Liberty Counsel’s Matt Barber is on high alert after a federal judge issued a final ruling striking down Utah’s ban on polygamous relationships, and joined Janet Mefferd yesterday to discuss the ruling, which he said was just the latest sign that support for same-sex marriage took a “sledgehammer” to our society and will send it all “tumbling down.”
Barber lamented that Americans are too busy to do the careful analysis that would lead them to agree with him and instead are buying into the gay rights movement’s “propaganda.”
“Unfortunately, much of America right now is — you know, we’re all busy, people don’t have time to actually engage the process of analysis on these things and look that A leads to B that leads to C, and take it all the way down to Z, which is disastrous — they don’t have time for that, and people buy into the propaganda,” he said.
“I just hope that people will recognize that when we deviate and try to redefine something that cannot be redefined — particularly when that thing, we’re talking about marriage here, is a fundamental cornerstone of any society — if we take a sledgehammer to that cornerstone, the results are disastrous and everything comes tumbling down.”
On her “Mission America” radio program yesterday, Linda Harvey weighed in on the National Organization for Marriage’s boycott of Target in response to the company’s filing of a court brief in support of marriage equality.
Harvey echoed NOM in taking particular issue with Target’s characterization of same-sex marriage bans as “bans” and “discrimination.”
“Have you noticed how this is how headlines often read these days?” Harvey said. “They talk about laws on natural marriage as being ‘bans’ on same-sex so-called marriage. And that’s incorrect because people who are male can still marry people who are female. The only obstacle for a few people is the presence of unnatural desires. Those desires can change with a different mind and heart.”
Later in the broadcast, Harvey read from a response she received from Target, in which the company expressed support for the “LGBT community.”
“So where’s the inclusivity for traditional values families? Target also thinks there’s an LGBT community, but what about a Christian morals community? Do they get the fact that most people have had it up to here with pushing deviance and perversion into everyone’s lives in America? That most Americans don’t accept the idea of two men or two women being married when they are obviously not?”
In a WorldNetDaily column today, Joseph Farah came up with a creative argument for exempting businesses that deny services to gay couples from nondiscrimination laws. Opposing same-sex marriage, Farah argues, is itself a “sexual orientation” and therefore a law prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation is actually discriminatory against the sexual orientation of marriage equality opponents.
Let me pose a hypothetical intellectual challenge: The law that forms the basis for the action against the Giffords in New York is a provision that bans discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Yet, isn’t that precisely what is happening to the Giffords? Are they not being coerced to accept and approve someone else’s sexual orientation? Are they not permitted to hold their own sexual orientation, one that acknowledges their God’s definition that marriage is a union of one man and one woman?
The Giffords are not campaigning to prevent other people from following their own conscience as to their sexual choices and activities. It’s just the opposite. They are being coerced by the state to take part in the sexual choices and activities of others.
Isn’t that obvious?
Farah finishes things up on more familiar ground, attempting to tie together the gay rights movement and Islamic radicals.
When “non-discrimination” becomes victimization of those with different religious and moral convictions, we literally have the establishment of a state religion and, effectively, the repeal of the First Amendment.
Who wants that?
It’s not Christians.
It’s not Jews.
Just look around and see for yourself.
Some people are trying to get the state to force those with different values, morals and religious idea to serve them in ways that violate their consciences.
I only see that kind of coercion demanded among two groups of people today – those who believe in the unlimited power of the state as their “god” and others who believe their god wants them to kill or subjugate all “infidels.”
Yesterday's marriage equality ruling from a federal district court in Florida, like so many before it, strikes down laws preventing same-sex couples from marrying. And like all the ones before it, this ruling isn't a theoretical treatise on the law, but a legal opinion affecting real people.
All of the people suing to vindicate the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution have a story to tell. All of them are important. The judge briefly describes them, such as this lesbian couple:
Arlene Goldberg married Carol Goldwasser in New York in 2011. Ms. Goldwasser died in March 2014. The couple had been together for 47 years. Ms. Goldwasser was the toll-facilities director for Lee County, Florida, for 17 years. Ms. Goldberg is retired but works part time at a major retailer. The couple had been living with and taking care of Ms. Goldwasser's elderly parents, but now Ms. Goldberg cares for them alone. Social-security benefits are Ms. Goldberg's primary income. Florida's refusal to recognize the marriage has precluded Ms. Goldberg from obtaining social-security survivor benefits. Ms. Goldberg says that for that reason only, she will have to sell her house, and Ms. Goldwasser's parents are looking for another place to live.
Think about it: If the grieving Arlene Goldberg loses her house just because she couldn't get married, that is what victory for the Religious Right looks like.
Recall that the Religious Right has not only spent the past thirty or forty years fighting to prevent gays and lesbians from marrying. They have also fought tooth and nail against every advance in civil rights that has come during that time, affecting employment discrimination, child custody, healthcare decisionmaking ... you name it. Victory for them has meant forcibly separating parents from their children, firing gay teachers, making grieving mourners lose their homes, and much, much more.
Fortunately, most Americans don't side with the Religious Right. More and more Americans are recognizing that whatever negative assumptions they may have once had about lesbians and gays were simply not true. And they're realizing that discriminatory policies cause real harm to real people and should be changed. Most Americans don't like the idea of gratuitously hurting completely innocent people.
As for the Religious Right, hurting innocent people isn't just an infrequent or accidental byproduct of the movement's policies. They have been dedicated for decades to denying LGBT people as many legal rights as possible. The harms caused by the absence of those rights is what victory looks like for them.
Finally, some good news: today a federal judge in Florida struck down the state’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples.
U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle, nominated by President Clinton in the 1990s, ruled the 2008 ban unconstitutional on equal protection and due process grounds and predicted that future generations will look back with shock at the views of those who supported the ban:
'When observers look back 50 years from now, the arguments supporting Florida’s ban on same-sex marriage, though just as sincerely held, will again seem an obvious pretext for discrimination,' Hinkle wrote. 'Observers who are not now of age will wonder just how those views could have been held.'
While the decision has been stayed — meaning that couples cannot immediately begin getting married — it is a significant step forward for equality. Congratulations, Florida!
Robert George, the reigning intellectual godfather of the Religious Right, complains in an interview with the Christian Post today that judges who recognize the right of same-sex couples to marry are not only ignoring the Constitution, they are ignoring his own brilliant arguments.
George, co-author of the Manhattan Declaration and co-founder of the National Organization for Marriage, published a law review article and book, “What is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense” with Sherif Gergis and the Heritage Foundation’s Ryan Anderson. George is quite proud that Justice Samuel Alito cited their arguments in his dissent to the Supreme Court decision overturning part of the Defense of Marriage Act. But he cannot accept that any judge with a commitment to the Constitution could possibly disagree with him.
George broadly renounces all judges who have ruled in favor of marriage equality as engaging in a “pure ideological power play.” He acknowledges that marriage equality rulings have come from judges nominated by both Republicans and Democrats, but portrays them all as “liberal judges who don’t like traditional morality and the traditional understanding of marriage and want to overturn it.”
“So they’re abusing their offices, they’re usurping the authority of the elected representatives of the people, and sometimes the people themselves acting through referendums and initiative, to impose their own vision, their own preferences, their own political policy preferences on the American people. It’s not right and it’s unconstitutional.”
George is incensed that judges are applying the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment to same-sex couples, because he says the authors of that mid-19th Century amendment were not thinking about marriage equality.
“It’s just an offense against constitutionalism, against the rule of law, against the idea that the people rule themselves in a republican form of government, to seize on a provision like the Equal Protection Clause and to overturn the laws of marriage.”
But most of all, George cannot seem to accept that an ideologically diverse set of judges, in dozens of opinions, could have considered and rejected his arguments.
“It seems to me that the courts, if they’re going to strike down the marriage laws in the name of the 14th amendment, do have an obligation to at least engage the argument that we presented, but so far they haven’t. And I know the reason why they haven’t. The reason why they haven’t… is that they don’t have an answer for the argument.”
That is ridiculous. But don’t take my word for it. I ran Robert George’s claims by Shannon Minter, legal director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights and a major player in marriage equality advocacy. Here’s what he said:
Judges across the country have considered the arguments put forward by Professor George and others—that marriage is essentially tied to heterosexual procreation and to the alleged “sexual complementarity” of men and women—and have overwhelmingly concluded that they are not persuasive. In fact, most of those courts have held that such arguments are so tenuous and illogical that they fail even the lowest level of constitutional scrutiny.
In a speech to the Stanford Anscombe Society last month, anti-gay activist Robert Oscar Lopez explained that he would support marriage equality…if it didn’t come with protections for children raised by same-sex parents.
“I supported marriage for a long time,” Lopez said, “but the problem is that the people who have supported gay marriage have chosen to yoke gay marriage and gay parenting together.”
“That put me in the horrible situation where I have to oppose gay marriage, because it ultimately means that in order to protect the sexual relationship between two adults, you have to shatter the relationship between a child and either his father or his mother,” he continued.
“A lot of the people who I might have disagreed with ten years ago, who kept on warning that gay marriage was a portal to new things, unfortunately those people were right and gay marriage became this tidal wave that then swept up children,” he said.
On a recent episode of Liberty Counsel’s “Faith and Freedom” radio program, Mat Staver argued that marriage equality can’t be a fundamental right because it’s not “deeply rooted in our history that you have to protect it,” and in fact “homosexuality has always been considered a crime against nature” and “something that’s been criminalized in our culture.”
A fundamental right in constitutional law has to either be specifically articulated in an enumeration of the Constitution — so a fundamental right would be freedom of speech, freedom of religion, so it’s part of the First Amendment, it’s actually absolutely articulated — and if it’s not articulated, the court has said it has to be deeply rooted in our history such that if you were to not protect it, it would literally unravel the concept of ordered liberty that is so essential to who we are and it is so deeply rooted in our history that you have to protect it. Parental rights can be something that falls within a category such as that.
Now, here, obviously, the issue is, did same-sex marriage become a fundamental right? And the answer clearly is no. If they really were honest, it’s no. And to the contrary, same-sex marriage or homosexuality has always been considered a crime against nature. Instead of protection deeply rooted, it’s been something that’s been criminalized in our culture, not just in America but around the world.
Later in the program Staver discussed the recent appeals court decision striking down Virginia’s marriage equality ban with Liberty University Law School’s Rena Lindevaldsen. Lindevaldsen argued that because the court acknowledged that people in same-sex relationships sometimes raise children from opposite-sex relationships that it undermined the argument that being gay is a fundamental characteristic. “Now they’re saying, by the way, we can have relationships with whoever we want to and we still get this right to marriage,” she lamented.
Last month, North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper announced that he would no longer defend the state’s marriage equality ban because "there are really no arguments left to be made."
This did not sit well with Mark Creech, executive director of the North Carolina Action League. In a Christian Post column yesterday, Creech attacked Cooper for “wimpishly” capitulating to “tyranny” and yielding to the “despotism” of “judicial totalitarians.”
By refusing to resist with every legal means possible, Cooper capitulates to a form of tyranny in our day. He abandons his post on the field of battle, throws up the white flag, stands in the very place of the state (a state that voted by 61% for the marriage amendment) and wimpishly replies to the 4th Circuit that North Carolina accepts their judgment and surrenders. Furthermore, he calls on the judges who will preside over the cases currently challenging the state's marriage amendment to stand down and yield to the despotism of two judicial totalitarians.
Televangelist John Hagee dedicated his Sunday sermon this week to asking if America can “survive until 2017,” walking through a number of issues that he feared would impede the country’s survival. The chief among these, he said, are “counterfeit Christians” who are pro-choice or support LGBT rights.
“You people who are running around calling yourselves Christians supporting abortion, you are not!” he thundered.
“Our greatest problem in this nation is counterfeit Christianity,” he explained later in the sermon, telling gay-affirming pastors, “Those of you who got on national television and endorsed homosexual lifestyle because the president did so, you are a counterfeit Christian, you are a moral coward, you are a hireling shepherd. Shame on you.”
Hagee also warned that the separation of church and state “will prove suicidal for America.”
Last year, after the Supreme Court struck down the federal component of the Defense of Marriage Act, David Barton claimed that the ruling would force military chaplains to perform same-sex marriages against their will.
That fear, of course, was completely unfounded and the Pentagon clarified that DOMA repeal would in no way mean that a military chaplain would have to perform a marriage against his will.
But Barton is still claiming that military chaplains are being forced to officiate same-sex weddings that violate their religious beliefs, saying on his “Wallbuilders Live” program today that military commanders are ordering chaplains to “perform homosexual weddings.”
Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver lamented this week that the United States’ support for LGBT equality means that America is no longer “the shining city on the hill, the example for other nations to follow” and has instead become “the example of what not to follow.”
Staver and Matt Barber discussed their work pushing anti-gay policies throughout the world on arecent episode of Faith & Freedom Radio, including defending Scott Lively in a lawsuit involving his anti-gay work in Uganda, and efforts to stop sex education and marriage equality in Croatia, which Barber said he hoped “will set a trend in nations around the world.”
“[O]ther nations around the world are affirming marriage as the union of one man and one woman, while America is rejecting it,” Staver lamented. “It’s as ridiculous as rejecting the laws of gravity.”
Barber: We were deeply involved and had a hand in helping to reverse Croatia’s harmful sex education policies and supported Croatia’s constitutional amendment affirming marriage as the union of one man and one woman, and Lord willing, this will set a trend in nations around the world.
Staver: Yeah, it will. And it looks like some of the world, a lot of the world, is going the opposite way that America is. America used to be the shining city on the hill, the example for other nations to follow. Now it’s the example of what not to follow. And other nations around the world are affirming marriage as the union of one man and one woman, while America is rejecting it. It’s as ridiculous as rejecting the laws of gravity. But some judges think they have the audacity and the arrogance to do just that.
Conservative activist and potential GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson joined James Dobson on Family Talk Radio yesterday, where the two got to talking about LGBT-affirming pastors.
Dobson, joining a long line of anti-LGBT activists who don’t quite understand what bisexuality is, asked what pastors who endorse marriage equality are going to do about bisexual people, who he said “have sex with males and females at the same time.”
“That’s called orgies, that’s what it used to be called” he said.
Carson, for his part, despaired that pastors who approve of same-sex marriage have given a “finger-in-your-eye to God.”
Carson: I find it difficult sometimes to understand why ministers are willing to abandon the scripture to go along and get along. I just find that very puzzling.
Dobson: I do too, especially on the issue of gay marriage. There are many, many formerly conservative big-time ministers — I mean those who have big churches and great influence — who have abandoned that.
Carson: They’ve been beaten into submission.
Dobson: If they’re right to do this today, were they wrong yesterday?
Carson: The bigger issue is, of course, if you can say the Bible is wrong on that, then, you know, why isn’t it wrong on everything, or anything that you don’t want it to say?
Dobson: I have been on a crusade to say to many ministers, and I’ll say it again now, that if men can marry and if the things that are said about same-sex relationships and marriage and the Bible are misunderstandings, what do you do with the rest of LGBT? What do you do with bisexuality? If one of those is right and proper and holy, what about those who have sex with males and females at the same time? That’s called orgies, that’s what it used to be called, or just sleeping around with everybody and it doesn’t matter. How can a Christian minister who reads the Bible condone that?
Carson: Well, you know, my emphasis is that marriage is an institution established by God himself. And when you look in the New Testament, the marriage relationship is used to help us understand His relationship with His people. So when you start distorting that, you’re really going pretty deep into the finger-in-your-eye to God. That’s why I have a hard time understanding why ministers are willing to do that.
Liberty Counsel's Mat Staver recently spoke at the American Decency Association's summer conference where he once again warned that America is on the verge of being completely destroyed, just as Pompeii was by Mount Vesuvius.
Staver is particularly alarmed by the spread of gay marriage, declaring that no matter how many laws are passed legalizing it or how many judges strike down laws banning it, the definition of marriage cannot ever be changed because it was established by God.
Changing the definition of marriage is like trying to do away with gravity, Staver said. "It doesn't matter how many opinions or how many votes you have for that, you can't change God's natural created order."
"We've never been in this situation before," he warned. "We will not be able to escape the coercive nature of this issue. It is cataclysmic in its change effect. It is, I believe, ultimately the beginning of the end of Western Civilization if we adopt this as a country":
Today the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down Virginia’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples.
This is a historic step forward for equality in the South. Beyond Virginia, the ruling will also affect the other states covered by the 4th Circuit, including North Carolina, South Carolina, and West Virginia, which have similar bans in place. In West Virginia, the district judge considering the challenge to the state’s ban said last month that he would not proceed until the federal appeals court had ruled.
In the majority opinion, the judges noted that bigotry and fear cannot be the basis for the denial of equal rights under the law:
We recognize that same-sex marriage makes some people deeply uncomfortable. However, inertia and apprehension are not legitimate bases for denying same-sex couples due process and equal protection of the laws.
…The choice of whether and whom to marry is an intensely personal decision that alters the course of an individual's life. Denying same-sex couples this choice prohibits them from participating fully in our society, which is precisely the type of segregation that the Fourteenth Amendment cannot countenance.
For those who claim that marriage bans are legitimate because they were adopted by popular vote, the court quoted a Supreme Court case from 1964:
A citizen’s constitutional rights can hardly be infringed simply because a majority of the people choose that it be.
That one sentence perfectly encapsulates why courts matter.
The anti-marriage-equality movement seems to have anointed Ryan T. Anderson as its next intellectual leader. Anderson, who is now a fellow at the Heritage Foundation, follows in the footsteps of his mentor Robert P. George and National Organization for Marriage founder Maggie Gallagher in being able to talk about the marriage issue without spewing fire and brimstone or talking about how gay people make them want to vomit .
This kinder, gentler approach has endeared Anderson and his predecessors to a movement that’s trying to snatch its image away from the likes of Bryan Fischer and Pat Robertson.
But it also can obscure the fact that Anderson’s supposedly intellectual arguments against marriage equality can still be far out of the mainstream.
On Friday, Heritage promoted on its website a video clip of Anderson speaking at a Stanford University event, where he was asked by an attendee why he, as a gay man, should not be able to file a joint tax return if he gets legally married in California.
Anderson responded that legally married same-sex couples should not have access to all the trappings of legal marriage, because while in some states they can “be issued a marriage license,” they “can’t actually get married” because marriage is inherently a union of a man and a woman.
This is basically a nullificationist argument against benefits for legally married same-sex couples. Like those who argue that gun laws or health care reform aren’t actually law because they violate their impression of what the Constitution says, Anderson is saying that even legal, state-sanctioned marriages don’t count because they violate his view of what marriage is, and therefore should not earn legal, state-sanctioned benefits.
Far from trying to brush over this nullificationist argument against marriage equality, Heritage is actively promoting the video to its followers.
The full clip is four minutes long, but the fun really starts at about the 2:10 mark.
Anderson: The reason that you should not have the option of filing a joint tax return is that you can’t get married, given what marriage is.
Questioner: But I could in California, I can get married.
Anderson: You can be issued a marriage license in the state of California, but you can’t actually get married. And I’m sorry to say it that way, but given what marriage is, a union of sexually complementary…
Questioner: How is that not discrimination?
Anderson: And it’s not discrimination, because everyone is equally eligible for entering into the marital relationship, where you understand marriage as a union of sexually complementary spouses, a permanent, exclusive union of man and a woman, husband and wife, mother and father. If you’re not interested in entering into that sort of a union, you’re not being discriminated against.
What you’re asking us to do is to redefine marriage to include the adult relationship of your choice. And the adult relationship of your choice happens to be a same-sex couple. There are other adults who want to have marriage redefined to include the relationship of their choice, which may be the same-sex throuple or the opposite-sex quartet. So what I’m asking you in response is, what principle are you appealing to when you say this is discrimination to vindicate your rights but not their rights? Because it seems to me that your position ultimately leaves to simply the dissolvement of the marital union.
It’s not that you don’t have a right to get married, it’s that you aren’t seeking out marriage. Marriage is by nature a union of sexually complementary spouses, a union of man and woman, husband and wife, mother and father. And based on just what you’ve said about yourself, it doesn’t sound like you’re interested in forming that sort of a union. It sounds like you’re interested in forming a union with another man, and that’s not a marriage. So that’s why I don’t think the law should treat the relationship that you want to form as a marriage.
In a radio program posted online Monday, Georgia pastor Jody Hice, the GOP nominee to replace Paul Broun in the U.S. House, linked the anti-government Bundy ranch standoff to anti-gay politics, saying that the militia groups that faced off against the Bureau of Land Management in Nevada were a symbol of Americans standing up against Big Government incursions on their liberties…like the legalization of same-sex marriage.
“There is unquestionably an undercurrent that is taking place across America where people are getting fed up,” he said. “They are saying to themselves and now beginning to say to themselves, ‘Enough is enough. We are not going to sit back while our government tramples over our liberties.’”
I will never forget these ranchers on horseback continuing to walk slowly toward the BLM. They were prepared to die. They were ready for confrontation. They were saying, ‘Enough is enough. You’re not going to trample on our rights any more. You have gone far enough and no further will you go.’
I mean, that was the statement being made by the ranchers and they continued marching toward the BLM. You will remember what happened, eventually the BLM never fired a shot, instead they got in their vehicles and left. Again, one of the other reasons they did not fire a shot is because all these ranchers, the cowboys and many, many others around them were themselves armed and ready for action if it came to that point, thank God it did not, but they were prepared just in case.
Now, that’s the image that comes to my mind. There is unquestionably an undercurrent that is taking place across America where people are getting fed up. They are saying to themselves and now beginning to say to themselves, ‘Enough is enough. We are not going to sit back while our government tramples over our liberties.’
And the examples are numerous. We could deal with different scenarios I don’t know how many times, they are abundant in the various ways in which this is taking place.
Now, I want to give you just what is the latest example: the whole battle over gay marriage, and in particular gay marriage as it relates to businesses, that businesses cannot remain committed to their personal religious convictions if there is ever a confrontation between those religious beliefs and same-sex marriage.
Eagle Forum’s Virginia Armstrong, the head of the group’s Court Watch Project, today makes the novel argument that the U.S. Constitution doesn’t protect the rights of LGBT people but in fact requires the government to fight “homosexual conduct” in “every legitimate way possible.”
In an article published on Eagle Forum’s website, Armstrong argues that advances in LGBT equality prove “that America is indeed in the ‘danger zone’ and is in dire need of a massive ‘straightening up process.’”
She then argues that the AIDS epidemic shows that “homosexual conduct is what is harmful to gays and lesbians to the degree that governments are not only constitutionally allowed, but constitutionally required, to fight such conduct in every legitimate way possible.”
All emphasis is Armstrong’s:
Has America bent over so far backwards in our spiritual, moral, and constitutional life that we are in danger of “breaking”? This question is central to our current series of Court Watch Briefings. The question has been precipitated by America’s Culture War and echoes the anguished cry of the Father in the famous musical production, “Fiddler on the Roof,” who felt that revolutionary changes in his world were pushing him to the “breaking point.”
We are proving that America is indeed in the “danger zone” and is in dire need of a massive “straightening up process.” Nothing more clearly demonstrates this fact than the recentsame-sex marriage decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court - Perry v. Hollingsworth and Windsor v. U.S.
These statistics bring into bolder relief than ever the fatal flaws of Perry/Windsor . HIV and AIDS is a pandemic , far worse than other such health threats which have sent governments and media around the world into a veritable apoplexy, accompanied by demands for the most severe action possible to stem those threats. Yet, federal (and, now, state) judges are demanding constitutional protections for the conduct which is most responsible for the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Furthermore, Judge Vaughn Walker’s “Finding of Fact” that religious opposition to homosexual conduct “harms gays and lesbians” and is constitutionally protected is so incongruent with reality as to be laughable, if it were possible to laugh about such an adjudicative disaster. The reality, of course, is that the exact opposite is true –homosexual conduct is what is harmful to gays and lesbians to the degree that governments are not only constitutionally allowed, but constitutionally required , to fight such conduct in every legitimate way possible. This example alone illustrates how upside down is Walker’s blast that “harm to homosexuals” results from religious opposition. This falsehood converts a particularly pernicious value judgment into an adjudicative fact given great weight in pro-homosexual court decisions. One of the worst blows to reason, morality, and the Judeo-Christian worldview is the speed with which the Perry/Windsor poison has poured through America’s legal veins…