Dear Marriage Supporter,
Last May, the first same-sex marriage ceremony ever held on a U.S. Military installation was performed at Fort Polk, Louisiana. Although it wasn't legally valid, it created quite an uproar . . . and violated federal law.
In response, the House of Representatives passed the following language as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA):
A military installation or other property owned or rented by, or otherwise under the jurisdiction or control of, the Department of Defense, may not be used to officiate, solemnize, or perform a marriage or marriage-like ceremony involving anything other than the union of one man with one woman.
Senators Roger Wicker and James Inhofe have introduced these provisions in the Senate as a stand-alone bill, the "Military Religious Freedom Act of 2012," but the Senate leadership has blocked their efforts every step of the way.
But even if the Senate never votes on the Wicker/Inhofe bill, we can still protect the Defense of Marriage Act and the religious liberty of our military chaplains, who could otherwise be forced to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies as part of their official duties.
We have one chance, but we need to take action immediately.
The NDAA is headed to a House/Senate conference committee to iron out the differences between the bills passed by the two bodies. Because the House version already contains the provision protecting marriage, we need to urge the members of the conference committee to protect the religious liberty language, ensuring that it is retained in the final version.
Please click here to contact your senators and representative today! A copy of your letter will also be sent to House Speaker John Boehner, and Senator John McCain, ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Nevada Judge Upholds Democratic Process for Marriage
There was a great victory for marriage last Friday in Nevada—and I'm betting you did not hear of it— when a federal judge ruled that the voters of Nevada have the right to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman in their state constitution!
Judge Robert Jones wrote, in upholding that state's marriage amendment:
It simply cannot be seriously maintained, in light of... recent democratic victories [in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington], that homosexuals do not have the ability to protect themselves from discrimination through democratic processes such that extraordinary protection from majoritarian processes is appropriate. [...]
Human beings are created through the conjugation of one man and one woman. The percentage of human beings conceived through non-traditional methods is minuscule and adoption, the form of child-rearing in which same-sex couples may typically participate together, is not an alternative means of creating children, but rather a social backstop for when traditional biological families fail.
The perpetuation of the human race depends upon traditional procreation between men and women. The institution developed in our society, its predecessor societies, and by nearly all societies on Earth throughout history to solidify, standardize, and legalize the relationship between a man, a woman, and their offspring, is civil marriage between one man and one woman.
Even the Las Vegas Review-Journal, which originally opposed the marriage amendment, pointed out the importance of respecting the rights of voters:
Thomas Jefferson specifically warned that if the states ever became subsidiary jurisdictions of a uniform central authority, like the "Departments" of France, America would degenerate into a Bonapartist tyranny.
If planks of a constitution enacted by voters can be tossed out willy-nilly by a court determined to enforce what it thinks the law ought to be, then the people have a right to ask whether we have passed from a republic with government powers limited by being divided among the three branches and the several levels, into a dictatorship of the unelected bench.
Lambda Legal (who brought the lawsuit against the State of Nevada to challenge the amendment) of course has no respect for the rights of voters: they have vowed to appeal the case to the super-liberal Ninth Circuit US Court of Appeals (which already struck down California's similar amendment, Proposition 8, but on "narrow" grounds that would not necessarily apply to Nevada).
Legal Defense of Marriage Making National News
William Duncan, writing in NRO, points out the importance of the Nevada case as part of a growing legal precedent for the upholding of state marriage amendments: "With this decision, there are now six federal courts that have rejected equal-protection arguments for redefining marriage: the District of Nevada, District of Hawaii, Middle District of Florida, Western District of Washington (Bankruptcy), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, and the U.S. Supreme Court in a summary decision issued in 1972."
Nevada marriage amendment supporters are now hoping that the Supreme Court will take the case directly, bypassing the Ninth Circuit, and consider it alongside the Prop 8 case and the Federal Defense of Marriage Act cases (which the High Court will likely decide on Friday whether or not to hear).
Here's our own Thomas Peters on TV discussing the court cases now before the Supreme Court:
As Thomas says, "We think that when all is said and done marriage will have a good day at the Supreme Court and that's why we're looking forward to the court taking up both of these cases."
Of course, we'll be watching the news coming from the Supreme Court's conference tomorrow very closely, and we'll let you know as soon as we have word on whether a decision to hear these cases has been made.
Important New Study Finds ‘Natural Family' Advantageous to Kids
More recent good news you probably have not heard a word about from the main-stream media: a brand new scientific study shows that not all family forms are equally good for children.
Google the name of this study—published in a major social science journal, Demography—and you'll find almost nothing. A mention on NRO. A mention on the First Things blog. But from the mainstream media? Nada.
By contrast, just a few weeks ago, the media shouted out headlines on the ‘good news' from the latest installment of a longitudinal study of lesbian mothers, whose principal investigator is Prof. Nanette Gartrell.
You may not read Gawker.com, but millions of young people do—here is how they reported Gartrell's study: "Let's Ask Lesbians to Raise All the Children: A Study Shows They Raise Smarter, Stronger Kids."
Gartrell's study has no control group, and is not nationally representative: it's a self-selected group of lesbian moms who've been interviewed and re-interviewed over the years and always say the same thing: my kids are doing fine.
Their kids are doing so fine that it turns out (according to studies by Gartrell and colleagues, that is), that even when lesbian parents split up… it doesn't affect kids. Even when the kids are bullied…it doesn't affect them. No matter what...children raised by lesbian moms do fine. More than fine. They are doing the best of all possible kids: so the headlines shout.
Well, last week, a major social science journal, Demography, published a new study based on Census data that shows the exact opposite: children who live with same-sex couples are doing worse in school than children in intact married households.
The study is called "Nontraditional Families and Childhood Progress Through School: A Comment on Rosenfeld" and the lead author is Professor Douglas Allen. You can read it here.
Along with two colleagues, Prof. Allen reanalyzed the conclusions of Michael Rosenfeld's 2010 study (also published in Demography) which had concluded that there was no statistically significant difference between children's school progress in families headed by same-sex couples and those in traditional families.
But Rosenfeld's earlier study had eliminated from the dataset every family that had moved in the previous 5 years, as well as every family whose child was not biologically related to the household head (that eliminates a lot of same-sex families!).
Allen's study uses Census data—that is, nationally representative, not self-selected data—and it found that children living with same-sex couples were 35 percent less likely to be making normal progress in school than children with married, opposite-sex parents.
This criterion is the only measure of child well-being in the Census data; but nevertheless the new study shows formidably once again that the ‘natural family' has powerful advantages for children.
Even a Great Dad Can't Be a Mom
Listen, I want to say that we all know there are good, hardworking parents raising children in a variety of family forms. I have no doubt there are lesbian mothers who are committed, loving mothers, doing their very best to raise children—and some are succeeding.
We can—we must—talk about ways to support children, regardless of their parents' marital status. But, at the same time, we cannot afford to lie to ourselves, to each other, or to our children about what the ideal is.
And same-sex marriage is, ultimately, a lie: a lie our culture tells about the inherent equality of all relationships, the irrelevance of gender, of our bodies, and what it all means to our children. Moms and dads each contribute in unique ways to the well-being of their children and to the health of family life. Even the very best mom cannot be a dad; even a stellar dad cannot provide what only a mom can.
We live in a time when the culture increasingly teaches us to raise our own self, our own desires, our own satisfactions, and our own needs to the highest priority—and not just a practical priority (which used to be known as selfishness!), but a moral priority.
Anything that stands in the way of satisfaction of our deepest desires must be knocked down as wrong, wicked, and an impediment to progress.
What drops out in that way of thinking, ironically, is what actually satisfies our deepest desire: to know that the Universe is founded on love and that we are capable of participating in that love, reflecting it to each other, mirroring it for our children and for other people's children.
Pastor Rick Warren Defends Marriage
Last week, as Rev. Rick Warren headed out on a TV tour to promote the tenth anniversary of A Purpose-Driven Life, the topic of marriage came up.
"I am in favor of not redefining marriage," he said on Tuesday's edition of CBS This Morning. "It's not illegal to have a gay relationship in America. And so, it's not a big issue to me."
Co-host Charlie Rose replied, "You have to be tolerant of other people's views."
"The problem is that ‘tolerant' has changed its meaning," Warren said. "Tolerant used to mean, I may disagree with you completely, but I'm going to treat you with respect. That's what tolerant means."
"Today, to some people, ‘tolerant' means you must approve of everything I do," he continued. "That's not tolerance. That's approval."
If it's not true, we cannot approve.
Staying the Course
My friend, thank you so much for your confidence and your fellowship as we continue the difficult next phase in this fight.
They will tell you to give up, but you and I know that giving up on truth is the one thing we must not do.
The True, the Good and the Beautiful--marriage unites these three things and forms the basis on which the next generation is capable of glimpsing them as well.
That it takes courage to speak truth to power is something we are all learning.
But never forget that we know—we KNOW—Who wins this battle in the end.
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.