NOM BLOG

Thomas Peters: "Reflections on my Time Away"

[Our dear friend and colleague Thomas Peters has offered us these reflections on his injury and recovery process, and asked that we share them with our readers. We're only too happy to do so. Please continue to pray with us for Thomas, his wife, and all his family and friends. - Eds.] 

Thomas PetersOn a Friday in July I awoke in the early morning hours to someone beating on my back with their fists. I was lying on a bed in a place I did not recognize and I was in excruciating pain. It was a kind of pain I had never experienced before and did not understand. There was a tube down my throat and my body felt incomplete, as if much of it was missing. I came to realize in the hours that followed, the man beating on my back with his fists was a nurse, and he was trying to dislodge some of the fluid that was filling up my lungs as the result of the diving accident I had sustained three days previously, an accident that had fractured my fifth vertebrae and had given me a severe spinal cord injury, an injury that has changed the course of my life forever.

I have no memory of the accident itself. By God's grace, someone spotted me floating face-down in the water and started dragging me to the shore. Had I not been seen, I would have surely died. By God's grace, I was injured on one of the only two days of the year when a group of EMTs gathered less than a mile away for training, so I received prompt medical care for my drowning damage. Had it not been that particular day, help would have been about twenty minutes away and I would have sustained brain damage. And by God's grace there was a field nearby large enough for a rescue helicopter to land and transport me to the University of Maryland Medical Center's Shock Trauma Center, the best unit of its kind in North America. Had I not received the benefit of the best possible care so soon, my recovery would have been unalterably impaired.

Recovery was, and is, hard. It took six weeks to patch me up to a medically stable position suitable enough to transfer me to a rehabilitation center in Washington, D.C. For six weeks in Baltimore, nurses and doctors battled infections and secretions to heal the damage my lungs had suffered from ingesting filthy water. I was placed in a metal halo in an effort to save my fractured vertebrae. And when that effort ultimately failed, I underwent a two-day surgery to replace the damaged vertebrae with a titanium cage. The surgeons also fused my fourth and sixth vertebrates to strengthen my neck. I was intubated, given a tracheotomy, re-intubated, and put back on the tracheotomy. A steady stream of friends and family visited me during this time to lift my spirits and to share tears and smiles. But no one was more faithful than my wife Natalie; she did not leave my side my entire time in the Intensive Care Unit.

A major accident is an invitation to both physical and spiritual recovery. I have never felt God's presence as much as I do since the accident. People will say that accidents like mine should call into question God's mercy or even His existence. But for me, the fact that I survived my injury is the greatest evidence I have ever experienced of God's mercy and providence. I believe God allowed my accident to happen and that He chose to help me survive that accident and every day gives me the opportunity to be blessed through it.

The accident has taught me the essential value defended by the principle of subsidiarity: the value of family and friends as the first line of defense when things go badly. My family and friends have come forward to help my wife and I in ways that have taken our breadth away. They brought us meals, helped pack and move our home, loaned us their cars, contributed their professional advice like how to plan our financial future and cover medical expenses, they have organized prayer groups for us, designed wristbands to help remind people to pray for us and offered us gifts so generous I have had to firmly say no because they are simply too much. The man is never poor or alone who has good friends. My wife and I simply could not gave survived this were it not for our dear family and friends.

The accident has taught me more about the incredible gift of marriage. My father, during his speech at my wedding reception, said the sacrament of marriage gives us the grace to do the impossible. I have met people during these months who think it is incredible, even impossible, that my wife and I survived a trauma like this having been married only three months. I tell them it helps to marry the right woman and get married the right way, the way the Church taught the two of us what marriage is and why it should be honored. People have told us that they are inspired and receive hope from the witness of our marriage – it inspires us too, I respond! We feel it is possible to face anything, even a future of me paralyzed, so long as we cling to each other, to God, and to our marriage vows.

The accident has taught me to be more humble and realistic about my own efforts and contributions. Before my accident I took pride in my self-reliance, and my ability to contribute to the causes I care about, and I still do, but since the accident I have gained a far greater appreciation for the fact that everything I do and am is because of the Lord. I certainly didn't bring myself back from the brink of death and, as a wise priest told me, my prayers and sacrifices these weeks and months have done more to aid the causes of life, marriage and religious freedom than anything I wrote, said or did to promote these prior to the accident.

But make no mistake, as soon as I am able, I am coming back to fight harder than ever for all of these things because I know now that it is prayer that makes the warrior his strongest.

The accident has taught me that I am a work still in progress and anything I do achieve is for God's glory. I completed my term of inpatient rehabilitation this week and the hard work of learning to live on my own again (with the tremendous help of my wife) has just begun, as has grueling outpatient therapy to regain more of the strength and muscle systems I have lost. The vast, vast majority of individuals with my injury never walk again, but there remain signs that I could beat these long odds, and I have been praying to St. Jude for such a miracle. The majority of individuals with an injury like mine never regain the use of their hands - I have had to write these reflections using a knuckle of my right pinky on a touchscreen, if you can believe it. But through the intercession of St. Francis, I am recovering some finger function in my left hand. There are troubling signs that my life will forever be plagued with neuropathic pain, but as I have learned, pain can be offered up and need not inhibit living a good and worthy life. In the coming months, I will be focusing on prayer, reflection and recovery, and then we will know more about what the future holds.

I don't quite remember how it began, but during one of the many sleepless nights spent in the Baltimore ICU, unsure of what that night and the next day would hold, I was inspired by the example of Samuel in the Old Testament, and began quietly saying to God, "Speak, Lord, your servant is listening." This remains my prayer. I do not know what the future holds. But I do know that as long as I have breadth, and with whatever limbs and muscles I can move, I will strive to serve the Lord and do His will. What else is a life for?

You can learn more about my ongoing recovery at tpetersrecovery.blogspot.com.

The Senate is Building a Trojan Horse

National Organization for Marriage

Dear Marriage Supporter,

A bill coming up for a vote in the Senate next-week innocuously named the "Employee Non-Discrimination Act of 2013 (ENDA)" is nothing other than a Trojan horse built to attack the foundational institution of marriage between a man and a woman.

This disastrous piece of legislation is modeled on various local and state non-discrimination statutes that have already been used as tools in advancing the same-sex 'marriage' agenda around the nation. In the wake of Justice Kennedy's misguided opinion in the DOMA case (Windsor v. U.S.) it is certain that this federal ENDA bill will become a fulcrum used by same-sex 'marriage' activists to try to foist a marriage redefinition regime on the entire country.

Why is ENDA so dangerous? Because with the precedent set by this bill, courts in states around the country would soon find easy rationale for ruling that any organization or business that treats same-sex 'marriage' as different from man-woman marriage are discriminatory by definition. Under the law, individuals holding the common-sense belief that marriage is about giving kids a mom and a dad would be subject to punishment. Expressions of support for true marriage in the workplace would no longer be a fundamental right, but discriminatory, bigoted and an actionable offense!

I need you to contact the Senate right away and let them know where you stand on this egregiously flawed law. Urge them to reject ENDA and to preserve pro-marriage Americans' rights to speak, vote, donate, or act in defense of marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

In particular, there are eight senators who need to hear from you today. These senators are 'on the fence' and you can bet they'll be hearing from noisy same-sex 'marriage' lobbyists who want this legislation passed so that they can use it as a tool for forwarding their radical agenda.

Here is the contact information for these key legislators. Take some time today to call their offices and voice your opinion on ENDA using the recommended talking points below:

Senator John McCain (R.–AZ) —   202-224-2235
Senator Rob Portman (R.–OH) —   202-224-3353
Senator Orrin Hatch (R.–UT) —   202-224-5251
Senator Kelly Ayotte (R.–NH) —   202-224-3324
Senator Jeff Flake (R.–AZ) —   202-224-4521
Senator Dean Heller (R.–NV) —   202-224-6244
Senator Pat Toomey (R.–PA) —   202-224-4254
Senator John Barrasso (R.–WY) —   202-224-2946

 

Ask for a legislative staffer if you get through, or leave a voicemail to make sure these senators know where the majority of Americans stand on this dangerous bill. Here are some talking points to guide your discussion:

"I oppose ENDA because it is a threat to religious liberty, workplace civility, and traditional marriage."

"This bill will be used to bully and intimidate traditionally-minded citizens and organizations like we've already seen occurring in states that have passed they own ENDA-type laws."

"Believers in traditional marriage are already threatened with stigmatization by the reckless wording of Justice Kennedy's DOMA decision, and this bill will put them in even more danger of being labeled bigots or haters by those who disagree with them."

"Employees nationwide shouldn't feel that their workplaces are hostile environments just because of their belief in marriage."

"This bill will almost certainly be used as a tool for pushing a nationwide redefinition of marriage."

"I urge you to reject this bill and protect religious liberty and marriage."

After you've made your calls today, don't forget to use the NOM Action Center to send an email to your own senators and urge them to cast a vote for marriage and religious liberty next week.

And be sure to share this message with your family and friends, via email, or on Facebook and Twitter so that they can take action, too!

We need as many people as possible to become aware of the threat of this Trojan horse being built in the senate before it becomes a weapon in same-sex 'marriage' activists' arsenal.

Thank you for taking action today!

Faithfully,

Brian S. Brown

P.S.: If you'd like to learn more about ENDA or do more to stop this dangerous legislation, Family Research Council's legislative action arm, FRCAction, is leading the charge with a great online resource: www.FightENDA.org. Be sure to check it out!

The Ruth Institute

The National Organization for Marriage Education Fund is happy to announce that the Ruth Institute will be running as an independent organization effective November 1, 2013. The Ruth Institute has operated as a project of NOM's Education Fund over the last three years. NOM is proud of the great work that the Ruth Institute is doing and is happy that its work has grown to the point where it will operate independently.

"Privacy for All Students" Effort Continues to Gain Steam

PFAS

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

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

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

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

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

Time is Short to Stop the Bullying of Children in School Showers and Bathrooms

National Organization for Marriage

Dear Marriage Supporter,

Our children face enough struggles at school without having to worry about being harassed and bullied by someone of the opposite sex forcing their way into the most vulnerable areas of public schools — showers, bathrooms, changing areas and locker rooms. But that's exactly what is going to happen if a new law in California is allowed to take effect.

California lawmakers have passed what's being called the coed-bathroom law. It mandates access to all school facilities including showers and restrooms based on "gender identity" and not a student's actual sex.

The temptation some people may have is to chalk this law up to another crazy idea coming out of California. But that would be a mistake. Rather, this new law illustrates where the gay lobby is going with their never-ending crusade to strip society of all gender norms and differences.

California is the first state to pass a law like this, but several other states have had similar legislative proposals. And Massachusetts has passed something similar by way of administrative regulation.

If the law is allowed to stand in California, it could be coming to your state before you know it. That's the bad news.

The good news is that we have an excellent chance of stopping this law in its tracks and making sure it never takes effect. But time is short — we have only one week left to stop this law.

NOM California is working with allies in the Privacy For All Students coalition to qualify a referendum putting the co-ed bathroom law on the ballot. Once the referendum qualifies for the ballot, the law is suspended and does not take effect until voters can decide if they want to approve or reject the law.

Our polling shows that voters are highly likely to reject the law if it is presented to them. The challenge is obtaining the nearly 505,000 signatures we need to succeed.

If you live in California, or can forward this email to someone who does, please go to the coalition website to download a petition. Complete the petition (be sure to read the instructions) and mail it back immediately. Petitions must be received by November 6th to be processed in time to be submitted to counties on November 8th.

Please also make an immediate contribution to NOM California so that we have the resources to finish the petition drive strong. Because of the short timeframe to mount a referendum, it's necessary to supplement the volunteer effort with a paid petition drive. We must help the coalition raise $77,500 immediately to finish the paid petition portion of the qualification effort.

We are nearly out of time. Hundreds of thousands of signatures have been collected, but we need more.

If you live in California, please help us by signing the petition today. Regardless of where you live, please also make an immediate donation to NOM California so that we have the resources needed to complete the petition drive.

We are counting on you to help protect the privacy and security of our children and grandchildren and prevent them from being exposed to members of the opposite sex in school showers, bathrooms and locker rooms. Please act today.

Faithfully,

Brian S. Brown

Support Ken Cuccinelli - a True Champion for Marriage and Life

National Organization for Marriage

Dear Marriage Supporter,

NOM is honored to support Virginia's Attorney General — Ken Cuccinelli — in his campaign for Governor of the Commonwealth. Cuccinelli is facing off against Clinton crony Terry McAuliffe, an ardent pro-abortion, pro-marriage-redefinitionist. The election is one week from today — on November 5th.

Many of the polls show that McAuliffe leads Cuccinelli by 7-8 points, but that's a close race in an election like this. It all comes down to turnout. Historically, turnout in an "off" year election consists of older, more conservative voters who can be expected to support Cuccinelli in larger numbers.

But whether Ken Cuccinelli was ahead by 7 or 8 points, or behind by 70 points, NOM would be proudly supporting him regardless. Why? Because Ken Cuccinelli is a man of principle.

Won't you please stand with NOM by supporting Ken Cuccinelli with a gift of $25, $50, $100, $500 or more today?

I've had it with politicians who tell us one thing when they are being interviewed or completing a candidate questionnaire, but then when the pressure is on can't be counted on to keep their word.

Ken Cuccinelli is a trusted leader who will stand for the truth of God's design for marriage no matter the season. He knows that children have the best opportunity to thrive when they are raised in a loving home by a mother and a father. He knows that marriage as the union of one man and one woman has served society well for thousands of years. And he respects the voices of Virginia's voters, who overwhelmingly approved the state's marriage amendment back in 2006.

Terry McAuliffe? He was against gay marriage...before he was for it. Or was he? He attacks Ken Cuccinelli for supporting true marriage, but then refuses to answer reporters' questions about his own position. All he can manage to say are platitudes such as "it's not my priority" ... "It's not something I am going to focus on" ... and, "the state constitution is not going to change on my term."

I thought we were done with "Slick Willie" back in the 90's.

I also want to commend the principled leader running alongside Cuccinelli for the office of Lieutenant Governor — E. W. Jackson. Dr. Jackson is a not only a man of faith, he's a brilliant and highly regarded conservative leader. He is a Baptist minister who studied at Harvard Divinity School, and holds a law degree from Harvard Law School. He graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Massachusetts. He's an accomplished author and lecturer, and has been a conservative leader for decades.

This drives the left batty, because Dr. Jackson is also African American. The left can't stomach the idea of an African American conservative, especially one who is as knowledgeable and persuasive as Dr. Jackson.

This importance of this race for governor in Virginia stretches beyond the borders of the Commonwealth itself. It will help set the political tone as we head into the crucial mid-term elections of 2014.

If Ken Cuccinelli is able to pull out a victory with our help, it will be impossible for the media to make the claim that only moderate or liberal Republicans like Chris Christie can win election. But if Cuccinelli is not successful and Christie is, the media spin will be unrelenting. We'll have months of hearing from media such as the New York Times and people like Karl Rove — who lost virtually every election he was involved with in 2012 — about how the GOP must "moderate" its views on social issues like marriage and life if Republicans are to win.

Please join us in rewarding principle and send a true conservative leader to the governor's office in Virginia. Please give generously to Ken Cuccinelli by donating online today.

Thank you.

Faithfully,

Brian S. Brown

Paid for by the National Organization for Marriage. Not authorized by any candidate.

What It All Means, NOM Marriage News, October 25, 2013

National Organization for Marriage

Dear Marriage Supporter,

This week the battle for marriage in our country has taught us quite a lot about what this fight means for us and for our country. It has also taught us a lot about the meaning of some other things we take for granted.

What Leadership Means

In New Jersey this week, we learned the meaning of leadership — or, rather, its opposite. Governor Chris Christie on Monday abandoned his principles and the people of New Jersey to the whims of an activist Judiciary when he withdrew his administration's appeal to the Supreme Court of a lower ruling that had ordered same-sex 'marriages' to begin in the Garden State.

As I noted in my comments on the decision Monday, "The mark of a leader is to walk a principled walk no matter the difficulty of the path. Chris Christie has failed the test, abandoning both voters and the core institution of society — marriage as the union of one man and one woman."

To be fair, Christie is not responsible for redefining marriage — that was accomplished by an out-of-control judiciary. However, he is responsible for leaving the field of battle and refusing to fight a principled fight when it was most needed. By surrendering, he has guaranteed defeat in the Garden State.

But while this surrender proved to demonstrate what leadership is not, the same day provided a contrasting image of leadership worth celebrating: that, from Pennsylvania's governor, Tom Corbett.

Governor Corbett was pressured following the Christie administration's announcement to follow suit in Pennsylvania and give up the Pennsylvania government's defense of the standing law in that state that defines marriage as between a man and a woman. But Corbett isn't backing down. He said that the case in New Jersey was "no precedent" for what is going on in Pennsylvania and that he would see the case there through the full process of judicial review. Thank you Governor Corbett for demonstrating what it really means to be a leader!

What Privacy Means

Recently I wrote to our California supporters to urge them to support NOM's efforts in California as part of a coalition to defend students' privacy there against a heinous law recently passed which allows any student to use the shower, bathroom or locker room of his or her choice regardless of biological sex!

We are working with the Privacy for All Students coalition supporting a ballot referendum to overturn this dangerous and invasive new law. Certainly students with gender-identity confusion shouldn't be subjected to bullying or discrimination, but California law already protects students from such discrimination and bullying. Rather than protect against bullying, the new law IS bullying! It violates student privacy and security by forcing them to share the most vulnerable areas of school with members of the opposite sex. Imagine being a high school girl forced to undress before the eyes of an opposite-sex peer, and to be told that his so-called "gender identity" entitles him to shower next to you. Worse, if you complain, you might be accused of discrimination against him!

This is an outrageous new law that is terribly conceived and horribly flawed. It just shows you how much the homosexual lobby thinks it can get away with in advancing their agenda.

Please visit www.privacyforallstudents.com today to find out how you can help us ensure every student in California has the right to his or her privacy upheld and protected by the law! If you live in California, please download a petition and return it promptly. And please consider making a contribution to help the campaign be sure they collect the signatures they need.

What Liberal Thought Means

A remarkable essay earlier this month deserves to be read and re-read by every marriage advocate in our country. It is a great resource for engaging in conversation and debate about this issue, whether at home, at school, around the water-cooler at work, or in the public square.

The essay by James Kalb was published in the Catholic World Report on October 2nd and it eviscerates the liberal thinking that has too long dominated our nation's public discourse, and undergirded the Supreme Court's decisions in June against DOMA and Proposition 8:

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

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

Kalb explains what we lose when we trade age-old institutions like marriage, which pre-exist the state, for a modern notion of rights and privileges which the State arbitrarily creates out of thin air:

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

Be sure to read the whole wonderful piece today.

What Fatherhood Means

An article in the Washington Times this week revealed growing concern about "irresponsible fatherhood" in our country and lamented that "despite myriad efforts by fatherhood programs, too many men are ending up in multiple relationships, with multiple children from multiple mothers."

What the article failed to mention was that efforts to protect and promote fatherhood are distinctly at odds with the drive to redefine marriage. Because when marriage is redefined, so is the meaning of fatherhood. Rather than the father being a unique and irreplaceable role in the life of a child, a father becomes merely "Spouse 1" or "Spouse 2" — interchangeable and replaceable, an optional role easily replaced in an 'alternative family' model.

But we did have two shining examples of fatherhood this week, of a kind: spiritual fatherhood. Two great pastoral leaders gave shining examples of what it means to care for the 'children' given to one in ministry.

Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki of Springfield, IL responded with a strong press statement to a planned same-sex 'marriage' protest at his Cathedral on Tuesday — part of a larger effort of lobbying by same-sex 'marriage' activists in Illinois who are beginning to see the writing on the wall that gay 'marriage' advocates simply don't have the votes to redefine marriage in this fall session.

In response to plans by a group named the Rainbow Sash Movement to disrupt the Cathedral's religious services on Tuesday, Paprocki announced:

People wearing a rainbow sash or who otherwise identify themselves as affiliated with the Rainbow Sash Movement will not be admitted into the cathedral and anyone who gets up to pray for same-sex marriage in the cathedral will be asked to leave.

Of course, our cathedral and parish churches are always open to everyone who wishes to repent their sins and ask for God's forgiveness.

Meanwhile, in Virginia, another spiritual leader has taken a strong stand in the face of plans to undermine true marriage there.

I've told you before about plans by the Richmond City Council to use a same-sex 'marriage' ordinance as a political power play. Well, the members preparing the ordinance are still at it; and that attracted a strong response from a local pastor, Bishop Daryl Husband, Sr. of Mount Olivet Church in Richmond.

Writing at the blog of the Coalition for African American Pastors, Bishop Husband had this to say about the ordinance:

Today I urge the people of Richmond to stand up to our City Council and tell them that the people of Virginia have already spoken on marriage — loudly and clearly. We believe that this vital institution — the bedrock of our society — is solely the union of a man and a woman. This arrangement has served all civilization well for countless ages, and in our day is the best means we have of ensuring every child the opportunity to have both a mother and father. Tell your Councilmember to scrap this terrible proposal, Ordinance 2013-154, and to stop playing politics and get back to work for the people of Richmond.

Bravo to these brave men for standing up for marriage and leading their congregations to do the same!

What Marriage in America Means

Finally, from Hawaii comes an important reminder of something that we here at NOM have always maintained to be crucial for the fate of marriage in the United States. On this important issue, the people should decide!

A coalition called Let the People Decide, of which NOM is a very proud partner, has begun running some wonderful ads in Hawaii and I want to share one with you today. It's especially touching because it reflects the great cultural heritage and richness of Hawaii which some of us perhaps have experienced in visits to the beautiful state. And thus it reminds us, too, that marriage is a universal value that every heritage and every culture has treasured and honored throughout history. Hawaiians are asking for their right to do the same — and I pray that they are afforded that right!

Thank you for continuing to stand strong for marriage and for our treasured freedoms. It is my honor to stand with you.

Bathroom Backlash

National Organization for Marriage

Dear Marriage Supporter,

Let me start by thanking all of you who responded to our request to support the referendum to overturn California's incredible new co-ed bathroom law.

And then let me gently persuade any of you who have not signed a referendum petition and made a donation to help this effort.

I know it sounds like the end of a "slippery slope" scenario: "If we don't do this or that, then we will have boys in the girls' locker rooms". But it is true.

California's legislature approved it and Governor Brown signed it into law. It will take effect on January 1, 2014. Starting on that day, any boy can claim to identify as a girl and start using the girls' bathrooms, showers and locker rooms. And girls can claim to identify as boys and use the boys' facilities.

It will be an absolute right. There is no check or safeguard to assure that the claim of gender identity is sincere. But let me be clear, even if there were safeguards to assure that the claim of gender identity is sincere, I would still object to forcing boys and girls to share bathrooms, showers and locker rooms.

Why?

Because nakedness trumps sincerity. I do not want a naked boy in front of a young girl in the shower or bathroom even if he sincerely identifies as a girl.

We should have compassion for students that are uncomfortable with their sexuality or believe that biology has betrayed them. But we have to also have compassion for all of the other students whose privacy will be denied and who will be uncomfortable when these facilities are no longer sexually separate.

How can we possibly be so committed to relieving the discomfort of a handful of students but totally ignore the discomfort and privacy concerns of the 99%+ of other students?

How can we claim that this will decrease bullying, when forcing boys and girls to share bathrooms IS bullying?

Thankfully Californians are having a bathroom backlash.

There is a plan to stop this law from being implemented and allow the voters to reject it. But that plan depends on you and me.

NOM California has joined the coalition of Privacy For All Students to qualify a referendum to overturn this law. I am asking all supporters of true marriage as the union of one man and one woman, and anybody with common sense, to take a stand for privacy and safety by supporting this referendum.

If you have not done so, please visit the PFAS web site at www.privacyforallstudents.com. There you can download a petition, sign and return it in the mail. You can also get church resources and other information for collecting signatures.

Please also make an immediate donation to NOM California to help us cover the costs of this referendum effort. To gather the almost 505,000 valid voter signatures required to qualify the referendum, it is necessary to have paid signature gatherers collect a portion of these signatures. It is an expensive process and we need your immediate help. Your donation to NOM California will be used to help us support the petition drive.

Remember, time is short. All signatures must be submitted to the PFAS office by November 6 so PFAS can process and have these delivered to each county by November 8.

Your signature on the petition and financial support is needed right away. Please do not delay.

Faithfully,

Brian S. Brown

Christie Surrender Provides an Object Lesson in (Lack of) Leadership

National Organization for Marriage

Dear Marriage Supporter,

This past Monday was a sad day for New Jersey and the nation as we watched Governor Chris Christie surrender on marriage. His backing down also provides an important object lesson in leadership (or lack of it) and gives us a great opportunity to contrast what happened in New Jersey with what's going on elsewhere: what happens when people fight for the truth of marriage.

Please help us today to continue the principled fight for the truth of marriage and make sure that elected officials defend God's design for marriage, not abandon it.

To be sure, the blame for the imposition of same-sex 'marriage' in New Jersey belongs with an activist judiciary that once again imposed their values on the citizenry. Still, the failure of the courts to act responsibly and grant a stay of the ruling imposing same-sex ‘marriage' is no excuse for Governor Christie throwing in the towel and dropping the appeal of the underlying issue.

Because of his failure of leadership, there's now little chance in the short term to restore true marriage in the state. In fact, now that he's abandoned the fight, it's highly likely that next month the Legislature will override Christie's earlier veto of legislation redefining marriage.

Christie's decision will have many consequences — for New Jersey and for his own career. It won't be long before people of faith in New Jersey begin to feel the consequences that have been demonstrated in other states. We'll see individuals sued, fined and persecuted. Small businesses put out of business. Students punished. Church groups will be targeted. Charities may have to close if their views are not in alignment with a redefined version of marriage. These things, and more, are becoming commonplace in any state that redefines marriage.

Governor Christie can also forget any idea he might have had of securing the Republican nomination for president. Already provoking suspicion for his embrace of President Obama and for the legislation he signed to prohibit parents from seeking certain types of counseling for their children with same-sex attraction, Governor Christie surrendering on marriage will be seen as the final act of betrayal. Conservatives and people of faith who make up the core of the GOP will never forgive his failure to lead on marriage when leadership was needed most.

So in surrendering in the face of difficulty, Christie not only ensured that marriage would be redefined in New Jersey, he mortally wounded his own political career.

Contrast that to what is happening in states like Illinois, Pennsylvania and Hawaii.

All year same-sex 'marriage' activists have been claiming they have the votes to redefine marriage in Illinois. They've had President Obama, Governor Pat Quinn, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, legislative leaders and union activists all on their side. Yet this past May when the bill was on the line, its prime sponsor declined to bring it up for a vote, finally forced to acknowledge he didn't have the votes he'd been claiming.

In response, homosexual advocacy groups announced a multi-million dollar campaign to push the issue in a fall legislative session that began this week. Activists loudly claimed they'd have the votes this time. And now? The bill's author is acknowledging that he still doesn't have the votes, and likely will not bring it to the floor for consideration.

How did this happen?

First, principled legislators refused to cave to pressure and instead fought for what is right and true. African American pastors, in particular, got engaged and worked with their congregations to make it clear to legislators that a vote for same-sex ‘marriage' would be unacceptable.

Second, the pro-family movement became engaged and fought a fierce battle. NOM has been at the forefront of the effort, working with groups like the African American Clergy Coalition, Coalition of African American Pastors, Illinois Family Institute, Illinois Family PAC, Illinois Catholic Conference and others.

Third, legislators of both parties began to worry that if they voted to redefine marriage, they'd face primary opponents who would use the issue to remove them from office.

You see, exercising leadership works. It coalesces allies, motivates people to get off the sidelines, and demonstrates that you have the courage to fight for principle.

Will you help NOM continue to work to lead the marriage movement in America? Elected officials, pastors and activists across the country are turning to NOM for help and direction. Please give us the support we need to continue to show leadership in this critically important battle.

What's happened in Illinois is not an isolated example.

In Pennsylvania, the state's law defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman has been under attack from the left. The state Attorney General announced that she would not defend it. Meanwhile, a local government official — a County Register of Wills — was openly flaunting the law, declaring that he'd ‘marry' same-sex couples regardless of what the law provided.

NOM sprang into action and organized supporters across the state to contact Governor Tom Corbett and call on him to step in and defend marriage in court, and demanded that he file legal action against the local official who was illegally issuing same-sex ‘marriage' licenses. Thousands of people responded to our call to action, and Governor Corbett listened. The Governor is now actively defending the lawsuit challenging marriage, and he's won a court order against the Montgomery County Register of Wills ordering him to cease his illegal conduct.

Most wonderful of all, the other day when Chris Christie surrendered on marriage, a couple of Pennsylvania legislators went to Governor Corbett and asked him to do the same thing. To his credit, Governor Corbett refused, and continues to stand strong for the truth of marriage. That's what leadership looks like.

Please help NOM continue to organize the grassroots to hold elected officials accountable, praising people like Governor Tom Corbett who stand on principle and condemning those like Chris Christie who abandon the fight in the face of pressure.

We can only be effective if we have your financial support. Those funds give us the ability to write directly to constituents, call them on the phone, email them, sponsor rallies, air advertisements, and undertake a range of other activities to educate and mobilize the strong majority of Americans who agree with us on marriage.

Let me also tell you about leadership in Hawaii. Like Illinois, Hawaii has a super majority of Democratic legislators in both houses of the Legislature, and a Democrat governor. Governor Neil Abercrombie wants to redefine marriage, and he's called a special session of the Legislature for next week to attempt to do so. Like the author of the bill in Illinois, Abercrombie claims he's got the votes to succeed, even though he refuses to say who they are.

NOM is working with allies in Hawaii to preserve marriage and demand that the citizens be given the right to vote on this critical issue. A large coalition of allies has been formed called the Let The People Decide coalition. It includes NOM, the Hawaii Family Advocates, Hawaii Family Forum, a diverse mix of pastors and church groups, and many others.

For the past several weeks, marriage supporters have been attending legislative constituent meetings, calling their representatives and standing on countless street corners during rush hour, waving signs to show their support for marriage. Pastors have preached about the importance of preserving marriage, and people are responding in droves.

This past Monday, NOM launched a major statewide television advertisement campaign designed to educate and mobilize marriage supporters throughout the islands. We're also phoning tens of thousands of marriage supporters in Hawaii to urge them to contact their state representatives. We've had to virtually empty our coffers to take these steps, but we are determined to do everything possible to prevail.

It's called leadership.

And it's working. Thousands of constituents have contacted their legislators to demand the right to decide the marriage issue, just as voters in nearly three dozen other states have done. A poll released this week showed that 70% of Hawaii voters believe that they should decide the issue, not legislators meeting in special session.

Will we be successful in Hawaii, one of the most Democratic states in the country? We'll see. But one thing is for sure — surrender always fails.

So that's the contrast. In New Jersey, the courts attempt to impose their skewed views of marriage and a governor surrenders the fight, even while claiming to still be on our side. His surrender eliminates any chance of prevailing. But in states like Illinois, Pennsylvania and Hawaii, people of principle exert leadership, refusing to buckle to political pressure — and achieve remarkable success.

We believe in leadership, and we believe in you. Please help us continue to fight for what is good and right — the truth of God's design of marriage.

Faithfully,

Brian S. Brown

Sometimes There's Only One Right Word

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

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

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

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

Erasing the First Amendment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thousands Rally to Defend Marriage in Illinois

The Illinois Family Institute's Defend Marriage Lobby Day is happening right now in Springfield. If you're near the Capitol in Illinois and are able to attend, go stand up for marriage with the brave folks in this video from a local news channel:

FOX 13 News

The Tragedy of Inaction

Well known author and speaker Eric Metaxas continues to call the Church to action in the 21st century, urging people of faith and the Church itself to stand in the public square declaring its beliefs - not just in general, but on ‘hot button’ issues like same-sex ‘marriage’ and abortion.

Church and StateChronicling some of his work, Charisma Magazine writer Joy Allmond, notes, “Before we can take on our role as the church in areas like social justice activism and preserving society, we must be aware of our current freedoms and our position in regard to the state.”

Quoting Metaxas, she continues, “There is a fundamental misunderstanding of the separation of church and state. The church is to be protected from the state. Not the reverse," …"People have divorced faith from public life, mostly because of this misunderstanding.”

Allmond expands on this costly misunderstanding, as she explains,

“We have also confused the terms freedom of worship with freedom of religion. So, what is the difference?

Freedom of religion allows us to take our faith into the public square as we leave our corporate worship settings. “The founders have said that we can and should do that,” adds Metaxas. “That means we can exercise our faith freely in the workplace, or wherever we are.”

Freedom of worship allows us to worship within the confines of the church building. However, that freedom is not valid outside of that church building. Furthermore, that means that whatever views you have on the hot-button social issues, such as abortion or same-sex marriage must be kept within the walls your home or your church building.

“They have freedom of worship in China, and they had it in Germany in the 1930s. Today, that is we have—freedom of worship. So today, we are slowly privatizing our faith because of this great misunderstanding,” says Metaxas. “Once we leave our homes or our churches, we are expected to accept the secular humanist view of everything.” (Read More)

In America people of faith have been blessed with the right to the free exercise of their religion, not just worship.  One day we will be held to account for our stewardship of this blessing.  Let be found to have been faithful – standing for God’s truth not just in our churches but in the public square, the halls of power, and across the back fence with our neighbors.

National Organization for Marriage Sharply Criticizes Activist Judiciary For Redefining Marriage In New Jersey and Christie For Abandoning Voters

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 21, 2013
Contact: Elizabeth Ray or Matille Thebolt (703-683-5004)


"An activist judiciary has once again imposed its views and ignored the rights of voters. Regrettably, Governor Christie's decision to surrender on marriage reveals him to be a man who lacks the courage of his supposed convictions." — Brian Brown, NOM president —

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Washington, D.C. — The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) today sharply criticized the courts of New Jersey for orchestrating the redefinition of marriage, and also criticized New Jersey Governor Chris Christie for withdrawing an appeal of the court ruling imposing same-sex marriage and thus abandoning the right of voters to determine the definition of marriage. NOM pledged to continue to fight for the right of New Jerseyans to define marriage, and suggested that Christie's decision will end any chance of him winning the GOP nomination for president.

"There's no question that the courts of New Jersey are responsible for the imposition of same-sex marriage in that state, and we sharply criticize them for redefining our most important social institution with no regard to the wishes of voters or even elected officials," said Brian Brown, NOM's president. "The refusal of the New Jersey Supreme Court to order a stay of the same-sex 'marriage' ruling was wrong, and the latest example of an activist judiciary running amok, substituting their views for those of the people of the state. Still, we are extremely disappointed in Governor Chris Christie for withdrawing the state's appeal of the underlying decision, effectively throwing in the towel on marriage. The mark of a leader is to walk a principled walk no matter the difficulty of the path. Chris Christie has failed the test, abandoning both voters and the core institution of society - marriage as the union of one man and one woman."

A superior court judge had imposed same-sex marriage in New Jersey in a ruling in September, with same-sex 'marriages' set to begin today. Christie's administration appealed the decision and sought a stay to preserve the status-quo until the merit of the case is heard next year. The New Jersey Supreme Court denied the request for the stay, and today Christie dropped his appeal of the underlying decision imposing same-sex marriage.

"It's a sad day for the voters of New Jersey," said Brown. "An activist judiciary has once again imposed its views and ignored the rights of voters. We will continue to fight for the right of New Jersey voters to determine the definition of marriage. Regrettably, Governor Christie's decision to surrender on marriage reveals him to be a man who lacks the courage of his supposed convictions. As far as we are concerned, it's a disqualifying failure. His surrender on marriage effectively surrenders any chance he might have had to secure the GOP nomination for president."

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To schedule an interview with Brian Brown, President of the National Organization for Marriage, please contact Elizabeth Ray (x130), [email protected], or Matille Thebolt (x143), [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).

Statement from the National Organization for Marriage on the New Jersey Supreme Court Decision

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 18, 2013
Contact: Elizabeth Ray or Matille Thebolt (703-683-5004)


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"It is extremely disappointing that the New Jersey Supreme Court has allowed the ruling of an activist judge to stand pending its appeal through the court system." — Brian Brown, NOM President —

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

 It is extremely disappointing that the New Jersey Supreme Court has allowed the ruling of an activist judge to stand pending its appeal through the court system. The definition of marriage is something that should be decided by the people of New Jersey themselves, not by any judge or court. New Jerseyans should have the right to vote on this issue just as voters in nearly three dozen other states have done. In addition, the decision to allow same-sex ‘marriage’ to proceed even while the law is being tested in court is unfair both to the voters of the state and to same-sex couples themselves. If the state Supreme Court were to uphold marriage as they should do, then the validity of the ‘marriages’ that will be performed starting next week will be called into question. Further, the decision opens the door to a possible federal court ruling similar to what occurred in California in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal which held that once a state grants same-sex ‘marriage’ rights it can never take them away. All in all, today’s ruling is another sad chapter in watching our courts usurp the rights of voters to determine issues like this for themselves.

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To schedule an interview with Brian Brown, President of the National Organization for Marriage, please contact Elizabeth Ray (x130), [email protected], or Matille Thebolt (x143), [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).