I suspect that few reading this will have heard of the ILGA but will equally not be surprised to learn that it exists. The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) is a worldwide federation of 1,100 member organisations from 110 countries campaigning for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex rights.
You may be surprised that LGBT activists believe that there still are legal battles to fight. Northern Ireland still does not recognise hate crime on grounds of gender identity and has not yet legalised same sex marriage. Scotland has not yet criminalised hate speech on grounds of sexual orientation.
Ireland is now in the second last week of its liberal establishment’s tiresome campaign to get the country to radically change its understanding of marriage as an institution naturally fitted to the conjugal relationship between a man and a woman. All the opinion polls are still pointing to a triumph for them. But there are warnings of hubris. This morning’ mass-circulation Sunday Independent carries that warning in a no-holds-barred column by one of the country’s more open-minded journalists and TV hosts, Brendan O’Connor.
The Yes campaign, he muses, must be very nervous looking at what just happened in the UK. Everybody knew what the result in the UK election was going to be. Every poll was in agreement. Neck and neck. Hung parliament. Weeks of manoeuvring to try and create a Government. Everybody agreed. And, as usual, when everyone agrees so wholeheartedly on something, they were all wrong. The media…
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On May 22 Ireland will hold a referendum on same-sex marriage. Voters are being asked to add a definition of marriage to the country’s constitution, which would make it the only one in the world to expressly guarantee the right to same-sex marriage. The clause to be inserted is: “Marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex.”
The Taoiseach (prime minister), Enda Kenny, has given the Yes vote his strong backing. A leading Irish journalist, Bruce Arnold, has just published an open letter to him in which he asks Kenny to think again.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny
We have known each other for the whole of your political career, having first met after you succeeded your father in the by-election that resulted from his death. …
For folks in Australia and the United States, Ireland is the forgotten battleground on same-sex marriage. However, what is being proposed there is even more radical than in other jurisdictions. On May 22 the Irish will vote in a referendum to decide whether to alter their constitution to grant a right to same-sex couples to marry.
Ireland’s 1937 constitution has an extraordinarily good section privileging the family. Under Article 41, it “recognises the Family as the natural primary and fundamental unit group of Society, and as a moral institution possessing inalienable and imprescriptible rights, antecedent and superior to all positive law.”
Furthermore, says Article 41, the State will “protect the Family in its constitution and authority, as the necessary basis of social order and as indispensable to the welfare of the Nation and the State and … pledges itself to guard with special care the institution of Marriage, on which…
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As we relayed yesterday, Ryan Anderson is upbeat about the opening day of the Supreme Court hearings on whether the Constitution protects homosexual people to the extent that they should be able to marry. Here’s a bit more on that from his report at Public Discourse:
This serious consideration of the harms of marriage redefinition stands in stark contrast to outrageous lower court rulings that had declared no rational basis to state marriage laws defining marriage as it always had been in America: a union of husband and wife.
One of the more startling portions of oral arguments today at the Supreme Court was the willingness of the Obama administration’s Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, to admit that religious schools that affirm marriage as the union of a man and a woman may lose their non-profit tax-exempt status if marriage is redefined.
Justice Samuel Alito asked Verrilli whether a religious school that believed marriage was the union of husband and wife would lose their non-profit tax status.
Aaron and Melissa Klein, owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, had to shut down their business after clients withdrew patronage following a formal complaint by the lesbian couple. Their income has fallen by half and they say the fine is enough to potentially bankrupt their family of seven.
The proposed fine will now go to state Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian, who can either accept it or adjust the amount in issuing a final order, which is expected to arrive this summer, reports the Daily Signal. The Kleins have signaled they plan to appeal the judge’s ruling.
The cornerstone of the same-sex marriage debate is the question of whether or not sexual orientation is a fixed and immutable characteristic. If it is, there is some justification for arguing that homosexuality is a “suspect class” which should be granted “extraordinary protection from the majoritarian political process”.
But is it?
Professor Paul McHugh, a distinguished psychiatrist from Johns Hopkins University, addresses this issue in an amicus brief to the US Supreme Court as background for its deliberations on same-sex marriage. He concludes that the current state of scientific knowledge indicates that sexual orientation is neither a clearly definable (discrete) category or a fixed and immutable characteristic, like race and gender.
Read the complete amicus brief at this link. Below are some excerpts. The questions have been added by MercatorNet.
The United States is a large and powerful country, but it is only one of the 193 member states of the United Nations and represents only 4.4 percent of the world’s population. Surely it makes sense to ask how courts in other jurisdictions are handling same-sex marriage.
An amicus brief submitted to the US Supreme Court from the Marriage and Family Law Research Project, a research center at the J. Reuben Clark Law School of Brigham Young University, surveys what LGBT-friendly courts have said. It turns out that there is no global consensus.
The questions have been added by MercatorNet. For the full text, follow this link.
Who cares what foreign courts have to say? It’s irrelevant to American law.
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