Rethinking Marriage

ADF Communication Specialist Jared Dobbs has this post at The Federalist examining both the misinterpretation and the actual motivation of Christian artists, and why some Christians may object to same-sex marriage.

He writes, “Because marriage is marked by complementarity and oriented toward creating children, Christians don’t think same-sex unions can constitute marriages. Treating same-sex unions as marriages thus communicates profound untruths that are unsettling to many Christians. If the man is absent from a marriage, it communicates that God’s love and faithfulness is not essential to human flourishing; if the woman is absent, then our need to honor and commit to Christ is seen as optional. Divorce being a covenant failure, same-sex marriage is a failure to grasp the covenant itself.”  In fact, we have set out the ways that expanding marriage has harmed women in Obergefell: A Game-Changer for Women, causing changes in marriage equality for women, and altering women’s relationships with men, and with their children.

Dobbs posits, “Marriage also reflects important truths about children and their upbringing. The Bible’s understanding of marriage reflects the truth that each child has one mother and one father, and it teaches that there is great value in each child knowing and being raised by those two people in one family unit. Same-sex marriage, on the other hand, tells the world that there is no inherent value in connecting children to their two biological parents. It says that any two people will do.”  In fact, in Rethinking Mom and Dad, my research strongly suggested that this connection – or its disconnect – does indeed affect children.

Finally, Dobbs suggests, “Thus, conscientious Christians who decline to affirm or participate in same-sex weddings are acting out of a conviction basic to their faith. To them, marriage is an essential means by which God communicates truths about himself, humanity, and the relationship between the two. Telling Christians, like Barronelle Stutzman, to affirm or participate in same-sex marriages effectively tells them to contradict what they believe to be foundational truths about the world.” 

FamilyRestoration previously posted on the claims filed against Barronelle.  Family restoration requires a consistent marriage definition that protects women’s equality and children’s best interests, and the beliefs of folks like Barronelle.


Life in the Balance

April 2017 has been significant for life issues promoting family restoration: 
#1 Justice Neil Gorsuch was confirmed to the Supreme Court of the United States, giving a likely pro-life vote in the next case that could challenge abortion rights.  Gorsuch has written that “the intentional taking of human life by private persons is ALWAYS wrong.” 
#2 Congress passed House Joint Resolution 43 to repeal the Health and Human Resources rule prohibiting states from defunding Planned Parenthood programs.  As Life Legal Defense Fund stated, this means states can now elect to give Title X grants to organizations that do not terminate unborn children.
#3 And the Trump administration blocked funding to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) which now means the U.S. no longer helps fund China’s forced abortion family planning policies.
Roe’s Effect on Family Law, published by the Washington & Lee L. Rev., reveals the profound nature of the High Court’s impact on families, even opening up the possibilities for moving From Eisenstadt to Plan B. Indeed, The Rise and Fall of Women’s Rights: Have Sexuality and Reproductive Freedom Forfeited Victory? demonstrates how women’s rights have turned a bright corner as a result of April 2017, making family restoration just a bit more possible this Easter week.


Broken Bones and the Parental Presumption

This insightful guest post is from 3L and current Family Law student Moriah Schmidt:

Imagine your child has broken an arm or a leg and you must rush him or her to the emergency room. Many thoughts rush through your head – how bad is the pain? Will insurance cover everything? Should I have been more watchful? You would hardly expect to ask yourself, “Will they take my child away?”

There is a legal presumption in the United States that it is in the best interests of a child to be raised by his or her natural parent(s). Sometimes this determination compromises the safety of a child by placing the child back in the home of an abusive or neglectful parent. Nonetheless, the natural parent presumption is invaluable to making determinations of what to do with a child in an emergency situation. It is difficult to know the entire domestic situation in one encounter, no less so if that encounter is in the emergency room, but the parental presumption works to prevent a child from being wrongfully taken away – and it is particularly important during what would already be a frightening experience.  In fact, I have had personal experience in this regard.

One rainy afternoon when my little brother was two, he slipped on a wooden walkway and broke his femur. My parents rushed him to the emergency room where they discovered the nature of his injury required treatment at a children’s hospital some distance away. The hospital required transportation of my brother on a bed that was fitted for adults and caused him great suffering, since the strap went directly over his broken femur. In trying to do what was best for his son, my dad told them he would transport my brother in his car seat, supporting his leg. The hospital personnel were distrustful and summoned a police officer.  That officer let them go without a problem, seeing my dad had ensured my brother was safely secured and comfortable. Upon arrival at the children’s hospital, personnel asked my parents questions about my brother’s injury and why they insisted on transporting him as they did. My parents had to face this tense situation while dealing with a crying toddler and a long night of waiting. They had no history of child abuse and my brother had never been hospitalized; this likely enabled them to leave with my brother after he was casted. A lawyer should look for those indicators if called on to assist a parent who fears that his child may be taken away.

Child abuse is an issue far too common and should be taken most seriously. However, the parental presumption protects those parents who do want what is best for their child and protects the child as well; parents generally know the child’s pain tolerance, medical history, allergies, and needs better than anyone else. Especially in a high-stress situation, the presumption that a parent knows what is best for the child can truly be a lifesaver. Broken bones are scary, and at the same time the law does not want to add to a child’s fear by removing him from the care of his parents without proof sufficient to rebut the parental presumption.


SCTOUS goes to the Playground

Regent Law 1997 graduate, David Cortman, with Alliance Defending Freedom will take the Supreme Court to the Playground – or rather, will take the playground to the High Court on April 19, 2017.


Trinity Lutheran Church v. Pauley has been called "the most interesting case" of this Supreme Court term by Adam Liptak of The New York Times. Operating a preschool in Missouri, Trinity Lutheran Church applied for a playground resurfacing grant from the state in 2012. Obtaining the grant would allow Trinity to receive reimbursement for resurfacing its playground with a safer pour-in-place rubber surface made from recycled tires. While Trinity’s application was ranked 5th out of the 44 applications it received, the church was denied, as Missouri determined that its state establishment clause forbids it from providing an available benefit to children—a safe playground surface—simply because the playground is on church property.

This case is about whether a religious group should be excluded from a government program simply because the group is religious.  View the various amicus briefs for this case at the SCOTUS blog.  Family restoration often happens best at church – and a safe playground is a good place to start.