Who Besides Bobby Jindal Will Lead on Marriage

My friends,

Below is an essay I posted minutes ago on ThePulse2016.com about Bobby Jindal’s courage in standing up to the corporations who’ve asked him to back away from new legislation to prevent the government from punishing people based on their marriage views.   Please go to ThePulse2016.com and share it?

I do not say we should all endorse Bobby Jindal for his leadership and his courage: I do say if we won’t, will you personally ask your candidate if he would support a federal bill The Marriage and Religious Freedom Act? And let his or her answer matter to you.

The link is here is you want to share it:  http://thepulse2016.com/maggie-gallagher/2015/04/23/bobby-jindal-no-government-coercion-based-on-marriage/#

Bobby Jindal: No Government Coercion Based on Marriage

After Indiana, the Will to Fight Emerges

Maggie GallagherBy  on April 23, 2015
Filed Under: Bobby JindalCandidateCommentary, Social Issues

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (photo credit: Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0)

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (photo credit: Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0)

Gov. Jindal has taken to the most prominent enemy territory he can find, the op-ed pages of the old grey lady herself, to say: “no retreat baby, no surrender”*:

In Indiana and Arkansas, large corporations recently joined left-wing activists to bully elected officials into backing away from strong protections for religious liberty. It was disappointing to see conservative leaders so hastily retreat on legislation that would simply allow for an individual or business to claim a right to free exercise of religion in a court of law.

There are two primaries going on simultaneously: the money primary and the voter primary.  Jindal knows which side he is on:

I plan in this legislative session to fight for passage of the Marriage and Conscience Act.

The legislation would prohibit the state from denying a person, company or nonprofit group a license, accreditation, employment or contract — or taking other “adverse action” — based on the person or entity’s religious views on the institution of marriage.

Some corporations have already contacted me and asked me to oppose this law. I am certain that other companies, under pressure from radical liberals, will do the same. They are free to voice their opinions, but they will not deter me.

The Marriage and Conscience Act prevents the government from punishing anyone because they refuse to participate in a marriage against their conscience. It is viewpoint neutral; that fab gay caterer doesn’t have to help faithful Catholics get married either.

Kudos, kudos, kudos to Jindal. Who else will step up to the plate? It is only the question of whether the Judeo-Christian ethic in America will be tolerated or whether government will be used to punish and strip the livelihoods of people who cannot in conscience serve a particular marriage.

Nationally, the pledge would be to fight for the Marriage and Religious Freedom Act.

Who, besides me, will follow where Jindal leads?  Please share this post with as many people as you can.

Maggie Gallagher is a senior fellow at American Principles in Action.

*Bruce Springsteen is for gay marriage yes he is I know.

Will GOP Defend Religious Liberty?

What’s happening right now in Indiana is a key inflection point: will the Left succeed in silencing GOP leaders on religious liberty like they have on gay marriage?

Please read the short essay below from ThePulse2016.com I wrote, and then join me in whatever venue you have – your Facebook page, your radio show, a candidate forum, a letter to the editor, an Op Ed – to ask Republican candidates for president this key question: Why is Mike Pence the only Republican defending Indiana’s new religious liberty bill?

God’s blessing on you and our country,

Maggie

Will Any GOP Candidates Step Up to the Plate for Religious Liberty?
Mike Pence is the only Republican defending Indiana law

Something very important is happening right now in Indiana. Pay attention: The Democrats are attempting to use their power in the mainstream media to get Republicans to retreat and mute the GOP on religious liberty or face being labelled anti-gay.

Last year, the Left succeeded so well with this tactic on a similar RFRA bill in Arizona, they even got Mitt Romney and John McCain to denounce the bill.

How much of the fabric of classic American civilization will GOP politicians be willing to let go without a fight?  This tactic will not only be used on what the Left decides is a gay rights issue. Emboldened by their success in getting Republicans to retreat, the Democrats are now applying the same tactic to the Hyde Amendment language (see the human trafficking bill as the first of a series of attempts to get Republicans to retreat on opposition to taxpayer-financed abortion) and to scuttle the 20-week ban on abortion, which was supposed to have been voted on and passed by the Jan. 22 March for Life. Mere fear of being called “pro-rape,” an absurd charge, led Renee Ellmers and 7 other GOP women to demand a vote be postponed, apparently indefinitely.

Right now, Gov. Mike Pence is the only Republican politician defending this bill.  He is looking for a new law to clarify the bill’s intent, as Indiana faces a wave of hostility from powerful corporations that is sick to see, based as it is on a lie. The NCAA weighed in with “concern” about how it affects student athletes and employees. Angie’s List CEO is putting Indianapolis expansion plans on hold to punish the citizens of Indiana.

But on the core message, Pence is speaking truth to a gathering storm of powerful forces. Gov. Pence said, “This is not about legalizing discrimination, it is about restricting the government’s ability to intrude on the religious liberty of our citizens.”

I haven’t weighed in on this bill, in part because I don’t believe its supporters are right that it will help the little baker who doesn’t want to bake a gay wedding cake keep his or her family’s livelihood intact.  America’s most distinguished pro-religious liberty scholar, Prof. Doug Laycock, explains why he hopes it might, but doesn’t really think it will, because it hasn’t been interpreted that way in the other 19 states that have RFRAs.  Molly Hemingway of The Federalist explains the people it will help.

Meanwhile Pres. Obama and other Democrats must continue to be pushed to explain why they now oppose the same kind of bill they supported and voted for in the past.  What about religious liberty don’t they like any more?  Hillary Clinton, what happened to the “maximum feasible accommodation” of free expression of religion your husband and you supported?

But this is a seminal moment for GOP presidential candidates: Will they have the courage to speak truth to power and support protections for religious people from government punishment?  Or will they bow to the mainstream media narrative and commit the cardinal sin of declaring unilateral truce?

Speak now, Bush, Walker, Paul, Rubio, Carson, Huckabee, Jindal, etc., because the future of religious liberty in America will depend in part on whether there is at least one political party willing to defend it.
Courage is not optional.

Why Stick With Marriage?

Dear Friends,

My latest column on National Review is a response to two recent books by major family scholars Andrew Cherlin, and Isabel Sawhill–both of whom suggest we should give up on promoting marriage per se and promote stable committed relationships:

I explain why that is not a practical suggestion:

“In Generation Unbound, the Brookings Institution’s Isabel Sawhill regretfully says she no longer believes reviving marriage is possible for the less-educated two-thirds of America. The old marriage norm should be replaced with a new social script: It is wrong to have children that are unplanned. “The old norm was ‘don’t have a child outside of marriage.’ The new norm should be ‘don’t have a child before you want one and are ready to parent.’” How would a young adult know whether he or she is “ready”? Like Cherlin, Sawhill retreats to the idea of “commitment”: “For most people it means completing their education, having a steady job, and having a committed partner.”

Here’s my problem with this nice-sounding new script: I think the majority of young people who have children outside marriage are already doing that, to the best of their limited youthful abilities.

Sixty percent of births to unwed mothers, as Sawhill notes, are to cohabiting women. Most of the recent increase in single motherhood has come from increasing births to women who are cohabiting, not solo moms.

The problem with retreating from marriage as a bright line is that, in practical terms, young women in love are not very good at figuring out whether or not they are in a committed relationship.

A 2008 study by Kathryn Kost and colleagues, found that . . . .cohabitation is one of the most serious risk factors for contraceptive “failure.” In 2002, one out of five cohabiting women reported contraceptive “failure,” double the risk for married women. Compared with never-married or divorced single women, only cohabiting women had a significantly higher risk of contraceptive failure than married women.”

Retreating from marriage to “stable relationships” doesn’t work because cohabiting women believe they are in stable loving relationships, that is one reason they aren’t that motivated to prevent birth. I end with a modest proposal:

“[T]he truth is we simply haven’t tried to do very much to encourage marital childbearing in this country. Before we give up completely, may I suggest one idea that would cost virtually no money at all and would involve no new government program?”

Read the rest of the story here.

Catholics and Queer Theory

John Corvino, the co-author of my latest book, takes on Catholics like Michael Hannon, who in First Things essay “Against Heterosexuality” try to use queer theory to dismantle homosexuality as a “real” category in Commonweal (John is an ex-Catholic and an ex-seminarian as he makes clear):

“Hannon argues that religious conservatives should embrace queer theorists’ view that sexual orientation is a social construction, rather than a natural and inevitable feature of persons. Furthermore, they should stop categorizing anyone as gay, because doing so organizes that person’s sexual identity around a particular temptation to sin, leading him to believe that he needs that sin in order to be fulfilled. Finally, and most important, they should stop categorizing anyone as heterosexual, because doing so lets people off the hook as “normal,” thus blinding them to their own sin. . .

Hannon, who is a candidate for religious life with the Norbertine order, is hardly the first Catholic to invoke queer theory in support of conservative causes. Back in the late 1990s, when the essentialist/constructionist debate was still fresh, my old sparring partner Maggie Gallagher made a similar point at a Georgetown University conference on “Homosexuality and American Public Life.””

Small point, I don’t recall making this point in that conference but it’s years ago and I don’t still have a copy of that talk (and neither does John).

In any case I agree with John Corvino more than I disagree with him in this piece on his main point, although he seems to interpret a discussion of how Christians should think about same-sex attraction and the people who have it with an attempt to determine how everyone thinks about it.

Even if the broader culture accepts homosexuality as a social fact, which is clearly the case whether Hannon likes it or not, that does not settle how Catholics should think about it.

Here’s my view: When Christians tell me that homosexuality is “socially constructed” and therefore not a “real” permanent feature of human existence, I generally respond “I know gay people exist the same way that I know that Methodists exist. I’ve met them.”

In other words, not all categories that are real are founded on fixed unchangeable essences. Sexual orientation as a concept is a way of organizing “given reality” (sexual attraction) into a communal identity, the strongest kind.  It is therefore not at all like race, and but rather more akin to religion.

I never ever think of myself as a heterosexual, nonetheless my own ideas about my experience of sexuality (“we are born male and female and called to come together in love in this thing called marriage”) are core enough to my identity and my sense of what is required for communal good that I am willing to suffer rather than renounce them, if necessary. They are not positions I hold, they are part of who I am.

Corvino acknowledges that in a gay-affirming culture more people will label their feelings as gay and grow up to live a gay life, which he sees as the great moral advance on the subject and orthodox Catholics see as Not a Good Thing. (Although the openly gay community of priests, brothers, and seminarians in Corvinos’ seminary by his account applauded his coming out).

I do not have strong feelings whether Hannon is right or whether  orthodox gay Catholics like Eve Tushnet are right in thinking she should retain her lesbian identity while committing herself to faithful Christian practice (meaning in her current situation, celibacy).

But as an atheist, that is not the question that John Corvino is thinking about.

Marriage Markets: How Inequality is Remaking the American Family

marriage-markets-book

In their new book Marriage Markets, law professors June Carbone and Naomi Cahn point out perhaps the single most important fact about the state of 21st century American marriage: it’s bifurcating.

It is not just that marriage among the poor has disappeared, although it has.  It is not just that marriage is declining dramatically among the middle third of American society, although it is.  Divorce rates continue to rise and out of wedlock births are becoming the new middle-American normal.

Read More…

Bend it Like Benham

The best bit of good news I have seen is this report from the Hollywood Reporter suggesting multiple other networks are considering picking up the series “Flip it Forward” that HGTV cancelled.

Since Carrie Prejean was hounded off the national stage for the crime of answering the question, should every state have gay marriage, with a polite “no,” Hollywood and the entertainment industry have made their point of view crystal clear: The glamour of television and movies is not for people who believe marriage is the union of a husband and a wife.  (The pageant judge who videotaped himself and posted the video calling Ms. Prejean the “c-word” was welcomed back to judge more young would-be beauty queens—what does that tell us? And when Carrie’s not atypical California teenager’s sexual/romantic history was exposed for the clear malicious purpose of “slut-shaming” her to retaliate for her refusal to recant on gay marriage, not a single progressive voice rushed to her defense.)

Duck Dynasty’s survival was the first crack in this new and quite literal McCarthyism, the one sign of hope that the new blacklist was not impenetrable, some could seep through.  True, the Robertson’s Duck Dynasty was a monster hit network-sustaining franchise player.  But when the family who would not recant faced down a network whose economic survival depended on this hit franchise, the entertainment industry and its LGBT allies relented: that show at least could go on.

Read More…

Cooper, Mozilla, Arizona

A friend asked me, after reading my last interview with HuffPo, “So are you really stepping down from the marriage and religious liberty fight?”

No, I told him.  Sorry if it sounded like that.  What I am advocating doing is three very big, and very hard things: a) accepting where we are and b) learning from what we did not succeed in so that we can get to c) how do we build anew?

Right now most people who believe in the classic understanding of marriage are in shock, they are awed by the powers now shutting down the debate and by our ineffectualness at responding to these developments.

The temptation to shout and yell and stamp our feet in ineffectual ridiculousness is understandable, but it is to be resisted.

Read More…

What’s Next?

I did an interview wth HuffPo Gay Voices. Of course some might call this an admission of defeat—because I repeat my belief that it is clear they now have 5 votes for gay marriage on the Supreme Court.

But really it is about taking up the next battle. If true, what next for those of us who do not believe in gay marriage?

A taste here:
‘ What’s next? In my view people who believe in the traditional understanding of marriage, and believe that it matters, have to become a creative minority, finding way to both express these sexual views, culturally, artistically and intellectually and to engage with the newly dominant cultural view of marriage respectfully but not submissively.

Lots of thoughts packed into the latter sentence.

Read More…