Johanna Dasteel

The terrible injustice of same-sex ‘marriage’: my story

Johanna Dasteel
Johanna Dasteel
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SAN DIEGO, CA, March 26, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) - I saw an “ALL love is equal!” graphic posted up and down my news feed on Facebook this morning.  It’s designed to strike a chord with a person’s sense of justice and compassion, of course; quick and manipulative slogans are the fodder of politics – and fools.  My liberal arts-educated mind kicked in immediately, screaming, “No it isn’t!”  Deliberately disregarding the intended purpose of the graphic, I lectured my computer screen, “There are filial, agape, eros…”  

But, more to the point, although love is most certainly a prerequisite for marriage (these days, at least), it certainly is not the only one.  It is not enough.   Marriage is life-giving.  It is procreative.  It involves children.  Is it not more honorable to care for the wellbeing of children above the love – whatever love it might be – between adults?  Does society not have a greater responsibility to uphold laws that protect children?

Though I write pieces on the marriage debate for LifeSiteNews.com, I don’t usually jump into the debate of my own volition.   I live in the state of Prop 8 and in a culture that doesn’t value arguing as an avenue to discovering truth; instead, disagreement is a personal attack.  

My whole extended family on my father’s side is for redefining marriage and against anyone who thinks otherwise.  I qualify that with “my father’s side” because it is the loss of my father that makes my story just as relevant to the debate as that of the woman wanting to marry her girlfriend.

He passed away in 1997 suddenly – a ski accident.   I was thirteen; my brothers were eight and four.  We were devastated, of course.  And, although the youngest was too young at the time of our loss to remember or miss our dad, he joins the rest of us in suffering the absence of a father.  Not just a parental unit, a father.  Another mother - even two more - would not have remedied what we lacked; we needed a man. 

My mom did a great job, but she’d be the first one to say that it isn’t a slight to single mothers to say that fathers are needed.  Any time she attempted to assume a fatherly demeanor, it backfired.  We would either talk back or laugh at her, clearly lacking a healthy fear of “when Dad comes home.”  I have a vague memory of what that means, but I’m convinced my brothers have no point of reference. 

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Equally, children need mothers.  Mothers and fathers compliment one another in the raising of children.  The absence of one or the other (or both) has a devastating effect on children.  That is why “ALL love is equal” slogans really rub me raw.  Children are poised to suffer a severe injustice – one that I suffered - for pithy slogans and the idea that adults have a right to children. 

It’s the other way around: children have a right to a mother and a father.  If either is absent, the child suffers. 

My brothers suffered the absence of a father most noticeably in their transition into adulthood. No boy looks to his mother as an example of how to be a man.  And we live in a society typified by men running from fatherhood for most of their lives only to be trapped by it.  It is very uncommon for men to step into fatherhood for another man’s children. So, how does a boy become a man without a guide?  He struggles.  He looks to his peers.  My brothers did this.  What else were they to do? We had to move my youngest brother across the country to save him from his peer-fathers. 

While I still had the feminine example of my mother to learn how to become a woman, I lacked the unconditional love - and discipline - of a father.  As an adult, I lack the confidence - with men - that comes from the experience of a father expressing that unconditional love.  In the same vein, I am acutely aware of my discomfort with the fathers of my peers, even my own uncles.  I don’t know how to behave, how to relate.  I never had a guide.

Now, it must be said, many Christians will chime in at this point, “God is your father,” and specifically Catholics, “St. Joseph can be your adoptive father.”  Of course, being Catholic, I’ve relied on them.  But, spiritual fathers are not enough.  God placed us on this earth in families.  He designed us to beget children by the complimentary physical, emotional and spiritual natures of man and woman, giving children mothers and fathers.  

God is perfect, he can love the unlovable.  What I lacked was a fallen man - who is not so inclined to love the unlovable - loving me unconditionally anyway.  Girls need that assurance.  Any memory of that experience from my early childhood is too distant to help me now.  I know I am lovable by my intellect, but I don’t have the experiential knowledge of unconditional love.  Girls need their fathers for this, if for nothing else.  

With the debate going on about redefining marriage and rarely any mention of how this will affect the children, I’ve come to a realization about my own family.  Remember, my father’s family is convinced that to uphold the current definition of marriage is discriminatory and, as I’ve interpreted their rants, back-woods hillbilly bigoted.  They don’t know people who would challenge them on this whom they don’t already categorize as ignorant.  

I’m convinced they know my position by the fact that they don’t raise the topic with me.  I just might be an anomaly to them: the one person they know and love who challenges them on their ideas colored by the popular politics of “gender is a construct” and “ALL love is equal.” 

I’ve wondered for most of my life why they didn’t step in and make more efforts to be near my brothers and me after our loss.  But, perhaps I can now appreciate their consistency. I’ve come to suspect that my father’s family doesn’t see my father’s absence as an injustice for my brothers and me.  I’ve told them the effects of his loss on us, but they don’t seem to engage or validate our suffering.  Maybe to do so would put a crack in their advocacy for the redefinition of marriage, if they are to remain consistent. 

Not enough people are hearing the stories of the children raised without a mother and a father.   It is a serious story with consequences much more devastating than that of same-sex couples not being able to marry or adopt. 

Throughout history, the human child has been born to a mother and father.  It is our design and the means by which human societies have grown and flourished.  Therefore, it is an injustice of our fallen world that any child should lose a parent while young, but to say that this loss is no loss at all compounds the damage.  This is what redefining marriage does.  


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Quebec groups launch court challenge to euthanasia bill

LifeSiteNews staff
By LifeSiteNews staff

As announced when the Quebec legislature adopted Bill 52, An Act respecting end-of-life care, the citizen movement Living with Dignity and the Physicians’ Alliance against Euthanasia, representing together over 650 physicians and 17,000 citizens, filed a lawsuit before the Superior Court of Quebec in the District of Montreal on Thursday.

The lawsuit requests that the Court declare invalid all the provisions of the Act that deal with “medical aid in dying”, a term the groups say is a euphemism for euthanasia. This Act not only allows certain patients to demand that a physician provoke their death, but also grants physicians the right to cause the death of these patients by the administration of a lethal substance.

The two organizations are challenging the constitutionality of those provisions in the Act which are aimed at decriminalizing euthanasia under the euphemism “medical aid in dying”. Euthanasia constitutes a culpable homicide under Canada’s Criminal Code, and the organizations maintain that it is at the core of the exclusive federal legislative power in relation to criminal law and Quebec therefore does not have the power to adopt these provisions.

The organizations also say the impugned provisions unjustifiably infringe the rights to life and to security of patients guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms. They further infringe the right to the safeguard of the dignity of the person, which is also protected by the Quebec Charter.

In view of the gravity of the situation and the urgent need to protect all vulnerable persons in Quebec, they are requesting an accelerated management of the case in order to obtain a judgment before the Act is expected to come into force on December 10, 2015.


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Colorado baker appeals gvmt ‘re-education’ order

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By LifeSiteNews staff

A Colorado cake artist who declined to use his creative talents to promote and endorse a same-sex ceremony appealed a May 30 order from the Colorado Civil Rights Commission to the Colorado Court of Appeals Wednesday.

The commission’s order requires cake artist Jack Phillips and his staff at Masterpiece Cakeshop to create cakes for same-sex celebrations, forces him to re-educate his staff that Colorado’s Anti-Discrimination Act means that artists must endorse all views, compels him to implement new policies to comply with the commission’s order, and requires him to file quarterly “compliance” reports for two years. The reports must include the number of patrons declined a wedding cake or any other product and state the reason for doing so to ensure he has fully eliminated his religious beliefs from his business.

“Americans should not be forced by the government – or by another citizen – to endorse or promote ideas with which they disagree,” said the cake artist’s lead counsel Nicolle Martin, an attorney allied with Alliance Defending Freedom. “This is not about the people who asked for a cake; it’s about the message the cake communicates. Just as Jack doesn’t create baked works of art for other events with which he disagrees, he doesn’t create cake art for same-sex ceremonies regardless of who walks in the door to place the order.”

“In America, we don’t force artists to create expression that is contrary to their convictions,” added Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco. “A paint artist who identifies as homosexual shouldn’t be intimidated into creating a painting that celebrates one-man, one-woman marriage. A pro-life photographer shouldn’t be forced to work a pro-abortion rally. And Christian cake artists shouldn’t be punished for declining to participate in a same-sex ceremony or promote its message.”

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In July 2012, Charlie Craig and David Mullins asked Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, to make a wedding cake to celebrate their same-sex ceremony. In an exchange lasting about 30 seconds, Phillips politely declined, explaining that he would gladly make them any other type of baked item they wanted but that he could not make a cake promoting a same-sex ceremony because of his faith. Craig and Mullins, now represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, immediately left the shop and later filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Division. The case now goes to the Colorado Court of Appeals as Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Craig.

“Jack, and other cake artists like him – such as those seen on TV shows like ‘Ace of Cakes’ and ‘Cake Boss’ – prepare unique creations that are inherently expressive,” Tedesco explained. “Jack invests many hours in the wedding cake creative process, which includes meeting the clients, designing and sketching the cake, and then baking, sculpting, and decorating it. The ACLU calls Jack a mere ‘retail service provider,’ but, in fact, he is an artist who uses his talents and abilities to create expression that the First Amendment fully protects."

Celebrity cake artists have written publicly about their art and the significant expressive work that goes into the artistic design process for wedding cakes.


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Prisoner of conscience Mary Wagner appeals her conviction

Tony Gosgnach
By Tony Gosgnach

TORONTO -- As promised, Mary Wagner has, through her counsel Dr. Charles Lugosi, filed a formal notice of appeal on numerous points regarding her recent, almost two-year-long court case that ended on June 12.

Justice Fergus O’Donnell of the Ontario Court of Justice rejected every application made by the defence – including for access to abortion center records, public funding, standing for a constitutional challenge and for expert witnesses to be heard – before he found Wagner guilty and sentenced her to five months in jail on a charge of mischief and four months on four counts of failing to comply with probation orders.

He further levied two years of probation, with terms that she stay at least 100 metres away from any abortion site. However, because Wagner had spent a greater time in jail than the sentence, she was freed immediately. She had been arrested at the “Women’s Care Clinic” abortion site on Lawrence Avenue West in Toronto on August 15, 2012 after attempting to speak to abortion-bound women there. She then spent the duration of the trial in prison for refusing to sign bail conditions requiring her to stay away from abortion sites.

Wagner is using the matter as a test case to challenge the current definition of a human being in Canadian law – that is, that a human being is legally recognized as such only after he or she has fully emerged from the birth canal in a breathing state.

Wagner’s notice states the appeal is regarding:

  • Her conviction and sentence on a single count of mischief (interference with property),
  • Her conviction and sentence on four counts of breach of probation,
  • The order denying public funding,
  • The order denying the disclosure of third-party records,
  • The order denying the admission of evidence from experts on the applicant’s constitutional challenge concerning the constitutional validity of Section 223 of the Criminal Code,
  • The order denying the admission of evidence from experts concerning the construction of Section 37 of the Criminal Code,
  • The probation order denying Wagner her constitutional rights to freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of conscience and freedom of religion on all public sidewalks and public areas within 100 metres of places where abortions are committed,
  • And each conviction and sentence and all orders and rulings made by O’Donnell.

In the notice of appeal, Lugosi cites numerous points on which O’Donnell erred:

  • He denied Wagner her constitutional right to make full answer and defence.
  • He denied Wagner her right to rely on Section 37 of the Criminal Code, which permits “everyone” to come to the third-party defence and rescue of any human being (in this case, the preborn) facing imminent assault.
  • He decided the factual basis of Wagner’s constitutional arguments was a waste of the court’s time and that no purpose would have been served by having an evidentiary hearing on her Charter application because, in the current state of Canadian law, it had no possibility of success.
  • He misapplied case law and prejudged the case, “giving rise to a reasonable apprehension of bias and impeding the legal evolution of the law to adapt to new circumstances, knowledge and changed societal values and morals.”
  • He accepted the Crown’s submission that it is beyond the jurisdiction of the courts to question the jurisdiction of Parliament legally to define “human being” in any manner Parliament sees fit.
  • He ruled Section 223 of the Criminal Code is not beyond the powers of Section 52 of the Constitution Act, 1982.
  • He ruled Section 223 of the Criminal Code does not violate the Preamble to, as well as Sections 7, 11(d), 15 and 26, of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
  • He denied Wagner standing to raise a constitutional challenge to the validity of Section 223 of the Criminal Code.
  • He ruled that Section 223 of the Criminal Code applied generally throughout the entire Criminal Code and used it to deny unborn human beings the benefit of equal protection as born human beings under Section 37 of the Criminal Code.
  • He denied the production and disclosure of third-party records in the possession of the “Women’s Care Clinic” abortion site, although the records were required to prove Wagner was justified in using reasonable force in the form of oral and written words to try to persuade pregnant mothers from killing their unborn children by abortion.
  • He denied Wagner the defence of Section 37 of the Criminal Code by ruling unborn children did not come within the scope of human beings eligible to be protected by a third party.
  • He ruled Wagner did not come within the scope of Section 37 because she was found to be non-violent (in that she did not use physical force).
  • He ruled the unborn children Wagner was trying to rescue were not under her protection.
  • He denied Wagner the common-law defences of necessity and the rescue of third parties in need of protection.
  • He denied Wagner public funding to make full answer and defence for a constitutional test case of great public importance and national significance.
  • He imposed an unconstitutional sentence upon Wagner by, in effect, imposing an injunction as a condition of probation, contrary to her constitutional rights of free speech, freedom of expression, freedom of conscience and freedom of religion.

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Among the orders Lugosi is seeking are:

  • That an appeal be allowed against conviction on all counts and that a verdict of acquittal be entered on all counts,
  • That Section 223 of the Criminal Code be found unconstitutional  and contrary to Section 52 of the Constitution Act, 1982, as well as the unwritten constitution of Canada,
  • That the sentence be declared unconstitutional and contrary to Section 52 of the Constitution Act, 1982, and the unwritten constitution of Canada or that a new trial be conducted, with Wagner permitted to make full answer and defence, be given standing to make a constitutional attack on Section 223 of the Criminal Code, with the admission of expert witnesses,
  • That the Women’s Care Clinic abortion site be made to produce third-party records pertaining to patients seen on August 15, 2012 (when Wagner entered the site),
  • And that there be public funding for two defence counsels at any retrial and for any appeal related to the case.

No date has yet been established for a decision on the appeal or hearings.

A defence fund for Wagner’s case is still raising money. Details on how to contribute to it can be found here.


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