Attorney Discerning

Just another poor dumb sinner; trying to do what he can for Christ & His Church

Thursday, October 18, 2007

New stuff

“The majority of the court held that sexual orientation is not a suspect class, that there is no scientific consensus that orientation is immutable, that marriage does not discriminate based on gender, that there is no fundamental right to same-sex marriage, that laws defining marriage as a union of husband and wife are substantially different from those banning interracial marriage, and that the historic link between marriage and procreation justifies the state's definition of marriage as a union of husband and wife.”

SSM [same-sex marriage] has lost in every state high court to consider the issue since the stunning success in Goodridge in Massachusetts in 2003... When you consider that SSM legal advocates have carefully chosen the most sympathetic venues since Goodridge, this record of losses is especially significant. It means that strong anti-SSM precedents are being created in the friendliest states, making pro-SSM rulings in other states even more unlikely in the near future... If SSM is to advance much in the near future, it will probably have to come legislatively.,1,3340366.story?ctrack=1&cset=true

1. Social science literature demonstrates the children who are reared by a married natural mother and father have more positive outcomes in a wide variety of important factors compared to children in other adequately studied family structures.

2. "Children reared in a stable married natural family are likely to do better on various measures of educational attainment; exhibit fewer behavioral problems, including conduct disorders, alcohol and drug abuse, and juvenile delinquency; will not be as likely to engage in criminal behavior as adults; engage in sexual relations as teenagers, and to experience an unwed pregnancy; have a decreased risk for mental/emotional illness; have a decreased risk of physical illness and infant mortality; experience decreased risk of suicide; have a greater life expectancy; likely to benefit from high levels of parental investment, commitment, and closeness (particularly with their fathers); be victims of physical and sexual abuse; experience higher levels of family stability as adults, including a decreased divorce risk."

Maryland Decision
The Court of Appeals of Maryland (the state’s highest court) today issued a decision in a case brought by nine same-sex couples and others challenging the state’s definition of marriage. A trial court had ruled that the marriage law was a form of sex discrimination but today’s decision reversed that ruling. The majority in today’s decision consisted of four justices, two of whom had retired but were recalled to participate in the decision.

As to the sex discrimination argument, today’s majority said that the state’s Equal Rights Amendment was intended only to end discrimination against men or women as a class and “to remedy the long history of subordination of women in this country.” Since the marriage laws “do not separate men and women into discrete classes for the purpose of granting to one class of persons benefits at the expense of the other class” and the statute does not “place men and women on an uneven playing field” it is not sex discrimination.

The court then ruled on whether a sexual orientation classification should require the court to subject the marriage law to more exacting scrutiny. The court noted the prejudice and legal disabilities experienced by gays and lesbians but pointed out that they are not politically powerless, having experienced a number of legislative gains in past years. The court also said it could not assume “that gay, lesbian, and bisexual persons display readily recognizable, immutable characteristics that define the group” based on “the scientific and sociological evidence currently available to the public.”

The majority next rejected the idea “that a right to same-sex marriage has taken hold to the point that it is implicit in the concept of ordered liberty or deeply rooted in history and tradition of Maryland.” In fact, the court noted that previous cases recognizing a fundamental right to marry “infer that the right to marry enjoys its fundamental status due to the male-female nature of the relationship and/or the attendant link to fostering procreation of our species.” In fact, the court said that virtually all of the cases “indicate[] as the basis for the conclusion the institution’s inextricable link to procreation, which necessarily and biologically involves participation (in ways either intimate or remote) by a man and a woman.”

In terms of the justifications for the current marriage law, the court ruled “fostering procreation is a legitimate government interest” and the “‘inextricable link’ between marriage and procreation reasonably could support the definition of marriage as between a man and a woman only, because it is that relationship that is capable of producing biological offspring of both members (advances in reproductive technologies notwithstanding).” The court held “the fundamental right to marriage and its ensuing benefits are conferred on opposite-sex couples not because of a distinction between whether various opposite-sex couples actually procreate, but rather because of the possibility of procreation.”

One justice agreed that the definition of marriage might be justifiable but would have endorsed the New Jersey Supreme Court’s decision that the benefits of marriage must be given to same-sex couples.

Two justices dissented, the first endorsing an absolute reading of the state Equal Rights Amendment (if sex is even mentioned, the law should be presumed unconstitutional) and the second endorsing a dissenting opinion in the New York marriage case.

Pew Poll on Gay Marriage: Opposition High and Holding
A new Pew Poll on SSM, released Sept. 6 (and somewhat buried under the lead which is about religion and presidential candidates:
"Attitudes toward gay marriage have remained virtually unchanged since July 2006, with 36% of Americans favoring it and 55% expressing opposition to allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally. . . . Support for gay marriage is highest among liberal Democrats (71%) and lowest among conservative Republicans (11%), with other ideological and partisan groups falling in between.

Among religious groups, evangelical Protestants overwhelmingly oppose gay marriage, including 81% of white evangelicals and 79% of black evangelicals. A large proportion in both groups – 55% of white evangelicals and 48% of black evangelicals – say they strongly oppose gay marriage. White mainline Protestants and Catholics are more evenly divided on the issue. The religiously unaffiliated are the only group in which a majority (60%) expresses support for gay marriage. . ."

Doug Kmiec on the Iowa SSM Ruling
Prof.Kmiec is at Pepperdine:
"When the Iowa trial court struck down Iowa's Defense of Marriage Act, Mitt Romney was the only presidential candidate voice to be heard understanding the ruling for what it was: "yet another example of an activist court and unelected judges trying to redefine marriage and disregard the will of the people as expressed through the Iowa Defense of Marriage Act." It is often complained that the words judicial activism are used frequently and without definition. There is some truth to that complaint, but a close review of the ruling illustrates the sum and substance of that unconstitutional disease.

First of all, one of the aspects of the case that would trouble any open-minded reader is the extent to which the court rebuffed expert testimony in behalf of traditional marriage. Testimony from the founding director of the McGill center for medicine ethics and the law; testimony from Dr. Paul Nathanson a senior researcher at McGill University; testimony from Dr. Steven Rhoads, a well-respected author of important books on gender roles and the healthy development of children and related matters; and finally the testimony of Dr. Allan Carlson the president of the Howard Center for family religion and society were all refused by the court. The court had the temerity to indicate that these individuals were "not qualified" to testify as they lacked "scientific technical, and other specialized knowledge." By contrast, the court swung the door open widely for experts to opine upon anti-gay sentiment.

Notwithstanding this one-sided appraisal of offered evidence, the court noted that those advocating for same-sex marriage did not dispute, and frankly offered no evidence to contradict, two salient findings:

1. "Social science literature demonstrates the children who are reared by a married mother and father have more positive outcomes in a wide variety of important factors compared to children in other adequately studied family structures..." and

2. "Children reared in a stable married family are likely to do better on various measures of educational attainment; exhibit fewer behavioral problems, including conduct disorders, alcohol and drug abuse, and juvenile delinquency; will not be as likely to engage in criminal behavior as adults; engage in sexual relations as teenagers, and to experience an unwed pregnancy; have a decreased risk for mental/emotional illness; have a decreased risk of physical illness and infant mortality; experience decreased risk of suicide; have a greater life expectancy; likely to benefit from high levels of parental investment, commitment, and closeness (particularly with their fathers); be victims of physical and sexual abuse; experience higher levels of family stability as adults, including a decreased divorce risk."


At 11:46 AM, Blogger Fitz said...,M1

At 9:45 AM, Blogger Fitz said...

"tough to convince"??? (or impossible)
Submitted by Fitz on Thu, 10/18/2007 - 3:08am.
Maxwell Smart (writes)

“There are doctrinaire conservatives everywhere, even in the Netherlands. One solid study is worth ten thousand opinion pieces, and reproducible results are worth ten thousand isolated studies. At some point the opponents of gay marriage are going to have to move past Leviticus and try to do some science.”

So you dismiss this very charitable & measured response by academics as the work of “doctrinaire conservatives” and then call on ME to produce “longitudinal study’s published in a peer-reviewed academic journal [by] Anthropologists and sociologists”

Well Maxwell…the problem with such an approach is that in order for such studies to come to the fore you need first #1 Run the experiment #2. Spend years compiling the data.

Certainly you have the integrity to admit that doing this requires I concede the very social change you are advocating for. By the time the evidence is in; and a social scientific consensus emerges – it has become to late for opponents of the change to be heard. (one thinks of advocates of no-fault divorce in the 70’s and their predictions on impacts on children & society)

There is something in the law called burden shifting. The burden of proof falls upon one side or the other. This can make all the difference in the “outcome” of the argument.

Before I present anymore evidence concerning the deleterious effects on family formation caused by adoption of same-sex “marriage”, - it would be edifying for you to cede some already established finding from the social science literature. In this way at least we have a basis for arguing about the desirability of certain family forms to begin with.

Outside of such concessions I can only assume that you are interested in elision & obfuscation rather than arrival at truth.

In that regard I offer some findings from the Maryland supreme courts recent decision on same-sex “marriage”. Certainly you will concede that the very experienced advocates for same-sex “marriage” who argued before the Supreme Court would be loathe to cede foundational arguments to the opposition if they were truly contested within social science.

The Maryland Supreme court had noted that those advocating for same-sex “marriage” did not dispute, and frankly offered no evidence to contradict, two salient findings:

1. "Social science literature demonstrates the children who are reared by a married natural mother and father have more positive outcomes in a wide variety of important factors compared to children in other adequately studied family structures- including single parent families, adopted families, step families, divorced families and the like (note – Courts, social scientists & advocates of same-sex “marriage” themselves concede that same-sex families have not been adequately studied so that solid conclusions can be made)”

2. "Children reared in a stable natural married family are likely to do better on various measures of educational attainment; exhibit fewer behavioral problems, including conduct disorders, alcohol and drug abuse, and juvenile delinquency; will not be as likely to engage in criminal behavior as adults; engage in sexual relations as teenagers, and to experience an unwed pregnancy; have a decreased risk for mental/emotional illness; have a decreased risk of physical illness and infant mortality; experience decreased risk of suicide; have a greater life expectancy; likely to benefit from high levels of parental investment, commitment, and closeness (particularly with their fathers); be victims of physical and sexual abuse; experience higher levels of family stability as adults, including a decreased divorce risk."

Now- this could easily digress into a dispute concerning the evidence that suggests the natural married family is superior to other family forms, or that such evidence has even generated a consensus in the field as to optimal family formation.

Your opinion on this matter will be quite telling. It will tell me wether I am arguing with someone persuadable by evidence, or someone who (as you assert) is more like those “doctrinaire conservatives” you seem so readily to impute on any opposition.

At 12:01 PM, Blogger Fitz said...

Comments (55)

I had posted (some of) this observation below: but was sidetracked with a semantic dispute on elemental logic. This represents a substantial revision that goes even further in illuminating this recent critique by Mr. Douthat

Mr. Douthat & Yuval Levin, are correct in identifying the “unchosen” obligations surrounding the family as pre-political, pre-liberal conceptions. What I point to in this post is the inability of liberalism to square its “contractual” conception with its own conceptions of fundamental human rights.

I believe it demonstrates that the pure “contractual” system is incapable of identifying and protecting basic human goods from the ravages of its own critique.

In other words the “contractual system” is cannibalistic.

Haidt thesis concerning the five moral impulses; and its two (beehive & contractual) moral systems they have developed seems a lucid and useful one.

What strikes me as particularly important is the way the “beehive system” recognizes the moral veracity of the Harm and Fairness conceptions within the “contractual system”. At the same time however, the “contractual system” remains constitutionally incapable of recognizing the moral veracity of the Loyalty, Authority and Purity impulses contained within the beehive system deeper tapestry.

In this manner it becomes fair to characterize the “contractual system” as significantly less sophisticated intellectually then the beehive model. It is also fair to recognize that the “contractual system”; in as much as it seeks to deny (or is incapable of recognizing) what science & evolution find legitimate within mans moral impulses – is also the less humane system.

In support of this contention I offer (first) Yuval Levin quote that gets to the hart of the matter when he (correctly) notes..

“So modern liberalism has sought to deny the significance of unchosen obligations, inventing for itself a creation myth by which all human relations result from an original (contractual) choice in some state of nature, which would make only chosen obligations legitimate ones. This has done a lot of good, but it doesn’t change the fact that some of our most important obligations—particularly those in the family—remain unchosen yet binding and essential.”In support: I would offer this from the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights And point out contemporary liberalisms inability (under the contractual system) to identify and defend those human goods that until quite recently it was capable of articulating. (To the point of enshrining them within international law.)

Article 16
1.Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution. 2.Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses. 3.The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.
{this is further expanded in Article 7 & 8 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child}

Article 7 (reads) 1. The child shall be registered immediately after birth and shall have the right from birth to a name, the right to acquire a nationality and. as far as possible, the right to know and be cared for by his or her parents. Article 8 (reads) 1. States Parties undertake to respect the right of the child to preserve his or her identity, including nationality, name and family relations as recognized by law without unlawful interference. 2. Where a child is illegally deprived of some or all of the elements of his or her identity, States Parties shall provide appropriate assistance and protection, with a view to re-establishing speedily his or her identity.I believe this goes immediately to Mr. Haidt thesis & Yuval Levin critique. Illustrating the very real and practical ignorance the “contractual model” dictates when contemporary proponents of that model are confronted with a liberalism more amiable to all five of Haidt’s “moral impulses”.

Posted by Fitz | September 25, 2007 1:23 PM

Ross Douthat

Re: Parent/Child/Social obligations & Mr. Haidt thesis & Yuval Levin's critique

Outside my own critique of focusing on U.N human rights violations driven by the pure “contractual model” (above) numerous other examples exist.

One important book highlights the failure (one could say) of the “contractual model” to support & maintain basic safeguards to families and children has been only recently published.

This critique focuses on American law (not international law as I have)

The Book is: Freedom's Orphans: Contemporary Liberalism and the Fate of American Children (New Forum Books)
by David L. Tubbs -fellow at the Witherspoon Institute, former associate editor of the American Journal of Jurisprudence and professor of politics at King's College in New York City.

The publishers provide a sample chapter of the introduction. Available here:

It briefly outlines the arguments the book makes. As such I believe you will find them immediately applicable to the discussion between Mr. Haidt, Yuval Levin & yourself

At 10:39 AM, Blogger Fitz said...

“Based on accumulated social research, there can now be little doubt that successful and well-adjusted children in modern societies are most likely to come from families consisting of the biological father and mother.” *

David Popenoe, “Can the Nuclear Family be Revived?” Society 35, no. 5 (July – August 1999)

At 10:11 AM, Blogger Fitz said...

At 8:46 AM, Blogger Fitz said...

"That logic and structure attributed to the law grow out of the power relationships of the society. The law exists to support the interests of the party or class that forms it and is merely a collection of beliefs and prejudices that legitimize the injustices of society. The wealthy and the powerful use the law as an instrument for oppression in order to maintain their place in hierarchy."

The first meaning of the term critical theory was that defined by Max Horkheimer of the Frankfurt School of social science in his 1937 essay Traditional and Critical Theory: Critical theory is social theory oriented toward critiquing and changing society as a whole, in contrast to traditional theory oriented only to understanding or explaining it.

The Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State (1884) by Fredrick Engels.
Engels portrays the prehistory (what he calls the “original state”) of sexual life & procreation as something of a golden age – lots of free sex for anyone who wanted it, little if any sexual jealousy (“every women belonged equally to every man and, similarly, every man to every woman”), social harmony, equality between the sexes, kinship ties determined by and through women (in part because paternity was seldom clearly established) and women acting as strong and even dominate social leaders.1

Then a terrible thing happened: Private property and capitalism were born; the ancient “mother right” was overturned; and men both took over the family and created the state to protect their newly gained privileges. According to Engel’s, “the overthrow of the mother right was the world-historic defeat of the female sex” The man seized the reigns of the house also; the woman was degraded, enthralled, the slave of the man’s lust, a mere instrument for breeding children.”

History had begun. In the new order, paternal authority was total and ruthless: “In order to guarantee the fidelity of the wife, that is, the paternity of the children, the woman is placed in mans absolute power; if he kills her he is but exercising his right.” 2

Marriage laws enforcing monogamy took hold during this transitional period, not because of individual of “individual sex love” says Engel’s, but in order for males to appropriate wealth and transfer it to their sons. A “wife” in the new marriage-based order is someone who differs form the ordinary courtesan only in that she does not hire out her body, like a wageworker, on piecework, but sells it into once and for all.” Marriage thus makes its appearance in history not as “the reconciliation of man & woman,” but instead as “the victory of private property” and as “the proclamation of a conflict between the sexes entirely unknown hitherto in prehistoric times”.3 Engels, quoting Marx, argues that marriage as it actually emerged in human history “contains within itself in miniature all the antagonisms which later develop on a wide scale within society and its state” 4

No, "cross-disciplinary" refers to crossing all disciplines ... much the way a 747 crosses the North Pole at 40,000 feet above an impenetrable cloud cover ... on the way to a single destination: Rococo Marxism.

“Here's a hypothetical question; in the movie "Sling Blade" is the child better off with the abusive drunk, or the gay man helping his mom? Life doesn't always fit into a cookie cutter, and sometimes choices like these have to be made. Which is it if you had to decide?”

But John – those are insufficient options.

At 12:30 PM, Blogger Fitz said...

Alberta Speech Decision
Last week, a panel of Alberta’s provincial human rights commission issued a decision condemning a letter to a local newspaper entitled “Homosexual Agenda Wicked.” After the letter was published, a local university professor filed a complaint with the commission. This professor was supported by the provincial attorney general. The letter is included in the decision.

For U.S. readers who are not overly familiar with this type of case, the panel’s reasoning is fascinating.

The panel concluded that “the letter expresses hatred or contempt for a group of persons on the basis pf their sexual preference. It is also my view that any persons on the basis of sexual preference. It is also my view that any person of reasonable intelligence informed about the context of this statement would understand the message is expressing hatred and/or contempt.” The panel further believed “the effect of the communication would make it more acceptable to others to manifest hatred against homosexuals.” The panel said: “The fact that the letter is written by a ‘Reverend’ who is a ‘chairman’ on behalf of a ‘Coalition’ tends to give the letter credibility. Further, the polemic references to the Bible gives the message an air of credibility, given the ancient nature of the text.”

The panel rejected the argument of the letter writer that his expression was protected by the rights of free speech and religious expression. The panel said it was “nonsensical to enact broad and paramount and remedial legislation, such as human rights legislation, to protect the dignity and human rights of Albertans, only to have it overridden by the expression of opinion in all forms.” The panel believed “the views of individuals expressing their opinions or expressing political statements must be made in a responsible manner.”

The panel thus concluded that religious freedom did not trump the human rights legislation’s speech code because “[i]t cannot be the case that any speech wrapped in the ‘guise’ of politics or religion is beyond reproach by any legislation but the Criminal Code.”

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At 12:24 PM, Blogger Fitz said...

Well, chiefly I must remind those reading that you have not dispelled anything. You have certainly added to the findings
“The authors of the new study, "The Social Organization of Sexuality" (University of Chicago Press), are the first to say that theirs is not the last word.”
This is obvious… what piece of research is the “last word” in social science. It is however some of the largest and most definitive & modern to date.
At this point I would like to point out that you have misrepresented this
"'homesxuality' as a fixed trait" is actually a specific comment about how the subject see themselves and self-identify. Fitz attempts to spin the comment stating that “the most common natural course for a young person who develops a 'homosexual identity' is for it to spontaneously disappear unless that process is discouraged or interfered with by extraneous factors" into a general comment about to imply that sexual orientation is not a fixed trait, but the researchers in the study noted specifically that sexuality was not just about the way people self-identify, and that desire and behavior often seemed disconnected from the way that people self-identify.
I think it is you who are trying to spin – as compared to myself, You want to say that the Laumann study found homosexuality to be a fixed trait. That fact of the matter is that the Laumann study find that homosexuality is not a fixed trait. I note this by quoting the study itself, not providing any spin.
Once again I will add to the information you provide by quoting the study itself
“[E]stimating a single number for the prevalence of homosexuality is a futile exercise,”
Laumann declares in the first paragraph of an entire chapter devoted to the subject. That finding a solid number for homosexuality is futile not because of bias, underreporting, methodological difficulties, or complexities of behavior, but
“because it presupposes assumptions that are patently false: that homosexuality is a uniform attribute across individuals, that it is stable over time, and that it can be easily measured.”
The reality is that since 1994—for ten years—there has existed solid epidemiologic evidence, now extensively confirmed and reconfirmed, that ..
“the most common natural course for a young person who develops a “homosexual identity” is for it to spontaneously disappear unless that process is discouraged or interfered with by extraneous factors.
Laumann, provides the most careful and extensive database ever obtained on the childhood experiences of matched homosexual and heterosexual populations. All the evidence points to the fact that homosexuality is not a “stable trait.”
Furthermore, as was already evident in the data concerning prevalence of homosexuality—however measured, whether by action, feeling, or identity—before age eighteen and after age eighteen, Laumann et al., found to their surprise that its instability over the course of life was one -directional: declining, and very significantly so.
“Sexual orientation wasn’t just not a stable trait, homosexuality tended spontaneously to “convert” into heterosexuality as a cohort of individuals aged, and this was true for both men and women” . (See Laumann, chapters eight and nine.) The pull of the normative, as it were.
You seem to think that I am zeroing in on the small percentages of homosexuals the study found. That is not the case. I am much more interested in the “fluid” nature of homosexuality that it confirms.
This is reconfirmed in a fascinating article in the far-left magazine Mother Jones questioning the conventional wisdom about the fixed nature of sexual identity. Such C.W. is a studied part of the gay rights movement. Homosexuality as a fixed and immutable trait (like race) must be maintained in order for the judicial/legal theory of same-sex “marriage” and other claims to successfully move forward.
In this regards – (as the article and quote below illustrate) admission of the possible “fluid” nature of human sexuality introduces a host of difficulties to the gay rights movement. In effect “problem-atsizing” their heretofore simplistic dichotomy. [...]
All the major psychotherapy guilds have barred their members from researching or practicing reparative therapy on the grounds that it is inherently unethical to treat something that is not a disease, that it contributes to oppression by pathologizing homosexuality, and that it is dangerous to patients whose self-esteem can only suffer when they try to change something about themselves that they can't (and shouldn't have to) change. . . .
A claim, sympathetically rejected in the article by a former homosexual man named Aaron; who’s plight and successful rejection of his former lifestyle is portrayed in this article. A claim accepted by the hierarchy of many professional organizations but rejected in practice by prominent doctors in the mental health field and a host of rival organizations.
But as crucial as this consensus has been to the struggle for gay rights, it may not be as sound as some might wish. While scientists have found intriguing biological differences between gay and straight people, the evidence so far stops well short of proving that we are born with a sexual orientation that we will have for life. Even more important, some research shows that sexual orientation is more fluid than we have come to think, that people, especially women, can and do move across customary sexual orientation boundaries, that there are ex-straights as well as ex-gays. Much of this research has stayed below the radar of the culture warriors, but reparative therapists are hoping to use it to enter the scientific mainstream and advocate for what they call the right of self-determination in matters of sexual orientation. If they are successful, gay activists may soon find themselves scrambling to make sense of a new scientific and political landscape.”
If the conventional wisdom of “born that way” simplisitiy can be openly challenged in a magazine as leftist as MotherJones , than this can only mean good things for the battle to preserve traditional marriage.,M1

Evidence is the case of Michael Glatze A former gay activist who explains how he left homosexuality.Michael Glatze decided at the age of 13 that he was gay and eventually founded Young Gay America, a nonprofit media outreach project. Through a series of incidents,however, Glatze slowly began to realize that he was not gay at all but was dealing with fears about his own masculinity. He has since rejected his gay identity.
This follows the evidence presented in the Lauman Study - providing the kind of context one would expect concerning the "fluid" nature of human sexuality & the “extraneous factors primarily the “social milieu” in which the person finds himself.
It seems that for Michael the “social milieu” that was preventing his natural progression towards heterosexuality [as the Luaman Study above attests] was the homosexual community he found himself part of.
From an interview with Michael Glatze
Michael Glatze: Well, I think maybe the first thing that comes to mind is just that I
began noticing the nature of my desires, and the fact that I was able to change them.
J.N. That’s an interesting phrase: “the nature of desire.”
M.G. Although when I look back on my life in the gay community, there was always a sense that “You don’t question your same-sex desires.”
J.N. Yes. That’s a very big rule in the gay community.
M.G. Right. In fact -- it’s rule number one.
J.N. Rule number one: “Don’t ask why.” People “just are.” No questions about why.
M.G. As soon as you join the club, that’s the first rule. You can go ahead and examine any other thing’s cause, except for homosexuality.
J.N. I can explore the foundations of my alcoholism, my overeating, my depression-- but not my homosexuality.
M.G. Right. And ironically, it’s even OK for straights to question their heterosexuality.
J.N. (nods)

At 9:33 AM, Blogger Fitz said...

Until the late 1980's, marriage was a flourishing institution in The Netherlands. The number of marriages was high, the number of divorces was relatively low compared to other Western countries, the number of illegitimate births also low. It seems, however, that legal and social experiments in the 1990's have had an adverse effect on the reputation of man's most important institution.

Over the past fifteen years, the number of marriages has declined substantially, both in absolute and in relative terms. In 1990, 95,000 marriages were solemnized (6.4 marriages per 1,000 inhabitants); by 2003, this number had dropped to 82,000 (5.1 marriages per 1,000 inhabitants). This same period also witnessed a spectacular rise in the number of illegitimate births--in 1989 one in ten children were born out of wedlock (11 percent), by 2003 that number had risen to almost one in three (31 percent). The number of never-married people grew by more than 850,000, from 6.46 million in 1990 to 7.32 million in 2003. It seems the Dutch increasingly regard marriage as no longer relevant to
their own lives or that of their offspring. We fear that this will have serious consequences, especially for the children. There is a broad base of social and legal research which shows that marriage is the best
structure for the successful raising of children. A child that grows up out of wedlock has a greater chance of experiencing problems in its psychological development, health, school performance, even the quality of future relationships.

The question is, of course, what are the root causes of this decay of marriage in our country. In light of the intense debate elsewhere about the pros and cons of legalising gay marriage it must be observed that there is as yet no definitive scientific evidence to suggest the long campaign for the legalisation of same-sex marriage contributed to these harmful trends. However, there are good reasons to believe the decline in Dutch marriage may be connected to the successful public campaign for the opening of marriage to same-sex couples in The Netherlands. After all, supporters of same-sex marriage argued forcefully in favour of the (legal and social) separation of marriage from parenting. In parliament, advocates and opponents alike agreed that same-sex marriage would pave the way to greater acceptance of alternative forms of cohabitation.

In our judgment, it is difficult to imagine that a lengthy, highly visible, and ultimately successful campaign to persuade Dutch citizens that marriage is not connected to parenthood and that marriage and cohabitation are equally valid 'lifestyle choices' has not had serious social consequences. There are undoubtedly other factors which have contributed to the decline of the institution of marriage in our country. Further scientific research is needed to establish the relative importance of all these factors. At the same time, we wish to note that enough evidence of marital decline already exists to raise serious concerns about the wisdom of the efforts to deconstruct marriage in its traditional form.

Of more immediate importance than the debate about causality is the question what we in our country can do in order to reverse this harmful
development. We call upon politicians, academics and opinion leaders to acknowledge the fact that marriage in The Netherlands is now an endangered institution and that the many children born out of wedlock are likely to suffer the consequences of that development. A national debate about how we might strengthen marriage is now clearly in order.

Signed, Prof. M. van Mourik, professor in contract law, Nijmegen University Prof. A. Nuytinck, professor in family law, Erasmus University Rotterdam Prof. R. Kuiper, professor in philosophy, Erasmus University Rotterdam J. Van Loon PhD, Lecturer in Social Theory, Nottingham Trent University H. Wels PhD, Lecturer in Social and Political Science, Free University Amsterdam


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