Trditional Marriage News

Monday, April 14, 2014
April 11, 2014|4:47 pm

The National Organization for Marriage, a nonprofit group that advocates for traditional marriage, is expecting tens of thousands of people from across the United States to join their June "March for Marriage" in Washington to "show the world that the marriage debate isn't over."

Christopher Plante, spokesman for NOM, told The Christian Post that the June 19 march is being held in part "to show the world, the media, members of Congress and the Supreme Court that the marriage debate is not over."

"There is a huge groundswell of popular support, popular belief in traditional marriage. And despite what the polls may say, the reality is the majority of Americans believe marriage is between one man and one woman," said Plante.

Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court heard two cases regarding the marriage definition debate, Windsor v. United States and Hollingsworth v. Perry.

The Windsor case dealt with the Defense of Marriage Act, a federal law that was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1996.

Hollingsworth was in regard to California's Proposition 8, a referendum that added an amendment to the state constitution that defined marriage as being between one man and one woman.

On June 26, the Supreme Court struck down a crucial component of DOMA, allowing for federal benefits to extend to same-sex couples in states where gay marriage is legal.

The Court also ruled against Proposition 8, arguing that the pro-proposition appellants lacked standing to appeal a lower court decision against the amendment.

Arguments for the two cases were heard in March. On that first day of oral arguments, NOM and its allies held a March for Marriage rally in support of DOMA and Prop 8.

Both they and their anti-DOMA, anti-Prop 8 counterparts had thousands of supporters in attendance rallying outside the Supreme Court building.

Plante of NOM told CP that the date for this year's March for Marriage is meant to be near the anniversary of the "horrible decisions in the Windsor and Prop 8 cases last year."

"We expect tens of thousands of people to come out. This is a new event. Obviously we had one last year, which was very successful," said Plante.

The March for Marriage is not the only large-scale rally held at the National Mall in remembrance of controversial Supreme Court decisions.

Every January, pro-life groups from across the nation come to Washington for March for Life. Plante himself found comparison between the two marches.

"We are looking to grow this on an annual basis much like the March for Life, and so we expect that we will do more than we did last year," said Plante.

"Life and Marriage are intertwined. The March for Life has been a hugely successful event, and we look to mirror their success and make sure we have an annual event that commemorates the importance and the uniqueness of marriage that becomes visible to our country, to our leaders, to the media," he added.


Thursday, April 10, 2014
April 9, 2014|4:24 pm

The U.S. Senate failed to move forward on a gender pay discrimination bill Wednesday as the White House continues to defend its use of a questionable statistic on the gender wage gap.

With all Republicans voting "no," the Paycheck Fairness Act did not get the 60 votes needed to end debate and move the bill to a vote. The bill would have allowed employees to share their salary information with each other and bring civil actions against their employer for gender discrimination.

Republicans objected that they were not allowed to offer any amendments to the bill, including an amendment offered by four female Republicans that would have included provisions against retaliating against workers who inquire about the salaries of their peers.

Maine independent Sen. Angus King caucuses with the Democrats but joined the Republicans in opposing the bill. In a statement, he said the bill could "impose substantial burdens on businesses" and it does not address "the real causes that are driving the wage gap."

The vote was part of a coordinated effort with the White House to make gender pay differences an issue in the November elections.

"Today, the average full-time working woman earns just 77 cents for every dollar a man earns … in 2014, that's an embarrassment. It is wrong," President Barack Obama said in a Tuesday speech.

Many experts point to problems, though, with the 77 cents figure. Glenn Kessler, the "fact checker" for The Washington Post, gave Obama "two Pinocchios" Wednesday for his use of the statistic. (This was higher, or less truthful, that the "one Pinocchio" Kessler gave Obama for using the same statistic during the 2012 election season.) Also in 2012, PolitiFact said Obama's claim was "mostly false."

Hanna Rosin explained why the statistic is wrong in an August 2013 article for Slate, a liberal publication, called "The Gender Wage Gap Lie."

The 77 percent figure, Rosin explains, comes from comparing the median earnings of all women working full-time with the median earnings of all men working full-time. When looking at it that way, men do make more than women, but the statistic itself cannot explain whether there is discrimination, or men are getting more money for doing the same work as women.

Citing work by economists, Rosin said there are many reasons that the median salaries are higher for men than women that do not include discrimination. Men work longer hours, are more likely to have union jobs, and choose professions that pay more, and women are more likely to have career advancement interruptions to care for children and women are poor salary negotiators, for instance.

To really know if there is gender discrimination, Rosin pointed out, one would need to look at whether women are actually paid differently for doing the same work as men.

Using the same method of calculation that the White House used to argue that discrimination leads to men receiving 23 cents per hour more than women, University of Michigan economist Mark J. Perry found that in the White House itself men get paid 12 cents more than women.

For two days in a row this week, reporters hounded White House Press Secretary Jay Carney about that fact. If comparing median salary gender differences in the labor market indicates discrimination against females, they asked, does comparing median salary gender differences in the White House indicate discrimination against females in the White House?

In his defense of the gender pay differences in the White House, Carney used the same reasoning used by those who say the 77 cent figure is wrong. As long as women are getting paid the same for the same work, Carney explained, there is no discrimination in the White House.

"And here at the White House equal pay legislation deems that there should be equal pay for equal work, and that's what we have – men and women in equivalent roles here earn equivalent salaries.

"For example, we have two deputy chiefs of staff, one man and one woman, and they earn the same salary. We have 16 department heads, over half of them are women, all of whom make the same salary as their male counterparts," he said Monday.

When Carney was again pressed with similar questions on Tuesday, White House Director of Communications Jennifer Palmieri suggested, via Twitter, that there was a problem with the fact that the reporters asking the questions are all male.

"Love all these guys, but note that 6 of 7 news [organizations] in front row sent men to ask @pressec [about] the problem of gender pay inequity," she tweeted.

In response, several reporters pointed out that the White House sent a man, Jay Carney, to answer those questions.

"In your line of [thought] Jennifer a woman should have taken the question for the White House not a man," Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reporter Salena Zito tweeted.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014
April 7, 2014|1:41 pm

The exterior of the U.S. Supreme Court is seen in Washington March 5, 2014. U.S. Supreme Court justices on Wednesday appeared to look for a compromise that would enable them to avoid overruling a 26-year-old precedent that made it easier for plaintiffs to negotiate large class action settlements.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear a case, Elane Photography, LLC vs. Willock, in which a wedding photographer was punished for declining to photograph a same-sex wedding ceremony.

"This essentially means the end of legal options for John and Elaine Huguenin for now," Alan Sears, president, CEO and General Counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, said. ADF represented the Huguenins, owners of Elane Photography.

In 2006, Vanessa Willock sent an email to several wedding photographers in New Mexico asking if they would be willing to photograph her same-sex "commitment ceremony." (New Mexico did not redefine marriage to include same-sex couples until December 2013.)

"This is a same-gender ceremony. If you are open to helping us celebrate our day we'd like to receive pricing information," the email stated.

Elaine Huguenin informed Willock via email, "We do not photograph same-sex weddings, but again, thanks for checking out our site! Have a great day."

In court testimony, Huguenin made clear that she would serve the couple in other contexts. She was not declining to serve gays. She was declining to serve gay weddings because she believed that doing so would be in violation of her religious beliefs. Huguenin had also previously declined service to clients who asked her to photograph nude images and violent images.

Willock filed a complaint against Elane Photography, arguing that the company violated an anti-discrimination ordinance. The case made its way to the New Mexico Supreme Court, which found Elane Photography guilty and ordered the company to pay close to $7,000 to Willock.

"The injustice is difficult to overstate," Sears of ADF stated. "Make no mistake, this issue is all about the government forcing a citizen to communicate a message against her will and against her beliefs.

"To add insult to the outrage, a justice on the New Mexico Supreme Court has even gone so far as to tell the Huguenins that surrendering their freedom is 'the price of citizenship.'"

Russell D. Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, also expressed disappointment in the Supreme Court's decision to not hear the case. The case is about freedom of conscience, he argued.

"At issue is the fundamental question of whether the state can pretend to be a god over the conscience," Moore said. "No one is seeking to outlaw photographers from working at same-sex marriage or civil union ceremonies. At issue is whether these persons will be forced by the coercive power of the state to participate in something they believe to be sinful.

"The audacity of the New Mexico Supreme Court in saying that the crucifixion of conscience is the price of citizenship is breathtaking. This ruling is more in the spirit of Nero Caesar than in the spirit of Thomas Jefferson. This is damaging not only to the conscience rights of Christians, but to all citizens. When we decide, as a country, that state power trumps the rights of conscience, we are treading on self-evident, inalienable rights, granted not by government but by God."

ADF Senior Counsel Jordan Lorence, on the other hand, argued that the case was about freedom of speech.

"The First Amendment protects our freedom to speak or not speak on any issue without fear of punishment. We had hoped the U.S. Supreme Court would use this case to affirm this basic constitutional principle ...," he said.

Lorence added that ADF has several other clients in similar cases which the Supreme Court will have opportunities to weigh in on the issues, including wedding florists and bakers, and a t-shirt printer who declined to design a "pride festival" shirt.

Monday, April 7, 2014
April 6, 2014|2:59 pm

A federal judge in Cincinnati said Friday that he will strike down as unconstitutional Ohio's voter-approved ban on recognizing the marriages of same-sex couples from other states. The state plans to appeal the ruling once it is issued.

Supporters of same-sex marriage rally at Utah's State Capitol building in Salt Lake City, Utah January 28, 2014.

"I intend to issue a written decision and order by April 14, striking down as unconstitutional under all circumstances Ohio's bans on recognizing legal same-sex marriages from other states," U.S. District Judge Timothy Black said in a statement.

The plaintiffs are four same-sex couples who got married in other states and are seeking to be recognized as parents on their children's birth certificates.

"I intend to issue a declaration that Ohio's recognition bans, that have been relied upon to deny legal recognition to same-sex couples validly entered in other states where legal, violates the rights secured by the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution," the judge said, adding that same-sex couples are "denied their fundamental right to marry a person of their choosing and the right to remain married."

"It also validates to our kids that we're bringing into our marriage that their parents are recognized by the state that we live in, and that's extremely important," Pam Yorksmith, one of the plaintiffs, told AP. "We're teaching kids of future generations that all families are different and just because our family doesn't look like your family doesn't mean that ours shouldn't be recognized."

"For same sex couples who have struggled to secure equal rights this is a great day," said attorney Al Gerhardstein.

The judge did not mention Ohio's ban on gay couples marrying within the state. Last December, the same judge asked Ohio to recognize same-sex marriages from other states on death certificates.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine will be prepared to appeal the impending ruling, according to spokesman Dan Tierney.

Attorneys for Ohio had argued that the state alone has the jurisdiction to define marriage. State's voters passed a constitutional amendment in 2004 acknowledging that the definition of marriage was the union between one man and one woman.

The National Organization for Marriage criticized the judge's intention. "This is an affront to the rule of law and to the people of Ohio who voted overwhelmingly to define marriage solely as the union of one man and one woman," Brian Brown, the group's president, said in a statement.

Same-sex marriage is currently recognized in 17 states and the District of Columbia.

Federal judges in a few states have struck down state amendments and laws banning gay marriage as unconstitutional ever since the U.S. Supreme Court last June squashed a key part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act. They have revoked bans in Michigan, Utah, Texas, Oklahoma and Virginia, and ordered Kentucky and Tennessee to recognize out-of-state gay marriages. However, stays have been issued pending appeals.



Wednesday, April 2, 2014
April 1, 2014|8:31 am

Last week began with World Vision's stunning announcement that it would be open to hiring homosexuals in legal same-sex marriages.

But within two days, World Vision reversed course. In a letter to supporters, the Board acknowledged that it had made a mistake, reaffirmed the organization's commitment to the biblical norm of marriage between one man and one woman, and asked for forgiveness.

I say Praise God! And, we should not only forgive but also offer our support and encouragement. Let's not be the prodigal son's older brother. And let's learn from this episode.

As World Vision president Rich Stearns told reporters, "Christian organizations will continue to deal with this sensitive issue." That, my friends, is an understatement. Anyone currently trying to sit this one out, will soon realize how little neutral ground there actually is.

And that will reveal how many Christians and Christian organizations just don't "get" marriage. If our argument is selectively pointing out certain condemnations from Leviticus while ignoring others, we don't get it. Or, if we think God's morality gets in the way of God's Gospel, we also just don't get it. Without a strong understanding of what marriage itself is, and why it's important, we'll either be unwilling or unable to defend it. Before there were any political institutions or governments, God established the institution of marriage as a universal human institution.

Look at Matthew 19. The Pharisees ask Jesus if divorce is permissible according to Mosaic law. He pointed them to something more important than that law: what God intended from the beginning.

Jesus replied, "Haven't you read . . . that at the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female,' and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh'? … Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate."

Folks, churches must make discipleship and instruction on marriage a priority. Enough of the therapeutic "four steps to a great marriage" and "five steps to a happy and godly sex life." We need a robust, theological vision of God's intent for marriage that people can actually live from.

And, we need humility. When gay activists say, "You guys have been inconsistent on other marriage issues, like divorce," We should say "You're right, we have been." But by His grace, we'll do better.

And once we get down what marriage is, we need to think through the specific "what ifs" about same-sex marriage. What should Christians do if invited to attend, or officiate, a same-sex wedding? What if a gay couple asks to enroll their child at our Christian school or even Sunday school? What if our employer asks us to participate in gay awareness events?

The time to struggle with these, and the many other questions, is now.

Sean McDowell and I are writing a book on all of this. There's been plenty written warning of same-sex marriage, and plenty written predicting it brings the end of the world. Our book, due out in July, offers guidance for the "what do we do now" questions that are coming, and in many ways, already here.
Here's a preview: First, we must know what the scriptures teach on marriage so we can know what must not be compromised. Second and third: Pray and pray again. Fourth, seek the counsel of other believers.

Fifth, in every situation, respond in grace and love. What God thinks of marriage is clear. How we ought respond in specific situations, will be at times a matter of conscience – like whether to eat food sacrificed to idols in 1 Corinthians.

And remember, as difficult as it will be, we have an enormous opportunity before us to hold out and live out God's vision for marriage. Please come to and click on this commentary. We'll point you to some vital resources on understanding and defending marriage.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014
March 31, 2014|1:25 pm

Virginia's Democratic Party has elected a new chairman despite initial opposition from gay rights activists over his lack of support for state recognition of same-sex marriages.

Dwight Jones, mayor of Richmond and a Baptist preacher, was recently elected to the position of party chair by a majority of the DPVA's State Central Committee, which has 300 members.

In a statement released after the results, Mayor Jones said that he looked forward to the position, as he has been a "Democrat my whole life."

"I have seen the party grow to what it is today, a party that fights for issues important to all Virginians, issues like access to affordable health care, making sure women receive equal pay for equal work, and fighting to ensure all Virginians are treated equally across the Commonwealth," said Jones.

"I look forward to the next chapter at the Democratic Party of Virginia and I'm excited to work together with Democrats across the Commonwealth to continue building a strong, sustainable party that will keep Virginia blue for years to come."

Jones faced opposition from groups like the LGBT Democrats of Virginia over his lack of support for same sex marriage. However LGBT Democrats eventually dropped their opposition to Jones' nomination due to him not being avidly opposed to gay marriage, reported the Washington Blade.

"He's just not in a place where he feels he can support it," said McDonald to the Blade, adding that "As chair, [he said] I want to help you achieve your goals."

Earlier this year, DPVA chair Charniele Herring stepped down in order to run for a vacated U.S. House of Representatives seat.

While Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe and other Democrats supported Jones for the position, others, including the LGBT Caucus of the state Democratic Party, initially opposed Jones.

In an earlier interview with The Christian Post, Joel McDonald, vice chair for Technology & Communications with LGBT Democrats of Virginia, explained that they opposed Jones' nomination due to his "opposition to marriage equality."

"Our position always has been, and continues to be, that Governor McAuliffe pick a pro-marriage equality candidate to support as the next chairman of the Democratic Party of Virginia," said McDonald.

McDonald also told CP that while his organization does "applaud Mayor Jones for progress Richmond has made during his tenure" they nevertheless believe "selective equality is still discrimination."

The LGBT Democrats of Virginia circulated a petition in opposition to Jones' nomination, which had the backing of many Democratic politicians in Northern Virginia, a stronghold for the party in the Commonwealth.

Gov. McAuliffe's spokesman Brian Coy came to the defense of Jones,stating that McAuliffe "fully supports his good friend Mayor Dwight Jones."

"Mayor Jones has spent his life fighting for civil rights and for equal treatment for all Virginians under the law," stated Coy.

Monday, March 31, 2014
March 29, 2014|10:40 am

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced Friday that the federal government will recognize the 300 same-sex marriages performed in Michigan following the recent ruling that struck down the state ban on gay marriage. The announcement comes shortly after state Gov. Rick Snyder said the same-sex nuptials would not be recognized at a state level.

Holder said in a statement posted on the Department of Justice website that he will be recognizing the marriages performed last weekend in the state, adding that these married same-sex couples will be eligible for federal benefits.

The move follows a similar decision made in January, when the Obama administration said it would recognize same-sex marriages performed in Utah from Dec. 20 to Jan. 6, before a stay was granted in a court ruling that struck down the state's gay marriage ban.

In his announcement, Holder referenced the June 2013 Supreme Court ruling that struck down a key part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, thus awarding federal benefits to same-sex couples. "Last June's decision by the Supreme Court in United States v. Windsor was a victory for equal protection under the law and a historic step toward equality for all American families."

"The Department of Justice continues to work with its federal partners to implement this decision across the government. And we will remain steadfast in our commitment to realizing our country's founding ideals of equality, opportunity, and justice for all."

U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman had ruled last weekend that Michigan's ban on gay marriage – which was approved by 59 percent of voters in 2004 – was unconstitutional. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit granted a temporary stay a day later. But in that short period of time, 300 marriage licenses were granted to same-sex couples.

Gov. Rick Snyder, a Republican, told reporters on Wednesday that the gay marriages performed would not be recognized by the state, saying that although they were "legal" when they were performed, the state must still respect the stay granted against Friedman's ruling.

"What we have here is a situation where legal marriages took place Saturday," Snyder said, "but because of the stay, the operation of law is such that we won't recognize the benefits of those marriages until there is a removal of the stay or there is an upholding of the judge's opinion by the Court of Appeals or a higher court."

Brian Brown, president for the National Organization for Marriage, has spoken out against Friedman's ruling ,calling it "an all-out assault on marriage, issuing rulings to redefine this foundational institution in violation of U.S. Supreme Court precedent and the rule of law."

Catholic bishops from seven dioceses in the state also issued a collective statement on the Michigan Catholic Conference website, calling Friedman's ruling "most regrettable."

Friedman's ruling "strikes at the very essence of family, community and human nature. In effect, this decision advances a misunderstanding of marriage, and mistakenly proposes that marriage is an emotional arrangement that can simply be redefined to accommodate the dictates of culture and the wants of adults," the conference argued.

Michigan will now go through the appeals process in the Sixth Circuit in an attempt to overturn Friedman's ruling and keep its ban on gay marriage. Several other states are going through similar appeals processes.


Sunday, March 30, 2014
March 30, 2014|10:06 am

The findings of a poll commissioned by an LGBT activist group suggest that Americans view Evangelicals less favorably than gay and lesbians.

The results of a Human Rights Commission poll, released this week, show that 28 percent of Americans see Evangelicals unfavorably, compared with the 18 percent who feel similarly about the LGBT community.

Protestors opposed to same-sex marriage carry signs outside the Federal Court House in Michigan where plaintiffs April Deboer and her same-sex partner Jayne Rowse managed to overturn Michigan's ban on same-sex marriage in Detroit, Michigan in a ruling on Friday March 21, 2014. A temporary stay was granted on Saturday.

Just over 50 percent of those surveyed hold positive views of gay and lesbians, while 42 percent of Americans see Evangelicals favorably.

The poll results also suggested a correlation between same-sex marriage support and church attendance.

Pollsters found that the majority of those who attended church infrequently — monthly or yearly — supported same-sex marriage at 64 percent and 68 percent respectively, whereas 63 percent of weekly church attenders opposed same-sex marriage.

The poll also asked respondents to agree or disagree with the statement: "While some people object to gay marriage, it is not for me to judge." Church attendance once again appeared to be a leading factor as 68 percent of monthly worshipers and 72 percent of yearly worshipers agreed with the statement, while the number dropped to 42 percent when asked of weekly worshipers.

Just over half of respondents agreed that "allowing gay marriage helps children by giving the couples of same-sex marriage the same legal rights and sense of family as other families in their community. Forty-one percent stated that they believe it "hurts children" and "boys need fathers and girls need mothers."

Nearly 60 percent believed that "children raised in same-sex couples do as well in terms of education, emotional stability and long term outcomes as children raised by a mother and a father," while 27 percent said that it negatively affected children.

Of those who opposed gay marriage, 42 percent said they believed it was "inevitable" that the Supreme Court would one day recognize it; 51 percent disagreed.

Conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, the poll surveyed 1,000 likely 2016 voters from March 9 through March 16 with a margin of error of 3.1 percent. Voters 30 and under were over sampled.


Friday, March 28, 2014


Meir Kin, right, married Daniela Barbosa on Thursday night, though he has refused Lonna Kin an Orthodox Jewish divorce. CreditIsaac Brekken for The New York Times

LAS VEGAS — The wedding was a modest affair, held in a reception hall overlooking an artificial lake tucked behind a suburban strip. But just minutes after it ended, the bride and groom hurriedly scurried past dozens of protesters here who were chanting “Bigamist!” and “Shame on you!”

One of the wedding guests on Thursday evening glared at the demonstrators, repeatedly hissing: “Mazel tov. Mazel tov. Mazel tov.” The bride, in a lace and sequin floor-length gown, grasped the hand of her husband and looked at the crowd in silence.

Meir Kin, the new husband, has been divorced for more than seven years, under California’s civil law. But he has refused to give his previous wife the document known as a “get,” as required by Orthodox Jewish law to end a marriage. In the eyes of religious authorities, the woman he married in 2000 is what is called an agunah — Hebrew for chained wife. Without the get, the woman, Lonna Kin, is forbidden under Jewish law to remarry.

Jewish law prohibits men from taking multiple wives. But Mr. Kin, according to several rabbis here, apparently relied on a legal loophole, which says that if a man can get the special permission of 100 rabbis to take a second wife, he is able to do so.

Protesters outside Mr. Kin’s wedding in Las Vegas denounced him for not giving his wife a divorce document called a get. CreditIsaac Brekken for The New York Times

The case has become a powerful symbol for what activists say is a deepening crisis among Orthodox Jews — hundreds of women held hostage in a religious marriage, in some cases for years after civil cases have been settled. According to the intricate religious laws dictating marriage and divorce, only the husband has the power to grant a divorce.

“What has happened here is really shameful,” said Rabbi Kalman Topp, who drove from Los Angeles to protest the wedding, along with other rabbis and congregants from Orthodox synagogues there. “Not only is he in clear violation of Jewish law, but he is utilizing and corrupting Jewish law to commit cruel domestic abuse.”

Ms. Kin, who runs a real estate company, and her supporters say that Mr. Kin, a physician assistant, is demanding $500,000 and full custody of their 12-year-old son in exchange for the divorce. And they cast doubt on whether he really has the support of 100 rabbis. Reached at his Las Vegas home on Thursday, as a photographer took pictures of him and his bride in the driveway, Mr. Kin declined to comment.

Traditionally, Jewish communities relied on the threat of ostracism to persuade a recalcitrant husband to give his wife a divorce, but many say the threat became far less potent as these communities opened and spread out. In recent years, Orthodox activists with the Organization for the Resolution of Agunot, which organized the protest at Mr. Kin’s wedding, have tried to publicly shame men into giving the get.

When a congressional aide refused to give his wife the decree several years ago, protesters wrote to the congressman, created sophisticated social media campaigns and protested in front of his Washington apartment. Last year federal prosecutors filed charges against a New Jersey rabbi whom they accuse of taking tens of thousands of dollars to kidnap and torture recalcitrant husbands refusing to give their wives a religious divorce.

Ms. Kin’s nearly decade-long fight for a religious divorce illustrates the limited power of such women.

“This is not supposed to happen, that even with all these people against him he can marry anyway,” Ms. Kin, 52, said in a telephone interview from her home in Monsey, N.Y., where she lives with their son and three daughters from a previous marriage. “I would like to find a man who could be a good life partner, to have the kind of marriage my parents have. I want to marry someone and have a life like that, but now I am chained to a dead marriage.”

When she heard several weeks ago that Mr. Kin planned to remarry, Ms. Kin said she felt a momentary sense of relief — it was a clear sign that he was ready to move on with his life. But his new marriage could make it even less likely he will give her the document she desperately wants.

“He’s basically a bigamist,” she said, “and basically, I’m just stuck.”

Ms. Kin of Monsey, N.Y., says she has fought for years to be free from the chains of what she refers to as “a dead marriage.” CreditAndrew Sullivan for The New York Times

The couple first separated in January 2005, shortly after Ms. Kin filed for divorce in New York. But she withdrew the motion, on the advice of a lawyer who later told her that it would be easier to secure a get if her husband initiated the civil divorce. Mr. Kin then moved to Los Angeles, and filed for divorce there six months after he arrived. Long before the divorce was finalized in 2007, she said, he told her he never planned to give her the religious document.

Typically, such disagreements are adjudicated by a religious court made up of three rabbis, known as a beit din. Mr. Kin was approached by a local rabbi with a list of several such religious courts his wife would be willing to submit to, but he has not responded, according to Rabbi Yehoshua Fromowitz, who runs the Ahavas Torah Center, a synagogue here,

Instead, Mr. Kin, who in recent years moved to Las Vegas, has repeatedly insisted that Ms. Kin agree to binding arbitration from one particular religious court based in Monsey that is controversial and has been widely denounced by rabbinical authorities in the United States and Israel. Several leading rabbis, including the chief rabbinical office of Israel, have said they would not accept a divorce document signed by this particular court. Mr. Kin has said that the head of the beit din, Rabbi Tzvi Dov Abraham of Monsey, granted him dispensation to marry again.

“The rabbinical court system is such an ad hoc system where any man is able to call himself a rabbi and any three rabbis are able to call themselves a court, so that even if it’s not accepted by anyone, he is able to hide behind this,” said Rabbi Jeremy Stern, the executive director of the group that organized the protests against the wedding. “What empowers him to continue is the support of friend and family and community. We need everyone to say clearly we will not tolerate this kind of behavior.”

A Las Vegas rabbi declined to perform the wedding on Thursday. The groups protesting say they believe Mr. Abraham traveled from New York to officiate. He did not return repeated phone calls for comment.

Mr. Kin, according to several members of the small Las Vegas Orthodox community, has worshiped at two synagogues affiliated with the Chabad-Lubavitch Hasidic movement, which is known for welcoming a broad array of Jews. The rabbis at those synagogues do not count him toward a quorum needed for prayer because of the controversy over his divorce case, but they have declined to publicly rebuke him or force him out, according to Rabbi Shea Harlig, the head of Chabad of southern Nevada.

Mr. Stern and other rabbis supporting Ms. Kin say they will continue to press that Mr. Kin be exiled from the local Jewish community.

Ms. Kin is still holding out some hope she will receive the get — she communicated with Mr. Kin by email as recently as this week, she said, and she continues to send her son across the country several times a year to spend time with his father.

Little is known about Mr. Kin’s new wife, Daniela Barbosa, who is said to have recently emigrated from Brazil. Friends who attended their wedding refused to answer questions from a reporter. If their marriage were to disintegrate, she, too, would need to receive a get for a religiously valid divorce. Although rabbinical leaders outlawed men taking multiple wives in the Middle Ages, the practice is biblically allowed.

“We’ve outlawed this for thousands of years,” Mr. Fromowitz said. “It is totally unacceptable.”

But Mr. Fromowitz conceded that Mr. Kin had historical precedent to rely on. After all, he said, the biblical patriarch Jacob had four wives.


Wednesday, March 26, 2014
March 25, 2014|9:53 am

Christian leaders such as evangelist Franklin Graham and Russell D. Moore, who is president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, expressed outrage that Christian relief organization World Vision announced it would hire employees in same-sex marriages on Monday.

"I was shocked today to hear of World Vision's decision to hire employees in same-sex marriages," Graham, the son of renowned evangelist Billy Graham, said in his statement. "The Bible is clear that marriage is between a man and a woman.

"My dear friend, Bob Pierce, the founder of World Vision and Samaritan's Purse, would be heartbroken. He was an evangelist who believed in the inspired Word of God. World Vision maintains that their decision is based on unifying the church – which I find offensive – as if supporting sin and sinful behavior can unite the church. From the Old Testament to the New Testament, the Scriptures consistently teach that marriage is between a man and woman and any other marriage relationship is sin," Graham, who is the president and CEO of Samaritan's Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

Moore also released a statement on Monday in which he pointed out that World Vision, one of the largest Christian relief organizations in the world, said its move was no capitulation, just a recognition that some groups supporting World Vision have differing views on sex and marriage.

"This is no surprise, on one level," Moore explained. "The constellation of parachurch evangelical ministries founded after World War II have been running headlong, with some notable exceptions, toward the very mainline liberalism to which they were founded as alternatives. Some think if we can just barter away Christian orthodoxy fast enough we can catch the wave of that Presbyterian Church (USA) church growth boom.

"But here's what's at stake. This isn't, as the World Vision statement (incredibly!) puts it, the equivalent of a big tent on baptism, church polity, and so forth," he writes. "At stake is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If sexual activity outside of a biblical definition of marriage is morally neutral, then, yes, we should avoid making an issue of it. If, though, what the Bible clearly teaches and what the church has held for 2000 years is true, then refusing to call for repentance is unspeakably cruel and, in fact, devilish."

World Vision announced that its "American branch will no longer require its more than 1,100 employees to restrict their sexual activity to marriage between one man and one woman," as reported by Christianity Today. The organization states that abstinence outside of marriage remains a rule. Christians in legal same-sex marriages are permitted be employed, according to the policy change.

Moore's statement includes his belief that the world has entered an era "where we will see who the Evangelicals really are, and by that I mean those who believe in the Gospel itself, in all of its truth and all of its grace." He continues, "And many will shrink back."

He writes that there's "an entire corps of people out there who make their living off of evangelicals but who are wanting to 'evolve' on the sexuality issue without alienating their base."

"I don't mind people switching sides and standing up for things that they believe in," Moore states. "But just be honest about what you want to do. Don't say, 'Hath God said?' and then tell us you're doing it to advance the gospel and the unity of the church."

He concludes, "Donor bases come and go. But the Gospel of Jesus Christ stands forever. World Vision is a good thing to have, unless the world is all you can see."

Trevin Wax, managing editor of The Gospel Project at LifeWay Christian Resources, said the decision by World Vision brings on a time to grieve for children everywhere.

"No matter what you think about this decision, I hope you feel a sense of grief…for the children," Wax wrote on The Gospel Coalition's blog. "This is a story of deep and lasting significance, because there are children's lives at stake in how we respond.

"Children will suffer as Evangelicals lose trust in and withdraw support from World Vision in the future. It will take time for evangelicals to start new organizations that maintain historic Christian concepts of sin, faith and repentance."

After listing reasons children suffer in so many ways, not just in decisions such as the one that World Vision made, and how Evangelicals will respond with grief, he writes. "But we also grieve for children here at home who are growing up in a culture in which sexual idolatry distorts the meaning of marriage and the beauty of God's original design."