12:42 PM, Jul 22, 2015 • By JONATHAN V. LAST
The lone bright spot last week was the release of Ryan Anderson's much-anticipated (by me, at least) book on Obergefell and the future of marriage. It's called Truth Overruled: The future of marriage and religious freedom and I cannot recommend it highly enough.
Anderson has pulled of a great trick with Truth Overruled: He's written a book that should be of interest not just to proponents of traditional marriage, but to the people who have advocated for redefining marriage, too. That's because what he does is distill, in an even-handed and philosophical manner, exactly what the arguments are for traditional marriage and what the costs to society are likely to be from redefinition.
Truth Overruled is so pithy and lean that I could quote the entire thing back at you. But I want to focus on two of Anderson's larger points.
The first is that when it comes to marriage, you can either have the traditional standard, or no standards, for defining the institution.
Marriage is, as Anderson explains, a human institution which predates the state. Why did it form? In order to make men and women responsible to one another, and to maximize the outcomes for both the adults and any children which result from their union. As such, "Marriage is society's least-restrictive means of ensuring the well-being of children."
The people who want to transform marriage to include same-sex relationships have, whether they know it or not, not just a practical goal, but a philosophical one, too: They want, as Anderson puts it, to turn marriage into "an instrument for gratifying the emotions of adults." (This is not, I think, a redefinition that most same-sex marriage proponents would object to.)
The problem is that when you shift the institution's purpose, you then change the institution. And this isn't the first time we've confronted this movement. Here's Anderson:
The same argument was made during the no-fault divorce debate. No-fault divorce was for the relatively small number of people suffering in unhappy marriages and would be irrelevant for everyone else. But the change in the law changed everyone's expectations of marital permanence. The breakdown of the marriage culture that followed made it possible in our generation to consider removing sexual complementarity from the legal definition of marriage. And that redefinition may lead to further redefinition.
In short: Once you move away from the original purpose and definition of marriage, you enter a world in which the institution is infinitely plastic. Which means that if you support same-sex marriage today, you need to be comfortable with whatever marriage will be defined as tomorrow. And there will be future redefinitions.
Furthermore, you need to be comfortable with the trade-offs you're making.
What people often fail to understand is that rights are in constant tension with one another. Expanding one set of "rights" and "freedoms" comes with a cost. Anderson sees four them, right off the top:
Law teaches. It shapes ideas, which shape what people do. A radical change in the law of marriage will have at least four harmful consequences that we can foresee. The needs and rights of children will be subordinated to the desires of adults. The marital norms of monogamy, exclusivity, and permanence will be weakened. Unborn children will be put at even more risk than they already are. And religious liberty-Americans' "first freedom"-will be threatened.
It's this last threat-to religious freedom-which occupies a great deal of thought in Truth Overruled, because it is the most immediate consequence of the Supreme Court's Obergefell decision.
With marriage now redefined, we can expect to see the marginalization of those with traditional views and the erosion of religious liberty. The law and culture will seek to eradicate such views through economic, social, and legal pressure. With marriage redefined, believing what virtually every human society once believed about marriage will increasingly be deemed a malicious prejudice to be driven to the margins of culture.
Jul 20, 2015, Vol. 20, No. 42 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
If you were on social media last week, you no doubt heard about the new contract being promoted to college students by the activists at the Affirmative Consent Project in their effort to beat back the supposed “rape culture” on U.S. campuses. The group suggested that amorous couples, after signing the model contract, take a selfie to document their decision to hook up (and presumably provide a defense in any disciplinary hearings down the road should an accusation of misconduct be leveled).
8:27 PM, Jun 24, 2015 • By DANIEL HALPER
Speaking at an LGBT event tonight at the White House, President Obama took credit for liberal LGBT progress since he took office six-and-a-half years ago.
7:32 AM, Mar 30, 2015 • By JERYL BIER
During President Obama's tenure, religious Americans have been increasingly marginalized by an administration that can be intolerant or at least unaccomodating of beliefs that conflict with its policies, regulations, or legislative goals. Perhaps most notably, President Obama campaigned by expressing support for traditional marriage, more than once citing his Christianity as the basis for his position, a position he later "evolved" away from. This has not stopped the president, however, from invoking scripture in support of other items on his agenda.
11:39 AM, Sep 22, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan officiated a same-sex marriage over the weekend, the Associated Press reports. It was her first.
"Justice Elena Kagan has officiated for the first time at a same-sex wedding, a Maryland ceremony for her former law clerk and his husband," reports the AP.
8:15 AM, Jun 5, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
The administration for children and families, part of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), issued guidance in a memo
8:03 AM, May 20, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
The American Military Partner Association (AMPA) held its first National Gala Dinner in Washington Sunday, and the Department of Defense used the opportunity to tout the rapid advances the military is making in erasing gender distinctions in policies regarding military spouses and partners.
4:51 PM, Mar 4, 2014 • By PETER AUGUSTINE LAWLER
Richard V. Reeves has written in The Atlantic a confident and illuminating account of the state of marriage in America today. College-educated American men and women “are reinventing marriage as a child-rearing machine for a post-feminist society and a knowledge economy.” On this front, the Americans have once again shown their superiority to the Europeans, who, in their socially self-destructive way, remain ambivalent at best about the value of being married. But a European might respond that only an American could be content with such a self-consciously mechanical view of a relational institution. It’s easy to hear the French man Alexis de Tocqueville laughing between the lines of his deadpan description of American men describing marriage in terms of “self-interest rightly understood.”
'It Makes Economic Sense for a Woman to Have More Than One Husband.'8:22 AM, Jan 20, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
In an article published a couple days ago, Time magazine endorses "Polyandry," which Merriam-Webster defines as "the state or practice of having more than one husband or male mate at one time."
"It Makes Economic Sense for a Woman to Have More Than One Husband," reads the article's headline. The sub-headline reads, "By pooling male resources, polyandry improves household incomes and combats child poverty."
8:18 AM, Nov 16, 2013 • By JONATHAN V. LAST
Every time you think that we've finally touched bottom on Obamacare, some new problem emerges. So what began merely as a dysfunctional website became a broken and mis-designed system. When it turned out that lots of people were paying more for their plans, it then turned out that others were having their plans canceled—and that some people were even losing their doctors. And now we're finding that, along with everything else, Obamacare contains a marriage penalty, too.
Michael Warren, lapsed guitaristNov 11, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 09 • By MICHAEL WARREN
The other day, I picked up my guitar and didn’t know what to play. This is happening more and more, and I guess it’s because I pick up the guitar less and less. When I was 15, I could strum my way through the entire Beatles catalogue, half the songs on classic rock radio, and any number of self-penned blues jams before I ever had to stop and think about what to play next.
2:06 PM, Oct 9, 2013 • By JONATHAN V. LAST
While everyone else has spent the last few days obsessing about Gravity, the government shutdown, and the real possibility that the NFC East division champ will have six wins, it’s quietly been an interesting week for sociology nerds who think about marriage.
Sep 16, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 02 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
As the debate over gay marriage began heating up, supporters of the idea insisted that it was a matter of basic libertarianism. “Don’t like gay marriage? Don’t have one,” went the bumper-sticker-turned-rallying-cry. Of course, it was never going to be that simple with regard to something as foundational as marriage, and now we are starting to see there are real consequences to being publicly opposed to the practice.
Jul 8, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 41 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
Last month The Scrapbook reported on a slightly arcane, but important, change being proposed for the American Community Survey. The ACS is an annual survey conducted by the Census Bureau; it goes out to 3 million households and is one of the most robust tools we have for gathering demographic data about our country. For unknown reasons, the statisticians running the ACS proposed deleting a question about “number of times married.”