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”.
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…
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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.
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.
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.”
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…
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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.
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.
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.”
It didn’t take long. Within weeks of the US Supreme Court decision to legalise same-sex marriage, polygamous families have sued to have their own relationships recognised as marriages.
Kody Brown and his four wives are the stars of Sister Wives, the reality TV show about the day-to-day life of a polygamous family. The Browns used to live in Utah, where the government prosecutes openly polygamous spouses, so they have moved over the border. Nevada has a more relaxed approach to these issues.
The Browns are on a roll. In December 2013 they won a legal victory when a Federal district court overturned parts of a Utah statue banning polygamous marriages. But the Utah Attorney-General has appealed. He claims that women and children in polygamous relationships are often abused and that courts have consistently reprehended polygamy.
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