Monthly Archives: January 2011

Breaking News: France's Highest Court Rejects Right to SSM [updated]

The highest court in France re-affirmed today that marriage is the union of husband and wife for a reason: it respects the 'double origin' of the child. Justice Anthony Kennedy, who is influenced by international opinion, may be impressed. Read Reuters News for the rest.

UPDATE: Here is the link to the French Court's decision and here is the same page in a rough English translation: "RESOLVED: Article 1. The last paragraph of Article 75 and Article 144 of the Civil Code are in accordance with the Constitution."

NOM Weekly Newsletter: January 27, 2011

Breaking news from Hollywood: The Kids Are All Right has just been nominated for four Oscars, including Best Picture! Big surprise.

The movie in case you haven't heard, is about two lesbian moms raising a daughter and a son; the son misses having a Dad and goes out in search of their biological father. Hey, comedy ensues!

I haven't actually seen the film, but it's pretty clear from this amusing plot summary (by British Jesuits!) why Hollywood is entranced with fantasy about two moms raising two kids together:

Bart needs a father figure, but isn't satisfied by the John Travolta clone who donated his sperm. Lisa loves his easy charm. Professional Mom is already on the way to alcoholism, leaving Slacker Mom open to a frantic seduction. Luckily, Slacker Mom cries in front of the family, and a sentence from Bart is enough to heal the wounds of adultery and mistrust.

The film goes out of its way to stress how 'normal' this nuclear family is. Professional Mom brings her work stress home. Bart and Lisa have teenage tantrums and resist their parents. Every character is a stereotype, and the moral dilemma--how to cope with the intrusion of a biological parent--is dealt with easily, as soon as he reveals himself as an immature philanderer.

The other moral drama of The Kids Are All Right is the adultery between Slacker Mom and Biological Father. Quite why this couple pair up is never made clear--perhaps Slacker Mom is responding to some atavistic impulse, or maybe Biological Father just oozes sexual pheromones. If the reason behind their tryst is obscure, the resolution--Professional Mom shouts at everyone--is equally unsophisticated. There is a moment where Biological Father has a revelation about his low-down ways, only this is squandered for a more melodramatic revelation of the adultery.

The unimaginative handling of the drama is matched by a predictable form. The children begin to bond with Biological Father: you need a montage. Slacker Mom makes her apology: ensure that it is moving by cutting to crying family members. The question of the son's need for a male role-model: have him caning drugs and hanging about with a skate-boarding jock stereotype. Ironically, the representation of males in the film is so two-dimensional, it becomes offensive.

...[R]ather than interrogating the problems arising from the situation, the finale falls back on 'love conquers all', without resolving the various tensions. Biological father is simply excluded, the son's needs are unanswered, and the daughter goes off to university, doubtless to academic success.

It's a typical Hollywood fantasy.

Meanwhile, back in the real world, the kids are not doing that well.

"What's the matter with kids today? A great deal more than you might realize," begins a USA Today editorial, "One-third are overweight or obese. Nearly a third drop out or can't finish high school in four years. All told, 75% are in such a poor state that they are ineligible for military service for reasons ranging from health to drugs to criminal records to lack of education. Last month came bad news about the rest: 23% of those who try to enlist fail the basic entrance exam."

And as USA Today, to its credit, points out, a lot of that is due to the decline of marriage as a child-rearing institution. Quick, what's the proportion of children born outside of marriage?

Answer: a record-high 41 percent.

As USA Today concludes, "Our view on kids: When unwed births hit 41%, it's just not right."

What happens when mother and fathers do not marry?

A major study following 5,000 such children uncovered that the majority of these mothers are adults, not teens. They had close relationships with the father of their child when that child was conceived. But as USA Today points out, "But by the time the child was 5, most of the fathers were gone and the child had little contact with him. As many of the mothers went on to new relationships, the children were hampered by repeated transitions that did more harm to their development."

Why does marriage matter? Why isn't love enough?

Well, back in the real world, when Mom and Dad are not married, they don't live in the same home, their economic interests differ, and their jobs take them to different places, they develop sexual and romantic ties to third parties; and conflicts (not comedy) ensue. They have children with different partners, inside or outside of marriage. Family ties becomes complicated to understand, much less explain. Children learn that fathers are not reliable, that mothers are stressed out and in need of more love than a child can give, that families are not bedrocks of identity but in constant flux--and that there are few rules that really count. Many, many single moms struggle--and succeed!--to be good mothers, and some fathers sacrifice a lot to try to stay close to their children when they are not married. I am a child of divorce; I know that.

But I also know this: Without a powerful commitment to marriage, the job of parents becomes immeasurably harder, the number who succeed becomes smaller, and the children grow up in a world where the prospects for reliable love look bleaker and bleaker. Many suffer, and some are permanently damaged.

Children are profoundly grateful for whomever loves them; but they long for the love of both their mother and father. They want to know they were conceived in love, and that they can count on that love. They want to know what a man's love, and a woman's love, feels like.

When men and women cannot truly commit to each other in marriage, and when society as a whole cannot uphold that commitment as uniquely necessary, children suffer.

Marriage is two different things in our culture today: It is a symbol of ultimate romantic satisfaction; and it is a vow.

The first "expresses," the second obligates.

The first is inherently unstable and shifting: an aspiration never a fact. The second is what makes true love possible.

Here's the message I take away: When you sacrifice duty for love, you tend to end up with neither. Our obligations to love are what make lasting love possible in real, actual lived human lives.

Advocates of gay marriage would say that's no business of theirs; making babies is what opposite-sex unions do. But that mindset is part of retreat from viewing marriage as an authoritative social institution capable of affecting not just the emotions but the sex lives and the financial lives of men and women.

And so a man, about to enter a gay marriage, pauses on the brink when asked to write his own vows: What does marriage mean to him?

"I realized that while I have written numerous political articles about why same-sex couples should be allowed to marry, I had never thought through what exactly it meant on a personal level."

He concludes: "Ultimately, I'm still not sure what marriage 'means,' but Michael and I can make it up as we go along."

He says he doesn't know what he is promising exactly, but that's okay.

Transforming marriage into a personal, expressive commitment to happy love, however the two parties define it, is not elevating marriage; it's demoting it.

When social scientists look back on our era, I'm confident they will begin to trace the connections that have lead to a massive decline in child well-being.

Marriage as a Hollywood fantasy, as the expressive symbol of all possible human aspiration for the satisfactions of love, ecstasy and romance, is flourishing. Marriage as an authoritative public institution, a public (not just a private) vow, capable of indicating to people (both those who are married and those who are not!) who they ought to have sex with, and whom they should not, with whom they should have children, and with whom they should not, is under powerful attack.

And not just from Hollywood!

Here's the latest from Washington D.C. Pres. Obama's Department of Justice has filed a brief pretending to ask the federal courts to uphold the Defense of Marriage Act. But in reality, this brief guts marriage of its core public meaning.

Pres. Obama has purposefully gutted marriage of its authoritative role in protecting children and reduced it to a "tradition" with no deep roots in any human reason.


When the House passed DOMA back in 1996 by overwhelming bipartisan majorities, they knew this law would come under judicial scrutiny; the attempt to push gay marriage through state courts was the reason the law was passed.

And so the House, with unusual thoughtfulness, laid out its reasons for passing this bill, for the purpose of clarifying to the courts the reasons for defining marriage as one man and one woman.

The very first reason is: "H.R. 3396 ADVANCES THE GOVERNMENT'S INTEREST IN DEFENDING AND NURTURING THE INSTITUTION OF TRADITIONAL, HETEROSEXUAL MARRIAGE," about which the report goes on to say: "At bottom, civil society has an interest in maintaining and protecting the institution of heterosexual marriage because it has a deep and abiding interest in encouraging responsible procreation and child-rearing. Simply put, government has an interest in marriage because it has an interest in children. ... That, then, is why we have marriage laws. Were it not for the possibility of begetting children inherent in heterosexual unions, society would have no particular interest in encouraging citizens to come together in a committed relationship. But because America, like nearly every known human society, is concerned about its children, our government has a special obligation to ensure that we preserve and protect the institution of marriage."

In his DOJ brief Pres. Obama has taken a great black pen and scratched out that reason for marriage. In our press release, I called that exercising a "retroactive line-item veto" that seriously distorts Congress's intent and makes it far easier for the Supreme Court to strike down DOMA.

The devastating legal effect of this dereliction of duty is already visible. Just this week, in yet another DOMA case out of California percolating through the federal courts, the judge, in refusing to dismiss the claim, noted: "Federal Defendants disavow the governmental interests identified by Congress in passing the DOMA, and instead assert a post-hoc argument that the DOMA advances a legitimate governmental interest in preserving the status quo of the states' definitions of marriage at the time the law was passed in 1996."

(For more on the difficulty of sustaining authoritative traditions in the modern age, see "Tradition in the Age of Equality" by James Poulos.)

This is one reason why I am confident that the work you and I are doing with NOM is so important. As our own Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse said in her essay in the Public Discourse, we are "marching on the right side of history" in standing up for marriage as the union of husband and wife:

Advocates of redefining marriage assure us that all will be well. Children will do fine, whatever the loving adults in their lives decide to do. ...As time goes on, it will become more obvious that "marriage equality" requires us, men, women and children alike, to ignore biology. ...

Children with father-hunger will start to speak up. Young people will start to notice that some of the differences between men and women actually matter. Mothers in same sex unions will start to notice that raising sons without fathers is harder than they had been led to believe. Suppressing all these feelings in all these people will simply not be possible indefinitely. Not everyone will remain silent. Abortion advocates never anticipated the Silent No More campaign, wherein women suffering the after-effects of their abortions began to speak up. As time marches on, the brutality of the marriage "equality" regime will become just as obvious as the brutality of the abortion regime is today.

The children themselves will eventually have something to say about all this. Today, the energy and enthusiasm of the young is on the side of life. And in spite of everything we hear today, the same will be true of natural marriage. Conjugal marriage is the Right Side of History.

Yes, we are on the right side of history! Thank you for all you make possible.

But Jenny's words are also a reminder that the work we do here at NOM is only one part of the story, and the smaller part. The work of making love visible, of making marriage real, of raising children capable of duty yet inspired by love, to be men and women "made for each other" is our greatest task. Our counterrevolution begins in the home.

Wow. This is kind of philosophical for a movement newsletter, isn't it?

But from my heart to yours, thank you for sticking with me, and--more importantly--for being willing to stand up for the great truths about marriage.

God bless you and semper fi!

Gay-marriage advocates are pushing hard in multiple states, stretching our resources in the next few months. We are fighting for marriage in states across the country, including Rhode Island, New York, Maryland, Minnesota, Iowa, and elsewhere, as well as defending DOMA nationally. Can you become a monthly donor today to give us the resources we can count on to plan? Just $5 every month would make a huge difference. Or, if you aren't in a position to make that kind of monthly pledge, a one time donation of $10 or more will help us stand--with you--for God's truth about marriage.

Kaufman asks, is Marriage the Right Battle for Gay Families?

David Kaufman raises the question at The Root, prompted by his concern that those directing the gay-rights agenda are affluent elites:

The dichotomy between the LGBT volk and the LGBT establishment damages the entire movement by alienating the community's hardest-working change agents while excluding them from the kinds of resources that would truly help gay families prosper.

And those resources are certainly vast. Indeed, on the same day the Times reported on the struggles of actual gay families, [American Foundation for Equal Rights] held a Beverly Hills, Calif., fundraiser to pay the lawyers fighting to overturn Proposition 8, which made same-sex marriage illegal in California. Featuring a concert by Elton John, the event, for which each attendee paid at least $1,000, and some far more, raised $3 million -- money that will help make already wealthy lawyers even wealthier at a time when many gay families have never been poorer.

Earlier Kaufman writes:

While same-sex marriage would certainly benefit these [less affluent] families, so, too, would shorter-term -- perhaps interim -- initiatives such as civil unions and domestic-partnership laws. Yet in focusing its civil rights struggle solely around marriage, the mainstream LGBT political agenda has rendered poorer, darker, less-urban gay families virtually invisible.

Judge denies divorce to same-sex Nebraska City couple

From Nebraska City News-Press:

District Judge Randall Rehmeier Tuesday denied a divorce to a same-sex Nebraska City couple that was married in 2003 in Vermont.

The judge said the Nebraska Constitution provides that “only marriage between a man and a woman shall be valid or recognized in Nebraska.”

He said since the state does not recognize the marriage, he does not have jurisdiction to dissolve it. He said courts in Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Texas and Rhode Island have come to the same conclusion.

CPAC head organizer Davie Keene to resign in February

From Brian Fitzpatrick:

Several American Conservative Union board members have confirmed that David Keene, the chairman of the board of the ACU, is planning to resign at the group's next meeting.

… Keene is leaving ACU in a state of turmoil. The organization alienated social conservatives by permitting a homosexual activist organization, GOProud, to participate in its signature project, the annual CPAC convention. As a result, some of the best-known conservative organizations, including the Heritage Foundation, Family Research Council, American Family Association, Concerned Women for America, Media Research Center and the National Organization for Marriage are not participating in the conference this year.

Arguments for SSM in Montana begin in district court

From Local KULR:

Six same-sex Montana couples represented by the American Civil Liberties Union appeared in Helena District Court Tuesday afternoon to begin preliminary oral arguments in the case of Donaldson and Guggenheim versus the state of Montana.

… The ACLU said it is very likely that this case will wind up before the Montana Supreme Court in the next few years.

Photo: KULR Staff

Breaking: San Diego FireFighters Win Religious Liberty Case

San Diego firefighters who were subjected to harassment have just won their case against the city of San Diego, who forced them to participate in a gay pride parade in 2007.

The lead lawyer in this case was NOM California's general counsel, Charles Limandri (pictured in the suit). Congratulations, Chuck!

UPDATE: Kathleen Gilbert has the story and a quote from Chuck:

“It’s an important case because it shows that if Christian or people of faith generally are willing to stand up for their religious beliefs, and refuse to be bullied by secular agendas, that they do have rights that can and should be enforced in court,” said LiMandri. “In this case those rights were upheld.”

Photo: Earnie Grafton/Union-Tribune

Defining Parenthood Away

Lisa Belkin at the New York Times blog "Motherlode" brings to our attention two examples of parenthood being redefined before our eyes:

When Anthony Raftopol and his husband, Shawn Hargon Raftopol, had twins in April of 2008, the State of Connecticut would not allow both men’s names to appear on the birth certificates.

The children were conceived with Anthony’s sperm and a donor’s egg and carried by a gestational surrogate. The laws governing such situations vary among the 50 states, and Connecticut was one of the many that only recognized three kinds of parents: the couple whose baby is genetically related to both the mother and the father; the parent or parents who adopt; and the parents whose child is conceived through artificial insemination. In cases like the Raftopols, where one spouse sought parental status though they have no genetic link to the child, state law required them to go through the adoption process.

A second example, this one from Australia:

The gay Melbourne couple had paid an Indian surrogate to carry twins conceived with the sperm of one of the men and an unidentified egg donor. Then they asked a family court to grant full parental status to the nongenetic father. In a national first, Justice Paul Cronin did so. “In this case, the children do not have the benefit of a mother, but they have the good fortune of having two fathers,” he wrote, according to the Herald Sun newspaper.

The Judge’s conclusion?

“As a matter of law, the word ‘parent’ tends to suggest some biological connection, but … biology does not really matter; it is all about parental responsibility.”

Do we agree that biology just does not matter?

Actually, it is not outside the realm of possibility that biology may come to matter in the case of homosexual parents who desire a homosexual child:

If two homosexual men want to use in vitro fertilization to conceive a baby and then use genetics echnology to ensure the baby is also "gay," while disposing of any “straight” embryos, would the law have any ethical problems with that?

America's leading ethicist in the field of human reproduction has written a paper that argues future homosexual couples should have "the right" to do exactly that.

John A. Robertson of the University of Texas Law School is the chair of the Ethics Committee of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine and an advocate of what his book "Children of Choice" calls "procreative liberty."

In a paper for the Washington, D.C., think tank Brookings Institution, Robertson presents a futuristic scenario where advancing science and society's evolving morality could create a once only dreamed-of ethical dilemma.

What is interesting here is not the (unresolved) biological question, but Robertson’s push to extend unfettered freedom – freedom even to do to the next generation whatever we want – to its logical limit.

Robertson concludes, “By 2030 the logic of procreative freedom should recognize the right of Larry and David to use the technologies available to have the family they choose."

In other words, while the Australian Judge argued that “biology does not really matter; it is all about parental responsibility,” Robertson shows us a world where parental “responsibility” includes making biology precisely whatever we want it to be.

The question then becomes, do we have the right to do whatever we want to other human beings, so long as it is done to those human beings we decide to bring into our care?

USA Today Editorial: It’s Time to Lower Out of Wedlock Births!

An Op-Ed in USA Today says Our view on kids: When unwed births hit 41%, it's just not right:

“In 2009, 41% of children born in the USA were born to unmarried mothers (up from 5% a half-century ago). That includes 73% of non-Hispanic black children, 53% of Hispanic children and 29% of non-Hispanic white children. Those are not misprints.”

…evidence is overwhelming that children of single mothers — particularly teen mothers — suffer disproportionately high poverty rates, impaired development and low school performance.”

Husbands or Employers?

From Dr. J of NOM's Ruth Institute:

Security in the workplace is taking the place of security in marriage. I have been saying this for some time. But now, the major league self-styled feminist groups are coming right out and saying it. Women and children don’t need stability in marriage if they can have stability in employment. asked both activists if the federal government should do all it can to promote marriage between a man and a woman to ensure economic security for women. The “activists” in this quote are Terry O’Neill, president of the National Organization for Women and Heidi Hartmann, president of the Institute for Women’s Policy. asked both activists if the federal government should do all it can to promote marriage between a man and a woman to ensure economic security for women.

“Personally, no, I do not believe that and I don’t think you’ll find any of the women’s groups who are members of the National Council of Women’s Organizations advocating that position,” Hartmann told at the Capitol on Friday following a National Organization for Women briefing about women’s economic security.

She continued, “If you are a woman and you’re thinking, ‘how can I maximize income for my family? Oh, I better go find a higher earning guy but the other way to help families is to equalize the earnings so that women earn as much as men.”

Hartmann cited “subsidized childcare” as a way to help women economically.

Substitute paid child care for parents’ home care, substitute employment for relationship, substitute government regulation of wages and work conditions as a substitute for marriage: All of these are substituting impersonal bureaucratic economic systems for personal human and family relationships.

And to think the Marxists used to talk about Alienation as a problem of capitalism!

Iowa panel backs putting gay marriage to a vote

The Associated Press reports:

A key House committee on Monday approved a resolution that would begin the long process of putting a gay marriage ban before voters.

The House Judiciary Committee approved the measure on a 13-8 vote, sending the measure to the full House for debate.

Earlier, a subcommittee of that panel voted 2-1 in favor of the resolution.

House Majority Leader Linda Upmeyer, R-Garner, says the full House could take up the resolution within a few days, but next week is more likely.

Republicans control the House on a 60-40 margin, and top leaders have predicted approval. Senate leaders promise to block the proposal in a chamber where Democrats are clinging to a 26-24 margin.

Critics argued that basic rights shouldn't be left to a vote of the people, while backers said voters are demanding that right.

...More than 200 people jammed the committee room to make their case to lawmakers, with both sides cheering and clapping.

“The Anonymous Us Project,” first ever story-collective for people 
involved in reproductive technologies

From the press release:

“Not all the kids are doing all right,” says Alana S., founder and curator of, “Anonymous Us is a place for all participants in the 
fertility industry to share their own truths in a way that retains dignity 
and privacy for our loved ones, while also sharing valuable perspectives and 
life experiences.”

Benedict XVI: There "is only one marriage ... a real juridical bond between a man and a woman."

Read the Pope's statement.

Boys of Divorced Parents Face 3X Risk of Suicide

From USA Today:

“Adults who were children when their parents divorced are more likely to seriously consider suicide than adults who grew up in intact families, according to a new study.

“…Men whose parents divorced when they were children were three times more likely to seriously consider suicide (suicidal ideation) than other men. Adult daughters of divorced parents were 83% more likely to have suicidal thoughts than those whose parents stayed married.”

The new study was authored by Esme Fuller-Thompson at the University of Toronto and the full report is available online here (for a fee). From the press release:

“’The association between parental divorce and suicidal thoughts in men was unexpectedly strong, even when we adjusted for other childhood and adult stressors, socioeconomic status, depression and anxiety,’ says lead author Esme Fuller-Thomson.”

Marriage Update for 3 States, 1 Country

In Iowa: A House panel will begin hearings today on a bill that would repeal gay marriage in the state

In Maryland: Gay marriage legislation has been filed in the General Assembly

In New Hampshire: House could ask to delay effort to repeal gay marriage until 2012

And in Peru: Former President Alejandro Toledo will push for legalization of gay and lesbian civil unions if he is elected