NOM BLOG

Category Archives: Parenting

"The Implications of Redefining Marriage are Staggering..."

The consequences of redefining marriage are formidable and grave, Michael Brown recently wrote at Charisma News.  Brown pointed out some of the absurdities of California's new law deleting the "biased" and "outdated" terms "husband" and "wife" from the state's marriage law.  The terms have been replaced with "spouse."

Women cannot be fathers and men cannot be mothers, Brown wrote.  He argued that marriage cannot be redefined unless words that are foundational to our existence are rendered meaningless:

Allow me to make some very simple statements...

Note to California: A woman cannot be a father and a man cannot be a mother.

California-FamilyFurther note to California: The terms "husband and wife" are neither discriminatory nor outdated.

Further, further note to California: Your social experiment will fail.

I do not deny that there are same-sex couples who love each other deeply and who are committed to each other long-term, and I do not deny that there are same-sex couples who are absolutely devoted to their children.

I am simply pointing out that their union cannot rightly be called "marriage" (regardless of what the courts might say) without rendering foundational words and concepts meaningless, a sure recipe for cultural chaos.

To repeat: The implications of redefining marriage are staggering, and those of us who love and cherish marriage and family need to redouble our efforts and renew our courage to stand up for what is right and what is best, making a fresh determination to swim against the current flood tide of semantic and social confusion.

True marriage and family will prevail in the end.

The "cultural chaos" to which Brown referred is what has brought about intolerance and bigotry toward those who believe in marriage between one man and one woman.

When It Comes to Parents, It Isn't "The More The Merrier"

Blogging for the Ruth Institute, Jennifer Johnson recounted her experience of growing up with five parents.  The piece responds to claims by Masha Gessen, a prominent LGBT activist who was recently honored by the state department, who has famously celebrated her own unorthodox family as the shape of things to come:

I have three kids who have five parents, more or less, and I don’t see why they shouldn’t have five parents legally… I would like to live in a legal system that is capable of reflecting that reality, and I don’t think that’s compatible with the institution of marriage.

Johnson's mother and father divorced when she was about three.  Her mother remarried once and her dad remarried twice, so she has experienced what life is like with five parents--a mother, a father, two stepmothers and a step-father.  Johnson's experience shows that growing up in such a structure is not as rosy of a picture as LGBT activists paint or something to be approached casually:

Child Custody

In this day and age children can already have five parents. That’s how badly marriage has deteriorated already. The main difference between what Gessen advocates and my experience is that my step parents were not legal parents; she advocates for all of the adults in her situation to be legal parents.

Having more than two legal parents will be a nightmare for a child...adding additional legal parents will create more disruption for children’s daily lives, more chaos, more confusion, less unity. And why are we doing this? So that adults can have the sexual partners they want.

Masha Gessen had a mom and a dad, so it appears that she benefitted from the socially conservative family structure--it appears she was not raised under the family structure she advocates... Since I lived under the family structure they advocate, I will sometimes ask [activists]: would you trade childhoods with me? They either say no or they don’t reply.

If what I had is so great, then why don’t they want it as children? Here’s my conclusion: they want it as adults but not as children. They want the benefits of the socially conservative family structure when they are children. But as adults, they want sexual freedom, or at least they want to appear “open minded” and “tolerant” about others sexual choices, even at the expense of children, even though they themselves would never want to live under what they advocate. It’s a bizarre sort of a “win-win” for them, I guess.

It’s very painful for me to have conversations with these people. They don’t understand what they advocate, and they don’t seem to want to understand.

Johnson's experience shows such structures have a profoundly negative impact on children--putting the desires of adults over the needs of children does a giant disservice to the young, vulnerable children involved.

Advocates of redefining marriage can push junk science through the liberal media and claim that mothers and fathers are interchangeable, but when push comes to shove, science and common sense demonstrate otherwise.  Children like Johnson who were raised in unstable environments rarely wish the same on anyone else.

Is it just and fair for adults to put the well-being of children on the backburner so that adult desires can trump everything else?

Johnson also asked readers:

Imagine having each of your parents completely ignore the other half of you, the other half of your family, as if it did not even exist. Meanwhile, imagine each parent pouring their energy into their new families and creating a unified home for their new children. These experiences give you the definite impression of being something leftover, something not quite part of them.

Johnson's experiences say a lot about redefining marriage: it hurts children and even advocates of redefining marriage are glad that they benefitted from being raised by both a mother and a father.

Gessen has also advocated for the abolition of marriage altogether, saying:

...it is a no-brainer that the institution of marriage should not exist... The institution of marriage is going to change, and it should change, and again, I don’t think it should exist.

California Senator: 'Husband' and 'Wife' are "Outdated, Biased" Terms

From FoxNews:

Husband-Wife-StrikethroughThe terms “husband” and “wife” have been deleted from California’s marriage law under a bill signed into law Monday by Gov. Jerry Brown.

The terms will be replaced with “spouse” to accommodate same-sex marriage, which became legal in the state last year after the Supreme Court struck down a voter-approved ban on it.

[...]

“I am pleased Governor Brown has recognized the importance of this bill, which makes it explicitly clear in state law that every loving couple has the right to marry in California,” Leno said. “This legislation removes outdated and biased language from state codes and recognizes all married spouses equally, regardless of their gender” [emphasis added].

Further proof that redefining marriage is not simply about "equality" or expanding the institution to include more kinds of relationships; it is about fundamentally altering the meaning of the institution itself, and discarding terms like "husband" and "wife" to "the ash heap of history."

Ideal Home for a Child is With His or Her Mother and Father

A photo of two men holding a newborn baby is making its rounds on the internet.  The baby boy was born to an unrelated surrogate mother during Toronto's WorldPride week.  The photo has generated many reactions and garnered the support and praise of many who are supportive of redefining marriage.

Everyone can agree that a defenseless, precious baby deserves love from all of the people in his life.  But many who viewed this photo--or have read stories about same-sex couples adopting, or are curious about what effect the redefinition of marriage has on children--have likely wondered what family structure best benefits children.

Social scientist Mark Regnerus's acclaimed Family Structures Study examined a large, random sample of American young adults (ages 18–39) who were raised in different types of family arrangements.  Those who viewed this viral photo would perhaps be interested in and benefit from reading Regnerus's findings.

Regnerus's extensive study revealed that "children appear most apt to succeed well as adults—on multiple counts and across a variety of domains—when they spend their entire childhood with their married mother and father, and especially when the parents remain married to the present day."

Family

The study showed that there are "consistent differences among young adults who reported maternal lesbian behavior (and to a lesser extent, paternal gay behavior) prior to age 18," and although it is certainly accurate to affirm that sexual orientation or parental sexual behavior does not necessarily have anything to do with the ability to be good, effective parents, the data suggest "that it may affect the reality of family experiences among a significant number."

The study showed that there are "consistent differences among young adults who reported maternal lesbian behavior (and to a lesser extent, paternal gay behavior) prior to age 18."

Compared with children raised by their married biological parents, children raised in same-sex households are much more likely to have received welfare growing up, have lower educational attainment, report less safety and security in their family of origin, report more ongoing "negative impact" from their family of origin, are more likely to suffer from depression, and have been arrested more often.

The study also showed that children of lesbian mothers are almost 4 times more likely to be currently on public assistance than children raised by their biological parents.  Regnerus's study shows clearly that the ideal home for a child is with his or her mother and father.

Nobody is saying that gays and lesbians don’t love their children and don’t work hard to be good parents. The point that needs to be understood is that this is not about what adults want for themselves, it’s about what is best for children. Adoption exists to serve the needs of children, not the desires of adults.  Adoption places children with the parents they need, not adults with the children they want. The rights at stake here belong to the children – their right to expect to receive the love of their mother and father.

Utah's Court Filing on Marriage "All About Kids"

In The Salt Lake Tribune, Brooke Adams does a fairly good job presenting the essential arguments in the State of Utah's court filing in support of the marriage amendment which is under legal scrutiny by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The headline of the article is its weakest point, declaring "State makes it all about kids in brief against same-sex marriage." 

Baby_Wedding_RingsWe would say, rather, two things: (1) the State is recognizing that marriage is all about the kids, simply observing marriage as a given phenomenon and institution, preexisting any state -- whereas, on the other hand, it is the marriage redefinition side of the debate that seeks to "make" marriage about something which it is not; and (2) the brief should not therefore be said to be "against same-sex marriage," but instead to be for marriage --  marriage as it has come down to us through history and tradition.

Nevertheless, as we said at the outset, the article does do a rather fair job outlining the most salient points of the State's brief:

Utah has chosen a definition of marriage that is "principally a child-centered institution, one focused first and foremost on the welfare of children rather than the emotional interests of adults," the state said. "And by reinforcing that understanding, the state gently encourages parents to routinely sacrifice their own interests to the legitimate needs and interests of their children."

That definition is not designed to demean other family structures "any more than giving an ‘A’ to some students demeans others," the state said.

You should read the entire article, which has ample additional quotations from the filing.

What Makes a Parent? A Kansas Court Case Reveals How Far We've Fallen from the Ideal Answer

A terribly sad and maddening story out of Kansas today reveals just how absurdly astray the fruits of the sexual revolution have taken us with respect to understanding the nature of marriage and family.

The story involves a man named William Marotta, and reads like a script of a satire but is all too sadly real.

Here is the basic timeline of the situation, according to the coverage from CNN:

  • In 2009, a lesbian couple from Topeka, Kansas posted an ad on Craiglist(!) seeking a sperm donor.
  • Marotta (who is married!) responded and "donated [his] genetic material" to the women free of charge.
  • The couple then performed an artificial insemination procedure at home(!) and one of the women conceived and gave birth to a baby girl.
  • Now - with the child only 4 years old - the couple have separated and one of the women has had to quit work citing medical reasons.
  • The state, therefore, is stepping in and ordering Marotta to pay child support for the four-year old girl.
  • Marotta is protesting this order in court, saying of the little girl, "I'm not her parent."

Young GirlReading the story, it is particularly horrifying that the child's interests and roles aren't given primary attention, or really any attention at all. Her rights, her needs, her future are all merely the "frame" of the story, relegated to being treated as nothing more than a source of inconvenience in the lives of these three adults.

The relevance of this story to the issue of same-sex 'marriage' is obvious: The drive to redefine marriage is born of a culture which makes marriage and parenting about the desires of adults rather than the rights and welfare of children. This story gives a snapshot of that culture.

For these three adults, having a child wasn't the serious and heavily weighed decision of commitment that it should be. Marotta himself says he responded to the Craigslist ad  (and let's pause momentarily again over that detail) because he was "intrigued" - fathering a daughter was a lark for him. And as for the couple who so quickly separated... one can only wonder whether they were truly prepared for the gravity of parenthood, when part of the process involved soliciting sperm from a random stranger met on the internet!

This is why marriage matters: Marriage encapsulates a set of norms and expectations which civilize men, protect women, and serve the needs of children. Abandon these norms, and "parenting" becomes a soap-opera story about adults' goals and achievements, where children are merely part of the supporting cast.

Pro-Marriage Rally Planned at Utah State Capitol

Check it out!

Stand for Marriage Flyer


Click here to read a news piece on the planned rally.

If you live in Utah, I hope to see you there! If not, please share this with your pro-marriage family and friends in Utah so that we can have a strong showing and demonstrate in a resounding way that Utah stands for marriage!

 

"Doctors Can't Be Essential, Because Some Doctors Are Bad"

... said no sick person, ever.

And yet this seems to have been the model of an implied argument from a pro-same-sex 'marriage' legislator in Indiana during an exchange that occurred earlier this week in the House Judiciary Committee's hearing on HJR3, the proposed Indiana marriage amendment.

Father and DaughterDuring testimony from Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Kellie Fiedorek (and she did a wonderful job, by the way!), there occurred the following exchange (as reported by in a stilted article by The Raw Story). The emphasis is ours editorially:

“The only relationship that can naturally produce children is that between a man and a woman,” Fiedorek noted. “There are situations where they may not want to have children, maybe they cannot have children. But the union of one man and one woman still furthers the ideal that children, when that happens, will be born into homes with a mom and a dad.”

“You know, I had a mom and a dad and I wish my dad wasn’t there, the way he acted in my household,” [Democratic State Rep. Vernon Smith] pointed out.

This is unfortunately a frequent error in logic that arises in the marriage debate. When marriage advocates point out the unique contributions and value that men and women bring to the enterprise of marriage - and particularly the irreplaceable role of fathers (a fact observed by, among others, President Obama himself) - proponents of redefining marriage will often fall back on the failures of some fathers to try to call into question the ideal.

But reasoning from the failure of an ideal that the ideal is somehow less important is a flawed line of reasoning in any case:

  • Do occasional bad doctors mean we should get rid of doctors?
  • Does a failed inner-city charity mean we should abolish all inner-city charities?
  • Does the existence of asthma mean breathing is bad?

It is important, therefore, to note that a legislator who would deprive Indiana voters of their right to vote to protect marriage and to reaffirm the crucial role fathers play in children's lives is employing such a logical fallacy as this one.

There will always be exceptions to the general rule. Some children seemingly do fine even in extremely unstable family environments with only one parent, or even no parents involved in their lives. But as a rule, the evidence is overwhelming that children thrive best when raised in a stable, intact family with a mother and a father. That is what we should encourage and promote.

And this is why Indiana voters must redouble their efforts to contact their legislators and urge them to put this issue to the test of the common sense and wisdom Indiana's ordinary citizens who know better than to abandon the only institution that binds men and women to each other for the benefit of the couple, any children born of their union, and society as a whole.

Given the opportunity to vote, we are confident that the people of Indiana will preserve marriage, not abandon it!

Will the American People Make 2014 the Turning Point for Marriage

The Daily Caller published NOM president Brian Brown’s end-of-the-year Op-ed, where he discusses how pivotal 2014 will be for marriage.  Brown writes:

Marriage in 2014The American people know how important marriage is to the country, and to families. We’re fed up with the elite telling us marriage must be abandoned in the name of “equality.” America needs men and women to come together, produce children, and raise those children with the love and support of both a mother and a father. That’s what marriage does, and that is profoundly good for the country.

Looking back at what the courts did in 2013, and could do again in 2014 to undermine marriage, Brian makes it clear that the only way to protect marriage from activist justices is to amend the U.S. Constitution.  He continues:

Regardless of what the Court does, the survival of marriage as the nation has always known it may well depend on whether the American people can again be roused to take action. They’d need to do more than sign a petition — they’d need to demand that their political leaders amend the US constitution to preserve marriage.

There is, of course, already a federal Marriage Protection Amendment, authored by Rep. Tim Huelskamp of Kansas, working its way through Congress. If you haven't taken action to urge your legislators to enact this important law, please do so right away!

G.K. Chesterton wrote, “The greatest political storm flutters only a fringe of humanity. But an ordinary man and an ordinary woman and their ordinary children literally alter the destiny of nations.”

In 2014, ordinary men and women across this country will need to step up and demand that their political leaders amend the Constitution to preserve marriage.  And when they do, they will alter the destiny of this nation.

 

Another Polygamy Reality Show? Just What We Need...

From articles praising polygamous unions in the media to teaching elementary school children about "happy triples," it's become clear that new, more extreme steps are being taken to normalize the practice of polygamy and further promote the redefinition of marriage.

The latest example is a new reality show that's been picked up by TLC detailing the lives of a Utah polygamist with five wives and twenty-four children.

In addition to the Browns and now the Williams family, TLC also has done a special featuring the Darger family of Utah. HBO's fictional show about a polygamous family, 'Big Love,' ran for five seasons.

Following the recent court ruling, Williams said now is the time for polygamists to show they are deserving of the recognition by putting an end to the misogyny rampant among the culture and putting women on equal footing as men.

'Women are not a commodity and they shouldn't be treated as such,' said Williams, 43, a project manager in his brother's construction business. 'There needs to be complete symmetry within a marriage.' -Mail Online

GLAAD's "Only Wish": To Deny Children the Right to a Mother and a Father

Every child deserves the love of both a mother and a father. Kids know that moms and dads are special and unique, that they can each bring to a child's life a vital contribution that is irreplaceable and invaluable. Many adults who have grown up, for whatever reason, without either a mom or a dad have expressed the wish that this hadn't been so, which by no means devalues the heroic sacrifices and honorable efforts of single parents: it simply testifies to the importance both moms and dads play in children's lives. The best mom cannot make a dad. Ten dads can't equal one mom.

GLADD's Only WishThis is why it is troubling that, this holiday season, the gay activist organization GLAAD is expressing its "Only Wish" as creating a new normal where children will be deprived of the love of either a father or a mother on a regular basis, and indeed that this situation will be rewarded and incentivized by the government.\

The campaign is reported by The Huffington Post's "Gay Voices" blog:

Leading lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) advocacy organization GLAAD is spearheading a new holiday initiative to put pressure on states that have yet to legalize gay marriage -- and you can help!

With 34 U.S. states left on the road to marriage equality for same-sex couples, GLAAD is encouraging LGBT families and allies through their "Only Wish" campaign to send holiday cards to these individual governors that encourage them to support marriage rights for members of the LGBT community.

The warm and fuzzy presentation elides the essential truth that when we talk about redefining marriage, we're talking about denying kids' rights to both a mother and a father.

A commentor on the article was not fooled, though, and nailed the point succinctly:

A loving and compassionate society never purposefully creates motherless or fatherless families. Sadly, this campaign is neither loving nor compassionate.

For our part, we'll wish that folks continue waking up to the devastating reality of what a disservice redefining marriage does to men, women, and children, and to society as a whole.

"A dating site that cuts straight to the divorce"

That's how David Wright of ABC News describes Modamily - a site dedicated to " provid[ing] a network where members can meet other like-minded people who dream of becoming a parent. There are many ways to become a parent, and what Modamily does is help our members find someone that wants to raise a child in a similar fashion as they do."

Disconnecting Parents and ChildMore than 5,000 people have signed up on L.A.-based Modamily. Other co-parenting websites claim similar numbers, including a growing number of sites serving gays and lesbians in committed relationships who are now interested in having children.

[The HTML "title tags" used by the site - the terms that appear at the top of the browser window and also register hits with search engines - include the phrases "baby daddy" and "single want baby."]

Wright reports on Modamily for Yahoo!News, focusing on a woman named Hope who "is one of a growing number of Americans interested in exploding the old 1950s notion of the nuclear family. She's not looking for love. She wants a co-parent."

Hope already has two children, each by separate fathers, Wright explains; and now she is "shopping" online for a third mate.

Wright reveals that not everyone is crazy about the new idea of family:

Dr. Robert Fellmeth, executive director of the Children's Advocacy Institute, said there's a reason for doing things the old-fashioned way.

"I'm a 19th century romantic in saying that there is an advantage in at least trying to have the relationship between the parent[s] that's deep and meaningful and goes beyond simply the mutual desire to have a child," he said.

"The child benefits from having two parents who love each other, who are willing to sacrifice for each other," he said. "If it fails, it fails, but at least try!"

You can read or watch Wright's report here.

"Privacy for All Students" Effort Continues to Gain Steam

PFAS

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

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

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

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

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

Sometimes There's Only One Right Word

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

flaubert

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

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

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

Erasing the First Amendment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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