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Husband, wife, or ‘partner’? How words can shape ideas about marriage

As a fan of British television, I am also a fan of certain “British-isms” that are foreign to the ordinary American ear. For example, there’s a certain colloquialism, originally associated with the north of England, but now used more broadly, though not without affectation. It involves the ungrammatical use of the past participle of certain verbs. The most common instance is the verb “to sit.” Thus, one might hear a Britisher reminiscing about childhood saying something like, “I remember weekend mornings coming downstairs to find Mum sat there reading The Sunday Telegraph .” Grammatically, one ought to say Mum “was sitting” there; or else that one found her “sitting” there. I suppose if one had reason to employ the perfective aspect, or, I suppose, if you wanted to speak in a more perfective aspect and wanted to make clear that the action not only happened but also ceased in the past, one could describe how she “had sat” there or “had been sitting” there. The point, though, is that it’s ungrammatical to speak of Mum “sat” there like this. Nonetheless, I find it charming. (If I may be allowed a geeky aside: the way this usage seems to function is by oddly blending subject and object, or the active and passive voice. It sort of tricks the mind into imagining a fuller context of the verb: mum “had sat herself” there—or, more fancifully, she “had been sat” there by some other agency or power—fate, habit, or the household gods, I suppose. But in any case, this seems akin to the Irish-ism of using “himself” or “herself” in subject or nominal predicate positions: “Himself isn’t home at the moment.” It would be a fascinating linguistic study to find whether there’s any association between these sorts of usages, or to what cultural or socio-economic forces they may relate.) 

Forgive me my tangent, though. What I intended to write about is the fact that, while I do enjoy many of these quirky Britishisms, there’s one that positively rubs me the wrong way: a usage which thankfully never gained much traction here in the States (though it did enjoy a certain vogue for a time among certain people), but is very common in England. That’s the use of the word “partner” in place of “spouse” or “husband/wife.” 

Now, I’m not entirely sure of the origin of this silliness in England. I can recall that here in the US, at least, when briefly this did have some currency, it seemed tied up with political correctness. Though the word “non-heteronormative” (a pox upon it) was unheard of back then, looking back we could fairly say that in today’s terms that the use of “partner” in place of “spouse’ seemed to have once come into fashion in order to eschew “heteronormativity.” As I said, I’m not entirely certain of whether the origin of the usage in British English was for similar reasons, but I think it likely enough.

As this word “partner” popped up several times in things I’ve been watching recently, and each time grated my nerves like a wrong note in a familiar song, I finally decided to try to analyse (see what I did there?) why it bothers me so much. And that reflection proved more fruitful than expected. Indeed, I don’t think it is too bold to say that, in a sense, the whole history of the changing mores and values around marriage over the past three or so decades could be written around this one term. I’ll explain what I mean.

For one thing, there is a sense in which the term “partner” used this way seems odd or even anachronistic now. Granted, “spouse one and two” or “partner one and two” are still sometimes sought after in certain official applications as politically correct or “sensitive” alternatives to the old “husband and wife.” But there’s also a feeling that we’re well past such quaintness. Nowadays, many gay couples seem perfectly content to refer to themselves as “husband and husband,” “wife and wife,” or even as “husband and wife” in a gender-bending sort of way. Indeed, they might find “partner” as somewhat offensive in its attempt to be inoffensive, a relic from and reminder of a time when the public wasn’t ready to hear a lesbian speak of her “wife” or a gay man his “husband.” It’s arguable whether as much of the public are ready to hear this now as the LGBT activists seem to think, but the movement has certainly abandoned such timidity on the whole. That sort of sensibility seems oh, so utterly ’90s now. Even I, when I hear someone speak of his or her “partner” today, am struck in the manner that I am when I hear someone rather over-pronouncing words like “empanada” or “burrito” when ordering Chipotle. It’s seems more than a bit too precious. In this fact of the sudden seeming outdatedness of such usage, though, we catch a glimpse of how complete and total has been the conquest by the LGBT movement in the areas of ideas, language, and values, and how thorough the normalization of same-sex ‘marriage.’ The Overton window hasn’t so much shifted as it has been shattered and the wall that housed it blown out, in favor of the much more modern “open concept.” So open have we become conceptually that, in a very short period of time, far from being jarred by hearing a woman speak of having a wife, we are now expected to hear with placidity a woman refer to herself as a husband !

Secondly, this shift in language shows the real nature of the change from marriage as the union of a man and a woman to a union of any two persons regardless of sex. Time and again, in the push leading up to the decision in the Obergefell case to expand marriage to include same-sex couples, we were told that this wasn’t a change in the definition of the institution. This was an impossible bluff, however, as the cards were already face up on the table in the usage of the term “partner.” If you look in a dictionary for the definition of partner , you’ll find persons in romantic relationships included as one meaning of the word. But this is a relatively recent usage, as can be seen by comparison with the definition of partnership . Here, the primary meanings relate to business and contractual relationships, e.g. , “a legal relation existing between two or more persons contractually associated as joint principals in a business.” Quelle romantique! Indeed, the great ironic is that it’s generally frowned upon for persons in a partnership, classically defined, to begin sleeping with one another—but suddenly people who shared a bed and a home, and maybe even offspring, started referring to one another as each one’s “partner.” Marriage, though, is not a partnership. It isn’t even, except in a secondary sense, a contract. It is a covenant . The contractual element only enters in with the broader society and its interest in legally codifying, promoting, and defending the status of marriage. It wasn’t until very recently that the married persons themselves began conceiving of themselves as mere parties to a contract, like leasing a Prius.

In their 2012 book, What is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense , scholars Sherif Girgis, Ryan T. Anderson, and Robert P. George define marriage this way:  “Marriage is, of its essence, a comprehensive union: a union of will (by consent) and body (by sexual union); inherently ordered to procreation and thus the broad sharing of family life; and calling for permanent and exclusive commitment…” Does “partner” seem a congruous term to this description? Or might we suppose that part of the move toward the “partner” terminology was bound up precisely with rejecting one or more of the facets of this definition? Partnerships can be broken as easily as made, can be fleeting and—something all of the Supreme Court Justices dissenting from Obergefell pointed out—needn’t inherently be dimeric or two-partied: there is nothing intrinsic to “partnership” that demands monogamy, exclusivity, and life-long permanence. The shift from the idea of “spouse” to “partner,” then, seems related necessary cause, if not indeed sufficient, for why we are now hearing rumblings of expanding marriage even further to include groupings of more than two persons—“throuples” or whole group marriages.

Finally, a last point we may take away from this reflection on the term “partner” in place of more traditional terms is the most obvious one, which therefore must take the anchor position of emphasis at the end: namely, ideas have consequences and words have meanings. Not only do words have meanings, but changing words can have the result of changing meanings and values: and one wonders if this wasn’t the long-game all along, behind this playing with the words to describe wedded couples. When the term “partner” used in this way first began to pop up in popular culture, perhaps we thought it of little import, not something to get too worked up about, just another quirk of language like misuse of the past participle “sat.” But as we sat and watched, that subtle revision in language became part of the mechanism by which our culture changed around us. It is a cautionary tale, and a lesson we’d do well to learn, as ever-more neologisms pop up around us daily: terms like “dead-naming,” “cis,” and the nonsense pronouns, “zie, zir, and zirself.” These rare and marginal usages might become the norm of thought in the future, if we’re not careful.

I close with an observation by my favorite writer, G. K. Chesterton, that I think not only captures the power of language to change thinking, but also the audacity of how progressive movements will manipulate language. He wrote: “The modern man, regarding himself as a second Adam, has undertaken to give all the creatures new names; and when we discover that he is silly about the names, the thought will cross our minds that he may be silly about the creatures. And never before, I should imagine, in the intellectual history of the world have words been used with so idiotic an indifference to their actual meaning. A word has no loyalty; it can be betrayed into any service or twisted to any treason.”

The post Husband, wife, or ‘partner’? How words can shape ideas about marriage appeared first on IFN .

Not “I” But “We”: Rabbi Jonathan Sacks’ Parting Witness to the Power of Marriage and Family

With the recent passing of Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Judaism has lost one of its leading lights and the world has lost one of its most powerful moral voices. Described by American University Professor Akbar Ahmed as “one of the great sages of the Abrahamic faiths,” Rabbi Sacks was an international religious leader, philosopher, theologian, author, and politician who served as Chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth of Nations, member of the House of Lords after being knighted, professor at New York University, Yeshiva University, and King’s College London, and Senior Fellow to the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights. He received numerous awards for his work, including

18 honorary doctorates; a Bradley Prize for being “a leading moral voice in today’s world”; the Templeton Prize for his role in advancing public appreciation for the spiritual values of all faiths; the Irving Kristol Award from the American Enterprise Institute for his “remarkable contributions to philosophy, religion, and interfaith discourse… as one of the world’s greatest living public intellectuals”; and the Becket Fund’s Canterbury Medal for his role in the defence of religious liberty in the public square—the same honor bestowed on such notables as Elie Wiesel, Charles Colson, Archbishop Charles Chaput, and IOF’s own honorary board member, President Dallin H. Oaks.

Rabbi Sacks was also an eminent biblical scholar, renowned public speaker, and prolific author of 37 books, including Morality , published just months before his passing on November 7, 2020. According to NYU Professor Jonathan Haidt, “If the prophets of the Hebrew Bible came back to guide liberal democracies and anxious citizens through this difficult time, but first they studied modern history and social science, this is the book they would write for us.” Distilling the wisdom of Rabbi Sacks’ remarkable lifetime of learning and service, the book offers a sure guide to a faltering world. “A free society is a moral achievement,” he explains, and the essence of morality is “a concern for the welfare of others” along with “a willingness to ask not just what is good for me but what is good for ‘all of us together.’ It is about ‘Us,’ not ‘Me’; about ‘We,’ not ‘I.’”

Unfortunately, continues Rabbi Sacks, “there has been too much individualism and too little of the moral bonds that lie at the heart of friendship, family, and community”—bonds which “make us larger than we would be if we focused on self-interest alone.” And here he waxes personal in telling of the experience that changed his life. “As I write these words, Elaine and I are looking forward to our golden wedding anniversary. In the TED Talk I gave in 2017, I spoke about our first meeting. It took place in Cambridge, England, where I was a philosophy student… One day early in my final year I saw, across a college courtyard, a girl who was everything I was not. She smiled, she radiated sunshine, she was full of joy. It took me three weeks to put aside metaphysics and say, ‘Let’s get married.’ Forty-nine years, three children, and nine grandchildren later, I know it was the best decision of my life, because it’s the people not like us who make us grow. Marriage is the supreme embodiment of openness to otherness.”

It is also the facilitator of civilization itself, he insists in an impassioned plea. “The family—man, woman, and child—is not one lifestyle choice among many. It is the best means we have yet discovered for nurturing future generations and enabling children to grow in a matrix of stability and love. It is where we learn the delicate choreography of relationship and how to handle the inevitable conflicts within any human group. It is where we first take the risk of giving and receiving love. It is where one generation passes on its values to the next, ensuring the continuity of a civilization. For any society, the family is the crucible of its future, and for the sake of our children’s future, we must be its defenders.”

Rabbi Sacks’ clarion call is part of a chorus of voices by religious leaders such as Pope Francis, who declared, “Every threat to the family is a threat to society itself…. The future of humanity passes through the family. So protect your families! See in them your country’s greatest treasure and nourish them always.” Likewise President Russell M. Nelson, speaking at our World Congress of Families in Amsterdam, warned, “On all sides, the family is under attack. Many wonder if the institution is no longer needed. Our response is certain. If there is any hope for the future of nations, that hope resides in the family. Our children are our wealth; our children are our strength; our children are indeed our future!” We invite you to join with IOF in answering the call of these visionary leaders as we accelerate our work at the forefront of defending the family.

The post Not “I” But “We”: Rabbi Jonathan Sacks’ Parting Witness to the Power of Marriage and Family appeared first on IFN .

The Atlantic Wonders, “What If Friendship, Not Marriage, Was at the Center of Life?”

A Catholic priest once shared with me an insight he’d gleaned during years of preparing engaged couples for marriage. Whether the insight was his own, or something he’d picked up from reading or listening somewhere, I don’t know. I just remember the phrase and how it stuck in my mind. Increasingly, he said, he’d found that couples showed a tendency to “want to spend a lot more time and effort preparing for the wedding, which lasts a day, than they do preparing for the marriage, which lasts a lifetime. ”

It’s a pithy statement; and it rings true. As divorce rates have risen dramatically in the course of the last several decades, surely the question of preparedness for marriage must be part of any analysis of the trend. On the other end of the question is the matter of marriage being delayed for many couples until later in life, if not foregone entirely—replaced by years-long, live-in relationships with no legal (but no fewer emotional and psychological) strings attached. It’s gotten to the point that, in the rare instance of a couple getting engaged in their early twenties, the reaction of society is such that one would think the young lovers had expressed their intention to fly to and colonize one of Jupiter’s moons. 

A piece published this week at The Atlantic provides some insight into at least one aspect of how young people may be ill-prepared to enter the marriage contract, lacking the affective maturity necessary and also having wrong-headed ideas about what makes marriage the special relationship that it is. The piece, by writer Rhaina Cohen, is entitled, “What If Friendship, Not Marriage, Was at the Center of Life? ” and it details the experience of many people who have faced a particular dilemma in their romantic relationships: they are uncomfortable with the idea that such a relationship can in any way supplant or supersede their existing friendships. In the first paragraph, Cohen illustrated the case-in-point by way of quoting the experience of one young woman named Kami West, who after “a distressing experience in her mid-20s” with a boyfriend who seemed jealous of her best friend, a woman named Kate Tillotson, henceforth took pains to make sure the confusion that had distressed her would never be allowed to arise again. With her latest boyfriend, West explains, she laid it all out for him:

“‘I need you to know that [Tillotson’s] not going anywhere. She is my No. 1,'” Cohen quotes West as telling her boyfriend. Cohen goes on: “Tillotson was there before him, and, West told him, ‘she will be there after you. And if you think at any point that this isn’t going to be my No. 1, you’re wrong.'”

“She will be there after you. ” This single phrase sums up one aspect of how West’s view of her romantic relationship is out of step with conventional and traditional understandings of marriage. For, after all, if West is planning—or at least open—to marrying her boyfriend one day, then it seems odd to speak of a relationship coming “after” her relationship with her boyfriend: because marriage is a life-long commitment, ‘until death do us part.’

Cohen details the experience of many other individuals in her story in order to illustrate her point. More on these later. But first, what is that point Cohen is seeking to demonstrate? She writes [emphasis added]:

In the past few decades, Americans have broadened their image of what constitutes a legitimate romantic relationship: Courthouses now issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, Americans are getting married later in life than ever before, and more and more young adults are opting to share a home rather than a marriage license with a partner. Despite these transformations, what hasn’t shifted much is the expectation that a monogamous romantic relationship is the planet around which all other relationships should orbit .

By placing a friendship at the center of their lives, people such as West and Tillotson unsettle this norm. Friends of their kind sweep into territory typically reserved for romantic partners : They live in houses they purchased together, raise each other’s children, use joint credit cards, and hold medical and legal powers of attorney for each other. These friendships have many of the trappings of romantic relationships, minus the sex.

It is telling that it is Cohen herself that connects the emergence of such trends around friendship with the rise of same-sex ‘marriage.’ One of the sets of friends whose experience she covers is two gay men named Joe Rivera and John Carroll, who “met at a gay bar in Austin, Texas [where] Rivera was the emcee for a strip competition, and Carroll won the $250 cash prize.” The men live together, and Cohen describes their relationship as being “like brothers,” though Cohen quotes Carroll as describing their situation thus: “we have a little married-couple thing going on even though we’re not married.” Cohen calls this one of many typical “mixed analogies” that describes the new phenomena of intimate friendships she is investigating. She later details more about the men’s relationship, wherein she seems to make clear that their living situation is platonic and non-sexual. But at the same time, she quotes Carroll in a telling passage where he explains his view of his relationship with Rivera in contrast to “expectations” about romantic relationships and friendship more generally:

Carroll, who met his platonic partner, Joe Rivera, at a gay bar, describes [the] type of romantic relationship [where people ‘rely… on their spouses for social and emotional support’] as “one-stop shopping.” People expect to pile emotional support, sexual satisfaction, shared hobbies, intellectual stimulation, and harmonious co-parenting all into the same cart. Carroll, 52, thinks this is an impossible ask; experts share his concern.

Note how casually “sexual satisfaction” and “harmonious co-parenting” are thrown together as mere items in a list, clearly suggesting that they have nothing to do with one another and are easily extricable from one another.

Cohen is right in one respect: experts are concerned about this. But it is a different set of experts, and a different manner of concern, than what she chooses to focus on in her piece. She quotes “sexologists” and psychotherapists who all seem to think the traditional idea of all-encompassing conjugal union unhealthy and outdated; for example, a philosopher named Elizabeth Brake who “takes issue… with the special status that governments confer on romantic relationships” and the fact that “access to marriage currently hinges on (assumed) sexual activity.” All over this piece is the implicit challenge: What does marriage have to do with sex? Why should it have anything to do with sex?

This is precisely the challenge that the other experts mentioned above—the ones left outside Cohen’s research—have been preoccupied with for many years. In their 2012 book What is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense , authors Sherif Girgis, Ryan T. Anderson, and Robert P. George foresaw how this problem is tied up directly with proposals to grant same-sex couples the privilege of ‘marriage.’ In a section of their book headed “Undermining Friendship,” the authors explain how changes to views about friendship and the “revisionist view” of marriage go hand-in-hand:

Revisionists cannot define marriage in terms of real bodily union or family life, so they tend to define it instead by its degree or intensity. Marriage is simply your closest relationship, offering the most of the one basic currency of intimacy: shared emotion and experience. As a federal judge recently put it in a case striking down California’s conjugal marriage law, “ ‘marriage’ is the name that society gives to the relationship that matters most between two adults.”

The more we absorb this assumption, the less we value deep friendship in its own right. Self-disclosure, unembarrassed reliance, self-forgetfulness, extravagant expressions of affection, and other features of companionship come to seem gauche—or even feel like unwelcome impositions—outside romance and marriage.41 We come to see friendships as mere rest stops on the way back to family life. It becomes harder to share experiences with our friend that we could just as well have shared with our spouse, without seeming to detract from our marriage.

The conjugal view, by contrast, gives marriage a definite shape, as ordered to true bodily union and thus to family life. If the revisionist view sees single people as just settling for less, the conjugal view leaves room for different forms of communion, each with its own distinctive scale and form of companionship and support. It keeps from making marriage totalizing: it clarifies what we owe our spouses in marital love; what we owe it to them not to share with others; and what we could share now with them, now with others, without any compromise of our marriage.

In short, what the authors mean is simple: if you remove sex from marriage, if you make “sexual satisfaction” and “harmonious co-parenting” mere incidental list items of things two people can do with one another that have nothing to do with a life-long conjugal union of monogamous and exclusive intimacy, then marriage is just another form of friendship : and it therefore comes into conflict with and can be pitted against friendship in general, or with this or that particular friendship in the instant.

The logical end of this is the reversal that Cohen’s piece seems to push toward, quoting figures like Carroll and Blake: why shouldn’t friends be allowed to marry? If marriage is no longer conjugal, no longer tied with procreation and parenting, is just seen as being a particularly intense friendship, why do we still narrowly view marriage as having an implicit connection to sex? But of course, perhaps the crises marriage faces with respect to divorce and so much else are bound up precisely with the increasing pervasiveness of this logic. Committing to a friendship has no essential or rational demand of exclusivity, permanence, or monogamy, those characteristic features of the conjugal union.

Kami West, in explaining her friendship with Kate Tillotson, demonstrates the topsy-turvydom that comes from mixing up these categories: her friendship is the thing that’s permanent, that will last, but her relationship with her boyfriend, even if it becomes a marriage, might be a transient reality: Tillotson “was there before him,” and she would be there “after [him]. ” In West’s case, the juxtaposition has already become complete: for her, marriage has become friendship, and her friendship is like a marriage. But when marriage and friendship are blended together in this way, the result isn’t that either institution becomes stronger: it is that we lose both . And it seems that’s what Cohen would have us do.

The post The Atlantic Wonders, “What If Friendship, Not Marriage, Was at the Center of Life?” appeared first on IFN .

U.S. Supreme Court Justices Signal Willingness to Reverse Ruling Imposing Gay ‘Marriage’

In a surprising and virtually unprecedented commentary issued on Monday, two US Supreme Court justices publicly signaled that they are willing to reverse the Court’s narrow 5-4 ruling in 2015 imposing same-sex ‘marriage’ on the nation in the Obergefell v Hodges case. In a procedural opinion issued this week in a different case, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote for himself and Justice Samuel Alito that the “right to same-sex marriage…is found nowhere in the text [of the Constitution].” He called it “an alteration to the Constitution” and said that the decision whether or not to change the definition of marriage should be left up to the states.

The declaration sent shock waves throughout the homosexual community. A pro-gay writer at Slate magazine minced no words about the importance of this development: “If Amy Coney Barrett is confirmed [same-sex marriage] is likely doomed.”

The news was welcomed by pro-family groups such as the National Organization for Marriage (NOM). NOM’s president, Brian Brown (who also is the publisher of iFamNews.com) said, “For many months, NOM has pointed out that we are approaching – if not already at – the point where the Supreme Court’s illegitimate, anti-constitutional imposition of gay ‘marriage’ on the nation in the Obergefell ruling could be reversed. Now two Supreme Court justices, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, have given voice to that very point. Make no mistake about it – the confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court is essential to our continuing efforts to overturn Obergefell and restore marriage to our nation’s laws.”

It would be one thing if recognition for same-sex marriage had been debated and adopted through the democratic process…it is quite another when the Court forces that choice upon society…

Justice Clarence Thomas

Here’s what went down this past Monday: In a written explanation of their decision in a procedural ruling on a case, Justice Clarence Thomas took the highly unusual step of issuing a statement on behalf of himself and Justice Alito that by improperly reading a right to same-sex ‘marriage’ into the US Constitution, the Supreme Court “threaten[s] the religious liberty of the many Americans who believe that marriage is a sacred institution between one man and one woman.” The Obergefell decision, Justice Thomas wrote, casts people of faith as “bigots,” “demeaning to gays and lesbians,” “imposing stigma and injury” and “disrespectful to gays and lesbians.” But none of those things are true, he said. Instead, the issue of same-sex ‘marriage’ is one that properly belongs to the states, where policymakers could debate the matter including any accommodations they might wish to afford people of faith. That debate was short-circuited, Justice Thomas lamented, by the ill-advised, narrow 5-4 majority that decided Obergefell , Justice Thomas said “It would be one thing if recognition for same-sex marriage had been debated and adopted through the democratic process…[b]ut it is quite another when the Court forces that choice upon society through its creation of atextual constitutional rights and its ungenerous interpretation of the Free Exercise Clause, leaving those with religious objections in the lurch.”

It is highly unusual for Supreme Court justices to make any comments on a procedural ruling, let alone signal their desire to overturn a major decision such as Obergefell . So where do pro-family advocates stand in terms of being able to secure a majority of votes on the Court to overturn the illegitimate, anti-constitutional Obergefell ruling?

It’s always speculation to predict how a justice might vote on a future case, but here’s how things line up to me:

It takes five votes to secure a majority on the Supreme Court. So we start with Thomas + Alito = 2.

Fellow conservatives Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh both strongly believe that the Constitution should be interpreted as written and, thus, are thought to be reliable votes against the imposition of same-sex marriage. That results in Thomas + Alito + Gorsuch + Kavanaugh = 4.

Chief Justice John Roberts strongly objected to the majority ruling in Obergefell, but he can be fickle and certainly cannot be counted on to cast the deciding vote to reverse Obergefel l. So, that leaves us still at 4 votes to reverse Obergefell , with a question mark, among the current justices.

This brings us to Judge Amy Coney Barrett who has a long record of personal support for traditional marriage and has been sharply critical of Supreme Court rulings that articulate so-called “rights” that are found nowhere in the text of the Constitution. If past is prelude, then we have Thomas + Alito + Gorsuch + Kavanaugh + Barrett = 5. With Amy Coney Barrett on the Supreme Court, her deciding vote to restore marriage could well be enough to persuade Chief Justice Roberts to stick with his original opinion and vote to overturn Obergefell as well.

Add this all together and you get a formula that, regardless of Justice Roberts’ vote, would spell the end of court-imposed same-sex marriage, and return the issue to the states where over 50 million Americans have already cast ballots to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

Now, there are a lot of ‘ifs’ in this scenario and admittedly it involves a good deal of speculation. Still, it seems clear to me that the issue of the imposition of same-sex ‘marriage’ on this nation is now front and center once again, a development that makes the confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett all the more important for conservatives and pro-family advocates.

On this, I am in complete agreement with pro-gay advocates and leftist publications like Slate magazine.

The post U.S. Supreme Court Justices Signal Willingness to Reverse Ruling Imposing Gay ‘Marriage’ appeared first on IFN .

New Video Makes It Clear Why Amy Coney Barrett Must Be Confirmed

The National Organization for Marriage (NOM), a key ally of iFamNews.com, has launched a powerful new video highlighting the fact that confirming Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the US Supreme Court is critical for social conservatives. “All our issues are at stake,” the ad warns viewers, including marriage, life and religious liberty.

The NOM video powerfully shows how the left is reacting to the nomination of Judge Coney Barrett to underscore the importance of this battle. One leftist activist urged Democrats to take to the streets and “physically attack GOP Senators” if necessary. The activist goes on to say “THIS IS WAR!” The ad shows an angry mob surrounding Senator Rand Paul and his wife to show how real this type of threat has become. A tweet by former CNN television host Reza Aslan is shown with his warning to the country: “If they even TRY to replace [Ruth Bader Ginsburg] we burn the entire f*&%ing thing down.” Another activist wrote that if the GOP attempted to confirm President Trump’s nominee “we’re shutting this country down.” After showing a clip of Senator Kamala Harris, the Democrats’ vice presidential nominee, officiating a gay “wedding” in California, the ad urges Americans to contact their US Senators to urge the confirmation of Judge Coney Barrett.

Sources tell iFamNews.com that there may be an effort underway by social media giants to suppress distribution of the video. Many people have complained to NOM that they could not reach the video on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. Readers can use the links in this article to watch the video directly.

The post New Video Makes It Clear Why Amy Coney Barrett Must Be Confirmed appeared first on IFN .

it’s going to be brutal




Dear Friend — Amy Coney Barrett is a perfect pick for the US Supreme Court. A devout Catholic, mom of seven and a gifted intellectual, she shares our beliefs on the issues most important to us – marriage, life and religious liberty. That is why the left hates her so much.

Help Us Confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett

NOM is all in for the confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the US Supreme Court. Make no mistake that this battle will be brutal, but it also could be one of the most consequential efforts of our lifetimes. With Amy Barrett on the Supreme Court, we will have a solid pro-marriage, pro-life, pro-religious majority of justices. For the first time, there is a real possibility that horrific, anti-constitutional decisions of the past will be reversed. Marriage could be restored to our national laws. Roe v. Wade could be reversed. The possibilities are truly stunning.

NOM is launching two major efforts today to support the confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett:

  1. We have produced a powerful new video letting Americans know what is at stake with this appointment in terms of our issues and calling on them to get involved in confirming Judge Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. Please watch our video and then share it with all your friends and contacts.
  2. We are also launching a limited time 100% match of up to $10,000 in donations to the NOM Education Fund during the confirmation process. These critically-needed funds will be put to immediate use in this momentous Supreme Court confirmation battle, and are also fully tax-deductible.

WATCH OUR NEW VIDEO TODAY:

We’ve never had a bigger opportunity to advance our cause. That is why I am asking you and every faithful NOM supporter to make a sacrificial donation to help us fight for this supremely qualified judge whose confirmation could pay dividends on our issues for decades to come. Will you be with us at this historic moment?

>>> I’ll contribute $25 to transform the Supreme Court

>>> I’ll contribute $50 to transform the Supreme Court

>>> I’ll contribute $100 to transform the Supreme Court

>>> I’ll contribute $250 to transform the Supreme Court

>>> I’ll contribute $500 to transform the Supreme Court

>>> I’ll contribute $1,000 to transform the Supreme Court

>>> I’ll contribute $1,500 or more to transform the Supreme Court

The confirmation battle is already shaping up to be even more brutal than the Brett Kavanaugh fight. As our video makes clear, the left is going after her in the vilest terms, attacking her religious beliefs and even her family. They say she’s part of a cult, calling her a “Christofascist.” One activist even said on Twitter, “I hate her kids.” Another called for GOP Senators to be physically assaulted if necessary to stop her confirmation. I fully expect violent riots to erupt in major cities as we get closer to the confirmation hearings.

Help Us In This Historic Fight

As difficult as this fight is going to be, the next few weeks are among the most important we’ll face in years, maybe ever. I pray you will be with us to take advantage of this historic opportunity.

I know many of you have already contributed to NOM this year, but this opportunity is so momentous that I respectfully turn to you for help again. It is critical that we hit the ground immediately to shore up key Senate votes. Already RINO Republicans like Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski have signaled that they will abandon us and refuse to confirm Judge Coney Barrett. We could be down to one or two votes that will change the course of history. Will you help us capitalize on this moment with an immediate, tax-deductible contribution?

>>> I’ll contribute $25 to change the course of history

>>> I’ll contribute $50 to change the course of history

>>> I’ll contribute $100 to change the course of history

>>> I’ll contribute $250 to change the course of history

>>> I’ll contribute $500 to change the course of history

>>>I’ll contribute $1,000 to change the course of history

>>> I’ll contribute $1,500 or more to change the course of history

The powerful video that we have produced is part of a massive grassroots movement to pressure Republican Senators to do the right thing and support President Trump’s nomination of Judge Coney Barrett. She is an extraordinary pick, with an impeccable professional background and an inspiring personal story. Senate Leader Mitch McConnell pledges a confirmation vote before the election. That means we have roughly one month to do everything in our power to mobilize NOM supporters to help confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett.

In addition to making a generous financial contribution to NOM to help us spread the word, there are two other things you can do today to help confirm this extraordinary nominee:

  1. Please watch our powerful new video explaining how high the stakes are in this Supreme Court confirmation battle.
  2. Please share the video by email and social media with all your friends and contacts. You can use the buttons below if you’d like.

SHARE THE VIDEO:

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History is counting on us at this critical moment. I know that you will be there for us with your support, and your prayers.

Faithfully,
Brian S Brown
Brian S. Brown
President

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National Organization for Marriage
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All or part of your gift to the National Organization for Marriage Education Fund, a 501(c)(3) organization, may be tax deductible as a charitable contribution. Please check with your tax advisor. 


Stop Pelosi: Sign the Petition

View this Message Online.
Dear Friend—We’ve got an urgent situation. Nancy Pelosi remains fully committed to using the coronavirus crisis to impose elements of her extreme liberal agenda, which could include special “goodies” for the LGBT community. We’ve got to stop her.

Please sign our petition urging President Trump, Senate Leader Mitch McConnell and House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy to stop Nancy Pelosi from hijacking the coronavirus crisis to advance her extreme liberal agenda.

SIGN NOW
The “goodies” that the LGBT community are demanding are very bad for the rest of the country. LGBT lobby groups are pushing many extreme, dangerous ideas that strip Americans of their religious liberty rights, put a lawsuit target on people of faith, risk the safety and security of girls and women, allow biological males to compete against (and dominate) females in athletic competitions, give those who identify as LGBT special legal rights, and force people of faith to abandon their beliefs if they want to remain in business, participate in commerce, keep their jobs or pursue their ministry objectives.

Please sign our petition urging President Trump and Congressional Republican leaders to stop Pelosi’s dangerous gambit.

What Pelosi wants to do is weaponize “Rahm’s Rule,” the prescript advanced by former Obama Chief of Staff and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel that Democrats should use every crisis as an opportunity to pursue ideas that otherwise could not be enacted. This cynical, destructive, approach to the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis cannot be tolerated. Already, Pelosi has secured millions of dollars for pet projects such as the Kennedy Center only to see them lay off employees after receiving the taxpayer funding. It’s outrageous.

Sign Our Petition To Stop Pelosi
NOM has had a keen eye on Nancy Pelosi’s activities for several weeks now. We’ve worked hard to shine a public light on her desires to use the crisis to the advantage of her allies, including big donors in the LGBT community. We’ve scoured all the legislation that has been considered the moment we could gain access to it. So far, we’ve helped to prevent Pelosi from succeeding.

We are fortunate to have allies like President Donald Trump, Senate Leader Mitch McConnell and House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy. They have been alerted to Nancy Pelosi’s gambit, and they’ve helped make sure that she is not able to deploy Rahm’s Rule. But she is certainly not done trying, so we must keep up a public spotlight on her.

Sign Our Petition Today
We’ve launched this petition drive so that President Trump and our key allies in Congress hear from thousands of Americans that they demand that Pelosi’s attempts be stopped. We want them to know that the American people have their backs and are not going to tolerate Pelosi using the health and economic crisis posed by COVID-19 as a tool to advance her extreme agenda.

We’re asking all NOM supporters to sign the petition today. In doing so, an email in your name will go to the White House and the offices of Senator McConnell and Rep. McCarthy sending a powerful message that you stand with us, and the American people, in demanding that Nancy Pelosi’s desire to hijack the current crisis to advance her agenda be defeated.

Thank you for your help.

Faithfully,

Brian S. Brown

PS – If you are able, please consider making a donation today, which will be instantly matched. This doubling of your contribution will help us get our petition in front of more Americans. Thank you.

It's Working


Our push to urge Members of Congress to introduce legislation to protect people of faith from governmental persecution for living out the truth of marriage in their daily lives and at work is working. Thousands of people have reached out to members of Congress urging them to introduce and support the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA). These patriots know that without the legal protections that FADA would provide, faith-based nonprofit groups, small businesses, churches, pastors and priests, schools, charities and individuals will continue to be subject to targeting by government officials whenever they do not embrace the extreme agenda of LGBT activists and the left.

We need to keep the pressure up on Congress so that when they return to Washington after Labor Day they give us action, and not more empty promises. That's why I am asking you to please support the National Organization for Marriage with an immediate financial contribution. The plain fact is that we need to raise additional resources to push Congress and the Trump administration to provide the protection they have repeatedly promised.

Many NOM members have responded with help, and for that I am grateful. If you have not yet been able to make a contribution, I ask that you prayerfully consider one now.

If you have not yet contacted your member of Congress to ask him or her to introduce and support the First Amendment Defense Act, there's still time to act. You can click on this link to look up your Representative in Congress. (You'll have to enter your zip code).

The reality of the political situation in America today is that Republicans in Washington – from President Trump on down to the most junior member of the House of Representatives – owe their election to people of faith, who form the core base of political support that delivered both houses of Congress and the White House to the Republican Party. Despite this, we've heard little but talk from them since they were sworn into office this past January. We need them to stop talking and start doing. Introducing and passing the First Amendment Defense Act needs to happen now.

You can help NOM push for urgently needed legal protections by contributing to support NOM and by contacting your Representative in the House to urge action on the First Amendment Defense Act.

Faithfully,

Brian S Brown

Donate Today!

Eleventh Hour Fight in Illinois

National Organization for Marriage

Dear Marriage Supporter,

It's hard to believe that the legislature, facing issues like a $100 billion budget shortfall and the corresponding desperately needed pension reform, is spending hours of the taxpayers' time lobbying behind closed doors for same-sex 'marriage'!

But even if the legislature didn't have other pressing issues and higher priorities that they were ignoring, the proposal to redefine marriage would still be outrageous for two very simple reasons: it's bad policy and it's being pushed against the will of the people of the state.

Click here to contact your state representative today and let him or her know — in no uncertain terms — that the people of Illinois stand for marriage as the union of one man and one woman!

They didn't have the votes to pass this bad bill in the spring session. So gay 'marriage' activists poured MILLIONS of dollars into a lobbying campaign over the past few months trying to buy up the votes they need to impose their radical social agenda.

In spite of their efforts, right now it appears that a vote (if it is scheduled) could go either way. So it's absolutely critical that your representative hears from you right away.

Please act now to ensure that your opinion is heard in Springfield and that your representative voices and votes for your values in the House!

Unless we send this clear message to the legislature, they might think they can get away with sneaking the vote under the radar. They might think that people have become weary of tracking this long-fought-over bill and that this is their last opportunity. And if they pass that bill... well, I hardly need to remind you what the consequences would be.

We've seen how marriage redefinition leads to those who believe in traditional marriage being punished, labeled 'bigots' and 'haters' in the public square, and forced to be silent about their deeply held beliefs or face repercussions. And their children? They're taught in schools that the values planted in them at home are bigoted and outdated, the equivalent of racism!

We must not allow that to happen in Illinois! We cannot let the pro-marriage majority be relegated to a second-class citizenship status.

This is the 'eleventh hour' moment for this long fight. We can win a great victory, but only if you act right now to contact your state representative. Let the leaders in Springfield hear you loud and clear: the people of Illinois will not stand idly by and allow marriage to be redefined against their will.

Finally, after you have taken action today, please take a moment to forward this message to your family and friends throughout Illinois urging them to do the same.

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Faithfully,

Brian S. Brown

Hawaii, Please Contact Your Legislators Today

National Organization for Marriage

Dear Marriage Supporter,

We've all been incredibly moved to see the tremendous outpouring of support for marriage at the grassroots level all across the state of Hawaii. The rally last week at the statehouse was incredible — a reported 10,000 people attended! And thousands more have submitted testimony in opposition to SB 1, the proposed legislation that would redefine marriage.

Please contact your state House Representative to let him or her know to vote against SB 1 and oppose redefining marriage.

Several news articles over the weekend suggest that the House is considering amending the legislation to put in place enhanced religious liberty protections. While preserving religious liberty is certainly important, this points out the fundamental problem with redefining marriage — it creates a whole host of conflicts that tears our society apart.

Not only are people of faith punished for believing in marriage as the union of a man and a woman, but redefining marriage puts every citizen, especially our children squarely in the crosshairs. Anyone who refuses to support same-sex marriage will be labeled a bigot and a hater. For adults, that comes with severe consequences that could affect someone's ability to earn a living, practice a profession and even raise a family. And school children will be taught that they have the choice of marrying anyone regardless of sex, even if that teaching squarely conflicts with what the child is taught at home or in church.

You see, once marriage is redefined then true marriage as we've always known it ceases to exist. There would be only one institution of 'marriage' recognized by the law — and it would be this new genderless version. Everyone will be governed by this new construct of 'marriage,' whether you like it or not.

The only way to avoid the inevitable clash and impairment of civil rights is to reject redefining marriage. Any attempt to mitigate the damage through passage of "religious liberty protections" will inevitably leave most unprotected and eventually leave even those covered without the protections that were promised.

Please act today — use this link to send an urgent message to your representative about this very important issue. And even if you've already called your legislator, call again to remind him or her that you remain strongly opposed to SB 1 redefining marriage.

And after you have taken a minute or two to contact your legislators, please take just a moment more to forward this message to your family and friends so they can do the same.

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May God bless you and your family,

Brian S. Brown

Victory is Just Hours Away

National Organization for Marriage

Dear Marriage Supporter,

In just a few hours, the polls will open in Virginia and voters will make their decision on electing their next Governor. The race is very close between Ken Cuccinelli, a principled pro-marriage, pro-life champion, and Terry McAuliffe, the discredited former chief of the Clinton Administration. Turnout is key and every vote counts.

Please vote tomorrow, and vote for Ken Cuccinelli, along with his running mate, E.W. Jackson for Lt. Governor.

The importance of this race goes far beyond the borders of the Commonwealth of Virginia. It will help set the tone for the 2014 midterm elections, and will be closely watched and analyzed by candidates, consultants and party leaders on both sides of the aisle.

Electing a pro-marriage champion like Ken Cuccinelli would be a great blessing. It would make it easier for other conservatives to attract support from national party leaders and donors. Though he appears to be narrowly behind, Cuccinelli could pull ahead with a strong turnout of conservatives.

Please do not let anything prevent you from getting out to vote tomorrow for Ken Cuccinelli and E.W. Jackson, and urge all your friends, neighbors and colleagues in Virginia to do the same.

Help get out the vote! Share this email:

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Faithfully,

Brian S. Brown

Anderson: "The ENDA Agenda"

On Thursday at The National Review Online, Ryan T. Anderson from Heritage - and co-author of What is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense - took on "The ENDA Agenda."

Ryan AndersonRyan points out a remarkable confluence where "conservatives and libertarians alike oppose this bill," explaining why:

Of course, employers should respect the intrinsic dignity of all their employees. But ENDA is bad public policy. Its threats to our freedoms unite civil libertarians concerned about free speech and religious liberty, free marketers concerned about freedom of contract and government interference in the marketplace, and social conservatives concerned about marriage and culture[.]

Ryan then spells out the connection between ENDA and threats to traditional marriage believers on the basis of precedents we've seen set by local and state legislation of a similar kind to ENDA:

It is hard to square ENDA’s basic purpose with any robust protection of citizens’ rights to speak freely of religious or moral convictions about marriage and sexuality. Indeed Americans are paying the price where their state or local governments have passed sexual-orientation and gender-identity statutes.

You can read the entire piece here.

Heritage Releases New Report on ENDA

In addition to the resources we shared earlier, our readers may want to check out The Heritage Foundation's new backgrounder report on the "Employee Non-Discrimination Act of 2013" (ENDA). [Click here to read our action alert about this bill.]

The new report from Heritageauthored by Ryan T. Anderson, is (like the "fact sheet" we posted earlier) entitled "ENDA Threatens Fundamental Civil Liberties."

Here's just an excerpt:

[ENDA] would further weaken the marriage culture and the ability of citizens and their associations to affirm that marriage is the union of a man and a woman and that sexual relations are reserved for marriage so understood.[14] ENDA would treat these convictions as if they were bigotry.

Furthermore, ENDA would ban decisions based on moral views common to the Abrahamic faith traditions and to great thinkers from Plato to Kant as unjust discrimination. Whether by religion, reason, or experience, many people of goodwill believe that our bodies are an essential part of who we are. On this view, maleness and femaleness are not arbitrary constructs but objective ways of being human to be valued and affirmed, not rejected or altered. Thus, our sexual embodiment as male and female goes to the heart of what marriage is: a union of sexually complementary spouses. Again, however, ENDA would deem such judgments irrational and unlawful.

You can click here to read or download the report and study it before contacting your legislators.