Marriage Goes to Court

This Tuesday, April 28th, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) will hear oral arguments on the question of whether it is unconstitutional to define marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman.

While the debate over the definition of marriage has been taking place for more than a decade, the Supreme Court could remove the entire debate from the legislative process.

This is what happened in Roe v. Wade when SCOTUS declared a constitutional right to an abortion.

In the same way, Plaintiff’s in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges are asking the Supreme Court to declare that it is unconstitutional to define marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman.

In one sense, the assertion is just silly.

The word “marriage” isn’t mentioned anywhere in the Constitution.

When the Constitution was written, every state defined marriage in this way and federal law has always recognized it as such.

This would be something like declaring the horse and buggy unconstitutional.

You may not like the horse and buggy.

You may think there’s a better way of getting around these days.

You may even want to pass a law to keep horses and buggies off of interstates given the changes in transportation technology (which we have done).

But that’s very different than claiming the horse and buggy was unconstitutional all along, we just hadn’t realized it.

Of course marriage and the family is not a form of transportation subject to technological changes. It is an ecosystem governed by rules that we did not create.

While many on the left would beg us (no, force us) to honor the balance of that fragile ecosystem if it were a salamander, when it is merely a child, we are more inclined to innovate and hope for the best.

So on Tuesday, they will ask the Supreme Court to discover a constitutional right for two men to get “married”.

These days, Constitutional law is a bit like gold mining. Just keep digging and one day, “Well, looky here. It’s a constitutional right.”

Most observers believe there are four solid votes in favor of discovering a new right (Ginsberg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan) and four votes in favor of allowing marriage to be defined through the legislative process. (Roberts, Scalia, Thomas, and Alito).

That would leave Justice Anthony Kennedy as the deciding vote in the final decision expected to be released in June.

But that is just conjecture. The court has surprised us before. Whatever the outcome, the debate over marriage will not soon be over.

The Supreme Court is powerful, but they do not have the power to reengineer the rules that govern what makes a family strong.

The rules that determine whether individuals, families, and cultures will be strong are not made by us, they were made for us. We will either honor them or suffer the consequences of pretending we are the smartest people who ever lived.

Either way, reality, truth, and marriage (the real kind) will need advocates.

Redefining Discrimination

By now you probably know that a Florist in Richland, Washington is being sued by the Attorney General because she declined to decorate for a same-sex ceremony.

The lawsuits are based on the belief that declining to be part of that event was discrimination based on sexual orientation.

However, there’s a problem with the argument that she discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation. She has consistently and happily done business with people who identify as gay for years, including the individuals involved in this case. She considered them friends.

Still, the perpetrators of these lawsuits have found a way to rationalize their attempts to ruin the life of a perfectly decent grandmother whose life is a model of how to be charitable without abandoning your convictions; something we used to value in this country.

Since there is no evidence that she actually discriminates based on sexual orientation, they have redefined what discrimination means in order to make it illegal to have a business and disagree with them about same-sex “marriage”.

The old definition of discrimination meant that you couldn’t have a policy of refusing to business with a protected class. Meaning, you can’t say “no Mexicans allowed” or “Protestants only”.

The new definition of discrimination means this: if you offer a particular service for any purpose, you must offer that same service for every purpose. In her case, if you’re willing to do a wedding for a man and a woman, you must be willing to do a wedding for two men.

Where their argument stops no one knows.

Is Mrs. Stutzman obligated to decorate for a Satanic wedding as well? Can she be forced to do a wedding for a thruple (three people of various genders or maybe no gender at all)? If a family member was to be involved in a wedding she did not personally support, will she be compelled to attend at gun point if the family member was willing to pay for her services?

Or maybe gay is the only thing you’re not allowed to say no to? No one knows, yet.

Whatever your business is, stop and think about how this new understanding of “discrimination” could affect what you do?

If you’re a general contractor, surely you can imagine a contract you would decline out of personal conviction. The new ISIS community center perhaps.

You’re a website designer. You probably want the right to decline to build a support group page for pedophiles or a memorial site for “Great, but not forgotten, Nazi heroes”?

Every lawyer has both a right and obligation to decline a case if he feels he cannot provide zealous representation for the client.

You think the Christian thing to do is to decorate for the gay wedding? Great, have a great time decorating for it.

But we should be able to agree that people shouldn’t be forced to choose between their business and their faith. That’s what they do in Cuba, China, and Russia.

Once the government has created a religious litmus test in order to run certain types of businesses, are they not discriminating on religious grounds?

Of course they are. But from their perspective, this is good discrimination necessary to prohibit bad discrimination.

In other words, “you shouldn’t be able to use your religion to hurt people, so I should be able to use the government to hurt you.”

In their mind, the harm associated with needing to find another florist is a greater harm than bankrupting a grandmother because of her beliefs about homosexuality.

In one sense we should be sympathetic. There’s an old saying that “hurt people, hurt people”. When you encounter someone who is genuinely interested in harming another person who offended them, they are inevitably acting out of a lot of real pain. The homosexual community is filled with people who have real stories of real pain because they have been legitimately wronged.

But that doesn’t justify their attempts to use political leverage to destroy the lives of good people in an act of general revenge.

There’s an important parallel to the Islamic Terrorists who shot the cartoonists in Paris. While so many on the left are insisting that Je Suis Charlie, in reality, the left in America has been playing the same game with (thankfully) different weapons for a long time.

Brendan Eich was fired as CEO of the company he started because of his beliefs about marriage. Private property owners have been fined because they do not want their private property used for a same-sex ceremony. Every time a TV personality expresses their commitment to the biblical understanding of marriage, protests organize to get them off the air.  Bakers, florists, and wedding photographers are facing lawsuits and fines because they prefer not to be part of same-sex ceremonies.

Without question, mass murder is orders of magnitude worse than the tactics the militant gay lobby has been using to make examples of the people who disagree with them.

But the root problem is the same.

A society cannot remain free if the people within the society seek the personal destruction of those who offend them.

The law exists to provide a remedy for real harms. But if we now believe that finding another florist after a polite conversation is an injury requiring the attention of our nation’s leadership we might as well drop any remaining pretense of adulthood and return to our pacifiers.

The essence of tolerance is the ability to disagree agreeably. Barronelle Stutzman has proven to be a model of how to do that. The other folks…not so much.

We have different stories, beliefs, and experiences. Each of us can learn something from our neighbors, especially our neighbors who are very different than us.

We all can agree that everyone should have the same opportunities in life regardless of what groups they are a part of. In that sense, we all oppose “discrimination”.  But if “discrimination” has now been redefined to have nothing to do with opportunities and everything to do with feelings, count me out.

I prefer the adult world.

Sixth Circuit Upholds Marriage

In the latest developments in the national conversation about marriage, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled today that laws in Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee, and Kentucky that define marriage as a relationship between a man and woman are constitutional.

The Court said it would be inappropriate of them to make a final determination on the issue of marriage:

“Of all the ways to resolve this question, one option is not available: a poll of the three judges on this panel, or for the matter all federal judges, about whether gay marriage is a good idea. Our judicial commissions did not come with such a sweeping grant of authority, one that would allow just three of us — just two in truth — to make such a vital policy call for the thirty-two million citizens who live within the four States of the Sixth Circuit: Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee.”

Finally, they concluded that the legislative arena as the better place to resolve political debates over social issues:

“In just eleven years, nineteen States and a conspicuous District, account for nearly forty-five percent of the population, have exercised their sovereign powers to expand a definition of marriage that until recently was universally followed going back to the earliest days of human history. That is a difficult timeline to criticize as unworthy of further debate and voting. When the courts do not let the people resolve new social issues like this one, they perpetuate the idea that the heroes in these change events are judges and lawyers. Better in this instance, we think, to allow change through the customary political processes, in which the people, gay and straight alike, become fellow citizens seeking to resolve a new social issue in a fair-minded way.

For this reason, we reverse.”

This decision comes only four weeks after the Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal of other decisions ruling that marriage is unconstitutional.

The Supreme Court is far more likely to hear a case when there is disagreement among the circuit courts. Marriage now meets that criteria.

Will the Supreme Court take this case up now?  Only time will tell.

What Does the SCOTUS Decision Mean?

In a surprising move announced this morning, the United States Supreme Court refused to hear the appeal of five separate decisions in which judges ruled that Constitutional Amendments defining marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman are unconstitutional.

The Supreme Court did not affirm the lower court decisions, but by virtue of not hearing the appeal, the decisions from Virginia, Oklahoma, Utah, Wisconsin and Indiana will stand.

This decision, however, has implications beyond those five states.

The federal court system is broken up into 11 circuits. A decision from one state will apply to all states in that circuit. Therefore, by allowing the decisions from these states to stand the Supreme Court has effectively struck down marriage laws in North Carolina, West Virginia, South Carolina, Wyoming, Kansas and Colorado as well.

As a result, the number of states now recognizing same-sex “marriage” could be as high as thirty.

While proponents of natural marriage are disappointed because it redefines marriage in other states, proponents of redefining marriage had hoped the Supreme Court would take up the issue and rule in their favor.

No one is entirely pleased.

Still, the decision is surprising because the Supreme Court had previously granted a stay (delay in implementation of the ruling) of the lower court decision pending a final outcome.

It is unusual for the Supreme Court to grant a stay but then refuse to hear the appeal.

Regardless, by refusing to hear the appeal, the stay will expire and marriage to be redefined by default.

The decision is troubling because it furthers a trend of unelected bodies overturning the will of the people.

However, this is certainly not the final word on this subject either in the courts or in the culture.

In the courts, there are several other cases working their way up through the system. The Supreme Court could be waiting for one of those cases to delay their final decision a couple of years.

Culturally, the conversation over this issue is just getting started. In one sense, proponents of redefining marriage are just finishing their opening argument. Time will afford the chance for a rebuttal.

While it is critical that we respond to the confusion over marriage, gender, and the family right now, time is our greatest ally.

Proponents of same-sex “marriage” insist that as people get to know same-sex couples, we will all come to see that same-sex relationships are no different. In reality, those closest to same-sex relationships will be the greatest advocates for natural marriage a generation from now.

In thirty years, it is the children of same-sex relationships who will be arguing most forcefully on our behalf. That is not because those children will hate the same-sex couples who raised them but because they will be immune to the argument that the only possible reason to support natural marriage is because you hate gay people. They will also have a perspective that those who deal only in theory and never in practice will have no response for.

A mother or father cannot be removed from the eco-system of the family without harming it. I cannot make decisions based on my belief that my own personal happiness is the greatest good without hurting myself and others.

We may find reality inconvenient but reality did not ask for our opinion.

As Cicero once wrote, “Time obliterates the fictions of opinion and confirms the decisions of nature.”

The Supreme Court’s decision is unfortunate, but this is all far from over.

The best response is vigilance.

Of course with the redefinition of marriage comes lawsuits and other forms of harassment directed at people who believe in natural marriage.

But if you we want to protect our freedoms from those who would take them in the name of tolerance and diversity, we have to know which candidates share our perspective. And we have to actually go to the trouble of supporting those who share our perspective with our vote.

And then make sure you get your friends and family to do the same. Remember, with our new Vote Finder tool, you can know if your friends and family have voted before the election is over. So use the tool to find 10 friends and family members who share your perspective and make sure they turn in their ballot.

A few more votes in the right places from the right people will be the difference between grandmas being sued because of their beliefs about marriage and people being free.

Yes, it’s easy to be frustrated about some of these developments. But doing something about it is far more fulfilling.

Breaking the Silence: Redefining Marriage Hurts Women Like Me – and Our Children

This article was originally published on September 22, 2014 in The Public Discourse. Janna Darnelle lives in Washington State.

Every time a new state redefines marriage, the news is full of happy stories of gay and lesbian couples and their new families. But behind those big smiles and sunny photographs are other, more painful stories. These are left to secret, dark places. They are suppressed, and those who would tell them are silenced in the name of “marriage equality.”

But I refuse to be silent.

I represent one of those real life stories that are kept in the shadows. I have personally felt the pain and devastation wrought by the propaganda that destroys natural families.

The Divorce

In the fall of 2007, my husband of almost ten years told me that he was gay and that he wanted a divorce. In an instant, the world that I had known and loved-the life we had built together-was shattered.

I tried to convince him to stay, to stick it out and fight to save our marriage. But my voice, my desires, my needs-and those of our two young children-no longer mattered to him. We had become disposable, because he had embraced one tiny word that had become his entire identity. Being gay trumped commitment, vows, responsibility, faith, fatherhood, marriage, friendships, and community. All of this was thrown away for the sake of his new identity.

Try as I might to save our marriage, there was no stopping my husband. Our divorce was not settled in mediation or with lawyers. No, it went all the way to trial. My husband wanted primary custody of our children. His entire case can be summed up in one sentence: “I am gay, and I deserve my rights.” It worked: the judge gave him practically everything he wanted. At one point, he even told my husband, “If you had asked for more, I would have given it to you.”

I truly believe that judge was legislating from the bench, disregarding the facts of our particular case and simply using us-using our children- to help influence future cases. In our society, LGBT citizens are seen as marginalized victims who must be protected at all costs, even if it means stripping rights from others. By ignoring the injustice committed against me and my children, the judge seemed to think that he was correcting a larger injustice.

My husband had left us for his gay lover. They make more money than I do. There are two of them and only one of me. Even so, the judge believed that they were the victims. No matter what I said or did, I didn’t have a chance of saving our children from being bounced around like so many pieces of luggage.

A New Same-Sex Family-Built On the Ruins of Mine

My ex-husband and his partner went on to marry. Their first ceremony took place before our state redefined marriage. After it created same-sex marriage, they chose to have a repeat performance. In both cases, my children were forced-against my will and theirs-to participate. At the second ceremony, which included more than twenty couples, local news stations and papers were there to document the first gay weddings officiated in our state. USA Today did a photo journal shoot on my ex and his partner, my children, and even the grandparents. I was not notified that this was taking place, nor was I given a voice to object to our children being used as props to promote same-sex marriage in the media.

At the time of the first ceremony, the marriage was not recognized by our state, our nation, or our church. And my ex-husband’s new marriage, like the majority of male-male relationships, is an “open,” non-exclusive relationship. This sends a clear message to our children: what you feel trumps all laws, promises, and higher authorities. You can do whatever you want, whenever you want-and it doesn’t matter who you hurt along the way.

After our children’s pictures were publicized, a flood of comments and posts appeared. Commenters exclaimed at how beautiful this gay family was and congratulated my ex-husband and his new partner on the family that they “created.” But there is a significant person missing from those pictures: the mother and abandoned wife. That “gay family” could not exist without me.

There is not one gay family that exists in this world that was created naturally.

Every same-sex family can only exist by manipulating nature. Behind the happy façade of many families headed by same-sex couples, we see relationships that are built from brokenness. They represent covenants broken, love abandoned, and responsibilities crushed. They are built on betrayal, lies, and deep wounds.

This is also true of same-sex couples who use assisted reproductive technologies such as surrogacy or sperm donation to have children. Such processes exploit men and women for their reproductive potential, treat children as products to be bought and sold, and purposely deny children a relationship with one or both of their biological parents. Wholeness and balance cannot be found in such families, because something is always missing.I am missing. But I am real, and I represent hundreds upon thousands of spouses who have been betrayed and rejected.

If my husband had chosen to stay, I know that things wouldn’t have been easy. But that is what marriage is about: making a vow and choosing to live it out, day after day. In sickness and in health, in good times and in bad, spouses must choose to put the other person first, loving them even when it’s hard.

A good marriage doesn’t only depend on sexual desire, which can come and go and is often out of our control. It depends on choosing to love, honor, and be faithful to one person, forsaking all others. It is common for spouses to be attracted to other people-usually of the opposite sex, but sometimes of the same sex. Spouses who value their marriage do not act on those impulses. For those who find themselves attracted to people of the same sex, staying faithful to their opposite-sex spouse isn’t a betrayal of their true identity. Rather, it’s a decision not to let themselves be ruled by their passions. It shows depth and strength of character when such people remain true to their vows, consciously striving to remember, honor, and revive the love they had for their spouses when they first married.

My Children Deserve Better

Our two young children were willfully and intentionally thrust into a world of strife and combative beliefs, lifestyles, and values, all in the name of “gay rights.” Their father moved into his new partner’s condo, which is in a complex inhabited by sixteen gay men. One of the men has a 19-year-old male prostitute who comes to service him. Another man, who functions as the father figure of this community, is in his late sixties and has a boyfriend in his twenties. My children are brought to gay parties where they are the only children and where only alcoholic beverages are served. They are taken to transgender baseball games, gay rights fundraisers, and LGBT film festivals.

Both of my children face identity issues, just like other children. Yet there are certain deep and unique problems that they will face as a direct result of my former husband’s actions. My son is now a maturing teen, and he is very interested in girls. But how will he learn how to deal with that interest when he is surrounded by men who seek sexual gratification from other men? How will he learn to treat girls with care and respect when his father has rejected them and devalues them? How will he embrace his developing masculinity without seeing his father live out authentic manhood by treating his wife and family with love, honoring his marriage vows even when it’s hard?

My daughter suffers too. She needs a dad who will encourage her to embrace her femininity and beauty, but these qualities are parodied and distorted in her father’s world. Her dad wears make-up and sex bondage straps for Halloween. She is often exposed to men dressing as women. The walls in his condo are adorned with large framed pictures of women in provocative positions. What is my little girl to believe about her own femininity and beauty? Her father should be protecting her sexuality. Instead, he is warping it.

Without the guidance of both their mother and their father, how can my children navigate their developing identities and sexuality? I ache to see my children struggle, desperately trying to make sense of their world.

My children and I have suffered great losses because of my former husband’s decision to identify as a gay man and throw away his life with us. Time is revealing the depth of those wounds, but I will not allow them to destroy me and my children. I refuse to lose my faith and hope. I believe so much more passionately in the power of the marriage covenant between one man and one woman today than when I was married. There is another way for those with same-sex attractions. Destruction is not the only option-it cannot be. Our children deserve far better from us.

This type of devastation should never happen to another spouse or child. Please, I plead with you: defend marriage as being between one man and one woman. We must stand for marriage-and for the precious lives that marriage creates.

Janna Darnelle is a mother, writer, and an advocate for upholding marriage between one man and one woman. She mentors others whose families have been impacted by homosexuality.

Facts and Observations About the Same-Sex Family Study in Australia

We hear a lot of “a survey has found that…” or “studies prove that…” Public opinion has a big effect on issues that we face. But when presented with such surveys, studies, or polls, how do we know if all the information is accurate? Can we trust everything it says? There have been numerous instances where no one is calling out the errors or omissions in the information presented. Here is a good example that recently happened in Australia:

A study conducted by the University of Melbourne found that same-sex couples are better parents than heterosexual couples. The Australian university collected data from 500 children of same-sex attracted couples or married parents to “established population samples” (information collected from heterosexual homes). The study claims that children in same-sex homes, whether the parents are married or not, scored 6% better than children in heterosexual homes when it comes to the physical health and the social well-being of the children.

However, there are four noticeable errors in the data gathering for this study: (1) there were problems with the methodology; (2) there is no explanation of the comparison group of children; (3) there are huge contrasts in their heterosexual and same-sex parenting samples; and (4) the study contradicts itself. All these issues combined makes for a study that is inaccurate.

Problems with methodology

One of the biggest problems with this study is the methodology has problems. Even the authors of the study admitted there were significant problems with the way the data was collected.

For starters, a group of 500 people is a very small sample and the 500 participants that were selected was not a good representation of children from same-sex marriages. Of the 500 children selected for the study, 406 kids came from a household with an annual income from 60K – 250K. If this were a representative sample, that would mean that 81% of people make at least 60K a year.

Also, the sample that was studied was a “convenience sample”. This means the study was targeted towards gay communities, gay publications, etc., where people in those communities are more likely to attract people who are interested in the topic.

This then led to another problem: parents knew what they were signing their families up for. If you know that your family is not a happy one and you have both health and emotional issues in your home, you are not going to fill out a study on the well-being of your family.

Probably the biggest problem was that the information was collected from self-reports completed by the parents for the children. Also, knowing the importance of the political and rhetorical implications of this study, same-sex parents have a strong reason to provide a positive response to the study, thus skewing the results of the study.

These problems combined make for a study that is not representative of the general same-sex homes. The children were not part of the study at all. Everything is based on the parents’ perspective of their family. Unless the children are completely open with their parents on everything going on in their life, the study is not an accurate description of the child’s health and well-being.

There is no explanation of the comparison group of children

Another flaw in the study is that the authors failed to explain the difference between the sample group and the control group. For instance, they never clarified whether the children from heterosexual homes were from low or high income, single parent or married parent homes, etc.

The authors use income and education to form their opinion, but all they provide in the study about heterosexual homes is the information comes from an “established population [sample]”. This is not an accurate description of what the study is using to compare children from same-sex homes to those in heterosexual homes. How would we know if children who come from same-sex homes are better than children from heterosexual homes if we don’t know what type of families they come from?

There are huge contrasts in their heterosexual and same-sex parenting samples

One more problem with the study is there are huge gaps in the parenting “samples”. There is no information given regarding the demographics of the heterosexual parents, but the study does explain some of the demographics of the same-sex parents.

As was stated before, the sample of children was not a representative group, thus, the parents are not a representative sample, either. One of the reasons being that most of the parents that took the study were from higher income households, had higher education levels, and tended to be older than most heterosexual parents.

Of the 500 children that were studied, 406 children came from households with an income of 60K – 250K, whereas the average heterosexual household has an annual average income of 64K. Also, 384 (76%) of the 500 children had parents with at least an undergraduate degree. That is higher than the average American with bachelor degrees (in 2012, 30% of American adults had a bachelor’s degree). Further, the study doesn’t specify the age of the parents when their first child was born. With same-sex parents becoming first time parents at a later age than most heterosexual parents, they will already have achieved an educational goal, higher income, and life stability. When combined, these factors characteristically foster a more positive outcome for the children.

Study contradicts itself

Finally, a huge error made by the study authors is that they contradict themselves. For example, the study claims children from same-sex homes do better than children from heterosexual homes. However, the study also claims that those same children from same-sex homes are more likely to suffer from serious harm due to the social stigma concerning their family.

In a recent article, Simon Crouch, one of the authors of the study, wrote that “stigma is a common problem. Around two-thirds of children with same-sex parents experienced some form of stigma due to their parents’ sexual orientation which, of course, impacts on their mental and emotional well-being“.

The whole study explains how children in same-sex homes are 6% more likely to have better health and well-being. However, this cannot be true if the children could also be experiencing stigma impacting their mental and emotional well-being?

The four flaws of this study have not been adequately addressed by the authors. Likewise, the media is not questioning the contradictions. This study had enormous omissions, yet no one called the authors on it. Sadly, this happens a lot with studies and surveys, especially with issues that will have huge political implications. With all the information we have coming at us today, it is important that we stay informed and make sure that the data is fair and accurate.

Marriage Chaos

Since marriage was redefined in Washington State two years ago, people in Washington State may not be paying attention to what is happening all over the country.

While the picture is not pretty, ignoring it won’t be helpful.

By way of quick review, last June the U.S. Supreme Court, in Windsor v. U.S., struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

While the court said it was not interfering with the thirty-two state constitutional amendments defining marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman, it was clear that within the bizarre decision was all the ammunition an activist judge would need in order to unilaterally overturn them.

Opponents of natural marriage have seized the opportunity.

In just the last few weeks, Arkansas, Idaho, Oregon and Pennsylvania have all had their marriage amendments struck down by federal judges.

The Oregon decision can’t even be appealed because no state official even defended the law in court. There’s no one to appeal.

You may remember that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, who refused to defend DOMA despite having the legal obligation to do so, told the state’s Attorneys General that they don’t have to defend laws if they don’t like them.

Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum followed his lead and refused to defend the marriage amendment passed by Oregon’s citizens.

As a result, the law in Oregon now requires a bakery to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding despite their conscientious objections but apparently doesn’t require the Attorney General to defend a Constitutional Amendment passed by the people in court because of her conscientious objections.

Go figure.

California has a similar situation.

Seven million people voted for a constitutional amendment that says, “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid and recognized in California”.

California law requires a three judge appellate panel to overturn a provision of the state Constitution before it can be set aside.  A prior Ninth Circuit appellate decision against marriage was vacated when the Supreme Court concluded that those defending Prop 8 did not have standing to do so.

As a result, there is no decision on the books of an appellate panel overturning Prop 8. The language defining marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman is still in the California Constitution today.

Yet, the state of California is issuing same-sex “marriage” licenses because the Governor and the Attorney General want to.

The judicial system has always had its challenges, but is this the moment America officially declares its independence from the rule of law?

Monarchs throughout history are smugly shaking their heads from the grave and whispering, “I told you so”.

You may think all this is wonderful because you like same-sex marriage, but just wait until a conservative judge, conservative plaintiff, and conservative Attorney General conspire to repeal a law you like by filing a lawsuit that no one defends.

Our system of checks and balances is sometimes frustratingly slow, but that’s intentional. It is designed to prevent three people from repealing laws they don’t like all by themselves.

We should all be careful about calling for swift action despite the law because we agree with the outcome.

History assures us that the time will come — maybe sooner than we think — when we’ll wish the system was a bit more deliberate and not so subject to the preferences of the two or three people who happen to be in power.

But it’s hard to slow down and worry about process when we’re so busy being historic.

In fairness, not every state is behaving as lawlessly as California and Oregon.

There are 17 states where lawsuits challenging one man, one woman marriages are in process but no decisions have been issued yet.

There are only 3 states left where no lawsuit challenging marriage has been filed: South Dakota, North Dakota and Montana.

That could change at any moment.

With the Oregon decision considered to be a “final” decree because there’s no one to appeal it, there are now 18 states plus D.C. where same-sex marriage is currently legal.

In addition, 12 states have seen their marriage law struck down but are in the process of appealing those rulings.

Recent developments are clearly not good for marriage, the rule of law, or the culture generally.

But this is far, far from over.

Our friend Ryan T. Anderson, from the Heritage Foundation, wrote a good piece today entitled “Where Do We Go From Here?” that offers good insights into next steps for those of us who will never give up on the value of natural marriage.

Whatever you do, don’t be afraid.  We have all been placed in this time, at this place, for such a time as this.  Let’s figure out what that is.

And never forget…truth wins.

“In this world you will have trouble, but take heart, because I have overcome the world”. John 16:33.

 

Note: The original version of this post has been edited to reflect the fact that there was a prior Ninth Circuit appellate decision against marriage that was vacated by the Supreme Court.  The original version said that there has never been an appellate decision against Prop 8.  While that is true for legal purposes and same-sex marriage licenses are being issued in California in violation of the law, it is not the entire story.

Apology Demanded

This post was written by Kira Nelson

Gay activists are calling for a public apology from the authors of SB 1062, Arizona’s religious freedom bill.

If not vetoed by the governor, SB 1062 would have protected the religious freedoms of business owners and craftsmen. For example, a Christian photographer who believed that gay marriage was in opposition to his religious convictions could decline to photograph a gay wedding. In order to claim religious freedom protections under SB 1062, the photographer would have had to demonstrate an actual sincere religious conviction. The law would have protected the photographer’s rights whether being sued by a private or governmental entity.

SB 1062 wouldn’t have actually changed anything. The right to freedom of religious expression is safeguarded in the Constitution. Unfortunately recent judicial decisions have challenged that right. SB 1062 would have merely explicitly safeguarded already existing freedoms.

SB 1062 would have made certain that governmental laws could not force people to violate their faith unless it had a compelling governmental interest. Cathi Herrod, president of CAP and contributing author of SB 1062 noted that this balancing of interests has been in federal law since 1993.

In a statement, Herrod said opponents of the measure distorted its intent, which she said was to “guarantee that all Arizonans would be free to live and work according to their faith.”

But gay activist connected with Citizens for a Better Arizona swarmed the conservative Center for Arizonian Policy (CAP) building last Wednesday demanding a formal apology from Herrod.

Irate protesters stated that Herrod was a puppeteer and that Arizona overwhelmingly supports the LGBT community. One protester suggested returning with Molotov cocktails while another suggested running Herrod “out of town.”

The degree of anger directed at Herrod is disturbing. It seems odd that a group committed to equality and safe guarding constitutional rights, such as Citizens for a Better Arizona claim to be, could be so determined limit the freedoms of others. 

Gay Salon Refuses to Cut Hair of Pro-Marriage Governor

The story is actually two years old, but it couldn’t be more timely.

New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez believes that marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman.  Gov. Martinez also needs haircuts.

But two years ago, her hair stylist, Antonio Darden, said that he would refuse to cut the Governor’s hair as long as she continues to support the natural and historical understanding of marriage.

According to Darden, “It’s just equality, dignity for everyone. Everybody should be allowed the right to be together.”

Why is it that you know about the florists, photographers, and bakeries who didn’t want to be part of same-sex weddings but you don’t know about the stylist who refused to cut the Governor’s hair?

Instead of filing a lawsuit, Gov. Martinez simply found someone else to cut her hair.

Last week, the possibility that Arizona would allow all businesses the freedom to make the same decision this gay hair stylist in New Mexico exercised was described as a return to the days of Jim Crow.

In a similar story, a lesbian who wanted a short haircut in Toronto filed a complaint against a Muslim barber shop that refuses to cut women’s hair because of their belief that it is inappropriate for them to touch women who are not in their family.

Can you make a man touch a woman who is not a relative? These days, who knows?

In one sense, the entire conversation seems trivial.

Our nation is chronically unemployed.

We have more debt than we’ll ever pay; $55,000 per citizen.

The Russians have threatened to take over another country after Putin convinced us not to deploy the third phase of the missile defense shield, SM3 IIb, because he’s just a big, cuddly, misunderstood teddy bear. 

Iran has vowed to eliminate Israel from the map and is trying to build nuclear weapons.

Still, while some of the cases seem trivial, the question being asked is not.

Should you have the freedom to do things that I think are mean?

Those who support natural marriage surely chuckle at the idea that their hair is not worthy to be cut.

In the same way, those who identify as homosexuals cannot possibly imagine why someone would object to being part of the happiest day of their life.

Isn’t that ok?

Shouldn’t we have the freedom to have a passionate debate and agree to disagree without one party becoming the slave of the other?  Isn’t the whole “conquered peoples” concept something we’ve moved past?

Liberty should allow people to make choices I don’t understand, especially when the only possible harm is that my feelings will be hurt.

Whether you’re a gay hairstylist who doesn’t like your Governor or a Muslim barber with religious beliefs about what is appropriate with women, everyone has limits.

A culture that respects the dignity of the individual allows each person to draw those boundaries for themselves, not have them imposed or erased based on the preferences of the current political majority.

Hopefully, all the gay hairstylists will defend the rights of photographers, florists, and bakeries not to bake cakes for their same-sex “wedding”, otherwise they might one day find themselves being forced to cut the Governor of New Mexico’s hair.

Fair is fair.

 Your contribution of $5 or more helps us defend religious freedom in Washington State.

 

A Lawyer Acting as Lawmaker

This post was written by Kira Nelson

 

Instead of trying to uphold her state’s laws, Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum has announced not to defend them.

Ellen Rosenblum, Attorney General for the State of Oregon, announced on Thursday, February 20, in a legal filing that she will not defend the state’s ban on gay marriage claiming that it violates the national constitution.

Rosenblum isn’t the first attorney general to take such a stance. Six state attorney generals have refused to defend marriage laws in their states, among them Kathleen Kane of Pennsylvania and most recently Mark Herring of Virginia.

United States Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. announced in an interview on Monday, February 24,  that state attorneys generals are not obligated to defend laws that they believe are discriminatory, specifically laws that define marriage as between one man and one woman.

Rosenblum’s decision was contained in a brief filed in Eugene with U.S. District Judge Michael McShane. McShane is scheduled to hear a challenge to the ban on same-sex marriage that was voted into the state constitution by the citizens of Oregon in 2004.

Rosenblum’s actions and the actions of attorney generals in other states raise some interesting questions about the role of the attorney general. The job of the attorney general is to defend the laws of his or her state. You can think of the Oregon as being

Rosenblum’s client. Thus legally Rosenblum is required energetically argue in favor of Oregon’s existing laws even if she personally disagrees with them.

Ed Whelan, a prominent conservative legal analyst who current serves as President of the Ethics and Public Policy Center and writes weekly bench memos on United States Supreme Court decisions, argues that attorney generals that refuse to defend their states laws are violating their duties as lawyers.

Under well-settled principles of the American adversary system, a lawyer is ethically obligated to represent his client’s legal position zealously in court. If there are nonfrivolous arguments that can be made in favor of the client’s position, then the lawyer is required to advance the most advantageous arguments in favor of his client. A lawyer may never fail to advocate a defensible position simply because he personally believes it to be legally incorrect.

When the role of the attorney general is understood properly, it is not that of a lawmaker. The role of an attorney general is to energetically represent the state’s interests in the courts. By refusing to defend a law that the people of Oregon voted for in 2004, Rosenblum is proving she doesn’t want to be the attorney general. If Rosenblum wants to be a lawmaker, rather than a law defender, I would recommend she run for the legislature.