Kristen Walker Hatten

An open letter to Ann Coulter

Kristen Walker Hatten
By Kristen Walker Hatten
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Dear Ann Coulter,

Dammit, Ann Coulter.

I like you. A lot. I’ve read all your books. No, seriously, all of them.

When I was in my 20s, I thought you were maybe the Antichrist. I didn’t know why exactly I thought you were the Antichrist. All the other liberals did, so I did, too. It wasn’t hard. Liberalism is easy. It makes you feel smart and cool. When the other smart, cool people said your name the way some people say “cockroach,” I got the picture.

They really, really hate you. About a year ago, someone close to me who is a big liberal was at my house. I had one of your books sitting on the coffee table. While I was out of the room, he took a receipt and drew a speech bubble on the back, with the words “Hi! I’m a c**t!” And put it right above your head. Later on, I asked him why he thought you were a “c**t,” but he didn’t have a specific answer. I would bet you everything I own of value (this mainly consists of this laptop, my wedding rings, and my 2005 Ford Ranger, “Truck Norris”) that he has never read a single word you’ve ever written.

Neither had I when I hated you. I think I had read about one sentence of your writing, out of context (obviously), and decided you were in league with Satan. Except I didn’t believe in Satan, of course; that was a fairy tale for dumb Christians. I hated you for the same reason I hated George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Bill O’Reilly, and many others: because I was told you were the enemy. I would not have been able to defend my hatred of any of these people – including you – with much depth. But I “knew” you were evil. The Nation and Mother Jones told me so.

In 2010, I was pretty new to Catholicism and becoming aware of conservatism as something more than “being mean.” I began making my way towards it by reading, for the first time, our nation’s founding documents. I also became familiar with de Tocqueville, Hayek, and the Federalist and Anti-Federalist Papers. I was delving into this because I was pro-life, and ObamaCare – which was in the process of being rammed into law – scared me. The more I learned, the more it started to scare me for other reasons, too.

See, my worldview changed when, for the first time in my adulthood, God convinced me of His existence. That was in 2008. I no longer saw man at the center of the universe, and everything was turned on its head. I tiptoed toward the other side. It took me a few years. I didn’t want to make the same mistake twice. I didn’t want to be conservative until I was absolutely convinced that conservatism was right, because I was beginning to discover that being conservative kind of, um, sucks. Everybody hates you. It doesn’t matter how much you tell people that you’re not mean or that you have a good argument. They won’t listen to you.

But you know all this. You live it.

It was sometime in 2010 that I first started reading your columns. My conversion was picking up steam, and I decided that I’d read quite a bit – though not enough, never enough! – of the philosophy that underpinned conservative thinking. I was ready to go right to the fiery furnace that drove the locomotive of liberal contempt for conservatives. That would be you. I figured if I could read your writing, and agree with it, I was a conservative for really real. I didn’t expect that to happen, though. I figured I would scoff and keep you on the enemies list.

But I didn’t. I loved you. I loved your style. Yes, it was somewhat lacking in subtlety. No, it was not nice. But I’ve always thought subtlety is overrated, and I was never that great at “nice.” True kindness – true love – is a lot of things, but it is not “nice.” I am a Christian. “Nice” is for quasi-Buddhists who live in the Bay Area and drive Smart cars and secretly hate everyone east of Oakland. Being nice at the expense of being honest is not kind. It is not loving.

I had to look up the word “polemicist.” (I dropped out of college because rules were for Republicans.) It took me a while to understand what you were doing, but I got it. I started trying to explain to people that you’re honest and funny and nobody researches as well as you. Meanwhile, I was reading all your books and sharing them with people, or buying them as gifts. I pre-ordered your most recent one, Mugged, months before its release. If I hadn’t been in the throes of wedding planning, I would have read it in one day. It was brilliant, and everyone in America should have to read it because it is truth.

I like you because you are funny and you are not afraid. So many conservatives lack courage. They’re scared of being silenced and ostracized, and I don’t blame them. I’m scared of it, too. I’ve lost friends. I still lose them occasionally. It can be lonely.

Then the election happened. And your column, “DON’T BLAME ROMNEY,” came out.

Sigh.

You’ve written about abortion before. Sometimes when you write about abortion, it’s hilarious. That’s something I’m always trying to do: be pro-life and funny at the same time. It’s hard. Nobody’s expecting a knee-slapper on the subject of dead babies. But humor disarms people. It reminds them you’re sane. Only the crazy are deadly earnest all the time. It’s hard to change people’s minds about abortion, but on any subject, if you can make them laugh, you’re halfway there.

CLICK ‘LIKE’ IF YOU ARE PRO-LIFE!

I remember when you said this:

I wouldn’t kill an abortionist myself, but I wouldn’t want to impose my moral values on others. No one is for shooting abortionists. But how will criminalizing men making difficult, often tragic, decisions be an effective means of achieving the goal of reducing the shootings of abortionists?

That was in 2009, in your column “49 Million to Five,” when you pointed out how absurd it is to call the pro-life movement violent. Anti-life zealots went insane over this, failing or refusing to notice that you were satirizing a pro-abortion argument. To anyone with a brain and a sense of humor, it was obvious that you were pointing out the hypocrisy of those who wept for the abortionist while condoning abortion.

This is just one example of the many times you have championed and defended the pro-life cause.

Then you wrote this:

The last two weeks of the campaign were consumed with discussions of women’s “reproductive rights,” not because of anything Romney did, but because these two idiots [Akin and Mourdock] decided to come out against abortion in the case of rape and incest.

After all the hard work intelligent pro-lifers have done in changing the public’s mind about a subject the public would rather not think about at all, these purist grandstanders came along and announced insane positions with no practical purpose whatsoever, other than showing off.

While pro-lifers in the trenches have been pushing the abortion positions where 90 percent of the country agrees with us — such as bans on partial birth abortion, and parental and spousal notification laws — Akin and Mourdock decided to leap straight to the other end of the spectrum and argue for abortion positions that less than 1 percent of the nation agrees with.

In order to be pro-life badasses, they gave up two easy-win Republican Senate seats.

No law is ever going to require a woman to bear the child of her rapist. Yes, it’s every bit as much a life as an unborn child that is not the product of rape. But sentient human beings are capable of drawing gradations along a line…

The overwhelming majority of people — including me — are going to say the law shouldn’t force someone who has been raped to carry the child. On the other hand, abortion should be illegal in most other cases.

Is that so hard for Republicans to say?

Purist conservatives are like idiot hipsters who can’t like a band that’s popular. They believe that a group with any kind of a following can’t be a good band, just as show-off social conservatives consider it a mark of integrity that their candidates — Akin, Mourdock, Sharron Angle, Christine O’Donnell — take wildly unpopular positions and lose elections.

Ann. Oh, Ann. This hurts.

I am not going to make the case in this column for being pro-life without exceptions. I’ve done it before, and you know the argument anyway.

What hurts is that you would question our motives. This isn’t an issue of tactics – graphic images vs. no graphic images; incrementalism vs. all-or-nothing. This is about the actual lives of actual children. How could you think for a second we are interested in being ”pro-life badasses” when what we are really interested in is not abandoning any children - no matter who their fathers are? Those “gradations along a line” are human lives. If we don’t believe that, what are we doing here? Why are we wasting our time writing and speaking and marching and praying and helping women and making our friends hate us?

If any lives are worth abandoning for votes, why not all of them?

It also needs to be understood that what Todd Akin said was stupid and what Richard Mourdock said was said stupidly. Todd Akin, bless his heart, made a truly idiotic comment out of total ignorance. Richard Mourdock said something totally true – that the child born of rape is wanted and loved and intended by God – in a way that made it sound like he thinks God likes it when ladies get raped. Todd Akin should have left the race. Mourdock should have clarified his statement.

I keep hearing all these Fox News pundits talk about how my party needs to start pandering to special interest groups and being “nicer.” And I think: no. Nice is not kind. We have to keep being honest. We have to be who we are, and then we’ll win.

Same thing here, Ann: until we explain and competently defend our belief that all children deserve life, without exception, those children will never have a chance. They will never be protected. There is no one else to do it but us. I am not willing to let even one of them go. I am not willing to win an election by abandoning the children of rape. I know you think it’s better in the long run to get pro-life people elected, but we can’t do it by lying and saying that babies conceived in rape and incest aren’t worthy of life. They are. If we don’t protect them now, we can’t ever. And I’m not okay with that.

Lying is for them, not us.

I freakin’ love you, Ann. You’re smarter about politics than me. You’re smarter than me, period. But you’re wrong about this. I don’t know if I’ve ever disagreed with you, but I have to now. (And not just because you compared me to a hipster. I can’t stand hipsters, although I like European beer and I wear really cool glasses and hero-worship Jack White.)

I am going to continue to be 100% pro-life, without exception, and encourage others to do the same. If that makes me a pro-life badass, fine. If it makes me an annoying purist, fine. But it also makes me right.

Your friend,

Kristen

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Reprinted with permission from LiveActionNews.org

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Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben

Banning reparative therapy for gay minors is ‘a form of child abuse’: former homosexual (Video)

Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben
By Ben Johnson

SPRINGFIELD, IL, February 27, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Not only would Illinois legislators not be protecting children by enacting a ban on “conversion therapy,” they would be engaging in “a form of child abuse,” according to a man who left the homosexual lifestyle three decades ago.

Stephen Black of the Restored Hope Network told the Illinois Family Institute that reparative therapy helps minors who struggle with unwanted same-sex attraction.

While opponents have said that psychological counseling to reduce sexual attraction violates truth in advertising laws and borders on torture, Black described it as little more than “pastoral care for people who want to come out of homosexuality.”

The Conversion Therapy Prohibition Act (H.B. 217), introduced by Democratic State Rep. Kelly Cassidy, would ban such therapy for minors, subjecting medical professionals to discipline by the licensing or medical review board.

"It would be tragic not to allow someone to have self-determination," Black said. "It's a form of child abuse."

“You've got a teenager...[who] actually believes the Bible. He finds himself same-sex attracted,” Black said. “In the Bible...the loving thing to do is to repent, to turn away from this type of lifestyle.”

“Now, this legislation is going to come in and keep him from getting the help he wants,” Black said.

He added that such legislation undermines the family, which may wish to steer a child away from homosexuality – with its attendant higher risk of STDs, depression, and suicide.

Legislation such as H.B. 217 says that “government knows best,” according to Black, and “conflicts with religious liberties.”

He finds confirmation in an unlikely source – far-Left Democratic Congressman Ted Lieu of California. As a state senator, Lieu introduced the ban on reparative therapy, signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown. Lieu said at the time, “The attack on parental rights is exactly the whole point of the bill.” Barack Obama endorsed Lieu in his successful race for U.S. Congress in 2014.

Stephen Black says he has benefited from reparative therapy himself. After converting to Christianity, he says he eventually left behind his homosexual attraction.

Today, he's a proud grandpa. And he says other teens should have that same opportunity.

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He knows society is quickly turning its back on traditional moral stands, but he and Restored Hope Network continue to uphold the Biblical standard on all sexual activity outside heterosexual marriage, however unpopular his view.

“It's not politically correct, but it's Biblically correct,” Black said.

The Illinois House rejected a similar ban last April. IFI and Concerned Women for America, among others, have asked citizens to urge elected officials to oppose the bill.  

(Story continues following video.)

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Mark Regnerus

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New research on same-sex households reveals kids do best with mom and dad

Mark Regnerus
By Mark Regnerus

February 27, 2015 (ThePublicDiscourse.com) -- A new study published in the February 2015 issue of the British Journal of Education, Society, and Behavioural Science appears to be the largest yet on the matter of same-sex households and children’s emotional outcomes. It analyzed 512 children of same-sex parents, drawn from a pool of over 207,000 respondents who participated in the (US) National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) at some point between 1997 and 2013.

Results reveal that, on eight out of twelve psychometric measures, the risk of clinical emotional problems, developmental problems, or use of mental health treatment services is nearly double among those with same-sex parents when contrasted with children of opposite-sex parents. The estimate of serious child emotional problems in children with same-sex parents is 17 percent, compared with 7 percent among opposite-sex parents, after adjusting for age, race, gender, and parent’s education and income. Rates of ADHD were higher as well—15.5 compared to 7.1 percent. The same is true for learning disabilities: 14.1 vs. 8 percent.

The study’s author, sociologist Paul Sullins, assessed a variety of different hypotheses about the differences, including comparative residential stability, experience of stigma or bullying, parental emotional problems (6.1 percent among same-sex parents vs. 3.4 percent among opposite-sex ones), and biological attachment. Each of these factors predictably aggravated children’s emotional health, but only the last of these—biological parentage—accounted for nearly all of the variation in emotional problems. While adopted children are at higher risk of emotional problems overall, being adopted did not account for the differences between children in same-sex and opposite-sex households. It’s also worth noting that while being bullied clearly aggravates emotional health, there was no difference in self-reported experience of having been bullied between the children of same-sex and opposite-sex parents.

Vocal critics, soon to emerge, will likely home in on the explanatory mechanism—the fact that two mothers or two fathers can’t possibly both enjoy a biological connection to a child—in suggesting the results of the study reveal nothing of value about same-sex households with children. On the contrary, the study reveals a great deal. Namely, there is no equivalent replacement for the enduring gift to a child that a married biological mother and father offer. It’s no guarantee of success. It’s not always possible. But the odds of emotional struggle at least double without it. Some critics might attribute the emotional health differences to the realities of “adoption by strangers,” but the vast majority of same-sex couples in the NHIS exhibited one parent with a biological relationship with the child.

Even research on “planned” same-sex families—those created using assisted reproductive technology (ART)—reveals the significance of biological ties. Sullins notes such studies

have long recognized that the lack of conjoined biological ties creates unique difficulties and relational stresses. The birth and non-birth mother . . . are subject to competition, rivalry, and jealousy regarding conception and mothering roles that are never faced by conceiving opposite-sex couples, and which, for the children involved, can result in anxiety over their security and identity.

The population-based study pooled over 2,700 same-sex couples, defined as “those persons whose reported spouse or cohabiting partner was of the same sex as themselves.” This is a measure similar to that employed in the US Census, but it has the advantage of clarity about the sexual or romantic nature of the partnership (being sure to exclude those who are simply same-sex roommates). Among these, 582 had children under 18 in the household. A battery of questions was completed by 512 of them.

Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics

This is not the first time the NHIS data have been used to analyze same-sex households and child health. A manuscript presented at the 2014 annual meeting of the Population Association of America assessed the same data. Curiously, that manuscript overlooked all emotional health outcomes. Instead, the authors inquired only into a solitary, parent-reported measure of their “perception of the child’s overall health,” a physical well-being proxy that varies only modestly across household types. Hence, the authors readily concluded “no differences.”

I’m not surprised.

This juxtaposition provides a window into the state of the social science of same-sex households with children. Null findings are preferred—and arguably sought—by most scholars and journal editors. Indeed, study results seem to vary by author, not by dataset. It is largely a different approach to the presentation of data that distinguishes those population-based studies hailed by many as proof of “no differences” from those studies denounced by the same people as “junk science.”

In fact, population-based surveys of same-sex households with children all tend to reveal the same thing, regardless of the data source. It’s a testimony to the virtues of random sampling and the vices of relying on nonrandom samples, which Sullins argues—in another published study—fosters “a strong bias resulting in false positive outcomes . . . in recruited samples of same-sex parents.” He’s right. Published research employing the New Family Structures Study (NFSS), the ECLS (Early Childhood Longitudinal Study), the US Census(ACS), the Canadian Census, and now the NHIS all reveal a comparable basic narrative, namely, that children who grow up with a married mother and father fare best at face value.

The real disagreement is seldom over what the data reveal. It’s how scholars present and interpret the data that differs profoundly. You can make the children of same-sex households appear to fare fine (if not better), on average, if you control for a series of documented factors more apt to plague same-sex relationships and households: relationship instability, residential instability, health and emotional challenges, greater economic struggle (among female couples), and—perhaps most significantly—the lack of two biological connections to the child. If you control for these, you will indeed find “no differences” left over. Doing this gives the impression that “the kids are fine” at a time when it is politically expedient to do so.

This analytic tendency reflects a common pattern in social science research to search for ‘‘independent’’ effects of variables, thereby overlooking—or perhaps ignoring—the pathways that explain how social phenomena actually operate in the real world. By way of a helpful comparison, I can state with confidence that after controlling for home ownership, residential instability, single parenthood, and neighborhood employment levels, there is no association between household poverty and child educational achievement. But it would be misleading to say this unless I made it clear that these were the pathways by which poverty hurts educational futures—because we know it does.

The academy so privileges arguments in favor of same-sex marriage and parenting that every view other than resounding support—including research conclusions—has been formally or informally scolded. I should know. The explosive reaction to my 2012 research about parental same-sex relationships and child outcomes demonstrates that far more is at work than seeking answers to empirical research questions. Such reactions call into question thepurpose and relevance of social science. Indeed, at least one sociologist holds that social science is designed “to identify and understand the various underlying causal mechanisms that produce identifiable outcomes and events of interest.” That this has not been the case with the study of same-sex households raises a more basic question.

Is the point of social science to win political arguments? Or is its purpose to better understand social reality?

What to Expect from a Topic Emerging from Its Infancy

One byproduct of better data—or perhaps the smell of impending victory by proponents of civil same-sex marriage in America—may be greater intellectual honesty about such relationships. Indeed, researchers have admitted the tendency to downplay “any inequities between same-sex partners . . . in part because of the dominant mantra that same-sex couples are more equal than different sex couples.”

It’s not the only consequential admission. Scholars are increasingly—and openly—squabbling over the nature of sexual orientation itself, signaling the comparative infancy of the social science here. Moreover, there’s a good deal of sexual identity switching being reported among young adults, a fact that does not comport with a honed narrative of immutability.

So should scholars trust self-reported sexual orientations? If people report something different a few years later, should we attribute this to their malleable sexuality or consider them heterosexual “jokesters” bent on messing with survey administrators? It is profoundly ironic that social scientists make strong social constructionist arguments about nearly everything except sexual orientation.

Stanford demographer Michael Rosenfeld’s survey project How Couples Meet and Stay Together (HCMST) reveals that while only 3 percent of heterosexual married persons reported being “at least sometimes attracted” to persons of a gender other than the gender of their current partner in the past year, the same was true of 20 percent of men in same-sex relationships and 33 percent of women in same-sex relationships. While the malleability of self-identified lesbian women is now taken for granted among social scientists of sexuality, the one-in-five figure among men in gay relationships is higher than most would guess.

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In keeping with the data, expect those robust legal arguments leaning on the immutability of sexual orientation to bleed out within the next five years. Indeed, sociologists have never been fans of such biological essentialism, but have kept their mouths shut out of a sense of political duty to a movement they helped birth. No more.

Social scientists will soon wrestle with, rather than overlook, the elevated levels of poverty among well-educated lesbian women in America (as seen in the ACS, NFSS, NHIS, and HCMST). Until now, scholars predictably elected to employ income as a control variable in their studies of child and adult life outcomes, enabling them to avoid confronting the reasons for the unprecedented negative association of education with income among the population of same-sex female couples. Here again, it’s not been about understanding but about winning political battles.

We will also learn much more about the relationship stability distinctions that are common in the data between gay and straight parents. Unpublished research exploring the stability rates of same-sex and opposite-sex couples using data from yet more population-based surveys finds that claims about thecomparability of same-sex and heterosexual couple stability (again, after a series of controls) are actually limited to couples without children. For couples with children, the dissolution rate for same-sex couples is more than double that of heterosexual couples. What remains unknown yet is whether this difference is an artifact that will disappear with legal marriage rights. I doubt it, given that same-sex relationships are distinctive in other ways, too. But it’s an empirical question.

As it turns out, the NFSS was not unique. It was simply more transparent than most datasets and offered a clearer glimpse into the messy reality of many Americans’ household histories. It did the work social science was intended to do—to richly describe and illuminate—but in so doing invited unprecedented hostility.

On a Thursday morning in late June 2015, Americans will be treated to the Court’s decision about altering an institution as old as recorded human history. But one thing that day will not change is the portrait of same-sex households with children. After a series of population-based data-collection projects, we know what that looks like: a clear step down, on average, from households that unite children with their own mother and father.

Biology matters—as new research released this week confirms—and no amount of legislation, litigation, or cheerleading can alter that. Whether the high court will elect to legally sever the rights of children to the security and benefits of their mother's and father’s home is anyone’s guess.

Reprinted with permission from The Witherspoon Institute. 

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Michael Stokes Paulsen

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The case for imposing gay ‘marriage’ is remarkably similar to that for slavery. But can the GOP produce a new Abe Lincoln?

Michael Stokes Paulsen
By Michael Stokes Paulsen

February 27, 2015 (ThePublicDiscourse.com) -- No, of course Old Abe never said a lick about same-sex marriage. The idea would have been unheard of in the 1850s—or even the 1950s. The issue of Lincoln’s day was slavery—in particular, the extension of that peculiar institution into federal territories and even into free states. But in connection with the slavery issue, Lincoln had plenty to say about the use and abuse of judicial authority to propagate social policy and about the dangers of judges usurping legislative authority. The man whose birth we honored two weeks ago thus spoke, indirectly, to one of the central controversies of our own era, and to a case pending before the Supreme Court right now.

Lincoln’s specific concern was the expansion of slavery into federal territories, mandated by the Supreme Court’s horrendous decision in Dred Scott v. Sandford, in 1857. Lincoln warned of the prospect of a “second Dred Scott” decision following on the heels of the first, mandating the extension of slavery into (formerly) “free” states where the institution of slavery was banned, like Illinois. “We shall lie down pleasantly dreaming that the people of Missouri are on the verge of making their State free,” Lincoln intoned, in the famous House Divided speech launching his (unsuccessful) 1858 campaign for Senate, “and we shall awake to the reality, instead, that the Supreme Court has made Illinois slave State.”

The logic of the Dred Scott case, Lincoln argued, would seem to imply that no state could deny recognition to the property rights of slaveholders coming from another state. Dred Scott had held that a right to own slave property, conferred by the laws of a slave state, bound the federal government, in administering federal territories that had not yet become states. Federal law could not ban slavery in the territories, for that would unfairly and unconstitutionally deprive slave-owners of a benefit they had possessed under state law, and thus deny them “due process of law.”

However convoluted and unpersuasive the Court’s reasoning, Lincoln recognized the implications of its logic: if the federal government had to recognize slavery as a result of some states’ laws, how could a free state (like Illinois) deny recognition to slave status conferred by a slave state’s laws (like Missouri’s)?

A House Divided

Lincoln warned that politicians and judges, like builders working according to a common plan, were preparing the framework to make slavery the uniform national rule: “Put that and that together, and we have a nice little niche, which we may, ere long, see filled with another Supreme Court decision, declaring that the Constitution of the United States does not permit a state to exclude slavery within its limits.” And once that had happened, a state could scarcely deny to all citizens of a state the same “constitutional right” to the institution of slavery that it had to recognize to newcomers or travelers from slave states. A case presenting exactly these issues was kicking around in the New York courts, and seemed at the time destined to make it to the US Supreme Court, presenting the perfect opportunity for such a second Dred Scott.

“A house divided against itself cannot stand,” Lincoln said, quoting Jesus. Lincoln did not expect the house to fall, but he did expect that “it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing, or all the other.” The only way to prevent slavery from becoming the national rule was to resist the decision of the Supreme Court and to seek to prevent its extension—to “meet and overthrow the power of” the “political dynasty” that was seeking to extend slavery to the entire nation.

Lincoln lost that Senate campaign to the incumbent Stephen Douglas, but then beat Douglas in a rematch two years later, this time for the presidency. The rest, as they say, is history: southern states revolted against what they considered a revolting, lawlessly antislavery president; Lincoln considered it his constitutional duty to maintain the Union, faithfully execute the laws, and put down the rebellion; and during a four-year bloody Civil War that tragically claimed 620,000 lives—more than all of America’s other wars combined—Lincoln found it necessary to proclaim the emancipation of slaves held in the states in rebellion. The Thirteenth Amendment, abolishing slavery throughout the nation, was proposed by Congress 150 years ago this month, and Lee surrendered to Grant 150 years ago this April. Barely a week after that, Lincoln was killed by an assassin’s bullet—having seen, but never entered, the promised land of a nation free of slavery.

Parallels between Dred Scott and Windsor

So what does all this have to do with same-sex marriage? A lot. Two years ago, in the contrived test case of Windsor v. United States, a bare majority of Supreme Court justices held that a legal status conferred by state law had to be recognized within the federal sphere. The court held that to deny such a status, as federal law did, violated the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment.

In legal form and substance, the decisions in Windsor and Dred Scott are surprisingly parallel. Windsor involved a same-sex marriage that was recognized by the state of New York but not recognized by the federal government due to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). The Court held that DOMA denied “due process of law” because it withheld federal recognition to a state-law legal status. That is exactly the same thing the Court did in Dred Scott. Instead of marriage, Dred Scott involved the status of slavery, which was recognized by the state of Missouri, but not by federal law in federal territory. Scott’s master, a captain in the army, had taken Scott to Fort Snelling, in the free federal territory of present-day Minnesota. The federal Missouri Compromise of 1820 banned the status of slavery in federal territory north of a designated line. Dred Scott held that the Missouri Compromise denied “due process of law” because it withheld federal recognition to a state-law legal status. That is just what Windsor did with respect to DOMA.

In both Dred Scott and Windsor, the Court’s legal analysis was transparently result-oriented: the justices wanted a particular result, and manipulated the law to reach the outcome they thought preferable as a social-policy matter. In both cases, the majority’s “reasoning” wanders aimlessly before finally settling into the same oft-discredited judicial invention of “substantive due process”—the idea that it is simply morally wrong, or mean, for a democracy to deny a legal right or status conferred under the law of a different jurisdiction. In both cases, the majority opinions were subject to devastating dissents, and they produced greatly divided public reaction. It is hard to avoid the conclusion that Dred Scott and Windsor are two peas from the same judicial-activist pod.

A Second Windsor?

Lincoln warned that there could be a “Second Dred Scott” making slavery national. “Such a decision is all that slavery now lacks of being alike lawful in all the States. Welcome or unwelcome, such decision is probably coming.”

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Could there be a “Second Windsor” making same-sex marriage national?

Quite possibly yes. A case is now pending before the Supreme Court asking whether four states—Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, and Tennessee—acted unconstitutionally by not recognizing the status of same-sex marriages under their laws. Some of the plaintiffs are same-sex partners who were married under the laws of other states before moving to a state not recognizing such status. Other plaintiffs seek simply to be married in their home states, the laws of which limit marriage to opposite-sex couples.

Just as with Dred Scott and slavery, the logic of Windsor does not quite require extension to invalidate the laws of every state that denies same-sex marriage status. But an argument will be made that it does. The reasoning of Windsor is that it was gratuitously and indefensibly mean, and therefore unconstitutional, for the federal government to deny recognition to a same-sex marriage recognized under state law. Just as Lincoln asked with respect to Dred Scott, how likely is it the Court will say that a state can then deny to other state’s citizens, or even to its own, the status of same-sex marriage? “Put that and that together,” as Lincoln said, “and we have another nice little niche” for the next Supreme Court decision.

Same-sex marriage is obviously an entirely different social institution than slavery. Reasonable and honorable people today disagree about whether the traditional view of marriage as a conjugal and intrinsically male-female union should be abandoned for an understanding of marriage as embracing any sexual-romantic bond into which two (or more) people might enter. Nobody today disagrees about slavery.

But that is not the point. The point is that, in the structure and logic of the legal arguments made for judicial imposition of an across-the-board national rule requiring every state to accept the institutions, the two situations appear remarkably similar.

If recent lower court opinions on marriage are any guide, the judicial winds may be blowing on the marriage question in the same direction Lincoln seemed to perceive them blowing on the question of extending slavery into northern states by judicial decree. (Lincoln’s prediction probably would have proved right had he not been elected president.) As with slavery in the 1850s, so too with same-sex marriage in 2015: the house very likely will soon cease to be divided. I wouldn’t want to say it’s inevitable, but it is certainly possible that a Second Windsor is coming.

Will the Republican Party produce another Lincoln to stand against it?

Reprinted with permission from The Witherspoon Institute

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