Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

Left and Right agree: Gay “marriage” brings in “choking,” “authoritarian” social “conformism”

Hilary White, Rome Correspondent
Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

ROME, May 2, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – While pro-family advocates have noted the incredible rate at which the homosexualist movement has gained the political upper hand in the last five years, others are voicing concern about the shrinking “social space” in the public discourse for those who still object to “gay marriage.”

Some pundits on the left and the center-right are warning that as the homosexual movement gains legislative ground, the freedom to object is narrowing and those holding out against it are increasingly under threat. The stunning advances made by the “gay movement” some are saying, is not a triumph for social freedom, but for an increasingly brutally enforced social conformism.

Left-libertarian British journalist Brendan O’Neill warned in a column in Spiked, that in 20 years of writing on political issues, “I have never encountered an issue like gay marriage, an issue in which the space for dissent has shrunk so rapidly, and in which the consensus is not only stifling but choking.”

The change in public opinion, O’Neill added, can best be described as a “conformism, the slow but sure sacrifice of critical thinking and dissenting opinion under pressure to accept that which has been defined as a good by the upper echelons of society: gay marriage.”

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“In truth, the extraordinary rise of gay marriage speaks, not to a new spirit of liberty or equality on a par with the civil-rights movements of the 1960s, but rather to the political and moral conformism of our age; to the weirdly judgmental non-judgmentalism of our PC times; to the way in which, in an uncritical era such as ours, ideas can become dogma with alarming ease and speed; to the difficulty of speaking one’s mind or sticking with one’s beliefs at a time when doubt and disagreement are pathologised.”

Elsewhere, O’Neill described the movement as an “iron fist in a velvet glove,” and denounced the Conservative government’s “authoritarian instinct” in forcing objectors to comply. He said it is the only issue on which, after having argued against it from a “liberal” perspective, he has received death threats.

Christopher Caldwell, a writer for the Weekly Standard, wrote for the Claremont Institute website last month, “The most troubling aspect of the gay-marriage movement is that, more than any social movement in living memory, more than feminism at its bra-burning peak in the 1970s, it aims not to engage in lively debate but to shut it down.”

The internet has made it much easier to shut down this debate, Caldwell added. “Anyone who expresses the slightest misgivings about gay marriage can become the object of boycotts, blacklists, and attempts to get him fired.”

“It is certainly worth asking why, if this is a liberation movement, it should be happening now, in an age not otherwise gaining a reputation as freedom’s heyday.”

“Half the country cannot even fathom the logic of it,” Caldwell said. “Until about a decade ago, the public was nearly unanimous in considering it a joke.”

“In a decade, gay marriage has gone from joke to dogma,” and now both activists in the homosexualist movement and their supporters in governments and media consider “gay marriage” to be a fait accompli and only a matter of time before it is universal throughout the west.

O’Neill quotes polls in the U.S. that found 58 percent of Americans support “gay marriage”, compared with just 37percent a decade ago; and a British poll in which 62percent in support compared to 31percent against 10 years ago.

O’Neill adds that in that time, it has become increasingly dangerous for anyone in politics or elsewhere to object. “Opponents of gay marriage are now treated by the press in the same way queer-rights agitators were in the past: as strange, depraved creatures, whose repenting and surrender to mainstream values we await with bated breath.”

In his review of the book From the Closet to the Altar: Courts, Backlash, and the Struggle for Same-Sex Marriage, by Michael J. Klarman, Caldwell notes the effect of the media’s promotion and the changes in law have had on public opinion. He wrote, “A barrage of judicial activism on one issue can soften up voting public’s resistance on others.”

“Marriage litigation has been a bonanza,” he added. “Judicial fiat put a halo of normalcy around gay marriage where none had existed before…When elites rally unanimously to a cause, it can become a kind of common sense.” No one, he said, wants to be seen to be more conservative than his neighbours, and “the elite view thus becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.”

O’Neill wrote that while the movement normally gets cast as a continuation of the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and ‘60s, “it’s better understood as a continuation, and intensification, of the modern state’s desire to get a foot in the door of our private lives and to assume sovereignty over our relationships.

“From the get-go, the depiction of the campaign for gay marriage as a liberty-tinged movement for greater equality was questionable to say the least,” he said.

Where “gay marriage” has been installed, it has largely been the result of the deliberate suppression of the democratic process and the work of the judiciary, the “legal elite.”

Caldwell writes, “Never since the Progressive Era has there been a social movement as elite-driven as the one for gay marriage. No issue divides the country more squarely by class. Opponents of California’s anti-marriage Proposition 8 have come to include virtually all of Hollywood, Apple, Google, Amazon, and the White House.”

O’Neill agrees, saying, “Grassroots public protesting for the right of homosexuals to marry was notable by its absence. Instead, this has been a movement led by lawyers and professional activists, backed by the CEOs of hedge-fund corporations and newspapers of record such as The Times.”

Caldwell quotes research that found public support for gay marriage has been increasing by four points a year since 2009. “Public opinion does not change this fast in free societies. Either opinion is not changing as fast as it appears to be, or society is not as free,” he concludes.

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Lisa Bourne

‘You can’t have’ marriage equality ‘without polygamy’

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By Lisa Bourne

July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Motivated by the U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing homosexual “marriage,” a Montana polygamist has filed for a second marriage license, so he can be legally wed to two women at once.

"It's about marriage equality," said Nathan Collier, using homosexual advocates’ term to support marriage redefinition. "You can't have this without polygamy."

Collier, who has has appeared on the TLC reality show Sister Wives with his legal wife Victoria, and his second wife Christine, said he was inspired by the dissent in the Supreme Court decision.

The minority Supreme Court justices said in Friday’s ruling it would open the door to both polygamy and religious persecution.

“It is striking how much of the majority’s reasoning would apply with equal force to the claim of a fundamental right to plural marriage,” wrote Chief Justice John Roberts.

Collier and his wives applied for a second marriage license earlier this week at the Yellowstone County Courthouse in Billings, a report from the Salt Lake Tribune said.

Collier, who was excommunicated from the Mormon Church for polygamy, married Victoria in 2000 and had a religious wedding ceremony with Christine in 2007. The three have seven children between them and from previous relationships.

"My second wife Christine, who I'm not legally married to, she's put up with my crap for a lot of years. She deserves legitimacy," Collier said.

Yellowstone County officials initially denied the application before saying they would consult with the County Attorney and get him a final answer.

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Bigamy, the holding of multiple marriage licenses, is illegal all 50 states, but Collier plans to sue if his application is denied. Officials expect to have an answer for him next week.

While homosexual “marriage” supporters have long insisted legalization of same-sex unions would not lead to polygamy, pro-life and family advocates have warned all along it would be inevitable with the redefinition of marriage.

“The next court cases coming will push for polygamy, as Chief Justice John Roberts acknowledged in his dissent,” said Penny Nance, president of Concerned Women for America, after the Supreme Court ruling. “The chief justice said “the argument for polygamy is actually stronger than that for ‘gay marriage.’ It’s only a matter of time.”

In a piece from the Washington Times, LifeSiteNews Editor-in-Chief and the co-founder of Voice of the Family John-Henry Westen stated the move toward legal polygamy is “just the next step in unraveling how Americans view marriage.”

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Chris Christie: Clerks must perform same-sex ‘marriages’ regardless of their religious beliefs

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By Ben Johnson

TRENTON, NJ, July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Chris Christie is not known for nuance. This time, he has turned his fiery personality loose on county clerks and other officials who have religious objections to performing same-sex “marriages.”

In a tone usually reserved for busting teachers' unions, Christie told clerks who hold traditional values, “You took the job, and you took the oath.” He would offer no exemption for an individual whose conscience would not allow him to participate in a union the vast majority of the world's religions deem sinful.

“When you go back and re-read the oath it doesn’t give you an out. You have to do it,” he said.

He told a reporter that there “might” be “individual circumstances” that “merit some examination, but none that come immediately to mind for me.”

“I think for folks who are in the government world, they kind of have to do their job, whether you agree with the law or you don’t,” the pugnacious governor said.

Since the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to legalize homosexual “marriage” last Friday, elected officials have grappled with how to safeguard the rights of those who have deeply held religious beliefs that would not allow them to participate in such a ceremony.

Christie's response differs markedly from other GOP hopefuls' responses to the Supreme Court ruling. Mike Huckabee, for instance, has specifically said that clerks should have conscience rights. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal signed an executive order granting such rights and ordered clerks to wait until a pending court case was fully adjudicated before any clerk issues a marriage license to a homosexual couple.

Christie gave up a legal appeal after a superior court judge struck down his state's voter-approved constitutional marriage protection amendment. New Jersey is the only state where such a low court overturned the will of the voters.

The decision to ignore conscience rights adds to the growing number of Christie's positions that give conservatives pause.

The natural locus of support for a Christie 2016 presidential run is the Republican's socially liberal donor class, for personal as well as political reasons. His wife works on Wall Street, and some of the GOP's high-dollar donors – including Paul Singer – have courted Christie for years.

However, this year Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, and to a lesser degree Scott Walker have eclipsed Christie as the preferred candidates of the boardroom donors – who sometimes prefer Democrats to Republicans.

Christie also used language during a speech before the Republican Jewish Coalition last year, which concerned some major GOP donors.

Christie is reportedly spending this weekend with Mitt Romney and his family at Romney's New Hampshire home. Romney declined to enter the 2016 race himself and may be able to open his donor list to Christie's struggling campaign.

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After having a girl with Down syndrome, this couple adopted two more

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By Ben Johnson

LINO LAKE, MN, July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – For most people, having five biological children would have been enough. In fact, for many Americans, large families are treated as a scandal or a burden.

But one family made the decision, not just to have a large family, but to give a home to some of the most vulnerable children in the world: Girls born overseas with Down syndrome.

Lee and Karen Shervheim love all seven of their children, biological or otherwise. Undeterred by having twin boys – Daniel and Andrew, 18 – they had Sam four years later.

They now have three daughters who are all 11 years old. All three have Down syndrome.

And two of them are adopted.

About the time their eight-year-old son, David, was born, Lee and Karen decided to adopt a child with Down syndrome to be a companion to their daughter, Annie.

They made the further unexpected choice to adopt a child from Eastern Europe with the help of Reece's Rainbow, which helps parents adopt children with Down syndrome.

“Between my wife and I, we couldn’t get it out of our heads,” Lee told the Quad City Press. “So many children need families and we knew we could potentially do something about it.”

After originally deciding to adopt Katie, they spent six weeks in Kiev, visiting an orphanage in nearby Kharkov. While there, they decided they may have room in their heart, and their home, for another child.

When they saw a picture of Emie striking the same pose as their biological daughter in one of their photographs, they knew they would come home with two children.

Both girls were the same age as their Annie. She would not lack for companionship, as they worried.

Lee said after the Ukrainian government – finally – completed the paperwork, they returned to the United States, when the real challenges began.

“The unvarnished truth,” Lee told the Press, is that adopting the Russian-speaking special needs children “was really disruptive to our family. They came with so many issues that we had not anticipated.”

After teaching them sign language and appropriate behavior, they moved to Lino Lake, Minnesota and found a new support group in Eagle Brook Church. There they found personal assistance and spiritual solace.

Every year in the past seven years has been better and better, they say.

“I think my girls can do almost anything they want to do,” he said, “and that’s what I want to help them become.”

The family's devotion is fueled by their faith, and it informs the sense of humor Lee showed in a tweet during the 2014 midterm elections:

It takes a special person to believe in the potential of the “mentally retarded,” as they were once labeled. Today, 90 percent of all babies diagnosed with Down syndrome in the womb will be aborted. The percentage is higher in some countries. Some have even spoken of "a world without people with Down syndrome."

Their God, and their experience, tell them that every child has infinite worth and potential, Lee told local media, and he would encourage anyone to follow his footsteps and adopt a Down syndrome child – or two.

“The message is that it really doesn’t matter where you started or where you came from,” Lee said. “There are endless opportunities for everyone, whether they have disabilities or not. They deserve a shot.”

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