Category archives: Human Sexuality

Regnerus Revisited: American Sociological Association is Wrong about Homosexual Parents and “Stability”

by Peter Sprigg

April 24, 2015

One of the key issues regularly raised in the debate over redefining marriage to include same-sex couples has to do with the well-being of children.

Defenders of the historical and natural definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman argue that children have a right to a relationship with both the man and woman whose union created them, and that research shows children raised by their married, biological mother and father have, on average, better life outcomes than children from other family structures.

Advocates of redefining marriage, on the other hand, argue that children already being raised by same-sex couples would benefit from the legal stability and social affirmation associated with marriage. They also insist that research which has specifically compared children of homosexual parents to children of heterosexual parents shows, “The scholarly consensus is clear and consistent: children of same-sex parents fare just as well as children of different-sex parents.”

The latter quote is drawn from an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief filed in the U.S. Supreme Court by the American Sociological Association (ASA). It’s one of dozens filed by advocates on both sides in the case being argued under the name Obergefell v. Hodges. Advocates of redefining marriage are asking the high court to overturn a decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, which upheld laws in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee that define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

A separate brief filed in support of the states on behalf of the American College of Pediatricians (ACP), Family Watch International, and several scholars, has thoroughly rebutted most of the arguments in the ASA brief. The ACP brief, using the most recent studies with the best methodology (drawing on large government surveys in Canada and the United States), shows children of same-sex parents are disadvantaged on a number of measures relative to children raised by their married, biological mother and father. (Patrick Fagan of the Marriage and Religion Research Institute — MARRI — has summarized the ACP rebuttal of the ASA in an op-ed.)

This revolution in homosexual parenting research began with publication in 2012 of findings from the New Family Structures Study, organized by Dr. Mark Regnerus, a sociologist at the University of Texas (and one of the signers of the ACP brief). Although homosexual activists embarked on a nearly hysterical campaign of vilification of Regnerus, his research was not “discredited,” as liberals commonly claim. I have written in detail about the Regnerus study here and here.

While the ASA brief is misleading on the nature and state of the evidence, there is one assertion they make about the Regnerus research which is flatly false — so plainly inaccurate, in fact, that it makes one question whether the authors of the brief have even looked at the scholarly articles they are critiquing.

The false statements are these:

The study [cited as Regnerus 2012a] stripped away all divorced, single, and stepparent families from the different-sex parent group, leaving only stable, married, different-sex parent families as the comparison. (ASA Brief, p. 23)

And:

Regnerus 2012b [a follow-up report with more detailed analysis of the data] continues to ignore stability as the primary factor in child outcomes. (ASA Brief, p. 26)

In reality, Regnerus 2012a included comparisons for eight different family structures. In addition to what Regnerus calls the “intact, biological family” or “IBF” (the “stable, married, different-sex parent families” referred to by the ASA) and two involving homosexual parents (“lesbian mother” or “LM” and “gay father” or “GF”), his comparison included five other family structures with heterosexual parents which might be considered “unstable,” including divorced, stepfamily, single-parent, and adoptive households. Even compared with these “unstable” households, the households headed by homosexual parents did not fare well. For example, Regnerus notes:

Of the 239 possible between-group differences here — not counting those differences with Group 1 (IBFs) already described earlier — the young-adult children of lesbian mothers display 57 … that are [statistically] significant … and 44 … that are significant after controls …. The majority of those differences are in suboptimal directions, meaning that LMs display worse outcomes [emphasis added]. (Regnerus 2012a, p. 764)

In his follow-up article (“Regnerus 2012b”), Regnerus broke down the data on households in more detail, listing fifteen different household structures. To make the meaning of the homosexual parent categories more clear, he described them as “fathers who had a gay relationship” or “FGR” and “mothers who had a lesbian relationship” or “MLR.” In response to criticism that he did not distinguish between children who had lived in the same household with a homosexual parent and that parent’s partner from those who did not, the latter category was broken down to “MLR + partner” and “MLR no partner.” (Only two subjects, however, had lived with a homosexual parent and one partner for the entire duration of their childhood from birth to age 18 — as Regnerus clearly noted.)

Apart from the IBF and (now) three homosexual parent categories, the other eleven categories all involved children of heterosexual parents who had “unstable” household settings — households where the parents divorced, were never married, one parent died, or in which the child was adopted as an infant (with variations based on subsequent relationships and/or remarriage).

Critics had also claimed that children were more affected by family “instability” than by parental sexual orientation, and those who lived with a partner were presumed to have more stable relationships. Directly contrary to what the ASA brief claimed, Regnerus reported specifically on comparisons between the “MLR + partner” category and other “unstable” categories:

Group 3 (MLRs who lived with their mother’s partner) compare less favorably with:

  • Group 8 (divorced, lived with mother, no subsequent relationships): 12 differences.
  • Group 13 (parents married until one died, no subsequent relationships): 15 differences. (Regnerus 2012b, p. 1376)

Regnerus reports the raw data for all fifteen family structures, and all forty outcome measures. There are thus a total of 440 comparisons between households with children of a lesbian mother and a partner and unstable heterosexual households (11 unstable household categories times 40 outcome measures). He also reports which of the differences reach the level of statistical significance, not only in comparison to the intact biological family, but also in comparison to the “MLR + partner” category.

I did my own analysis of the data in the charts of the Regnerus 2012b article, and found that 84 of these comparisons showed statistically significant differences. Of those, 76 showed worse outcomes for the children of lesbian mothers with a partner; only 8 of those comparisons showed better outcomes for those children. Five of the eight “better” outcomes for “MLR + partner” households were on a single outcome measures — daughters of lesbian mothers with a partner (but not of those without a partner) have fewer male sexual partners. Having multiple sexual partners of either sex is, rightly, considered an undesirable outcome.

More recent studies using government survey data (which also show negative outcomes for children of homosexual parents) have, arguably, surpassed Regnerus in the quality of the sample studied. However, the Regnerus study remains extremely valuable for the large number of separate outcome measures (forty).

It is also valuable because it does make direct comparisons (contrary to the ASA’s claim) between households with homosexual parents and many different unstable household forms headed by heterosexuals. It thus thoroughly debunks the myth that only “instability” explains the harmful outcomes identified for children of homosexuals.

Hate, Love, Truth, and Homosexuality

by Rob Schwarzwalder

April 16, 2015

Hate is sin.

Hate is disobedience to God. “Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him” (I John 3:15).

To rage against, physically or verbally abuse, belittle, or diminish the humanity of homosexuals is hateful.

To disagree is not hateful.

To stand for truth is not hateful.

To make arguments about human sexuality and marriage from sociological and demographic data is not hateful.

To object to the legal redefinition of marriage is not hateful.

To oppose efforts to redefine marriage in law is not hateful.

To believe in the uniqueness of male-female complementarity is not hateful.

To herald the Bible’s teaching that sexual intimacy is reserved for the covenant of one-man, one-woman marriage is not hateful.

To assert that any form of sexual intimacy outside of heterosexual, monogamous marriage is sinful is not hateful.

To affirm the Bible’s teaching that whatever one’s sins (sins as defined by the eternal, final, clear, and sufficient revelation of Scripture), they separate him or her from God is not hateful.

To proclaim that the rejection of God’s grace in Jesus Christ means eternal punishment is not hateful.

To tell others that God became man in the Person of Jesus of Nazareth, that He lived a sinless life, died an atoning, substitutionary death, rose bodily from the grave, is alive today, and that He offers forgiveness to all who will trust solely in Him as Savior and decide to follow Him as Lord is not hateful. It is the most loving thing one can do.

All of the above are Christian teachings. They are not culturally conditioned or theologically malleable.

Those of us who are Christians love people too much not to graciously but unhesitatingly speak God’s truth in God’s love (Ephesians 4:15).

And those of us who believe these things will not be silenced about them or fail to live according to them in our personal, public, or professional lives.

Any of them. Ever.

It’s a matter of love for God and those He has made in His image. The stakes are too high and the costs too great to refrain from talking about the One filled with grace and truth and His will for all of our lives.

Stakes and costs more important that social acceptance, secure employment, personal loyalties, or political viability.

Eternal stakes and costs, which we have weighed in the balance and found far weightier than anything this world can offer. Upon them we have based our lives. Upon them we stand.

Where do you stand?

The Dead End of Sexual Sin

by Rob Schwarzwalder

April 9, 2015

Rosaria Butterfield is one of the bravest people I know. Her profound transformation in Christ after a life of lesbianism has subjected her to public attacks and harsh comments, to which she responds with kindness, humility, and truth. Rosaria is also “a former tenured professor of English at Syracuse University. After her conversion to Christianity in 1999, she developed a ministry to college students. She has taught and ministered at Geneva College, is a full-time mother and pastor’s wife, and is author of Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert (2012) and Openness, Unhindered: Further Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert on Sexual Identity and Union with Christ (2015).”

Rosaria has written a powerful piece on transformation in Christ in her new “Desiring God” article, “The Dead End of Sexual Sin.” It is copied below in its entirety as it is one of the most potent and life-giving pieces I’ve read in a long time. Read, be challenged, and be blessed:


The Dead End of Sexual Sin

Unbelievers don’t “struggle” with same-sex attraction. I didn’t. My love for women came with nary a struggle at all.

I had not always been a lesbian, but in my late twenties, I met my first lesbian-lover. I was hooked and believed that I had found my real self. Sex with women was part of my life and identity, but it was not the only part — and not always the biggest part.

I simply preferred everything about women: their company, their conversation, their companionship, and the contours of their/our body. I favored the nesting, the setting up of house and home, and the building of lesbian community.

As an unbelieving professor of English, an advocate of postmodernism and poststructuralism, and an opponent of all totalizing meta-narratives (like Christianity, I would have added back in the day), I found peace and purpose in my life as a lesbian and the queer community I helped to create.

Conversion and Confusion

It was only after I met my risen Lord that I ever felt shame in my sin, with my sexual attractions, and with my sexual history.

Conversion brought with it a train wreck of contradictory feelings, ranging from liberty to shame. Conversion also left me confused. While it was clear that God forbade sex outside of biblical marriage, it was not clear to me what I should do with the complex matrix of desires and attractions, sensibilities and senses of self that churned within and still defined me.

What is the sin of sexual transgression? The sex? The identity? How deep was repentance to go?

Meeting John Owen

In these newfound struggles, a friend recommended that I read an old, seventeenth-century theologian named John Owen, in a trio of his books (now brought together under the title Overcoming Sin and Temptation).

At first, I was offended to realize that what I called “who I am,” John Owen called “indwelling sin.” But I hung in there with him. Owen taught me that sin in the life of a believer manifests itself in three ways: distortion by original sin, distraction of actual day-to-day sin, and discouragement by the daily residence of indwelling sin.

Eventually, the concept of indwelling sin provided a window to see how God intended to replace my shame with hope. Indeed, John Owen’s understanding of indwelling sin is the missing link in our current cultural confusion about what sexual sin is — and what to do about it.

As believers, we lament with the apostle Paul, “I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me” (Romans 7:19–20). But after we lament, what should we do? How should we think about sin that has become a daily part of our identity?

Owen explained with four responses.

1. Starve It

Indwelling sin is a parasite, and it eats what you do. God’s word is poison to sin when embraced by a heart made new by the Holy Spirit. You starve indwelling sin by feeding yourself deeply on his word. Sin cannot abide in his word. So, fill your hearts and minds with Scripture.

One way that I do that is singing the Psalms. Psalm-singing, for me, is a powerful devotional practice as it helps me to melt my will into God’s and memorize his word in the process. We starve our indwelling sin by reading Scripture comprehensively, in big chunks, and by whole books at a time. This allows us to see God’s providence at work in big-picture ways.

2. Call Sin What It Is

Now that it is in the house, don’t buy it a collar and a leash and give it a sweet name. Don’t “admit” sin as a harmless (but un-housebroken) pet. Instead, confess it as an evil offense and put it out! Even if you love it! You can’t domesticate sin by welcoming it into your home.

Don’t make a false peace. Don’t make excuses. Don’t get sentimental about sin. Don’t play the victim. Don’t live by excuse-righteousness. If you bring the baby tiger into your house and name it Fluffy, don’t be surprised if you wake up one day and Fluffy is eating you alive. That is how sin works, and Fluffy knows her job. Sometimes sin lurks and festers for decades, deceiving the sinner that he really has it all under control, until it unleashes itself on everything you built, cherished, and loved.

Be wise about your choice sins and don’t coddle them. And remember that sin is not ever “who you are” if you are in Christ. In Christ, you are a son or daughter of the King; you are royalty. You do battle with sin because it distorts your real identity; you do not define yourself by these sins that are original with your consciousness and daily present in your life.

3. Extinguish Indwelling Sin by Killing It

Sin is not only an enemy, says Owen. Sin is at enmity with God. Enemies can be reconciled, but there is no hope for reconciliation for anything at enmity with God. Anything at enmity with God must be put to death. Our battles with sin draw us closer in union with Christ. Repentance is a new doorway into God’s presence and joy.

Indeed, our identity comes from being crucified and resurrected with Christ:

We have been buried with him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with him in the likeness of his death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of his resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin. (Romans 6:4–6)

Satan will use our indwelling sin as blackmail, declaring that we cannot be in Christ and sin in heart or body like this. In those moments, we remind him that he is right about one thing only: our sin is indeed sin. It is indeed transgression against God and nothing else.

But Satan is dead wrong about the most important matter. In repentance, we stand in the risen Christ. And the sin that we have committed (and will commit) is covered by his righteousness. But fight we must. To leave sin alone, says Owen, is to let sin grow — “not to conquer it is to be conquered by it.”

4. Daily Cultivate Your New Life in Christ

God does not leave us alone to fight the battle in shame and isolation. Instead, through the power of the Holy Spirit, the soul of each believer is “vivified.” “To vivicate” means to animate, or to give life to. Vivification complements mortification (to put to death), and by so doing, it allows us to see the wide angle of sanctification, which includes two aspects:

1) Deliverance from the desire of those choice sins, experienced when the grace of obedience gives us the “expulsive power of a new affection” (to quote Thomas Chalmers).

2) Humility over the fact that we daily need God’s constant flow of grace from heaven, and that no matter how sin tries to delude us, hiding our sin is never the answer. Indeed, the desire to be strong enough in ourselves, so that we can live independently of God, is the first sin, the essence of sin, and the mother of all sin.

Owen’s missing link is for believers only. He says, “Unless a man be regenerate (born again), unless he be a believer, all attempts that he can make for mortification [of sin] … are to no purpose. In vain he shall use many remedies, [but] he shall not be healed.”

What then should an unbeliever do? Cry out to God for the Holy Spirit to give him a new heart and convert his soul: “mortification [of sin] is not the present business of unregenerate men. God calls them not to it as yet; conversion is their work — the conversion of the whole soul — not the mortification of this or that particular lust.”

Freed for Joy

In the writings of John Owen, I was shown how and why the promises of sexual fulfillment on my own terms were the antithesis of what I had once fervently believed. Instead of liberty, my sexual sin was enslavement. This seventeenth-century Puritan revealed to me how my lesbian desires and sensibilities were dead-end joy-killers.

Today, I now stand in a long line of godly women — the Mary Magdalene line. The gospel came with grace, but demanded irreconcilable war. Somewhere on this bloody battlefield, God gave me an uncanny desire to become a godly woman, covered by God, hedged in by his word and his will. This desire bled into another one: to become, if the Lord willed, the godly wife of a godly husband.

And then I noticed it.

Union with the risen Christ meant that everything else was nailed to the cross. I couldn’t get my former life back if I wanted it. At first, this was terrifying, but when I peered deep into the abyss of my terror, I found peace.

With peace, I found that the gospel is always ahead of you. Home is forward. Today, by God’s amazing grace alone, I am a chosen part of God’s family, where God cares about the details of my day, the math lessons and the spilled macaroni and cheese, and most of all, for the people, the image-bearers of his precious grace, the man who calls me beloved, and the children who call me mother.

Taxpayers Shouldn’t Pay for Pornography

by Nathan Oppman

March 26, 2015

H.R. 5628, the Eliminating Pornography from Agencies Act, would prohibit government employees from accessing pornography on the job.  This Act passed out of committee this week and might seem unnecessary. 

Wouldn’t that kind of activity get you fired?  Not in the world of the Federal Government.  An EPA employee who watched as much as six hours a day of explicit content was still on the government payroll a year after being caught.  It is sad that our government has become so bloated that it can’t hold employees responsible for dereliction of their duties. 

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) sponsored the bill to fix this problem.  Taxpayers shouldn’t be on the dime for something so harmful to society.  Let’s hope Rep. Meadows’ bill reaches the President’s desk.  For more information on the effects of pornography, please see the work done by the National Center on Sexual Exploitation.  

Dear Gay Community: Your Kids Are Hurting

by Rob Schwarzwalder

March 18, 2015

Every so often an article comes along that is so moving it puts all the extemporaneous analysis and opinion that floods the Internet into the background. “Dear Gay Community: Your Kids Are Hurting” is such an article.

In her loving, gentle, but painfully honest open letter to advocates of same-sex marriage, Heather Barwick describes being raised by two lesbians. Her mother and her partner loved Heather, but couldn’t replace her “deep-down unquenchable ache for a father, for a man.” Following are some excerpts from her moving piece, which is addressed specifically to same-sex partners raising children:

I’m not saying that you can’t be good parents. You can. I had one of the best. I’m also not saying that being raised by straight parents means everything will turn out okay. We know there are so many different ways that the family unit can break down and cause kids to suffer: divorce, abandonment, infidelity, abuse, death, etc. But by and large, the best and most successful family structure is one in which kids are being raised by both their mother and father …

Gay marriage doesn’t just redefine marriage, but also parenting. It promotes and normalizes a family structure that necessarily denies us something precious and foundational. It denies us something we need and long for, while at the same time tells us that we don’t need what we naturally crave. That we will be okay. But we’re not. We’re hurting …

It’s not just me. There are so many of us. Many of us are too scared to speak up and tell you about our hurt and pain, because for whatever reason it feels like you’re not listening. That you don’t want to hear. If we say we are hurting because we were raised by same-sex parents, we are either ignored or labeled a hater.

This isn’t about hate at all. I know you understand the pain of a label that doesn’t fit and the pain of a label that is used to malign or silence you. And I know that you really have been hated and that you really have been hurt. I was there, at the marches, when they held up signs that said, ‘God hates fags’ and ‘AIDS cures homosexuality.’ I cried and turned hot with anger right there in the street with you. But that’s not me. That’s not us.

I know this is a hard conversation. But we need to talk about it. If anyone can talk about hard things, it’s us. You taught me that.”

Alarming New Study: Rise in Youth-Produced Child Pornography

by Rob Schwarzwalder

March 13, 2015

That’s the headline of a story this week from the National Center on Sexual Exploitation. Here are excerpts:

A new research study concludes there is an, ‘increasing trend for distribution of sexually explicit content produced by younger children using laptop webcams.’ The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) and Microsoft participated in the study, examining 3,803 images and videos, of ‘youth-produced sexual content’ depicting young people and uploaded by the children or covertly recorded by a third party. The report, ‘Emerging Patters and Trends Report #1 Youth-Produced Sexual Content,’ was published on March 10, 2015 …

The study established that 85.9 percent of content depicting children aged 15 or younger was created using a webcam and 93 percent featured girls. While much of the content appeared to be knowingly created for websites, the study indicates that 100 percent of the content was shared to third party websites, which cannot be traced. The researchers noted a specific concern that the young people featured, ‘took no steps to conceal their identity or location, even in many cases using their real names.’ The study also found that 667 of the images and videos evaluated featured children 15 years and younger, and of this group, 286 were 10 years or younger. The researchers said their report confirms an alarming trend of young children producing and distributing explicit content online.”

Commenting on the study, NCSE Executive Director Dawn Hawkins said, “We are in the midst of a public health crisis on pornography. Every public official from the president on down, public health advocates, social leaders, as well as every parent must work to solve this crisis. We know that the long-term consequences to our children involved with pornography are monumental and can include problematic, even criminal sexual behaviors, and a host of anti-social activities.”

FRC is proud to partner with the NCSE’s Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation, which marshals the efforts of a large number of national and state organizations to fight pornography and its effects on individuals, families, and the culture.

To learn more about how you can protect your children from pornography, visit the Porn Harms Coalition website.

Utah’s Unwise Rush to Judgment on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Bill

by Peter Sprigg

March 12, 2015

Both houses of the Utah state legislature have now passed, and the state’s Republican Governor Gary Herbert has said he will sign, S.B. 296, a bill which purports to be a historic compromise prohibiting discrimination in employment and housing on the basis of “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” (“public accommodations” are not included), while at the same time exempting religious organizations and granting protections for the religious liberty of individual employees.

Endorsement of the bill and its principles by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints virtually assured passage in the heavily Mormon state. SB 296 was approved 23-5 in the Senate on March 6, and 65-10 in the House on March 11.

Family Research Council does not believe that “sexual orientation” or “gender identity” are characteristics comparable to those which are usually protected categories under civil rights law, because they are not inborn, involuntary, immutable, innocuous, and/or in the Constitution in the way that race and sex are, for example. Therefore, there is no justification in principle for interfering in the private choices of private economic actors with respect to these issues.

I am also skeptical, in the current cultural climate, as to whether the “religious protections” in such a compromise will ever be as vigorously maintained as the “non-discrimination” provisions.

However, there are specific technical problems with the way that S.B. 296 was drafted which should prevent it from being a model for other states, as is being touted by some. (The text of S.B. 296, with lines numbered, is available online at:

http://le.utah.gov/~2015/bills/static/SB0296.html )

Definitions: “Gender Identity”

Two of these problems involve definitions in the bill. The first is found in lines 105-106, where it says:

QUOTE

Gender identity” has the meaning provided in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5).

END QUOTE

The “DSM-5” is the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition,” published by the American Psychiatric Association in 2013.

It is very odd to have a “definition” in a piece of legislation which does not include what the definition actually is—but instead makes reference to another source (a non-legal, non-statutory, non-constitutional, non-governmental, private source at that).

I think I understand the rationale for this—the authors of the bill want the definition to be scientifically impeccable, and therefore want to reference a scientific source rather than write their own definition. However, this is problematic for several reasons.

The DSM-5 is not only published by a private organization (the American Psychiatric Association), but it is a copyrighted work (could that be why the bill doesn’t quote it?). I have the impression that the APA guards the copyright very jealously, because unlike a lot of copyrighted works, it is virtually impossible to find even excerpts of its text online.

To purchase a copy is very expensive—on Amazon, it is $145 for the hardback version, and $107 for the paperback. Some libraries may have it, but when I went to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Library, which is the main branch of the District of Columbia Public Library, they did not have it—they only had the earlier DSM-IV-TR (2000). All this is to say that it is not all that easy to find out what the definition of “gender identity” in the DSM-5 actually is. It took me several hours of effort (and a trip to the National Library of Medicine) to actually locate it. That hardly seems like the most transparent way of legislating.

While referencing the DSM-5 may make the authors appear to be up-to-date scientifically now, the DSM is inherently a publication under periodic revision. As noted, it was only 13 years between the DSM-IV (2000) and the DSM-5 (2013). So in 13 years, will the up-to-date scientific definition of “gender identity” which Utah legislators referenced in their new law become the out-of-date definition when the DSM-6 comes out? Surely the law cannot be written to automatically be updated to the latest version of the DSM. It would be far better for legislators to actually write down in the text of the law the definitions which they are applying.

When I finally located both the DSM-IV-TR (2000) and the DSM-5 (2013), I found that indeed the definition of “gender identity” had changed. The DSM in 2000 included only this cryptic definition: “A person’s inner conviction of being male or female.”

The DSM-5 definition is longer: “A category of social identity that refers to an individual’s identification as male, female, or, occasionally, some category other than male or female.”

How many of the 88 Utah legislators who voted for this bill understood that they were creating special protections not only for men who claim to be women and women who claim to be men, but also for people who insist that they are neither male nor female?

Definitions: “Sex” and “Gender”

The other problematic definition in S.B. 296 is that of “sex.” On line 777 of the bill, it says:

QUOTE

Sex” means gender . . .

END QUOTE

Really? According to my dictionary, it’s the other way around. Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition (2005), under “gender,” lists “SEX” as a synonym. However, the first definition under “sex” is: “either of the two major forms of individuals … that are distinguished respectively as female or male esp. on the basis of their reproductive organs and structures.”

If the legislature wanted to reference the DSM-5 as the definitive source for a definition of “gender identity,” why did it not do the same for “sex” and “gender?”

The DSM-5 definition of “sex” is: “Biological indication of male and female (understood in the context of reproductive capacity), such as sex chromosomes, gonads, sex hormones, and nonambiguous internal and external genitalia.”

On the other hand, the DSM-5 definition of “gender” is: “The public (and usually legally recognized) lived role as boy or girl, man or woman. Biological factors are seen as contributing in interaction with social and psychological factors to gender development.”

These are hardly synonyms, as the bill states. If legislators feel that they must pass laws conceding that one’s “gender identity” can be distinguished from one’s “sex,” at least they should insist that the word “sex” itself be defined in biological terms (as the DSM-5 does), and not by some circular reference to “gender.”

Religious Liberty Protections”

The second major area of concern is the section with the much ballyhooed “religious liberty protections.” First, the bill exempts “a religious organization” and “the Boy Scouts of America” from its definition of an “employer” subject to the employment discrimination provisions (lines 92-100). Note, however, that this leaves profit-making businesses (such as Christian publishers and Christian book stores) and other organizations like non-religious day care centers still vulnerable to being forced to hire homosexual and transgender persons.

More attention has been focused on the unique “religious liberty protections” for individual employees (lines 693-706). Constituting a scant fourteen lines out of over a thousand in the bill, they read as follows:

QUOTE

69334A-5-112. Religious liberty protections — Expressing beliefs and commitments in
694workplace — Prohibition on employment actions against certain employee speech.
695(1) An employee may express the employee’s religious or moral beliefs and
696commitments in the workplace in a reasonable, non-disruptive, and non-harassing way on
697equal terms with similar types of expression of beliefs or commitments allowed by the
698employer in the workplace, unless the expression is in direct conflict with the essential
699business-related interests of the employer.
700(2) An employer may not discharge, demote, terminate, or refuse to hire any person, or
701retaliate against, harass, or discriminate in matters of compensation or in terms, privileges, and
702conditions of employment against any person otherwise qualified, for lawful expression or
703expressive activity outside of the workplace regarding the person’s religious, political, or
704personal convictions, including convictions about marriage, family, or sexuality, unless the
705expression or expressive activity is in direct conflict with the essential business-related
706interests of the employer.

END QUOTE

At first glance, this passage appears to address some of the “horror stories” that have been in the news regarding punishments or adverse employment actions taken against employees for expressing traditional values on marriage, family, and sexuality either within (lines 695-699) or outside (lines 700-706) the workplace.

However, a huge question leaps out—how are these “protections” to be enforced?

First of all, the exemption from the “protection” if the free expression “is in direct conflict with the essential business-related interests of the employer” (lines 698-99, 705-706) could end up being the exemption that eats the protection. What if an employer has an internal, corporate non-discrimination policy protecting sexual orientation and gender identity, and claims on that basis alone that excluding dissenters is an “essential business-related interest?” In what government forum, if any, could the employee challenge such a determination?

It is notable that a distinction is made between an employee’s free expression within the workplace and outside the workplace. With the respect to the former, there is an affirmative statement of the rights the employee possesses—but nothing regarding an obligation being placed on the employer to respect those rights.

Only with respect to expression outside of the workplace is there an active prohibition of negative action by the employer. To some extent this is understandable—an employer certainly has some legitimate interest in communication that occurs in the workplace, while they have very little legitimate interest in expression outside the workplace. However, it is unclear how that line is to be drawn, or who is to draw it. Allowing the employer to draw it makes the “protections” meaningless, since it is from the employer that the employees need protection.

One answer to this would be to make explicit that a violation of the religious liberty protections in Section 34A-5-112 constitutes a prohibited form of discrimination based on “religion” under Section 34A-5-106 (lines 277-536) of the bill, and is subject to the full set of remedies set out in Section 34A-5-107 (lines 537-673). Since the bill is being sold as one representing vigorous action both to prevent “discrimination” and to protect religious liberty, the mechanisms to advance both goals should be the same in order to assure parity between the two objectives.

The most optimistic view would be that this is already implicit in the bill—but it would be far more reassuring if it were made explicit. Even this approach is imperfect, however, since the “protections” should apply to any expression of opinion on these subjects, even if it is not rooted in a particular religious teaching.

An alternative would be to establish a specific set of remedies for the religious protections in the bill. It might also help to remove the section about “essential business-related interests” from the section dealing with expression outside the workplace.

Without explicit remedies, I fear these “religious liberty protections” will be a toothless tiger.

Planet Fitness Bans Woman for Protesting Man in Locker Room”

by Rob Schwarzwalder

March 9, 2015

A woman protests that a man is using the women’s locker room and her gym membership is then suspended.  Yes, this really happened.

Planet Fitness is no longer part of the rational universe.  It has excised itself from the constellation of sanity and now exists in alternative realm where all things are malleable.  Mr. Spock, where are you when we need you?

The cosmos has no room for this Planet.  I hope it’s customers launch to other facilities and land safely at other gyms, where the atmosphere will be more conducive to moral sanity.

Sick of Porn? Here’s Some Good News for a Change

by Cathy Ruse

March 2, 2015

Thank you, Safeway!

As a mom of two young girls, the last thing I want them to do is stand in the checkout line and stare at the nearly pornographic Sports Illustrated 2015 Swimsuit Edition. At Safeway, now I won’t have to.

The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (formerly Morality in Media) is encouraging moms like me to ask retailers to wrap the cover and move it from public display, especially checkout lines.

At first Walgreens, Barnes & Noble, and Safeway told us to jump in the lake. But after receiving 30,000 emails Safeway has changed its mind: they have announced they will place the magazines away from checkout stands and cover two-thirds of the front of the magazine.

Read more about the grocery giant’s turn-around, and how to thank them.

Thank you, Google!

It seems that Google is slowly getting out of the porn business.

Family Research Council joined the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCSE), Enough is Enough, and other groups to ask Google to take a stand against sexually exploitative images and videos. Google has been on NCSE’s annual “Dirty Dozen List” for a number of years.

But last year Google decided to remove all pornographic apps from Google Play, and AdWords stopped all pornographic ads and ads that link to sexually explicit websites.

This week Google announced that“sexually explicit or graphic nude images or video” will not be allowed on Blogger, a popular blog platform. It told Blogger users it will beeliminating all “adult” blogs from public access and remove from all forms of public search by March 23, 2015, unless they remove all inappropriate content.

To learn more and send Google a “Thank you!”: http://endsexualexploitation.org/google/

Two Men, Three Men, A Man and His Daughter: Marriage on the Slope

by Cathy Ruse

February 19, 2015

Those of us who believe in man-woman marriage sometimes talk about the “slippery slope”: If we undo the age-old definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman, this will lead to consequences that go well beyond the terms of the current debate.

Like three men marrying, or a father marrying his daughter.

Advocates for same-sex marriage say “pshaw” and call us crazy. Or worse. To which we often reply: Just you wait.

Well, that didn’t take long.

Yesterday, Salon.com published a piece calling parent-child incest normal.

There’s even a new politically-correct moniker for it. Don’t say “incest,” say “genetic sexual attraction.”

And because we live in Alphabet Soup Land, it’s best to call it “GSA.”

Salon was not first. New York Magazine ran a story last month about the “happy” incestuous relationship between a young woman and her father who say they are engaged to be married.

The website Jezebel has run a similar story, though with an unhappy ending.

The Jezebel story begins, “My biological father wanted to have sex with me from the first moment he laid eyes on me.” Natasha Rose Chenier writes, “I imagine that, unless you have experienced genetic sexual attraction yourself, this is going to sound entirely unbelievable. But trust me: it is as real and intense as anything.”

She claims that 50% of relatives who meet as adults have GSA.

Natasha Rose’s mom is a lesbian and her father, whom she later slept with, left when her mom got pregnant. She calls her mother’s “lover” a “patriarchal butch lesbian” and so, she says, she always had a “father figure.”

To most of us, this heartbreaking mess explains everything about how such a monstrous thing could occur.

And now for the unhappy ending.

Her feelings changed. “It was literally night and day. At night, the first night, I felt thrilled. I thought, ‘There’s nothing wrong with this, just cultural norms that are meaningless.’ The sexual intensity was nothing like I’d ever felt before. It was like being loved by a parent you never had, and the partner you always wanted, at once.”

And then in the morning, we had [a sex act] again, and that’s when I wanted to puke and felt like a criminal. At night I was really into it, but by morning I wanted to die. That’s not hyperbole; I really wanted to die.”

There is always hope. If the still small voice can reach Natasha Rose, there is always hope.

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