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‘The Roe v. Wade of marriage’: pro-family advocates respond

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WASHINGTON, D.C., June 27, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Supreme Court rulings on Proposition 8 and DOMA defy thousands of years of history and the findings of sociology, undermine citizen democracy, open the door to polygamy, and rewrite thousands of federal laws on family policy with the stroke of a pen, according to pro-family advocates.

“Today the Supreme Court issued the Roe v. Wade of marriage,” said Penny Nance, president and CEO of Concerned Women for America (CWA) after news of the rulings broke. “These rulings will continue to divide our Republic just as Roe continues to do 40 years later.”

"The Supreme Court rulings fly in the face of reams of research showing that the best household arrangement for children is a married mom and dad,” said Dr. Janice Shaw Crouse, director and senior fellow of CWA's Beverly LaHaye Institute. “It represents a national experiment in social reconstruction at the expense of our children's futures and the future of America."

“For thousands of years marriage between one man and one woman has resulted in flourishing civilizations,” said Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson, the leader of the African-American conservative organization BOND (Brotherhood Organization of A New Destiny). “To change the definition of marriage and undermine such a pivotal part of society will have dire consequences for our nation.”

“These rulings are an attack on God, humanity, the Constitution, and the family unit,” he said.

Some advocates suggested that the legal reasoning in the DOMA decision leaves little barrier to further extending the definition of marriage beyond simply gay "marriage."

“What if a state were to recognize polygamists’ marriages? Under the rationale of this ruling, those marriage would have to be given federal benefits,” Paul Linton, special counsel for the Thomas More Society told LifeSiteNews.com.

“What happens if a state decided to allow marriages between adults of closely related persons? Those couples also would qualify for federal benefits,” he added.

Supporters of traditional marriage accused the Supreme Court of stepping outside its authority in the rulings.

“Over one thousand laws were passed with the traditional definition of marriage in mind,” Nance said. “Today, the Court uses its powers to amend those laws with one stroke of the pen. Remember, DOMA only defined marriage for federal purposes.”

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“This is one more example of the Court legislating from the bench, instead of employing the judicial restraint envisioned by our Constitution,” she said.

Others said that the decisions are fundamentally flawed from a legal and jurisprudential viewpoint.

“The Court failed to recognize that, just as the states have constitutional authority to make state policy about marriage, Congress can pass a federal statute defining a term used in federal law—and that’s what DOMA has done for marriage,” said former Senator Jim DeMint, who is now president of the Heritage Foundation.

The Family Policy Council of West Virginia added, “The Supreme Court got it wrong to invalidate portions of the Federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Of course the Federal government has the ability to define marriage for purposes of Federal law.”

Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, was blunt in his assement of the rulings, calling them decision “illegitimate” and a “miscarriage of justice.”

Brown particularly took issue with the Hollingsworth v. Perry ruling, which found the people of the State of California had no legal standing to petition the justices.

“The Supreme Court's holding that proponents of an initiative had no legal right to appeal ignores California law and rewards corrupt politicians for abandoning their duty to defend traditional marriage laws. It's imperative that Congress continue to preserve the right of states to protect true marriage and refuse to recognize faux marriages performed in other states or countries," he said.

Linton told LifeSiteNews the decision allows “a hostile executive branch to effectively have a veto power over something they have no business having a veto power over” - the people they rule.

“Today, the Court declared that if the executive refuses to defend those laws, the people can’t stand up for themselves. That’s not government of the people, by the people, and for the people,” agreed DeMint.

Others said the flaw went deeper than constitutional interpretation: It ignored nature itself.

“Our culture has taken for granted for far too long what human nature, experience, common sense, and God’s wise design all confirm: the difference between a man and a woman matters, and the difference between a mom and a dad matters,” the U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) said in a statement.

At the same time, one pro-life leader pointed out that the DOMA ruling, by stopping short of actually redefining marriage in federal law, and instead deferring to states' rights, does have some positive implications, particularly for the pro-life cause.

Kristan Hawkins of Students for Life of America said the two decisions, which were decided by a one-vote margin, "have major implications for Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton.”

“In the DOMA case, the Supreme Court found that the federal government must respect the rights of states to determine their own laws protecting the 'rights' of their citizens, citing the 'equal protection' clause of the 5th Amendment. This begs the question, 'Where is the equal protection for pre-born babies?'”

"The Supreme Court should follow its own principles set forth in these cases to overturn Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton and turn those decisions back to the states to extend equal protections to pre-born babies," Hawkins said.

Pete Baklinski conducted LifeSiteNews.com's interview with Paul Linton.

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Lisa Bourne

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

Lisa Bourne
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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