Archive for July 2009
On Monday and then Wednesday, the Charleston Gazette carried two editorials decrying the “oppression” of minority rights at the hand of the majority. This notion has, admittedly, troubled me this week for a couple of reasons.
First, that the ACLU of WV, the author of the first editorial, and the Gazette would hold in such low esteem the democratic process stumps me. On the one hand they argue that the Constitution of West Virginia protects the rights of minorities, but are forced to concede that that very document was ratified by a vote….of the majority! It seem odd that at one time they would support the democratic vote to ratify a document of purportedly “minority rights,” and at another time decry it as “majority oppression.”
Second, the ACLU very clearly reiterates what its representative testified to before the West Virginia Legislature. Their position is that to deny same-sex couples from marrying would be a denial of their constitutional rights. The only logical effect of that opinion can only be that they believe the West Virginia Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional – proving that not only were we correct in asserting that there is an effort to redefine marriage nationwide, that effort is subtly, but surely, creeping into West Virginia. No doubt, FairnessWV would share their opinion, making it a matter of when – not if – the WV DOMA will be challenged in court.
Third, specific to the question of allowing West Virginians to determine by which laws they will consent to be governed, vis-a-vis the definition of marriage. Both editorials, in addition to what has been pointed out above, suggest two things. First, that any rights you and I posses were created by government, but that the majority of citizens voting should never dare remove rights protecting the minority. Under that logic, one could argue that it wouldn’t take a majority vote. A simple stroke of the governmental pen would suffice, for the power to create implies the power to destroy.
The other issue is that they both would not only be pleased to see it, but believe the Constitution requires that judges must settle this issue. In other words, both the Gazette and the ACLU would prefer judges declaring which laws we will and will not be governed by to allowing the process that affirmed the constitution in the first place to do so.
I must refer them to the California Supreme Court that that, in its most recent opinion on the question of marriage and the democratic process (Strauss v. Horton), upheld the right of citizens to amend their state constitution. They were asked to decide that very question. Said the justices:
[T]he principal issue before us concerns the scope of the right of the people, under the provisions of the California Constitution, to change or alter the state Constitution itself through the initiative process so as to incorporate such a limitation as an explicit section of the state Constitution.
You may recall that the petitioners in that case suggested that the people might have the right to amend their constitution, but they could not revise it. The justices, ultimately, did not buy that this was a revision and concluded:
In the absence of such an express restriction on the initiative power, and in light of past California authorities, we conclude that the California Constitution cannot be interpreted as restricting the scope of the people’s right to amend their Constitution in the manner proposed by petitioners.
In other words, to quote from Article II, Section 2-2 of the Constitution of the State of West Virginia:
The powers of government reside in all the citizens of the state, and can be rightfully exercised only in accordance with their will and appointment.
No longer am I troubled. The Constitution belongs to its people. There is no legitimate reason to deny West Virginians the opportunity to vote on the legal definition of marriage. If we do deny them that right to self-governance, how long will it be before a judge responds to the ACLU’s request to redefine marriage on your behalf?
In today’s edition of the Charleston Gazette, the editors once-again spill a considerable amount of ink on the topic of same-sex “marriage.” Let me quote to you the latest barb shot at people like you and me who arrive at our understanding of the definition of marriage from a Judeo-Christian worldview:
Currently, some gay-hating fundamentalists want to change West Virginia’s constitution to outlaw same-sex marriage. . . . Undoubtedly, Bible Belt hostility to gays would be strong enough to pass an amendment and revise the state constitution. However, this is another type of personal freedom that ultimately won’t be decided by voters. . . . Holding an election to resist inevitable cultural change is a waste of time. Elections don’t decide personal freedoms, in the long run. [emphasis added]
I quickly recognize that this name-calling is merely a symptom of a clash of worldviews, but the Gazette is right about one thing: “Elections don’t decide personal freedoms.” But they are wrong to conclude that marriage is cultural, that it is an “inevitable” change, and most assuredly they are wrong that self-governance would be “a waste of time.”
Personal freedoms aren’t decided by elections. That was settled long ago when, in the words of our Declaration of Independence, our rights – personal and otherwise – were “endowed” to us (not government) “by our Creator.” Don’t miss the depth of that common quote. You see if you believe, as the Gazette appears to, that the government by stroke of the judicial pen or vote of the legislator can create personal rights and freedoms, then that same government can quickly remove them as well.
But if you believe, as I do, that personal rights and freedoms were given “by our Creator” to you and me individually, then the only being that can remove those rights is “our Creator.” The genius of this great American experiment in self-governance is that the citizens of the United States hold all the rights. Some of those rights we have given to a central agency to govern, but even those, we never fully relinquished. In fact, it is by the use of the electoral process and participation in an open form of government that we have the ability to steward those rights first entrusted to us by God himself.
Viewed in that light, the only legitimate body to decide the definition of marriage that we consent to be governed by is the people of these United State – specifically, West Virginia voters. Recall the words from Article I, Section 2-2 of Constitution of the State of West Virginia, “The powers of government reside in all the citizens of the state and can be rightfully exercised only with their will and appointment.”
The Gazette suggests that this change is inevitable. It is not. Thirty (30) states have allowed voters settle the legal definition of marriage in their states. Still, it is clear from the experience of several states that there is a coordinated effort to redefine marriage nationwide.
West Virginia is no exception. Fairness West Virginia and the ACLU of West Virginia is working to counter our efforts to let the people vote on the definition of marriage. Two days after the legislative hearing on marriage, the Human Rights Campaign – the nation’s largest same-sex lobbying arm – explained on their blog, HRC Back Story, that they were working closely with Fairness West Virginia to redefine marriage. They proudly said, “HRC worked with Fairness West Virginia on preparing testimony, including providing background research and message development.”
In other words, we were right when we suggested that there is a nationwide effort to redefine marriage and that effort has West Virginia targeted. No doubt, we can expect multiple millions of dollars to infuse Fairness West Virginia and the ACLU of WV in the coming months by those who would redefine marriage – just like the $294,000 recently invested by such groups in Vermont. (Interesting note: Vermont Freedom to Marry spent $294,286 to purchase the legislative redefinition of marriage in Vermont. The combined total expenditures by traditional marriage proponents spent a mere $41,769. I did the math for you, pro-marriage groups were outspent by $252,517.)
Thankfully, the Family Policy Council of West Virginia is advancing, defending, and equipping West Virginia’s families. We are meeting Fairness West Virginia and the ACLU head-on in this battle for marriage in West Virginia. Through your calls and emails to our state legislature and our continued presence in the press, at the legislature, and online, we form an invaluable, and formidable, partnership for marriage in West Virginia.
There’s an old saying in the law, “When you case is strong on the facts, pound the facts. When it’s strong on the law, pound the law. When it’s strong on neither, pound the table.”
The Gazette appears to be pounding the table.
Register for the Family Policy Council of West Virginia’s upcoming “Family Dinner” held at Stonewall on August 15. Click here to register online.
Second Annual ”Family Dinner” featuring keynote
speaker, Bishop Harry Jackson, Jr.
Tickets are $75/plate or sponsor a table of 10 for $750.
By Nathan A. Cherry
Have you ever been to Romania? Ever wanted to visit Romania? After today I have decided that not only do I want to visit Romania to have a conversation with their lawmakers, but, I would like every U.S. lawmaker to do the same. Why? Simply to get a better perspective on same-sex marriage.
Last week Romania enacted new legislation that creates a stronghold for traditional marriage in the European country. Alliance Defense Fund attorneys, together with the Alliance for Romania’s Families helped secure passage of the bill.
Just listen to the sane, logical words of Peter Costea of the Alliance for Romania’s Families:
“At this time in history, we should be strengthening marriage, not tearing it down. Government officials take notice when the people make their will known. That’s what happened in Romania.”
Did you hear that Mr. Obama? Did you hear that talking heads in Washington, ACLU, liberal, left-leaning lawmakers in congress? He said that “government officials take notice when the people make their will known.” Well when will that start happening in the United States? (Let’s start in West Virginia where citizens want to vote for themselves on the definition of marriage in their state). Let’s recap.
In every poll and every time citizens are given the chance to vote they decidedly oppose same-sex marriage and its legalization. (Just check out the last vote in California, Arizona, and Florida). Not only that, but without question every citizen believes it is their duty to decide the definition of marriage in their state, not a judge, not lawmakers, the citizens. Just ask the citizens in Iowa, Connecticut, Vermont, Maine and New Hampshire if they would have liked to vote on this issue rather than watch activist judges and legislatures ignore them and make the decision for them.
So, in Romania the people voice their will and the lawmakers listen; it kind of sounds like a democracy to me. Maybe we should send our lawmakers over there for some lessons.
Let me add this last quote from this article just for those politicians and others who are strong supporters of looking abroad for examples of how we should be doing things in the U.S. (Which, by the way I am not in favor of and think is a silly practice):
“Americans told by same-sex ‘marriage’ advocates that the rest of the world considers the U.S. out of step when it comes to affirming marriage as the union of one man and one woman need only point to examples like Romania to demonstrate that such an assumption is false: ‘Romania is one country where American judicial activists will find no support.’” (Click here for source of quote).
If only judicial activism found no support here in the United States.
The point always comes back to why? Why are so many so opposed to same-sex marriage? Sure, we can point to the moral aspect of it, but there’s more to it than even that. The point of contention for so many people is making homosexuals into a class of specially protected, and necessarily privileged, citizens. This is why many disagree with hate crimes bills – they say – because all citizens should be protected against crimes of any kind. Furthermore, when you strip people of their right to personal opinion, whether for or against, you remove their first amendment right to free speech, which is particularly devastating for Christians and Christian organizations.
Finally, perhaps the biggest sticking point is that most citizens do not believe that homosexuals simply want to be allowed to marry. Most citizens believe homosexuals seek universal endorsement of their lifestyle from everyone; which categorically contradicts the conscience and beliefs of many. I personally don’t think it will stop at marriage. Just consider what is taking place in the UK, where recently a lesbian couple won a lawsuit awarding them tax-payer funding for their IVF treatment!
Are you kidding me? If homosexuals just want to “live a normal life like everyone else,” as they claim. Then pay for your own treatment like everyone else does. Get pregnant like everyone else does. Or is that the point? Is it really fair and balanced to award treatment to couples who choose a lifestyle which makes pregnancy impossible? When thousands of infertile couples are in desperate need of treatment, is it really fair to pay special attention to couples that deliberately leave out key ingredients in the procreation process? Something is amiss.
Read the LifeSiteNews.com article for a profound and wise look into the absolute necessity of fathers AND mothers on a child’s health and well-being.
Further Food for Thought: “Romania Stiff-Arms Same-Sex ‘Marriage’”
“A Contentious Debate: Same-Sex Marriage in the U.S.” – An excellent article on where the issue began and how we have arrived at this point.
Read the newly adopted Romanian Civil Code, which will take effect on January 1, 2010, here.
By Nathan A. Cherry
I came across this story recently by Caitlin Flanagan, “Is There Hope for the American Marriage,” and highly recommend that you take a few minutes to read it. Ms. Flanagan did an outstanding job of showing the vital merits marriage contains for families, and especially children.
The article ends by pondering what children will grow up to be like in a world where they observe adults jump in and out of casual flings one right after the other, or just never take the time to get married and live together for years and years while periodically taking part in their kids life. What hope of character development is there for kids who see little to no character in the adult influences in their lives?
And yet it is these principal adults in the lives of children that make all the difference in the world. The article states that,
“On every single significant outcome related to short-term well-being and long-term success, children from intact, two-parent families outperform those from single-parent households. Longevity, drug abuse, school performance and dropout rates, teen pregnancy, criminal behavior and incarceration — if you can measure it, a sociologist has; and in all cases, the kids living with both parents drastically outperform the others.”
Yes you did read that correctly. Sociology has repeatedly concluded that children from two-parent, intact homes outperform children from other home structures. You would think that if science continually concludes a particular outcome, and if society bears the proof of that outcome, that people, especially lawmakers, would get a clue and start backing the evidence.
But let’s not stop there; let’s move on a little farther in the article to a section that will surely anger feminists and homosexuals alike. Sociologist and author, and most notably feminist, Mariah Kefalas responded to the need for having a father at home:
“As a feminist, I didn’t want to believe it. Women always tell me, ‘I can be a mother and a father to a child,’ but it’s not true. Growing up without a father has a deep psychological effect on a child. The mom may not need that man but her children still do.”
Just a bit later in the article is a fact that a traditionalist such as myself is keenly aware of, but that others are not convinced of. A Princeton sociologist and single mother, Sara McLanahan, concluded her study of the long-tem effects a single parent home has on children by saying:
“Children who grow up in a household with only one biological parent are worse off, on average, than children who grow up in a household with both of their biological parents, regardless of the parents’ race or educational background.”
So at what point do we say “Damn the overwhelming amount of evidence because we want to do it our way regardless of the consequences!”? That is exactly what a person is saying when they declare that a same-sex marriage or single parent home can provide the same things as a traditional two-parent home. The evidence absolutely does not support that outcome. No, the evidence says that families, especially kids thrive and succeed far better when mom AND dad are both present and committed to making the home what it was intended to be.
Say what you like, but evidence is evidence. The overwhelming body of evidence that exists to support the traditional two-parent home as the best environment for children is so large that only a truly narrow-minded person would dare ignore it.
In a unanimous vote on Thursday evening, Kanawha County school board members voted unanimously to remove “sexual orientation” from the proposed cultural diversity policy. This comes after much debate over the controversial wording which would have created a special class of students in Kanawha County public schools.
Proponents of the measure believe that despite federal, state, and local protections against discrimination that sexual orientation needs special protection. But opponents say that doing so unconstitutionally creates a special class of protected citizens based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity; and by doing so will unlawfully infringe on conscience and religious freedoms of other students and teachers.
The Family Policy Council has been following these developments and making sure that KCBOE members know exactly where many families and teachers in Kanawha County stand. FPC president and general council Jeremy Dys sent letters and e-mails, as well as made phone calls to the KCBOE in an effort to present a balanced view of such a policy.
Dys shared with the Charleston Gazette, in a story on July 5th, that,
“The policy will lead classroom teachers to teach issues contrary to the beliefs of most parents and families in Kanawha County. The board of education should concentrate on improving reading, writing and arithmetic instead of promoting behavior that is unhealthy, unwise and unwinds the moral fabric of the family.”
Dys and the Family Policy Council, along with other state pro-family groups are thankful for this victory in West Virginia. The KCBOE did not give in to left-leaning political pressure, but struck a decisively pro-family chord with their decision; and unanimous at that.
When this story first broke we urged you to contact the KCBOE and express your distaste for their proposed policy changes. Now we want to urge you to contact them to express your approval and support for their decision. We here at the FPCWV say “thank-you” to the KCBOE for their decision to uphold the conscience and faith of the vast majority of Kanawha County residents, and residents of the state of West Virginia.
Further Food for Thought:
From today’s front page of the Charleston Gazette comes an example of the tremendous support for marriage as demonstrated by the standing room only crowd (mainly of pastors and supporters of marriage) at yesterday’s meeting.
Pictures are worth 1,000 words, but here’s a few to start: The people want to vote.
(Photo courtesy of the Charleston Gazette and Kenny Kemp.)
“It is no longer debatable that there exists a coordinated, nationwide effort to redefine marriage.” These words were part of the testimony given by president and general counsel of the Family Policy Council of West Virginia, Jeremy Dys. (Click here to download the entire testimony)
This testimony was part of a two-hour legislative hearing by a special study committee to research the implications of whether or not to proceed with a statewide ballot measure to allow the people of West Virginia to vote on the permanent definition of marriage between one man and one woman. Among those testifying were representatives from the ACLU and Fairness West Virginia, both in opposition to such a measure, and the Family Policy Council and Alliance Defense Fund, speaking in support of the people’s right to vote.
The opposition argued that since West Virginia has a DOMA law that a constitutional amendment is “unnecessary” and “redundant,” according to Seth DiStefano of the ACLUWV. But obviously Mr. DiStefano has not been paying attention to other states as activist judges and courts have single handedly struck down those DOMA laws and, without any input from its citizens, legalized same-sex marriage. It is quite obvious to any astute observer that DOMA laws are not safe without constitutional amendments.
Further arguments were made that since no dispute over the definition of marriage in West Virginia has occurred to date, that there is not urgency in a marriage amendment. But those remarks were rebuffed by ADF senior counsel Jordan Lorence,
“Taking no preventative measures because disputes over the definition of marriage have not occurred in West Virginia is ‘like saying we don’t need a swine flu vaccination because we don’t have an epidemic. You don’t wait until the controversy is on you before you start dealing with (it), when you see a problem elsewhere; prevention is always a wise course of action.’”
Later in the hearing, when committee members asked Dys about the idea of allowing civil unions, he simply pointed to the precedent of other states on the issue.
“Dys said those in favor of same-sex marriage are not satisfied with the ‘everything but name only approach.’ [He] added that legislatures in Vermont and New Hampshire had taken such approaches. ‘People there were not satisfied with that, they wanted to go one step further and so they advocated for same-sex marriage, and Vermont, New Hampshire have now legislatively redefined marriage without the input of citizens.’” (Charleston Daily Mail)
The truth is that proponents of same-sex marriage will by any means necessary keep voters out of the decision making process on this issue because they know that the majority of voters in nearly every state support the traditional definition of marriage; were these not true groups such as the ACLU and Fairness WV would support the people’s right to vote. The only reason not to support the people’s right to vote is when you know that such a vote will not go in your favor. And traditional marriage advocates know that if the people are given the opportunity to vote that traditional marriage will be sealed for good.
“Advocates of same-sex “marriage” know they cannot win at the ballot box, and so they deploy a variety of strategies designed to take the question of marriage out of the hands of the people,” Dys said in a recent article for the FPCWV’s blog Engage
But thanks to Dys and the FPCWV, along with support from the ADF, the voices of 94% of West Virginians that believe it is their job and not judges or the courts to define marriage in their state were heard. And our message will continue to be:
“The Constitution of the State of West Virginia belongs to its people. There being no legitimate reason to preclude West Virginians from voting on it, we urge the Legislature to protect every West Virginian’s right to vote on whether the legal definition of marriage ought to be between one man and one woman.”