Posts Tagged ‘Same-Sex “Marriage”’

A Glimpse Into the Future

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

As the push for same-sex “marriage” builds in New York, recent news events have allowed us to see into the future, to get an idea of what the world will be like if the definition of marriage is changed.

First, a little background.  In 1996, Congress passed the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) by virtually unanimous majorities, and the bill was signed into law by President Clinton.  It defines marriage, for the purposes of federal law, as the union of one man and one woman, and it provides that states will not be required to recognize any other kind of “marriage”, just because other states have changed their definition.

DOMA has been challenged several times in the courts.  Three separate federal courts have upheld it as a proper and reasonable exercise of Congressional authority.  One court has found that it is unconstitutional and lacks a rational foundation.  (That decision, by the way, contains the single most absurd statement ever made by a federal judge — that the difference between same-sex couples and different-sex couples was a “distinction without meaning.”  Some things are so silly that only a federal judge could believe them).  Several state supreme courts — including New York’s — have also upheld the same definition of marriage as is contained in DOMA, holding that the definition has a “rational basis” and is not discriminatory.

That wasn’t good enough for the President, who announced earlier this year that the Justice Department would no longer defend the constitutionality of DOMA.  This,  even though the Justice Department has long held that they have a duty to defend statutes with which they disagree, if there is a reasonable argument to support it.  Apparently, the decisions of multiple federal and state courts are not reasonable enough for this ideologically blinded Administration.

Faced with this dereliction of duty, the leadership of the House of Representatives engaged the services of Paul Clement, a former Solicitor General and a very accomplished Supreme Court advocate, to represent the people of the United States in defending DOMA.

What happened next provides us a clear glimpse into where we are going on this issue.  “Gay rights” groups, seeking to force all opposition to same-sex “marriage” out of the mainstream, began a campaign of intimidation aimed at forcing Mr. Clement’s law firm to withdraw from the case out of fear of negative press, restriction of access to top law schools for recruiting, and loss of clients. Instead of fulfilling their professional responsibilities to their client, the firm buckled — and didn’t even have the guts to admit why they were doing it.  In response, Mr. Clement resigned from the firm and will carry on his defense of DOMA with a new firm.

Interestingly, Mr. Clement’s old firm has given pro bono representation to suspected terrorists incarcerated in Guantanamo, but can’t get up the nerve to defend a duly-enacted statute defending the definition of marriage that has always been understood by our society, and that has been repeatedly upheld against constitutional challenge.

This is a glimpse into the future.  We will be seeing more and more of this kind of “soft persecution” of those who oppose same-sex “marriage” — we will be marginalized, stigmatized, and frozen out of public life and even professional work.  It will be a test of moral courage to see how people respond.

Once More Unto the Breach

Sunday, April 3rd, 2011

The Governor of New York State has let it be known that he will soon begin to demolish the foundation of society.

Of course, he didn’t put it quite that way.  Instead, he promised to push for the passage of the so-called “Marriage Equality Act”, which would re-define marriage, which is the fundamental support of a healthy society.  The Governor is apparently not satisfied with the authentic meaning of marriage — a union of one man and one woman dedicated to the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of children.  Instead, he wants to change it to mean something that it cannot — a union between persons of the same sex.

Several times in recent years, the State Assembly has passed the bill to re-define marriage, but it has only come up for a vote once in the Senate, where it was defeated in 2009.  But it has risen again, and it appears that the Governor will put some of his considerable political muscle behind it.

This, in a state where there is a marriage and family crisis — where 41% of births are out-of-wedlock, only 66% of households with children are headed by a married couple, and there are over 50,000 divorces in families with children under 18.  Now is hardly the time to re-define marriage, leaving people with the impression that it is all about adult satisfaction and not about children, and that children don’t need both a mother and a father who are in a stable, life-long relationship.

For more information about this critical issue, and how you can take action, visit the webpage of the Family Life/Respect Life Office.  There you can find resources to get the pro-marriage message into our parishes and communities, and to answer some of the common misconceptions about this issue.

Ultimately, we need to make clear that this is not about “equal rights” or “discrimination”. Same sex couples have the right to live as they wish, but nobody has the right to re-define marriage for all of society.  Please take action today to defend marriage.

Two Men from Illinois

Thursday, February 24th, 2011

On March 4, 1861, Abraham Lincoln stood on the steps of the United States Capitol building and took the oath of office as President of the United States.  At that point, seven states had already voted to withdraw from the Union, and the beginning of hostilities loomed at Fort Sumter.  As he stood to address the nation, the new President was aware of the situation, and of his responsibilities.

One of the goals of his Inaugural Address was to reassure the citizens of the southern states that he would faithfully enforce the laws of the United States, including those that recognized slavery.  Many in the South believed that Lincoln was a radical who would flout the laws — and violate his own oath of office — in order to advance his anti-slavery policy agenda.  Of particular interest to the southerners was Lincoln’s position on the Fugitive Slave Act, an evil law that required federal officials to return escaped slaves to their masters — a law that Lincoln bitterly opposed on principle.

As Lincoln rose to speak, he was well aware that he was no longer just a politician, but he was the chief law enforcement officer of the United States, who had taken a solemn oath that he “will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States”.

Here is what Lincoln went on to say about the Fugitive Slave Act:

I take the official oath to-day with no mental reservations and with no purpose to construe the Constitution or laws by any hypercritical rules; and while I do not choose now to specify particular acts of Congress as proper to be enforced, I do suggest that it will be much safer for all, both in official and private stations, to conform to and abide by all those acts which stand unrepealed than to violate any of them trusting to find impunity in having them held to be unconstitutional.

In short, Lincoln promised to put his own policy preferences aside, to fulfill his oath to uphold even laws that he found odious.   He promised to be faithful to the Constitutional obligations of the presidency, even though that upset the anti-slavery forces who elected him.  This episode is, in part, why Lincoln is considered one of our greatest presidents.

Flash forward to the present day, and we find a very different situation.

The issue of same-sex “marriage” divides our nation.  Five states have legalized it and two others (including New York) recognize out-of state “marriages”, but forty-four states refuse to recognize it or its equivalent (“civil unions” or “domestic partnerships”) by statute or constitution.  That’s a pretty broad consensus against the re-definition of marriage.

In 1996, Congress passed the Defense of Marriage Act by overwhelming majorities, and President Clinton signed it into law.  This law provides that only marriages between one man and one woman will be recognized under federal law.  That law has been challenged, and a federal district court in Massachusetts found it to be unconstitutional.  That case is currently on appeal.

Now, remember that the President of the United States is, under the Constitution, the chief executive officer of our government.  That means that it’s his constitutional duty to implement and defend the laws of the United States, when they are challenged.  It is not for him to decide which laws shall be implemented, and which shall not — he’s required to execute them all.

Remember also that President Obama favors the legal recognition of same-sex “marriage”.  He’s not willing to say so explicitly now, but he did say it back when he was a State Senator in Illinois.   He claims that he’s “wrestling” with the issue, but nobody has any doubt about the outcome of that match, based on his statements on the campaign trail, and his record in office.

So it really comes as little surprise that today he announced through his Justice Department that he has unilaterally decided that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional, since it cannot, in his view, be supported by reasonable arguments.  As he intended, this decision has pleased to no end the “gay rights” movement, which has diligently supported him.

Make sure you understand what has happened here.  The President of the United States has decided that there is no reasonable argument to support the authentic definition of marriage, and believes that a ban on recognition of same-sex “marriages” violates some hidden provision of the Constitution that only he properly understands.

So, the President has directed the Justice Department not to defend the law in any further court challenges.  In other words, he has told executive branch employees that they should fail to do their duty.  Just as he has decided to refuse to do his.

Of course, the President has decided to eat his cake and still have it too.  He also said that the Defense of Marriage Act would continue to be enforced.  Huh?  He is basically saying that he he considers a federal law to be invalid, that he will not defend it when it is attacked, but he will nevertheless implement it.   How precisely an executive agency will be able to enforce a law that their boss has declared to be invalid is a mystery.

The only way that makes sense is that the President is begging for people to sue the federal government for the recognition of their same sex “marriages”, because he has already decided to surrender to them in court.  In other words, he wants to overturn the authentic definition of marriage, but he wants a court to do the deed, instead of using his political muscle to pass a law repealing it.

The President should re-read Lincoln’s Inaugural Address again.  That’s how a statesman behaves in a time of great public controversy — by doing his sworn duty, even if he finds it distasteful, even if it will annoy his backers.

There’s a different man from Illinois in the White House now, and a very different standard of constitutional integrity.

Judge Humpty Dumpty Has Ruled

Wednesday, August 4th, 2010

In his classic novel, Through the Looking Glass, Lewis Carroll describes a surreal argument between Alice and Humpty Dumpty over the meaning of words.  The dispute culminates in this exchange:

“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.”
“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”
“The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master — that’s all.”

Mr. Dumpty, meet Judge Vaughn Walker of the federal district court in California.

Judge Walker has just issued his much-anticipated ruling in the legal challenge to California’s Proposition 8.  That ballot initiative, which was passed by a majority of California’s voters in 2008, overturned an earlier judicial decision requiring the recognition of same-sex “marriages”, and amended the state constitution to ensure that only a man-woman marriage would be recognized by law.

Earlier this year, Judge Walker held a circus-like trial that was widely condemned for his obvious bias, and for the failure of the State of California to defend it’s own constitution.  It hardly comes as a surprise that the judge has now used his Tom Mix Decoder Ring (or is it his Rose-Colored Glasses) to find a right to same-sex “marriage” hidden deeply within the penumbras, umbras, emanations, exhalations and miasmas of the United States Constitution.  Marriage has been re-defined and constitutionalized to mean nothing that it has ever meant before, nothing that it ever could mean.

To get a sense of the so-called “merits” of the judge’s ruling, only one quote is necessary to ponder:

“Gender no longer forms an essential part of marriage.”

As George Orwell once said, “There are some ideas so preposterous that only an intellectual could believe them.” Or, it seems, a federal judge.

From such a premise, Judge Humpty Dumpty, our Black-Robed Platonic Guardian Ruler on the Court, has blithely repudiated democracy, the rule of law, history, tradition, and common sense.

By Order of the Court, All Defenders of Real Marriage are Irrational Bigots

Friday, July 9th, 2010

I’ve mentioned on several occasions that there is a movement in our nation to stigmatize anyone who opposes same-sex “marriage” as a bigot.  Yesterday, yet another of our Black-Robed Platonic Guardian Rulers in the Courts — I’m sorry, I mean a federal judge — has advanced that movement even further.

A federal district judge in Massachusetts yesterday struck down certain provisions of the Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”), claiming that it is unconstitutional.  You may recall that DOMA was passed  by Congress in 1996 by huge majorities (85-14 in the Senate, 342-67 in the House), and signed into law by President Clinton.  It guarantees two significant things — that for the purposes of federal law and benefits the word “marriage” means only a bond between a man and a woman, and that states cannot be required to grant legal recognition to same-sex “marriages” entered into in other states.  In fact, DOMA was considered to be so strong a law that it was used as the excuse by many legislators for declining to support the Federal Marriage Amendment, which would have defined marriage in our Constitution as being between one man and one woman.

This is a simple, common-sense law, and it is supported by wide margins in every public opinion poll ever taken.  But of course, in our judge-ocracy, that is not good enough.  Enter the district court in Massachusetts, which found that parts of DOMA violated the principles of federalism, as well as the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

The court’s legal reasoning, such as it is, doesn’t require too much comment, beyond the observation of legal scholar Ed Whalen that “This ruling strikes me as just plain nuts.”  I couldn’t agree more.  How can it violate the Constitution for the federal government to define what a word means, for the purposes of enforcing federal laws?  And how can it violate “equal protection” to treat relationships that are fundamentally different in a disparate way?

Two things about this ruling are most significant to me.  First is the statement by the court that:

… where, as here, there is no reason to believe that the disadvantaged class [i.e., those in same-sex “marriages”] is different, in relevant respects from a similarly situated class [i.e., those in man-woman marriages], this court may conclude that it is only irrational prejudice that motivates the challenged classification.

Yes, a United States court couldn’t figure out any difference between a man-woman marriage and a same sex relationship, and then proceeded to call every person who is a believing member of virtually every major religious group — Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim, whatever — an irrational bigot.  Talk about irrational.

The second significant thing was the approach taken by the Administration in this litigation.  Ordinarily, it’s the duty of the Justice Department to defend the constitutionality of federal statutes.  Unfortunately, the agenda of this Administration, which strongly favors “gay rights” in general and same-sex “marriage” in particular, trumped the duty of the Justice Department.  Instead of defending the reasons underlying DOMA, the Justice Department instead told the court that it “does not believe that DOMA is rationally related to any legitimate government interests in procreation and child-rearing.”   In other words, the Administration gave the judge a nod and a wink, implicitly telling him that they would like him to void the law.

There are many issues involved in these kinds of case:  the replacement of democracy by a judicial oligarchy, the inversion of values in our culture, the willingness of elites to impose their agendas on the people.  To me, the worst thing is the growing momentum behind the marginalization of religious persons, branding us as bigots.  That has frightening implications for the future.

A Bad Time for “Catholic” Public Officials

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

This has been a bad time for people who were baptized as Catholics, and who are now either public officials or candidates for public office.

First, we had the sight of Andrew Cuomo, Attorney General of New York and now the Democratic candidate for Governor.  Mr. Cuomo, a baptized Catholic, has long been an ardent supporter of the legal regime that permits the slaughter of unborn children, and has also proclaimed his support of the redefinition of marriage into something that it is not, and never has been, and never could be — a union of any two persons, regardless of sex.  And, it is sad to say, the teachings of the Church — much less the natural law — seem to have little or no impact on Mr. Cuomo’s thinking.

Next, we had the selection by Mr. Cuomo of a running mate for Lieutenant Governor.  Now, it has to be admitted that nobody has ever been able to identify the purpose of that office (aside from waiting for the Governor either to leave the state or resign in disgrace).  But it’s a position that has to be filled, and Mr. Cuomo selected the Mayor of Rochester, Robert Duffy.  Like his mentor, Mr. Duffy was also baptized as a Catholic, yet he too has proclaimed that he favors the legal destruction of human beings in the womb, and the radical re-definition of marriage.

So the Democrats are 0 for 2 this week.

Then, we have the imminent possibility that the Republican and Conservative Parties will nominate Rick Lazio for Governor.  Also a baptized Catholic, and also in favor of permitting the killing of unborn children with impunity, and favors “civil unions” for same-sex couples, even though that is just a re-definition of marriage by stealth.

Yes, the Republican and Conservative Parties are the ostensibly pro-life parties, which gives a pretty clear idea of the dismal state of New York politics for pro-lifers.

And finally, last but not least, we have yet again the spectacle of the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, demonstrating the old adage that sin darkens the mind and blunts the intellect.  Without any sense of self-awareness, the baptized Catholic yet ardently pro-abortion Ms. Pelosi spoke to a group of “Catholic” activists in May, in a speech that was just recently made public.  In her remarks, she said the following (I added the emphasis):

“They ask me all the time, ‘What is your favorite this? What is your favorite that? What is your favorite that?’ And one time, ‘What is your favorite word?’ And I said, ‘My favorite word? That is really easy. My favorite word is the Word, is the Word. And that is everything. It says it all for us. And you know the biblical reference, you know the Gospel reference of the Word.”

“And that Word is, we have to give voice to what that means in terms of public policy that would be in keeping with the values of the Word. The Word. Isn’t it a beautiful word when you think of it? It just covers everything. The Word.

“Fill it in with anything you want. But, of course, we know it means: ‘The Word was made flesh and dwelt amongst us.’ And that’s the great mystery of our faith. He will come again. He will come again. So, we have to make sure we’re prepared to answer in this life, or otherwise, as to how we have measured up.”

There has been no response yet from the millions of unborn children who have been killed while the deplorable Ms. Pelosi has had a hand in shaping American public affairs, and while she has accumulated a virtually uniformly pro-abortion voting record in Congress.

This calls to mind my favorite quote from Cardinal Egan.  He was speaking about Ms. Pelosi, but he might as well have been speaking about Mr. Cuomo, Mr. Duffy, and Mr. Lazio as well.

We are blessed in the 21st century with crystal-clear photographs and action films of the living realities within their pregnant mothers. No one with the slightest measure of integrity or honor could fail to know what these marvelous beings manifestly, clearly, and obviously are, as they smile and wave into the world outside the womb. In simplest terms, they are human beings with an inalienable right to live, a right that the Speaker of the House of Representatives is bound to defend at all costs for the most basic of ethical reasons. They are not parts of their mothers, and what they are depends not at all upon the opinions of theologians of any faith. Anyone who dares to defend that they may be legitimately killed because another human being “chooses” to do so or for any other equally ridiculous reason should not be providing leadership in a civilized democracy worthy of the name. (emphasis added)

If there’s one thing that’s clear from this, it’s that now, more than ever, we need to redouble our prayers for the conversion of heart of our public officials, especially those who are fellow members of the Church of Christ.

What Does the Word Mean?

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

The debate over same-sex “marriage” continues to roil our politics.  It regularly appears in legislatures, and there’s an important court case going on in California over it.

But a new study should make us ask a key question:  Just what do we mean by “marriage”?

Traditionally, marriage was defined as a life-long, sexually exclusive covenant between a man and a woman, directed to the procreation and education of children and to the personal good of the spouses.

When seen in that light, same-sex “marriage” just isn’t “marriage” – it’s something completely different.

Some same-sex “marriage” advocates have even rejected the idea of monogamy, and assume that their “married” relationships will not be sexually exclusive.  This has been confirmed by a new study of same-sex relationships, conducted in San Francisco.  The study found that the majority of the same-sex couples assume that they will not be sexually exclusive, they approve of such outside sexual relationships, and they have no intention of being faithful and monogamous.

So let’s take stock of how same-sex “marriage” fits into the definition of marriage.

  • “Life-long”?  Nope.
  • “Sexually exclusive”?  Nope.
  • “Man and woman”?  Nope.
  • “Procreation and education of children”? Not naturally.
  • “Good of the spouses”?  Well, maybe, but in what way is it different from any romantic relationship, or a “friends with benefits” relationship?
  • This has long been one of the unspoken truths behind the push for same-sex “marriage”.  The advocates want the legal rights that go along with marriage, they want the social acceptance of the term, and they want to force us to accept their relationships as “normal”.

    The only thing they don’t actually want is, well, marriage itself.

    It seems clear to me that the insight of the philosopher Inigo Montoya is relevant here:  “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”