Monthly Archives: July 2011

Girgis on Philosophy, Marriage, and Moral Grandstanding

Continuing the high-level debate on marriage in The Public Discourse, Sherif Girgis responds to two of his academic critics who label views like his homophobic and bigoted, and hope to drive people like Girgis out of the academic world:

No serious philosopher would deny, in so many words, that to demonize opponents is to betray the vocation of philosophy. Yet some academic philosophers are so bound to the cause of redefining civil marriage that they would marginalize dissenters with epithets and analyze them as specimens of psychological pathology. Chappell, though he goes on to ask serious questions, is at pains to deny that he deems our argument worth engaging. For him, it is, like misogyny, merely unreasonable, subrational, and bigoted. Linking to Chappell’s critique, Brian Leiter repeats the charge and presumes to diagnose us.

The fervent policing of this newfound academic consensus, with its chilling effect on discourse, might be defensible if proponents of the conjugal view were, like Nazis or cannibals, advocates of ideas and policies repugnant to deep, enduring principles of our civilization. Yet even within the small, unrepresentative society that is academic philosophy, the very idea of same-sex marriage would have seemed mostly baffling (perhaps even patriarchally motivated) less than a generation ago. One might see the striking subsequent development as an epiphany of timeless moral principle denied the human race (including the sexual-traditionalist Mahatma Gandhi and other partisans of cruel and complacent class ideologies) these several millennia; or one might judge the cause of redefining civil marriage to be a fashionable application of a perfectly disputable view of sex and human goods that has grown to dominate in the academy from its proximate roots in the ’50s and ’60s, in Sanger and Hefner, Kinsey and Reich.

Divorce Reform Expert: Are Stay-At-Home Parents At Financial Risk During Divorce?

Beverly Willett, Vice Chair of the Coalition for Divorce Reform, asks the question in HuffPo:

... stay-at-home parents are vulnerable to substantial financial risk during divorce. Time Magazine recently reported that unemployed men faced a greater danger of being left by their wives, particularly working wives. And though a wife's employment status had no bearing on risk, neither does the law provide stay-at-home moms sufficient protections either, especially under our unilateral divorce laws.

... New York recently recognized the inherent unfairness of this financial disparity when it came to the ability to defend oneself in a lawsuit for divorce. It amended its domestic relations laws to establish a rebuttable presumption that the monied spouse be required to pay for the non-monied spouse's attorney and experts during the pendency of litigation. Regrettably I had no such statutory protection during my own divorce. In other states, stay-at-home spouses without independent means are generally subject to the proper exercise of discretion by the judicial system to award them sufficient funds both to defend themselves and for support.

...  I believe the push for alimony reform has gone too far. That our divorce laws also fail to take into account current economic and unemployment realities as well as the need to protect stay-at-home parents. And shouldn't unemployment benefits kick in, too, when alimony ends for stay-at-home parents who are unable to secure employment?

US Bishops' Aide Tells Catholics: Be Ready for a Legislative Fight to Defend DOMA

All hands on deck:

A spokesman for the US bishops' conference has challenged all American Catholics to "step forward and advocate for the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) as federal policy," after President Barack Obama announced his support for repeal of the legislation.

"We just can't simply sit back," said Daniel Avila, a policy advisor to the bishops on marriage issues. While he acknowledged that repeal of DOMA is not imminent, he urged Catholics to stay alert: "All those concerned about the preservation of marriage simply need to pay attention, stay tuned, and be ready to respond."

10,000 New Yorkers to Politicians: Let the People Vote! - NOM Marriage News July 28, 2011

NOM National Newsletter

Dear Marriage Supporter,

On Sunday the people of New York laid down a marker: Politicians cannot sell out their base, sell out their principles, lie to their people, and pass a law which is a lie about human nature, without consequences.

Votes have consequences.

Thousands of New Yorkers turned out on a very hot Sunday, with a threat of thunderstorms, to make the message clear.

We estimated 10,000 people across the five cities that had rallies. I was in Albany and Maggie was in Manhattan, along with Sen. Rev Rubén Díaz and a number of local pastors organized by (evangelical) Bishop Joe Mattera. The Associated Press said there were "thousands."

And even a Wall Street Journal editor who is deeply skeptical of our capacity to get a marriage amendment through the legislature to the people had to admit:

"We happened to run into the group's New York City march yesterday as it crossed Second Avenue, and the turnout was impressive. It was the biggest demonstration we can remember seeing in the neighborhood, which gets a lot of them thanks to its proximity to the U.N. Most interesting, it was a very diverse crowd—we'd say a quarter to a third black, with lots of Hispanics."

We generated massive media on a day the mainstream media had set aside to celebrate gay marriage in New York.

More than 150 different radio and TV outlets, from WABC News to "This American Life," included a mention of "Let the People Vote" rallies, which were sponsored not only by NOM but by a coalition of local state groups.

International Business Times: "More than 10,000 supporters of "Let The People Vote" rallies marched in New York City, Albany, Rochester and Buffalo starting 3 p.m. on Sunday, urging the Legislature to put the issue of gay marriage before voters in a statewide referendum."

BBC/Reuters: "The National Organization for Marriage held rallies in New York City, Albany, Rochester and Buffalo on Sunday, accusing Mr Cuomo and lawmakers of redefining marriage without consulting voters."

Bloomberg News: "One of the rally's organizers, the National Organization for Marriage, also held events in Albany, Buffalo and Rochester. The group has pledged to spend millions of dollars ousting lawmakers who voted in favor of same-sex marriage."

Of course not everybody in print media got the story right. UPI was probably the worst: "Opponents of gay marriage maintained a low profile. The Times said an informal poll of New York clergy found the vast majority did not intend to address the issue in their Sunday sermons."

... a low profile?

LTPV Rally

We carefully did not aim our protest at individuals hosting private ceremonies, but at politicians in Albany who passed gay marriage without a vote of the people.

In Buffalo, for example, pastors confronted Mark Grisanti, the state senator who had repeatedly said he was "unalterably" opposed to gay marriage before voting for it.

In Buffalo, "You say that the Church now has special protection," Mount Olive Baptist Pastor Rev. William Gillson called out to Mark Grisanti. "Before you voted, I didn't need special protection."

Local TV news coverage was generally fair, especially in upstate New York.

Here's Megan Cruz's YNN coverage of the hundreds at the Albany rally, where I spoke.

BB Video

But the national network news coverage was biased in the extreme, incompetent, and, well, just plain dreadful, which may be no surprise.

A Culture and Media analysis of 239 programs aired on CNN from June 15 to July 15 found that pro-gay-marriage supporters were quoted or interviewed nearly four times more often than critics.

That's no surprise. Here's the real surprise: Of the major networks, CNN's biased coverage of our rally, was actually the least slanted. That's right—ABC, NBC, and CBS did an even more biased job than CNN.

Liberal analyst Howard Kurtz, on his "Reliable Sources" show on July 3, acknowledged "the media's celebration—there really is no other word—of the gay marriage debate in New York."

On the Today show and Good Morning America, ABC News and NBC News actually featured a tiny, infamous "Westboro Baptist" contingent of haters and blasphemers (for saying that God hates is to take His name in vain)—showing their photo and not even mentioning the massive "Let the People Vote" rally held around the corner.

Poor Elizabeth Hasselbeck of the View, whom we admire for sticking up for David Tyree (even though she's pro-gay-marriage), was one of those misled, attacking gay marriage protests as in "bad taste." (Pretty strong words for a Midwestern Christian!)

And on Fox News it was as if the massive rallies simply did not exist. We note with growing concern how rarely Fox News reports in a balanced way on the gay marriage issue—with a few shining exceptions like Bill O'Reilly.

If this were a one-off we might be more worried about what the mainstream media said. But let me assure you that this is just the beginning of an 18-month campaign to make sure that politicians in Albany cannot sell out marriage without consequences.

How are the politics unfolding? Well, Shirley Huntley, a black democrat from Queens who flip-flopped to vote for gay marriage, recently told reporters she thinks gay marriage will help flip the Senate back from Republican to Democratic control. Gov. Cuomo is expressing similar confidence that the gay marriage vote will be helpful politically.

"What I've said is that I believe [that for] the legislators who voted for marriage equality, this is actually going to be an asset to them in their campaign; I believe that," he said.

Meanwhile Republicans are justifiably nervous. One of the upstate Republicans who voted for gay marriage, Jim Alesi, was at the press conference with Gov. Cuomo and was nervously trying to forestall a primary challenge. "...Alesi has had a strained relationship with both the Republican and Conservative parties in his home district, for a variety of reasons predating his marriage vote, but cautioned Republicans against trying to oust him in a primary." reported PolitickerNY. "I don't think this is the make or break issue here," said Alesi. "I think it's important to understand for someone like me, if I were the loser in a primary, I don’t know of anybody else in my district that is going to hold this seat. ...So a loss in a primary for me, I think, would be disastrous for the Republican majority."

This is one of the things that Dean Skelos, a majority leader, ought to have considered when he agreed to bring gay marriage up for a floor vote. It's the majority leader's job to protect his caucus, not to win plaudits in the New York Times or help Andrew Cuomo run for president.

At the rally a reporter tried to relay the absurd meme that politically it was "good" for the Republicans to have helped pass gay marriage. Mayor Bloomberg's and Tim Gill's cash flowed into their coffers immediately after the vote, and a new lawsuit brought by our friends New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedom even alleges an illegal quid pro quo (very hard to prove).

Greg Ball, who voted against gay marriage, has raised three times the money of any other freshman, including Grisanti.

We don't have to argue with mainstream media types. In 2012 New York will have an election. These senators will face their voters, in primaries and in general elections. We will find out if New Yorkers in Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Long Island, and New York City really like electing politicians who lie, flip-flop and then brag about how noble it was to sell out their base and their constituents.

Will GOP elites nationally be misled by this absurd new meme that it's safe for Republicans to vote for gay marriage—not to mention abandoning the other social issues?

We got a very troubling, albeit only preliminary, warning sign from Gov. Rick Perry. We love Gov. Perry, who has a very strong record on life and marriage—but on the other hand, this just happened.

It happened at the Aspen Institute, a very upscale, insider gathering, where people from both sides of the aisle comes together to share ideas, rub elbows, and confirm one another as members of the cosmopolitan elite.

It was at this venue that Gov. Perry was asked about New York's gay marriage bill, and according to multiple reports he said he was "fine" with it because such decisions should be left up to the states.

Fine? Fine with gay marriage?

Somebody should ask him: Is he fine with Ruth Sheldon being threatened with criminal prosecution if she does not do gay marriages? Is he fine with Illinois attempting to drive Catholic adoption agencies out of business, too?

Will social conservatives really stand by and select as their standard-bearer a man or woman who is just fine with Republicans selling out their base to pass gay marriage in New York?

Rick Santorum, God bless him, immediately came out swinging, tweeting: "So Gov Perry, if a state wanted to allow polygamy or if they chose to deny heterosexuals the right to marry, would that be OK too?"

Here's more on Rick standing up for marriage:


A gauntlet has been thrown down. The battle has been joined! Will other leading GOP candidates stand up for marriage?

Fortunately, as I write, we're getting the good news that Gov. Perry has taken the time to make it clear that he's not really "fine" with gay marriage in New York. In a just-released interview with the Family Research Council's Tony Perkins, Gov. Perry reaffirms his support for a federal marriage amendment, saying, "I probably needed to add a few words after that 'it's fine with me,' and that it's fine with me that a state is using their sovereign rights to decide an issue. Obviously gay marriage is not fine with me. My stance hasn't changed." On the marriage amendment, he said, "That amendment ... defines marriage as between one man and one woman, and it protects the states from being told otherwise. And it respects the right of the people in the state by requiring that three-quarters of the states vote to ratify. It's really strong medicine."

It's up to you and me to make sure Republicans insiders do not lead good men and women into imagining they can and should drop marriage and life from the Republican Party's mission. (Just as in New York we joined hands with Democrats seeking to hold their leaders accountable.)

As Maggie pointed out in her column last week, no issue unites Republicans more than the social issues, including life but especially marriage.

Even the latest polls, which show that the mushy middle can be pushed into saying they support gay marriage, show Republicans standing united, with 88 percent in the "not fine with gay marriage" camp.

One thing we promise you: We will not sell out the core truths of Genesis, not for any price.

Together you and I have done amazing things for marriage.

We will never give up, never give in, never sell our souls or our votes for a mess of pottage; we will continue to be, with love and clarity, your voice for your values.

Here's me, Maggie, and Sen. Rubén Díaz at last Sundays rallies


As Maggie said, "In the end, I promise you, truth and love will prevail."

God bless you!

Brian Brown

Brian S Brown

Brian S. Brown
National Organization for Marriage

PS: Will you stand with us to protect marriage? Whether you can give $15 or $150, you can make a difference to preserve marriage for your children and grandchildren.


Breaking News: Rick Perry Clarifies Comments on NY SSM

Katrina Trinko at NRO's The Corner blog reports:

Rick Perry clarified his remarks calling New York’s legalization of gay marriage “fine” in an interview today.

“I probably needed to add a few words after that ‘it’s fine with me,’” Perry told Family Research Council president Tony Perkins, “and that it’s fine with me that a state is using their sovereign rights to decide an issue. Obviously gay marriage is not fine with me. My stance hasn’t changed.”

... Pointing to his promotion of Texas’s Defense of Marriage Act, Perry said he had governed as a traditional marriage advocate.

He also noted that he has “long supported” the Federal Marriage Amendment.

“That amendment … defines marriage as between one man and one woman, and it protects the states from being told otherwise. And it respects the right of the people in the state by requiring that three-quarters of the states vote to ratify. It’s really strong medicine,” Perry said

Sen. Huntley Predicts NY SSM Will Lead to Democrat Takeover in 2012

New York Senator Shirley Huntley (who flip-flopped on marriage) predicts what we predicted -- voting for SSM will hurt Republican chances of keeping their slim majority in the Senate in 2012:

Joining [Senator Shirley] Huntley at the party [to celebrate the passage of SSM] were two Republican state senators who also switched their vote: James Alesi of Rochester, and Stephen Saland of the Hudson Valley. Marriage advocates have pledged to back both senators — along with two other Republican who voted yes — but Huntley was unconcerned that support might prevent Democrats from re-capturing the Senate.

“I think it takes more than money to win an election,” she said. “I think we’ll retake it in 2012." -- NY Politicker

Video: Rick Santorum Says He's Not "Fine" with SSM in New York

Sen. Santorum throws down a gauntlet to the other candidates on marriage:

He seems to be referring to reports that Gov. Perry said he's "fine" with gay marriage in New York.

RI Catholic Editorial: A Time for People of Faith to Fight for Freedom

From the editors of the Rhode Island Catholic:

In their shouts for tolerance, the advocates for homosexual marriage neglect to include tolerance for people and institutions of religious faith. Sadly, in many states politicians -including some who call themselves Catholic- have sacrificed religious liberty on the altar of political correctness run amuck. Time and again when given the opportunity to allow the principle of religious liberty to be applied to religious institutions that provide much needed social services, the totalitarian apparatchiks of the homosexual marriage movement have attacked religious liberty and freedom in their relentless quest to redefine marriage at all costs.

We are thankful to Rhode Island Representative Arthur Corvese who had the courage and tenacity to stand up against this pervasive totalitarian mentality that attacks religious liberty seemingly in the name of tolerance and equality. We call upon all Rhode Islanders, especially members of the Catholic community, to continue the fight for religious freedom and the right of conscience, so that people and institutions of religious faith are able to practice their beliefs without interference of the state. It is clear that this is to be a long-term battle, and there are more attacks on the horizon. Together we can fight for our first liberty, religious freedom, for it must be never be allowed to be sacrificed by the intolerance of our secular society.

Grisanti Leaves Out SSM Vote in Letter To His Buffalo Constituents

We noticed that in his letter to supporters in the Buffalo area of New York, Sen. Mark Grisanti (R) completely leaves out his flip-flop vote for same-sex marriage.

Instead he mentions progress on issues such as defending veterans and protecting seniors.

Those are very good things, but Grisanti should know his supporters have also received our campaign mailer, explaining that he betrayed them on marriage, after promising them he would protect it.

So the truth is out.

Washington State SSM Update: "Currently the Votes Aren’t There in the Senate"

But Washington State Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown (D) says they think they could get there.

They may even bring up a bill knowing it could fail, they say in this interview:

On a gay marriage bill:

Sen. Murray, who pushed through the gay civil rights bill as a state rep in 2006 and has moved a series of domestic partner bills in the senate the last four sessions, says he’s still strategizing on a move for gay marriage. (Murray is one of six out gay legislators in Olympia.)

“Currently the votes aren’t there in the senate,” he said referring to both Democrats and Republicans. “That doesn’t mean we can’t get there.”

“We may go to leadership and say this is the year we want to to push it through even it fails,” concluding “We will not be able to pass a marriage equality bill without a bipartisan vote without Republicans. We also know that we’ll face a ballot initiative. We want to win at the ballot. So that’s going to play into what we decide to do legislatively.”

“Maybe we can get there,” Brown added.

Time for our supporters in Washington State to be vigilant!

USNews & World Report: "Gay Marriage Could be a Difference Maker Issue in 2012"

Mallie Kim reports:

The economy is king in 2012 politics, but in a close election, the issue of same-sex marriage could make a difference.

With New York recently legalizing gay marriage, the Pentagon processing the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell," and Congress battling over the Defense of Marriage Act, gay rights have gotten a lot of media attention, and activists on both sides of the argument believe they have a politically potent issue.

"Clearly the overriding issue in the next election is going to be the economy and jobs," says Brian Darling, a senior fellow for government studies at the conservative Heritage Foundation. But when votes get close, he says, "issues like traditional marriage can make a critical difference in an election and may be a deciding factor."

What Print Media Said About "Let The People Vote" Rallies

Beyond the thousands upon thousands of people who participated in our Let The People Vote rallies, many more witnessed our message through the media.

Here's a sample of what they saw:

YourNewsNow in Albany: "'This is something that's going to define the culture our kids will be raised in,' said Annemarie Thimons, a Kingston resident."

International Business Times: "More than 10,000 supporters of  "Let The People Vote" rallies marched in New York City, Albany, Rochester and Buffalo starting 3 p.m. on Sunday, urging the Legislature to put the issue of gay marriage before voters in a statewide referendum."

Associated Press : "A rally in New York City that started with several hundred people crowding the street across from Cuomo's Manhattan office quickly swelled to thousands of people out in loud opposition to the new law."

BBC/Reuters: "The National Organization for Marriage held rallies in New York City, Albany, Rochester and Buffalo on Sunday, accusing Mr Cuomo and lawmakers of redefining marriage without consulting voters."

Bloomberg News: "One of the rally’s organizers, the National Organization for Marriage, also held events in Albany, Buffalo and Rochester. The group has pledged to spend millions of dollars ousting lawmakers who voted in favor of same-sex marriage."

Unfortunately, print coverage also widely missed the mark at times.

The LATimes, for instance, made barely any mention of the Let The People Vote demonstrations. This is the best they could muster:

"Love just transcends hate," said Hernandez, his voice breaking, as a small group of protesters yelled from a distant corner.

Reuters was little better, describing the Let The People Vote demonstrations this way:

"Groups of clergy and other opponents of the change staged a protest in front of Governor Cuomo's Midtown Manhattan office, warning that lawmakers who supported same-sex marriage would face punishment in upcoming elections."

No mention of numbers here.

UPI was probably the worst:

Opponents of gay marriage maintained a low profile. The Times said an informal poll of New York clergy found the vast majority did not intend to address the issue in their Sunday sermons.

... a low profile?

We'll have more to say about the media's uneven coverage of these demonstrations in the coming days.

Breaking News: IL Judge Rules Catholic Charities Will Continue to Receive Children

An update from the Thomas More Legal Center -- which is represented the Catholic agencies attempting to stay in the adoption/foster care system without facing lawsuits alleging discrimination under Illinois' same-sex civil unions law.

It's not over yet, but this is some good news:

Today, in response to an emergency motion brought by attorneys for Catholic Charities, attorneys for the State of Illinois, Office of the Attorney General, announced in court that the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) would reverse course and resume the referral of new foster care cases to the Charities.

The Charities were also given leave to file a motion by Friday to amend their complaint both to add new claims and to add as a new plaintiff to the lawsuit the charitable arm of the Diocese of Belleville, Catholic Social Services of Southern Illinois.

Report: CNN in the Tank for SSM, Massive Bias in Issue Coverage

Paul Wilson at the Media Research Center reports:

A Culture and Media Institute analysis of 239 programs aired on CNN from the period June 15 to July 15 revealed that CNN quoted or interviewed nearly four times the number of gay-agenda supporters as critics.

... in addition to that 4-to-1 ratio of guests, CNN aired 41 stories in that month that featured only gay advocated, leaving out critics altogether. Just nine stories featured only critics to the exclusion of gay advocates.

... Two CNN correspondents were honest enough to admit that the networks were biased in favor of gay rights.

Howard Kurtz on his "Reliable Sources" show on July 3, acknowledged "the media's celebration - there really is no other word - of the gay marriage debate in New York."

On June 26, Kurtz asked CNN reporter Carl Crawford whether or not the "coverage has paid equal attention to both sides of the debate." Crawford replied that "I think the media has been kind of rallying behind the marriage equality movement. I think we're always prone to any civil rights movement. We like it. It's democratic to us, and that's just one of our soft spots."

Activists Attack Blue Bunny Ice Cream Over Executives' Personal Contributions to Vander Plaats

Via the ThinkProgress LGBT activist website:

On Wednesday, ThinkProgress reported on the connections between the Wells family behind Wells Dairy and Blue Bunny and Bob Vander Plaats, the president of the FAMiLY LEADER...

... Yesterday, Blue Bunny issued a statement clarifying that despite the tremendous contributions of its chief executives, the company itself has not endorsed Vander Plaats or donated money to his campaigns.

Meanwhile, a Facebook group has formed calling for a boycott of Blue Bunny ice cream — which also has endorsement deals with Weight Watchers, Disney, and Ace of Cakes — and other bloggers are calling attention to other businesses that have supported Vander Plaats.