Category archives: Marriage

Two Important Pieces from the Washington Times

by Chris Gacek

December 2, 2008

Over the extended holiday weekend, the Washington Times published an editorial and a commentary piece that are well worth reading:

  • The Times editorial appeared on Friday, November 28, and was entitled “Judicial Imperialism.”  First, the paper discusses the worrying ramifications of the recent settlement by eHarmony, a California company, which was forced by the state of New Jersey to offer dating services to gay customers in New Jersey.  Second, the editorial discusses the dangerous and illegitimate effort to have the California Supreme Court thwart the will of the Golden State’s voters and declare its recently-passed marriage amendment unconstitutional. 
  • The commentary piece was authored by Jeffrey T. Kuhner.  His first Sunday opinion column with the Times was published on September 28th.  In Kuhner’s latest, entitled “Obama vs. Pope Benedict,” he recognizes the struggle that may erupt between Mr. Obama and the Pope should the new administration pass the Freedom of Choice Act.  He sets the stage as follows:

Mr. Obama signing the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) “would be the equivalent of a war,” a senior Vatican official told Time magazine last week. “It would be like saying, ‘We’ve heard the Catholic Church and we have no interest in their concerns.’ ”

Republicans and Marriage

by Tony Perkins

November 6, 2008

In yesterday’s Washington Update I wrote about how the exit polling from November 4 clearly shows that the marriage amendments are non-partisan. In 2004 and to a lesser degree in 2006 supporters of various marriage amendments were accused of using them for partisan purposes to help the Republican Party. There is no question that certain Republican candidates, including President Bush who campaigned in support of the amendments, were aided by the amendments’ presence on the ballot. The benefit to the candidates was in proportion to their alignment with the amendments, not with their party allegiance.

President Bush increased his support among African-American voters in Ohio going from 11% nationally to 16% in the Buckeye State, enough to give him the edge in that battleground state and secure a second term. Those gains among minority voters evaporated in this election even though these voters continued to vote to protect marriage from redefinition.

One could argue that the marriage amendments may have actually hurt Republicans in this cycle, especially John McCain. Literally millions of dollars were invested in the efforts to protect marriage in California and Arizona. Thousands of volunteer hours were spent in those two states and Florida to secure passage of these amendments. The McCain campaign was virtually silent on the amendments and as a result received little benefit from the efforts, which was especially significant in the battleground state of Florida.

It is quite possible that a large portion of the time, energy and resources that were spent in this election cycle to protect marriage would have been invested elsewhere had the federal marriage amendment been approved by the Republican-controlled Congress in 2005. The irony is that Sen. McCain opposed the marriage amendment and joined the Democrats and a handful of Republicans in blocking a vote on the amendment. On Election Day the protect marriage movement ran ahead of the Republican candidates.

Marriage Wins Despite Liberal Control of Washington

by Peter Sprigg

November 5, 2008

The traditional, historic, and natural definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman was a winner on Election Day, despite the simultaneous victories for Democrats in capturing the White House and expanding their majority in Congress.

The latest results as of midday on Wednesday (November 5) show that state constitutional amendments to define marriage as a one-man one-woman union had passed in Florida and Arizona and one was likely to pass in California as well.

Although many states that have already adopted such amendments did so fairly handily (especially in 2004), each of the amendments on the ballot in 2008 faced unique challenges.

Florida was the only one of the three states where adoption of the amendment required not just a simply majority of the vote, but a super-majority of 60%. The Florida Marriage Protection Amendment was the only one of the three on the ballot this year that was a “strong” or “two-sentence” amendment, meaning that included language to prevent “domestic partnerships” or “civil unions” as well as same-sex “marriage.” Florida’s amendment campaign was also probably the most under-funded of the three-yet they still managed to clear the higher hurdle set for them, winning 62.1% to 37.9%, with 99% of the vote counted (official results).

Arizona was the only state ever to see a marriage amendment defeated at the polls. In 2006, an earlier “two-sentence” amendment was defeated-ironically, not because of its impact on same-sex couples, but because of publicity about its potential impact on opposite-sex couples who sometimes enter into “domestic partnerships” to avoid losing Social Security benefits to a “marriage penalty.” This year Proposition 102, a revised, “one-sentence” amendment focused only on the definition of civil marriage, was successful by a margin of 56.5% to 43.5%, with 99.1% of the vote in (see official results). Turning the 2006 defeat into a 2008 victory is a great accomplishment for pro-family forces in Arizona.

The most closely-watched and heavily-funded (on both sides) campaign was the one in California. That state’s Supreme Court issued a 4-3 ruling on May 15 of this year that overturned two state laws defining marriage, thus opening the door for same-sex couples to begin receiving marriage licenses a month later. The idea that the amendment would “take away rights” that same-sex couples were already enjoying undoubtedly made passage harder. This was reinforced by the biased language which California Attorney General (and former Governor) Jerry Brown ordered on the ballot, declaring that the amendment primarily “eliminates the right of same-sex couples to marry,” rather than more neutrally stating that it “defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman.” Despite this finger on the scale, and a vicious campaign against the amendment that included anti-religious ads, vandalism, and even violence, California’s Proposition 8 appears to have passed, 52.2% to 47.8% with 96.4% of precincts reporting (official results). As I was writing this piece, it was reported on TV that the Associated Press had declared victory for Proposition 8. Congratulations to the people of California for successfully exercising the ultimate check against judicial tyranny in our political system.

The only disappointment on the marriage front was in Connecticut, whose Supreme Court followed the lead of California’s (also by a one-vote margin) on October 10 by fabricating a constitutional “right” to same-sex “marriage.” Connecticut does not have an initiative process whereby the people can place constitutional amendments on the ballot by petition. However, they did have the opportunity yesterday to call for a constitutional convention. Pro-marriage forces hoped that a convention might adopt an initiative process, which in turn could be used to place marriage on the ballot. Unfortunately, this three-step process may not have been understood by the voters, who rejected the idea of a constitutional convention by 59% to 41% (results here).

In addition to the three marriage amendments, however, there was one other victory yesterday for traditional family structures. Arkansas adopted a law (Proposed Initiative Act No. 1) by 56.8% to 43.2% (see here) which prohibits adoption or foster care by persons who are cohabiting with a sexual partner outside of marriage. While this would effectively bar homosexual couples from adopting, it also applies equally to cohabiting opposite-sex couples. (Single people would still be allowed to adopt, without regard to sexual orientation). Thus, while this bill is being described as “anti-gay-adoption,” it would be more accurately described as “anti-cohabitation.”

Whatever “mandate” President-elect Barack Obama and the Democratic Congress may claim from yesterday’s results, it is clearly not a mandate (even in Florida and California, which Obama carried) to change the definition of marriage or the family.

The Most Effective Peacekeepers

by Michael Leaser

August 6, 2008

A former deputy director of children and family services in Illinois recently described her disturbing encounter with a bunch of young children witnessing, but apparently doing nothing to stop, a neighborhood fight. Visibly disturbed by the incident, she offers several solutions to reducing student violence, at the core of which is good parents building their own neighborhood.

The latest Mapping America lends support to these suggestions and demonstrates with federal survey data that married parents are the most effective peacekeeping force.

Bob Morrison on John Adams Series

by Family Research Council

July 27, 2008

John Adams’ Pointed Prayer

By Robert G. Morrison

The great popularity of the recent HBO series, John Adams, is well deserved. The movie, unlike the fine David McCullough book, shows how good old honest John got himself in a peck of trouble as the first Vice President. He took up six weeks of the time of the first Senate with long and tedious lectures on titles. David McCullough, when he spoke at the National Press Club in 2000, airily dismissed Adams’ disastrous misstep. “Oh, he was a good, thrifty New Englander. He didn’t want to make the titles hereditary. But he knew everyone loves distinction and he thought titles would be cheap.” The HBO series shows the revulsion of many of the senators at the very idea. Adams wanted the President to be titled: “His high Mightiness, President of the United States and Protector of their Liberties.” Behind Adams’ back, the senators snickered at the portly, balding Vice President, calling him “His Rotundity.”

The series shows Adams in the best of lights, and he deserves much good light. Even when he’s wrong, even when he’s vain and prone to temper tantrums, we see the human toll of his brave labors for Independence. His son Charles dies of alcoholism. His beloved daughter Nabbie dies of breast cancer. Our hearts go out to him and to his beloved Abigail. McCullough told the National Press Club that the correspondence between John and Abigail is on microfiche—and the indelible record of their fidelity and love is five miles long!

When I take the Witherspoon Fellows to Monticello, I always speak of my reverence for Mr. Jefferson, that great defender of religious and civil liberty. But I always disagree with George Will. Will famously wrote that “Thomas Jefferson lived as a free man should live.” No, John Adams lived as a free man should live; he never freed his slaves because he never had any!

My favorite John Adams story dates to the year 2000. Then, Bill Clinton occupied the Oval Office. That December, the Clintons invited their nearest and dearest friends to celebrate the two hundred years that the White House had been the Executive Mansion. They asked David McCullough to come and read from his wonderful biography of John Adams.

As the liberal Washington Post columnist Mary McGrory reported, McCullough ended with John Adams’ famous prayer, the one FDR had had engraved in the mantle in the State Dining Room:

I pray Heaven to bestow the best blessings on this house and all that shall hereafter inhabit. May none but honest and wise men ever rule under this roof.”

Miss McGrory wrote that when the prayer was read, all of Bill Clinton’s best friends looked at their shoes in embarrassment. Honest John Adams had crafted that inspiring petition in 1800. He hurled it like a javelin two centuries into the future and he punctured Bill Clinton’s pretensions with his pointed prayer. God bless John Adams!

Platinum Engagement (Nose)rings?

by Michael Fragoso

July 16, 2008

In a recent letter to the Desert Sun the Rev. Kevin A. Johnson firmly asserts that “marriage has improved over history.”  I am of the view that in many ways marriage has changed, and for the better; however its fundamental nature of being between men and women has not and cannot.  Further, Pastor Johnson’s understanding of this “improvement” is silly and self-defeating.

He argues that we can find evidence of how much better marriage is today than it was before in the story of Isaac and Rebecca.  He says, “I was interested to note the customs reported and startled to read where the wedding ring was placed - not on a finger but in her nose. It was not a sign of unending grace and intended fidelity but a receipt of transferred ownership of the daughter from the father to the new husband.”  I am no expert in Sumerian mating practices, but this strikes me as fishy.  While contemporary secondary scholarship might say differently, I recall no indication in the Bible of Isaac turning Rebecca into Ferdinand the Bull.  King James and Douai-Reims both mention “earrings”-a term supported by St. Jerome in the Vulgate (“inaures”).  While the image of women brutally subjugated and treated like cattle under traditional “Biblical” marriage makes a convenient image for the Pastor to use in pillorying conservative Christians, it sadly seems to have little actual Biblical support.

What does have Biblical support in the time of Abraham and Isaac, however, is polygamy.  Polygamy’s relegation to the dustbin of social custom in the Judeo-Christian world is certainly one of the preeminent ways in which “marriage has improved over history.”  Yet, this same decision by the California Supreme Court, so celebrated by Pastor Johnson, opens the door to legalized polygamy in the United States.  (The ball here is already moving in cases like Holm v. Utah.)  I wonder, when some of his neighbors use the precedents set in California to return to the polygamy of the Patriarchs, if Pastor Johnson will see fit to preach on “irony”?

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