Category Archives: culture

Friendship Licenses

The government does not hand out “friendship” licenses, … They give out marriage licenses.

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On Marriage, Inevitability Is a Choice We Can Reject

From the Heritage Foundation blog:

“…no one can deny that Americans’ support for marriage is not what it once was. This is largely because we have done an insufficient job of explaining what marriage is, why marriage matters, and what the consequences will be if we redefine marriage.

To fill this void, we have worked with our allies at the Alliance Defending Freedom, the Family Research Council, and the National Organization for Marriage to produce an easy to read pamphlet to explain why marriage matters in everyday language. Download a free e-book version today at TheMarriageFacts.com.”

Excellent Rebuttal to Marriage-Deniers

NY Times columnist Ross Douthat has a great rebuttal to the absurd charge that opponents of “same-sex marriage” invented a connection between marriage and procreation as a ploy to thwart the redefinition of marriage – Marriage, Procreation and Historical Amnesia

…of course that essential connection was assumed in Western law and culture long before gay marriage emerged as a controversy or a cause. You don’t have to look very hard to find quotes (like the ones collected in this Heritage Foundation brief) from jurists, scholars, anthropologists and others, writing in historical contexts entirely removed from the gay marriage debate, making the case that “the first purpose of matrimony, by the laws of nature and society, is procreation” (that’s a California Supreme Court ruling in 1859), describing the institution of marriage as one “founded in nature, but modified by civil society: the one directing man to continue and multiply his species, the other prescribing the manner in which that natural impulse must be confined and regulated” (that’s William Blackstone), and acknowledging that “it is through children alone that sexual relations become important to society, and worthy to be taken cognizance of by a legal institution” (that’s the well-known reactionary Bertrand Russell).

The primary reason advocates of redefining marriage must deny the obvious truth is simply that accepting the essential male-female nature of marriage makes their position incoherent at its roots. It’s as obvious as any fact can be that male-female sexual relationships play a role in society that is unique; it’s no accident or mere coincidence that human societies all over the world, throughout human history, have set apart male-female sexual relationships in both law and custom. But any acknowledgment of this simple truth opens the door to continue making legal distinctions, and so the truth must be subverted to ideology and political correctness.

But it also had to be denied for pragmatic reasons, because the first victories in redefining marriage were via the courts, and since the unique role of male-female unions in society easily and obviously provides a “rational basis” for unique treatment in the law, activist judges had to deny the obvious truth in order to leave themselves a thin veneer of legalese under which to impose their preferred policy. So, in Orwellian fashion, they simply declared the truth to be irrational and therefore illegal.

It’s impossible to know for certain, but had judges simply adhered to the written law they swore to uphold, to precedent, and to basic logic, they would have consistently ruled that there is plenty rational basis to define marriage as it’s always been defined, as male-female, and the movement to redefine marriage would have likely been stopped in its infancy years ago. Unfortunately, that’s not the legal system we live under now.

UPDATE: Part 2 of 3 – Culture, Class and the Decline of Marriage

UPDATE: Part 3 of 3 – Marriage and Historical Inevitability

Marriage = Biology (Not Bigotry)

Here is a really excellent video from the National Organization for Marriage, effectively making the case for society’s interest in promoting natural marriage over other types of relationships. Watch and forward:

Study: Children fare better in traditional mom-dad families

“Children fare better in traditional mom-dad families.” No kidding. But some people now days seem to believe that the only way for humanity to know anything is through academic studies.

Via The Washington Times:

Two studies released Sunday may act like brakes on popular social-science assertions that gay parents are the same as – or maybe better than – married, mother-father parents.

“The empirical claim that no notable differences exist must go,” Mark Regnerus, a sociology professor at the University of Texas at Austin, said in his study in Social Science Research.

Using a new, “gold standard” data set of nearly 3,000 randomly selected American young adults, Mr. Regnerus looked at their lives on 40 measures of social, emotional and relationship outcomes.

He found that, when compared with adults raised in married, mother-father families, adults raised by lesbian mothers had negative outcomes in 24 of 40 categories, while adults raised by gay fathers had negative outcomes in 19 categories.

Findings such as these do not support claims that there are “no differences” between gay parenting and heterosexual, married parents, said Mr. Regnerus, who helped develop the New Family Structures Study at the university.

Which definitions of marriage are bigoted?

Thinking about the efforts by advocates for redefining marriage to portray opposition to the idea as irrational bigotry, this story from a few weeks ago came to mind:

Here comes the single bride. Last week, Nadine Schweigert married herself in a symbolic wedding ceremony. The 36-year-old divorced mom of three wore blue satin and clutched a bouquet of white roses as she walked down the aisle before a gathering of 45 friends and family members in Fargo, North Dakota.

So certain questions come to mind –

  • Is it irrational or bigoted to say this woman isn’t really married? If not, why not?
  • If defining marriage as male-female means one is motivated by hate, does that mean you who define marriage as “greater than one” hate Ms. Schweigert?
  • What objective standard distinguishes your line-drawing from those who draw the line differently?

The Loving Corollary to Godwin’s Law

Those who frequent comment threads at blogs and news sites will be familiar with Godwin’s Law. For the uninitiated, Godwin’s Law basically says that in any comment thread, it’s virtually certain that someone will eventually make an analogy to Hitler and/or the Nazis, no matter what the topic.

There’s a corollary in the debate over so-called “same-sex marriage”. In any discussion of the topic, it’s a virtual certainty that someone arguing for the redefinition of marriage will bring up the Supreme Court case Loving vs. Virginia, and compare marriage being defined as male-female to anti-miscegenation laws.

But Loving vs. Virginia was strictly about racial discrimination. It had nothing to do with the definition of marriage, any more than making black people sit in the back of the bus was about the definition of “bus”, or segregated lunch counters were about the definition of “lunch” or “counter”.

As with society at large, the Virginia statute at issue in Loving presumed the essential male-female nature of marriage:

The Lovings were convicted of violating § 20-58 of the Virginia Code:

“Leaving State to evade law. — If any white person and colored person shall go out of this State, for the purpose of being married, and with the intention of returning, and be married out of it, and afterwards return to and reside in it, cohabiting as man and wife, they shall be punished as provided in § 20-59, and the marriage shall be governed by the same law as if it had been solemnized in this State. The fact of their cohabitation here as man and wife shall be evidence of their marriage.”

The Supreme Court ruled that the Virginia statute was a violation of the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution. The Justices presumed the 14th Amendment pertained to race, and that the violation was based solely on racial discrimination:

Because we reject the notion that the mere “equal application” of a statute containing racial classifications is enough to remove the classifications from the Fourteenth Amendment’s proscription of all invidious racial discriminations, we do not accept the State’s contention that these statutes should be upheld if there is any possible basis for concluding that they serve a rational purpose.

….

In the case at bar, however, we deal with statutes containing racial classifications, and the fact of equal application does not immunize the statute from the very heavy burden of justification which the Fourteenth Amendment has traditionally required of state statutes drawn according to race.

….

The clear and central purpose of the Fourteenth Amendment was to eliminate all official state sources of invidious racial discrimination in the States.

….

There is patently no legitimate overriding purpose independent of invidious racial discrimination which justifies this classification.

The Court also presumed the basic procreative, male-female nature of marriage:

Marriage is one of the “basic civil rights of man,” fundamental to our very existence and survival.

The only rational basis for marriage being “fundamental to our very existence and survival” is due to certain basic facts of human biology and sexual reproduction.

But liberals aren’t seeking to redefine marriage because they think it violates the Constitution, they assert that it violates the Constitution because they want to redefine marriage. The various arguments and assertions are infinitely malleable because they’re entirely outcome-based. Still, they must be refuted. This one is easy to refute. Loving simply doesn’t provide any justification for redefining the institution of marriage. Loving had nothing to do with the definition of marriage.

John Derbyshire and his critics

We’re generally opposed to the idea that a person should lose his livelihood because he says or writes something that other people find offensive, whether the offender is on the right or the left. So we don’t join the growing calls in the blogosphere for John Derbyshire to be fired by National Review for opinions he wrote on race (which were on a different website, not nationalreview.com), specifically about what he would teach his children about their black fellow Americans. National Review certainly has a right to end their relationship with Mr. Derbyshire. An opinion magazine has every right to decide what opinions it will promote, and which are out of bounds.

But all the phony outrage from left-wing blogs and liberal media outlets should be ignored by National Review and everyone else. The left is in no position to lecture anyone about their supposedly superior values, especially on the issue of race. Dividing Americans into groups, and treating people differently based on which groups they’re in, is at the core of leftist ideology and practice.

The left’s primary aim is to shut up anyone who disagrees with them, whether it’s John Derbyshire, or Rush Limbaugh, or Glenn Beck, or Sean Hannity, or whoever. Their main objection is to dissent from leftist ideology. The editor of National Review, Rich Lowry, was attacked as a bigot for simply pointing out the fact that George Zimmerman isn’t the greatest threat in the nation to young black males. Mr. Derbyshire, unfortunately for him and for the publication he writes for, has given the right’s enemies a legitimate complaint with which to attack. And of course they won’t hesitate to attempt to smear the entire conservative movement with his words.

Demonstrating that their real objection is to conservatism itself, the outrage is highly selective. Just a couple of examples from the last few weeks:

Director Spike Lee tweeted an address which he believed was that of George Zimmerman (Lee got the address wrong), implicitly encouraging mob violence and putting an innocent couple in some potential danger. And not a peep from most of those who are now so concerned about what Mr. Derbyshire wrote.

Al Sharpton routinely says things worse than anything Derbyshire said, and has for years. Sharpton has recently been working to create another Freddy’s Fashion Mart or Crown Heights incident in Florida – and he was an invited guest to the White House this week, and has his own show on MSNBC. And again, you’ll have to look pretty hard to find any criticism of the racist Rev. Al from the left, let alone any effort to have him removed from his television program.

And of course the left-wing propagandists at Media Matters, the Center for American Progress, and Mumia Abu Jamal supporter Van Jones’ group Color of Change aren’t pushing boycotts of Bill Maher.

None of this is to defend what Mr. Derbyshire wrote. We believe it’s a core conservative value to approach people as individuals, and judge them on their own merits, and skin color has nothing to do with anyone’s value as a human being. Liberals are the ones who believe otherwise, who believe in judging people based on their group identity, including the color of their skin.

The issue here is one of gross hypocrisy. Liberals are simply in no position to lecture anyone about their values when it comes to race or anything else.

UPDATE: National Review has ended their relationship with Derbyshire.

Obama HHS seeks to expand anti-religious-liberty mandate

Looks like the Obama Administration has responded to objections to it’s anti-religious liberty HHS mandate by expanding its reach:

In a move that is likely to reignite the ire of religious leaders, late Friday afternoon the Obama administration announced a proposal that would require universities, including religious universities, to provide contraception, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs to their students, as well as their employees, without a co-pay. This appears to significantly widen the originally-announced HHS mandate, which had only applied to employees.

They’re showing utter contempt for the 1st Amendment rights of the American people, and now doubling down on the offense. And this after announcing they would seek accommodation and compromise on the issue. The raw cynicism of this administration is just breath-taking.

obama - words are cheap

Democrats pushing social issues, not Republicans

The Democrats often assert that Republicans keep bringing up divisive social issues, ignoring the economy and jobs. And of course the establishment liberal media (the “DeMSM”) help their party to spread this false narrative.

Senator Charles Schumer was on ABC News This Week yesterday:

…Democrats are focused like a laser on jobs, the economy, and the middle class. Republicans, realizing that that’s not their strong suit, are going off on these other things, women’s issues and women’s health and contraception.

But of course that isn’t true. It was the Democrats who brought up contraception and made it an issue. It was the Obama Administration which chose to put the promise of a free contraceptive giveaway above the 1st Amendment guarantee of religious liberty.

Host George Stephanopoulos digressed by asking Senator Schumer about Bill Maher, but didn’t do anything to correct Schumer’s false premise, that Republicans had brought up the contraception issue. (Schumer didn’t express any opposition to Maher’s obscene misogyny, and said Obama’s super PAC shouldn’t return Maher’s million dollar donation. This tells us a lot about where their real values lie).

And also yesterday on Meet the Press, host David Gregory introduced a segment as a debate between social issues and economic issues:

And coming up here, a preview of the debate of the big issues in the fall campaign. Will social issues trump talk of the economy and job creation? Two of the nation’s top governors weigh in. Head of the Democratic Governors Association, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley and head of the Republican Governors Association, Virginia Governor and Romney supporter Bob McDonnell.

Gregory opened with a question about the economy, asking (hopefully) if the improving job creation numbers over the past several months would help President Obama’s campaign. Governor O’Malley diverted the conversation to social issues:

GOV. O’MALLEY: …instead, under Governor Romney’s leadership, they ranked 47th out of 50 states in job creation. So I think you’re going to have a pretty clear contrast here. And if you look at the presidential campaign, I mean, let’s be honest, there’s been a lot more time spent pandering to the extreme right wing ideologues of the new Republican Party than has been spent talking about jobs and the economy. Rick Santorum in the Arizona debate mentioned the word jobs not once, not a single time. So I believe that the president is looking strong, is strong, is focused on the economy, and that’s going to carry him through this election.

“Pandering to the extreme right wing ideologues”. So much for Democrats’ civility.

Governor McDonnell tried to get back to the economy:

GOV. McDONNELL: Well, I think that’s a manufactured issue. I think the Democrats and this president are trying to do everything they can to take the issue off of jobs and the economy, debt, deficit, energy, because they don’t have a plan. I would say that Republican governors have had something to do with that [the lower unemployment rate]. The seven out of the 10 states with the lowest unemployment rates are governed by Republican governors. …

David Gregory continued trying to steer the conversation back to social issues, while the Republican governor tried to stay focused on the economy:

MR. GREGORY: Let’s talk about social issues because in some cases in the, in the Republican race, this has overshadowed talk about the economy and you, in fact, in Virginia, have been at the center of some of this. You backed an abortion bill initially that included a very invasive procedure as part of an ultrasound [False. The bill didn’t require an invasive procedure, it merely required an ultrasound. We can always count on David Gregory to repeat Democratic Party talking points.] that the state would have required and then you backed off of that. Were you wrong to support that initially or did you simply back off because the political heat got turned up the way it did?

GOV. McDONNELL: No, I think–listen, that was one bill out of a thousand that we passed that was all focused on jobs and economic development, education, and a number of other things. That’s my agenda is restoring the American dream for people in Virginia. We’ve got the lowest unemployment rate in the Southeast and surpluses for two years. That’s what I’m doing. You know, this bill allows Virginia to join about 20 other–23 other states that have an ultrasound procedure.

MR. GREGORY: It’s actually only about seven that have these kind of procedures.

GOV. McDONNELL: No, but there’s 23 that require a, a, a woman to have an opportunity to see an ultrasound.

Gregory spent several more minutes pressing McDonnell on the issue, before turning to Democratic governor O’Malley:

MR. GREGORY: Do you think the sense that certainly Democrats are talking about and that some women feel that there is a growing assault on reproductive rights, can it become a more central issue in the race? Or is that going to become a side issue, as the governor says?

GOV. O’MALLEY: Well, I think the central issue in this race is creating jobs and expanding opportunity. I think these cultural–don’t like to use the term wars–these cultural divisive wedge issues, these sort of roll back of women’s rights, roll back of women’s access to contraception and other health, roll back of voting rights, roll back of workers rights, all of these things that take us back are not strengthening our economy and creating jobs. And I think that people start to see a pattern, David, emerging in states like Wisconsin, states like Ohio, states like Florida.

MR. GREGORY: Mm-hmm.

GOV. O’MALLEY: And sadly, recently even in Virginia, where these cultural issues are crowding out the things that really should concern us most.

GOV. O’MALLEY: Seven, seven out of 10–seven out of the best 10 states for creating 21st century jobs in science and technology, are governed by Democratic governors. Now Virginia, credit where credit is due, is one of those top states. The question is whether we’re making the right investments in jobs, education, more affordable college, that will keep Virginia in that top ranking in the future. Maryland’s there. We’re making college more affordable, we’re creating jobs at twice the rate of Virginia. And these cultural battles that drive people apart are not helpful to driving us forward.

MR. GREGORY: Do you think your counterpart here in Virginia would be a good running mate for Romney or would you cast him as an extremist?

But Governor O’Malley and his Democratic party comrades in the Maryland state legislature have in fact not been focusing on the economy. Governor O’Malley just signed into law a bill passed by the Democratic majority of the legislature which changed the definition of marriage in the state to include same-sex unions. They’ve spent a lot of time debating the issue.

And David Gregory, who had plenty of time to press the Republican Governor of Virginia on social issues, never even bothered to bring it up. A law requiring a major social change in the state of Maryland was signed by the Democratic governor just this month, and Mr. Gregory didn’t bother to bring it up, in a discussion about social issues.

Why didn’t David Gregory bring it up? Why didn’t he ask Mr. McDonnell if Mr. O’Malley is an “extremist”? These are of course rhetorical questions, because the discussion was premised on the idea that Republicans are the ones focusing on social issues, and Mr. O’Malley’s record doesn’t fit that narrative. So Gregory didn’t bring it up. An unbiased, professional journalist would not have made such an obvious omission.