Christopher Pearson, a columnist for The Australian, speechwriter, and strong defender of traditional marriage, passed away on Friday.
Pearson (pictured above) had a very respected career both in journalism and in politics. He was a speech writer for former Australian Prime Minister John Howard, and also an editor for current Liberal Party leader Tony Abbott.
Pearson wrote with great clarity on a wide range of political and social issues in The Australian, including those relating to marriage and the family.
I remember back in November 2010 reading his piece Gay marriage demands should be left on shelf. At the time, this was the first really clear article on marriage that I had read, and certainly helped to reshape my view of the same-sex marriage debate, an issue which I didn’t have any particular interest in.
The interim report of recent research, the Australian Study of Child Health in Same-Sex Families (ACHESS) based in Melbourne University, has found no statistical difference between children of same-sex couples and the rest of the population on a range of indicators, and also found that children of same-sex couples did better than average for overall family cohesion and health.
This study has been uncritically reported by the media in Australia, and has also been picked up by news outlets such as the Huffington Post overseas. But how reliable is it really?
Sociologist from the University of Texas, Mark Regnerus, has pointed out many of the flaws in the study at the National Review. First, he quotes from the study’s methodology:
Atheist philosopher Bertrand Russell said, "It is through children alone that sexual relations become of importance to society and worthy to be taken cognisance of by a legal institution."
The legal institution of marriage is, as anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss puts it, "a social institution with a biological foundation". Our marriage laws and customs exist to reinforce this biological foundation, helping bind a feral-by-nature male to his mate for the sake of social stability and the child they might create.
Not all marriages create children, but typically they do, and the institution exists for the typical case. Self-evidently, homosexual relationships cannot create children, so society has no institutional interest in regulating such friendships; they remain a private affair.
More than 40 years ago, Edith Windsor and Thea Spyer fell in love and spent the rest of their lives together in upstate New York. In 2007, taking advantage of the legalization of same-sex marriage across the border, they were married in Ontario.
Thea Spyer died in 2009 and left her estate to her partner. New York state recognized their Canadian marriage but, under the provisions of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the United States government did not. The result was a US$600,000 inheritance tax obligation that would have been $0 had the two women been recognized as married by the Internal Revenue Service. Windsor has taken the case all the way to the US Supreme Court.
Sorry, guys, we missed this, and it happened here in Sydney. At the 2012 Sydney Writers Festival four gay writers on a public panel were asked, “Why get married when you could be happy?” There was a consensus that gays did not want to be married, as gays do not aspire after bourgeois respectability.
The most interesting response came from journalist and activist Masha Gessen, a Russian-American dual citizen and the author of a highly-praised biography of Vladimir Putin. She was married to a lesbian partner in Massachusetts and then divorced (tougher than you might think). Now she has three children who have five different parents. She would like to see the institution of marriage abolished. And, interestingly, she says that it is necessary to lie about gay marriage:
This is such a cool song expressing the sentiments of the vast crowds in France who are protesting the recent same-sex marriage law. If your French is a bit rusty, they have provided helpful sub-titles. Very catchy, very moving, very joyful.
The marriage debate in France has been watched closely around the world. The huge rallies in favour of traditional marraige have been particularly noteworthy. Following the redefinition of marriage in France last week, MercatorNet’s Blaise Joseph caught up with young French marriage activist Maxime Lagorce, from La Manif Pour Tous Sydney, who recently spoke at the World Congress of Families.
So first up: France has just redefined marriage. What is the mood in the country? How do people feel about it?
Obviously there are some people who are happy, but many others are not. But I think we will see this coming Sunday with the number of people at the rally that people defending marriage haven’t given up. We are all expecting more people at this rally than at the two previous demonstrations. A lot of people are disappointed by this decision. It was rushed. After the constitutional court validated the…
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Andrew Walker and Ryan T. Anderson (pictured above), two young Americans from The Heritage Foundation in favour of traditional marriage, have written a piece for Citizen Magazine outlining why marriage must be preserved for the sake of future generations.
They examine the current marriage debate in the US, the harms of the long-term erosion of the meaning of marriage, the negative effects of redefining marriage, and the marriage movement in the future.
We’ve been asked—repeatedly—whether the position we’re promoting is pointless. Are we willing to endure cultural scorn for holding to a position as supposedly outmoded as natural marriage?
...Redefining marriage would further distance it from the needs of children and deny, as a matter of policy, the ideal that children need a mother and a father.
The World Congress of Families was in Sydney from the 15th-18th May. There were numerous talks and sessions on marriage, overall mounting very strong arguments in defence of traditional marriage.
Some of the highlights:
Brad Wilcox, who has been working on the World Family Map 2013, presented strong evidence that marriage is beneficial for children. Specifically, he explained that data shows that children living with their mother and father in middle/high income countries are more likely to stay on track in school and demonstrate higher reading literacy than are children living with one or no parents. He indicated that this was likely due to the additional financial, social, and cultural benefits that two parents can provide to their children.
Sister Moira Debono then gave a very deep explanation of the good of marriage. She invoked Saint Augustine’s three goods of marriage (fidelity, a permanent exclusive relationship, and children) to demonstrate how…
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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