Same-sex Marriage


Kentucky’s marriage law has been found unconstitutional by a KY juduge, though there is a stay on his decision.

Jay MichaelsonOne of the expectations of marriage is sexual fidelity (monogamy).  In “Were Christians Right about Gay Marriage All Along?” gay rights advocate, Jay Michaelson, acknowledges that gay relationships (particularly males) are typically not monogamous.  So what effect will including gays in the institution of marriage have?  Will homosexuals change the concept of marriage so that monogamy is no longer considered essential, or will marriage domesticate homosexuals, leading them in the direction of monogamy?  A 2013 survey of same-sex married couples in San Francisco revealed that half of same-sex marriages involve extra-marital partners, and Michaelson thinks the actual number is closer to 75%.  So it doesn’t appear that marriage is domesticating homosexuals, and Michaelson thinks the openness to extra-marital sex among same-sex married couples will eventually lead to a reformation of marriage among heterosexuals.  Only time will tell, but I find it interesting that Michaelson is willing to admit that kind of marriage practiced by many same-sex couples is not the same kind of relationship envisioned by most heterosexual couples.

 

HT: Stand to Reason

Denmark’s parliament voted overwhelmingly that churches in Denmark must allow same-sex couples to use their facilities for same-sex weddings, and even officiate the weddings. If the priest of the parish is unwilling to officiate the wedding, the bishop must find a priest who is willing to do so.

The government is using its power to force churches to rent out their facilities for purposes they find immoral, and that go against the dictates of their religion.  I would love to see them try to force mosques to do the same!  Hopefully the church in Denmark will rebel.  Considering the fact that less than 1/3 of the priests object, however, I doubt it.

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I can’t keep up with all of the natural marriage laws being ruled unconstitutional these days!  Three states have had their marriage laws overturned in the last two weeks. 

Arkansas

In 2004, Arkansas voters approved a constitutional amendment that recognized a man and woman as vital to the institution of marriage.  Fast forward 10 years.  On May 9, Judge Chris Piazza of the Pulaski County Circuit Court ruled that this amendment is unconstitutional.  The Alabama state attorney general appealed to the Alabama State Supreme Court to put a stay on the decision, which was granted in a back-handed way only because Piazza’s decision did not invalidate a law prohibiting clerks from issuing marriage-licenses.  But Piazza updated his ruling to try to address the issue, and refused to suspend his decision.  As a result, some counties are continuing to issue marriage-licenses while others are not.

Oregon

On Monday, May 19, U.S. District Judge Michael McShane ruled that Oregon’s natural marriage-only constitutional amendment, passed by 57% of the voters in 2004, is unconstitutional. A request was made to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to put a stay on the decision, but the request was denied.

Pennsylvania

Yesterday, U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III federal judge declared Pennsylvania’s marriage laws unconstitutional.  The decision was effective immediately, and same-sex couples began applying for marriage licenses the same day.

There are now 19 states, plus the District of Washington, that support same-sex marriage.

benham-brothersHGTV was planning to air a new show about fixing up houses for families in need, Flip It Forward.  It was being hosted by twin brothers, David and Jason Benham, who have made a career of flipping houses.  But the network decided to cancel the show after Right Wing Watch reported that the Benham twins do not agree with homosexuality, and have even led protests outside of abortion clinics.  Initially HGTV said they were “currently in the process of reviewing all information about the Benhams,” and then they issued a tweet declaring that they would not move forward with the series.

While Right Wing did not call on HGTV to cancel the show, it appears that HGTV caved to the small amount of public pressure they received based on Right Wing Watch’s report. Shame on HGTV for not having the internal fortitude to stand up to the public pressure and say, “We understand that a large number of people do not agree with the personal views of David and Jason Benham, and we respect that. However, Flip It Forward is not a show about the Benham brothers’ personal views.  It’s a show about helping financially-challenged families get their dream home.  The Benham brothers’ experience in flipping houses makes them well-qualified to host this show, so we will continue to air the show with them as hosts.  HGTV’s employment of the Benham brothers is not an endorsement of their views, but we believe people have a right to their own moral opinions, and that those of us who disagree have a responsibility to extend tolerance to those we disagree with.  We believe a civilized, tolerant society must give space for people to believe and act according to their convictions, and do not agree with those who think anyone who doesn’t agree with them is not deserving of gainful employment.  We can do better that as a society, and at HGTV, we are doing better than that.  For those who find the Benham’s views distasteful, we would ask that you extend the same tolerance to them that you want extended to those who share your point of view. We ask that you set aside your personal differences with the Benham’s personal views, and allow yourself to enjoy and celebrate their work to help our mutual neighbors.”  That’s the press release you’ll never see, but one that would be cheered by the vast majority of citizens, and I would suspect, the vast number of HGTV viewership.

The Benham brothers have responded graciously (see here and here).

Remember when they asked us, “How is same-sex marriage going to affect you?”  This is how.

 

The story is here, and the singer’s explanation is here.

Brendan EichEarlier in the week it was reported that three of of Mozilla’s (the people who make the Firefox browser) board members resigned when Mozilla co-founder, Brendan Eich, was appointed as CEO of the company.  Why?  Because Eich gave $1,000 to support California’s Proposition 8 in 2008, a ballot initiative that sought to define marriage as an institution exclusive to male-female pairings.  His appointment as CEO so irked the dating site, OkCupid, that users attempting to login to the site received this message: “Hello there, Mozilla Firefox user. Pardon this interruption of your OkCupid experience. Mozilla’s new CEO, Brendan Eich, is an opponent of equal rights for gay couples. We would therefore prefer that our users not use Mozilla software to access OkCupid.”

Now, it’s being reported that Eich has “resigned.”  Surely he wasn’t tired of the job yet.

Apparently some in the gay rights movement think that those who think natural marriage is the only valid form of marriage don’t deserve a job. As Todd Starnes writes, “Why not demand that those who oppose gay marriage relinquish the right to own property? Why not take away their right to vote? Why not take away their children? Why not just throw them in jail? Why not force them to work in chain gangs? Why not call for public floggings? Or better yet, let’s just strap them down on gurneys, stick a needle in their arm and rid the world of these intolerant anti-gay bigots once and for all.”This is the face of liberal tolerance.  Where is the uproar?

In 2004 Michigan added an amendment to their constitution clarifying that marriage is only between a man and a woman. On Friday, U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman ruled the amendment unconstitutional. Michigan’s Attorney General, Bill Schuette, has asked for a stay on the ruling.

This is the sixth state in the last four months to have their marriage laws ruled unconstitutional: Michigan, Texas, Utah, Kentucky, Texas, and Virginia.

In a matter of just two weeks, three states have had their constitutional amendments that recognize a man and woman as being essential to a marital relationship struck down in whole or in part as unconstitutional.  First, Kentucky was told they had to recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages as marriages in the state of Kentucky.  Then, Virginia’s constitutional amendment recognizing natural marriage as the only valid form of marriage was struck down.  Now, on February 26, federal Judge Orlando Garcia ruled that Texas’ constitutional amendment that recognizes a man and woman as being essential to a marital relationship is unconstitutional.  Like Virginia, however, the ruling does not go into effect immediately.  Judge Garcia determined not to enforce his ruling until two similar cases are decided by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.

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Judge rules KY must recognize out-of-state SSMs

Seventy-five percent of Kentucky voters approved a constitutional amendment in 2004 that recognized the necessity of opposite-sex partners for a marital relationship.  No other union was recognized as a marriage, which would include same-sex marriages solemnized in other states where same-sex marriage is recognized.

On February 12 United States District Judge John G. Heyburn II ruled that the state of Kentucky must recognize the relationships of same-sex couples who had their marriage solemnized in a state where same-sex marriage is legal, as marriages. He stopped short, however, of declaring Kentucky’s marriage law unconstitutional. For the time being, Kentucky is “only” being required to recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages as legitimate marriage; they are not (yet) required to solemnize same-sex marriages in their own state.

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I don’t know how I missed this news story, but on December 20 U.S. District Court Judge Robert Shelby declared that Amendment 3 in Utah’s constitution – which defined marriage as between a man and woman, and the voter’s passed in 2004 – is unconstitutional.  Same-sex marriages began immediately.  Utah appealed to the SCOTUS for a stay, which was granted by Justice Sotomayor on January 6.  In the 17 days before the stay, ~1300 same-sex couples were married.

Then, there’s Oklahoma.  Similar story.  On January 14, Judge Terence C. Kern of U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma ruled that Oklahoma’s constitutional ban of same-sex marriage is unconstitutional because it is based on a moral disapproval of homosexuality and has no rational basis.  In light of what happened in Utah, however, Judge Kern stayed his own ruling.  It is almost certain that Oklahoma will appeal the case to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, CO – the same court where Utah’s appeal will be heard.

Credit: CBS

Credit: CBS

Another cake maker, this time in Colorado, was sued for refusing to provide a cake for a same-sex wedding celebration.  Judge Robert N. Spencer ruled that Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop discriminated against the couple based on their sexual orientation, and would be fined in the future if he ever refused to provide a cake to another same-sex couple again. He wrote, “At first blush, it may seem reasonable that a private business should be able to refuse service to anyone it chooses.  This view, however, fails to take into account the cost to society and the hurt caused to persons who are denied service simply because of who they are.”  So the law can force a man to violate his conscience just so someone else’s feelings don’t get hurt?  What about Jack Phillips’ feelings?  Should the law protect him from feeling bullied by the government?  Surely his feelings are hurt at the prospect of having to close his business.  I don’t see his feelings being taken into consideration.  And finally, Jack Philips is not denying them service “because of who they are,” but because of what they are doing.  It’s not as if Jack Phillips refuses to make birthday cakes for people who are gay.  He is refusing to provide a cake that will be used to celebrate an action that he considers immoral.  There is a big difference.  But I don’t expect the law to recognize such distinctions anymore.

Just more of the same.

Earlier this week, Hawaii’s senate passed a same-sex marriage bill.  Yesterday, the House approved a similar bill.  It needs to go back to the senate for reconciliation, and then on to the governor for signature (who will sign it).  This will make Hawaii the 15th state (not including D.C.) to approve same-sex marriage.  Same-sex marriages will begin in Hawaii on December 2, 2013.

11/14/13 update: Governor Neil Abercrombie signed the bill into law on Wednesday, November 13, 2013.

conscience violateIn recent days, I’ve reported on a florist who was sued for not providing flowers for a same-sex wedding, a baker who was sued for not providing a cake for a same-sex wedding, and a wedding photographer who lost a case in New Mexico’s Supreme Court because she would not photograph a same-sex wedding.  Many who support same-sex marriage applaud this phenomena, reasoning that people should not be allowed to discriminate against same-sex couples.  But what about personal liberty?  What about the liberty to follow one’s conscience in these matters?  Why is it ok to require people to violate their conscience, or lose their livelihood?

Can you imagine the outcry if a homosexual printer was forced by the government to either print anti-homosexual propaganda, or get out of the printing industry?  What if a homosexual filmmaker was sued for refusing to direct a film arguing that homosexuality was immoral or harmful, and forced to either direct the film or find a new line of work?  What if a screenplay writer who was also an anti-gun activist was forced to write a script for a movie promoting the use of firearms?  Would this be acceptable?  No!   No one should be forced by the government to lend their services to projects or events they believe to be immoral, and which run contrary to their conscience.  Yet this is exactly what the government is requiring of its citizens when it comes to same-sex marriage, and many same-sex marriage advocates are applauding this.  If you support people being forced by law to violate their conscience, don’t be surprised if one day the government forces you to violate your conscience as well.  It’s ironic that those who argue for more liberty in the case of same-sex marriage are willing to take liberties away from those who disagree.

In 2011 Illinois created civil unions.  Now, just two years later they are on the cusp of creating same-sex marriage.

The IL Senate had approved a bill in February to allow same-sex marriage, and now yesterday, the IL House approved the bill with minor changes.  It’s been sent back to the Senate for reconciliation, and will be signed by the governor.  Illinois will be the 15th state (not including D.C.) to approve same-sex marriage, beginning June 1, 2014.

 

UPDATE: Governor Pat Quinn signed the bill into law on November 20, 2013.

I have written in the past of gay men who opposed same-sex marriage (for various reasons).  While it’s old news at this point, I ran across a couple of more recently.  Rupert Everett, a gay British actor, told The Sunday Times magazine he opposed same-sex marriage (and all marriage for that matter) and same-sex parenting because children need mothers and fathers.

At about the same time, Doug Mainwaring, also a gay man, published an opinion article in The Washington Post:

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Mary C. JacobsonIn 2006, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that the NJ legislature must give same-sex couples all of the same rights and benefits as opposite-sex couples, but did not demand that the state amend its marriage laws.  The legislature responded by creating civil unions that had identical benefits to marriage.

Fast forward seven years, and Judge Mary C. Jacobson of the State Superior Court ruled on September 27, 2013 that this is not enough – the state must call same-sex unions marriage as well starting Monday, October 21, 2013.  Governor Christie vowed to appeal the decision to the NJ Supreme Court, but when that court refused to block the law while Christie challenged it, and made it clear that they would not rule in his favor, he decided to withdraw his appeal, meaning NJ is now the 14th state to offer same-sex marriage.

Same-Sex WeddingFor those of us who do not think “same-sex marriages” are legitimate marriages, how should we respond when invited to attend a same-sex wedding?  Al Mohler has some insightful words about this difficult issue, showcased by a recent event in which the elder President Bush and his wife attended a same-sex wedding.

Many people who are opposed to same-sex marriage, nevertheless, say they would attend a same-sex wedding (or have done so). Their reasons for doing so vary. For some, the simple fact of the matter is that they truly don’t see anything wrong with same-sex marriage. Their opposition to same-sex marriage is confessional in nature, and does not reflect their true convictions. It’s just one of those things they pay lip service so they can fit in with their community of peers. They will attend a same-sex marriage because deep down they approve of same-sex marriage. For others who have genuine convictions against same-sex marriage, however, the conflict runs much deeper. As much as they disapprove of same-sex marriage, they feel the need to attend a same-sex wedding to preserve a friendship, to avoid hurting someone’s feelings, to avoid a family feud, or because of social pressure.  While I understand these motivations, the fact remains that attending a same-sex wedding will be viewed by others as your personal approval of the same-sex union (if not same-sex marriage in general).  This is clear from a statement by one of the brides at the wedding attended by former President Bush, who told The Washington Post, “Who would be best to acknowledge the importance of our wedding as our friends and as the former leader of the free world? When they agreed to do so we just felt that it was the next acknowledgement of being ‘real and normal.’”

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Fox Sports has fired a former ESPN and CBS sports broadcaster, Craig James, after his first day on the job at Fox because it was discovered that he opposes same-sex marriage.  But remember, same-sex marriage will never affect you.

Traditional MarriageIn the debate over marriage, man-woman marriage is often referred to as “traditional marriage” by both liberals and conservatives alike.  For example, it’s very common to hear conservatives speak of the need to “preserve traditional marriage.”  Our use of language concerns me.  What we call something, and how we refer to something reveals a lot about the way we think of that thing.  In this case, the way we refer to marriage reveals a lot about the way we think of marriage, and the way we are arguing for our viewpoint.  I submit to you that part of the reason we are losing the battle over marriage is the fact that we are grounding marriage in tradition rather than biology; in social norms rather than human nature – as evidenced by the way we speak of and describe man-woman marriage.  I propose that instead of speaking of traditional marriage, we should start speaking in terms of natural marriage.

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