Tag: Gay Marriage

The Next Cultural Innovation: Throuples


OK, if you’re a naïve rube like me you might ask yourself what is a “throuple?” It turns out it’s a relatively new word formed by the blending of “three” and “couple” and it means “a long-term sexual relationship between three people” per a new entry into the Macmillan Dictionary. They must be ahead of the cultural curve from Webster’s.

You would think that the culture couldn’t sink any lower. Every day this absurdity of changing one’s gender identity takes deeper root. Today we were informed that a biological male (is there really any other kind?) will be competing against women in the Olympic trials.

Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America cheer the Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of a Christian baker who was sued for not customizing a wedding cake for a same-sex ceremony but note the ruling focused on this particular case rather than broader issues of conscience and religious liberty.  They also cringe as Bill Clinton still sees himself as the victim in the Monica Lewinsky scandal and scolds an NBC reporter for even bringing it up.  And they’re incredulous as President Trump boldly announces he has the power to pardon himself and Trump’s attorney, Rudy Giuliani, contends Trump could not even be indicted for killing former FBI Director James Comey while still in office.

Obergefell, Amendment 8, and Other Cautionary Political Tales


Last weekend, Ireland voted in an overwhelming fashion to repeal Amendment 8 of its Constitution, which forbade abortion. As with everything else in our totemized political culture, this has been hailed by those on the left and bitterly lamented on the right. The whole situation gives me the sensation of déjà vu; as if somehow, we’ve been here before and the same script is stuck on repeat in the iPod of our political lives.

That sense of repetition is due to the fact that every time some culturally significant decision arrives, the same cast of characters wheel out their soapboxes to either rend their garments or crow over their supposed enemies’ defeats. The Obergefell decision was one such obvious flashpoint. It is a decision which I disagree with on the legal merits, but one which contains a larger lesson that political conservatives can learn from. Things didn’t have to end up this way.

Let’s start by looking back a couple of decades, specifically the 1990s. In 1995 Newt Gingrich became the newly minted Speaker of the House, with Republicans having just swept into control of both houses of Congress.  They were set to embark on a program of high-minded and ultimately, quite successful political reforms. Conservatives were really feeling their oats, and one of the issues I recall being live in that era was the question of a Constitutional Amendment defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman. This topic was campaign gold for Republicans for the better part of a decade, who frequently ran under the banner of “God, Gays, and Guns,” yet they infrequently did anything about these particular items at that time.

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As @majestyk and others have noted the legal merits (or lack thereof) of the dessert course of the culture wars I thought we should stand back and marvel at the tenacity of the couple who (for their planned wedding in Massachusetts) traveled all over this great land in search of that rarest of rarities: the […]

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Here We Go Again


Heard on the news today as I was leaving town, and as reported by Daily Signal, this is a family-run orchard that I used to take my kids to in the fall to gather fruit and drink apple cider:

A farmers market and Facebook posts have opened a new front in courtroom battles over religious freedom.

Richard Epstein describes the dramatic failure of the federal government’s attempts to balance anti-discrimination laws against religious liberty protections.

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On Monday, June 27th, a federal judge ruled that clerks in Mississippi may not cite their religious beliefs as justification for denying marriage licenses to same-sex couples. U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves’ ruling came just days before a new law, HB 1523, was set to take effect that protected such religious objections. The editorial board […]

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President Trump: Defender of Religious Freedom?


At this point, I expect Donald Trump will likely be the nominee, and — if he can overcome his huge negatives and is as good at demolishing Hillary Clinton as he was his Republican competitors — he may well be our next president. My point here is that he might be, counterintuitively, more successful on religious liberty and culture war issues than Senator Ted Cruz would be.

Adios Francisco


PopeAirToward the end of last week, a Jewish friend asked me what I thought of Pope Francis’s performance on his North American tour. I hesitated to answer. What I wanted to say was that he’s driving me crazy. “I’m conflicted,” was the best I could come up with.

I’m the type who thinks you don’t talk smack about the pope. Call it the Catholic version of Ronald Reagan’s eleventh commandment.

Yet I struggle, like so many of my conservative Catholic friends, to hold my tongue when the Holy Father pronounces on such non-dogmatic issues as capitalism and climate change, or when he scolds the American bishops for being “harsh” and “divisive.” So much of what he says—and how he says it— seems deliberately aimed at Catholics who actually stuck with the church all these years, defending her honor against those who would run her out of the public square. We feel like we’re being singled out for criticism.

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I found this Brietbart article fascinating.  You can go to the article for the hyperlinked references. This week, YouGov released a poll questioning British people about their sexuality. The poll made headlines because nearly half of all 18-24 year olds said they were not fully heterosexual. Preview Open

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The Silly and Dangerous Things Senators Say


Senator Tammy BaldwinReimagining the First Amendment:

Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) says the 1st Amendment’s religious liberty protections don’t apply to individuals.

On MSNBC last week, Wisconsin’s junior Senator claimed that the Constitution’s protection of the free exercise of religion extends only to religious institutions, and that individual’s do not have a right to the free exercise of their own religion.

The Classicist Podcast, with Victor Davis Hanson: “The Age of Mass Hysteria”


If you have even the slightest misgivings about gay marriage, you’re a homophobe. If illegal immigration gives you a moment’s pause, you’re a knuckle-dragging nativist. If you’re not morally outraged that there are still a few corners of America where you can see a confederate battle flag — well, do I even have to say it?

In this episode of The Classicist, VDH examines the culture of perpetual outrage and how it’s accelerated by the non-stop onslaught of social media. Listen in to the conversation below or subscribe to The Classicist through iTunes or your favorite podcast player.

Obergefell and the Limits of Judicial Supremacy


shutterstock_162764102In Obergefell v. Hodges, the Supreme Court used its power of judicial review to legalize gay marriage throughout the nation. In one fell stroke, five Justices short-circuited the democratic process, which was gradually removing barriers to gays, and swept aside the Constitution’s reservation of family-law matters to the states. Even while they may disagree on gay marriage, most Americans believe they must obey Obergefell because the separation of powers gives the Supreme Court the ultimate authority to interpret the Constitution.

Prominent defenders of traditional marriage, however, have gone beyond the usual criticism of a mistaken judicial decision to attack the Supreme Court as an institution. “I will not acquiesce to an imperial court any more than our Founders acquiesced to an imperial British monarch,” said Mike Huckabee, former governor of Arkansas and GOP presidential candidate. “We must resist and reject judicial tyranny, not retreat.” Fellow candidate and Republican senator Ted Cruz has proposed constitutional amendments not only to overturn Obergefell, which other candidates support, but to subject Supreme Court justices to periodic elections.

While these politicians, I believe, have overreacted, they hit upon an important truth about our Constitution. Contrary to popular belief, Obergefell does not settle the question of gay marriage, because the Supreme Court cannot finally determine any fundamental constitutional dispute. Claims of judicial supremacy have appeared before, ranging from the odious (Dred Scott’s defense of slavery) to the courageous (Brown v. Board of Education’s condemnation of segregation). But these views mistake the Court’s right to decide cases or controversies under the Constitution for supremacy in its interpretation.

Slate’s Rising Intolerance on Gay Rights


In my recent Defining Ideas column, “Hard Questions on Same-Sex Marriage,” I sought to explore some of the intellectual cross-currents and difficulties in the Supreme Court’s opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges. There were two basic points in the article.  First, I sought to explain the difficulties in finding a constitutional right to gay marriage, even though most of the standard arguments against same-sex-marriage tend to fall flat as a matter of social and political theory. The article was in no sense an effort to rally religious conservatives to stop the powerful political juggernaut that has resulted in a surge in public approval for same-sex-marriage.

The second point was my deep uneasiness that the same-sex-marriage movement is moving sharply from its defense of gay unions towards a massive intolerance of those individuals who, for religious reasons, oppose the practice and wish to conduct their own personal lives and business activities in accordance with their own beliefs — beliefs that I hasten to add are not my own. The recent hysterical screed against my column by Slate’s Mark Joseph Stern, laden as it is with abusive epithets, shows just how rapidly that form of intolerance is taking over the gay rights movement more generally.

A Random Sampling of Progressive Opinion on Religious Liberty


SCOTUSLest you think that I was overly alarmist in my earlier post on Obergefell’s threat to religious liberty, consider this.  I wrote a slightly longer version of the piece for City Journal, which was then posted to RealClearPolitics — so it attracted a fair number of eyeballs outside of the conservative bubble.  Here are some of the comments I got:

  • Religion is the problem, not gay marriage. Religion is a multi-billion dollar a year industry that threatens the civil liberties of everyone. Religion is as pervasive as pornography in this country, but much more harmful to our culture.
  • If the institution of marriage is removed from its unnatural cloud of accompanying religious magic . . .  it is a right, like any other. As such it should by law available to ALL citizens. In THIS country at very least.
  • I think it’s always dangerous to defend anything based on religious belief.
  • It’s a “threat to religious liberty” only if you think that people should be free to use their religion as an excuse to screw others.
  • There are so many parallels with the 1960’s civil rights movement it is hard for any rational person to fathom how those on the “pro-religious” freedom side expect history to view their backward cause.

Progressives feel momentum on their side and nothing will get in their way. If new rights can be invented by the judiciary, then old rights — like the free exercise of religion — can be just as easily interpreted into oblivion.

Should Clergy Continue to Register Marriages for the State?


shutterstock_262863614As you may know, nearly all clergy act as marriage agents for their local or state governments. In Connecticut, for example, ordained or licensed clergy may perform marriages as long as they continue in the work of the ministry. The marriage license must be completed by the minister and returned to the city or town clerk. Right next door, Massachusetts clergy themselves must obtain a license to marry before they can fill out valid licenses.

With Obergefell, I know of confessional pastors who are looking hard at whether they should continue this practice. Fr. Jonathan Morris — best known for his appearances on Fox News Channel — had two tweets that sum up the case for this approach.

First, formally splitting their roles in civil and sacred marriage is a witness to the traditional definition of marriage:

‘Comply’ is the New ‘Coexist’


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Several days have passed since the Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage, but the kulturkampf marches on. Nearly every media outlet unveiled rainbow flag versions of their logos, rainbow-filtered avatars filled social media, and the President lit up the White House itself in the colors of the pride banner.

Since then, news outlets have published calls to abolish the tax exemption for churches, legalize polygamy, and shame those too slow in celebrating the new order. In The Atlantic, Matt Schiavenza complained that sports teams aren’t bowing to the new idol fast enough:

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The victory in the Supreme Court by the forces of Gaydom could very well be their undoing as far as promoting gay “marriage”.  The preferred way to enact sweeping change is to be slow and deliberate, and go state by state, building support for legislation that backs your cause.  When this method isn’t followed, you […]

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The Libertarian Podcast: The Supreme Court and Gay Marriage


Still hungry for more razor-sharp constitutional analysis after yesterday’s Law TalkYou’re in luck. We’ve got a double-shot this week, as Professor Epstein also weighs in on the Supreme Court’s gay marriage decision in Obergefell v. Hodges in the new episode of The Libertarian. And the conversation here is a little different — for instance, Richard discusses whether Chief Justice Roberts has any discernible judicial philosophy and whether Rand Paul’s suggestion that we get government out of marriage altogether is practical. It’s all available by listening in below or by subscribing to The Libertarian via iTunes or your favorite podcasting app.