The Catholic Thing
With Friends Like These . . . Print E-mail
By Austin Ruse   
Wednesday, 30 June 2010

The Proposition 8 trial just ended. This is the Federal trial that will decide whether the decision of California voters to stop homosexual marriage stands or falls. As such, it is arguably the most important court trial on marriage this country has ever seen and ultimately will reach the Supreme Court. This case could be the one that decides homosexual marriage once and for all.

You would think the attorney for the defense of traditional marriage would put forward the very best witnesses. But guess who said this under cross-examination: “Legalizing gay and lesbian marriage would benefit gay and lesbian couples as well as any children they raise.”

And who do you suppose said this: “(Domestic partnerships) could be part of a kind of humane compromise in which, on the one hand, we protect marriage and allow it to carry out its distinctive contribution to society, while at the same time extending protections and recognition to gay and lesbian couples”? This witness went on to testify that domestic partnerships, “could possibly have a weakening effect on the marital institution, but I think that it’s something we should do anyway because of other issues involved.”

Worst of all, this witness told the court that “I believe that today the principle of equal human dignity must apply to gay and lesbian persons. In that sense, insofar as we are a nation founded on this principle, we would be more, emphasize more, American on the day we permitted same-sex marriage than we were on the day before.”

Meet David Blankenhorn, president of the New York-based Institute for American Values and star defense witness in the Proposition 8 trial. Blankenhorn is one of the leading scholars in America on the question of marriage. He is the author of two influential books, “Fatherless America” and “The Future of Marriage,” as well as one of the founders of the Fatherhood Initiative.

Blankenhorn and his IAV colleagues have done yeoman’s work in developing a body of literature that shows people are better off in the married state than in any other and that children are far better off being raised by two biological parents than in any other family structure. He is close to many genuine conservative heroes such as Princeton’s Professor Robert George, marriage battler Maggie Gallagher, and many others. In short, Blankenhorn is fully credentialed to make the scholarly case in defense of traditional marriage. Except that he didn’t.

Understand that Blankenhorn delivered testimony under direct examination that was quite helpful in defending traditional marriage. Using the work of others, he showed how man/woman marriage has been the rule throughout history and is the ideal institution for begetting and raising children. Over the years though, and perhaps all along, he has developed some decidedly heterodox views on homosexuality sufficient to make one wonder if he was the best witness to call in the most important marriage trial in American history.

At one point, the razor sharp plaintiffs’ attorney David Boies quoted Blankenhorn’s own words to him: “To the degree that I must choose, with some anguish (italics added) I will choose children’s collective rights and needs. I will choose marriage as a public good over the rights and needs of gay and lesbian adults and those same-sex couples who are raising children.” Wouldn’t you think that defense counsel could have found a scholar who is not anguished at all about making this choice for traditional marriage?

This case already saw the high level defection of someone long considered a conservative hero. Plaintiffs’ co-counsel with David Boies was none other than Ted Olsen, who served in the Office of Legal Counsel under Ronald Reagan and was Solicitor General under George W. Bush. He is so highly thought of in conservative legal circles that each year he delivers the state of the Supreme Court presentation to the annual Federalist Society conference. The Giuliani camp once trotted him out to assure social conservatives that, even though Rudy was not with us on the life issues, at least we had Ted Olsen. That cut exactly no ice with most social conservatives. And guess what? Not only is he not a social conservative; one wonders how he keeps his Federalist Society membership after this. After all, what he and Boise are arguing for in this Prop 8 suit is nothing short of a Roe v. Wade-like judicial usurpation and imposition of homosexual marriage on an unwilling populace.

The plaintiffs’ case was weak. It hinged largely on testimony that supporters of Proposition 8 were mean and motivated by animus toward homosexuals – themselves guilty of that odious, all-purpose, pseudo-scientific offense: homophobia. The judge very clearly sided with the plaintiffs; in fact, news reports suggest  that he himself is a homosexual. This is the guy who tried to get the case shown on TV, all the better to scare defense witnesses. It is unlikely anything could have persuaded him to favor the defense.

Inevitably, this case will find its way to the Supreme Court, where sits Justice Anthony Kennedy who believes each of us gets to define the universe, and that homosexual sodomy is a constitutional right. Heaven help us. A Catholic, he was once supposed to be a social conservative, too.

Austin Ruse is the President of the New York and Washinton, D.C.-based Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute (C-FAM), a research institute that focuses exclusively on international social policy. The opinions expressed here are Mr. Ruse’s alone and do not necessarily reflect the policies or positions of C-FAM.

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Wisconsin Supremes a hopeful sign
written by Joe, July 01, 2010
In a 7-0 ruling, the Wisconsin Supreme Court June 30 upheld the state's constitutional ban on gay marriage and civil unions.

In 2006, voters approved a constitutional amendment that banned gay marriage and civil unions. The amendment was being challenged by a University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh professor, William McConkey, who claims voters were asked to vote on what amounted to two questions, which violates the constitution.

In 2008, a Dane County judge ruled the question was valid.

Had the State Supreme Court ruled against the amendment that still would not have legalized gay marriage in Wisconsin because state law already defines marriage as a union between only one man and one woman.

There will always be some kind of legal hairsplitting when it comes to so-called "gay marriage," an oxymoron if there ever was once, as to how to euphemize it and make it more palatable. "Civil unions" has a nice ring to some, but to most it still sounds like a sneaky way to sanction homosexual partnerships by giving it the kind of judicial gloss that would make the topic go away.

Fat chance. Obama is on the cusp of pushing for homosexual marriage, having forced the military to cave in on don't ask, etc., and weaken its recruiting criteria, so it's inevitable it is on his plate as he starts counting rainbow ribbons or whatever they're wearing in the Pride parades.

It's all so disgusting that here in 2010 we have to talk about homosexual marriage as if it is genuinely arguable when for thousand of years it has been anathema to civilized societies.
The Junta Rules
written by James Danielson, July 01, 2010
Ronald Dworkin and John Rawls and a few other folks produced a friend-of-the-court brief in a pair of cases concerning physician-assisted suicide that that made it to the Supreme Court. In their brief, Dworkin et al. quoted the dreamy "mystery passage" from "Planned Parenthood v. Casey" and correctly argued that if we have, as the Court has claimed, a right to choose for ourselves the meaning of the mystery of human life, and if this right in part supports the choice to kill a nascent human being, then surely it supports also the right to kill oneself. After all, if a state bans physician-assisted suicide, it does so by imposing on everyone a conception of the meaning and value of human life that not everyone shares. The Supreme Court ignored its "reasoning" in the "Casey" decision and instead applied its jumped-up "substantive due process" test. Of course, physician-assisted suicide cannot pass the substantive due process test, but then, neither can abortion-on-demand. So the Court uses whatever tool of its own devising it finds expedient in reaching the conclusion the justices wish to reach on personal, ideological grounds. That is precisely what the Junta will do in the case of homosexual "marriage," and we needn't hold our breath awaiting the outcome. Maybe soon, some sentimental people will find a reason not to cry at weddings.
written by Michael Nikolas, July 01, 2010
I have heard this guy in debates before and this doesn't surprise me. He is weak and wishy washy. I agree. With all the people defendant's counsel could have selected, why him. To see what I mean, check out C-SPAN and see if you can find a debate he once did with a gay activist. I thought he was abysmally weak. Did anyone think of contacting Maggie Gallagher?
written by Puccini, July 01, 2010
Oy vey. Blankenhorn has been especially important for the effort to preserve marriage, too, because he is a liberal. But, apparently, he, too, has demonstrated the same weakness as other liberals - pity for approved groups is more important than facts and logic. I, too, feel pity - not that it should matter politically - for the tens of millions of parents and children who have lost, and will yet lose, the benefit of marriage due to the sustained liberal assault on the institution.
written by Jacob, July 02, 2010
I knew I didn't like Anthony Kennedy from the day I first read about him.

Apparently he couldn't avoid the destiny of his surname.

Here's to praying for the reconversion of the American Catholic Church!
written by MK, July 05, 2010
I have recently had a great experience teaching faith formation to incoming 9th graders earlier this summer. One of the topics in the curriculum was respecting sexuality and all derivative issues branched off of that, including gay marriage. I thought I was well-armored beforehand getting into this heated issue as I prepared the guided discussion with the class, but several students kept pressing the idea that opposition to gay marriage is "discrimination" against them. Being young and obstinate in their views, I had a difficult time as a catechist forming a rebuttal.

It's the whole "pity for approved groups" notion that Puccini mentioned that I see already ingrained in the mindset people as young as 13-14. After that day I didn't fully realize how important my job was as a catechist when witnessing the product of influential liberal agendas within my reach of that classroom. The kids were absorbing those agendas before even considering facts and logic: that the sacrament of marriage is holy and must not be compromised. To do so would strip away the sanctity of marriage. Accepting gay marriage would be taking away the God-given gift of procreation that should be inextricably implemented in the sacrament.

It's scary that this issue has come to the point of Proposition 8 and grown adults are losing their backbone for ideals many thought they whole-heartedly represented. If hope is lost for political figures then maybe for the many grassroots people, we can thrust the fundamentals of the faith to the young. The young are our future and it is amazing to find out what they are thinking.

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