Thanks to Nan Hunter for alerting me to an astonishing "marriage movement" event, a "summit on marriage and family" co-hosted by David Blankenhorn's Institute for American Values and the Georgia Supreme Court. I am horrified that a body with the power to rule on the well-being of children with LGBT parents, namely a state supreme court, is giving its imprimatur to one of the most vocal organizations in the country that opposes legal recognition of same-sex couples and parents.
How did this happen? Well the Chief Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court, Leah Sears, is on the board of directors of the Institute for American Values! She is on record espousing the core position -- as wrong as it is -- that the decline of life long heterosexual marriage is the cause of all our social problems. Sears is leaving the court next year, so she needn't fear criticism for associating the Georgia Supreme Court with a political agenda. (And the conference program says this is the "first annual" conference of its kind; okay, that's scary!)
But maybe more significantly, Chief Justice Sears may well think this conference isn't subject to criticism for furthering a political agenda. The "marriage movement" rhetoric that the decline of life-long heterosexual marriage is responsible for all our social problems has such mainstream support -- after all our federal government funds "marriage promotion" -- that to some ears it sounds like a statement of fact.
There will be one speaker who supports marriage for same-sex couples, Jonathan Rauch, but he actually accepts every tenet of the "marriage movement" except the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage. So no one at this conference will present a different view about the cause -- and therefore the solutions -- to our social problems. In fact, luncheon speaker Barbara Dafoe Whitehead, whose 1993 "Dan Quayle Was Right" Atlantic Monthly article first laid out the ideology of the "marriage movement" (and was soundly critiqued by NYU sociologist Judith Stacey), appears poised to link the nation's financial crisis to the decline of marriage! Why didn't I guess that would be coming?
And just in case there's any question about this conference's agenda on gender roles, there will be continuous screenings of the DVD Hardwired to Connect, which emphasizes differences between boys and girls.
These folks are dangerous. Read a comprehensive critique of their positions in chapter 4 of my book.