Robert R. Reilly

Queering education: it’s worse than you think

Robert R. Reilly
By Robert Reilly
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June 10, 2013 (Mercatornet.com) - The logic works like this: If homosexual acts are moral, as so many now insist, then they should be normative. If they are normative, they should be taught in our schools as a standard. If they are a standard, they should be enforced. And so it has come, and is coming, to be. Education is an essential part of the drive to universalize the rationalization for homosexual behavior; so it must become a mandatory part of the curriculum.

The infiltration of higher education by LGBT studies is well known. However, less attention seems to have been paid to the effort to spread LGBT propaganda in elementary schools and high schools. Because of the young ages of students K through 12, the introduction of pro-homosexual materials has required a special sensitivity from those who are trying to get away with it. They must avoid the explicit nature of the LGBT courses offered at the college level and disguise the effort in terms of something other than what it really is. Therefore, they use a stealth approach under the cover of issues such as school safety, diversity, and bullying.

One of the primary organizations involved in spreading the rationalization for homosexual behavior in elementary and high schools is the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), begun in 1990 in Massachusetts. According to its mission statement, GLSEN “strives to assure that each member of every school community is valued and respected regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. We believe that such an atmosphere engenders a positive sense of self, which is the basis of educational achievement and personal growth. Since homophobia and heterosexism undermine a healthy school climate, we work to educate teachers, students and the public at large about the damaging effects these forces have on youth and adults alike”.

The statement sounds fairly anodyne, though its clear purpose is to make homosexuality acceptable, and for good reason. GLSEN’s founder, homosexual activist Kevin Jennings, spoke at a homosexual conference on March 5, 1995, titled "Winning the Culture War", in which he laid out the rhetorical strategy for success. It is worth quoting at length for what it reveals about the agenda. Jennings said:

"If the Radical Right can succeed in portraying us as preying on children, we will lose. Their language – 'promoting homosexuality' is one example – is laced with subtle and not-so-subtle innuendo that we are 'after their kids.' We must learn from the abortion struggle, where the clever claiming of the term 'pro-life' allowed those who opposed abortion on demand to frame the issue to their advantage, to make sure that we do not allow ourselves to be painted into a corner before the debate even begins. In Massachusetts the effective reframing of this issue was the key to the success of the Governor's Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth.

"We immediately seized upon the opponent's calling card – safety – and explained how homophobia represents a threat to students' safety by creating a climate where violence, name-calling, health problems, and suicide are common. Titling our report 'Making Schools Safe for Gay and Lesbian Youth,' we automatically threw our opponents onto the defensive and stole their best line of attack. This framing short-circuited their arguments and left them back-pedaling from day one. " 

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So successful was Mr Jennings in his framing operation that he was appointed in the first Obama administration to the position of Assistant Deputy Secretary, Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools, in the Department of Education. The irony was not lost on 52 members of Congress, who wrote to President Obama requesting that he rescind the appointment because Mr. Jennings had, as the letter stated, “for more than 20 years, almost exclusively focused on promoting the homosexual agenda”. Mr. Obama did not do so, and Mr. Jennings served in the position for two years.

GLSEN’s mission of promoting a safe and supportive environment for students of all sexual orientations means providing the approval of those orientations. In the Safe Space Kit: Guide to Being an Ally to LGBT Students, GSLEN provides an examination of conscience for those wanting to be allies to LGBT students. Here are some of the searching questions: “If someone were to come out to you as LGBT, what would your first thought be? Have you ever been to in LGBT social event, march or worship service? Why or why not? Have you ever laughed at or made a joke at the expense of LGBT people?” 

With an Orwellian touch, the Safe Space Kit advises that, during casual conversations and classroom time, one should “make sure the language you are using is inclusive of all people. When referring to people in general, try using words like ‘partner’ instead of ‘boyfriend/girlfriend’ or ‘husband/wife’, and avoid gendered pronouns, using ‘they’ instead of ‘he/she’. What’s wrong with referring to a man as “he” and to a woman as “she”? Well, the glossary helps us to understand the definition of gender as “a social construct based on a group of emotional, behavioral and cultural characteristics attached to a person’s assigned biological sex”.

The whole point of GSLEN is that, if you don’t like the “gender construct” society has assigned you, you can construct another for yourself, and have every right to expect that everyone should go along with you.

As far as students “coming out” are concerned, one should realize that “it can be a difficult and emotional process for an LGBT student to go through, which is why it is so important for a student to have support”. In other words, encourage them by providing approval and support. Whatever you do, however, don’t advise the student not to tell anyone. Why not? Because, the booklet answers, “This implies that there is something wrong and that being LGBT must be kept hidden”.

Gay-Straight Alliances

To help carry out this work there are “Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs), student clubs that work to improve school climate for all students, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. 4,000 GSAs are registered with GLSEN.” The number of GSAs should give some idea of the scope of this organization’s influence. Among the activities sponsored by GLSEN and its affiliates are: the Day of Silence, National Coming Out Day, and GSA Day. On January 24, 2012, Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, gave official government approval of the first GSA Day through a GSA PSA on YouTube commemorating the event and endorsing GSA clubs in schools.  So this is an officially endorsed event.

GLSEN is also hard at work providing role models for LGBT students. NBA player Jason Collins, who plays center for the Washington Wizards basketball team, announced he was a homosexual in an article for the Sports Illustrated website on April 29, 2013. Hardly a week passed before, on May 8, 2013, GLSEN, announced it would honor Collins with the Courage Award at the GLSEN Respect Awards in New York on Monday, May 20. "We are incredibly proud to honor Jason Collins with our Courage Award," said Dr Byard. "His decision to come out is a game-changer for sports”.

In the classroom

What does this kind of thing actually translate into in the classroom? The film, It’s Elementary: Talking About Gay Issues In School, is the first item recommended on the Book Link page on GLSEN’s website. It’s Elementary is, according to its makers, “the groundbreaking film that addresses anti-gay prejudice by providing adults with practical lessons on how to talk with children about lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered people”. The filmmakers visited six elementary and middle schools to film teachers and students discussing “gay and lesbian issues” in their classrooms. The purpose was to explore "what happens when experienced teachers talk about lesbians and gay men with their students". It aired on more than 100 public television stations in 1999 and continues to be widely used.

This film is worth some detailed attention not only because of its wide circulation, but because it seems to incorporate what GLSEN advocates. In fact, GLSEN’s founder Kevin Jennings said, “It’s Elementary is the most important film dealing with LGBT issues and safe schools ever made. It took a topic that was mystifying to many people and made it real, inspiring an entire generation of educators to see how they could make a difference…. No other film has had a bigger impact on LGBT issues in the schools.” 

Through means of a transcript, let us examine what the film presents. It should be noted that the film is a documentary. Though it obviously has its own strong pro-homosexual point of view, it is simply recording what is already taking place in the schools from first to eighth grade classrooms in the way of inculcating the acceptance of homosexuality as a norm.

At a filmed meeting of the faculty at Cambridge Friends School, a Quaker school in Cambridge, MA, a teacher declares, "What we're trying to have people do is to understand that people are. And we have to respect the right of all of us to just be, and be who we are, and we do that in the classroom when we teach so that everyone can learn. ‘There isn't a right way, there isn't a wrong way, there isn't a good way, there isn't a bad way’”. So much for Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics. This teaching, however, comports perfectly with the Space Safe Kit’s advice to “Show students that you understand there is no one way a person ‘should’ be”.

This sophistical message obviously works. A 3rd grader summed it up by saying, “I don't get it. Who cares if you're gay? Do you care? It's like, duh, you're gay”.  Who cares? The entire homosexual lobby, which has been pushing its rationalization to reach this exact point, cares.

In another filmed venue, a first grader at Public School 87 in New York City, Emily, reads to the class from her Mother’s Day essay:

"My mothers mean so, so, so, so, so much to me. I have two mothers. Two moms is pretty nice. Well, it's more than pretty nice, it's really nice. You can't imagine. Although having two mothers is a problem to others, I respect that that's the way they think, and I can't do anything about it. I still think that those people think stupidly. This once happened with a boy in my class who couldn't come to my house because my parents were lesbians. One night I called their house and their mother told me their version of the Bible. I stood up for my mothers and knew that many kids in my class were supporting me and calling me to see how I was. I am proud of my moms and enjoy marching in the gay pride march every single year with my moms."

Teacher: "Wasn't that a nice essay? Shouldn't we give Emily a round of applause?" (Applause ) 

Evidently, no one has told poor Emily that one of her parents is a dad.

As the responses of the children throughout this film demonstrate, propaganda works. All you have to do is repeat it often enough before their minds are formed. Children can be easily exploited, as the film demonstrates.

Whose children are they?

The background song with the closing credits has these lyrics (taken from Khalil Gibran): “Your children are not your children; They come through you, but they are not from you; And though they are with you, they belong not to you; You can house their bodies but not their souls…”

Well, then, if not their parents’, whose children are they? One may be sure that wherever same-sex “marriage” has been legally enshrined, it will be taught in schools with or without the permission of parents. In this respect, the children will belong to the state and its schools. Massachusetts, which legalized same-sex “marriage” in 2003, is exhibit A.

In 2005, kindergartners in Lexington, Massachusetts, were given a "Diversity Book Bag" to take home, which is what the 5-year-old son of David and Tonia Parker did. To the parents’ shock, it contained a picture book, titled Who’s in a Family? In it, are approvingly displayed same-sex “parents” such as: "Robin's family is made up of her dad, Clifford, her dad's partner, Henry, and Robin's cat, Sassy”. The author Who’s in a Family?, Robert Skutch, explained in a National Public Radio interview, "Here and Now", May 3, 2005, “The whole purpose of the book was to get the subject [of same-sex parent households] out into the minds and the awareness of children before they are old enough to have been convinced that there's another way of looking at life”.

The Parkers wrote a letter to the principal stating, “There is a book included entitled, Who's in a Family (with pictures) that include lesbian and homosexual couples with children – implicitly equating this family structure as a morally equal alternative to other family constructs. We stand firmly against this book or any other subject matter pertaining to homosexuality ever being indoctrinated to our child, discussed in school, or sent home. We don't believe gay parents constitute a spiritually healthy family and should not be celebrated”. The Parkers requested advance notification of any such material in the future and indicated that they wished to opt out their son from any future exposure “to any sexual orientation/homosexual material/same sex unions between parents”.

The principal responded: “I have confirmed with our Assistant Superintendent and our Director of Health Education that discussion of differing families, including gay-headed families, is not included in the parental notification policy”. On April 27, David Parker, went to the school for a scheduled meeting and insisted that he would not leave until the issue was resolved. As a consequence he was arrested by the Lexington police and charged with "trespassing". He spent the night in jail.

The next year, at the same school, a second grade teacher read the book, King & King, to the students as part of an educational unit on weddings. In the book, the Queen is frustrated that she cannot interest her son in any of the princesses she presents to him as prospective brides. Then, one day he sees the brother of one of the princesses. “At last, the prince felt a stir in his heart... It was love at first sight”, the book exclaims. The pictorial depiction of the subsequent wedding shows the two “Kings” holding hands. The last picture is of the two of them kissing.

Parents Robb and Robin Wirthlin complained that they had not been notified about the reading or its contents, to which they objected. Robin Wirthlin appeared on CNN, saying, “We felt like seven years old is not appropriate to introduce homosexual themes… My problem is that this issue of romantic attraction between two men is being presented to my seven-year-old as wonderful, and good and the way things should be… Let us know and let us excuse our child from the discussion”.  They were told that the school was under no obligation to notify them or to allow their child to opt out.

In 2006, the Wirthlins and the Parkers filed a federal lawsuit against the school district of Estabrook Elementary School, claiming that the school was engaging in sex education without parental notification, in violation of their civil rights and state law. Chief Judge Mark L. Wolf, of the U.S. District Court dismissed the lawsuit, saying “Diversity is a hallmark of our nation. It is increasingly evident that our diversity includes differences in sexual orientation… [The Department of Education] also encourages instruction concerning different types of families… Some families are headed by same-sex couples”.

The ramifications of his judgment became abundantly clear in 2008, when Dr. Paul B. Ash, the superintendent of Lexington Public Schools, announced the “new, formalized diversity curriculum in preparation for the next year, when we plan to pilot 4 to 5 short units in each elementary grade. Some units will focus on families, including families with single parents, foster parents, and gay and lesbian parents”.  A parent, Shawn Landon, protested, demanding “prior notification to any discussion, education, training, reading or anything at all related (even remotely) to homosexuality”.

Here is part of Dr Ash’s response to the father:

“… perhaps you are not aware of the lawsuit decided by the United States Court of Appeals (Parker vs. Hurley). This case established Lexington's right to teach diversity units, including stories that show same gender parents. The court decided we are not required to inform parents in advance of teaching units that include same gender parents or required to release students when such topics are discussed. The Appeals Court dismissed the claim that parents have a right to require the school provide advance notice or the right to remove their children. In addition, the School Committee has decided that teachers must be able to teach topics they feel are appropriate without the requirement parents be notified in advance”.

Recall Jean Jacques Rousseau’s prescription for the replacement of the family by the state: “The public authority, in assuming the place of father and charging itself with this important function (should) acquire his (the father’s) rights in the discharge of his duties”. This prescription was filled in Massachusetts. One can expect its spread wherever same-sex “marriage” is mandated by the state.

Gender-bending

Back to the classroom, we have another GLSEN publication, Elementary School Toolkit, subtitled Ready, Set, Respect!, to assist the state in its usurpation of parental duties. This booklet advises on how to deal with certain children being perceived as “not behaving ‘enough’ like a boy or ‘enough’ like a girl”. It states: “As educators we have the opportunity to create environments that not only support students as they develop an awareness of gender but that also challenge the stereotypes that may impair healthy development”.

As if on cue, in May 2013, the Tippecanoe School for the Arts and Humanities, a Milwaukee elementary school, sponsored a “Gender Bender Day” for which the students were asked to dress as a member of the opposite sex. “I think it’s just teaching them the wrong lesson about gender”, one parent told local Fox affiliate WITI. “If you’re a boy, stay a boy. You shouldn’t have something like that at school”. Another parent said she was ‘speechless’ about the school’s decision day. She, like some other parents, ended up keeping her son home from school that day. A school-board member dismissed parents’ concerns, saying they were ‘using the kids for political purposes.’ In an effort to appease upset parents, the school changed the name to ‘Switch It Up Day.’ In fact, WITI couldn’t find many students participating in the themed day when it finally came last Friday; it appears to be mostly teachers and other staffers”.  On Fox-6 News TV, one mother protested: “I don’t want to send my son to school dressed as girl. He’s only 7 years old.”

However, this is clearly the age at which some homosexual ideologues and their allies would like to reach children with their propaganda. The extent to which this can go becomes, on occasion, unintentionally hilarious. In the Ready, Set, Respect! booklet, for instance, teachers are advised to “write math problems with contexts that include a variety of family structures and gender-expressions”. For example, “Rosa and her dads were at the store and wanted to buy three boxes of pasta. If each costs $.75, how much will all three boxes cost?” This reads as if some now unemployed Soviet or Sandinista propagandist wrote it. If it were written during the Cold War, they would be buying Kalashnikovs, not pasta but, of course, then there would have been only one dad, not two.

What happened to innocence?

It is a measure of the depravity of the homosexual movement that it will not spare the innocence of children in the spread of its rationalization, which must embrace everyone at every age, regardless of price. Innocence cannot be left to stand in its way. As shocking as some of the classroom and reading material may be, it is all part of the inexorable logic of the situation playing itself out.

Classroom presentations by homosexuals or on the subject of homosexuality are invitations to obscenity and inevitably lead to the question asked by one boy during It’s Elementary: “How do you guys do it?” The response was, “We are not allowed to talk about our personal sex lives – we can't do that”. Nevertheless, with the question implanted, curious young minds will ineluctably be drawn to the subject of sodomy. “So that’s what those nice guys who talked with us do? There must not be anything wrong with it”. Mission accomplished – to make the abnormative normative before the children have developed their critical faculties of thought.

Everyone who has an affliction deserves respect and consideration. But respect does not require calling the affliction something other than what it is – much less its opposite. One cannot teach about sickness and at the same time call it health. It is much worse to promote moral sickness as moral well-being – especially to children.

To teach children that one’s orientation, sexual or otherwise, gives one license to perform acts that are inherently immoral is an evil teaching. It scandalizes the children. It also degrades the dignity of human free will and responsibility to teach that these acts are inevitable outcomes of “who we are”, rather than as freely chosen deeds with consequences in terms of both moral and physical health.

Robert R. Reilly is the author of The Closing of the Muslim Mind. He is currently completing a book on the natural law argument against homosexual marriage for Ignatius Press. This article reprinted from Mercatornet.com under a Creative Commons License. 

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Drew Belsky

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ACLU sues Kentucky clerk for refusing marriage licenses to all couples

Drew Belsky
By Drew Belsky

July 6, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) -- Four Kentucky couples are suing a clerk of the court in their county for refusing to grant them marriage licenses.

The clerk, Kim Davis of Rowan (pronounced "rah-win") County, declared that her faith prevents her from complying with the Supreme Court's Obergefell v. Hodges decision, issued in late June, which legally redefined marriage to include same-sex couples.  She is withholding licenses not only to same-sex couples, but to everyone – in fact, two of the couples suing Davis, with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), are sexually complementary.

"It is my deep conviction and belief that God ordained marriage between a man and a woman," Davis told Kentucky station WYKT.  "I can't be a part of this."

"My Kentucky Constitution that I took the oath to uphold in January stated that marriage is between one man and one woman, and that is the constitution that I have vowed to uphold."

Laura Landenwich, an attorney with the ACLU, said that "Ms. Davis has the absolute right to believe whatever she wants about God, faith, and religion.  But as a government official who swore an oath to uphold the law, she cannot pick and choose who[m] she is going to serve, or which duties her office will perform based on her religious beliefs."

The ACLU's complaint avers that "Plaintiff and Plaintiff Class have suffered and continue to suffer irreparable harms, including harms to their dignity and autonomy, family security, and access to the full spectrum of benefits conferred by the state upon others."

Davis, a Democrat, is appealing to Kentucky's Bill of Rights, which states that "no human authority shall, in any case whatsoever, control or interfere with the rights of conscience."  Moreover, she told WSAZ reporter Kaitlynn LeBeau, "My Kentucky Constitution that I took the oath to uphold in January stated that marriage is between one man and one woman, and that is the constitution that I have vowed to uphold."

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, a Democrat, has ordered all clerks in the Bluegrass State to comply with the Supreme Court's decision.

"Each clerk vowed to uphold the law regardless of his or her personal beliefs," Beshear said in a statement.  "I appreciate the clerks who are fulfilling their duties, issuing licenses to all couples, and I would expect others to execute the duties of their offices as prescribed by law and to issue marriage licenses to all Kentuckians."

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Davis' decision brought protesters to her office in Morehead last Tuesday.  The crowd comprised both opposition and supporters, bearing signs with messages including "Morehead = Equality," "Leave Religion out of your GOVERNMENT job!," and "We stand with you Kim."

Davis refuses to speak on camera because of an intensifying tide of threatening hate mail.  One man told her by email that she needed to be killed.  She has received gratitude and support as well, including from states outside Kentucky.

"This is a battle," Davis told one reporter by phone, "nationwide, that I think is vital to every person who holds near and dear to their heart the word of God."

Resistance to Obergefell is not limited to one Kentucky county.  All three staffers at the county clerk's office in Decatur County, Tennessee resigned following the decision.  Decatur County commissioner David Boroughs told a local paper that he is "proud of them that their faith is so strong and well-rounded that they feel they can do that."

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Matthew J. Franck

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Obergefell is so awful that it makes Dred Scott look like a piece of lawyerly precision

Matthew J. Franck
By Matthew Franck

July 6, 2015 (ThePublicDiscourse) -- When the blow finally fell, the Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges—holding 5-4 that every state in the Union must license same-sex marriages—seemed somehow less crushing in its impact, less hurtful and wounding, than one might have expected from a decision that is so thoroughly a defeat for the truth about marriage and the truth about the Constitution.

Make no mistake, the harms from the Court’s appallingly illegitimate decision are many, and gravely serious. But the good news for a cockeyed optimist like me is that Justice Anthony Kennedy’s opinion is so incompetent, so gossamer-thin as an exercise in legal or constitutional reasoning, so unpersuasive even in political terms, that it renews my zest for carrying on the battle of persuading my fellow citizens and turning the country around on this issue.

I should have known he would do this for us, as well as to us. For Kennedy began to travel this road nearly twenty years ago in Romer v. Evans (1996), in which a 6-3 Court denied to the people of Colorado the authority to amend their state constitution to prevent their elected state and local legislators from adding “sexual orientation” to the list of “identities” on the grounds of which discrimination by public and private actors alike is forbidden.

Is Anyone "Demeaning" Others' "Dignity"?

Yet at least in Romer, the word “dignity” had not yet appeared in Kennedy’s reasoning. In Lawrence v. Texas (2003), which overturned state laws that criminalized homosexual sodomy, Kennedy turned away from the equal protection clause and to the textually and historically ungrounded jurisprudence of “substantive due process.” This meant, in Kennedy’s hands, the judicial protection of a free-ranging, judicially defined notion of “liberty” invoked to overturn any conduct-regulating statute that trenched on the “dignity” of persons whose wishes and desires tugged at the judges’ heartstrings.

In Romer, at least, Justice Kennedy had labored to produce something that resembled a competent account of the equal protection clause—though his attempt failed. But Lawrence was something else. Lawrence was a moment of real self-liberation for Kennedy. That can be seen in his quotation of what were probably his own words from the joint opinion he co-authored with Justices O’Connor and Souter in Planned Parenthood v. Casey: “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.” This “mystery passage” was already in 2003, and remains, the most widely lampooned bit of pseudo-reasoning of the last half century, but Kennedy sensed the cultural and political power that it represented, and in Lawrence he set it on course to colonize our constitutional law entirely. His opinion was also liberally salted with references to “dignity” (three times, including another line quoted from Casey), and to the idea that laws resting on negative judgments of homosexual conduct “demean” those who engage in it (four times).

United States v. Windsor, the Defense of Marriage Act case from two years ago, gave us more of Kennedy’s free-floating jurisprudence of “dignity” (ten mentions including “indignity”), condemning laws that “demean” (three mentions).  Obergefell rests explicitly on this fragile, groundless rationale, with Kennedy mentioning the connection of marriage to “dignity” nine times, while three times saying that it “demeans” same-sex couples when a state limits marriage to one man and one woman, and twice invoking the matter of “identity.”

But there is something else quite new in Obergefell. Kennedy, somewhat defensively, mentions twice that defenders of conjugal marriage might believe redefining the institution to include same-sex couples “demeans” marriage itself. Since no one opposed to same-sex marriage actually speaks this way, this is a curious characterization, but perhaps an important one. In Kennedy’s mind, the Constitution has been converted into a great Dignity Document. The role of the Supreme Court is to adjudicate whose version of Dignity it embodies, which can be decided by pondering who is made to feel worse by having his strongest convictions “demeaned.” Victory will go to the one who can appeal successfully to strong feelings about his “identity.” As Chief Justice Roberts said in dissent, “The majority’s driving themes are that marriage is desirable and petitioners desire it.”

A Constitutional Crisis

Confronted by such a string of sentiments masquerading as constitutional principles, why then should I feel heartened by the new phase of the struggle into which the Obergefell ruling has just pitched us? The reason is that Kennedy is so terribly bad at his chosen profession of judge that he has now unmasked himself, and his four silent colleagues who joined his opinion for the Court, as imperial rulers with no regard for the Constitution, for the forms of reasoning that give the law its real vitality, or for the rightful authority of the people to govern themselves within the bounds of a Constitution they understand and respect.

Moreover, while noting all the manifold ways in which the marriage debate has been played out over the last two decades—just as he was attempting to shut that debate down—Kennedy evinced no understanding of what the arguments about marriage really are, not even grasping the arguments on the side he favored. In so doing, he showed himself to be, if not one of the least intellectually honest persons ever to come to that debate, then one of the least well-informed. His opinion is an act of the most breathtaking argumentative carelessness in the history of the Supreme Court. Roe v. WadeLochner v. New York, and Dred Scott v. Sandford—all rightly invoked by the dissenters in Obergefell as the true models for Kennedy’s reasoning—are closely reasoned works of lawyerly precision by comparison.

As a legal opinion, Obergefell is an utter failure. What the late John Hart Ely, who was politically in favor of abortion, said of Roe v. Wade, we can say of Obergefell: “It is bad because it is bad constitutional law, or rather because it is not constitutional law and gives almost no sense of an obligation to try to be.” But Obergefell is also embarrassingly bad as a contribution to the political and social debate on marriage. From this I take heart that the battle can be rejoined, with the making of better arguments—each side offering its best against the other’s best—in a struggle that will continue for years to come.

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But wait. Isn’t the debate over? Isn’t that what a Supreme Court decision on the Constitution means? Well, frankly, no. The movement for rescuing and restoring marriage in our country will not be made to vanish by so transparently political a holding of five justices of the Supreme Court. The movement for defending the sanctity of life in our law, forty-two years after Roe v. Wade, waxes rather than wanes in strength. As the pro-life movement was joined, so the marriage movement will be joined, by defenders of the authentic Constitution so blithely traduced by the Court’s majority. The Roe decision has often made pro-life converts out of people who actually read it—I know, because I was one of them—and the Obergefell ruling, in time, will do similar work in adding strength to the ranks of marriage’s defenders.

A constitutional ruling so shoddily reasoned, so completely and, one may say, easily dismantled by the four justices who dissent from it, must paper over a cause that cannot ultimately win in an open democratic debate, and that therefore seeks the shelter of powerful friends in the judiciary. This is just what many young people will come to see for themselves simply by reading the decision, just as many have done by reading Roe. The twin discoveries, that a great constitutional wrong has been committed to give cover to a great moral wrong, will come together.

We may take heart, then, from Justice Alito’s observation that “even enthusiastic supporters of same-sex marriage should worry about the scope of the power that today’s majority claims.” Indeed they should, for the debate is not over; it has only entered a new phase. That phase will necessarily include some sober deliberations regarding what can be done about a Supreme Court with (at least) five members who believe that they can rewrite the Constitution at will in order to transform fundamental institutions of our society. For Alito’s very next sentence is, “Today’s decision shows that decades of attempts to restrain this Court’s abuse of authority have failed.” Indeed, they have, and so it is back to the drawing board. When even the chief justice complains of “the majority’s extravagant conception of judicial supremacy,” it is time to do some hard thinking about meaningful institutional reform of the federal judiciary.

In the Meantime

While we prepare for hard work on many fronts in the battles for marriage and for the Constitution, we should recognize and immediately try to mitigate the great harm the Court has done. Despite Kennedy’s pat denials, marriage has been grievously wounded as an institution, and we must do what we can to bind up its wounds, in our own families, communities, and churches. After all, every future generation is at stake. We must never tire of saying: every child deserves a mother and a father—preferably his or her own biological parents. That, as the dissenting justices recognized, is what marriage has always been about, in every age and culture, and it is why marriage has always been understood as the union of a man and a woman.

And we must do all that we can to institute safeguards for religious freedom in our country, which will now come under attack as never before. It was strangely gratifying to see Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Thomas, in their dissents, give this matter their lengthy and considered attention. Thomas foresees “potentially ruinous consequences for religious liberty” in this invention of a new “right” of same-sex marriage, and Roberts noted how telling was the way in which Kennedy shrugged off such potentials:

The majority graciously suggests that religious believers may continue to “advocate” and “teach” their views of marriage. . . . The First Amendment guarantees, however, the freedom to “exercise” religion. Ominously, that is not a word the majority uses.

The protection of religious freedom may rapidly become our most urgent legislative business, both in Congress and in state legislatures. But win or lose in legislative assemblies, the faithful and their pastoral leaders in the many religious communities devoted to the truth about marriage must prayerfully muster the courage to act, and to live as their faith informs their consciences, as well as to “advocate” and “teach.” As Alito notes, “those who are determined to stamp out every vestige of dissent” on the marriage question will be ready to exploit the Court’s decision. Look at your social media feeds: That is already happening.

In our response to our counterparts in this great constitutional, political, and moral debate that now begins anew, we can start by preaching and practicing a truer, fuller understanding of dignity, in our families and churches, than the one about which Kennedy so vainly prattles. And we can fix our eyes on the prize of restoring, through real democratic debate and persuasion, the great goods of constitutional self-government and justice to individuals and families.

Thank you, Justice Kennedy, for giving us this opportunity. I know you didn’t mean it, but thank you nonetheless.

Reprinted with permission from The Witherspoon Institute

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Lisa Bourne

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US Episcopal Church faces backlash after approving gay ‘marriage’

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne

July 6, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) -- The bishops of the U.S. Episcopal Church gave the green light last week for clergy to perform same-sex “weddings,” in a heavily-debated fundamental change set to come in the door incrementally.  

As of November 1 of this year homosexual couples will have the right to be “married” in the church, the result of new liturgies for same-sex couples approved Wednesday at the denomination’s General Convention in Salt Lake City.

The bishops also accepted changing the church’s canons (rules) governing marriage, to make them gender neutral, thus replacing the terms “man and woman” with “couple.”

Episcopal clergy however, will be allowed to refuse to perform a homosexual “marriage” with the promise they would not be penalized, and individual bishops were also given the right to refuse to allow same-sex ceremonies to take place in their diocese.

The compromise is angering Episcopalians on both sides of the issue, with liberal factions potentially trying to block the plan and insist on the immediate introduction of same-sex “marriage” with no way for dioceses to opt out, and conservatives likely to reach out to overseas leaders in the wider Anglican Communion for help in getting the church to stop.

The leader of the worldwide Anglican Communion, which includes the Episcopal Church, released a statement expressing his “deep concern” over the U.S. Episcopal Church’s resolution to change the definition of marriage.

“Its decision will cause distress for some and have ramifications for the Anglican Communion as a whole,” Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said, “as well as for its ecumenical and interfaith relationships.”

Blessings for homosexual unions were first approved at the denomination’s 2012 convention, along with acceptance of transgender clergy. The Episcopal Church still maintained at the time that marriage was an exclusive life-long covenant of one man and one woman, as held in the church’s Book of Common Prayer.

While several Episcopal bishops defended the Biblical definition of marriage at this year’s convention, the majority of bishops argued that the provisional and trial rites would expand the traditional teaching about marriage, without changing the church’s underlying text or doctrine of marriage.

Retired Episcopal Bishop Vicky Gene Robinson, the first openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church, was among those at the convention who said homosexual sexual intimacy was morally acceptable and should be blessed in faithful covenanted relationships, stating, “I think it is time for us to do this.”

Robinson, whose 2003 elevation to bishop was a key factor in the denomination’s later split, said, “Gays and lesbians are living out their lives in holy ways,” and changing the church’s rules on marriage “allows us to recognize this,” to “declare how far we have come.”

Click "like" if you want to defend true marriage.

In response to an inquiry for comment on the Episcopal bishops’ resolution accepting homosexual “marriage,” the Anglican Church in North America directed LifeSiteNews to the church’s recent response to the U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing homosexual “marriage,” which said in part, “The Anglican Church in North America only authorizes and only performs marriages between one man and one woman.” 

Leaders of the Anglican Global South, a grouping of 24 of the 38 provinces of the Anglican Communion, issued a statement criticizing the U.S. Episcopal Church’s resolution as another unilateral decision taken without consideration for the Anglican Communion, ecumenical and interfaith relations and the mission of the church worldwide.

“This Resolution clearly contradicts the Holy Scriptures and God’s plan for creation as He created humankind as man and woman to complement each other physically and emotionally,” the Global South statement said.

“The church is intended by its Lord to be the holy leaven to shape society by its spiritual and moral values in line with God’s design,” it continued. “But sadly, by this action of (The Episcopal Church), the church gives way to the society to alter and shape its values. In other words the church is losing its distinctiveness as salt and light in this world.”

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