NOM BLOG

Case Closed? Not Even Close!

National Organization for Marriage

Dear Marriage Supporter,

Emboldened by a spate of radical judicial rulings handing them untimely victories through ill-reasoned decisions, same-sex marriage activists—both here in the U.S. and abroad—have been increasingly trotting out their tired old narrative of "inevitability."

The media and the leaders of the same-sex marriage movement have been so relentless and so consistent in propagating this idea that you probably know it well enough by now to repeat each talking point word-for-word: so-called (and falsely named) 'marriage equality' is a foregone conclusion, we're told, and will soon be the law of the entire realm.

But taking one's view of the marriage debate in America from this narrative is a very narrow-sighted way of looking at things. It is not even like listening to the partisan play-by-play commentary of the home team's radio announcer; it is more like asking the captain of the cheerleading squad at halftime who is going to win.

Of course those who cheer for the goal of marriage redefinition are going to say that the case is closed, that it is inevitable that their agenda will win out in the end: what else would we expect? So in order to gain a better perspective, it is more important for us to take note not of what they are saying, but rather what they aren't saying. Because their silence can speak volumes.

The Biggest News That Wasn't News

"European Court Says No Right to Same-Sex Marriage."

That was the headline from Breitbart News on July 25th. But apart from this, the story of this monumental ruling received little to no media attention. The mainstream media, having long joined the cheerleading squad of the same-sex marriage movement, took their typical approach to stories combatting the narrative: silence.

Sure, it might have gotten some coverage: deep in a webpage side-bar, or buried on page A-17 of a print edition. But we've known for a long time about the media bias on this issue: one study showed that pro-SSM statements are reported in the press at a ratio of 5-to-1 compared with statements supporting true marriage.

Therefore, considering the complicity of the media in the cause to radically redefine marriage and family, we shouldn't take the by-the-way coverage of this case as a sign of the story's unimportance, but of its importance. They don't want you to know about this!

Joseph La Rue, writing at the Alliance Defending Freedom blog, gives a fair summary of the ruling and its importance:

As the debate over the definition of marriage rages across the states, the European Court of Human Rights (kind of like a "Supreme Court of Europe") has decided that the European Convention on Human Rights (kind of like our Constitution) does not require that nations recognize same-sex marriage [emphasis in original].

La Rue notes: "This is a monumental decision, and could have a major impact as our Supreme Court is expected to take up a marriage case in the coming term" [emphasis added].

He explains that the U.S. Supreme Court—including Justice Anthony Kenney—has looked to and cited the European Court on Human Rights in previous decisions.

La Rue gives this explanation of the present decision [emphases in original]:

The Court held by a 14-3 vote that the European Convention on Human Rights does not require countries to recognize same-sex marriages.

[...]

One reason the European Court said it reached its decision had to do with the fact that there was no 'European consensus' regarding same-sex marriage. Ten countries recognize it; 37 do not. The Court concluded that it would be better to let the debate continue than to impose a 'one size fits all' solution on all 47 countries in Europe.

Truly, as La Rue notes, it is not surprising that "this ground-breaking decision from Europe has escaped the notice of the mainstream media." But I'd say, rather, that it didn't escape their notice so much as they chose deliberately not to make note of it.

La Rue explains the potential importance of this European case for the United States this way:

[T]his decision supports our argument that same-sex marriage is not a fundamental right. It would therefore be good for our courts to do as the European Court did. Our courts should let the debate continue, and not try to impose a fifty-state solution on the American people.

Of course, our opponents will observe that our courts have shown themselves unwilling to do just that, to let the debate continue. In decision after decision, the trend has been to shut down that debate and impose a radical new orthodoxy from the bench, side-stepping the democratic and legislative processes.

But what our opponents won't make a point of saying is that this trend might be careening toward "a roadblock" and a sudden putting on of the brakes.

Far From "Case Closed"

On Wednesday, a three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments in cases challenging the legal definition of marriage in four states: Ohio, Michigan, Tennessee, and Kentucky.

It was impossible for the major media outlets to ignore such a widely-impacting story. Thus, the news was picked up, among other places, in The Washington Post and The New York Times.

I will get to what they said in a moment. I want to make note first of all of what they did NOT say.

The major stories on these historic hearings did not point out some of the essential facts that I observed on Wednesday in a statement:

  • While they are not physically present in the courtroom in Cincinnati, the votes of 8.7 million citizens are at stake in this hearing.
  • Voters passed marriage amendments by overwhelming margins in these four states — nearly 8.7 million votes were cast in support of these four amendments, amounting to a combined 65% of the vote cast.

No, you won't find these wholly relevant facts in the articles from the Post and the Times. Both articles do, on the other hand, take great pains to mention the "legal landscape of the last year, in which more than two dozen lower courts and two appeals courts have ruled that gay couples have a right to marry" [SOURCE].

Both articles also trouble to focus on the "caustic questions" from the lone Clinton appointee on the panel, Judge Martha Craig Daughtrey—questions which, the New York Times says "left no doubt where she stood." (It's good to see the matter was not pre-judged or anything!)

But for all their efforts, neither of the reporters for these complicit media engines could evade the major fact about Wednesday's hearings: the case is far from closed... at least with respect to the other two judges on the panel.

The Washington Post journalist was forced to admit what seemed to be the reaction of everyone in the courtroom: "It became clear after three hours of arguments that the panel could become the first roadblock for proponents of same-sex marriage" [emphasis added].

A decision at the Circuit level favoring the right (explicitly upheld in last year's Windsor decision) of states' to define marriage would be a hugely important moment in this debate.

Our opponents have put everything they've got into these court cases, and have derailed every attempt to allow voters to have a say in the matter, because they know that they've run out of places where they can even squeak out a narrow win.

In any event, the 6th Circuit looks poised to deliver a decisive blow to the "inevitability" narrative. Even if the decision doesn't go that way, we can expect a very vigorous and important dissent. And either outcome is important, because the Supreme Court is certain to be weighing in on this matter again, and this decision could be the impetus for that eventuality being sooner rather than later.

"Both Sides Agree" — Not Everyday That Happens!

Yesterday's big headline in marriage news was from The New York Times, and the headline says it all: "Both Sides in Gay Marriage Fight in Utah Agree: Supreme Court Should Hear Case."

We at NOM have been saying that the Supreme Court should, and most certainly will, be taking up this issue in the near future, and have also noted that the Utah case seems one of the best candidates for really testing all of the parameters of the issue.

This week, as the Times explains:

Lawyers for three couples challenging Utah's ban on same-sex marriage said Thursday that they would join with their opponents to urge the Supreme Court to hear their case, even though they recently won an appeals court ruling striking down the law. [...] The unusual move could hasten a final ruling from the Supreme Court on same-sex marriage.

It isn't everyday that "both sides agree" in any legal question connected with this issue, so it is safe to say that this is an important moment in the progress of the debate.

Marriage Supporter, this matter will return before the Supreme Court—that is certain. What remains uncertain is how the Court will vote. It is obvious from the Utah plaintiffs' actions this week that they hope for a victory there. But I think we have reason to hope.

I hope that the 6th Circuit ruling comes down in favor of the millions of voters in the four states who argued their cases this week. I hope that the wisdom of the European Court of Human Rights last month be noted and respected by our own highest court's justices.

But most of all, I hope that ordinary citizens like you continue to stand up and to speak out bravely on marriage. The other side keeps claiming "inevitability" and a certain outcome. We need to show the Justices of the Supreme Court, between now and the time that they reconsider this issue, that the American people still stand divided on the issue of marriage!

Write letters to the editor.

Stage rallies in your hometown or state capitol.

Hold the gay lobby's corporate cronies accountable—(have you joined our Target boycott yet?).

Sign petitions.

Donate to defend marriage.

Get out and vote.

Pray.

Don't buy the hype of "inevitability" from the other side. Don't feel like the Supreme Court is beyond your power to influence. Each of us can do our part to show that marriage still enjoys deep and wide support throughout our land.

Let's show the American people and the Justices on the bench that there's still a debate to be had on this matter, and hopefully they will come down in favor of letting that debate continue.

Faithfully,

Brian S Brown

Brian S. Brown
President
National Organization for Marriage

Brian Brown


ICYMI: Slovakia Amends Constitution to Protect Marriage

SlovakiaThe Slovakia National Council voted June 4 to define marriage as the unique bond between one man and one woman in its Constitution. The amendment states, "it will be impossible for the rights and duties associated with marriage to be conferred in any way other than a legally recognised union between a man and a woman."

One hundred and two lawmakers supported the marriage amendment and 18 voted against it.

This should put to rest some of the silly claims that we've lost the marriage fight in the United States and abroad.  Slovakia's newest Constitutional amendment is evidence of the support that marriage enjoys.

Croatian voters similarly protected the definition of marriage back in 2013.

Who's Targeting Whom?

National Organization for Marriage

Dear Marriage Supporter,

On Tuesday, the retail giant Target signed on to an amicus brief for the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in two pending cases challenging the definition of marriage in Indiana and Wisconsin.

Target joins with a number of other companies in signing the brief, including the Starbucks Coffee Company. But it is the spirit behind the brief, and its language, which are most noteworthy.

The brief uses extremely charged language to refer to laws defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman. It calls them "the states' bans [on same-sex marriage]" and, even more radically, "marriage discrimination" laws!

Without providing any rationale at all, the brief states bluntly that "Same-sex couples should have the same right to marry as opposite-sex couples," and refers to Indiana and Wisconsin's traditional marriage laws as "an unproductive, inequitable, and unjust status quo."

Perhaps most ridiculously, the brief—while touting the benefits of pro-LGBT businesses—presents the claim that "corporate cultures that don't encourage openness and inclusiveness leave employees feeling isolated and fearful."

Well, tell that to the employees at Chase bank.

There, employees were recently asked on a survey to identify whether they were members or "allies" of the LGBT community. The spirit of "openness and inclusiveness" behind that question worked to the opposite effect from what this brief suggests.

It was this radical and intrusive question precisely that left some employees "feeling isolated and fearful." As one of them put it, "The worry among many of us is that those who didn't select that poorly placed, irrelevant option will be placed on the ‘you can fire these people first' list."

Target and other companies need to be forced to realize that it is their alignment with the radical cause of redefining marriage that is "bad for business"—not states' marriage laws that uphold and protect the common-sense idea that kids do best with a mom and a dad!

So I'm announcing a new boycott today, against Target, for insulting consumers like you and me. The brief they signed in court this week insinuates that people like you and me, who would vote to uphold traditional marriage, as akin to segregationists and racial bigots. Would you want to shop at a place that viewed you in that way?

I'm not exaggerating. Take a look at this description, from the brief, of the marriage laws in Wisconsin and Indiana:

[A law that defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman] requires that… we single out colleagues with same-sex partners and treat them as a separate and unequal class as compared to employees with heterosexual partners.

Target also complains that such a law "upsets our business philosophy and prevents [us] from reaching our full economic potential because it dissuades employees from living and working in the jurisdictions where we do, or want to do, business."

Really? I know that you, like me, don't see things this way. We'd most like to live in a land where the true and noble good of marriage is upheld and protected in law as an institution about the welfare and rights of children rather than about the capricious desires of adults.

And we'd like to live in a land where laws are determined by the people or their elected representatives, not corporate titans or unelected judges - a land where the votes of over 50 million people cast in free and fair elections across this nation are respected rather than ridiculed.

Join me in telling Target today that they are out of touch with consumers and they have insulted the millions of Americans who have voted to uphold marriage as the union of a man and a woman—tell them how much we resent being fashioned "bigots" and "haters" for doing so!

It is ironic to see Target climbing fully on board with this radical political agenda in the 7th Circuit case. In the nearby 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, Target is involved in its own legal matters for a data breach that exposed over 100 million customers to financial threat.

I think Target would be better served if it got its priorities in order. Wouldn't it be better for them to worry about protecting the personal information customers entrust to them, than to be issuing insulting and judgmental statements about beliefs deeply held by millions of their customers regarding the nature of marriage and family?

Click here to pledge to take your business elsewhere. Target and its peers in the corporate world need to realize that the countless Americans who believe in marriage as the union of a man and a woman will not stand for being insulted and demeaned.

The rash of corporate meddling in the politics of marriage and family will only continue if we do not stand up and say enough is enough. Please join me in this boycott today, and please forward this message to your family and friends urging them to do the same.

Faithfully,

Brian S Brown

Brian S. Brown
President
National Organization for Marriage

Brian Brown

National Organization for Marriage Urges Appellate High Court to Rule in Favor of Traditional Marriage; Calls on US Supreme Court to Grant Review of Utah Decision

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 6, 2014
Contact: Elizabeth Ray or Matille Thebolt (703-683-5004)


"It's time that the votes of millions of Americans be respected and upheld." — Brian Brown, NOM president —

nom_logo

Washington, D.C. — The following statement may be attributed to Brian S. Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM):

"We urge the 6th Circuit Court of Appeal to issue a ruling overturning the lower courts and upholding the right of voters and legislators to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. While they are not physically present in the courtroom in Cincinnati, the votes of 8.7 million citizens are at stake in this hearing to determine the constitutionality of traditional marriage in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee. Voters passed marriage amendments by overwhelming margins in these four states — nearly 8.7 million votes were cast in support of these four amendments, amounting to a combined 65% of the vote cast. It's time that the votes of millions of Americans be respected and upheld.

"No matter what happens with this appeal today in the 6th Circuit, the future of marriage is headed to the US Supreme Court. NOM is optimistic about ultimate victory. We urge the Supreme Court to grant review of the Utah marriage amendment case which was filed yesterday by the state. Utah is the first of many states that will be asking the Supreme Court to reverse the lower court rulings and uphold the right of voters and their elected representatives to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman, which it is in reality and has been since the dawn of time."

###

To schedule an interview with Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, please contact Elizabeth Ray, [email protected], or Matille Thebolt, [email protected], at 703-683-5004

Paid for by The National Organization for Marriage, Brian Brown, president. 2029 K Street NW, Suite 300 Washington, DC 20006, not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee. New § 68A.405(1)(f) & (h).

Are You Next?

National Organization for Marriage

Dear Marriage Supporter,

The ousting of Brenden Eich from Mozilla and the attempts by Chase Bank to ID employees based on whether they are "an ally of the LGBT community" were two powerful and extreme examples of efforts to marginalize and punish people who believe in a biblical or traditional view of sexual morality.

NOM is leading the charge to push back against these attempts to target ordinary citizens like you and me for simply holding to the truth about marriage.

Will you please consider standing with us today by making a gift of $35, $50, $100, $500 or whatever you can afford to provide the financial resources we need to carry out our efforts?

The latest example is found by simply looking at what's happening in the city of Houston.

The City Council (led by the city's lesbian mayor) passed an ordinance giving gays and lesbians special protections against "nondiscrimination." Citizens worried that the ordinance would become a tool to punish anyone who does not affirm the LGBT agenda have collected signatures on a referendum to put the issue on the ballot for voters to consider.

And before a single vote has been cast, the fears of opponents of the ordinance have already been realized.

Backers of the ordinance have put the names of petition signers online so that their harassment can begin immediately. They've launched a campaign called, "HEROPetition.com" that has publicly identified all the petition signers for the alleged purpose of independently verifying the validity of the petition.

But get this: the organizers of the HEROPetition.com campaign are refusing to identify themselves, claiming they must remain anonymous to "protect our personal safety."

As has been the case elsewhere, the real reason for identifying citizens who engage in the political process as is their right is to facilitate a campaign of targeting and bullying against those who defend marriage.

Won't you join us in standing up to these extreme bullies who want to marginalize and punish ordinary people of faith by making a donation to support our work today?

Such hypocrisy and ugliness has become routine for the LGBT movement. They began their movement with an appeal to the American people for "tolerance" and "diversity" but have morphed into a movement based on intimidation and bigotry.

The saddest part: they've pursued this course because it has thus far worked.

In 2012, the respected Diversity Officer at Gallaudet University was suspended from her job solely because she signed the Maryland referendum petition to allow voters to consider whether the legislature's redefinition of marriage should be permitted.

After public protests, the university eventually allowed her to return to work, but demoted her. When it comes to LGBT matters, "diversity" and "tolerance" extends only to those who agree with gay activists.

In California, gay activists pioneered the organized harassment campaign through the use of the notorious "eightmaps.com" website which allowed people to see online maps showing where donors to Prop 8 lived.

As is the case in the current Houston example, the organizers of the campaign did not identify themselves, nor did they show where donors opposing Prop 8 lived. The resulting harassment of Prop 8 donors was widespread and unrelenting.

Mozilla's Brendan Eich is only the latest person to lose a job over showing support for traditional marriage:

  • The manager of a Mexican restaurant was hounded from her family business in Los Angeles over her $100 contribution in support of Proposition 8.
  • Scott Eckern, the artistic director of the California Musical Theater in Sacramento was forced to resign over his $1,000 contribution;
  • Similarly, Richard Raddon, the director of the Los Angeles Film Festival, was forced to resign after contributing $1,500.

Others faced death threats. Catholic and Mormon Church groups were mailed packages containing white powder, feared to be anthrax.

This cannot continue! Please help us stand up to this undemocratic and unpatriotic assault on our basic civil liberties by making a generous donation today.

There are hundreds of documented cases of harassment by LGBT activists against Christians and other people of faith who support traditional values, and scant evidence of such incidents against lesbians and gays.

Yet cities like Houston pursue special "nondiscrimination" ordinances, Congress is being pressured to pass "nondiscrimination" statutes and President Obama has issued an executive order on the subject.

Meanwhile, it's indisputable that a gay activist walked into the offices of the Family Research Council with a plan to murder dozens of employees there because of their opposition to redefining marriage and the gay and lesbian agenda.

And yet, this incident has spawned no proposed "nondiscrimination" legislation to protect people of faith and religious groups, nor has President Obama issued any executive orders.

NOM opposes harassment and violence of any kind against anyone engaged in the public square. We also oppose ordinances like that passed in Houston and being advanced in Congress. The record shows that if anyone needs special protections from retaliation and punishment based on who they are, it's Christians, people of faith and religious groups, not gay and lesbian activists.

Won't you please make a generous donation today to help us carry out our mission of protecting marriage and the faith communities that sustain it?

Faithfully,

Brian S Brown

Brian S. Brown
President
National Organization for Marriage

Brian Brown

PS: What's going on in Houston — the systematic identification and targeting of citizens who support marriage as the union of one man and one woman — is reprehensible and must stop! Please help us defend the ordinary citizens who believe — just like you and me — that marriage is worth defending and fighting for. Please consider making a financial contribution right away to help us defend marriage and the rights of citizens who believe in it.

"The Objections Aren't Trivial"

Yesterday, Rod Dreher at The American Conservative highlighted a piece written by Damon Linker at The Week. Dreher described Linker as "a progressive on matters of gay marriage and contemporary sexual mores" and quotes from his column:

[Religious traditionalists'] objections aren’t trivial. Western civilization upheld the old sexual standards for the better part of two millennia. We broke from them in the blink of an eye, figuratively speaking. The gains are pretty clear — It’s fun! It feels good! — but the losses are murkier and probably won’t be tallied for a very long time.

488610659Is the ethic of individual consent sufficient to keep people (mostly men) from acting violently on their sexual desires?

What will become of childhood if our culture continues down the road of pervasive sexualization?

Do children do best with two parents of opposite genders? Or are two parents of the same gender just as good? Or better? How about one parent of either gender? What about three, four, five, or more people in a constantly evolving polyamorous arrangement?

Can the institution of marriage survive without the ideals of fidelity and monogamy? What kind of sexual temptations and experiences will technology present us with a year — or a decade, or a century — from now? Will people be able to think of reasons or conjure up the will to resist those temptations? Will they even try? Does it even matter?

I have no idea how to answer these questions.

What I do know is that the questions are important, and that I respect those who are troubled by them.

And maybe you should, too.

Linker's longer piece contains some straw-man versions of what he calls "traditionalism" - for example, when he says that "when traditionalists try to defend their views on pre-marital sex or homosexuality" it ends up sounding something like merely, "I disapprove because it's icky."

Or when Linker says that he "vastly prefer[s] a world in which people have been liberated from sexually inspired suffering, shame, humiliation, and self-loathing," we wonder what other world he prefers this to, because this would be an unhistorical caricature of  previous centuries' sexual mores and ethics.

Nevertheless, Linker has the wisdom to see that "the questions are important." The only sad thing is that he acknowledges it so late.

Linker's cry of "hold your horses" to the marriage redefinition lobby is a cry that comes after the horses have been let out and the barn door closed in many places. But perhaps we can hope that Linker will one day become an aid in wrangling the now-wild horses and ushering them back into the corral built for them by millenia of wisdom and tradition, whence they should never have been sprung in the first place.

"One of the most radical campaigns we can do"

From our friends at The Christian Institute in the U.K. comes this story:

Ruth Hunt, the new head of homosexual lobby group Stonewall, says she wants to put pro-gay storybooks into all preschools.

In what she described as a “radical” campaign, “a suite of books that celebrates difference in all its forms” could be commissioned by the group for under-fives.

[...]

She said: “I really want to commission – and this is something we’ve got to talk about as an organisation – a suite of books that celebrates difference in all its forms for under-fives."

Read the entire thing here.

This "Common Sense Legislation" Needs Your Support

National Organization for Marriage

Dear Marriage Supporter,

Last Week, Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY) and Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) introduced the Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act [S. 2706, H.R. 5285] which aims to protect the right of child welfare providers—including private and faith-based adoption and foster care agencies—to continue providing valuable services to families and children.

This important law would prevent the federal government and states receiving certain federal child welfare funds from discriminating against agencies simply because those agencies decline to provide services that conflict with their religious or moral convictions.

Click here right now to find out if your Representative and Senators are co-sponsoring this critical legislation and to encourage their support for this much-needed law.

Believing that kids need both a mom and a dad should not disqualify a service provider from doing their invaluable work. They shouldn't be penalized by the revocation of aid for holding to the common sense principle that children do best when raised by both a loving mother and father.

As Representative Kelly asked rhetorically in an interview with The Daily Signal about this bill, "When did it ever get to the point that people of faith and organizations of faith should be discriminated against when it comes to adopting children or foster care?"

And yes, this kind of discrimination is already happening. In Illinois, Massachusetts, and the District of Columbia, faith-based agencies have been forced to end their adoption and foster-care programs because they refused to abandon their commitment to placing children in homes with a married mother and a father.

That's why you need to urge your own elected officials to support this bill today. Tell Congress to uphold and defend the rights of religious child welfare service providers and not to allow their liberties to be curtailed as they are forced from the public square.

Shutting these agencies down for the sake of a radical political agenda is a travesty, and only hurts the children whom these providers have served so well and for so long. At the end of the day, this is about those children and protecting their rights.

I hope you will join me in taking this important action right now. And when you've done so, please forward this message to your friends and family members using the buttons below, urging them to take action, too.

Faithfully,

Brian S Brown

Brian S. Brown
President
National Organization for Marriage

Brian Brown

Marriage Tips from a Couple Married for 87 Years

Zelmyra and Herbert Fisher married on May 13, 1924.  In 2008, they broke the Guinness World Record for being the longest married living couple.  Both died at the age of 105--Herbert in 2011 and Zelmyra in 2013.Couple

Before their deaths, the Fishers answered fourteen questions about their relationship and what made their marriage last for nearly 90 years.  One of their tips will comfort anyone who is preparing for marriage or hoping to strengthen his or her marriage:

"There’s no secret to our marriage, we just did what was needed for each other and our family."

Here are a few of the questions the Fishers answered:

What was the best piece of marriage advice you ever received?

Respect, support, and communicate with each other. Be faithful, honest, and true. Love each other with ALL of your heart.

 

You got married very young – how did you both manage to grow as individuals yet not grow apart as a couple?

Everyone who plants a seed and harvests the crop celebrates together. We are individuals, but accomplish more together.

 

At the end of bad relationship day, what is the most important thing to remind yourselves?

Remember marriage is not a contest, never keep a score. God has put the two of you together on the same team to win.

 

What’s the one thing you have in common that transcends everything else?

We are both Christians and believe in God. Marriage is a commitment to the Lord. We pray with and for each other every day.

 

The Real Question

National Organization for Marriage

Dear Marriage Supporter,

Definitions are important. They are the means by which we can reason together and communicate ideas intelligibly. Without definitions, social organization becomes impossible.

The great English writer and Christian polemicist G.K. Chesterton illustrated this principle very clearly in his book Orthodoxy, by taking to task his friend, H.G. Wells, for a particular phrase that Chesterton called "not merely a misstatement, but a contradiction in terms."

Wells had said once that, "All chairs are quite different." And Chesterton, with his characteristic wit and his common-sense, pointed out the obvious problem with that assertion: "If all chairs were quite different, you could not call them 'all chairs.'"

A similar descent into meaninglessness has been the hallmark of the push to redefine marriage.

Advocates for same-sex "marriage" constantly evade the question of definitions. While they clamor ever more loudly for "marriage equality," they studiously avoid the necessary and logically prior point: What is marriage?

This is the real question. It is also, of course, the title of the wonderful book penned by NOM co-founder Professor Robert George along with Ryan T. Anderson and Sherif Girgis. These three have been incredibly heroic and consistent in their efforts to corner the arguments of the same-sex marriage lobby and return the debate time and again to that central question—a question that still has not sufficiently been answered by the other side.

Lately, Anderson has been fighting that good fight again, on many fronts, and I want to highlight the work he's been doing, as it is illuminative and instructive for us.

Doublespeak?

Last week I wrote about how New York Times columnist Josh Barro had taken to Twitter to level some cheap insults against people like you and me for supporting traditional marriage. Barro claimed our views were like those of racial segregationists of old.

But Ryan Anderson decided to engage Barro on Twitter, and the exchange was fascinating to follow. Ryan has chronicled the whole thing over at Heritage's The Daily Standard.

One part of the debate was of particular interest:

Ryan then pointed out that, by this logic, "government could never define marriage wrongly."

Barro then argued that "A public policy defining marriage can be bad or undesirable but it cannot be false" [emphasis added].

And Ryan is the one who's supposed to be engaging in "doublespeak"?!

This kind of reductive logic is dangerous in any application, but especially when it relates to a question as important as the definition of marriage, and an institution as close to the roots of our civic order as the family!

But it is also a logic that simply undoes itself. If marriage is whatever the government deems is to be, and if political will is all that makes any given definition of marriage the "true" one, then how can Barro and others support the usurpation by judges of the will of legislatures and citizenries to identify marriage as the union of one man and one woman?

No, this is the real doublespeak in the marriage debate. Barro cannot allow that there is a "right" definition of marriage outside of the fiat of the state—but then he tries to maintain (without any evident basis) that some definitions are "bad [and] undesirable."

Barro razes the bastions of natural law to pave the way for the state to posit whatever it will about marriage, but—as Anderson points out—now he has left no barriers in place for making any rational determination about marriage.

As Ryan puts it:

Indeed, if the law redefines marriage to say it is about consenting adult romance and caregiving, what principle would govern the contours of marriage policy? Can't three people form such a union, so that if you sue for marriage equality for the same-sex couple, why would you deny such equality to the throuple? And how about those who desire a "wedlease" instead of "wedlock." These are the sorts of consequences that result once you abandon the natural law understanding of what marriage is.

This is why there is now, and really always has been, only one question of real relevance in this debate: What is marriage? To that question, only those who acknowledge the public good of marriage and the natural and conjugal complementarity of men and women have a real answer.

And because there is a "what is" to marriage—because marriage has a real definition—we can, indeed we must say that it still holds even in those states where marriage has been legally reconstructed and redefined.

The Unequal Argument of "Marriage Equality"

In another posting at The Daily Signal from Anderson last week, there is a video of an exchange during a lecture at Stanford, between Ryan and a gay man who asked: "Why should I, as a gay man, be denied the same right to file a joint tax return with my potential husband that a straight couple has?"

In the clip, we see Ryan brilliantly holding the line on the fundamental question of what marriage is, which cannot be separated from the question posed to him.

Ryan explains that the reason the man cannot file a joint tax return is because, simply, he can't get married. When the questioner objects that he can get married in California, Ryan's answer cuts straight to the point: "You can be issued a marriage license in the State of California, but you can't actually get married... given what marriage is."

Ryan points out that there is no real 'discrimination' because the man has an equal right to enter into the marital relationship—a union of husband and wife— and, as he explains:

If you're not interested in entering into that sort of a union, you're not being discriminated against. What you're asking us to do is to redefine marriage to include the adult relationship of your choice, and the adult relationship of your choice happens to be a same-sex couple. There are other adults who want to have marriage redefined to include the relationship of their choice, which may be the same-sex 'throuple' or the opposite-sex 'quartet.' And so what I'm asking you in response is, what principle are you appealing to, when you say this is discrimination, to vindicate your rights and not their rights?

This is the kind of logical thoroughness this debate needs. You can see in the Stanford exchange the same logical errors Barro made on Twitter: by evading the question of the definition of what marriage is, they logically weaken any rationale for setting aside any kind of relationship as 'marriage'.

Clear-sighted people can see the wisdom and common sense of Ryan's logic here. One such clear-sighted person is Federal Judge Paul Niemeyer, from the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Fundamental Right to Marry Does Not Include Same-Sex 'Marriage'

Niemeyer was on the three-judge panel of the 4th Circuit that heard the appeal of the case regarding Virginia's marriage amendment, which a lower court had deemed unconstitutional. Unfortunately, in its decision on Monday the panel split 2-1 and upheld the lower court's ruling.

But Niemeyer was the dissenting voice, and his dissent rings with such clarity and wisdom precisely because it acknowledges the real question: what is marriage?

This analysis is fundamentally flawed because it fails to take into account that the "marriage" that has long been recognized by the Supreme Court as a fundamental right is distinct from the newly proposed relationship of a "same-sex marriage." And this failure is even more pronounced by the majority's acknowledgment that same-sex marriage is a new notion that has not been recognized "for most of our country's history." Moreover, the majority fails to explain how this new notion became incorporated into the traditional definition of marriage except by linguistic manipulation. Thus, the majority never asks the question necessary to finding a fundamental right—whether same-sex marriage is a right that is "deeply rooted in this Nation's history and tradition" and "implicit in the concept of ordered liberty, such that neither liberty nor justice would exist if [it was] sacrificed."

It is refreshing to read in Niemeyer's acknowledgement that "when the Supreme Court has recognized, through the years, that the right to marry is a fundamental right, it has emphasized the procreative and social ordering aspects of traditional marriage," which is why "the marriage of a man and a woman... rationally promotes a correlation between biological order and political order" [emphasis added].

And Niemeyer also drives home the same point observed above: he says that if the majority opinion is correct—if there is a fundamental right to marry for any consenting adult relationship—there is no principled legal way to prevent plural marriage or a host of other imagined unions.

Let's hope more judges begin to see with the clarity of this the importance of the fundamental question of what marriage is!

All Marriages Are Marriages

I'd like to recall again Chesterton's reply to Wells about "all chairs being different." Suppose you took a table and a chair and together referred to them both as chairs. In that instance, the two things really would be different—and by calling them the same thing, you would have made the term "chair" meaningless.

The point is this: the word "marriage" either means something or it does not. Isn't it only fair and just to ask first what it does mean before trying to decide to apply the term to something new?

Calling a table a chair does damage to the meaning of the word "chair"—and it does no service to our understanding of either tables or chairs. It is thus injurious to our wisdom and knowledge on three counts, and reduces our ability to reason at all.

So it goes with marriage. Calling something "marriage" that is not marriage damages our public notion of marriage, in multiple ways. It neither serves society as a whole, nor does it ultimately serve society's members because it reduces their ability to make any reasonable or legal distinctions. And so, when something else comes along purporting to be "marriage," no legal or moral rationale exists for drawing the line.

This week, please join me in offering kudos to Ryan Anderson for constantly reminding us of the importance of the one and only real question in the marriage debate: What is marriage?

It is a question we should ask more ourselves, and without fear: because we know the answer.

Faithfully,

Brian S Brown

Brian S. Brown
President
National Organization for Marriage

Brian Brown


Invest in Marriage. Invest in America.

National Organization for Marriage

Dear Marriage Supporter,

This week, our good friends at The Heritage Foundation released The 2014 Index of Culture and Opportunity, a research document that "tracks key social and economic indicators to determine whether important indicators of opportunity in America are on the right track [and] ... explores the factors that shape our capacity as a society to enjoy the blessings of liberty today and to pass them on to the next generation."

I recommend that you look this document up and read it at your earliest opportunity; especially the closing essay by David Azerrad and Ryan T. Anderson entitled "The Blessings of Liberty."

In this piece, Azerrad and Anderson identify "four broad pillars that together sustain our republic," which are:

  • A limited constitutional government;
  • A vibrant civil society with free markets;
  • Strong families; and
  • A culture that promotes virtue.

Azerrad and Anderson go on to describe how "[t]he family is the foundation of a strong society," explaining that

[t]o understand the centrality of the family, one need only see the host of problems that so often confront the children raised in homes without fathers, from lower graduation rates to greater incarceration rates. For those who are concerned about the vitality of the American Dream in the 21st century, strengthening the family ought to be an absolute priority. Far from being a tangential social or religious issue, the strength of the family is a crucial concern—both from an economic and political perspective—and deeply intertwined with the health of the country [emphasis added].

The strength of the family within society is so fundamental to the civic order, the authors conclude, that those who try to separate political and fiscal conservatism from so-called "social conservatism" are running a fool's errand:

As the American experience over the past 50 years has shown, limiting the size and scope of government is impossible without stable marriages and strong communities. When the family disintegrates, the government attempts to replace its vital functions, social welfare programs multiply and, as they grow, family and neighborhood bonds erode. A defense of marriage serves the ends of limited government more effectively, less intrusively, and at less cost than picking up the broken pieces of a shattered marriage culture. Fundamentally, then, social and economic conservatism are indivisible [emphasis added].

This is why I'm asking you today to recommit to NOM's mission to preserve and strengthen the value of family in America with a generous donation. Can you spare $50, $150, or even $500 to help us in this most vital work?

As Azerrad and Anderson write, "The stakes could not be higher. The robust ties that bind us together ultimately are the strength of our great nation." An investment in the preservation and promotion of marriage is an investment in the prosperity of our great nation, an investment in the future of America.

We hear so much about the amount of financial debt which we pass on from one generation to the next and how it may impoverish and undermine our children's and grandchildren's hopes to attain the American dream.

But what could be more impoverishing—what could be more damaging—to the next generation than a social order that doesn't recognize the value of marriage? A social order that devalues the unique and indispensable roles moms and dads play in their children's lives?

That is why the cause to protect, preserve, and promote marriage is the most crucial investment we can make for the future welfare of our country, and for future generations' happiness and prosperity. Will you invest generously today in our civilization's greatest asset—the family founded upon the union of husband and wife?

Like any investment, donating to the cause of marriage has its challenges, but it also has its rewards and returns.

It merits the satisfaction of knowing that we can tell our kids and grandkids that when the critical moment was upon us, we didn't stand idly by—rather, we did our part to preserve the ancient truth of marriage when it was most viciously attacked.

It earns us the right to say that we truly were on "the right side"—of history, of truth, of the promoting what is right and good.

It gives us the peace of mind of knowing that we weren't bullied into submission or intimidated into silent acquiescence—that instead we did what the great and noble Americans that came before us have always done: stood up and fought for what was right without counting the cost.

So, I ask you kindly to consider the value purchased by your generous investment in marriage which you can make with a donation to the National Organization for Marriage today. Your gift of $50, $150, or even $500 secures treasures that can't be counted.

Of course, we know also that the final repayment of fighting for a good cause is one which is even more incalculable. But we believe that repayment will be doled out, and in "good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over."

Thank you, as always, for your generous support.

Faithfully,

Brian S Brown

Brian S. Brown
President
National Organization for Marriage

Brian Brown

Video: How Ryan Anderson Responded to a Gay Man Who Wants to Redefine Marriage

The Daily Signal has highlighted two great videos of marriage champion Ryan Anderson.  In the first video, Anderson charitably responds to a gay man's questions about marriage. Anderson explained how redefining marriage ultimately makes marriage dissolve:

In the second video, Anderson discussed the differences in the law's interest in contracts and in marriage:

 

Polygamy the Key to Happy Relationships?

Readers of the NOM blog know that the push to redefine marriage has far-reaching consequences.  Redefining marriage renders the institution meaningless.  Once marriage is no longer the lifelong union of one man and one woman, there is no logical conclusion as to why three or four consenting adults can't "marry."  After all, if marriage is solely based on adults' emotions, why must it be limited to two people?  Why deny a "throuple" or "quartet" the right to "marriage equality"?Polygamy

A recent article in The Atlantic  profiled "polyamorous" couples who reject "mono-normativity."  Some of them have children who are aware of their polygamous relationships; others live together as "triads."

According to the featured polyamorists--who, by the way, were all interviewed using pseudonyms or their first names only--having different partners satisfies different needs and the more partners to whom they become close, the more fulfilled they are.

Leah Libresco, writing for The American Conservative, responded to some of the claims in this article, particularly the assumption that one's spouse or partner must fulfill 100 percent of expectations.  Libresco argues that expecting one's spouse to be "perfect" or fulfill unrealistic ideals is a destructive mindset with which to approach marriage:

Monogamy isn’t premised on the idea that one person can ever be everything to a partner. When a marriage fails to fulfill “the full smorgasbord” it’s not a sign that anything’s wrong. An expectation that a partner (or full set of them) is meant to be a perfect complement is destructive to romantic and platonic relationships.

[...]

If the friends of these marital perfectionists are rarely given the chance to excel, their spouses are only ever given the chance to fail. Expecting a romantic partner to be fully satisfactory doesn’t just damage existing marriages, it can preempt them. A person who assumes that their spouse should fit seamlessly into his or her life may pass up several good partners while waiting for the perfect one.

In the meantime, they’ll be missing out on the best part of marriage—the presence of a partner in the ongoing project of becoming better versions of yourself.

Self-sacrifice, as well as commitment to one's spouse and children, make marriages stronger--not polygamy or "polyamory."

National Organization for Marriage Condemns Virginia Court for Ignoring History, Reality and Rule of Law

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 28, 2014
Contact: Elizabeth Ray or Matille Thebolt (703-683-5004)


"It is a terrible abuse of power for a court to abandon the definition of marriage which has existed throughout the history of the Commonwealth of Virginia, was adopted by the people, and reflects in law the reality of what marriage is, the union of one man and one woman." — Brian Brown, NOM president —

nom_logo

Washington, D.C. — The following statement may be attributed to Brian S. Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM):

"We are extremely disappointed, though not surprised, with today's ruling from the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals invalidating the definition of marriage in Virginia. It is a terrible abuse of power for a court to abandon the definition of marriage which has existed throughout the history of the Commonwealth of Virginia, was adopted by the people and reflects in law the reality of what marriage is, the union of one man and one woman.

"While we condemn the ruling of the majority, we are pleased with the strong dissent authored by Justice Paul Niemeyer who noted that the 'linguistic manipulation' of case law employed by the majority to create a 'fundamental right' to same-sex marriage will also result in 'the right of a father to marry his daughter and the right of any person to marry multiple partners.'

"Justice Niemeyer's dissent lays bare what the majority has done — they have invented a right to redefine marriage because two justices have substituted their views for the considered opinion of the General Assembly and the voters of the Commonwealth.

"We call on the state to appeal this decision to the US Supreme Court and to vigorously fight for the truth of marriage and the right of the people and the elected representatives of the state to define marriage in law consistent with what it is in reality — the union of one man and one woman."

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To schedule an interview with Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, please contact Elizabeth Ray, [email protected], or Matille Thebolt, [email protected], at 703-683-5004

Paid for by The National Organization for Marriage, Brian Brown, president. 2029 K Street NW, Suite 300 Washington, DC 20006, not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee. New § 68A.405(1)(f) & (h).

You Don't Want to Miss This

National Organization for Marriage

Dear Marriage Supporter,

Our good friend Rick Santorum will be premiering a new feature documentary tonight at the Heritage Foundation. The film is called One Generation Away: The Erosion of Religious Liberty.

The film "goes to the front lines of the changing face of America's religious freedoms, discovering a series of dramatic shifts in how the First Amendment (and it's religious freedom clauses) is being applied across a broad spectrum of modern America."

I don't need to tell you how relevant and timely this documentary is!

If you're in the D.C. area this evening, I'd urge you to consider attending this exciting screening event. Here are the details:

Monday, July 28, 2014 ~ 5:30 to 8:00 p.m.

5:30 p.m. Reception ~ 6:30 p.m. Screening

The Heritage Foundation's Allison Auditorium
214 Massachusetts Avenue, NE | Washington, DC 20002

RSVP Online
News media inquiries, call (202) 675-1761

If you can't make it, be sure to stay tuned for news about this film and its wider release by visiting the movie website or by checking out the page on Facebook.

Many thanks to Senator Santorum's EchoLight Studios and the many others whose hard work has produced this timely and important documentary.

Faithfully,

Brian S Brown

Brian S. Brown
President
National Organization for Marriage

Brian Brown