Category archives: Marriage

Good News Story on Healthy Marriage Initiative

by Family Research Council

August 31, 2010

A very promising study was recently released involving the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Healthy Marriage Initiative (HMI) programs in Oklahoma. The report revealed that Building Strong Families is having a lasting and positive impact in Oklahoma, with measurable results including fathers staying more involved in family life, and couples reporting higher quality relationships.

Find out more information on this program and study here. See here or here for more information on the Healthy Marriage Initiative.

Tony Perkins on CBS’s Face the Nation

by Jared Bridges

August 9, 2010

FRC President Tony Perkins appeared on CBS’s “Face the Nation” Sunday (8/8/10) to discuss the implications of the federal court ruling striking down California’s “Proposition 8.” Here’s a clip of the interview below, followed by links to other media coverage of the interview:

OFFICIAL TRANSCRIPT (CBS) [PDF]

Same-Sex Marriage Decision: “Far From Over” (CBS)

Family Research Council compares Prop. 8 to Roe; says fight not over (The Hill)

Perkins: We hope ‘sanity will reign’ on gay marriage ban (Politico)

Activists Gear Up for Next Round on Gay Marriage (CQ Politics)

Gay-Marriage Ruling Should Be Upheld, Ex-Solicitor General Ted Olson Says (Bloomberg)

Prop 8 attorneys Theodore Olson and David Boies say judge’s ruling is ‘constitutionally sound’ (NY Daily News)

Olson backs gay marriage ruling (Boston Globe)

Did Pioneering Pro-Homosexual Judge Have a Conflict of Interest?

by Peter Sprigg

July 9, 2010

Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle has vetoed the bill to create civil unions that the legislature passed in a last-minute legislative maneuver in April. It was refreshing to see Gov. Lingle declare straightforwardly, I have been open and consistent in my opposition to same gender marriage and find that HB 444 is essentially marriage by another name. Its refreshing mostly because last year, two other governorsNew Hampshires John Lynch and Maines John E. Baldaccicaved to homosexual activists under similar circumstances, and signed bills to legalize same-sex marriage.

However, in reading a news report about the veto, something else caught my eye. Heres what the Honolulu Star-Advertiser said about one of the critics of the veto:

It’s beyond problematic,” said Steven Levinson, a retired associate justice of the state Supreme Court, whose daughter is a lesbian… . Levinson authored the landmark 1993 ruling that held that it was discriminatory for the state not to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Now wait a second. The author of the very first court decision in American history that was supportive of same-sex marriagehas a lesbian daughter? Doesnt that suggest a little problem of judicial ethics known as a conflict of interest?

Of course, Levinsons landmark ruling was 17 years ago. His lesbian daughter might not have been out of the closet in 1993 (or might not have been born, for that matter). But it raises an interesting question, which iswhy am I the only person asking if this is a conflict of interest? If judges are going to rule on issues involving the supposed civil rights of homosexuals, dont they have a conflict if a close family memberor even they themselvesare homosexual? Shouldnt they be required to recuse themselvesor at least disclose the potential conflict?

Of course, its logically quite possible that a judge could rule objectively on the issue of same-sex marriage even while having a family member who self-identifies as gay. It is liberalsnot conservativeswho assume that there is a contradiction in loving a homosexual person while opposing same-sex marriage. But the way that Levinson spoke out publicly this week suggests that for him, liberal emotionalism trumps conservative logic. So its reasonable to ask whether it might also have trumped judicial restraint back in 1993.

You can only imagine the complaints of bias from liberals if the judge ruling on a case that arose from the Gulf oil spill were found to own stock in BPor even if his daughter did. Given their hostility to religion, the reaction might be even worse if a judge ruling on an issue involving a local churchsay, one of the Episcopal churches whose ownership is disputed by its conservative congregation and liberal diocesewere found to be a member of that same church (or even if his daughter was).

Why are there not similar howls when a judge who has a gay childor is gay herselfrules on issues involving homosexuality?

I guess liberal political correctness includes a lot of double standards.

Hospital Visit Horrors? Heres the Rest of the Story

by Peter Sprigg

April 21, 2010

On April 15, President Obama issued a memorandum to the Secretary of Health and Human Services instructing her to prepare regulations that will protect the right of homosexual partners (and other non-family members) to visit their loved ones in the hospital.

In a series of interviews the next day, I emphasized that the Family Research Council does not have any objection to such visitation in principle, as long as it is premised on the patients personal choice rather than on a redefinition of family or marriage. However, I also pointed out that the main reason this is even a topic of discussion is because it is used as a political talking point by the advocates of same-sex marriage, who see it as a golden opportunity to tug at peoples heartstrings and generate emotional sympathy for their cause.

I further asserted my belief that the frequency with which homosexuals are barred from visiting their partners in the hospital is grossly exaggerated. As I pointed out in an online chat on the Washington Post website,

The idea that homosexuals are regularly denied the right to visit their partners in the hospital is one that has only one source—homosexual activists who want to change the definition of marriage. Where are the media surveys of hospital administrators to determine how many hospitals actually have such restrictive policies?

In the reporting on the Obama memorandum, however, many media outlets cited the case of Janice Langbehn, a lesbian who sued a Florida hospital claiming that she was denied the right to visit her partner Lisa Pond when Pond was dying from an aneurysm. Langbehns story is apparently a familiar one in the homosexual activist community, thanks in large part to a sympathetic New York Times article last year.

In fact, Langbehns story was instrumental in moving Obama to act. According to the Washington Post:

Officials said Obama had been moved by the story of a lesbian couple in Florida, Janice Langbehn and Lisa Pond, who were kept apart when Pond collapsed of a cerebral aneurysm in February 2007, dying hours later at a hospital without her partner and children by her side. Obama called Langbehn on Thursday evening from Air Force One as he flew to Miami, White House officials said.

The New York Times story last year did report that the hospital disputes some of Langbehns charges, but media reports on the Obama memo last week, like that in the Post, did not even bother mentioning that. They were content to repeat the storyline of the homosexual activists verbatim, without even stopping to ask if there was another side.

There is, however, another side. On the website of the Miami Herald, I discovered that the hospital which Langbehn accused of mistreating her has sent its own letter to President Obama. Here is part of what the hospital said:

We would also like to take this opportunity to provide you with some clarification on the allegations being made by Janice Langbehn, whose partner was treated at Jacksons Ryder Trauma Center in 2007. From the beginning, JHS has vehemently denied that Ms. Langbehn was denied visitation due to her sexual orientation. The United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida dismissed Ms. Langbehns lawsuit against Jackson Memorial Hospital in September 2009.

Ms. Langbehns allegations and those made by published articles, blogs, etc., are inaccurate and have damaged the reputations and deeply hurt the feelings of the personnel in our trauma center. They have devoted their careers to all who come through our doors, from all walks of life.

JHS grants hospital visitation to all individuals equally, regardless of their relationship to the patient, as long as doing so does not interfere with the care being given to the patient or other patients in the area. With that said, our first priority when a patient is brought to our trauma center is always to stabilize the patient and save their life. As the only adult and pediatric Level 1 trauma center in Miami-Dade County to support a population of more than 2.3 million people, our facility is one of the busiest and most renowned in the nation.

The Trauma Resuscitation Unit in Ryder Trauma Center, where Lisa Pond was treated when airlifted to Jackson, is more like a large operating room with multiple beds separated by glass partitions rather than a traditional hospital floor. Sometimes, visitors are not able to see a loved one in the trauma bay as quickly as they would like or they may have to wait until the patient is moved to the ICU or to another area of the hospital that is better suited for visitation. This all depends on the circumstances of the situation, how busy the unit is at the time and the medical conditions of the patients in the unit at the time. The patients in this area are facing life-threatening injuries or illnesses and are extremely vulnerable.

The most important piece of information to consider from our side of this story is that the charge nurse on duty the night Ms. Pond was in our care and the person who made all visitation access decisions that evening is herself a lesbian with a life partner. In addition, numerous members of the medical team working in our trauma unit are openly homosexual. We can assure you that Ms. Langbehn was not treated differently because of her sexual orientation.

When homosexuals complain that they are denied the right to visit their partners in the hospital, they may give some people the impression (I suspect deliberately) that in some hospitals they are never able to visit their partners, simply because they are not legally recognized as family members. I pointed out that for ordinary patients in ordinary hospital rooms (the vast majority of hospital patients), there are few if any restrictions on visitation. You dont go through security, no one checks your IDyou just walk up to the room and visit. Some hospitals have even done away with the tradition of visiting hours, and instead allow visitors to come in at any hour of the day or night.

I did acknowledge that there might be exceptions to these liberal visitation policies, such as when a patient is in intensive care. But there was one point so obvious that I did not bother making it (until now)and that is that in situations of emergency, trauma, or intensive care, hospitals may sometimes keep away all visitors from a patient for medical reasonsnot for reasons of discrimination. If the hospitals account is accurate, that is what happened to Janice Langbehn.

Is the thought of a person dying without their loved ones at their bedside an agonizing one? Of course. But it is an agony that is probably experienced by many people, regardless of sexual orientation or marital status, every day, for one simple reasontheir beds are surrounded by doctors and nurses fighting to save their lives.

Fathering Confusion

by Rob Schwarzwalder

January 18, 2010

In June 2008, then-candidate Barack Obama gave a moving speech on fatherhood in his hometown of Chicago. Here, in part, is what he said:

We need fathers to realize that responsibility does not end at conception. We need them to realize that what makes you a man is not the ability to have a child —- it’s the courage to raise one. We need to help all the mothers out there who are raising these kids by themselves; the mothers who drop them off at school, go to work, pick up them up in the afternoon, work another shift, get dinner, make lunches, pay the bills, fix the house, and all the other things it takes both parents to do. So many of these women are doing a heroic job, but they need support. They need another parent. Their children need another parent. That’s what keeps their foundation strong. It’s what keeps the foundation of our country strong.

All true. So why is a man who acknowledges the central importance of fathers and mothers seeking to corrode marriage? Consider the President’s remarks made in October 2009 to the 30th anniversary dinner of the Human Rights Campaign —- America’s leading pro-homosexual organization. In his speech, Mr. Obama said he looked forward to the day when:

..we as a nation finally recognize relationships between two men or two women as just as real and admirable as relationships between a man and a woman. You will see a nation that’s valuing and cherishing these families as we build a more perfect union —- a union in which gay Americans are an important part. I am committed to these goals. And my administration will continue fighting to achieve them.

Huh? I thought children need moms and dads, not just two mommies or “spouses.”

This is more relevant now than ever, as in 2010 the President and his allies are committed to repealing the military’s ban on homosexuals serving in the ranks and passing the so-called “Employment Non-Discrimination Act,” which would impose homosexuality in faith-based and other private activities.

Either fathers and mothers are needed in a marriage or they are not. And either an unborn child is a human person from conception (as Mr. Obama suggests in his remarks above) until natural death, or it is merely a complex of disparate cells (as Mr. Obama has suggested elsewhere).

You’re in the White House now, Mr. President. The time for ponderous ambivalence is long past. Gotta make your mind up. Please do so in favor of real marriage and human life.

A New Welfare Program in the Obama Healthcare Bill

by Chris Gacek

January 13, 2010

According to a Washington Times news account by Cheryl Wetzstein in Washington Times (1/12/2010), the Obama healthcare bill will contain $1 billion over five years for a new federal welfare program. It is a maternal home-visit service in which a volunteering mother with a new baby will receive, for up to two years, nurse visits once or twice a month to help the younger mother cope with the daily demands of a growing child. Wetzstein adds, This maternal home-visit service is on its way to becoming a massive federal program….

President Obama touted the Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP), during the campaign. NFP was devised by in the late 1970s by psychologist David Olds, now a professor at the University of Colorado, Denver. True to his word, Obama is pushing this program now.

In an accompanying analysis piece, Wetzsteins focuses her only fire on the lack of attention paid to fathers by the program. Howerver, there are other concerns. The first that struck me was this: so what happens when the poor, at-risk, poorly educated mother doesnt do what the friendly nurse instructs? What if she doesnt stop smoking, for example? How close is the link between the visiting nurses and social services enforcement division in your local community? These nurses have to be filing reports on their student moms and evaluating them. Are there jurisdictions in which NFP visits have led to mothers losing custodial rights over their children?

Intimations of various degrees of governmental intrusion come in the news article: The House bill also stipulates that home-visiting professionals will, when appropriate, provide referrals to other programs serving children and families. For example, the House bill apparently contains the goal of increasing birth intervals between pregnancies. (Aside: the wife of a colleague with a newborn was recently lectured by her ob/gyn about birth spacing when she indicated that she wanted to soon have another child.)

So, lets say a woman becomes pregnant at a time that doesnt comport with the latest social science models optimal birth spacing. Pro-life advocates like E. Christian Brugger, an ethicist and senior fellow at Culture of Life Foundation, worry that there will be referrals to Planned Parenthood and other abortion providing institutions.

James Harden, president and chief executive of CompassCare Pregnancy Services in Rochester, N.Y., observes:

Increasing birth intervals is a very loaded phrase, and where it goes in the future, no one can know, Mr. Harden said. What is the birth interval? Is it two years between children? Three years between children? Five years between two children? From my perspective, [increasing] birth intervals relates to a backdoor approach to population control.

Anyone who thinks Harden is exaggerating, in my opinion, does not understand the manner in which bureaucracies slowly gain more and more power. Finally, how long will it be before all new families have to have an initial screening from the friendly nurses and the very friendly public health officials.

Wetzstein quotes an NFP spokesman, Julian Kesner, as strongly disputing Hardens idea. Kesner states there has been no documented situation in which a nurse has told a mother to get pregnant or not to get pregnant, he said. Thats good to hear.

However, direct commands arent the only way control can be exerted by governments. Financial carrots and sticks, anyone? The bigger point is that there are numerous deep ethical matters that go into the decisions to form families and have children. Contrary to what the public health community would have us believe, these are not value neutral decisions. Nobody has elected the public healthers to impose these values, nor will they receive much scrutiny.

On the contrary, a good case can be made that with the massive retirements coming from the Baby Boom, our country would be better off reducing spacing between children not increasing the spacing. Where is the public debate on this? Notice and comment periods?

Finally, it seems clear that this program is designed to enmesh the mother and her baby into the welfare system through referrals. Is that a good thing?

In closing, before we create another massive federal welfare bureaucracy it seems that much more needs to be learned about all the various facets of this program and how NFP works in practice where the rubber meets the road.

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