Voices For Children: COGs Go To Court

copy-toddler-hopscotch.jpgBless the Beasts and the Children
For in this world they have no voice;
They have no choice.

Bless the Beasts and the Children was the poignant hit song done by The Carpenters in the early 70s. There’s heartbreak in the lyrics over children who are at the mercy of the whims of adults.

For several years now Robert Lopez has been a fierce and constant voice for children. I’ve linked to many of his posts written for English Manif. As one of the self-styled COGs, Children of Gays, he has written on the impact on children who grow up in a same-sex household. Last fall he took many of them down to prepare for the publication of Jephthah’s Daughters: Innocent Casualties in the War for Family Equality, a collection of fifty essays from numerous people describing the fallout on children, on women, on society, on the globe, and on gays. As I read the book, I can tell you it’s raw and tragic reality.

Last fall Lopez was joined by three other COGs in writing amicus briefs for the Fifth Circuit Court in support of natural marriage—marriage between one man and one woman. In the article Adults Raised by Gay Couples Speak Out Against Gay ‘Marriage’ in Federal Court you’ll find quotes from each, but these briefs are must reads because they make such a compelling case on the importance of marriage for children.

The first two briefs are difficult to read because of the horrific abuse and circumstances described by B. N. Klein and Dawn Stefanowicz. Klein grew up with her biological mother and her mother’s various lesbian partners. She co-edited Jephthah’s Daughters, and has written about intimidation and harassment by LGBT activists in Ruthless Misogyny: Janna Darnelle’s Story and Extreme LGBT Activism and This Lesbian’s Daughter Has Had Enough.

Dawn Stefanowicz grew up with her biological father and his various male partners. I heard her describe her life years ago on Focus On The Family. She has written her story in her book, Out From Under: The Impact of Homosexual Parenting. She was born in Canada, and in her brief discusses the consequences to parents and children in Canada when marriage was redefined there. Last week Public Discourse published her article A Warning from Canada: Same-Sex Marriage Erodes Fundamental Rights. Her website is: http://dawnstefanowicz.org/

Katy Faust and Robert Lopez were not abused and were reared in stable homes. Their briefs focus on the impact of growing up in the absence of a parent of the opposite sex. Lopez grew up with his biological mother and her lesbian partner. I’ve already mentioned some of his writing and his co-editing of Jephthah’s Daughters. You can also find articles by him at numerous places, including American Thinker and at Public Discourse. Lopez has also been active in speaking both in France and within the U.S.

Katy Faust grew up with her biological mother and her mom’s lesbian partner. In her brief she speaks as to why government is involved in marriage in the first place, the rights of children and the impact of redefining marriage on children. She has written Dear Justice Kennedy: An Open Letter from the Child of a Loving Gay Parent and PS, Justice Kennedy: Same-Sex Marriage Isn’t Good for Kids at Public Discourse. She blogs at http://www.askthebigot.com/

All four are active in the International Children’s Rights Institute. Lopez is President and serves on the Academic Council. Edelman and Faust are also on the Academic Council, and all four are on the Testimonial Council.

For the cases heard at SCOTUS this week they were joined by two more COGs, Denise Shick and Heather Barwick to co-author new briefs.

Denise Shick’s father was a homosexual who cross-dressed. She is the author of My Daddy’s Secret, and is also on the Testimonial Council of the ICRI. Her website is: http://help4families.com/ Heather Barwick grew up with her biological mom and her mom’s lesbian partner and was an advocate for same-sex marriage until time, marriage and seeing the interactions between her husband and their children changed her mind on the importance of natural marriage. She recently wrote Dear Gay Community: Your Kids Are Hurting for The Federalist.

In Katy Faust’s first brief she puts these questions and their inexorable anwers to the court:

As you deliberate on whether or not to redefine marriage into a genderless institution, the primary question is: What is society’s interest in marriage? Is it to validate the emotional bonds of adults? Is it to stabilize partnerships? Is it an instrument with which to give a stamp of equality to our gay brothers and sisters?

…But the reality is that society’s interest in marriage is not an adult-centric one after all. Government’s interest in marriage is children.

…Two rights that every child, EVERY child, shares when they arrive in this world. First, the right to live. Second, the right to have a relationship with his/her father and mother.

With the redefinition of marriage, we are not simply allowing people to form relationships of their choosing….When we institutionalize same-sex marriage however, we move from permitting citizens the freedom to live as they choose, to promoting same-sex headed households. In doing so, we ignore the true nature of the outcropping of marriage. Now we are normalizing a family structure where a child will always be deprived daily of one gender influence and the relationship with at least one natural parent. Our cultural narrative becomes one that, in essence, tells children that they have no right to the natural family structure or their biological parents, but that children simply exist for the satisfaction of adult desires.

If society’s interest in marriage is children, then why are we promoting a family structure where a child would have to be denied a relationship with their mother or father so the adults can have the “family” they desire?…

Or will you possibly recognize that you cannot have it both ways? Truth is, you cannot redefine marriage AND recognize that fathers and mothers are both critical to a child’s rights and children’s flourishing….

…You can either believe that fathers and mothers are valuable and children have a right to both, or, you can redefine marriage to promote a family structure where a father or mother will never be present. Period. When gay couples have “equal access” to the institution of marriage it means that children will not have “equal access” to parents influencing and raising them the way nature intended.

You must either side with adult desires or side with children’s rights. You cannot do both.

These adult children of gays have come forward and made their stories public at great personal cost. They have been hunted and vilified, and are seen as traitors by the LGBT community. They have done so because they want to be a voice for children. I urge you to read what they have to say.

Open your mouth for the mute,
For the rights of all the unfortunate.
Open your mouth, judge righteously,
And defend the rights of the afflicted and needy.
Proverbs 31:8–9

Little boy and girl playing hopscotch together: Ilya Haykinson. CC BY-SA 2.0.

A City Upon A Hill

As I thought about praying for today’s hearing on marriage, I remembered William Bradford’s words of gratitude for the Pilgrims’ arrival in Massachusetts.

May not and ought not the children of these fathers rightly say:

Mayflower in Plymouth HarborOur faithers were Englishmen which come over this great ocean, and were ready to perish in this willdernes; but they cried unto the Lord, and he heard their voyce, and looked on their adversitie, etc. Let them therfore praise the Lord, because he is good, and his mercies endure for ever. Yea, let them which have been redeemed of the Lord, shew how he hath delivered them from the hand of the oppressour. When they wandered in the deserte willdernes out of the way, and found no citie to dwell in, both hungrie, and thirstie, their sowle was overwhelmed in them. Let them confes before the Lord his loving kindnes, and his wonderfull works before the sons of men.

William Bradford, Of plimouth plantation, 1620

Our nation has a long history of crying out to God in our distress and recognition of His providential hand of blessing, yet recent national calls for prayer have changed. Several years ago I came across an article by Dr. John S. Uebersax, National Days of Prayer: A Historical Comparison, in which he made this significant observation:

Since 1952, the President of the United States has, by law, annually issued a proclamation recommending a National Day of Prayer. This seeks to revive a similar practice that emerged in Revolutionary times, and again in the Civil War. The modern proclamations, however, differ in important ways from the earlier ones. The main difference is evident in the change of titles — from the earlier ‘Day of Humiliation, Fasting, and Prayer’ to the modern ‘National Day of Prayer.’ The earlier proclamations emphasized humiliation — understood as including a deep conviction of God’s Providential sovereignty in all things, recognition that calamities may express God’s chastisements, expression of guilt, sorrow for sins, and earnest pledge for reformation.

The first thanksgiving of the Pilgrim Fathers followed a day of humiliation, fasting, and prayer. Both days were appointed and set, not by the church, but by their governor. How much more than they, do we as a nation need to turn to God in humiliation and petition. We have grievously sinned against Him.

Look at the Proclamation Appointing a National Fast Day signed by Abraham Lincoln on March 30, 1863:

And, insomuch as we know that, by His divine law, nations like individuals are subjected to punishments and chastisements in this world, may we not justly fear that the awful calamity of civil war, which now desolates the land, may be but a punishment, inflicted upon us, for our presumptuous sins, to the needful end of our national reformation as a whole People? We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us!

It behooves us then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.

This morning I also remembered John Winthrop’s vision for our country and his warning.

…For we must Consider that we shall be as a City upon a Hill, the eyes of all people are upon us; so that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken and so cause Him to withdraw His present help from us, we shall be made a story and a byword through the world…

I shall shut up this discourse with that exhortation of Moses, that faithful servant of the Lord, in his last farewell to Israel, Deut. 30. Beloved there is now set before us life and good, Death and evil, in that wee are commanded this day to love the Lord our God, and to love one another, to walk in his ways and to keep his Commandments and his Ordinance and his laws, and the articles of our Covenant with him, that we may live and be multiplied, and that the Lord our God may bless us in the land whither we go to possess it. But if our hearts shall turn away, so that wee will not obey, but shall be seduced, and worship and serve other Gods, our pleasure and profits, and serve them; it is propounded unto us this day, wee shall surely perish out of the good land whither we passe over this vast sea to possess it;

Therefore let us choose life
that wee, and our seed
may live, by obeying His
voice and cleaving to Him,
for He is our life and
our prosperity.
John Winthrop, A Model of Christian Charity, 1630

The monument at the grave of William Bradford has one inscription in Hebrew:

Jehovah is our help

Another in Latin:

What our fathers with so much difficulty secured,
do not basely relinquish

The streets of our City darken. As we pray today for marriage, may we pray in humiliation—with “a deep conviction of God’s Providential sovereignty in all things, recognition that calamities may express God’s chastisements, expression of guilt, sorrow for sins, and earnest pledge for reformation.”
Mayflower in Plymouth Harbor, William Halsall: PD-US.

Obergefell v. Hodges: Marriage & the States

Today SCOTUS will hear arguments on Obergefell v. Hodges (the marriage case from Ohio) which has been consolidated with three other cases: Tanco v. Haslam (Tennessee), DeBoer v. Snyder (Michigan), and Bourke v. Beshear (Kentucky). In all four cases the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals held that the state marriage laws were constitutional, reversing lower federal district court rulings that had overturned those laws. (The Sixth Circuit’s ruling can be read here).

The Sixth Circuit split from rulings made by the Fourth, Seventh, Ninth, and Tenth Circuit Courts declaring state marriage laws under their jurisdiction to be unconstitutional. Needless to say, the Sixth Circuit decision will now be reviewed by SCOTUS.

GavelThe questions to be argued before SCOTUS are:

1. Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex?

2. Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out of state?

Because these cases are about the Fourteenth Amendment and a state’s right to make its own marriage laws, it is ironic that states’ rights were key to the Windsor decision overturning DOMA. Gene Schaerr and Ryan Anderson point out in their Memo to Supreme Court: State Marriage Laws Are Constitutional (numbers are reference citations found at the link):

Kennedy’s opinion for the Court hinged on the reality that “[t]he significance of state responsibilities for the definition and regulation of marriage dates to the Nation’s beginning.”[9] “The definition of marriage,” Windsor explained, is “the foundation of the State’s broader authority to regulate the subject of domestic relations with respect to the ‘[p]rotection of offspring, property interests, and the enforcement of marital responsibilities.’”[10]

United States District Judge Juan Pérez-Giménez recently highlighted this feature of Windsor: [His ruling can be read here.]

The Windsor opinion did not create a fundamental right to same gender marriage nor did it establish that state opposite-gender marriage regulations are amenable to federal constitutional challenges. If anything, Windsor stands for the opposite proposition: it reaffirms the States’ authority over marriage, buttressing Baker’s conclusion that marriage is simply not a federal question.[11]

Windsor also taught that federal power may not “put a thumb on the scales and influence a state’s decision as to how to shape its own marriage laws.”[12] Yet since that time, the federal government—through federal judges—has repeatedly put its thumb on the scales to influence a state’s decision about its own marriage laws—all the while claiming that Windsor required them to do so.

Judge Pérez-Giménez bemoaned this reality, noting that “[i]t takes inexplicable contortions of the mind or perhaps even willful ignorance—this Court does not venture an answer here—to interpret Windsor’s endorsement of the state control of marriage as eliminating the state control of marriage.”[13]

In Justice Kennedy and Marriage: A Guide for the Perplexed Quin Hillyer also noted Kennedy’s reasoning in the Windsor decision:

In it, Kennedy so repeatedly emphasizes state authority on marriage, both definitional and regulatory, that there seems no intellectually honest way for him now to invalidate state laws that, yes, define and regulate marriage. Indeed, even Kennedy’s hymns to personal dignity, at least in Windsor, were sung only in the context of the power of individual states to recognize such dignity despite DOMA’s alleged determination to trample it. In other words, Kennedy painted the dignity not as something conferring a freestanding right to a particular definition and practice of marriage, but only as something a state might choose (or, by inference, choose not) to confer as a recognized privilege.

Hillyer conjectures as to how Kennedy could circumvent this problem, but Kennedy has some pretzel logic to work on if he’s going to deny his reasoning in the Windsor decision in order to deny states the right to make their own marriage laws. Of course, as we have seen in the past he is capable of “inexplicable contortions of the mind.”
Judges Gavel: Chris Potter. (CC BY 4.0).

Marriage Talk At The Water Cooler

Watercooler OfficeTomorrow the Supreme Court will hear arguments in Obergefell v. Hodges on the states and marriage. When something this big comes along, even those who rarely think about the Supreme Court are aware of its importance, and you may get into conversations in the break room at work or with neighbors. Some people may not have strong feelings, but are only parroting propaganda about same-sex “marriage” simply because it’s everywhere. It’s prevalent not only in politics, but in the entertainment media: movies, television, and commercials. You may encounter those who are concerned and want to talk about marriage at length, and you may also encounter those who simply want to argue.

Marriage Qs As 260x214crHere are two very brief,  but very helpful lists of answers to common questions about marriage. The first is a pamphlet published a couple of years ago by the Heritage Foundation, “What You Need to Know about Marriage.” You can download it, you can buy it in bulk, or you can read it online. These are the questions answered in the Heritage pamphlet:

1. What is marriage?

2. Why does marriage matter to the government?

3. What are the consequences of redefining marriage?

4. Hasn’t divorce already harmed the institution you’re trying to preserve?

5. Isn’t same-sex marriage inevitable in all 50 states? Aren’t you on the wrong side of history?

6. Shouldn’t same-sex partners get benefits like others?

7. Why do you want to interfere with love? Why can’t we just live and let live?

8. Are you saying that gay parents can’t love and provide for a child?

9. If marriage is about children, what about couples who can’t or don’t have children?

10. Isn’t denying same-sex couples the freedom to marry the same as a ban on interracial marriage?

11. What could be more pro-family than expanding the rules on who can marry?

12. What does the research say?

13. Why doesn’t government just get out of the marriage business altogether?

14. Why shouldn’t everyone be able to marry the one they love?

15. How does redefining marriage weaken marriage?

Ryan Anderson answers these questions in greater detail in:

Another brief list of questions and answers was written by Stella Morabito in Ten Q&A on Same-Sex Marriage Canards and Evasions. She opened by saying:

Forces pushing for genderless marriage are a wellspring of fallacies and unanswered questions about the consequences.  Let’s explore some of them.

There is some overlap in the questions, but Stella lists some additional ones and provides excellent answers. Her tone is more blunt than the Heritage pamphlet, but I think that serves as a reminder that sometimes the same question can be asked both by someone who sincerely wants to talk, and also by someone with an agenda and without a benign interest in an answer. The purpose of discussion is persuasion and not oneupmanship, but naivety is not an immutable characteristic of treating others civilly. In other words, we have to be “wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.”
Photo: HK Admiralty night: Cecilsphase. (CC BY-SA 3.0),

Remembering an April morning…1775

Here Once The Embattled Farmers Stood,

And fired the shot heard round the world…

Minute Man Concord MA

April 19, 1775

What made the farmers fight in 1775?

Judge Millen Chamberlain in 1842, when he was twenty-one, interviewed Captain Preston, a ninety-year-old veteran of the Concord fight: “Did you take up arms against intolerable oppression?” he asked.

“Oppression?” replied the old man. “I didn’t feel them.”

“What, were you not oppressed by the Stamp Act?”

“I never saw one of those stamps. I certainly never paid a penny for one of them.”

“Well, what then about the tea tax?”

“I never drank a drop of the stuff; the boys threw it all overboard.”

“Then I suppose you had been reading Harington or Sidney and Locke about the eternal principles of liberty?”

“Never heard of ’em. We read only the Bible, the Catechism, Watts’ Psalms and Hymns, and the Almanac.”

“Well, then, what was the matter? And what did you mean in going to the fight?”

“Young man, what we meant in going for those redcoats was this: we always had governed ourselves, and we always meant to. They didn’t mean we should.

April 19th, 1775Patriots’ Day

Hour by HourDetails of the Day

The Old North ChurchOne If By Land, Two If By Sea

Paul Revere’s Ride

Hancock-Clarke HouseBuckman TavernHartwell Tavern

Battle RoadThe King’s Own

Lexington Battle GreenAn Eyewitness Account

Battle at Concord’s North BridgeConcord Battle Road

Meriam’s CornerParker’s RevengeMunroe Tavern

Blogging the RedcoatsBlogging the Revolution

Mapping The RidesMapping The RegionMapping The Revolution

…for we must Consider that we shall be as a City upon a Hill, the eyes of all people are upon us; so that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken and so cause Him to withdraw His present help from us, we shall be made a story and a byword through the world…
John Winthrop, 1630

Check out each word of Paul Revere’s Ride, because each one has a different link!
Ralph Waldo Emerson, Concord Hymn.
Samuel Eliot Morison, The Oxford History of the American People, (Oxford University Press: 1965) 212-213. Emphasis added.