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Category Archives: Adoption

Marriage Debate Has High Stakes

The stakes have never been higher as advocates of redefining marriage continue to push for a radical reordering of the most basic foundation of society.

A recent article out of Oklahoma describes many of the concerns that pro-family advocates have about the push to re-define marriage, particularly as it relates to religious liberty:

 ...for opponents the damage of legalizing gay marriage is more than a paper shortage or legal procedure. Unless lawmakers carve out broad protections for those who oppose same-sex marriage on religious grounds, they see the trend of current court ruling favoring gay marriage as an erosion of freedom of expression and conscience rights.

"If same-sex marriage is established in law, it will be increasingly difficult for anyone who holds to the traditional view of conjugal marriage to maintain a witness to that truth under such a decision," said Matthew Franck, director of the Witherspoon Institute's Simon Center on Religion and the Constitution in Princeton, New Jersey. "Church-run schools, employers, adoption agencies, child-service agencies run by religious organizations — all of these institutions and private concerns will be adversely affected."

The article briefly explores the history of marriage redefinition in the United States:

coalitionavatarOn Nov. 18, 2003, Massachusetts' Supreme Judicial Court decided in favor of same-sex marriage in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health, saying that "barring an individual from the protections, benefits, and obligations of civil marriage solely because that person would marry a person of the same sex violates the Massachusetts Constitution."

The justices gave legislators 180 days to change the law, and when the solons didn't, same-sex marriage was permitted. At 12:01 a.m. May 18, 2004, the city of Cambridge, Massachusetts, became the first in the state and the nation, to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples...

"It was a massive mistake and a betrayal when the Supreme Judicial Court foisted same-sex marriage on the people of Massachusetts, and it remains so today," lamented Brian J. Brown, head of the National Organization for Marriage, which supports the traditional definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman.

The Massachusetts decision "started the same sort of lawlessness that we've seen with judges (elsewhere) saying they have the right to define marriage for a state, subverting the democratic process."

Brown said the "redefinition of marriage has had consequences" beyond what proponents concluded. In Massachusetts, the state has "deconstructed gender" by referring to mothers and fathers solely by the word "parent" in official proceedings, he claimed, and in schools, "kids are now taught their parents are bigots if they support the traditional definition of marriage."

The traditional marriage advocate said when the Massachusetts Senate refused to consider a voter-signed petition calling for a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman, it started a trend of elected officials in other states refusing to defend marriage laws and amendments passed by voters and/or legislatures.

In Oregon, state Attorney General Ellen Rosenbaum declared three months ago there was "no rational basis" for the 2004 voter-approved constitutional amendment defining marriage as being between one man and one woman, according to the Oregonian newspaper. On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Michael McShane ruled Brown's group "had no (legal) standing" to defend the measure in that state.

Franck noted that the state imposing a false definition of marriage on everyone has alarming consequences:

"Just look at what happened to Catholic Charities, which ceased adoption services in Massachusetts in the aftermath" of the 2003 ruling, he said. The Roman Catholic social-service agency shut down after the state required the agency to place children with same-sex married couples.

Advocates behind the push to redefine marriage have disregarded the well-being of children, who benefit from mothers and fathers shaping them in different, important ways, and demonstrate a shocking lack of tolerance for those who understand that marriage is a unique institution worth protecting.  The state's redefinition of marriage violated Massachusetts Catholic Charities' deeply-held beliefs about the nature of marriage, forcing them to close, and subsequently hurt the children who Catholic Charities would have otherwise been able to place in loving homes with mothers and fathers:

And other religiously linked institutions with admission, employment, housing or other policies prohibiting same-sex couples may face challenges, said attorney Nicholas Miller, director of the International Religious Liberty Institute at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan, which is owned by the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

"States may not have as strong a religious rights lobby as there is at the federal level," Miller said. Despite the fact that the Seventh-day Adventist Church does not endorse same-sex marriage, Miller said Adventist- and Catholic-owned hospitals in California are being required to provide employee benefits to same-sex couples.

Greg Scott, a spokesman for the Alliance Defending Freedom, which is litigating in several states to support traditional marriage, said the group hopes the U.S. Supreme Court will continue its view that marriage should be defined by the states, as it expressed in its 2013 ruling, U.S. vs. Windsor, which struck down the prohibition against same-sex marriage in federal law.

"We hope the Supreme Court stays consistent," Scott said. "Marriage is worth fighting for and there are a lot of people that do believe that. Perhaps a wrong decision at the Supreme Court will inspire millions of Americans to rebuild a culture of strong marriages and understand again what marriage is about."

...Lawmakers could pass exemptions protecting a quasi-religious social organization such as the Catholic-based Knights of Columbus from having to rent its banquet facilities for a same-sex marriage reception, said Robin Fretwell Wilson, a law professor at the University of Illinois and an advocate for religious exemptions to same-sex marriage laws.

"To some extent the Knights of Columbus is a religious group (and) if you say we're going to treat every kind of membership hall as a public accommodation, you're putting them at risk (in) that if they won't yield on their religious conviction, they'd have to celebrate something they can't endorse," Wilson said.

She said it should be up the legislatures to determine where to carve out protections for individuals, businesses and faith-based institutions that adhere to religious beliefs that prevent them from recognizing same-sex marriages.

We the PeopleThe final paragraphs of this article are stunning to anyone who believes religious organizations and business owners should be able to freely operate in accordance with their values:

But same-sex marriage proponents vow to fight any exceptions for public facilities or services, whether owned by a religious institution or not.

"There is a problem when organizations want to have it both ways — open to the public for a revenue stream, but asserted to be private (religiously private or otherwise) when it comes to rules that regulate commercial activity," said Jennifer C. Pizer, senior counsel and director of the Law and Policy Project at Lambda Legal in Los Angeles.

That goes for religiously affiliated social service agencies as well.

"Those services are offered pursuant to state licensure and professional ethics rules for protection of the public," she said. "If the state and/or profession includes nondiscrimination rules within the standards for those services, the religious organization has a choice: either offer licensed services to the public for a fee in conformity with the applicable standards, or don’t offer them to the public."

The notion that religious organizations must conform with arbitrary "nondiscrimination" standards seems to be more important to Pizer than the First Amendment and the rights it grants all people.

The core of society and the basic human freedom of religion are at stake as Americans work to protect marriage.  The battle to uphold marriage has never been more essential.

Scottish Catholic Adoption Agency Threatened with Closure Over Marriage Views

LifeSiteNews:

Family on BeachAnother British Catholic adoption agency is being threatened with closure by the government for refusing to toe the government’s line of support for the homosexualist political agenda.

St. Margaret’s Children and Family Care Society, associated with the Catholic archdiocese of Glasgow, has lost a ruling in its argument with the Scottish government’s charity regulator, which is demanding the charity drop its policy of adopting only to mothers and fathers who have been married for at least two years.

The Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) has found St. Margaret’s in violation of the Equality Act 2010, saying that its policy "discriminated unlawfully" against same-sex couples. St. Margaret’s is remaining defiant, however, saying that they will fight the decision.

The Christian Institute campaign group quoted a St. Margaret’s board member saying,  “The ultimate irony is that apparently in the name of tolerance, societies such as Saint Margaret’s are no longer to be tolerated.”

Florida Judge Approves Birth Certificate Listing Three Parents

NBC:

A Florida judge has approved the adoption of a 22-month-old baby girl that will list three people as parents on her birth certificate -- a married lesbian couple and a gay man.

The decision ends a two-year paternity fight between the couple and a friend of the women who donated his sperm to father the child but later sought a larger role in the girl's life.

The ruling means the child's birth certificate will include a biological father and both women as parents in an unusual arrangement approved recently by a Miami-Dade Circuit Court judge.

The women, Maria Italiano, 43, and Cher Filippazzo, 38, had made several unsuccessful attempts to become parents using fertility clinics.

They then turned to Italiano's hair dresser, Massimiliano Gerina, and asked if he would provide his sperm for artificial insemination.

More details of the arrangement:

Under the judge's decision, the two women will have sole parental rights, although Gerina will be allowed to visit the child. He will not be expected to provide child support.

"We're trying to do the right thing for Emma," Filippazzo said. "We want Emma to have it all, and we believe by doing it this way, including him in a birthday or Thanksgiving, it'll be a nice addition for her."

"We believe the best interest for Emma is for him to have a role in her life, but not as a parent," she said. "The role is this is mommy's good friend who helped your moms have you because they wanted you so badly."

Scottish Official Warns Catholic Adoption Agency: Place Kids With S-S Couples or Be Shuttered

Scottish adoption charity St Margaret’s Children and Family Care Society has been warned that if it does not start accepting applications from gay couples it will lose its charity status.

St Margaret’s policy states that “We expect applicants to have been married for at least two years”.

Following a complaint by the National Secular Society (NSS), the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) ruled that since same-sex marriage is not currently legal in the UK, the policy was excluding gay couples from their adoption system.

This was deemed to be unlawful discrimination.

"The Judge Has Determined the Woman Who Gave Birth is, in Fact, a Mother."

A society that seeks to tamper with marriage will also inevitably seek to tamper with biology. This example via Elizabeth Marquadt at Family Scholars:

BREAKING:

"A Harris County judge has reached a decision in an unusual custody battle involving a surrogate and two Houston men. The judge has determined the woman who gave birth is, in fact, a mother."

For background, see Jennifer Lahl and I writing about the case in HuffPost, "Are Women Easy Bake Ovens?”

UK: Catholic Adoption Charity Loses Legal Appeal

One more Christian charity forced to close its doors, even after appealing:

Catholic Care has lost its latest appeal in its fight to be allowed to prevent gay couples from using its adoption services.

Since 2008, the Leeds-based faith group, which arranges around five adoptions each year, has maintained that unless it is able to exclude gay people as potential guardians it would lose vital church funding.

However, on Friday, a judge dismissed Catholic Care’s latest appeal at the Upper Tribunal in central London.

According to ThirdSector, in its ruling, Mr Justice Sales said Catholic Care had failed to provide sufficient evidence that its funding would dry up, and it would be forced to close, if it complied with the law.

The agency, which serves the dioceses of Leeds, Middlesbrough, and Hallam in South Yorkshire, had argued the Equality Act went against the Catholic Church’s teachings on marriage and family life. -- PinkNews

"Dad" Deleted from UK NHS Baby Guide – for Sake of Gay Couples

The UK Christian Institute:

“Dad” has been removed from a taxpayer-funded baby guide after a single complaint that same-sex couples were being excluded.

The Scottish NHS guide, called Ready Steady Baby, now features the word “partner” instead of “Dad”.

Critics said the health service should not be wasting money on such a change.

The pregnancy and parenthood guide, which is 220 pages long, has been given to parents for the last 14 years.

But following one complaint that the book was “not inclusive of people in same-sex relationships”, the NHS in Scotland replaced all references to “Dad”.

Norman Wells, Director of the Family Education Trust, said: “The NHS should not be squandering tax payers’ money to advance the cause of a minority interest group.”

He continued: “No matter how much effort is made to present positive images of families headed by same-sex couples, the fact remains it takes a man and a woman to create a child.”

Law.com: Unheard Voice in Surrogate Case ­-- the Birth Mother's

Law.com (subscription required):

The New Jersey Supreme Court heard oral argument on March 1 in a surrogate-mother suit, The Matter of the Parentage of a Child by T.J.S. and A.L.S., and in so doing, exposed the case's greatest weakness.

The class of women with the greatest rights at risk was unrepresented. While the parties and the Court pondered whether the justices could change statutory law, or declare it unconstitutional, the central issue was whether and when the fundamental constitutional liberty interests and state's rights of the unrepresented legal mothers could be terminated.

The birth mothers were not heard from. Of such stuff, bad law is made.

... The wife in T.J.S. seeks to cut off the rights of the legal mother, which are protected as an intrinsic fundamental right under the state and federal constitutions. The sperm donor, on the other hand, has no rights ­ statutory or constitutional. T.J.S.'s wife has no rights either, by statute or either constitution.

The fact that the state does not recognize rights in an anonymous sperm donor who has no statutory or constitutional rights and who has no relationship with the child, does not compel the state to terminate the rights of a mother who has statutory and constitutional rights in the relationship she has with the child she carried for nine months under concepts of equal protection.

The two are simply NOT similarly situated. That was the conclusion of the Baby M Court.

The sad irony of T.J.S.'s argument is that it is made in the name of women's rights, while attempting to destroy well-established constitutional rights of women who went unrepresented.

Chicago Tribune: Religious Liberty Key Issue in Illinois GOP Primary

The Chicago Tribune on the effects of same-sex civil unions and religious liberty issues playing a role in the Illinois GOP primary happening today:

The issue of religious freedom, raised by all four Republican candidates but identified most strongly with Rick Santorum, finds an interested audience as the contest reaches Illinois.

Last year in Illinois, Catholic Charities and the Evangelical Child and Family Agency were forced to pull out of the foster care business when they refused to license couples in civil unions.

... Some believe Santorum's religious rhetoric could lure socially conservative voters who feel persecuted for their religious beliefs and who argue that the nation's founding principle of religious liberty is under attack by President Barack Obama's administration. Religion is seen as a lightning-rod issue, similar to the proposed bans on same-sex marriage that drew social conservatives to the polls in 2004 and helped George W. Bush win re-election.

"The language that we hear about the Obama administration waging war against religion is both energizing and polarizing," said Ralph Keen, chair of Catholic studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago. "The person who declares that there is an Obama-led war against religion is going to be recognized as the leader of a cause that mobilizes. It's going to mobilize the religious population."

French President Says No to Gay Marriage and Gay Adoption

Matthew Hoffman of LifeSiteNews on French President Nicolas Sarkozy taking a decidedly pro-child stance:

French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who has been under pressure from socialist opponents to weaken his stance on human life and family issues, says he is not budging.

In a recent interview with the conservative magazine Le Figaro, Sarkozy reaffirmed his conservative stances on a variety of social and economic issues.

In contrast to his principal opponent in the upcoming presidential elections, socialist François Hollande, Sarkozy told Le Figaro that he is “not favorable” to homosexual “marriage,” because it “opens the door to adoption.”

“In troubled times, when our society needs to keep its bearings, I don’t think that it is necessary to blur the image of this essential social institution that is marriage,” said Sarkozy.

Although Sarkozy said that he supports strengthening certain legal rights for homosexuals, including inheritance rights, he opposes the creation of “civil unions” because the would “tend to harm the institution of marriage.

Victory! VA Senate Approves Bill To Protect Children; Governor Promises to Sign

Good news from the Virginia Family Foundation:

In a monumental victory for religious liberty the state Senate [last] Thursday passed SB 349, a bill that protects private child placement agencies in Virginia from being forced to violate their faith principles when placing children. The Senate passed the legislation 22-18. The House passed an identical bill last week.

Patroned by Senator Jeff McWaters (R-8, Virginia Beach), the bill protects the organizations and agencies that facilitate the majority of child placements in Virginia, helping hundreds of children and families every year. The bill was necessitated after an effort by homosexual rights groups and former Governor Tim Kaine to coerce faith-based agencies into adopting children to homosexual individuals regardless of those agencies faith principles.

Victory! VA House Approves Bill 71-28 to Protect Faith-Based Adoption Agencies

The news broke late last Friday. This via the Associated Press:

Legislation that would allow private adoption agencies to deny placements that conflict with their religious or moral beliefs, including opposition to homosexuality, sailed through the Virginia House of Delegates by a wide margin and without debate Friday.

The House passed the Republican-backed bill 71-28 a day after rejecting several amendments offered by Democrats aimed at softening the measure. Earlier Friday, the Senate Rehabilitation and Social Services Committee endorsed its version of the bill on an 8-7 party-line vote, sending it to the floor for a vote next week. Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell is expected to sign the bill if it reaches his desk.

Del. Todd Gilbert, R-Woodstock and sponsor of the House bill, says it protects religious freedom.

115 French Legislators: Children Have "Fundamental Right" to be Raised by Mother and Father

LifeSiteNews:

The number of French parliamentarians that have added their names to a list of those opposing homosexual “marriage” and adoption has now reached 115, according to the French magazine Liberation.

The petition was begun in response to a new initiative by French socialists, who are promising voters to institute homosexual “marriage” if they are chosen in the upcoming presidential elections.

The parliamentarians in opposition come from the three political parties that make up the coalition supporting President Nicolas Sarkozy: the Union for a Popular Movement, the New Center, and the Movement for France.

The declaration favors “the defense of the fundamental right of a child the be cared for and to develop within a family composed of a father and a mother.”

Attorney Says School Threatened, Punished WI Boy Who Opposed Gay Adoption

Todd Starnes at Fox News commentary:

A 15-year-old Wisconsin boy who wrote an op-ed opposing gay adoptions was censored, threatened with suspension and called ignorant by the superintendent of the Shawano School District, according to an attorney representing the child.

Mathew Staver, the founder of the Liberty Counsel, sent a letter to Superintendent Todd Carlson demanding an apology for “Its unconstitutional and irrational censorship and humiliation” of Brandon Wegner.

Wegner, a student at Shawano High School, was asked to write an op-ed for the school newspaper about whether gays should be allowed to adopt. Wegner, who is a Christian, wrote in opposition. Another student wrote in favor of allowing gays to adopt.

... Staver said what the school system did next was absolutely outrageous. He said the 15-year-old was ordered to the superintendent’s office where he was subjected to hours of meetings and was accused of violating the school’s bullying policy.

“The superintendent called him ignorant and said he had the power to suspend him,” Staver said. “He’s using his position to bully this student. This is absolutely the epitome of intolerance.”

Staver said the boy’s parents were never notified.

At one point, Staver said the superintendent gave him a chance to say he regretted writing the column.

“When Mr. Wegner stated that he did not regret writing it, and that he stood behind his beliefs, Superintendent Carlson told him that he ‘had got to be one of the most ignorant kids to try to argue with him about this topic,’” Staver said.

At that point, Staver said the superintendent told the boy that “we have the power to suspend you if we want to.”

The superintendent allegedly told Wegner that he was personally offended by Wegner’s column.

Same-Sex Michigan Couple Sue Over Adoption Ban for Unmarried Couples

The Associated Press:

Two lesbians who are raising three children filed a lawsuit Monday to overturn Michigan's ban on adoption by unmarried couples.

April DeBoer, with two adopted children, and Jayne Rowse, with one, are longtime partners and nurses who live together with the kids in suburban Detroit. But under state law, they can't adopt them as a couple, an option available only to heterosexual married couples.

... The lawsuit names Gov. Rick Snyder and Attorney General Bill Schuette as defendants.

"We have not seen the suit yet, but our job is to enforce and defend all laws as enacted by the Legislature," Schuette spokesman John Sellek said. "Any changes to a law would have to originate in the Legislature."