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Stand This Sunday

National Organization for Marriage

Dear Marriage Supporter,

I mentioned in a previous email that NOM is partnering with Family Research Council and many other pro-family and faith-based organizations for a special event this Sunday evening: I Stand Sunday.

The website explains why we're gathering in Houston on Sunday and simulcasting this event around the web:

Speakers from across the nation will gather at Grace Community Church in Houston, Texas to focus on the freedom to live out our faith free of government intrusion or monitoring. We will stand with pastors and churches in Houston, Texas who have been unduly intimidated by the city's Mayor in demanding they hand over private church communication.

This great event is not to be missed, and NOM will be webcasting it live at 7 PM ET on November 2nd. Click here and bookmark the page if you want to tune in:

It is important that we stand up in the face of attacks on religious liberty and basic first amendment freedoms like we saw in Houston.

It's important because it works.

Just the past few days we've seen examples of how it works...

Remember the story about the school district that told teachers to stop using "gendered phrases such as 'boys and girls'... [or] 'ladies and gentleman'" that I wrote about recently? The policy caused outcry and backlash for the school district that I'm sure they didn't expect. And guess what?

THE SCHOOL DISTRICT IS BACKING DOWN.

Remember the story about the city threatening a married couple of ordained ministers with fines or even jail time if they refused to celebrate same-sex 'marriages'? The Alliance Defending Freedom took up the case, and nationally there was a wave of protest and indignation about this violation of the couple's conscience rights. Well, guess what?

THE CITY IS BACKING DOWN.

And on Sunday, when we gather in Houston with Family Research Council and the pastors who were unjustly targeted with intimidation and threats by the Mayor, we won't just be calling attention to the cause of religious liberty and the dangers it faces—we'll also be, in a small way, celebrating. Because, guess what?

THE MAYOR IS BACKING DOWN.

Of course we cannot allow such victories as these to lull us into complacency. We must continue to fight for the cause of marriage and for conscience rights and protection of religious liberty.

On the other hand, though, we must also allow these stories to encourage us to keep up that fight.

These shifts show us that we still have the power to make a difference for the better when we stand together and with one voice speak up for the Truth. They show us that we need to continue to stand together, and stand together more closely and more firmly than before.

That why I would ask you today, if you haven't done so already, to please consider giving a generous gift to our matching gift campaign. Stand together today with so many marriage supporters like you that have already given, and with the generous donor that has pledged to match your gift dollar-for-dollar and double its impact.

We know that, united, we can make a difference. Together, we can win victories—not just this November, but on the broader political, legal, and social landscape. Our voice and our values still have power in this great nation, and our Constitution—despite the beating its taken from activist judges and a radically corrupt federal government—still protects the rights we have to stand up and to speak out for marriage as God designed it.

Thank you for standing with us—this Sunday in Houston, on November 4th, and throughout the year!

Faithfully,

Brian S Brown

Brian S. Brown
President
National Organization for Marriage

Brian Brown



Making Our Stand With You

National Organization for Marriage

Dear Marriage Supporter,

First, the IRS news you've been waiting to hear — they finally admitted we were right and they were wrong! This week the IRS was forced to admit that they were the ones who unlawfully released our confidential donor information to a gay activist who promptly gave it to our political opponents, and opponents of marriage, the Human Rights Campaign. As our chairman John Eastman said,

When we began this process, the government denied the IRS had engaged in any wrongdoing and suggested that NOM itself must have released its confidential list of donors to our political opponents, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). Now the government has been forced to admit that the IRS was responsible for disclosing confidential tax information and the private identity of our donors. We are looking forward to holding them accountable in court for the damages they have inflicted upon us.

Beginning on June 30th we will go to trial to determine not whether someone in the IRS committed this act but how much the IRS owes NOM for the damages caused by their actions.

Thank you Professor Eastman and the whole team at the Act Right Legal Foundation for your excellent work in discovering and proving the truth.

And thank you to each one of you who kept the pressure on the IRS by sending emails to the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Government Oversight Committee. Your grassroots efforts pushed these committees and their Chairmen to keep the IRS scandal in the public view and to dig into the truth of what happened to NOM and its donors.

And it's the grassroots that matter

Lost in all the news about renegade judges imposing their personal opinions on entire states by throwing out state marriage laws or overturning state constitutional amendments defining marriage as one man and one woman, is a simple fact — the majority of Americans, the people who really matter, continue to believe that marriage is the union of one man and one woman.

First, Politico — hardly a conservative news outlet — reported that 52% of Americans are opposed to marriage being redefined. Similarly, in Michigan a recent poll showed that support for same-sex ‘marriage' actually DROPPED (or perhaps it never existed in the first place). How does that fit in with the mainstream media's mythical narrative about the inevitability of same-sex ‘marriage?'

It doesn't because the grassroots, people like you, people who vote, believe that marriage is a sacred truth and a unique public good. And I am thankful for every one of you.

And it's with the grassroots that we will make our stand

Criminal acts by the administration, radical judges legislating from the bench, and a complicit media will not stop the truth about marriage from being embraced by the American people, and the corollary belief that every child deserves a mother and a father. This is because the grassroots and marriage champions across the country are standing up and declaring, ‘enough is enough.'

And that exactly is what we are going to do on June 19th in Washington, D.C. during the 2nd Annual March for Marriage. This critical event will bring thousands of marriage champions to the nation's capital with a clear and decisive message for the U.S. Supreme Court, Congress, and the media — Marriage is the Union of One Man and One Woman and Children Deserve Both a Mother and A Father. The bigger the March, the clearer the signal... to the courts, the media and the country... that marriage is worth defending! We are doing everything in our power to make it HUGE!

But to do this, your help is needed to spread the word and get people to the March!

First, don't forget to watch and share our promotional video with your family, friends, neighbors, and church.

Click here to view video

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And remember, it's not too late to make plans to join us on the 19th.

If you are looking for a bus from your area, check out our "Participate" page on the March for Marriage Website. If you are organizing a bus and would like us to promote it in order to get more riders, just email us the particulars at [email protected]. We'll post it on that page and help people find you.

And others are determined to take their stand with you

I'm thrilled to announce that my good friend and stalwart marriage, family, and life champion, presidential candidate and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum will be speaking at this year's March for Marriage on June 19th. From his days in the Senate, through his Presidential campaigns, Senator Santorum has never hesitated to stand for marriage and make the argument that the social values of our nation are of primary importance to the well-being of our families and children.

Senator Santorum is a huge addition to our already incredible speaker list that includes Governor Mike Huckabee, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, New York State Senator Rev. Rubin Diaz, and the Heritage Foundation's Jennifer Marshall, among many others.

Together, we will march and declare the unique goodness of marriage throughout the streets of Washington and across the nation.

The lineup of prominent national speakers who are committed to standing with you to preserve marriage as the union of one man and one woman stands in stark contrast to the transparent attempts of many in the mainstream media to convince Americans that the debate about marriage is all but over. But the American people continue to believe in the importance of preserving marriage and that every child deserves both a mother and a father.

Together we will show the US Supreme Court, leaders in Congress and the media that the American people embrace traditional marriage and want it preserved in law and in culture.

As always I am humbled by the heroic efforts of everyday, grassroots champions like you. I hope you will be able to join us in the nation's capital on June 19th or to hold your own local march in your state capital or home town.

Faithfully yours,

Brian S. Brown

Marriage Continues to Win

National Organization for Marriage

Dear Marriage Supporter,

It's a cautionary tale for the political establishment and the partisan pundits who continue, against all evidence, to push the narrative that marriage is a losing issue at the polls: "Social conservatives post wins in Indiana legislative races," the headline declared.

The Hoosier voters who took to the ballot box on Tuesday in the Indiana primary were not fooled by the spin and misinformation that surrounded the heated debate over HJR3 — the proposed Indiana Marriage Amendment — earlier this year.

The amendment resolution, you'll recall, was supported by NOM and our local allies. But it was opposed by liberal interests with money from Hollywood and Wall Street. The opposition poured a lot of effort and money into misinforming the legislature and drumming up a false narrative about what the amendment would have accomplished... and ultimately they succeeded in scaring skittish politicians into betraying their constituents — or perhaps buying them with their offer of unlimited campaign financing. The amendment was watered down and delayed to 2016 at the earliest.

At the time, NOM made it clear that we would work with our allies to hold these legislators accountable. And on Tuesday we delivered. The politicians who had betrayed the people of Indiana on marriage found out on Tuesday how much voters want representatives who will stand strong for marriage.

As Brian Howey writes in yesterday's Howey Politics Indiana,

INDIANAPOLIS — The headlines following the primary election upsets of State Reps. Rebecca Kubacki and Kathy Heuer were along the lines of "social conservatives strike back."

The two northeastern Indiana Republicans voted to strike the second sentence of HJR-3 and then voted against the amendment itself...

And as Curt Smith of the Indiana Family Institute reported, "[i]t's worth noting that no supporter of the marriage amendment was defeated on that issue, despite claims by some on the other side that the bill's author, Rep. Eric Turner, or the committee chair who advanced the measure, Milo Smith, would be targeted for defeat by pro-gay activist."

And this is really no surprise to anyone who has paid attention to well done polling over the past 18 months.

Just two weeks ago you'll recall the Family Research Council and American Values announced the results of their poll showing that 82% of Republicans or right-leaning independents believe marriage is the union of one man and one woman. And 75% believe politicians are wrong for abandoning marriage.

You also will recall NOM's own polling in November 2012 that showed that 60% of voters believe marriage should be defined as the union of one man and one woman.

And the American people continue to stand for marriage in the public square. Just yesterday in North Carolina, NC Values held a public rally commemorating the 2nd Anniversary of the passage of the North Carolina Marriage Amendment.

And next week, on May 13th the people of Virginia will rally as the court takes up the challenge to the Virginia Marriage Amendment. If you can be in Richmond to stand and pray that the court will uphold the sovereign vote of the people and God's definition of marriage — please join them.

The Courts

Speaking of the courts...just like all the good news from the polls and public square, the United States Supreme Court issued an opinion two weeks ago that gives much reason for optimism for marriage champions in the case of Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action.

In a case dealing with very sensitive issues regarding race relations, the majority decision authored by Justice Anthony Kennedy stated that the Court's finding "is not about how the debate about racial preferences should be resolved. It is about who may resolve it.... that the courts may not disempower the voters from choosing which path to follow" [emphasis added].

Justice Kennedy's decision in the Schuette case found that Michigan's decision of a question about affirmative action by committing the issue to the voters is a sound one, and he wrote that "There is no authority in the Constitution of the United States or in [the Supreme] Court's precedents for the Judiciary to set aside Michigan laws that commit this policy determination to the voters."

Over at NRO, Carrie Severino opined on the decision in a piece entitled "What Does Schuette Mean for Marriage?" that "Kennedy's language in today's opinion is very encouraging for those who defend the states' constitutional authority to resist federal pressure to redefine marriage."

Severino went on to explain:

[Kennedy] describes the statewide initiative allowing Michigan voters to amend the Michigan Constitution as "a basic exercise of their democratic power" and lauds the initiative system as a means "to bypass public officials who were deemed not responsive to the concerns of a majority of the voters with respect to a policy of granting race-based preferences that raises difficult and delicate issues."

This high regard for the initiative process was evident in Kennedy's dissent in Hollingsworth v. Perry, the case challenging California's Proposition 8 that amended the state constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman. In that case, he lauded the initiative process as "establish[ing] a lawmaking process that does not depend upon state officials" to keep the power of government ultimately in the hands of the people themselves. He also praised our system of government for "allow[ing] disputes of public policy to be resolved by the political process rather than the courts" [emphasis added].

As I wrote recently, Kennedy's decision "strongly support[s] the initiative process and the sovereign right of voters to directly enact social policy the media and the elite consider to be 'controversial.'"

As the TimesHerald.com wrote this week: [Michigan] Attorney General Bill Schuette hopes the appeals court uses the same reasoning when deciding Michigan's same-sex marriage case as the U.S. Supreme Court used when upholding Michigan's voter-approved ban on affirmative action policies used by the state's universities.

In a brief filed in the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals Wednesday evening, Schuette repeatedly brought up the Supreme Court's ruling that Michigan voters had the right to ban universities from using affirmative action in admissions decisions. The same should hold true for the same-sex marriage case because Michigan residents voted in 2004 to define marriage as between one man and one woman.

When you combine Kennedy's recent decision with SCOTUS' unanimous issuing of a stay in the Utah marriage case and their rationale in the DOMA ruling from last summer, there is strong reason for marriage champions to be optimistic about how the Supreme Court will rule when it takes up one or more of the many marriage cases in the next 12 months.

All of this news should put to rest the myth that the redefinition of marriage is inevitable — voters refuse to believe it and SCOTUS has potentially signaled that marriage should be left to the states — thirty-one of which have voted to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

The March for Marriage

But marriage supporter, we need to do more and that's where this year's March for Marriage comes in. SCOTUS may have provided a hint of what's to come, but we must provide the voice that they cannot ignore — the voice of America's marriage champions marching for marriage through the streets of our nation's capital.

Do you remember the tragedy of Roe v. Wade? It's nearly impossible to forget.

How much would you sacrifice to go back in time to a few months before that fateful decision, to the summer of 1972, and mobilize the American people BEFORE the Supreme Court issued that infamous decree? Just about anything, right? Well, when it comes to marriage, we have that chance!

You see, it's 1972 for marriage.

And the March for Marriage is our chance to tell the Supreme Court, the Congress, the media, and the nation that marriage matters because every child deserves a mom AND a dad.

If you haven't already made plans to join us for this crucial event, please try to clear your schedule for June 19th and march with me and thousands of other marriage champions from around the nation as we make clear to the Court that America stands for marriage as one man and one woman.

If you can't make it to DC, there are tools for you to take part in a Virtual March on the same day. Be a part of the March — Wherever you are. Your voice and presence will still make a difference.

The debate about marriage is not over yet — not by a long shot — and with your help we can make sure the Supreme Court, Congress, and the American people hear our voice — Marriage Matters Because Children Deserve a Mom and a Dad.

As always, I deeply appreciate all you have done to stand for marriage throughout the years. I hope that you will continue as we march on into the months and years to come.

Faithfully,

Brian S. Brown

PS — All of the work that NOM is engaged in is important and it's making a difference. But it also requires us to devote substantial financial resources to be successful. If you are able, please consider making a financial contribution to support us. We would be very grateful to receive it.

Role Playing

National Organization for Marriage

Dear Marriage Supporter,

Sometimes, a married couple in trouble will seek counseling and be encouraged to "role play" during the session. They try to step into one another's shoes and see things from the angle and point of view of the other.

This can be a useful technique for improving understanding and communication in a relationship. But it also hints at a fundamentally important reality about families: moms and dads play distinctly different and important roles, and both are worthy of appreciation in the unique parts they play, in their marriage and in their relationships to their children.

This role playing wouldn't have any value if there wasn't anything distinguishing the two: they wouldn't have any cause to "step into the role of the other" if they were simply interchangeable.

However, one of the confusions that arises about marriage when it is redefined is precisely that it mashes together the roles of moms and dads into one indistinguishable and interchangeable idea.

But what the psychological tool of role playing shows us is that the role of motherhood and the role of fatherhood are not interchangeable, are not able to be collapsed into a mere formula of "parent one" and "parent two." Or, for that matter, "parent three"...

A Triple Threat

Yes, "parent three." That's the new normal being proposed by a "throuple" from Massachusetts.

Their names are Brynn, Doll, and Kitten, and The Daily Mail among other outlets picked up the story this week:

It 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'.

The article explains that, "While Brynn and Kitten are legally married, Doll is handfasted to both so the threesome are as equally married to each other as legally possible."

The arrangement was worked out with the help of "a specialist family lawyer ...[who] drafted the ceremony so that all three of them were obligated and bound to each other."

You see, three-party marriages aren't legal anywhere in the U.S. (yet), so the lawyer "drew up paperwork — in terms of assets, wills and legal rights to children — to bind them all together as much as they could without an actual three way marriage" [emphasis added].

That's right — "legal rights to children" — because, you see, the "throuple" are expecting their first child:

It was only three months after their beautiful wedding day that Kitten fell pregnant, after undergoing IVF treatment using a sperm donor. They hope to conceive using the same method with all of their future pregnancies.

Kitten says: 'The three of us have always wanted kids. Doll, Brynn and I are committed to each other and we wanted to grow our family.

'We decided that I would be the one to carry the babies because I am more than happy to become a full-time mum....'

The article goes on to say they hope to have three kids in total ("one for each of them"), all by anonymous sperm donation, but perhaps using donated eggs from the other two "moms" in cooperation with Kitten's surrogacy.

Talk about a society that doesn't understand the roles involved in making a family!

Here we will find three fathers absent altogether from the picture, unknown even to the woman bearing their children; three women each claiming motherhood over their three anticipated kids; and a lawyer who seems to have thought through all the details about the women's "right to children" but seems to know nothing of the rights of children — like children's right to a mom and a dad!

It's the same confusion about roles that pervades our whole society, at every level. Another example, becoming all too familiar, is the case of leaders who won't lead.

Standing Up for the Rights of Our Members

As you already know, this week NOM filed to intervene in a pair of pending legal cases in Oregon... because all of the parties named in the lawsuit have colluded to agree that Oregon's marriage laws are unconstitutional. This includes the state's Governor and Attorney General, who have decided not to represent the interests of the state in preserving its laws.

NOM's intervention is based on the fact that we have members in Oregon whose interest in the case deserves hearing in court. As I said in our press release on the matter:

As a membership organization, we speak on behalf of our members, including a County Clerk in the state, several professionals in the wedding industry, and voters. All of these individuals have a particularized interest in the outcome of the litigation, yet their interests are not being represented. We are working to protect the interests of our members who support true marriage against a collusive lawsuit that has the state joining with the plaintiffs against the interests of our members, and the state's voters.

But Oregon isn't the only place where those who should be leaders are out of touch with those they represent.

An article in POLITICO this week spoke about how "[l]ast week, the Nevada GOP removed opposition to same-sex marriage from its platform, with the state chairman saying the move was indicative of where the party is headed" [emphasis added].

Of course, the media was exuberant about this news and tried to make the chairman's views here a real story when in fact he is simply as wrong as he can be.

Gary Bauer from American Values put it this way in comments to POLITICO:

[Bauer] faulted a "misinformation campaign waged by media elites" and insisted that "public policy-makers are doing a great disservice to themselves and future generations by continuing to misread the convictions of the American people."

Bauer's confident remarks were bolstered by a poll conducted by American Values and Family Research Council, the results of which give the lie to the Nevada GOP chair's notion of "where the party is headed." Here's what the poll showed:

The survey by the GOP polling firm Wilson Research Strategies was of Republican and Republican-leaning independents and was taken over a month ago, sampling 801 people nationwide from March 18 through 20, with a 3.5 percent margin of error.

The survey showed 82 percent agreeing with a statement that marriage should be between "one man and one woman." It also found that 75 percent disagreed that "politicians should support the redefinition of marriage to include same-sex couples.

If you saw a group of ten people, and eight of them were going one way while two at the rear peeled off to pursue their own path, which way would you say the group was headed? With the eight, or with the two? Evidently, the Nevada GOP leadership has decided that the two wanderers are "the party" and that the eight moving in an agreed direction are irrelevant...

The article reports Bauer as saying that, "[the survey] should remind political and cultural leaders that this debate is far from over. If anything, it is taking on a new sense of urgency for millions of men and women of faith."

I couldn't agree more!

Leaders might be abandoning their roles to represent the views they're chosen to represent, or to defend them when challenged, but NOM and others are standing up to fill these abandoned roles.

And in society at large, more and more people are coming to realize that a society based on abandoned roles cannot stand, and so we need to put a stop to the chaos that has ensued.

We need to encourage society to reaffirm the values of fatherhood and motherhood, and not remain silent in the face of couples — and now "throuples" — who would rather make moms and dads mere accidental conveniences, who would make parenting a matter of mere whimsy and place "the right to children" before the rights of children.

One thing's for sure: those of us who believe in marriage and the great goods that it gives to society are not abandoning our posts. Thank you for standing with us in your own irreplaceable and valuable role as part of the NOM family!

Faithfully,

Brian S. Brown

They're Lying Again.

National Organization for Marriage

Dear Marriage Supporter,

The Mozilla controversy continues to draw commentary and attention around the web and throughout the media. Predictably, all this activity calls for setting the record straight on some points of misinformation, just as the always-stilted media narrative demands balance from the voices that you won't see on the late night talk shows.

The Devil is in the (Misremembered) Details

At Slate last Friday, columnist Mark Joseph Stern — who "covers science, the law, and LGBTQ issues" — writes about Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich's resignation and the Proposition 8 campaign, in an article that undoubtedly deals with LGBTQ issues but seems uninformed by science and misinformed about the law. The article is also fast and loose with the facts about the campaign to which Mr. Eich donated $1,000.00 in 2008.

Stern's piece — entitled "Just a Reminder: The Campaign for Prop 8 Was Unprecedentedly Cruel" — bears this central thesis:

[I]t's easy to forget the vicious tactics of the pro-Prop 8 campaign. Or, I should say, it's easy to forget them if you're not gay — because almost every gay person I know remembers the passage of Prop 8 as the most traumatic and degrading anti-gay event in recent American history.

The tactics used by pro-Prop 8 campaigners were not merely homophobic. They were laser-focused to exploit Californians' deepest and most irrational fears about gay people, indoctrinating an entire state with cruelly anti-gay propaganda.

Stern supports this thesis with four clips from advertisements supposedly run by the campaign to pass Prop. 8, charging ahead to the conclusion that "The campaign's strategy was to debase gay families as deviant and unhealthy while insinuating that gay people are engaged in a full-scale campaign to convert children to their cause. This strategy worked."

But is this conclusion valid? Is the evidence admissible? Or is Mr. Stern engaged in his own underhanded campaign to mischaracterize and misrepresent historical facts?

Frank Schubert, NOM's National Political Director, had the following to say about Stern's piece — and you'll notice from his first sentence that he speaks as one very qualified to address the matter:

I managed the Yes on Proposition 8 campaign and am intimately familiar with the advertising. With the exception of the ad featuring the Pepperdine professor, all the other examples cited by [Mr. Stern] as Prop 8 ads are in fact NOT Prop 8 ads. They were not produced by the campaign, the campaign had nothing to do with them and they never aired on television. They were produced by various individuals on their own and were videos that they distributed with no involvement from the campaign. This is a normal thing in any major campaign like Prop 8. Certainly President Obama cannot be held accountable for the content of independent videos that were produced by individual supporters of his election, and the same holds true for our campaign.

As to the ad featuring the Pepperdine professor, it was a true and correct ad that included citations to support its contentions [emphasis added].

This is an important insight because it brings fluttering down the entire house of cards Stern has built up as a rationale for why Brendan Eich's resignation (for all intents and purposes, a compelled resignation) is somehow justifiable.

In another wonderful piece published this week on the Eich controversy, the Heritage Foundation's Ryan Anderson cites President Obama as an example of another point:

The outrageous treatment of Eich is the result of one private, personal campaign contribution to support marriage as a male-female union, a view affirmed at the time by President Barack Obama, then-Sen. Hillary Clinton, and countless other prominent officials. After all, Prop 8 passed with the support of 7 million California voters.

So was President Obama a bigot back when he supported marriage as the union of a man and woman? And is characterizing political disagreement on this issue — no matter how thoughtfully expressed — as hate speech really the way to find common ground and peaceful co-existence?

Obviously, the answer to Ryan's rhetorical question is an emphatic "NO." As Ryan says, "The debate over the meaning and purpose of marriage will continue. We should conduct it in a civil manner. Bullies may win for a while, but theirs is a scorched-earth policy. They poison democratic discourse and fray the bonds on which democracy itself ultimately depends [emphasis added]."

Undemocratic and Hypocritical

The leader in the public effort to remove Mr. Eich for his contribution to the Prop 8 Campaign was the online dating site OkCupid. OkCupid was among the first to call for Mr. Eich's resignation and for the public to remove Firefox from their computers.

However, among the misremembered details in this story is that Sam Yagan, co-founder and CEO of OkCupid donated $500.00 to the congressional campaign of Chris Cannon in 2004. Mr. Cannon is a supporter of traditional marriage, having supported a constitutional amendment to define marriage as one man and one woman when he was in Congress.

How can one justify that Mr. Yagan has kept his post while supporting traditional marriage and Mr. Eich has not? You can't. The radical advocates of redefining marriage are hypocrites, remembering only the details of history that further their cause. If supporters of traditional marriage are wounded in the process, all the better.

This is not idle sensationalism: this issue has struck right to the very roots of our democratic system. This is why NOM is calling on people to stand up and to say, "Enough is enough!" We cannot allow this culture of intimidation and intolerance, this "poisoning" of the public discourse, to continue.

So we're inviting all men and women of good will to visit www.KeepTheRepublicAndMarriage.com and make a public statement that we will not be bullied and pushed out of the public square. We will continue to exercise our rights as citizens to donate, to vote, to speak up, and to demonstrate on behalf of the value of marriage, in defiance of the McCarthyesque "thought police" who are trying to silence us.

It isn't without reason that some level-headed individuals are raising such dire warnings about what this whole Mozilla fiasco portends.

Mollie Hemingway, in an excellent article published in The Federalist, uses the political thought of Vaclav Havel to raise a warning about how "group think" enables totalitarian tendencies, and how dissent is needed urgently in such circumstances. She warns that even some of those who have participated in campaigns to redefine marriage probably never fully grasped the implications of their actions:

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?

[...]

...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.

Meanwhile, news this week came to my attention of one great example of the courage to stand up and speak out in favor of marriage: an example in the form of some college-age young men and women!

"You Have A Voice"

A new group at Notre Dame University, the Cardinal Newman Society reports, is making news for a petition to the administration of the school asking its leadership "to take up the defense of marriage at this pivotal moment in the national discussion surrounding [the] foundational institution [of marriage]."

The group is called "Students for Child-Oriented Policy" (SCOP), and one of its cofounders — a student named Tiernan Kane — explains the petition's purpose this way:

The Catholic Church's teaching on marriage, which is universally intelligible to human reason, is informed by a tradition of philosophical reflection that reaches back at least as far as Plato.... As the nation's premier Catholic university, Notre Dame has the ability, and thus the responsibility, to contribute to — indeed, to lead — public discourse about marriage.

Another co-founder, a senior named Michael Bradley, expressed very succinctly why he thinks it's important that the school's leadership speak up in defense of marriage: "Notre Dame, you have a voice, and it would mean a lot."

Well, this is clearly a case of students becoming the teachers, because Michael's message is a lesson and reminder for each of us, too: "You have a voice."

And there is no lack of opportunity for using that voice!

You can join the many other Americans who have taken a stand at KeepTheRepublicAndMarriage.com today and make a public declaration that you stand for marriage and will continue to do so.

But you can also use your voice by helping us to spread the word and promote the 2014 March for Marriage!

I was very pleased this week that two leading Catholic figures in the field of family and marriage issues lent their voices in support of the March: Bishop Richard Malone of Buffalo and Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco.

In a letter to their fellow Bishops nationwide, they wrote:

[T]his year's March for Marriage will provide an ideal occasion for participants to celebrate and give public witness to the unique meaning of marriage as the union of one man and one woman at a time when the religious liberties and conscience rights of those who promote and defend marriage are increasingly threatened. ... We kindly ask that you promote the march in your diocese and parishes and encourage participation where possible.

Well, today, I kindly ask the same of you.

Please help us to promote the march and to encourage participation by sharing the many resources you'll find at the brand-new March for Marriage website.

And, please, by whatever portion your means allow, consider a contribution today to help us make the March as great a success as possible.

You have a voice. Together, let's show the bullies and thugs who want to censor our pro-marriage views that your voice is not alone — that it is, in fact, many millions strong — and that it simply will not be silenced.

Faithfully,

Brian S. Brown

Three Ways to Get Involved

National Organization for Marriage

Dear Marriage Supporter,

I've been asked by some people why I'm leading the effort to have another March for Marriage this year. They wonder why it is important, and what this event means for the marriage movement.

I have explained to them that the essential purpose behind the March for Marriage is to send a clear and vital message to marriage advocates nationwide, and particularly to the many young people around our nation who may sometimes feel rather alone in holding on to the values of marriage and family passed down to them in their upbringing.

That message is: Countless millions of your fellow citizens SHARE your values! Take heart and stand with them!

While much of the talk and effort in the marriage movement naturally focuses on our leaders occupying the halls of power and the ivory towers shaping public opinion from within the media and the academy, here in America we believe in the strength of the ordinary citizen to change society for the better.

The greatest political storm flutters only a fringe of humanity, but an ordinary man and an ordinary woman and their ordinary children will literally alter the destiny of nations. — GK Chesterton

As a result, I firmly believe that the greatest asset in the marriage fight is you — you, your family, and the many individuals, families, and organizations that share your values.

The path to victory for marriage and for the protection of kids' rights to both a mother and a father does not begin on Wall Street or Pennsylvania Avenue, but on Main Street. What we need in this movement — now more than ever — is for the American people to rally behind this good and noble cause. And in order to do that marriage supporters everywhere need to be encouraged and supported to stand up and speak out on behalf of marriage by the knowledge that they are not alone. The March for Marriage is our way of giving them that encouragement and support.

The 2014 March for Marriage is just about three months away — June 19 — and just as NOM is busy planning for this great event, it is important for you today to consider how you can become engaged and help make this milestone a success.

So please allow me to share with you three ideas of ways you can get involved today.

Spread the Word!

Next Wednesday, March 26th, NOM and our coalition partners for the March for Marriage are going to take to social media and try to generate some buzz so that people can become informed about the March and begin planning to attend or to support the effort in some other way.

We're #Marching4Marriage on June 19th, and we're going to let the world know why!

Next Wednesday is the anniversary of the fateful hearing in the case of Perry v. Hollingsworth — the Proposition 8 case. On that day, the voices and values of the voters of California were put on trial before the Supreme Court. And unfortunately, when the decision came down, those voices and values were silenced by the activist judges of lower courts.

It is an outrage to think how, in California and elsewhere, citizens have had their will ignored and overturned by self-interested elites in league with a powerful lobby funneling big money from Hollywood into their campaign coffers.

And as these pro-marriage voters have been relegated to second-class citizenship status behind a privileged and protected class of bullies, insult has been added to the injury: not only have they been told to shut up and get out of the way, but they've been called names while being shoved to the sidelines — they've been called bigots and haters and worse.

Bakers, photographers, florists, and others have been dragged into court and told that sacrificing their beliefs and betraying their consciences is "the price of citizenship.” Kids in schools have had to hear their parents' values insulted and smeared by intolerant ideologues, and have been sent to the principal's office for exercising their rights of free speech. Military chaplains have seen a culture of intimidation and fear built up around their office, and the attention they pay to the men and women they serve has been divided by the need to watch over their shoulder for the lurking P.C. police.

All of these things and more add to the litany of reasons we're #Marching4Marriage:

  • We're #Marching4Marriage because kids deserve a mom and a dad.

  • We're #Marching4Marriage because citizens' values demand a voice.

  • We're #Marching4Marriage because it's not bigotry to acknowledge biological fact.

  • We're #Marching4Marriage because running a business shouldn't mean shutting the door on your beliefs.

  • We're #Marching4Marriage because marriage is the very foundation on which our society stands.

How about you? What reasons could you add?

Join us next Wednesday, and share your thoughts on Facebook and Twitter! Follow the hashtag #Marching4Marriage, and use that hashtag to let us know why you're marching for marriage, too!

Your help in spreading the word is vital to this effort. So please share the news about this event and let's make sure everyone knows why we're #Marching4Marriage on June 19th!

Become a Bus Captain!

A second way you can start planning to be involved in the March is by planning and facilitating a bus to bring people to the March.

If you want more information on how to do this, it's as simple as clicking this link and sending us an email. We'll get back to you with some materials that should help you plan and promote your effort.

This information will include specific schedule and location information and a host of other details you'll need to successfully organize a trip!

But in the meantime, I want to help demystify what might seem to you to be too big a task. Remember, don't be discouraged — you can do it!

Here are some ideas that will help get your mind on the right track:

  • Think of bus-trips you've been on in the past: how did they do it? Do you know the organizers? Can they help put you in touch with a good reliable bus company?

  • Ask local churches or schools, the kinds of folks that probably have experience planning trips, and see if they can give you some tips and advice.

  • Consider contacting your travel agent for some guidance.

  • If you're a do-it-yourself type, make sure to search for multiple bus companies and get competing quotes — and always be sure to read the reviews!

Once you've found a bus you might want to use, you need to fill it and fund it! So...

  • Talk to a local group or church you're involved with and ask if you can post a sign-up sheet or give out some fliers; and see if anyone else involved is interested in helping you coordinate!

  • Ask the church or group if there's an opportunity to help underwrite the cost of the bus, or at least help fundraise.

  • Try to find out if a local religious radio station or publication or some local faithful business leaders would consider helping you promote your bus or even help sponsor it to save on costs.

  • Consider starting an online group — maybe on Facebook (click to find out how) to help keep track of everything.

Remember: as I said above, I know this can seem like a big task. But you can do it! I hope you'll consider taking the bull by the horns and becoming a leader in your community for this important cause!

Take Advantage of Lobby Day!

On the day of the March, we're also providing a chance for those able to stay in town a couple extra hours to visit with their elected officials and their staff to speak about marriage. The National Marriage Lobby Day will start at about 2:30 in the afternoon on the 19th after the March itself is wrapped up.

If you want more information about Lobby Day, send us an email with your full address information so we can figure out who you'd be meeting with and we will get back to you with more details about this exciting opportunity.

Remember, we'll need your full name, street address, city, state, and zip code to help begin planning for your attendance at Lobby Day. Your cell phone number would be very helpful as well,
particularly during Lobby Day itself.

If you can't make it to D.C. for the March, you can also request a lobbying packet that you can use locally in your area — just send us an email with the request!

I hope you'll consider taking part in this exciting new initiative!

Please generously consider these three ways of being involved in helping the March for Marriage to be a great success.

This is our best way of showing the American people that the marriage movement is still vibrant in our country, and that those who stand in defense of the simple common-sense wisdom that marriage is the union of one man and one woman are not going away.

I hope, in particular, that you'll join us next Wednesday, on March 26th, in telling the world via social media why we're #Marching4Marriage again this year! Which reminds me...

There is one reason that I did not mention above about why I'm marching for marriage, and I would be remiss if I didn't add it here: it's you.

I'm #Marching4Marriage because it is quite frankly my honor and privilege to stand with you and countless others like you around our nation: good, courageous patriots who have remained strong in this most important cultural and political battle.

I am deeply grateful for that honor, and I look forward to Marching with you.

Faithfully,

Brian S. Brown

National Marriage Lobby Day!

National Organization for Marriage

Dear Marriage Supporter,

I wrote you a few weeks back letting you know that on June 19, 2014 NOM will be hosting the second annual March for Marriage in Washington, DC. And, this year, we have added an extremely exciting component to the day: Marriage Lobby Day!

In the afternoon following the March, starting at 2:30, we are organizing the opportunity for Marchers from all around the country to meet with their Senator, Representative or their staff!

Won't you please support Marriage Lobby Day on June 19th and all of NOM's lobbying efforts to give voice to your values in defense of marriage by making a generous donation of $35, $50, $100, $500 or even $1,000 today?

Last year's tremendously successful March brought thousands of marriage champions to the nation's capitol the day the Supreme Court was hearing arguments in the Prop 8 and DOMA cases. We sent a clear message to the powers that be in Washington that Americans believe marriage is the union of one man and one woman, and that children deserve both a mom and a dad. The voices and presence of several thousand marriage champions echoed through the halls of Congress and the Supreme Court that day.

This year, potentially thousands of marriage supporters from all over the country will have the chance to meet with their federal Senators and Representatives to tell them about the importance of defending marriage, religious liberty and the rule of law.

If you are planning to come to the March for Marriage and would like to participate in the Lobby Day, please respond to this email and include your full name, street address, city, state, zip code and (optionally) your cell phone to help us coordinate activities on the day of the events.

What's more... the tens of thousands of supporters who sign up to participate in our virtual march (another new component of this year's March program) will have the opportunity to request their own lobbying packet, allowing them to continue the impact of the Marriage Lobby Day throughout the summer and year.

You see, last year the Supreme Court gave us something of a split decision in the Windsor case involving DOMA. While tragically invalidating a section of DOMA that defined marriage under federal law, the Court reaffirmed that marriage is and always has been in the purview of the states to regulate and define.

This gives us a new impetus to our already vibrant defense of marriage in the states and at the federal level! And since the vast majority of states already define marriage as the union of one man and one woman, we continue to engage the battle from a position of strength!

Unfortunately, the Obama administration and federal judges across the country are doing everything in their power — including ignoring the plain words of last summer's Supreme Court decisions — to impose same-sex marriage on everyone nationwide.

The number one way marriage champions can stem this lawless onslaught is to demand that their elected representatives pass legislation that not only protects marriage and the right of states to define the institution as they deem fit, but to also protect our fundamental First Amendment rights.

Right now there are several bills before Congress that would accomplish these things, and NOM wants to make this incredible opportunity to lobby Congress on June 19th available to as many people as so desire.

Won't you please support NOM's efforts to fight back against the disregard of the Obama administration and federal judges for marriage and the values of millions of American citizens through a generous contribution to support our lobbying efforts?

The administration and its allies' reckless disregard for the voices and votes of so many millions of Americans is raising our concern over the future of marriage to a whole new level.

Fortunately, we've already received strong signals from the Supreme Court that this sort of lawlessness won't be tolerated as the entire bench moved to stay a decision striking down Utah's state marriage amendment. That decision, along with decisions by federal courts in Oklahoma, Virginia, and other states, is under appeal.

The marriage debate in America did not end last year — or this year with its sled of outrageous judicial rulings. No...the fight over marriage is still very much alive. And that is because people like you continue to be willing to take to the streets, to stand up in the public square, and to voice your values in the halls of power!

Won't you please support NOM's lobbying efforts all across the country by making a generous donation today?

The need for energetic grassroots demonstrations of support for marriage is greater today than ever.

Elected officials are accountable to their constituents, so meetings like this always make an impact... it's something we need to do more often... especially in light of judiciaries and executives at both the state and federal level abandoning their duties and oaths!

The forces arrayed against us in this fight — who will stop at nothing in advancing their agenda of imposing genderless marriage on America — are ever more emboldened. That's why we need to mobilize thousands of Americans just like you. You and I can make a critical difference in this fight!

I hope you can join me in person this summer at the March for Marriage and Marriage Lobby Day, or at least will be able to stand with us through our Virtual March and its associated activities. To receive more information as June 19th approaches, please visit www.marriagemarch.org and sign up.

And remember, if you want to participate in Lobby Day while you're in DC on the 19th for the March, reply to this email with your full contact information so we can make arrangements for you.

We're in this fight together — and together we'll make a difference! Thank you for standing up for marriage!

Faithfully,

Brian S. Brown

Calendar Reflections

National Organization for Marriage

Dear Marriage Supporter,

Happy Pi Day!

CNN reports, "Across the country, math geeks in museums, schools, private groups and elsewhere gather to celebrate the number pi, approximately 3.14. That's why March 14 — 3-14 — is Pi Day."

The article adds the interesting factoid that today is also, coincidentally, the anniversary of the birth of the great scientist Albert Einstein.

You probably remember from school that Pi is an "irrational" number. Reflecting on the meaning of Pi Day reminds me of other dates fast approaching, days which also mark anniversaries of things irrational. But unlike in mathematics, when it comes to philosophy and politics, irrationality is not a trait to be celebrated or enjoyed.

I'm referring to March 26 and 27, which will respectively mark the one-year anniversaries of the hearings of oral arguments by the Supreme Court in the Perry v. Hollingsworth and Windsor v. US cases, better known as the Prop 8 and DOMA cases.

On those days, irrationality prevailed over everyday common sense and ancient wisdom. The Justices decided in those two cases first that the voters of California did not have standing to defend their interests in court, and second that the federal government did not have a reasonable interest in protecting marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

An Important Case to Watch

This year, within days of the fateful anniversaries of those two Supreme Court cases which implicated matters of religious liberties and other essential first amendment rights, the very same topics will once again be under consideration by our high court.

On Friday, March 21st, the Supreme Court will meet in conference to consider whether they will hear the case of Elane Photography, LLC v. Willock. This is an important case to watch. SCOTUSblog.com made it yesterday's "Petition of the Day."

The "issue" in the case, as reported by SCOTUSblog, is "Whether applying a state public-accommodations statute to require a photographer to create expressive images and picture-books conveying messages that conflict with her religious beliefs violates the First Amendment's ban on compelled speech."

Our friends at Alliance Defending Freedom, who are representing Elane Photography, provide this essential and more complete background:

The New Mexico Supreme Court ruled on August 22, 2013 against our clients, Jonathan and Elaine Huguenin of Elane Photography, stating that there is a "price" to pay for their faith — and it involves "compromising" their beliefs. Our legal opponents have effectively argued that if you want to do business in this country — keep your faith out of it. Now, the New Mexico Supreme Court has further illustrated the continuing clash between religious freedom and an ongoing effort to force political correctness on American citizens.

In 2006, Elaine declined to use her artistic expression to communicate the story of a same-sex ceremony for Vanessa Willock. Willock found another photographer, but nevertheless filed a complaint with the New Mexico Human Rights Commission, which issued an order for Elaine and Jonathan to pay $6,637 to the two women who filed the complaint.

You'll recall that I've discussed the chilling decision by the New Mexico Supreme Court with you before. We will watch closely to see whether the Supreme Court decides to take up this pivotal case; and thereafter, whether they will decide similarly that violating one's conscience and turning one's back on deeply held religious beliefs is simply "the price of citizenship." Let us hope not!

A Coincidence of Dates

A few days after meeting in Conference, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in two consolidated cases focusing on the issue of religious liberty: Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Sebelius.

These cases will be heard on March 25th — almost a year to the day after the Supreme Court took up the question of Proposition 8 in California. Lower courts had decided, in the case of Prop 8, that the voters who had taken action to protect marriage were motivated by animus and bigotry. In effect, the lower courts had maintained that people's right to express and stand up for their deeply held beliefs — a right protected by the constitution — was the legal equivalent of racism and bigotry!

Both of the Sebelius cases this year involve Christian business owners who claim that the HHS's so-called "contraception mandate" runs afoul of their protected First Amendment rights, and impinges on their liberty to conduct business as people of faith in accord with deeply held beliefs.

The theme may sound familiar — or at least it should. Recently Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal spoke at a Reagan Foundation Forum event about the "Silent War on Religious Freedom" waging in our country. He cited cases like these going before the Supreme Court as well as cases like Elane Photography as examples of one-and-the-same trend.

We have known and warned for years that the aggressive same-sex 'marriage' lobby was intent on driving people of faith out of the public square altogether. NOM's very mission statement expresses this understanding — our mission is "to protect marriage and the faith communities that sustain it."

The odd coincidental near-anniversary of the question of religious liberty returning to the Supreme Court demonstrates in an emphatic way that the issue hasn't gone away — which serves to remind us that we need more than ever to stand up and demand that our rights be respected!

And that brings to mind another anniversary that will be marked this month…

Marching for Marriage

It was a year ago this month that thousands of pro-marriage supporters from every walk of life gathered on the National Mall for the first annual March for Marriage.

Well, as I've mentioned before, we're marching again this yearon June 19th, 2014!

Mark your calendars and plan to join us in Washington, DC on June 19th for this exciting event. Begin planning now so that you can come out and be part of what we hope will be an even bigger March for Marriage. Bookmark www.MarriageMarch.org and check back for updates on this summer's event, and be sure to mark your calendar today.

But I also want to invite you to take part in a social media event in just a few days. On the anniversary of last year's March — that is, on the 26th of this month — we're going to take social media by storm and let people know why we're #Marching4Marriage again this year!

Here's some ways you can participate:

  • Make a meme or graphic for Facebook explaining why you're #Marching4Marriage this June.

  • Tweet about why you'll be #Marching4Marriage.

  • Record a 7-second Vine video and tell the world why #Marching4Marriage is so important.

  • Follow the #Marching4Marriage hashtag on Facebook and Twitter, and retweet and share the posts so that we can get it trending and expand our outreach.

Be sure to share:

  • The date of the March — June 19, 2014;

  • The location — our nation's capital, Washington, DC; and,

  • The website — www.MarriageMarch.org.

The debate over marriage is still a very live and very important topic in our country, a year after the Supreme Court first took up the issue.

Concern over religious liberty and the rights of people of faith to live lives in accord with their conscience is, if anything, even more significant now in 2014.

So that's why NOM and our allies from around the country will be #Marching4Marriage this summer — and I hope sincerely that you will make plans to join us!

Faithfully,

Brian S. Brown

A Major #Fail

National Organization for Marriage

Dear Marriage Supporter,

Despite being grammatically incorrect, our culture has officially made the verb "fail" into a noun, and the expression seems here to stay.

It pops up on social media all the time: a major political gaffe or celebrity embarrassment, for example, is labeled a major #fail, as occurred at the recent Oscar ceremony with John Travolta's unfortunate pronunciation of artist Idina Menzel's name. Well, just a few days ago we witnessed a huge #fail of much more consequence in our national public discourse on marriage and religious liberty, and that's the top headline in this week's marriage news.

Hate and Ignorance Always Go Hand-in-Hand

It's axiomatic that hatred is born of misunderstanding and ignorance. This is true of personal hatred, but it's also true of ideological enmity and the hatred of an idea.

Over the past two weeks media elites, politicians, activists, and opinion writers were climbing over one another to reach the heights of histrionics in their expression of hatred for a bill in Arizona: SB 1062, a bill that aimed to clarify the state's existing statutory religious liberty protections.

The bill was unfortunately vetoed by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer on Wednesday of last week, who caved to the pressures being leveraged by those screaming misinformation and lies all over the media.

National Review editor Rich Lowry penned a piece for Politico magazine entitled "Brewer's Foolish Veto" in which he notes how "[t]he bill was the subject of a truly awe-inspiring tsunami of poorly informed indignation."

Lowry goes on:

If you'll excuse a brief, boring break from the hysteria to dwell on the text of the doomed bill, it stipulated that the word "person" in the law applies to businesses and that the protections of the law apply whether or not the government is directly a party to a proceeding (e.g., a lawsuit brought on anti-discrimination grounds).

Eleven legal experts on religious freedom statutes — who represent a variety of views on gay marriage — wrote a letter to Gov. Brewer prior to her veto explaining how the bill "has been egregiously misrepresented by many of its critics."

The utter deluge of misinformation that, to use Lowry's term, "doomed" the bill in Arizona was really unprecedented. It was a picture out of Orwell's 1984, like the scene of the "Two Minutes Hate," when everyone in Oceana is forced to watch a film and express their hatred of the enemies of Big Brother — even though no one really knows why they're expected to have such hatred.

As Lowry notes, "For critics of the Arizona bill, the substance was almost an afterthought. They recoiled at the very idea that someone might have moral objections to homosexuality or gay marriage" [emphasis added].

The bill's critics seemed to have not even taken the time to read it before issuing their condemnations; or, if they did read it, they made the deliberate and conscious decision to willfully misunderstand it.

Ryan Anderson, at The Foundry blog, explains more about the major #fail of the media in approaching this bill [emphasis added]:

The headline reads "A License to Discriminate." And the New York Times editorial board goes on to claim that Arizona has just passed "noxious measures to give businesses and individuals the broad right to deny services to same-sex couples in the name of protecting religious liberty." The Times got it wrong. The proposed legislation never even mentions same-sex couples; it simply clarifies and improves existing state protections for religious liberty. And as the multitude of lawsuits against the coercive HHS mandate and the cases of photographers, florists and bakers show, we need protection for religious liberty now more than ever.

Ryan boils his argument down to very simple points that one would think could be understood even by the Twittering classes eating up drivel like the Times editorial. "What the Times dubs "discrimination" is in actuality simply liberty," Ryan writes. And, "Freedom is a two way street. [...][I]t requires allowing others to do or not do things that we might choose differently for ourselves."

Another lengthy exposition of the bill and a clearing of the air of the manifest confusions surrounding it was laudably attempted by The Christian Post, but perhaps the authors gave too much credit to the bill's critics by thinking they actually wanted to think through the matter and reason about it.

The Orwellian groupthink had too strong a hold to be penetrated by such insights. Even the well-reasoned opinions of a cadre of eminent legal scholars couldn't disabuse Governor Brewer of her misunderstanding which led her to veto the bill, when they urged her: "Whatever judgment you pass on SB 1062, you should not be misled by uninformed critics."

Misled she was, and so SB 1062 has suffered defeat. But religious liberty has suffered the real blow here: and the many bakers, photographers, florists and others who provide wedding services in Arizona woke up last week to weakened protections of their most basic first amendment rights.

Some Folks Governor Brewer Should Meet

At The Foundry, Kelsey Harris put together a special piece entitled, "Four Businesses Whose Owners Were Penalized for Their Religious Beliefs." She explained that, amidst the debate of SB 1062, it was worth taking some time to "look... back at some of the ways that religious beliefs have come under attack in the public square in recent years."

She covers the cases of Elaine Photography, Sweet Cakes by Melissa, Masterpiece Cakeshop, and Arlene's Flowers: all examples of those who have been targeted because of their religious values and subjected to harassment by gay activists because they declined to celebrate same-sex 'weddings.'

I say "celebrate," because I think that's the most respectful way to refer to what wedding service providers do. Often, these folks are in the business they're in because they appreciate the joy weddings bring: they enjoy celebrating along with the couples they serve and celebrating the good of marriage.

These people are artists, too. Anyone who has seen one of the many TV shows about bakers knows the amazing gifts and talents involved in that form of art, and anyone who compared their wedding photo album to their own holiday shots can appreciate the huge difference.

This raises a very common sense question that isn't brought up a lot in these debates: can good art be compelled and forced under duress? And even if it could, is that what anyone would really want? Who but a dictator could enjoy a wedding cake made under duress?

Yet the same-sex 'marriage' activists who target these businesses (when surely there are other providers available to them who might not have the same religious objections) want to compel these people to use their artistic gifts and talents to celebrate 'marriages' against their consciences and in violation of deeply held beliefs! And now Governor Brewer, with her veto, has in some ways sanctioned the courts to assist these activists in compelling such people's participation!

No More #Fails Moving Forward

As the marriage movement goes forward, there are three things we need to do in order to stop these kinds of failures in public discourse:

  1. We need to focus on the faces and the stories of the people who are really affected by the fallout of marriage redefinition.

  2. We need to elect better public servants and hold them accountable, and not consent to be crowded out of the conversation.

  3. We need to educate ourselves, our friends, and our families as to the truth of the debate and not be cowed by the histrionics of the other side.

Last week in Texas a federal judge ruled that State's marriage amendment unconstitutional. The judge immediately stayed his own decision and now it will move forward for appeals. We are hopeful that this decision — along with similar results in numerous states — will be overturned on appeal. Imposing same-sex 'marriage' is wrong as a matter of law, and it is wrong as a matter of policy. Just last year, the US Supreme Court ruled that marriage has customarily been the purview of the states and the federal government must respect that judgment. Yet federal judges are grossly twisting the Court's ruling in an unprecedented show of judicial activism bent on redefining marriage to suit their own wishes. The higher courts must put a stop to this.

The federal judiciary should keep in mind stories like the ones cited above: the stories about the bakers, and photographers, and florists who are sued, fined, punished and put out of business merely for standing for the age-old understanding of marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

We ordinary citizens — marriage champions like yourself — also need to stay familiar with those stories and help to put a human face on the issue when it comes up in debate. The other side relies on smokescreens of misinformation and abstraction, as last week's events have shown.

The best tool we have to cut through that misinformation is the human touch of stories such as these that reveal the complete lack of tolerance for any views that dissent from those of our adversaries. People need to understand the stakes in defending marriage aren't just abstract ideals. People's lives and livelihoods have already suffered very real affects from the push to redefine marriage, and their stories must be told.

Finally, we need to expect more from our public servants — that they represent everyone and not just the interests of a small and powerful (and well-funded) few.

Curbing the Lawlessness

My good friend, Reverend William Owens, president and founder of the Coalition of African American Pastors, last week issued a call for the impeachment of Attorney General Eric Holder. Holder made news for advising state attorneys general to abandon the defense of their states' marriage laws!

It's absolutely infuriating that our nation's highest law enforcement official would not only violate his own oath of office and abandon the rule of law, but that he would go so far as to urge his counterparts at the state level to follow suit!

Can you imagine what the huge outcry would be if a conservative Attorney General were to advise that certain environmental laws should no longer be defended? There would be cries from the left of a constitutional crisis! Yet because Holder is urging state officials to ignore state marriage laws that the media and the left don't like, Holder's utter lawlessness is applauded.

Reverend Owens is seeking to garner signatures for Holder's impeachment so that Congress will take notice — and I urge you to go add your signature to the petition right away!

We deserve better from our public officials — and we must demand it. The time has come to stand up and speak out.

Write a letter to the editor, call your local station's news hotline, visit your federal legislator's local district offices. Most importantly, ask your elected officials what their position on marriage is and then hold them accountable!

These are the grassroots actions we need more and more citizens to start doing so that we can turn our public discourse from a major #fail to a big #win!

Faithfully,

Brian S. Brown

Civilization and Its Discontents

National Organization for Marriage

Dear Marriage Supporter,

Over eighty years ago, the influential psychologist Sigmund Freud wrote his seminal work which would come to be known in the English translation as Civilization and Its Discontents.

No one familiar with the book could deny its influence on our culture or the fact that it has shaped the mindset regarding sexual ethics that informs many members of the movement to redefine marriage.

In one of its most often quoted lines, Freud posits that "what decides the purpose of life is simply the program of the pleasure principle." Certainly it is unquestionable that much of our culture's confusion regarding marriage is due to following that precise train of thought — the pleasure principle.

Redefining Marriage And Its Consequences

The push to redefine marriage is about substituting the desires of adults for the needs of children.

The push to redefine marriage is about substituting an imagined 'right' for same-sex couples to 'marry' and privileging it over the fundamental rights of free speech and religious conscience guaranteed under the constitution.

The push to redefine marriage is about making it an institution that achieves the goals of the pleasure principle rather than one that meets the needs of the public interest.

But we who are content with what civilization has passed down to us in the institution of marriage — the union of one man and one woman, serving the good of both the spouses and of children who deserve both a mom and a dad — know that we must defend this sacred design with all our strength. And this is because we know the consequences of turning away from the common sense truth about what marriage is in its essence.

NOM's good friend Ryan T. Anderson co-wrote an excellent article this week at NRO with his Heritage colleague Leslie Ford, highlighting some of these consequences which we've already seen around our nation.

They open their piece with an important question which all of us need to take more deeply into consideration [emphasis added]:

For years now, a central argument of those in favor of same-sex marriage has been that all Americans should be free to live and love how they choose. But does that freedom require the government to coerce those who disagree into celebrating same-sex relationships?

They go on to explain why this issue is so timely and critical:

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.

The authors' essential thesis is one with which, sadly, we can no longer take it for granted that everyone will agree. They state simply that "[a]ll Americans should remain free in the public square to act in accordance with their beliefs about marriage without fear of government penalty" [emphasis added].

Since this basic principle is no longer universally recognized or acknowledged, we the people need to stand up and demand that our first amendment freedoms are secured against the aggressive and hostile genderless marriage regime.

Fighting For Our Rights

Several bills making their way through state and federal legislatures right now are doing just that.

The first bill is Arizona's Religious Freedom Restoration Act which has successfully passed through the legislature and awaits a signature from the Governor.

This bill will protect business owners who believe in marriage as the union of one man and one woman from being forced to violate their conscience and their religious convictions by participating in same-sex nuptial ceremonies.

Please click here to send a note of support for this critical bill to Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona!

Another bill very similar to the one in Arizona is stuck in the Kansas legislature. While it was passed overwhelmingly by the Kansas House, Senate President Susan Wagel has refused to allow the bill to be heard or voted on in committee, meaning it may never even get to the floor for a debate and consideration!

Please contact Senate President Susan Wagel right now and urge her to allow a full and open debate on this crucial bill which protects Kansans most fundamental rights!

These bills, although at the state level, are important pieces of legislation because of their contribution to the larger cultural debate regarding the place that individuals' beliefs and values have in the public square.

Under Fire

Increasingly, Christians and other people of faith are being told that their values have no place in civil discourse... that they should keep their beliefs to themselves and only talk about them in their homes or houses of worship! According the New Mexico Supreme Court, this silencing is the 'price of citizenship.'

This threat to believers' first amendment rights will only increase if the Obama administration gets its way and succeeds in coercing the states to adopt same-sex 'marriage' over the will of the people.

That is, after all, what the federal government has been attempting to do lately, through vehicles like the IRS, the military, and the Department of Justice.

Fortunately, at the federal level there is critical legislation that would put a halt to this coercion from inside the Beltway: the State Marriage Defense Act has been introduced in the House of Representatives by Representative Randy Weber (R-TX) and in the Senate by Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Mike Lee (R-UT).

This legislation would restrict the federal government to using the definition of marriage from the state a couple resides in rather than the state where their 'wedding' was celebrated. This would prevent the widespread and lawless action of the Obama government in recognizing 'marriages' in some states and forcing it upon other states through administrative channels.

In short, it would restore to the states the power that they have always had under the Constitution, the federal Defense of Marriage Act (Section 2), and which was reaffirmed again by the Supreme Court last summer in Windsor: to define and regulate marriage as they see fit.

These pieces of legislation moving through the state and federal system are critical to protecting our first amendment rights of association, speech, and religion. These are the most fundamental rights we have and the drive to redefine marriage threatens them all. I hope you take the time today to act and support each one of these bills.

As always, it is a privilege to stand with each one of you in the defense of marriage and the faith communities that support it — and now too as we fight to protect our most cherished liberties.

Faithfully yours,

Brian S. Brown

Courage and Cowardice - Contrasting Characters

National Organization for Marriage

Dear Marriage Supporter,

A review of this week's news in the marriage movement presents a contrasting character study between cowardly careerists who sell out their constituents to the aggressive marriage redefinition lobby, and courageous defenders of the truth about marriage who are unafraid to stand up and speak on its behalf.

Nevada Folds a Good Hand

The first profile in cowardice is in the state of Nevada, where this week the Attorney General and the Governor withdrew their defense of that state's marriage laws against a legal challenge by gay activists.

The Democratic Attorney General, Catherine Cortez Masto, filed a brief opining that Nevada's present law defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman — an amendment passed by the voters of the state in 2002 — is likely to fail before the bench of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Republican Governor of Nevada, Brian Sandoval, then issued a written statement to the press saying that he agreed with Masto's analysis.

But they are wrong.

Masto cited as reasoning an earlier case decided by a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit led by the notorious Judge Stephen Reinhardt. The previous case involved jury selection and the legality of peremptory strikes of homosexual jury candidates.

First off, it isn't even clear that that case applies here at all. Second, the Circuit's decision to apply strict scrutiny to homosexuals as a protected class is dubious, because of conflict with other standing legal precedent. But even if that higher scrutiny were applied here, Nevada still has an eminently winnable case. The fact is that, under Nevada law, marriage isn't discriminating against anyone on the basis of sexual orientation: rather, in Nevada's law marriage is in its very definition only the union of a man and a woman. It is biology, not bigotry.

Nonetheless, even though they had a good legal hand, Nevada's leaders folded and walked away from the table. Masto and Sandoval have not only turned their backs on their sworn oaths to protect Nevada's constitution, but they have committed a cowardly act of betrayal against Nevada's voters who chose to protect marriage just over a decade ago.

Legislature Fails to Pass the Ball to Hoosier Voters

In Indiana, while the process is still not complete, it looks like the people have been betrayed by weak willed politicians. Despite 80% of the voters wanting the right to vote on marriage and despite years of promises, the Indiana legislature chose to 'kick the can down the road' by not restoring the 'second sentence' to the proposed Indiana Marriage Amendment. Because of this, it is very likely that the earliest voters can have a say will be 2016. NOM will continue to partner with our allies in Indiana, exploring various options for still getting a vote in 2014 and, failing that, to hold accountable the Representatives and Senators who betrayed their constituents and denied them the right to vote on marriage this year.

In Kentucky, Fried Logic

A third profile of cowardice comes in Kentucky this week, where a federal judge handed gay activists a prize decision — and you might say it was gift-wrapped in a shredded copy of the Constitution.

The case involved four homosexual couples 'married' out of state — one in Canada — and the judge ruled that Kentucky must recognize these marriages even though Kentucky law only recognizes as marriage the union of one man and one woman.

NOM's Chairman, Professor John Eastman, summed up the problems with this decision in our press release Wednesday:

In Windsor, decided just last June, the Supreme Court placed great weight on the fact that States have primary authority for determining marriage policy. It therefore held that the federal government must respect New York's decision to alter the definition and purpose of marriage so that the institution encompasses same-sex relationships. Kentucky, as more than 30 other states have recently done, continues to further marriage policy that is tied to the unique procreative abilities of men and women. Yet this federal judge has, contrary to the strong federalism language in Windsor, determined on his own that Kentucky is not allowed to make that policy choice.

If the decision is upheld, Kentucky will have to recognize as marriages same-sex relationships that were given marriage certificates in other nations, but there is no reason to limit the ruling to same-sex relationships. Presumably, Kentucky will also be forced to recognize as 'marriage' polygamous and other marriages that were valid in the country in which they were performed. This drives a stake through the heart of Kentucky's profound policy judgment, and through the reasoning of the Windsor decision that instructed the lower courts to respect such state policy judgments.

Most shockingly, not only did this judge rule so poorly while ignoring clear legal precedents, he also took the time to malign pro-marriage people in a way that has become all too common, as he suggested legal distinctions preserving marriage must be motivated by animus or bigotry.

Ripped from the Headlines: Law(lessness) and (Dis)order

Over this past weekend, Attorney General Eric Holder attended an event for gay activists in New York City. Standing in front of the Human Rights Campaign logo, Holder announced some new policies for the Justice Department regarding same-sex 'marriage,' saying:

In every courthouse, in every proceeding and in every place where a member of the Department of Justice stands on behalf of the United States, they will strive to ensure that same-sex marriages receive the same privileges, protections and rights as opposite-sex marriages under federal law.

In a subsequent memo to Justice Department personnel, Holder explained: "It is the [Justice Department's] policy to recognize lawful same-sex marriages as broadly as possible."

The irony was palpable: here was the Attorney General announcing a new lawless policy that further undermines states' rights to define marriage while standing in front of the logo of HRC — the organization to which NOM's federal tax documents were disclosed in a felonious act involving someone at the IRS, a crime which Holder's Justice Department has failed to investigate fully or prosecute!

Don't the American people deserve better from our nation's chief lawyer? Instead, we have a man unfit for his office, shirking his constitutional oath and his sworn duty, going out of his way rub elbows and shake hands with an elite special interest group linked to a criminal action he refuses to investigate!

But in the midst of all of this, and despite these failings by elected and judicial officials, we have reason to take heart: because there are some shining examples of heroic and courageous individuals who have been willing to stand up in defense of marriage. And we need to honor them.

Marriage's Courageous Heroes

This week, we're thanking Reince Priebus, the Republican party chair, for his continual support of the defense of marriage. Please click here to send a thank you to Reince today for his steadfastness in holding that he — and the Republican party under his guidance — believes in marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

We also owe thanks to two heroic allies in the Senate: Mike Lee of Utah and Ted Cruz of Texas. On Wednesday, they introduced a key piece of legislation — the State Marriage Defense Act — and they had some strong things to say about its importance.

Senator Cruz explained:

I support traditional marriage. Under President Obama, the federal government has tried to re-define marriage, and to undermine the constitutional authority of each state to define marriage consistent with the values of its citizens. The Obama Administration should not be trying to force gay marriage on all 50 states. We should respect the states, and the definition of marriage should be left to democratically elected legislatures, not dictated from Washington. This bill will safeguard the ability of states to preserve traditional marriage for its residents.

Senator Lee echoed his sentiments, and condemned the Obama administration, which he said "finds the principles of federalism inconvenient in its effort to force states to redefine the institution of marriage."

Bravo to these wonderful Senators!

Around the country, others have been standing up in defense of marriage as well. For instance, just yesterday in Wyoming, the House of Representatives voted to preserve the right of the voters to protect marriage and rejected a proposal to redefine it:

House Bill 87... would have changed the law that says marriage is a contract between a male and female to marriage being a contract between two natural persons.

Forty-one representatives voted against the bill. Seventeen voted in favor.

[...]

"We cannot legislate such a colossal change in societies' families, lives, jobs and religions from a glass bowl," [Rep. Mark Baker] said.

And in Virginia, two Catholic leaders have spoken up strongly against a decision late last night by a federal judge to overturn that state’s marriage amendment. Bishops DiLorenzo and Loverde said that the decision "contradicts the wisdom and understanding of the ages" and "strips marriage of its intrinsic meaning." Please be sure to read their powerful statement in full.

Heroes in the US House Celebrate National Marriage Week

Finally, on Tuesday of this week several heroic and courageous members of Congress made use of their time to celebrate National Marriage Week USA.

Representative Bradley Byrne of Alabama made a one-minute floor speech to recognize the week. Here is some of what he had to say:

I rise today in recognition of National Marriage Week.

Every year, in the lead-up to Valentine's Day, we recognize the importance of the institution of marriage and the stability it brings to the American household. Married couples lead longer lives, have greater financial and emotional stability, and are healthier and generally happier than their unmarried counterparts.

[...]
Children who grow up in a two-parent household generally perform better in school, stay out of trouble, and are on track to live a healthier and happier life.

[...]

I believe promoting the positive benefits of marriage is important for the happiness, stability, and well-being of the next generation. I am proud to recognize National Marriage Week...

Later during the day, several members of the House spoke on behalf of marriage during a series of ordered speeches led by Representative Tim Huelskamp. He opened by saying:

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to visit with you this evening. I know many of my colleagues would like to visit about a very, very important topic; and that is the topic of marriage. We are currently in the midst of National Marriage Week, which is a global effort with 16 other countries to promote marriage. I think we are going to hear tonight, Mr. Speaker, some very important information on how important marriage is to our culture, to our families, to our society and, most importantly, in my mind, to our children.

Here are some highlights from the speeches that followed:

  • Marriage isn't a creation of Western civilization or of the United States of America. Marriage, as an institution, was created by none other than the Creator of mankind itself, a Holy God, the God of the Bible, and it is stated very clearly in the book of Genesis that after God created man and woman, He then created the institution of marriage, and He created it for a very simple reason: it is because God had a plan for man in the future, and that was through the propagation of the human race. — Michelle Bachmann (Minn.)

  • My colleague mentioned that being from California we do some strange things out there sometimes. But, you know... in California, two different propositions in the State of California passed, Prop. 22 and then Proposition 8, by the people of California, affirming that marriage is, indeed, one man and one woman. ... Indeed, an institution created by God, and it is supposed to be held up and respected by men and women. — Doug LaMalfa (Cali.)

  • I would submit to those of us who are following this and listening that marriage has been the strong foundation of our culture and our society. Our government recognizes marriage because of the benefits it extends to our society. A healthy marriage creates stability, and it creates security, Mr. Speaker. A healthy marriage ensures a committed relationship with a mom and a dad to raise, to teach, and to instill values in those children. — Randy Weber (Texas)

I reiterate how grateful I am to these courageous supporters of marriage. If you would like, you can read the rest of their remarks here. But in closing, I want to quote Congressman Huelskamp one more time, from his closing remarks:

This is an opportunity here in our Nation not only to talk about marriage, but talk about its impacts, talk about how its loss has hurt our society. I firmly believe that we could spend endless amounts of money up here, and occasionally we do that, but you cannot replace the family, you cannot replace daddy, you cannot replace mommy.

You see... that, friends, is why we fight.

Faithfully,

Brian S. Brown

PS: Remember, your generosity is needed to keep us engaged in this fight. So much has happened, so quickly and on so many fronts as we've launched into the new year. As you can see from reading this newsletter, we are up against a powerful lobby that is intent on imposing its radical agenda on you, me and every American.

We need the support of tens of thousands of individuals just like you to continue the fight and answer the ongoing threats to marriage. We can fight back and win, but only if we have the resources to do so. Won't you please consider making a generous donation today to support NOM's work of defending marriage and the faith communities that sustain it?

The Rights of Every Child

National Organization for Marriage

Dear Marriage Supporter,

This week, a United Nations committee called the Convention on the Rights of a Child issued a report that has generated a lot of media buzz. The report was the result of an "investigation" into the conduct of one of the Convention's member states: the Vatican City State, also known as the Holy See.

The subject of the supposed investigation was said to be the Catholic Church's past and present institutional handling of sexual abuse of minors — the rectifying of which is an undertaking that has consumed the Church in recent years. But after issuing its reasonable condemnations of the failures of certain individuals and bureaucracies within the Church (something the Church itself has done with conviction and steadfastness), the Convention report revealed itself in an appalling way to be a mere pretext to a larger attack on the beliefs of the Catholic Church, especially concerning homosexuality.

Senator Marco Rubio even wrote a piece for National Review Online condemning the report's overreach:

[T]he U.N. ... chose to use the opportunity to make political statements about Catholic doctrine on abortion, contraception, and marriage, issues at the core of the Church's teachings about human rights and the dignity of life. In doing so, the U.N. — with the seemingly limitless worldwide injustices it could be condemning or investigating — trampled on the religious-freedom principles outlined in its Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

What exactly was there in this report that makes it so offensive? Deacon Keith Fournier gives just a few examples in a piece he wrote at Catholic Online. These are actual quotations from the report, courtesy of Deacon Keith [emphasis added]:

  • The Committee is concerned about the Holy See's past statements and declarations on homosexuality...

  • The Committee regrets that the Holy See continues to place emphasis on the promotion of complementarity and equality in dignity, two concepts which differ from equality in law and practice...

  • The Committee... regrets that the Holy See did not provide precise information on the measures taken to promote equality between girls and boys and to remove gender stereotypes from Catholic schools textbooks...

  • The Committee urges the Holy See to adopt a rights-based approach to address discrimination between girls and boys and refrain from using terminology that could challenge equality between girls and boys. The Committee also urges the Holy See to take active measures to remove from Catholic schools textbooks all gender stereotyping which may limit the development of the talents and abilities of boys and girls and undermine their educational and life opportunities.

... But even if all of these aren't enough to reveal the UN's political leanings, this one is the kicker, most revealing of the true underlying agenda here:

  • The Committee is concerned that the Holy See and Church run institutions do not recognize the existence of diverse forms of families and often discriminate children on the basis of their family situation.

It is probably not too cynical to say that "the Committee" might have saved a lot of ink and paper (the latter especially being surely a high priority at the U.N.!) had they just written on a notecard: 'The Committee regrets that the Catholic Church is the Catholic Church.'

Senator Rubio didn't pull any punches in pointing out this surreptitious assault on the Church's values and beliefs [emphasis added]:

The United States is still very much a country that stands at the vanguard of protecting religious freedom at home and abroad. ... [T]he U.N. has overreached in its efforts to discredit the Catholic Church's core teachings, and I hope our ambassador to the U.N. will convey this message to her counterparts there.

(Of course, our ambassador to the U.N. might be too busy auditioning for bands to carry this message.)

You see, the model is the same everywhere: as it is here in the U.S., so it is on the international scale — the push to redefine marriage and the family and thereby to de-gender society on the whole always ends up targeting religious individuals or groups for abject discrimination.

You see, this radical agenda is its own kind of "orthodoxy" and dogmatism, and doesn't brook competition: it is intolerant of any "heresy" and insists on either converting or condemning absolutely — with no room for negotiation. Humanity, as made in God's image, "male and female," will be remade according to their own imaginings — genderless, sexless, role less — and the meaning of marriage written on our hearts will be scribbled over with nonsense. In their minds, it's as if the Creator made marriage to cause harm to gays and lesbians and to punish them with a cruel attack on their basic human dignity. It does not ever occur to them that marriage is a profound public good that greatly benefits men and women, and especially their children.

But in this most recent assault by the U.N. — against beliefs shared not only by members of the Catholic Church, but by billions worldwide of any one of many religions or of no religion at all — the real outrage is that it has been done under the pretense of protecting children's rights!

I will repeat here something I've said more times than I can remember, and will continue saying again and again because it so much bears repeating: Every child has the right to the love of both a mom and a dad.

This right is fundamental and foundational, really next in importance to the right to life itself: because it is bound up with that very right, since moms and dads are the natural way kids come into the world and have the gift of life. Marriage makes men and women responsible in recognition of the magnitude of that incredible power to bring new life into the world!

Now for a Refreshing Counterpoint

The State of Utah recognizes this basic truth: Utah's voters, who decided by a 66% margin to pass a constitutional amendment in 2004 to define marriage; and Utah's leaders, are now defending that amendment in appeals court. The other day the state filed its brief to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals seeking to overturn the outrageous ruling of an activist federal judge declaring that marriage itself is unconstitutional.

In its brief to the court, the State explains its position in clear and common-sense terms. The introduction to their brief is worth quoting at length:

As with other issues of domestic-relations law, choosing a definition of marriage in today's world presents a clash between deeply held interests and values. On one hand are the interests of Utah citizens who have formed intimate, committed relationships with someone of the same sex — and in some cases are raising or wish to raise children together — and who want the State to confer on them the benefits of marriage. The State respects and values those citizens and their children as both equal before the law and fully entitled to order their private lives in the manner they have chosen.

On the other hand are the long-term interests of all Utah's children — both now and in future generations. They cannot defend their own interests. The State thus has a duty to consider their interests in deciding whether to abandon the man-woman definition of marriage. And Utah voters, in enacting the constitutional amendment known as Amendment 3, reaffirmed among other things their firm belief — also supported by sound social science — that moms and dads are different, not interchangeable, and that the diversity of having both a mom and a dad is the ideal parenting environment.

That model is not intended to demean other family structures, any more than giving an "A" to some students demeans others. As between mutually exclusive models of marriage, the man-woman model is simply the one the State and its people believe is best for children.

What makes the decision about redefining marriage particularly poignant is not merely the uncertainty inherent in predicting its long-term effects. It is also the mounting evidence that such a redefinition poses real, concrete risks to children—especially in future generations. Many of those risks flow from the inevitable effect of shifting the public meaning of marriage away from a largely child-centric institution... and toward a more adult-centric or "consent-based" view.

Now here are leaders and statesmen who understand the rights of a child!

Point-Counterpoint: Which side will Indiana chose?

Let us hope that the State of Indiana's leaders in the Legislature have the same wisdom as they continue considering the Hoosier state's proposed marriage amendment, HJR3.

If you have any friends and family in Indiana, please let them know about how they can help speak truth to power and demand that the legislature stand up for the truth about marriage and for the real rights of children.

Also, if you are in Indiana please join NOM, CitizenLink, the Indiana Family Institute, the American Family Association of Indiana, and others at the State House this Monday, February 10th as we make our voices heard and presence felt in support of marriage, the Indiana Marriage Amendment (HJR 3), and the people's right to vote. Check here for details.

The Senate must pass HJR 3 as it was originally written and passed in 2011 — this includes restoring the second sentence that the House deleted in January — or the people's chance to vote this November could be in serious jeopardy.

This week has been a reminder of why we fight.

We work to safeguard the rights of children, which marriage protects, from being suborned to the desires of adults in the name of "progress."

We work to prevent the attacks that flow against people of faith and religious organizations every time and in every place that marriage is redefined.

In sum, we work to protect marriage and the faith communities that sustain it.

Thank you for working with us.

Faithfully,

PS: As you might have surmised, the battle to preserve marriage is intense, ongoing, and multi-varied. It is also expensive. We rely on the gifts of thousands of average Americans just like you to keep our doors open and to continue the fight. Please help us with a generous contribution.

Fast and Furious

National Organization for Marriage

Dear Marriage Supporter,

It's been another busy week in the fight to preserve marriage. There have been some fast and furious developments in the efforts to pass Indiana's marriage amendment (HJR3). And nationwide, citizens and civic leaders alike have been standing up to defend the principle of states' sovereignty against the perilous danger posed to it by the movement to redefine marriage.

First, let me catch you up on Indiana.

Indianapolis' Other Speedway

The developments in the Indiana legislature this week have been fast and furious, and our allies on the ground report changing indications by the hour. It's safe to say that the battle there has reached a crucial juncture this week.

The Indiana House of Representatives passed HJR3, but not before stripping a critical piece of the amendment language from the resolution.

Now the matter is headed into the Senate, and the matter is not as simple as just "passing HJR3." We are working to send the message to the Indiana Senate that yes — they must pass HJR3... but... they must pass it in its original form, with the language removed by the House restored to its proper place.

This way, the measure will return to the House for a vote on the original, unaltered resolution, and we can hope to pass HJR3 so that Hoosier voters can voice their values about marriage at the ballot box in November 2014.

If you know anyone who lives in Indiana, please share this critical action alert with them so that we can get as many grassroots activists as possible calling the Senate to urge support and passage of HJR3!

We need ordinary citizens to stand up in unison and in force to voice their support for marriage, and to demand their rights be respected and upheld by their elected officials!

Which, by the way, was exactly what I was privileged to witness first-hand in Utah earlier this week...

Utah Standing for Marriage

I was honored, on Tuesday, to be able to join hundreds of pro-marriage supporters at the Salt Lake City Capitol Rotunda for a wonderful rally supporting Utah's marriage amendment.

The turnout was great, and I take my hat off to the organizers who did such a fantastic job pulling the event together. But even more so, I owe high praise to the many wonderful Utah citizens I saw there who came out to express their pro-marriage views and who did so with such positivity, kindness, and dignity.

In his "State of the State" address the following day, Governor Gary Herbert stressed how important those elements are to a healthy public discourse, saying that he wished for Utah to "be a model of how to work through honest disagreements with civility and respect."

Well, of course Governor Herbert is right, and I can honestly say from what I saw on Tuesday that pro-marriage Utahans are already fulfilling that wish. Here are some pictures I took with my phone at the event and tweeted. (By the way, if you don't already, you can follow me on Twitter here.)

Unfortunately, the Governor's wish for civility and respect hasn't yet been totally achieved. In the midst of the rally there was one same-sex 'marriage' protestor who decided that the fitting way to express himself was with a sign showing a Cross with a "no sign" over it.

Sadly, this kind of bigotry and intolerance toward Christians and other people of faith is something I encounter rather frequently as I travel throughout the country.

Nevertheless, in spite of that unfortunate example, the rally was a heartwarming and inspiring event overall. The people of Utah know that in addition to marriage there are other matters at stake in the legal battle over their marriage amendment — especially in light of the federal interference in the matter from Attorney General Holder who is trying to undermine Utah's own government.

What's at stake, as Governor Herbert also expressed in his address, is Utah's state sovereignty. As Governor Herbert said:

James Madison, the father of our Constitution, said: "The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the state governments are numerous and indefinite."

Unfortunately, our nation has strayed from what our founding fathers intended. Whether the issue is marriage, Medicaid or management of our public lands, our right to find Utah solutions to Utah issues is being hindered by federal overreach.

In Utah, we understand state sovereignty, and we will do everything in our power to represent the will of the people while respecting the democratic and judicial processes.

Fortunately, in addition to the great and wonderful folks in Utah, other brave men and women are standing up to protect states' sovereignty as well, especially as regards the issue of marriage.

One such brave leader is Representative Randy Weber of Texas, whose recently-introduced bill, the State Marriage Defense Act, is back in the news this week.

The States of the Union

Congressman Weber's bill has garnered nearly 40 co-sponsors, and in addition to NOM's endorsement enjoys support from Family Research Council, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Heritage Action, Concerned Women for America, and others!

The latest article on the bill quotes NOM's friend, Ryan Anderson, explaining the bill this way:

[The law would protect] the sovereign authority of states to recognize marriage as they see fit. It does not say what marriage has to be defined as in any particular state. I do think the Justice Department's decision to ignore the Utah law highlights the need for this law.

And, as the same article notes, there are other recent events that underscore why this law is important, such as Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring's recent egregious refusal to defend — and decision instead to join in attacking — that state's marriage amendment! (On the basis of which decision, NOM believes Herring should be impeached. And we're not the only ones.)

If you haven't done so yet, please take time to contact Congress today using this action center and express your support for Representative Weber's "State Marriage Defense Act."

This issue couldn't be more timely.

The same night I was in Utah rallying with the citizens there for their state sovereignty and the rights of voters, President Obama took the podium in front of Congress to deliver his State of the Union address. And the main resounding theme of that address was what might be referred to as the "pen and the phone" theme (referring to a talking point the White House had been parroting for weeks leading up to the address).

The President is willing to "use his pen and his phone" to make his agenda move, with or without Congress: to use executive powers to force by fiat the pet policies he wants to push on the nation.

Think about that, and consider: we've all seen how same-sex 'marriage' is one of those pet policies for this President (who even invited as one of his honored guests a gay athlete simply because he had "come out" last year). Therefore, we should not take it lightly that the President is expressing his willingness and desire to be even more imperious and even more overreaching in his authority for the remainder of his term!

So please contact Congress right away and urge support for Representative Weber's "State Marriage Defense Act," to protect against overreaching by the Federal government and to help ensure the rights of states and their voters to define marriage according to their values!

Thank you, as always, for continuing to stand in defense of marriage even when it is such a fast and furious affair. Together, we can run this race strong to the finish.

Faithfully,

Brian S. Brown

P.S.: A big thanks to everyone who responded so quickly to yesterday's 24 hour opportunity of a $5,000 matching campaign! Hundreds of you responded, giving what you could, and your $5, $15, and $25 gifts made a big difference — we made our goal. With the matching gift secured, this means $10,000 to help the cause of marriage at this critical time. I can't thank you enough!

P.P.S.: It will soon be time to celebrate National Marriage Week! Click here to find out more about this great event — part of Chuck Stetson's "Let's Strengthen Marriage" campaign — and to find out how you can participate or help.

Show Him the Door!

National Organization for Marriage

Dear Marriage Supporter,

There's some big news in the marriage fight this week to catch you up on, so let's get right to it.

First, we turn to Virginia.

A Lawyer Abandoning His Clients

It wasn't really a total surprise when the news came out this week that Virginia's new Attorney General, Mark Herring, has decided not to defend Virginia's marriage law against legal challenge. We've long suspected Herring to be on the side of radical redefinition of marriage, even though he said in his campaign that he would defend the amendment.

The headlines nonetheless gave a cold shock. Particularly the one from USA Today which read, "Virginia won't defend its same-sex marriage ban." Well, leaving aside the cynicism or agenda-driven bias that goes into calling laws such as Virginia's marriage amendment "same-sex marriage bans," the headline nonetheless hits upon the real travesty here.

Mark Herring is Virginia's Attorney General. He is duty-bound to defend Virginia's laws. Yet here he is, abandoning the people and law of Virginia to pursue his own selfish motives. The people of Virginia should be outraged to read that headline. Mark Herring may try to presume to speak for Virginia in this matter, but we know he doesn't. And we're going to make sure he gets that message, too.

The story is even more shocking, though. You see, not only is Herring not defending the law he's sworn to uphold and protect. No, this man so recently (and, may I say, so very narrowly) elected is going even further: He has announced that he will be joining the legal attack against the Virginia Constitution!

What a disgraceful spectacle, to see a state's own Attorney General not only abandoning his own state's interests and refusing to stand up for the will of the people of the state, but indeed turning around on them and attacking their own constitution!

Virginia voters decided to enshrine marriage in their constitution as the union of one man and one woman in 2006 — only a few years ago! Imagine standing outside the voting booth that day telling the voters that proudly cast their ballot in support of marriage that in a few years a reckless, self-motivated politician would cave to the pressures of a tiny radical lobby (albeit with big money to hand out) and try to flush their votes down the drain. They wouldn't have believed you! But now that very reality comes to pass.

We're not the only ones upset by this news. The Catholic Bishops of Virginia issued a joint statement of "extreme disappointment" with Herring's decision:

Virginia voters put this provision in the Constitution, and no politician should be able to reverse the people's decision. We call on the Attorney General to do the job he was elected to perform, which is to defend the state laws he agrees with, as well as those state laws with which he personally disagrees. [...] The Government of the Commonwealth of Virginia should preserve and defend this original design because the constituent majority that supported the constitutional amendment understands the unique benefit that marriage between a man and a woman provides to individual families and society at large.

For their own part, Bishops Loverde and DiLorenzo pledged their own steadfast dedication to the cause of marriage: "We will continue to defend marriage between a man and a woman, an institution whose original design predates all governments and religions." These brave pastors deserve our commendation and praise!

These pastors know that Virginia stands for marriage, and they're sending that message to the Attorney General. Well, NOM intends to send the same message: and we're going to make sure he hears it.

Show Him the Door: Impeach Mark Herring!

Yesterday, NOM issued a public call for Mark Herring's impeachment.

As I explained in our press release:

The Attorney General swore an oath that he would 'support...the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Virginia' and faithfully discharge his duties, which include defending duly enacted laws like the state's marriage amendment. Yet now Attorney General Herring is participating in a lawsuit against the very people he is sworn to represent, the citizens of Virginia who preserved marriage in their constitution. This malfeasance and neglect of duty is not only a disgrace, it's an impeachable offense under the constitution.

The Chairman of NOM's Board of Directors, Professor John Eastman, pointed specifically to the fact of Herring's remaining involved in the case on the side opposed to the State's interests as "an egregious violation of duty":

Here you don't merely have the attorney general abandoning the defense of the law and remaining neutral — a decision which itself would be based on very dubious grounds. No, this goes further: Herring is staying involved in the case, and advocating directly for the side opposed to the interests of his clients, the people of Virginia. Any other lawyer pulling that kind of nonsense would be disbarred.

And Professor Eastman is not alone in his assessment. Another legal analyst, a former U.S. Attorney, remarked yesterday on a radio show in Virginia that in his view Herring's actions were both "impeachment material" and "recall material."

We won't stand idly by while this elected public servant turns his back on the best interests and the common good of his own state and its people. NOM is going to lead the charge to fight back, and we hope we can rally the grassroots in Virginia to do the same.

An Important Step for HJR3

Also this week, the proposed marriage amendment in Indiana (HJR3) has passed out of committee in the House of Representatives and will head soon to the full House for a vote.

We are continuing to call on the people of Indiana to remain vigilant about this issue and to demand their right to vote on the important matter of marriage.

All Indiana voters should take the time today to contact your legislators and urge them to support Indianans' right to vote on marriage and to preserve the institution of marriage as the union of one man and one woman, for the good of all Hoosiers of this and all future generations.

If you know anyone who lives in Indiana, please share this important action call with them!

Standing for Marriage in Salt Lake City

I want to invite anyone who lives in or around Utah to join me and other marriage supporters for a "Stand for Marriage" rally at the Utah State Capitol on January 28th.

Check it out!

Marriage Marches On

Finally this week, I want to share with you the exciting news that a date has been set for the second annual March for Marriage!

Details on this great and historic event will be forthcoming in the future weeks, but for now I can tell you that we will gather again in support of marriage in our nation's capital this summer — on June 19, 2014!

Please mark your calendars, and help us to spread the word about this exciting event by linking to www.MarriageMarch.org. You can also sign up there on the site for updates and donate to support the cause.

Thank you once again for all you do in support of marriage.

Faithfully,

Brian S. Brown

Another Chapter

National Organization for Marriage

Dear Marriage Supporter,

We've seen a very eventful beginning to the year in the marriage movement. There are a lot of news stories to catch up on. What is most shocking is that I can honestly say, in spite of everything we've seen in the radical attacks over the years from the marriage redefinition movement, some of the events of the past two weeks still stand out for their sheer brazenness and arrogance.

Indeed, when the history of the marriage debate comes to be written, the events of the beginning of 2014 may become the chapter entitled, "The Same-sex 'Marriage' Lobby's Boldest Overreaching."

This chapter begins with a single federal judge...

'Twas a Few Nights Before Christmas...

The ruling from District Court Judge Robert Shelby in Utah handed down December 20th was an unexpected shock for marriage supporters around the nation.

Coming, as it did, hot on the heels of another federal court decision in Utah that ruled to de-criminalize religious plural marriages (i.e., polygamous unions), Shelby's ruling added insult to an already injured state legislature and citizenry. Utah's voters and lawmakers alike probably found themselves wondering whether they had any say in their State's values at all anymore.

Then came yet another unexpected plot twist. Following failed applications for a stay of Shelby's decision both in the District court and in the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, Utah appealed to the United States Supreme Court — and the request was granted! And accordingly, now it was same-sex 'marriage' activists' turn to be surprised and shocked. Along with Shelby, these activists had presumed (unwisely) that the Supreme Court would allow this decision to stand during its appeal because that presumption fits in with the tired "inevitability" narrative.

But the Supreme Court had made clear in its Windsor decision last summer that the States do retain the right to define marriage and to have their determinations upheld by the federal government. The same-sex 'marriage' activists, eager to write their own ending to the story, had failed to read carefully enough the pages coming before, like the pages of the majority's opinion in Windsor. Unfortunately, Shelby wasn't the last to misread that key decision.

Another Federal Judge, Another Flawed Ruling.

Just this week, yet another federal Judge — Terence Kern of Oklahoma — ruled that Oklahoma's amendment protecting marriage as the union of one man and one woman was unconstitutional as well. In doing so, he applied the same kind of flawed reasoning as Shelby had done in Utah.

But Kern wasn't prepared to make another of Shelby's mistakes: he at least immediately stayed the effects of his own decision, to leave the status quo on marriage in Oklahoma intact while the State's inevitable appeal of his decision could proceed.

Kern's introduction into the story gives us a clearer picture of who or what is the antagonist in this story: the nemesis that marriage defenders face is in fact a system, a philosophy about how the law should work: and its name is judicial activism.

As I said on the day Kern's decision was announced, this was merely "the latest in a string of examples of the dangers posed to state marriage laws when the avenue of debate is the federal court system."

The problem surfacing in this latest chapter in the debate over marriage in our country is a change of scene. Rather than being debated in the public square in a fair-minded way, or in the legislative branch where the will and interest of the people are most directly represented, the marriage battle is being fought in the courts. And the upshot of that is that ordinary people like you and me are further cut off from and crowded out of the argument.

We need to reclaim our rights: marriage must be the American people's to decide, not dependent on the whimsy of an elitist court system, a decree handed down from on high with no regard for any constituency.

And if it is true to say that the judiciary's role in this story has become exaggerated, how much more truly can it be said of the executive branch!

The Department of 'Justice'?

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is taking heat this week from Congress because of the Department of Justice's refusal to conduct a reasonable investigation into the alleged criminal misdeeds of IRS officials — as well as for the DOJ's lack of cooperation with Congress's effort to get to the bottom of the matter.

Here's just a snippet of the strongly-worded letter to Holder from Representatives Darrell Issa and Jim Jordan of the House Government Oversight and Reform Committee:

Anonymous — and apparently politically motivated — leaks from unnamed law enforcement officials further undermine the public assurances by the current and former FBI directors that this is a legitimate investigation. These leaks come after the Justice Department, citing the confidential nature of the investigation, refused to brief Congress on its progress...

[...]

These revelations further undermine the credibility of the Attorney General Holder and the Justice Department under his leadership. Given the circumstances, there is little reason for the American people to have confidence in this investigation.

Sadly, this isn't the first example of the DOJ doing something that loses our confidence.

An article in Slate this week is trying to defend Holder against in recent malfeasance on his part: his response to the marriage case in Utah. The Slate piece glibly opines:

This is how the sausage of civil rights gets made — with slicing and dicing and a sprinkling of carpe diem.

While there may be some fairness in that old adage about laws and sausages, the analogy only fits only insofar as it relates to political corruption — and I personally think it rather cynical and offensive to impugn the great and beautiful legacy of Civil Rights in this way.

But the sausage-making imagery of corruption does relate fairly enough to the way Attorney General Holder seems to be sweeping up all the scraps from the shredding of the Constitution and stuffing them into a nice sleeve to serve up to an unwilling public.

The outrage that Slate defends, you see, is the recent announcement from the Department of Justice that the federal Government will recognize the 1,300 or so same-sex 'marriages' that had taken place in Utah between December 20th and January 6th (when the Supreme Court's stay was ordered). This comes after the State of Utah itself determined that it would not recognize those marriages!

In doing this, Holder is acting not only in express violation of the constitutional right of States to make determinations in this matter, but also in violation of the Windsor decision's reiteration of that right!

It certainly is difficult to have confidence in the federal justice system in light of these kinds of gross violations.

But I'll tell you what I still do have confidence in: you! The American people! And that's what I'll end with today...

The Next Chapter of Marriage is Ours to Write

Ordinary folks like you and I can make a difference when we stand up in unison and demand our voices be heard.

So today I'm asking you to do just that, and to take an important action to try to stop the reckless attacks on marriage and the constitution that I've written about above.

The action involves a new proposed law, the State Marriage Defense Act, which is in committee right now in the House of Representatives.

I need you to write your Representative today and express your support for this crucial bill. This bill will solidify the right we've been talking about today: the right of states to make their own determinations regarding marriage and to have those determinations respected and upheld (rather than surreptitiously undermined) by the federal government.

This is how we fight back, and this is how we secure the future of marriage in America: we stand up, we speak out, and — most important of all — we do it together.

Thank you, as always, for continuing to stand firm for marriage and for our constitution. It is an honor to stand with you in this fight.

Faithfully,

Brian S. Brown