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.

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


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

Dick Durbin, Hillary Clinton, and Harry Reid on their support for traditional marriage

 You need to watch this. It's less than three minutes. Be sure to share it with your friends. Isn't Clinton's description of marriage remarkable? 

Viral Images for Equality

by Jennifer Johnson, Associate Director

June of 2013 was the last time the Supreme Court made a ruling on marriage. Remember how those "equals" signs went viral on social media at that time? Why was that? I think one reason is that people really care about the ideal of equality. They believe that we should treat others fairly. I agree that equality is a good ideal. It is not a perfect ideal, but it is a good one. We might wish the general public would talk about the marriage issue using other concepts, but they don't. Right or wrong, they care about equality and that's how they think about marriage. So, since we know they care about equality, shouldn't we talk about equality too? We can. And we can do it without sacrificing our principles.

A while back I discovered that we can incorporate equality into the marriage issue by saying this:

"Family structure equality for children."

After all, "Family structure equality for children," is just another way of saying what we've already been saying, such as:
  • One man, one woman, for life
  • Every child needs a mom and a dad
  • Children do best with a mom and a dad
I'm sure you see the similarities.

The Supreme Court is getting ready to rule again on marriage.Their ruling comes out this week. I won't be surprised to see those "equals" signs going viral again and I hope you are not either. As a way to show your friends and family that you care about equality too, please consider using the image below as your profile photo on Facebook, Twitter, etc., for the next few days.

Our use of equality is more fair than what the opposing side promotes, don't you agree? We specifically include the kids, and they don't.

Religious Liberty Is Not Enough

by Jennifer Roback Morse

This article was first posted at on April 29, 2015.

 I want to thank those who took the time to respond to my recent article, “Why Religious Liberty Arguments Aren’t Working.” Our focus at the Ruth Institute is crafting sound arguments and clarifying the proper context for their use. Religious liberty arguments are a case in point. While there is merit in religious liberty arguments, we propose a broader strategy that will help all who are engaged in this greatest struggle of our time.

What I’m Not SayingI am NOT saying that lawyers like Matt Bowman and his colleagues at the Alliance Defending Freedom should stop taking religious liberty cases.

I am NOT saying that advocates should stop sticking up for Christians who have been harmed.

I am NOT denigrating the people who have lost their jobs, their businesses or their educational opportunities for the sake of their religious beliefs.

Never in a million years.

In fact, I support them all.

Nor am I saying that we don’t need religious liberty.

So what am I saying?

A Hypothetical DialogueA Christian baker refuses to bake and deliver a wedding cake for a same-sex couple’s wedding reception, citing deeply held religious beliefs. At one time, this might have been an acceptable legal argument providing protection from prosecution under anti-discrimination laws. This appears to be no longer the case.

But I’m not so interested in what will or won’t fly in a court of law. I trust the attorneys like Charles LiMandri, Jay Sekelow, Brad Dacus, Dean Broyles and all the wonderful men and women at the Alliance Defending Freedom to know their business. They know what arguments can and should be made in a court of law, under different sets of facts.

I’m getting at something else.

Suppose someone other than a lawyer questions the Christian baker: a news reporter or their next door neighbor or their lesbian co-worker.

“Why won’t you bake and deliver this cake?”

“Because my religion forbids gay marriage.”

“Why does your religion forbid gay marriage?”

“Because enacting gay marriage will force Christians to do things they don’t believe in.”

Do you see the problem? From the point of view of the non-religious person, this is not an answer at all. We cannot cite religious liberty as a free-standing argument at this point. If we do not provide our unchurched or poorly catechized neighbors with an answer that makes sense to them, they will supply their own answer:

“You won’t bake the cake because you hate gay people.”

Replying “no I don’t hate anyone” without offering a reason other than “my religion forbids it” just induces them to take an even further and more destructive step:

“In that case, your religion deserves to be suppressed.”

Now Matt Bowman may be correct that Americans have an instinctive sense of fair play that causes them to recoil from government coercion. I fear we are in danger of eroding that wholesome instinct if we do not offer reasons for our beliefs. The attractiveness of the florists, bakers and photographers, and the outrageousness of their maltreatment, may no longer be sufficient.

We need to give our countrymen reasons to do more than merely put up with us. We need to give them reasons to actively agree with us, endorse our views and work to put them into practice.

So What Do We Say?There are a number of possible arguments we can offer at this point.

We can say that redefining marriage is bad public policy. Our organization, the Ruth Institute, puts most of its energies into developing these kinds of arguments. We can present these public policy arguments in many different contexts. Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco is not simply saying, “I’m the Archbishop. I can run my schools any way I want.” No, Archbishop Cordileone is giving reasons why the Catholic view of marriage and family is good and beautiful and deserves to be presented in all its fullness.

Even this past weekend’s March for Marriage, which had religious liberty as its central theme, did not treat religious liberty as a free-standing issue. Most of the speakers gave reasons why genderless marriage is bad policy, quite apart from people’s First Amendment rights to oppose it. Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, said that redefining marriage is an untried social experiment being performed on small children. This is a reason anyone should be able to understand, regardless of their religion. The Archbishop might have added: Jesus does not want us experimenting on small children.

Blind Faith Does Not Equal StupidityOften, our neighbors hear our religious liberty arguments as blind faith. “God said it. I believe it. That settles it.” Believe it or not, I actually have some respect for the “blind faith” view. But standing alone, it doesn’t work. It is not even a properly Biblical position. 1 Peter 3:15 tells us, “Be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you.” (King James Version)

What are some reasons we could offer for the hope that is in us, the hope that allows us to face serious hardships rather than renounce our beliefs?

We trust God as our loving father, and that he wants what is best for us. For a child to relax into the care of a loving parent is actually reasonable and developmentally appropriate. And let’s face it. Compared to God, we are all just a bunch of little first-graders running around causing trouble and showing off.

However, our unchurched neighbors are not going to know what we are talking about, unless we give them something to work with.

I for instance, could say that I trust Church teaching because I learned from experience that the Church was right about abortion being harmful to women. I learned from experience that the Church was correct about hook-ups and sex outside of marriage. I was willing to give the Church the benefit of the doubt about Assisted Reproductive Technology, even though I had no experience with it. Eventually, I came to believe that the Church was correct about contraception, a view which I had resisted for a long time.

You no doubt, have reasons of your own to trust God, the Bible and Church teaching. Share those reasons. People need to hear them.

In the back of my mind, is always Pope Benedict’s Regensburg address. God is not arbitrary. His will is reasonable. God wills what is good: things do not become good just because God wills them. Disobeying the moral law hurts us in the natural order, here and now, not just in the supernatural realm of life after death. This is a basic point of Catholic natural law thinking.

To be effective in this arena, though, requires a different kind of preparation than we may be used to. We have to purge ourselves of anger and blame. We have to repent of our own sexual sins. We have to deal with our guilty consciences, which often block us from seeing and telling the truth. (See me, above, re: contraception!) We cannot flinch when someone brings up divorce, Third Party Reproduction, or anything else that harms the connections between children and parents.

I heard a particularly effective instance of this delivered by John-Henry Westin at the Cleveland Right to Life convention. He gave a personal confession, along with a heartfelt plea that others, especially but not exclusively, same sex attracted people, not do as he did.

As long as we are charitable and not casting unnecessary blame, we can talk about just about anything.

What Does Victory Look Like?Besides, what kind of victory are we seeking here anyhow?

“I will allow you to have your idiosyncratic, inexplicable and probably indefensible religious beliefs, if you will allow me to have mine.” I am not satisfied with that stalemate. We need an authentic victory before the bar of history.

Victory is people realizing that children need their own mother and father.

Hopefully people will realize it before too many children are harmed.

Let’s ensure that future generations can proclaim: “People of faith were the only ones who had the foresight to see what we needed and the fortitude to stand up and fight for us.”

Religious liberty is important. But it is not enough.

Press Release: Redefining Marriage Creates Civil Rights Violations for Children


Redefining Marriage Creates Civil Rights Violations for Children

Ruth Institute Submits Amicus Brief to the U.S. Supreme Court

SAN DIEGO, California — April 20, 2015 — The Ruth Institute, a non-profit organization dedicated to healing the American family from the structural injustices of the sexual revolution, in collaboration with Sharee Langenstein, Attorney at Law in the state of Illinois, submitted an Amicus brief to the United States Supreme Court on the upcoming marriage cases.

“Separating children from their parents without a compelling or unavoidable reason creates a structural injustice to the children,” said Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Founder and President of the Ruth Institute. “The court must ultimately answer the question: why is ‘marriage equality’ for adults more socially compelling than the rights of children?”

Dr. Morse identifies the sexual revolution as the driving force behind other structural injustices to children which include divorce, single-parenting by choice, cohabitation without a commitment and 3rd party reproduction. Genderless marriage is just the latest structural injustice to children.

“The civil rights of children are just as important as the rights of adults,” said Dr. Morse. "In addition to having a right to a relationship with both natural parents, children have the right to their identity, including their genetic and cultural heritage. It is unjust to deprive a child of their origins or their past. It’s a human rights atrocity. Adults get to do what they want and kids have to suck it up."

According to Dr. Morse, these court cases are adding an entire new category of victims – marginalized children. “The law is now becoming the very vehicle that separates a child from his or her parents.” Attorney Sharee Langenstein agrees. “Allowing same-sex couples to marry not only changes the definition of marriage, it also changes the definition of parentage. The law should recognize the natural connection between mothers, fathers and their children.”

Langenstein continued, “Studies show that children raised in households with same-sex parents suffer because of it. Many adults raised in such homes have chosen to speak out on the issue, but rather than listening compassionately to their stories, the media and gay rights advocates have endeavored to vilify and marginalize these courageous individuals.”

Morse and Langenstein assert that Courts supporting genderless marriage have failed to explain why a state has any interest at all in the private feelings and commitments of adults without concern for the welfare of the children such relationships produce.

Langenstein concluded, “The Supreme Court can and should return these important issues to the states and civil society for the comprehensive discussion they deserve.”

About Attorney Sharee Langenstein

Sharee Langenstein was admitted to the Bar of the Supreme Court of the United States in January of 2015 and has handled over a hundred appellate cases in Illinois. She serves as an Allied Attorney with Alliance Defending Freedom and as the Eagle Forum National Issues Chairman for Religious Liberty. She was an elected delegate to the 2012 Republican National Convention, and served on the Republican National Platform Committee where she fought to keep the sanctity of life and family in the Republican platform. She is a national speaker and expert on the freedoms protected by the First and Second Amendments. Sharee received her B.A. in writing from Missouri State University in 1995 and her Juris Doctorate from Southern Illinois University School of Law in 1998. She is a wife and mother of six daughters who lives and practices in Southern Illinois. Sharee is forever grateful that adoption "runs" in her family.

About Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

Dr. Morse is the Founder and President of the Ruth Institute, a non-profit organization committed to inspiring survivors of the Sexual Revolution. She is the author of “Love and Economics: It Takes a Family to Raise a Village,” “101 Tips for a Happier Marriage,” and “Smart Sex: Finding Life-long Love in a Hook-up World,” as well as numerous pamphlets and tracts, including “The Government’s Duty to Marriage” and “The Socialist Attack on the Family.” Dr. Morse earned her Ph.D. in Economics at the University of Rochester in 1980. She taught economics at Yale University and George Mason University. She has served as a Research Fellow for the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty and has held fellowships at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, Cornell Law School, and the University of Chicago’s economics department. Her work has been published in the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Reason, Policy Review, National Review Online, the Journal of Political Economy, the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, the University of Chicago Law Review and she has been a guest on Fox News, CNN and EWTN. A noted international speaker, she has been featured at the World Meeting of Families in Valencia, Spain in 2006 (sponsored by the Pontifical Council on the Family) and the Love Singapore Momentum Conference in 2014. Dr. Morse was named one of the “Catholic Stars of 2013” by Our Sunday Visitor – a list that includes Pope Francis and Pope Benedict XVI. Dr. Morse and her husband are parents of an adopted child, a birth child, eight foster children and now a goddaughter.

About The Ruth Institute

The Ruth Institute is a non-profit organization dedicated to healing the American family from the structural injustices of the sexual revolution. The Ruth Institute takes a comprehensive view of the repercussions of the sexual revolution and the diminishing rights of children. The Ruth Institute is academic and scientific rather than theological, drawing heavily from economics, law, social science, psychology, physiology and other disciplines. Visit

Here is a PDF of the release: 

The Ruth Institute files a Friend of the Court brief

by Jennifer Roback Morse

The Ruth Institute and I, filed a Friend of the Court brief to the US Supreme Court for the upcoming marriage cases, called Obergefell v Hodges. 

We are not hopeful of a good outcome in this decision. Nonetheless, we filed a brief for these reasons: 

  1. To give the dissenters some ammunition. 
  2. To go on the record, and speak to history. 
  3. We didn't want anyone to say, "We had no idea these things might happen." 
  4. To let children of future generations know that someone was thinking of them. 

Read the whole brief here.




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