Dear Marriage Supporter,
It's not the criticism, it's the death threats that have apparently scared Brad Pitt's mom into silence after (as we told you last week) she wrote a letter to the editor urging her fellow Missouri Christians to vote for Romney based on shared moral values, including opposition to gay marriage.
However, these ugly attacks have a silver lining. They've brought one more celebrity voice for marriage onto the stage, Academy Award winning actor Jon Voight (the father of Angelina Jolie, aka Mrs. Brad Pitt).
"Good for her," Voight told FOX411's Pop Tarts column, adding that he agrees with the points-of-view expressed by Jane Pitt.
(Totally irrelevant digression: Jon Voight's brother and Angelina's uncle is Chip Taylor, the singer/songwriter responsible for the hits "Wild Thing" and "Angel in the Morning." That's a lot of diverse talent for one family!).
The rarity of celebrities speaking up for marriage underscores the courage it took for Kirk Cameron to stand firm. His focus has always been helping husbands and wives build happy and faith-filled marriages. The gay marriage issue is not something he typically concentrates on; but when he was asked his opinion, he gave it. And when the furor ensued, he did not back down.
If you missed Kirk Cameron's interview with Damian Goddard, NOM's Marriage Anti-Defamation Alliance spokesman, take a look. You will like what you see.
Fact: It requires courage to speak out for marriage, and more
courageous voices are joining in—over 12,000 pro-marriage people said
they supported Cameron's message when we shared it on our Facebook page!
More marriage heroes are standing up.
Witness Dan Cathy, President of Chick-fil-A whose commitment to his faith has landed him at the center of a trumped-up controversy. Here's Dan speaking up for marriage in the Baptist Press:
"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."
After dealing with a gay rights boycott based solely on one franchise owner's decision to donate chicken sandwiches to couples attending a marriage education workshop sponsored by the Pennsylvania Family Institute, Dan Cathy still is not backing down.
That boycott was spectacularly unsuccessful, by the way, as Get Equal's spokesperson more or less admitted to the Atlanta Constitution Journal this week.
"We've moved on," said Heather Cronk, managing director of Get Equal, a national LGBT rights organization that has initiated previous boycotts of the chain. But Cronk added that while many in the gay community already choose not to eat at Chick-fil-A, the latest statements may influence "some of our straight allies who may decide to go somewhere else."
Dream on, Heather.
In a prepared statement, emailed Wednesday evening to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Chick-fil-A spokesman Don Perry said:
"The Chick-fil-A culture and service tradition in our restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect—regardless of belief, creed and sexual orientation," the statement said. "We will continue this tradition in the over 1,600 restaurants run by independent Owner/Operators. Going forward, our intent is to leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena."
In his own words, Perry said, "There is no change of course in our previously stated Chick-fil-A position."
Thanks to the Cathy family for all they've accomplished: for their wide-ranging philanthropy; for their special commitment to marriage education that builds strong families; and—not least of all—for all those great chicken sandwiches!
Julie Goodridge, one half of the lead plaintiffs in the court case that launched gay marriage in America (in Massachusetts), has just cut a video for a liberal Super PAC slamming Romney for opposing gay marriage:
"Mitt Romney did everything he could do to block gay marriage," Julie Goodridge testifies.
She was appalled when Gov. Romney refused to answer her question: "Gov. Romney, what would you suggest I say to my 8-year-old daughter about why we can't get married?"
(A few years later the Goodridges filed for divorce but I won't ask how they explained that to their daughter, given how important marriage allegedly was to her.)
This is one video that is going to help Gov. Romney, I'm predicting. Share it with your friends.
Let me close by sharing with you two important and very different essays you may want to read.
The first is by NOM's founding Chairman of the Board, Prof. Robert George, over at Public Discourse.
It's called "Marriage, Religious Liberty and the ‘Grand Bargain'."
Prof. George speaks to the recurrent belief among some Christians that it is possible to conduct some kind of grand bargain or great compromise on the marriage issue, surrendering marriage in exchange for promises that religious liberty will be respected.
There are a lot of reasons why that strategy doesn't work. For one thing, as Maggie has pointed out in the past, that's not the way culture works. There is no-one with whom you can sign a deal who will permanently protect our religious rights, once we concede that our position on marriage is not publicly defensible.
But the strategy doesn't work on a fundamental level either, as Prof. George points out:
[A]dvocates of redefinition are increasingly open in saying that they do not see these disputes about sex and marriage as honest disagreements among reasonable people of goodwill. They are, rather, battles between the forces of reason, enlightenment, and equality—those who would "expand the circle of inclusion"—on one side, and those of ignorance, bigotry, and discrimination—those who would exclude people out of "animus"—on the other. The "excluders" are to be treated just as racists are treated—since they are the equivalent of racists. Of course, we (in the United States, at least) don't put racists in jail for expressing their opinions—we respect the First Amendment; but we don't hesitate to stigmatize them and impose various forms of social and even civil disability upon them and their institutions. In the name of "marriage equality" and "non-discrimination," liberty—especially religious liberty and the liberty of conscience—and genuine equality are undermined.
The fundamental error made by some supporters of conjugal marriage was and is, I believe, to imagine that a grand bargain could be struck with their opponents: "We will accept the legal redefinition of marriage; you will respect our right to act on our consciences without penalty, discrimination, or civil disabilities of any type. Same-sex partners will get marriage licenses, but no one will be forced for any reason to recognize those marriages or suffer discrimination or disabilities for declining to recognize them." There was never any hope of such a bargain being accepted. Perhaps parts of such a bargain would be accepted by liberal forces temporarily for strategic or tactical reasons, as part of the political project of getting marriage redefined; but guarantees of religious liberty and non-discrimination for people who cannot in conscience accept same-sex marriage could then be eroded and eventually removed. After all, "full equality" requires that no quarter be given to the "bigots" who want to engage in "discrimination" (people with a "separate but equal" mindset) in the name of their retrograde religious beliefs. "Dignitarian" harm must be opposed as resolutely as more palpable forms of harm.
Ideas have consequences.
If you want to know why I think marriage is an idea worth fighting for, read another essay published this week in the American Conservative.
It is by a son of a single mom, about why we cannot just give up on another part of the marriage fight: the fight for the idea that children need their mom AND dad.
He's reacting to Katie Rophie's calls to stop criticizing single motherhood because it hurts feisty women struggling to raise children on their own.
There are some things only a child of a single-mother could tell you about single motherhood.
...As a single mother, helping to take care of her parents and her son, she wasn't in a position to make men be courtly with her. So she stopped trying. That was the sexual revolution for her. Men willing to sleep with her, but not willing to build a family.
...Obviously all the social science the Times presents in its article point to a basic truth: broken homes divide and scatter resources...
Not having a father around meant I took on more student debt than I would have otherwise. It meant I would be recalled from college to do things around the house on the weekend, or I would come home just to make sure she was alright and make sure she spent time with someone. Instead of her helping me start life financially, I was helping her manage her mortgage payment, or paying for a new water-heater. I was happy to do so when I could...
Helping her meant diminished resources for starting my own family when it came time. It also meant that there was no one else to manage things when she became sick and died last year.
My young childhood and adolescence (maybe my whole life) was wrapped up in searching for substitute father figures: uncles, neighbors, teachers, professors, priests, even God. I know I'm not alone in this. This state of life makes one especially vulnerable to peers and to predators. I survived just fine, others in similar situations don't.
Pointing to these truths does not undermine the dignity of every single mom struggling to raise her children alone, he points out.
"Did my mother live a life of dignity? Yes, of course. She fought so much for what little she had, and cared for me almost recklessly. ...I remember telling myself little fantasies as a child and a young man, that my home, peaceful and harmonious if strapped, was probably better than the bickering and arguing and likely divorce that came with having two parents around. As if the only alternative to homes like mine are ones filled with resentment, yelling, and domestic abuse.
Writing checks, delivering take-out dinners, and trying to fit in 20 minutes of quality time with my empty-nester mom shook those fantasies out of me. We told ourselves all sorts of things while I was growing up, but my mother would have been happier, healthier, and more secure with a man to love, and with one who loved her. She would have had more of that if she had more children too.
He concludes, "Just because I turned out fine doesn't mean that everything is fine."
I read his essay as a child of divorce, lucky enough to have a mom and dad who both remained closely involved in my life.
But like him, I remain committed to building something better for my children and for my children's children: An America which understands that children need their mothers and fathers; which expects adults to make sacrifices, if necessary, to achieve that good goal; which raises men to take fatherhood seriously and to understand the only decent path to fatherhood is to become a husband, and to take care of his children and their mother too.
That's the cause for which we fight. That's the idea we cannot abandon.
Bless you for your own courage and faithfulness. It means so much to me. You are what, God willing, has made our good fight—and our victories—possible.
This message has been authorized and paid for by the National Organization for Marriage, 2029 K Street NW, Suite 300, Washington, DC 20006, Brian Brown, President. This message has not been authorized or approved by any candidate.