Archive for the ‘adoptions’ Category

Christian Looks Into the “Abyss of Nihilism” Brought to Us by Same-Sex Marriage

March 18, 2013
Typical nihilist

Typical nihilist

Carson Holloway, writing for The Witherspoon Institute’s online magazine Public Discourse (“Same-Sex Marriage and the Abyss of Nihilism,” 3/18/13), wants you to be afraid. Very afraid. (Read the article here.)

Tim Brock responds:

The title of Holloway’s article reminds me of “Pilgrim’s Progress,” except that the “Abyss of Nihilism” sounds so much more frightening than the “Slough of Despond”  or the “City of Destruction.”

Holloway tells us that even the foreboding of conservatives “does not go far enough.” They must peer into the abyss, “… a realm in which there are no longer any solid or reliable public standards of judgment…” This is scary stuff.

But same-sex couples have been living together and raising children for a very long time. In nine states, they can marry. In many of the others, they have absolutely every right (under state law) that heterosexual couples have, including the right to adopt. And the sky has not fallen. There is no sign of impending civilizational collapse.

Holloway sees SSM as a thumb in the nose toward tradition, but of course progressives see it as an honoring and an opening-up of a great tradition.

As the years go on, and as more and more same-sex couples marry and raise children, it is going to become harder and harder to claim that we are all “leaping into the abyss.” Like most false prophecies, this one will just embarrass those who propagated it.

BREAKING: American Sociological Association Files Amicus Brief Opposing Both Prop 8 and DOMA

March 5, 2013

This is really exciting news. The American Sociological Association had not joined the early amicus brief filed jointly by major medical and social welfare associations in the Hollingsorth v. Perry case (Prop 8), to be considered by the U.S. Supreme Court later this month. Now, they have filed one of their own for both the Prop 8 case and U.S. v. Windsor, which concerns the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). It puts the nail in the coffin of the Mark Regnerus study.

The argument, as outlined in the brief’s table of contents, is unequivocal:

Scholarly consensus is clear: Children of same-sex parents fare just as well as children of opposite-sex parents.

The research claimed to undermine the consensus either does not address same-sex parents and their children or is mischaracterized.

The Regnerus study does not support conclusions regarding the impact of being raised by same-sex parents.

The studies cited by BLAG, the Proposition 8 proponents, and their amici do not address same-sex parents and therefore do not undermine the consensus.

A Response to George Wiegel on Same-Sex Marriage

February 8, 2013

My response to George Wiegel’s “The Marriage Debate: The Nature of Things,” in Catholic Exchange, 2/1/13:

George Wiegel

George Wiegel

Mr. Wiegel, if you hadn’t explained that Cardinal Francis George is an intellectual superstar, I would have thought his remarks about same-sex marriage were just blather. Here’s why:

  1. Dr. Professor George sets up a straw man so that he can knock it down. No one is claiming that same-sex relations are identical to different-sex ones. If that were the claim, then gays would not be attempting to marry other gays.
  2. It is not self-evident why same-sex marriage is analogous to a repeal of the law of gravity. The Cardinal is using a rhetorical trick to legitimate his views.
  3. To say that same-sex marriage is “physically impossible” flies in the face of observable reality.

Then you create your own straw man: SSM advocates believe everything is “fungible, plastic, malleable: anything can be changed by an act of will.” This characterization is extreme. While there are few remaining Platonists in our modern world, neither does anyone any longer believe that copper can be transformed into gold. We do recognize, however, that institutions such as marriage and the family are, and always have been, somewhat malleable. In 10 states and 14 countries, they have recently become more inclusive as well.

The rest of your article consists of threadbare talking points and outright misrepresentations. Your framing of homosexuality as a chosen and willful contravention of “human nature” reflects a profound and willful ignorance of human nature as it is now understood throughout the natural and social sciences. You information about adoption rights in France is simply false. There is not and never has been a “right to adopt” there.

Another Round Over Marriage Equality at the Cornerstone Forum

June 7, 2012

ImageOkay, okay. Gil Bailie and I will never see eye-to-eye about same-sex marriage. He’ll never convince me because he doesn’t offer empirical evidence for his claims—you know, trend lines, data sets, surveys, even anecdotes. And I’ll never convince him because, well, I can only offer those things (interlaced with generous dollops of opinion, of course).

Nevertheless, these discussions have value—both historical and topical—for those interested in the momentous cultural transformations happening all around us. When looked at longitudinally, they reveal subtle but significant shifts, fissures, and patterns in belief and practice.

I decided to copy many of the discussions from Gil’s Cornerstone Forum Facebook page to this site because I saw that Gil does not value them—or rather, he values only his own part in them. His recent purges on The Cornerstone Forum left gaping holes in vibrant conversations, recalling those Stalinist-era photos where ousted Politburo members were airbrushed out.

Additionally, Facebook is a less-than-ideal host for those discussions. Its archiving and search tools are minimal, and its comments feature hampers both expression and reading.

So, here is the latest round on marriage equality brought over from the Cornerstone Forum’s Facebook page:

Gil Bailie:

The first miracle in John’s Gospel is the miracle at the wedding feast at Cana, where water was turned into wine. The primacy of this miracle in the Johannine tradition should not be lost on us. Marriage is as natural as water itself. It is a natural institution, defined by sexual complementarity and reproductive potential. And yet the Church, faithful to the miracle of Cana, elevates this natural institution to sacramental status. The water of nature is turned into the wine of “one flesh” nuptiality. It begins, however, with the water of nature.

Today we know better. Why start with something as passé as water or nature? Why not wave the wand of political correctness over the spiked Kool-Aid of the sexual revolution just to see if it works? The result is neither fresh spring water nor a nuptial wine capable of aging well. It would be bad enough if our reckless experimentation amounted to nothing more than a reversal of the historical transition from the pagan to the Judeo-Christian understanding of sexuality. It certainly is that, but it’s even more reckless. For, even in the reasonably rare cases where homosexuality was formally tolerated in the pagan world, it was never regarded as indistinguishable from – or in any remote way comparable to – the marriage of a man and a woman.

Our homosexual friends and relatives deserve our love as much as anyone else. We should acknowledge the love they legitimately feel for one another, and sympathize with their struggle and their desire for happiness. But it is not an act of unkindness or insensitivity to recognize that there is grave cultural, moral and spiritual damage in pretending that something is what it is not. Those who think this issue is simply one of equality are not foreseeing its certain consequences: the suppression and eventual criminalization of any public demonstration of one’s fidelity to the moral traditions long held and universally espoused by Jews and Christians. Signs of this intolerance abound, and those who think it will recede once same-sex marriage becomes law are deluding themselves.

One of the key elements in that delusion is a common category mistake: namely, the mistake of regarding the push for same-sex marriage as analogous to the civil rights movement. The real comparison is with another of the sexual revolution’s monumental moral and anthropological blunders: the invention – out of thin air – of the “right” to abortion on demand. This latest insult to commonsense, to moral and legal tradition, and to any reasonable understanding of nature, will fail to achieve long term normativity just as has the Roe v Wade abortion regime. The longer it takes us to realize this, the greater the cultural wreckage, and the more we will run the risk of falling into a new intolerance or back into an old one. Let’s be sensible and settle for tolerance.

Leo M. Walker:

Exactly. If marriage were nothing more than a big, sentimental sugar plum to plop down on a fervid romance to add the perfectly calculated touch of poignancy and gravitas, then sure, allow anybody to marry in any way they like. But marriage is no such thing, and no amount of contrivance , posturing or petulant demand will make is so.

Doughlas Remy:

ImageOnce again, Gil, your dire auguries about the effects of same-sex marriage are contradicted by demonstrable reality. Even Maggie Gallagher of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), in a recent interview with Michelangelo Signorile, admitted that her claims—by strange coincidence identical to yours—were unsupported by evidence. How to explain, for example, that the state of Massachusetts legalized same-sex marriage five years ago and its divorce rate is still the lowest in the country? How to explain that states where support for same-sex marriage (SSM) is highest have lower rates of divorce and teen pregnancies than those where that support is lowest?

If the Cornerstone Forum and the National Organization “for” Marriage are really committed to strengthening the institution of marriage, then let them study the successes of the blue states.


An Open Letter to Rick Santorum

January 11, 2012

by Kergan Edwards-Stout, director and author, Songs for the New Depression

Dear Mr. Santorum,

You were recently quoted as saying that a jailed parent would be better for a child than being raised by a same-sex couple. You noted that if a same-sex couple were to raise a child, they would be “robbing children of something they need, they deserve, they have a right to.” You continued, asserting, “You may rationalize that that isn’t true, but in your own life and in your own heart, you know it’s true.”

Mr. Santorum, the only reason my partner Russ and I even have one of our children is because that boy’s birth parents thought it appropriate, when he was a mere 6 months old, to take him to a crack house, which was then raided by police. He was promptly placed into foster care, and numerous attempts were made to reunite him with his birth parents. However, as one was incarcerated due to attempted murder and the other would not submit to drug testing, that was difficult to achieve. In fact, when they placed this boy into his birth mother’s arms, he would burst into tears. Further, prior to his crack house adventure, his birth mother found time to pierce both his ears but could not see fit to give him adequate nutritional care, nor to fix his club feet.

Continue reading …

Catholic Bishops Close Charities Rather Than Comply With Anti-Discrimination Laws

January 2, 2012

Roman Catholic bishops in Illinois have reacted to their state’s anti-discrimination laws by closing their Catholic Charities affiliates. These charities served the state’s poor and neglected children for more than 40 years and were networked with the state’s own Department of Human Services.

Illinois recently began to require Catholic Charities to accept applications from same-sex couples for foster-care and adoption. The state could no longer justify supporting the affiliates with taxpayer money. In Illinois, the affiliates received from 60 percent to 92 percent of their revenues from the state. Same-sex couples who were turned away complained that their own money was being used to discriminate against them.

The bishops have accused the state of “intolerance” and of violating their First Amendment rights. A circuit judge in Sangamon County thought otherwise. In August 2011 he ruled against Catholic Charities, saying, “No citizen has a recognized legal right to a contract with the government.”

Catholic Charities is to be credited with having helped build Illinois‘ child welfare system, but now their share of responsibility for it will pass to the state and other agencies. The state’s anti-discrimination laws will prevail.

States Where Gays Can Adopt

October 28, 2011

A Gay Catholic’s Imagined “Confession” to Archbishop Dolan

July 9, 2011

Micro-credit financier John Mattras shares his fantasy of a frank conversation with Archbishop Dolan during the confessional. The subject is same-sex marriage and gay parenting.

Maggie Gallagher’s Ideal Marriage (3)

August 24, 2010

Maggie Gallagher

My friend Dean Hansen shares his thoughts about the Gallagher/Boies debate:

Maggie says that marriage is “fundamentally an idea.” Well, the best ideas are fluid, pliant and flexible. They accommodate change and growth. The idea that marriage should always be between a man and a women is no longer sustainable. The change she rebels against doesn’t represent a new idea, but an enlargement of the earlier one, and a necessary enlargement that honors the same commitments, passion and dignity as the prevailing concept.

Her argument rests on the belief that there’s something special about marriage that justifies its unique status. And what is this difference that she lasers in on? You can plump up your tummy and bang out your own biological children. And by doing so, add an additional burden to an already overpopulated world whose resources cannot rationally sustain them. Or, you can honor an extension of the existing ideal by acknowledging gay marriage for its complementary and equally unique status: Men cannot make babies with other men and women cannot make babies with other women. But what both can do is express the benefits of filiation and nurture by absorbing what heterosexual marriage in its illusions of uniqueness recklessly throws away: wards of the state, orphans, abandoned and homeless children. Good parenting should not be held hostage by heterosexual arrangements. David Boies, to his credit, honed in on this point right away.

Since every gay child in the world, male and female, came into the world through the union of a heterosexual couple, the marital union itself is responsible for the very diversity which its advocates find some way to be offended by. Homosexual men and women are our children. Our brothers, sisters, sons and daughters. In short, they are our family, and we should honor their happiness and fulfillment as we honor our own.

Maggie says that gay marriage represents the end of the idea that traditional marriage is an important and distinctive ideal for culture. And she’s right [about the importance of traditional marriage], if we want to go on having a future on this planet. She’s wrong to suggest that marriage can legally or morally continue to ignore the needs of people who have been excluded from its benefits and blessings without any rational or reasonable cause.

Maggie Gallagher apparently doesn’t have any argument against gays being happy so long as their desire for full enfranchisement doesn’t cause her any instinctive distress.

UK’s Charity Commission Rules Catholic Care May Not Discriminate Against Gay Couples Seeking to Adopt

August 23, 2010

The UK’s Charity Commission ruled on August 19 that Catholic Care, a Roman Catholic social care organization offering adoption services, cannot discriminate against gay couples who wish to adopt. The agency had sought an exemption from the 2007 Sexual Orientation Regulations, which made discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation unlawful where goods or services are provided to the public.

Catholic Care serves the dioceses of Leeds, Middlesbrough, and Hallam, South Yorkshire. Its adoption service represents about 5 percent of its annual spending and, like every other such agency in the UK, it receives taxpayer subsidies.

Only five months ago, the agency had won a High Court battle with the Charity Commission over this issue. The court’s judgment, however, only required the Commission to reconsider the case and to justify its decision in light of Article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which deals with discrimination.

The Charity Commission argued that children’s best interests are served by providing as wide a pool of potential adopters as possible, that gay people were suitable parents, and that religious views did not justify discrimination in cases where taxpayers’ money is involved.

Catholic Care must now either change its policies—a move that might result in its losing funding from the Church—or stop arranging new adoptions. It might, however, continue on as an adoption support agency, offering services to those who were adopted in the past.