NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Maryland’s highest court agreed July 27 to hear a lawsuit challenging the state’s definition of marriage as between one man and one woman, setting the stage for Maryland to decide whether to legalize “gay marriage.”
In January, Baltimore Circuit Court Judge M. Brooke Murdock ruled in favor of “gay marriage,” leading some state lawmakers to urge passage of a constitutional amendment to protect the natural definition of marriage — a move that failed. The attorney general’s office filed an emergency appeal of Murdock’s ruling with the Court of Special Appeals, and now the state’s highest court has stepped in.
The Court of Special Appeals plans to hear arguments in the case in late November or early December, The Baltimore Sun reported, and some observers believe recent rulings over similar disputes in New York and Washington will have an impact on the court’s decision in Maryland.
“These decisions will affect how the case is argued and the judges’ reason and review of this case — there’s no question,” Mat Staver, president of Liberty Counsel, told The Sun. “Right now, all of the courts are deciding in favor of heterosexual marriage.”
Washington state’s Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision July 26 to uphold the current definition of marriage, and just weeks earlier New York’s highest court ruled that same-sex couples do not have the right to marry according to the state’s constitution.
Homosexual rights activists won their first major victory two years ago in Massachusetts, where same-sex couples petitioned local clerks of courts for marriage licenses and then sued when they were denied. The high court there said it was unconstitutional to deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and activists have been hoping the same would play out in other states. So far it hasn’t.
STUDY CLAIMS KIDS BENEFIT FROM ‘GAY MARRIAGE’ — A study in the July issue of the journal Pediatrics says children benefit when their homosexual parents are permitted to marry or enter into civil unions, though some pro-family experts say the study overlooks some fundamental measures of well-being.
“There is ample evidence to show that children raised by same-gender parents fare as well as those raised by heterosexual parents,” the study says. “More than 25 years of research have documented that there is no relationship between parents’ sexual orientation and any measure of a child’s emotional, psychosocial, and behavioral adjustment.
“These data have demonstrated no risk to children as a result of growing up in a family with one or more gay parents,” the study continues. “Conscientious and nurturing adults, whether they are men or women, heterosexual or homosexual, can be excellent parents. The rights, benefits, and protections of civil marriage can further strengthen these families.”
The report is called “The Effects of Marriage, Civil Union and Domestic Partnership Laws on the Health and Well-Being of Children” and was commissioned by the board of directors for the 55,000-member American Academy of Pediatrics.
Glenn Stanton, Focus on the Family’s senior analyst for marriage and cultural affairs, noted that the researchers may have disregarded some key evidence as they raced toward endorsing “gay marriage.”
“This report essentially says that research shows that gay and lesbian parents can be as loving and caring as heterosexual parents,” Stanton told CitizenLink. “That is not the same as saying that children who grow up in homes in two-female or two-male adult homes do as well as kids who live with their mother and father in important outcome measures.”
Stanton said that while sexual orientation doesn’t seem to affect the fact that parents want their kids to eat healthy foods, exercise, read books and limit television viewing, those are not the only important indicators of good parenting.
“We have to examine the impact of the very consequential differences that are there,” Stanton said, according to CitzenLink July 25. “Same-sex homes intentionally deny children a mother or father in the home simply because adults desire such homes.
“Research by nonpartisan child-advocacy organizations has consistently shown that children do markedly better when raised by their mothers and fathers,” Stanton said.
Meanwhile, Joe Solmonese, president of the homosexual activist group Human Rights Campaign, said in a news release, “The nation’s largest organization for pediatricians knows what it’s talking about: Marriage is good for all families.”
At least one study contradicts the findings reported in Pedriatrics. A report published in 2001 by the American Sociological Review found that children in homes of homosexual parents experiment with homosexuality at a greater rate of incidence than those in heterosexual homes.
FIRST GAY COUPLE TO MARRY IN MASS. SEPARATES — The first homosexual couple to marry in Massachusetts when “gay marriage” was legalized there in May 2004 has announced that they are separating, according to The Boston Globe July 21.
Julie and Hillary Goodridge, the lead plaintiffs in the legal case that led to the approval of “gay marriage,” have not filed for divorce but are “amicably living apart,” their spokeswoman, Mary Breslauer, told The Globe. They have a 10-year-old daughter, Annie.
“As always their number one priority is raising their daughter, and like the other plaintiff couples in this case, they made an enormous contribution toward equal marriage,” Breslauer said. “But they are no longer in the public eye, and request that their privacy be respected.”
When The Globe asked if the failure of the Goodridges’ marriage meant anything to the gay rights movement, Breslauer said, “I just think this really doesn’t say anything.
“Our families, like other families, can face tough times, with many making it through those moments, but some not,” she added.
Pro-family groups refused to lambaste the couple for breaking up after making such a big deal of their need to be together just two years ago.
“Of course, we don’t take any pleasure in the sadness of any individual or couple, and I don’t believe one couple’s experience necessarily proves anything,” Peter Sprigg, the Family Research Council’s vice president for policy, told The Washington Times.
Sprigg added, though, that research indicates that homosexual relationships are less likely to be monogamous or lifelong than heterosexual relationships.
Kris Mineau, president of the conservative Massachusetts Family Institute, told The Globe his group has no intentions of exploiting the Goodridges.
“It’s certainly not something we’re going to make an issue out of,” Mineau said. “We are opposed to homosexual marriage because we are concerned about the impact on children. So our thoughts and prayers go out to their little child, a little girl named Annie — 10 years old, I believe. And this is just bringing more grief upon her life, I’m sure.”
The Goodriches began a homosexual relationship more than two decades ago after meeting at Harvard University, and their spokeswoman would not give a reason for their separation.
A 2006 survey by The Globe estimates that 7,300 same-sex couples have married in the state since May 2004 and 45 have divorced.
BYU PROFESSOR FIRED FOR SUPPORTING ‘GAY MARRIAGE’ — An adjunct professor of philosophy at Brigham Young University in Utah lost his job four days after an opinion piece he wrote in support of “gay marriage” appeared in The Salt Lake Tribune.
“I believe opposing gay marriage and seeking a constitutional amendment against it is immoral,” Jeffrey Nielsen wrote in early June, a week after Mormon church leaders urged members to contact their U.S. senators in support of the Federal Marriage Amendment.
In his opinion piece, Nielsen argued that homosexuality is a biological condition ordained by God, and he said a ban on “gay marriage” contradicts the Mormon church’s past polygamy practices.
“It seems to me that if church leaders at one point in time, not very long ago, told members that the union of one man with several women was important for eternal salvation, but now leads them to believe that God only recognizes the union of one man to one woman, then some explanation is required,” Nielsen wrote.
Mormons are allowed to express views contrary to the stance of the church, as shown by Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, a Mormon who has publicly opposed the Federal Marriage Amendment, The Tribune noted. But the difference with Nielsen is that he was on the payroll of a Mormon-owned university.
“In accordance with the order of the church, we do not consider it our responsibility to correct, contradict or dismiss official pronouncements of the church,” BYU Department of Philosophy chairman Daniel Graham wrote in a letter of dismissal to Nielsen. “Since you have chosen to contradict and oppose the church in an area of great concern to church leaders, and to do so in a public forum, we will not rehire you after the current term is over.”