Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Ryan Anderson explains how gay marriage is already infringing on religious liberty

Dr. Ryan Anderson writes about the threat to religious liberty in National Review.

Excerpt:

Thomas Messner, a visiting fellow at the Heritage Foundation, has documented multiple instances in which laws forbidding discrimination based on sexual orientation, as well as laws redefining marriage, have already eroded religious liberty and the rights of conscience.

After Massachusetts redefined marriage to include same-sex relationships, Catholic Charities of Boston faced a mandate to place children with same-sex couples. Rather than go against its principles, Catholic Charities decided to get out of the adoption business — a move that helps neither the orphans nor society. When Massachusetts public schools began teaching grade-school students about same-sex marriage, the town of Lexington’s school superintendent, Paul Ash, defended the decision to the Boston Globe with this statement: “Lexington is committed to teaching children about the world they live in, and in Massachusetts same-sex marriage is legal.” A Massachusetts appellate court ruled that parents have no right to exempt their children from these classes.

The New Mexico Human Rights Commission prosecuted a photographer for declining to photograph a same-sex “commitment ceremony.” Doctors in California were successfully sued for declining to perform an artificial insemination on a woman in a same-sex relationship. Owners of a bed-and-breakfast in Illinois who declined to rent their facility for a same-sex civil-union ceremony and reception were sued for violating the state nondiscrimination law. A Georgia wellness counselor was fired after she referred someone in a same-sex relationship to another counselor.

In fact, the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty reports that “over 350 separate state anti-discrimination provisions would likely be triggered by recognition of same-sex marriage.”

In a letter sent to priests, deacons, and pastoral facilitators in 131 parishes, the Catholic bishop of Springfield, Ill., explains that a same-sex-marriage bill state lawmakers are considering this year does not include meaningful protections for religious liberty:

[It] would not stop the state from obligating the Knights of Columbus to make their halls available for same-sex “weddings.” It would not stop the state from requiring Catholic grade schools to hire teachers who are legally “married” to someone of the same sex. This bill would not protect Catholic hospitals, charities, or colleges, which exclude those so “married” from senior leadership positions. . . . This “religious freedom” law does nothing at all to protect the consciences of people in business, or who work for the government. We saw the harmful consequences of deceptive titles all too painfully last year when the so-called “Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act” forced Catholic Charities out of foster care and adoption services in Illinois. . . . There is no possible way– none whatsoever — for those who believe that marriage is exclusively the union of husband and wife to avoid legal penalties and harsh discriminatory treatment if the bill becomes law. Why should we expect it be otherwise? After all, we would be people who, according to the thinking behind the bill, hold onto an “unfair” view of marriage. The state would have equated our view with bigotry — which it uses the law to marginalize in every way short of criminal punishment.

Georgetown University law professor Chai Feldblum, an appointee to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, argues that the push to redefine marriage trumps religious-liberty concerns:

For all my sympathy for the evangelical Christian couple who may wish to run a bed-and-breakfast from which they can exclude unmarried, straight couples and all gay couples, this is a point where I believe the “zero-sum” nature of the game inevitably comes into play. And, in making that decision in this zero-sum game, I am convinced society should come down on the side of protecting the liberty of LGBT people.

Indeed, for many supporters of redefining marriage, such infringements on religious liberty are not flaws but virtues of the movement.

Now, I have previously written that a good case can be made against same-sex marriage on secular grounds alone, but make no mistake – the more gay rights advance, the more religious liberty declines. This issue is not about equality, it’s about trampling on the rights of anyone who voices any disagreement with the gay lifestyle.

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Comprehensive survey of all the research (pro and con) on gay marriage

Ari and Mathetes sent me this amazing evaluation of all of the research on same-sex marriage.

Excerpt: (links removed)

The most detailed effort yet to open the hood and see what is actually inside these studies was performed by Loren Marks of the LSU School of Human Ecology, who published a paper in Social Science Research in 2012 examining the 59 published studies behind the APA’s breezy assertion of a scientific consensus. (Marks did not examine the other 8 studies cited by the APA, which were “unpublished dissertations.”) Marks opened his paper by comparing the research on same-sex families to the by-now bulletproof research showing the advantages of traditional married parents over “cohabiting, divorced, step, and single-parent families,” noting that those studies used “large, representative samples” such as “four nationally representative longitudinal studies with more than 20,000 total participants.” By contrast, Marks found:

-”[M]ore than three-fourths (77%) of the studies cited by the APA brief are based on small, nonrepresentative, convenience samples of fewer than 100 participants. Many of the non-representative samples contain far fewer than 100 participants, including one study with five participants”

-The samples were “racially homogenous,” none of them focusing on African-American, Hispanic or Asian-American families. Of course, social science studies of the family commonly find large racial disparities – picking an all-white sample is an extremely easy way to bias your results.

-More broadly, he cited a “continuing tendency of same-sex parenting researchers to select privileged lesbian samples…’Much of the research [still] involved small samples that are predominantly White, well-educated [and] middle-class.’”

-”[C]omparison studies on children of gay fathers are almost non-existent in the 2005 Brief.”

-”[I]n selecting heterosexual comparison groups for their studies, many same-sex parenting researchers have not used marriage-based, intact families as heterosexual representatives, but have instead used single mothers…[one pair of researchers] used 90.9 percent single-father samples in two other studies.”

-The APA, while ignoring these flaws in the studies it relied on, excluded one of the largest studies available, which had found significant differences in educational outcomes on the theory that assessments by teachers (i.e., tests and progress reports) were “subjective assessments.” Note the contrast between this and the APA’s eager acceptance of self-reporting by parents.

-Most of the studies ignored “societal concerns of intergenerational poverty, collegiate education and/or labor force contribution, serious criminality, incarceration, early childbearing, drug/alcohol abuse, or suicide that are frequently the foci of national studies on children, adolescents, and young adults,” and again the APA simply ignored one “book-length empirical study” that had used a more diverse sample and had concluded that “If we perceive deviance in a general sense, to include excessive drinking, drug use, truancy, sexual deviance, and criminal offenses, and if we rely on the statements made by adult children (over 18 years of age)…[then] children of homosexual parents report deviance in higher proportions than children of (married or cohabiting) heterosexual couples.”

-”[V]irtually none of the peer-reviewed, same-sex parenting comparison studies” looked at adults raised in same-sex parent homes, but only at children and adolescents, thus excluding from consideration social and emotional problems that are commonly observed only in adulthood. Research on children of divorce, for example, has found a number of problems that do not surface until adulthood.

Nobody who has not already made their mind up would find research of this nature conclusive of anything.

And regarding the new Regnerus large-scale study of gay parenting: (links removed)

One recent study that attempted to fix the problems Marks identified was published in the same edition of the same journal by University of Texas professor Mark Regnerus. Regnerus’ study had – as he freely admitted – limitations of its own, discussed below. But the reaction to Regnerus’ work – in contrast to how the badly flawed studies examined by Marks were swallowed uncritically – vividly illustrates why credible, unbiased research on this topic is so hard to come by.

Regnerus set out to do a truly randomly selected study over a large population sample, and to remove the problem of biased parental reporting by interviewing adults about their childhood experiences. His sample covered 15,000 respondents, and despite the subsequent firestorm, no problem was ever identified with his methods or the data he gathered. Unlike most of the prior research, the respondents with a “gay father” or “lesbian mother” (more on which below) were, respectively, 48% and 43% black or Hispanic. His findings were dramatic across numerous types of outcomes, detailing greatly elevated incidence of parental rape, parental pedophilia and suicidal tendencies; as he explained his findings,

Even after including controls for age, race, gender, and things like being bullied as a youth, or the gay-friendliness of the state in which they live, such respondents were more apt to report being unemployed, less healthy, more depressed, more likely to have cheated on a spouse or partner, smoke more pot, had trouble with the law, report more male and female sex partners, more sexual victimization, and were more likely to reflect negatively on their childhood family life, among other things.[...]Anyone familiar with how liberals respond to scientific findings they don’t like can predict what happened next: immediately upon the publication of his study, Regnerus was subjected to a campaign of vilification aimed at discrediting his work, destroying his professional reputation and deterring any other scholar from pursuing a similar line of inquiry. The University of Texas convened an audit of his study to deal with the pressure campaign, and the editor of the journal hired a prominent, vocal critic of Regnerus to audit the peer-review process that led to its publication. Andrew Ferguson and Matthew Franck detail the blow-by-blow of this campaign to destroy Regnerus.

And by and large, Regnerus passed the audits. The UT audit found “no falsification of data, plagiarism or other serious ethical breaches constituting scientific misconduct.”The journal audit grudgingly concluded the journal editor acted correctly, despite a lot of sniping by its hostile author at Regnerus and the peer reviewers. But the liberal blogs and newspapers continued to act as if Regnerus had been unmasked as a charlatan.

Twenty-seven scholars (including Marks) signed a joint letter defending Regnerus’ sample selection:

[T]he demographics of his sample of young-adult children of same-sex parents – in terms of race and ethnicity – come close to resembling the demographics of children from same-sex families in another large, random, and representative study of gay and lesbian families by sociologist Michael Rosenfeld that has been well received in the media and in the academy…We are disappointed that many media outlets have not done their due diligence in investigating the scientific validity of prior studies, and acknowledging the superiority of Regnerus’s sample to most previous research….We are also disappointed that many of our academic colleagues who have critiqued Regnerus have not publicly acknowledged the methodological limitations of previous research on same-sex parenting.

…Regnerus has been chided for comparing young adults from gay and lesbian families that experienced high levels of family instability to young adults from stable heterosexual married families. This is not an ideal comparison. (Indeed, Regnerus himself acknowledges this point in his article, and calls for additional research on a representative sample of planned gay and lesbian families; such families may be more stable but are very difficult to locate in the population at large.) But what his critics fail to appreciate is that Regnerus chose his categories on the basis of young adults’ characterizations of their own families growing up, and the young adults whose parents had same-sex romantic relationships also happened to have high levels of instability in their families of origin. This instability may well be an artifact of the social stigma and marginalization that often faced gay and lesbian couples during the time (extending back to the 1970s, in some cases) that many of these young adults came of age. It is also worth noting that Regnerus’s findings related to instability are consistent with recent studies of gay and lesbian couples based on large, random, representative samples from countries such as Great Britain, the Netherlands, and Sweden, which find similarly high patterns of instability among same-sex couples. Even Judith Stacey, a prominent critic of Regnerus’s study, elsewhere acknowledges that studies suggest that lesbian “relationships may prove less durable” than heterosexual marriages. Thus, Regnerus should not be faulted for drawing a random, representative sample of young-adult children of parents who have had same-sex romantic relationships and also happened to have experienced high levels of family instability growing up.

(Emphasis mine; footnotes omitted).

The vehemence of the attacks on Regnerus, by people who were happy to tout far less reliable studies, ought to be a gigantic red flag to anyone tempted to view the social science in this area as the work of disinterested professionals who care only to find the truth. And any tour of the work of Marks, Regnerus and their critics should disabuse anyone of the notion that we have ironclad-for-all-time scientific proof of equal outcomes that should be cast permanently into Constitutional law. Given the many common-sense reasons, grounded in experience, to think that both fatherhood and motherhood have unique value, the overwhelming scientific evidence that traditional marriage is superior to all the other family structures that have been studied, the relative recency and rarity of same-sex parent households and the current state of the science, the most logical answer is that both Congress and the voters of the State of California could rationally conclude that a family with a mother and a father is preferable to a family with two mothers and no father or two fathers and no mother.

I really urge all of my readers to click through and read this entire essay, and then please tweet or share it or send it to all your friends. We do NOT want a repeat of what happened when the liberal left rammed through no-fault-divorce, which was the first redefinition of marriage. We can’t afford another round of this. We already have a 42% out of wedlock birth rate, and it’s going up.

We’ve had the normalization of premarital sex put through by leftist public schools, taxpayer-funded contraception pushed through by the leftist Obama administration, and no-fault divorce pushed through by leftist feminists and leftist trial lawyers. We can’t keep taking shots at the institution of marriage. Marriage was designed from the start to protect and provide for innocent, vulnerable children. We are doing harm to children every time that we privilege the desires of adults over the needs of children. I find it disgusting that the people who are so influential at destroying marriage today are often the same ones who benefited from intact families and two loving parents yesterday.

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“Two Dads are Better Than One”: pro-gay adoption ABC profile of convicted pedophile

Earlier, I blogged about how Mark Newton had been convicted for pedophilia and received a 40-year prison sentence. This was reported earlier by the Sydney Morning Herald.

Since then, I was notified about a pro-gay-adoption article from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, in which the pedophile and his partner were profiled.

The article has been pulled from the ABC web site, but I found it in Google cache, and made a PDF of it.

Full text:

Headline: Two dads are better than one
Date: 14 July, 2010 5:04PM AEST
Author: Ginger Gorman

A shiny child’s bike lies on its side on the front lawn of an immaculate garden.

Around the back gay dads Pete and Mark chase their son’s pet chickens around, trying to catch them.

Drake, 5, exclaims that the little birds are too fast for him.

It’s a happy, relaxed family scene. But it wasn’t an easy road to get there. After many hurdles Drake was born by surrogacy in Russia.

“We decided that we would have a child, that it was time for us to have a family. We wanted to experience the joys of fatherhood and we started our surrogacy over in the United States back in 2002,” Pete said.

At the time, Pete and Mark were living and working in the US.

“Surrogacy rules and laws are much easier in the United States,” Mark said.

While not everybody was comfortable with the idea of surrogacy, Mark said the couple felt their options were limited.

“We knew that there were certainly plenty of women willing to do it so if it OK with them, then I guess it was OK with us,” he said.

Mark and Pete used the internet to find prospective mothers for the child they longed to have. Apart from the woman’s health, Pete said one of the big concerns was how genuine the candidates were.

“We have heard about a lot of scams and certain people who represent themselves as so-called surrogate mothers who are really out there just to make money,” he said.

Pete said the couple also wanted to make sure that any woman they employed as a surrogate fully understood the commitment she was making.

There was also the issue of whether the mother would actually give up her baby, Mark added.

After many failed attempts in the US, the cost was becoming prohibitive. The pair decided to try Russia as cheaper alternative.

That decision presented its own problems. Language was the main one. The couple took on a private Russian tutor and Pete gave up his job in Australia to oversee the process.

“We were very dedicated to making this work….we decided that at some point we didn’t have a budget. Our budget was anything that we had earned, anything that we had saved, anything that we could borrow to make this happen,” Pete said.

In the end Pete said they found a woman who they ‘clicked with personality-wise’.

“She was very quiet. She didn’t have a lot of demands or conditions that some of the other woman that we had met had. She seemed like somebody we could work with,” he said.

At the first attempt, Drake was conceived via artificial insemination using Mark’s sperm.

When asked why it was Mark’s sperm and not Pete’s, Mark laughed.

“A flip of the coin I think,” he said.

During the pregnancy the couple stayed in limited contact with the mother via a translator. Mostly they were in touch just when there were practical things to care of such as visiting a doctor or getting an ultrasound.

“We made it clear to her that we wanted her to take vitamins, that we wanted her to eat well. We provided the money to do that and we just had to hope that she would do it,” Mark said.

Neither man was at Drake’s birth because they felt it was important to protect the mother’s privacy.

When their son was five days old, Mark and Pete were handed their child. To their surprise, Drake’s mother gave them the baby and walked away.

“I think she had resigned herself to this much earlier on and was trying not to let emotions get in the way,” Mark said.

In fact, it wasn’t the mother who got in the way of Drake coming back to Australia with his two Dads. What followed was two and a half years of bureaucracy before the child received permanent Australian residency and another year before he got citizenship.

On arrival in Australia customs quizzed Mark and Pete for hours. Police were also sent around to their house on a Sunday morning to investigate.

“When people see two guys together, you know it’s like, ‘Where’s his mother?’ We’ve had a lot of people ask that,” Pete said.

“I think that even if one of us was a woman, we wouldn’t have had the same suspicions and problems that we went through.”

Thinking back to the police visit, Pete said the police seemed to want reassurance that the situation was ‘right’.

They checked if the couple had equipment to raise a child like a bed, clothes and bottles.

Mark said he’s sure that they were under suspicion of paedophilia. But despite the difficulties, he said the couple would do it again with no hesitation.

“We’re a family just like any other family,” he said with pride.

ABC has since pulled the article from their web site, to cover up what they did. The caption from the image in the article is: “Proud dads Pete (left) and Mark (right), had their son Drake by surrogacy in Russia. (Ginger Gorman - ABC)”. And you can still download the MP3 file from the article here, although I took a copy here. You can hear the proud dads talking with the ABC journalist in the MP3 file.

You can also find an article from a campus newspaper written by Mark Newton in which he advocates for gay marriage. I saved it as a PDF here. The article is from a campus newspaper called the Daily 49er from California State University, Long Beach.

UPDATE: Ace journalist Robert S. McCain is trying to dig into the story, but the ABC journalist who wrote the story has blocked him.

UPDATE: This post has been linked by the American Spectator and the Australian Daily Telegraph, as well as many other blogs. (See the trackbacks)

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Gay man gets 40-year sentence for molesting boy he adopted from Russia

Warning: The following story may be disturbing and offensive to some readers. Reader discretion is advised.

UPDATE: The Australian Broadcasting Corporation published an article praising the gay adoption by Mark Newton in 2010. I have posted the full text in this post and saved off a PDF. The article has since been pulled.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports on the latest example of gay adoption gone awry – this time from Australia. (H/T Mysterious S.)

Excerpt:

Standing before an American court convicted of the most heinous of child sex crimes, the double lives of Australian citizen Mark J. Newton and his long-term boyfriend Peter Truong were laid bare.

[...]Moments later Newton was sentenced to 40 years in prison for sexually abusing the boy he and Truong, 36 from Queensland, had ‘‘adopted’’ after paying a Russian woman $8000 to be their surrogate in 2005.

Police believe the pair had adopted the boy ‘‘for the sole purpose of exploitation’’. The abuse began just days after his birth and over six years the couple travelled the world, offering him up for sex with at least eight men, recording the abuse and uploading the footage to an international syndicate known as the Boy Lovers Network.

[...]Evidence before the court revealed the abuse began before the couple returned to Australia. One video is said to show Newton performing a sex act on the boy when he was less than two weeks old.

Judge Barker said the pair brainwashed the child to believe the sexual abuse was normal. Newton was also said to have trained the boy to deny any inappropriate behaviour if he was ever questioned by authorities.

Newton and Truong came to the attention of police in August 2011 after their connections to three men arrested over the possession of child exploitation material came to light. The couple had visited the three men in the US, New Zealand and Germany with their son.

[...]Newton and Truong claimed they were being targeted because they were homosexual.

This story comes on the heels of the new Labour Party leader Kevin Rudd’s promise to legalize gay marriage.

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Note: comments to this post will be strictly moderated because of the subject matter.

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How would redefining marriage affect your marriage?

An interesting article by Ryan T. Anderson appeared on Ricochet.

First, a bit about the author.

Ryan T. Anderson researches and writes about justice and moral principles in economic thought, health care and education as the William E. Simon Fellow in Religion and a Free Society at The Heritage Foundation. He also has expertise in bioethics, marriage, religious liberty and natural law theory.

Anderson, who joined Heritage’s DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society in 2012, also is the editor of Public Discourse, the online journal of the Witherspoon Institute of Princeton, N.J.

Anderson’s recent work focuses on the moral and constitutional questions surrounding same-sex “marriage.” He is the co-author with Princeton’s Robert P. George and Sherif Girgis of “What Is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense” (Encounter Books, December 2012). The three also co-wrote the article “What is Marriage?” in the winter 2011 issue of Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy.

[...]Anderson received his bachelor of arts degree from Princeton University, graduatingPhi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude. He is a doctoral candidate in political philosophy at the University of Notre Dame, where he received his master’s degree.

The point I wanted to pull out his piece on Ricochet was that gay activists admit that one of the motives for redefining marriage is to destroy central aspects of traditional marriage, such as monogamy, sexual exclusivity and pledged permanence.

He writes:

Redefining marriage would abandon the norm of male-female sexual complementarity as an essential characteristic of marriage. Making that optional would also make other essential characteristics—like monogamy, exclusivity and permanency—optional, as my co-authors and I argue in our new book, What Is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense. We also show how it is increasingly confirmed by the rhetoric and arguments of those who would redefine marriage (“revisionists”) and by the policies that their more candid leaders increasingly embrace. Indeed, several commentators on Tuesday’s post explicitly jettisoned monogamy, sexual exclusivity and pledged permanence as demands of marriage.

Consider the norm of monogamy. In testifying before Congress against the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), prominent New York University professor Judith Stacey expressed hope that the revisionist view’s triumph would give marriage “varied, creative and adaptive contours . . . [leading some to] question the dyadic limitations of Western marriage and seek . . . small group marriages.”

In their statement “Beyond Same-Sex Marriage,” more than 300  self-styled LGBT and allied scholars and advocates—including prominent Ivy League professors—call for legally recognizing sexual relationships involving more than two partners. University of Calgary professor Elizabeth Brake argues in her book Minimizing Marriage that justice requires using legal recognition to “denormalize the ideal of heterosexual monogamy” and correct for “past discrimination against homosexuals, bisexuals, polygamists and care networks.”

And exclusivity? Andrew Sullivan, who has extolled the “spirituality” of “anonymous sex,” writes in his book Virtually Normal that the “openness” of same-sex relationships could enhance the bonds of husbands and wives:

Same-sex unions often incorporate the virtues of friendship more effectively than traditional marriages; and at times, among gay male relationships, the openness of the contract makes it more likely to survive than many heterosexual bonds. . . . [T]here is more likely to be greater understanding of the need for extramarital outlets between two men than between a man and a woman. . . . [S]omething of the gay relationship’s necessary honesty, its flexibility, and its equality could undoubtedly help strengthen and inform many heterosexual bonds.

Similarly, in a New York Times Magazine profile titled “Married, With Infidelities”, Dan Savage encourages spouses to adopt “a more flexible attitude” about allowing each other to seek sex outside their marriage. A piece titled “Monogamish” in The Advocate, a gay-interest newsmagazine, supports this point still more candidly:

Anti-equality right-wingers have long insisted that allowing gays to marry will destroy the sanctity of “traditional marriage,” and, of course, the logical, liberal party-line response has long been “No, it won’t.” But what if—for once—the sanctimonious crazies are right? Could the gay male tradition of open relationships actually alter marriage as we know it? And would that be such a bad thing?

As the article’s blurb reads: “We often protest when homophobes insist that same-sex marriage will change marriage for straight people too. But in some ways, they’re right.”

These are the words of leading supporters of same-sex marriage. If you believe in monogamy and exclusivity—and the benefits these bring to orderly procreation and child wellbeing—but would redefine civil marriage, take note.

I wrote before about how feminism debased marriage, and same-sex marriage should be viewed as phase two of the radical feminist enterprise. Surprise! These left-wing groups don’t like natural, traditional marriage.

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