NOM BLOG

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse on Why Being Pro-Marriage is Not Anti-Gay

 

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, President of the Ruth Institute, responds to the GLAAD's libel that to be pro-marriage makes one guilty of being anti-gay:

"Earlier this month the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation’s (GLAAD) “Commentator Accountability Project” included me on their list of people who deserve special scrutiny before they can be engaged as commentators on the marriage debate. But it is organizations like GLAAD that need to be held accountable for the impact of their rhetoric on the public debate.

According to the GLAAD website, I have held myself out as someone who purports to be an “expert on the lives of LGBT people.” Evidently (and unbeknownst to me) I have devoted my career “making life more difficult for LGBT people.” Although these extreme statements have since been scrubbed from the site, the organization continues to claim that “Bias is Not Balance.” The undeniable implication is that my views are baseless. GLAAD’s systematic policy of slapping negative labels on their opponents without actually engaging them in debate reduces the quality of discourse in the public square.

Out of the hundreds of thousands of words I have spoken or written, GLAAD found a grand total of four quotes as evidence of my supposed “extreme animus towards the entire LGBT community.” One of these is that I say redefining marriage will marginalize fathers from the family, because fathers will be considered inessential. GLAAD acts as if this were self-evident evidence of anti-gay bias. -- The Blaze

7 Comments

  1. bman
    Posted April 5, 2012 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

    Daniel->.... the LEGALITY of something needn't influence what you believe, or what you teach your children, about the MORALITY of it.

    Instead of focusing on how it would affect what I teach and believe, you need to speak in terms of how legality affects what society believes and teaches.

    This excerpt from Law and Morality provides a good overview on that.

    Because every law springs from a system of values and beliefs, every law is an instance of legislating Morality. Further, because a nation’s laws always exercise a pedagogical or teaching influence, law inescapably exerts a shaping effect over the beliefs, character, and actions of the nation’s citizens, whether for good or ill. Those who seek to separate morality from law [like Daniel does], therefore, are in pursuit both of the impossible and the destructive. The question before us is never whether or not to legislate morality, but which moral system ought to be made legally binding.

    In sum, the moral nature of the society that surrounds our children is affected by the moral content of the law and public policy.

    If we want the society around our children to influence them toward what is moral, our laws need to uphold what is moral.

    If you need an example, just look at the epidemic increase in abortions and divorces that have come about.

    Stop to consider all the hurt caused in the past because of the morality changes that occurred in the law.

    But don't stop there. Then consider ll the pain still to come for generation upon generation because of the morality changes that occurred in the law.

    Bad morality in law will cause unending pain and hurt to a society unless the law is reversed.

  2. Daniel
    Posted April 6, 2012 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    bman,

    Thanks for sharing Michael Bauman's opinions on the matter. And thank you very much for this piece of advice:

    Stop to consider all the hurt caused in the past because of the morality changes that occurred in the law.

    This is exactly what I've been saying ... stop to consider the hurt. It is a moral principle, so I suppose that puts us all in agrement that the law is not separate from morality. And this country was founded on the concept of equal liberty. It is literally spelled out that way.

    And what is the principle of liberty? It is this: the state or any other social body has no right to coerce or restrict the individual unless the individual causes harm to others. And equal liberty: "each has freedom to do all that he wills provided that he infringes not the equal freedom of any other.? (herbert spencer)

    This is the underlying morality reflected in the Thomas Jefferson quote I posted earlier. Unless somebody's leg is getting broken, or their pocket is getting picked, it ought not concern their neighbors.

    And the courts have heard about the figurative picked pockets and broken legs in the matter of marriage equality. You can read the details in the court transcripts of you wish. It shows that same-sex couples ARE harmed by witholding from them the rights, responsibilities and protections afforded to other couples ... AND that other couples ARE NOT HARMED if the state offers the same rights, responsibilities, and protections to same-sex and opposite-sex couples.

    So yes, do stop to consider the hurt ... the harm ... to others. Witholding from same-sex couples harms them. Granting those rights, responsibilities and protections to same-sex couples harms no one.

    What moral code, exactly, justifies perpetuation of this inequity under the law? Please tell me it is something more admirable and defensible than the simple "tyranny of the masses" so often cited on this blog.

  3. Posted April 6, 2012 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

    Daniel, I answered.

    You pose as if the existence of a marriage law itself causes harm because it creates a non-marriage category.

    If you want to borrow the credibility of Jefferson and the like to your complaint against the marriage law, you first need to establish the justification for the marriage law.

    You can't reasonably begin by assuming the law justifies itself by virtue of merely existing. Your own remarks forbid that you start there.

    If that law, and that special status, is unjustified, then, it ought to be abolished. Start by dealing with this basic of lawmaking. Then, perhaps, you might proceed to how the law would operate.

    And, no, the starting line is not found in your gay emphasis. You might start there and try to rationalize that bias, but that would harm your viewpoint far more than mine.

  4. Daniel
    Posted April 6, 2012 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

    Chairm writes: If you want to borrow the credibility of Jefferson and the like to your complaint against the marriage law, you first need to establish the justification for the marriage law.

    You ask me to provide justification for the unjust exclusion of gay and lesbian couples from the enjoyment of the rights, responsibilities and protections freely available to straight couples? Um ... no. That would be the responsibility of those who wish to exclude gay and lesbian couples.

    And if you seek a starting line, I've been pointing to it repeatedly. It is the principle of liberty.

    So, sorry if I missed your answer. Could you tell me again? What is your justification for perpetuating a restriction that harms some, when lifting that restriction yields no demonstrable harm?

  5. Posted April 6, 2012 at 11:43 pm | Permalink

    Daniel, you asked:

    "What is your justification for perpetuating a restriction that harms some, when lifting that restriction yields no demonstrable harm?"

    Hang on. I answered that.

    Marriage law recognizes marriage. Thus it also happens to create a nonmarriage category. You said that nonmarital relationships are harmed by marriage law. So it would follow that for your view to be just, within your application of the harm principle, the marriage law must be abolished.

    But you could escape the trap you set for yourself by clarifying what marriage is -- before the law enters the picture. As I said, you might find it easier to start with the same-sex scenario.

    Special status for the same-sex type of relationship you have in mind is justified by .... fill-in-the-blank.

  6. Daniel
    Posted April 7, 2012 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    Chairm writes: Marriage law recognizes marriage.

    Hey, didn't you also write: "You can't reasonably begin by assuming the law justifies itself by virtue of merely existing." ? Which is it?

    Marriage law confers rights & responsibilities to a couple. It allows two people who are not closely related to create the nearest kinship recognized by law. In some places, ALL adult couples who are not close relatives enjoy the option to marry.

    But in other places, only opposite-sex couples have this option - others are excluded. (Even though the Supreme Court found that sexual activity between unrelated, consenting adults is supposedly a private matter . . . ) This is the inequity that you have not justified.

    You said that nonmarital relationships are harmed by marriage law.

    Close. I pointed out THAT THE HIGH COURTS HAVE SAID that the denying the rights, privileges and protections of marriage to same-sex couples harms them.

    So it would follow that for your view to be just, within your application of the harm principle, the marriage law must be abolished.

    Abolished? That is some tortured logic there! Was "the marriage law" abolished when slaves and their descendants were finally allowed to marry in the US? Was it abolished when interracial couples were finally allowed to marry? Thats some ridiculously hyperbolic language loaded with propaganda value, Chairm.

    Inclusion of same-sex couples has not "abolished the marriage law" in any jurisdiction.

    Special status for the same-sex type of relationship you have in mind is justified by .... fill-in-the-blank.

    You pose the wrong question, because - to my knowledge - nobody seeks "special status". The status that marriage equality advocates seek is called "equal".

  7. bman
    Posted April 7, 2012 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    Daniel->And what is the principle of liberty? It is this: the state or any other social body has no right to coerce or restrict the individual unless the individual causes harm to others. And equal liberty: "each has freedom to do all that he wills provided that he infringes not the equal freedom of any other.? (herbert spencer)

    The concept of preventing harm is not just a matter of preventing immediate or direct harm to an individual.

    Moral harm to a society is also a harm. That, too, needs to be restricted.

    You say, for example, "the state...has no right to coerce or restrict the individual unless the individual causes harm to others."

    However, by that formula the state can't coerce a woman who works at a topless bar to cover her breasts while waiting for a bus at a public bus stop.

    Do you think that woman has right to go topless while standing at a public bus stop?

    And what if the woman claims her civil rights have been violated because she is being forced to obtain property ( a top) against her will, and to wear a certain form of clothing (a top) against her will?

    She will no doubt call it sexual discrimination and a violation of sexual equality since a man can go topless at a public bus stop and she can't.

    Consider, too, that if you say the state must permit the woman to go topless at a public bus stop because it "harms no one," then you impose your morality on all of society.

    And why should you have the right to impose your morality on an entire society, but an entire society have no right to protect its morality from yours?

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