On monday the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review appeals from Utah, Oklahoma, Virginia, Indiana and Wisconsin on the definition of marriage. This means that lower court rulings that struck down state marriage laws now will go into effect, forcing the redefinition of marriage in these states and potentially in other states in the 4th, 7th, and 10th circuits.
This is an unfortunate setback for sound constitutional self-government and a setback for a healthy marriage culture.
The truth of the matter is that the marriage laws in these five states—as in many states across our nation—are good laws that reflect the truth about marriage. Frequently they were passed with overwhelming democratic support. The Supreme Court should have reviewed these cases and should have upheld the authority of citizens and their elected representatives to make good marriage policy. Instead, the Supreme Court left standing bad rulings from lower…
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"Were a gay and happy family wagon" by Melinda - originally posted to Flickr as Children in Wagon (Part 2). via Wikimedia Commons
There can be no more contentious issue in sociology than whether same-sex couples do as good a job raising kids as married biological parents. As state after state in the US opens the door to same-sex marriage, judge after judge has affirmed the “no difference” thesis. The kids are OK. Occasionally a social science study even finds that kids do better when they grow up with gay parents.
The sentiments of California Judge Vaughn Walker, in his 2012 decision overturning Proposition 8, have been repeated numerous by judges ruling in favour of same-sex marriage:
In this hour-long lecture, Ryan T. Anderson, of the Heritage Foundation in Washington DC, makes a reasoned case for opposing same-sex marriage on public policy grounds. He speaks rapidly and covers a lot of ground. But it is well-worth watching.
This event was videoed at Stanford University where he was a guest of the student-run Anscombe Society. His presence on campus generated a controversy because some students objected to his “hate speech”.
It's a great summary of the main arguments. Watch it.
Surfing the (Catholic) net is not a mindless occupation. You can stumble on some wonderful articles; indeed, depending on what you read and your state of mind when you read it, an inspiring personal account of faith might be enough to trigger a change in your life. The internet, despite its reputation for easy corruption, can be a school of evangelisation just as any other means. The trick, as with choosing friends, is to select sites that encourage “the better angels of your nature” rather than those which merely confirm – or feed -your personal weaknesses or vices.
Last week the US Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously upheld a district-court ruling that had struck down same-sex marriage bans in Indiana and Wisconsin. Judge Richard Posner wrote the decision, a brilliant piece of rhetoric which was studded with sparkling one-liners and dripping with sarcasm. “Hero Federal Appeals Judge Burns Down the Case Against Gay Marriage” was the headline in Gawker, a widely-read website. “A masterpiece of wit and logic,” was the verdict of Slate’s columnist.
Since the 75-year-old Posner is the most-cited legal scholar of the 20th Century and one of America’s leading public intellectuals, his views are bound to be influential as same-sex marriage heads for the Supreme Court.
But stripped of their sequinned garments Posner’s views are not as muscle-bound as they first appear.
There’s something to be said for longevity. At 80 years of age you can say what you want to say and go down with all guns blazing. That’s my impression of a US federal judge who broke ranks with dozens of his brethren on Wednesday to defend the meaning of marriage, and ruled that Louisiana has no obligation to recognise same-sex unions as marriage.
The ruling came from District Judge Martin Feldman, 80, who was named to the federal bench by President Ronald Reagan more than 30 years ago. He echoed the two judges — both in their 70s and appointed by President George H.W. Bush — who dissented from recent rulings against Utah, Oklahoma and Virginia gay marriage bans in the 10th and 4th Circuits.
Kody Brown poses with his wives at one of their homes in Las Vegas. Photograph: Guardian/Jerry Henkel /AP
The Mormon stronghold of Utah is trying to defend its laws on marriage on two fronts, same-sex marriage and polygamy, but courts are not on the state’s side. Last week federal judge Clark Waddoups finalised an order striking down part of Utah’s law against bigamy in a drawn out lawsuit by Kody Brown and his four “sister wives” against the state.
The Browns are part of a sect with Mormon roots who feature in the television show “Sister Wives”. It was after this show first went to air four years ago that the state began its investigation of the polygamist family. They are framing the issue as one of religious freedom.
One of the first couples to take advantage of the UK law. Photo: BBC / Reuters
The first official count of same-sex marriages in the UK since they were legalised last year has been published, and it is a "disappointing” figure, according to British academic Mike Thomas:
According to figures released by the Office for National Statistics, just 1,409 same-sex couples were married in England and Wales from the end of March to the end of June 2014. This is a relatively low number in comparison to the 7,000 or so couples across the UK who entered into civil partnerships in the same period of time after they were first made available in 2005.
On the Christian side, there’s often more than a smidgen of repugnant smugness in rejection of the gay lifestyle. Summed up in the slogan “pray away the gay”, Christian moral teaching is prescribed by some pastors and parents as if it were aspirin. Aspirin is no cure for wounded hearts.
On the gay side, there’s often a deep hostility towards “life-denying”, “nay-saying” Christian ethics. Gay writers sneer at the power of religion and regard it as a kind of brainwashing. That is just dumb. If faith changed geniuses like Augustine and Pascal, why can't it work today?
What’s missing in this often vituperative clash is real people, not cardboard cut-outs but people yearning for love, meaning, transcendence and redemption from their own pettiness. This is what the deeply moving documentary Desire of the Everlasting Hills provides. In it…
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Conjugality deals with the true nature of marriage and the challenges it faces today. Our current focus is on the campaign to legalise same-sex marriage. We'd love to get your comments and suggestions. Send an email to email@example.com