National Organization for Marriage president Brian Brown joined Steve Deace on Friday to discuss the marriage equality cases being argued this week at the Supreme Court. If the Court rules broadly in favor of equality, Brown said, NOM would turn its focus toward advocating for a Federal Marriage Amendment banning marriage equality throughout the country. Responding to conservatives who are concerned about the Federal Marriage Amendment’s infringement on states’ rights, Brown invoked Abraham Lincoln: “We need a solution in this country, we cannot be, as Lincoln said, half slave, half free. We can’t have a country on key moral questions where we’re just, where we don’t have a solution.”
I think we’re going to win these cases. But say the worst happens and we lose in a broad way – that means that the Court somehow does a Roe, a Roe v. Wade, on marriage and says that all these state constitutional amendments are overturned, gay marriage is now a constitutional right – well, we’re going to press forward on a Federal Marriage Amendment. We’ve always supported a Federal Marriage Amendment, and there’s a lot of misconceptions about it. Some people try and argue, ‘Well, this is against federalism.’ No, our founders gave us a system where we can amend the Constitution. We shouldn’t have to do this, we shouldn’t have to worry about activist judges, you know, making up out of thin air a constitutional right that obviously none of our founders found there and no one found there until quite recently. But if we do, for us, the Federal Marriage Amendment is a way that people can stand up and say, ‘Enough is enough.’ We need a solution in this country, we cannot be, as Lincoln said, half slave, half free. We can’t have a country on key moral questions where we’re just, where we don’t have a solution. And if the Court forces a solution, the way we’ll amend that is through the Federal Marriage Amendment.
Ex-gay activist Michael Brown was very excited to get a call on his “Line of Fire” radio program last week from an “ex-gay” woman named Margaret. Margaret cried as she told Brown how she had been “caught up” in “wicked” bisexuality. “This is the first time I’ve ever, ever admitted it,” she said, “because it’s a shameful thing.”
Brown responded that “it should be shameful” because “certain lifestyles are shameful. I’m ashamed of the fact I stole money from my father and shot heroin before I was saved.”
Brown: Margaret, how long were you caught up in bisexuality?
Caller: I hate to say it because it makes me want to cry, but it was at least since I was a little girl. I hate to say that, and it’s a horrible thing. And it’s not…
Brown: I understand, but these things can be deeply rooted in people’s lives and that’s why it takes God reaching down deep to change them.
Caller: It is.
Brown: By the way, the only reason I’ve used the term ‘gay’ is because I’m often speaking to the world and secular society and trying to reach out and build a certain bridge. But, absolutely, I’m very sympathetic to what you’re saying. And I have many of my friends doing the same thing I do who will never use the word because they feel it is a capitulation already, so I recognize that, and you make a good point with it. Margaret, thank God for his grace in your life, thank God for his transformation. And remember, you’re not who you used to be, don’t ever be plagued by that, you’re forgiven and free and a new creature in Jesus, so live that out and continue to testify strongly. Your voice is needed on the frontlines, Margaret. Thank you for calling.
Caller: Actually, this is the first time I’ve ever, ever admitted it because it’s a shameful thing.
Brown: I understand, I understand, and it should be shameful. What that means is not that if someone’s struggling they can’t come for help. The Church needs to be able to say, ‘Whoever you are, whatever your background, however your struggle, we’re all messed up in one way or another, we all need Jesus.’ We need to have an open door where people can come and say, ‘Hey, these are my issues.’ But of course, certain lifestyles are shameful. I’m ashamed of the fact I stole money from my father and shot heroin before I was saved.
Earlier in the program, Brown spoke with Arthur Goldberg of the ex-gay therapy group JONAH about suicide among LGBT teens. Goldberg asserted that claims that ex-gay therapy harms teens “are greatly, greatly, greatly exaggerated” and that, in fact, “gay activists have a much greater suicide rate.”
Brown responded that gay rights activists, when they mention suicide by gay teens, are “almost encouraging it.” He compared suicide by LGBT teens to his hazy memory of the civil rights movement, when “I don’t remember ever hearing” about “black kids killing themselves, hanging themselves because they’re rejected by society.” In the 19th and early 20th centuries, he adds, “you didn’t hear about all the Jewish youth in the ghettos who were going to kill themselves because life was tough.”
Goldberg: You mention that the activists will say, ‘Oh well, people may have committed suicide that have gone through this process or have been harmed by this process.’ Well the fact of the matter is, the person who, the gay activists have a much greater suicide rate..
Brown: Of course.
Goldberg:…than the people who have tried to go through a healing journey. And, in terms of harm caused, the fact of the matter is if you look at the NARTH study, which reviewed all the professional literature on whether harm is caused or not, the truth is that reparative therapy, gender affirmation, whatever word you want to use for it, sexual orientation change, there’s a ton of different words for it, the fact is that people, the claims of harm are greatly, greatly, greatly exaggerated.
Brown: Yeah, and Arthur, we’ve just got about a minute and a half, I appreciate you pulling away from your other responsibilities to join me. But you were involved with civil rights movement years ago. Did the leaders say, ‘Look, our kids, our black kids are killing themselves, hanging themselves because they’re being rejected by society, so you’d better accept them’? Because I don’t remember ever hearing that as I was growing up. And not only so, we understand that suicide has a lot of other complex issues, that you’re average person struggling with rejection is not going to commit suicide. It seems to me almost a self-defeating thing for gay activists to keep mentioning this, as if it’s almost encouraging it. It seems very different from the civil rights mentality to me.
Goldberg: Totally, totally. And you know, they use this term of ‘internalized homophobia’ and they use these terms of saying that, ‘Oh, we’re the poor victims.’ You know, the fact of the matter is, I’m a Jew. Okay, we were heavily discriminated against as Jews, particularly early in this century and last century. You don’t see the Jews complaining about, ‘I’m a poor victim.’ They went out and did something on their own in the true American dream, and followed the American dream by being out, get out there and do what it takes to overcome.
Brown: Absolutely, and you didn’t hear about all the Jewish youth in the ghettos who were going to kill themselves because life was tough. They were among the strongest freedom fighters. So, Arthur, I’m not criticizing these kids who are struggling, I’m saying let’s help them, that they’re really hurting.
Goldberg: Absolutely. Our compassion and our heart goes out to these people who need help.
Sen. Rob Portman has, unsurprisingly, been faced with a barrage of criticism from Religious Right groups since he announced that, inspired by his gay son, he had changed his mind to support marriage equality. But perhaps no one has been more upset with Portman than Ohio anti-gay leader Phil Burress of Citizens for Community Values. Last week, Burress called Portman “a very troubled man” who is “distraught over what’s happened to his son.”
On Wednesday, Burress took to “ex-gay” activist Michael Brown’s “Line of Fire” radio program to recount a conversation he had with Portman shortly before the senator’s announcement. Portman was “dejected” and “basically sad throughout the conversation,” Burress says. And while Burress had initially thought Portman was “looking for help for his son to walk away from the lifestyle” through "ex-gay" therapy, it eventually became “obvious that he was going to embrace his son’s behavior, which was devastating, because he just gives his son no chance whatsoever of understanding, you know, that he doesn’t have to be that way.”
Burress knows who to blame for this change of heart in father and son: Yale University, where the younger Portman is currently a freshman. At Yale, Burress says, Portman’s son was “probably associating with the other homosexual activists” and ultimately “forced his dad’s hand on this thing.”
Burress: He called me the night before he went public and told me that he was the first one that he wanted to call, and we shared ideas and thoughts. And when he first called me, I thought he was looking for help for his son to walk away from the lifestyle, because I’m pretty sure that he knows that I spent four and a half years on the board of an international organization helping people walk away. And he dropped the bomb on me by saying he was going to change his opinion, which I still today cannot believe that he did that because this is a principled issue and you just don’t turn your back on principled issues.
Brown: Phil, do you think, and you wrote a very gracious but firm editorial that’s getting a lot of national exposure, do you think that he was unaware before this that his son felt that his homosexuality was not a choice? Because he announced it as if this was a new revelation.
Burress: Well, he knew about it for two and a half years. So, apparently in thinking back, he, they learned about it while he was a freshman in high school, and now he’s a, excuse me, a junior in high school, and now he’s a freshman at Yale. And I don’t think there’s any coincidence to this whatsoever that he came home, probably associating with the other homosexual activists at Yale, and I think maybe he forced his dad’s hand on this thing because, that’s just my gut feeling, because Rob started off the conversation by saying, ‘I’ve got some really bad news,’ and he was dejected and basically sad throughout the whole conversation. And it ended up being a conversation, a dad to a dad, but it was obvious that he was going to embrace his son’s behavior, which was devastating, because he just gives his son no chance whatsoever of understanding, you know, that he doesn’t have to be that way. And I told him that it’s not innate, it’s a learned behavior.
Later in the program, Burress promised electoral defeat for Portman if he runs for reelection in 2016. Burress notes that former Ohio Republican Sen. Mike DeWine lost his bid for reelection in 2006 after opposing a state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. Burress neglects to mention that DeWine, who supported a federal gay marriage ban, in fact lost to Democrat and gay-rights supporter Sherrod Brown.
Brown: What do we do now? Do we just say, ‘Another loss, throw in the towel, America’s capitulating,’ or can we bring about change?
Burress: We can bring about change alright, and what’s surfacing now is what happened to Mike DeWine, Senator Mike DeWine, when he opposed us in 2004. I chaired the marriage amendment in Ohio to change the constitution here in Ohio and Senator DeWine came out against us. And he’d been in the Senate for, I think, two or three terms, and obviously that cost him his election. When he ran again, he got beat because he switched his position. And there’s no doubt in my mind that the same thing’s going to happen, based on the emails and the calls we’re getting, is that people are not only devastated but are angry that they have somebody up there that they voted for to represent their point of view and their values and he’s turned his back on them. This is a non-negotiable issue with our organization and he will be listed on our annual, what we call Ohio Election Central, our reporting agency where we endorse candidates, as ‘unacceptable for public office.’
A new poll by the Public Religion Research Institute and Brookings Institution documents that broad and growing support for comprehensive immigration reform, including a path to citizenship for immigrants now in the country illegally, cuts across religious and political lines. Sixty-three percent of Americans, including majorities of all religious groups, agree that immigration reform should provide a path to citizenship, along with 71% of Democrats, 64% of independents, and 53% of Republicans. The survey’s unusually large size – 4,465 interviews conducted in both English and Spanish – allowed the pollsters to draw conclusions about religious and political subgroups.
In a panel discussion of the poll results in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, March 21, Brookings fellow William Galston pointed out that 58% of white working class Americans support the DREAM Act and 56% support reform that includes a path to citizenship.
Columnist and Brookings fellow E.J. Dionne noted that the “halfway” position that has been promoted by some Republicans – a legal status that falls short of citizenship – is the least popular of three options among rank-and-file Republicans – after a path to citizenship and mass deportation. Dionne noted that on immigration reform the Republican leadership has a “coalition management problem” that Democrats do not face.
On that point, Robert Jones, CEO of the Public Religion Research Institute, said that the Tea Party represented the biggest challenge for pro-reform Republicans. Tea Party supporters were the only group expressing majority support for a “self-deportation” strategy. Among Republicans, 57% of evangelicals not associated with the Tea Party support a path to citizenship. Among non-evangelical Tea Party members, support for a path to citizenship is 46%; support drops to 44% among Republicans who are white evangelicals and Tea Party members. Jones said this “Teavangelicals” group constitutes about 10 percent of the Republican rank-and-file; in contrast, Republicans who are neither Tea Partiers or evangelicals make up nearly half of those who consider themselves Republicans and 54% of them support a path to citizenship.
WASHINGTON – People For the American Way today applauded President Obama’s nomination of Tom Perez, head of the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, to be Secretary of Labor.
Michael Keegan, President of People For the American Way, said:
“Tom Perez is an excellent choice to head the Labor Department. Under his watch, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division has been restored to the promise of its founding, fighting to protect the rights of military families, students, homeowners, people with disabilities, people of color, LGBT people, and those disenfranchised by restrictive voting laws. He has demonstrated strong leadership and a commitment to protecting the rights and dignity of all Americans. These traits will serve him well as Secretary of Labor.”
This piece is the seventh in a series of guest blog posts on “Why It’s Time to Dump DOMA.” In the weeks leading up to the Supreme Court arguments on the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act, we’re asking friends of PFAW to share why dumping DOMA matters to them. Be sure to check back soon for the latest post in the series.
Nine years ago, as I was preparing to leave Ohio University, I said goodbye to Adam, one of my best friends. I remember writing to him in a card that I hoped our husbands would someday get to meet. That November – November 3, 2004 to be precise – I was on the phone with him, and he was heartbroken at what for many was a difficult election (including Ohio passing a state constitutional amendment limiting marriage to the union of one man and one woman).
Fast forward to 2011, and a visit with Adam and his partner of several years, Michael. Marriage equality came up in conversation. It seemed to us to be possible but still five or ten years away.
Then came 2012. In May, President Obama affirmed his support for the freedom to marry of same-sex couples. In December, the Supreme Court agreed to hear cases challenging California’s Proposition 8 and the federal Defense of Marriage Act.
With oral arguments looming at the end of the month, Adam’s reaction to the President’s announcement rings ever more true:
THANK YOU President Obama! Those of you who know Michael and I: we have such an incredibly strong, stable, loving relationship. Opening our relationship up to marriage does nothing but STRENGTHEN the institution!
That’s exactly why we should dump DOMA.
Yes, dumping DOMA is just one step on the long road to marriage equality. But it’s an important step, and one that’s many years overdue. DOMA unconstitutionally defines marriage for all federal purpose as the union of one man and one woman. That means that legally married couples in nine states and the District of Columbia are denied the more than one thousand rights and benefits that the federal government ties to marriage. That means that these couples and families aren’t afforded the safety and security that comes along with many of those rights. That means that they are discriminated against based solely on their sexual orientation.
That means that if Adam and Michael were to legally marry, despite progress made under the Obama administration, the federal government – bound by the discrimination enshrined in law – would have no choice but to turn its back on them in most cases.
That is not right. Dump DOMA.
Jen Herrick, Senior Policy Analyst
People For the American Way
Intrepid FrontPageMag reporter Mark Tapson didn't quite find what he was looking for when he infiltrated the Muslim Student Association’s annual West Coast conference last month...but, he alleges, that's just more proof of a secret Muslim Brotherhood plot to "radicalize" college students.
Tapson told Janet Mefferd in a radio interview Friday that far from finding anything “radical” or “damning” at the conference, “it was largely very innocuous.” He had high hopes for a workshop called “Islamatics,” for instance, but found that it was just about Islam and American politics. He even took pains to register for the conference under a “variation” of his name, only to be admitted with no questions asked.
But Tapson has a theory about why the MSA’s conference was so “innocuous.” It’s all part of Muslim Brotherhood plan, he tells Mefferd, to capture “the hearts and minds of the young.” This campus organizing and community-building, he says, “radicalizes them and it steers them toward further radicalization down the line.”
Tapson: Um, there were some lesser speakers who also got political. There was a workshop called “Islamatics,” which I expected to be more interesting than it actually was. It was basically a Washington, DC, Muslim talking about lining up Islamic ideals with the current political parties, ‘bridging the gap between their religion and their votes,’ as he put it.
Tapson: But, you know, it was largely very innocuous. I mean, there was nothing beyond what I’ve already told you, really. There was very little that you’d consider radical. Highly politicized, yes, but nothing damning.
Mefferd: I think this is very true that, from what you’ve reported, that there wasn’t a lot of radical talk and it was kind of innocuous in a lot of respects, but you point out that for the Muslim Brotherhood front groups that organized this thing, it serves as a very successful recruitment and radicalization tool. Is that really, at root, the reason for the conference, or at least a primary reason for the conference, that other groups, CAIR or ISNA or, you know, whatever it is can have contact with a younger generation?
Tapson: Oh, absolutely. It’s all about the younger generation. And, politicizing and organizing that younger generation in campus groups and strengthening their sense of community as Muslims, strengthening their campus activism, that’s all, that’s a very important goal because it radicalizes them and it steers them toward further radicalization down the line. So, yeah, it's all about capturing the hearts and minds of the young.
Mefferd: Oh, wow.
Often lost in the debate over marriage equality is the fact that many of its leading opponents aren’t just interested in keeping the status quo on marriage. Instead, they're seeking to reverse what they see as a decline that began with laws granting greater freedom to women within marriages – specifically, the right to no-fault divorce.
In a conversation with radio host Janet Mefferd Friday, anti-gay writer Frank Turek responded to marriage equality supporters who point to divorce rates among straight couples. “You don’t make the car better by slashing another tire on it,” he said. “ You go back and repair the first tire. And I’m the first one to say that the bigger problem right now is no-fault divorce.”
Turek: I would agree with them that heterosexuals have debased it, heterosexuals have slashed one of the tires of marriage. But that’s not an argument for slashing another tire.
Mefferd: Good point, good point.
Turek: You don’t make the car better by slashing another tire on it. You go back and repair the first tire. And I’m the first one to say that the bigger problem right now is no-fault divorce.
Mefferd: Ah, yes.
Turek: But that is not an argument for same-sex marriage, in fact it’s an argument against it. Why? Because it shows you that when you liberalize marriage laws, you actually have a negative effect on society, which is what the no-fault marriage laws have done. So if you’re going to make marriage even more liberal, if you’re going to even further tear down the definition of marriage and make it totally genderless now, you’re going to have even worse results. You’re going to have even more illegitimacy, more kids that aren’t taken care of.
Now, I know the same-sex marriage advocates are going to say, ‘What, so same-sex marriage is going to do to your marriage?’ Well, it’s not going to do anything to my personal marriage, but it’s going to debase the institution of marriage into the future, make it a genderless institution, and that will hurt children and hurt the whole country.
While the Supreme Court prepares to take up cases on marriage equality, the Family Research Council’s latest mailing [PDF] takes on ENDA – the federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act. “Like a B-grade 1950’s horror-movie, ENDA is coming back from the dead,” warns FRC President Tony Perkins. Perkins says President Obama is working with the “totalitarian homosexual lobby” to sneak ENDA into law, and if that happens, “Our freedom of religion will be destroyed.” The American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer sounded a similar alarm in January.
“In fact,” says Perkins in his new letter, “under ENDA biblical morality becomes illegal.”
What ENDA would really do is simply extend existing protections against various forms of legal discrimination in the workplace to include sexual orientation and gender identity. The real point of the FRC letter is to raise money from people who think persecution of Christians in America is just around the corner, if not well under way:
“And no battle could be more urgently important than the battle against NEDA. The rights of more than 60 million Americans – the right to live and share our faith and live according to biblical values – are literally at risk of being vaporized by a single vote of Congress or the stroke of the President’s pen.”
Polls show overwhelming public support for protecting gay and transgender people from discrimination on the job. But that doesn’t matter to FRC, which has a lot invested in convincing its supporters that LGBT equality is incompatible with religious freedom.
Several years ago, FRC warned that a federal hate crimes law would be used to silence preachers. Other religious right leaders said Christians would be tossed into jail for preaching against homosexuality. That legislation was signed into law in 2009; as Perkins himself makes clear, the freedom to trash-talk LGBT people has survived.
The Thomas More Law Center, a right-wing legal group whose advisory board includes Rep. Michele Bachmann and former Rep. Allen West, is warning the Supreme Court that a ruling in favor of marriage equality would lead to “ideological totalitarianism” and hand gay rights advocates “a legal weapon with which to beat down ideological opponents.”
In an amicus brief filed last week [pdf], Thomas More argues:
To enshrine one side of a deeply divisive issue in constitutionally untouchable concrete is to fashion a legal weapon with which to beat down ideological opponents, at the cost of intellectual liberty. For this Court to say that it is irrational or illegitimate for a government to recognize, and act upon, the distinction between the potentially procreative marital act, and every other sexual act, would be for this Court implicitly to declare as irrational, benighted, or bigoted, all those individuals who adhere to the traditional view of marriage.
Already those who dare to voice objections to any part of the political program of various LGBT advocacy groups risk vilification, marginalization, or worse. Liberty suffers when one side of a debate is delegitimized as a matter of constitutional law.
In Lawrence, this Court has held that sexual acts between persons of the same sex may not be prohibited. But to go further and say that no government may treat such acts as different, for purposes of government policy or official recognition, from the unique marital acts of a man and a woman, would be enormously to expand the constitutional power this Court already affords sexual choices as such. To take that additional step would be to declare unacceptable and illegitimate the recognition of the uniqueness of the marital act. Those who subscribe to that recognition, in turn, then become pariahs, ignoramuses, or bigots in the eyes of the law.
Opponents of the legal redefinition of marriage already face the prospect of significant retaliation. Equating such persons, as a matter of constitutional law, with racist rednecks or backwards fools, serves as a legal license to continue or increase the legal and social marginalization of such persons. The price is the loss of liberty for those individuals who can no longer obtain gainful employment in their fields….and the loss of intellectual diversity for larger society…This Court should not foster the imposition of what would be, in effect, an ideological totalitarianism, i.e., a regime in which the unquestioning acceptance of the same-sex marriage movement represents the only permissible point of view. (Citations omitted)
The Thomas More Law Center is prone to this sort of dramatic prediction. The group unsuccessfully sued the Justice Department over the Shepard-Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which it claimed would create “a special class of persons who are ‘more equal than others’ based on nothing more than deviant, sexual behavior.” The group further claimed that "the sole purpose of this law is to criminalize the Bible and use the threat of federal prosecutions and long jail sentences to silence Christians from expressing their Biblically-based religious belief that homosexual conduct is a sin." The Shepard-Byrd Act, of course, only imposes jail sentences on people who have actually committed crimes and has yet to “criminalize the Bible.”
There was no way that Generations Radio hosts Kevin Swanson and Dave Buehner were going to miss out on the debate over whether the Boy Scouts should allow openly gay members. Swanson and Buehner, who previously warned that legal civil unions would allow the government to snatch homeschooled children and give them to pedophiles, have similarly dark premonitions of what will happen if the Boy Scouts allow gay members. Allowing openly gay Boy Scout leaders, Swanson says, is no different than letting convicted child molesters or serial killers teach preschool. The Boy Scouts, Buehner warns, are not far from “opening a new summer camp called Camp Sandusky.”
Swanson: You don’t want homosexuals adopting, you don’t want them involved in foster care, and you certainly don’t want them involved in the Boy Scouts.
Buehner: In other words, if God won’t give them children, don’t give them children?
Buehner: Look. I think what’s happening here is NBC is probably cheerleading for an outcome they hope will happen, trying to create some pressure where there was no pressure. But we will know if the Boy Scouts of America announce they’re opening a new summer camp called Camp Sandusky. If they open Camp Sandusky, they’ve pretty much given in.
Swanson: That’s it. Yep, that would be it. That would be the end of it. I would hope that there would be some families out there that say, you know, if the Boy Scouts open up Camp Sanduksy, if the homosexuals are invited into the Boy Scouts to be scout leaders, I would hope there are some families out there that would still be concerned. And not to say that the Gospel shouldn’t make it, tell the homosexuals, they’ve…again, people have come back to us and say, ‘You guys aren’t very loving, you’re not very loving, you know, you don’t want to reach out to these people.’ Just the fact that we don’t want child molesters coming out of our prison system and working with our Boy Scouts doesn’t mean we don’t want people going into the prison system and witnessing the Gospel to the child molesters. I think people have a hard time getting two things in their mind at the same time. Just the fact that you don’t want a serial killer, you know, in your preschool taking care of your little girls and boys doesn’t mean that you don’t love them enough to bring the Gospel to them.
Buehner is none too hopeful about the future, warning that allowing gay people into the Boy Scouts could start a slippery slope that eventually leads to a mass exodus from the country or “a call to arms.”
Buehner: The proper, the Puritan revolution, the American revolution, all happened under a lesser magistrate, that is, a local magistrate, lesser in the sense of law, that keeps order. It needs to be done in a legal way. So that’s when we begin to flee the country. That’s when we start thinking about it. So, right now, you might want to think, depending on how the Boy Scouts rule, you might want to take your children out of Boy Scouts. But if the homosexuals then take away rights to homeschooling and you’re not able to disciple your children in the fear of the Lord, then you might have to leave the country or the state or whatever. And then thirdly, if that is shut off, if you can’t leave the country peaceably, then it’s probably a call to arms.
Back in 2010, when a federal district court in California heard the first legal challenge to the anti-gay Proposition 8, the judge asked the attorney defending Prop 8 how marriage equality would hurt the ability of straight couples to bear and raise children. The attorney sputtered and answered, “I don’t know.” A key witness for Prop 8’s supporters had the same answer, and later changed his mind to support marriage equality.
Four years later, the case is coming before the Supreme Court, and marriage equality opponents are still struggling to answer that question. In an amicus brief [pdf] filed with the court last week, the anti-gay Liberty Counsel took a shot at it. If marriage equality is achieved, Liberty Counsel argues, “Many boys will grow up without any positive male influence in their lives to show them what it means to be a man, and many girls will grow up without any female influence to show them what it means to be a lady.”
Not only does Proposition 8 further the state’s interest in steering childrearing into the husband-wife marriage model, but it furthers the important interest in providing male and female role models in the family. Male gender identity and female gender identity are each uniquely important to a child’s development. As a result, one very significant justification for defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman is because children need a mother and a father. We live in a world demarcated by two genders, male and female. There is no third or intermediate category. Sex is binary. By striking down Proposition 8, this Court will be making a powerful statement: our government no longer believes children deserve mothers and fathers. In effect, it would be saying: “Two fathers or two mothers are not only just as good as a mother and a father, they are just the same.”
The government promotion of this idea will likely have some effect even on people who are currently married, who have been raised in a particular culture of marriage. But this new idea of marriage, sanctioned by law and government, will certainly have a dramatic effect as the next generation’s attitudes toward marriage, childbearing, and the importance of mothers and fathers are formed. By destroying the traditional definition of marriage, the family structure will be dramatically transformed. Many boys will grow up without any positive male influence in their lives to show them what it means to be a man, and many girls will grow up without any female influence to show them what it means to be a lady.
The repercussions of this are incalculable and will reshape the culture in which we live. Many children learn appropriate gender roles by having interaction with both their mother and their father and by seeing their mother and their father interact together with one another. By redefining marriage to state that this is not a family structure that the state wants to foster and encourage, this Court will be overturning centuries of historical understandings of family and the home.
To give you an idea of the kind of parenting that Liberty Counsel supports, its lawyers Mat Staver and Rena Lindevaldsen, who are named on its brief, are also representing a woman accused of kidnapping her daughter rather than let her have contact with her other mother (the woman’s former same-sex partner).
Earlier this week, we looked at the slightly conflicted amicus briefs that the Family Research Council submitted to the Supreme Court ahead of its consideration of two major marriage equality cases. Today, Warren Throckmorton alerts us that the “ex-gay” group Parents and Friends of Gays and Ex-Gays (PFOX) has submitted its own brief to the Court.
The PFOX amicus brief [pdf], unsurprisingly, argues that gays and lesbians should not be a “protected class” under the law because homosexuality “is not an immutable characteristic.” As evidence, it presents the stories of four self-proclaimed “ex-gays” whose lives purportedly show that “sexual orientation can shift over time and does so for a significant number of people.”
One of the stories the brief presents is that of “Richard Cohen, M.A…an ex-gay who is now married with 3 children. He struggled for much of his life with unwanted same-sex attraction. Richard is the founder of the International Healing Foundation (IHF) and the author of Coming Out Straight, Gay Children Straight Parents, Let’s Talk About Sex, and Alfie’s Home.”
As it happens, Cohen is one of the most prominent purveyors of reparative therapy, the harmful process of trying to “cure” homosexuality that was recently banned for minors in California. And his book Alfie’s Home, cited in PFOX’s Supreme Court brief, is the most horrifically disturbing children’s book we have ever seen. We know, because we are unlucky enough to have a copy in our research library. Here is some of what the Justices have in store if they check out Cohen’s work:
Alfie’s Home was published in 1993 by Cohen’s International Healing Foundation. It starts out with a picture of the protagonist on a boat with his dad.
But it goes bad fast, going right for the right-wing myth that homosexuality is caused by childhood sexual abuse…
…and by insufficiently attentive parents:
Eventually, Alfie seeks help and takes part in the “touch therapy” advocated by Cohen…
…which leads him to “realize that I’m not gay” and start dating a woman:
You can see Cohen’s “touch therapy” in practice in this 2006 CNN interview:
He also made a cameo on the Daily Show.
For their own sakes, I hope the Justices don’t look too far into Cohen’s story. But if they do, they’ll get a revealing glimpse of the world that is trying to sink gay rights laws across the country.
Kevin Swanson of Generations Radio has a dark view of what will come if Colorado passes a bill allowing civil unions for same-sex couples. As soon as 2022, Swanson warns, the government will snatch kids from homeschooling families and deliver them to members of the North American Man/Boy Love Association, a tiny fringe group that looms large in the nightmares of the anti-gay movement. He cites the discredited Regnerus study, which drew conclusions about LGBT parenting without actually studying LGBT parents.
Swanson: You need to understand the agenda here. What’s happening is they want homosexuals to be able to be involved in adoption and foster care as much anybody else. So picture a nice little homeschool family, just trying to do the right thing. An anonymous tip comes in, social services swoops in, they grab the kids in the year 2022 and the kids get remanded into a home with homosexuals and these particular homosexuals happen to be tied into NAMBLA and other things. You know what’s going to happen. There will be proper indoctrination into a certain kind of worldview, shall we say.
Buehner: One that the Bible calls for capital punishment. That kind of worldview. It’ll be a tragedy in that house.
Swanson: Yeah. It’s a tragedy. It’s a tragedy. And I think there are a lot of concerned parents. There are concerned Catholic parents. There are concerned homeschool parents. And especially when you get a Regnerus study that comes out and says they’re ten times more likely to be touched sexually by a parent in a homosexual home than, you know, the normal American secular home. Wow. That’s frightening.
But it won’t end there. Swanson walks us through his version of gay history, from “weird” and “decadent” marriages during the reign of Nero to the early 20th century when there were only “three homosexuals in the world” to the present day when “we have a problem that’s probably about 10,000 times if not 100,000 times worse than it was 100 years ago.” We’re coming full circle, Swanson argues, and soon gay-friendly churches “will do their best to burn Christians at the stake or do what Nero did… because that’s sort of the history of homosexuals.”
Ladies and gentlemen, this is not the first time society’s had to deal with this kind of issue, but man, it is out of the closet, it is probably more significant, it is probably more widespread than it has ever been in the history of the world. Just remember about 100 years ago, you had three homosexuals in the world as far as anybody really knew. There was a Canadian named Robert Ross, an Englishman named Oscar Wilde, an American named Walt Whitman. They led the charge in the early 1900’s and wound up in and out of the prison system and in court and so forth for a period of time. And again, there was only about three that anybody knew of and it was hardly anything that was mentioned among the established world at that time, that is in Europe, Canada and America. But you did have those three men, as far as history bears out, Robert Ross, Oscar Wilde and Walt Whitman were well-known for some level of homosexual activity, although they could not call themselves homosexuals at that time.
Well now, of course, it’s the most out of the closet and the encouragement to the homosexual lifestyle is everywhere and we have a problem that’s probably about 10,000 times if not 100,000 times worse than it was 100 years ago. I don’t know how far this one’s gonna go my friends. I’m not sure the world has ever gone to homosexual marriage. I think Nero tried it, it was very, very odd, very weird, very, very decadent for the Roman Empire. It’s about the worst the Roman Empire ever, ever got, under Nero. And of course the persecutions that came with Nero were intense for the Church of Christ in Rome at that time. Today, it might be a little different because you have a lot of quote-unquote apostate Christian churches that have adopted homosexuality and they will do their best to burn Christians at the stake or do what Nero did, I’m sure, in the years to come, because that’s sort of the history of homosexuals and what they have done ever since they were banging on the doors outside of Lot’s house.
As we noted earlier today, the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer has claimed that both the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” and the end of the ban on women serving in combat positions will deter so many volunteers that the military will be forced to reinstate the draft.
On Focal Point today, Fischer drew a direct line between “Big Gay” and women in combat. “Malicious” and “sinister” gay rights activists, he claims, are “trying to destroy the military,” which will ultimately mean “they’re going to have a tough time filling their ranks with qualified soldiers. So they’re going to have to go to the draft, and that means your daughters are going to be pulled into the draft and they could be sent into combat to die, whether they want to do it or not, because of Big Gay.”
WASHINGTON – People For the American Way today applauded President Obama’s proposal for comprehensive immigration reform, which includes equal rights for same-sex couples.
“The president has proposed a common-sense and necessary approach to immigration reform, which includes protections for LGBT families,” said Michael Keegan, President of People For the American Way. “Any effective immigration reform must include equal rights for LGBT people. Our immigration policies must place a priority on keeping families together, including LGBT families. Too many bi-national, same-sex couples have seen their families torn apart by a federal government that refuses to recognize their relationships. That policy runs counter to our values and weakens us as a nation.”
“We are glad that President Obama recognizes the need to protect LGBT families,” added Keegan. “We will fight to make sure that all families are recognized in the final law.”
Yesterday, PFAW called a bipartisan immigration proposal from Senate, which includes a path to citizenship, "an important step in the right direction."