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Category Archives: Debating Marriage

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:

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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.

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.

Logic: What’s Missing from Public Discourse

Logic and reason show us that there is only one definition of marriage--and defending marriage means persevering against emotional arguments and ad hominem attacks.  Opponents of marriage often try to change the subject, make illogical arguments and false promises about "equality," and personally attack those who defend marriage.

Hysteria surrounding Arizona's recent religious freedom bill and increasing cultural hostility toward defenders of marriage are two examples of lack of logic from the anti-marriage crowd.

Marriage

Randall B. Smith at Crisis Magazine writes:

Logic...is the glue that holds human discourse together.  Logic is what keeps us “on track” in a conversation and helps us to keep checking back to make sure both of us are talking about the same thing in the same respect.

[...]

It’s not just politicians who have lost the ability to argue, rather than just fight (I’m surprised there aren’t fist-fights on the floor of the Congress every day, given how they talk to one another); it’s a general malaise of the country’s intellect and spirit.  A quick glance at the “comments” section of any on-line site will quickly reveal the severity of the problem.  Most people just don’t know how to make arguments.  They seem to think that merely disagreeing (and sounding disagreeable) is the same as arguing, but it’s not, any more than throwing a soccer ball at someone’s head is the same as playing soccer.

[...]

There are many sorts of logical fallacies, and we’d all benefit from remembering them when we read or listen to the news...

[...]

These are technical logical fallacies, of which there are many.  But there are other sorts of errors one can commit as well.  One common one is to mistake wit for argument, and then to mistake snarkiness for wit.

One of the problems in America today is that everyone thinks he’s a wit, and that wittiness is a fit substitute for logic.  It’s not.  If you doubt it, try watching John Stewart or Stephen Colbert for a week.  What these two men repeatedly prove is that any and every thoughtful person in America can be made to look stupid by a person who sets out to make him or her look stupid.  The post-modern conceit is that they’re “just pretending” and that none of what they do is “serious,” when we all know that they’re not pretending at all, and that they’re trying to convince young people of certain positions, not by logic, but just by making other people look “uncool.”  It’s high school all over again, only this time with more at stake than who gets to sit at what lunch table.

And of course the quality of public discourse in this country would change radically—and I mean radically—if we could just convince people that ad hominem attacks are not really arguments at all...So let’s get past all the mud-slinging, which tells us exactly nothing, and get to the real substance of the argument.

Logic is missing from the marriage debate every time advocates of redefining marriage personally attack anyone who disagrees with them.  It is missing from the marriage debate every time advocates of redefining marriage side-step questions about the effect growing up without a mother or father has on children.

Logic and reason are powerful weapons marriage defenders can use when explaining the uniqueness of a man-woman union.  Let's not be afraid to use them!

"They hope to show the world that polyfidelity is an acceptable choice of love."

"Polyfidelity."  No, unfortunately, it isn't a paradoxical movie title along the order of "True Lies."

It is a word being used to describe the relationship of the "throuple" - three 'married' lesbian women - from Massachusetts, in this article in The Daily MailOf course, the article's headline highlights a distinct piece of news about the group's relationship: they are presently expecting a child through one of the women's IVF conception by anonymous donor sperm. The three are named Brynn, Doll, and Kitten, and here's a snippet of their story [emphases added]:

PolyfidelityIt was back in 2009 that Brynn first met Doll through an online dating site. Senior Software Designer and Engineer, Brynn had been married twice before to women and both experiences had made her acknowledge that monogamous relationships weren't for her.

Meanwhile Fashion Designer, Doll had known that she was polygamous since high school....

Brynn and Doll dated for eight months before moving in together. Two years later, they purchased a house together. 

Having both enjoyed polygamous relationships before, Doll and Brynn looked for a third woman to join them. After a few failed liaisons, Doll and Brynn created an OKCupid couple's profile. Eventually, they received a message from Kitten. 

... Kitten says: 'My second boyfriend and I had been together for several years but a few months before our wedding, he called the whole thing off without explanation. At first, I was distraught but now, I'm grateful for what he did. 

'The whole break-up forced me to really think about who I was and I realised that I had not been honest to myself. On reflection, I realised that I hadn't been happy in my previous monogamous relationships and I discovered that I was poly.

'I set up an OKCupid profile for myself and began dating an awesome woman with the happy consent of her husband. They were a lovely couple but we ended the relationship after I had to move away. 

'Soon after that amicable break-up, I came across Doll's and Kitten's OKCupid profile and saw they were looking for a third member to join their 'Super Hero Group'.

You may recognize the name of the dating site, OKCupid, from the relatively recent news about Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich having been forced to step down following protests of his having contributed $1,000 to support Proposition 8.

OK Cupid

OKCupid was involved in leading the charge protesting Eich's appointment, and was positively hyperbolic in their exasperated moral outrage and indignation. OKCupid caused all Firefox users to see a screen during their protest that included this message:

Equality for gay relationships is personally important to many of us here at OkCupid. But it’s professionally important to the entire company. OkCupid is for creating love. Those who seek to deny love and instead enforce misery, shame, and frustration are our enemies, and we wish them nothing but failure.

At the time, OKCupid's word choice - mentioning "gay relationships" when speaking of "creating love," as opposed to mentioning gay couples - was careful and calculated: because they don't limit their mission to bringing couples together, but all manner of relationships. In this one story alone, the site is credited with facilitating two separate poly-amorous relationships.

That's  just one part of what makes this article so important:

It isn't just that these sorts of relationships are going to become more and more common as the norms of marriage are dismantled by the radicals out to redefine that sacred institution.

It isn't just that the calls for legal redefinition to include unions of 3 or more people will inevitably increase in the wake of same-sex 'marriage.'

Rather, we should note the irony and the telling fact that the company that posted such angry words and reacted so indignantly to Brendan Eich is a company that is so far out of touch with most Americans values that it facilitates bringing married couples together with random strangers for romantic and sexual trysts.

Of course, a final important point worth reflecting on in light of this article is the matter of the welfare of children. One wonders, for example, what confusion might attend the future children of these women, at least two of whom admit to having been serial polygamists - and who plan to have three kids, probably all by IVF and anonymous sperm donation. That's three kids, each with 'three mothers' - and each denied his or her fundamental and basic human right to the love of both a mom and a dad.

Are we content to go quietly down a road of legal reconstruction that will one day attempt to tell us that there is no difference between being raised in such an environment and being raised by one's own biological parents - that even to suggest as much is the equivalent of bigotry and hate-speech? After all, what logically stands in the way? If fatherhood is unimportant, and two moms can serve just as well, then wouldn't it follow that three moms is even better?

ICYMI: New Heritage Research Piece Explains Why the Analogy between Same-sex Marriage and Interracial Marriage is a False One

From Ryan Anderson, on The Foundry blog at Heritage:

Bride and GroomIs opposition to same-sex marriage at all like opposition to interracial marriage? One refrain in debates over marriage policy is that laws designating marriage as exclusively the union of male and female are today’s equivalent of bans on interracial marriage. Some further argue that protecting the freedom to speak and act publicly on the basis of a religious belief that marriage is the union of a man and woman amounts to the kind of laws that enforced race-based segregation.

These claims are wrong on several counts, as I explain in a new Backgrounder Report... “Marriage, Reason, and Religious Liberty: Much Ado About Sex, Nothing to Do with Race.

You can read Ryan's full blog piece here, or read the larger report here.

"The post-totalitarian system demands conformity, uniformity, and discipline"

In a brilliant piece by Mollie Hemingway at The Federalistshe draws upon the thinking of Czech leader Vaclav Havel (who once observed that "the post-totalitarian system demands conformity, uniformity, and discipline") to comment upon the recent dust-up at Mozilla over Brendan Eich's views on marriage.

Hemingway's piece is entitled "The Rise of the Same-sex Marriage Dissidents," and you should read the entire thing today. Here's a snippet:

Havel-FirefoxTo explain how dissent works, Havel introduced the manager of a hypothetical fruit-and-vegetable shop who places in his window, among the onions and carrots, the slogan: “Workers of the world, unite!” He’s not actually enthusiastic about the sign’s message. It’s just one of the things that people in a post-totalitarian system do even if they “never think about” what it means. He does it because everyone does it. It’s what you do to get along in life and live “in harmony with society.” (For our purposes, you can imagine that slogan is a red equal sign that you put up on your Facebook page.)

[...]

Did we mindlessly put up red equal signs when we hadn’t even thought about what marriage is? Did we rush to fit in by telling others we supported same-sex marriage? Did we even go so far as to characterize as “bigots” or as “Hitlers” those who held views about the importance of natural marriage?

[...]

In the greengrocer scenario, Havel notes that if the text of the sign read “I am afraid and therefore unquestioningly obedient,” he might be embarrassed and ashamed to put it up. The dissidents are the ones who, by refusing to put the sign up, or refusing to recant, shine a huge light on the system, including the ones who go along to get along. All of a sudden those Facebook signs, those reflexive statements, those cries of “Bigot!” look less like shows of strength and more like shows of weakness.

If you haven't yet followed NOM's call-to-action over the Eich controversy, please take some time to do so today.

"A climate of intolerance and intimidation"

Almost from the start of the debate over redefining marriage, experts on both sides have warned of the coming conflict over religious liberty.

IntimidationWhat were once hypothetical conflicts have now become very real, as people of faith—those who believe that God designed marriage as the union of one man and one woman—have repeatedly been the ones forced to compromise and violate their consciences in the name of same-sex marriage.

Ryan T. Anderson and Leslie Ford of the Heritage Foundation write today in the National Review Online about the present state of these conflicts and the growing governmental coercion demanding that people of faith step back from the public square:

A growing number of incidents show that the redefinition of marriage and state policies on sexual orientation have created a climate of intolerance and intimidation for citizens who believe that marriage is the union of a man and a woman and that sexual relations are properly reserved for marriage. Now comes government coercion and discrimination. Laws that create special privileges based on sexual orientation and gender identity are being used to trump fundamental civil liberties such as freedom of speech and the free exercise of religion.

[...]

Under the newer laws, family businesses — especially photographers, bakers, florists, and others involved in the wedding industry — have been hauled into court because they declined to provide services for a same-sex ceremony that they viewed as a violation of their religious beliefs. [READ MORE.]

America must stand up against this coercive attack on our First Amendment right of the free exercise of our religion. This basic American principle does not simply apply to what happens in our houses of worship – it is fundamental to how people of faith carry themselves every day as they are parents, employees, business owners, and civil servants.

Are Marriage Advocates "Asking the Wrong Question"? An Opinion and a Response

Last month, we told our readers about a symposium being hosted by The Intercollegiate Review entitled "Sex and the Polis: Perspectives on Marriage, Family, and Sexual Ethics."

QuestionsLast week's entry by Chris Damian, "Defining Marriage Isn't Defending Marriage," caught our attention for obvious reasons.

In his piece, Damian asserts,

Conservatives aren’t losing to the culture on marriage because they’re wrong. They’re losing because they’re answering the wrong question, because they’ve failed to grasp what the issue actually is.

His article goes on to grapple with a horse-and-cart problem addressing the understanding of marriage alongside the more general understanding and role of friendship and community. The phenomena implicated are difficult, to be sure, and there can be much legitimate dispute about which is the cart and which the horse and which, therefore, should come before. But unfortunately, the ultimate effect of Damian's article seems to be that the cart topples upon the horse and both are a bit the worse for wear.

For example, Damian alleges:

The rise of 'gay marriage' does not come primarily from a crisis in the understanding of what marriage is. It comes from a crisis in the understanding and practice of love, commitment, and community.

Wedding Rings

But some might respond that one of the important roles of the triadic family of husband, wife, and children is that it is the essential 'school' for any culture in how to practice love, commitment, and community.

Fortunately, the work of responding to Mr. Damian's article has been undertaken by Michael Bradley at Ethika Politika.

Bradley lays out his thesis that "[Mr. Damian's] Chris’s narrative of how  the marriage culture has reached its present point is mistaken, chiefly because he misunderstands the same 'proponents of traditional marriage' whose view he critiques in his piece, or at least, he understands that view to be narrower than it actually is."

He goes on to elucidate:

[I]n defining marriage, one recognizes and calls attention to distinctions between marital relationships and non-marital ones, including the sorts of non-marital friendships the cultural reinforcement of which Chris advocates. It is the burying of just such relational distinctions—which Chris laments later in his piece—that is constitutive of and in turn spurs the revisionist view of marriage.

This leads Bradley to get to what seems to be the chief error in Damian's reasoning: a conflation of two fundamentally different kinds of relationship. Marriage, Bradley explains, "is different in kind and not degree from non-romantic friendships."

The entire exchange is worth reading, and we commend both these authors for their admirable interest and evident acumen. You can read Damian's piece here, and then Bradley's response.