Tag Archives: Gay Marriage

Ryan T. Anderson lectures on marriage and why it matters

Marriage and family
Marriage and family

Here’s the lecture:

About the speaker:

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

Anderson, who joined the leading Washington think tank’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 at Heritage focuses on the constitutional questions surrounding same-sex “marriage.” He is the co-author with Princeton’s Robert P. George and Sherif Girgis of the acclaimed book “What Is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense” (Encounter Books, December 2012).

The lecture starts at 7:20 in. The lecture ends at 49:35. There are 32 minutes of Q&A.

Introduction:

  • When talking about marriage in public, we should talk about philosophy, sociology and public policy
  • Gay marriage proponents need to be pressed to define what marriage is, on their view
  • Every definition of marriage is going to include some relationships, and exclude others
  • It’s meaningless to portray one side as nice and the other mean
  • Typically, marriage redefiners view marriage as a more intense emotional relationship
  • Marriage redefiners should be challenged in three ways:
  • 1) Does the redefined version of marriage have a public policy reason to prefer only two people?
  • 2) Does the redefined version of marriage have a reason to prefer permanence?
  • 3) Does the redefined version of marriage have a reason to prefer sexual exclusivity?
  • Also, if marriage is just about romance, then why is the state getting involved in recognizing it?
  • The talk: 1) What marriage is, 2) Why marriage matters, 3) What are the consequences of redefining marriage?

What marriage is:

  • Marriage unites spouses – hearts, minds and bodies
  • Marriage unites spouses to perform a good: creating a human being and raising that human being
  • Marriage is a commitment: permanent and exclusive
  • Male and female natures are distinct and complementary

The public purpose of marriage:

  • to attach men and women to each other
  • to attach mothers and fathers to their children
  • there is no such thing as parenting, there is only mothering and fathering
  • the evidence shows that children benefit from mothering and fathering
  • boys who grow up without fathers are more likely to commit crimes
  • girls who grow up without fathers are more likely to have sex earlier
  • Children benefit from having a mother and a father
  • can’t say that fathers are essential for children if we support gay marriage, which makes fathers optional
  • without marriage: child poverty increases, crime increases, social mobility decreases, welfare spending increases
  • when government encourages marriage, then government has less do to – stays smaller, spends less
  • if we promote marriage as an idea, we are not excluding gay relationships or even partner benefits
  • finally, gay marriage has shown itself to be hostile to religious liberty

Consequences redefining marriage:

  • it undermines the norm in public like that kids deserve a mom and a dad – moms and dads are interchangeable
  • it changes the institution of marriage away from the needs of children, and towards the needs of adults
  • it undermines the norm of permanence
  • we learned what happens when marriage is redefined before: with no-fault divorce
  • no-fault divorce: after this became law, divorce rates doubled – the law changed society
  • gay marriage would teach society that mothers and fathers are optional when raising children
  • if marriage is what people with intense feelings do, then how can you rationally limit marriage to only two people?
  • if marriage is what people with intense feelings do, then if other people cause intense feelings, there’s no fidelity
  • if marriage is what people with intense feelings do, then if the feelings go away, there is no permanence
  • the public policy consequences to undermining the norms of exclusivity and permanence = fatherless children and fragmented families
  • a final consequences is the decline and elimination of religious liberty – e.g. – adoption agencies closing, businesses being sued

We’re doing very well on abortion, but we need to get better at knowing how to discuss marriage. If you’re looking for something short to read, click here. If you want to read a long paper that his book is based on.

Related posts

Ryan T. Anderson presents the case for natural / traditional marriage

Does government provide incentives for people to get married?
What effects does redefining marriage have on society?

A must-read long paper from the Heritage Foundation. It’s a great concise presentation of the reasons why the United States should not redefine marriage. (H/T A tweet from Ryan T. Anderson)

Abstract:

Marriage is based on the truth that men and women are complementary, the biological fact that reproduction depends on a man and a woman, and the reality that children need a mother and a father. Redefining marriage does not simply expand the existing understanding of marriage; it rejects these truths. Marriage is society’s least restrictive means of ensuring the well-being of children. By encouraging the norms of marriage—monogamy, sexual exclusivity, and permanence—the state strengthens civil society and reduces its own role. The future of this country depends on the future of marriage. The future of marriage depends on citizens understanding what it is and why it matters and demanding that government policies support, not undermine, true marriage.

Excerpt:

Supporters of redefinition use the following analogy: Laws defining marriage as a union of a man and a woman are unjust—fail to treat people equally—exactly like laws that prevented interracial marriage. Yet such appeals beg the question of what is essential to marriage. They assume exactly what is in dispute: that gender is as irrelevant as race in state recognition of marriage. However, race has nothing to with marriage, and racist laws kept the races apart. Marriage has everything to do with men and women, husbands and wives, mothers and fathers and children, and that is why principle-based policy has defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

Marriage must be color-blind, but it cannot be gender-blind. The color of two people’s skin has nothing to do with what kind of marital bond they have. However, the sexual difference between a man and a woman is central to what marriage is. Men and women regardless of their race can unite in marriage, and children regardless of their race need moms and dads. To acknowledge such facts requires an understanding of what, at an essential level, makes a marriage.

And a bit later:

If the law taught a falsehood about marriage, it would make it harder for people to live out the norms of marriage because marital norms make no sense, as matters of principle, if marriage is just intense emotional feeling. No reason of principle requires an emotional union to be permanent or limited to two persons, much less sexually exclusive. Nor should it be inherently oriented to family life and shaped by its demands. This does not mean that a couple could not decide to live out these norms where temperament or taste so motivated them, just that there is no reason of principle to demand that they do so. Legally enshrining this alternate view of marriage would undermine the norms whose link to the common good is the basis for state recognition of marriage in the first place.

Insofar as society weakens the rational foundation for marriage norms, fewer people would live them out, and fewer people would reap the benefits of the marriage institution. This would affect not only spouses, but also the well-being of their children. The concern is not so much that a handful of gay or lesbian couples would be raising children, but that it would be very difficult for the law to send a message that fathers matter when it has redefined marriage to make fathers optional.

And one last one:

In fact, much of this is already occurring. Heritage Foundation Visiting Fellow Thomas Messner has documented multiple instances in which redefining marriage has already become a nightmare for religious liberty.[48] If marriage is redefined to include same-sex relationships, then those who continue to believe the truth about marriage—that it is by nature a union of a man and a woman—would face three different types of threats to their liberty: the administrative state, nondiscrimination law, and private actors in a culture that is now hostile to traditional views.[49]

After Massachusetts redefined marriage to include same-sex relationships, Catholic Charities of Boston was forced to discontinue its adoption services rather than place children with same-sex couples against its principles.[50] Massachusetts public schools began teaching grade-school students about same-sex marriage, defending their decision because they are “committed to teaching 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.[51]

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 counselor was fired after she referred someone in a same-sex relationship to another counselor.[52] 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.”[53]

This article is long and comprehensive. It will take some time to read. It’s includes logical arguments as well as empirical evidence from research – with footnotes. I really recommend taking a look at the article. Even if it takes a long time to read, it will definitely expand your mind to think about why we had a definition of marriage in the first place, and what we would lose by changing that definition. When you debate people who want to redefine marriage, it’s very important to appeal to logical arguments and evidence from studies. Get the conversation away from emotions and instead introduce facts and arguments.

My favorite book on the marriage issue is Ryan Anderson’s “Truth Overruled”. If you don’t have it, I really recommend it.

Are gay rights and children’s rights compatible?

Marriage and family
Marriage and family

Here are a couple of articles from The Federalist which made me think that gay rights are not compatible with children’s rights.

Here is the first article that talks about growing babies on demand in labs, and also surrogacy:

In the years leading up to the Supreme Court decision nationalizing gay marriage, Obergefell v. Hodges, and in the short span since, the debate is already leagues beyond whether gays should adopt babies who are already born and need homes. Now we are grappling with the reality of buying and selling babies. Don’t pretend that’s not what it is—there’s a financial exchange for growing a baby. What else would you call it?

Buying a child via surrogacy is cruel and selfish. Most often it deprives her of knowing at least one biological parent in addition to the mother who nourished and supported her for nine months and brought her into the world. Buying a baby from a lab, even if she’s made up completely of the commissioning couple’s DNA, is even more cruel and selfish. It could deprive her of any mother at all.

If two men are “conceiving” a child, that baby must be grown in a surrogate or, when the technology permits, an artificial womb, which would certainly be more convenient and with fewer legal pitfalls but less humane.

Motherhood begins with gestation, not birth, but in the case of a lab gestation, there would be no mother. Babies recognize their mother’s voice from hearing it in the womb, and as experts on surrogacy have explained, human pregnancy creates a deep, lifelong bond between mother and baby.

Family therapist Nancy Verrier said in an interview for the documentary “Breeders: A Subclass of Woman?,” “The baby is hurt by the separation, by the loss, of that mother that it knows.” What trauma, then, would a child with no mother experience?

Lab-grown babies would be a great leap in commodifying children. This is a progression in lockstep with both the sexual revolution, which bestows legitimacy to a wide array of sexual orientations and arrangements, and with modern feminism. Both the New Sexuality and feminism declare to gay couples and single women: “If a baby sounds nice to you, who should tell you you cannot have what you want?” Genetic engineering is the latest tool in that effort to meet demand for babies, and the stakes are high.

Do children need their biological mother and father to raise them? Do children benefit from having two parents who have (minimally) a biological stake in their development?

Recent, comprehensive research conducted by Dr. Paul Sullins at the Catholic University of America has found that “children with samesex parents are assessed at higher levels of distress, compared to children with opposite-sex parents, for every measure of child emotional difficulty, developmental difficulty or treatment service.” Additionally, children of same-sex couples, “are at almost four (3.6) times the risk of emotional problems when compared to children residing with married biological parents.” Sullins also found that, “Risk of child emotional problems is 1.9-2.2 times greater, significant at .01 or better, with same-sex parents than with opposite-sex cohabiting parents or step-parent family.”

According to this study, which was far more comprehensive than the small ones popularized by the media that claim the opposite, it is more beneficial for children to be raised by two opposite-sex parents, and when they are raised by married opposite-sex biological parents, the rates of distress to children are nearly twice as low.

Here’s the second article, which lists more problems for children who are created through lab conception or by surrogacy:

  1. Commodification of Children. Children are not products, they are humans with inherent rights and thus worthy of protection. Selecting desirable embryos based on health, appearance, gender, race, or other characteristics treats humans as products, not people. This kind of behavior is appropriate when purchasing a car, but not when having a child.

  2. Right to life. The embryos deemed unacceptable were likely destroyed. And often commissioning parents will, for the sake of maximizing their investment, implant multiple embryos and then “selectively reduce” (that is, abort around 20 weeks) the unwanted children, even if they are perfectly healthy.

  3. Right to their mother. Children have a right to both biological parents. They are not items to be cut and pasted into the romantic configuration of adults.  Like every other child, these girls are made by, and will likely long for, a relationship with both biological parents. Kids don’t just need “love and safety.”  They actually crave male and female parental love and receive unique and complimentary benefits from both mother and father.

  4. Right to their genetic information. Children crave, and have a right to, their biological identity. Not only because they want to understand who they are, but it’s also critical for their long term medical health- and the health of their own children. It’s a violation of a child’s right to arbitrarily deny them access to half of their biology.

  5. Right to their heritage. Biological connection mattered enough for these commissioning fathers to ensure that each dad got one biological child.  Probably because they wanted grandchildren and great-grandchildren related to them as well. But it works the other way too. Children have a right to know, and desire to be known by, both sides of their extended family and racial/ethnic culture whenever possible.

  6. Right to be born free—not bought and sold. As mentioned in the article, purchasing eggs and employing a surrogate costs $100,000- $200,000. Many children born via sperm and egg donation are troubled that money exchanged hands over their conception, no matter how little.  I heard one adult child painfully remark “My father (sperm donor) was paid $75 to stay out of my life forever.”

  7. Subjecting children to increased medical risks. Pregnancies resulting from reproductive technologies are more likely to involve complications. Children born through surrogacy, for example, are more likely to be premature, suffer from low birth weight, and have trouble adjusting likely due to “the absence of a gestational connection to the mother.”

To understand why these practices are wrong, we have to stop looking at the selfish adults, and listening to their self-centered sob stories. We have to think about the children. About the children’s need to not be lost in a universe without the two people who chose to bring them into being. Growing up is a scary thing. It doesn’t get better for children when they can’t even have relationships with the two people who made them. We all need those relationships. It goes against common sense to dismiss the effect of parents being biologically related to their children. Biological parents have more of a perceived stake in the development of their biological children. We need to give children what they need.

Debunked: study claiming shorter lifespans for gays caused by discrimination

Gay activist vandalizes pro-marriage sign
Gay activist vandalizes pro-marriage sign

In the New York Post, Naomi Schaefer Riley writes about a study used by gay activists to bully those who disagree with their agenda.

She writes:

The headlines were unsparing and unambiguous. “Anti-gay Stigma Shortens Lives,” wrote US News & World Report.

“Anti-Gay Communities Linked to Shorter Lives,” said Reuters. “LGB Individuals Living in Anti-Gay Communities Die Early,” according to Science Daily.

Two years ago, these stories were hard to ignore when Columbia professor Mark Hatzenbuehler found that gays and lesbians who faced prejudice in their communities had a life expectancy 12 years shorter than those who lived in more accepting areas. Just so we’re clear, that’s bigger than the lifespan gap between regular smokers and nonsmokers.

We always knew prejudice was bad, but an Ivy League researcher had found that there were significant effects on the physical health of those experiencing it.

But where, one might wonder, were the headlines when another researcher tried to replicate Hatzenbuehler’s effects and came up empty?

Last month, Mark Regnerus, a professor at UT Austin, published an article in the journal Social Science and Medicine that concluded that “ten different approaches to multiple imputation of missing data yielded none in which the effect of structural stigma on the mortality of sexual minorities was statistically significant.”

In other words, Regnerus tried seven — er, 10 — ways from Sunday to try to get the same results as Hatzenbuehler using the exact same data, but failed. Which means, he concluded, that “the original study’s . . . variable (and hence its key result) is so sensitive to subjective measurement decisions as to be rendered unreliable.”

This isn’t the first time that a study authored by a gay activist has run into evidential problems.

That story was reported in the far-left Politico.

They say:

One of the authors of a recent study that claimed that short conversations with gay people could change minds on same-sex marriage has retracted it.

Columbia University political science professor Donald Green’s retraction this week of a popular article published in the December issue of the academic journal Science follows revelations that his co-author allegedly faked data for the study, “When contact changes minds: An experiment on transmission of support of gay marriage.”

[…]The study received widespread coverage from The New York Times, Vox, The Huffington Post, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and others when it was released in December.

The equally leftist Washington Post is even more forceful – calling the data a complete fake.

Excerpt:

[…]…[W]hat really happened was that the data were faked by first author LaCour. Co-author Green (my colleague at Columbia) had taken his collaborator’s data on faith; once he found out, he firmly retracted the article.

Ironically, LaCour benefited (in the short term) by his strategy of completely faking it. If he’d done the usual strategy of taking real data and stretching out the interpretation, I and others would’ve been all over him for overinterpreting his results, garden of forking paths, etc. But, by doing the Big Lie, he bypassed all those statistical concerns.

But the real issue is whether the negative health (and mental health) outcomes of homosexuality can be attributed to the lifestyle itself. The gay activists want you to believe that disagreement with their choices causes the negative effects. But the science shows the opposite: even in countries where there is no “stigma” against homosexuality, the unhealthy physical and mental outcomes persist.

Life Site News reports.

Excerpt: (links removed)

While many assume that family rejection is the leading cause of depression among LBGTI individuals, a new study has found that in fact the problem appears to stem predominantly from the higher incidence of relationship problems among homosexuals.

Dr. Delaney Skerrett led a team of researchers from the Australian Institute for Suicide Research and Prevention (AISRAP) in studying suicides in Queensland. He found that a leading cause of suicide among “lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex” (LGBTI) people is stress from their romantic partners.

“We tend to assume that the psychological distress LGBTI people are often going through is due to family rejection. But it seems that’s not so much the case. The conflict seems to be largely related to relationship problems, with partners,” Dr. Skerrett said.

[…][T]he study, which was published on April 2 in Asia Pacific Psychiatry, found that “LGBT individuals experienced relationship problems more often” than heterosexuals, “with relationship conflict also being more frequent than in non‐LGBT cases.”

That confirms previous studies finding that homosexuals also face higher rates of intimate partner violence than heterosexuals. A 2007 study in the Journal of Urban Health, which is published by the New York Academy of Medicine, found that 32 percent of homosexuals have been abused by at least one partner during their lifetime.

The researchers with AISRAP also found that a higher percentage of homosexuals took their lives [out] of despondency, rather than other psychological illnesses. While one-eighth of all Queensland suicide victims had been diagnosed with a psychosis that impaired their judgment, Skerrett reports “there were no such diagnoses among LGBT individuals.” The conclusion adds to the consensus that depression disproportionately besets active homosexuals.

Maybe the problem is with the person who is making the bad decisions, and not with the people who disagree with the bad decisions?

Before the rise of secularism, Americans believed in conscience

Dissent, disagreement, conscience and religious liberty
The importance of respecting the conscience of others

In the last 50 years, America exchanged religious liberty for hedonism. We used to believe that conscience was a good thing, and we respected individual differences rooted in religious convictions. But today, secular leftist politicians, lawyers and judges attack Christians using the courts. Pro-lifers, pro-marriage business owners, and people expressing Christian convictions in public have all felt what it is like to have conscience attacked by the secular leftist state.

Let’s take a look at what things were like in a different time when moral convictions had not been destroyed by secular leftism.

Consider this article in The Federalist about a new movie called “Hacksaw Ridge”.

Excerpt:

Over last weekend, I saw the new Mel Gibson flick “Hacksaw Ridge.” Gruesome and at times overshadowed by lead actor Andrew Garfield’s awkwardness, “Hacksaw Ridge” was an ode to the age-old American custom of protecting dissent by protecting the conscience.

In an age when attacks upon conscience and religious liberty grow more and more fiery, the true tale of World War II hero Desmond Doss’ conscientious objection to killing is a reminder of the difficult stakes involved in ensuring that individual liberty is the presumption that government takes toward individuals, even during war.

“Hacksaw Ridge” is the story of Doss, a Seventh Day Adventist whose religion prohibited taking the life of a fellow human being. Doss, obviously a patriot, felt obligated to serve in World War II as a medic. Where war is the business of taking life, Doss saw his role as helping save lives. That he does, as his heroism is on full display in his military record and receiving the Medal of Honor from President Truman.

The article has 6 sections.

The first one makes the point about how things have changed:

1. The Conscience Is Sacred

Doss arrived at his pacifism through religious conviction. It was an ethical precept he arrived at by religious devotion and piety, which means his pacifism was not something arbitrarily considered. Throughout the movie, the tattered Bible he carried with him everywhere he went symbolized the solemnity of his beliefs. Standing before a court martial, he was willing to go to jail for his convictions.

This is important today because so much hostility is based in rejecting religious motivation around contentious issues such as sexuality. Liberals are inclined to believe that any and all opposition to the ever-expanding lexicon of the sexual revolution is based in animus. That’s hogwash. Today’s dissenters from the sexual revolution have no use for animus. Rather, they believe the purposes of sexuality and human embodiment are different than what secular progressivism teaches.

Doss’ sincerity is a reminder that the convictions people arrive at by religious motivation are not designed to be capricious, but are ordered toward certain ends that people will naturally disagree about.

Part 3 was also good, because it explains efforts by Republicans to pass laws like the Religious Freedom Restoration Act – laws that are opposed by atheists in the Democrat party:

3. It’s Good to Accommodate People’s Consciences

When almost court-martialed for insubordination, Doss insists that his desire all along was to be a medic. This request was eventually approved. In the movie, we see the U.S. government preserve a man’s conscience by assigning him a duty that did not violate it. The U.S. government was right to accommodate Doss where accommodations can be made. In this move, it recommitted itself to an important principle at the heart of our constitutional system: The presumption of liberty.

This means it is government’s burden to prove infringing upon a person’s liberty is absolutely necessary. In Doss’ case, it was deemed unessential for him to carry a weapon, so he served in a different capacity. This is at the heart of legislation like the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which puts the burden on the government to prove its case and make every last accommodation where possible.

The problem with people on the secular left today is that they have no empathy. For them, other people have no right to disagree because it makes them feel bad – but they don’t see how jail time and fines amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars makes the victim of their legal attacks feel bad:

5. Protecting Conscience Means Developing Empathy for Others’ Convictions

As the movie’s plot develops, Doss’ fellow soldiers come to understand that his motives aren’t sinister. They realize that, when freed to live faithfully, Doss is there to help save their lives. Throughout this, and when they learn of his sincerity, his enemies-turned-friends gained a greater understanding of Doss’ convictions. They came to understand the force of his resolve, which dampens their mockery.

In one visceral scene in particular, Doss and the most intense warrior in his battalion are in a foxhole together. There, in seeing Doss’ devotion to sacrifice and conscience, his enemy-turned-friend makes lighthearted gestures recognizing that Doss’ motives are pure. In the crucible of conflict, progress occurs.

As in the case of Doss, protecting conscience doesn’t mean you will agree with the conscience you’re protecting. In fact, disagreement underscores the very need for protection. If conscience and religious liberty are simply ideas our society supports when popular, such protections are easily undone.

One of my favorite passages in the Bible talks about conscience.

1 Corinthians 4:2:

1 This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.

2 Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful.

3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself.

4 For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me.

You can clearly see in today’s gay rights movement the problem with the government choosing to favor sinful behavior over religious liberty. People who are involved in sinful lifestyles don’t have the ability to do the right thing when it comes to respecting others. Engaging in a sinful lifestyle corrupts the ability to be respectful of the human rights of others. The desire to feel good and be approved of is seen as more important than respecting the right of others to disagree.

Who knows how far the secular left would go to punish dissenters from gay marriage? Although the media doesn’t cover it, there have been countless episodes of violence and vandalism, workplace persecution and job terminations, not to mention an armed attack by a domestic terrorist at the Family Research Council building. Because people in a sinful lifestyle don’t respect conscience rights of those who disagree. Conversely, when a person stands alone for a moral virtue (e.g. – chastity), there is no desire to compel others.