Michael Cook

Tasmania’s absurd push for gay ‘marriage’

Michael Cook
By Michael Cook

September 5, 2012 (Mercatornet.com) - The results of grafting two heads onto one government body became painfully clear in the Australian state of Tasmania last week. Labor Premier Lara Giddings and her coalition partner, Greens leader Nick McKim, jointly guided a same-sex marriage bill through the lower house on Thursday. It was the first time that an Australian house of parliament had passed such a bill.

This, said Ms Giddings, would erase Tasmania’s reputation as the “laughing-stock” of Australia. Mr McKim praised the bill even more rapturously: “Romans chapter 13, verse 10 says, ‘Love does no harm to its neighbour; therefore love is the fulfilment of the law’. We are here today to give full expression to love in the laws of our state.”

Even though Tasmania is an island state with only half a million people, this is a significant event. The bill’s fate in the upper house is far from certain. However, if it does become law, it will strengthen the case for same-sex marriage throughout Australia – and elsewhere.

But all the hugging and kissing in State Parliament was a cynical distraction from Lara Giddings’ dismal economic management.

On July 23, the Commonwealth Bank released its State of the States report. It found that Tasmania scored lowest in the country on five key indicators: employment, retail trade, population growth, construction work and housing finance. “Tasmania is underperforming other state and territory economies” said the bank’s chief economist, Craig James, “and arguably is the number one candidate of any regional income redistribution as the Federal Government seeks to share the benefits of the mining boom across the broader Australian economy”.

In other words, Tasmania is set to use the Federal government as an ATM.

Meanwhile, Ms Giddings is living on the other side of the looking glass. At the annual Labor Party conference a fortnight later, she fantasised about making Tasmania “one of the most dynamic small economies in the world, producing high quality niche products and services that are recognised and valued across the globe”. Her nominations for model investments? A museum, a golf course, and a luxury resort.

Somehow, in the mind of the leader of what was once a workers’ party, Tasmanian prosperity is coming a distant second to same-sex marriage. “Labor has had the courage to tackle difficult, complex and challenging areas where progressive action was needed,” Ms Giddings told conference delegates. “There’s no better example than our determination to end all discrimination… on the issue of marriage equality.”

With her party languishing at 23 percent in the polls, she announced five priority areas for social reform over the next two years: legalising surrogacy for same-sex couples, legalising gay marriage, legalising brothels, legalising euthanasia, and liberalising Tasmania’s already liberal abortion law.

This is an ambitious and radical agenda which calls for community consultation. A vigorous media is needed to query and probe the glib claims of lobby groups and a struggling government. It ought to be a golden time for sharp commentary and investigative journalism.

But in Tasmania the media is as sclerotic as the economy. The Mercury, a Murdoch tabloid, has a near monopoly on news in Hobart, the state’s capital.

None of the claims made by supporters of same-sex marriage has been scrutinised as they would certainly be in Mainland states. Instead, The Mercury has scathingly ridiculed opponents as bigots. The Polly cartoon says it all: Ma and Pa Kettle, pot-bellied, jowly, snarling and bewildered. In most cities, insulting its readers’ intelligence this way would have created a fearsome backlash – but The Mercury has monopoly power. 

The most damning example of journalistic complacency is the plausibility of Tasmania legislating for same-sex marriage. Under the Section 51 of the Australian constitution, marriage is a Commonwealth responsibility. So the State law will immediately head for the High Court – costing Tasmanian taxpayers millions of dollars. Even the Premier acknowledges this.

True, there is one lonely constitutional law professor who asserts that Tasmania’s bold move will survive. But other experts are sceptical. Professor Anne Twomey, of the University of Sydney, for example, writes:

“A Tasmanian law permitting same-sex marriage, even if operative, would do little more than facilitate holding a ceremony, drinking champagne and taking photos. It might confer on the parties to a same-sex marriage the status of ‘married’ for the purposes of Tasmanian laws, but it is most unlikely that they would be regarded as legally ‘married’ for the purposes of Commonwealth law or under the law of any other state…”

Instead of being a beacon of progressive intelligence, Tasmania will be a legal laughing-stock.

Another extraordinary claim made for same-sex marriage is that it will bring $100 million into the state if it becomes the first jurisdiction to allow same-sex couples to wed. Gay couples will flood into Tasmania, gay activists have claimed over and over again in The Mercury.

What is the basis for this extraordinary attempt to bribe struggle street Tasmanians?

A back-of-the envelope report by a Massachusetts academic, Lee Badgett. She estimated in February that the economic benefits of same-sex marriage in Australia would range between $161 million (“conservative”) and $742 million (“plausible”). Tasmania’s share would be $96 million. Did The Mercury analyse this key figure? Nope.

Tasmania’s incompetent government and amateurish leadership are often blamed on the Realpolitik of life in a coalition. Labor can only cling to power by snuggling up to Greens who think that Tasmanians can support their families by working as wedding planners or sherpas for overweight eco-tourists.

But Tasmanians have also been betrayed by their media. It’s bad enough living in a state with the highest unemployment rate and the highest suicide rate of any state. When journalists bask in Lara Giddings’ silken smiles and toss back her absurd rationalisations like a shot of scotch, they are betraying their responsibilities in the democratic process.

Where were the hard questions about denying children the civil right to have both a father and a mother, about whether same-sex parenting harms children, about the rights of people who object to schools teaching children about gay sex, about genuine community support for gay marriage, about social engineering, about whether gays actually want same-sex marriage?

The depth of The Mercury’s misgivings was revealed on Saturday. It ran a front page photo of local-girl-made-good Rachael Taylor, now a underwear model and Hollywood starlet. She gave the bill a ringing endorsement. “Well done Tassie! Well done!” she said.

Still, in the end, it is the politicians who make the laws.

An exchange in Parliament last Thursday between Labor Deputy Premier Bryan Green and Greens MP Cassy O’Connor tells you all you need to know about the depth of their concern. “It is not a big issue really, when it all boils down, is it?” he said. “No, it’s not,” she replied. “It’s just love.”

No wonder these guys can’t pull the Apple Isle out of its economic hole. They’re just too dumb.

Michael Cook is editor of MercatorNet. This article reprinted under a Creative Commons License.

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BREAKING: Planned Parenthood shooting suspect surrenders, is in custody: police

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By John Jalsevac

Nov. 27, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) - Five hours after a single male shooter reportedly opened fire at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood, chatter on police radio is indicating that the suspect has now been "detained."

"We have our suspect and he says he is alone," said police on the police radio channel. 

Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers also confirmed via Twitter shortly after 7:00 pm EST that the suspect was in custody.

The news comes almost exactly an hour after the start of a 6:00 pm. press conference in which Lt. Catherine Buckley had confirmed that a single shooter was still at large, and had exchanged gunfire with police moments before.

According to Lt. Buckley, four, and possibly five police officers have been shot since the first 911 call was received at 11:38 am local time today. An unknown number of civilians have also been shot.

Although initial reports had suggested that the shooting began outside the Planned Parenthood, possibly outside a nearby bank, Lt. Buckley said that in fact the incident began at the Planned Parenthood itself.

She said that the suspect had also brought unknown "items" with him to the Planned Parenthood. 

Pro-life groups have started responding to the news, urging caution in jumping to conclusions about the motivations of the shooter, while also condemning the use of violence in promoting the pro-life cause. 

"Information is very sketchy about the currently active shooting situation in Colorado Springs," said Pavone. "The Planned Parenthood was the address given in the initial call to the police, but we still do not know what connection, if any, the shooting has to do with Planned Parenthood or abortion.

"As leaders in the pro-life movement, we call for calm and pray for a peaceful resolution of this situation."

Troy Newman of Operation Rescue and Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney, Director of the Christian Defense Coalition, also issued statements.

"Operation Rescue unequivocally deplores and denounces all violence at abortion clinics and has a long history of working through peaceful channels to advocate on behalf of women and their babies," said Newman. "We express deep concern for everyone involved and are praying for the safety of those at the Planned Parenthood office and for law enforcement personnel. We pray this tragic situation can be quickly resolved without further injury to anyone."

"Although we don't know the reasons for the shooting near the Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs today, the pro-life movement is praying for the safety of all involved and as a movement we have always unequivocally condemned all forms of violence at abortion clinics. We must continually as a nation stand against violence on all levels," said Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney, Director of the Christian Defense Coalition, based in Washington, D.C.


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Rubio says SCOTUS didn’t ‘settle’ marriage issue: ‘God’s rules always win’

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By Dustin Siggins

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 27, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) -- Surging GOP presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio, R-FL, says that "God's law" trumps the U.S. Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision imposing same-sex “marriage” nationwide.

The senator also told Christian Broadcast Network's David Brody that the Supreme Court's redefinition of marriage is not "settled," but instead "current law."

“No law is settled,” said Rubio. “Roe v. Wade is current law, but it doesn’t mean that we don’t continue to aspire to fix it, because we think it’s wrong.”

“If you live in a society where the government creates an avenue and a way for you to peacefully change the law, then you’re called to participate in that process to try to change it,” he explained, and "the proper place for that to be defined is at the state level, where marriage has always been regulated — not by the Supreme Court and not by the federal government.”

However, when laws conflict with religious beliefs, "God's rules always win," said Rubio.

“In essence, if we are ever ordered by a government authority to personally violate and sin — violate God’s law and sin — if we’re ordered to stop preaching the Gospel, if we’re ordered to perform a same-sex marriage as someone presiding over it, we are called to ignore that,” Rubio expounded. “We cannot abide by that because government is compelling us to sin.”

“I continue to believe that marriage law should be between one man and one woman," said the senator, who earlier in the fall was backed by billionaire GOP donor and same-sex "marriage" supporter Paul Singer.

Singer, who also backs looser immigration laws and a strong U.S.-Israel alliance, has long pushed for the GOP to change its position on marriage in part due to the sexual orientation of his son.

Despite Singer's support, Rubio's marriage stance has largely been consistent. He told Brody earlier in the year that "there isn't such a right" to same-sex "marriage."

"You have to have a ridiculous reading of the U.S. Constitution to reach the conclusion that people have a right to marry someone of the same sex."

Rubio also said religious liberty should be defended against LGBT activists he says "want to stigmatize, they want to ostracize anyone who disagrees with them as haters."

"I believe, as do a significant percentage of Americans, that the institution of marriage, an institution that existed before government, that existed before laws, that institution should remain in our laws recognized as the union of one man and one woman," he said.

Rubio also hired social conservative leader Eric Teetsel as his director of faith outreach this month.

However, things have not been entirely smooth for Rubio on marriage. Social conservatives were concerned when the executive director of the LGBT-focused Log Cabin Republicans told Reuters in the spring that the Catholic senator is "not as adamantly opposed to all things LGBT as some of his statements suggest."

The LGBT activist group had meetings with Rubio's office "going back some time," though the senator himself never attended those meetings. Rubio has publicly said that he would attend the homosexual "wedding" of a gay loved one, and also that he believed "that sexual preference is something that people are born with," as opposed to being a choice.

Additionally, days after the Supreme Court redefined marriage, Rubio said that he disagreed with the decision but that "we live in a republic and must abide by the law."

"I believe that marriage, as the key to strong family life, is the most important institution in our society and should be between one man and one woman," he said. "People who disagree with the traditional definition of marriage have the right to change their state laws. That is the right of our people, not the right of the unelected judges or justices of the Supreme Court. This decision short-circuits the political process that has been underway on the state level for years.

Rubio also said at the time that "it must be a priority of the next president to nominate judges and justices committed to applying the Constitution as written and originally understood…"

“I firmly believe the question of same sex marriage is a question of the definition of an institution, not the dignity of a human being. Every American has the right to pursue happiness as they see fit. Not every American has to agree on every issue, but all of us do have to share our country. A large number of Americans will continue to believe in traditional marriage, and a large number of Americans will be pleased with the Court’s decision today. In the years ahead, it is my hope that each side will respect the dignity of the other.”

The Florida senator said in July that he opposed a constitutional marriage amendment to the U.S. Constitution to leave marriage up to the states because that would involve the federal government in state marriage policies.

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Former The View star Sherri Shepherd and then-husband Lamar Sally in 2010 s_bukley / Shutterstock.com
Steve Weatherbe

Court orders Sherri Shepherd to pay child support for surrogate son she abandoned

Steve Weatherbe
By Steve Weatherbe

November 27, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) -- Sherri Shepherd, a Hollywood celebrity who co-hosted the popular talk show The View for seven years, has lost a maternity suit launched by her ex-husband Lamar Sally, forcing her to pay him alimony and child support for their one-year surrogate son LJ. The decision follows an unseemly fight which pro-life blogger Cassy Fiano says has exposed how surrogacy results in “commodifying” the unborn.

Shepherd, a co-host of the View from 2007 to 2014, met Sally, a screenwriter, in 2010 and they married a year later. Because her eggs were not viable, they arranged a surrogate mother in Pennsylvania to bear them a baby conceived in vitro using Sally’s sperm and a donated egg.

But the marriage soured in mid-term about the time Shepherd lost her job with The View. According to one tabloid explanation, she was worried he would contribute little to parenting responsibilities.  Sally filed for separation in 2014, Shepherd filed for divorce a few days, then Sally sued for sole custody, then alimony and child support.

Earlier this year she told PEOPLE she had gone along with the surrogacy to prevent the breakup of the marriage and had not really wanted the child.

Shepherd, an avowed Christian who once denied evolution on The View and a successful comic actor on Broadway, TV, and in film since the mid-90s, didn’t want anything to do with LJ, as Lamar named the boy, who after all carried none of her genes. She refused to be at bedside for the birth, and refused to let her name be put on the birth certificate and to shoulder any responsibility for LJ’s support.

But in April the Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas, and now the state’s Superior Court, ruled that Shepherd’s name must go on the birth certificate and she must pay Sally alimony and child support.

“The ultimate outcome is that this baby has two parents and the parents are Lamar Sally and Sherri Shepherd,” Shepherd’s lawyer Tiffany Palmer said.

As for the father, Sally told PEOPLE, “I'm glad it's finally over. I'm glad the judges saw through all the lies that she put out there, and the negative media attention. If she won't be there for L.J. emotionally, I'll be parent enough for the both of us.”

But Shepherd said, “I am appealing the ruling that happened,” though in the meantime, Sally will “get his settlement every month. There’s nothing I can do.”

Commented Fiano in Live Action News, “What’s so sickening about this case is that this little boy, whose life was created in a test tube, was treated as nothing more than a commodity…Saying that you don’t want a baby but will engineer one to get something you want is horrific.” As for trying to get out from child support payments now that the marriage had failed, that was “despicable.”

Fiano went on to characterize the Shepherd-Sally affair as a “notable example” of commodification of children, and “by no means an anomaly.” She cited a British report than over the past five years 123 babies conceived in vitro were callously aborted when they turned out to have Down Syndrome.

“When we’re not ready for babies, we have an abortion,” she added. “But then when we decide we are ready we manufacture them in a laboratory and destroy any extras. Children exist when we want them to exist, to fill the holes in us that we want them to fill, instead of being independent lives with their own inherent value and dignity.”

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