From Public Discourse:
What is marriage law in Alabama now? What groups of people are entitled to receive a license? Are all of the marriages that have been contracted in the state of Alabama now unconstitutional? If not, then which ones are still valid? Must Alabama officials stop enforcing all of marriage’s legal protections for the rights of children, such as the presumption of paternity and presumptions of biological parental custody? After all, those incidents cannot apply equally to same-sex couples as to married couples.
What “rule of law” answers these fundamental questions? Judge Granade has now set herself up to be the chief probate officer in the state of Alabama. She has not defined marriage, and her failure to do so leaves state actors, especially probate judges, without a definition of the institution for which they are issuing state licenses. Worse, she has provided no legal standards—not even a limiting principle—to guide her administration of Alabama family law, which she has now taken upon herself. She will be rewriting the family laws of Alabama, piecemeal and arbitrarily, from her bench. Rather than conducting legislative hearings regarding the familial rights and duties related to the definition of marriage, Judge Granade will be conducting contempt proceedings in which she will decide on a case-by-case basis which actions of Alabama officials violate the Constitution and which do not.
If the rule of law is not already dead in Alabama, then it is seriously wounded indeed.
Read it all here
From Mark Regnerus at Public Discourse:
Published research employing the New Family Structures Study (NFSS), the ECLS (Early Childhood Longitudinal Study), the US Census (ACS), the Canadian Census, and now the NHIS all reveal a comparable basic narrative, namely, that children who grow up with a married mother and father fare best.
Read it all here
On Wednesday, yet another activist judge decided to impose his definition of marriage on an unwilling state, this time in Kentucky.
There’s so much nonsense in the ruling, like so many that have come before it, that it’s hard to know where to begin.
The federal “judge”, John Heyburn, dragged out all the same old canards. He repeated the completely nonsensical claim that marriage has nothing to do with procreation because not each and every married couple in America has a child (If all laws must correlate 100 percent with their aims in order to be rational, then we’re going to have to get rid of a lot more laws). And of course he invoked the phony Loving v. Virginia analogy.
But his most egregious move was to completely contradict the Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Windsor, while purportedly using that very decision as the basis for his irrational ruling.
The Supreme Court’s Windsor decision was an incoherent mess, but that isn’t why Heyburn chose to directly contradict its holdings. No, he claimed to be following the precedent while violating it.
In short, the essential holding of Windsor was that it is the states’ prerogative to define marriage, not the federal government. Following the precedent would have required Heyburn (himself acting as part of the federal government) to uphold Kentucky’s legal definition of marriage. But the “judge” ruled just the opposite. He threw out the state’s definition, supposedly on the basis of Windsor. Eric Holder’s DOJ is doing the same thing. So we have federal officials overturning state definitions based on a Supreme Court ruling that said it’s the states, not the feds, who have the power to define marriage. It’s all really just Orwellian.
None of it is based on reason, on the law, or on the Constitution. The “progressive” elites of our society want marriage to be redefined, so they can preen about how “tolerant” and “progressive” they are, and so it shall be done, by any means necessary. Nothing like the rule of law or respect for representative government is going to stop these people.
The government does not hand out “friendship” licenses, … They give out marriage licenses.
The process that killed Prop 8 in California should concern anyone who cares about democracy and the rule of law. The cheaters won.
The Legal Circus That Killed Proposition 8
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.”
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
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:
“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.
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?