by Peter Sprigg
November 5, 2008
The traditional, historic, and natural definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman was a winner on Election Day, despite the simultaneous victories for Democrats in capturing the White House and expanding their majority in Congress.
The latest results as of midday on Wednesday (November 5) show that state constitutional amendments to define marriage as a one-man one-woman union had passed in Florida and Arizona and one was likely to pass in California as well.
Although many states that have already adopted such amendments did so fairly handily (especially in 2004), each of the amendments on the ballot in 2008 faced unique challenges.
Florida was the only one of the three states where adoption of the amendment required not just a simply majority of the vote, but a super-majority of 60%. The Florida Marriage Protection Amendment was the only one of the three on the ballot this year that was a “strong” or “two-sentence” amendment, meaning that included language to prevent “domestic partnerships” or “civil unions” as well as same-sex “marriage.” Florida’s amendment campaign was also probably the most under-funded of the three-yet they still managed to clear the higher hurdle set for them, winning 62.1% to 37.9%, with 99% of the vote counted (official results).
Arizona was the only state ever to see a marriage amendment defeated at the polls. In 2006, an earlier “two-sentence” amendment was defeated-ironically, not because of its impact on same-sex couples, but because of publicity about its potential impact on opposite-sex couples who sometimes enter into “domestic partnerships” to avoid losing Social Security benefits to a “marriage penalty.” This year Proposition 102, a revised, “one-sentence” amendment focused only on the definition of civil marriage, was successful by a margin of 56.5% to 43.5%, with 99.1% of the vote in (see official results). Turning the 2006 defeat into a 2008 victory is a great accomplishment for pro-family forces in Arizona.
The most closely-watched and heavily-funded (on both sides) campaign was the one in California. That state’s Supreme Court issued a 4-3 ruling on May 15 of this year that overturned two state laws defining marriage, thus opening the door for same-sex couples to begin receiving marriage licenses a month later. The idea that the amendment would “take away rights” that same-sex couples were already enjoying undoubtedly made passage harder. This was reinforced by the biased language which California Attorney General (and former Governor) Jerry Brown ordered on the ballot, declaring that the amendment primarily “eliminates the right of same-sex couples to marry,” rather than more neutrally stating that it “defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman.” Despite this finger on the scale, and a vicious campaign against the amendment that included anti-religious ads, vandalism, and even violence, California’s Proposition 8 appears to have passed, 52.2% to 47.8% with 96.4% of precincts reporting (official results). As I was writing this piece, it was reported on TV that the Associated Press had declared victory for Proposition 8. Congratulations to the people of California for successfully exercising the ultimate check against judicial tyranny in our political system.
The only disappointment on the marriage front was in Connecticut, whose Supreme Court followed the lead of California’s (also by a one-vote margin) on October 10 by fabricating a constitutional “right” to same-sex “marriage.” Connecticut does not have an initiative process whereby the people can place constitutional amendments on the ballot by petition. However, they did have the opportunity yesterday to call for a constitutional convention. Pro-marriage forces hoped that a convention might adopt an initiative process, which in turn could be used to place marriage on the ballot. Unfortunately, this three-step process may not have been understood by the voters, who rejected the idea of a constitutional convention by 59% to 41% (results here).
In addition to the three marriage amendments, however, there was one other victory yesterday for traditional family structures. Arkansas adopted a law (Proposed Initiative Act No. 1) by 56.8% to 43.2% (see here) which prohibits adoption or foster care by persons who are cohabiting with a sexual partner outside of marriage. While this would effectively bar homosexual couples from adopting, it also applies equally to cohabiting opposite-sex couples. (Single people would still be allowed to adopt, without regard to sexual orientation). Thus, while this bill is being described as “anti-gay-adoption,” it would be more accurately described as “anti-cohabitation.”
Whatever “mandate” President-elect Barack Obama and the Democratic Congress may claim from yesterday’s results, it is clearly not a mandate (even in Florida and California, which Obama carried) to change the definition of marriage or the family.
by Michael Leaser
November 4, 2008
In the latest Mapping America, federal surveys show that adolescents who worship weekly and live in an intact married family are less likely to run away from home than those who do not.
by Brittany Smith
October 30, 2008
by Michael Fragoso
October 30, 2008
Jon Last has a fascinating article at the Weekly Standard on the depressingly sad state of the Icelandic economy-which historically hasn’t done all that bad ever since Erik the Red and his Viking cohorts settled the place a thousand or so years ago. As one might expect, inept government interventions and political posturing played very large roles in the collapse. I, for one, hope it gets better, given that Icelanders with no work or money are going to be looking for something to do. When someone descended from Vikings named “Magnusson” is looking for something to do, it’s time for some people to get worried-yes, I’m talking to you Newfoundland, Scotland, Ireland, England, and Normandy.
by Brittany Smith
October 29, 2008
Vote ‘yes’ to change state constitution: On Election Day, Connecticut voters will decide whether there should be a convention to consider changes to the state constitution
by Michael Leaser
October 28, 2008
In the latest Mapping America, federal surveys show that adolescents who live in an intact married family are less likely to run away from home than those who do not.
by David Christensen
October 28, 2008
The pro-abortion group Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) and its partners requested and were granted a hearing today at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Organization of American States according to their recent newsletter (see p. 2).
The Commission will hold a hearing today titled the “Risks and vulnerabilities affecting defenders of women’s rights in the Americas,” raising the specter of human rights activists and defenders of women’s rights being “affected”. You can review the Commission program here.
But what is CRR’s goal? Legal rights for women? Is it the legalization of abortion? CRR is more ambitious. Their newsletter references a previous letter they sent to the United Nations which makes it clear that they are not so much trying to protect human rights defenders or defenders of women’s rights as they are trying to get international legal bodies to include abortion providers under the legal designation of “human rights defender.” If they are successful, abortion providers would be protected under the 1999 UN Declaration of Human Rights Defenders.
It would be a travesty for international bodies to equate those who perform abortions, including those who perform partial birth abortions, with those who advocate fundamental human rights of others.
CRR in their letter raises violence against abortion providers as one of their key arguments. Violence against abortionists is wrong and should be condemned. But CRR goes much further. They are in fact making the case that any restrictions that would affect abortion providers’ practices would constitute an abuse of human rights defenders.
Indeed, CRR spends considerable time defending Dr. George Tiller of Kansas, an abortionist known for his late-term abortions (and advertising internationally for his services). It is odd that they would single out Dr. Tiller as a human rights paragon, until you realize that they oppose even peaceful protests at abortion clinics such as his, even when they acknowledge the fact that such protests are constitutionally protected.
CRR also opposes state laws that would require abortion clinics to have the same health standards as ambulatory clinics—regulations that would actually protect the health of women obtaining abortions. Indeed, CRR goes so far as asking the UN to “investigate” the United States for state and federal laws that conflict with their views. Again, violence against abortionists is wrong, period. But peaceful protests? Parental notification laws? Laws ensuring medical the competency of abortion providers? They want a UN investigation. Perhaps even more brazen, CRR wants international bodies to investigate cases of “smear campaigns” against abortion providers, in which any public campaign against such abortionists occur. They oppose the mere existence of legal restrictions because it would be burdensome to the abortionist, something most people think might be legitimate for physicians performing surgery on their patients. What about legal liability? Nope, CRR wants none of that either. The kicker may be that CRR wants these international bodies to impose fines on states that who disagree with them. Why? So they force local law enforcement agencies to implement “human rights teaching” on abortion in their training programs.
And these are people that many pro-choicers in Congress have tried to get you to fund with your taxes. I suppose if you can cast this asprotecting human rights defenders, it might just work.
by Brittany Smith
October 23, 2008
by Brittany Smith
October 22, 2008
Black clergy both for and against gay marriage speak out— LA Times article on the ongoing Proposition 8 debate
Gay Marriage in Peril in California— More on Prop. 8 and the battle in CA over same-sex marraige