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.


Testimony for Texas Bill Repealing Unilateral Divorce

Testimony for Texas Bill Repealing Unilateral Divorce

House Bill 3188 filed by Representative Matthew Krause

Jennifer Roback Morse Ph.D.

April 26, 2021

I support the repeal of unilateral no-fault divorce. The public mistakenly believes that “no-fault” divorce means that two sensible people can dissolve their marriage, by mutual agreement, without a finding of fault. In reality, only about a quarter of divorces take place by mutual consent. This fact, not widely studied or appreciated, means that roughly 75% of divorces take place against the will of one of the parties.

This fact has the following consequences:


  • The most basic terms of the marriage contract can be violated without penalty.
  • Since there are no “marital faults,” adultery is not a “marital fault.” Therefore, an adulterous spouse can unilaterally end the marriage and have the legal right to contract another marriage with his or her paramour. The law supports the guilty spouse against the innocent spouse.
  • Marriage has been redefined from being presumptively permanent and sexually exclusive to being neither permanent nor sexually exclusive.
  • One party can drag the other party into court and have the assets of the family subject to division by the State.
  • The division of custody of children comes under the jurisdiction and control of the State.
  • The forced division of financial assets and child custody amounts to a serious penalty imposed by the State on a law-abiding citizen, simply at the request of their spouse.

The losses to children from divorce are staggering and well-documented. One survey of the literature cataloging the harms to children from divorce includes more than 300 footnotes. Another 25-year study shows that far from kids “getting over it,” the harms from divorce “crescendo” during adolescence and young adulthood. A few highlights from these surveys include these losses for children:

  • Diminished academic performance, including poorer grades and lower overall educational attainment.
  • Diminished mental and physical health outcomes, including greater likelihood of drug abuse and suicide.
  • Loss of stability of their relationships with their parents and their living arrangements.
  • Loss of their sense of identity and belonging.
  • Inability to trust.
  • Compromised ability to form stable and satisfying love relationships of their own.

These considerations lead me to support an end to unilateral no-fault divorce. No citizen should have the right to unilaterally inflict costs of this magnitude on their spouse and children without a finding of fault. No government should have a policy of always taking sides with the party who wants the marriage the least.

Through unilateral divorce, the legal system incentivizes disloyalty. This policy is unworthy of a free people and a great nation.

Dr. Morse’s Qualifications:

  • Taught economics at Yale and George Mason Universities for 15 years.
  • Author of six books on marriage, family and human sexuality.
  • Writings translated into Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Polish and Chuukese, the native language of the Micronesian Islands.
  • Named one of the “Catholic Stars of 2013” on a list that included Pope Francis and Pope Benedict XVI.
  • Campaign spokeswoman for California’s Proposition 8 in 2008.
  • Founder and President, The Ruth Institute, an international interfaith coalition to defend the family.

References:

Mark Regnerus, Cheap Sex: The Transformation of Men, Marriage, and Monogamy, (New York: Oxford University Press, 2017), pg. 160-161, Figure 5.2, reports on a survey of 3,900 divorces, asking which party wanted the divorce. Only 27% of men and 24% of women said: “We both wanted it to end.” This is the only survey of which I am aware that even asks the question about mutual consent to divorce.

Patrick F. Fagan and Aaron Churchill, “The Effects of Divorce on Children,” Marriage and Religion Research Institute, Research Summary, January 11, 2012. This comprehensive 48-page survey contains over 300 footnotes.

Judith Wallerstein, Julia Lewis, and Sandra Blakeslee, The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce: The 25 Year Landmark Study, (New York: Hyperion, 2000.)

 


CNN Struggles with PC Trans Terminology


This article was originally published on SalvoMag.

- Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

CNN parrots the most absurd positions of the transgender movement. We should start calling it the PCNN, Politically Correct News Network. And they can’t even keep their own PC terminology straight.

In a March 30 broadcast on South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem’s executive order on transgender males in women’s sports, the politically correct network editorialized:

“The order also references ‘biological sex,’ a disputed term that refers to the sex as listed on students’ original birth certificates.” In the same broadcast, the network claimed, “It’s not possible to know a person’s identity at birth, and there is no consensus criteria for assigning sex at birth.”


Following substantial backlash, CNN updated the story to “provide additional explanation as to the distinctions between gender and sex.” Their story now states, “It's not possible to know a person's gender identity at birth, and for some people, the sex listed on their original birth certificate is a misleading way of describing the body they have.”

The Gender Theorists have inflicted this new terminology on all of us. The least they can do is to apply it consistently. After all, the term “sex” refers to the body. The Sexual Revolutionaries invented the distinction between “sex” and “gender” to undermine the stability of male roles and female roles. “Gender” is the term they use to describe the complex of social roles, personal preferences, feelings and identity. The Revolutionaries maintain that sex roles are socially constructed and can be reconstructed. This distinction allowed them to pursue their agenda of eliminating everything based on male-female differences, without having to maintain that the body is completely irrelevant. They’re saying: “All we want to do is provide more flexibility in gender roles. We accept that male and female bodies are different.”

But now the mask is slipping. They can’t keep their story straight. There absolutely is a criterion for “assigning sex at birth”: DNA, which is almost always immediately obvious from secondary sex characteristics. Of course, we can’t know a person’s “identity” at birth, if that term includes everything they are ever going to think or feel. But that complex of feelings is not relevant to which sports teams a person should play on. The body is the only relevant consideration for that purpose.

CNN’s attempt at clarification did not help. CNN’s statement that “the sex listed on their original birth certificate is a misleading way of describing the body they have,” is absurd. The sex of the body has not changed. The individual has changed their “gender identity,” not the sex of their bodies.

It’s just more of CNN being CNN. In a story last August on screenings for cervical cancer, instead of “women,” it used the expression “individuals with a cervix.” Increasingly, doctrinaire outlets like CNN, try to avoid saying “men” and “women” which are thought to exclude so-called transsexuals.

CNN’s newscasts should come with a warning label: “No News Ahead. Propaganda Only. Some viewers may find the following broadcast upsetting.”

Bias like this is one reason we at the Ruth Institute recently launched our Transgender Resource Center with research, media and other resources to fight the transgender ideology which permeates our society.

 

 



Kamala Harris, Bill Clinton, and Empowering Women

 

The Stream’s John Zmirak saw a press commentary by pro-family activist Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse. He couldn’t quite believe his eyes, so he decided to interview her about its startling claims. This was originally published at the Stream

 

 

 

John Zmirak: I saw you put out a press release about Kamala Harris joining Bill Clinton last week for a summit on empowering women and girls. You just made that up for April Fools, right? Kind of a tasteless joke for a Catholic pro-life leader to make in my opinion. Can’t you get your mind out of the gutter?

Jennifer Roback Morse: Sorry John. I didn’t make it up. The jokes write themselves these days. I wish I could get my mind out of the gutter. But some of our elected officials keep dragging me back there.


Sleeping Your Way to the Abyss

Okay, I’ll admit that it’s real. You might say that these people have more of an insight on the subject than most, although the wrong point of view. Kamala “dated” the married Willie Brown — old enough to be her grandpa — to sleep her way to the middle. Then she clawed her way to the top using Planned Parenthood’s money and ruthless opposition research aimed at fellow Democrats. Bill Clinton, for his part, has learned all there is to know about putting out “bimbo eruptions.”

John, John, you are taking the wrong approach entirely. This is Equal Opportunity Exploitation. President Clinton exploits women. Vice-President Harris exploits men. What’s the problem? Except for the fact that instead of “use and be used,” we could be promoting of culture of “love and be loved.” But that is just our old-fashioned Catholic upbringing intruding itself into the conversation, isn’t it?

I think young girls could learn a lot from meditating on the Tales of Bill and Kamala. Young women starting out in their careers could ask themselves, “Where did Monica Lewinsky go wrong? Or did she?” Kamala could offer some pointers, for women who want to get a leg up on their careers.

Brilliant, John. This could be an addition to the Comprehensive Sexual Education curriculum that Planned Parenthood promotes and sponsors all over the place. That’s for the kiddies. For the college students, the Women’s Resource Center on every campus could offer special inspiring sessions, “Lessons from the Vice-President,” as part of their career counseling. Maybe slip it in during the Sex Week or other pro-pornography extravaganzas so many schools sponsor these days.

Should you and I just be writing this as an Afterschool Special for tweens? A children’s book to replace all those canceled Dr. Seuss titles?

But who would we get to illustrate it? Oh dear. That is a disturbing image … .

What were these two thinking, in agreeing to this? Do you think this is just an example of the Sexual Revolutionaries’ INFINITE CHUTZPAH? They think they can brazen out absolutely anything, since the media is on their side.

That is a bad joke, John. They don’t see it as chutzpah. They see it as normal. They are utterly clueless.

The Sexual Revolution and its Gulag

Okay, joking aside. What serious lessons can we draw, from the confluence of these two conscienceless power-seekers, about how the Sexual Revolution affects real, normal women and girls? Do these people’s lives, and their political goals, offer anything to human females actually seeking happiness?

Actually, this is what bothers me the most. The millions of ordinary men and women who spend a lifetime of faithful married love are ridiculed. Mike Pence is ridiculed for never being alone with a woman other than his wife. You’d think the fact that there are no bimbo eruptions around Pence would cause people to show him some respect. But in fact, the Sexual Revolutionaries hold up people like Clinton and Harris as role models.

In your book The Sexual State you show how the Sexual Revolution was aptly named. It was driven by the weird, Gnostic ideas of eccentric intellectuals (like the Marquis de Sade, and his disciples Sartre and Beauvoir) who wanted to remake reality and deny the structure God gave it.

Don’t forget those modern intellectual giants: Warren Buffett and George Soros and John D. Rockefeller III.

 

They despise the real world, where sex makes babies and parents are responsible for those babies. These Titans of the Intellect and Industry want to remake the whole process of the reproduction and rearing of new human beings. They used pop culture, the media, and finally Big Government to impose these strange new ideas on the masses. How far along are we in that revolution?

We are pretty far along. When I point out to people that it is not possible to build an entire society around the idea that sex is a sterile recreational activity, they look at me with blank stares. At first. They start to scratch their heads and get the point when I point out that hedonists like Clinton and Harris tend to rise to the top of the career ladder because they have a competitive advantage over people who take the time needed to actually raise their children. The whole economy has restructured itself around the social norm of delayed child-bearing for the professional classes and unmarried child-bearing for the lower classes. It is quite an irrational system actually.

Thou Shalt Not Mother Thy Children

Infamously, Simone de Beauvoir once said that women should not be permitted to stay home with their kids, because too many would choose to. Has our modern crony capitalism managed to impose her diktat, without the need to make it literally illegal?

Pretty much. I would add student debt to the list of policies that have suppressed fertility among the educated classes. Young people start their working lives with a huge cloud of debt hanging over their heads, especially if they have trained in the professions such as law and medicine. They have to work to pay off their debts.

Are you confident that human nature, if nothing else, will rise up and overthrow the Sexual Dictatorship of the Hedoneriat before it’s too late? Or will the Muslims or the dolphins just come and inhabit our depopulated cities?

Actually, the wolves and wild boar are making a comeback in some European cities. Dunno about the dolphins.

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Come on, you know what I mean.

I do. And there is no simple answer. The competitive and structural forces keeping the Sexual Revolution in place are formidable at this point. All the major institutions of society have been captured by the Revolution. Pretty much every profession has been corrupted or captured or both by the Revolution. Yet, the demands of the Hedoneriat have become so outrageous that people are pushing back. The pushback against transgenderism is broad and deep. People are objecting to boys in girls bathrooms and kids being steering into self-mutilation. As part of that pushback, people are rethinking their commitments to earlier parts of the Sexual Revolution. Some are even converting to the Christian faith.

 


 


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