Is Obergefell binding? No, say 60 scholars

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Would the Great Emancipator have defended Obergefell v Hodges?   

The decision of the Supreme Court in Obergefell v Hodges effectively legalised same-sex marriage throughout the United States.

Or did it?

A group of 60 distinguished scholars, mostly lawyers, insist that it does not. They have thrown down the gauntlet, arguing that the Supreme Court is supreme in the federal judicial system. But the justices are not supreme over the executive and legislative branches of government. “And they are certainly not supreme over the Constitution.”

Behind this audacious challenge is Princeton Professor Robert P. George, an eminent academic and a seasoned campaigner in the battle to stop same-sex marriage.

For village pump lawyers, this might sound strange, even arrogant. Surely, in all legal disputes, the Supreme Court has the final word? Not necessarily – although it requires a finely calibrated legal mind… click here to read whole article and make comments



Once again, a cloud over the ‘gay gene’

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Along with proof of cold fusion, photos of the Loch Ness monster or a sure cure for baldness, there’s nothing like the discovery of the gay gene to set the pulse of headline writers racing.

Here’s a few from the last few hours: Boys “turned gay by childhood change in genes” (Irish Independent); “The DNA test 'that reveals if you're gay'” (Daily Mail); “Scientists find DNA differences between gay men and their straight twin brothers” (Los Angeles Times); and “Study: DNA test can reveal male sexual orientation” (San Diego Union-Tribune).

But today’s Hall of Shame Award for Horrible Headlines goes to New Scientist, which ought to know better: “Gay or straight? Saliva test can predict male sexual orientation”.

Here are the facts. Dr Tuck C. Ngun, a gay genetics researcher at UCLA, presented an abstract at the American Society of Human Genetics… click here to read whole article and make comments



The pain of transgender regret

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At the age of 42, Walt Heyer was married and had two children. But he had felt for years that he was stuck in the wrong gender. So he fully transitioned and emerged as Laura Jensen. After living as a woman for eight years, he realised that he had made a terrible mistake. Now he has detransitioned back to his birth gender and provides encouragement to people who regret their gender change.

MercatorNet: Bruce – now Caitlin – Jenner seems perfectly happy with his gender change. Doesn’t his experience prove that a gender change is possible?

Walt Heyer: I was also "perfectly happy" with my gender change for about eight years. No one knows if Jenner will remain happy. It has been only a few months and he has had great financial benefit. When the cameras are no longer rolling and reality sets in, things could change very quickly… click here to read whole article and make comments



Let’s get this straight. A man cannot give birth.

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Mother & newborn sleeping. David J Laport / Flickr (CC BY 2.0)


Did you know that describing the state of pregnancy as being solely applicable to women is considered offensive?  No, dear reader, neither did I, until I read this earnestly written column, stating that transphobia is rampant in the midwifery world.

Up until 2014, the Midwives Alliance of North America (MANA) had, sensibly and reasonably enough, referred to their clients as women and mothers. Then at some point last year, presumably having imbibed the gender theory Kool-Aid at some diversity conference or other, they changed most of the language in their core competency documents to reflect the notion that some transgender, gender queer and intersex individuals may require midwifery care and do not identify as women. 

Well I hate to burst your navel-gazing bubbles, but frankly it doesn’t… click here to read whole article and make comments



Swept under the carpet

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Australian research from the 1990s has emerged as key evidence in the debate about same-sex parenting.

The constant refrain from supporters has been that there is no difference in outcomes for children in traditional marriages or same-sex couples. In 2010 Judge Vaughn Walker struck down a voter-approved constitutional referendum in California, partly because he found no sociological evidence of a difference. He put the conventional wisdom in a nutshell:

“Children raised by gay or lesbian parents are as likely as children raised by heterosexual parents to be healthy, successful and well-adjusted. The research supporting this conclusion is accepted beyond serious debate in the field of developmental psychology.”

And a brief sponsored by the American Psychological Association (APA) in 2005 asserted baldly that “none of the published research suggests conclusions different from” the “no difference” hypothesis.

This is simply not true. There was a study.… click here to read whole article and make comments



Australian companies risk backlash by endorsing same-sex marriage

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ABC News: Giulio Saggin   

The Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney has been pilloried for sending a letter to the heads of Australian companies that had taken out full-page advertisements in major newspapers in June supporting marriage equality.

Over 750 organisations, from major listed companies to some leading universities have added their logos to a highly successful publicity blitz. Pip Marlow, the managing director of Microsoft Australia, has become the poster girl for the campaign.

The CEO of Qantas, Alan Joyce, who is gay himself, says “now the entire aviation and banking sectors are on that ad. So if you’re not comfortable with that, you can’t fly and you can’t bank in Australia.”

The Church had rightly criticised the corporates for “overstepping their purpose”. The letter said, "For corporations to speak on such issues... is indeed overstepping their purpose and it is to be strongly… click here to read whole article and make comments



Highly publicised but tragically flawed

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Research in a leading journal claims that there has been a consensus on same-sex parenting for more than 20 years. Writing in this month’s issue of Social Science Research, jimi adams, of the University of Colorado Denver, and Ryan Light, of the University of Oregon, claim that there is “overwhelming evidence that scientists agree that there is not a negative impact to children of same-sex couples”. Furthermore they have detected what they say demonstrates an emerging consensus in the 90s and an  “overwhelming consensus” by 2000.

This has been widely reported as the “most comprehensive review” of studies on same-sex parenting. As the ThinkProgress site headlined it, “New Study Shuts Down Common Claim Against Same-Sex Parenting”.

The authors conclude that “The scientific community examining outcomes for children of same-sex parents has achieved consensus, and the consensus is that children of same-sex parents do not experience comparative disadvantages… click here to read whole article and make comments



Second thoughts on Kim Davis and her stand for marriage

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(This is intended, in part, as a response to those who have posted comments on my article of September 5, which are too numerous to answer individually.)

Since I wrote my piece on the jailing of Kim Davis, the clerk of Rowan County, Kentucky, for contempt of court a few days ago, more of the background to that event has emerged. This helps explain why she took the course that she did, and why it was reasonable.

The main fact I overlooked is that the marriage licences issued by the country clerk bear the clerk’s signature, so that, even if she left the task to her assistants, she would be personally implicated. Given her conscientious objection to same-sex marriage, the only course of action – apart from resigning -- that seemed open to her, and that did not discriminate between couples, was to stop issuing marriage licences altogether.

There was a solution to… click here to read whole article and make comments



Short, sharp and to the point

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I thought that a debate on same-sex marriage which allowed only two-minute speeches and two-minute rebuttals would be absurd. Well, I was wrong. After listening to the head of Australian Marriage Equality, Rodney Croome, debate the head of the Australian Marriage Forum, David van Gend, on radio earlier this week, I’d have to say that the arguments on both sides emerged very clearly.

Both Croome and Dr van Gend (an occasional MercatorNet contributor) are old hands, so they presented their best arguments succinctly and dispassionately. The presenter on ABC Radio Hobart also posed four questions to the pair. There were no tricks; they were predictable and sensible, the queries that always pop up in all discussions of same-sex marriage.

So who won? In my estimation, Rodney Croome’s argument seemed to be: “marriage is all about love and acceptance”. If that is his best shot, David van Gend’s insistence that children need a mother and a father won, hands down.

click here to read whole article and make comments



Truth Overruled

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Image: Shutterstock

A row broke out in a Kentucky county courthouse yesterday when a clerk refused to issue marriage licences to two same-sex couples. When one of the parties demanded to know under whose authority Kim Davis was acting, she said, “Under God’s authority.”

“To issue a marriage license which conflicts with God’s definition of marriage, with my name affixed to the certificate, would violate my conscience,” she said. “It is not a light issue for me. It is a Heaven or Hell decision. For me it is a decision of obedience. I have no animosity toward anyone and harbor no ill will. To me this has never been a gay or lesbian issue. It is about marriage and God’s word.”

This episode is only the beginning of a bigger drama for Davis, who has legal proceedings against her, although she is by… click here to read whole article and make comments


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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 conjugality@mercatornet.com

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