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Category Archives: Debating Marriage

Frank Schubert: "Republican Voters Are Not 'Moving On' From Marriage"

From NOM's political director, Frank Schubert, comes this piece in Public Discourse:

It’s rarely covered by the media, but the political landscape is littered with the wrecked careers of Republicans who abandoned the party’s commitment to marriage as it has always existed, which is a foundational institution of virtually every faith tradition on the planet.

[...]

It should be acknowledged that these races often involve more than the marriage issue. There is usually a range of issues at play in any contested race, whether for the state legislature or Congress. But unquestionably, marriage was a critical issue in all of these contests. Marriage was the issue that drove conservatives to oppose and ultimately defeat incumbents like Anne Zerr in Missouri.

Finally, it is also important to note the importance that support for marriage played most recently in the GOP when grassroots Republican activists made their views clear in crafting the national Republican Party platform last month in Cleveland. Despite an organized and well-funded campaign by Wall Street billionaires and corporate lobbyists to “modernize” the party’s official position on marriage, convention delegates utterly rejected the notion. The 2016 GOP platform is the most pro-traditional marriage platform ever adopted. It specifically calls for reversing the Obergefell ruling redefining marriage. It explicitly condemns as the product of activist judges the rulings on marriage in both Obergefell and the Windsor case that overturned the federal Defense of Marriage Act, and it calls for the appointment of Supreme Court justices who will reject their reasoning. It endorses the First Amendment Defense Act to protect supporters of marriage from governmental persecution. And it calls for a constitutional amendment to return to the states their right to define marriage solely as the union of one man and one woman.

Never fans of social issues to begin with, it’s a safe bet that the consulting class, corporate lobbyists, and wealthy donors will ignore the mountain of evidence all around them that rank and file Republican activists and voters revere marriage and will act to defend it. But Republican candidates should come to understand that succumbing to the pleadings of the elite echo chamber can come at a very high price: their very political careers.

Read the whole thing here.

NOM's President Signs Statement Decrying Scandals At Catholic Universities Who Honor People Who Oppose Marriage and Life

Brian Brown, president of NOM, has joined with other Catholic and pro-family leaders to decry the scandal at Catholic universities who have honored or provided speaking platforms to public advocates of abortion and same-sex 'marriage.' The statement called on Catholic colleges and universities to "'consecrate [their selves] without reserve to the cause of truth' by teaching and upholding the sacred dignity of all human life and of the divinely ordered institution of marriage."

In recent months, Georgetown University, the University of Notre Dame and Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles have honored or provided prominent speaking platforms to notorious advocates of abortion and same-sex 'marriage.'

Last week, Loyola Marymount University awarded an honorary degree to former President Bill Clinton and allowed him to give the spring commencement address to its graduates. Clinton has become an outspoken advocate for gay 'marriage' and abortion and is the leading supporter of his wife Hillary's campaign for president, which is built on a foundation of supporting same-sex 'marriage' and abortion on demand.

Georgetown promoted an appearance late last month by Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards, a woman who has presided over an organization that has killed 2.8 million babies through abortion during her tenure. Richards used her appearance on the Catholic campus to advocate for abortion, sterilization and contraception in contravention of the teachings of the Catholic church.

Notre Dame hosted a lecture by Texas state Senator Wendy Davis, a prominent abortion advocate, who used her appearance before students to defend her abortion of her own child. Later this week, the university will honor Vice President Joe Biden, who supports both abortion and same-sex 'marriage.'

The statement, signed by 28 pro-family and/or Catholic leaders, points out that appeals to "freedom of speech" and "academic freedom" do not justify "holding up opponents of known moral truths like marriage and life "as if falsehood and immorality are to be celebrated and not firmly rejected."

The full statement can be read here.

University Student Expelled For Opposing Gay 'Marriage'

In a shocking story out of the UK, a university postgraduate student on a path to become a social worker was expelled for posting on his personal Facebook page his opposition to gay 'marriage.' The "fitness to practise" panel at Sheffield University told student Felix Ngole, a committed Christian, that his post, "may have caused offense to some individuals" and that his publicly stated views would jeopardize his ability to operate as a social worker. They promptly demanded he turn in his student ID card.

Triggered by a single complaint, Sheffield University's action effectively closes Christian students out of the social work profession and is the latest in an ongoing effort to marginalize supporters of traditional marriage. Apparently realizing the totalitarian nature of their action and the fact that it is illegal, the university went to length to explain that it's position was not based on Ngole's views per se, but the fact that he expressed them! This is little comfort to the hundreds of millions of Christians across the globe who fervently believe that marriage is what God said it was - the union of one man and one woman.

If stating views that cause "offense to some individuals" is the standard for fitness to enter the social worker profession, then presumably those who support same-sex 'marriage' are not eligible to be social worker either since there are so many people, likely a majority, who believe in traditional marriage. Of course no action has ever been taken by Sheffield University or anyone else against anyone for expressing support for redefining marriage, showing the university's position to be nothing but a smokescreen to punish a view of marriage that is not politically correct.

Ngole promises that litigation will follow. Please keep him in your prayers.

YouTube Names NOM Video Among Best for "Fair Use"

The YouTube website has named a video produced by NOM, "No Offense," as among four of the best examples of creators applying the "Fair Use" doctrine. "Fair Use" affords content creators the ability to use short segments of copyrighted material without permission for purposes of commentary, criticism, parody and news reporting, among other uses.

NOM produced the "No Offense" video in 2009 to highlight the outrageous treatment given to Miss USA contestant Carrie Prejean. Prejean was asked by gay blogger Perez Hilton about gay 'marriage.' She responded that, 'no offense to anyone' but she believed marriage was between one man and one woman. Perez went on to ridicule her with vulgar insults and highly offensive language. The video served to educate people about the attempts by gay activists to silence supporters of marriage.

Until now, YouTube has operated a highly criticized approach to copyright claims, essentially taking down videos whenever a claim of copyright violation is made. Thus, copyright claims become a weapon in public debate where these claims prevent the public from seeing videos that discuss critical issues. In contrast, commercial advertising stations rarely take down material employing a "fair use" of copyrighted material, and certainly never without giving the creator an opportunity for input.

YouTube has now pledged to help video creators defend against improper take down demands when the creator has properly applied the "Fair Use" doctrine in the use of copyrighted material. Our video is an example to creators of how to fairly use copyrighted material.

This situation with YouTube is but one example of how hard NOM has to fight to get our position on marriage out into the public domain. Opponents of marriage continue to wish to silence us and other believers in the truth of marriage. We are pleased that YouTube has recognized our work as among the best to utilize copyrighted material in commentary and criticism.

Science Proves Family Structure Matters

Throughout history it's been obvious to any observer that children in intact families with a married mother and father do much better than children from broken homes or those living in alternative family structures. In recent years, there's been an attempt to deny that reality and convince people that children raised by gay or lesbian parents are somehow exempted from the realities of family life, claiming there are "no differences" in outcomes for these kids or even sometimes suggesting they do better than children raised by a married mother and father in the home. Increasingly, social scientists have been examining this "no differences" claim and, as you might suspect, find it without merit. A distinguished social scientist from the University of Virginia, W. Bradford Wilcox, writes a detailed piece this week for National Review reviewing three recent developments that make it harder for the "family structure denialists" to continue to make the "no differences" claim. He says:

"It’s been a rough two weeks for the family-structure denialists, those progressive academics (Philip Cohen, “How to Live in a World Where Marriage Is in Decline”), journalists (Katie Roiphe, “New York Times, Stop Moralizing About Single Mothers”), and pundits (Matthew Yglesias, “The ‘Decline’ of Marriage Isn’t a Problem”) who seek to minimize or deny the importance of marriage and family structure. That’s because three new pieces of scholarship — a journal, a report, and a study — were released this month that solidify the growing scientific consensus that marriage and family structure matter for children, families, and the nation as a whole."

The studies and reports mention by Wilcox confirm many of the outcome problems that children who lack a married mother and father in the home experience, especially boys lacking the presence of their father at home. Wilcox says these children "are floundering in school and society" and details findings including problems in the areas of truancy and educational attainment, increased behavioral problems, higher cognitive disability, perform worse on standardized school tests and are less likely to graduate from high school. And the article details important new findings that states with higher levels of married parenthood enjoy higher levels of growth, economic mobility for children growing up poor, higher median family income and markedly lower levels of child poverty. Says Wilcox,

"[W]ith study after study showing that children, families, and now even states benefit from strong and stable married families, the job of those who would seek to deny that marriage and family structure also play an important role — the family-structure denialists — is getting harder and harder. That’s because the facts just aren’t with those who seek to deny the scientific evidence that family change is having a major impact on our social environment and — in particular — our boys.

The complete article is available at National Review.

Corrections: Where the Same-Sex Advocates Got It Wrong

In an article recently posted on The Public Discourse, James Phillips, an assistant professor of law at Brigham Young University, highlights and responds to errors made by pro-same-sex marriage justices Kennedy and Sotomayor. Phillips points out that there were 6 major errors in logic, precedent, and history made to support the passing of a same-sex marriage bill last week.

This post will outline these 6 errors, as well as the arguments against them.

Error #1: Massachusetts Marriage Rates Have Stayed the Same

Justice Sotomayor claimed that Massachusetts’ heterosexual marriage rates have remained constant since the state allowed same-sex marriage. If she had paid attention to an opposing amicus brief filed by 100 Scholars of Marriage, she would have seen that data clearly tells us otherwise, for instance:

Marriage rates have dropped by 8.9 percent since the state [MA] redefined marriage. And Massachusetts is not alone. The marriage scholars were also able to obtain data on opposite-sex marriage rates from three other states that have legalized same-sex marriage… Vermont (-5.1 percent), Connecticut (-7.3 percent), and Iowa (-9.2 percent).

ThinkstockPhotos-131579672Error #2: Because Some Men Leave Their Wives and Children, Marriage Does Not Help Keep Fathers Around

Justice Sotomayer argued that marriage between a man and a woman doesn’t actually increase the likelihood of creating a stable family life:

‘Marriage doesn’t do that on any level. How many married couples do fathers with the benefits or the requirements of marriage walk away from their children? So it’s not that the institution alone does it and that without it that father is going to stay in marriage.’

But as Phillips points out:

This is a classic example of the exception fallacy. Of course some men and women walk away from their marriage and their children. But that is the exception, not the rule, and it is certainly counter to the social norm of marriage.

Error #3: The Purpose of States’ Recognizing and Regulating Marriage is to Bestow Dignity on Couples

When Mr. Bursch brought forth the argument that the states are not in the marriage business to bestow dignity, Justice Kennedy expressed surprise at this, stating that he believed that whole purpose of “traditional marriage” was to bestow dignity on both man and woman. Now same-sex couples want that same “ennoblement.” But as Phillips explains:

Justice Kennedy was missing the point. He was confusing the reason that a couple may desire to be married with the reason that a state would want to recognize and regulate marriage. Those are distinct.

Even assuming, for the sake of argument, that states were interested in bestowing dignity on couples by allowing them to marry, that would be a means to enticing couples to marry. The end or purpose of encouraging marriage in this way would still be the fact that society—particularly children—benefits when men and women marry. It makes no sense for the state to go through the trouble and expense to regulate and subsidize marriage if the state gets nothing out of it in return—and it’s not simply about bestowing dignity on consenting adult love of all sizes and shapes.

Error #4: The Only Harm to Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage Is Making Marriage More Adult-Centered

ThinkstockPhotos-465562267When several justices struggled to comprehend how redefining marriage to genderless terms would impact and harm the institution of marriage, Mr. Bursch correctly, but incompletely, argued how it would change the focus of marriage from fulfilling the needs of children to fulfilling the desires adults. If marriage is redefined, then the norm of fulfilling a child’s need to be raised by a man and a woman in order to learn how necessary interactions from each one, would be eliminated. And this is only one effect.

Error #5: There Is a Parallel between: Brown/Loving and Lawrence/Obergefell

The time between the Supreme Court decision calling for desegregation of elementary schools, the famous Brown v. Board of Education, and the decision invalidating state laws that prohibited mixed-race marriages (Loving v. Virginia), was thirteen years.

But man-woman marriage has been the law in every state since the birth of the nation—and in every Western nation for millennia. As Justice Kennedy put it, “I don’t even know how to count the decimals when we talk about millennia.

Not all thirteen year periods are equivalent. They certainly are not here.

Error #6: Age Restrictions on Marriage Are Equivalent to the Definitional Element of One Man and One Woman

Several justices tried to form the analogy of recognizing exceptions to age restrictions to recognizing same-sex marriages. But as Phillips explained:

Not all exceptions are equal. Age has never been a part of the definition of marriage... There are two historical and universal components to the definition of marriage in the United States, and in the Western world: gender diversity and only two spouses, one man and one woman. All other features—age, race, religion, coverture, dowry—are not part of the fundamental definition.

The American people want our justices to base their decisions on facts, and not make such errors in their decision as outlined here. Since the citizens of the United States will have to live with this decision for the entirety of America’s future, it would be best if such a decision had a basis in not only what the public wants, but also the truth of such matters.

Source via The Public Discourse

ICYMI: Making Marriage Meaningless (VIDEO)

Here's a terrific new video with a clear, concise message about the meaning of marriage and why it is best for both children and society to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

When Marriage is Redefined, What Prevents People from "Marrying" Themselves?

After being single for six years, a London woman took matters into her own hands by "marrying" herself.

Grace Gelder, a photographer, says she was inspired by the Björk song Isobel, and was “on a journey of personal development using meditation, dance and performance” to increase her “self-awareness,” focusing on a program about “sexuality and how this was bound up with making agreements with yourself and other people.”

BrideAfter buying a dress and ring, which were apparently important to Gelder as “traditional elements,” she was married by a friend in Devon, England.

Gelder had this to say, via The Guardian:

The day was obviously centered on me, the final event being a mirror for me to kiss, but it also felt like I was sharing something very special with my friends, giving everyone an opportunity to reflect on their own ideas of love and commitment.

...I really don’t see it as any kind of feminist statement, but creating a wedding of this kind on my own terms felt incredibly empowering. My self-married status — meaningless though it may remain in the eyes of the law — has also given me this great sense of clarity. I seem to sense much more clearly than before if something is worth pursuing or best left alone. And just because I married myself, it doesn’t mean that I’m not open to the idea of sharing a wedding with someone else one day.

When marriage is devalued and its nature loosely defined, what prevents marriage norms—such as sexual complementarity, monogamy, exclusivity, permanence, or even the idea that marriage requires two people—from being broken down as well?

Meese and Anderson in WaPo on Marriage Laws: "The people and their elected representatives should be making these decisions"

In the Washington Post opinion pages, former U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese  III and his Heritage colleague Ryan Anderson have penned an important piece highlighting some too-little reported legal opinions from federal court judges that make the case for leaving determinations about marriage policy to the states and the democratic process.

The two scholars write:

Meese and Anderson Marriage LawsThis month, in a widely celebrated opinion written by Judge Richard Posner, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit declared that it had “no reason to think [the governments of Indiana and Wisconsin] have a ‘reasonable basis’ for forbidding same-sex marriage.”

This is remarkable. According to this court, the millions of citizens who passed marriage amendments in more than 30 states were all bigots acting on no reasonable basis when they supported marriage as the union of a man and woman — just as President Obama, Vice President Biden, former secretary of state Hillary Clinton and most members of Congress all did when these laws were passed.

While generating less fanfare, the day before Posner’s opinion was released, U.S. District Judge Martin L.C. Feldman upheld Louisiana’s marriage law — a constitutional amendment passed by 78 percent of the voters. Two federal appellate judges — Paul V. Niemeyer of the 4th Circuit and Paul J. Kelly Jr. of the 10th Circuit — issued strong dissenting opinions this summer on why state laws defining marriage as a male-female union are constitutional. As these marriage cases make their way to the Supreme Court, very likely during the term about to begin, the justices should heed the reasoning of these judges.

Read the rest of this excellent article today, and share it with your friends!

WATCH LIVE: Values Voter Summit 2014

The Values Voter Summit is just days away! The annual Summit—which provides a forum to inform and mobilize citizens across America to preserve the bedrock values of traditional marriage, religious liberty, sanctity of life and limited government that make our nation strong—will be held from Sept. 26-28 in Washington D.C.

If you're not able to attend, you can watch the live feed all weekend right from your home or office.

Friday, Sept. 26 Live Feed:

Saturday, Sept. 27 Live Feed:

VVS copy

NOM President Featured in Legatus Magazine

Brian Brown, President of NOM, and his family were recently featured on the cover of Legatus Magazine as part of their coverage of the upcoming extraordinary synod of Catholic bishops on pastoral challenges to the family in the context of evangelization.

"At a time when the definition of marriage and family is being distorted almost daily, The Vatican is about to convene a synod on the family that many hope will bring clarity to a culture in confusion," Judy Roberts wrote.  The gathering is expected to reinforce Catholic doctrine on marriage and family.

Catholic experts quoted throughout the article explained the purpose of this synod and how Catholic teaching on the nature of marriage cannot change.

Brown was quoted extensively throughout the article, as was March for Marriage speaker Archbishop Cordileone.

Brown told Legatus that claims that the Catholic Church will change its teaching on marriage are untrue:

“On the issue of marriage as the union of man and woman, Pope Francis has repeatedly been strong.  The synod is an opportunity to reassert the beauty, hope, the love that is the natural family."

Archbishop Cordileone agreed, saying:

"Church teaching can’t change.  Otherwise, we’re into that dictatorship of relativism.”

The article ended with a final quote from Brown:

Regardless of the issues it takes up, NOM’s Brian Brown sees the synod as an opportunity for the Church to make clear the truth about marriage and the great good it does for society.

“To be pastoral is not to go with the times,” he said. “Nothing has changed on that front. It wouldn’t have been right for the Church to embrace what was going on in Rome in the early periods of the Church or any culture that clearly contradicts the truth. It’s a misunderstanding to think that pastoral means to fit in; to be pastoral is to stand up for the truth in and out of season.”

The full article, titled Family Under Fire, is an informative read for Catholics and non-Catholics alike.  Marriage defenders, regardless of their faith, will understand and appreciate the truths about marriage that the article conveys--and the importance of defending these truths against an increasingly hostile, secular culture.

Five Questions for Same-Sex Marriage Advocates

Caitlin Bootsma of Human Life International's Truth and Charity Forum has a list of questions she would like to ask advocates of same-sex marriage.  It has become difficult to debate marriage, she wrote at Aleteia, because those on both sides of the issue frequently are not talking about the same issues.  It is also difficult to have a rational discussion because supporters of redefining marriage call those who disagree with them bigots or intolerant without engaging in any debate.

Bootsma quoted some of Archbishop Cordileone's remarks at the March for Marriage and then wrote:

Whether we think that marriage is being further eroded in our country or whether we feel that we or someone we know “deserves the right” to be married to someone of the same-sex, this is not an exercise in debate club, but an issue of momentous significance to our nation. It is for this reason that I rarely, if ever, have had the opportunity ask sincere questions of same-sex marriage advocates.

Here is Bootsma's list of questions she would like to ask advocates of redefining marriage:

Questions1. Rights. Advocates discuss the right to get married a lot. What is not discussed much at all is the rights of children involved. While not every same-sex couple will use sperm or egg donation to have children, many will. When a life is created in this way, a child is being purposefully deprived of their biological father or mother. This is different than adoption, when adoptive parents choose to adopt a child who is already parentless. How do you see a child’s rights in circumstances such as these? Do you see any worth in a child growing up with his or her biological parents?

Equality. Same-sex marriage is often called the new Civil Rights movement. In the Civil Rights movement, people were fighting against laws that denied certain privileges to people because of some aspect of their identities (their skin color). Yet, marriage is not being denied to anyone. Marriage has always been a union between a man and a woman and this institution is open to those of consenting age, etc. Could you explain to me how this is a fight for equality, rather than a fight for the redefinition of marriage?

3. What is a marriage, anyway? One thing I don’t understand is, if marriage is not between only a man and a woman, how it is any different from another long lasting relationship? Heterosexual spouses not only make a life-long commitment, but they unite sexually in a way unique to heterosexual couples, with the potential to have children. I truly am not being sarcastic when I ask: if we are going to expand the definition of marriage, why shouldn’t non-sexually involved friends get married, or even siblings? What makes marriage unique?

4. Love is love? If there is any slogan I don’t understand, it is this one. In my experience, love is different depending on the circumstances. I love my mother in a different way than I love my husband, just as I love my friends in a different way than I love my children. Just because there is love between two people does not necessarily make it spousal love, does it?

5. Can we talk? Since this debate ramped up several years, I have seen any number of personal insults hurled from both sides. “Deviant,” “bigoted,” “perverted,” “intolerant,” to name just a few. This does not get us anywhere. Would you agree that we should put the name-calling aside and discuss actual issues in the public square?

Read the full article here.

Marriage and the ‘wrong side of history’

On the eve of the March for Marriage, Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby penned an insightful piece about the marriage debate and being on "the wrong side of history."  It's common, Jacoby wrote, for marriage redefiners to claim that their opponents are "bigots" who are "on the wrong side of history."  Jacoby tackled these false claims against marriage defenders:

These days, of course, anyone who publicly opposes same-sex marriage can expect to be scorned in many quarters as a bigot or reviled as an ignoramus...

Yet until about 10 minutes ago, in historical terms, the traditional understanding of marriage as the complementary union of male and female was anything but controversial...

“Marriage has got historic, religious, and moral content that goes back to the beginning of time,” said Hillary Clinton in 2000, “and I think a marriage is, as a marriage has always been, between a man and a woman.”

[...]

Gay activists see their crusade for same-sex marriage as another civil-rights battle. It’s a false analogy. Jim Crow deprived black Americans of rights they were already entitled to — rights enshrined in the 14th and 15th Amendments, then stolen away after Reconstruction. But gay marriage does not restore lost rights; it redefines “marriage” to mean something wholly unprecedented in human society.

[...]

Or maybe a great national debate about the meaning of marriage is not winding down, but just gearing up. And maybe those marchers in Washington, with their “simple and beautiful message,” will prove to be not bitter-enders who didn’t know when to quit, but defenders of a principle that history, eventually, will vindicate.

Read the rest here.

Human Rights Campaign: "Fear is a Healthy Motivator"

So the so-called Human Rights Campaign finally admits that they support scaring people into agreeing, or pretending to agree, with them when it comes to marriage.  The group also admits that they "judge" attorneys who work to defend marriage, despite previously decrying anything they saw as "judgmental."  These not-so-shocking admissions come in a recent Reuters news article titled U.S. law firms flock to gay-marriage proponents, shun other side.

"The legal industry has reached its Mozilla moment," the Reuters article announced.  Many major law firms are rushing to support redefining marriage and leaving little room for lawyers who have a different opinion.

The article  examines how one-sided and biased many major law firms are when it comes to the marriage issue--particularly when their employees hold the belief that marriage is between one man and one woman.

Silence...attorneys at major law firms are getting the message that if they want to litigate against gay marriage they should do so elsewhere.

[...]

Andrew Pugno, a lawyer for the group that defended California's ban when it was challenged by same-sex couples, said he considered big firms when searching for someone to argue the case. In at least one situation, Pugno said, a lawyer at a big firm was interested but partners refused to let him take on the work. He declined to identify the person or firm.

“I personally know many good lawyers in large firms who ... are terrified of speaking out even within their own firms,” said Pugno, who has a small firm near Sacramento, Calif. He declined to name any.

[...]

During that period, the firm [Foley and Lardner] represented a group, National Organization for Marriage, that challenged the District of Columbia’s law allowing gay unions. The case failed, and the representation ended. In its next report, for 2013, the Human Rights Campaign raised the firm's rating to "100%." A Foley & Lardner spokeswoman declined to comment on the episode.

"Fear is a healthy motivator to do the right thing,” said Fred Sainz, a spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign. “I’m not suggesting that the other side shouldn’t have attorneys. I’m saying we’re going to judge those attorneys."

For all their talk about how marriage between one man and one woman, or even just supporting the idea, causes "fear," HRC seems pretty darn comfortable intimidating and bullying anyone who does not subscribe to their radical ideas.

Sentiment Trumps Reason as Judges Impose Same-Sex “Marriage”

James Matthew Wilson at Crisis Magazine has penned an excellent piece on the strange phenomenon of sentiment and emotion trumping reason as activist judges impose a redefinition of marriage on millions of people.

The modern division between reason and appetite, knowledge and sentiment, is an inheritance that Americans have accepted to their great cost. We think it beneficial, because it constrains the rational arguments conducted in the public sphere to matters knowable to anyone who can count, and it leaves us a maximal latitude to pursue feelings of happiness without having to demonstrate them as being genuinely good.

BrainThis division is not one we ought to accept. Lin’s article inadvertently suggests as much. Human beings want to be happy; because politics and ethics alike are concerned with human beings, all political and ethical questions, including those concerned with positive law, are intrinsically concerned with our happiness.

[....]

We see this in the decision itself that occasions Lin’s article. At the close of U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III’s opinion, we are instructed with the following august sentiments:

We are a better people than what these laws represent, and it is time to discard them into the ash heap of history.

Jones appeals to our understanding of the finality or purpose, the goodness, of the American people and their laws. What Pennsylvania law “represents,” or did until he ruined it, was a rational definition of marriage. He replaced a definition that could account for itself with rational argument with one rooted entirely in sentiment: because two people of the same sex feel strongly for one another, they must be granted access to the name of marriage, even if in giving them access the word “marriage” loses all meaning except as a union of sentiments.

[...]

No one, having admitted reason’s capacity to answer such questions, could rationally conclude that homosexual acts, much less the denomination of those who engage in them on an ongoing basis as “married,” could be included in that definition. Unless, that is, we commit ourselves to the following premises: 1) We do not think that the differences between men and women have any positive value and they should be concealed or eliminated. 2) We do not think that the differences between men’s and women’s bodies should in any way determine or limit the acts in which they may properly engage. 3) We do not think the conceiving and rearing of children a normal constituent of human happiness. 4) We do not, finally, think that anything other than whatever present feelings we happen to have ought to guide our actions.

Parents Reading with SonWe cannot rationally so commit ourselves. The differences between men and women are vital, rather than incidental, to the life of the family; the specific instances of complementarity between husband and wife begin with how they respond to an infant’s cry and how they play with that same infant, and go on from there pretty much ad infinitum. Those differences are visible in their bodies and in fact their bodily difference is the condition of possibility for their having children; their bodily differences are essential to their constitution as a family. The good of a family—its purpose, whose attainment constitutes its happiness—is just that union of opposites whose goodness is intrinsically self-diffusive, self-giving and, therefore, accidental impediments notwithstanding, leads to the having and rearing of children.

...the inscription in law of homosexual couplings as “marriages” does not make them so and cannot not change in any fundamental way how most persons will pursue the happiness to which they are by nature ordered. Jones’ judgment may however help such persons, and our society as a whole, discover sooner rather than later that one cannot substitute sentiments for reason or redefine reality to conform to our wills’ desires. But, in the short term, both these things constitute obstacles; they obscure reality. They try to make many of us feel what we do not feel, and they attempt to inhibit the capacity of reason to instruct our feelings. We have good reason to feel bad about that.

Wilson hits the nail on the head with his observations about the intrinsic differences between men and women and the mutual complementarity of the sexes, which is naturally ordered toward producing and raising children.

Mere "feelings" about what marriage is do not change the truth about what marriage actually is, the union of one man and one woman; nor about its conjugal purpose, the creating and nurturing of children, who benefit from having both a mother and a father.  Feelings and emotions may be difficult to argue against, especially when they hit close to home, and when they are so powerfully aided by sympathetic forces in the media... but they do not, they cannot, change fundamental truths about this issue.