NOM BLOG

Category Archives: Culture

It's Working


Our push to urge Members of Congress to introduce legislation to protect people of faith from governmental persecution for living out the truth of marriage in their daily lives and at work is working. Thousands of people have reached out to members of Congress urging them to introduce and support the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA). These patriots know that without the legal protections that FADA would provide, faith-based nonprofit groups, small businesses, churches, pastors and priests, schools, charities and individuals will continue to be subject to targeting by government officials whenever they do not embrace the extreme agenda of LGBT activists and the left.

We need to keep the pressure up on Congress so that when they return to Washington after Labor Day they give us action, and not more empty promises. That's why I am asking you to please support the National Organization for Marriage with an immediate financial contribution. The plain fact is that we need to raise additional resources to push Congress and the Trump administration to provide the protection they have repeatedly promised.

Many NOM members have responded with help, and for that I am grateful. If you have not yet been able to make a contribution, I ask that you prayerfully consider one now.

If you have not yet contacted your member of Congress to ask him or her to introduce and support the First Amendment Defense Act, there's still time to act. You can click on this link to look up your Representative in Congress. (You'll have to enter your zip code).

The reality of the political situation in America today is that Republicans in Washington – from President Trump on down to the most junior member of the House of Representatives – owe their election to people of faith, who form the core base of political support that delivered both houses of Congress and the White House to the Republican Party. Despite this, we've heard little but talk from them since they were sworn into office this past January. We need them to stop talking and start doing. Introducing and passing the First Amendment Defense Act needs to happen now.

You can help NOM push for urgently needed legal protections by contributing to support NOM and by contacting your Representative in the House to urge action on the First Amendment Defense Act.

Faithfully,

Brian S Brown

Donate Today!

"Privacy for All Students" Effort Continues to Gain Steam

PFAS

We've been keeping our readers informed about the ongoing efforts in California to overturn AB 1266, the "Co-ed Bathroom Law" - efforts which have brought together a broad coalition effort in the Privacy for All Students campaign, including NOM California and NOM's political consultant Frank Schubert.

In case you missed it, Frank was interviewed last Friday for National Review Online and explained to Alec Torres why he is optimistic about the initiative underway there:

Once people become aware of [the law], then they oppose it.... We’ve done a survey and what we’ve found is that only 35 percent of voters support this law, and 51 percent oppose it. When you [talk with individuals and] go through the pro and con arguments, we end up at over 60 percent opposition to the law.

A victorious repeal of the law is almost certain if the matter can be put on the ballot. That's what the Privacy for All Students coalition is busy working to do, gathering petition signatures to meet a November 8th deadline.

To find out how you can help, visit the coalition's website today.

Sometimes There's Only One Right Word

The French writer Gustave Flaubert famously spent weeks sometimes pondering a single word looking for just the right one - what he called "le mot juste."

flaubert

Flaubert recognized that sometimes there really is only one perfect term to describe the essence of a particular thing. Well, there is one perfect word to describe our culture's dissonant approach to marriage and family, and that word is incoherent.

An article in yesterday's Washington Times reports that there is a growing concern about "irresponsible fatherhood" in our society: "Despite myriad efforts by fatherhood programs, too many men are ending up in multiple relationships, with multiple children from multiple mothers."

An expert quoted in the article suggests that men need to "advised... to 'slow down,' 'prepare for fatherhood,' realize that a mother and child are 'a package' and 'take time' to select a loving partner and future mother."

Erasing the First Amendment

But these efforts to address a very real concern are incoherent in a cultural context where powerful forces are pushing a radical agenda to redefine marriage and thereby necessarily redefine the roles of parents, making 'fatherhood' an expendable option and devaluing the unique services that men and women each provide in raising children.

To preserve and promote fatherhood requires first that we preserve and promote the true definition of marriage. Marriage is like a key-word for a cipher which, when you get it wrong, causes all the connected code-words to fall apart too. Fatherhood depends on the meaning of the unique and special union of one man and one woman.  And for that union, le mot juste is "marriage."

"The age of liberation from sexual roles and standards has also been an age of ever greater inequality."

A wonderful article from earlier this month in The Catholic World Report deserves to be read, studied, and shared by anyone who engages in conversation and debate over the definition of marriage.

The remarkable piece by James Kalb lays out in a compelling way how the standard for public discourse today - "the view that recently led the Supreme Court to treat restriction of marriage to opposite-sex couples as an expression of intent to harm same-sex couples" - needs to be attacked and shifted to more solid ground [emphasis added]:

Pink-Blue-TowelsLiberal thought is entrenched as the basis for public discussion, and it doesn’t like the idea of a network of expectations and obligations to which people are subject other than those generated by state and market. What’s just, liberals believe, is for individuals to be free from all social pressure in their private lives as long as they perform their duties as employees, taxpayers, and citizens of a diverse, tolerant, and multicultural society. If people are pressured to act one way or another for some reason other than the needs of liberal institutions, that’s bigotry and discrimination, and eradicating it is one of the central duties of government.

However strong and entrenched that way of thinking is, it needs to be disputed and overthrown.

Kalb also explains in very clear terms the importance of the definition of marriage and why it matters so deeply:

Man-Woman-ChildIf marriage is to be something we can rely on, it can’t be a sentimental celebration or optional lifestyle choice whose content depends on the orientation and goals of the parties. It has to be understood as something definite that, simply because of what it is, has intrinsic functions that are basic to human life. To be itself, it must therefore be understood as a union of man and woman that accepts the natural consequences of such a union, and there have to be distinct understandings of men, women, the relations between the two, and what they owe and have a right to expect from each other.

Take some time to read and re-read the entire essay today.

Crisis Magazine - The Persecution of Christians

ChristianityIn the aptly named Crisis Magazine, Stephen Beale has begun to chronicle the persecution of Christians as they take public stands through their businesses against the redefinition of marriage.  NOM has chronicled many of these for you, but the article is a timely reminder of the growing threat to our free exercise of religion as marriage is redefined.  Beale quotes, Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of The Thomas Moore Law Center:

These cases represent a new battlefield in the clash between the freedoms of Christians and the “radical homosexual agenda”…Despite their relatively small numbers, radical homosexuals wield enormous power. They dominate our cultural elite, Hollywood, television, the mainstream news media, public schools, academia, and a significant portion of the judiciary…As a result of their power, homosexual activists are able to intimidate and silence opposition.

Read more here.

What Can One Person Do?

One of the questions NOM always gets is, “What can one person do to make a difference?”  Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert got the same question at last weekend’s Values Voter Summit hosted by the Family Research Council.  Watch and listen to his simple 90-second response:

"The Vocation to Form One Flesh"

From LifeSiteNews.com:

Pope FrancisPope Francis urged youth today to have the “courage” to get married and have children despite a culture that emphasizes “individual rights” over family.

The pope made the remarks in Assisi during an energetic question and answer session with a number of young people.

[...]

The pope pointed out that marriage is a "real vocation, just like priesthood and religious life are. Two Christians who marry each other have recognized in their love story the Lord's call, the vocation to form one flesh, one life from the two, male and female" [emphasis added].

Read more here.

National Organization for Marriage California Backs Effort to Repeal Co-ed Bathroom Law

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 20, 2013
Contact: Elizabeth Ray or Matille Thebolt (703-683-5004)


"AB1266, the co-ed bathroom law, is a horrible attempt by activists to strip society of all gender roles and uses children as a weapon in their culture war." — Brian Brown, NOM president —

National Organization for Marriage

Sacramento, CA — The National Organization for Marriage California (NOM) today announced that it has joined in the fight to repeal California's first-in-the-nation co-ed bathroom law, AB 1266. NOM is urging its members in California to assist in the effort to gather the nearly 505,000 required voter signatures to place the repeal on the November 2014 ballot, suspending the law until Californians can vote to reject it.

"AB1266, the co-ed bathroom law, is a horrible attempt by activists to strip society of all gender roles and uses children as a weapon in their culture war," said Brian Brown, NOM's president. "The National Organization for Marriage fully supports the efforts of the Privacy for All Students coalition to repeal this dangerous law. Opening our most vulnerable areas at school including showers, bathrooms and changing rooms to members of the opposite sex is politically-correct madness that risks the privacy and security of our children and grandchildren."

NOM has long warned that when marriage is redefined, other important social norms are soon destroyed. In June 2013, the United States Supreme Court ruled that the backers of Proposition 8 preserving marriage did not have the legal standing to bring an appeal of a lower court ruling finding traditional marriage laws to be unconstitutional, which resulted in same-sex marriage being imposed on the state in violation of the direct decision of the people themselves.

"Not even two short months after the US Supreme Court refused to uphold the right of over 7 million Californians to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman, the California Legislature passed AB 1266, the school co-ed bathroom law," said Brown. "They are forcing our school children to be exposed in showers and bathrooms to members of the opposite sex who claim a 'gender identity' with that sex. This new law doesn't prevent bullying - it is bullying. It is not about protecting kids; it damages kids."

The Privacy for All Students coalition is attempting to stop the law's implementation by gathering nearly 505,000 voter signatures by early November. The law will then be suspended until the people have the chance to reject it at the general election to be held in November 2014.

"We urge all our supporters to download a petition and to financially support the Privacy For All Students coalition effort," Brown said.

The National Organization for Marriage expects to play a significant role in getting the referendum on the ballot as it did in the Prop 8 campaign in 2008.

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To schedule an interview with Brian Brown, President of the National Organization for Marriage, please contact Elizabeth Ray (x130), eray@crcpublicrelations.com, or Matille Thebolt (x143), mthebolt@crcpublicrelations.com, at 703-683-5004.

Paid for by The National Organization for Marriage, Brian Brown, president. 2029 K Street NW, Suite 300 Washington, DC 20006, not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee. New § 68A.405(1)(f) & (h).

"Family Friendly" Apparently Offends Some

Many in the gay marriage movement claim that they have no desire to force their lifestyle on anyone else, they only want the freedom to love and marry whomever they wish. But sometimes this carefully-crafted claim is undermined by the real-world actions of the homosexual community itself.

PrideParadeAn example of this was seen last week, as controversy erupted in the media about the Dallas Pride Parade. MyFoxDetroit reported that organizers had stated ahead of this year's event- which took place on Sunday- that "rules related to nudity and sexual behavior would be enforced more strictly than in past years. Police said anyone violating indecency laws in front of children could be charged with a felony."

But many in the gay community were unhappy about the stricter enforcement of the rules, not only in Dallas but across the country:

The warnings outraged some local activists, whose reactions swiftly echoed through gay-oriented social media nationwide.

"To make the parade more 'family friendly' and to accommodate comfort for the increasing number of attending heterosexuals and corporate sponsorship, participants are being asked to cover up!" activist Daniel Scott Cates wrote on his Facebook page. "The 'queer' is effectively being erased from our pride celebration."

Another activist, Hardy Haderman, wrote an aggrieved column for the Dallas Voice, a weekly serving the gay community.

"The assimilationists insist we tone down and throw away all our joyous sexiness," he wrote. "Why? To do that turns the Pride Parade into a We-Are-Ashamed parade, and I refuse to be part of that."

The rules are hardly extreme, however: the article explains that they "were drafted to conform with the city's public nudity ordinance and the state's anti-obscenity law, which bars the parade from featuring sexual paraphernalia and 'real or simulated sex acts.'"

This leaves us wondering how public displays of nudity in front of children and sexual acts on public streets doesn’t equate to forcing others to be exposed to elements of a lifestyle that is understandably objectionable to many.

Church of Scotland May Be Forced to Halt All Weddings if SSM is Legalized

I remember sitting with a co-worker in Washington State this time last year marveling, in a not so good way, that our nation is even having a debate about the nature of marriage. Marriage – the institution that crosses all cultural and historical boundaries – that has literally stood the ultimate test of time – and here we are in the western world thinking, “Maybe we should change it?” It’s crazy sad that we are even having the discussion.

St Andrews Cathedral, ScotlandBut when we contemplate redefining marriage, we must also contemplate a whole host of consequences. And right now, the Kirk (church) of Scotland is having one of those sad crazy discussions as they consider whether they should stop celebrating wedding ceremonies at all – for straight or gays. The Kirk is deeply concerned that if the Scottish government redefines marriage they will have no choice but to stop performing them altogether.

Before you think this is just fear-mongering, remember that in England, a same-sex couple is already suing the Church of England because the church won’t marry them. Or as one of the men said, “I’m not getting what I want.” So I’ll sue Christians.

It is crazy sad that churches have to have these discussions. But when we redefine marriage there are a myriad of known and unknown consequences that we will have to deal with.

Frankly the only answer is to not redefine marriage in the first place.

4 Factors of Marriage That Can Never Be Abandoned

Ryan Anderson, William E. Simon Fellow at Heritage and co-author of What Is Marriage?: Man and Woman: A Defenseprovides enlightening insight about the four key marital norms: the sexual complementarity, monogamy, exclusivity, and permanence of marriage, and what happens when they are abandoned.

The Heritage Foundation:

...No-fault divorce was the first major trend to undermine a strong marriage culture. Now the effort to redefine marriage away from male-female complementarity has gone even further in abandoning the central characteristics of the institution. But if the law redefines marriage to say the male-female aspect is arbitrary, what principle will be left to retain monogamy, sexual exclusivity, or the expectation of permanency?[2] Such developments will have high social costs.

Young CoupleIdeas and behaviors have consequences. The breakdown of the marriage culture since the 1960s made it possible in this generation to consider redefining marriage in the law to exclude sexual complementarity. And that redefinition may lead to further redefinition.

Indeed, these new concepts make marriage primarily about adult desire, with marriage understood primarily as an intense emotional relationship between (or among) consenting adults. This revisionism comes with significant social costs.

Redefining marriage to say that men and women are interchangeable, that “monogamish” relationships work just as well as monogamous relationships, that “throuples” are the same as couples, and that “wedlease” is preferable to wedlock will only lead to more broken homes, more broken hearts, and more intrusive government. Americans should reject such revisionism and work to restore the essentials that make marriage so important for societal welfare: sexual complementarity, monogamy, exclusivity, and permanency.

Religious Persecution: Coming to a Town Near You

“Wake up, people. It’s 1939 all over again.” That’s how Christine M. Flowers ends her provocative column in today’s Philadelphia Daily News on the real-world threats to religious freedom.

Flowers focuses primarily on religious persecution outside of the United States, but does note parallels to what we are witnessing—in some ways, for the first time—on the home front:

Those who've challenged the ObamaCare birth-control mandate know that the current administration is not particularly sympathetic to claims of religious freedom. Worse, it has become obvious that anyone who questions the validity of same-sex marriage based upon strongly held religious principles can expect to be called a bigot and, perhaps, find himself slapped with a civil-rights lawsuit, as recently happened to a wedding photographer in New Mexico.

cross-silhouette1a

She points out that, “In the 21st century, the cross is in the crosshairs, and the most brutal attacksare reserved for those who follow Jesus.”

Unfortunately, the column fails to fully connect the dots between the heinous acts of violence committed against Christians in places like the Middle East, and the seeds of Christian persecution being sown in the U.S. through the examples cited above.

Like the proverbial “slow boil of the frog,” religious liberty in the United States is increasingly falling victim to a “soft tyranny,” whose very design is to slowly erode these unalienable rights so as not to draw too much notice until it too late.

If Americans truly prize their freedom and liberty, then the challenge is to act now to prevent a full-blown assault on Christian consciences in the U.S. like those taking place around the world.

You can read the rest of Ms. Flowers column here.

Redefining Marriage and the Concept of Freedom

In his column today, First Things editor R.R. Reno discusses the concepts of freedom and discipline. And why same-sex marriage is intimately tied to both.

...it’s very palpable here in New York and entirely accepted and affirmed by the well-educated twenty-somethings who flock here—it’s not surprising that we see people cherishing compensatory freedoms. The hard-working twenty-somethings have tattoos, dye their hair weird colors, and want to organize their intimate lives without rigid limits and invasive rules.

Rainbow FlagRedefining marriage becomes an obvious imperative, but not because of abstract claims about equality. It’s a powerful institution that disciplines us, not only sexually, but in many other intimate ways as well. Today many, perhaps most, want this power to serve our freedom. Thus our new cultural ideal, which is by no means limited to gays and lesbians: marriage is the creation of the love of individuals, not an institution with rigid roles and rules.

Same-sex marriage, gay adoption, sexual freedom? We’re under tremendous pressure to affirm these goals because the top level of society is turning in on itself. As is always the case when society isn’t facing external threats or internal chaos, the powerful seek greater freedom, because they’re the ones in the best position to take advantage of it.

True, the Left wants a finely woven safety net for those who use their freedoms unwisely, while the Right tends to go the other direction, arguing that people need to suffer the consequences of their choices so that they’ll make better choices in the future. But the political and policy differences operate mostly on the surface. At a deeper level our leadership class is consolidating around a generally libertarian outlook that accepts and affirms ways in which the authority of the marketplace and its ministering disciplines have superseded the older authorities.

Same sex marriage is the issue today because our culture is now dominated by people for whom freedom is (conveniently for them) the solution to most problems. People don’t have jobs? Answer: more freedom. Terrorists want to kill us? Answer: more freedom. People are unhappy in their intimate lives? Answer: more freedom.

Read the full article over at First Things.

Why Is It So Difficult to Discuss Marriage?

As a forward to the 2006 book "The Meaning of Marriage", prominent ethicist Jean Bethke Elshtain, who passed away earlier this week, wrote this insightful piece on the marriage debate.

The Public Discourse:

One reason, of course, is that we all have a stake in the debate and its outcome. No one is left untouched by marriage, including those who never marry, because marriage is such a pervasive institution in our society. One recent estimate indicates that 88 percent of women and 82 percent of men will marry at some point.

Don't TalkGiven the importance of marriage as an institution for individuals and for society, the thoughtful citizen has every reason to expect, and even demand, a deep and thoughtful debate as the precondition for any change in how we understand marriage and encourage it to take shape. One need only reflect on previous alterations in the regulation of marriage in order to understand that changes in marriage law have consequences that intellectuals, politicians, and citizens alike should think through thoroughly before endorsing.

When one looks back on the debates that took place in the late 1960s and early 1970s over changing the divorce laws of this country—leading to the wide-scale institutionalization of no-fault divorce—there was much debate about the rights of women stuck in unhappy marriages. There were few serious discussions about what effects no-fault divorce would have on the institution of marriage; how social perception of marriage as a normative institution would subsequently change; how its purpose in society might be altered; what historical and philosophical roots anchored the movement; what effect widespread no-fault divorce might have on how we raise children and prepare them to become responsible citizens. Certainly people did not consider the negative impact no-fault divorce would have on women themselves!

But we have now learned that divorce is strongly associated with the immiseration of women: studies indicate, for example, that between one-fifth and one-third of women fall into poverty in the wake of a divorce. At the time, there were a few who argued that no-fault divorce would have significant social repercussions, but the ensuing highly-charged debate, again narrowly cast in terms of individual rights, muted their voices. Any opposition was construed as anti-feminist, despite the fact that many of the concerns expressed were precisely about the well-being of women who faced divorce.

...Responsible social scientists and political theorists always caution that major social change—and same-sex marriage involves something more basic than no-fault divorce—always trails negative unintended consequences in its wake. It follows that this recognition, for which there is a mountain of compelling evidence, should caution us to move with great care if we aim to alter the fundamental human institution that has always been the groundwork of social life.

Millennials Will Save Marriage

Here's a fantastic piece from Chris Marlink over at Marriage Generation. Millennials, he argues, the same generation poised to throw it all away, will ultimately be the ones to redeem and restore marriage:

FriendsMillennials, those approximately 18 to about 31, are the generation most supportive of redefining marriage. They’re increasingly likely to delay or forgo marriage altogether (just 26% of adults aged 20 to 29 were married in 2008, compared to nearly 70% in 1960), and they’re the most convinced that marriage is becoming obsolete.

But here’s my counterintuitive thesis: Millennials, that same generation poised to throw it all away, will save marriage. They’ll do it the way sailors have made progress in strong headwinds for thousands of years. They’ll tack.

...using the word “marriage” to solemnize same-sex relationships wouldn’t be a redefinition so much as a natural conclusion. In the public mind, marriage has already been redefined—that is, separated from its true and full meaning. Consider this paragraph from Molly Ball at the Atlantic, writing on the fallout of the Prop 8 electoral victory:

In survey after survey, researchers would ask people what marriage meant to them -- not gay marriage, but the concept of marriage itself. And the answers were always the same: Marriage meant love and commitment. Even people who'd been divorced three times would say the same thing. Then the researchers would ask, "Why do you think gay people want to get married?" and the answers would change: They want rights and benefits. They're trying to make a political point. They don't understand what marriage is really about. Most commonly, respondents said they simply didn't know. [emphasis mine]

Millennials who hold orthodox convictions on marriage are not in a race to stop marriage from being redefined. Supposing most Americans understand marriage as “love and commitment,” then let us acknowledge that this exclusively personal understanding of marriage, sundered from any of the societal implications of the union, already represents a redefinition. Same-sex “marriage” is a near unassailable eventuality if marriage means solely “love and commitment.” Our task then, is not to stop a redefinition of marriage: it is to correct a redefinition. It is to redeem and restore marriage in the hearts and minds of our neighbors. If we do that, the law will follow.

The truth about marriage can't be changed, and the millennial generation will be the ones to recognize that truth! Finish reading Chris Marlink's article here and let us know your thoughts below.