No, you really don't seem to know what tyranny is, Jerry Cox
Responding to yesterday's ruling in favor of marriage equality in his state, Arkansas Family Council head Jerry Cox writes:
“This is another example of judicial tyranny. Arkansans voted overwhelmingly to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Their elected officials voted for that definition when they passed Arkansas’ Defense of Marriage Act. By issuing this ruling, one federal judge is saying seventy-five percent of Arkansas voters and lawmakers do not matter. If that isn’t tyranny, I don’t know what is.” [SOURCE]
That last line is the key: "If that isn’t tyranny, I don’t know what is.”
Tyranny is cruel, unreasonable, and oppressive government. When the Arkansas legislature chose to waste time passing a bill that did nothing more than restrict the rights of a certain class of taxpayer, that was a cruel act. When the electorate showed up to vote against their gay and lesbian residents, that was an oppressive act. When loving couples had to fight and jump through extra legal hoops just to protect their families, secure basic rights and benefits in both life and death, or even be with their loved ones in the hospital, that was unreasonable treatment. If the word "tyranny" is going to come in play here, it much more ably applies to the tyranny of the crude and cruel marriage ban that has haunted this and so many other states for far too long.
The judiciary, on the other hand, is in place precisely to protect citizens from such cruel and unreasonable and oppressive treatment. Just because a legislature thinks up a law and a majority of citizens treat a minority population's rights like a popularity contest, it does not mean that the law is constitutional. And when laws are not constitutional, they sometimes find themselves overturned. That is not tyranny. It's the opposite, in fact.
Social conservatives understand this when it comes to laws that they themselves disfavor. But whenever we're talking about our basic rights and judges who understand their proper roles in this conversation, they automatically jump on words like "tyranny" and "judicial activism." Because language is another area in which they've imposed (or at least tried to impose) their chosen tyranny.
Vatican's #Humanum event meant to paint gay families as 'evil' and 'obscene,' admits invited guest
Even some participants at last week's Vatican gathering of anti-gay social conservatives are starting to admit that the happy, hunky dory, positive vibe that the attendees were so desperate to message out was, in fact, disingenuous. In fact, Catherine Ruth Pakaluk, an invited attendee and assistant professor at the Catholic Ave Maria University, argues thatthe real message is one that considers same-sex families to "evil," "vicious," and "obscene":
Last week I was privileged to attend the Humanum Colloquium held at the Vatican, and about which I wrote in advance with optimism regarding the use of new visual arts to convey old truths. Now, with the colloquium behind me, I find myself thinking about the lasting contributions of this international gathering. And it strikes me today that perhaps one of the most important things was an attempt to frame the current international debate about marriage in terms of the humanity owed to the innocent.
Much has been made of the so-called "positive" message of the colloquium — here is a gathering which wants to "celebrate and affirm" the beauty of complementarity and marriage. It doesn’t seek to reject and condemn. But I wonder if this isn’t a bit disingenuous. We know that there would not have been any Humanum were it not for the sense that we are losing the marriage debate both in law and public opinion. This was not a random act of affirming positive things. It was rather a deliberate act of asserting that it is evil to deprive children of a mother and a father.
...In the six Humanum videos, we are treated to a story, a story about masculine and feminine as archetypes in nature, a story about children receiving distinct gifts from mothers and fathers, and a story about marriage as the institution that binds men and women to each other, for each other and for their children.
In this art, there is an intentional depiction of the obscene: literally, obscene because it is off scene. An evil man threw sand in the eyes of the rhesus monkey. An evil person deprives an infant of a mother. We do not see it in these films but we feel it.
Now there are many ways in which a child may come to be deprived of a mother or a father. Some are acts of nature — a mother dies in childbirth, a father in an accident. Some result from marital failure — either the failure to form a marriage at the time of the child’s birth, or the failure to maintain a marriage while the child grows. In these cases — together with the child — we grieve what is lost and seek to remediate the suffering through adoption, remarriage, and other forms of familial and social assistance to broken families.
This leaves, by comparison, the most vicious ways that a child might come to be deprived of a mother or a father, in which we socially and civilly protect the creation of a child with "no father" (through anonymous sperm donation for single mothers and/or adoption into female partnerships) or "no mother" (through surrogacy and/or adoption into male partnerships). Of course all children have a mother and a father — but these are deprived of the chance to know them, deprived of the chance to be loved by them.
This is most vicious not because those involved are most evil. Rather, it is most vicious because it deprives a child of the longed-for parent, and also of the right to grieve that loss.
FULL: Defenders of the Family are Not as Warm and Fuzzy As You Think [Aleteia]
I, for one, admire her candor. I mean, whenever I listen to one of the anti-gay Catholics talk about my marriage and my family, I know they feel this way. I know that they consider my family evil. I know that they would take their agenda further, if they had the chance. I know that they, through cruel rhetoric like this, are hoping to make the landscape even more inhospitable toward the emotional wellbeing of the children of same-sex parents. I know that they would rather attach truly inhuman words like "obscene" onto families like mine rather than get to know us and judge us by our happiness rather than their ingrained prejudices. I know that they hold events like the one last week because they do truly hope to rid the world of family structures that fall outside their myopic beliefs.
I'm just not used to them admitting it. Thanks, Mr. Pakaluk.
*Surprise, surprise: Pakaluk joined Mark Regnerus on an amicus brief calling on the Seventh Circuit to oppose marriage equality
Read: Federal judge calls MS's marriage ban what it is: discriminatory
In a stayed ruling—the second one today from a southern state—U.S. District Court Judge Carlton Reeves has ruled Mississippi's discriminatory marriage ban to be just that. Read it and weep, NOM:
The hold lasts for fourteen days. But after that, we get Christmas same-sex weddings at the American Family Association's Tupelo headquarters? Stay tuned!
Yet another federal judge accurately notes crude discrimination within Arkansas' marriage ban
In a stayed ruling, U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker today struck down one of our more conservative state's discriminatory marriage ban:
It is a near-certainty that the state will appeal to the 8th Circuit. But it is a full-on certainty that this is yet another chip in a quickly thawing block of frost that has sent shivers up the spines of freedom-loving Americans for far too long already.
The opinion and order, via Equality Case Files:
Prominent conservative outlet equates LGBT activists with Nazi paramilitary
LGBT equality activists are now just like the SA members who brought Hitler and the Holocaust to rise (aka "Brownshirts"). Because this is what passes for acceptable conservative rhetoric in prominent conservative journals:
Regardless of how they began, the colors of the rainbow flag have all run together into a shade of muddy brown. So we ought to come to terms with the fact that LGBT activists have actually been waving brown shirts at us all along.
—Shocking anti-gay activist Robert Oscar Lopez and The Federalist writer Stella Morabito, writing in a joint piece for The Federalist
But while I (and my Jewish family members) are deeply appalled by the intentional flouting of Godwin's law to equate a minority population's push for respect and equality with an earlier generation's most notorious human rights abusers, I do agree with Morabito's and Lopez's rejection of those who try to shout them down. For god's sake, folks, LET THEM SPEAK! They and their crazy rhetoric are doing our job for us at this point!!
New pledge: Conservative pastors choose to separate selves from civil marriage
The prominent Christian conservative outlet First Things is promoting a new effort called "The Marriage Pledge." Essentially, it's a recognition, at long last, that church ceremony and civil marriage are, in fact, separate and distinguishable (even if many, or perhaps most, married couples opt in to both), with the pastors who have drafted the pledge calling on likeminded fellows to get out of the state marriage business altogether. Here's the text:
In many jurisdictions, including many of the United States, civil authorities have adopted a definition of marriage that explicitly rejects the age-old requirement of male-female pairing. In a few short years or even months, it is very likely that this new definition will become the law of the land, and in all jurisdictions the rights, privileges, and duties of marriage will be granted to men in partnership with men, and women with women.
As Christian ministers we must bear clear witness. This is a perilous time. Divorce and co-habitation have weakened marriage. We have been too complacent in our responses to these trends. Now marriage is being fundamentally redefined, and we are being tested yet again. If we fail to take clear action, we risk falsifying God’s Word.
The new definition of marriage no longer coincides with the Christian understanding of marriage between a man and woman. Our biblical faith is committed to upholding, celebrating, and furthering this understanding, which is stated many times within the Scriptures and has been repeatedly restated in our wedding ceremonies, church laws, and doctrinal standards for centuries. To continue with church practices that intertwine government marriage with Christian marriage will implicate the Church in a false definition of marriage.
Therefore, in our roles as Christian ministers, we, the undersigned, commit ourselves to disengaging civil and Christian marriage in the performance of our pastoral duties. We will no longer serve as agents of the state in marriage. We will no longer sign government-provided marriage certificates. We will ask couples to seek civil marriage separately from their church-related vows and blessings. We will preside only at those weddings that seek to establish a Christian marriage in accord with the principles articulated and lived out from the beginning of the Church’s life.
Please join us in this pledge to separate civil marriage from Christian marriage by adding your name.
The Reverend Ephraim Radner
The Reverend Christopher Seitz
FULL: The Marriage Pledge [First Things]
Personally I think it's silly. No marriage equality activist is trying to force churches to perform religious ceremonies that do not coincide with the church's teachings. Pastors have always been free to turn away just about any couple for just about any reason, and this remains true with same-sex marriage. They really don't have to change anything even once fifty state equality makes it inevitable arrival.
But if these pastors believe that we gay folk have corrupted the civil system by virtue of our desire for inclusion, then maybe they should go ahead and detach themselves from that part of the conversation. For years anti-equality faith movements have been trying to overreach so that they can hold ownership to both religious ceremonies and state solemnization/recognition, which was, is, and always will be an unfair and untenable goal. So if they are not willing to accept our own willingness to confine our advocacy to civil marriage while remaining perfectly respectful to their religious freedom when it comes to whom they must marry (which has always been our movement's stance), then perhaps they should go ahead and limit their role in the marital covenant to that of God and bride and groom and stay out of the pertinent conversation about legal rights and family protections. If that's their choice, then so be it.
Read: ADF creates fake 'victim' superbook; misapplies business matters to churches
When legal outfits like Alliance Defending Freedom take up the cases of bakers and florists and photographers who try to skirt local nondiscrimination law so that they can refuse service to LGBT customers, they most always lose. That's because public accommodations cannot just flout fairly and reasonably enacted policies just because the owners hold exclusionary ideas about society and its deserved participants. That's not how it works.
But this is a movement that needs all of the straws it can possible grasp, which is why the ADF is now trying to convince American churches that these stories of businesses needing to carry out commercial exchanges with gay people (the horror!) are somehow just part of a larger plot to destroy churches. And to make the case, they've put the fear-claims into a lengthy new document that essentially frames those of us who support equal rights and fair service in accommodation (i.e. a majority of Americans) as the number one enemy of faith communities. Take a look:
A lot of false witness in here. But hey, it's not like they're releasing it as we enter into a Christian holy season or anything. Oh wait a minute...
P&G reaches out to pro-discrimination activist, learns it made right choice
Following Procter & Gamble's major decision to come out in favor of marriage equality, Phil Burress, a local anti-LGBT activist from P&G's home state of Ohio, claims the CEO of the company called him to discuss the matter. And here's how that went, according to Burress:
Burress shares that he was then called by the CEO of Proctor [sic] & Gamble. "And [I] spent time on the phone explaining that this is not about equality – this is about special rights for someone’s bed partner," he concludes. [SOURCE: ONN]
I've grown up recognizing and respecting male/female married couples for my entire life, and rarely-to-never have I paid mind to how said couples behaved in bed. They have such dirty minds, these folks.
Or, more accurately, they know that reducing us to our sex lives is a way they can continue to "other" us. Whereas straight couples get to have lives and families and mortgages and bills and fears and frustrations and all that comes from being an adult who lives, loves, and marries in this society of ours, folks like Burress are determined to define us by, and therefore limit us to, what happens during the relatively few and fleeting moments wherein we enjoy sexual companionship. Because that's what you always do to a minority population you want to stigmatize: you reduce them so that it's easier for you to write them off.
This time it didn't work, and Mr. Burress has all but lost. But the fact that he and his team so aggressively tried—and in the name of religion no less? Well that's a sad and cruel legacy that will unfold for decades to come.