Contributor Post Created with Sketch. The Marriage Immigrants


shutterstock_784954512When immigrants move to a country of their own free will, they have an obligation to adapt to their adopted country’s values. This doesn’t mean abandoning their old culture entirely or pretending that the new one is beyond reproach, but at the very least it means giving up aspects of it that are incompatible with their new one. After all, if you think your adopted culture is worth immigrating to, you should want to try to keep and cherish it basically as you found it.

As of this Friday, gay people across the nation are now immigrants to marriage culture. Some of them have been here for a while — I personally know gay couples who’ve been legally married five times longer than I — while most are freshly off the ship. Like all voluntary immigrant populations, they have a positive duty: to assimilate to the culture they chose to adopt and to do so with enthusiasm.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Silver Lining to the Rainbow Victory?


Illinoisreview.typepad.comPointing out that the Supreme Court found the right to gay marriage in Section 1 of the 14th Amendment, Bob Owens of Baring Arms seems to have found a silver lining in last Friday’s Obergefell decision. The Court wrote:

“The fundamental liberties protected by the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause extend to certain personal choices central to individual dignity and autonomy, including intimate choices defining personal identity and beliefs…Courts must exercise reasoned judgment in identifying interests of the person so fundamental that the State must accord them its respect. History and tradition guide and discipline the inquiry but do not set its outer boundaries. When new insight reveals discord between the Constitution’s central protections and a received legal stricture, a claim to liberty must be addressed.”


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Is Polygamy Next?


shutterstock_124665844-2John Roberts seems to think so. From his dissent in Obergefell:

Although the majority randomly inserts the adjective “two” in various places, it offers no reason at all why the two-person element of the core definition of marriage may be preserved while the man-woman element may not. Indeed, from the standpoint of history and tradition, a leap from opposite-sex marriage to same-sex marriage is much greater than one from a two-person union to plural unions, which have deep roots in some cultures around the world. If the majority is willing to take the big leap, it is hard to see how it can say no to the shorter one.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. The Court’s Assault on Democracy and States’ Rights


One of the ironies of the Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges is that it is being touted as a victory for civil rights. Surely it’s an unusual civil rights victory that disenfranchises the people of all 50 states on a critical issue. After a mere decade of political debate on the topic of same-sex marriage, the voters have been told that our opinions are no longer needed. Justice Kennedy will tell us what we think.

The violence to democracy is bad enough, but it is greatly compounded by the damage to American federalism. The federal government has no constitutional authority to regulate marriage, nor does it have a roving license to promote “dignity” or “autonomy” or any of the other vacuous phrases contained in Kennedy’s majority opinion. If the Constitution granted anything like that kind of authority to the central government, the document would never have been ratified. In Federalist No. 45, James Madison assured readers that, under the proposed Constitution, the states would remain sovereign over “all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people” (emphasis added).


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. SCOTUS and the Age of the Imperial Judiciary


In the Philadelphia Inquirer, my hometown paper, I critique the Supreme Court’s decisions on gay marriage and Obamacare. As a policy matter, I supported gay marriage, but the Constitution reserves the question for the voters of each state, not the judicial process. The weakness of the Court’s reasoning — is it Due Process? Is it Equal Protection? — suggests the decision’s political nature. Many may celebrate the result, but they should not welcome the steady erosion of democratic self-government.

Indeed, the political nature of Obergefell becomes readily apparent in the contradictory, vague logic of the majority opinion by Justice Anthony Kennedy. The holding fits within none of the established precedents governing the due-process and equal-protection clauses. Kennedy says marriage is a fundamental right, but he admits that American society had long understood that right to be only between a man and a woman. He suggests that the right to equality may require gay marriage, but gays do not receive the heightened constitutional protection reserved for racial and religious minorities. Kennedy could have recognized that gays should receive the same protections against discrimination as gender, but he could not because recognizing sexual orientation as a protected class might open up a Pandora’s box of new constitutional claims by every self-defined group.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Canuckistan Legalized SSM 10 Years Ago. Here’s What the US Should Expect Next


Laws will have to be re-written, for one thing; words like “husband” and “wife” have to be removed, along with the phrase “natural parent.” But there’s much more…

Because this process will have to be repeated in all 50 states and Washington D.C., there are likely lots and lots and lots of lawyers popping champagne corks today.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Mr. Justice Scalia Dissents


scaliaMr. Justice Scalia, dissenting:

If, even as the price to be paid for a fifth vote, I ever joined an opinion for the Court that began: “The Constitution promises liberty to all within its reach, a liberty that includes certain specific rights that allow persons, within a lawful realm, to define and express their identity,” I would hide my head in a bag. The Supreme Court of the United States has descended from the disciplined legal reasoning of John Marshall and Joseph Story to the mystical aphorisms of the fortune cookie.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. A Bishop Gets it Right


From the statement by Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops:

Regardless of what a narrow majority of the Supreme Court may declare at this moment in history, the nature of the human person and marriage remains unchanged and unchangeable. Just as Roe v. Wade did not settle the question of abortion over forty years ago, Obergefell v. Hodges does not settle the question of marriage today. Neither decision is rooted in the truth, and as a result, both will eventually fail. Today the Court is wrong again. It is profoundly immoral and unjust for the government to declare that two people of the same sex can constitute a marriage.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. How Whom We Marry Affects Income Inequality


A recent Economist issue highlighted the role of assortative marrying in the US inequality story. From its review of Inequality: What Can Be Done by Anthony Atkinson:

In America, for instance, incomes at the top of the scale began pulling away from the rest quite soon after 1945. Yet household inequality—taking account of taxes and transfers—did not rise until what Mr Atkinson calls the “Inequality Turn” around 1980. Several factors contributed to this, including changes for women and work. After the second world war, when female labour-force participation grew rapidly, high-earning men tended to marry low-earning women; the rising numbers of working women reduced household inequality. From the 1980s on, by contrast, men and women tended to marry those who earned like themselves—rich paired with rich; rising female participation in the workforce exacerbated inequality.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Why I Avoid Same-Sex Marriage Debates


Today at The Federalist, Dan McLaughlin has a very fine essay on the future of Christianity in America in light of the LGBT agenda. It’s the first of a five-part series, and I’m looking forward to the other installments. He prefaces it all by presenting in very clear terms the situation that confronts Christians in the United States today. Without a vigorous defense, McLaughlin says:

[B]elieving Christians in this country face a genuine existential threat: that our culture and legal systems will declare the adherence to core Christian doctrines—unchanged for millennia, directly derived from the words of Jesus and the letters of St. Paul, and in the heartland of the legitimacy of Christ’s teachings—to be outside the bounds of civilized society in the way that the Ku Klux Klan is today.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. What Happened to Holy Ireland?


Ireland Holds Referendum On Same Sex Marriage LawThe New York Times and other organs of the mainstream media have offered only the most superficial and boringly predictable coverage of the referendum in which the Irish approved a constitutional amendment permitting gay marriage—according to the Times, the vote resulted from the march of enlightenment, the continuing dawning of modern consciousness, blah, blah, blah. So I’ve been looking around for commentary that truly attempted to explain how it happened.

How, that is, the nation that just a decade-and-a-half ago remained, with little Malta, one of the most Catholic nations in Europe; how the nation in which essentially the entire population turned out to greet the pontiff when John Paul II visited, how the nation that used to pride itself, that used to define itself, as faithful to the teachings of the Church even as Europe grew increasingly secular–how this nation could have changed so much, so quickly, as to reject the Church’s position on marriage by a margin of more than 3 to 2.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. The Vice Spiral


shutterstock_139513784The beauty of Ricochet is how one thought spawns another, a true ricochet of thoughts bouncing from one member to the next. David Sussman‘s post on Las Vegas got me thinking about the spiraling effects of lawmakers preying on their constituents’ weaknesses in order to wring every last available dollar out of them for, you know, the children.

Nevada has always been the industry leader. When divorce was a complicated procedure in America, Nevada filled the gap. In 1931, the state simplified its divorce laws and reduced its residency requirement to six weeks. They essentially created divorce tourism. By 1940, almost 5% of the total number of divorces filed in the US were in Nevada.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Let Us Gawk at the Weird


shutterstock_156039962Marriage may be one of the more contentious issues around here, but I think the particulars described in this NYT piece about the marriage habits of the fabulously wealthy of Manhattan should unite the Ricochetti in fascinated condescension:

It was easy for me to fall into the belief, as I lived and lunched and mothered with more than 100 of them for the better part of six years, that all these wealthy, competent and beautiful women, many with irony, intelligence and a sense of humor about their tribalism (“We are freaks for Flywheel,” one told me, referring to the indoor cycling gym), were powerful as well. But as my inner anthropologist quickly realized, there was the undeniable fact of their cloistering from men. There were alcohol-fueled girls’ nights out, and women-only luncheons and trunk shows and “shopping for a cause” events. There were mommy coffees, and women-only dinners in lavish homes. There were even some girlfriend-only flyaway parties on private planes, where everyone packed and wore outfits the same color.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Husband Husbandry


shutterstock_237586651We’ve been talking a lot about marriage and divorce around here lately. As someone who’s been married for almost 13 years with some very rough spots along the way, I feel like this is a topic about which I can speak authoritatively. In particular, I’d like to talk about a duty that primarily — though by no means exclusively — falls to wives: ego management.

I like to nap in my car over lunch, particularly during lovely weather like we’ve had lately in Kansas City. As I was trying to drift off Thursday afternoon, I heard a woman screaming into her phone. She was informing her husband in a vulgar fashion that his family hated her for no reason, she hated them, and that — while it was his responsibility to defend her — he was refusing to because he lacked testicular fortitude. I was sorely tempted to scream back in an equally vulgar fashion that if she wanted her husband to have testicles, she should stop performing double orchidectomy surgery.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Where Have All the Cowboys Gone? Or, Reasons Why I’m Still Single


shutterstock_86562538The other day, my sister-in-law commented on an article her friend posted on Facebook titled “Why Men Won’t Marry You.” Naturally, my ears perked up. Yes, I would like to know why I’m still single at my age. Please, Fox News article, tell me!

The arguments laid out are similar to those a member posted on the Ricochet Facebook page that caused quite the, um… stir. The author of the Fox News article makes a more compelling, less rude case for the decline in marriage rates, and breaks it down into two main reasons:


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Jim, David, and the Supreme Court


I have this uncle, let’s call him Jim. He and David lived together for decades. They shared expenses, kept each other company, and generally looked out for each other. They were, in many ways, like an old married couple. But when David died, Jim had no right to receive spousal survivor benefits because he was never married to David. Why did they never marry? Because they were gay? No: because they were brothers.

Why shouldn’t Jim and David have married? They were consenting adults. They had a long-term committed relationship. Granted, there was no physical union, but so what? The idea that a marriage must be consummated by a sexual act is surely a relic of a bygone era.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. The Cake Vendetta


shutterstock_180008426So this little saga continues. It’s local story that’s made a couple of national headlines and, personally, I find what’s happening to be rather chilling. A couple of years ago, a lesbian couple went to Sweet Cakes by Melissa to order a wedding cake for themselves. Though Sweet Cakes had served one of the ladies in other capacities in the past, they declined to serve the couple in this capacity.

As I’ve written before, the local gay community was up in arms. A complaint was sent to the Oregon human rights bureaucracy, but that wasn’t fast enough for the community. They protested Sweet Cakes. They vandalized their vehicle, sent threats, libeled and slandered, set up a fake Facebook account to spread slurs (which a local news rag then gleefully reported as if it was Sweet Cakes’ actual account, a report that then spread to major outlets long before it was corrected). Suppliers for Sweet Cakes were also threated – told that the same waited for them if they dared to continue to do business with the little bakery. As a result, Sweet Cakes closed its storefront permanently.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Ryan T. Anderson: Public Enemy #1


RTAndersonI’ve met Ryan Anderson, infamous opponent of marriage equality. It was a terrifying experience. The eyes. Those crazy eyes.

I’m joking, obviously. Ryan is a perfect gentleman and clearly entirely sane. He also has a fancy education and no grey hair. (He’s around my age, I believe, so not easily dismissed as a nostalgic old codger who can’t quite get with the times.) Those combined factors make him deeply offensive to the left. In his way, I’m sure he’s far more offensive than your garden-variety Westboro Baptist, because he tricks people into supposing that young, intelligent and reasonable people can still regard marriage as an intrinsically procreative institution involving a man and a woman. Even in 2015.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Selma Envy


SelmaHeschelMarchI was never in the military; I was in the last draft class that sent people to Vietnam, but my draft number was 275, so I wasn’t called. Rush Limbaugh likes to recount the story of how Bill Clinton regretted that 9/11 happened on his successor’s watch, thus depriving him of the opportunity to show true leadership.

I say this to make the point that as we look back, we sometimes wish that we could put ourselves into today’s events in such a way as to allow us to be cloaked in the more forgiving glow that the passage of time has given to events that were so raw at the time. Unfortunately, there are also those who will use the glow of past events to shine a light upon things that they can’t justify with reason:


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. GOP 2016: Drop Anti-SSM Plank or Drop Party Platform Entirely?


platformAt Hot Air yesterday, Noah Rothman asked: “Will opposition to gay marriage disappear from the GOP’s party platform?” Rothman claims that only “vicious partisans” on either side of the aisle care about platforms. I don’t know about vicious, but he’s right to say the whole platform process is outdated.

In national election years, the candidate at the top of the ticket becomes the embodiment of the party platform. Who cares about the student government-like exercise of delegates voting on an official statement of principles? Its sole purpose has become putting a social issues face on the punching bag for media coverage. The prelude to convention coverage becomes a series of divisive stories about how Republicans continue to be out of touch with young voters and emerging trends (as defined by MSM reporters). I do so hate it when they’re right.