Trditional Marriage News

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

May. 26, 2013 12:15pm 

Although France officially legalized gay marriage last month, organizers of an anti-gay marriage — or “pro-family” — parade decided to go forward with a planned demonstration Sunday — and hundreds of thousands turned out.

Sandy Glass from Naperville, Illinois, was in Paris and witnessed the parade unexpectedly, telling TheBlaze she and her husband estimated more than 250,000 people were present.

“It brought tears to our eyes,” Glass, a conservative and Glenn Beck fan, said in a phone interview.

“We go to France a lot and thought it was another left wing protest,” she said later, recalling that last year they found themselves in the middle of a Socialist rally.

When they followed the noise and witnessed what she described as “pro-family” signs, Glass said she realized “oh, we’re not the only ‘crazy’ ones,” explaining that it is “sometimes very difficult to be on the right in America.”

The Associated Press reported there being about 5,000 police present for the demonstration, due to clashes that have occurred in other anti-gay marriage protests.

But Glass said the event was very well organized and even seemed to have its own security detail.

“Nobody bothered these people,” she said, noting that people on the street were giving thumbs up and people in balconies were cheering. ”

“It was such a show of force that was pro something, not against something,” she said. “I think it was awesome.”

The plan of French protesters, according to Glass, is to vote out lawmakers with whom they hold opposition in 2014.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


By REID J. EPSTEIN | 5/14/13 5:08 PM EDT

The IRS came after Billy Graham, too, his son charged Tuesday in a letter to President Barack Obama.

Franklin Graham, the president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and the family’s international humanitarian organization Samaritan’s Purse, said that the IRS notified the organizations in September that it was conducting a “review” of their activities for tax year 2010.

With the IRS admitting it gave extra scrutiny to conservative political organizations, Graham says he now believes that the review was part of an Obama administration effort of “targeting and attempting to intimidate us.”

The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association urging of voters to back “candidates who base their decisions on biblical principles and support the nation of Israel” during last year’s presidential race was the reason why IRS agents visited the North Carolina offices of both Graham groups, the letter accuses.

While these audits not only wasted taxpayer money, they wasted money contributed by donors for ministry purposes as we had to spend precious resources servicing the IRS agents in our offices,” Graham wrote in the letter, which was shared with POLITICO. “I believe that someone in the administration was targeting and attempting to intimidate us. This is morally wrong and unethical – indeed some would call it ‘un-American."

Graham said that “in light” of the IRS admission that it targeted tea party groups for added scrutiny, “I do not believe that the IRS audit of our two organizations last year is a coincidence – or justifiable.”

Graham was not available to comment Tuesday because he was traveling, a spokesman said. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment. An IRS spokesman said that he had not seen the letter and could not comment.

The Graham organizations kept their federal income tax exemptions after the audit — but were not told they’d be able to until after the November election, he wrote.

Graham, who last week attended a White House meeting for religious leaders to discuss gun control, said the IRS story threatens to engulf all manner of non-profit organizations.

“Mr. President, the IRS has already publicly acknowledged it operated in a less than neutral and non-partisan way,” Graham wrote. “We also now know that the target of their improper actions was much wider than political or Tea Party organizations. Will you take some immediate action to reassure Americans we are not in a new chapter of American history – repressive government rule?”

The IRS review, which Graham wrote involved an IRS agent visiting the two agencies last October, followed the Billy Graham ministry publishing newspaper ads in North Carolina backing a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. The amendment passed in May.

Thursday, May 9, 2013


Sports and the military used to be America's foremost bastions of physical toughness, traditional masculinity and outspoken faith. They were institutions where, no matter what was happening elsewhere in the culture, smothering left-wing political correctness was unwelcome.

Those days are long gone. In fact, as recent events make clear, sports and the military have been consumed by political correctness. So much so that these institutions' traditional values, especially their emphasis on faith, are no longer welcome.

Recent news in the sports world has been dominated by NBA player Jason Collins' announcement that he is gay. For years, the gay rights movement has claimed that what people do in the privacy of their own bedrooms is nobody's business. Yet Collins has been hailed as a hero for coming out as the first openly gay active player in one of the top American men's sports leagues.

Collins a true hero?

"Jason Collins walks in Robinson's path," read the headline of a USA TODAY column. "Is Jason Collins the Jackie Robinson of 2013?" askedThe Washington Post. President Obama said he "couldn't be prouder" of Collins, whom he called to offer his support. The clear consensus is that Collins is "brave" and "courageous" for his trailblazing announcement.

But here's a prediction. Other than very occasional taunts from fans and opposing players, Collins will face little negative response. And the negativity will be drowned out by the adulation he will continue to receive from cultural and political elites.

Any criticism of Collins' sexuality is already taboo. Consider the response to ESPN commentator Chris Broussard, who cited his Christian faith in expressing his view that homosexuality is a sin, as is adultery, for example. Broussard's view is well within the tenets of most major religions and is at the heart of Christianity's moral theology. But that didn't matter. ESPN issued an apology, saying, "We regret that a respectful discussion of personal viewpoints became a distraction from today's news. ESPN is fully committed to diversity and welcomes Jason Collins' announcement."

ESPN critic chastised

ESPN pays Broussard to give his opinion, but when he gave an opinion that conflicted with the views of one of the sports world's most powerful entities, political correctness won out.

A similar conclusion can be drawn from the Pentagon's recent statement that soldiers could be prosecuted for sharing their faith. "Religious proselytization is not permitted within the Department of Defense," the statement read.

The Pentagon later issued a clarification explaining that soldiers may talk about their faith but that witnessing to fellow soldiers will not be tolerated and may be grounds for prosecution under military law.

How ironic.

Just a couple of years after the military began encouraging gay soldiers to "ask" and to "tell," it is now insisting that Christian soldiers not proclaim their faith too loudly.

The stated intent of political correctness is to make us a fairer and more tolerant society. But in reality, it has promoted institutional intolerance of traditional ideas and views. As a result, many people of faith are being pushed into the same proverbial closet that everyone else has been invited to leave.

Gary Bauer is president of American Values and chairman of the Campaign for Working Families.

In addition to its own editorials, USA TODAY publishes diverse opinions from outside writers, including our Board of Contributors.

Monday, April 15, 2013



By |Posted Monday, April 15, 2013, at 5:35 AM


Recently, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council reintroduced a tired refrain: Legalized gay marriage could lead to other legal forms of marriage disaster, such as polygamy. Rick Santorum, Bill O’Reilly, and other social conservatives have made similar claims. It’s hardly a new prediction—we’ve been hearing it for years. Gay marriage is a slippery slope! A gateway drug! If we legalize it, then what’s next? Legalized polygamy?

We can only hope.

Yes, really. While the Supreme Court and the rest of us are all focused on the human right of marriage equality, let’s not forget that the fight doesn’t end with same-sex marriage. We need to legalize polygamy, too. Legalized polygamy in the United States is the constitutional, feminist, and sex-positive choice. More importantly, it would actually help protect, empower, and strengthen women, children, and families.

For decades, the prevailing logic has been that polygamy hurts women and children. That makes sense, since in contemporary American practice that is often the case. In many Fundamentalist Latter-day Saints  polygamous communities, for example, women and underage girls are forced into polygamous unions against their will. Some boys, who represent the surplus of males, are brutally thrown out of their homes and driven into homelessness and poverty at very young ages. All of these stories are tragic, and the criminals involved should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. (That goes without saying, I hope.)

But legalizing consensual adult polygamy wouldn’t legalize rape or child abuse. In fact, it would make those crimes easier to combat.


Right now, all polygamous families, including the healthy, responsible ones, are driven into hiding (notwithstanding the openly polygamous Brown family on TLC’sSister Wives, that is). In the resulting isolation, crime and abuse can flourish unimpeded. Children in polygamous communities are taught to fear the police and are not likely to report an abusive neighbor if they suspect their own parents might be caught up in a subsequent criminal investigation. In a United States with legalized polygamy, responsible plural families could emerge from the shadows—making it easier for authorities to zero in on the criminals who remain there.

Many people argue that there is no such thing as a “healthy, responsible” polygamous family, particularly for the children born into one. “Children are harmed because they are often set in perennial rivalry with other children and mothers for the affection and attention of the family patriarch,” argued John Witte Jr. in the Washington Post. “Men with lots of children and wives are spread too thin,” agreed Libby Copeland in Slate. The earnestness of these arguments is touching but idealistic. Men in monogamous marriages can’t be spread too thin? Children in monogamous families don’t rival each other for the attentions of their parents? Two-parent families are not the reality for millions of American children. Divorce, remarriage, surrogate parents, extended relatives, and other diverse family arrangements mean families already come in all sizes—why not recognize that legally?

It’s also hard to argue with the constitutional freedom of religious expression that legalized polygamy would preserve. Most polygamous families are motivated by religious faith, such as fundamentalist Mormonism or Islam, and as long as all parties involved are adults, legally able to sign marriage contracts, there is no constitutional reason why they shouldn’t be able to express that faith in their marriages. Legalized polygamous marriage would also be good for immigrant families, some of whom have legally polygamous marriages in their home countries that get ripped apart during the immigration process. (It’s impossible to estimate exactly how many polygamous families live here, since they live their religious and sexual identities in secret. Academics suggest there are 50,000 to 100,000 people engaged in Muslim polygamy in the U.S., and there are thousands of fundamentalist Mormon polygamist families as well.)

Finally, prohibiting polygamy on “feminist” grounds—that these marriages are inherently degrading to the women involved—is misguided. The case for polygamy is, in fact, a feminist one and shows women the respect we deserve. Here’s the thing: As women, we really can make our own choices. We just might choose things people don’t like. If a woman wants to marry a man, that’s great. If she wants to marry another woman, that’s great too. If she wants to marry a hipster, well—I suppose that’s the price of freedom.

And if she wants to marry a man with three other wives, that’s her damn choice.

We have a tendency to dismiss or marginalize people we don’t understand. We see women in polygamous marriages and assume they are victims. “They grew up in an unhealthy environment,” we say. “They didn’t really choose polygamy; they were just born into it.” Without question, that is sometimes true. But it’s also true of many (too many) monogamous marriages. Plenty of women, polygamous or otherwise, are born into unhealthy environments that they repeat later in life. There’s no difference. All marriages deserve access to the support and resources they need to build happy, healthy lives, regardless of how many partners are involved. Arguments about whether a woman’s consensual sexual and romantic choices are “healthy” should have no bearing on the legal process. And while polygamy remains illegal, women who choose this lifestyle don’t have access to the protections and benefits that legal marriage provides.

As a feminist, it’s easy and intuitive to support women who choose education, independence, and careers. It’s not as intuitive to support women who choose values and lifestyles that seem outdated or even sexist, but those women deserve our respect just as much as any others. It’s condescending, not supportive, to minimize them as mere “victims” without considering the possibility that some of them have simply made a different choice.

The definition of marriage is plastic. Just like heterosexual marriage is no better or worse than homosexual marriage, marriage between two consenting adults is not inherently more or less “correct” than marriage among three (or four, or six) consenting adults. Though polygamists are a minority—a tiny minority, in fact—freedom has no value unless it extends to even the smallest and most marginalized groups among us. So let’s fight for marriage equality until it extends to every same-sex couple in the United States—and then let’s keep fighting. We’re not done yet.


Thursday, April 11, 2013




Thursday, April 11, 2013


by JOHN NOLTE 10 Apr 2013

It begins.

There is no question that rank-and-file gay couples of all political stripes are sincere in their desire to enjoy the benefits and status that come with marriage. There is no sinister agenda at work in the issue of same-sex marriage among the masses. But the same cannot be said of  the organized left who have always intended to use the issue of gay marriage as a vehicle to destroy the Christian Church and marginalize Christians.

Faithfulness to the Bible and the Christian faith will very soon be declared bigotry by the media and a de facto civil rights violation by the State.

What is currently happening to the Boy Scouts of America at the hands of the organized left is nothing more than a trial run for what is surely coming next against the Church. The small ball has already begun: lawsuits, harassment, and media campaigns against those who preach what the Bible says. The Big Leagues, however, don't launch until the State lights the torchfor the witch hunt, and that has already happened in the state of Washington.

Although America's most protected right is freedom of religion, that didn't stop the state attorney general from filing a suit against Baronelle Stutzman,  a florist who said it was a "violation of conscience" to service a same-sex wedding.

JD Bristol, attorney for Arlene’s, said his client has many customers and employees who are gay and the claim that she is “discriminating on the basis on sexual orientation is nonsense.”

“This is about gay marriage, it’s not about a person being gay,” Bristol said. “She has a conscientious objection to homosexual marriage, not homosexuality. It violates her conscience.”

According to the florist, in response to standing by her Christian beliefs, she has received hate mail and threats to burn down her business.

This is not an isolated incident, either. Back in February a baker who wouldn't provide a cake for a lesbian wedding not only faced protesters but  is (or was) under investigation by the Oregon Attorney General. Back in 2006, a Catholic adoption service in Boston had to shut down after the government demanded the religious entity service same-sex couples.

For those skeptical of the organized left's desire to destroy the Church; one question: is it really a leap to believe that the same government currently attempting to force the Church and other religious business-owners to pay for the abortion pill will soon use the same arguments and precedents to force same sex marriage on these institutions?

Hat tip to Dan Riehl by way of Rush Limbaugh.

Friday, March 1, 2013



The Obama Administration filed a brief Thursday evening urging the Supreme Court to declare unconstitutional Proposition 8, California’s voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage.

But the brief stopped short of explicitly endorsing a federal constitutional right to same-sex marriage — an unqualified endorsement some gay rights advocates had hoped the Obama administration would use the case to make.

“Proposition 8’s denial of marriage to same-sex couples, particularly where California at the same time grants same-sex partners all the substantive rights of marriage, violates equal protection,” the Justice Department brief declares. “Prejudice may not…be the basis for differential treatment under the law.”

This marks a remarkable turnaround for President Barack Obama, who opposed same-sex-marriage during his first run for the presidency while insisting that the issue should be up to each state to decide. By asking the Supreme Court to invalidate California’s action on the subject, he has clearly abandoned the view that states should be free to chart their own course.


The brief filed by Solicitor General Donald Verrilli mentions bans on same-sex marriage in seven other states that grant broad domestic partnership rights and suggests they are also unconstitutional, but the Justice Department did not directly attack same-sex marriage bans on the books in states without comprehensive rights for same-sex couples.


The Obama Administration appears to have calculated that the challenge to Prop. 8 stands a better chance of prevailing with an argument that doesn’t directly challenge same-sex marriage bans in all 29 states where they’re on the books.


The brief may also reflect a focus on winning the vote of Justice Anthony Kennedy, who has shown an openness to gay rights but who is also a staunch defender of state sovereignty.

Still, gay rights advocates said Thursday night that the legal arguments in the brief — if adopted by the Supreme Court — would eventually result in the demise of same-sex marriage bans nationwide.


”If the court accepts the reasoning that the White House has put forward every state’s anti-gay-marriage amendment will fall quickly,” said Richard Socarides, an adviser to President Bill Clinton on gay and lesbian issues. “Make no mistake about it, the brief is a very bold endorsement of full equality…. This is fantastic.”


One of the lawyers defending Prop. 8 said he also saw the administration’s brief as a fairly robust embrace of a national same-sex marriage right, though not couched in quite those words.

”It essentially appears that president has taken the position that traditional marriage laws should be subject to extra scrutiny by the courts and that all of the justifications for Prop. 8 fail that test,” attorney Andrew Pugno of Folsom, Calif. said. “It does appear that this urges the court to federalize the redefinition of marriage. That’s the inescapable conclusion that that’s the president’s position.”


According to legal sources, administration lawyers portrayed their decision not to assert an overarching federal right to same sex marriage as a strategic move aimed at buttressing the administration’s view in another same-sex marriage case the court is to take up next month on the Defense of Marriage Act, the 1996 law that denies federal benefits and recognition to same-sex marriages.



“It was clever. There is definitely a logic and strategy for why they chose to go the way they did,” said one prominent gay rights advocate who asked not to be named. “The reason they did that is because of their position on DOMA. This frame is consistent with that.”


“Some of the commentary is missing the fact that this president and this Justice Department are very careful about what they don’t say,” said Evan Wolfson, founder and president of Freedom to Marry. “People rush to fill in what they don’t say with their own conjecture. This brief doesn’t deny there is a fundamental freedom to marry. It does not withhold anything and it will be helpful in making the case to bring down marriage discrimination nationwide.”



The federal government was not a party to the California case and was under no obligation to file a brief. However, gay rights groups had urged the administration to use the case to publicly embrace a federal constitutional right to same-sex marriage.


While the new brief doesn’t discuss such a right in those terms, it is also careful not to rule out that notion. For instance, while the brief says that California’s treatment of same-sex domestic partners “particularly undermines the justifications for Proposition 8,” that language hints that the justifications may have little merit in any event.


The Prop. 8 case goes before the justices on March 26. The next day the court will consider the case testing the constitutionality of DOMA, the 1996 federal law that bans same-sex spouses from received a wide array of benefits including federal employee insurance and filing of joint tax returns.


The Obama administration announced two years ago that it believes DOMA is unconstitutional and stopped defending the law, which is being defended at the high court by a lawyer retained by the House of Representatives. However, the constitutionality of the federal law is a different question than whether states, which have traditionally regulated marriage, should be compelled to recognize same-sex unions.


During the 2008 campaign, Obama said he was against same-sex marriage. However, he also opposed gay-marriage bans like Prop. 8, saying neither the states nor the federal government should use their constitutions to enshrine a ban on the practice.


Last year, shortly after kicking off his re-election campaign, Obama declared that he’d changed his mind on the issue. “I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married,” he told ABC News last May.


Despite Obama’s personal evolution on the subject, White House officials have dodged questions for more than a year on whether Obama believed that the U.S. Constitution guarantees same-sex couples the right to marry.


At a briefing for reporters Thursday, White House press secretary Jay Carney declined to discuss Obama’s involvement in the preparation of the brief.


“The president obviously has expressed an opinion in the past on this issue as a matter of policy. But when it comes to legal and constitutional issues around it, that’s a jurisdiction that resides at the Department of Justice. So I don’t have anything for you on it,” Carney said.


While White House officials have been cagey about the role of the president and other officials in the government’s brief on the Prop. 8 case, there is no doubt they have been under pressure from gay rights advocates to weigh in.


On Jan. 30, two leaders of the fight against Prop. 8, David Boies and Chad Griffin, visited the White House to meet with White House Counsel Kathy Ruemmler. Boies, a prominent Democratic lawyer, was co-counsel with Republican Ted Olson in the challenge to Prop. 8. Griffin is head of the gay rights group Human Rights Campaign and is a founder of the group that bankrolled the litigation, the American Foundation for Equal Rights.


Lawyers on both sides of the case also met with Justice Department officials to urge them to respect Obama’s previous decisions that the issue should be left to the states.

The White House declined to comment on the lobbying effort. However, it’s a matter of record Obama has had a direct hand in the administration’s previous legal decisions on same-sex marriage.

When Attorney General Eric Holder announced two years ago that the Justice Department would no longer defend DOMA, the attorney general said he was acting at Obama’s direction.


California voters approved Prop. 8, 52 percent to 48 percent, in the same election that lifted Obama to the presidency. Obama won 61 percent of the vote in the Golden State that year.


The brief Obama’s Justice Department filed Thursday argues that the fact that voters approved California’s same-sex marriage ban should not entitle it to special deference from the courts.


”Promoting democratic self-governance and accountability is a laudable governmental interest, but it is not one that can justify a law that would otherwise violate the Constitution,” the brief says. “If use of a voter initiative could itself provide a sufficient justification….for a suspect classification, it would render the equal protection clause nugatory in that context.”


In August 2010, following a trial with live testimony held over three weeks, U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker declared Prop. 8 unconstitutional. In a sweeping ruling, he said there was no rational basis to deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples and he found the ban appeared to be motivated solely by “moral disapprobation” for gays and lesbians.


Last February, a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit upheld Walker’s ruling on somewhat different grounds. The 9th Circuit opinion, by Judge Stephen Reinhardt, found Prop. 8 unconstitutional because it stripped same-sex couples of a right to marry without adequate justification. The carefully-crafted decision did not assert a right for gay couples to marry in states where such unions were never recognized, but rejected the California ban because some same-sex marriages had already gone forward there.


Some analysts said Reinhardt’s ruling appeared to have been written to give the Supreme Court an opportunity to strike down Prop. 8 and restore same-sex marriage rights in California without squarely addressing the issue of whether other states had to recognize such unions.

Read more:

Thursday, February 28, 2013


By Joe Kimball | 02/27/13

While supporters rallied at the state Capitol Wednesday and prepared to introduce a bill legalizing gay marriage, opponents are making their own plans to fight the legislation.

That includes a Minnesota March for Marriage rally and lobby day at the Capitol March 7. It runs from 2 to 5 p.m., with the rally on the Capitol steps from 2:30 to 3 p.m.

It's sponsored by Minnesota for Marriage — a coalition that supports the definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman and supported last year's failed effort to put the current ban on gay marriage into the state Constitution.

The group says it wants the current state laws regarding marriage to stay on the books.

Scheduled speakers at the rally include Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, and Teresa Collett, a professor of law at the University of St. Thomas.


The group is urging its supporters to meet with their legislators that day, said Crystal Crocker, director of grassroots and messaging for Minnesota for Marriage. She's quoted in the Catholic Spirit newspaper:

“We’re gathering together and energizing ourselves for this effort, but the most important point of the day is to go in and actually meet with your legislators,” she said. “They work for us and they should be meeting with us.”

Jason Adkins, executive director of the Minnesota Catholic Conference, part of the Minnesota for Marriage coalition, said supporters of traditional marriage need to spread the word. He told the paper:

"We’ve got to get the people of Minnesota to say, "Keep marriage the way it is,' " he said. "Our message is: Don’t mess with marriage."

Monday, February 11, 2013




  • February 11, 2013 ( - David Cameron’s same-sex marriage bill was voted on for the first time in the British Parliament on Tuesday. Confusingly, the debate and vote were called the “second” reading, as the first “reading” took place when the draft bill was laid before Parliament, giving members and everyone else their first opportunity to read the proposed legislation.

At 50-odd pages long, the bill amends dozens of acts of Parliament stretching back to 1533. One would have thought that, for such a complex document with profound legislative consequences and social effects, not least for the established Church of England, parliamentarians would have had plenty of time to comment on the proposals, but no: it only came out on January 25. The usual process of green paper and white paper consultations were short-circuited by a Government bent on pushing through the creation of same-sex marriage.

Why the rush?

Probably for a quick win. Cameron is guaranteed to get it through the House of Commons because most MPs are socially liberal city-dwellers who take what they see to be a Whiggish interpretation of history (the House of Lords will be a different matter). It is likely too that Cameron sees same-sex marriage as being a way of “detoxifying” or “decontaminating” the Tory brand, whereby he stares down the traditionalist Taliban of backbench social conservatives and what Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, a Liberal Democrat, thinks of as petty-minded religious bigots in the Shires, in an effort to show that the Conservative Party has “really changed” to become a trendy group of chilled-out mates who are down with the Tweeting Facebook masses.

Matthew d’Ancona, an “arch-moderniser” pro-Cameron journalist, chided Tory opponents of gay marriage for failing to grasp the historic moment, and for pulling the party away from “openness, equality… and ‘the centre of gravity of social attitudes’.” And finally, Cameron – to his credit – believes in the justice of his actions, and is acting in accordance with his conscience.

I won’t quote from MPs’ speeches here, but suffice to say, the supporters of gay marriage cited equality and love whilst its opponents pointed out the meaning of marriage rooted in complementarity of the sexes and the creation and raising of children.

The Catholic Voices website has a good selection of the views of some traditional marriage supporters from across the political parties. A friend summarised the positions thus on Twitter: the pros had an adult- and wedding-centric view of marriage; the antis, a child- and family-oriented view.

Two interesting aspects of the vote stand out. First, 400 MPs voted for the measure and 175 against it. Of the opponents, 136 were Tories. In contrast, only 127 Conservatives voted for same-sex marriage. This marks a substantial split in the Conservative Party. It isn’t just about the nature of marriage, but also about the direction in which David Cameron and his faction are taking the Party. Newspapers in the weekend before the vote were full of talk of a coup against Cameron, as the economy remains in the doldrums. Cameron did not have a clear mandate for his actions either. A black MP, Adam Afriyie, the representative for well-heeled Windsor electorate, was named as a potential contender. The scuttlebutt has gone as fast as it came, but it didn’t hurt his chances for Afriyie to oppose gay marriage prominently.

With the problems over legal protections for teachers and clergy still in the air, some expect a bigger revolt at the third reading. What I will be interested to see is, by that stage, whether the voting habits of Catholic MPs from across the parties have changed. The liberal British Catholic publication, The Tablet,analysed their votes: out of the 82 Catholic MPs, 47 – almost 60 per cent – were in favour of same-sex marriage. Of these, 32 were Labour members, which indicates that they likely chose the party line over faith to some degree (Labour MPs would have delighted in Cameron’s motion being defeated by his own party). Tory Ministers Iain Duncan-Smith and Patrick McLoughlin, the Work and Pensions Secretary and Transport Secretary respectively, voted with the Government; the best they could have hoped to do was abstain, given the three-line whip imposed by the Conservative whips.

What makes this surprising is that the Catholic Church usually influences the votes of its confessional parliamentarians quite well. As the Church was the principal opponent to same-sex marriage, this should have been especially true in this case. By the third reading, expect some quite pointed words to be spoken softly into the ears of supporters of the Government plan.

Now the bill goes to a committee of MPs who will go through it, line by line, for a number of weeks. It then comes back to Parliament for its third reading in the Commons for a final set-piece battle. Then the process moves to the House of Lords. As they say in Hollywood, stay tuned, folks.

Peter Smith is a lawyer living and working in London.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


'Sister Wives' lawsuit back in Utah courtroom

By By PAUL FOY, Associated Press – 4 days ago  

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A federal judge holding a hearing on a lawsuit by the stars of the reality show "Sister Wives" heard arguments Thursday on whether Utah can prohibit plural marriage, but issued no immediate ruling.

Kody Brown and his four wives claim the law is unconstitutional. The family fled Utah for Las Vegas last year under the threat of prosecution. They did not attend the hearing in Salt Lake City, leaving arguments to a constitutional law professor.

"The Browns wanted to show people that a plural family is not a monstrosity," said Jonathan Turley of The George Washington University. "They don't commit collateral problems."

Turley said the Browns' only sin was opening their family to the TLC hit series, which drew the attention of Utah authorities.

"The state is saying if you didn't do this TV show, you wouldn't have a problem," he said. "They have a right to free speech and are being prosecuted for it."

The hearing dealt with the legalities of due process and freedom of association.

U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups peppered a state lawyer on why he shouldn't throw out Utah's bigamy law. It's stricter than the laws in 49 other states — most of them prohibit people from having multiple marriage licenses. Utah makes it illegal to even purport to be married to multiple partners or live together.

What if Kody Brown kept separate households for each wife, or was just having affairs, the judge asked.

"That would not be polygamy," said Assistant Utah Attorney General Jerrold Jensen.

Yet Jensen argued Utah's unique history of polygamy for more than 100 years has made victims of thousands of girls forced to marry as young as 13, and caused rampant child abuse, with boys "kicked out on the street" to reduce competition for older men seeking multiple brides. He said the state has an interest in preventing social harm.

Waddoups said the Browns' 17 children are irrelevant to the case, and Turley argued that sex and child abuse was just as common in monogamous families.

Waddoups challenged Jensen on whether Utah was cracking down on a religion. Most polygamists in the state call themselves fundamentalist Mormons, although The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints renounced polygamy more than a century ago.

"Every state in the nation has these laws — and not every state has Mormon polygamists," replied Jensen, who argued that bigamy was not merely adultery. "I'll tell you what makes it different — the harm to women and children coming out of a polygamous relationship. We have a history of it in Utah — stories in the thousands."

Turley said Utah has to prove the harm of polygamy, not assert general statements. He argued the exile of young boys was a myth and that Utah was trying to enforce morality.

"We're asking for what Justice Brandeis called the most important constitutional right, the right to be left alone," Turley said, referring to Louis Brandeis, who served on the U.S. Supreme Court from 1916 to 1939.