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08/24/2011

Reviewing MN For Marriage's 'scholarly review'

by Jeremy Hooper

This blip is running on the newly-launched "Minnesota For Marriage" site:

Screen Shot 2011-08-24 At 1.51.00 Pm
[Minnesota For Marriage]

Now, clearly this snip, found under MN For Marriage's "Why Preserving Marriage Matters" section, is meant to sound like marriage equality opposition has a broad base of support that has nothing to do with religion or partisan politicking. "Even Harvard scholars oppose it?" is the question that Minnesota For Marriage staffers are hoping to bring to mind. So okay, let's look at that:


(1) The innocuous sounding Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy is not a mere law publication, but rather a conservative and libertarian law review. It is not an unqualified "scholarly review" -- it is a right-wing publication with a stated purpose of advancing conservative thought. In fact, it is the official publication of the very conservative Federalist Society.

(2) This particular contribution, titled "Marriage facts," states in the introduction "the conclusion that the package supportive of man-woman marriage is decidedly more defensible." This particular examination was really meant to analyze the legal reasoning that leads judges to either accept or not accept the "facts" that the conservative author has accepted as true, not further debate facts themselves. It was written as a debate for conservatives who had already rejected same-sex marriage to have among themselves, not really for proponents and opponents to debate marriage equality on its merits.

(3) Maggie Gallagher's name comes up twelve times in the document's footnotes. Other familiar voices from the anti-same-sex marriage crowd (David Blankenhorn, William C. Duncan, NOM co-founder Robby George) are also cited.

(4) The author of the piece, Monte Neil Stewart, is the president of the Marriage Law Foundation. This Marriage Law Foundation:

Screen Shot 2011-08-24 At 2.10.51 Pm
[Marriage Law Foundation]

The same Marriage Law Foundation that touts Maggie Gallagher as a board member. The same Marriage Law Foundation that has filed anti-equality amici in most every modern marriage case. Not exactly an objective voice in this debate.

(5) Mr. Stewart was a sponsor of Utah's anti-gay-marriage amendment (Amendment 3) and co-chair of the "Yes on 3" coalition campaign.

(6) A Mormon, Mr. Stewart was formerly on faculty at Brigham Young University. I don't think I need to remind you of that school's LGBT policies or the Mormon church's actions against civil marriage equality.


Those are just a few facts on this, one quip that Minnesota For Marriage wants folks to believe is an unloaded scholarly statement. We equality activists have 14+ months to tell Minnesotans everything that this campaign certainly won't. I gladly accept the job.

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