Ruth Speaks Out

This blog is maintained by the Ruth Institute. It provides a place for our Circle of Experts to express themselves. This is where the scholars, experts, students and followers of the Ruth Institute engage in constructive dialogue about the issues surrounding the Sexual Revolution. We discuss public policy, social practices, legal doctrines and much more.


With Same-sex Marriage, What Happens to the Rights of Children?

An interview of Dr. Morse by Zoe Romanowsky at aleteia.org.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse believes we are experimenting with vulnerable children.


Prior to the Supreme Court’s decision on same-sex marriage, the court heard testimony from adult children who grew up in same-sex relationship households. The Washington Post ran a piece about this just before the SCOTUS ruling.

On one side were the advocates—those who claim to be living proof of the words Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote when the federal Defense of Marriage Act was struck down two years ago: that the law as it was “humiliat(ed) tens of thousands of children” being raised by gay parents.


As part of legal briefs in the Obergefell case, some of these adult children shared their experiences of feeling marginalized, less-than, and unwelcome because their families weren’t recognized as "real" families.

Others who oppose gay marriage and were also raised by same-sex couples told their stories, too. One of them was Katy Faust who was raised by a gay mom in Portland, Oregon. Although Katy’s father remained involved in her life, when she began to reflect on her childhood and became a mother herself, she became convinced that no child should be deprived of a mother.

Robert Oscar Lopez also gave testimony. A professor at California State University at Northridge and an outspoken critic of gay marriage, he believes same-sex parenting can even constitute child abuse. In July 2013, he wrote:

"Single-parenting and divorce have always been understood as a breakdown of the married mom and dad ideal, but the demand to view same-sex parenting as “normal” imposes a silence on children about the wound caused by the loss of one parent or the other."

Lopez has also said that he believes many adult children of same-sex parents like himself feel the way he does, but don’t speak up in order to protect their parents, "whom they love despite their ambivalence."

The Supreme Court's decision to legalize same-sex marriage is now a reality, but the question remains: How does same-sex marriage change the rights that children do—or should—have as it relates to their parents? Do children have a right to know and be raised by their biological parents? Is marriage an institution designed solely for adults, or do children’s rights factor into it—and what exactly are those rights?

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, president and founder of the Ruth Institute, an organization that promotes life-long marriage, says that what the Supreme Court has done with its decision is say that there is no necessary connection between marriage and natural parenthood.

"Marriage has always helped assign parental rights. So when a baby is born, the mother is the person who gave birth to the baby—that’s the typical rule—and then after that we answer "who’s the daddy?" by saying the mother’s husband; he’s presumed to be the father of the children the women gives birth to during the lifetime of their union. With marriage now a genderless institution, we have broken that connection between marriage and parenthood. Children don’t have natural parents anymore; they have legal parents."

Morse says the idea that children have the right to know their biological identity, or to receive support, care and identity from their biological parents, is now in the process of being written out of the law.

Some may point to adoption as a clear example of children being raised by non-biological parents where ties to biological parents are often completely severed, In adoption, however, the loss the child has experienced is recognized and acknowledged and it is understood that his or her new parents are stepping into the shoes that biological parents can’t fill for one reason or another.

"Adoption is a child-centered, child-oriented set of legal rules, rather than adult-centered. And that is the difference between adoption and third-party reproduction," says Morse.

With same-sex marriage, it’s now discriminatory to say that the ideal family arrangement for a child is with his or her biological parents.

Related to this is the issue that Professor Lopez brought up: a child's right to both a mother and a father. With marriage "equality," it is now discriminatory to say that a child is better off, or has a right to, both a mother and a father.

In the interview above, Dr. Morse says married gay parents is a societal experiment and we shouldn’t be experimenting on children, especially those who too often have already experienced the profound loss of their natural parents.

"What I see happening rhetorically, and probably even legally, is people saying that biology isn’t all that important; that we need to break our social belief in bio-genetic parenting as the norm. I think this is a very dangerous place to go. I think it’s just wrong for adults to say children have no right to their natural parents."

 



US Catholic Bishops Speak Out: Obergefell ruling a "tragic error"

by Jennifer Roback Morse 

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a strongly worded statement, supporting natural marriage. Here are some highlights from the statement, issued by the President of the Conference, Archbishop of Louisville, Joseph Kurtz.

  • Just as Roe v. Wade did not settle the question of abortion over forty years ago, Obergefell v. Hodges does not settle the question of marriage today.
  • It is profoundly immoral and unjust for the government to declare that two people of the same sex can constitute a marriage.

 

 


  • The unique meaning of marriage as the union of one man and one woman is inscribed in our bodies as male and female. The protection of this meaning is a critical dimension of the “integral ecology” that Pope Francis has called us to promote. 
  • Mandating marriage redefinition across the country is a tragic error that harms the common good and most vulnerable among us, especially children. The law has a duty to support every child’s basic right to be raised, where possible, by his or her married mother and father in a stable home.
  • Jesus Christ, with great love, taught unambiguously that from the beginning marriage is the lifelong union of one man and one woman. As Catholic bishops, we follow our Lord and will continue to teach and to act according to this truth. 

Charitable, yes. But no "wiggle room" on the crucial moral issues. 

We urge everyone to write to Archbishop Kurtz and the Bishops' conference, thanking them for their leadership and clarity. You do not have to be Catholic to do this. These men will appreciate your support, whatever your religious tradition may be. If you are Catholic, and have not heard anything from your own priests or bishops, feel free to send this statement along to them, with a note, respectfully asking them to consider reading this from the pulpit. 

In any case: THANK ARCHBISHOP KURTZ!

When our clergy do something so right, so positive, so clear and charitable, we must support them. I suggest you write to the Archbishop in care of the Bishops Conference, and in his home Diocese. (Addresses are below.) 

And yes, do it the old-fashioned way: paper, ink. envelopes, stamps, the Whole Nine Yards of courtesy! 

If you don't do this small task, please do not complain to me about how the country is going to hell in a hand-basket, ok? 

thx

Dr. J 

The Most Reverend Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, 

President, The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

3211 Fourth Street NE

Washington DC 20017

And, in his home diocese: 

The Most Reverend Archbishop Joseph Kurtz,

Archdiocese of Louisville

PO Box 1073

Louisville KY 40201-1073

  


Latter Day Saints Leadership speaks out on the Obergefell ruling

posted by Jennifer Roback Morse 

In a statement released on June 29, the Council of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter‐day Saints restates and reaffirms the doctrinal foundation of Church teachings on morality, marriage, and the family. The statement reads in part: 

Consistent with our fundamental beliefs, Church officers will not employ their ecclesiastical authority to perform marriages between two people of the same sex, and the Church does not permit its meetinghouses or other properties to be used for ceremonies, receptions, or other activities associated with same‐sex marriages. Nevertheless, all visitors are welcome to our chapels and premises so long as they respect our standards of conduct while there. 

 

 

The Ruth Institute expresses appreciation to the leadership of the Latter Day Saints for their clear teaching. If you wish to share your appreciation to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, you may write to them at: 

Dear President Monson

President Thomas Monson

Office of the First Presidency

47 East South Temple Street, 

Salt Lake City, Utah 84150 

(Pictured: Breana Jones and Jose Gonzales on their wedding day, at a Latter Day Saint temple. Breanna was a participant in the Ruth Institute's "It Takes a Family to Raise a Village" conference in 2013.) 


Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego speaks out on Obergefell

Posted by Jennifer Roback Morse 

Bishop Robert McElroy, recently appointed Bishop of San Diego by Pope Francis, issued a statement on the Supreme Court's marriage ruling. The statement reads in part: 

The Catholic Church, along with other faith traditions, teaches that the nature of marriage and the family cannot be redefined by society, as God is the author of marriage and its corresponding gift of co-creating human life. The legal recognition of marriage is not only about personal commitment but also about the social commitment that husband and wife make to the well-being of their children. It is for this reason that it is important for government to give a unique status to marriage between one man and one woman both in law and in public policy. The Catholic community of San Diego and Imperial counties will continue to honor and embody the uniqueness of marriage between one man and one woman as a gift from God- -in our teaching, our sacramental life and our witness to the world.

The Ruth Institute expresses its appreciation to the Bishop of San Diego for his clarity and leadership. 

If you wish to thank Bishop McElroy, you may write to him at: 

The Most Reverend Bishop Robert McElroy, 

Bishop of San Diego 

 P.O. Box 85728

San Diego, CA 92186-5728

 

Tip Jar

You make this site possible. Thank you for visiting. If you learned something new or found something worth sharing, please consider making a small donation.