination laws referencing “sexual orientation” plus “legal gay marriage” would not allow the Church to follow its moral precepts, it was claimed.

Romney erroneously blamed the Church’s predicament on non-existent law and could have rescinded the administrative regulations that would not let Catholic Charities deny placement of children with homosexual couples. Romney also failed to point out that religious freedom was already protected in both the state and federal constitutions. The Archdiocese could have fought this in court but did not — perhaps out of fear of losing major donors with liberal views (who were well represented on Catholic Charities’ board). In the end, the homosexual activists and their allies got their way, and it was another public whipping for the Catholic Church — all of which Romney could have prevented.

According to C. J. Doyle, head of the Catholic Action League of Massachusetts:

The opponents of religious freedom never start by assaulting the right to worship, frontally, to assault the right to worship on Sunday morning. They start by trying to marginalize the charitable, restrict the charitable and the educational and the social service activities of churches, and try to narrow the parameters of religious liberty. This is what we’re seeing here in Massachusetts

Apparently, though, Romney didn’t think that the restriction of Catholic charities and the violation of religious freedom that it represented was worth getting involved over.

Romney’s response to all of this? I’m consistent on gay marriage “since running for office”. But with the increasing number of cases of the gay movement and government bullying people to not simply tolerate, but embrace, the homosexual lifestyle at the expense of their freedom of conscience Romney cannot simply stand by and do nothing as he has in the past.

Conclusion

 Mitt Romney continues his poor performance upholding the culture of life in this second part, remaining largely silent on the issue of euthanasia and opposing it only in the case of significant political pressure; he is uncommitted on the issue of abortion, frequently undermining the cause for life and favoring abortion in special cases; he also continued to expand funding and availability of the morning-after-pill after his pro-life conversion, even forcing Catholic hospitals to provide the abortifacient against their consciences; finally, while Romney opposes the re-definition of marriage he does not consider the issue worth sticking his neck out over even when religious liberties are on the line.

To compare and contrast Romney with Obama on all eight issues, on the death penalty, torture and on euthanasia I rate him just as bad as Obama while on the issue of assassination, gay marriage, contraception and abortion I rate him only slightly better. On the issue of unjust war Romney has made it clear that he endorses a foreign policy even more aggressive than Obama’s own and therefore actually rates worse than Obama.

Ultimately, Mitt Romney’s agenda has been on the side of the culture of death on every single issue at one point or another in his political career and he has yet to make an unqualified switch to the culture of life on even one of these issues. Therefore, overall I rate a Romney presidency practically as destructive as Obama’s regarding life-issues. Its incredibly sad that the Susan B. Anthony List and other pro-life groups have endorsed Romney and promised millions to his campaign despite his extensive record of cooperating with the culture of death and his refusal to sign the Susan B. Anthony List’s pledge promising to defend life and promote the pro-life cause. With the percentage of pro-life Americans at an historic high, with 23% of Americans opposing abortion under all circumstances and 51% self-identifying as pro-life, there is absolutely no reason why such a massive demographic should settle for a presidential candidate predominantly in cooperation with the culture of death over one that almost categorically does. Whether Romney or Obama secures power in November, the life movement loses. But by simply voting our consciences and holding out for true pro-life candidates, while we may lose the battle, we will be in a better position for the future to win this war.

Traditional Marriage: Punishable by Death


A 14 year-old girl testified before the Maryland Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee in support of traditional marriage. The pro-gay marriage left, being all about love, respect, diversity, and acceptance, responded with compassion and provided well-reasoned and objective retort. Oh wait, that’s not what happened at all. They immediately stooped to the level of hateful and violent diatribes, fantasizing about killing a minor and sterilizing her parents:

“And now everyone knows her name, so hopefully she will feel what its like to be harassed and bullied…” reads a comment posted on LGBTQNation.com

From YouTube:  “My god I hate people like this. Most (not all) Americans are [expletive] retards.  If I ever see this girl, I will kill her.  That’s a promise.”

Other entries:  “Her parents should be exterminated.”

“The [sic] is why abortion must stay legal – to prevent little bigots like this from being Born…”

“Kill this child and his [sic] parent, for my 11 birthday would be a wonderful gift, thanks.”

“Her belief is hurting other people.  I will attack her as much as I please.”

“Parents like hers should be sterilized…”

“I’m gonna kill ‘er!”

Regardless of where you stand on the marriage issue these kinds of responses must be denounced by society at-large. They do nothing but obstruct actual dialogue and the exchange of ideas like this girl’s testimony. So, what were her statements that resulted in such violent reactions?

“Hi, I’m Sarah Crank.  Today’s my 14th birthday, and it would be the best birthday present ever if you would vote ‘no’ on gay marriage. I really feel bad for the kids who have two parents of the same gender. Even though some kids think it’s fine, they have no idea what kind of wonderful experiences they miss out on. I don’t want more kids to get confused about what’s right and okay. I really don’t want to grow up in a world where marriage isn’t such a special thing anymore.

“It’s rather scary to think that when I grow up the legislature or the court can change the definition of any word they want. If they could change the definition of marriage then they could change the definition of any word. People have the choice to be gay, but I don’t want to be affected by their choice. People say that they were born that way, but I’ve met really nice adults who did change.  So please vote ‘no’ on gay marriage. Thank you.” (January 31, 2012)

Many people disagree with Sarah Crank. However, they would do well to respond to her remarks with the same calm and tact with which she herself approaches the issue. We’re allowed to disagree; after all, this is America – but disagreement does not justify hate speech, no matter how personally offended the words of a 14 year-old girl make you.