8.20.2014

Supreme Court blocks same-sex marriages in Virginia

The Supreme Court of the United States has stayed the 4th Circuit ruling in favor of same-sex marriage, effectively upholding, at least temporarily, state marriage amendments. The practical effect is that gay and lesbian couples will be blocked from marrying in Virginia this week, and indicates that the High Court indeed edges closer to deciding whether marriage should be defined by state law or whether same-sex marriage should be legalized nationwide. Read more at http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/nation/2014/08/20/gay-marriage-virginia-supreme-court/14282579/.

Today's ruling puts on hold the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals' decision last month striking down Virginia's ban on gay marriage. That case, like others that ended similarly in Utah and Oklahoma, is being appealed to the Supreme Court. The request for the stay was litigated by Regent Law graduate David Cortman ('96) among others. That Application to Stay can be accessed at http://www.adfmedia.org/files/SchaeferStayApplication.pdf. The petitioners effectively argued that 1) the question presented regarding marriage expansion is sufficiently meritorious to grant certiorari, 2) there is a fair prospect that the Supreme Court of the United States will reverse the 4th Circuit decision toward forced marriage expansion upon states, and 3) that irreparable harm will likely result from denying the Stay.

Although citizens in nearly 40 states voted to define marriage in their state codes and constitutions as between one man and one woman, nearly all federal and state courts have ruled in favor of same-sex marriage since the high court issued two landmark decisions in June 2013. To learn more about those cases read the article at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2462093 for a big picture perspective, and at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2427462 for a Virginia perspective.

Today's Stay by the High Court is an important step toward upholding state regulatory authority in domestic relations regulation toward family restoration.

Christian Future on Sexual Matters Moves Toward Acquiescence

University of Texas at Austin Sociologist Mark Regnerus draws on a survey of over 15,000 adult Americans’ opinions of sex and relationships to discern differences among Christians regarding their views of same-sex marriage, and general attitudes towards sexual and sex-related behavior.  Rod Dreher at the American Conservative has analyzed this study and written a piece on it entitled “Sex, Christianity, & The Slippery Slope.” The entire article is accessible here at http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/sex-christianity-gay-same-sex-marriage-homosexuality-slippery-slope/ , but a bit of the research is set forth in this chart below.

 Dreher writes, “His analysis observes that the more you agree with SSM, the more likely you are to accept a wide variety of sexual practices that are antithetical to normative Christianity. Significantly, the numbers above reflect the views of churchgoing Christians, not cultural Christians. Excerpt [from Regnerus]:

Churchgoing Christians who support same-sex marriage look very much like the country as a whole—the population average (visible in the third column). That answers my original question. What would a pro-SSM Christian sexual morality look like? The national average—the norm—that’s what.

While the divisions here are notable, we should maintain some perspective. No more than four in ten Christians who support same-sex marriage agreed with any of the statements above (except the question about children and divorce). The same cannot be said for American Christians who self-identify as gay or lesbian, as the fourth column demonstrates. And that group is clearly distinct from those gay and lesbian Americans who do not affiliate with a Christian tradition (e.g., nonreligious, Jews, spiritual-but-not-religious, Buddhists, etc.).

I’m not suggesting any “slippery slope” sort of argument here, implying that a shift in one attitude will prompt lock-step adjustments in others. In reality, our moral systems concerning sex and sexuality tend rather to resemble personalized “tool kits” reflecting distinctive visions of the purpose of sex and significant relationships (and their proper timing), the meaning of things like marriage and gender roles, and basic ideas about rights, goods, and privacy. Americans construct them in quite distinct combinations, often cafeteria-style. Instead, the results might be better interpreted as a simple story of social learning from quite different reference groups—those sets of people we use as a standard of comparison for ourselves, regardless of whether we identify as a member of that group. Indeed, attitude shifts in this domain are probably far more about reference groups than about any sort of individual “evolution” or rational construction of personal values. And it’s because of reference groups that both sets of Christians tend to perceive themselves as rather embattled, which is an inherently social sensation.

These numbers startled me. I would not have guessed that so many LGBT Christians supported polygamous sexual relationships and no-strings-attached sex — nor that the numbers among pro-SSM Christians would be so high. I think Regnerus is correct here:

I’m not so na├»ve as to think that affirming same-sex marriage is the first significant change to take hold in their sexual and relational norms. More likely, the sexual morality of many churchgoing Christians shifted years ago, and the acceptance of same-sex marriage as licit Christian action follows significant change rather than prompts it.

Still, it seems pretty clear that if you or your congregation has accepted SSM as normative, you have jettisoned basic Christian teaching about the meaning of sex and sexuality. And within one or two generations, I believe, your descendants will jettison Christianity. The Christian future will be orthodox on sexual matters, or it won’t be at all.

Dreher uses Regnerus’ study to make a compelling argument that Christians may not understand the implications of acquiescent love and acceptance, and do not know how to apply unconditional love to a sexual matter.  Rather than simple acceptance, unconditional love does not include acquiescence, but a firmness of love and stability that rescues and restores both individuals and families.  Some of this effect may be due to the notion that media coverage is valid and equitable on this matter.  Professor and Dr. Mark Yarhouse and I have published on this phenomenon in our work entitled “Fairness, Accuracy and Honesty in Discussing Homosexuality and Marriage,” which is available for free download at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=317699.  

The Christian future on sexual matters appears to be moving toward social acquiescence, rather than toward salt and light in a world of need. The former will not necessarily win individuals to the love of Jesus Christ, and the latter is absolutely necessary to family restoration.

8.18.2014

Restoring Families by Fighting the Silence on Human Trafficking

Young girls are torn from their families by otherwise unbeknownst criminals who would draw them into human trafficking.  But one rock band is working to "Fight the Silence" on trafficking with their newest song and music video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GaDSvzFZqoI.  Their music video features the stories of three young girls and their experience in human trafficking.  The songs' lyrics are below. 

Legal  scholarship can be accessed for a freedownload on SSRN at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2451238,  where Professor Tessa Dysart has argued for protection from prostitution prosecution for minors forced into trafficking.  She has also drafted policy principles and proposed legislation which states can use to effect the trafficking industry at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2264439.

Furthermore, Professor Kathleen McKee teaches a course at Regent Law on human trafficking.  She understands the critical interplay between families and human trafficking, and has written about international child abduction, also available for a free download at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2397868.  

Fight the Silence

Eye to eye, face to face

Still we don't see them; we look away

Still we cry; but no one is listening

When will we open our eyes

OPEN OUR EYES

This song we sing to silence the suffering

When will we hear their cries (WHEN WILL WE HEAR THEIR CRIES)

This song we sing to silence the suffering

When will we open our eyes (WHEN WILL WE OPEN OUR EYES)

SO LET THE WORLD LISTEN CLOSELY

AS I SCREAM TO SEE THE FREEDOM THEY DESERVE

LET THE WORLD LISTEN CLOSELY

I SAY, "ITS TIME TO CROSS THE LINES OF CULTURE"

BIRTH BRINGING ON POVERTY…

THEY KEEP US UNINFORMED AND DISTRACTED

IF THEY CAN'T FIGHT FOR THEMSELVES, WE'LL FIGHT FOR THEM

ITS TIME… TO FIGHT THE SILENCE

GO

BROKEN, ABUSED, AND EXPLOITED

FOR THE SICK SATISFACTION OF SELFISH MEN

ONLY A COWARD WOULD TRY TO IGNORE IT

BUT WE CAN RAISE OUR VOICE AND BRING IT TO AN END

FIGHT, FIGHT, FIGHT THE SILENCE

SET THE CAPTIVES FREE

FIGHT, FIGHT, FIGHT THE SILENCE

THEY'RE A SLAVE TO A SYSTEM OF APATHY

BOUGHT AND SOLD…

THEY'RE RIGHT TO LIFE HAS BEEN TAKEN AWAY

BOUGHT AND SOLD…

BRING AN END TO SLAVERY

OPEN OUR EYES

This song we sing to silence the suffering

When will we hear their cries (WHEN WILL WE HEAR THEIR CRIES)

This song we sing to silence the suffering

When will we open our eyes (WHEN WILL WE OPEN OUR EYES)

This song we sing to silence the suffering

When will we hear their cries (WHEN WILL WE HEAR THEIR CRIES)

This song we sing to silence the suffering

WHEN WILL WE OPEN OUR EYES

THEIR FATE IS IN OUR HANDS

WILL THEY BE LEFT THERE TO SUFFER

WILL SOMEBODY TAKE A STAND

AGAINST A SYSTEM… THAT'S BEEN DESIGNED TO DENY

ITS VICTIMS… THEIR RIGHT TO LIFE

LET'S SET THE CAPTIVES FREE

When all is said and done, WE'LL SEE JUSTICE COME

ITS TIME TO FIGHT THE SILENCE

GO

THE VOICE OF THE VOICELESS

FIGHT THE SILENCE

WE ARE THE HOPE FOR THE HOPELESS

FIGHT THE SILENCE

FIGHT, FIGHT, FIGHT THE SILENCE

ITS TIME TO…

FIGHT

 


Professors and students at Regent University School of Law are working to fight human trafficking, and to work toward family restoration for trafficking victims.

 

This post was created in part thanks to the efforts of 1L law student, Joe Kohm, III.

8.13.2014

Child Sexual Abuse Fostered by Abortion Provider

Planned Parenthood faces a legal challenge in Colorado after Cary Smith, of Federal Heights, CO, says she discovered that clinic staff failed to inquire or report about suspected sexual abuse of her 13-year-old daughter after giving her an abortion.  It was any mother's nightmare, as LifeSite News reports at http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/planned-parenthood-performed-abortion-on-my-teen-didnt-report-sex-abuse-mom.

According to the lawsuit filed on June 20, 2014, Cary's daughter, R.Z., was only about six years old when her new step-father, Timothy David Smith, began to sexually abuse her. At this age, she was too young to realize that her step-father's inordinate attention was actually a crime.  Little R.Z. turned seven, then eight. The years went by, and the abuse continued, but her mother never knew.  The abuse eventually became both verbal and physical as well, with R.Z.'s step-father even threatening to take her life. Timothy's verbal and physical abuse soon extended to Cary, even when R.Z. was present.  Then R.Z. became pregnant. On May 3, 2012, Timothy transported his 13-year-old step-daughter to Planned Parenthood in Denver, Colorado, for an abortion appointment that Timothy had forced R.Z. to schedule.  Planned Parenthood staff met R.Z. and her step-father and gave them the necessary paperwork. R.Z. filled out her date of birth and signed a few forms, but Timothy completed all the rest. R.Z. never read these documents.

According to the suit, throughout the visit, four staff members spoke with and observed R.Z. and her step-father. All of them had opportunity to see that R.Z.'s birth date indicated she was only 13—well below the age of consent. Yet, the suit says that none of them asked R.Z. about their relationship. As well, none asked about potential sex abuse, and none of them reported anything to the state.  After the abortion, R.Z. walked back out to the parking lot, got into her step-father's car, and went back home. And the abuse continued.  Two months later, on July 18, 2012, Timothy was outside of the home, and Cary was left alone with her daughter. R.Z. took the opportunity to tell her mom that her own step-father was sexually abusing her, and had been doing so for years.  Cary took the now 13-year-old to the hospital and immediately reported the abuse. She contacted Planned Parenthood for her daughter's medical records, and discovered that her husband had arranged for a secret abortion for R.Z. earlier that year. Timothy Smith was arrested and charged with multiple counts of felony sex abuse, and pled guilty to two counts in late 2012.  But although R.Z.'s abuser was now behind bars, the first medical professionals who had seen R.Z.—the four Planned Parenthood staff members—must have known that her daughter was a potential victim of sexual abuse. These were professionals who had the information to do something, but did not. And they had the responsibility to act—to report suspected child sex abuse—under Colorado law.  But, according to the lawsuit, these professionals did nothing. Worse, they performed a dangerous, legally-restricted procedure on a minor child, without informing her mother, and turned R.Z. back over to her rapist following the abortion.  Cary maintains that defendants' negligence "created an unreasonable risk of physical harm" to her daughter. Cary is now suing Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains for five claims for relief, including negligence, negligent affliction of emotional distress, and extreme and outrageous conduct.  Read here the full case of Smith v. Rocky Mountain Planned Parenthood.

The option for an abortion has led to great abuse of girls and women, as detailed in "The Rise and Fall of Women's Rights," accessible at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2007200, and R.Z.'s story vividly illustrates that fact.  The abortion provider was shielded by the right, but failed to protect the child with mandatory sexual abuse reporting requirements placed on the provider by state law.  This case also demonstrates the distancing effect abortion has had on the parent-child relationship, more detailed in Part I of "Roe's Effects of Family Law" at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2441274

Legal education materials tend to ignore these implications, and even create an "echo-chamber effect" for abortion, even to the detriment of the people it harms.  Law students particularly will want to read about that at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2201231.

Child sexual abuse should not be fostered and advanced by abortion providers; rather abortion providers ought to be the first to see when their product heinously abuses children, and presents tragic opportunities for adults to abuse children further.