Family Institute of Connecticut

Connecticut in the Crosshairs

December 30

KOREA'S STEM-CELL FRAUD: COMING SOON TO CONNECTICUT? [Peter Wolfgang]

From a wire story in today's Courant:

SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea's top university said Thursday that leading researcher Hwang Woo-suk fabricated all of the stem cells he said were cloned from individual patients — a shattering blow to the disgraced scientist's reputation as a medical pioneer.

Korean news outlets also reported that the ongoing probe into one of the biggest scientific frauds in memory had broadened to embrace allegations that government officials — concerned about the shame such revelations could bring upon their country — may have attempted to bribe scientists who were considered potential whistle-blowers.

From a Weekly Standard article by the Discovery Institute's Wesley J. Smith, discussing the embryonic stem cell research fraud perpetrated by Hwang:

This debacle raises several interesting questions: What does it tell us about the thoroughness of the peer review process? Why were younger South Korean scientists able to discover Hwang's missteps when the presumably more seasoned peer reviewers for Science failed? Will the American media take a cue from their courageous counterparts in South Korea, who pursued this story until it cracked, and finally bring skepticism to their coverage of biotechnology? More to the point, will the adult/umbilical cord blood stem cell successes that have emerged one after the other in recent years finally receive the attention they deserve in the mainstream press, which has been so intoxicated with embryonic research as virtually to ignore nonembryonic breakthroughs?

Don't count on it. The pro-cloning political forces, and their media allies, recognize the potential of the Hwang fiasco to damage their cause, so they have quickly regrouped and begun to furiously spin the story. The same voices that not long ago railed against President Bush's stem cell funding policies for supposedly allowing America to fall behind the cutting-edge research in South Korea, now indignantly blame Bush for creating a hyper-competitive atmosphere that led to Hwang's failures. "Ethics can get forgotten as other nations and private companies race to fill the void left by the president's reluctance to fund stem cell research," wrote bioethicists Arthur Caplan and Glenn McGee in the Albany Times Union. "Only a properly funded U.S. stem cell research program will guarantee oversight and the protection of all involved."

The reaction in Connecticut's pro-cloning media was similar to what is described above. But as Smith goes on to explain, scientific fraud is just one of several ethical lapses "associated with the human cloning agenda." Reading Smith's account, one cannot help but think of Connecticut Right to Life President Bill O'Brien's report on the dishonesty surrounding our own state's decision to spend millions of taxpayer dollars to clone-and-kill human embryos (see my Dec. 15th blog).

Could Connecticut's publicly funded clone-and-kill research reach the same level of fraud that we have seen in South Korea? Its proponents would likely say that there are safeguards in place to prevent that from happening. But consider the question posed on the front page of the Dec. 17th Fairfield County Catholic:

The process to expend $100 million in State funding on stem-cell research took its first step on Nov. 29 with the launch of the Stem Cell Research Advisory Committee. Many of the committee members represent groups that strongly support embryonic stem-cell research, which kills innocent human life. Two universities that may seek access to this funding, Yale and UConn, hold 3 of 8 appointed seats. Is this a potential conflict of interest?

Of course it is. This is why Smith's conclusion on where things stand in the clone-and-kill debate may eventually prove true in Connecticut as well:

So where are we in the cloning debate? At this point, we don't know whether human cloning has been successfully accomplished or not. We don't know whether embryonic stem cells have been derived from cloned embryos. We don't know to what depths the dishonesty of the seemingly most successful researcher in the field actually descended.

We do know that cloning proponents in this country are avid in their desire for billions in federal and state money to pay for morally problematic and highly speculative research that the private sector generally shuns. And we do know that some advocates of this public policy agenda are more than willing to play fast and loose with the facts in order to get their way. In short, the human cloning agenda is falling into public disrepute-and for that, proponents of the agenda have no one to blame but themselves.

Posted at 12:40 PM

December 29

HERE COME THE BRIDES [Peter Wolfgang]

On Oct. 11th I blogged about the low numbers of same-sex couples utilizing Connecticut's new civil union law, noting that "only one trio has entered into a civil union in the Netherlands. But in doing so, they have undermined the understanding of marriage in the Netherlands, just as same-sex civil unions are doing in Connecticut." Now, in a Weekly Standard article that should be a "must read" for every pro-family activist, the Hudson Institute's Stanley Kurtz shows how the Dutch "polyamorous triad" figures into the global attack on marriage:

While Victor, Bianca, and Mirjam are joined by a private cohabitation contract rather than a state-registered partnership or a full-fledged marriage, their union has already made serious legal, political, and cultural waves in the Netherlands. To observers on both sides of the Dutch gay marriage debate, the De Bruijns' triple wedding is an unmistakable step down the road to legalized group marriage.

More important, the De Bruijn wedding reveals a heretofore hidden dimension of the gay marriage phenomenon. The De Bruijns' triple marriage is a bisexual marriage. And, increasingly, bisexuality is emerging as a reason why legalized gay marriage is likely to result in legalized group marriage. If every sexual orientation has a right to construct its own form of marriage, then more changes are surely due. For what gay marriage is to homosexuality, group marriage is to bisexuality. The De Bruijn trio is the tip-off to the fact that a connection between bisexuality and the drive for multipartner marriage has been developing for some time.

Kurtz discusses a plethora of cultural indicators to demonstrate the truth of what he is saying. It is a long article that should be read in its entirety, but I want to focus on a few key points that are particularly relevant to the battle in Connecticut.

Our opponents insist that same-sex "marriage" will not lead to polyamory, that they do not support polyamory, that religious and civil marriage are separate and that what is or is not acceptable in one should have no bearing on the other. But as Kurtz notes, the Unitarian Universalist Church played a key role in the legalization of same-sex "marriage" in Massachusetts and are waiting in the wings to do the same thing with polyamory:

In other words, Unitarians understand that moving too swiftly or openly to legitimize polyamory could validate the slippery-slope argument against same-sex marriage...But the clearest statement of strategic intent came from Valerie White, a lawyer and executive director of the Sexual Freedom Legal Defense and Education Fund. A founder of [Unitarian Universalists for Polyamory Awareness] along with her brother, Harlan White, Valerie White let Bi Magazine know in 2003 that UUPA planned to keep its quest for recognition on temporary hold: "It would put too much ammunition in the hands of the opponents of gay marriage. . . . Our brothers and sisters in the LGBT community are fighting a battle that they're close to winning, and we don't want to do anything that would cause that fight to take a step backwards." In short, the Unitarians are holding the polyamorists at arm's length only until gay marriage has been safely legalized across the nation. At that point, the Unitarian campaign for state-recognized polyamorous marriage will almost certainly begin.

In a letter to the Courant's NE Magazine last month, Trish Galloway asked why Love Makes A Family never discusses the "B" in their GLBT constituency, that is, bisexuals. A few weeks later a self-professed bisexual responded by saying that it is "often" false to suggest that bisexuals need multiple partners to be happy and that she personally has "no need or desire" to see multiple-partner-marriage legalized. In fact, Trish was right to note the curious silence of the "B" in Love Makes A Family's GLBT advocacy. Here is Kurtz on the connection between bisexuals and polyamory:

Yet it is becoming increasingly clear that the polyamorists themselves are the "missing" bisexual liberation movement. Of course, not all polyamorists are bisexual. Victor de Bruijn reminds us that he is "100 percent heterosexual." Yet Bianca and Mirjam are bisexual. And as in the De Bruijn threesome, the "connecting" function of bisexuals seems to make a great many polyamorous arrangements possible. Of all the sexual sub-groups that participate in polyamory, bisexuals are first among equals. In a certain sense, the movement is theirs.

Among those cultural indicators discussed by Kurtz is a documentary playing in "art house" movie theaters:

Three of Hearts is the story of the real-life 13-year relationship of two men and a woman. Together for several years in a gay relationship, two bisexual-leaning men meet a woman and create a threesome that produces two children, one by each man. Although the woman marries one of the men, the entire threesome has a commitment ceremony. The movie records the trio's eventual breakup, yet the film's website notes their ongoing commitment to the view that "family is anything we want to create."

That's "family is anything we want to create" as in "Love Makes A Family."

Few scholars are as articulate as Kurtz on why marriage must be protected. His conclusion, in part:

Yet somehow the idea has taken hold that tolerance for sexual minorities requires a radical remake of the institution of marriage. That is a mistake.

The fundamental purpose of marriage is to encourage mothers and fathers to stay bound as a family for the sake of their children. Our liberalized modern marriage system is far from perfect, and certainly doesn't always succeed in keeping parents together while their children are young. Yet often it does. Unfortunately, once we radically redefine marriage in an effort to solve the problems of adults, the institution is destined to be shattered by a cacophony of grown-up demands...

But let there be no mistake about what will happen should same-sex marriage be fully legalized in the United States. At that point, if bisexual activists haven't already launched a serious campaign for legalized polyamory, they will go public...Just as we're now continually reminded that not all married couples have children, we'll someday be endlessly told that not all marriages are monogamous (nor all monogamists married). For a second time, the fuzziness and imperfection found in every real-world social institution will be contorted into a rationale for reforming marriage out of existence.

The process of "reforming marriage out of existence" has already begun in Connecticut with the legalization of same-sex civil unions. Stanley Kurtz marshals the facts to paint a picture of what the final result will look like—a picture you will not see in the Courant or the rest of the pro-same sex "marriage" MSM.

The good news is that this grim future can be prevented and—if recent pro-family court and electoral victories, as well as opinion polls, are any indication—it will be. Indeed, for the sake of children everywhere who have a right to grow up in a home with both a mom and a dad, it must be.

Posted at 4:47 PM

December 28

A WIN FOR DECENCY: PASTOR FORCES MILFORD PORN SHOP OUT [Peter Wolfgang]

Bishop Jay Ramirez, Pastor of Kingdom Life Christian Church and a friend of FIC, has won his battle against the porn shop he was preparing to evict. The "adult" video store plans to close down this week. What a wonderful Christmas present for the families of Connecticut! An excerpt from the New Haven Register story:

MILFORD — Looks like Video Pleasures never really had a prayer.

The adults-only video store, which has operated in a building owned by a church and has been a thorn in the side of city officials and clergy, will leave the city by the end of the week, officials said.

That news, which comes amid threats by Kingdom Life Church to evict the store, is a step in the right direction for the revitalization of the Devon section, officials said.

"The preacher will have his building all to himself," Video Pleasures owner Michael Friend said Tuesday afternoon.

Kingdom Life Christian Church Bishop Jay Ramirez said Video Pleasures on Tuesday began moving its merchandise out of the building the church owns at 116 Bridgeport Ave.

"I'm thrilled," Ramirez said. "We're very pleased. We kept our promise to the community. I hope the building will now be used productively. Devon will now be an adult (bookstore) and porn-free area to live."

Bishop Ramirez' victory against porn in Milford is reminiscent of a similar victory secured earlier this year in Waterbury by Pastor James Lilley and Archbishop Henry J. Mansell. The events in Milford and Waterbury are a reminder of the key role that the state's pro-family clergy must play if we are to make Connecticut as family-friendly as possible. If every clergyman in Connecticut is as pro-active as Bishop Ramirez was in Milford, we can reclaim Connecticut just as he reclaimed the Devon section of Milford.

We salute Bishop Ramirez on his outstanding victory.

Posted at 3:53 PM

December 27

CIVIL UNIONS A DUD [Peter Wolfgang]

Carolyn Conrad and Kathleen Peterson desperately want to be uncivilized. In this age of anti-social behavior, that may not seem like news. But five years after exchanging "vows of love and commitment" in Vermont and becoming the nation's first same-sex "life partners" to be joined in a civil union, their messy "divorce," complete with restraining order, warrants the spotlight. Homosexual couples, it seems, aren't always the loving, devoted, way-better-than-heterosexual people that Hollywood, the news media and homosexual agitators make them out to be.

Thus begins "Civil Unions a Dud," a Dec. 24th editorial in the Waterbury Republican-American. As Brian did in his Dec. 12th blog, the Rep-Am notes that a mere 539 same-sex couples in Connecticut (out of the 7,400 counted in the 2000 census) bothered to enter into civil unions in the first six weeks since the law went into effect. Our state government undermined one of society's most precious institutions, marriage, by creating civil unions for a small group of people who don't want it. Our opponents are spinning that dismal result as a reason to legalize full same-sex "marriage." But since same-sex "marriage" will not confer any new rights on the civilly-unioned, their demand shows that what they are really after is not "rights" but the radical redefining of marriage itself.

Posted at 10:49 AM

December 22

THE LION, THE STORES, AND THE CULTURE [Peter Wolfgang]

Two of our favorite editorial pages here in Connecticut are approaching Christmas Day in decidedly different moods. Certainly, one can't help but feel a sense of gloom when contemplating the wave of violence gripping Hartford, and the Waterbury Republican-American's editorial diagnosis is bound to resonate with those of us fighting for the family:

As Gov. Rell said, the anarchy is rooted in "the breakdown of the family, domestic abuse, addiction, poverty and a simple lack of hope." But these and its other ills are the consequences of 40 years of government social engineering that have remade the culture into one that has little use for stable, traditional families. So many Hartford children grow up in single-parent homes today because the culture glorifies promiscuity and denigrates fatherhood; think Archie Bunker, Al Bundy and Peter Griffin.

Boys growing up in fatherless homes lack critical guidance, structure and self-control. For most, irresponsibility rules their lives, from their lawlessness to the children they sire out of wedlock. The offspring they abandon careen through the same culture that teaches them they're free to do as they please whenever they please; that addiction to government giveaways and entitlements is preferable to rugged individualism; that education is not something one learns in school, but what one picks up on the streets. They grow up to be victims of the culture and expect to be treated as such by governments ever eager to oblige them.

The daunting challenge for Gov. Rell, her agency heads, Hartford officials and community activists, with their throw-more-money-at-it mentality, is to reverse 40 years of cultural decay. Good luck.

Reversing cultural decay is indeed a daunting challenge, but not an impossible one. Modestly successful attempts at cultural renewal are occurring all across the nation—even in Connecticut. Consider the following editorial from the Dec.17th Fairfield County Catholic entitled, appropriately enough, "Advent Hope:"

This certainly has been an interesting Season of Advent, filled with perhaps a little more hope than usual. This year, we can thank two unexpected sources: shopping and Hollywood.

Catholics who spend much of the year trying (often in vain) to evangelize the horrid secular culture received a few early Christmas gifts. For one, there seemed to be a more vociferous—and effective—effort this year to "Keep Christ in Christmas" and promote the real reason for the season. The Stamford Advocate, for example, published two inspiring front-page articles, one on a campaign to encourage outdoor Nativity displays, another on devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe (making good mention that she is also patroness of the unborn).

A battle has been waged—and won—at the checkout. The attempt by "big-box" retailers to expunge Christmas from advertising and store promotions backfired after the Family Institute of Connecticut spearheaded a petition drive. Kohl's, Sears, and Target reversed their ban in the wake of people power.

Cynics would say the reversal is insincere, motivated by greed to make money, not a statement. Perhaps so, perhaps not. Conversion of heart can take many forms. The important thing is for it to happen, and to take root. And, a change of heart should be rewarded. You now know where to shop.

Another hopeful sign this Advent is on the big screen. The long-anticipated film adaptation of the The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, is here at last, and it is a joy to behold. Can this restrained, elegant, inspiring movie truly be from Walt Disney Company? It is, and should be seen by all. It is a film about love, family, betrayal, forgiveness, and redemption—all good themes to pursue in these final days of Advent.

Narnia is a big movie, with eye-popping special effects and action sequences (and a life-like lion, the mighty Aslan, to boot). But it is also a quiet, intimate film that challenges the imagination of young and old through a sense of wonder and awe. The Christian symbols are all there, as subtle or as explicit as they are on paper. They provoke the viewer into asking big questions and wanting more answers.

Who knew shopping and going to the movies could be so good for the soul?

Restoring our marriage-based culture is not something that can be accomplished overnight. It will take many years of hard work and there will be both wins and losses along the way. But it can be done. "Conversion of heart can take many forms. The important thing is for it to happen, and to take root."

FIC wishes a blessed Christmas, 2005, to all.

Posted at 3:48 PM

December 21

MARRIAGE PROTECTION AND THE REFERENDUM PROCESS [Brian Brown]

As has occurred in Connecticut and elsewhere, a lawsuit has been filed in Iowa by a handful of same-sex couples seeking an undemocratic imposition of same-sex "marriage." The suit sparked this reaction:

The court case immediately renewed calls Tuesday to amend the state constitution to include the heterosexual definition of marriage.

"This lawsuit is an attempt to circumvent the will of the people," said Chuck Hurley, president of the Iowa Family Policy Center. "The people of Iowa should decide this issue, not a handful of unelected judges."

Scores of states have already passed Marriage Protection Amendments—indeed, in every state where the people could vote, they voted to protect marriage. But what is especially interesting about Iowa is that it, like Connecticut, has no direct referendum process. American Values President Gary Bauer explains in a recent e-mail:

I have no doubt that the people of the Hawkeye State overwhelmingly oppose the idea of two men getting "married," but, unfortunately, the citizens of Iowa are not allowed to put the issue on the ballot themselves, as has been done in so many other states.

Only the state legislature can put a constitutional amendment on the ballot and the Iowa legislature has deadlocked on this issue. The Republican majority in the Iowa State House has passed a marriage protection amendment, but the Iowa Senate is evenly divided and liberals there are blocking the amendment in committee. Homosexual activists are seizing on this gridlock and hoping to score a quick win in the courts.

The situation in Iowa shows that Connecticut is not alone in not having a direct referendum process and that progress can be made despite this obstacle. Like Gary Bauer, we trust that Iowa will make its voice heard in defense of marriage—and that Connecticut, when given the chance, will do likewise.

Posted at 10:48 AM

December 20

VICTORY ON CORD BLOOD RESEARCH [Brian Brown]

As we continue the fight for faith and family here in Connecticut we must bear in mind that we are not alone. Others, too, are fighting the good fight and achieving important victories. Below is a message we recently received from our friends at the Family Research Council:

In the midst of frenzied weekend floor action in Congress, we won a remarkable victory on a bill to fund research on umbilical cord blood stem cells. Cord blood stem cells can be used to treat some 70 diseases—including sickle-cell anemia. The bill was backed by basketball legend Julius "Dr. J" Erving and Rep. Artur Davis (D-AL). Rep. Davis was joined by others from the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC). Here is our chance to pursue ethical stem cell research with all its life-affirming possibilities. This was truly a bipartisan effort—in the best sense of that term. Our great thanks also go to Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ) and to our Senate champions—Sam Brownback (R-KS), Bill Frist (R-TN), and Orrin Hatch (R-UT). The only downside of this amazing story is that this good news was buried in a flurry of press accounts of other end-of-session stories. President Bush has a great opportunity here to highlight his own success on this bill. A White House signing ceremony would spotlight a badly-needed administration win. Let me also praise our dedicated FRC lobbying team. They were tenacious in appealing for this measure. Good work!

Posted at 2:48 PM

December 15

MARRIAGE VICTORY—IN NEW YORK STATE! [Brian Brown]

A strong decision for marriage has been handed down in New York State. The case of Hernandez v. Robles resulted in a 4-1 ruling for marriage in a mid-level state court. It is reputedly the Empire State's most liberal judicial panel. Even The New York Times called the win "a ringing defense of heterosexual marriage." The Times said the court "portrayed [marriage] as an important way of ensuring child welfare and social stability." This is a huge victory. The Family Research Council partnered with the Alliance Defense Fund by submitting a "friend of the court" brief in the case. Not only did that court rule appropriately, but it applied the strongest rationale for marriage, which is the proper care of children.

The outcome was not welcomed by New York City's Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Bloomberg, who was re-elected last month on the Liberal and Republican lines, said: "If today's decision is affirmed by the Court of Appeals [New York's highest court], I will urge the Legislature to change the Domestic Relations Law to permit gay marriage." Bad move, Mr. Mayor. The fact that traditional marriage could win in a liberal court in a liberal state shows how truly radical and dangerous is the plan to create counterfeit marriages.

Posted at 4:23 PM

STEM-CELL MEASURE DOES NOT PROHIBIT HUMAN CLONING [Peter Wolfgang]

The Courant has a piece today on a UConn graduate student's petition drive against the school's "cruel" experimentation on monkeys. But the MSM is not covering a far greater cruelty, funded by our tax dollars, which may soon be occurring at UConn and Yale. Bill O'Brien, president of the Connecticut Right to Life Corp, writes in today's Republican-American:

I've been going to the legislature in Hartford for more than 30 years, and I've seen, and excused, a lot of misrepresentation, mistakes and incompetence. But I don't like lies. And when the lies continue, the truth needs to be told.

In September, the Republican-American printed a letter I wrote after I received a constituent newsletter from one of my legislators, Rep. John "Corky" Mazurek, D-Wolcott. In the newsletter, Rep. Mazurek said the stem-cell research legislation that became law this year "bans human cloning."

I wrote that the bill actually allows human cloning and provides up to $100 million in taxpayer funds to pay for it. I wrote that Rep. Mazurek should understand this, since he voted for the bill. I have yet to see him defend or retract his statement.

This week, I got a constituent newsletter from my other legislator, Sen. Christopher Murphy, D-Cheshire, co-chairman of the Public Health Committee. More than anyone, he should understand what the bill does.

But he states in his newsletter, "a bill I authored took action to ban human cloning."

Before the vote last spring, I testified at a hearing that this is a "clone-and-kill" bill. These legislators knew, or certainly should have known, that the stem-cell bill they voted for allows human cloning. If they are so proud of voting for this new law, why do they keep misrepresenting it?

If the new law bans human cloning in Connecticut, then why has University of Connecticut researcher Xiangzhong "Jerry" Yang publicly announced plans to clone a human being by next spring? Dr. Yang recently was appointed to the Connecticut Stem Cell Advisory Committee, the agency created by the stem-cell law to dole out the $100 million for cloning and stem-cell research. Dr. Yang will be voting on whom to give the money to, and, I would be willing to bet some of it will go to his own human-cloning program.

When this committee had its first meeting recently, Gov. M. Jodi Rell's office issued a news release that stated, "the law established a ban on human cloning...'We are committed to doing this research in the safest and most ethical manner possible.'" Ethical? Is lying about the research ethical?

If Dr. Yang is going to use this new law and the funding it appropriated to clone a human being, why are the governor, Sen. Murphy and Rep. Mazurek still claiming just the opposite?

I think the people of Waterbury, Wolcott, Cheshire and Southington, and of the whole state, whether they support human cloning, deserve to be told the truth about what the law does.

If the Stem Cell Advisory Committee votes to give Dr. Yang money for human cloning, and the governor and these legislators don't object and stop him, I think their constituents will be justified in concluding they are being lied to, and I'll be writing another letter to the editor.

FIC will continue to keep our members updated on this story and any possible steps we can take in the future to halt this attack on human life. In the meantime, we recommend joining with our friends at Pray Connecticut in praying for the future of our state.

Posted at 10:30 AM

December 14

ONE SMALL STEP FOR DECENCY IN CONNECTICUT [Peter Wolfgang]

In the war on family life in Connecticut, it is the proverbial "800 pound gorilla" that no one is talking about. I am referring to the plethora of porn shop advertising that has popped up on billboards all over the state in recent years. Does this trend represent an increase in sexually-explicit businesses in our state or in the advertising for the ones that already existed? Either way, it is bad for Connecticut's families—and our economy.

A wise demographer who was appearing regularly on the Brad Davis radio program made an interesting observation a few months ago. Unimpressed by a recent state tourist campaign targeted at professional women (presumably singles) in New York, he felt that Connecticut's real tourist appeal was to families. He noted that there are large numbers of out-of-state families that drive through Connecticut on their way to vacation in Cape Cod and elsewhere who could be persuaded to spend their tourist dollars here. But on their way through, they are likely to see the large number of "adult" billboards on our roads and conclude that Connecticut is not a family-friendly place. It is those families that our state's tourist policy should be targeting, he concluded, and those billboards are preventing them from spending their money here.

Fortunately, Bishop Jay Ramirez—one of the state's leading pro-family clergymen—has taken one small step to restore decency in Connecticut. His church became the landlord for an "adult" shop and they have begun the eviction process:

"Were trying to have a little bit of grace," Ramirez told the New Haven Register. "We want to do things in a responsible business manner. One way or another, they will be gone before next December. I hope they choose to leave before we throw them out."

We need more of the kind of creative thinking displayed by Bishop Ramirez to end this plague on our state.

Posted at 9:59 AM

December 13

MATCHING GRANT UPDATE! [Brian Brown]

God bless all of you who have contributed to our $50,000 Year-End Matching Grant. We have received a number of $50, $100, and even a few $1,000 donations. We have raised $18,200 as we enter the second week of our campaign.

While this is a great start, we still have a long way to go!

Click here to have your tax-deductible contribution to the Family Institute of Connecticut matched!

We have been working harder than ever to be your voice for faith and family. Our Stop the Ban on Christmas Campaign has been a great success. Three major retailers heard our concerns and restored Christmas in their stores!

As the largest pro-family activist organization in the state we rely entirely upon you for our support. We are asking you in this time of giving to consider all that we do to be your voice for faith and family. If you believe in our work please double our ability to fight for you by giving today to our year-end matching campaign drive.

CLICK HERE TO MAKE YOUR TAX-DEDUCTIBLE DONATION ONLINE ON OUR SECURE SERVER!

I will keep you up-to-date on the status of our matching grant campaign in the coming weeks. We only have until January 1st to meet our goal. Thank you again for your generous support!

Click here to have your tax-deductible contribution to the Family Institute of Connecticut matched!

Yours for the family,

Brian S. Brown

Executive Director

Posted at 2:07 PM

December 12

NO DELUGE OF CIVIL UNIONS IN CONNECTICUT [Brian Brown]

The legalization of same-sex civil unions undermines our shared public understanding of marriage on behalf of a small group of people who do not want it. That is what FIC said prior to the law's passage and now that it has gone into effect there is already evidence suggesting we were right. From today's New Haven Register:

Data from the group Love Makes a Family indicates just 539 gay couples sought civil unions in Connecticut in the first six weeks after the law took effect, compared with more than 3,000 couples in Massachusetts who got marriage licenses in the same period. Though the population of Massachusetts is roughly double that of Connecticut, nearly six times more gay couples were married there than entered civil unions in Connecticut.

As is common with civil union coverage in the MSM, the Register piece is loaded down with the usual misleading anecdotes and propaganda. It opens with a same-sex couple saying they will enter into a civil union in part so they can have hospital visitation rights—rights they already had without civil unions. It quotes LMF's head saying that their push to trade civil unions for same-sex "marriage" is "an issue of basic human rights"—when, in truth, it would not confer any new "rights." The push for same-sex "marriage" is clearly about restructuring one of society's most important institutions, not securing "rights." The Register notes that the federal government does not recognize civil unions but neglects to mention that it does not recognize same-sex "marriage" either.

Underneath all the usual nonsense is the key point in the excerpt above: there is, as the Register headline has it, "no deluge" of same-sex civil unions. And for this our state government was willing to undermine one of society's most important institutions.

Posted at 3:56 PM

December 8

MERRY CHRISTMAS, WITHOUT APOLOGY [Peter Wolfgang]

FIC sent an e-mail alert yesterday calling on our members to help stop the ban on Christmas by e-mailing a message to the top seven offending companies that operate in Connecticut. We were amazed by the response. FIC members e-mailed over 1,600 messages in just the first 24 hours and two companies responded so positively that we have already removed them from our list.

Those who holler loudest that there is no war on Christmas frequently help to prove otherwise. It is not unusual for anti-Christian Courant columnist Susan Campbell to substitute a sneer for an argument, but even we were surprised by the disdain dripping from her Sunday column:

Every year for the last five or so, someone publicly bemoans that store employees are replacing the standard greeting of "Merry Christmas" with the more generic "Happy Holidays." Couple that with towns' refusal to display manger scenes on the green, and a certain breed of Christian starts to get nervous. This year, as he so often does, Brother Bill O'Reilly led the charge, bolstered by sacred texts like the book "The War on Christmas: How the Liberal Plot To Ban the Sacred Christian Holiday Is Worse Than You Thought," which I would read, but I think it's all in pictures.

Frankly, all these soldiers of the cross wear on me. They've reduced their religion to the wearing of a small gold token around their necks or the display of religious artifacts in public. They worry that not allowing a creche on the green is akin to attacking the season.

Actually, we worry that not allowing a creche on the green is an example of governmental hostility toward Christianity masquerading as "tolerance." As the Rev. Richard John Neuhaus once put it:

The public expunging of the religious particularity of those who are not privileged to be in a minority is no simple matter... As culture is derived from cultus, so multiculturalism requires many cults. Whatever is sacred in public rituals that are, in the words of the Times, "secular yet sacred" must not be permitted to refer to anything so transcendently sacred as to be capable of constituting a culture. Shards of many sacred stories may be cherished for the pleasures of diversity, but we cannot allow one story to be privileged, lest it attain hegemony and lead simple folk to think that we are, after all, participants in a culture with a definite history and even a name. The Christian West has become the culture that dare not speak its name.

Not only does Campbell get us wrong, she gets the season wrong too:

How lightly they take the season. How little regard they have for the spirit of it, when people who won't darken a church door crowd into the pew for the mystery of Midnight Mass. Where the grumpy old guy down the street volunteers — volunteers, yet! — to play the part of a wise man in the church pageant. Where people who otherwise don't think of it write a check for charity because they know that's right and doing right feels good during the holidays [emphasis added].

Many people do not do good deeds this time of year because of a generic sense of "doing right feels good during the holidays" but because they are motivated by the specific content of the holiday: the angel appearing to Mary, no room at the inn, her Child born in a stable, a heavenly host appearing to shepherds, wise men from the east, all of it. They are motivated by the story of God's great love for us.

To be sure, it is intriguing to read such comments from Campbell as "[Christmas] has nothing to do with symbols. In faith, we don't need a tree, creche or greeting to remind us of the event that got the ball rolling," or "if someone can find a Biblical reference that encourages Christians to display a Christmas tree, I'll eat tinsel." It is a religious opinion of Christmas still held by some people today and, centuries ago, held by many in New England.

In fact, it was the opinion held by our Puritan founders. Despite the constant digs at the faith of her childhood, Campbell remains to this day more influenced by it than she realizes.

However much Campbell may distort the matter it is worth remembering that, yes, our faith must be about more than symbols. Fr. Neuhaus again:

...the best way for Christians to put Christ back into Christmas is to observe Christmas Christianly. Forget about the culture wars for a moment, and fix your attention on God Incarnate. In churches, homes, and, yes, public squares, gather to hear it again. "In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus . . ." This truth is the very heart of the cultus that gave birth to this culture. And when this culture dies, as every culture does — whether by the treason of those who had the charge of transmitting it to another generation or simply by exhaustion — this truth will go on to give birth again.

"She wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn." If there is no longer a place for them in the American public square, there will be other places, for all places are His. Meanwhile, it is within our power, personally and collectively, to let Happy Holidays be again the holy days that they are. For the sake of our souls more than for the sake of our culture, but for the sake of our culture, too.

Posted at 5:11 PM

December 7

HYPOCRISY IN HARTFORD [Brian Brown]

So I'm driving into work one morning last week (Wednesday the 30th, to be precise) and there is this car—with the obligatory "Kerry-Edwards" bumper sticker, of course—driving erratically in front of me. As I get closer I see the license plate: "legislative district 6." Sure enough, it was Rep. Art Feltman (D-Hartford) behind the wheel and talking into his cell phone, which he was holding. (The legislature earlier this year outlawed talking on a hand-held cell phone while driving.)

I confirmed it was Rep. Feltman as I was passing him. In fact, he was in the process of pulling in somewhere to make an illegal u-turn while still talking on his cell.

It would have been bad enough for Rep. Feltman to break the law in a non-governmental car. But he apparently feels free to flout the rules he and his fellow legislators set for everyone else while driving a state vehicle. Given this kind of legislative hypocrisy in Hartford, how seriously do our lawmakers expect us to take the new campaign finance reform law being signed by Gov. Rell today?

Posted at 10:58 AM

December 6

SAME-SEX "MARRIAGE" LOBBY HITS ROADBLOCK [Brian Brown]

Where things stand in the fight to protect marriage, as viewed by the Republican-American in today's editorial:

Other than their successes in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Vermont, homosexual activists have found few states sympathetic to their quest to enact laws sanctioning same-sex marriages or civil unions. They ran into a stone wall in 2004 when 13 states voted for constitutional amendments prohibiting same-sex marriages and reserving marriage for a man and a woman. One of the states that approved an amendment was Oregon, widely regarded a liberal state.

As 2005 draws to a close, the news for homosexual activists isn't improving. In Massachusetts, the first and only state to allow homosexuals to marry, the Massachusetts Family Institute has gathered 120,000 petition signatures — twice the number needed — to move a constitutional ban of same-sex marriages through the referendum process. Adoption would reverse a Supreme Judicial Court ruling allowing same-sex couples to marry. The process is tedious, however; the petition has to be approved in two successive sittings of the legislature. But just 25 percent, not a majority, of the members must vote favorably for it to continue. A referendum could come as soon as 2008.

More negative news came with the disclosure by Tony Soltani, chairman of New Hampshire's commission on same-sex marriages, that a recommendation will be forthcoming restricting marriage to heterosexuals. The only concessions made to homosexuals is a proposal to extend official recognition to their unions and a provision for limited rights, such as hospital visitations. No rights would be provided that involve expenditures, such as health coverage for partners.

Some activists dismiss the setbacks, claiming most people support partnership rights for homosexuals through marriage or civil unions. This may be wishful thinking, considering 38 states have acted to curb such rights, either by statute or constitutional amendment.

Finally, the Vatican is readying an instruction to seminaries to bar admission to candidates for the priesthood who practice homosexuality, have deeply rooted homosexual tendencies or support that culture. Exceptions may be made for homosexuals who have practiced celibacy for three years or more.

These developments suggest the homosexual lobby has an inflated perception of its public support and may be harming its own cause by persisting in a quest to refashion society's most venerable institutions.

In his Sept. 12th post on this blog, Peter noted that the media was falsely portraying recent events in Massachusetts as a setback for the pro-family cause. But the truth about the state of the issue in Massachusetts and elsewhere has now come to light. And so, too, will the truth about Connecticut: same-sex unions were not legalized here because people were "sympathetic" to it but because our unaccountable state government imposed it.

Posted at 12:57 PM

December 5

THEY JUST DON'T GET IT [Brian Brown]

Just how clueless are the pro same-sex civil union legislators at our state capitol? Consider Journal Inquirer editor Chris Powell's fine column this past weekend on the "worsening social disintegration" in Connecticut's cities:

It was just another weekend in Hartford last month when five teen-age boys were shot in several incidents believed related to high school feuds. People throughout Connecticut were talking about it but from the state's political leadership there was not a peep of concern...

Many of the legislators surveyed [by the JI] offered only the cliches of burgeoning but ineffectual government — more job-training programs, more after-school activities, more college scholarships, and so on. Only a few legislators seemed to have a clue about the cause of the disintegration, childbearing outside marriage.

"Boys are in fatherless homes that aren't functioning," state Rep. Robert Farr, R-West Hartford, said. "When you have an unstable home life, it's very difficult for school to overcome that."

In fact, it is Rep. Farr's "clue" that demonstrates how clueless he is. Rep. Farr voted for the same-sex civil unions bill—a law guaranteed to produce more fatherless homes. Indeed, while there is always the possibility of fatherlessness as an unfortunate instance of falling short of an ideal, Rep. Farr voted for the first law in state history to uphold fatherlessness as a deliberately chosen good! And yet, here he is lamenting the chaos caused by fatherless homes. Other pro civil union legislators are quoted saying similar things, completely unaware of their role in helping to bring about more of the very thing they lament. Talk about a failure to connect the dots!

What are needed first and what always have been lacking from state government are the capacity for outrage and the resolve that essentially abandoned children from racial minorities are more important than convention centers and other amusements for suburbanites and featherbedding for public employee unions... Then the governor or legislative leaders could summon the General Assembly to examine how government policy has subsidized or otherwise encouraged fatherlessness and how policy could be brought to bear dramatically in the other direction.

Powell is right. The problem is that, far from reversing direction, the state government has greatly increased its encouragement of fatherlessness with the new civil union law. Passing a Marriage Protection Amendment is the most important thing we can do to show resolve that "essentially abandoned children" of all backgrounds will have a state government that supports their right to grow up in a home with both a mom and a dad.

Posted at 2:57 PM

December 2

CONNECTICUT POST SMEARS METHODIST DENOMINATION [Peter Wolfgang]

An article in today's CT Post begins with this sentence:

By openly welcoming homosexuals as members of the Mary Taylor United Methodist Church in Milford, the congregation is putting itself somewhat at odds with its denomination's hierarchy.

Really? The United Methodist Church does not "openly welcome" homosexuals as members?

Yes, according to the Post:

[Mary Taylor United Methodist] Church members recently voted overwhelmingly to adopt a new mission statement welcoming homosexuals to full membership. The vote comes on the heels of the United Methodists' Judicial Council ruling that upheld a Virginia pastor who refused membership to a gay man. The council ruling established that local pastors have authority to bar such members.

Really? The United Methodist denomination has ruled that pastors may refuse membership to someone simply because he is homosexual?

No. Here is how the decision describes the facts of the case:

During the latter part of 2004, an associate pastor in a local church in the Virginia Annual Conference advised the district superintendent that the senior pastor refused to receive into membership in the local church an individual who admitted to living a homosexual lifestyle... He further advised that he would continue to meet with him and be in ministry with him but that he could not receive him into membership of the church since the individual would neither repent nor seek to live a different lifestyle... After additional meetings and communicating with the district superintendent, the Elder informed the district superintendent that he could not receive the individual into membership of the church given his admittance of continuing the practice of homosexuality and that his intent not to discontinue the practice [emphases added].

Exactly one year ago today on this blog, Brian wrote: "There's a difference between faithfully upholding the scriptural prohibitions against homosexual activity and forbidding those with such inclinations from entering your church. No pro-family church does the latter. The UCC ad [claiming otherwise] is a slur."

And so is today's Connecticut Post article.

Posted at 12:14 PM

December 1

PROTECT CHILDREN: STOP SAME-SEX "MARRIAGE" [Brian Brown]

"As voters see that civil unions don't bring fire, floods or mayhem, perhaps they'll become more amenable to full [same-sex] marriage [in 2007]," is how the New Haven Advocate describes Love Makes A Family's strategy. But pro-family advocates have never claimed that the negative effects of same-sex "marriage"/civil unions would be evident overnight. The full tragic effects of a redefinition of marriage on children will not be known for decades—as was the case with no-fault divorce.

Liberalizing our nation's divorce laws was sold to the public as a reform that would be good for adults and children. It is only now that the awful truth is coming to light. Here is an excerpt from a profile appearing in yesterday's Courant of Elizabeth Marquadt, one of the scholars who recently produced the first national study of children of divorce:

But beneath the veneer, Marquardt says she and other young adults who grew up in the divorce explosion of the '70s and '80s are still dealing with wounds they could never talk about with their parents...

The key findings of the study by Marquardt and Glenn are these:

The grown children of divorce say there is no such thing as a good divorce.

Children of divorce say they spent a lot of time alone and, as a result, found some emotional distance between themselves and their parents.

Even in an amicable split, divorce makes children grow up between the two distinct worlds of their parents, who often have different values and priorities.

Children internalize the conflict between these two worlds. They say they feel they have to grow up too soon, act like different people around their parents and keep secrets to preserve the peace.

"Too many people have unrealistic ideas about divorce," Marquardt said. "They think if you do it right, it won't be so hard on the kids. And that's where this `good divorce' idea is so damaging and so seductive, because it basically tells parents a lie.

It is a lie that was sold to our nation some thirty years ago, just as Connecticut is now being sold the lie that children do not need both a mother and a father. We cannot wait another thirty years for studies to reveal what should have been obvious from the beginning. The redefinition of marriage—and the harm it causes children—must be stopped now.

Posted at 10:56 AM

November 30

CLERGY SEX-ABUSE: WHAT THE COURANT ISN'T REPORTING [Peter Wolfgang]

The Vatican this week released a new document reiterating Church teaching that men "who are actively homosexual or show deeply seated homosexual tendencies" should be banned from Catholic seminaries and the priesthood. "Seminary Ban Angers Gay Leaders" is the predictable headline in today's Courant. An excerpt:

"God is neither sexist nor homophobic," said Frank O'Gorman of People of Faith for Gay and Lesbian Civil Rights. "Sexual maturity, not sexual orientation, should be the criteria...

O'Gorman said the Vatican's new policy is rooted in a belief that homosexuality is a disorder and called the instructions "a pogrom" against gays.

"The hierarchy is beginning with a false premise regarding homosexuality and the conclusions it reaches are also false," O'Gorman said. He said he believed that the Vatican issued the instructions now because it fears the gains that gays have made in recent years. "People are marrying; they are `out,' and the hierarchy is very frightened of that."

Actually, no, they are frightened of this:

After an exhaustive review of sex abuse in the priesthood, among the John Jay [College of Criminal Justice in New York] study's findings was the revelation that the majority of sexual abuse by clergy took place during the 1960s and '70s, with 81% of the victims being males between the ages of 11 and 17.

[National Review] Board [for the Protection of Children and Young People] member Dr. Paul McHugh, former psychiatrist-in-chief at Johns Hopkins Hospital, described that finding as "remarkable."

"I'm amazed that this fundamental bombshell has not been the subject of greater interest and discussion," he told the Register. "I'm astonished that people throughout America are not talking about it, thinking about it, and wondering about what the mechanisms were that set this alight.

"If you collect all of the seminary graduates between 1970 and 1973, 10-11% of them abused children," said McHugh. "That's an amazing fact. This behavior was homosexual predation on American Catholic youth, yet it's not being discussed."

The above quote does not, of course, come from the Courant. In fact, it is precisely because of the refusal of mainstream media outlets like the Courant to report on the true nature of the clergy sex-abuse scandals that the true nature of those scandals are not being discussed.

Click here to read the Connecticut-based National Catholic Register's coverage of things you are not hearing about in the Courant.

Posted at 10:51 AM

November 29

COMMON SENSE IN SOUTH WINDSOR [Peter Wolfgang]

If, as Brian suggests in the previous post, LMF's strategy depends on eroding the common sense of Connecticut's pro-family citizenry, they could be waiting a very long time. As this letter in today's Courant demonstrates, our state's pro-family citizens know what is and is not good for their children and they are not about to trade common sense for the condescending advice of their "intellectual superiors." In fact, this letter is so good that we are posting the full text:

Doll Boycott Is Common Sense

There is a reason President Bush won the last election: A majority of Americans hold traditional values. Mona Gable [Other Opinion, Nov. 27, "Christian Right Sets Sights On Doll"] may not like that, but the last election offered proof.

Gable's article lamented the controversy surrounding the American Girl doll company and its financial support of an organization that promotes abortion and lesbianism to young girls.

Gable's article contained many derogatory comments that we "on the right" have come to expect such as "I think you're afraid of your daughters being exposed to other points of view," and "my biggest objection with the realistic-looking dolls ... was their `stories,' all of which lacked narrative ambiguity. Perhaps that's why Christian conservatives seemed [before the boycott] to deem the dolls sacred."

Excuse me, but if Gable is going to call conservatives dimwits, she could have at least supported her commentary with some facts rather than resorting to name-calling that's reminiscent of elementary school.

It's clear that the majority of Americans don't want their daughters encouraged to engage in sexual activity before marriage (even though contraceptive-based sex education programs teach such activity). They don't want their daughters taught about alternative lifestyles by schools. And they don't want their money paying for programs that are contrary to what they believe to be right. Call me stupid (well, I guess Gable already did that), but this is all pretty much common sense. Maybe Ms. Gable's intellectual superiority has usurped her common sense.

Jessemyn E. Pekari

South Windsor

Posted at 12:09 PM

LMF AND THE "RUDDY-FACED" MAN [Brian Brown]

Love Makes A Family had volunteers at several polling places on Election Day as part of their strategy to redefine marriage in Connecticut. The pro same-sex "marriage" New Haven Advocate reports:

There was nothing gay-marriage- related on the ballot this month, in Milford or anywhere else in the state. There were no legislative seats up for grabs that could influence the fate of a same-sex marriage bill; legislative elections are a year away. And there are no plans to introduce a gay-marriage bill in the legislative session that begins in February. That will wait until 2007. So it's a longer-term strategy that Love Makes a Family is pursuing. The past year brought bitter setbacks for the gay-marriage movement in many parts of the country, but great success here. In the 2004 legislative elections, Love Makes a Family backed 26 candidates and saw 21 of them win. Partly as a result of those electoral victories, Connecticut this year became the first state in the country to pass a civil union law—which confers all the rights and responsibilities of marriage, but not the name—without a court order.

In fact—as even some of the state's pro same-sex "marriage" bloggers acknowledge—the results of the 2004 legislative elections were mostly a side-effect of Connecticut's preference in the presidential race.

Our opponents also make much of Connecticut being the first state to legalize same-sex civil unions "without a court order." The truth is that there is a case pending and Gov. Rell has said in interviews that this was one of the reasons she decided to sign the bill.

Indeed, as Pray Connecticut notes, the threat of that case still looms:

Although the legislature is not in session, persons opposed to maintaining the traditional family structure continue to work. The case of Kerrigan v. State of Connecticut is still active and seeks the redefinition of marriage in Connecticut, so as to include same-sex couples. The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) has now filed a friend of the court brief asking the Superior Court to dismiss the case...

Read the ACLJ press release here.

Meanwhile, in the Advocate story, pro same-sex "marriage" forces lay out their strategy:

Gay-marriage boosters have decided not to introduce legislation in 2006. Facing re-election in the fall, politicians aren't likely to budge from their pro-civil-union, anti-gay-marriage positions. And with civil unions so new, the strategy calls for letting people get used to the changed landscape. As voters see that civil unions don't bring fire, floods or mayhem, perhaps they'll become more amenable to full marriage.

But it's not just a wait-it-out strategy. Love Makes a Family knows that it needs to "build power," as political director Adam Nicholson puts it.

A "wait-it-out" strategy is exactly what it is. Otherwise, why wait until 2007—after the elections—to push a pro same-sex "marriage" bill at the state capitol? Nicholson only tells half the story. The full LMF strategy could more aptly be described as "Build Power, Ignore Voters."

Otherwise, why don't our opponents put the redefinition of marriage they seek up for a referendum? They like to claim the people are on their side with civil unions, so why did they oppose Letting the People Decide? They claim the public will support their goal of full same-sex "marriage" so why do they, even now, still refuse to Let the People Decide?

Because they know that this man speaks for the average Connecticut voter:

"Being a family man, I'm not real sure," said a ruddy-faced man in a yellow windbreaker. "We have to maintain family values. Children today are growing up like wild people. Go into the school system—you'll see. They've got enough on them, with divorce and all." He didn't sign [the pro same-sex "marriage" pledge].

Most state voters, like the Advocate's nameless "ruddy-faced man," know that same-sex "marriage" is wrong, that it is bad for children and even that the push for it is related to other societal ills plaguing the family, like divorce.

And therein lies the question that is at the heart of LMF's true strategy: How long will it take them to erode the "ruddy-faced" man's intuitive understanding of the truth about marriage and his basic common sense?

Posted at 10:48 AM

November 23

A CONNECTICUT THANKSGIVING PROCLAMATION [Peter Wolfgang]

In 1936 Connecticut Governor Wilbur Cross, noting that "it has seemed good to our people to join together in praising the Creator and Preserver," issued the following Thanksgiving Proclamation.

A Connecticut Thanksgiving Proclamation

State of Connecticut

By His Excellency WILBUR L. CROSS, Governor

Proclamation

Time out of mind at this turn of the seasons when the hardy oak leaves rustle in the wind and the frost gives a tang to the air and the dusk falls early and the friendly evenings lengthen under the heel of Orion, it has seemed good to our people to join together in praising the Creator and Preserver, who has brought us by a way that we did not know to the end of another year. In observance of this custom, I appoint Thursday, the twenty-sixth of November, as a day of

Public Thanksgiving

for the blessings that have been our common lot and have placed our beloved State with the favored regions of earth — for all the creature comforts: the yield of the soil that has fed us and the richer yield from labor of every kind that has sustained our lives — and for all those things, as dear as breath to the body, that quicken man's faith in his manhood, that nourish and strengthen his spirit to do the great work still before him: for the brotherly word and act; for honor held above price; for steadfast courage and zeal in the long, long search after truth; for liberty and for justice freely granted by each to his fellow and so as freely enjoyed; and for the crowning glory and mercy of peace upon our land; — that we may humbly take heart of these blessings as we gather once again with solemn and festive rites to keep our Harvest Home.

Given under my hand and seal of the State at the Capitol, in Hartford, this twelfth day of November, in the year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and thirty six and of the independence of the United States the one hundred and sixty-first.

Wilbur L. Cross

By His Excellency's Command:

C. John Satti Secretary

The Family Institute of Connecticut thanks God for our many blessings over the course of our organization's existence and especially in this last year. We are especially grateful to you, our supporters, donors and volunteers. Without you, we would not exist. It is because of your generosity and God's blessings that FIC can fight to preserve the Connecticut heritage of reverence for faith and family that is so evident in Gov. Cross' proclamation and that is under so much attack by the anti-family elites of today.

Posted at 11:26 AM

November 21

COURANT POLL DODGES THE ISSUE [Peter Wolfgang]

Pro same-sex "marriage" activists often claim that Connecticut voters support the civil union law. But in a recent Courant/UConn poll on issues of top concern to state residents, the Courant did not even bother to include a question about civil unions—even though the paper itself considers the new law to be one of the biggest things to come out of the last legislative session.

Why? Was the Courant afraid it might find a significant number of state residents who oppose civil unions, thus discrediting the liberal narrative of increasing state support for same-sex "marriage"? Or was the Courant's oversight a result of the built-in bias that I wrote about in my Oct. 5th post—that is, since the Courant itself supports civil unions it did not even occur to the paper to ask in its poll whether anyone opposes it?

Either way, while the Courant neglects to ask state residents what they think about the legislature's decision to undermine marriage, evidence is piling up regarding the answer: the people of Connecticut don't like it.

According to an article appearing Friday on the New London Day's website, Most Stonington Justices Refuse to Perform Civil Unions:

Out of 50 justices of the peace in Stonington, all fully qualified to perform civil unions, only 17 agreed to perform the ceremony, a rift that parallels the nationwide opposition to gay marriage.

According to a 2004 Gallup Poll, the nation opposes legally recognizing same-sex marriages 2-1. Last year, 11 states outlawed same-sex marriage; Texas joined them on Election Day this year.

Actually, Texas brings to 42 the number of states that have passed some type of law banning same-sex "marriage" since four judges imposed it on Massachusetts (see our Oct. 27th post). The article also falsely implies that the legalization of same-sex "marriage" by Connecticut would be recognized elsewhere—except for Massachusetts, it would not.

Still, the article scoops the Courant by providing a window into the true bipartisan state sentiment regarding civil unions. It quotes two justices of the peace (JPs), both Democrats:

Selectman Peter Balestracci opposes civil unions, and while eligible to perform marriages he has opted out of performing civil unions.

"I don't believe in it," said Balestracci, a Democrat. "I'm a Catholic and that's the way I was raised."

Former Democratic First Selectman Donald Maranell agrees.

"It's a religious decision," Maranell, also a justice of the peace, said. "Marriage is a sacrament and until I'm comfortable with the institution I have that choice."

It was a small-but-significant victory for the pro-family cause that the final version of the state's civil union law allows conscientious objection for JPs like the ones quoted above—an option the JPs in Vermont do not have. But the big victory will be the story the Courant won't cover until it has to: how true public sentiment regarding civil unions leads to its repeal and to the restoration of traditional marriage to its proper place of respect in our laws.

Posted at 9:43 AM

November 18

THE PROBLEM WITH THE COURANT [Brian Brown]

The Courant plans to show 25 employees the door, according to the AP:

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — The Hartford Courant is eliminating about 25 positions through attrition, voluntary buyouts, layoffs and leaving open jobs unfilled, according to a memo distributed Thursday.

In an e-mail to Courant staff, publisher Jack Davis said a similar step toward reducing expenses for 2006 was taken in early October. Fourteen employees were affected.

"However, given ongoing competitive media pressure and disappointing financial results, we need to achieve additional expense reductions if we are to remain as strong as possible in 2006 and beyond," Davis said in the e-mail.

Last December, the Courant eliminated 10 newsroom positions in Washington and Hartford, citing a budget crunch. Those layoffs came on the heels of the newspaper's reduction of 19 newsroom positions through attrition since June 2003.

Tribune [the Courant's parent company] reported this week that its consolidated revenues for the period ending Oct. 23 were down 3.5 percent, from $455 million to $439 million.

That's a total of 68 positions eliminated at the Courant in just the last two and a half years because of declining revenue. So, what is the problem? The problem is that the Courant is very far from being a family-friendly paper.

True, the paper did publish an outstanding op-ed yesterday, No Such Thing As A Good Divorce, by Elizabeth Marquardt of the Institute for American Values. But articles like Marquardt's—that support, rather than attack, the family—are few and far between in the pages of the Courant.

Instead, when Connecticut's families gather around their breakfast tables and open their copy of the Courant, it is more likely that they will be exposed to the kind of values on display in Pat Seremet's Nov. 8th Java column (WARNING: OBJECTIONABLE MATERIAL INCLUDED IN EXCERPT BELOW):

You know something is going to be different at a party when you see a man in a tuxedo and two other men dressed in evening gowns and wigs—all leaving the same men's room at the Hartford Marriott in Farmington (which for this night was renamed "Trans-Inclusive Restroom")...

Never saw anyone in a tiara before at a urinal? Believe it!

There's always an extra element of the fun and the unexpected at parties given by the Hartford Gay & Lesbian Health Collective, and the Saturday night bash called the 1 Big Event ranks with the best of them.

[Noted performer and darling of the gay and lesbian scene Varla Jean Merman, also known as Jeffrey Roberson] was in high gear, curvaceous in a lime-green sparkling gown and matching elegant evening gloves, and characteristically outrageous.

"I've performed on countless pool tables from here to Northampton,' she told the crowd of 375...

Merman brought the house down when she perched herself on the piano and sang "Talk to the Animals" from Dr. Doolittle,—except in her version, the lyrics were: "If I Could Talk To the Genitals."

Hers was more like a trip down mammary lane, with lots of assonance. No body part, male or female, went uncelebrated. Merman wished that she could give an "ovation to the ovum," "go screaming to the scrotum," "argue with an anus" and "have lunch with a testicle."

It was so wildly naughty and funny that there was nearly a stampede to the Trans-Inclusive Restroom after her performance.

Sexually-explicit versions of children's songs sung by "drag queens" may pass for humor in certain circles but it is not what most people want to read about in a family newspaper. It is because of the steady stream of anti-family items like the one above that business has been so bad for the Courant that the paper has been forced to eliminate 68 positions in the last two and a half years. Connecticut families will not continue to buy a paper that repeatedly insults and offends their values—particularly when new technologies like the internet make it so easy for them to get their news elsewhere.

When will the "powers that be" at the Courant—and throughout the liberal media, most of whom face the same slump as the Courant—realize this and clean up their act?

Posted at 3:53 PM

November 15

IN BRIDGEPORT: A LOSS...AND PROGRESS [Brian Brown]

Edna Garcia, the pro-family petitioning Democrat candidate, lost her bid to succeed disgraced state senator Ernie Newton in last night's special election in Bridgeport.

But while she did not win, the election points to hopeful signs for the future of the pro-family cause and lessons we can learn to make those hopes a reality.

In a 6-way race, Edna soundly outpolled a sitting state representative as well as the endorsed Republican Joseph Borges and Michael Singh.

Edna's vote tally represents a respectable showing, especially in light of the Democratic party machine apparatus that she was up against in the person of Ed Gomes, the endorsed candidate and last night's winner.

One big lesson from this race is that the pro-family vote must not be split. If pro-family Rep. Lydia Martinez had not chosen to enter the race late in the game, Edna's vote total would have been much higher.

We know what unity can bring. Rep. David Aldarando's defeat of pro-same-sex "marriage"/pro abortion Democrat Americo Santiago is but one example of what we can do if we are united. More recently (and we will have more to say about this in another post) pro-family forces narrowly failed to defeat Dan Malloy as Mayor of Stamford. Malloy, a vocal supporter of same-sex "marriage", only managed to get 51% of the vote, throwing his gubernatorial hopes into jeopardy.

The volunteers who did so much to help Edna Garcia's race were outstanding. You all went above-and-beyond the call of duty. Indeed, that Edna ran as outstanding a race as she did—even outpolling a state rep. who has had Edna's old seat for the last five years—is a victory in itself.

Connecticut is heavily populated by adherents of pro-family churches. But unless the pro-family citizens of this state are willing to put the same money and manpower behind their beliefs as those working to undermine the family, we will end up with same-sex "marriage" and further attacks on life, marriage, faith and family. It is that simple.

Connecticut's pro-family movement has had some great victories and some defeats, but one thing is clear. For too long, we have not been in the fight at all. We have now begun to organize and fight and we are dedicated to being there and increasing our unity in the years to come. We are in this for the long haul.

Posted at 1:22 PM

November 9

VICTORY FOR WATERBURY...AND THE PRO-LIFE CAUSE [Peter Wolfgang]

Waterbury Mayor Michael J. Jarjura was re-elected last night through a historic write-in campaign after having lost the Democratic primary. Jarjura's defeat in the September primary was good for the pro-life cause. But so was his victory last night.

Two months ago there was much media speculation as to why, despite the advantages of incumbency and plenty of campaign cash, Jarjura lost the primary to Democrat Karen Mulcahy. FIC Action Committee—a legally separate entity—responded by noting in an e-mail alert one reason that had not been covered by the media: Jarjura's own pro-life base had turned on him.

As a state representative, Jarjura had been an outstanding pro-life Democrat; in fact, he was one of FIC's two legislative liaisons. But as mayor he endorsed pro-abortion candidates over pro-lifers in some key races. Those endorsements caused a rift between Jarjura and his pro-life base, leading many of them to provide Mulcahy with her slim margin of victory over Jarjura in the primary.

After a version of the e-mail alert appeared as an op-ed in the Waterbury Republican-American, Jarjura asked an intermediary to set up a meeting between himself and Waterbury's pro-life leaders—and specifically requested my presence (I was the author of the e-mail/op-ed and am also a Waterbury resident). The mayor had begun a write-in campaign and wanted to address the issues raised by my op-ed article.

Both the pro-life candidates—Jarjura and Mulcahy—addressed the pro-life activists present at the Oct. 28th meeting and took questions. Jarjura reminded the audience of his strong pro-life/pro-family record in the legislature and said that he considered himself "on the cutting edge" of pro-life advocacy. "What matters is legislation," he said. Both candidates disavowed support for their fellow Democrat, Rep. Chris Murphy, who played a key role in passing the law spending $100 million to clone and kill human embryos.

Following the meeting, many of the Brass City's longtime pro-life activists remained firmly committed to Mulcahy. But other Waterbury pro-lifers—including my wife and me, as well as a group of Catholic homeschoolers—eventually decided to vote for Jarjura.

Either way, Mayor Jarjura's request to hold this meeting was a victory for the pro-life cause in Connecticut. I am not aware of another big city in the state where the top candidates for mayor would request a meeting with local pro-lifers in order to seek their support.

Waterbury's election was also a victory for the pro-life cause. The top two vote-getters, Jarjura with 38% and Mulcahy with 27%, were both pro-life. This means that in a six-way race for mayor, 65% of Waterbury voters chose a pro-life candidate.

And Independent Alderman Frank Caiazzo—who made national news earlier this year with his effort to pass a proposal declaring Waterbury an "abortion-free zone"—received more votes than any member of his party. According to today's Republican-American, Alderman Caiazzo even outpolled his party's pro-abortion mayoral candidate.

Yesterday's election was good for the pro-life cause and good for Waterbury. In the course of his write-in campaign Mayor Jarjura reaffirmed his commitment to the pro-life/pro-family cause. And now, thanks to his historic win, he has a mandate to continue the good work he has done to put the city on a sound financial footing.

Posted at 2:33 PM

November 7

RECOMMENDED READING: COURANT PROFILE OF FIC [Peter Wolfgang]

A major cover story profiling the Family Institute of Connecticut and our executive director, Brian Brown, appeared yesterday in "NE," the Sunday magazine of the Hartford Courant.

Courant reporter Joel Lang spent several hours interviewing Brian on the need to protect marriage in Connecticut and attended recent public events where Brian was a featured speaker. We are pleasantly surprised by the result: the best, most even-handed story about FIC ever to appear in a mainstream media outlet.

Joel Lang reported on FIC's views accurately and fairly:

Over and over, Brown said the point of marriage is to guarantee children both a "mom and a dad," an impossibility in same-sex marriage. "Why do we even have a binary structure of marriage?" he asked. "To have a child you need a man and a woman. [Throughout history] you're not going to find parenthood being divorced from marriage. That's something we are doing in this generation."

The dangerous shift is fostered by ideas of "modernity" that treat truth as a construct rather than an absolute and that put individual relationships ahead of marriage. Just as the ideal of romantic love justifies divorce of heterosexual couples, it also, Brown said, "leads to the attitude that `I'm a man and I love a man and therefore I should have that love fulfilled in marriage.' " The mistake, he said, is treating marriage "as something that we create subjectively."

The core question to be asked about same sex couples marrying is not whether their civil rights are being violated, but rather "is there a right to redefine marriage?" he said. "Viewing marriage as a bundle of rights for the state to confer at will is not what marriage is."

The other side's attempt to frame the debate as a fight for equality, he said, is part of a strategy to make gay rights a civil rights movement. "They want to make the issue about equality and not homosexual acts," he said. "Their goal is to achieve not tolerance but approbation. Tolerance is not enough, so their strategy is to make opposition unthinkable."

To read the whole article, click here.

In another surprise, the story also plugged this blog, with specific reference to our criticism of the Courant:

On its website, www.ctfamily.org, the institute maintains a blog called Connecticut in the Crosshairs that frequently counter-attacks media bias. A top offender is the Hartford Courant. After the spate of coverage that accompanied the arrival of the civil-union law, Peter Wolfgang, the institute's public policy director, posted an extended critique of the Courant. (It's recommended reading for anyone dissatisfied with the paper.)

Critiquing the mainstream media (MSM) is one of the main purposes of blogs. Having one of your MSM subjects mention the critique—and recommend it—is a significant breakthrough. You can read the critique of the Courant recommended by the paper itself by scrolling down to my Oct. 5th post.

Posted at 12:55 PM

November 4

LIEBERMAN'S "LIKELY" LITMUS TEST [Peter Wolfgang]

Connecticut's own Sen. Joseph Lieberman may be the key swing vote in deciding whether Judge Alito will have a fair up-or-down vote or be filibustered by the Senate's pro-abortion minority. According to today's Connecticut Post

Lieberman and other centrists who spoke with reporters said they affirmed their agreement to allow an up-or-down vote on Alito unless extraordinary circumstances are found to warrant a filibuster.

But what qualifies as "extraordinary circumstances?" The Post reports:

Lieberman would likely join a filibuster if he were convinced Alito would vote to overturn the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion.

Did Sen. Lieberman actually say this or is the reporter making assumptions? It's not clear from the article. But if Sen. Lieberman does have a pro-abortion litmus test for deciding whether or not to filibuster, it would be a betrayal of his earlier promises to support up-or-down votes for qualified judicial nominees.

Sen. Lieberman's pro-family constituents will be following his role in the Alito confirmation closely.

Posted at 12:25 PM

November 3

BLOGOSPHERE UPDATE [Peter Wolfgang]

This site is now among the 125-plus state blogs that can be found at Connecticut Weblogs. By providing a single free site for viewing the latest posts from Connecticut's blogs, CT Weblogs is performing a wonderful public service for our state.

Blogs can be a great source for information and commentary that you won't find in the mainstream media. Recent posts from some of our favorite state blogs include Blogmeister USA's take on liberal crank Molly Ivins' talk at the Shubert Theater, Connecticut Conservative's advise for New Haven mayoral candidate Gary Jenkins, Connecticut Commentary: Red Notes from a Blue State's thoughts on the political demise of Lt. Gov. Kevin Sullivan and Pray Connecticut—a site designed to promote prayer—wondering aloud if there is any point in praying for the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut.

Our own blog is now over a year old and big changes are in the works—including a possible name change and new URL. We will keep our readers updated. Those wishing to suggest changes—including a new name for our blog—may do so by clicking on the "feedback" button above.

Posted at 1:55 PM

November 1

BILL HAMZY RESIGNS [Peter Wolfgang]

With President Bush's choice of Judge Samuel Alito for Supreme Court Justice, the national GOP has—virtually overnight—reversed its declining fortunes among its pro-family base. The state GOP, alas, continues its trend in the opposite direction:

William A. Hamzy resigned Monday as Republican state chairman, leaving the GOP with a key vacancy to fill in the early weeks of Gov. M. Jodi Rell's campaign for governor.

Hamzy, 39, a state representative from Plymouth, said he will step down Dec. 2, less than a year after Rell installed him in the job...

The party organization showed some independence under Hamzy, issuing a resolution and a press release at odds with Rell on civil unions for same-sex couples.

Hamzy and the GOP state central committee urged lawmakers to define marriage as between a man and a woman — a position shared by Rell. But Hamzy in a related press release broke with the governor by equating same-sex marriage with civil unions.

"We should stop the parsing of words — this is gay marriage pure and simple," Hamzy said.

Rell later signed the civil unions bill into law.

The resignation of its pro-family chairman is a major loss for state Republicans. Rep. Hamzy, who struggled mightily to halt his party's headlong plunge into almost-total political irrelevance, was one of the few state Republicans who seemed to grasp what FIC's Brian Brown was saying in his Dec. 6th blog on this site:

[Kevin] Rennie, a former Republican legislator from South Windsor, writes: "Worrisome for the GOP is that in the North, Bush increased his share of the vote while other Republicans were losing." Yes, but why? Rennie doesn't tell us.

That's too bad, because it was the most important sentence in the entire "Last Word" issue [of Northeast magazine]. The GOP in New England tends to distance itself from President Bush's pro-family positions out of the belief that those positions will hurt them here. But if the main difference between Bush and the New England GOP is Bush's pro-family stance, and Bush did better in New England than the local party, what does that say about local GOP reluctance to embrace the pro-family cause?

Unlike the national party, Connecticut Republicans suffered significant losses last month. If the state party had been as firmly committed to protecting marriage as the national party—and ran explicitly on that commitment—the results would have been different. Instead, the state GOP has dug itself into a hole by its reluctance to fully embrace the pro-family cause. It's time for them to reconsider.

Posted at 7:13 PM

October 29

INTELLIGENT DESIGN "INVADES" CONNECTICUT [Peter Wolfgang]

They finally got their wish. For the last several months, the Courant has been running an inordinate amount of items attacking "intelligent design" on its editorial and op-ed pages. This was in spite of the fact that there was not a single board of education in Connecticut's 169 towns where ID was an issue.

But now there is one. From the Oct. 26th Danbury News-Times:

BROOKFIELD — The national debate over intelligent design, an alternative to the theory of evolution in explaining how the universe formed, came to town Monday.

The occasion was a candidates' forum in the Brookfield High School library for anyone running for election next month. It was sponsored by the Brookfield League of Women Voters.

While candidates for the board of education did not claim to have the answers about how life began, most have an idea what they want students to be taught.

Candidate Belinda Samuel thinks intelligent design should be considered for the science curriculum.

"It would foster a lot of creative thinking from students," Samuel said. "Darwin's theory was first met with being banned. Some are greeting intelligent design the same way..."

Intelligent design is based on the belief that DNA molecules and the Earth's structure are too complex to have simply evolved with time. While it does not argue biblical creationism, the theory says an intelligent designer had to be involved. That is contrary to the theory of evolution advanced by Charles Darwin in 1859...

[Board of Ed candidate Rob] Gianazza said the theory should be a part of a science class, if it is taught at all. "It wouldn't work in a theological class," he said. "It's a point of view about how did cells . . . become human beings?"

Gianazza said since intelligent design is not part of the current curriculum, considerable community input would be needed for the board to consider it in the future.

Click here to read all of "Intelligent design theory invades forum among board of education candidates."

Posted at 4:17 PM

October 27

NEW HAVEN ADVOCATE: "WHAT'S WRONG WITH POLYGAMY?" [Brian Brown]

It was bound to come to this. A column in this week's New Haven Advocate tries to paint the pro-family arguments made by Atty. Mark Dost and me in a recent debate as "illogical" and "untrue." Instead, he proves our point:

This is what it has come to for gay- marriage foes. They're forced to co-opt the opposition's central argument in a desperate attempt to use it against them. Civil unions are a threat to civil rights?...

It's no surprise, really; desperation tactics are common among players on any losing team. And with Connecticut now permitting civil unions for homosexuals, opponents are indeed losing. Knowing this, they're grasping at anything that can halt, even reverse, what panelist Michael Lawlor, a Democratic state representative from East Haven, called the "inevitable" march toward the acceptance of gay marriage in the state.

First, same-sex "marriage"/civil unions as a threat to civil rights is hardly hypothetical. It is already happening. In Boston, a father of a 5 year old spent a night in prison because he was trying to protect his son from being taught about same-sex "marriage" in the child's kindergarten class. In Canada, the Knights of Columbus are being sued by a lesbian couple for not renting a hall to them for their "wedding" reception. In Sweden, a Pentecostal minister was sentenced to thirty days in prison for preaching against homosexual activity. In Vermont, justices of the peace and others have been threatened with fines if they do not cooperate with civil unions. All this and more will be coming to Connecticut unless the people of this state make their voices heard.

Second, same-sex "marriage" in Connecticut or anywhere else is far from inevitable. Consider this news item which appeared in the Courant on Tuesday:

CONCORD, N.H. — A state commission on same-sex unions dealt a series of defeats Monday to proponents of gay marriage.

The panel voted [by 10-2] to urge state lawmakers not to allow gays to marry, not to recognize out-of-state same-sex unions and not to set up a domestic partner registry for couples who cannot legally marry...

Since Massachusetts last year became the first state to allow same-sex marriage, 41 others have passed laws or constitutional amendments banning it.

Third, the Advocate columnist lets the cat out of the bag:

Brown, in his remarks, took several tacks, including the slippery slope argument: gay marriage today, polygamy tomorrow. "If you accept that limiting marriage to a man and woman is de facto discrimination," he says, "and then you turn around and say, 'Well, of course, we don't want polygamy'" then are not proponents of same-sex marriage themselves discriminating against those who want plural marriage?" He cited a civil union granted to a man and two women in the Netherlands, but never explained why polygamy among consenting adults is so wrong. Is it just a given [emphasis added]?

To the concern that same-sex "marriage" will lead to polygamy, this writer essentially responds, "so what?" Pro same-sex "marriage" activists still claim in public that they believe a child should have two parents. But it is pro same-sex "marriage" writers like this Advocate columnist who reveal the logical destination of their movement.

Posted at 3:10 PM

October 24

THE EDGE OF PROGRESSIVE CHRISTIANITY? [Brian Brown]

Like other liberal mainline communions, the Episcopal Church has lost thousands of members over the last four decades and has seen its influence shrink proportionately. The Connecticut Diocese seems determined to accelerate that trend, according to a news item that appeared over the weekend:

HARTFORD, Conn. — Members of the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut passed a resolution Saturday urging Bishop Andrew Smith to allow priests in Connecticut to preside at civil union ceremonies.

The resolution passed overwhelmingly at the diocese annual meeting, church officials said?

There should be "full inclusion" of all people, said the Rev. James Cooke of Meriden, who serves as a chaplain at Bridgeport Hospital. "This is what puts us on the edge of progressive Christianity."

By "progress," the reverend means "continually jettisoning every last vestige of Christian teaching until our tiny clique of 'progressives' are the only Episcopalians left."

In fact, if wishing to preside at civil union ceremonies is "on the edge of progressive Christianity," does that mean Bishop Smith—who said in a debate last year that he "yearned" for the day when same-sex "marriage" liturgies can be celebrated by his church—has gone off the edge?

Posted at 12:45 PM

October 20

SOCIAL LIBERALISM NO "BOON" TO STATE ECONOMY [Peter Wolfgang]

In last year's elections, pro-family candidates enjoyed significant victories on the national level while suffering setbacks here in Connecticut. Dan Haar, the Courant's liberal business columnist, wrote a piece back then claiming that "the nation lurched to the right on Election Day" while "Connecticut moved hard the other way," and predicting that this would be good for the state's economy:

Eventually, progressive-minded folks would settle or choose to stay in Connecticut and other like-minded states. Since socially liberal people tend to be well educated, the ranks of technology workers and creative types could swell here.. And, that, clearly, would be a boon for the state's vibrancy and prosperity.

It has been almost a year since Harr's column appeared. So, how is the state's social liberals-generated economic boon going, you ask?

Not well, according to today's Republican-American:

"Connecticut ranks 50th in the creation of new business establishments," Jeff Blodgett, vice president of research at the Connecticut Economic Resource Center said, adding, "it is the only state in the country to post negative growth."

In its benchmark report released at the State Capitol, the nonprofit research group identified lack of business and job growth, an aging and shrinking population, and urban-suburban disparities among the top concerns for the state economy...

The "bigger picture" economists use to compare states shines a harsh light on Connecticut's performance. There has been no net job growth here for the past 15 years, according to the report, titled "Benchmarking Connecticut's Economy: A Comparative Analysis of Innovation and Technology."

Between 1990 and 2003, the Northeastern and Midwestern states lost almost 700,000 technology sector jobs, while Southern and Western states gained 690,000 jobs, the report states. Over the past 15 years, Connecticut has lost more than 45,000 jobs in the technology sector alone; in the same period, the aerospace sector lost 29,000 jobs.

Note how much the information above confirms Brian's initial reaction to Haar's column, which was posted on this blog on Nov. 15th:

Never mind the bigoted assumption that religious conservatives lack education and creativity. If Haar's thesis was true, we would have seen it by now. Yes, the Republicans gained seats in Congress while losing seats in the Connecticut General Assembly in 2004. But it also happened in 2002. In fact, in happened in 1994, the year a pro-family majority took over Congress.

So by Haar's standards, Connecticut and the nation have been on opposite ideological tracks for a decade now. The result? Connecticut's population growth was so slow that we lost a seat in Congress.

If Dan Haar is the kind of thinker that the state's business elites turn to for advice, it's no wonder our local economy isn't in better shape.

Posted at 3:15 PM

October 14

NATIONAL PRO-LIFE LEADER IN SPRINGFIELD ON SUNDAY [Peter Wolfgang]

Rich Kendall, New England representative of the National Clergy Council and a friend of FIC, has sent us the message below. We encourage our members to attend this event and lend their support to our pro-family friends in Massachusetts.

DEAR NEW ENGLANDERS:

Attention friends and supporters of Faith and Action and the National Clergy Council!

FAA/NCC President Rev. Rob Schenck will be preaching two services this weekend at the dynamic St. John's Congregational Church in Springfield, Massachusetts this SUNDAY, October 16. St. John's is the largest inner city Congregational Church in New England and is ministering in a powerful way the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the greater Springfield area.

Rev. Schenck will be speaking at the 8:00 am and 10:00 am services, in which he will discuss the very latest on the ministry's efforts in Washington, D.C. Please make sure to invite your friends and family to join Rev. Schenck in one of his last trips to New England in 2005!

Location: St. John's Congregational Church, 643 Union Street, Springfield, MA 01109-3618

Ph: (413) 734-2283 (Please call for directions).

Time: 8:00 am first service, 10:00 am second service.

Cost: FREE!

*Joining Rev. Schenck will be NCC New England representative Rich Kendall. Rich Kendall (203-380-0651) is the NCC's official liaison for the New England states and has been a part of numerous ministry initiatives and events both in his home state of Connecticut and Washington, D.C.!

Posted at 12:09 PM

October 13

THE MINDSET OF OUR OPPONENTS [Brian Brown]

On Oct. 6th I took part in a debate hosted by the Connecticut Historical Society entitled “Civil Unions in Connecticut: Where Do We Go From Here?”

After the debate I was approached by Beth Kerrigan, the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit filed by several same-sex couples asking the courts to impose same-sex “marriage” on the state of Connecticut by judicial fiat.

“How many children do you have?” she asked me. I answered her question. “Which one is the boy?” “The two-year-old,” I replied. She then looked me in the eye and said this: “How would you feel if your son was gay and he grew up and committed suicide and you knew it was your fault because you disapproved of his homosexuality?”

I do not mention this exchange to embarrass Ms. Kerrigan. No doubt, she has been hurt in the course of her life and we should pray for her.

But it is important that our supporters know about this exchange because it is indicative of the mindset of our opponents. Some pro same-sex “marriage” activists really believe that if anyone disagrees with homosexual activity it is because they hate homosexuals.

We know this is false, but that is the mindset we are up against. Let us continue to keep our opponents in our prayers.

Posted at 2:05 PM

October 12

STATE RABBINICAL COUNCIL: CIVIL UNIONS UNDERMINE FAMILY VALUES [Peter Wolfgang]

This evening marks the beginning of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. To honor one of the high holy days of the Jewish people, we share with you the statement by the President of the Rabbinical Council of Connecticut on same-sex civil unions. The statement was issued on Oct. 1st, the day the civil union law went into effect.

Civil Unions and Public Policy

By Rabbi Yehoshua S. Hecht

President, Rabbinical Council of Connecticut

(The Rabbinic organization of ordained orthodox pulpit rabbis serving Synagogues in the Nutmeg State)

The Rabbinical Council of Connecticut is deeply pained that Civil Unions are being implemented and recognized by the State of Connecticut.

We believe it is wrong to have society encourage the concept of Civil Unions which is being touted by its supporters as “marriage” with a different name. We believe as the Family Institute of Connecticut that Civil Unions is but a step away from the implementation of Same Sex Marriage.

The opinion that we advocate is not one of personal preference but rather reflects values and morals that are derived from the Torah which is a higher source of wisdom revealed to humanity at Mount Sinai by the Creator of heaven and earth and of all humanity.

It is the Torah (the five books of Moses) and the traditions recorded in the Talmud that informs us that all people are created with a soul and with the capacity of free choice and are responsible to observe the seven Universal Laws given to Noah. Among these laws is the proscription of homosexual unions. It is for this reason we find it most objectionable that the documents offered by municipalities to those entering into Civil Unions are practically identical to marriage certificates which perforce indicate the State’s acquiescence to something not condoned by biblical tradition and universal principles of moral conduct.

With moral clarity comes blessing and strength to the institution of family and community. Civil Unions as presently construed undermines society’s criteria of Family Values.

We hope that society’s moral compass will not be taken hostage by the gay lobby and their egocentric desire for power and empowerment to “wholly transform the definition of family in American culture” thereby allowing them to play final arbiter of what is moral and ethical.

We appeal to all men and women of conscience to do the right thing and that is to reinforce the principles upon which we are not only comfortable with but we are told to uphold as human beings who are entrusted and empowered with a knowledge of the will of a Higher Being, the Creator of us all.

Posted at 10:40 AM

October 11

“ACTIVISTS SURPRISED BY LIGHT RESPONSE TO CIVIL-UNION LAW” [Peter Wolfgang]

Brian blogged last week about a New Haven Register report on the low turnout of same-sex couples seeking civil unions in Connecticut. In a column in the Waterbury Sunday Republican (not available online) Lee Grabar noted the same phenomenon:

Considering the long struggle it took to get civil unions on the books, it was expected lines would form at city and town halls the day it took effect. In Hartford, city officials hung a rainbow flag at City Hall entrance and set up a table with refreshments. They were prepared for hundreds of couples. They got just 26.

A downstate newspaper’s check of town halls showed four licenses in Guilford, three in Old Saybrook, four in West Haven and one in Shelton. Some towns had no applicants, among them Ansonia, Seymour, Derby and North Haven.

Yesterday’s Republican-American notes the same result in its own part of the state:

Town and city clerks throughout Greater Waterbury and Northwest Connecticut have not been inundated with requests for licenses since a new law legalized civil unions nine days ago.

No one made any predictions about how many same-sex couples would register for civil unions, but in the first week 52 licenses were issued in 43 cities and towns surveyed by the Republican-American.

That surprised some clerks who thought more people would apply as soon as they had the chance.

"We were prepared. I had every bit of information we could have. We have our computers ready so we could index them as a separate certificate. We were ready, and then nothing," said Sheila Sedlack, town clerk in Winsted.

Sedlack was among 21 clerks who issued no licenses the first week. The busiest was Sheila M. Anson, the town clerk and registrar of vital statistics in Washington, Conn., who gave out six.

This result is one of the things FIC warned about during the civil union hearings. By legalizing civil unions, the legislature has created a separate structure—a special status—for a small group of people who don’t want it.

And yet it will be taught in our schools and forced on unwilling companies. This further undermines our shared public understanding of what marriage is, on behalf of a small group of people. To date, only one trio has entered into a civil union in the Netherlands. But in doing so, they have undermined the understanding of marriage in the Netherlands, just as same-sex civil unions are doing in Connecticut.

And those civil unions will likely lead to still-further redefinitions of the institution of marriage. In one of the clearest examples of our opponents’ disdain for democracy that I have yet seen, for instance, Anne Stanback is explicitly cited in the Fairfield County Weekly saying that they are waiting for the 2006 election year to pass before continuing the push for same-sex “marriage” in our legislature.

Posted at 11:15 AM

October 7

NATIONAL PORN SUNDAY [Peter Wolfgang]

Today’s Courant has a good piece on an upcoming event designed to combat one of the greatest threats to the family in our time:

Pornography, usually kept in a brown paper wrapper and away from the pious, will be a topic of sermons and discussion groups in nearly 100 churches across the country this weekend. "National Porn Sunday" is intended to bring out into the open the issue of pornography in people’s lives, even in the lives of people who regularly attend church.

XXXChurch.com, a Web-based ministry founded by two youth pastors in California, is devoted full time to the issue of pornography and is sponsoring National Porn Sunday. The Internet has made pornography readily accessible, even to people who would never buy a magazine at a store or rent X-rated adult videos.

"The churches have been silent on this for so long — a year ago, you couldn’t have gotten five churches willing to do this," Craig Gross, a co-founder of XXXChurch.com, said in a telephone interview. "But churches have been getting a wake-up call, because we have seen it ripping apart families."

St. Paul’s Collegiate Church in Storrs will continue its own Porn Sunday program this Sunday and next Sunday at 6 p.m. in the great room of the Alumni House on UConn’s campus. For more information, see the web site mentioned above.

Posted at 12:21 PM

October 6

STANBACK’S “SUCCESS” [Brian Brown]

Hardly anyone bothered to get a civil union on Monday, the first full business day after they were legalized, according to Tuesday’s New Haven Register (“Gay civil unions legal, but towns see few couples”):

There wasn’t a rush on civil union applications on the first full business day that the state’s new law recognizing same-sex unions went into effect, observers said Monday…

Perhaps they have already gone to Vermont or perhaps they are waiting for full marriage," said Anne Stanbeck, president of Love Makes a Family, a statewide advocacy group that has been pushing for gay marriage for five years.

"We’ve had success, because we put a human face on this issue," she said.

Success in achieving what? The only thing pro same-sex “marriage” activists have accomplished is to undermine our shared public understanding of marriage on behalf of a very small group of people. Most of their own constituents don’t want civil unions and even in jurisdictions where full same-sex “marriage” has been legalized, only a minority of homosexuals “marry.”

Not that our opposition cares. According to the Fairfield County Weekly, civil union legalization has emboldened them to fight for more non-success “successes:”

Ann Stanback, feels strongly that, with the overwhelming support of several Connecticut lawmakers like state Sen. Andrew McDonald of Stamford and state Rep. Michael Lawlor of East Haven, they will eventually achieve their goal of seeing gay marriage become state law. She anticipates that 2007 will be the year for this to happen. They’re waiting to give Connecticut residents time to adjust to same-sex unions, and for the election year to pass.

Posted at 12:13 PM

October 5

MEDIA BIAS, THE COURANT & US [Peter Wolfgang]

In my Oct. 3rd blog, I took issue with the Courant’s coverage of FIC Action’s Reclaim Connecticut Protest. In an e-mail to me yesterday, David Funkhouser, the reporter, politely disagreed with my characterization of his article.

David makes it clear that he did not intend to imply any connection between us and a group of white supremacists who arrived as we were leaving. He says he quoted our opponents making that connection because he wanted to convey “how people look at each other and respond to each other.”

I responded to David in an e-mail this morning. What I want to discuss here are the bigger issues raised by my exchange with him—specifically, what our thoughts are regarding the Courant and what we do and don’t mean when we speak of a liberal bias at the paper.

For starters, we’re not conspiracy theorists. No one at FIC thinks Courant reporters and editors work together to deliberately slant news coverage towards the cultural left. Nor do we think (in most instances) that they deliberately do so as individuals.

In fact, nearly every personal experience I’ve ever had with the Courant’s staff has been positive. In 1998, for instance, I was interviewed for an article on Feminists for Life that was scheduled to run on the 25th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Before the article went to press, Garrett Condon, the reporter, called and read all my quotes back to me to make sure they were accurate.

I’ve seen the same level of professionalism from Frances Grandy Taylor, who has had occasion to quote me at religious events, and Daniela Altimari, whose reporting on FIC’s effort to defeat the civil union bill was fair and balanced. Indeed, I was a recipient of Courant hospitality earlier this year when my wife was honored for writing one of the year’s best letters-to-the-editor. The Courant’s writers were gracious and charming hosts.

Second, we’re not hostile to the Courant as an institution. It’s the paper I grew up with—and I come from a family where we take our newspapers pretty seriously. My grandfather, Reggie Pinto, was a photographer for the old Manchester Herald for 40 years. Articles, columns and photos in the morning paper have been known to spark spirited debate around his kitchen table for hours—but it is out of a love for the medium.

So, if we don’t think the Courant is a liberal conspiracy, or that individual reporters deliberately skew their coverage, and we are not hostile to the paper as such, what is it about the Courant that we find unfair and biased?

About five years ago the Courant published a letter—oh, how I wish I had saved it!—from a woman in New Hartford responding to someone who had complained of liberal bias. Her argument was, basically, that when the news skews towards the left, it’s not bias. It’s just the truth.

That’s a pretty good summation of the problem at the Courant. It’s not that there’s a conspiracy or that writers and editors intentionally insert their agenda into their reporting. It’s that many of them come to their jobs with a certain worldview—that they don’t even realize they have, they think it’s just “the truth”—and it is reflected in their work: what they choose to report and not report and how, where the article appears, what the headline says, what photos run where, what the first few paragraphs of the article say, what’s buried inside the article, etc.

What are some examples? Just off the top of my head and in no particular order:

  • Henry Foster, President Clinton’s choice to replace Joselyn Elders as attorney general, was voted down by Congress in 1995 because pro-lifers objected to his having performed abortions. The Courant ran a front page David Lightman piece with the ominous headline “Outside Forces Influence Senate Vote.” But “outside forces” influence almost every vote in Congress! Yet the Courant only pulls out the sinister headline for social conservatives. (Much of Lightman’s reporting, by the way, is symptomatic of the slanting-the-news-without-realizing-it problem.)
  • Mark Pazniokas earlier this year described Love Makes A Family as “the most visible opponent” of civil unions. The Courant ran a half-hearted correction, noting that FIC and the Catholic Church are indeed opponents of civil unions (the “most visible” thing was never corrected). At the time I joked that, perhaps in the circles Courant reporters move in, LMF really is the most visible opponent of civil unions.
  • Just a few days after I made that joke, Courant gossip columnist Pat Seremet proved my point by writing about her visit to an LMF fundraiser: “Love may make a family, but at his grand manse in Bloomfield, which he shares with his partner, Bill Beeman, a resort financier, Michael van Parys made the dinner. First, it was an arugula wrap with prosciutto, mushroom croustada and spinach balls, followed by tenderloin with peppercorn crust, ravioli with lemon and artichoke sauce, carrots with cilantro, and the most gorgeous stemware a Cosmopolitan ever had the privilege to be poured into.” Pat also made it a point to report on the bumper stickers of cars parked outside a theater on the day The Passion of the Christ opened, the subtext being: aren’t these people weird? There was no similar item about the bumper stickers on the cars parked for the opening of Farenheit 911.
  • During the Clinton/Dole debate in Hartford in 1996 there was a pro-life protest against President Clinton. The only mention of it in the Courant was a brief aside in an op-ed by a Courant editor chastising them.
  • The anti-death penalty crowd, a much smaller movement than ours, held several rallies earlier this year. The Courant’s news articles provided time, date, location and contact information for those interested in joining. Never in a million years would the paper do that for us.
  • In February, 2004 we rallied—according to the capitol police—6,000 people at the state capitol. The Courant said we had “hundreds.” Instead of a picture of the crowd, the front page had a photo of a couple people holding a big picture of Jesus.
  • In a recent article on media coverage of Hurricane Katrina, a Courant headline reads “Even Fox News Ignores Spin Doctors.” No similar headline hinting of ideological bootlicking has ever been published asbout media outlets with liberal reputations, even in the wake of scandals like the one that ended Dan Rather’s career.

The problem at the Courant is not that they have staff with unacknowledged liberal worldviews. The problem is that those folks seem to make up the entire staff. There is no ideological diversity at the Courant. All the columnists are social liberals (yes, even Larry Cohen). Stan Simpson might not be, but religion, abortion, same-sex “marriage” and related issues aren’t really his beat.

Is there any columnist at the Courant who worships at a conservative evangelical church? Who homeschools her children? Who is opposed to the legalization of abortion and same-sex “marriage?” Who is opposed to contraception and practices natural family planning? Who belongs to a conservative Catholic lay group like Opus Dei or Regnum Christi? Who believes sex outside of marriage is sinful and something society ought to discourage?

The above paragraph describes an awful lot of people in Connecticut—more than you think. We know, because we work with them all the time. They form the backbone of the movement to protect marriage. And their voice is not represented in the pages of the Hartford Courant.

If the Courant could do one thing—just one thing!—to address its bias problem, I recommend this: hire a social conservative columnist, one who can answer “yes” to the questions I listed above. Break the liberal monopoly that has a stranglehold over your staff of regular columnists. I don’t mean someone who will appear occasionally on the op-ed page. I mean someone who will appear in the paper as often as Helen Ubinas or Susan Campbell.

There are entire worlds-within-worlds of the Connecticut experience that readers of the Courant are not being exposed to. A social conservative columnist plugged into those worlds would do the paper—and the state—an immense amount of good.

I know from conversations with several Courant personnel that the bias is not intentional, but it exists nonetheless. The paper could go a long way toward ending it by that one simple step of hiring someone who can shine a light on—and speak for—those not being heard in its pages.

Posted at 4:35 PM

October 4

HARRIET MIERS: WAIT AND SEE [Brian Brown]

On Monday, President Bush named White House counsel Harriet E. Miers as his choice to replace pro-abortion Justice Sandra Day O’Connor on the U.S. Supreme Court.

President Bush has long made it clear that his choices for the U.S. Supreme Court would be in the mold of conservative justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. We have no reason to believe he has abandoned that standard. However, our lack of knowledge about Harriet Miers, and the absence of a record on the bench, give us insufficient information from which to assess whether or not she is indeed in that mold.

Connecticut’s pro-family community can take encouragement from some of the information we do have about Miers:

  • Texas Supreme Court Justice Nathan Hecht, a pro-life hero who knows Miers, is a strong supporter. “I know what her judicial philosophy will be,” he told the press, “and when [conservatives] find out what this president knows about Harriet, they are going to be happy as clams.”
  • Miers has been a member of a conservative evangelical church in Dallas for 25 years. Hecht, an elder at the church, said that on abortion “her personal views are consistent with that of evangelical Christians.”
  • As head of the State Bar of Texas from 1992-1993, Miers led an effort to rescind the American Bar Association’s pro-abortion stance. Her attempt to get the ABA to adopt a neutral stance or allow its members to decide by referendum was ultimately unsuccessful.
  • According to a wire service article in today’s Courant, Miers “donated money to an anti-abortion group.”

But Miers’ personal opposition to abortion and her work to make the ABA abortion-neutral does not, by itself, assure those of us who do not know her that she has the conservative judicial philosophy that Justice Hecht says she has.

In the days to come, Harriet Miers will have the chance to demonstrate such a philosophy. We will be watching closely as the confirmation process begins, and we urge Connecticut’s families to wait and see if the confidence we have placed in the President’s commitment is justified by this selection.

Posted at 1:03 PM

October 3

MEDIA AGENDA IN CIVIL UNION COVERAGE [Peter Wolfgang]

Judging by the way it was covered in our state’s print media, one would think the civil union law that went into effect on Saturday was met by near-unanimous celebration throughout Connecticut, except for an FIC Action rally of “about 50” people. Actually—as some TV news shows correctly noted—we had about 90 attendees, and organizations such as the Rabbinical Council of Connecticut joined us and many others in lamenting the anti-family law going into effect that day.

While the AP treated our protest as an afterthought, it did at least allow me this quote:

"We’re here to offer a public witness against a state-mandated undermining of the institution of marriage," said Peter Wolfgang, the institute’s director of public policy. "Oct. 1 is a tragic day because it’s the first day a law goes into effect that states a legislative belief that children don’t need both a mom and a dad."

I said the same thing to the Courant’s reporter, but my comment didn’t make his piece. Perhaps because he was more interested in writing about a group of white supremacists who showed up just as we were leaving. In fact, he slowed our departure in order to get a quote from me that he chose not to run.

I’d like to think it wasn’t deliberate, but his article, while making sure to quote Brian saying “We have nothing to do with them,” flowed in such a way as to give the impression that we do. Here at last, it seemed, was the storyline that the press had been waiting for. On one side, pro same-sex “marriage” activists speaking of love and peace, on the other, white supremacists spewing vitriol and hate.

In fact, it is the pro-family side that is multicultural and interreligious. Many of our most supportive members are African-American and Hispanic evangelicals.

As Brian told the Courant, we have nothing to do with that group that showed up as we were leaving. (Indeed, at first glance, I thought they were one of the pro same-sex “marriage” groups that occasionally show up at our rallies to harass us.) They don’t represent anyone. So why did the Courant devote such a large amount of its article to them?

By way of comparison, consider the person who was arrested earlier this year for making a death threat against CT Catholic Conference executive director Marie Hilliard because of her work against same-sex civil unions. Imagine if the Courant wrote a piece quoting Anne Stanback saying “we have nothing to do with him,” but then devoting much of the article to that person, quoting his opinions on civil unions—as if he were a reputable source—and then allowing people on our side un-rebutted quotes to the effect of “He endorses what we’re against and we think that’s very telling.”

The Courant would never do that to our opponents. But that’s what the Courant just did to us.

Posted at 2:02 PM

September 30

SAME-SEX CIVIL UNION MEDIA COVERAGE [Peter Wolfgang]

There has been a lot of coverage in the state media this past week about the civil union law set to go into effect tomorrow. Two stories deserve special mention. As usual, the Waterbury Republican-American had the best article on our Wednesday press conference:

HARTFORD — The end of the traditional family is near, say opponents of the new same-sex civil union law that goes into effect Saturday, and they are gearing up for a battle.

In a press conference Wednesday, members of pro-family organizations said the law passed by the state legislature in April is the final assault on the institutions of marriage and family…

Family Institute executive director Brian Brown said his organization will work for a referendum for a Constitutional amendment protecting marriage.

"Legislators who voted for this law thinking it was a compromise that would put an end to the discussion legalizing marriage between same-sex couples were profoundly wrong," said Brown.

Acknowledging there is work to be done to bring about that referendum, Brown also said his group, through political action committees, would work to have legislators who supported the law voted out of office during the next election cycle…

Brown had earlier referred to Oct. 1, the day the law takes effect, as "tragic," claiming the law is essentially a legislative belief that children do not need both mother and father and that the negative impact of the law on children, schools, parental rights, religious freedom and society itself will be felt for decades to come.

It was the reporters who wanted to talk politics and their questions were entirely about the governor’s race. The focus of FIC’s Action Committee—a legally separate entity—has been on the General Assembly races. Also, Ed Dzitko ends his otherwise-excellent article by noting that we “expect thousands” at tomorrow’s rally. We don’t. Anything’s possible, of course—particularly if the Women of Faith turn out in large numbers during their lunch break. But the aim of tomorrow’s protest is to offer a public witness against a state-mandated undermining of marriage similar to the counter-protest FIC held on May 17, 2004—the day same-sex “marriage” became legal in Massachusetts.

Also of note is the article on civil union employee benefits that ran on the business page of the Sunday Courant (Sept. 25th). It’s the most informative piece on this topic to be published so far. As the article notes—and contrary to the obfuscation of legislators who supported civil unions—small and medium-size companies are more likely to be covered under state insurance law rather than the federal ERISA and therefore will have to pay for the benefits of those who are in same-sex civil unions with their employees, if they do the same for married couples. Indeed, it is not even clear if ERISA trumps state anti-discrimination laws. Atty. Gen. Blumenthal and others are reduced to throwing up their hands and saying a judge will have to decide the matter—not comforting words to those fighting the judicial usurping of democracy.

When pro-family forces at the legislature tried to introduce a conscience clause into the civil union bill last April to protect religious organizations from being forced to pay civil union benefits, Rep. Michael Lawlor (D-East Haven) said it was unnecessary because these issues are covered under ERISA. That is not necessarily true, as the Courant piece makes clear. But why did the Courant wait until Sept. 25th to let the public know the truth?

Posted at 10:03 AM

September 29

BREAKING…ROBERTS CONFIRMED AS CHIEF JUSTICE [Brian Brown]

Pro-family Judge John G. Roberts has just been confirmed as the next chief justice of the United States Supreme Court. We heartily endorse the comment just posted at the National Review blog Bench Memos:

As has been discussed in Bench Memos, though we’ve known for awhile John Roberts would be confirmed, it’s no small thing that this supposed "extremist" "Neanderthal" has been confirmed. Not in Ginsburg numbers — and there is little doubt she is an extremist. But even in this insanely heated partisan Senate, he got 78 votes. It’s a real victory for the Bush administration. And if my good feelings about John Roberts are right, so I think it’s a victory for America.

It is also a victory for our state’s pro-family movement. As the Courant reported earlier this week, both Senators Dodd and Lieberman said they were voting for Roberts. All of our work—all of your e-mails and phone calls—has paid off. But be prepared: we will have to do it all over again, and soon, for President Bush’s second nominee. And if the frustration that is boiling over on the Left is any indication, the next battle will be considerably more heated.

Posted at 11:58 AM

September 26

PRO-FAMILY DATES TO REMEMBER [Brian Brown]

The same-sex civil union law passed by the legislature and signed by Gov. Rell last spring will go into effect on October 1st. As a result this will be one of the Family Institute of Connecticut’s busiest months ever, standing up for marriage in Connecticut. Below are the key dates for upcoming events. We invite as many of our supporters as possible to attend these events.

  • On Wednesday, Sept. 28th, FIC will be holding a press conference to discuss the impact of civil unions in Connecticut. We will discuss our commitment to vigorously defending religious liberty and parental rights in the face of attacks inspired by the legislature’s decision to undermine marriage. The press conference will be held at 1:00 pm in room 1C of the legislative office building in Hartford.
  • On Saturday, Oct. 1st, FIC Action will host a Reclaim Connecticut Rally to protest the civil union law going into effect that day. At this protest, attendees will receive concrete information on what they can do to hold their legislators accountable for undermining marriage. The protest will be held at 12:00 noon on the front steps of the state capitol in Hartford.
  • On Thursday, Oct. 6th, I will take part in a debate hosted by the Connecticut Historical Society entitled “Civil Unions in Connecticut: Where Do We Go From Here?” The debate—which will include Ann Stanback of Love Makes A Family, pro same-sex “marriage” attorney Maureen Murphy and Evelyn Riley of the Massachusetts Family Institute—will be held from 6:30 to 8:00 pm at 1 Elizabeth Street in Hartford. Admission is $10. For more information call (860) 236-5621 ext. 238.
  • On Saturday, Oct. 8th, I will be the keynote speaker at the Respect Life Conference in South Meriden. The conference will be held from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm at Holy Angels Parish Center, 585 Main Street. Registration is $10 per person, which includes hospitality and lunch. For more information, call (203) 235-3822.
  • On Saturday, Oct. 22nd, I will be a workshop presenter at the Family Protection Conference 2005. The conference—whose theme is “Providing a Safe Home in the Sexualized Culture”—will be held from 8:45 am to 3:00 pm at Valley Community Baptist Church, 590 West Avon Road in Avon. Admission is $25, which includes lunch and a complimentary CD of one of the workshops of your choice. Registration is online at www.nationalcoalition.org/regionaloffices/newengland.html

Posted at 3:59 PM

September 23

A MODEST PROPOSAL [Peter Wolfgang]

I hope he’s prepared for the feminist outrage. At the risk of braving the usual disingenuous cries of misogyny, humor columnist Bill Dunn says some things that needed to be said:

Look, I freely admit I’m an old fogey. I understand there are certain immutable laws of the universe, one of which states: If you are lucky enough to reach middle-age, you are required to become a cranky complainer who regularly uses the phrase, "Kids these days have no respect!"

I understand that’s part of the deal of life. But come on! Have you seen the way some girls dress nowadays? The clothing is ridiculously tight and skimpy, leaving nothing to the imagination. And that’s just while they’re going up for Communion at church…

Click here to read “Teen girls often dress like tarts.”

Posted at 11:13 AM

“A THINKING PERSON’S HOLY ROLLER” [Peter Wolfgang]

Bishop Jay Ramirez, one of Connecticut’s most prominent pro-family leaders, is hosting a convention of thousands in Milford this weekend, according to today’s Conn. Post:

MILFORD — Attendees will begin arriving today for the largest convention the city has ever hosted.

Nearly 2,000 people from Africa, South America and all over the United States are coming for a three-day conference convened by the Kingdom Life Christian Church in Milford.

Bishop Jay Ramirez said that as Kingdom Life and its K-Net network of affiliated churches grows, the city will see a large economic benefit.

The approaching conference inspired New Haven Advocate writer Carole Bass to investigate Bishop Ramirez and his church. She arrived with some questions:

What brings 2,500 people a week to this non-denominational house of worship, making it one of Connecticut’s few megachurches? What moves them to contribute enough money to enable Kingdom Life to buy roughly 25 properties in the Devon section of Milford, worth an estimated $20 million? What inspires them to volunteer hours each week to help run the ever-expanding church?

And found some answers:

Like many megachurches, Kingdom Life dispenses with traditional liturgy and ritual, aiming instead for an easy, comfortable experience that’s accessible to people from a wide range of Christian backgrounds. Unlike some megachurches, though, Kingdom Life asks a lot from its members. Money, yes. But Ramirez also asks them to change their lives—and the world—for the better.

The conservative-crusader stereotype comes closest to fitting Ramirez. In the past two years, he has become one of Connecticut’s most visible anti-gay-marriage clergymen. He has asked the Milford Board of Education to "audit" books for sexual and occult content and complained about in-school Halloween celebrations (because of the holiday’s Pagan roots). Most famously—or infamously—he spurred the church to become landlord to a neighborhood porn shop, so that it can evict the shop when its lease expires in December 2006.

At the same time, Ramirez says, he abhors abuse and harassment of gay people and (reluctantly) accepts Connecticut’s new civil union law, which gives same-sex couples all the legal rights and protections of marriage without calling it that. He also calls himself an environmentalist and a feminist, telling stories about how he has butted heads with other evangelical ministers about the way their churches stifle women.

And he sat with me for nearly four hours in his office, answering tough questions. Never once did he become hostile. Never once did he criticize the Advocate for promoting sex, drugs and profanity. Never once did he try to proselytize me.

Call him a thinking person’s holy roller.

There is, of course, some of the usual back-and-forth between Bishop Ramirez and Bass on same-sex “marriage,” which Bass supports. But I am struck by how much Bass “gets it” in her lengthy report on the bishop and his ministry.

At one point, she wonders aloud (or in print) whether the bishop is “spinning” her. But what comes across in her piece is the pastoral nature of the man—the key to his success—and the willingness of Bass to convey it honestly.

There are some things on which we may never see eye-to-eye with Bass, but she has written a solid, fair profile on a pro-family leader that deserves a wide readership. It can be read by clicking here.

Posted at 10:50 AM

WOMEN OF FAITH: COME TO FIC ACTION’S OCT. 1ST PROTEST! [Brian Brown]

Many of our sisters in faith who are planning to attend the Women of Faith Conference in Hartford on Oct. 1st are asking about FIC Action’s Reclaim Connecticut Protest, also scheduled for Oct. 1st at noon.

It is a brief walk from the civic center, where the conference is being held, to our protest at the state capitol. Conference attendees are welcome to join us during their 12:45 lunch.

We would love to see thousands of godly women descend upon the state capitol to stand firm for the protection of marriage and the family!

Posted at 9:50 AM

September 22

JOE FITZGERALD’S CIVICS LESSON [Brian Brown]

How often have we heard the ridiculous claim that believers are violating the separation of church and state if they dare to act on their faith in the public domain? But when the state oversteps its proper role, churches must fight for their faith—not only because it is their right, but because failure to do so actually harms the state!

Boston Herald columnist Joe Fitzgerald sums up the reasons so well and so succinctly in his recent column that we are posting it in its entirety, below:

Churches finally find voice on gay marriage

By Joe Fitzgerald

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

The news that churches throughout the commonwealth are finally planning to flex their muscles in resistance to gay marriage ought to be welcomed by anyone with an understanding of civics, to say nothing of American history.

That, of course, leaves out those activists who, shamefully abetted by lily-livered politicians, have had remarkable success in squelching opposition by demonizing anyone who dares to utter a word of disagreement.

Talk about turning the tables: Tolerance was once their rallying cry, remember? Who is intolerant now?

According to this crowd, if you don’t enthusiastically endorse a lifestyle that flies in the face of what many faiths hold dear, you’re hateful, ignorant and unenlightened, all of which is rubbish.

Americans, as a whole, are none of those things, and yet every time they’ve been given an opportunity to voice their feelings on the issue, gay marriage has been soundly rejected. The only reason it exists here in Massachusetts is we have been prohibited from participating in the process, denied our right to have a say in how we shall be governed.

Our democracy was hijacked. It’s as simple as that.

But now a broad consortium of churches, crossing ethnic, racial and denominational lines, is stepping up to the plate, hoping to mobilize disenfranchised parishioners by having them sign petitions demanding to have their voices heard at the ballot box.

They’ve identified Oct. 2 as “Protect Marriage Sunday,” the official kickoff date, setting a goal of acquiring more than 100,000 signatures.

Not surprisingly, gay marriage activists are appalled, though they’re quick to welcome the support of sympathetic churches, which aren’t hard to find. We’re living in times when you can choose any lifestyle and find a theology to embrace it.

And those churches certainly have a right to cater to any congregations they choose.

But churches clinging to traditional values have just as much of a right and perhaps even more of a responsibility to step into those same streets where these battles are being fought, especially if they sense a moral vacuum has been created by an impotent political establishment.

A popular bumper sticker from the ’60s sums it up well: When the people lead, the leaders will follow.

Conservative clergy have too long abstained from the political process through a fallacious rationalization that the church has no business in the affairs of the state.

History begs to differ.

Etched into granite above the entrance to the Cambridge City Hall annex are these words: “God has given commandments unto men. From these commandments men have framed laws by which to be governed. It is honorable and praiseworthy to faithfully serve the people by helping to administer these laws. If the laws are not enforced, the people are not well governed.”

Imagine suggesting that in Cambridge today?

But it was once commonly understood.

“Things are different now,” Dr. Martin Luther King noted in his “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” “The contemporary church is often a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. Far from being disturbed by the presence of the church, the power structure of the average community is consoled by the church’s silent sanction of things as they are.”

He wrote that 43 years ago.

So here’s hoping these churches, no longer lukewarm but aroused by righteous indignation, will shake up that structure at last.

It’s late, but better late than never.

Posted at 1:37 PM

September 21

CATCHING UP WITH THE COURANT [Peter Wolfgang]

My list of Courant-related items that I’ve been meaning to address in this space is getting long, so it’s time to go through them. In a Jul. 15th blog, Brian made some observations and offered a suggestion:

Perhaps you saw the recent piece in the Courant’s “Life” section mocking virginity? No? Well then, did you catch the article on the joys of wedding-inspired one night stands? The ditzy “dating” column chronicling one woman’s series of sexual relationships? How about today’s piece by a male writer agreeing with a “gay” web site on the physical attractiveness of a particular movie actor? Or maybe you still recall the Valentine’s Day “Life” section of a few years ago that provided a how-to guide on adultery? … If the Courant still considers itself a family paper, it can prove it by cleaning up the dirty joke that is its Life section.

To our surprise, the Courant did clean it up—or at least, it took a step in that direction. Without ever mentioning it, the paper seems to have dropped the “dating” column Brian referred to. Its space—the bottom of page 3 in the Wednesday Life section—is now filled by pro-family psychologist John Rosemond’s column (he used to appear toward the back of a Sunday section). Kudos to the Courant.

Speaking of Sunday sections, the Courant’s Northeast magazine on Aug. 28th had a long cover article on the intelligent design debate that was notable for its evenhandedness. And a week earlier it ran a cover article by Joann Klimkiewicz on the struggle she faced as a Polish-American reporter covering the story of a Polish priest in New Britain accused of sexually assaulting a young girl. The facts of that story—the city’s Polish Catholic community closed ranks around the priest who, in fact, was guilty—are easy fodder for anyone looking to take a cheap shot at the Church. But Klimkiewicz never did that. Instead, she approached a delicate subject with the sensitivity it required, in the process producing one of the best pieces of writing I’ve ever seen in the Courant.

The Courant’s editors endorsed John Roberts for Chief Justice today, saying they hope he will surprise his critics. We hope—indeed, we are confident—that he won’t. But we are glad he has the Courant’s endorsement.

Courant reporter Mark Pazniokas once made the ludicrous error of describing Love Makes A Family as “the most visible opponent” of civil unions. Perhaps in reparation for that howler, he ends today’s article on Atty. Gen. Blumenthal’s legal opinion by noting that “The Catholic Church and the Family Institute of Connecticut led the opposition to civil unions.”

The Blumenthal opinion helps illustrate the principles at stake in the Roberts confirmation. If Connecticut’s judges stick to their proper role of interpreting the law, Blumenthal’s opinion should help the state’s position in Kerrigan because it emphasizes that state law has explicitly rejected same-sex “marriage.” But if the judges choose to usurp the law-making power of the legislature, the concerns Brian raised in yesterday’s blog about the opinion aiding the plaintiffs comes into play. This is why it is so important, on both the state and federal level, to have judges who interpret, rather than make, law.

Posted at 5:26 PM

September 20

BREAKING…ATTY. GEN. BLUMENTHAL SAYS OUT-OF-STATE CIVIL UNIONS LEGAL IN CONNECTICUT [Brian Brown]

This just came in over the wire:

Connecticut will recognize civil unions and domestic partnerships from other states but not same-sex marriages from neighboring Massachusetts when a new law allowing civil unions takes effect here Oct. 1.

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said Tuesday that Connecticut will not recognize same-sex marriages because the legislature has defined marriage as being between a man and a woman.

“Civil unions performed in other states are entitled to full faith and credit in Connecticut, and cannot be repeated here. Out-of-state same-sex marriages have no legal force and effect here,” Blumenthal wrote in a legal opinion requested by the state’s Department of Public Health, which administers marriage licenses.

Atty. Gen. Blumenthal is creating a legal morass. What if the civil union laws of foreign jurisdictions—both Vermont and outside the U.S.—are different than Connecticut’s? In our state, for instance, a person under 18 cannot enter into a same-sex civil union unless he is an emancipated minor. What if there are lower age requirements elsewhere? Blumenthal’s “full faith and credit” language suggests that he would expect Connecticut to accept the lower threshold of another jurisdiction.

If other jurisdictions allow for different “rights” than Connecticut, it will present a massive legal problem. There will be a multitude of conflict of laws questions—which will play right into the hands of the plaintiffs in the Kerrigan case. “Wouldn’t it be easier to just legalize same-sex ‘marriage?’” they will ask. “Why the ‘rights,’ but not the name?”

All of this should have been expected following the legalization of same-sex civil unions by our legislature. It is further evidence that we need a marriage protection amendment in our state constitution to limit the courts.

There are essentially two questions here: the courts and the attorney general’s opinion. Blumenthal’s opinion is not binding on the courts, but it does potentially undermine his own position in Kerrigan, which is to defend the state’s law that marriage is the union of a man and a woman.

Blumenthal’s opinion makes clear that Connecticut needs a marriage protection amendment and that the people need to vote directly on the question, rather than leave it to a few judges to decide. Especially when civil unions was sold to the public as a supposed compromise.

Posted at 4:06 PM

NAUGATUCK MAYOR MISLEADS THE YOUNG [Peter Wolfgang]

A popular dodge by pro-abortion Catholic politicians is the “personally opposed, but…” position. That is, while they are “personally opposed” to abortion, they say they cannot “impose” their personal belief on a pluralist polity that does not share it.

It is an illogical position, but then it wasn’t designed to make sense. It was designed to help pro-abortion politicians out of a jam. Their hope is that voters who are pro-life but otherwise inclined to support them will hear the “personally opposed” part and be fooled while “pro-choice” voters will understand the “can’t impose my personal belief” part for the wink in their direction that it is.

To be sure, not every moral belief that a politician holds should be codified into law. But some issues are bigger than others. Why, for instance, are people “personally opposed” to abortion? They are opposed because it is the taking of innocent unborn human life. The “personally opposed, but” politician, therefore, is saying “I am personally opposed to killing people, but because my view is not universally held, it would be wrong of me to stop others from killing people.”

On no other issue of such importance is a politician expected to treat his morality as some quirky religious belief that he must not impose. This double standard sometimes achieves comical proportions. Such as during the 2004 presidential debates, when Sen. John Kerry—who had spouted the usual stuff on not “imposing” his religiously-motivated opposition to abortion—cited his Catholic faith as his motivation for passing bills to improve the environment and help the poor. Or when it inspired one wag to note of Ted Kennedy, “He considers his religion so private that he refuses to impose it on himself.”

But the “personally opposed, but” position is such a serious matter that the Vatican is considering a formal policy of denying communion to politicians who employ it. This makes it all the more disturbing that the mayor of Naugatuck persuaded a middle school student running for class representative—in a Catholic school, no less—to adopt it.

Here is an excerpt from the Republican-American’s Sept. 15th article, “7th-grader puts San Angelo on spot during school forum” (not available online):

NAUGATUCK—Mayor Ron San Angelo’s breezy lecture to St. Hedwig School students about the role of government hit a silent patch Wednesday after seventh-grader Julia Daubney asked a question that can knock the wind out of any politician.

“What is your opinion about abortion?”

As 45 Catholic school students in the fifth through eighth grades squirmed quietly in their metal chairs in the school’s auditorium, San Angelo paused for about three seconds. History teacher Luann Dunnuck called out from the back row that he could just say “no comment.”

Rejecting Ms. Dunnock’s suggestion that he demonstrate political cowardice to her students, Mayor San Angelo opted instead for political sophistry, saying that as “a representative of voters, sometimes a politician’s private views take a back seat to constituents’ desires.”

“On a personal level, I don’t believe in abortion,” he said, looking Julia in the eyes. “When I served in the legislature…more people supported abortion than were against it….I voted to allow abortion only in the first trimester.”

Mayor San Angelo’s talk had this effect on the student running for class representative:

“I wouldn’t want to compromise on something like abortion,” said Chris, who said he was against its legalization, “but I guess I’d have to.”

Chris is a young man. There is still plenty of time for him to recover from the bad example set for him by the mayor of Naugatuck. In fact, he could begin by listening to Julia, the 7th grader who asked the mayor the abortion question and saw right through his answer:

Julia took away a different view than Chris on compromise.

“I learned from the talk that it’s important to stand up for what you believe in,” she said, “no matter what other people say.”

Posted at 11:28 AM

September 19

REALITY INTRUDES ON THE SOON-TO-BE CIVILLY UNIONED [Peter Wolfgang]

FIC has said it all along. Whether the state calls it same-sex “marriage” or civil unions, it is a redefinition of what has always existed: marriage as an institution that unites the two sexes. As we approach Oct. 1st, the day the civil unions law goes into effect, that simple truth is becoming even more obvious. According to a front-page piece in today’s Republican-American, the new civil union certificate will abolish the words “bride” and “groom”:

Forms for couples seeking official union used to say “bride” and “groom.” The new terminology will be “Party 1” and “Party 2,” with a box to check for the proper sex.

The language may lack a certain romance, but that’s what city and town clerks throughout the state are being told to expect as they gear up for Oct. 1, the day when the law allowing civil unions in Connecticut goes into effect…

Connecticut will become the second state, after Vermont, to allow civil unions between same-sex couples. The law grants the same rights as marriage without using the word marriage, because the state has agreed that marriage can only take place between a man and a woman. Only Massachusetts has a law allowing marriage between people of the same sex.

To read the whole article, click here.

Posted at 12:54 PM

ATTEND THE RECLAIM CONNECTICUT PROTEST ON OCTOBER 1ST [Brian Brown]

On Saturday, October 1, at 12:00 noon on the steps of the state capitol in Hartford, FIC Action will hold a Reclaim Connecticut Protest to hold accountable those legislators who voted to undermine marriage. We invite as many of our supporters as possible to attend!

Last spring well over 3,000 pro-family citizens from every walk of life united in a rally at the state capitol to express their outrage over the decision by our legislature and Gov. Rell to legalize same-sex civil unions. The Courant’s article on the rally quoted a man who captured well the sentiment of those present at that time:

“What they [the legislature and Gov. Rell] did was, they said, ‘We think we know better than the people of the state,’” said Roger Cropper of Bristol. “This is supposed to be the Constitution State, not the dictator state. Let the people decide. I hope the people of Connecticut finally stand up and say enough is enough.”

That is precisely what we intend to do. We are rallying on October 1st because that is the day that the civil union law goes into effect. Like the counter-rally FIC held on the day same-sex “marriage” was legalized in Massachusetts, our purpose on Oct. 1st is to provide a public witness against the government-mandated redefinition of marriage.

The pro-family movement’s #1 goal leading up to the 2006 election is to Reclaim Connecticut! At the Oct. 1st protest, we will be letting people know what they can do politically to take back their state from the anti-family legislators who voted to undermine marriage.

While passage of same-sex civil unions is bad enough in itself, the next step of same-sex “marriage” proponents is clear—use the courts to force same-sex “marriage,” name and all, on our state. Without a state constitutional amendment protecting marriage, the courts may likely do exactly that. We need legislators who understand the importance of this issue and a public that knows where their legislators stand.

The battle to protect marriage in Connecticut has reached a pivotal moment. Either we get active and organize now or we face full same-sex “marriage.”

Posted at 12:30 PM

DANBURY NEWS-TIMES PROFILES MOPS [Peter Wolfgang]

It’s the sort of thing you don’t forget. My wife, in addition to her normal daily routine of caring for our two daughters—just shy of 2 and 4 years old—had just given birth to our son. Upon hearing of it, an old friend from Manchester —not someone we see regularly—took the hour-long drive to our home just to cook us a nice meal.

She was a member of MOPS, a group dedicated to help Mothers of Preschoolers. Today’s News-Times has a nice profile on this wonderful group:

MOPS International is a non-profit organization that provides support to mothers of preschoolers.

Brookfield resident Linda Frame has been a member of the Ridgefield chapter for 10 years.

During the early and cold months of 2005, she received nonstop support from many of the group’s members when she broke her leg after falling in a parking lot. She was in a wheelchair for six weeks.

“They all came to my house. They took me to the doctor, they brought me meals, and they watched my kids,” Frame said.

That’s the kind of group it is, said Mary Borges of Brookfield , a mother to three young boys….

MOPS groups are communities that strive to meet the needs of every mom with children from birth through kindergarten.

To read the whole article, click here.

Posted at 12:23 PM

September 16

WHY DID MAYOR JARJURA LOSE? [Peter Wolfgang]

That is the question being explored all morning—even as I type this—by radio host Brad Davis. The Waterbury Republican-American offered its own answer yesterday:

Mayor Jarjura did not lose the primary because he proposed a forthright, controversial approach to the pension problem. He lost because he had plenty of campaign cash but apparently did not take Mrs. Mulcahy as seriously as he should have, given his failure to exploit his war chest and the advantages of incumbency. He angered residents of the Town Plot and Country Club neighborhoods by supporting development projects many residents opposed. There also was a perception, never proved, that he was taking advantage of his position to advance his own development projects.

I share Brad’s high opinion of Mayor Jarjura and the work he has done to put Waterbury on the right path. Indeed, the mayor has been one of two “legislative liaisons” FIC has proudly listed on our letterhead since his days as state representative.

But while Jarjura’s pro-life, pro-family record in the legislature is unassailable, as mayor he has made some endorsements that have raised eyebrows among those who share his commitment to the protection of marriage and of the unborn.

In 2002, he not only endorsed but campaigned vigorously for pro-abortion candidate Chris Murphy against pro-life Rep. Ann Dandrow for an open senate seat in a district encompassing parts of Waterbury, Cheshire and Southington. After defeating Dandrow, Sen. Murphy played a key role in passing the bill that will use $100 million of our tax money to clone and kill human embryos.

Now, in fairness, Jarjura was a Democrat backing a fellow Democrat against a Republican. One might say “That’s politics.”

But then, what about Waterbury’s 75th district? In 2002, Jarjura backed a pro-abortion, pro same-sex “marriage” challenger—who was not even from Waterbury—in a primary against his pro-life Democratic colleague, incumbent Rep. Tom Conway. Conway narrowly won, thanks to the strong support of pro-life Catholics who came out for one of their own.

But why did Jarjura back an out-of-town challenger whose views were the opposite of his own against a Democratic incumbent who shared his pro-life convictions? Why would the most prominent pro-life Democrat in Connecticut work to make himself even more of a minority in his own party?

And it happened again in 2004. That same candidate—with the backing of both Love Makes A Family and Mayor Jarjura—ran against David Aldarondo. Aldarondo defeated him, becoming the first Hispanic state representative from Waterbury and one of the last pro-life Democrats still in the legislature. Indeed, Aldarondo spoke before a crowd of more than 3,000 people at our April 24th rally in defense of the family.

But Aldarondo’s supporters never forgot Jarjura’s opposition. As far back as eight months ago, they expressed their anger to me, saying that there will be a primary and that they were organizing to defeat the mayor.

To be sure, other factors—including the ones listed above by the Republican-American—had something to do with the primary results. But a sense of abandonment by the Brass City’s pro-lifers played a key role in Jarjura’s defeat. Not only did Aldarondo’s supporters—who are not limited to the 75th district—make good on their vow, but every pro-lifer I spoke to in Waterbury—many of them still incensed over Jarjura’s 2002 endorsements—said they were backing Karen Malcahy.

Mayor Jarjura was one of the better politicians in a state not known for producing great public servants. He will be missed.

But his demise should serve as a cautionary tale for Connecticut’s pro-life, pro-family politicians. In a state where they are currently a minority and despised by the political and media elites, pro-life/pro-family politicians must support each other and work to increase their numbers in both parties and across party lines —in fact, they can’t afford not to.

Otherwise, they will have the unpleasant experience—as Mayor Jarjura did this week—of rediscovering the truth that Benjamin Franklin expressed to this nation’s founders: “We must indeed all hang together, or most assuredly we will all hang separately.”

Posted at 9:34 AM

September 15

PRO-LIFE SPEAKER AT YALE MONDAY [Peter Wolfgang]

The notice below is from Deborah Bedolla, the head of Yale’s pro-life student group. Dr. DeMarco, who teaches at Holy Apostles Seminary in Cromwell and writes columns for the CT-based National Catholic Register, has been a pro-life leader for decades. This is a great opportunity to hear one of our most eloquent spokesmen.

Dear Mr. Wolfgang,

Eminent philosopher Dr. Donald DeMarco will be addressing a group of students, faculty and community members on the question, “When does human life begin?” DeMarco is being hosted by CLAY: Choose Life At Yale.

The talk is part of the Women’s Truth Campaign (WTC), a campus-wide initiative to challenge the accepted notions about abortion. DeMarco will explore the widely debated issue of human personhood at life’s beginnings on Monday, September 19th from 7:00 to 8:00 PM in Street Hall, Room 268, allowing for questions at the end. The abortion issue has been on the forefront of campus dialogue, both in the recent Yale Party of the Right abortion debate and in April 2005’s Respect Life Week.

The event promises to be informative for people of all beliefs and opinions. We hope that you will be able to share this with members of the Family Institute of Connecticut and that many will benefit from this opportunity.

Posted at 3:57 PM

September 14

PRO-FAMILY VICTORY IN NEW HAVEN [Brian Brown]

Congratulations to Joyce Chen, a pro-family Democratic New Haven alderman who defeated a challenger in a primary yesterday.

Joyce was one of several aldermen who voted against a proposal to legalize same-sex “domestic partnerships”—a watered-down version of civil unions—in New Haven. Although a majority of aldermen defeated the proposal, Joyce was the only one to be targeted by anti-family forces for her opposition to it.

Joyce also faced the full fury of Mayor DeStefano’s political machine, which came out in force for her opponent. (Mayor DeStefano supports same-sex “marriage,” but since he has been out stumping for governor he has been curiously quiet on the subject.)

As yesterday’s primaries show, the passage of civil unions has not caused pro-family sentiment in Connecticut to dissipate. If anything, it is growing and it is beginning to have an effect at the polls.

Posted at 9:18 PM

September 12

PROGRESS IN MASSACHUSETTS [Peter Wolfgang]

The headline and first few paragraphs of an AP story appearing on the front page of today’s Courant gives the misleading impression that the pro-family cause has suffered a recent set-back in the Massachusetts legislature. In fact, I was just in Boston Thursday for the Pastor’s Breakfast organized by the Love Won Out conference and morale was high among our pro-family peers in the Bay State. Not until the 6th paragraph of the AP story does the reader learn why that is:

A graver threat to gay marriage may come from a newer and stricter proposed amendment. Because that measure is on a different procedural path, it requires less support from the legislature. But the proposal, which has just begun moving forward, would not reach voters until 2008.

The reasons for the collapse of the older amendment the legislature narrowly approved last year are rooted in the language of the measure. It seeks to broker a compromise between foes of same-sex marriage and supporters of gay rights by outlawing gay marriage, but enshrining civil unions.

The compromise ultimately had an opposite effect, alienating foes of gay marriage by creating civil unions and offending gay rights supporters by banning gay marriage…

Many foes of gay marriage, who supported the amendment in the hopes of preventing gay marriages from happening, are drawn to a second, much stricter alternative amendment that would ban gay marriage without granting civil unions…

Supporters of that amendment must still collect the signatures of 65,825 registered voters and win approval for it in two sittings of the Legislature. But because the amendment begins with citizens, only a quarter of lawmakers — a much lower threshold — must approve it before it can go on the state ballot.

As I drove up to Boston Thursday morning, the news on the radio reported that the attorney general in Massachusetts had certified the effort to enact the stronger marriage protection amendment and the governor of California had said he would veto his legislature’s attempt to impose same-sex “marriage” on a public that had already voted to reject it. It was not a good day for the pro same-sex “marriage” cause.

Posted at 3:15 PM

STATE’S PRO-FAMILY CHURCHES AID KATRINA VICTIMS [Brian Brown]

Many are the organizations and individuals that are doing good work to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Today’s Connecticut Post reports on one effort by our friends at the Bridgeport Rescue Mission and Black Rock Congregational Church:

The church wants nonperishable foods, coffee, powdered milk, bottled water, diapers and baby wipes, feminine-hygiene products, bleach, toilet paper, generators, tarps, shampoo, soap, toothpaste, battery-powered radios, first-aid kits, nylon rope, matches, cots, flashlights and batteries.

“Many people want to give us clothing and blankets. We’ve been told specifically not to collect that,” said Terry Wilcox, mission director.

Items may be dropped off at the Women’s Home of the Bridgeport Rescue Mission, 1150 Fairfield Ave. and Black Rock

You can read the whole article here. We urge our members to support this effort.

Posted at 12:05 PM

September 7

CALIFORNIA PRO SAME-SEX “MARRIAGE” VOTE DEFIES DEMOCRACY [Peter Wolfgang]

As Stanley Kurtz notes in the post cited by Ken below, yesterday’s vote in the California legislature sheds light on our opposition’s disdain for democracy. I would add that it also sheds light on what happened in Connecticut.

When our own state legislature legalized same-sex civil unions last April we said that they ignored the will of the people. Our opponents reacted with derision. “It was a legislative vote, not a court order,” they said. “How can you say it was undemocratic?”

Here’s why, from my May 10th blog:

In a poll conducted by Harris Interactive, 78% of CT voters said that marriage is between one man and one woman and 76% said they wanted to vote in a referendum on the issue. The legislature ignored them. Thousands of CT’s pro-family citizens called their legislators about the bill—so many, in fact, that we shut down their switchboards for days. But several senators began their speeches by saying that, while most of their constituents opposed the bill, they will vote for it anyway. In 2004, 78% of our legislature ran for re-election unopposed or in gerrymandered districts where they won in a cakewalk. The bill, which moved through the legislature at an unbelievably quick pace, was signed hours after it was passed because Gov. Rell asked the senators to suspend the normal rules of procedure. And the most sweeping change to hit CT’s family life in decades was signed into law by a governor who was never elected to the position. In light of all this, how “democratic,” really, was the passage of civil unions in CT?

If further proof was needed that a legislative vote for same-sex “marriage”/civil unions does not represent the will of the people, California provided it yesterday. As even the New York Times notes, “Californians voted overwhelmingly in 2000 for a ballot measure, Proposition 22, that defined marriage as between a man and a woman” but their legislature, like Connecticut’s, simply chose to ignore the will of their own constituents:

But several Republicans derided the parliamentary maneuver to resuscitate the bill and said Democrats who represented districts where voters approved Proposition 22 had no moral authority to subvert that vote.

“We damage the moral fabric of our society, that’s what’s damaged here,” said Assemblyman Dennis L. Mountjoy, a Republican from Southern California.

Assemblyman Jay La Suer, a San Diego Republican, chided his colleagues for sending the wrong message about same-sex marriage, saying that no matter “how you candy coat it,” it is wrong.

“You are not leading, you have gone astray,” Mr. La Suer said. “History will record that you betrayed your constituents, and their moral and ethical values.”

History will also record it of Connecticut’s legislature. In both states, the legislature did not represent the will of the people. Instead, both the courts and the legislature are increasing kowtowing to radical anti-family elites and, in the case of legislators, voting against their own constituents.

Only a marriage protection amendment to our state and federal constitutions will put a stop to this attack on the family and on democracy itself.

Posted at 2:31 PM

CALIFORNIA’S LEGISLATURE SURPASSES EVEN CONNECTICUT IN ITS BRAZENNESS [Ken Von Kohorn]

“Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.” We’ve all heard Lord Acton’s observation many times. The latest evidence of this timeless truth comes from California which, like Connecticut, suffers from one party (in both cases the Democrats) too long in the majority. California’s legislature voted yesterday to allow gay “marriage,” even though (or because?) the state’s voters overwhelmingly rejected gay “marriage” in a statewide referendum. Stanley Kurtz, writing in National Review’s Corner weighs in on the implications of the California vote:

Why do liberals keep pushing same-sex marriage on a country that clearly doesn’t want it — especially when this is so obviously disastrous for the national political prospects of the Democrats? Why would California’s state legislature blatantly countermand a decision by the people of California, who expressed themselves by a 61 to 39 percent majority only five years ago? The proximate answer is that the legislature wants to head off yet another state referendum, this one likely to write marriage as the union of a man and a woman into California’s constitution. That measure may still pass, but the legislature is trying to put facts on the ground now, in hopes that these will sway the public against a state constitutional amendment.

Of course the deeper reason for the political madness of California’s Democrats is their belief that same-sex marriage is a simple question of basic civil rights. However sincerely this belief is held, it is badly mistaken. For a brief response on the substantive question, see the first section of my “Deathblow to Marriage.”

Governor Schwarzenegger now has a serious no-win political problem on his hands. He’s likely to veto the bill. But if he signs it, the gay marriage issue will be supercharged on the national level. In contrast to Massachusetts, California has no law prohibiting marriage to out-of-state couples if those marriages would be illegal in their home states. That would likely mean a flood of marriages of out-of-state couples, and a series of legal challenges to marriage in states across the nation. The pressure for state constitutional amendments will escalate massively. Gay marriage would move to the front burner of the nation’s politics directly in advance of the next election.

Gay marriage in California would also highlight the importance of the Supreme Court. Given Anthony Kennedy’s position, it’s unlikely that even confirmation of John Roberts and a conservative replacement for Justice Renquist would, by themselves, prevent the Supreme Court from nationalizing same-sex marriage in the wake of California induced chaos. Only a Federal Marriage Amendment would do that. So same-sex marriage in California would likely supercharge the movement for a Federal Marriage Amendment. One way or another, sooner or later, like it or not, this country is headed toward a national showdown on same-sex marriage.

Posted at 12:50 PM

September 6

ROBERTS PICKED TO BE CHIEF JUSTICE [Brian Brown]

With the death of pro-life Chief Justice William Rehnquist, President Bush has now picked Judge Roberts to replace him. You can read the New York Times coverage of this development here. The confirmation hearings, originally set to begin today, will start on Monday.

FIC is fighting for Judge Roberts to be confirmed in a fair and timely manner. You can contact Sen. Lieberman on behalf of Judge Roberts by clicking here.

Posted at 4:35 PM

September 2

CALIFORNIA’S SENATE VOTE [Brian Brown]

In the wake of the Sept. 11th terrorist attacks, Planned Parenthood’s New York branch responded…by offering free abortions. Now, in the wake of the unprecedented devastation wrought on our nation by Hurricane Katrina, the California state senate has responded by…voting to legalize same-sex “marriage”:

Opponents decried the vote as a repudiation of the will of the electorate, which five years ago passed Proposition 22, declaring that California would recognize only marriages between men and women. They said that legislators cannot undo a law passed by 61% of the public without putting it before the electorate again.

“How can God bless California when our lawmakers do this?” asked Randy Thomasson, president of the Campaign for Children and Families, which is collecting signatures for one of several initiatives that would amend the state Constitution to outlaw gay marriage. “The Democrat-controlled Senate has completely overturned the people’s vote on marriage.”

Even in the midst of some of the greatest tragedies our nation have ever faced, the attacks on the family in America—and the disrespect for the will of the people—continue without the slightest pause.

Posted at 12:35 pm

September 1

“LOVE WON OUT” CONFERENCE IN BOSTON ON OCT. 29TH [Brian Brown]

On October 29th, 2005, Focus on the Family will be holding a Love Won Out Conference at Tremont Temple Church, 88 Tremont Street in Boston, MA. A complimentary Pastor’s Breakfast will be held Sept. 8th from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Tremont Temple Church for clergy wishing to learn more about the conference.

With Connecticut’s same-sex civil union law going into effect one month from today, pastors, parents and other concerned citizens will be increasingly forced to face issues relating to homosexuality. The Family Institute of Connecticut, therefore, strongly recommends that our members attend Love Won Out in Boston.

At the conference, you will hear from nationally known experts who have firsthand experience with the seldom-told side of the homosexual issue. You’ll learn how to minister to a loved one who’s dealing with homosexuality, respond to misinformation in our culture, defend biblical beliefs and prevent your child from embracing this destructive way of life.

Ministers who attend the Sept. 8th Pastor’s Breakfast will be Focus on the Family’s guests for a complimentary breakfast and morning seminar that will equip them to more effectively convey the truth about homosexuality, compassionately without compromising. Three of Love Won Out’s keynote speakers will share their testimonies and address specific topics.

To learn more about Love Won Out conferences, click here. To attend the Sept. 8th Pastor’s Breakfast or the Oct. 29th Love Won Out conference in Boston, contact Linda Allison at linda.allison@fotf.org or by calling (719) 548-5770.

Posted at 3:48 PM

HURRICANE KATRINA [Peter Wolfgang]

Connecticut’s pro-family community joins with the whole nation in praying for and providing assistance to the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Donations may be sent through the Red Cross by clicking here and through the Salvation Army by clicking here.

Posted at 3:42 PM

August 25

“CALAMITY DELAYED” [Brian Brown]

Congratulations to all those working to save the Groton sub base on their hard-earned victory in the BRAC commission. The loss of thousands of jobs would have been — and still could be — a calamity for Connecticut families. But as today’s editorial in the Waterbury Republican-American reminds us — regardless of whether the President and Congress will back the BRAC’s decision — the state’s long-term employment woes remain:

Now that the cataclysmic prospect of the Groton base closure — 8,000 jobs lost at the base and up to 31,000 statewide — is in the past, what do lawmakers plan to do about the state's deeper, more intractable economic problems?...

Connecticut residents will not, and should not, forget the exceptional job done by Gov. M. Jodi Rell, Democratic Sens. Christopher Dodd and Joseph Lieberman, Rep. Rob Simmons, R-2nd District, and corporate leaders such as Electric Boat President John Casey. Calling themselves "Team Connecticut," they put off the state's day of reckoning. One might even say they repelled the alligators. But the swamp remains.

A Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. report issued this summer found "Connecticut has the worst job stagnation in America," as the Connecticut Post paraphrased it in June. The state has only 19,000 more jobs today than it had in 1990, and the quality of the state's job market has diminished. Manufacturing jobs, in particular, have departed the state in large numbers.

To read the whole editorial, click here.

Posted at 1:37 PM

August 24

“YOU GOTTA GO, BABY. YOU GOTTA GO.” [Brian Brown]

In my June 24th blog I described homeschoolers in Connecticut as possibly “the next target on the anti-family hit list.” Add to that list the elderly, the infirm, the terminally ill and those others who will be most at risk thanks to a rejuvenated push for the “right to die” in Connecticut.

Earlier this year, an assisted suicide case in Cornwall caused the Judiciary Committee to consider legislation that could have weakened the penalty for someone convicted of that crime. The issue is likely to resurface in next year’s session and its supporters are already pushing their agenda in the local media. Take, for instance, this letter-to-the-editor in yesterday’s Courant, by 70-something Elaine Wyzga:

I don't want to become incapacitated like this, but I could. Why do we, with compassion and with some hesitation, give our vet permission to put our pets to sleep? Why can't we be that humane to our loved ones who are truly no longer with us?

I'm Catholic and was brought up to believe that when we die our souls go to heaven; our bodies are only the carriers of our souls. I believe that our souls are gone when we reach this terrible part of our lives. Why is it so hard to put the body to rest?...

Perhaps you'll feel the way I do and someday we'll be able to tell our doctor to fill the syringe, and he'll be able to do it legally.

It’s odd that a woman in her 70’s — presumably a life-long Catholic — could describe as Catholic belief something that is actually a form of Gnosticism. Indeed, at every Sunday Mass, Catholics recite out loud the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed, which includes their belief in “the resurrection of the body” — something quite different than the claim that “our bodies are only the carriers of our souls.”

Regardless, the legalization of a “right to die” — whether by assisted suicide or euthanasia — will create a culture of death in Connecticut greater than the one that already exists. Aside from the fact that it is wrong on principle, the potential for abuse will be significant. Elaine Wyzga, meet Dale Curtis:

Mother Says Son Tried To Kill Her

Published on 8/24/2005

Stratford — A 44-year-old man has been charged with attempted murder, accused of trying to kill his ailing 80-year-old mother by cutting off her oxygen supply. Dale E. Curtis, 44, was arrested Sunday evening when his mother called officers to her home, police said. Curtis is a member of the Republican Town Committee, the Arts Commission and an alternate member of the Zoning Board of Appeals. Curtis told officers that he unplugged his mother's oxygen machine so she could fall asleep and die peacefully, police said. After the mother tossed away a pizza that he bought for her, Curtis allegedly told his mother, “You gotta go, baby. You gotta go,” the mother told officers.

If Curtis did what he is alleged to have done, and if he had been successful, the police might have still have found out and arrested him. But what if assisted suicide were legal? Would they have even investigated? How would they determine whether or not the victim was a willing accomplice in her own death?

If the charges are true, vulnerable people like Dale Curtis’ mother will be even more at risk in a Connecticut where assisted suicide is legal. Something to bear in mind as we listen to all the pro-assisted suicide propaganda about “freedom” and “choice” in the months ahead.

Posted at 8:22 PM

STATE SUES FEDERAL GOVERNMENT [Peter Wolfgang]

All the state is abuzz this week over Connecticut’s decision to sue the federal government over funding of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law. The Wall Street Journal yesterday called the funding issue a “red herring.” The editorial is not available online (at least to non-subscribers), but here are some excerpts:

[NCLB] which passed with bipartisan majorities in 2001, provided the largest increase in education spending in the nation's history… In fact, the money complaint is a red herring used by Mr. Blumenthal, Republican Governor M. Jodi Rell and others to avoid the real issues of accountability and transparency. In return for federal funds, No Child Left Behind requires states to develop academic standards and curriculum-based tests to measure whether students are meeting those standards… Connecticut wants to go back to the days when it could receive federal aid without complying with the law.

On the “red herring” question, a front page story in yesterday’s Courant, about opposition to the suit by civil rights leaders, includes this intriguing quote:

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Education said the lawsuit "sends the wrong message to students, educators and parents."

"The funds have been provided for testing," said Susan Aspey, "but Connecticut apparently wants to keep those funds without using them as intended” [emphasis added].

If so, that may explain this:

Connecticut is one of many states that have clashed with the U.S. Department of Education over No Child Left Behind. Nevertheless, Blumenthal, despite months of effort, was unable to persuade other states to join the lawsuit.

Posted at 11:14 AM

August 23

“NEW FIND” WILL NOT “COOL” DEBATE [Brian Brown]

“New Stem Cell Find,” blared the headline in the upper right-hand corner of the Courant’s front page yesterday. “Technique May Cool Social, Religious Debate,” said the sub-heading.

When I read the subheading I thought of the Courant’s presidential endorsement editorial last year, in which they dismissed abortion and same-sex “marriage” as “yesterday’s wars.” It was wishful thinking by the Courant’s pro same-sex “marriage” editors: the election was won largely on those issues.

The editors appear to have jumped the gun again, according to the headline on page B7 of today’s Courant, “Catholic Leaders Oppose New Research”:

If Harvard researchers who created embryonic stem cells without destroying embryos hoped to defuse some of the ethical controversies surrounding stem cell research, they did not succeed.

Catholic leaders said Monday they remain opposed to any research that uses embryonic cells, whether or not they come from cell lines approved for research by President Bush.

"It's still creating and destroying life for the purposes of research," said Marie Hilliard, executive director of the Connecticut Catholic Conference, the public policy office of the state's Catholic bishops. "Using parts of a person that has already been killed is a process that dehumanizes us all."

Reports on what was accomplished at Harvard remain sketchy:

The nature of the entity that was created by the Harvard team remains unclear. Scientists took a skin cell and fused it with an embryonic stem cell, which has the potential to become any cell in the human body.

But as pro-lifers note, even if no new embryos were killed in the process, this latest experiment still involves the crossing of a line:

[Scientists] said they hoped the work would alleviate some of the moral concerns surrounding embryonic stem cell research.

However, preventing destruction of more embryos does not justify using cells that already have been taken from other embryos, which are usually obtained from leftover supplies at fertility clinics, Catholic officials say.

"It makes new cell lines from old ones, and we don't support that," said Richard Doerflinger, deputy director of the pro-life office of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Posted at 2:13 PM

August 22

THE ROBERTS NOMINATION: “TREACHEROUS TURF” FOR THE LEFT [Brian Brown]

Today’s New York Times provides a useful update on the state of things on Capitol Hill. It seems Judge Roberts’ potential opponents have some tough choices to make:

WASHINGTON, Aug. 21 — Two weeks before senators begin questioning the Supreme Court nominee, John G. Roberts Jr., the debate over his confirmation is becoming a test of Senate Democrats as well.

The party's liberal base, whose contributions during judicial confirmation fights earlier this year have helped the Senate Democratic campaign fund amass twice as much as its Republican rival, is pressing for another vigorous fight against Judge Roberts as documents from the Reagan administration clarify his conservative credentials…

[But] Several Democratic senators said the hearings on Judge Roberts were shaping up as a risky balancing act. Failing to press him could look weak to their liberal base. But attacking too hard could draw Democrats into a losing battle on the treacherous turf of abortion, race and religion at a time when Republicans appear vulnerable on other fronts.

That abortion and religion are now considered “treacherous turf” for those who attack the family — instead of those who defend it — is a good sign for the future of our nation. We look forward to the day when it will also be true of Connecticut.

But the Left is not going down without a fight:

The pressure from both sides is expected to increase this week. Many of the major liberal groups have told Democratic aides that they planned to begin running television advertisements against confirmation, arguing that a more conservative court would threaten federal social programs and protections against discrimination.

Officials of the groups have warned Democrats that if Judge Roberts becomes a Supreme Court vote against their causes — for example, in a New Hampshire abortion rights case expected to be decided before the 2006 elections — they will hold accountable any senator who votes to confirm him. "I think it is a big problem for pro-choice senators if they vote to confirm Judge Roberts and he votes to uphold the New Hampshire law," said Kate Michelman, former president of Naral Pro-Choice America.

There is still a long way to go in the battle to confirm Judge Roberts and anything can happen. Pro-family advocates must remain vigilant.

Posted at 10:39 AM

August 19

MEANWHILE, IN THE BLOGOSPHERE… [Peter Wolfgang]

As we approach the first anniversary of this blog (Oct. 20th) a number of possible changes are being considered. Transitioning to a standard blog format — comment boxes, RSS feeds that would make the blog more accessible to readers and search engines, a “blogroll” of regular links and so on — are all being contemplated. I can’t say yet what changes will or won’t happen, or when, but keep watching and you may see some surprises. Readers with suggestions can e-mail me at pwolfgang@ctfamily.org.

Since we don’t currently have a “blogroll,” I should take this opportunity to note some local sites that have either been kind enough to link to us, or are allies in the “culture war,” or both.

In the year since we began blogging, we have discovered a plethora of conservative blogs in Connecticut and throughout New England. Mansfield Fox, the blog of Yale Law student Angus Dwyer, and Anchor Rising, the Rhode Island blog run by Justin Katz, are two of the more interesting ones.

Radio Free West Hartford and Your News 2 are not blogs but they are sites that state conservatives should be familiar with.

Connecticut Conservative provides “conservative analysis of state politics and news.” KelliPundit, And Rightly So! and BlogMeister USA are the blogs of conservative women in Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Connecticut, respectively.

Of course, FIC does not necessarily agree with every statement made on the sites listed above. There is a lot of overlap between the conservative and pro-family movements but they are not necessarily identical.

That said, it is worth noting that Pray Connecticut, the blog of the Connecticut House of Prayer, is probably the closest thing to Crosshairs in terms of content and tone.

Posted at 4:08 PM

August 18

FAITH AND THE NUTMEG STATE [Peter Wolfgang]

There is a lot of good stuff in the papers today on people of faith and the state of Connecticut. The best is this letter-to-the-editor in the Courant:

Northeast Bigotry

Sunday's letter "Science Shifted Into Reverse" presented a credible viewpoint that intelligent design does not belong in classrooms. I too believe that this is a fair assessment.

What the writer also made clear, however, was his bigotry. His closing paragraph stated, "Yep, Jeb, I think that Copernicus guy was jus makin' it up. OK students, open yer Bibles to the sceince sektion." What an outrage! This portrays Southerners and Midwesterners (read "red state conservatives") as ignorant, uneducated and stupid God-fearing Bible thumpers.

This attitude is routinely accepted by those who preach tolerance, as well as by the press. It has been my experience that those who preach tolerance are anything but. They are tolerant of themselves and those who share their world view, but of little else.

People in this country have a right to freely express their beliefs without being demeaned and demonized by others. Shame on The Courant for sanctioning this attitude by publishing it.

Steve Davino

Wethersfield

Evolution debates aside, the bigotry that Steve Davino rightly detects is not aimed just at “red state” conservatives. Connecticut’s pro-family citizens are frequently the target of similarly disparaging remarks from the elites of our own state. Indeed, some Courant contributors have made a regular sport out of attacking those — both in-state and out — who adhere to a traditional faith.

And yet, here is Courant columnist Helen Ubinas surprising us with what must be a record for her — her second sensible column in a row:

Teezers [a Hartford “strip club”] had quite the reputation before neighborhood complaints, a long list of violations and a fatal shooting of a patron in the parking lot finally led to its closing in 1999. So when someone told me the infamous spot was now the House of God Gateway to Heaven Church, I had to check it out…

Hey, transformations, religious and otherwise, take time.

No one knows that better than the man who leads this church. By his own estimation, Woodrow Williams was lost for decades. He was an alcoholic by the age of 13. He did drugs, and until he stopped running from his calling 15 years ago, he thought about throwing himself off Avon Mountain. He rose quickly in the church, from parishioner to pastor after his father-in-law died…

And at Williams' church, it's all about faith — faith in a man's ability to go from patronizing a house of ill repute to attending a house of worship. Faith in turning this mess of a building into the church's new home…

There's enough material right there in his church for a pretty powerful service, I tell him. This kind of sinner-to-saint stuff fills up storefront churches. Triumphant tales of transformation move hordes to believe that they, too, can find their way from the concrete step of carnal sin to the path of righteousness.

To be sure, talk of moving the “hordes” toward belief smacks of precisely the sort of condescension that Steve Davino criticized. But for Ubinas to praise a church for doing something besides promoting same-sex “marriage” is progress, of a sort.

Progress is precisely what the Cardinal Newman Society is hoping to achieve at Fairfield University, according to the Conn. Post. In this case, it is progress toward helping the school recover its Catholic identity:

FAIRFIELD — A conservative Catholic organization has asked Fairfield University "not to employ" a philosophy professor because of his stand several years ago on the issue of physician-assisted suicide.

Curtis R. Naser, an associate professor of philosophy, is one of 18 academics at Catholic colleges across the country who find themselves on a list drawn up by the Cardinal Newman Society.

In a fund-raising appeal mailed to 75,000 members between April and last month, the Virginia-based Catholic watchdog group identifies Naser as someone who joined some 40 other bioethicists in a 1997 amicus brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court arguing against bans on physician-assisted suicide in New York and Washington states.

Dr. Eugene F. Diamond, who wrote the letter, urged fellow Catholics to "expose the pro-death infiltration of our Catholic colleges and universities" and "make our Catholic colleges Catholic again."

Fidelity to the faith seems, fortunately, not to be a problem for young Connecticut Catholics attending World Youth Day, according to another piece from the Post:

Elayna Brogis will be standing on the banks of the Rhine River in Germany today, patiently waiting to see Pope Benedict XVI ride by in a boat.

The World Youth Day gathering in Cologne is a first for the new pontiff from Germany, the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, as well as the first such event attended by 16-year-old high school student from Torrington.

World Youth Day is a Catholic celebration of faith filled with gatherings and religious services…

Brogis is one of 20 young people who, through the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport, have made the pilgrimage to Germany to see Benedict in his first international trip.

The most powerful part of the trip is the unifying force that Catholics gathering in Germany this week are feeling, according to Brogis.

"It's fascinating to see all those nationalities believing in the same thing," she said.

While the state’s Catholic youth join with their brethren across the world today, here in Hartford other Christians united on the steps of the state capitol to pray for Connecticut. In a moving ceremony, Rev. J. Phillip Epperson of Prayer Across America led a crowd of about 30 people in praying for God’s mercy and blessings upon our state. If we are to reclaim Connecticut as a place where marriage is protected, then the churches, through events like these, must play a leading role.

Posted at 4:13 PM

August 17

ADVICE FOR CT PARENTS [Brian Brown]

From today’s Courant:

A Connecticut think tank on children's health has just released a new handbook featuring the latest advice on how parents and other caregivers can promote emotional and intellectual development in babies and young children.

And it's free.

The glossy, spiral-bound booklet details the normal stages of development and offers concrete suggestions for games and activities that caregivers can try to build attachment, self-esteem and intellectual curiosity….

"Our new installment takes the latest research and best practices in child development and makes them accessible to parents and child care providers with a hands-on, easy-to-read, colorful reference manual," said Dr. Judith C. Meyers, president and CEO of the Connecticut Child Health and Development Institute.

Besides age-by-age and stage-by-stage information, the booklet, entitled Caring for Connecticut's Children, Vol. 2: Promoting Healthy Child Development, includes a list of resources in Connecticut where caregivers can seek advice.

The Institute’s board of directors includes Probate Judge Robert Killian, who testified at the state capitol about how he “overcame” his Irish-Catholic background to support same-sex “marriage.” Fortunately, the booklet does not appear to reflect that agenda. It can be downloaded here. For more advice on parenting, the most popular works by Dr. James Dobson — founder of Focus on the Family — can be found here.

Posted at 10:32 AM

August 16

AP WIRE RUNS PRO-MARRIAGE ARTICLE [Peter Wolfgang]

An article distributed by the AP and appearing in the “Today’s Woman” section of the Republican-American provides some key data on the importance of traditional marriage. To be sure, the piece is a mixed bag. In the very first sentence, for instance, readers are told “don’t shack up without an engagement ring,” with no explanation given as to why an engagement ring will protect the couple from the negative effects of cohabitation.

Nevertheless, this is about as pro-family an article as we are likely to see from the mainstream media. Some excerpts:

Divorce also is hard on the body and mind. Divorced people suffer more health problems, are more depressed and tend to drink and smoke more heavily than people who are married or have partners. A 2003 study by researchers at San Diego State University and the University of Pittsburgh found that happily married women have lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and are thinner than females who are divorced, single, widowed or stuck in unhappy marriages.

For some people, divorce can be lethal. Divorced men are twice as likely to kill themselves as men with spouses or live-in partners, according to a 2000 analysis of U.S. mortality data by Augustine Kposowa, a sociologist at the University of California, Riverside…

Contrary to what many people believe, "test driving" a relationship by living together before marriage also reduces the odds of success. The exact reasons are unclear. It may be that couples make riskier picks with a live-in partner than they would with a potential spouse. Or couples who defer marriage and opt to live together first may do so because they have trouble with commitment.

A 2002 analysis by Jay Teachman, a sociologist at Western Washington University, found that living together increases the risk of divorce by 35 percent when those couples eventually marry.

The social science data demonstrating that the traditional institution of marriage is in the best interests of society is readily available to anyone who cares to look. What makes this article unusual is that a mainstream media source is actually letting the public know that the data exists.

Posted at 12:05 PM

“A CIVIL AFFAIR” [Brian Brown]

The lead editorial in the Aug. 14th Waterbury Sunday Republican discusses yet another consequence of the new civil union law:

In the rush to bring same-sex marriage to Connecticut, did lawmakers leave open the door to widespread abuse? Apparently, yes, as a Canadian couple is about to show the world.

Bill Dalrymple, 56, and Bryan Pinn, 65, of Toronto, never thought of themselves as "life partners" until last month when Canada legalized homosexual marriage. With all the special rights afforded same-sex couples, they decided they'd be fools not to tie the knot. The kicker, however, is neither man is homosexual. They are [divorced men] looking for a couple of good women. But they will "marry" for the many tax breaks otherwise unavailable to single people...

What's love got to do with it? Marriage laws used to nurture procreative relationships because society had an abiding interest in the fruits of matrimony: children. By removing sex and love from the equation, homosexual groups have reduced marriage to a bundle of rights. Thanks to civil unions, access to those rights no longer requires even a token mutual commitment, except for a shared desire to milk the system for all it's worth.

Click here to read the whole piece.

Posted at 11:22 AM

STATE’S PRO-ABORTIONISTS TO “FIGHT HARD” AGAINST JUDGE ROBERTS [Peter Wolfgang]

A national group supporting Judge Roberts’ confirmation has shifted its focus away from Connecticut, according to today’s Courant. But the state’s pro-abortion movement continues to pressure Sen. Lieberman to vote against Judge Roberts:

Roberts' opponents still plan to fight hard to convince Lieberman, D-Conn., as well as Sen. Christopher J. Dodd, D-Conn., to vote against the nominee.

National Organization for Women members from Connecticut met with Lieberman Aug. 9. Kathleen Sloan, executive director of NOW's state chapter, is launching a statewide "No on Roberts Caucus" this week to fight the nomination. Carolyn Treiss, executive director of National Abortion Rights Action League Pro-Choice Connecticut, said her group began Monday to coordinate calls to Lieberman from opinion leaders and policymakers urging him to vote no…

Sloan's "No on Roberts Caucus," for instance, will urge foes to write letters to editors, submit op-ed articles, talk to friends and neighbors and send e-mails and letters to senators.

The head of the state’s pro-abortion coalition was unfazed by Sen. Lieberman’s tentative statements of support for Judge Roberts:

Sloan replied with a warning. "Things can change at any time," she said, "and both senators are sensitive to their constituents."

FIC members will receive an e-mail alert sometime this morning with an update on where things stand in this crucial fight to reclaim the Supreme Court.

Posted at 10:10 AM

August 15

LIBERAL HYPOCRITES DU JOUR [Peter Wolfgang]

Among the cultural Left there are certain stereotypes about conservative Christians, stereotypes that almost any pro-family activist could describe in his sleep, so often are we accused of them: we are (it is claimed) judgmental, self-righteous, hypocritical, putting ourselves in the place of God and demonizing our opponents, etc, etc, blah, blah, blah. Meanwhile, the Left — according to its own self-assessment — is where one finds tolerance, understanding, diversity, and so on.

What is interesting is how the Left’s strategy of name-calling has helped to produce a reality that is almost the exact opposite of the one they describe. When making their case, pro-family activists often choose their words with the greatest degree of caution — to avoid giving credence to the liberal caricatures of them as well as to appeal to the largest number of people possible in a culture whose elites are passionately hostile to their message. But liberals, convinced of their own righteousness, say things in public about conservatives that, with few exceptions, conservatives would never dream of saying about liberals. Indeed, it is their low opinion of their conservative opponents — and our cultural elites’ vigorous agreement in that opinion — that makes liberals think they have a license to say whatever they want about conservatives.

Take, for instance, Susan Campbell’s column in yesterday’s Courant. No, I don’t mean her usual shtick about her fundamentalist Bible-Belt origins which she regularly criticizes for what she believes to be her highfalutin’ city folk audience in Connecticut. Campbell’s been writing that same story for so many years that most of us could write it for her, except that we would pass out from sheer boredom.

Rather, I am referring to this paragraph:

The event's main organizer, the Family Research Council, according to its website, "champions marriage and family as the foundation of civilization, the seedbed of virtue, and the wellspring of society." (I get giggly when I read the word "seedbed.") Scheduled to speak are House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, who appears to be taking a break from his many travels funded by shady characters to appear here; former Georgia Sen. Zell Miller, whose sermon at the 2004 Republican National Convention held all the fascination of a train wreck; and Phyllis Schlafly, high priestess of the Eagle Forum, a career lawyer who has made a second career out of telling women to stay home and raise their babies. I pray for them all, because I think they need it.

Note that last sentence: “I pray for them all, because I think they need it.” Can you imagine a similar paragraph by a pro-family writer appearing in the Courant? Suppose that on a day when some pro same-sex “marriage” rally was held in Connecticut, FIC’s Brian Brown wrote a Courant op-ed negatively characterizing their top activists by name — I won’t even do it in this hypothetical — and then ending with “I pray for them all, because I think they need it”? But the same people who would be outraged by that are just fine with Campbell saying it about us.

This liberal hypocrisy also appeared yesterday in a Waterbury Sunday Republican article about the recent decision of the nation’s mainline Lutheran denomination to prohibit active homosexuals from serving as clergy. Rev. G. Scott Cady, a Lutheran minister in Cornwall who was a delegate at the convention, is interviewed about a failed proposal that would have watered down the ban on active homosexual clergy:

Cady voted in favor of it, saying rejecting gays who feel a call to ministry was tantamount to questioning the will of God.

No, they were questioning homosexual activists’ understanding of the will of the God. But those activists apparently believe that questioning them is “tantamount to questioning the will of the God.” Will those who would object to a pro-family minister speaking this same way now raise their voice against Rev. Cady? Don’t hold your breath.

Posted at 1:27 PM

August 12

HIGHET’S HYPOCRISY [Peter Wolfgang]

In my July 25th blog, I commented on a Hartford Advocate columnist’s support for the decision of Connecticut’s pro same-sex “marriage” Episcopal bishop, Andrew Smith, to suspend a pro-family Bristol priest with whom the bishop had been at odds [“Liberal Columnist Supports Authoritarian Bishop”]:

It may strike you as odd that a writer for a newspaper whose revenue is derived in no small part from sex ads — and whose cover article this week is designed to legitimate the seedy underworld from which those ads emerge — thinks he has something credible to say about the proper workings of a Christian church. Yet, here is Alistair Highet, thundering about the obedience priests owe to their bishops…

Highet, too, had some thoughts on his credibility regarding the topic. Here is the first sentence from his column:

It would be unsporting of me to weigh in on the internal struggles of a religious denomination that I don't belong to, but, you know, what the hell.

Indeed, Highet returned to the story a few weeks later to lecture Episcopalians on their misunderstandings of what their own church teaches. He also complained about those who criticized his first column:

And second, in the blogosphere, anything you write about religion is going to be linked to websites run by people you don't know, for the purposes of fueling their obsessions: "Look at what that ignorant bastard in Connecticut wrote. Burn him." Then everyone jumps in to poke the heretic with a stick while confirming one another in error. It's a lot of fun, though I suspect we are re-entering the Dark Ages.

Highet’s whining is typical of those liberals who, having monopolized the media for decades, suddenly wake up in the internet age and are shocked to find that conservatives have a public outlet with which to express their disagreement. And while I cannot imagine what blog Highet is referring to in his tirade, I do note that he ends his second column making the same point that inspired my (rather mild) criticism of his first one:

let's leave it at this: The proof of Bishop Smith's authority over Rev. Hansen's parish is demonstrated by the fact that he exercised it.

Once again, if the pro-family Catholic Archbishop of Hartford were to suddenly depose the “gay-friendly” priests at St. Patrick-St. Anthony Church in the same high-handed manner Bishop Smith used in Bristol, would Connecticut’s liberal media be content to simply note that the proof of Archbishop Mansell’s authority over dissident priests is that he exercised it? Of course not; the media would practically declare war on the Archbishop.

Highet, meanwhile, has moved on to other topics. But in his latest column, about Islam, he is careful to offer this qualifier:

To put it bluntly, there is a growing consensus that these terrorists are not "hijacking" Islam at all, but are instead expressing a violent and expansionist ideology at the core of mainstream Islam. Whether this is true or not I am not qualified to say, [emphasis added]

In fact, in the space of a brief 657 word column, he offers that qualifier twice:

It is fast becoming the consensus that Islam, as a view of the world, provides sufficient justification for these acts and that too many Muslims are sympathetic to the bombers' aims and methods. Again, I'm not qualified to say that this is true. [emphasis added]

So Alistair Highet is willing to “weigh in on the internal struggles of a religious denomination that [he does not] belong to” when it is the Episcopal Church — even going so far as to lecture its adherents on what their Church does and does not teach — but when the topic is Islam, for some reason, he demurs.

Perhaps it would be unsporting of me to note that Alistair Highet is a hypocrite, but, you know, what the heck.

Posted at 11:56 AM

August 11

THE CATHOLIC CHURCH STEPS INTO THE RING [Peter Wolfgang]

When the Connecticut Knights of Columbus took part in a defense-of-marriage petition drive a few years ago, the reaction from pro same-sex “marriage” churches came fast and furious. The day the story broke, same-sex couples wearing priest collars appeared on the evening news to denounce the Church for supposedly violating the separation of church and state.

On Catholic Concerns Day in 2004, as hundreds of Catholics marched from the Cathedral of St. Joseph to the state capitol to speak with their legislators, they were greeted along the way by a protest organized by People of Faith for Gay Civil Rights. The protesters held banners accusing Catholics of intolerance. A year later on the same day, a woman — whom even the liberal Courant columnist Helen Ubinas described as an “infiltrator” — berated Catholics in the legislative hearing room where they were meeting with their legislators for their opposition to same-sex “marriage,” saying they should focus on other issues. (That nine-tenths of the event involved Catholic advocacy on other issues apparently escaped her notice.)

When FIC held a rally at the state capitol in May, 2004 to protest same-sex “marriage” in neighboring Massachusetts, a liberal minister held a sign that read “Shame on Catholics.” His web site accuses the Church of all manner of bigotry because of its opposition to same-sex “marriage.” The same charge was leveled against Catholics and other pro-family Christians by a United Church of Christ (UCC) ad campaign last year.

Despite all these provocations from pro same-sex “marriage” churches and their allies — and the ones mentioned above are just the tip of the iceberg — the Catholic Church in Connecticut has always held its fire. No matter how far their departures from Christian teaching or how vociferous their attacks on Catholics and other pro-family Christians for holding fast to the faith “which was once delivered unto the saints,” the Catholic Church in Connecticut has never publicly rebuked another Christian church for supporting same-sex “marriage.”

Until now.

In an editorial appearing in the August issue of the Catholic Transcript, the official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Hartford, the Church bluntly admonishes the leadership of the UCC. Appropriately enough, the title is “Hold Fast.” It is not available online, but here are some key excerpts:

The United Church of Christ’s recent resolution (4 July) at a General Synod to endorse the practice of same-sex marriage is nothing less than a disgraceful gesture. At worst, it is, of course, a gross rejection of Biblical truth…the tradition of Congregationalism professes to be Christian. As such, it purports to acknowledge the Bible as the word of God, the ultimate norm of authentic wisdom. Historically, Congregationalism is known for its pastors and laity who held fast to many Biblical truths through preaching, witness and fellowship…

This prompts the question: What is a Church (a Christian entity therefore) doing by endorsing or tolerating in any way a life style contrary to Biblical teaching? Even more fundamentally, how can a Church espouse anything that runs counter to the teaching of Scripture? ...

The UCC’s resolution should be reversed without delay.

Posted at 11:58 AM

August 10

SAME-SEX “MARRIAGE” AND THE AFRICAN-AMERICAN CHURCH [Brian Brown]

In an Aug. 8th column which appears in today’s Republican-American, Star Parker discusses a 10 point resolution produced at a recent conference on the state of the black family and offers some thoughts on the strong commitment of African-American churches to the pro-family cause. An excerpt:

Nine of the 10 points aim exclusively at an internal re-focusing in communities on education and mentoring on the importance of traditional moral behavior in matters of sex and marriage. We are talking here about moral ABCs such as discouraging pre-marital sex and cohabitation, emphasizing the importance of marriage fidelity and the role of the community in providing support, such as male mentoring for our many fatherless children.

The single point in the resolution that turned outside and looked toward the political arena was the endorsement of the Federal Marriage Amendment…

Why, I sometimes hear, is a community with such clear and immediate problems with education, employment and crime so obsessed with this issue? Are there that many black gay couples wanting wedding vows that black pastors should be taking valuable time from their daily responsibilities to become political activists for a federal marriage amendment?

The germane point that these black pastors understand is that the black community is the most exposed to and most likely to be injured by the problems of the nation as a whole. When America gets a cold, the black community gets pneumonia…

The moral relativism which increasingly defines American culture is now defining every institution of our society — our schools, our large corporations and our media. Our families are our only firewall.

The support of the black community for the federal marriage amendment reduces to one word. Survival.

To read the whole column, click here.

Posted at 3:37 PM

AUGUST 9

CONNECTICUT’S “WAR ON MARRIAGE” [Brian Brown]

The editorial page of the Waterbury Republican-American is the most pro-family major media outlet in Connecticut. While other media either downplay — or encourage — Connecticut’s attack on the family, the Republican-American tackles it head-on. Here is an excerpt from today’s editorial, “War on marriage”:

Even without this context, one would think civic and especially government leaders would be eager to do what they can to push divorce rates down further. In Connecticut, however, the war on marriage goes merrily on.

Last week, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders filed a 65-page legal memorandum explaining why the state courts should uphold its demand that same-sex marriage in Connecticut be legalized. A GLAD attorney said the civil-unions law that the legislature passed and Gov. M. Jodi Rell signed this spring was insufficient, even though it grants homosexual couples every last statutory right of marriage.

"The civil union law is a political compromise," the lawyer said. "Courts have an entirely different role." Yes they do. It's the court's job to interpret laws, not legislate extraordinary rights that fringe groups were unable to secure via the constitutionally prescribed process.

For better or worse — our money's on worse — lawmakers and the governor legalized homosexual marriage when they made civil unions law. They have codified an unnatural lifestyle and further trivialized what once was civilization's most cherished institution, until no-fault divorce came along. Judicial endorsement of same-sex marriage, then, would be as unconstitutional as it would be redundant…

Marriage in the United States is waging something of a comeback. But in Connecticut, it might as well be a four-letter word for the respect it gets from the legislature and the governor.

To read the whole editorial, click here.

Posted at 10:25 AM

August 8

THE SOUL OF WATERBURY [Brian Brown]

It’s not everyday that one of Connecticut’s municipal governments heeds the cries of its citizens to halt an attack on the family. But that’s exactly what happened last month in Waterbury, where angry citizens convinced the city government to back down from a proposal that might have led to more sexually-oriented businesses in their community. And it’s not everyday that a state newspaper frets publicly about the soul of the city in which it is published. But that is exactly what the Waterbury Republican-American did, in a Jul. 27th editorial (“Residents speak, city officials listen”) about the city’s pro-family victory that quotes this blog. The editorial is not available online, but here is an excerpt:

Contrast Waterbury’s reaction on this issue to the legislature’s handling of the homosexual-marriage bill it enacted this year under the guise of “civil unions.” As Peter Wolfgang of the Family Institute of Connecticut points out, lawmakers responding to the desires of a tiny, politically correct minority “moved with lightning speed to approve the same-sex civil union bill (and) Gov. (M.Jodi) Rell deliberately had the Senate fast-track the bill. … (They) flaunted their disregard for the religious convictions of their constituents. The Senate actually had the gall to vote for a resolution praising the recently deceased Pope John Paul II on the same day it approved the most extreme version of the civil union bill, thus exposing their praise of the late pope for the empty, patronizing gesture it was.”

Mr. Wolfgang said the courage and determination displayed by the people of Waterbury on the zoning amendment have not gone unnoticed. “Despite a reputation for corruption, the city of Waterbury displayed a spirit of democratic accountability that has been noticeably absent at our state Capitol this year, an absence that will cost Connecticut families dearly in the years ahead.”

Numerous economic-development strategies for Waterbury have been implemented in recent decades but have achieved spotty success. The most recent vision sees a downtown with thriving restaurants as a complement to the Palace Theater, the University of Connecticut campus and the Waterbury Arts Magnet School on East Main Street. That won’t necessarily produce the sort of good, high-paying jobs Waterbury needs, but it would speak better of the soul of Waterbury than a new batch of adult businesses.

Posted at 10:44 AM

August 5

PRO SAME-SEX “MARRIAGE” COLUMNIST TELLS ALLIES: LEAVE CONNECTICUT ALONE [Brian Brown]

For the last several years FIC has been telling anyone who will listen that the people of Connecticut — and the nation — don’t want same-sex “marriage.” Last weekend, the truth of our position was confirmed by an unlikely source: Helen Ubinas, the most radical pro same-sex “marriage” columnist at the Courant.

In a July 31st column reacting to a press conference held by the plaintiffs in a case asking the court to undemocratically impose same-sex “marriage” on Connecticut, Ubinas essentially argues that pro same-sex “marriage” activists are going too far. While sharing their desire to redefine marriage, Ubinas, noting that state residents oppose it, points out that Connecticut has already passed same-sex civil unions, that “the tide is going the other way” for the national pro same-sex “marriage” movement and that pro same-sex “marriage” activists would be best advised to leave Connecticut alone and put their focus elsewhere. An excerpt:

In April, when Connecticut became the first state to legally recognize same-sex couples without court intervention, I considered it cause for celebration. Was it marriage? No. Would it have been better if it was? Yes. But the civil union law was an important step on the road to equality for same-sex couples, I wrote then…

Ubinas expresses sympathy with pro same-sex “marriage” activists who see civil unions as intolerable…

But the tolerable and the possible don't always overlap. Promoting civil unions is, for now, a better strategy than what so many others are so determined to do…

But I also don't downplay the importance of the word [marriage] to significant numbers of state lawmakers and state residents, who through legislative debate and public opinion polls made it clear that they support equal legal rights for gay couples, but draw the line at calling it marriage.

Rather than fight over the name, however culturally significant, for the hard-won rights same-sex couples will enjoy come October, wouldn't the effort be better spent expanding those rights beyond Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont?

Instead, the tide is going the other way. In the last 12 months, four states have adopted constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriages; 10 more have banned civil unions as well. That's 14 states where denial of basic rights to gay couples has become a fundamental governing principle. And our president would like to make that the law of the land.

Ubinas ends her column by saying that typing it has left her stomach tied in knots. That only seems fair, since reading her pro same-sex “marriage”/civil unions propaganda has probably produced similarly negative effects in the stomachs of Courant subscribers for the past few years.

Posted at 10:23 AM

August 4

AP PROVIDES COVER FOR ABORTION CLINIC [Brian Brown]

On July 15th the CT Post broke the story about a man charged with committing rapes inside a Bridgeport abortion clinic. According to the allegations reported in the story, the man owned a modeling agency in the same building as the abortion clinic and told one of his victims that he was part-owner of the clinic.

The day the story appeared I wrote on this blog:

If these allegations are proven true, it raises several questions. Did the abortion clinic know this was happening? If so, for how long did they know? If not, shouldn’t they have known? How lax is security at their facility? What is the true relationship of the clinic to the alleged rapist?

It was subsequently reported that he was the abortion clinic’s janitor, which raises still further questions. Did the abortion clinic check his background before hiring him? Were the clinic owners negligent when they gave the man access to their facility?

If you think pro-abortion bias will prevent Connecticut’s media from investigating these questions, you’re right. In a 900 word Aug. 2nd AP article about the case, the man’s job as a janitor in the abortion clinic gets only one sentence. The allegation that some of the rapes occurred in the clinic is not even mentioned. Instead, the article reports that the rape case shines a spotlight on the sordid side of…the modeling industry.

Posted at 10:03 AM

August 3

SAME-SEX “MARRIAGE”: BAD FOR MARRIAGE, BAD FOR CHILDREN [Peter Wolfgang]

Supporters of same-sex “marriage” roll their eyes whenever pro-family advocates argue that it would lead to a restructuring of society’s key institutions. They ask why we would think that a governmental decision to equate their relationships with marriage would affect anyone besides themselves. But pro-family advocates do not have to conjure hypothetical situations to respond to that question. We can just point to the arguments of same-sex union supporters, such as Dylan Armstrong, who, in his letter in today’s Courant (“Civil Unions For All”), argues that traditional marriage for all of society should be legally downgraded so that same-sex couples will feel equal. Or we can point to what is actually happening in Massachusetts, as Kathleen Parker did in a syndicated column that appeared in yesterday’s Courant:

In Massachusetts this past week, Gov. Mitt Romney has been butting heads with same-sex couples over birth certificates for their newborns.

The problem is that birth certificates reflect archaic notions of procreation. Gay and lesbian parents have asked the state to replace "mother" and "father" with Parent A and Parent B.

And we thought Dr. Seuss was just being silly when he created Thing One and Thing Two in his "Cat in the Hat" series.

Romney thus far has prevailed in declining to eradicate the notion of mother and father from his little corner of civilization, noting that all children not only have a right to a mother and a father but, in biological fact, do have a mother and a father. Records should reflect that reality to the extent possible, Romney says…

In one case Romney recently had to entertain, two men — one a sperm donor and the other his boyfriend — became "parents" when a woman gave birth to the donor's child. The two men wanted their names on the birth certificate, with the boyfriend replacing the birth mother. In a bold act of increasingly rare sanity, Romney said "no."

No doubt the gentlemen-parents were distressed by this negative intrusion into their familial fantasy, but Romney appears to understand that effectively codifying the "family" of two men and a newborn birthed by a uterobot has extensive implications. Meanwhile, one can't help but feel sorry for the infant — Baby C, or Thing Three?

"Thing" is used here neither dismissively nor derisively, but as a term of stunning accuracy. Throughout our culture, children have become objectified, "thingified," created or acquired for the fulfillment of our selves — decor options, accessories, cute little bundles for our entertainment and amusement.

Unless, of course, we're not in the mood, in which case we hit the "abort" button, the ultimate expression of "thingification."

As long as children are viewed as mere extensions of our selves, put here to satisfy some narcissistic need for self-actualization, it is easy to suppose that our needs and their needs are complementary. If same-sex marriage is what "I" need, then two same-sex parents are what "my" child needs.

Dylan Armstrong argues that everyone else’s marriage should be legally downgraded to make same-sex couples feel equal. In Massachusetts, same-sex couples argue that the legal definition of everyone else’s parenthood should be downgraded to make same-sex couples feel equal. In both instances, the feeling of equality that same-sex couples and their supporters seek comes at the cost of a redefinition of society’s most important institutions.

And, as Parker notes, the agitation for same-sex “marriage” is based on the perceived needs of adults. That it is not in the best interests of children is an inconvenient fact to be ignored or explained away. In a world already made hostile to children by the liberalizing of our divorce laws, Connecticut’s legislature and governor have made matters even worse for our state’s little ones with the passage of same-sex civil unions. Children do best with both a mom and a dad and the state has just created a class of children for whom motherlessness or fatherlessness will be permanent and obligatory.

Posted at 10:11 AM

August 2

THE VICTIMS OF “TOLERANCE” [Brian Brown]

In New England the movement to legalize same-sex “marriage” has advanced further than elsewhere in the nation and, consequently, the attacks on anyone who opposes it have advanced the furthest here as well. Our readers are familiar with the case of David Parker, the Boston father who spent a night in prison for trying to protect his 5 year old son from being taught about same-sex “marriage” against his will, and Mark Hansen, the Conn. Episcopal priest who has been suspended by his bishop for opposing that bishop’s support for same-sex “marriage” and other departures from scripture.

With Connecticut’s same-sex civil union bill set to go into effect in October, what further attacks on our freedom can we expect? The answer can be found in places like Canada, where the attack on marriage is even further advanced than in New England. There, according to a Jul. 24th article in the CT-based National Catholic Register, a teacher named Chris Kempling is in danger of losing his job for writing a letter to the editor expressing a moral objection to homosexual activity:

Saying Kempling brought the teaching profession into disrepute through discriminatory comments at odds with the pluralistic, tolerant values of the college, the body suspended his teaching license for one month. Kempling, a 49-year-old father of three, lost two subsequent appeals.

On June 13, the British Columbia Court of Appeal, in a unanimous decision, endorsed the suspension.

“I am now applying for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada,” Kempling remarked. “I’m not giving up.”…

But the British Columbia Supreme Court and now the Court of Appeal have ruled that the right of homosexual students to a discrimination-free public-school environment has been violated by Kempling’s remarks and supersedes his own rights.

“These statements demonstrated that Mr. Kempling is committed to fulfilling his public and professional responsibilities in an intolerant and discriminatory manner,” the appeal judgment stated. “Proof that he had actually discriminated against a particular student, or evidence of a poisoned school environment, was not required to prove that the school system had sustained harm.”

Kempling’s case is having a chilling effect on freedom in general in Canada:

“It’s a worrisome development,” admitted Paul Schratz, spokesman for the Archdiocese of Vancouver, noting several recent human-rights rulings have turned the movement for homosexual rights from “what was once a cry for tolerance into the exact opposite.”

In Ontario recently, the courts forced a Catholic school to allow a homosexual senior to bring his boyfriend to his graduation dance.

And, of course, the Canadian Senate is poised to ratify Bill C-38 redefining marriage to include homosexual “marriage.”

“These decisions all have an impact,” said Schratz. “Who can say what kind of a chilling effect they will have on what teachers or priests are willing to say in public?”…

[Murray] Mollard, [executive director of British Columbia’s Civil Liberties Association] believes provisions in Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedom protecting religion would cover Christian schools, which teach traditional sexual morality. However, only recently (July 11), the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal agreed to hear a complaint against the provincial Ministry of Education that the curriculum discriminated against homosexuals by ignoring them. Catholic schools in the province receive half their funding from the ministry in return for teaching the public school curriculum.

Meanwhile, a Knights of Columbus council faces a complaint with the same Human Rights Tribunal for refusing to rent its hall for a lesbian “wedding” reception.

The Register article also mentions cases pending in the U.S.:

In Montpelier, Vt., a Catholic couple that provides wedding services at their family-run motel has been the target of a complaint to the state Human Rights Commission. Their offense: informing a prospective lesbian client that their religious beliefs would make it difficult to put their hearts into their event.

And in Northbrook, Ill., Allstate Insurance fired J. Matt Barber for writing an online column attacking same-sex “marriage.” Barber had written the column on his own time and without mentioning that he was employed by the insurance company.

“What is happening,” said Kempling, “is an effective muzzling of any expression of faith in public school teachers, social workers, pharmacists or any regulated professional.

Posted at 9:59 AM

July 29

GLAD’S BRIEF IN THE KERRIGAN CASE [Peter Wolfgang and Brian Brown]

The same-sex civil union bill passed by the legislature and signed by Gov. Rell on April 20th has not even gone into effect yet and already several of the predictions made by FIC have come true. As we warned, the civil union law is being used by the Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD) to argue that the courts must impose same-sex “marriage” on Connecticut. You can click here to read the 65 page brief they filed yesterday. You can read the Courant coverage here and the AP coverage here.

GLAD’s brief asks the court to grant a summary judgment as a matter of law, claiming there is no issue of fact to be decided. They’re wrong, of course. In fact, GLAD gets marriage wrong as early as page 2, when it describes the institution as a “part of one’s self-definition.” Those things incidental to marriage may have changed over time, but the essence of marriage is an objective reality, which has remained the same throughout the centuries and across a wide variety of cultures.

Footnote 3 makes the usual pro same-sex “marriage” distinction between “civil” and “religious” marriage, the intended implication being that the redefinition of marriage will not harm religious freedom. Anyone following recent events in Canada knows what a negative impact same-sex “marriage” is having on religious liberty there — a topic we will return to on this blog next week.

GLAD’s brief repeatedly describes the issue as one in which their clients, eight same-sex couples, are being “denied” a right to marriage. But the right to marriage, which they in fact are not being denied, is not their real aim. Their real aim is to persuade the court to invent a “right” to same-sex “marriage” and to impose that right on the people of Connecticut, whether the people of Connecticut want it to happen or not.

In pursuit of their true aim, GLAD presses into service figures from Connecticut history, some of whom have been dead a very long time and all of whom would be surprised to hear that their contributions to the shaping of Connecticut’s laws are now being used to justify the legalization of same-sex “marriage.” GLAD quotes speakers at the state’s Third Constitutional Convention in 1965, for instance, on the importance of having a state constitution that values human rights. But none of those speakers imagined that those rights — even the “unenumerated” ones — would encompass same-sex “marriage.” The late Ella Grasso, an attendee of the convention whose “rights” comments are cited by GLAD to support their claim for same-sex “marriage,” was pro-life. It is highly unlikely that Connecticut’s legendary former governor would approve of the way GLAD is abusing her legacy.

As early as page 10 of the brief we see that FIC’s prediction that the civil union law was a phony compromise that would be exploited by the pro-same sex “marriage” movement in their effort to have a court impose same-sex “marriage” on the state has come true: “Fourth, the marriage ban [sic] cannot even satisfy the rational basis test because there is no legitimate public purpose in denying marriage to gay and lesbian citizens, a fact confirmed by the state’s mandate that same-sex couples must now have every tangible, legal, right and benefit of civil marriage.” Note that the emphasis is in the original.

GLAD tackles the central fallacy of its brief head-on, claiming that they are not doing what they are, in fact, doing: “Plaintiffs thus seek to participate in marriage as it exists, not create a new right.” But marriage “as it exists” is the union of one man and one woman. If GLAD’s clients win their suit, marriage “as it exists” will cease to be; it will become something different. Footnote 14 says that the plaintiff couples “seek equal access to a right that already exists.” This is simply false. They are not seeking access to “a right that already exists.” They are seeking the creation of something new.

GLAD says that it is “anomalous” to think that the right to marriage, “conclusively established as fundamental under the federal constitution,” is not found in the state constitution. But there is no right — fundamental or otherwise — to same-sex “marriage” under the federal constitution. GLAD’s claim that the framers of the state constitution would find it “offensive” that same-sex “marriage” has not been legalized is ridiculous.

Other authority mustered by GLAD for the legalization of same-sex “marriage” is equally weak. Skinner v. State of Oklahoma, for instance, is a 1942 case that describes marriage as “fundamental to the very existence and survival of the race.” Given that same-sex relationships are, by their very nature, sterile, the court could not have had same-sex “marriage” in mind when it decided that case. Indeed, almost all of the case law cited by GLAD speaks of the right to marriage as normally understood, not of a right to same-sex “marriage.”

The two notable exceptions are Goodridge, the 2003 Massachusetts decision that invented same-sex “marriage” and imposed it on that state and Lawrence v. Texas, the U.S. Supreme Court case that overturned a previous ruling from just 17 years earlier by conjuring a constitutional right to homosexual sodomy out of thin air. But these are the exceptions that prove the rule. It is a right to traditional marriage that has deep roots in the laws and customs of our society. Same-sex “marriage” is a recent novelty, a departure from the normal understanding of marriage. The U.S. Supreme Court had to first invent a constitutional right to homosexual activity for same-sex “marriage” to even become thinkable. Indeed, Goodridge’s and the GLAD brief’s citing of Lawrence both prove Justice Scalia right, when he warned in his dissent — to the howls of liberals accusing him of scare-mongering — that the ruling could pave the way for same-sex “marriage.”

But GLAD says that the characterization of the right at issue as one of same-sex “marriage” is contrary to the U.S. Supreme Court’s jurisprudence on marriage. Loving, GLAD says, ruled that there was a right to marriage, not “mixed-race” marriage. Zablocki said there was a right to marriage, not “poor people” marriage. Turner said there was a right to marriage, not “inmate marriage.” Yes, but all of these cases have something in common that Kerrigan does not: they all involved a man and a woman. GLAD wants the court to go somewhere that the court in those three cases never intended to go.

Having begun its argument by misusing historical figures from the state’s past, GLAD switches gears about a third of the way through its brief by claiming it doesn’t matter what they thought. GLAD points to how marriage has “changed and evolved” in ways the framers of the state’s 1818 constitution could not have anticipated, listing the end of coverture and the beginning of no-fault divorce as “features once deemed essential” to marriage that have since changed. There are many who would dispute that coverture was ever essential to marriage. The no-fault divorce revolution, however, did alter something close to the heart of marriage — its indissolubility — with results that have been devastating to our society. Given that history, does the court really want to tamper further with an institution as necessary and fragile as marriage?

A few pages later, GLAD is back to misusing historical figures. GLAD cites Zephaniah Swift’s A System of the Law of the State of Connecticut (1795) noting that “Swift saw marriage as a central and enduring social institution which was so universal that it existed at all times and in all countries.” Yes, but that surely did not include same-sex “marriage.” GLAD quotes the Moore case: “[I]n interpreting our state constitution, the statements of [Swift] are entitled to significant weight.”

GLAD might want to re-think that standard. Here is Swift, in that same 1795 treatise, on sodomy:

This crime, tho repugnant to every sentiment of decency and delicacy, is very prevalent in corrupt and debauched countries where the low pleasures of sensuality and luxury have depraved the mind and degraded the appetite below the brutal creation. Our modest ancestors, it seems by the diction of the law, had no idea that a man would commit this crime. . . . [H]ere, by force of common law, [it is] punished with death. . . . [because of] the disgust and horror with which we treat of this abominable crime.

GLAD bounces back and forth, at some points saying that they are not attempting to re-define marriage, while at other times revealing how malleable they believe definitions to be, such as when they cite Goodridge’s claim that “the decision whether and whom to marry is among life’s momentous acts of self-definition.” A momentous act it certainly is, but most people do not describe their marital decisions in terms of “self-definition.”

“It is undisputed as a factual matter that [GLAD’s clients’] choice of marital partner is constrained because of his or her sex,” says GLAD. Well, yes. The same is true of everyone. Their — and everyone’s — choice of marital partner is also constrained by number, blood relation, age and species. It is truly a redefinition of marriage that GLAD seeks, one that will lead to still-further redefinitions.

GLAD argues that Connecticut should follow the jurisprudence of “sister states” like Massachusetts that have either legalized same-sex “marriage” or appear to be moving in that direction. One sister state it does not cite is New Jersey, which in the Lewis case recently had this to say about the Massachusetts decision:

the traditional and still prevailing religious and societal view of marriage as a union of one man and one woman that plays a vital role in propagating the species and provides the ideal setting for raising children…

A Constitution is not simply an empty receptacle into which judges may pour their own conceptions of evolving social mores. To yield to the impulse to invalidate legislation merely because members of the court disapprove of public policy is to subvert the sensitive interrelationship between the three branches of government, which is at the heart of democracy.

GLAD cites previous “gay rights” legislation as proof of discrimination of homosexuals and the need for same-sex “marriage.” One thinks of Sen. John Kissel (R-Enfield), who complained bitterly during the civil union hearings about how he voted for the gay adoption bill in an earlier session because its supporters assured him it would not be used to push for same-sex “marriage,” which it now is.

GLAD writes, “It is difficult to identify any legitimate interest, let alone compelling interest that justifies the continued exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage, especially in light of the civil unions law” [emphasis added]. In footnote 52 it cites section 14 of the law, underlining that same-sex couples will have “all the same benefits…as are granted to spouses in a marriage.” This is precisely what FIC warned the legislature about — that this line, the heart of the bill, would embolden the plaintiffs in Kerrigan and potentially weaken the state’s case. The first half of our prediction came true. In today’s media accounts Atty. Gen. Blumenthal assures the public that the second half has not come true. Either way, the passage of civil unions has created one more argument for the plaintiffs that the state must respond to in order to win its case.

That is one more headache the state does not need, considering GLAD’s tendency to obfuscate and misrepresent the record. In explaining what the legislature intended when it passed the civil union law, for instance, the first person GLAD quotes in the House debate is Rep. Powers. But Rep. Powers voted against the bill! In footnote 56 GLAD takes aim at Sen. Nickerson for invoking “our Judeo-Christian code’s” adoption of the one man-one woman definition of marriage “long before the state of Connecticut existed,” noting that “marriage has been a purely civil matter from the inception of Connecticut’s colonial beginnings.” Anyone who does not recognize the Judeo-Christian influence on our laws “from the inception of Connecticut’s colonial beginnings” is not being serious.

GLAD attacks what Goodridge calls “circular reasoning,” that marriage must remain “a heterosexual institution” because that is what it has always been. But this is a distortion of the pro-family argument. We do not say that tradition must be kept because it is tradition. A tradition is worth keeping not for itself, but because it makes sense. Traditional marriage — and not same-sex “marriage — is good for children, marriage, society and religious freedom. It is a tradition worth protecting because it is based on the wisdom of generations. Good tradition is, as G.K. Chesterton said, the democracy of the dead.

In a 65 page brief filled with weak arguments for same-sex “marriage,” the arguments grow especially weak toward the end. The “right” to same-sex “marriage,” GLAD claims, is part of the right to free speech. It is “analogous” to other rights the court has protected, such as “wearing shirts with messages.” This seems to be too much even for some of the drafters of GLAD’s brief, who delicately note in footnote 63 “a lack of doctrinal clarity regarding the source of this protection.” Further, in footnote 71, GLAD cites Sen. McDonald’s complaint that civil unions will not allow same-sex couples to “apply” for rights under federal law. But it doesn’t matter because the federal government does not recognize same-sex “marriage.”

Atty. Gen. Blumenthal and Gov. Rell assured the public that the passage of civil unions would not lead the courts to impose same-sex “marriage” on Connecticut. Either way, by passing civil unions the legislature and Gov. Rell have created one more hoop that the state must jump through in order to protect marriage. Doing so was not in the best interests of the state, the family, children and generations yet unborn.

Posted at 6:21 PM

July 28

PRO-RELL MEDIA BIAS [Brian Brown]

The state’s media is abuzz this week with new polling data showing Gov. Rell with a 79% approval rating and beating any of her likely Democratic opponents. Note the link the Courant’s front-page article draws between the governor’s polls and the paper’s favorite causes:

Rell, who signed into law bills that encourage embryonic stem-cell research and extend civil unions to same-sex couples, is seen by 75 percent of voters as having politics that are "about right."

Nothing in the poll draws the specific link to those issues implied by the Courant. If the state is so overwhelmingly supportive of Gov. Rell’s April 20th signing of the same-sex civil union bill, why did her approval rating drop 14 points in the poll that was taken in May?

You probably didn’t hear about that poll. There was no front-page article — or any article — about it in the Courant. Even in today’s piece, the Courant references previous polls of the governor’s popularity without making any mention of the first one taken after she legalized same-sex civil unions. Even the sidebar accompanying today’s Courant article shows the governor’s approval ratings in January, February, April and July, conveniently skipping over May.

To be sure, even in May her ratings were high. But the media’s downplaying of that post-civil union 14 point drop in approval is noteworthy. There seems to be a desire on the part of the state media to create a public perception of the inevitability of a Rell victory in 2006. Those who would create — or believe — such a thing would do well to note this comment, buried in the Courant article:

Roy Occhiogrosso, a Democratic strategist, played down the poll as too early to be significant.

"I think it's about as relevant as the poll early in the '98 cycle in which Barbara Kennelly led Rowland by six points," Occhiogrosso said. "We all know how that turned out."

Rowland won in a landslide.

Posted at 10:23 AM

July 27

TOWN OF BERLIN SURRENDERS TO PRO SAME-SEX “MARRIAGE” BULLIES [Brian Brown]

In a July 18th post on this blog, FIC saluted the citizens of Waterbury, whose pro-family activism caused the city government to reverse its support for a zoning amendment that could have led to more sexually-oriented businesses in the city.

According to an article in today’s Courant, the town of Berlin could use some of Waterbury’s fighting spirit:

BERLIN — By the time civil unions become state law Oct. 1, town officials intend to make sure married couples and committed gay and lesbian partners pay the same amount for a season pass at Timberlin Golf Course.

Discussion of the matter dominated the town council meeting Tuesday after the town's attorney, William Weber, said a female couple had threatened to sue Berlin after they were denied the "family" rate at the municipal course.

This story, like Rep. Toni Walker’s (D-New Haven) misrepresentation of Webster’s definition of marriage during the civil unions hearing last February, illustrates perfectly the central problem with the demand for same-sex “marriage”/civil unions: it is a demand — literally — for the redefinition of the family. In fact, the headline for the print edition of the article is “Civil Union Law Raises Family-Definition Questions.” The Courant shows how FIC’s prediction of a literal redefinition of the family is now coming true:

The town council discussed implementing definitions of "family" and "household" so the town complies with the new law…

The definition of family — "two individuals related by marriage, providing appropriate documentation" — drew no criticism from council members.

But less exact definition of "household" was criticized and was sent back to the planning department to be rewritten.

The suggested definition was "two adults, with or without dependent children, living in a committed relationship and sharing assets, consistent with existing Connecticut civil union criteria and providing appropriate documentation."

Only in a world turned upside-down by the legalization of same-sex civil unions would a town government have to twist itself into contortions over the definition of the family by coming up with the ridiculous distinctions listed above.

The people of Connecticut were assured by Atty. Gen. Blumenthal and Gov. Rell that the amendment to the civil union bill defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman would protect the state from lawsuits by same-sex couples trying to use the courts to undemocratically force a further redefinition of marriage upon us. Where are they, now that the mere threat of a suit in the post-civil union era is enough to make a local government change its laws? And why does the town government of Berlin not use that amendment to fight for its pro-family law in court, instead of simply knuckling under to pro same-sex “marriage” bullies?

FIC calls upon the pro-family citizens of Berlin to follow the good example set by Waterbury and oppose their town government’s attack on the traditional family!

Posted at 11:23 AM

July 26

LIEBERMAN MEETS WITH ROBERTS; STATE’S LIBERALS WANTS FILIBUSTER [Peter Wolfgang]

Sen. Lieberman met with President Bush’s Supreme Court nominee yesterday and was “encouraged” but noncommittal, according to the AP:

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Sen. Joseph Lieberman said a meeting with Supreme Court nominee John Roberts on Monday left him satisfied that Roberts is not an ideologue.

Following a meeting with Roberts, who is President Bush's choice to succeed Associate Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, Lieberman said he got to know Roberts and his views "a little better."

"It's too early to reach a conclusion about how I'll vote on his confirmation," Lieberman, D-Conn., told WVIT-TV.

"I'm looking for somebody who will not come in with an ideological agenda, but will in every case coming before the Supreme Court try to do what he thinks is right according to the law and the Constitution, and today Judge Roberts encouraged me to believe he was that kind of person," he said.

But Connecticut’s liberals — who last week threatened Sen. Lieberman with electoral consequences if he does not give in to their demands and oppose Judge Roberts — are keeping the pressure on, according to a Friday article in the New Haven Register:

NEW HAVEN — The grass-roots battle over President Bush’s Supreme Court pick reached the city Green on Thursday.

The liberal group MoveOn.org held a lunchtime petition drive, urging passers-by to oppose Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts Jr., a federal appeals court judge.

The event was part of MoveOn’s Supreme Court Rapid Response Petition Drive held at nationwide Thursday at 239 locations, including Stamford, Norwich and Willimantic.

New Haven volunteers collected 53 signatures in just over an hour that will be sent to U.S. Sens. Joseph I. Lieberman and Christopher Dodd, both Democrats…

"I want the Senate to ask tough questions, dig hard and use the filibuster if they have to," said Michelle Maitland of New Haven, a local MoveOn team leader.

The Left in this state — small in numbers but flush with funds — has the ability to bring enormous pressure to bear on elected officials. FIC is the only grassroots pro-family organization in Connecticut that can counter the Left’s pernicious influence! Please click here to make a donation to our efforts to mobilize the state’s pro-family majority on behalf of Judge Roberts.

Sen. Lieberman could be the key vote to decide whether Judge Roberts has a fair and timely confirmation process or whether MoveOn gets the filibuster it wants. Help us help Sen. Lieberman make the right choice! There is too much at stake in this fight for any pro-family citizen to sit on the sidelines. We need your help!

Posted at 10:26 AM

July 25

LIBERAL COLUMNIST SUPPORTS AUTHORITARIAN BISHOP [Peter Wolfgang]

A columnist for the left-wing Hartford Advocate has weighed in on the suspension by the Episcopal bishop of CT, Drew Smith — who is pro same-sex “marriage” — of one of the six pro-family priests in the state who oppose the bishop’s departures from Christian teaching. It may strike you as odd that a writer for a newspaper whose revenue is derived in no small part from sex ads — and whose cover article this week is designed to legitimate the seedy underworld from which those ads emerge — thinks he has something credible to say about the proper workings of a Christian church. Yet, here is Alistair Highet, thundering about the obedience priests owe to their bishops:

What these priests believe as individuals is, quite honestly, irrelevant with regards to their duty in obedience to the bishop. Moreover, the churches that they preach in do not belong to them nor do they belong to the parishioners — the churches and the property are governed by the diocese, which is presided over by the bishop. If these six clerics want to make a principled stand, they are free to do so as people, maybe even as priests, but they aren't free to run their churches as free-agents, deciding unilaterally what the line of authority is, who they're going to listen to and who they aren't going to listen to, as though it was up to them to decide what is out-of-line, and what isn't.

As I read the paragraph above, I could not help but think of the priests of St. Patrick-St. Anthony, the Catholic church in downtown Hartford with a “gay and lesbian ministry” that opposes the “harsh and negative attitude of the church hierarchy” and will have a booth at the “September celebration of gay pride at Bushnell Park” according to its newsletter. Two years ago, the priests of St. Patrick-St. Anthony sent a letter to Rep. Mike Lawlor about his work for the legalization of same-sex “marriage” in CT, calling it “honorable.”

If the Catholic Archbishop of Hartford were to suddenly appear, Bishop Smith-style, at St. Patrick-St. Anthony Church with an entourage from the chancery and change the locks, hack into the computer, shut down the parish web site, rifle through the pastor’s personal files, declare that the pastor is suspended and install a new pastor with a history of advocacy that is exactly the opposite of the parish’s, would Alistair Highet still nonchalantly write that the priests “aren’t free-agents, deciding unilaterally what the line of authority is?”

Of course not; he would flip out. So would the rest of our state’s media. Where are the breathless editorials about freedom of conscience, the anguished op-eds about a diocese that has lost its way, the blazing headlines and sensationalist news broadcasts that consumers of our state media would be treated to, day-after-day for weeks on end, if Archbishop Mansell did to St. Patrick-St. Anthony Church what Bishop Smith has, in fact, done to St. John’s Episcopal Church in Bristol?

Posted at 1:21 PM

July 21

THE LEFT TO LIEBERMAN: “OPPOSE JUDGE ROBERTS — OR ELSE!” [Brian Brown]

Well, that didn’t take long. The day after President Bush announced his choice for the Supreme Court the Left already declared war on the nominee and made it a point to target Sen. Lieberman, just as FIC predicted:

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — They may not agree with President Bush's nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court, but Connecticut supporters and critics of Judge John Roberts are taking the same strategy: level political pressure at U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman.

Both sides believe the moderate Democrat could be a swing vote when it comes to Roberts' confirmation.

"Knowledgeable observers consider Connecticut's own Joseph Lieberman to be the most crucial vote in the U.S. Senate," Brian Brown, executive director of the Family Institute of Connecticut, wrote to supporters in an e-mail sent Wednesday.

"Already Lieberman is being inundated by e-mails and phone calls calling for a filibuster from left-wing pressure groups," he wrote. "Sen. Lieberman needs to hear from every single one of his pro-family constituents urging him to oppose the filibuster and to confirm Judge Roberts."

Meanwhile, a coalition of Connecticut women's groups, labor unions and other activists, said although Lieberman has a solid abortion rights voting record, they worry he'll be influenced by Republicans.

"Sen. Lieberman is a target," said Judy Tabor, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Connecticut. "He is seen as persuadable."

Kathleen Sloan, executive director of the Connecticut National Organization for Women, said her group is scheduled to meet with Lieberman in the coming days. She said if the senator doesn't take their concerns with Roberts' stance on abortion and other issues to heart, NOW plans to campaign against Lieberman next year.

"We need to underscore to him: He is up for re-election in 2006 and we have a very concerned, very involved, active base that is ready to move and mobilize," Sloan said.

Connecticut is ground zero in the battle for the future of the Supreme Court and Sen. Lieberman could go either way at this point. Click here to ask him to keep his word by supporting a fair and timely confirmation process and to ask him to vote for Judge Roberts’ confirmation. Click here to donate to FIC to help us counter the well-financed pro-abortion groups who are bringing enormous pressure to bear on Sen. Lieberman.

Posted at 3:24 PM

July 20

BUSH SCORES, FIC CELEBRATES, LIEBERMAN WAFFLES [Brian Brown]

President Bush has nominated an excellent judge to the Supreme Court, Judge John G. Roberts of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. We are encouraged by Judge Roberts’ brilliant legal career and by a slight connection to FIC: Judge Roberts’ wife, Jane, and FIC director of public policy Peter Wolfgang once served together on the board of directors of Feminists for Life. FIC is confident that Judge Roberts will uphold the Constitution and respect marriage, life, faith and family.

Sen. Joseph Lieberman described Judge Roberts last week as someone who was “in the ballpark” and would not “spark a talk-a-thon.” But that was last week. Here is what the Washington Post says about his position today:

Among Democrats, Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (Conn.) may well be the most crucial voice in the Gang of 14 [emphasis added]. Republicans were pointing last night to a statement he made last week that Roberts was one of several judges "in the ballpark" who might be able to avoid a filibuster. An aide said last night that Lieberman was misinterpreted on the question of Roberts. Lieberman issued a noncommittal statement last night, saying he looks forward to "a searching review" of Roberts's record before making a decision.

FIC calls upon Sen. Lieberman to keep his word by supporting a fair and timely confirmation process. We further call upon Sen. Lieberman to vote to confirm Judge Roberts to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Please help us encourage Sen. Lieberman to confirm Judge Roberts by clicking here.

Posted at 3:32 PM

July 19

BREAKING…PRESIDENT BUSH TO ANNOUNCE SCOTUS NOMINEE [Peter Wolfgang]

The AP is reporting that President Bush will announce his choice to replace Justice O’Connor on the Supreme Court at 9:00 tonight. On this blog and in e-mail alerts in the days ahead, FIC Action will be providing further information on what you can do to help the President confirm a Justice who will uphold the Constitution and respect our nation’s Judeo-Christian heritage.

Posted at 1:27 P.M.

July 18

PROGRESS IN WATERBURY [Peter Wolfgang]

Mayor Jarjura has said that he will oppose a zoning proposal that might have led to an increase in “sex shops” in Waterbury, according to today’s Republican-American:

WATERBURY — After days of withering complaints from community and religious leaders, Mayor Michael J. Jarjura is backing away from a proposed zoning change that might lead to more sexually oriented businesses in the city.

Jarjura said Sunday that, after closer review, he will oppose the change, which would loosen the required buffer zone separating new adult establishments from residences, schools and other sensitive areas.

Jarjura's administration initially defended the ordinance last week, before reversing course. He now says he intends to speak with members of the Zoning Commission to recommend they vote down the proposal at their Aug. 24 meeting…

Jarjura also said the city would challenge any court decision striking down the restrictions. "I feel very confident that the community of the City of Waterbury would want me to fight that fight, and expend whatever money is necessary to do that," he said.

The outcry was swift and intense last week after the City Plan Commission, with no discussion, voted to recommend that the Zoning Commission approve the new buffer requirements. The Most Rev. Henry J. Mansell, archbishop of Hartford, also caught wind of the proposal and expressed concerns to Jarjura in a telephone call Friday.

The contrasts between this brief anti-family crisis in Waterbury and the same-sex civil union battle at our state capitol could not be more obvious.

In Hartford, our state legislators kowtowed to a small cabal of lobbyists and activists whose influence was disproportionate to the tiny elite they spoke for. Ignoring the flood of phone calls and e-mails asking them not to undermine marriage — as well as the 76% of voters who wanted to vote on the issue — legislators moved with lightning speed to approve the same-sex civil union bill. Gov. Rell deliberately had the Senate fast-track the bill so she could sign it prior to FIC Action’s April 24th pro-family rally, which drew more than 3,000 people.

Like our state government, the city government in Waterbury initially tried to sneak through an anti-family change in the law. But unlike Hartford, when the people registered their opposition to the change, city officials heeded the will of the people and reversed course. Despite a reputation for corruption, the City of Waterbury displayed a spirit of democratic accountability that has been noticeably absent at our state capitol this year — an absence that will cost CT families dearly in the years ahead.

In Hartford, the legislature and Gov. Rell flaunted their disregard for the religious convictions of their constituents. The Senate actually had the gall to vote for a resolution praising the recently-deceased Pope John Paul II on the same day it approved the most extreme version of the civil union bill — thus exposing their praise of the late Pope for the empty, patronizing gesture that it was. During the debate several lawmakers accused their own constituents of violating the First Amendment simply by expressing religiously-motivated objections to same-sex unions. Indeed, the Senate approved — and Gov. Rell actually signed — the final version of the civil union bill on Catholic Concerns Day!

But in Waterbury, government officials still respect the moral authority of the clergy. The voice of courageous pro-family leaders like Archbishop Henry J. Mansell and Pastor James Lilley helped convince government officials to protect the family in the “Brass City.”

In Hartford, politicians are only too willing to cede their lawmaking authority to the courts, with Gov. Rell citing the Kerrigan case — which has yet to be ruled on — as one of her reasons for signing same-sex civil unions into law.

But in Waterbury, city officials still believe that a free people must be a self-governing people, with Mayor Jarjura declaring that he would fight any court decision that seeks to prevent our elected representatives from enforcing a law that protects families from the further encroachment of smut.

FIC salutes the City of Waterbury — its mayor, its clergy and its active and faithful citizenry — for setting a pro-family, pro-self government example that is greatly needed here in blue-state Connecticut.

Posted at 12:57 PM

BISHOP SMITH: A WOLF IN SHEEP’S CLOTHING [Brian Brown]

Less than a quarter of the 200 congregants at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Bristol turned out yesterday for a morning service led by the Rev. Susan J. McCone, the minister installed by pro same-sex “marriage” Bishop Drew Smith after he suspended the church’s pro-family pastor, according to Francis Grandy Taylor’s story in today’s Courant:

McCone acknowledged the turmoil following a decision by the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut last week to strip the Rev. Mark Hansen of his priest duties. She now has the unenviable task of stepping in, with many in the congregation angry at Bishop Andrew Smith and the Episcopal Church. Some vowed earlier this week not to return to St. John's.

Francis also reports on a meeting held at the church last night to address Bishop Smith’s actions:

Many members interviewed after the meeting ended late Sunday were critical of the methods Smith used in Hansen's removal, including changing the locks on the church offices. Some members said they were not prepared to accept McCone as pastor of the mostly conservative congregation.

Hansen is one of six Connecticut priests embroiled in a dispute with the bishop stemming from Smith's vote in 2003 to support the consecration of the first openly gay bishop in the U.S. Episcopal Church.

The controversy has ignited the passion of conservative Episcopalians who believe the church has abandoned traditional teachings. The six churches have sought to be placed under the authority of a different bishop, but discussion on the matter broke down weeks ago.

Many St. John's parishioners said Sunday night that they will not return and will instead attend Trinity Episcopal Church, a conservative congregation that is one of the six in dispute with the bishop…

"I don't understand why the bishop is doing this to us," Tammy Vogt, a member of the vestry, said after the meeting. "We are his flock, and he is supposed to be leading us with his staff. Instead, he is hitting us over the head with it."

If those leaving St. John’s Church match the number missing from yesterday’s service, the church will lose three-fourths of its members because of Bishop Smith’s actions. Bishop Smith claims that he took the actions he did, in part, because he was concerned about the church’s finances. How does Bishop Smith expect the church’s finances to improve after the church loses 75% of its members?

The bishop’s Bristol blunder illustrates the fallacy of the “open and affirming” movement within mainline churches. Those who advocate for the churches to embrace same-sex “marriage” and other departures from Christian morality claim that doing so will make those churches more inclusive and welcoming, thus attracting new members. But the reality has proved to be just the opposite. The imposition of an anti-Christian agenda on a Christian church drives out those members who are faithful to their call to be “in” the world but not “of” the world. And the supposedly “inclusive” agenda is imposed with a ruthlessness that defenders of traditional morality — so often maligned as the “intolerant” ones — can only marvel at.

Bishop Smith’s action may very well mean the end of St. John’s Church. But it is apparently more important to him to be an agent of an “inclusiveness” that excludes faithful Christians than it is to protect their faith. He is truly a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Posted at 10:19 AM

July 15

PASTOR LILLEY LEADS CHARGE AGAINST WATERBURY’S SEX SHOPS [Peter Wolfgang]

Pastor James Lilley, one of the state’s staunchest pro-family ministers and a good friend of FIC, is leading the fight against an effort to loosen Waterbury’s restrictions on its sex shops according to today’s Republican-American:

WATERBURY — Community leaders reacted with outrage on Thursday to news the city is proposing to loosen zoning restrictions on sexually oriented businesses.

The mayor's office was thrust onto the defensive as residents called demanding explanations for the proposal, which the City Plan Commission voted to recommend on Wednesday.

Many residents said opening more space to strip clubs, adult stores and other sex-themed businesses, as the zoning amendment is designed to do, could attract crime and erode the city's moral foundation…

The Rev. James Lilley, pastor of First Assembly of God Church, said he feared that opening the door to more adult establishments could harm families.

"Rape goes up and violent-natured crime goes up in the areas where those businesses are run. And healthy families do not want to go near those establishments," said Lilley, who was involved in crafting the current year-old zoning restrictions limiting the placement of adult businesses.

"If I could see any changes, I'd like to see stricter laws passed," he added.

The Zoning Commission will vote on the proposed change at its Aug. 24th meeting. FIC will update its members on this situation as more information becomes available.

Posted at 12:23 PM

RAPE ALLEGED AT BRIDGEPORT ABORTION CLINIC [Brian Brown]

From today’s edition of the Connecticut Post:

BRIDGEPORT — The owner of a local modeling agency was charged Thursday with sexually assaulting three Norwalk teenagers he recruited to be models.

When one, a 14-year-old girl, expressed concern that she was pregnant, police said agency owner Michael Britt took her into the adjacent Summit Women's Center, where he allegedly had intercourse with her under the guise of giving her an abortion…

Britt, of Beechmont Avenue, has operated the modeling business above the abortion clinic at 3787 Main St. for at least several months…

Tanya Little, administrator for Summit Women's Center, said Britt is a tenant in the center's building, but "he has no connection with our patients." Asked if it were possible for him to gain access to the Summit clinic, she responded: "I have no knowledge of that."

According to the article, Michael Britt allegedly raped the 14-year-old inside the abortion clinic on more than one occasion, telling her that he was “part-owner” of the clinic.

If these allegations are proven true, it raises several questions. Did the abortion clinic know this was happening? If so, for how long did they know? If not, shouldn’t they have known? How lax is security at their facility? What is the true relationship of the clinic to the alleged rapist?

Few institutions in Connecticut appear to be as unregulated and above-the-law as the state’s abortion clinics. When, a few years ago, a national pro-life group exposed the practice of Connecticut abortion clinics’ not reporting — indeed, facilitating — statutory rape, it caused barely a ripple in local law enforcement and was ignored by most of the media. FIC calls upon the police to do a better job this time in finding the answers to the questions raised by this disturbing story.

Posted at 12:10 PM

READER: COURANT’S “LIFE” SECTION NOT FAMILY-FRIENDLY [Brian Brown]

Perhaps you saw the recent piece in the Courant’s “Life” section mocking virginity? No? Well then, did you catch the article on the joys of wedding-inspired one night stands? The ditzy “dating” column chronicling one woman’s series of sexual relationships? How about today’s piece by a male writer agreeing with a “gay” web site on the physical attractiveness of a particular movie actor? Or maybe you still recall the Valentine’s Day “Life” section of a few years ago that provided a how-to guide on adultery?

The Courant’s Life section is anything but family-friendly and we’re not the only ones to notice. This letter-to-the-editor, which appeared in yesterday’s Courant, speaks for many readers:

Section Not Fit For Kids' Eyes

The article "Wedding Bliss" [Life section, July 12] should have been R-rated.

In our home, I grab The Courant's front section, my husband and 10-year-old fight over the Sports section and my 13-year-old goes straight to the Life section. The "Wedding Bliss" article was completely inappropriate for a 13-year-old. The first "Dear Amy" letter that day was also inappropriate for underage readers ["Late-Night Porn Feedings?"].

I want my children to read, and I am pleased that they read the newspaper, but I found it necessary not only to bring this section to work to get it out of the house, but also to call my parents who were watching my children and ask them to also restrict that section…

“Not In This Family Paper Will You Read It” says a headline in Pat Seremet’s gossip column today, referring to a dirty joke. If the Courant still considers itself a family paper, it can prove it by cleaning up the dirty joke that is its Life section.

Posted at 11:29 AM

PRO SAME-SEX “MARRIAGE” BISHOP HAS THE BUILDING, NOT THE CONGREGATION [Peter Wolfgang]

Francis Grandy Taylor reports in today’s Courant on the reactions of the members of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Bristol to the suspension of their pro-family pastor by the state’s pro same-sex “marriage” bishop:

Still reeling with shock a day after the takeover of their church by the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut, members of St. John's Episcopal Church in Bristol are wondering if their parish has a future.

"People are upset to the point of tears," Richard Gonneville, senior warden at St. John's, said Thursday. "They feel like their home has been ripped away from them."

Gonneville said representatives of the diocese changed the locks at the church Wednesday, which has kept vestry members out.

"I feel like I have been inhibited, just like the rector," Gonneville said, adding that vestry members plan to meet today to decide what their next step should be in light of Wednesday's suspension of their rector, the Rev. Mark Hansen. Connecticut Episcopal Bishop Andrew D. Smith used his power to formally "inhibit" Hansen, which bars him from performing duties as a priest for six months.

Hansen, who has led the church since 1990, could be defrocked if the situation is not resolved. Hansen and five other Connecticut priests have been embroiled in a dispute with Smith stemming from Smith's approval of the 2003 consecration of the U.S. Episcopal Church's first openly gay bishop.

To read the whole article, click here.

Posted at 9:56 AM

July 14

ROVE CONSULTS SEN. LIEBERMAN ON NOMINATION [Peter Wolfgang]

From today’s Courant:

WASHINGTON — Presidential adviser Karl Rove has consulted with both Connecticut senators on a Supreme Court nomination…

Lieberman is one of the "Gang of 14," seven Democrats and seven Republicans who in May broke a Senate deadlock by agreeing not to filibuster judicial nominees except in "extraordinary circumstances…"

This morning the Gang of 14 will hold its first meeting since O'Connor's announcement, and although no names are expected to come up, the topic could involve the standards for filibustering…

Lieberman offered reporters Wednesday three names he said could be considered without sparking a talk-athon. He would not say whether he brought them up to Rove.

He said federal appellate Judges Michael McConnell and John G. Roberts were "in the ballpark," and that "people tell me" appeals court Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson is "very similar."

Lieberman emphasized that should they be nominated, they would be carefully scrutinized.

You can contact Sen. Lieberman and ask him to allow President Bush’s nominee to have an up-or-down vote by clicking here. Although the President has yet to nominate someone, pro-abortion/pro same-sex “marriage” groups are already contacting Sen. Lieberman’s office and asking him to oppose whomever the President chooses. Sen. Lieberman needs to hear from his pro-family constituents!

For more information see Brian’s Jul. 5th blog, below, and watch your in-box for e-mail alerts. If you are not yet on our e-mail list and would like to be, click here.

Posted at 2:52 PM

EPISCOPAL BISHOP OF CT SUSPENDS PRO-FAMILY PRIEST [Brian Brown]

Drew Smith, the pro same-sex “marriage” Episcopal bishop of Connecticut, has stripped the Rev. Mark H. Hansen of his duties, claiming that Hansen failed to notify Bishop Smith that he was on sabbatical and that there were “concerns” about the church’s finances. Rev. Hansen is one of the “CT Six” — a handful of state priests whose fidelity to Biblical morality has led them to oppose Bishop Smith’s support for the consecration of New Hampshire’s actively homosexual Episcopal bishop. The CT Six had been trying to reach an agreement that would have put them under the authority of a different bishop — an arrangement allowed for by the Episcopal denomination for priests in their situation — but Bishop Smith had continually thrown roadblocks in their path.

Now it has come to this. According to the Courant,

Smith arrived at St. John's about 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, accompanied by McCone; Jack Spaeth III, diocesan canon for stewardship and administration; and Ed Seibert, an administrative assistant with the diocese. The diocesan officials entered the church office and told the administrator that the diocese was taking control.

The Republican-American adds this detail:

"The parish has rallied here at the rectory," said Ceil Hansen, the rector's wife. She said the diocese already has changed the locks at the church and other parish buildings, effectively barring the parishioners.

What about Bishop Smith’s claims against Rev. Hansen and his parish? The Courant covers their response:

Hansen was out of town when word of his inhibition and the church takeover reached him, and he apparently was shocked by the sudden turn of events.

"I'm still trying to digest what has happened and what is going on," Hansen said from his cellphone as he drove back to Bristol from New York, where he has been teaching at an academic institution. "I categorically deny the accusations against me."

Hansen said he had met with Suffragan Bishop James Curry as recently as two weeks ago and discussed a range of issues, including his sabbatical and the interim priests hired to serve in his absence. Curry reports to Smith, and Curry's office is in the same building as the bishop's.

Despite being on leave, Hansen said he had officiated at a wedding and a funeral at the church, and had a meeting with the church vestry this past weekend…

Hansen said his sabbatical was allowed under his contract with the parish, and that information about the agreement had been sent to the diocese, but Hansen said he has received no response. He also said his sabbatical was related to the need for more income because of the medical problems of his son, who is learning disabled and attends a private school. The family continues to live in the rectory, but also owns a small home in the area because "our child has need of unique support services."

The Rev. Christopher Leighton, rector of St. Paul's Church in Darien and one of the other priests facing inhibition, called Smith's action against Hansen "heavy-handed and unnecessary."

"I am grieved that Bishop Smith would take such action against one of his own parishes," Leighton said, adding that he believed the intent was to "intimidate" the other priests…

Two St. John's parishioners, Bob and Peggy Russell of Burlington, rushed to the church Wednesday after receiving a phone call. "We have done nothing wrong at this church. Father Mark has done nothing wrong," Bob Russell said. "We are a conservative church that teaches based on the Bible. The national church changed the rules and expects us to just fall in line."

Peggy Russell said the couple had been members of St. John's for 36 years, but they were not sure they would attend church this weekend or go to the meeting called by Smith. "We're taking a stand at this church, not just for ourselves, but for our grandchildren and all the people who come after us."

FIC is not unfamiliar with Bishop Smith. I debated him at Trinity College last year. He said then that he “yearned” for the day when his denomination would celebrate same-sex “marriage” liturgies and he snapped at a member of the audience for asking a question he did not like. FIC also took part in a protest march against Bishop Smith’s anti-family theology in the summer of 2003 and we were present at a rally in support of the CT Six that was held in front of the state capitol exactly two months ago yesterday.

What happened to Rev. Hansen is further evidence that believers in traditional faith and family are up against intolerant ideologues who are determined to stamp out any and all resistance to their agenda. Rev. Hansen and the rest of the CT Six — indeed, faithful Christians of any denomination who suffer because of their fidelity to truth — will have the prayers and support of FIC.

For regular updates on the fate of CT Six — and the health of the Anglican communion in general — we recommend that you visit the blog www.titusonenine.classicalanglican.net.

Posted at 11:38 AM

July 13

NEW HAVEN ADVOCATE TO LIBERALS: “THE PEOPLE ELECTED PRESIDENT BUSH, AND HE GETS TO PICK HIS JUDGES.” [Peter Wolfgang]

The New Haven Advocate, one of a chain of left-wing “alternative” weeklies in the state, occasionally surprises its readers with common sense observations that deviate from the liberal party line. It will be interesting, for instance, to see the letters-to-the-editor responding to editor Mark Oppenheimer’s reaction to Justice O’Connor’s resignation:

Who could have predicted, when she was nominated by President Ronald Reagan in 1981, that Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's announcement last week that she was retiring from the Supreme Court would be most horrifying to liberals?...As for me, I refuse to join in the caterwauling…I support abortion rights…But I think that social goods (if one can call legal abortion a "social good," which is a tricky matter) should generally be won and guaranteed through the democratic process. We've reversed the natural order of things. Conservatives should be the ones relying on royalist fiats, while liberals should be listening for the will of the people and engaging in open, free-form debates to sway people's opinions.

Oppenheimer is one of the few left-wing pundits to publicly criticize his side’s willingness to rely on “royalist fiats” rather than the “will of the people” to further the “abortion rights” agenda that he supports. And then there is this:

Now, it's fair to reply that the Constitution exists to protect rights so important that we don't want them left up to the democratic process. I agree. But guess what? The people elected President Bush, and he gets to pick his judges. We have to deal with that.

If the Left is no longer in denial about the fact that “the people elected President Bush,” that is very likely a good thing for our country. And if they can join Oppenheimer in making the next leap — “and he gets to pick his judges” — that would be even better.

Posted at 10:27 AM

July 12

“A DESIRE TO DO THE RIGHT THING” [Peter Wolfgang]

On July 5th Brian blogged about Sen. Lieberman’s potential to be the swing vote to confirm President Bush’s nominee to the Supreme Court and the key role FIC Action must play in convincing him to do the right thing. David Lightman writes about the Senator’s role in a front page article in today’s Courant:

WASHINGTON — Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman is positioning himself in the middle of the Supreme Court fight, along with 13 fellow senators who aim to cool the sizzling rhetoric over President Bush's prospective nominee.

The Connecticut Democrat is one of the Senate's "Gang of 14" — seven Democratic and seven Republican centrists who in May broke a Senate deadlock over federal judges by agreeing not to filibuster them…

But it's the 14, none of whom is a top Judiciary Committee member, who have the leverage to determine whether the president's choice is filibustered or glides through the Senate hitting only a few speed bumps.

Lightman quotes Sen. Lieberman’s thoughts on his role in the process:

Lieberman said he intends to go through his usual methodical process in assessing the next nominee, reviewing cases and speeches, though in the end, his decision is "basically a feeling, a desire to do the right thing."

There are no litmus tests, no checklists. "None of this process is perfect," Lieberman said. "The nominee has to protect our constitutional rights and not be swept up in the political passions of the moment.

"I hope in these intensely partisan times, this person will resist the pressure. ...We don't want justices who will pre-judge a case."

And we hope, in these intensely partisan times, that Sen. Lieberman’s Democratic colleagues will resist the pressure to ask the nominee to pre-judge cases during his or her confirmation hearings and that the Senator, having “no litmus test,” will support an up-or-down vote on the President’s nominee. That would be the “right thing,” which the Senator says he has a desire to do.

Watch this space and our e-mail alerts for further information on what you can do to encourage Sen. Lieberman to keep his promise to do the right thing.

Posted at 9:47 AM

July 11

CATHOLIC TRANSCRIPT ON DEATH THREAT [Peter Wolfgang]

The July issue of Hartford’s Catholic newspaper, the Catholic Transcript, has a front page article covering the attacks against the family perpetrated by the 2005 legislative session. The Transcript also reports on the death threat made against the Church’s chief representative at the state capitol:

There also was a death threat against Dr. Marie T. Hilliard, executive director of the Connecticut Catholic Conference, the public policy arm of the state’s Catholic bishops. Dr. Hilliard received the threat on her life, which was related to her public stance against same-sex unions on March 7 by e-mail.

Police acted quickly to ensure her safety, providing her with armed guards and changing her parking space to a safer location at the capitol. Dr. Hilliard also had alarms installed in her home. Police made an arrest on May 5 and the case is pending.

Press coverage was confined to a brief story on Hartford’s WFSB-TV.

Brian Brown, executive director of the Family Institute of Connecticut, lashed out in a public bulletin that if the death threat had been against a supporter of same-sex marriages, “media coverage would have been endless.” But because the threat was against a leader on religious issues, it went virtually ignored — even though some news organizations published articles “accusing the pro-family movement of being hate-filled and violent,” he noted.

Concerned but undaunted, Dr. Hilliard acknowledged that such crimes are a fact of life for those who speak out in the public arena.

“We’re used to receiving mail from people who don’t agree with us,” she said. “We work on very volatile issues, so we have to be aware of that.

“Because we are countercultural, there will be negative responses that can escalate,” she added.

To read the whole article click here.

Posted at 9:23 AM

July 7

GOODRIDGE, LEWIS AND KERRIGAN [Peter Wolfgang]

A June 14th decision by the New Jersey Appellate Court helps to illuminate why the future of our nation’s courts are so important to the pro-family cause. In Lewis v. Harris, the court ruled against seven same-sex couples seeking the “right” to “marry.” Recall that in Massachusetts the Supreme Judicial Court made the opposite decision, with four judges imposing same-sex “marriage” on Massachusetts in the Goodridge ruling.

Presiding Judge Steven Skillman took aim at the Goodridge ruling in his Lewis opinion, saying that it conflicted with

the traditional and still prevailing religious and societal view of marriage as a union of one man and one woman that plays a vital role in propagating the species and provides the ideal setting for raising children…

A Constitution is not simply an empty receptacle into which judges may pour their own conceptions of evolving social mores. To yield to the impulse to invalidate legislation merely because members of the court disapprove of public policy is to subvert the sensitive interrelationship between the three branches of government, which is at the heart of democracy.

It is not yet known whether New Jersey’s Supreme Court will follow the honorable example of the state’s appellate court in not legislating from the bench — or the disreputable example of the four Massachusetts judges who undemocratically imposed same-sex “marriage” on that state’s unwilling public. But the outcome should be of great concern to the pro-family citizens of Connecticut.

Our focus of late has been the other two branches of our state government, where an unaccountable legislature and an unelected governor imposed same-sex civil unions on Connecticut, rather than heed the 76% of state voters who wanted to decide the issue by referendum. But throughout that battle — and the coming battle to reclaim Connecticut — another front has been looming in the attack on marriage.

One year ago the pro same-sex “marriage” group that won the Goodridge case in Massachusetts filed suit in Connecticut to achieve the same aim here — the judicial imposition of same-sex “marriage.” A ruling in that case, Kerrigan v. State of Conn, is pending and the final judgment may take years. If the plaintiffs win in Kerrigan it will present a large new obstacle in the struggle to protect marriage in Connecticut.

The different same-sex “marriage” rulings from New Jersey and Massachusetts — and the looming decision in Connecticut — show how crucial it is to have judges on the bench who do not view a Constitution as “an empty receptacle” through which they can undemocratically impose their anti-family activism on the public. This is why it is so important to fill Justice O’Connor’s seat on the U.S. Supreme Court with someone who will not do that.

Watch this space. We will have more information on President Bush’s nominee — and what you can do to help the President get him confirmed — as it becomes available.

Posted at 11:30 AM

July 6

“MORE FRAGMENTING THAN ANY OTHER DECISION” [Brian Brown]

The front page article in today’s Courant covers the reactions to the United Church of Christ’s endorsement of same-sex “marriage” that were missing from yesterday’s New Haven Register piece:

The United Church of Christ became the first mainline denomination to support same-sex marriage as a civil right this past weekend. The decision is likely to further polarize conservative and liberal congregations, church leaders in Connecticut and elsewhere say.

A resolution supporting same-sex marriage, which won overwhelming support during the church's General Synod in Atlanta, could cause a crisis for some churches at the local level, said the Rev. David Runnion-Bareford, executive director of Biblical Witness Fellowship, a conservative renewal movement in the UCC.

"The impact on the denomination will be more fragmenting than any other decision they have made…”

Runnion-Bareford called the UCC resolution a "tragic day in the history of our church that once had a faithful witness for Jesus Christ…”

At the same time, churches have left the UCC over this issue in recent years — as recently as last week, when First Congregational Church in Torrington voted to leave.

First Church of Christ in Wethersfield, one of the largest UCC congregations in the country, left the denomination last year…

The Rev. Peter Smith, pastor of First Church in Thomaston, a conservative congregation, said the decision means that funds sent to the UCC by member churches will go toward legislative efforts that support same-gender marriage.

"I think this vote will further polarize the denomination and will discourage many biblical Christians from continuing to participate in the UCC," he said.

When her childhood parish quit the UCC last November, the pro same-sex “marriage” leader of the state UCC lashed out against the pro-family adherents of her denomination, accusing them of a conspiracy. On Nov. 12th I blogged:

[I]f there was a conspiracy of pro-family UCC pastors, [FIC] would probably know about it. The truth is that most of our Congregationalist supporters are fiercely loyal to the UCC and deeply grieved over its direction under people like [Davida Foy] Crabtree.

FIC respects and supports the UCC’s loyal pro-family adherents. We join them in hoping that the UCC will recover “a faithful witness to Jesus Christ” that it “once had,” as Rev. Runnion-Bareford put it.

But we understand that, for some, the decision of the UCC General Synod to make theirs “the first mainline denomination to support same-sex marriage as a civil right” marks the breaking point.

FIC is in regular contact with former UCC congregations in the local area. Pro-family members of the UCC who wish to do so may contact us at info@ctfamily.org or (860) 548-0066 and we will help to connect them with pro-family former UCC churches in the local area.

Posted at 2:40 PM

SUPREME COURT APPOINTMENTS MATTER [Ken Von Kohorn]

FIC Action has announced (see below) that it intends to lead a drive in Connecticut to support any Supreme Court nominees whose judicial philosophy respects the plain language of the Constitution. Too many former court appointees have willingly invented novel interpretations of the Constitution so as to produce results that conform to their personal social mores. Today's syndicated column by Tom Sowell captures our concern so well that it is worth reproducing here in its entirety:

Our era might be described in the famous phrase used to describe the era of the French Revolution — "the best of times and the worst of times."

It is the best of times in terms of life expectancy and a level of economic prosperity exceeding anything our grandparents would have imagined. It is an era of technological wonders providing instant interactions by phone, fax or the Internet with friends in Europe, Africa, or New Zealand, not to mention worldwide television broadcasts and other scientific achievements.

Yet, within living memory, there was a time when we were not afraid to go out at night, even in low-income neighborhoods, when parents didn't have to fear for their children's safety in schools, much less teachers have to fear for their own safety.

There was a time when pornography was not being mass-marketed to adults, much less thrust on children.

There was a time when criminals had to fear the courts but honest people did not, a time when doctors did not have to spend tens of thousands of dollars a year for malpractice insurance to guard against frivolous lawsuits.

When we look at which people and institutions have produced the best of times and which have produced the worst, we can see the irony that many of those who have created economic, technological, and medical advances are less likely to be lionized and more likely to be sued.

Meanwhile, many of the signs of social degeneration can be traced to the courts that are supposed to be upholding law and order but which have too often become places for judges to indulge their egos and impose fashionable theories as the law of the land.

Some judges and Supreme Court justices may flatter themselves that they are helping the poor and the disadvantaged but their arbitrary notions often hurt the less fortunate most of all.

Whose homes are going to be bulldozed to make way for a new shopping mall or hotel complex under the Supreme Court's expanded notion of eminent domain? Mansions in Beverly Hills?Condos on Park Avenue? Or working class homes and apartment buildings?

The fact that the NAACP and the AARP filed briefs on the side of the homeowners should be a clue.

When a handful of hoodlums can prevent a whole class from learning, as a result of judicial rulings that make it more dangerous to the school to crack down on classroom disrupters than to tolerate their destroying all the other children's education, whose children are most likely to see their whole future lost this way?

Children whose parents can afford to put them in private schools? Children in upscale neighborhoods who get a lot of their education at home anyway? Or poor children for whom a decent education is likely to be their only ticket out of poverty?

The civil rights organizations have not yet come to understand and protest the staggering lifelong price to be paid by a whole generation of low-income and minority youngsters when liberal judges create new "rights" for hoodlums in school.

When such judges find ever more flimsy and esoteric reasons to turn violent criminals loose, to whose neighborhoods are these criminals most likely to return and resume their violence? The upscale neighborhoods where the judges and their families and friends live? Or the places where people at the other end of the economic scale live?

Although liberals like to flatter themselves that they are friends of the poor, promoting dependency and subsidizing irresponsible behavior helps only that minority among low-income people who are a plague to the other low-income people who have to put up with them living in their midst.

People of every income level and social background are made worse off when the rule of law dissolves into a fog of uncertainties created by "nuanced" judicial fiats. Frivolous lawsuits flourish in these uncertainties, crippling businesses, destroying jobs, and driving up the cost of medical care to cover both the lawsuits and the defensive medicine to ward off lawsuits.

When it comes to the havoc created by "mainstream" judicial activists, send not to know for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for thee.

Posted at 9:05 AM

July 5

SENATOR LIEBERMAN NEEDS TO HEAR FROM YOU [Brian Brown]

On Friday, July 1st, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor announced that she was resigning from the U.S. Supreme Court after having served there for 24 years. In his e-mail alert today, Tony Perkins, head of the Family Research Council (FRC), said the following:

The retirement of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor from the U.S. Supreme Court presents the most important opportunity we may have for decades to stop the nation's courts from stripping away our Judeo-Christian heritage. Justice O'Connor MUST be replaced by a conservative justice who will honor the constitution and not make laws from the bench. President Bush made a campaign promise to name justices to the nation's highest court that mirror the judicial philosophy of Supreme Court conservative Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. That promise, more than perhaps any other, charged me and millions of other values voters across the land to vote for Mr. Bush.

Justice O'Connor was the deciding vote on many 5-4 decisions of the Court that strike at the heart of our Judeo-Christian heritage. You know that just a week ago, Justice O'Conner and four others on the Supreme Court ruled that the Ten Commandments cannot be displayed on public property if there is a religious purpose in doing so. Honoring God in the public square is now banned because of Justice O'Connor's vote. She was part of the 5-4 majority striking down sodomy laws two years ago potentially paving the way for same-sex marriage. And she also sided with the five-member majority striking down the Congressional law prohibiting the gruesome practice of partial-birth-abortion. You can see why Family Research Council is pouring everything into the fight for her replacement — for someone who is a conservative and a constitutional strict constructionist.

The President needs to know that you will stand with him in what will no doubt be one of the biggest political battles this city [Washington, D.C.] has ever seen if he keeps his promise and nominates a candidate like Justice Scalia or Thomas.

Tony encourages all of us to use FRC’s resources to contact the President before he makes his decision, which you can do by clicking here.

As Tony Perkins says, Justice O’Connor’s resignation “presents the most important opportunity we may have for decades to stop the nation’s courts from stripping away our Judeo-Christian heritage.” Indeed, the struggle to confirm her replacement on the nation’s highest court may be one of the biggest — and most consequential — political fights of our lifetime.

Connecticut’s pro-family residents have a key role to play in that fight — a role so important that it may well determine whether we are victorious.

Knowledgeable observers consider Connecticut’s own U.S. Senator, Joseph Lieberman, to be a “moderate” and one of the few potential swing votes in the U.S. Senate. If the vote to confirm President Bush’s nominee is going to be close in the Senate, Sen. Lieberman could well cast the deciding vote.

Sen. Lieberman needs to hear from every single one of his pro-family Connecticut constituents. Not a single one of us can afford not to contact Sen. Lieberman about this — the stakes are too high.

You can call Sen. Lieberman’s office in Washington, D.C. at (202) 224-4041 and his office in Hartford at (860) 549-8463. You can also e-mail Sen. Lieberman by clicking here.

Remind Sen. Lieberman of his role in brokering the deal that ended the filibuster of President Bush’s nominees to the appellate court. Insist that he keep his commitment to a swift, fair confirmation process by supporting an up-or-down vote for the President’s Supreme Court nominee and opposing another filibuster. Tell Sen. Lieberman that the nominee should not have to pass a pro-abortion litmus test to get his vote.

The U.S. Supreme Court has enormous power to affect faith and family in our nation. Many of the societal ills that we are committed to combating were imposed on us by a Court that went beyond its authority, essentially usurping the democratic process itself. Returning the Court to its proper, constitutional role could be the biggest, most important victory the pro-family movement ever achieves.

We call upon all our supporters to lend their efforts to this urgent task.

Posted at 2:34 PM

MARK AZZARA RETIRES [Brian Brown]

The sad decline of the UCC under its pro same-sex “marriage” leadership is a story we have followed on this blog since its inception. It was a job made easier by the excellent reporting of Mark Azzara. Way back on Oct. 26th I wrote in this space:

Mark Azzara is the best religion reporter in Connecticut’s secular press and the Waterbury Republican-American is lucky to have him. In “United Church of Christ an increasingly divided denomination” — a story on Page D1 last Thursday — Azarra breaks from the media pack to tell us what’s really going on inside the UCC…

As the UCC article in today’s New Haven Register shows, Azarra really did break away from the pack, by regularly reporting about the pro-family resistance within the UCC that we almost never heard about from other media sources.

Azarra announced over the weekend that he is retiring. FIC wishes him the best and hopes that his replacement will continue the Republican-American’s tradition of providing the best religion coverage of any secular media outlet in Connecticut.

Posted at 10:40 AM

UCC’S GENERAL SYNOD ENDORSES SAME-SEX “MARRIAGE” [Brian Brown]

The leadership of the United Church of Christ voted to accelerate the denomination’s downward spiral at its national meeting over the weekend, according to today’s New Haven Register:

A majority of Connecticut’s 51 United Church of Christ delegates, taking part in their biannual national meeting Monday in Atlanta, voted with the UCC’s rule-making body to approve a resolution endorsing same-sex marriage.

About 80 percent of the national representatives on the church’s 884-member General Synod approved the resolution, a day after it was recommended by a smaller committee…

The issue was not a new one for the UCC Connecticut Conference. It has studied it for several years and in October voted to endorse same-sex marriage on a state level.

Davida Foy Crabtree of Hartford, minister for the Connecticut Conference, said she only saw two state delegates oppose the measure when the vote was tallied in Atlanta.

"Our delegates were, overall, very clear that this was the right step to take," she said…

The growing number of former UCC churches in Connecticut that left the denomination in part because of its endorsement of same-sex “marriage” would certainly dispute Crabtree’s claim that this vote was the “right step to take.” So would anyone who takes Christian morality as it is, rather than reinventing it to serve an anti-Christian ideology.

Curiously, the Register/AP article makes no mention of those state churches that have left the UCC because of similar same-sex “marriage” endorsements.

Posted at 10:11 AM

July 1

CRUSADE FOR LIFE COMES TO WATERBURY [Peter Wolfgang]

FIC has received the following information from Connecticut Right to Life:

Dear pro-life friends,

The American Life League's CRUSADE FOR LIFE 2005 is marching from Maine to Washington, D.C. This Sunday, July 3rd, at 3:00 P.M. they will meet in the front of the Immaculate Conception Church, 74 West Main St (on the Green), in Waterbury to lead a march to City Hall on Grand St.

A plaque will be presented to Waterbury alderman Francis J. Caiazzo Jr. for his courage in introducing a Proposed Ordinance before the Board of Aldermen to make Waterbury an Abortion Free Zone.

All of our Pro-Life friends and their families are invited to attend. Please mark your calendar. See you on July 3rd.

Posted at 10:40 AM

June 30

“HANDS OFF MY HOME” RALLY IN NEW LONDON [Brian Brown]

We have received the following information from Rich Kendall, the New England Representative of the National Clergy Council and a good friend of the Family Institute:

Dear New England Friends of the Family;

A rally in defense of the poor homeowners in New London Conn is being held on July 5th....The Supreme Court's decision to allow the seizure of their homes is just another blatant and unconstitutional decision of the black robed tyrants in Washington. In the great tradition of our New England forefathers, it is time to take action with our feet and voices to stop the tyranny of these UNELECTED, arrogant and ungodly judges. Our founders risked their lives, property and honor in defense of freedom. Can we do any less? See you in New London.

The rally will be on July 5th at 6 pm at the New London City Hall, 181 State Street.

Posted at 11:42 AM

GOV. RELL’S LATEST BLUNDER [Peter Wolfgang]

Republican Gov. Jodi Rell, who signed the bill legalizing same-sex civil unions and the bill committing $100 million of taxpayer money to the cloning and killing of human embryos, clearly has no love for her party’s pro-family majority. According to a front page piece in today’s Courant, the feeling is mutual:

Abortion Issue Roils GOP's Fundraiser

STAMFORD — Internal divisions over the issues of abortion and increased state taxes on the wealthy clouded the Connecticut Republican Party's largest annual fundraising dinner Wednesday, where attendance was the lowest in years [emphasis added].

At the dinner Jennifer Blei Stockman, a co-chair of the pro-abortion group “Republican Majority for Choice,” was awarded the state GOP’s highest honor. The Courant reports that Stockman, who has led the fight to make the GOP more pro-abortion, “was chosen for the award” by Gov. Rell. Consistent with the usual disregard for truth so common among abortion advocates, Stockman comments:

"Gov. Rell has united the Republicans. We hope the national party can take some lessons from what is happening in Connecticut."

What lesson would Stockman like the national GOP to take from the state GOP? “Abandon the pro-life/pro-family platform that made the GOP the ruling party in Washington and embrace the social liberalism that made it a non-entity in Hartford?”

And if Gov. Rell’s decision to honor the pro-abortion Stockman has “united the Republicans,” why did the award dinner have the “lowest attendance in years?” According to the Courant, “one Republican insider said the attendance was ‘pathetic,’” with tables being described as “empty” or only “partially filled.” Refusing to believe her own eyes, Gov. Rell described the attendance as excellent, “adding that some people had arrived specifically to see Stockman.”

But it seems that many more chose not to attend specifically because of Stockman. It would come as news to this man, for instance, that Rell’s choice of Stockman has “united the Republicans:”

But longtime Greenwich Republican Sam Romeo, who has attended the dinner through the years, said that he boycotted this year because of Stockman.

"For them to honor Stockman is an insult. Mrs. Pro-abortion herself," said Romeo, a conservative who said that he would support [Mass. Gov. Mitt] Romney financially in his next campaign. "She doesn't represent me and a lot of Republicans on her stance."

Romeo said that Stockman is out-of-step with the GOP's national leaders, and that he could not understand why she was being honored by the state party.

"Doesn't this fly in the face of George Bush's conservatism?" Romeo asked. "He's definitely a committed, pro-life president. How could I go, in good conscience, to that dinner?"

The decision to have the state GOP award its highest honor to “Mrs. Pro-abortion herself” is just the latest in a series of anti-family, pro-abortion blunders by a governor who was never elected to the position. Yes, Gov. Rell’s approval rating was still high the last time the pollsters checked. But former U.S. Rep. Barbara Kennelly’s margins of victory were always high, too, until she faced real competition in a race for governor — then she folded like a house of cards.

A recent interview portrayed Gov. Rell as believing that a likely opponent in the 2006 governor’s race, who is considered hard to beat, will turn out to have a “glass jaw.” But the governor would do well to consider those empty tables at last night’s dinner. They represent not just big donors who chose not to attend, but thousands of pro-family citizens who are deeply offended by the bills she has signed.

If she cannot somehow manage to reverse the anti-family course that she has put her administration on, Gov. Rell may discover that she is the one with the glass jaw.

Posted at 11:04 AM

June 29

FIRST CASUALTY OF SAME-SEX “MARRIAGE” IN CANADA: THE TRUTH [Brian Brown]

Today’s Courant has a page A3 article on yesterday’s vote by Canada’s House of Commons to legalize same-sex “marriage.” Here is the third paragraph:

"The big peaceable kingdom on the U.S. border will demonstrate that it is absolutely possible for religious freedom to coexist with the end of discrimination against gay and lesbian people," said Alex Munter, a gay rights advocate who gathered with other supporters at Parliament Hall in Ottawa to watch the vote.

Will Canada prove that religious freedom can coexist with the destruction of marriage? That would come as news to the Knights of Columbus. The Knights, a Catholic fraternal order, are being sued in Canada by a same-sex couple for refusing to rent their hall for the couple’s “wedding” reception.

Here in Connecticut — where the recently passed same-sex civil union law has not even gone into effect yet — pro same-sex “marriage” Rep. Michael Lawlor has already said that any similar act of conscience by the state K of C would be “bigotry” and grounds for a lawsuit.

In a Catholic News Service article published in the June 26th issue of the Connecticut-based National Catholic Register, the paper provides some details about religious freedom and same-sex “marriage” in Canada that you won’t read about in the Courant:

OTTAWA — Calgary Bishop Fred Henry warned of a growing religious intolerance in Canada when he appeared as a witness before the legislative committee studying same-sex “marriage” June 6.

“We’re into a changed social reality that is hostile to religious belief,” Bishop Henry said, citing a threatening phone call from Revenue Canada and two recent human rights complaints against him for his opposition to homosexual “marriage” as threats to his freedom of expression and religious belief.

“These complaints are an attempt to intimidate and silence me, and are without any foundation in fact,” Bishop Henry said…

The bishop said homosexual “marriage” legislation would “open Pandora’s box” and lead to a proliferation of court cases that have already started to intimidate and shut down dissent from leaders of smaller religious denominations.

Rep. Lawlor has yet to say whether he thinks that — like the state’s K of C — the Catholic bishops and smaller religious denominations of Connecticut should be made to suffer the same fate as their brethren in Canada.

Regardless, the “gay rights” advocate’s false assertion in today’s Courant makes one thing clear. Wherever same-sex marriage advances, the truth is one of the first casualties.

Posted at 10:41 AM

June 28

TRUTH, POLITICS AND THE TEN COMMANDMENTS [Peter Wolfgang]

In two 5-4 decisions the U.S. Supreme Court yesterday ruled that a Ten Commandments display in a Kentucky courthouse was unconstitutional but a similar display on the Texas state capitol grounds was permissible. Trying to make sense of it all, news outlets described the Court as saying that displaying the Ten Commandments on public property is constitutional, as long as you are not too religious about it. This reminds me of the joke about the Bible told by law professors to first year students in their Evidence class: “The Bible is like hearsay — it can be admitted for anything other than its truth.”

The truth is, in fact, what is at stake here — namely, the truth of our Judeo-Christian heritage, which the Court’s secularist majority is determined to drive out of the public square. The absence of a “consistently applied principle,” as Justice Scalia put it in his dissent, invites endless litigation in response to any little hint of the nation’s religious heritage in a public forum. The truth of the nation’s founding principles is, therefore, something we must continue to fight for.

However, for the Courant’s Washington Bureau Chief, David Lightman, the issue is not truth, but politics. Lightman’s front page story is headlined “Ruling Seen To Aid Right.” Lightman’s take on the rulings — it “provides a fresh rallying point for conservatives eager for political gain” — should frighten the Courant’s liberal readers enough so that they add a few extra dollars to their next contribution to the ACLU or Planned Parenthood. But the state’s GOP should pay particular attention to this part of Lightman’s article:

Some political leaders have found they can appeal to voters by tucking the Ten Commandments into a political cocoon — one that snugly fits around other "mainstream values" such as marriage between a man and woman and the right to pray at school, said Brad Coker, of Mason-Dixon Research in Jacksonville.

That image is particularly useful with swing voters who do not necessarily feel comfortable with Republican economic models, said Coker.

"They think Republicans are often too close to big business and too much a part of the country club set," he said. "But these same voters can identify with conservative social values — opposition to gay marriage or the teaching of evolution, and support for the Ten Commandments."

In Connecticut we have a Republican Party that has taken the opposite approach — most recently, with a governor who signed same-sex civil unions into law and a party apparatus that held a dinner honoring a major pro-abortion activist. As a result, the CT GOP has seen its electoral fortunes fall at the same time that the national party has marched to victory on a pro-family platform.

The pro-family coalition described by Lightman’s sources exists here in Connecticut. But a major political party wise enough to champion our cause does not yet exist in the state.

Cynical or not, Lightman correctly sees an opportunity for enterprising politicians willing to fight for faith and family. Who will seize it?

Posted at 10:44 AM

June 27

WILLOW CREEK LEADERSHIP SUMMIT AUG. 11-13 [Brian Brown]

The announcement on the home page of the Noroton Presbyterian Church in Darien says it all:

The Willow Creek Leadership Summit, August 11-13, 2005

You are invited to "step up to the next level" by attending the Willow Creek Leadership Summit. Gather with 50,000 Christian leaders via satellite to recalibrate, recommit, and renew your passion to “lead with all diligence”. Featured speakers include: Bill Hybels of Willow Creek Community Church; Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Life; Ken Blanchard, author of The One Minute Manager; Colleen Barrett, President of Southwest Airlines; Jack Groppel, expert on stress and human performance along with a host of well known pastors and leadership speakers. To register for this event, click here. For more information go to: click here

Connecticut is fortunate to have two locations where state residents can participate in this important event, hosted by the famous Willow Creek Church and featuring some of the most popular evangelical speakers in the country. In addition to Noroton Presbyterian, state residents can also attend the Leadership Summit at First Cathedral in Bloomfield (click here and scroll down to #93 to register for Bloomfield).

With the passage of same-sex civil unions in Connecticut, leadership from the state’s pro-family citizens has never been more urgently needed. The Willow Creek Leadership Summit is a wonderful opportunity for us to “recalibrate, recommit and renew” our passion for reclaiming Connecticut. FIC encourages as many of its supporters as possible to attend this timely event.

Posted at 4:11 PM

FIC SUPPORTER GETS RESULTS [Peter Wolfgang]

On June 17th Brian posted a letter-to-the-editor that I submitted to the Courant a week earlier in response to a pro same-sex “marriage” op-ed that appeared in its pages, a letter which the paper had not published. In an e-mail alert, Brian told you, our supporters, that we would bring our pro-family message directly to you whenever the Courant censors us.

What happened next is a testament to how important your voice is. An FIC supporter called the editor of the Courant’s editorial page and complained that there was no response to the pro-same sex “marriage” opinion piece. The editor told her none had been received. She e-mailed him proof that my letter had been received by the Courant. I then received an e-mail from another editor saying that his supervisor had been contacted by our supporter about my letter, that he had initially “lost it,” but that it would be published. The editor kept his word — the letter was published on Saturday.

Never think that you do not make a difference. It is because of the willingness of that one supporter to make a few phone calls that the Courant’s readers could read FIC’s pro-family response. It is because of the work, faith and generosity of you, our supporters, that the pro-family cause has made it this far in Connecticut. And whether or not we can reclaim Connecticut in 2006 for marriage protection — and reverse the attacks on the family that our state has recently suffered — will depend on you.

Thank you, to the supporter who called the Courant and to all of you who make our work possible. Let us never forget that the pro-family cause can succeed in Connecticut — if we are willing to do our part to make it happen.

Posted at 3:25 PM

ANOTHER CHURCH QUITS THE UCC [Brian Brown]

Another church has voted to leave the United Church of Christ, in part, because of the denominational leadership’s support for same-sex “marriage,” according to a front-page article in today’s Waterbury Republican-American:

TORRINGTON — First Congregational Church in West Torrington voted Sunday to quit the embattled United Church of Christ, citing disagreements with the denomination's liberal stance on sexuality.

At an hour-long meeting that followed its Sunday service, church members voted 31 to 4 to leave the denomination as of Oct. 1, ending months of study and debate…

First Congregational becomes the fourth parish in the state church's Valley-Northwest District to quit the denomination in less than a year. The others include Winsted Church of Christ, Northfield Congregational Church in Litchfield and Beacon Falls Congregational Church, formerly known as the United Church of Beacon Falls.

All the churches have left because of state and national convention votes that endorse same-sex marriage, ordination of actively gay homosexuals and other liberal views. Recently the United Church of Christ ran a nationwide series of television advertisements depicting two bouncers who blocked minorities, including homosexuals, from worship at other unspecified churches…

[Tina] Maccalous, [a church deacon,] said she's not sure how the denomination will react to this latest defection. "I hope they will realize how the churches feel and make changes. I'd like to see them turn themselves around," she said.

The four Congregational parishes in the state’s northwest corner are not the only Connecticut churches to leave the UCC because of the leadership’s support for same-sex “marriage.” Other parishes such as First Church of Wethersfield — one of the largest and oldest churches in New England — have also quit the denomination.

FIC joins Deacon Maccalous in her hope that the UCC’s leaders will “turn themselves around” and return to the bedrock values of faith and family. But the UCC is one of the most powerful pro same-sex “marriage” lobbies at our state capitol — and one of the founding members of the Love Makes A Family coalition. Despite the growing number of churches that have quit the denomination, the UCC’s leaders are not likely to cease their attacks on the family any time soon.

Posted at 2:43 PM

INDOCTRINATING KIDS WITH SAME-SEX “MARRIAGE” AGENDA [Peter Wolfgang]

The Danbury News-Times has an article in today’s paper encouraging parents to buy a children’s book promoting same-sex “marriage:”

In 1998, two male penguins from the Central Park Zoo met, became inseparable and showed a desire to become parents.

The penguins, Roy and Silo, inspired a children's book, "And Tango Makes Three," published by Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing.

Some local parents and educators think the book could be a valuable tool for teaching children about same-sex couples.

The zoo keeper’s belief that the penguins “showed a desire to become parents” was based on the observation that they made a nest and defended it. It is a sign of the desperation of same-sex “marriage” proponents that they would seize on evidence as weak as this to support a redefinition of marriage that runs counter to history, logic, faith, social science data and common sense.

In the space of about 600 words the article manages to quote five people that support giving the book to children. No alternative view — not a single person who would dispute the wisdom of teaching children that same-sex “marriage” is a good or morally neutral thing — is quoted. Instead, the reader sees only comments like this:

Rhonda Woods of New Milford thinks the book could be beneficial to parents in discussing same-sex couples with their children.

"Any book that would bring a sensitive issue down to a child's level I think is a good thing," Woods said.

The issue of same-sex couples is something parents have to deal with, she said.

"My daughter has in her class parents that are of the same sex," Woods said.

Her daughter, 10, has asked her mother about the couple…

Psychologist Irwin Sollinger of Westport said as children's sexual curiosity peaks earlier and earlier, questions about sexuality need to be addressed and the book is "a wonderful way of doing it. It can only be helpful."

“It can only be helpful.” Who would disagree? In fact, almost everyone would disagree. But the Danbury News-Times would prefer that you not know that.

Posted at 12:29 PM

June 24

HOMESCHOOLERS: THE NEXT TARGET ON THE ANTI-FAMILY HIT LIST? [Brian Brown]

Marriage, unborn children, embryonic human beings, the terminally ill and youth abstinence were all victims of this year’s legislative session. As if that were not bad enough, it now seems that the state’s anti-family elites may have discovered a new target: homeschoolers.

The state’s Commissioner of Education has asked Atty. Gen. Blumenthal for a legal opinion “interpreting” Connecticut’s homeschooling law. Homeschoolers have reason to believe that this is the opening shot in a campaign by the state to exercise greater control over them. That — plus concerns over how they are presently treated — are causing them to get active, according to an article in yesterday’s Connecticut Post:

HARTFORD — The governor's office fielded about 60 phone calls Wednesday from homeschoolers unhappy with the way local school officials are treating them.

The call-in, orchestrated by a national home education association with Connecticut roots, asked Gov. M. Jodi Rell to direct school districts to stop requiring letters of intent from homeschoolers and eliminate misleading language in the state law that allows home schooling.

In typical fashion, the Governor is playing both ends at this early stage in the controversy:

"I can tell you that Gov. Rell fully supports the rights of parents to home school. The governor also supports [Commissioner of Education Betty J. Sternberg's] right to seek an opinion from the attorney general whenever there is a question regarding this topic," said [Rell’s spokesman]. "We are currently awaiting the decision of the attorney general."

We have been down this path with Gov. Rell before. Last December she told the New Haven Register that she did not see the need for civil unions because the concerns of its proponents had already been addressed by previous legislation. Then, in April, she signed the civil union bill, after securing an opinion from the attorney general to provide some political cover.

In light of that history, Gov. Rell’s claim that she “fully supports” homeschooling, while waiting on an opinion from the AG, lacks credibility.

Deborah Stevenson, an attorney and the director of National Home Education Legal Defense, offers further reasons for concern:

Stevenson is representing the parents of Simon Drew, a Bridgeport 10-year-old who has been homeschooled since his mom sent a certified letter to school officials on April 12. He has not been officially withdrawn from the school system because his parents won't sign the notice of intent.

Marie Drew won't sign the form because it is supposed to be voluntary and because she would be pledging to attend annual portfolio reviews she believes would be pointless.

Sternberg [the commissioner of education] has asked Attorney General Richard Blumenthal to spell out the rights of parents and responsibilities of school districts in ensuring instruction is taking place. Blumenthal has promised an opinion this summer.

Stevenson wonders how objective Blumenthal can be since, she said, it was his office that represented the state against an East Hampton home-schooling family this year.

We now live in a world where a father in Boston can spend a night in prison for trying to protect his 5-year-old son from being taught about same-sex “marriage” in his kindergarten class and a 9-year-old girl in Norwich is allowed to give a presentation to her classmates about her mother’s same-sex relationship. And those are just a few small samples of what now passes for “education” in too many of our nation’s public schools.

Given these facts, homeschooling is a natural response from concerned parents to an educational bureaucracy that seems increasingly determined to come between them and their children in order to re-program them with what it deems to be “progressive” values.

FIC fully supports homeschooling — in part, to protect those children from the coming attacks on the family in Connecticut’s public schools that Gov. Rell made possible when she signed the civil union bill. We will continue to monitor this situation.

Posted at 12:15 PM

June 23

LEGISLATIVE WRAP UP CONFERENCE [Peter Wolfgang]

“In 43 years on the air in this town, I have never seen such a mess.” That is how radio host Brad Davis described this year’s legislative session on June 14th. The occasion was a legislative wrap-up session moderated by Brad and hosted by the Yankee Institute for Public Policy at Trinity College, which sought to bring “moderate to conservative” organizations together to talk about their experiences of the session that had just ended.

I was one of ten different speakers to address the conference. We were in unanimous agreement with Brad’s opinion of the session, with several of the other speakers seconding my description of it as “the most anti-family session in recent state history.”

I began my speech by reminding the audience of all that we had accomplished prior to 2005. Four years ago, the pro same-sex “marriage” movement deliberately targeted Connecticut, viewing it as a socially-liberal “blue” state where victory would come easy. Instead, they found an energized grassroots pro-family movement made up of thousands of citizens prepared to give our state’s anti-family elites the fight of their lives.

Working with the Knights of Columbus and other groups in 2002, the Family Institute of Connecticut gathered 70,000 (the number eventually grew to 100,000) signatures calling upon our elected officials to pass a Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. It was the largest petition drive in state history.

And it had an impact. In 2003, Rep. Michael Lawlor (D-East Haven), the leading legislative proponent of same-sex “marriage,” saw his domestic partnership bill (same-sex “marriage” by a different name) go down in flames in his own Judiciary Committee, where he has served as chairman for years.

From there, the momentum kept building. In February, 2004, FIC hosted the second-largest rally in state history on the steps of the state capitol. On a freezing cold day, 6,000 pro-family state residents came together to demand that the legislature pass a DOMA. The crowd provided an excellent snapshot of the diversity of our movement. African-Americans, Hispanics, whites, Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Democrats and Republicans all united for one purpose: to protect marriage in Connecticut.

And yet, here we are. It’s 2005 and the same-sex civil union bill has been passed by the legislature and signed by Gov. Rell. What happened?

The answer, I told the conference attendees, is the 2004 election. Nationally, “values voters” were directly responsible for pro-family victories in the presidential and U.S. Senate. In Connecticut, the results were almost completely the opposite. Our opponents — who had initially been surprised by the opposition of most Connecticut residents to their agenda and the defeats they had suffered because of that opposition — understood the importance of the 2004 election. They poured an unheard-of amount of resources into the state’s 2004 races—$200,000 in just one Senate district — to elect legislators who would kowtow to their agenda.

The result was the most anti-family legislative session in recent state history.

FIC and FIC Action fought hard to make the new legislature aware of what they should have already known from the events of the previous years: the majority of state residents want to protect marriage not redefine it. In February, we commissioned a poll by Harris Interactive showing that 78% of state voters know that marriage is between a man and a woman and 76% want to let the people decide the future of marriage in a statewide referendum, rather than have it imposed on us by a legislative majority bought and paid for by the pro same-sex “marriage” lobby.

Our supporters called and e-mailed their legislators by the thousands, calling on them to let the people decide. We held several rallies at the state capitol.

The legislature responded by making a few cosmetic changes. The same-sex “marriage” bill was changed to a civil union bill and amended to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. But it was ultimately a same-sex “marriage” bill by a different name that was passed by legislators against the clear wishes of their constituents.

Indeed, in their speeches on the Senate floor, several Senators made it a point to say that they received far more correspondence from their constituents against the bill than for it — and they intend to vote for it anyway! Sen. Bill Finch (D-Bridgeport) accused his pro-family constituents of violating the separation of church and state — and claimed that the Bhagavad Gita and Buddhism are just as important to American government as the Bible! (“Surely, you’re aware of the Buddhist underpinnings of American government?” I joked to a friend during his speech.) In the House, Rep. Brendan Sharkey (D-Hamden) falsely claimed that the Catholic Church is “equally” opposed to the death penalty and same-sex “marriage” and implied that his Catholic constituents who expressed opposition to the latter but not the former are hypocrites.

I also drew my audience’s attention to the Courant’s front page photo published the day after the House vote. It showed a Franciscan Friar — calm, peaceful — reaching out to Rep. David McCluskey to make the case for marriage protection. Rep. McCluskey is shown with his arms flailing about, head in the air, eyes bulging. “I thought the good Friar was performing an exorcism,” I told them. The photo did, in all seriousness, capture the disdain with which pro same-sex “marriage” legislators treated constituents who dared to disagree with them.

That disdain continued after the vote. At Gov. Rell’s request, the Senate suspended normal procedures and rushed the bill to her so that she could sign it a few hours after the vote. The system was deliberately rigged to get the bill passed prior to our April 24th rally, which drew over 3,000 pro-family citizens to the state capitol.

Now that the bill has passed, what does the future hold for faith and family in Connecticut? Answers to that question began arriving almost immediately. Following our April 24th rally, the Courant ratcheted up the rhetoric against pro-family citizens, accusing anyone who disapproves of homosexual activity of being hate-filled and violent. The paper, meanwhile, never published a word about the death threat that was made against Conn. Catholic Conference executive director Marie Hilliard because of her opposition to the bill. The legislature refused to take up a conscience clause protecting the right of religious institutions not to be forced to endorse same-sex unions, which Rep. Lawlor denounced as “bigotry.” A school in Norwich allowed a 9-year-old girl to give a presentation to her class about her mother’s same-sex relationship and to invite the children to join a pro same-sex “marriage” group. (The news story covering the presentation quoted adults who said it was the passage of the civil union bill that convinced them to allow it.)

I mentioned the case of David Parker, the father of a 6-year old boy in Boston who spent a night in prison because he would not leave school grounds until officials promised to exclude his son from the discussions about same-sex “marriage” being conducted by the teacher in his Kindergarten class — a promise they refused to make. How long, I asked, before this happens in Connecticut?

I ended my speech by describing our plans to reclaim Connecticut in 2006. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to educate voters about the anti-family policies of this legislature. Unless the state’s voters are as educated about the threats to the family in 2006 as the nation’s voters were in 2004, it will only get worse. The attacks on faith and family that have occurred in Connecticut since the signing of the same-sex civil union bill will only be the beginning.

FIC Action has produced a voter’s guide which lists every legislator in the state and whether they voted to protect or destroy marriage in Connecticut. We intend to deliver that guide into the hands of one million state voters by Election Day, 2006.

I received a lot of positive feedback following my speech. As time goes by and civil union-inspired attacks on faith and family in Connecticut proliferate, more and more people will come to understand the anti-family nature of the present legislature and will vote their values in the next election.

Posted at 11:04 AM

June 22

APPROVE THE ABSTINENCE STUDY! [Brian Brown]

You may have heard about the recent study purporting to show that kids who pledge to remain virgins until marriage are statistically more likely to contract STDs. It’s a lie, according to an analysis from the Heritage Foundation discussed in today’s Republican-American editorial:

The Heritage report said the Ivy League sociologists "misled the press and public" with "disinformation." They manipulated the data by using the numbers from "tiny sub-groups of pledgers with higher risk behaviors. They then describe(d) the risk behaviors of these tiny groups and let the press infer that they are talking about pledgers in general."…

As Messrs. Rector and Johnson note, virginity-pledge programs have succeeded because they teach "self-restraint to youth awash in a culture of narcissism and sexual permissiveness. They have been unfairly maligned by two academics who should know better."

Programs promoting chaste lifestyles for our youth are working. When our legislature reconvenes next year it should approve a study — which the public health committee passed on this year — that might lead to greater abstinence education in Connecticut’s public schools.

Posted at 3:12 PM

June 20

GINA BARRECA ON FATHERHOOD [Brian Brown]

Is she a bigot? A homophobe? Will her fellow Courant columnists denounce her as hate-filled and violent? I am referring, of course, to Gina Barreca’s heartwarming column on fatherhood in today’s paper, wherein she makes this startling (for the Courant) observation:

Not all families are the same. I know this all too well, having heard stories of terrible times from good friends, friends who swear that all they owe their fathers is a slap in the face. And yet I have come to believe that we learn differently from the mothers and the fathers in our lives, whether we are born to them or choose them in some more deliberate manner. [emphasis added]

Fathers are not the tame creatures mothers are…If your mother teaches you how to love, then your father gives you permission to succeed; if you learn from your mother how to walk carefully around trouble, then it is from your father that you learn how to face trouble when it comes.

What a common sense observation! “We learn differently from the mothers and fathers in our lives.” It’s carefully-worded and surrounded by qualifiers, but there’s no getting around the simple truth of it.

Yet, Barreca’s oh-so-obvious point is constantly denied in the pages of the Courant by proponents of the legalization of same-sex “marriage.” Instead, they claim that what matters is having two parents, not the parents’ genders.

Why? Because to admit that children do best with both a mom and a dad is to admit that same-sex “marriage” — which will create permanent and obligatory motherlessness and fatherlessness for the children of those unions — is bad for children. Activists for the redefinition of marriage are therefore forced to deny what everyone knows to be true.

“We learn differently from the mothers and fathers in our lives.” It is a sign of the upside-down world of pro same-sex “marriage” media outlets like the Courant that Barreca’s simple affirmation of the importance of fatherhood seems so out-of-place in its pages.

Posted at 9:30 AM

June 17

“GIVE DEAR OLD TRADITIONAL DAD HIS DUE” [Peter Wolfgang]

As we head into Father’s Day weekend, National Review editor Rich Lowry notes the social disaster created by the absence of the traditional dad, as well as some attempts to address the problem:

The proportion of out-of-wedlock births rose 600 percent from 1960 to 2000, and the divorce rate more than doubled between 1965 and 1980. Roughly 24 million children now live in homes where the biological father is absent — about one out of every three children. This is a social disaster. Children need their fathers, and they need them in the home, which, as a practical matter, means their fathers have to be married to their mothers.

This is a thoroughly commonsensical notion, but so retrograde that almost no one dared utter it for a couple of decades. Not anymore. Even left-leaning intellectuals like Isabel Sawhill of The Brookings Institution and Bill Galston of the University of Maryland are forthright supporters of intact married families. But much of the Left still can't muster enthusiasm for fathers as anything other than the men who should, if circumstances warrant, be forced to make child-support payments.

To read the whole article, click here. FIC wishes a Happy Father’s Day to all the wonderful fathers who support our work!

Posted at 12:29 PM

COURANT REFUSES TO RUN FIC’S LETTER-TO-THE-EDITOR [Brian Brown]

Last week the Courant ran this op-ed by Yale law professor and pro same-sex “marriage” activist Ian Ayres, listing 5 reasons why he thinks Connecticut’s civil unions law — which has not even gone into effect yet — must be replaced by a law legalizing same-sex “marriage.” Ayres’ piece is the opening shot in the effort to destroy what little support for traditional marriage still remains in CT law. Below is the letter-to-the-editor Peter submitted to the Courant one week ago, which the paper has apparently decided not to publish:

In his Other Opinion article ("Separate, Unequal How Civil Unions Fall Short Of Marriage"), Professor Ian Ayres lists five differences between civil unions and marriages as a reason for changing civil unions to same-sex "marriage." His reasoning falls short.

Ayres complains that 16- and 17-year olds cannot enter into a same-sex civil union, while boys and girls of the same age can marry with permission of a judge or parent. He fails to realize that the distinction in our law has to do with the problem of teen pregnancy — something that should not arise in a same-sex relationship. A 16- or 17-year old should marry only for some compelling reason; there is no compelling reason for a 16- or 17-year old to enter into a civil union.

Ayres complains that the law gives justices of the peace and other officials the right to refrain from officiating at civil union ceremonies. Although I am sure he understands that there is no shortage of officials or clergy who will officiate at these ceremonies, he believes the law should require everyone else to violate their deeply held beliefs and act against conscience. It seems he has no tolerance for those who do not agree with his views.

Ayres summarily concludes, and complains, that the law does not compel employers to provide employees' same-sex civil-union partner with benefits available to spouses of married employees. He believes that changing civil unions to "marriages" under the law would make a difference. Mr. Ayres needs to reconsider his conclusion, by considering the impact of ERISA, a federal statute that governs much of the law concerning employee and spousal benefit plans and that overrides state laws.

Ayres' primary reason for changing the Connecticut law of marriage is that it would lead to "the 1,138 federal protections afforded married couples." He implies that the reason the federal government denies these protections is that State law does not currently authorize same-sex "marriage." Has he not heard of Massachusetts? Contrary to what Ayres implies, Congress is not ducking the issue behind some smokescreen, but has already confronted it directly. In 1996, it voted by six-to-one margins to limit spousal benefits to opposite-sex couples, because it believed that same-sex behavior was wrong and that same-sex legal unions would undermine the institution of marriage.

Finally, Ayres' "back-of-the bus" comments reveal the real reason underlying the quest for same-sex "marriage." The movement has little to do with rights and benefits and everything to do with affirmation — and intolerance. In order to affirm some, people like Ayres will insist on intolerance for others: namely, the great majority of people in our culture who, for the sake of Ayres’ cause, will not easily abandon tradition, faith, or reason and who will remain committed to preserving the institution of marriage from attempts to undermine it.

Posted at 11:54 AM

June 16

OUR GOVERNOR TAKES A STAND [Ken Von Kohorn]

With Governor Rell having signed the same-sex unions bill, and more recently the clone-and- kill bill, conservatives could be forgiven for wondering if there were any Republican ideals she might actually stand up for.

It turns out that, with her veto of the bill banning junk food at the public schools, it is now apparent that she indeed does have a backbone. The governor took a stand for local control of schools over state control — despite the popularity of the issue under consideration. Local school control is, of course, a thoroughly Republican concept. She should be applauded for her principled stand.

Unfortunately for Gov. Rell, this display of principle is a textbook example of too little, too late. Her betrayals of the institution of marriage and of the sanctity of human life — bedrock Republican issues — has almost certainly eviscerated whatever base of support she might have had in her own party. Meanwhile, the Left, whose allegiance she seems to have spent the majority of her time courting, doesn't need to vote for a Republican that supports Democratic issues. In the next election, they will have the opportunity to vote for the real thing.

Posted at 2:45 PM

PROTESTER “GETS IT”; COURANT COLUMNIST DOESN’T [Brian Brown]

Is Connecticut “nestled firmly in the great tradition of progressive states, secure in its smug blue-stateness” or is it “just as blighted as the rest of the country?” That is how Susan Campbell begins her column in today’s Courant. At least — in so far as Courant columnists are concerned — she gets the “smug” part right.

Campbell is confused by what she sees as a paradox. On the one hand, there are these “recent events”: a man opens fire in a Middletown court parking lot yesterday, killing his ex-wife and wounding her attorney; two men on Washington Street (not far from FIC’s office) opened fire in broad daylight yesterday; and Hartford has already experienced a 53% increase in shooting victims this year, with 79 reports of gun-related violence.

But on the other hand, our state legislators just legalized same-sex civil unions “out of a sense of fairness and what’s right” and they “ignored the Luddites” by voting to spend $100 million on stem-cell research.

We are progressive.

No, wait a minute. We are Kansas…in the middle of all this progressiveness, here we are, shooting and stabbing and punching one another in the streets, in parking lots, behind restaurants, outside elementary schools.

Campbell’s confusion is a direct result of the ideological blinders worn by so many of the Courant’s columnists and editors. They are desperate to paint Connecticut as a “progressive” state that has outgrown moral values and “the rest of the country” — or the parts where those values hold sway — as “blighted.”

But there is no contradiction between the success of the Courant’s favorite causes and the shootings on our streets. Same-sex civil unions will lead to further fatherlessness — which is already a leading indicator of youth violence. And funding the cloning and killing of human embryos for research sends the message that other persons are objects to be used or disposed of according to our desires.

The Courant likes to pretend that the work of our unrepresentative legislature reflects the moral values — or lack thereof — of our “progressive” state. But if the paper really wants to understand the message our state’s “progressive” elites are sending to its citizens, it ought to consider the words of the protester at Gov. Rell’s signing of the clone-and-kill bill yesterday:

FARMINGTON — Gov. M. Jodi Rell signed legislation committing $100 million to stem cell research Wednesday before an audience of legislators, university researchers and one protester who screamed his objections.

"Embryos are human. Embryos are alive. You cannot kill human life. I oppose this bill," the protester shouted during the public bill-signing ceremony at the University of Connecticut Health Center.

"This is a horrible thing. Embryos are alive."…

"Excuse me, this is a travesty. This is not a happy moment," the man shouted. He left without incident after briefly speaking with UConn police. As he left, he repeated in a softer voice, "This is a travesty."

The protester is right. And the travesties being perpetrated at our state capitol and advocated on the pages of our local paper are of a piece with the travesties occurring on our streets.

Instead of condescending to those “red states” whose legislatures defend traditional morality, the Courant’s editors and columnists should try to learn from them. After all, Connecticut’s elites could do worse — and have.

Posted at 1:58 PM

June 15

STUDYING OUR SWEDES [Peter Wolfgang]

The sociologist Peter Berger once had an interesting observation about the academic study of religion in America. India, Berger noted, is the most religious country in the world. Sweden, meanwhile, is the least religious country in the world. And America, Berger said, is a country of Indians ruled by Swedes — that is, a country whose population registers high levels of religious belief but whose elites are deeply hostile to those beliefs. Why then, Berger asked, does the academic study of religious people often make them sound like some alien culture? The vast majority of the country is made up of believers while the secularists are a tiny minority. Shouldn’t someone conduct studies to explain those secular professors to the rest of us?

According to today’s Courant, it looks like someone will:

A new program at Trinity College, the Institute for the Study of Secularism and Culture, will begin in July to delve into the struggle between religious and secular values in society. It is believed to be the first academic institute devoted to the study of the history and development of secular values…

Secularism demands further study, [Barry] Kosmin [the institute’s director] said Tuesday, because it underlies intense public debate, but is not well understood…

The political and social impact of secularists is felt in a variety of ways, particularly in the battles over abortion, stem cell research, teaching of creationism and right-to-die issues, [Mark] Silk [director of the program overseeing the institute] said. "One thing we do know is that people who fit this category tend to be Democratic voters, where people who report frequent church attendance tend to be Republicans."

The founding of the institute was partly inspired by a study showing an increase in secularism among the young and males. We wish it well, though Silk’s closing comment does not inspire confidence. He mentions the agreement of the “religious right” that the government should not “mandate evangelical Protestantism” to illustrate the point that even “intensely religious people” take secular values for granted. Maybe or maybe not, but the belief that the government should not mandate a particular faith originated with the Anabaptist wing of the Reformation. In other words, Christians believe in Silk’s supposed “secular principle” not because they are secular, but because they are Christian.

Posted at 11:01 AM

June 14

THE POPE AND THE PARK; MCGIVNEY AND WATERBURY [Peter Wolfgang]

The recent death of Pope John Paul II has spurred efforts to name a few public places in his honor. The ACLU is not happy about it according to an editorial in the Waterbury Sunday Republican (whose online version, unfortunately, is missing the first paragraph). Given the examples cited by the Republican, it’s hard not to read the ACLU’s opposition as anything but spite towards the late Pope, an implacable foe of such favorite ACLU causes as abortion and same-sex “marriage:”

Waterbury has a large statue of Father Michael J. McGivney in a small park on Grand Street. As much as the ACLU believes such Christian symbols are coercive, the presence of Father McGivney's bronze likeness on the same street as City Hall did little to instill the Christian values of honesty and virtue into the nefarious mayors who have served since the statue took up residence on public property in 1957. And where was the ACLU when thousands of communities across America were naming schools, buildings, streets and other government-supported infrastructure after the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.? The Rev. Dr. King was a Baptist minister who was instrumental in reshaping the institutions of government to conform to Christian values. The same scripture that moved the Rev. Dr. King to fight racial injustice inspired Father McGivney to found the Knights of Columbus and countless other clerics to social and political activism.

John Paul II contributed to this evolution, too. Though his effect on government policy in America may never be fully known or appreciated, it's clear that a lot of Americans have no qualms about honoring his memory.

Posted at 9:05 AM

June 13

OLD SCENARIO AT THE CAPITOL [Brian Brown]

The Courant ran a front page story yesterday reviewing the legislative “accomplishments” of the session that just ended. The article makes a brief mention of the legislature’s attacks on the family before quickly moving on to other topics:

Some of the accomplishments made national news, such as civil unions for same-sex couples and a $100 million commitment to stem cell research.

Despite opposition from the Catholic Church and the conservative Family Institute of Connecticut, Gov. M. Jodi Rell, a Republican, endorsed both measures, easing the way for passage.

One thing that is not a “new scenario” at the capitol is the state GOP’s betrayal of the pro-family movement. There are, of course, good people working within both parties to try to make them more family-friendly — Democrat Rep. David Aldarondo of Waterbury and Republican Rep. Bill Hamzy of Bristol come immediately to mind.

But it is the capture of Connecticut’s Republican Party by the state’s hardcore social left that is particularly puzzling. Nationally, the GOP supports the pro-family movement — and that support secured their presidential and U.S. Senate victories last year. Statewide, the GOP has a governor who signed the same-sex civil union bill and a party apparatus that honors a major pro-abortion activist — and their electoral victories continue to dwindle.

In fact, the state GOP’s electoral misfortunes make perfect sense. Voters who like the CT GOP’s support for abortion and civil unions might still vote Democrat on the not-implausible theory that the Democrats would be even more supportive. Pro-family voters, meanwhile, might sit home on Election Day rather than vote for a party that supports killing the unborn and undermining the institution of marriage.

The CT GOP has a lot to gain by changing course. Those pro-family supporters sitting out Election Day are just waiting for someone to appeal to them. The state’s Republicans, meanwhile, can’t do much worse, politically. So, what do they have to lose? When are they going to wake up and smell the votes?

Posted at 11:38 AM

June 10

CT REPUBLICANS AWARD PRO-ABORTION LEADER [Peter Wolfgang]

According to a June 4th article in the Journal Inquirer, Gov. Rell is “pleased” that the state’s Republicans are honoring Jennifer Blei Stockman, a co-chair of the pro-abortion group “Republican Majority for Choice.” Stockman, who will be given an award named after President Bush’s grandfather,

led a grassroots movement last month to defeat the president's nomination of William Pryor to the federal appeals court.

Her partner in opposing the Texas judge was Patrick Guerriero, president of the Log Cabin Republicans, an organization that supports the rights of homosexuals.

Moreover, Stockman, who often is quoted in national news stories and regularly offers her own news commentaries, has been a frequent thorn in the side of the religious right courted by the Bush administration.

Prior to the election that religious conservatives helped Bush win last year, for example, she scolded "pragmatic Republican leaders" for allowing "an extreme religious right fact of the party to play bullyboy within our ranks."

But Gov. Rell is described as believing that Stockman is “entirely deserving” of the award. "I just know that Jennifer is one of the hardest-working people to bring what I would call a more moderate blend to the Republican Party," the governor said.

The article focuses on whether the award is an embarrassment to President Bush. The real story, though, is the embarrassment that Connecticut’s Republican Party is to Connecticut.

Posted at 3:22 PM

CONSCIENCE CLAUSE FAILS [Peter Wolfgang]

There was one last “capitol disgrace” as this session came to end. The legislature refused to pass the conscience clause (see my June 6th and June 8th blogs). Here is how the Courant reports on our state government’s refusal to protect religious liberty:

The more controversial of the two [landmark labor bills] — the so-called pay-or-play health care bill — survived numerous changes and months of committee meetings. The Catholic Church piggybacked on it as a way to get out from under Connecticut's civil union legislation. But the bill failed to garner enough support…

Adding to the bill's woes was a last-minute amendment aimed at watering down the landmark civil union legislation passed this year. The amendment, sought by the Connecticut Catholic Conference, would have exempted religious organizations from having to extend benefits to the domestic partners of their employees.

"I'm sure we have homosexuals working in our archdiocese here and around the whole country," said Deacon David Reynolds, legislative liaison of the Connecticut Catholic Conference.

"But if we're forced to provide benefits to people in those relationships, we're being forced financially to support something we don't believe in. We're looking for a very clear protection, not out of cruelty to people, but as a practice of our faith," he said.

The controversy raised by the domestic-partner amendment, coupled with the opposition from the business community, put the brakes on the bill.

"People didn't want to bring the civil union stuff back on the debate floor," explained [Beverly] Brakeman. "That wasn't the only issue in this bill, but it was a big one."

Posted at 2:53 PM

WE COULDN’T AGREE MORE [Peter Wolfgang]

“Capitol disgrace” is the title of the Waterbury Republican-American’s lead editorial today, reviewing the wreckage left behind by the 2005 legislative session:

The 2005 legislative session was the most dismal in memory for what lawmakers and Gov. M. Jodi Rell did and didn't do.

It will be remembered most for sanctioning homosexual marriage with a bill that was so dishonest that lawmakers had to give it an alias: civil unions. Homosexuals got all the rights of married couples, while the tatters of civilization's bedrock institution were meaninglessly reserved for one man and one woman.

The odor of rotting fish (from the red herring family) permeated the Capitol when lawmakers earmarked $100 million for embryonic stem-cell research. Normally, virulently anti-business and rabidly pro-abortion Democrats tax and regulate Connecticut companies punitively. But they sounded like Reagan Republicans in hailing this "pro-business bill" that advances the culture of death…

Overall, a pretty disgraceful performance by the governor and the legislature.

Posted at 2:27 PM

June 9

ELECTRIC DRUM [Peter Wolfgang]

I had my first debate with Anne Stanback, head of “Love Makes A Family,” yesterday. Our conversation will be aired on the radio this Saturday at 9:00 AM on WYBC, 94.3 FM on a program called “Electric Drum.” The moderator was fair and balanced and my opponent was friendly and intelligent — albeit for a bad cause. The station broadcasts out of New Haven. Do give it a listen, won’t you?

Posted at 3:53 PM

June 8

PRO SAME-SEX “MARRIAGE” LEADER CALLS RELIGIOUS LIBERTY “BIGOTRY” [Peter Wolfgang]

The New Haven Advocate recently ran a story praising the news coverage on some local blogs. I have to concur in the case of www.ctnewsjunkie.com; the blog is covering stories that the state’s mainstream media (MSM) are missing.

True, the blog is run by a former Hartford Advocate reporter and so the news is, alas, written from the same tired left-of-center perspective as most of the state’s daily papers. The story on the effort to pass a conscience clause to protect the state’s religious institutions from being forced to endorse same-sex civil unions, for instance, is headlined “A Last Gasp.” “For Dr. Marie Hilliard, executive director of the Connecticut Catholic Conference,” writes ctnewsjunkie’s Dan Levine, “the issue is one of entitlement.” No, actually, the issue is one of protecting the religious liberty that Connecticut’s pro-family community enjoyed until the civil union bill was passed. Levine also makes Marie respond to the usual inane questions about why the Church “is still devoting time to civil unions” instead of helping the poor, etc.

But Marie’s response is excellent and Levine gives it more space than it probably would have received in one of the state’s dailies. And he covered an enormously important matter that has been ignored by the state’s MSM, including the true feelings of pro same-sex “marriage” leaders who used to say that civil unions would not be used to attack the churches:

But [Marie] does cite the need to protect the rights of Knights of Columbus halls, for example, to refuse their space to same sex marriages. And to [state Rep. Michael] Lawlor [D-East Haven], that restriction would be legislating “bigotry.”

“This is a pathetic attempt to have another discussion about this bigotry. Now this is pure bigotry,” Lawlor said, “and we don’t want to rent our hall to that.”

And so, thanks to ctnewsjunkie, the cat is out of the bag. For years, Rep. Lawlor claimed that his only concern was “civil,” not “religious” marriage — and that a civil union/same-sex “marriage” bill would not adversely impact religious freedom. But now, with his civil union bill passed, Rep. Lawlor comes out in favor of forcing the Knights of Columbus to rent their halls to same-sex “weddings” against their will.

And Rep. Lawlor favors this in the name of “civil rights.” Thanks to the passage of same-sex civil unions, the “newspeak” of George Orwell’s 1984 has truly arrived in Connecticut.

Posted at 3:33

June 7

LESLIE’S OP-ED AND JOHN CURRIE’S HYPOCRISY [Peter Wolfgang]

Last week, the Courant published the best op-ed on same-sex civil unions that I have seen in its pages. And I would think so even if the author was not my wife. Here is the excerpt that was posted at marriagedebate.com:

CIVIL UNIONS DISMISS FATHERHOOD: Leslie K. Wolfgang

"Our government is the potent, the omnipresent teacher. For good or for ill, it teaches the whole people by its example," Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis famously wrote in 1928. By creating civil unions, the state now teaches that families with and without fathers are equally good. There have always been successful, loving families without fathers, but now the law tells us that men have nothing unique or special to offer that is worthy of encouragement, enforcement and protection by our society.

Some may applaud this as progressive and an example of our Yankee intellectual superiority, but I think it is a travesty for women and children who are already financially, physically and mentally struggling without a husband or father. Motherhood comes naturally, but fatherhood must be nurtured and supported by society. ...

Not only will there be fewer fathers if the state succumbs to gender relativism, but replacing fathers with legions of lesbians is not proved to be good for children. And "proved to be good for children" is the standard we should have used before creating civil unions. According to the Institute for Marriage and Public Policy, the long-term social science research regarding children raised in same-gender households is nonexistent or flawed, suffering from misrepresentative samples, non-standard measures and self-reporting.

The Courant published one letter in response to Leslie, which appeared in its Sunday edition. “I write as a father and a lawyer in response to Leslie K. Wolfgang,” claims the author, John K. Currie. “I also write as a non-gay male.” It is as a father/lawyer/non-gay male, you see, that Currie falsely accuses Leslie of misrepresenting a study (“As a lawyer, she should be ashamed”) and reveals what he believes to be a scoop:

It might be that Leslie Wolfgang's view is more understandable when we learn that her husband, Peter Wolfgang, is director of public policy for the Family Institute of Connecticut.

In fact, Leslie disclosed to the Courant her relationship to me before the paper decided to run her op-ed.

And if there is anyone here who is not forthcoming about his identity, it is John Currie. Currie is not merely a “father/lawyer/non-gay male” who just happens to object to Leslie’s column. He is one of the most active pro same-sex “marriage” proponents in Connecticut. A member of Hartford PFLAG, (“Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays”), Currie is frequently quoted in the local press on how his son’s homosexuality led to his support for same-sex “marriage.” According to the website of the Connecticut Civil Liberties Union, Currie was present at a meeting that led to a pro-civil union editorial from the Courant in 2002:

At this time, we [the CCLU] went with Anne Stanback, President of LMF [Love Makes a Family] and John Currie from Hartford PFLAG, to meet with the Hartford Courant Editorial Board. They published an editorial in support of civil union.

And it was Currie who filed a complaint against the Family Institute of Connecticut Action Committee last year — a bogus complaint that the Elections Enforcement Commission unanimously voted to dismiss.

It is Currie who “should be ashamed” — his letter is as bogus as his Elections complaint. His deception is another example of pro same-sex “marriage” activists attempting to portray themselves as mainstream by withholding the truth, suppressing the facts, and unfairly slandering their opponents.

Posted at 1:44 PM

June 6

BREAKING…LEGISLATURE THREATENS RELIGIOUS LIBERTY, CATHOLIC CONFERENCE RECEIVES DEATH THREAT [Peter Wolfgang]

FIC received the following e-mail alert a few hours ago from our friends at the Connecticut Catholic Conference:

Connecticut Catholic Conference ALERT

THE CONNECTICUT LEGISLATURE WILL FORCE CATHOLIC PARISHIONERS TO PAY FOR BENEFITS OF CIVIL UNION PARTNERS OF CATHOLIC CHURCH EMPLOYEES; YOUR REPRESENTATIVES VOTED AGAINST CONSCIENCE PROTECTIONS. ONLY SEVERAL DAYS REMAIN TO RESTORE RELIGIOUS LIBERTY IN CONNECTICUT

When the vote for civil unions occurred key legislators said this is a civil liberties issue. What about religious civil liberties? Religious employers (such as the Archdiocese of Hartford or Catholic Charities) would be forced to recognize civil union partners and provide employee benefits. Halls would have to be rented to civil union functions.

Key supporters of civil unions stated that opponents were driven by hate and bigotry.

During the vote for legal recognition of civil unions in the Senate, the Catholic Church's chief representative was sitting in the Senate gallery being guarded by authorities due to the death threat she received for opposing legal recognition of civil unions. Where is the justice?

PLEASE, as soon as possible, call the following key legislators stating:

Religious liberty is why our ancestors came to America. Church affiliated employers and businesses have the right to refuse to endorse civil unions through benefit packages for civil union partners of employees. Religiously affiliated halls should not have to host civil union ceremonies. State law should be made clear on this religious freedom issue.

PLEASE CALL THE FOLLOWING LEGISLATORS AND LT GOV SULLIVAN TODAY

Senate President Don Williams 860-774-0164; Majority Leader Sen. Martin Looney 203-468-8829; Senator Andrew McDonald 203-348-7439.

Speaker Jim Amann 203-783-1910; Minority Leader Rep. Bob Ward 203-484-0339; Rep. Mike Lawlor 203-469-9725.

Lt. Gov. Kevin Sullivan 860-524-7384.

This is just one more prediction made by FIC about a post-civil unions future coming true. We warned that if civil union/same-sex “marriage” was passed, it would impact family life curriculum in public schools in ways that parents would have little control over — and in the article mentioned in my May 27th blog, people cited the new law as a reason for teaching 9-year-olds in Norwich about homosexuality. We warned that if the bill was passed it would lead to attacks on religious freedom — and the alert above shows that the legislature voted against an attempt to protect the rights of religious believers.

Note in particular that the CT Catholic Conference has gone public with this shocking piece of information:

During the vote for legal recognition of civil unions in the Senate, the Catholic Church's chief representative was sitting in the Senate gallery being guarded by authorities due to the death threat she received for opposing legal recognition of civil unions.

FIC has learned that the threat was made about two months ago — and that a suspect was arrested. Being guarded by the authorities was just one of several precautions that the state had to take in order to protect the Catholic official who received the death threat. The threat was similar in nature to the hate mail FIC receives regularly from same-sex “marriage” supporters.

We have heard that one of the local network affiliates, most likely Channel 3, ran one brief story about it. Yet an internet search turned up nothing about the threat or the arrest. Imagine if it had been reversed — if an opponent of same-sex “marriage” was suspected of making a death threat against the chief representative of a pro same-sex “marriage” group. The media coverage would have been endless. Instead, the Courant ignores a death threat against the chief representative of the Catholic Church at the very same time it was publishing columns accusing the pro-family movement of being hate-filled and violent.

We are accustomed to the hypocrisy of our opponents, but familiarity need not breed passivity. FIC urges all its followers, regardless of denominational affiliation, to call the legislators listed above and ask them to vote for the conscience clause. We will keep you updated on the death threat made against the Catholic official as more information becomes available.

Posted at 3:21 PM

CLONE AND KILL BILL PASSED BY CONNECTICUT LEGISLATURE [Brian Brown]

Last week, the Connecticut General Assembly passed a bill to spend $100 million of your tax dollars to clone and kill human embryos in order to experiment on their stem cells. This is how the Hartford Courant describes the debate in our state’s legislature:

In nearly four hours of debate, the House took up moral and scientific questions about embryonic stem cell research that were ignored by the Senate before its passage of the bill last week [emphasis added].

Many long-time insiders at the state capitol have privately described the 2005 legislative session as the worst they have ever experienced. Pro-family advocates can only nod in agreement, with our goals having borne the brunt of a General Assembly seemingly hell-bent on bucking the national trend toward increased support for traditional values: same-sex civil unions, parental notification for minors’ abortions, abstinence education, assisted suicide — in each of these instances we faced a legislature determined to make our state even more hostile to the traditional family.

And yet, even at this late date, it shocks the conscience to know that our state Senate voted to clone and kill human beings in order to experiment on their genetic material — without even discussing the moral implications! Truly, we have entered a “Brave New Connecticut.”

Why, then, did the legislature choose to cross this ethical line? It is claimed that the days-old human embryos whose destruction is required by this research would otherwise be discarded by fertility clinics. By that logic, it would be acceptable to experiment on terminally ill children — they are going to die anyway.

The true motivation for this travesty is economic. It is not about curing diseases. The only medical breakthroughs thus far have come from adult, not embryonic stem cell research — which is why private funding for the latter is hard to come by. No, this bill is really about “bricks and mortar” as the president of CURE, an economic development group, stated repeatedly at the Jan. 31st public hearing.

But as the Courant noted in another article, “The immediate economic development impact of stem cell research will be minimal for now.” Instead, those taxpayer-funded “bricks and mortar” will be going to one of the nation’s most heavily-endowed universities. According to the Courant, “Connecticut’s 10-year, $100 million commitment” to fund the cloning and killing of human embryos “will help Yale University attract a new director and pay for equipment for its planned stem cell research program.”

The rationales offered by our state legislature to defend this travesty — scientific, economic and moral — are a farce. Scientifically, adult stem cells have shown more promise than embryonic stem cells. Economically, this bill is a boondoggle for a few elite universities, not the taxpayers. And if this legislature cared about morality, it would have heeded the words of Rep. Selim Noujaim’s daughter, Bridget, who suffers from myasthenia gravis: “I don’t want you to kill a life to save my life.”

Posted at 11:51 AM

May 27

USING CHILDREN AS POLITICAL PROPS [Peter Wolfgang]

As Brian notes below, the pro same-sex “marriage” agenda has made major inroads in our public schools, in part because — in many schools — the kids are exposed only to the propaganda of our opponents. And of all the strategies employed by the pro same-sex “marriage” movement to further its agenda, their willingness to exploit their own children in order to score political points is surely among the worst. Here are the lead paragraphs of an article in the New London Day today:

Norwich — When a student at John M. Moriarty School addressed her classmates Wednesday morning, they had questions — lots of questions. Classmates could ask only three in class, but curiosity about what she said had them following her into the hallway afterward.

Nine-year-old Victoria had told her classmates that her mother, Heather Ruley, who goes by her maiden name, is homosexual.

“(My classmates) were supporting me, and my teacher said I was very brave to do that,” she said.

In the same breath as her revelation, she also announced that the two of them are starting a new chapter of Children of Lesbians and Gays Everywhere (COLAGE) for southeastern Connecticut and western Rhode Island communities.

She invited everyone to join them in celebrating the chapter's grand opening at the United Methodist Church in Versailles on June 5.

Ruley said she was proud of her daughter for bringing their personal lives into the public sphere.

And here’s my reaction, representing a point of view those children are unlikely to ever hear in their public schools, save perhaps as an object of derision:

The welfare of children in same-sex households is a great cause of concern, especially during the increased political controversy surrounding civil unions, said Peter Wolfgang, director of public policy for the Family Institute of Connecticut.

Wolfgang said the framing of the ongoing debate is itself damning evidence that children of same-sex couples have an emotional disadvantage compared to those of heterosexual households.

“One of our main arguments against same-sex marriage is that children do best in households with both a mom and a dad,” Wolfgang said.

“Is the average 9-year-old really that focused on how their parents' marriage is doing?” he continued. When children have testified before legislators, he said, “It looks like these kids are coached.”

Our opponents believe that using their own children as political props will detract from the fact that children do best with both a mom and a dad. Instead, they are helping to prove our point.

Posted at 11:11 AM

DEBATE AT GLASTONBURY HIGH [Brian Brown]

Earlier this week I debated Anne Stanback, head of Love Makes A Family, before an audience of 450 students at Glastonbury High School. This event marks the beginning of the Family Institute of Connecticut’s youth outreach program and, as such, I wanted to share with you some of what I experienced.

You may be familiar with the intellectual climate at certain college campuses, where the free exchange of ideas has been stifled by a politically correct elite that shouts down anyone who dares to disagree with them. That cancer has also infected our high schools, I discovered, when one girl stood up and interrupted the debate. “You’re a bigot, Mr. Brown,” she said. “Why don’t you join the KKK?”

What, you may wonder, had I said that so provoked the young lady? In fact, her outburst came I was just starting to speak. My opening statement covers the social science explaining why children do best with both a mom and dad. And for this, I was shouted down.

Throughout the debate I laid out a positive case for marriage between a man and a woman and why the institution should be protected instead of being redefined. The reactions to my pro-family message illustrate how far the pro same-sex “marriage” agenda has advanced in our schools.

After the debate I was approached by two different groups of students. The first group shared our goal of protecting the traditional family. They described to me how much they had been belittled by classmates and teachers for holding traditional views on issues like homosexuality and marriage. “Our opinion means nothing here [Glastonbury High],” they told me.

The second group supported the legalization of same-sex “marriage.” It was a largely civil discussion. But, while the first group gathered spontaneously because they agreed with my message, this second group was clearly organized. The questions they asked me seemed to have been spoon-fed by Love Makes A Family — it was all their usual lines. It was amazing to see how deeply their agenda and the language they use to promote it (“bigotry,” etc.) has taken root in our schools.

And not just among the students. Even the questions from the teachers showed an anti-Christian bias. Responding to the bogus accusation of bigotry, I discussed the strong opposition to same-sex “marriage” among African-Americans and Hispanics, communities who understand what it means to face true bigotry. “Isn’t that just because they’re more religious?” a teacher asked me, as if that somehow means that their opposition does not count.

We want to continue to do this. The Family Institute of Connecticut wants to bring its pro-family message into the schools where we are invited.

We also want to reach our youth in those places where we are not invited. As this article from the Connecticut Post shows, there are many places in Connecticut where, unlike Glastonbury High, the youth are only being exposed to one side of the story — the propaganda of our opponents. Whenever an event like the one described in the Post article is held, both sides of the issue should be presented.

The youth are our future and we have big plans to reach them. But to make it happen, we need your financial support. You can make a donation to FIC’s youth outreach program by clicking here.

Bringing the truth of the pro-family message to our youth is one of the best ways to create a Connecticut for our children and grandchildren that protects marriage and the family. We are deeply grateful for your help in this urgent endeavor.

Posted at 10:44 AM

May 26

BREAKING…STATE SENATE APPROVES CLONE AND KILL BILL [Peter Wolfgang]

The Senate today, by a vote of 31-3, approved a bill to spend $100 million of your tax money over the next 10 years to clone and kill human embryos in order to experiment on their stem cells. You can read about it here.

Sources say the Senate may suspend normal procedures — as they did with the same-sex civil union bill — in order to speed the bill’s passage. In this instance, that means the House may vote on the bill as early as tomorrow. Gov. Rell has been described in media accounts as “passionately” in favor of the research that would be made possible by the cloning and killing of human embryos.

Please call your state Representative (Republicans can be reached at (800) 842-1423 and Democrats at (800) 842-1902) and ask them to vote NO on S.B. 934. Our legislature has already made one horrible mistake this session with the passage of civil unions. We have perhaps just 24 hours or less to stop them from making another one.

Posted at 4:51 PM

PRO SAME-SEX “MARRIAGE” DENOMINATION LOSES ANOTHER PARISH [Peter Wolfgang]

The leadership of the United Church of Christ (UCC) and those members who agree with its pro same-sex “marriage” position describe themselves as “open and affirming.” Indeed, they are so “open and affirming” — in their own minds, anyway — that they thought it was a good idea last Christmas to run TV ads criticizing churches that they deemed to be less “open and affirming” than themselves.

Well, it seems another UCC parish has joined the growing ranks of former members who do not feel affirmed by the “open and affirming.” Here’s the story, from yesterday’s Waterbury Republican-American:

Beacon Falls Congregational Church on Sunday became the latest parish to quit the United Church of Christ.

Fifty-two of the 68 members attending a special meeting voted to leave the denomination because of its liberal political agenda that includes support for same-sex marriage, partial-birth abortions and a controversial pro-gay advertising campaign.

In what must surely be an ecumenical milestone for Connecticut, the Congregational church quit its denomination, in part, because it was offended by criticism of the Pope:

"The more we looked into it [UCC positions approved by the national and state conventions], the more we didn't like," Woodward said, citing an ad campaign criticizing denominations that don't endorse homosexuality and derisive remarks by the denomination's national leader, the Rev. John Thomas, about the election of Pope Benedict XVI.

Pete Christensen, a deacon and church spokesman, said many members were so offended by Thomas' remarks that deacons considered sending a written apology to St. Michael's Catholic Church in town. "We didn't want anyone thinking, 'Hey, they don't like us Catholics,'" he said.

But, as FIC knows from its supporters who are faithful members of the UCC, it really comes down to just how out-of-touch the pro same-sex “marriage” leadership is with its members, most of whom are pro-family:

Woodward said many state conference votes also were galling.

"They'd come out with these weird resolutions and people in our congregation would say, 'Well, just ignore it,'" Woodward said. "The leadership has been asleep at the switch. They have a different agenda than the members."…

[Christensen] said the congregation voted in January to oppose same-sex marriage, which bucked the statewide conference's endorsement. That vote "woke up the sleeping beasts. Everybody started going on the Web sites and finding out where the UCC has been going in the last seven, eight years."

As the pastor of another UCC church that is considering leaving the denomination noted, the pro-family UCC churches are merely taking the leadership at their word:

Steven Darr, pastor at First Congregational in Torrington, said the Beacon Falls church was only doing what the statewide convention urged all churches to do last October when it endorsed same-sex marriage.

Part of that resolution urged churches to study and discuss the issue "and to act upon their conclusions as each congregation and/or member feels led by the Spirit so to do."

"I think there are a number of churches that are doing that," Darr said. "Can they continue to support an association that has passed this kind of resolution? It is the same process we are going through."

The former UCC churches have chosen to be “open” about their pro-family convictions. Don’t be surprised if the leadership of their former denomination is less-than-“affirming” about their choice.

Posted at 4:08 PM

May 23

COURANT BIAS CONTINUES [Peter Wolfgang]

In his May 20th blog, Brian gives a rundown of what has occurred in the month since Gov. Rell signed the same-sex civil union bill. We wanted to update you on one of the things he touched on: the Courant’s post-civil unions smear campaign against the state’s pro-family citizens.

Last month, Courant columnist Helen Ubinas smeared the 3,000 pro-family citizens who attended our rally as hateful bigots because they applauded speakers who expressed moral disapproval of homosexual activity. It was Ubinas’ attempt to equate our movement with the truly hateful Fred Phelps — something even Love Makes A Family refused to do when his followers visited our state in 2003 — that made her column a new low, and Brian responded in a letter to the editor (see his May 2nd blog).

The Courant then published a sports column by Jeff Jacobs making the same tired points Brian had already refuted — and accusing those who attended our rally of being people who “really would” hit pro same-sex “marriage” activists with baseball bats. In a May 6th blog, Brian responded to this outrageous lie by inviting our supporters to contact Courant reader representative Karen Hunter with their complaints.

Enough of you answered Brian’s call that, in a May 15th column, Ms. Hunter felt it was necessary to respond — by circling the wagons. I responded the next day by e-mailing this letter-to-the-editor:

Karen Hunter notes that supporters of the Family Institute of Connecticut “objected to being painted as violent and hate-filled” in columns about our April 24th rally by Helen Ubinas and Jeff Jacobs. She says that, while she is not defending those columnists’ views, she does defend the newspapers’ right to print those views. But she also says that accuracy is a requirement of Courant columnists. If so, those columns — particularly Jacobs’ — failed to meet the requirement.

In his May 4th sports column Jeff Jacobs says that pro same-sex “marriage” activist Marcy MacDonald “felt like someone had hit her with a baseball bat” after she swam the English Channel. Then, referring to the speakers at our rally, Jacobs writes this: “Four years later, she knows there are some people out there who really would do it.”

Where is the evidence for this outrageous claim? Jacobs offers none, other than that a few speakers expressed moral disapproval of homosexual activity. And for this they are accused of being people “who really would” hit Marcy MacDonald with a baseball bat.

Contrary to Hunter’s remarks, we do understand the distinction between a news story and a column — and Jacobs’ and Ubinas’ slurs are still inexcusable.

Peter J. Wolfgang, Director of Public Policy, Family Institute of Connecticut

A week prior to her column — the same day Brian invited our supporters to contact her — I had a phone conversation with Ms. Hunter which lasted about 30 minutes. During that conversation, it became clear that she was unaware of the letter-to-the-editor which Brian had published in the Courant and that she was hearing the offensive Jeff Jacobs quote for the first time. Even after our conversation, the column Ms. Hunter published never directly quoted the lines from Ubinas and Jacobs that concerned us. Did she bother to look into our complaints before writing her column or was her mind already made up?

Because I was trying to keep my letter close to the Courant’s 200-word limit, I omitted any mention of our conversation. Not that it mattered. The day I e-mailed my response to the Courant, Brian made a prediction. “The Courant won’t print your letter,” he told me. “They want Karen Hunter’s exoneration of the Courant to be the last word on the subject.” He was right. The paper never published my letter.

Ms. Hunter made a big deal about the distinction between news columnists and news staff and cited a single Stan Simpson column to prove a lack of bias. But stack Stan’s one or two columns expressing a socially conservative viewpoint against the scores of columns by Susan Campbell and Helen Ubinas attacking that viewpoint — an attack that is occasionally joined even by the paper’s sports and business columnists — and no reasonable person can fail to see that the vast majority of Courant commentary is slanted in one direction. (In fact, you can also add to that indictment the rotating local — not syndicated — columnists that appear regularly on the op-ed page: a lesbian poet, a liberal geology professor, etc. Yes, there is Larry Cohen. But he’s a libertarian, not a social conservative — as he would be the first to admit.)

Our voice is not represented at the Courant. There simply is no pro-life, pro-family local columnist at the Courant writing regularly from a traditional viewpoint. If there was, the paper’s pro-family readers might be less likely to see the almost-daily attacks on their beliefs as evidence of bias.

But it is this slanted worldview that causes the Courant to react to complaints of bias by denying it or hiding behind distinctions that don’t hold up. And we’re not the only ones to notice it. Here’s a letter that appeared in the Courant’s Northeast magazine yesterday:

Vicious Attack

I just finished a cryptogram in Northeast. The coded message was:

"To fundamentalists, he's king,
Creationists would kiss his ring,
Yes, welcome Holy Father, true,
Who is, of course, George W."

The author, Elliott Sperber, was quite vicious in his attacks on President Bush during the past election. That, of course, was his right. However, this new invective, I believe, crosses the line of just plain old good taste. I realize that Sperber doesn't work specifically for The Courant. But you are responsible for the content of what you print. I wonder if it reflects the attitude of your newspaper. Even though this viciousness was in coded form, it would be refreshing if your editorial staff condemned this "message" for the shrill, sanctimonious garbage that it is.

I am not a fundamentalist or a Christian, but if I was offended while solving this puzzle over my morning coffee, then I can just imagine how "people of faith" or folks who are not "left-wing bomb throwers" will react.

Your newspaper should do itself a favor and find another "cryptologist" before people equate the opinions of The Hartford Courant with those of Elliott Sperber.

Glenn Guthrie, Suffield

The writer states a simple truth that somehow managed to elude the paper’s reader representative: the Courant is responsible for the content of what it prints.

We don’t expect the Courant’s habitually hostile columnists to suddenly develop a fair and balanced viewpoint on pro-family issues. And we now know that the paper’s own reader representative is unwilling to condemn even their most inflammatory remarks.

But the Courant could do itself and its readers a world of good if it published at least one local columnist who wrote regularly from a pro-family perspective. Because, when all is said and done, we are not against Connecticut’s largest and only statewide newspaper — a paper I have been reading since I was a child. We just think that it ought to give a fair shake to those of us who dare to hold "politically incorrect" positions on the most important social questions of our time. And right now, it doesn’t.

Posted at 1:14 PM

May 20

CIVIL UNIONS: ONE MONTH LATER [Brian Brown]

One month ago today, the Connecticut General Assembly passed — and Gov. Rell signed — a bill legalizing same-sex civil unions.

The elitist enemies of the traditional family thought the battle was over in Connecticut. They thought their victory was secure and that the state’s pro-family movement would fade away.

They were wrong. And it’s driving them crazy.

Less than a week after Gov. Rell’s tragic decision to undermine marriage in Connecticut, 3,000 pro-family citizens rallied against the new law on the steps of the state capitol. They came together to declare that they would not forget this attack on marriage.

It was the first shot in the battle to reclaim Connecticut in 2006. And it did not go unnoticed.

The columnists of the Hartford Courant, in particular, responded by ratcheting up the rhetoric against pro-family citizens — accusing anyone who dared to express moral objections to homosexual activity of being motivated by hate and capable of violence. Those who heard our speakers’ message of tolerance for those with whom we disagree — and who have been on the receiving end of pro same-sex “marriage” activists’ vitriol — could only marvel at the lies being published by our state’s largest newspaper.

But the Courant’s smear campaign did not slow us down, either.

Last Friday, FIC supporters joined with hundreds at a rally to support the Connecticut Six — those brave pro-family Episcopal priests that are standing for truth. Two days later, we joined with nearly a thousand people at a Solemn Assembly organized by the Connecticut House of Prayer to ask for God’s mercy upon our state.

And yesterday in Wilton, I debated Anne Stanback — head of the organization behind the attacks on marriage in Connecticut.

I want to thank all of our supporters who turned out for our debate last night. And I want all of you to know that the Wilton debate is just one part of a larger strategy to meet our opponents wherever they have gained ground in our state and to reclaim the culture in Connecticut.

This includes the public schools.

Although the event is closed to the public, FIC supporters should know that I will soon be bringing our pro-family message to a debate with Love Makes A Family at Glastonbury High School.

Pro same-sex “marriage” activists know the youth represent the future — that’s why they relentlessly target them. FIC will do everything in its power to make sure the young people of Connecticut know that their best chance for a happy life depends upon the protection of marriage and the traditional family.

The battle to reclaim Connecticut is being fought on so many fronts: in the legislature, the courts, the media, the churches, schools and elsewhere. FIC will bring the pro-family message to all those venues.

But to do so, we need your help.

Our operation relies entirely on private donations. And we have now entered the worse time of year for our fundraising.

We proved pro same-sex “marriage” activists wrong when they said the passage of civil unions would spell the end of our movement. It would be tragic if — at this critical time when FIC is most needed — lack of funding would achieve what the civil union bill could not: the end of FIC.

As we’ve seen from the Courant’s recent columns, nothing — not even the passage of civil unions or same-sex “marriage” — is as dearly desired by the anti-family movement as an end to the organized resistance to their agenda.

The only things standing between the pro same-sex “marriage” movement and the realization of its fondest wish — an end to FIC — are you, our donors. You have always come through for us before. At this critical moment in the history of our movement, we are asking you to help us once again.

Please prayerfully consider making whatever donation you can afford to help keep the Family Institute of Connecticut, our state’s foremost protector of the family, in the fight. You can donate to FIC by clicking here. And as always, we are more grateful for your generosity than we can ever truly express.

Posted at 1:25 PM

May 19

THE BEST LEGISLATURE PRO SAME-SEX “MARRIAGE” $ CAN BUY? [Peter Wolfgang]

Our opponents like to say that the legalization of civil unions occurred democratically in CT. It is true that it was not imposed by a court (the imposition of same-sex “marriage” by the state court hearing the Kerrigan case, however, remains a live possibility).

But how “democratic,” really, was it? Consider Mary Ann Handley, for instance. Handley, the Manchester Senator (and a former professor of mine) is so pro same-sex “marriage” that she initially voted against the civil unions bill in committee because she believed it did not go far enough. She was the only member of the committee to vote with Love Makes A Family’s “all or nothing” strategy.

In an expose yesterday, the Journal Inquirer revealed the enormous extent to which Handley is awash in PAC money:

"When an opponent raises a lot of money, you really need to rely on the PACs to get the money flowing," Handley said. "It certainly was an enormous help for me to get help from our leadership."…

Leadership PACs work primarily as middlemen, leveraging huge dollars from businesses, lobbyists, and other PACs and funneling them into candidates' campaigns.

How many of those “lobbyists and other PACs” were connected to anti-traditional causes and what effect did that have on Sen. Handley’s “all or nothing” vote in the Judiciary Committee? The JI doesn’t say. But in a companion piece to the Handley article, the paper spells out what all this means for the health of CT’s representative democracy, namely that “incumbents are enjoying a 90 percent-plus re-election rate — and increasingly find themselves facing little or no opposition”:

A review of election data shows that 94 percent of incumbents in the House of Representatives who sought re-election to a two-year term were successful both in 2004 and in 2002. Ninety-seven percent won in 2000.

The numbers were even better in the Senate, where incumbents won 97 percent of the time last November, 95 percent in 2002, and 99 percent in 2000…

A more recent trend, however, is the number of legislative races that are effectively over before they even have begun.

This past November, 40 percent of the 187 legislative races — in 151 House districts and 36 Senate districts — lacked either a Democratic or Republican candidate. That meant a major-party candidate either ran unopposed or faced a minor-party opponent.

One of those two scenarios occurred in 75 out of 187 districts in 2004.

As Judge Robert Satter, author of “Under the Gold Dome: An Insider’s Look at the CT Legislature,” explained in an op-ed in the Courant last November,

This situation occurred not by chance but by design…the legislature…has become particularly adept at designing House and Senate districts so as to assure the re-election of incumbents…With the use of sophisticated computer programs, they can practically guarantee that result. Incumbents don’t just win but win with such large margins as to eliminate competition.

On the “critical question” of “what kind of a legislature results from such elections” Satter wrote last Nov. that the likely prospect

is a legislature catering to special interests because it has no fear of retribution at the polls. Legislators raise much of the money for campaigns — as much as $50,000 for a House race and $200,000 for a Senate race — from lobbyists and special-interest groups. Legislators not beholden to their constituency for retaining their seats are peculiarly susceptible to the blandishments of such lobbyists.

And that is the legislature that brought same-sex civil unions to CT, along with a governor who was never elected to the position.

Posted at 11:39 AM

May 18

GETTING “THE REST OF THE STORY” [Peter Wolfgang]

Pro-family citizens in CT know their voice will not be represented in the state’s mainstream media. With the notable exceptions of the Brad Davis radio program and the editorial page of the Waterbury Republican-American, most of the state’s elite opinion-forming institutions seem determined to push an anti-family agenda and to falsely depict opponents of that agenda as hateful bigots. This is why recent news items that reveal the pro same-sex “marriage” cause as the cultural aggression that it is — the Massachusetts father who spent a night in jail after school officials refused his request to remove his 5 year old son from classroom discussions about same-sex “marriage,” the federal court in Nebraska that struck down a marriage protection amendment passed by 70% of the voters — have not been reported in, for instance, the Hartford Courant.

But there are a few non-mainstream media outlets in CT where you can get “the rest of the story.” Hartford’s Catholic newspaper, for instance, the Catholic Transcript, had the best coverage of FIC Action’s Apr. 24th pro-family rally, including the sort of quotes by the speakers and eyewitness impressions that you will not see in the Courant. In light of events occurring since the rally, this quote, in particular, is noteworthy:

“This is not just another day,” said Dr. Hilliard. Backlash from the legislation will be felt throughout all areas of public concern such as education and public health, she said.

“As family life is restructured, people will have little to say in defense of family,” she said. “What will be taught in our public schools will be contrary to what we believe as a society.

I already mentioned the Massachusetts dad who spent a night in prison for the crime of not wanting his 5 year old to be taught about same-sex “marriage” (He refused to leave school premises until school officials promised that his son would be excused from the classroom discussion. Officials refused to give him that promise and instead had him arrested.)

But that’s not all. On Apr. 30th “a hard-core pornographic homosexual ‘how to’ booklet was given to hundreds of kids at Brookline High School” in Massachusetts. Entitled “The Little Black Book — Queer in the 21st Century” it was funded by the state’s taxpayers and several major corporations and charities. The book, aimed at middle school aged kids and older, is so explicit that we are not posting a link to it.

Our opponents like to say that Massachusetts, which legalized same-sex “marriage” one year ago yesterday, will prove to the rest of the nation that the dire predictions made by the pro-family movement were wrong. So far, though, our neighboring state is proving just the opposite. But don’t expect to read about it in the Courant.

Posted at 11:13 AM

May 17

DEBATE WITH “LOVE MAKES A FAMILY” LEADER ON MAY 19th [Brian Brown]

Last Friday, members of the Family Institute of Connecticut were proud to rally with others on the steps of the state capitol in support of the “Connecticut Six” — that handful of brave Episcopal priests who are defending Christian faith and order against their heterodox bishop. And on Sunday FIC supporters put first things first, joining with the Connecticut House of Prayer for an evening of prayer and penance at Bloomfield’s First Cathedral.

Prayer is essential and rallies are necessary. But in order to reclaim Connecticut, we must also engage the arguments of our opponents. I will be doing that this week and I would like to invite our supporters to join me.

On Thursday, May 19th at 7:30 PM, the Wilton League of Women Voters will be hosting a discussion about same-sex “marriage” and civil unions between Anne Stanback, head of Love Makes A Family, and me. The event will be held at the Wilton Library, located at 137 Old Ridgefield Road in Wilton. It is open to the public and refreshments will be served.

This will be the first debate between Anne and me since the legislature and Gov. Rell passed the same-sex civil union bill. I hope as many of you as possible can join us.

Posted at 10:27 AM

May 16

FEDERAL COURT STRIKES DOWN NEBRASKA MARRIAGE AMENDMENT [Peter Wolfgang]

Pro same-sex “marriage” activists suddenly became fans of representative democracy after our state legislature legalized civil unions. But as I noted in my May 10th blog, it was not quite the “democratic” victory that they — and others — think. And, as last week’s events in Nebraska show, democracy is not really what our opponents are about. Stanley Kurtz is on the case:

Thursday’s decision by a federal court to overturn Nebraska’s state constitutional marriage amendment is a landmark moment in the battle over same-sex marriage. For the first time, a federal court has taken this matter out of the hands of a state. A constitutional amendment passed with a 70 percent majority of Nebraska’s voters has been voided. There could be no clearer demonstration of the arrogance of activist judges. This should remind Republican senators of the urgent need to confirm the president’s nominees to the bench. And of course this decision clearly shows that, without a federal marriage amendment, same-sex marriage is destined to be imposed on the country by the courts.

To read Kurtz’ entire NRO piece, click here.

Posted at 4:45 PM

May 12

VOTE PENDING ON THE CLONE AND KILL BILL [Brian Brown]

You would think this current legislature had filled its “wreaking havoc on CT families” quota after the passage of same-sex civil unions. But you would be wrong.

According to an alert from the CT Catholic Conference, legislation endorsing and financing embryonic stem cell research will soon be voted on by the state legislature. Contrary to the title of the bill, S.B. 934 does not fully ban human cloning because it allows for the creation and destruction of human embryos up to at least eight weeks of age through research and “therapeutic” cloning. The bill also does not ban the selling of human eggs for research, which will allow for the exploitation of poor women.

Please call your State Representative and Senator and urge them to oppose this legislation. In the Senate, Republicans be reached at (800) 842-1421 and Democrats at (800) 842-1420. In the House of Representatives, Republicans can be reached at (800) 842-1423 and Democrats at (800) 842-1902.

Posted at 2:58 PM

May 11

ATTEND CT’S “SACRED ASSEMBLY” ON SUNDAY [Brian Brown]

Earlier this week we told you about a rally to be held this Friday at 11:00 AM in Hartford’s Bushnell Park to support the six pro-family Episcopal priests who have been threatened with suspension — and possible defrocking — by CT’s pro same-sex “marriage” Episcopal bishop. We encourage everyone to attend the Friday rally to support these brave priests.

But while rallies, petition drives and lobbying are essential for the protection of marriage in CT, pro-family citizens know that we will not be successful unless we turn to prayer. And with the recent passage of same-sex civil unions in CT, prayer has never been more urgently needed.

This Sunday, May 15th, from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM at the First Cathedral, 1151 Blue Hills Avenue in Bloomfield, the pro-family movement’s Christian members will gather for an evening of prayer and penance. The CT Sacred Assembly will be a time for the state’s Christians “to cross the lines of geography, race, denomination and tradition to seek God’s face, to ask Him to restrain His judgment, and, in mercy, pour out his reviving Spirit upon our land.” At the Sacred Assembly, people will worship, pray, repent personally and corporately and rededicate themselves to their faith. The evening is sponsored by the CT House of Prayer.

Between Friday’s rally to support the “CT six” and Sunday’s Sacred Assembly, this weekend marks a significant step on our way toward reclaiming CT. FIC encourages as many of its supporters as possible to attend both events.

Posted at 11:55 AM

May 10

ANGUS DWYER HAS A POINT [Peter Wolfgang]

From Mansfield Fox, the blog of Angus Dwyer, a Yale law student (scroll down to the Apr. 22nd posts):

Connecticut and Civil Unions

So my current home state approved same-sex civil unions on Wednesday, making it the first state to do so not under a court order of some kind. This is a major, though not unexpected, defeat for the forces of social conservatism, equal, I think, to the victories we had at the polls last fall.

What's astonishing, though, is how thin the discourse on this issue has been. The Marriage Debate blog has just one post on the subject, and it's a link to a news article. Ditto Family Scholars. Our conservative friends to the east, Anchor Rising and Dust in the Light mention it not at all. The big dogs in the fight, like the Corner, have been basically silent on this issue. Indeed, the only blog that seems to be covering this with any degree of thoroughness is Connecticut in the Crosshairs, the blog of the Family Institute of Connecticut ACTION group.

Now, I'm not a big "tell other people what to blog about" kind of guy, but I do think the widespread silence (including, I must say, on my part up until now) is telling of a couple of things.

Dwyer’s “couple of things” are: 1) that some conservatives have advocated civil unions as a compromise and 2) that by tying the pro-family argument “too tightly to the anti-judicial activism issue” conservatives were left “flat-footed” when CT’s pro same-sex “marriage” activists legalized civil unions through the legislature.

Though we do not share his despair about the possibility of reversing it, Dwyer is right in describing the passage of civil unions in CT as a “major defeat” for the pro-family cause. There has been a strangely muted reaction from the rest of the nation to events in CT — and not just from conservative blogs (the New York Times’ article on the passage of civil unions in CT ran on page B5).

It may be that media outlets are not buying the pro same-sex “marriage” movement’s claim about the “historical” importance of the first civil union bill to be passed without court intervention. In fact, there is a case pending in CT courts — and Gov. Rell mentioned it as one of the reasons for her unfortunate decision to sign the bill.

It must be said that National Review Online has run several substantive pieces about same-sex “marriage.” But there is some evidence for Dwyer’s concern that some conservatives can be misled by their emphasis on process. In a brief comment about CT in the May 9th print edition of National Review, the editors write that, while civil unions is a “bad idea,” they are “glad” it was enacted democratically and that “it would probably be impossible and undesirable” for a federal amendment to undo what CT’s legislators “are unwisely doing.”

Well, yes. But surely there is more to be said about what happened in CT than that? In a poll conducted by Harris Interactive, 78% of CT voters said that marriage is between one man and one woman and 76% said they wanted to vote in a referendum on the issue. The legislature ignored them. Thousands of CT’s pro-family citizens called their legislators about the bill — so many, in fact, that we shut down their switchboards for days. But several senators began their speeches by saying that, while most of their constituents opposed the bill, they will vote for it anyway. In 2004, 78% of our legislature ran for re-election unopposed or in gerrymandered districts where they won in a cakewalk. The bill, which moved through the legislature at an unbelievably quick pace, was signed hours after it was passed because Gov. Rell asked the senators to suspend the normal rules of procedure. And the most sweeping change to hit CT’s family life in decades was signed into law by a governor who was never elected to the position. In light of all this, how “democratic,” really, was the passage of civil unions in CT?

We have our work cut out for us if we want to reclaim CT, as Dwyer reminds us in a closing comment that CT’s Catholics, in particular, should take note of:

I was recently at a lecture on Catholic social teaching by one of the heads of the Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice institute in Rome, and one of the audience members made an interesting point vis a vis Connecticut: although she's one of the most Catholic states in the country, she manifests to a remarkable extent many of the ills against which Catholic social teaching warns. The state features extremes of wealth and poverty (Greenwich and Bridgeport, for instance). It's apparently one of the few states with a rising abortion rate. And now it's hopped onto the train to gay marriage. A reminder, I guess, that being "Catholic" isn't enough, and of the need for vigorous re-evangelization within the Church Herself.

Posted at 4:48 PM

May 9

DEFY THE DOUBLE STANDARD — ATTEND FRIDAY’S RALLY! [Peter Wolfgang]

(Note: On Friday at 11 a.m. in Hartford’s Bushnell Park, there will be a rally to support the six pro-family CT Episcopal priests who have been threatened by their pro same-sex “marriage” bishop. We encourage all of our supporters to attend the rally to lend their support to the hundreds of faithful Christians who are expected to be there.)

What’s wrong with this picture? In a front page, above-the-fold article in Saturday’s Courant we are told that the editor of the Jesuit magazine, America, is leaving his job “under apparent pressure from the Vatican.” The magazine is described as “influential” (twice) and the editor is credited with its “national prominence.” The liberal Catholic dissenter Rev. Richard McBrien is trotted out to assure readers that the departing editor is “mainstream,” a “centrist” and his replacement will be — you guessed it — also a “centrist.”

So why, then, was the editor supposedly forced out? It seems America had “tackled” some “hot-button issues” like “gay priests, stem cell research and denying communion to Catholic politicians who support abortion rights.” The departing editor had also made some comments against denying communion to pro-abortion politicians that put him “at odds” with then-Cardinal Ratzinger, “who enforced a hard line on church doctrine.” Indeed, the Jesuit order as a whole is described as having “questioned papal pronouncements” on some of those “hot-button issues.”

The same day this article ran in the Courant there was an article in the Waterbury Republican-American about the six Episcopal priests who have been threatened with suspension — and possible defrocking — by the Episcopal bishop of CT because they “challenged” his “support for gay clergy, a gay bishop and same-sex unions.” In the Courant article, the Jesuit order opposing orthodox teaching is described as “renowned for its intellectual rigor.” In the Republican-American article, the Episcopal priests opposing their bishop because of their Christian orthodoxy are described this way in the headline: “Rebel priests to display out-of-state support.”

The Republican-American article is about a Thursday service and Friday rally to support the six priests. A supporter of CT’s Episcopal bishop accuses the six priests of “upping the ante” and trying to “provoke a confrontation” by holding these events. Out-of-state bishops are expected to be there to show their support for the six priests, which is described by the supporter of the CT bishop as “certainly…not a very Episcopal way of behaving.”

Was there no one available to the Courant who could have pointed out that for a magazine run by Catholic priests to regularly tear down Catholic teaching is “certainly not a very Catholic way of behaving?” The media rule seems to be that liberal priests who challenge conservative authority are heroes, but conservative priests who challenge liberal authority are insubordinate rebels.

FIC is a friend to Christian orthodoxy in any denomination, as well as to those elements in any religion that support the good of the traditional family. Again, we encourage all of our supporters to attend the rally on Friday the 13th at Bushnell Park in Hartford to support the hundreds of faithful Christians who are expected to be there.

Posted at 11:38 AM

May 6

MORE HATE FROM THE COURANT [Brian Brown]

In a blog earlier this week, The Good the Bad and the Ugly, I wrote that I was pleasantly surprised that the Hartford Courant accurately reported the numbers at the April 24th rallies and wondered if this was because the media had moved from denial—pretending we don't exist—to the next stage: attack. The source of my concern was an outrageous Courant column by Helen Ubinas that sought to create in the public's mind the perception that anyone who merely expresses a moral disapproval of homosexual acts is the equivalent of Fred Phelps, an anti-gay hate monger who has been denounced by the pro-family movement. It was an ugly move by Ubinas, and in a letter-to-the-editor, I called her on it.

But if you think the Courant couldn't get any uglier, think again.

In a column on Wednesday’s Sports page—that's right! The Sports page!—Courant columnist Jeff Jacobs goes Helen Ubinas one better: he smears those who attended FIC ACTION's rally as potential gay-bashers.

The column purports to be a profile of Marcy MacDonald, a local sports hero and pro same-sex "marriage" activist. Its real purpose, however, is to publish lines like this:

After spending nearly a full earth rotation in the Channel, MacDonald joked that she had felt like someone had hit her with a baseball bat.

Four years later, she knows there are some people out there who really would do it.

What Jacobs is referring to in that second sentence are the speakers at our rally who dared to publicly express disapproval of homosexual acts. Because Bishop Jay Ramirez of the Kingdom Life Church of Milford and the Rev. Moses Mercedes of the Greater Bridgeport Clergy Council expressed a view that Jacobs disagrees with, he published a column accusing them of being people "who really would" hit Marcy McDonald with a baseball bat for engaging in homosexual activity. And McDonald agrees, saying in a discussion of our rally, "Somebody just might hate me enough to hurt me."

Those who believe in traditional morality know that their voice will not be accurately represented in the pages of the Courant. But even for the Courant, this column is inexcusable.

It is simply an attempt to demonize those who disagree with the same-sex "marriage" agenda. And the step after demonizing those of us who wish to protect marriage is to attack us. We have already seen this occur in Connecticut, with those claiming to represent the "tolerant" attacking churches displaying our "Defend Marriage Now!" banners, vandalizing and stealing property. Frank O'Gorman of People of Faith for Gay Civil Rights defended the attacks on these churches as "justice actions." There you have it: because we are against same-sex "marriage," we deserve what we get.

As Peter mentioned in an earlier post, last week in Massachusetts, “the father of a 6 year old boy spent a night in prison after officials refused his demand to remove his son from classroom discussions about same-sex ‘marriage.’ You can read the Boston Globe article here. According to the chairman of the town's board of education,

"We don't view telling a child that there is a family out there with two mommies as teaching about homosexuality, heterosexuality, or any kind of sexuality," he said. "We are teaching about the realities of where different children come from."

You can see for yourself what the book in question is telling a child by clicking here. An AP article about the father's arrest ran in some state newspapers but not, of course, in the Courant.

Now that same-sex civil unions are being legalized in CT, how long until something like this happens here? And when it does, will our opponents concede that we were right? Or will we be treated to Helen Ubinas' columns accusing imprisoned fathers who want a say in their children's moral upbringing of being hateful bigots?”

The Courant's campaign to create a patently false public perception of pro-family citizens as hate-mongers capable of violence is actually more than inexcusable, it is dangerous. If some unhinged individual from our opposition (and they do exist—for a mild sampling of the mail we get from them, click here) is led by these media smears to believe that pro-family citizens are a threat to the civil order, he may choose to retaliate against those with whom he disagrees. As Frank O'Gorman's comment shows, some of our opponents are willing to justify illegal activity against us based on their belief that we deserve it.

Our adversaries in the press are displaying the very intolerance that they falsely attribute to us. It's time to respond.

First, FIC ACTION calls upon all its supporters to call Karen Hunter, the Courant's reader representative, at 860-241-3902 or from outside the Hartford area at 800-524-4242, Ext. 3902. She may also be reached by e-mail at readerep@courant.com. It is Ms. Hunter's job to report on the fairness and accuracy of the Courant's news coverage. Draw her attention to the Ubinas and Jacob's columns—neither of which appear on the op-ed pages—and politely express your concern that the Courant's news, and sports!, columnists have breached all standards of fairness and accuracy in their campaign to malign pro-family citizens.

Second, write letters to the editor letting the Courant and its readers know that the image of the pro-family movement appearing in its pages is false. You can send your letter to the Courant by clicking here (letters should include an address and day and evening phone number, be exclusive to the Courant and not exceed 200 words for best chance of being published).

Posted at 10:33 AM

May 4

COMING SOON TO CT? [Peter Wolfgang]

FIC has repeatedly stated that if same-sex “marriage” is legalized it would impact public school curriculum, with children being taught — against their parents’ will — about “alternative lifestyles.” Our opponents’ reactions to this argument ranged from bafflement to scorn. “Never happen,” they said. Well, in Massachusetts, it’s happening.

Last week, the father of a 6 year old boy spent a night in prison because he refused to leave school property after officials refused his demand to remove his son from classroom discussions about same-sex “marriage.” You can read the Boston Globe article here. According to the chairman of the town’s board of education,

"We don't view telling a child that there is a family out there with two mommies as teaching about homosexuality, heterosexuality, or any kind of sexuality," he said. "We are teaching about the realities of where different children come from."

You can see for yourself what the book in question is “telling a child” by clicking here. An AP article about the father’s arrest ran in some state newspapers but not, of course, in the Courant.

Now that same-sex civil unions are being legalized in CT, how long until something like this happens here? And when it does, will our opponents concede that we were right? Or will we be treated to Helen Ubinas columns accusing imprisoned fathers who want a say in their children’s moral upbringing of being hateful bigots?

Posted at 11:23 AM

GOV. RELL’S “EGREGIOUS ABUSE OF POWER” [Peter Wolfgang]

Over the last few weeks there have been some great letters-to-the-editor in our state’s newspapers by pro-family citizens expressing their outrage over the passage of the same-sex civil union bill. Here’s my personal favorite, from the May 1st Waterbury Sunday Republican:

People of state had no voice in new law

Upon the resignation of John G. Rowland, Gov. M. Jodi Rell came riding into office on a proverbial white steed, on her high horse of self-righteousness. She decried abuse of power. She swore to uphold ethical standards.

Now our legislature has forced a law on all of us we didn’t ask for, and Gov. Rell, in a pompous gesture, has made it the law of the state. She is the first governor in the country to sign a bill honoring homosexual relationships [without court intervention]. Why didn’t the people of Connecticut have a voice in this matter? Why was this issue not to put to a vote so the people could be heard?

The people were sold out by our elected officials, and I beseech every voter not to forget it when Election Day 2006 comes around. Do your homework and discover how your senator and representative voted, and if your position was not represented, kick the bum out. We were denied the opportunity to have our voice heard, but we can be heard loud and clear from the ballot box on Election Day. We all know the stand taken by Gov. Rell. Let her know the stand taken by you!

What more egregious abuse of power is there in government than when our elected officials use their position to drastically change the very structure of the foundation of our society, the family, without even listening to a peep from any of us? The state, and all of America, have been dealt a severe blow through an arrogant stroke of the pen. How I wish Gov. Rell weren’t so “ethical.” A trip to Vegas or a new hot tub would have done us a lot better.

Joyce Hanson, Waterbury

Posted at 9:48 AM

May 2

IT WAS PRO SAME-SEX “MARRIAGE” BIAS, NOT “BEST PHOTO” BIAS [Peter Wolfgang]

From its inception this blog has expressed concerns about the objectivity of Courant coverage of the same-sex “marriage” issue. Here’s a surprise: the Courant’s own news staff is expressing the same concerns! In her Sunday column, the Courant’s reader representative, Karen Hunter, took the photo department to task for running a small photo of the pro-family rally attended by 3,000 people next to a “much larger” front page photo “of a mock wedding of two women” at the pro same-sex “marriage” counter-rally, which was attended by only 80 people:

Some might even argue that the same-sex marriage rally was the more newsworthy image, but the numbers argued differently. In this case, leading the newspaper with the best photo wasn't enough. The decision left readers questioning the newspaper's motives and left some on the news staff asking if it's more important to win design awards or to provide fair and balanced news.

We appreciate Ms. Hunter’s public acknowledgement that even the Courant’s news staff is wondering if other priorities take precedence over providing “fair and balanced” reporting of the same-sex “marriage” issue. But she exonerates her co-workers of bias far too easily in accepting their lame “best photo” excuse.

Halfway through writing this post, I phoned Reggie Pinto, the retired photo editor of the old Manchester Herald. With 38 years of experience as a photo journalist, Reggie worked with and trained some of the photographers at the Courant. He also happens to be my grandfather. And it turns out he was already on the case.

“When I saw the use of those two photos, I couldn’t believe it,” he told me.

“The excuses offered in Karen Hunter’s column made it even worse, so I called her. I’m not blaming the photo staff. But the comments that [Courant photo director] John Scanlan made to Karen show a complete ignorance of the value of photo journalism. They should all be required to take a course in photo journalism. The way those photos were used was terrible, misleading, distorted. If the Manchester Herald ever did anything like that, it would run another photo the next day with an apology.

“I know the Courant’s position on same-sex ‘marriage’ from reading its editorial pages and that’s fine — that’s where it belongs. But the Courant’s editorial spin was carried into the photographic department. The way it was done is propaganda, it’s no longer legitimate news. They’re pushing their viewpoint on the front page. They gave the rally of 80 people more news value than the rally of 3,000 people.

“That ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ is as true as when it was first said. That is what the photo editor is supposed to remember. The power of the story is in the photos and they misused that — they misled and distorted the story.”

Posted at 4:29 PM

MORAL VIEWPOINT WAS ATTACKED [Brian Brown]

Here is my response to Helen Ubiñas, which was published in the Saturday Hartford Courant:

Moral Viewpoint Was Attacked

Columnist Helen Ubiñas claims that at the Family Institute of Connecticut's April 24 rally to protest the passage of same-sex civil unions, "hateful things" were said [April 28, "Hate Looms Behind Talk Of Morality"]. But by "hateful things," she means that a few people expressed moral disapproval of homosexual acts. And for this, Ubiñas accuses us of the worst forms of hate, comparing us to the anti-gay hate-monger Fred Phelps? Memo to Ubiñas: Get a grip.

Ubiñas' attempt to smear the mere expression of a moral viewpoint as an example of "hate" is nothing more than an effort to silence anyone who disagrees with her. The sad irony here is that at the same time Ubiñas is preaching against hatred, she seems totally consumed by hatred for those who believe that marriage is and only can be the union of one man and one woman.

For our supporters, this is not a new phenomenon. As state Senate Minority Leader Louis DeLuca said at our rally, many of the expressions of hatred and bigotry in this debate have come from advocates of same-sex "marriage."

Last year, pro-family churches across Connecticut were vandalized when they displayed our "Defend Marriage Now!" banners. Frank O'Gorman of People of Faith for Gay Civil Rights defended the attacks on these churches as "justice actions." But when a pro-same-sex marriage activist showed up at our rally with a sign comparing us to the Taliban and telling children that they were "little Nazis," he was permitted to roam the crowd unmolested.

Ubiñas accuses us of "pushing a religious agenda down everyone's throat." Tell it to the three students in South Windsor who were sent home by their principal for wearing T-shirts defending traditional morality or the six Episcopal priests in our state who have been threatened with defrocking by their bishop for upholding traditional Christian moral teaching. The only thing being pushed down everyone's throat in Connecticut is what Pope Benedict XVI rightly calls "the dictatorship of relativism."

The Family Institute of Connecticut will continue to oppose hatred and bigotry as it has always done, whether it comes from the likes of Fred Phelps — or Helen Ubiñas.

Brian S. Brown, Executive Director
Family Institute of Connecticut, Hartford

Posted at 1:27 PM

THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY [Brian Brown]

On April 20th the CT legislature passed — and Gov. Rell signed — a same sex civil unions bill. Over 3,000 pro-family citizens responded on April 24th by converging in front of the state capitol for a rally to reclaim Connecticut.

At the rally, FIC Action handed out 5,000 voter guides telling the people of Connecticut how their state senators and representatives voted on same-sex civil unions. It is crucial that we let every pro-family voter in this state know how their elected officials voted on this bill. Below we make it easy for you to e-mail your thanks to the legislators that voted to protect marriage and your disappointment to the legislators that voted to radically redefine it.

The Good

Sixty-three representatives and nine senators voted against same-sex civil unions. You can send an e-mail to thank them by clicking here. A few key legislators deserve special mention.

Senate minority leader Louis DeLuca (R-Woodbury) stood out for his leadership in the fight to protect marriage and his efforts to convince his fellow senators to vote on a non-binding referendum to let the people decide. Rep. Al Adinolfi (R-Cheshire) likewise showed leadership in this fight. These two men knew they would be personally attacked for taking such a high-profile position in the fight to protect marriage and it didn't slow them down one bit.

The first senate debate was Senator John Kissel's (R-Enfield) finest hour, as he deftly rebutted Sen. McDonald's accusation that civil union opponents were acting out of bigotry. Rep. Ray Kalinowski (R-Middletown) spoke for many when he clearly stated that the normal working people of his district do not support civil unions.

Rep. Bill Hamzy (R-Plymouth), head of the GOP state central committee, provided the voice many Republicans were looking for when he denounced civil unions as same-sex "marriage" by a different name. His efforts to rejuvenate the state GOP were unfortunately undermined by his own party's leadership in the house of representatives — as well as by Gov. Rell.

The Democrats had sturdier house leadership in Speaker Jim Amann (D-Milford) and showed that there is hope for the future in legislators like freshman Rep. David Aldarondo (D-Waterbury), who spoke at our rally.

The Bad

27 senators and 85 representatives voted to legalize same-sex civil unions. You can send them an e-mail expressing your disappointment with their vote by clicking here.

The civil union debate provoked bizarre behavior from some of the bill's legislative supporters. Rep. Kalinowski's stand for ordinary working people drew a particularly whiny response from Rep. Art Feltman (D-Hartford). An interview I gave to the press after the first senate debate was greeted with maniacal laughter by Rep. Bob Godfrey (D-Danbury). In a front page photo in the Courant, Rep. David McCluskey (D-West Hartford) appeared wild-eyed and almost possessed, arms flailing, as a Franciscan Friar gently tried to engage him in civil dialogue about his vote. That photo captured well the treatment many pro-family supporters received at the hands of pro civil union legislators.

During the Judiciary Committee vote, Rep. Ryan Barry (D-Manchester) gave perhaps the most self-indulgent of any speech to be heard at the legislature in the four years that this issue has been debated. Saying that this is why he went to law school and ran for office — to fight oppression, feed the poor, etc. — Rep. Barry left the impression that the committee had convened not to vote on civil unions but, rather, on what a virtuous public servant Rep. Barry is. Likewise, Sen. Tom Herlihy's (R-Simsbury) speech on the senate floor regarding what his research into the genetic origins of homosexuality supposedly taught him caused even the pro same-sex "marriage" lobbyists to roll their eyes.

If it had not already been a sure thing, Sen. Andrew McDonald (D-Stamford) might well have derailed the Senate's pro civil union vote with an over-the-top opening speech accusing anyone opposed to his cause of acting out of "hate and bigotry." Sen. Bill Finch (D-Bridgeport) accused constituents who had asked him to vote against civil unions of violating "the separation of church and state" and — as if that were not bad enough — mangled the history of our nation's founding, which, he claimed, owed as much to Buddhism and the Bhagavad Gita as it did to the Bible. Rep. Brendan Sharkey (D-Hamden) stated falsely that the Catholic Church is "equally" opposed to same-sex "marriage" and the death penalty and implied that Catholic constituents who called him about the former but not the latter are hypocrites.

The Ugly

FIC Action was pleasantly surprised when the state media accurately reported the numbers for the two rallies last Sunday: the pro-family rally had over 3,000 people and the pro same-sex "marriage" rally had 80 people. That proportion is about average for whenever the two sides in the marriage debate hold competing rallies. But it's the first time the media ever let the public know it.

Perhaps this is because the media has moved from denial — pretending we don't exist — to the next stage: attack. In a column in Thursday's Courant, Helen Ubinas attacks those who would protect marriage as closeted haters.

Ubinas' diatribe accuses us of hatred and bigotry simply because a few people at the rally expressed moral disapproval of homosexual acts. By that standard, Pope John Paul II and Mother Teresa were hateful bigots, too.

Ubinas' column is nothing more than an attempt to silence anyone who disagrees with her — an attempt that we have grown accustomed to. FIC Action opposes hate from any source, including from those who attacked pro-family churches last year for displaying our banner and from columnists who are trying to intimidate us into silence.

On Saturday the Courant published my letter responding to Ubinas, which we will be posting in this space shortly. You can also send your own letter to the Courant letting them know what you think of the smears against pro-family citizens that it chooses to publish by clicking here (letters should include an address and day and evening phone number, be exclusive to the Courant and not exceed 200 words for best chance of being published).

Posted at 1:20 PM

April 26

RECLAIM CONNECTICUT: THE BATTLE BEGINS [Brian Brown]

On Sunday well over 3,000 pro-family citizens from every walk of life united in a rally at the state capitol to express their outrage over the decision by our legislature and Gov. Rell to legalize same-sex civil unions. Religious leaders such as Bishop LeRoy Bailey of First Cathedral in Bloomfield and Bishop Daniel Hart of the Catholic Diocese of Norwich joined political leaders such as Senate Minority Leader Louis DeLuca (R-Woodbury) and Rep. David Aldarondo (D-Waterbury) in calling upon the legislature to repeal their decision to undermine marriage and upon those present to defeat the politicians who supported that decision.

As the Courant correctly noted, while capitol police put our rally at about 3,000, a counter-rally that mocked marriage drew only 80 supporters of same-sex “marriage.” This is further evidence that the decision by our legislature and Gov. Rell last week to undermine marriage reflects the power of a tiny, vocal minority, rather than the will of the people. And the people know it:

"What they [the legislature and Gov. Rell] did was, they said, `We think we know better than the people of the state,'" said Roger Cropper of Bristol. "This is supposed to be the Constitution State, not the dictator state. Let the people decide. I hope the people of Connecticut finally stand up and say enough is enough."

That is precisely what we intend to do. The pro-family movement’s #1 goal for the next eighteen months leading up to the 2006 election is to Reclaim Connecticut! We will be working day in and day out to educate the public on how their representatives voted and encouraging good candidates of both parties to run for political office in 2006.

Voters must know the name of every legislator that voted to undermine marriage.

That work has already begun. At yesterday's rally, over 5,000 voter tallies were handed out to pro-family citizens by FIC Action. You can print out the tally yourself by clicking here.

Our goal is to provide a voter guide in the next election to over 1 million voters in the state of Connecticut. It will be part of a massive, unprecedented effort to Reclaim Connecticut.

Already, I have made appearances on all the major television news programs in the state to make the case for Reclaiming Connecticut. I will be holding a series of meetings with religious and political leaders to begin the process of holding our legislators accountable.

While passage of same-sex civil-unions is bad enough in itself, the next step of same-sex "marriage" proponents is clear—use the courts to force same-sex "marriage," name and all, on our state. Without a state constitutional amendment protecting marriage, the courts may likely do exactly that. We need legislators that understand the importance of this issue and a public that knows where their legislators stand.

Our opponents have shown an ability to raise enormous amounts of money in order to have a decisive effect on our legislature. That is why 2005 has been the most anti-family legislative session in memory.

The battle to protect marriage in Connecticut has reached a pivotal moment. Either we make sure that voters know where the elected officials stand before the 2006 election or we face full same-sex "marriage."

Posted at 11:28 AM

TRUTH IS NOT RELL-ATIVE [Peter Wolfgang]

The title of this post is taken from one of the signs — my personal favorite — to appear at last Sunday’s pro-family rally. Brian will post something about that rally in this space some time soon. In the meantime, I thought our supporters might appreciate this article eviscerating Gov. Rell’s “pro civil unions/anti same-sex ‘marriage’” logic which appeared in, of all places, the left-wing New Haven Advocate. Although the author mischaracterizes our position as “gay couples don’t deserve legal recognition,” she generally shows more respect for logic than the governor.

That said, both the author and the governor get the closing point wrong:

... a Quinnipiac poll that showed Connecticut voters favor civil unions but not gay marriage. No one ever accused Rell of lacking political logic.

In fact, no poll has ever asked whether CT voters favor civil unions if it gives all the same benefits of marriage to same-sex couples, which is what the bill signed by Gov. Rell does (see section 14). Once voters learn that she signed a bill that legalizes same-sex “marriage” in everything but name, the Advocate may discover that Gov. Rell’s errors of logic also included the political realm.

Posted at 10: 55 AM

April 21

RECLAIM CONNECTICUT! [Brian Brown]

Yesterday was a sad day for the state of Connecticut. Our legislature and our governor, against the wishes of the people, voted to pass a same-sex civil unions bill that grants all of the rights, benefits, and privileges of marriage to same-sex couples. This vote should be a wake-up call to all of us at how extreme we have allowed our legislature to become.

I have no doubt that without your calls and e-mails we would be looking at an even worse bill. The definition of marriage that was placed within the civil unions bill would never have passed without your work. This definition may have some use when same-sex "marriage" proponents attempt to use this bill in court to force full same-sex "marriage" on our state.

And we know that more court action is coming to bring full same-sex "marriage" to our state. We will be there to stand in the gap and protect marriage. This will be one of our major priorities in the coming year.

One phase in the battle is over, and another phase has begun. IT IS MORE CRITICAL THAN EVER THAT WE HAVE A MASSIVE TURNOUT ON SUNDAY, APRIL 24TH, 2:00-4:00 PM AT THE STATE CAPITOL TO PROTEST THIS ACTION AND TO HOLD OUR LEGISLATORS ACCOUNTABLE.

We must reclaim our state. We must ensure that our elected officials, Democrat or Republican, listen to us. We will distribute thousands of vote tallies on Sunday that show voters exactly who voted to redefine marriage and who did not. We will let you know what you can do to reclaim Connecticut.

TELL YOUR FRIENDS ABOUT THE RALLY; BRING YOUR FAMILY. We are expecting thousands from different faiths and backgrounds to come together in a peaceful protest and show of unity in the face of our legislature's actions to redefine marriage.

Proponents of this measure are counting on you being discouraged and giving up the fight. Will you? These are the times where we must stand up and be counted. We hope to see you this Sunday from 2:00-4:00 pm at the state capitol.

WILL YOU HELP US RECLAIM CONNECTICUT? CLICK HERE TO DONATE ONLINE!

Posted at 12:52 PM

“THIS VOTE WILL NOT BE FORGOTTEN” [Peter Wolfgang]

The state Senate passed — and Gov. Rell signed — the same-sex civil unions bill yesterday. Here is an excerpt from the Courant:

Rep. Michael Lawlor, another longtime supporter of gay rights, called the new law "the biggest thing the Connecticut legislature has done in 50 years."

Opponents don't disagree.

Brian Brown, executive director of the Family Institute of Connecticut, said Wednesday was "a sad day for the state of Connecticut."

Brown, whose group is hosting a major rally against gay marriage Sunday on the grounds of the state Capitol, criticized both the legislature and Rell for "fast-tracking" the measure. There will be repercussions when lawmakers run for re-election in 2006, he said.

"This vote will not be forgotten," Brown vowed. "If the goal was to push this through in a non-election year, they were 100 percent wrong."

The pro-family response was also covered in the New York Times:

Peter Wolfgang, a lobbyist and the public policy director for the Family Institute of Connecticut, which opposes civil unions, said his group would make them an issue in next year's election.

He and others said that polls misrepresent voter sentiment and that lawmakers are being deceived by lobbyists who support civil unions.

"This is basically the end of one phase and the beginning of another," Mr. Wolfgang said. "It's all about 2006."

Brian will posting a statement in this space shortly. The key point — as noted in the quotes above — is that this battle is not over. This Sunday’s rally is still on. The pro-family movement will make certain that every voter in CT knows how his or her legislator voted — and Gov. Rell’s role in fast-tracking the destruction of marriage in CT.

Posted at 12:49 PM

April 19

“BE NOT AFRAID” OF THE “DICTATORSHIP OF RELATIVISM” [Peter Wolfgang]

Between the same-sex civil union votes in the legislature, our emergency rallies in opposition to those votes and the big rally scheduled for this Sunday, it has been an extraordinarily busy time at FIC. Thus the blog has not been as active as normal — particularly with issues not directly related to the civil union/same-sex “marriage” battle. We do hope you all had a wonderful Easter. And our prayers are with the Catholic faithful as they mourn the death of Pope John Paul II and celebrate the election of Pope Benedict XVI.

The signature cry of John Paul II’s pontificate, from the day of his own election in 1978, was the biblical call to “be not afraid!” Yesterday — when he was still known as Cardinal Ratzinger — Benedict XVI preached against the “dictatorship of relativism.” These two phrases come to mind as I think of recent events in CT. Six Episcopal priests have been threatened by the pro same-sex “marriage” Episcopal bishop of CT because of their stand for traditional morality. In South Windsor, three students were sent home from the high school because they were wearing t-shirts with messages that reject the pro same-sex “marriage” movement’s agenda.

The battle to stop our state government from destroying the traditional definition of marriage is not over. The state senate will vote again tomorrow. All FIC supporters are invited to join the Catholic laity and bishops — who will be holding Catholic Concerns Day — at the legislative office building tomorrow. At 11:30 legislators will be meeting with pro-family constituents: room 1E for the Hartford area, room 1D for the Norwich region, and room 2D for the Bridgeport area. We still need as many people as possible to call Gov. Rell at (860) 566-4840 and ask her to veto the same-sex civil union bill. Finally, we need everyone in Connecticut who cares about protecting marriage — tens of thousands — to attend the rally for marriage this Sunday, April 24, from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm at the state capitol.

Posted at 5:00 PM

April 15

TELL GOV. RELL: VETO! [Brian Brown]

Below we reprint an excellent editorial from the Waterbury Republican-American urging Govenor Rell to veto the civil-union bill. It is essential that we call Governor Rell today and urge her to veto the civil-unions bill at (860) 566-4840.

All who oppose this legislation should attend the Rally for Marriage, April 24th from 2:00-4:00 pm on the state capitol steps. Parking is available in the Legislative Office Building Parking Garage. Bus parking is available on Trinity and Elm Streets.

Veto civil-unions bill

Gov. M. Jodi Rell is compelled by her own words to veto the homosexual civil-unions bill lawmakers will send her because the legislation introduces same-sex marriage to Connecticut.

For several months, she has been saying she supports the concept of civil unions but opposes homosexual marriage. Her position mirrors that of a majority of Connecticut residents who have lost their moral compass, have bought the preposterous argument that this is about civil rights, are tired of the controversy and wish it would just go away, or fear they might be called a bigot or homophobe.

Needing political cover, Gov. Rell turned to, of all people, Democratic Attorney General Richard Blumenthal for advice on whether the bill would permit homosexual marriage. Doing his best not to soil his own gubernatorial aspirations, he opined the measure does not change the state's definition of marriage. Though he never stated unequivocally that the bill would not bring about same-sex marriage, Gov. Rell came away with the impression that "(t)his bill in no way permits gay marriage."

And when the House on Wednesday passed an amended version of that defined marriage as a "union of a man and a woman," she pledged to sign legislation if the Senate goes along. If she does that, she will be responsible for introducing same-sex marriage to Connecticut.

The legislation bestows upon homosexual couples every one of the 588 rights and privileges that the state heretofore has reserved for married couples. In much the same way that an inside-the-park home run in baseball accomplishes the same end as one hit out of the yard, a Connecticut civil union would be marriage by another name, and a package of special rights available exclusively to homosexuals.

Though opponents claim the amendment was a "huge victory" for marriage and families, they may rue the day the state codified its marriage definition because it creates a law for future legislatures to amend and judges to rewrite in any perverse way they see fit.

Homosexual agitators will not rest until the state fully endorses their unnatural relationships. The civil-unions bill does not do that, but it makes judicial intervention inevitable. With much justification, the courts could declare the marriage definition unconstitutionally narrow and discriminatory, and order lawmakers to expand it to include homosexuals. The effect of such a ruling on Defense of Marriage Act decisions in 39 states could be devastating.

A simpler route will be for the agitators to show how the marriage definition — "a union of a man and a woman" (emphasis ours) — uses the same language as civil union. Since the laws governing marriage and civil unions already would be identical, it would be easy for a judge to declare the semantic difference irrelevant. Either way, homosexual marriage becomes Gov. Rell's legacy.

Mr. Blumenthal's surreptitious assurances notwithstanding, this bill is homosexual marriage, and it's just a matter of time before the courts give it the title it deserves. To be true to her word to oppose same-sex marriage and to protect the institution of marriage, Gov. Rell should veto this bill.

Friday, April 15, 2005. Copyright © 2005 Republican-American. Editorial used with the permission of the Waterbury Republican-American.

Posted at 3:30 PM

April 14

KEEP UP THE FIGHT! [Brian Brown]

I want to thank the thousands of people who stood up to protect marriage in the last few weeks. Almost every representative who spoke yesterday talked about how they were inundated with e-mails opposing same sex civil-unions. We had close to a thousand people come up to the capitol throughout the day. THE FIGHT IS NOT OVER!

Most analysts thought that this bill would fly through the house without any amendments or changes. Your work ensured that our representatives were compelled to amend the bill with a definition of marriage amendment. Love Makes a Family and other groups believed that they could pass an unamended bill easily; because of your work they were wrong.

Yet this bill is all but a same-sex "marriage" bill; adding a definition of marriage amendment to a civil-unions bill is minor recompense. We will continue to oppose this bill and same sex civil unions with all of our efforts. Those politicians who think that this "compromise" will satisfy those of us who know what marriage is and want it protected, are wrong. In attempting to make everyone happy, they have passed a bill that tries to please everyone and ends up pleasing no one.

Further, the marriage definition in this bill will not stop court action to attempt to give Connecticut same-sex "marriage," name and all. The courts in others states have shown themselves willing to overturn statutory language when they decide that it conflicts with a constitutional "right" to same-sex "marriage." Proponents of same-sex "marriage" are already twisting the debate to claim that the Connecticut Supreme Court will have a stronger argument for same-sex marriage should this bill become law.

You can view the final house vote tally here. Please make sure to thank all of those people who voted against the amended version of the bill and remember those that voted for it. The final vote count was 85-63. We will do much more in the coming weeks to get this information to churches and communities that are interested in seeing how their representatives represented them.

WE NEED TO CALL THE GOVERNOR AND URGE HER TO VETO THIS BILL (860) 566-4840.

We also must look forward to April 24th, and all of us who have worked so hard to protect marriage need to be there. The Governor probably will not yet have signed onto this bill. On April 24th we will have massive protest rally at the state capitol from 2:00-4:00 pm to urge her to veto this legislation. If we allow this legislation to pass without standing up forcefully as people of faith and speaking our mind only we are to blame for the direction our state is moving in. We must hold every elected official accountable who voted for this bill. We must know and remember their votes. On April 24th we will make clear that we will not forget how many legislators were willing to deny the people the right to protect marriage through a referendum.

This bill now must go to the state senate. You can send an e-mail to the entire state senate and to the governor by clicking below.

Click the link below to log in and send your message:

http://votervoice.net/target.asp?id=fict:5329585

Posted at 2:11 PM

April 12

NO CAMPAIGN FODDER IN “SIDE ISSUE” [Brian Brown]

“GOP Plots Values War,” an article in last Sunday’s Courant, reports:

And this week, some House Republicans look forward to the debate on civil unions for same-sex couples as another opportunity to contrast themselves with Democrats…

With civil unions supported by Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell and some GOP lawmakers, the potential for campaign fodder lies in a side issue this week: a proposed amendment defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman…

Indeed, six of the 12 Republicans in the Connecticut Senate voted last week for the civil unions bill, which would extend the equivalent of marriage rights to gay and lesbian couples.

Connecticut’s pro-family citizens are grateful for the state GOP’s resolution defending traditional marriage. But we were particularly pleased with the press release accompanying the resolution, wherein party chairman Rep. Bill Hamzy rightly noted that the civil union bill should be opposed because it legalizes same-sex “marriage” by a different name.

The state GOP — indeed, both parties — must come to understand what Rep. Hamzy understands: but for the name, this is a same-sex “marriage” bill. If, during tomorrow’s debate, legislators should introduce “strike all” amendments that would replace civil unions with something that will protect marriage, those amendments will have the full support of FIC Action.

But if legislators simply add a definition of marriage amendment without striking the civil union language — and then vote to legalize civil unions — they will have betrayed the pro-family cause. Legislators who vote to legalize civil unions and then seek pro-family support on a “side issue” will not be viewed as champions of our cause.

1,000 pro-family citizens will rally on the steps of the state capitol tomorrow at 10:00 am for the protection of marriage. Perhaps as many as 25,000 pro-family supporters will rally again on April 24th. Our goal is to protect marriage for ourselves and our children — not to be cynically manipulated by legislators who voted to destroy it.

Posted at 1:51 PM

April 8

CALL KEY LEGISLATORS NOW! OUR STATE STANDS AT A CRITICAL JUNCTURE. THE TIME IS NOW TO STAND UP AND ACT! [Brian Brown]

We are facing a very tight vote in the house on this civil-unions bill. DO NOT LET THE SENATE VOTE FOOL YOU. Many members of the house are undecided on this bill and are extremely uncomfortable with the prospect of voting for this bill and being held accountable for bringing same-sex "marriage" to the state if a future court uses passage of civil-unions to force full same-sex "marriage" on us.

We can still stop this bill in the house if each and every one of us calls our legislators and encourages others to do the same. Everyone on our e-mail list has received a phone list in Adobe format of key representatives organized alphabetically. (If you are not yet on our list, click here, give us your contact info and request the phone list of key representatives.) There are two pages and you can either look under your town or find your representative alphabetically if you know his/her name. We have left off solid yes or no votes. As you can see, there are many legislators who can still be influenced to do the right thing and vote against this bill.

Also, we need everyone to call the Governor, even if you have called before, and urge her to veto this bill if it gets out of the house. (She has yet to say whether she will veto the bill.) Her number is: (860) 566-4840.

PASTORS, PRIESTS, AND RABBIS PLEASE DISTRIBUTE THIS LIST TO YOUR CONGREGATIONS!

We need as many people as possible to attend our rally and lobby day this Wednesday, April 13th on the state capitol steps at 10:00 am. DO NOT BE DISCOURAGED! THE TIME IS NOW TO STAND UP AND PROTECT MARRIAGE.

You can click here to be directed to the phone numbers of your representative.

Posted at 12:52 PM

April 7

SENATE APPROVES SAME-SEX UNIONS; FIC RALLY APRIL 13th [Brian Brown]

Yesterday the state Senate voted 27-9 to legalize civil unions — same-sex “marriage” in everything but name. An amendment supported by Gov. Rell that would have defined marriage as between a man and a woman was defeated 23-13. Sen. DeLuca’s amendment to hold a non-binding referendum to let the people decide was defeated 27-9.

The debate was notable for the arrogance and condescension displayed by pro same-sex union Senators. Sen. Andrew McDonald (D-Stamford) set the tone early in the discussion when he accused the bill’s opponents of “hatred and bigotry.” He also added this, according to the Republican-American:

…to embolden his colleagues, Sen. Andrew McDonald, who is gay and introduced the bill, brought in visual aid to bolster those who might have been struggling with last-minute jitters. It was an opponent's sign from McDonald's last election campaign.

The sign read "A vote for Andrew McDonald is a vote for same sex union ... period."

The message, McDonald said later, was that people targeted for supporting gay rights issues survive electoral campaigns.

In fact, those signs were stolen the day they were put up. For Sen. McDonald to suddenly produce one of those signs now as a way of suggesting that he “survived” a campaign on this issue is not only misleading; it gives new meaning to the word “chutzpah.”

But there was a lot of that going around. A few Senators announced from the floor of the Senate that they had received hundreds more e-mails and phone calls from constituents against the bill than for it — and that they intend to vote for the bill anyway. One of them, Sen. Bill Finch (D-Bridgeport), went on to suggest that his Christian constituents should not have a voice in the public square. Garbling the law on “the separation of church and state” he claimed that the Bhagavad Gita and Buddhism are just as important to the founding of our nation as the Bible and Christianity. (“Surely, you knew about the Buddhist underpinnings of American government?” a friend joked during Sen. Finch’s speech.)

Similar comments by Sen. Finch’s fellow Senators suggested they were as uninformed as he was. Conservative icon Edmund Burke, Christian martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Terri Schiavo and even John the Baptist were all cited by Senators in support of the bill. None of these people would have supported civil union/same-sex “marriage.” The Senators’ confusion might be funny if it were not so offensive.

The question of our extreme and unrepresentative state Senate is one that pro-family citizens will be returning to in the future. For now, we must focus on what happens next with the civil union bill and what is to be done about it.

The civil union bill now moves to the House, where it will in all likelihood be voted on this Wednesday, April 13th. You can e-mail and call your state Representative to ask them to vote NO by clicking here. There is good reason to believe that our state’s Representatives, unlike the Senators, actually listen to their constituents.

FIC Action will be holding a Rally/Lobby Day Wednesday, April 13th beginning at 10:00 AM on the steps of the state capitol. It is urgent that we have as many supporters as possible at the state capitol and legislative office building the day of the vote.

Our big April 24th Rally is still on. Watch this space for continuing updates.

Posted at 12:12 PM

April 6

SENATE VOTE TODAY [Peter Wolfgang]

Yesterday, over 50 pastors representing thousands of people — Protestant and Catholic; African-American, White and Hispanic; male and female — joined FIC at a press conference on the steps of the state capitol to express their opposition to the same-sex civil union bill that will be voted on in the state Senate today:

The Family Institute of Connecticut, which opposes civil unions and gay marriage, said Tuesday it hopes to turn out 25,000 demonstrators on the state Capitol grounds on April 24 to persuade Rell to reconsider her endorsement of civil unions.

"We are going to let her know we want her to veto the bill if it gets off the House floor," Brian Brown, the group's executive director, said at a press conference, during which he was accompanied by clergy opposed to the legislation…Connecticut's [possible legalization of civil unions] would run counter to a national trend of prohibiting gay marriage or civil unions. Kansas voters Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a ban on gay marriages and civil unions.

Persuading Gov. Rell was not the only point of the press conference. As several speakers made clear, pro-family citizens want their lawmakers to vote “no” on civil unions and “yes” on Sen. DeLuca’s amendment to allow a referendum to let the people decide. In a speech that was garbled by the Republican-American and ignored by the Courant, Sen. DeLuca asked why, if Love Makes a Family believes its own poll showing majority support for civil unions/same-sex “marriage,” it opposes a referendum? “Maybe they don’t really believe their own poll,” he said.

As the Courant reports,

The Rev. Davida Foy Crabtree, conference minister for the Connecticut Conference of the United Church of Christ, held a press conference later Tuesday to reiterate that other clergy support civil unions.

What the Courant neglects to mention are the numbers. FIC’s press conference — an idea that originated with pastors who attended last Thursday’s Lunch — had at least 50 clergy in attendance. Rev. Crabtree’s press conference “to reiterate that other clergy support civil unions” had four — and one of them was a layperson. This is a glaring omission. If the numbers had been reversed, would the Courant have neglected to mention it?

At Rev. Crabtree’s press conference, Sen. Mary Ann Handley dismissed concerns about holding the civil union vote the week of the Pope’s death. “I don’t think we need to concern ourselves with that.” Rev. Crabtree referred to FIC’s press conference as “a few people” — perhaps she, like the Courant, did not notice her own tiny numbers — and said the civil union bill “is not about marriage, it’s about civil rights.”

Rev. Crabtree’s assertion is rebutted in a quote from an article that appears on the Courant’s front page today:

Gay rights activists have framed the debate over same-sex marriage as a question of civil rights, but Charles Giampietro, a 46-year-old tool-and-die maker from Meriden, doesn't see it that way.

"There's something much bigger going on," says the married father of five. "They're really trying to change the structure of society."

Although she cites the UConn poll done a year ago and ignores last month’s FIC poll conducted by Harris Interactive, Daniela Altimari’s story is a more-balanced profile of pro-family citizens than normally appears in our state media.

Rev. Crabtree’s claim to speak for a large number of pro same-sex “marriage” clergy was undermined by another piece in today’s Courant. According to the article by Frances Taylor, it is not clear that Rev. Crabtree even speaks for her own UCC denomination. While Rev. Crabtree complains about an alleged attempt to persuade churches to leave the UCC over this and other issues, others question that view of things:

The Rev. David Runnion-Bareford, executive director of the Biblical Witness Fellowship, a Candia, N.H.-based evangelical organization within the United Church of Christ, denied that his group's mission was to lead churches away from the UCC.

The theological tension between evangelical and liberal churches in the UCC follows a trend common among mainline churches over the past 25 years. The gulf between the two camps within the United Church of Christ has widened in recent years over issues such as same-sex marriage. Three Connecticut churches left the UCC in the past year over such issues, including First Church of Christ in Wethersfield, the largest Congregational church in New England and previously one of the largest UCC congregations in the country…

The Rev. Peter Smith, who leads First Church of Christ in Thomaston, a conservative church, complained that the state UCC conference adopts official positions even when not all member churches agree. He said he doesn't think Biblical Witness Fellowship members are attempting to lead churches out.

"Just by the fact of [their] being evangelical in UCC means they are more willing to talk with people with whom they differ," Smith said…

[Said Rev. Runnion-Bareford,] "This is like blaming the boy for the fact that the emperor is naked," he said.

The Senate will vote today. FIC supporters should meet in the LOB lobby at 11:00 AM. Last week, a Hartford judge ruled that she could not grant a divorce to a lesbian couple “married” in Massachusetts because CT does not recognize same-sex “marriage” — but hinted that she would rule differently if the state legalized civil unions. This is further evidence that if this bill becomes law, the courts may use it as a pretext to impose same-sex “marriage” on CT. Please join us today, if you can.

Posted at 10:37 AM

April 4

FURTHER SUPPORT FOR TRADITIONAL MARRIAGE [Ken Von Kohorn]

A newly-released CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll indicates that what we are seeing in Connecticut — strong opposition to redefining marriage — has been confirmed nationwide. Here is a summary of the new poll results:

Public opposition to "marriages" between homosexuals is at an all-time high, according to a poll released yesterday.

When asked whether they thought same-sex "marriages" should be recognized by the law as valid and come with the same rights as traditional marriages, 68 percent of the respondents in the CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll said they should not. Twenty-eight percent said same-sex "marriages" should be valid and 4 percent had no opinion. The survey of 443 adults was conducted March 18 to 20.

A similar poll by Gallup last year found that 55 percent thought homosexual "marriages" should not be valid, while 42 percent said they should be recognized.

As important as the huge margin favoring traditional marriage — 68% to 28% — is the continuing movement away from any redefinition. Support for non-traditional marriage arrangements has diminished from a year ago. The poll also reports that a strong majority now favor a Federal Marriage Amendment.

While our policy recommendations will always be based on time-honored precepts and the overwhelming preponderance of social science (showing the vital importance for children of having both a mother and a father), it is of course nice to see that a large and growing majority of Americans agree with us.

Posted at 11:50 AM

April 1

THE BATTLE HAS BEEN JOINED [Brian Brown]

At the beginning of March, pro same-sex “marriage” lobbyists expected a cakewalk. After dropping their all-or-nothing ploy, they “settled” for a civil union bill that would legalize same-sex “marriage” in everything but name. On Feb. 23rd the Judiciary Committee approved the bill by a 2-1 margin and on Mar. 2nd Gov. Rell expressed support for the “concept” of civil unions. Our opponents expected the bill to sail through the legislature.

What a difference a month makes.

On Mar. 30th an official of the pro same-sex “marriage” CT Conference of the United Church of Christ (UCC) — with the Orwellian-sounding title “Coordinator for Wider Church and Justice & Witness” — e-mailed a desperate plea to her list:

Legislators are receiving hundreds of e-mails a day opposing SB 963, An Act Concerning Civil Unions…this deluge is beginning to have an effect…Please contact your legislators…help CT stay on track to assure [same-sex civil unions]

So, how did we get from there to here?

On Mar. 9th FIC and the CT Catholic Conference (CCC) held a joint press conference to reveal new information regarding public opinion in our state. A poll commissioned by FIC and the CCC and conducted by Harris Interactive showed that 78% of CT voters know that marriage is the union of one man and one woman and 76% want to have a vote on the future of marriage. Citing these numbers, several of the state’s leading religious figures — including Hartford Archbishop Henry Mansell and First Cathedral’s Bishop LeRoy Bailey — called on the politicians to let the people decide by referendum whether to include a marriage protection amendment in our state constitution. Senate Minority Leader Louis DeLuca (R-Woodbury) announced that he would try to amend the civil union bill to allow a non-binding referendum on marriage this year.

Though most of the state’s media ignored our poll, the effect was still felt. The day after its front page coverage of our press conference the Hartford Courant ran an editorial attacking Archbishop Mansell’s support for a referendum. Four days later the Courant published a second editorial against the referendum, making the same arguments but with greater urgency.

Following the press conference, thousands of CT’s pro-family citizens — in the word of the UCC official — “deluged” their representatives with calls demanding that they vote no on same-sex civil unions and yes on a referendum to let the people decide. Many used the resources on FIC’s home page to contact their legislators. Others were moved to do so by radio host Brad Davis, who has tirelessly exhorted his listeners to defend marriage.

The deluge mattered. In an interview with Dan Lovallo, filling in for Brad, Rep. Jim Amann, the Speaker of the House, said that — although he expects a close vote and a spirited debate — he believes the civil union bill will fail in the House. The state central committee of CT’s Republican Party unanimously approved a resolution calling for the protection of marriage. In a press release, party chairman Rep. Bill Hamzy denounced the civil union bill, correctly identifying it as same-sex “marriage” by a different name. After her chief legal counsel met with us, Gov. Rell said she would like the civil union bill amended to include language identifying marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

Throughout Connecticut, the Church has awakened. FIC received overwhelming support last month when I spoke at a Men’s Conference at First Cathedral. Yesterday, 50 of Connecticut’s most passionate pastors left an FIC lunch determined to rally their congregants for the protection of marriage.

The battle is far from over and the legalization of same-sex “marriage”, in everything but name, here in CT this year is still a very real possibility, as the recent vote by the finance committee shows. But pro-family citizens have engaged the battle in greater numbers and with more passion than pro same-sex “marriage” lobbyists expected.

If the events of March gave us a fighting chance, the events of April must be about victory. Watch for FIC’s ads to begin appearing in newspapers this week. There will be a statewide prayer rally for marriage on Friday, April 22nd at locations throughout CT. On April 24th from 2-4 PM FIC will host the biggest Marriage Protection Rally in state history on the steps of the state capitol in Hartford. On Wednesday, April 27th we will host a Lobby Day for Marriage at the legislative office building.

Things are happening fast. Watch this space for continuing updates on what you can do to protect marriage.

Posted at 2:03 PM

March 30

THE HARTFORD COURANT: AN INSIDE LOOK [Peter Wolfgang]

Once a year, the Courant holds a reception to honor the writers of the best letters-to-the-editor to appear in its pages in the previous year. Last night I attended the reception at the Courant building with my wife, who was one of this year’s winners. Here is her letter:

Promote Better Decision-Making

A woman's infant son and her 10-year-old sister are killed by their mother's boyfriend (who's also the boy's father), and the tragedy focused on by Helen Ubinas in her April 22 column ["Desperate Mothers, Desperate Measures"] is that the mother could not find publicly funded day care for her son.

Ms. Ubinas' column reflects what many people only want to see — not the very clear problems of pre-marital sex and unwed motherhood but, instead, the blind adherence to more state funding for social programs that encourage non-parental care.

Does anyone think that the children (and taxpayers) of this state would be better served by providing more condoms, welfare and day-care subsidies rather than encouraging more flexible working schedules for mothers, fatherhood and marriage initiatives and even, dare I mention it, abstinence-only programs?

Let's stop looking for more band-aid solutions to our failed social agendas and begin questioning our blind commitments to "safe sex," no-fault divorce and oh-so-nonjudgmental single parenthood.

Leslie K. Wolfgang, New Hartford

The event began with a dinner in the second floor cafeteria. The room was filled with columnists whose names will be familiar to Courant readers: Susan Campbell, Jim Shea, Pat Seremet, Bessy Reyna, Michele Jacklin and more. Leslie and I debated liberal business columnist Dan Haar, an amiable fellow, over the content of her letter. Haar insisted that poverty was the root cause of the problem, but he partly conceded Leslie’s argument that the things she recommends are not being taught in the public schools. “When I was a teenager in the 70’s,” he said, “we were taught that alcohol, drugs and premarital sex were fine, as long as we did it in moderation.”

Larry Cohen, the Courant’s lone libertarian columnist, smiled when I told him that I worked for FIC. “I gave the Family Institute a warm welcome,” he said, referencing a column he wrote when Brian was hired. I told him that it was that column which caused me to contact Brian and, four years later, led to my position at FIC. “Those are the columns that will get me into heaven,” he joked.

After the dinner we went downstairs for a presentation by cartoonist Bob Englehart, followed by a reading by editors Robert Schrepf and Tom Condon of excerpts from all the winning letters. They were a friendly and charming bunch, but the liberal tilt of the majority of letters — as well as side comments by Condon suggesting that those were the letters he was in strongest agreement with — did lend credence, I thought, to the concerns many of us have about a lack of ideological diversity at the Courant.

There was a question and answer period following the presentation. I asked Schrepf, the editiorial page editor, this question: “In your endorsement of President Bush last year you advised him to drop his opposition to abortion and same-sex ‘marriage’ because these were — in your phrase — ‘yesterday’s wars.’ Considering everything that has happened since, do you still believe that these are ‘yesterday’s wars?’” With a note of sadness in his voice, he replied, “Events have shown that they’re not. I wish they were.”

Posted at 12:02 PM

March 29

SAME-SEX “MARRIAGE” WILL LEAD TO POLYGAMY [Peter Wolfgang]

Few things infuriate same-sex “marriage” proponents more than the frank acknowledgement that their activism — intentionally or not — is paving the way for legalized polygamy. But it is not just pro-family advocates who say so. “I don’t know what the magic is about [the number] two,” Anne Stanback, head of Love Makes a Family, told the Judiciary Committee when asked about the number of possible participants in a “marriage.”

Stanback unintentionally proved our point: once you redefine marriage to include two men or two women, there is no logical argument by which it cannot include three men or more. If marriage does not mean something, it will end up meaning anything, thus destroying the institution.

What Stanback admits to under duress, others are now openly advocating for. Last week on National Review Online, sociologist Stanley Kurtz discussed a law review article by Elizabeth F. Emens, a professor at the University of Chicago Law School, defending polyamory (group marriage):

Emens's breakthrough article is a sign that the case for mainstreaming polyamory is finally being...well, mainstreamed...Anyone who believes that a serious public campaign for legalized polyamory is impossible should take a look at Emens's work…The professor is unhappy that proponents of same-sex marriage agree with [Senator Rick] Santorum that were gay marriage to create a new openness to adultery, bigamy, and polygamy, that would be a bad thing. Emens's preferred response to Rick Santorum's parade of horribles is "So what?"

Kurtz’s piece on Emens’ article is must-reading, particularly for understanding what same-sex “marriage” activism is leading to:

Is Emens right? Not by a long shot. The most striking thing about her article is how little it has to say about children. And when Emens does take up the problem of children-and the related problem of the stability of polyamorous unions — she is superficial and dismissive. For all the other links between this defense of polyamory and the gay-marriage battle, the most important connection may be this question of children. If the gay marriage battle hadn't already done so much to separate the idea of marriage and parenthood, an article like this could never have been written. Once we act as though children are anything other than the central reason for the public interest in marriage, we open the way to exactly what Emens offers.

Posted at 4:46 PM

March 28

YOUR CALLS ARE HAVING AN EFFECT — BUT MORE ARE NEEDED! [Brian Brown]

Three key events last week give us reason to believe that the pro-family voice is finally being heard at our state’s capitol. On Tuesday, the CT Republican State Central Committee voted unanimously to endorse the traditional one man-one woman definition of marriage. “We should stop the parsing of words — this [the same-sex civil unions bill pending in the legislature] is gay marriage pure and simple,” Rep. William Hamzy (R-Plymouth), the Party Chairman, said in a press release. “Supporters of gay marriage should have the honesty to say what their intentions are rather than cloaking this major change in the social fabric of our culture with legalese…We hope all CT residents will contact their legislators and tell them that civil unions are not good for our state.”

On Thursday, Rep. Jim Amann (D-Milford), the Speaker of the House, told radio host Dan Lovallo that he believes the same-sex civil union bill may be defeated in our state House of Representatives. Rep. Amann says that he expects a spirited debate and a close vote but that he believes the civil union bill may fall short of passage.

On Friday, Courant staff writer Mark Pazniokas wrote a typically biased article about the CT GOP’s pro-family resolution. Pazniokas tried to spin the resolution as an instance of GOP “division,” but some remarkable news buried at the end of his article suggests that there is less division than he would have us believe:

Rell said she would like to see the civil union bill amended to define marriage as between a man and a woman.

Proponents of the civil unions bill say the language is unnecessary, because same-sex marriage obviously is not permitted under current law. But the governor said the definition still would be welcome.

"The bill right now as written does make several references to marriage throughout," Rell said. "It would be an opportune time for us to define marriage in that bill as a marriage between a man and woman."

(In fact, many of those same “proponents of the civil union bill” who dismiss Gov. Rell’s suggestion — because current law “obviously” forbids same-sex “marriage” — have said repeatedly that their ultimate goal is the legalization of same-sex “marriage.” But don’t expect to hear that from the Courant’s Mark Pazniokas.)

All of these things — the CT GOP’s pro-family resolution, Speaker Amann’s prediction that the civil union bill will fail in the House and Gov. Rell’s desire to amend the bill — are great news and a testament to the hard work of all those in the pro-family movement who are fighting to protect marriage. Your calls to your legislators and Gov. Rell are having an effect!

But we are not out of the woods yet—not by a long shot! We have to keep making those calls, visiting our legislators and keeping the pressure on. Grassroots action by pro-family citizens is the only thing that can counter the overwhelming presence of the well-heeled pro same-sex "marriage" lobby at our state legislature.

Lawmakers—many of whom are good people who are genuinely confused by the issue—must contend day-in and day-out with our well-connected opposition. Those lawmakers—as well as your family and friends—are also being exposed to a daily barrage of pro same-sex "marriage" propaganda from our biased state media, such as Thursday’s AP article lionizing Sen. Andrew McDonald as a moderate because he supports civil unions rather than same-sex "marriage." This article is deliberately designed to confuse the reader. The state's lawmakers and voters must be told that civil unions is same-sex "marriage" in everything but name. In fact, if the civil union bill passes, the courts may use it as a pretext to undemocratically impose same-sex "marriage" on Connecticut, as occurred in Massachusetts.

So please, continue to call your lawmakers and Gov. Rell and ask them to oppose civil unions and support a referendum to let the people decide. (You can call your legislators by clicking here and Gov. Rell by clicking here.) Write to your local newspapers in opposition to civil unions/same-sex "marriage" by clicking here. Plan to attend FIC's April 24th Rally to Protect Marriage and our April 27th Lobby Day. Pastors, call our office at (860) 548-0066 for information on our Mar. 31st Pastor's Lunch.

Your calls have helped turn the tide in this battle. But there remains much to be done and defeat is still a real possibility. Please raise your voice up for the protection of marriage today. And please consider donating to FIC and FIC Action, the flagship organizations of Connecticut's pro-family movement, by clicking here.

Posted at 1:55 PM

March 24

PIVOTAL CULTURAL MOMENTS [Ken Von Kohorn]

While Connecticut debates the definition of marriage and family, the entire country, it seems, has been pulled — either emotionally or from a legal perspective — into the ongoing drama of Terri Schiavo. Both our civil unions debate and the Schiavo case illustrate the increasingly bitter cultural divide within America.

To FIC, one of the main concerns raised in both cases is: What are we saying, as a state and as a nation, to our children?

Civil unions — and their next logical step, same-sex "marriage" — tells kids that adult gratification trumps the needs of the next generation. The vital importance of having both a father and a mother, we are saying, must be ignored in order that self-serving adult arrangements, which set aside the best interests of children, have official recognition.

Terri Schiavo's case also says something to our children — most of it very bad. We have been telling them that a flawed life has no intrinsic value and that a human being can — even should — be starved to death with the official blessings of our judicial system. Those of us who treasure life as a gift from God, worth preserving no matter how inconvenient, watch with increasing horror and dismay as court after court allows an innocent human being to be denied food and water.

We at FIC will continue to fight for policies that send better messages to our children. We must show them that life is about more than satisfying our own individual interests.

Posted at 3:54 PM

March 23

CONTACT THE FINANCE COMMITTEE! [Brian Brown]

Rep. Al Adinolfi told radio host Dan Lovallo this morning that he believes the civil union bill could be passed by the House. We can still stop it! The Finance Committee is the last stop before the bill is considered by both Houses of our state legislature. You can contact the members of the Finance Committee and ask them to vote against civil unions by clicking here.

Posted at 12:26 PM

CHRIS POWELL SAYS: “LET THE PEOPLE DECIDE!” [Peter Wolfgang]

In my Mar. 21st blog I noted the small contingent of columnists in CT print media who do not spout the pro same-sex “marriage” party line. Yesterday, another one broke from the pack. In his column for the Manchester Journal Inquirer, “Connecticut can only gain from a referendum on ‘civil unions,’” Chris Powell writes:

An advisory referendum on "civil unions" legislation would be especially appropriate because the legislation proposes a major change in the social order…Polls suggest that a referendum in Connecticut would approve "civil unions." If it turned out that way and the legislature enacted the legislation, a proclamation of democratic tolerance would be made to the entire nation. And if "civil unions" were defeated at referendum, legislation the public didn't want would be discouraged. What's wrong with that?

Powell is citing a poll that was done a year ago. The recent FIC poll conducted by Harris Interactive showed that 78% of CT voters know that marriage is the union of one man and one woman and 76% want the politicians to let the people decide. As Powell rightly asks, “What’s wrong with that?” Our opponents have yet to provide a good answer.

Posted at 10:31 AM

March 22

THE HOLY WEEK INSULT [Brian Brown]

"It really can only be taken as no more than an insult to Roman Catholic and other Christian denominations in this state who believe this proposed legislation violates the sanctity of marriage."

Those are the words of Rep. Al Adinolfi, R-Cheshire, responding to yesterday’s 30-15 vote by the Appropriations Committee in favor of the same-sex civil union bill that would destroy the traditional definition of marriage. Rep. Adinolfi is exactly right — having this vote now is an insult to the majority of CT voters for whom this is the holiest week of the year.

Earlier this month an FIC/CT Catholic Conference poll conducted by Harris Interactive revealed that 78% of CT voters know that marriage is the union of one man and one woman and 76% want the politicians to let the people decide the future of marriage.

So, why yesterday’s lopsided vote in the Appropriations Committee? In part it is due to the incredible pro same-sex “marriage” bias of our state media, such as this profile of Sen. Andrew McDonald that appeared in yesterday’s Stamford Advocate. The article avoids any mention of the recent FIC poll conducted by Harris Interactive, instead leaving the deliberate impression that last year’s UConn poll is the most recent poll of public opinion. The article does not even quote any pro-family opponent of the bill. In fact, the Advocate goes so far as to quote the Judiciary Committee co-chairmen’s assessment of themselves as “listening carefully” to and “respecting” the arguments of opponents, without bothering to ask pro-family spokesmen if their assessment is correct.

Since the Judiciary Committee’s approval of a civil unions bill — same-sex “marriage” in everything but name — and Gov. Rell’s endorsement of the “concept,” legislators have been deluged by calls from angry constituents demanding that they vote no on civil unions and yes on a referendum.

But as yesterday’s vote demonstrates, more — much more — needs to be done.

You can contact your legislators, the newspapers and Gov. Rell to express your opposition to the civil union bill by clicking here.

FIC is the flagship organization of the pro-family movement in CT. The success of our cause depends upon your willingness to help us in our mission. You can donate to FIC by clicking here.

Finally, watch this space for future updates on our April 24th Marriage Protection Rally, our April 27th Lobby Day and other events for the protection of marriage. In particular, pro-family pastors are urged to contact us for information on our Mar. 31st Pastor’s Lunch.

This week’s vote is not the first time our opponents have insulted our faith. If civil unions/same-sex “marriage” becomes law, it certainly will not be the last. This week, more than any other, is the time to stand up for our faith and our families.

Posted at 10:41 AM

March 21

CAMPBELL CONFUSED; OTHERS SAY: “LET THE PEOPLE DECIDE!” [Peter Wolfgang]

I have been reading Susan Campbell’s Courant column since I was a teenager. That was back in the 80’s, when Campbell still sported a headband in a photo that ran above columns that provided a unique voice at the Courant. The slow decline of her column, which is now just another mouthpiece for the same liberal mantra spouted by the rest of the mainstream media, has been a sad thing to watch.

In her piece for the Sunday Courant, “Catholic Parents Know Jesus Loves Their Gay Daughter,” Campbell describes a couple’s profession of love for their homosexual daughter this way:

This from practicing Catholics, catechism teachers, readers of the Scripture. In fact, those Scriptures tell them to love that daughter. And that's what separates the Menards from so many in the hierarchy of their faith — and from others who use holy texts to condemn homosexuality and thwart the drive toward civil unions or gay marriages in Connecticut.

This is the usual “love me, love my agenda” nonsense from the pro same-sex marriage lobby and their media friends. Campbell, who frequently cites both her fundamentalist childhood and her education at the liberal Hartford Seminary when commenting on religion, should at least crack open a Catechism of the Catholic Church before writing about Catholicism. If she did, she would know that there is nothing in the Catechism — written by “the hierarchy of their faith” — that could possibly be interpreted to mean that parents should not love their homosexual children. But that’s if Campbell was interested in what Catholicism actually teaches, rather than simply smearing Catholic bishops opposed to same-sex “marriage” as haters.

Fortunately, there is still a small contingent of columnists in CT print media that will tell you, to borrow Paul Harvey’s phrase, “the rest of the story.” In a column for the Waterbury Sunday Republican that is, alas, not available online, Lee Grabar notes three different “progressive” bills — including civil unions — “sailing” through the Judiciary Committee on votes that ran roughly 2-1, which is not representative of the will of the people. Laurence Cohen, the Courant’s lone libertarian columnist, expands on Grabar’s point:

The legislative nightmare of civil union or gay marriage is bouncing around at the Capitol…To be sure, there are a handful of legislators who live in safe districts with intellectual pretensions sufficient to appreciate a politician who champions homosexual stuff. But there are many more local pols in districts full of blue-collar Catholics or socially conservative minorities or ordinary-folk suburban types who think the whole thing is icky.

What to do, what to do? You're a legislator representing Connecticut, with a moral duty to act with-it and cool in a sophisticated, Northeastern kind of way, as opposed to a Mississippi or Idaho kind of way…Coming to the rescue with a good sense of humor is state Sen. Louis DeLuca, who suggests putting the gay stuff up for a non-binding referendum, just to see what the folks back home actually think. It's not that Lou is curious about it. He knows what people think. If you put the gay marriage stuff up to a vote, it would lose big…

But the boys and girls at the state Capitol won't play the referendum game. It might start a bad precedent that would encourage voters to believe it actually matters what they think.

Posted at 11:01 AM

March 18

THE HEAVY HAND OF OUR OPPOSITION…AND WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT [Brian Brown]

In her column in today’s Courant, “What’s So Threatening About Acceptance?” Bessy Reyna offers one long caricature of what she calls “the well-meaning but thoughtlessly cruel arguments” of pro-family groups against the legalization of civil unions/same-sex “marriage.” She describes the support of some CT legislators for same-sex unions as recognizing “the humanity they share” with homosexual constituents, implying that those who do not share her politics are opposed to people’s humanity. (One wonders: Does Reyna believe that her fellow Courant columnist Stan Simpson, an African-American who rejects the civil rights claims of same-sex “marriage” proponents, is denying her humanity?)

Bessy Reyna is just one of many liberal columnists in our state media that are apparently incapable of engaging our arguments without distorting them beyond recognition. In what is perhaps a Lenten act of penance for having committed the politically incorrect thought crime of praising Pope John Paul II’s pro-life view in the left-wing Hartford Advocate (see my Feb. 14th blog), Alistair Highet publishes a rant this week that, among other errors, describes our position this way:

They've called the campaign "Let the People Decide," and as I understand it, are saying that the issue [civil unions/same-sex “marriage’] should go before the masses, who will defy their legislators at referendum and surge to the barricades to prevent two fags in a condo from being recognized as a legal entity.

This caricature is precisely the sort of heavy-handed approach to this debate that has caused so many average citizens in CT to reject our opponents’ positions. Perhaps that is why Gov. Rell’s chief legal counsel agreed to meet with Marie Hilliard, executive director of the CT Catholic Conference, and me yesterday. We are grateful to Gov. Rell for allowing us to meet with her staff to discuss why the same-sex unions bill is bad public policy. We also discussed the recent FIC poll conducted by Harris Interactive showing that 76% of state voters want to vote on the future of marriage and 78% believe that marriage is the union of one man and one woman.

Gov. Rell has not yet decided whether she will sign or veto the civil union bill, if it should reach her desk. Now is the time to contact her and ask her to oppose the civil union bill! You can do that by clicking here. It is also a great way to send a message to our state’s biased pro same-sex “marriage” media: We will not be intimidated!

Posted at 12:16 PM

March 17

THE CHURCH IN CT AWAKENING [Peter Wolfgang]

“The Church in America Awakening” was the subtitle of a book published in 1999 by the Rev. Richard John Neuhaus. Thanks to the Judiciary Committee’s approval of the same-sex unions bill and Gov. Rell’s support for the “concept,” we may be experiencing a situation in our state that could be described as “The Church in CT Awakening.”

Yesterday, in a rare radio interview, the Most Rev. William E. Lori, Bishop of Bridgeport, weighed in on the civil unions/same-sex “marriage” issue. Host Brad Davis began by pointing to a poll taken of his listeners last Saturday wherein 402 out of 415 callers — 97%—said they opposed the legalization of same-sex unions. Bishop Lori concurred, citing the FIC poll conducted by Harris Interactive showing that “at the very least” 76% of state voters want the chance to vote on marriage and the majority expressed opposition to the redefinition of marriage. “There is a need for a referendum, at the very least,” Bishop Lori said. Citing the poll again, Bishop Lori said, “lawmakers should pay attention.”

It’s “frustrating that we’re not being heard” by the legislature, Brad said. “You must contact your representatives and tell others to,” Bishop Lori told Brad’s listening audience. “It is important to continue dialoguing with the Governor (and legislators) in light of the information that is surfacing, on both the will of the people and the substance of the issue. Kids do better with both a mom and a dad. It’s got to be about the kids — they are the ones left out of this equation.

“Marriage is an institution older than Judaism and Christianity. No matter your faith, people know that God meant marriage to be between a man and a woman. The legislature cannot undo the institution with the stroke of a pen.”

In addition to yesterday’s interview with the Bishop of Bridgeport and last week’s public address by the Archbishop of Hartford, FIC is seeing a number of other indications that the Church in CT is awakening. There is the deluge of contacts and support that we have received from pastors and laity in the last few weeks. There is also the unprecedented number of men who have registered for the men’s conference to be held this Saturday at Bishop LeRoy Bailey’s First Cathedral of Bloomfield, where FIC’s Brian Brown will be speaking. (To register or to get more information on the IRON SHARPENS IRON Northeast Men's Conference, call Brian Doyle of Vision New England Men's Ministries in West Hartford at 860.233.8136 or go to the conference website at www.IronSharpensIron.net).

Of course, almost nothing about the Church’s awakening is being reported in our state media, where free advertising for Love Makes a Family disguised as objective reporting — like this piece from the New London Day — continues to be the norm. Nevertheless, it is happening, and not a moment too soon. Whether we succeed or fail in protecting marriage for ourselves and future generations in Connecticut will depend largely on the witness of our state’s believers — Catholic as well as Protestant, Christian as well as Jewish and other faiths. Watch this space for continuing updates on the Church in CT Awakening.

Posted at 12:37 PM

March 16

REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN SAYS: “LET THE PEOPLE DECIDE!” [Peter Wolfgang]

The Waterbury Republican-American has an important editorial today endorsing a non-binding referendum on the future of marriage. The editors take issue with pro same-sex unions Sen. Andrew McDonald’s professed concern for the financial cost of a referendum, which they call “the best option for accurately assessing voters’ views on marriage.” The editors also set the record straight as to who would be “polarizing” the electorate:

If Sen. McDonald is right and 70 percent of Connecticut residents favor civil unions, then he should not be afraid to test his belief. The referendum results would be polarizing only if they showed widespread support for traditional marriage, and then lawmakers forced civil unions upon the disapproving public.

Posted at 9:30 AM

March 15

BIASED MEDIA IN DISARRAY [Brian Brown]

The FIC poll conducted by Harris Interactive, revealing that 76% of state voters want to vote on the future of marriage, and the subsequent push for a referendum seems to have thrown our local media outlets into disarray, with various reactions.

Liberal radio host Colin McEnroe, based on the few minutes I heard him yesterday, has opted for the standard biased media approach of pretending that those with whom one disagrees do not, in fact, exist. He and his co-host did acknowledge the existence of House Speaker Jim Amann, of course, but only to criticize his pro-family remarks in the CT Post and to dismiss him as a bad Speaker. From there, it was on to declarations that the civil unions bill will be easily passed by the legislature, to claiming that there is no real opposition to it and to citing as proof a UConn poll, implying that it was taken recently. The FIC poll conducted by Harris Interactive was, of course, ignored.

There is a reason why our opposition has referred to the UConn poll so often in the last week. They are trying to create a public perception that it was the UConn poll, rather than the poll conducted by Harris Interactive, that was just released. The UConn poll, which puts state opposition to same-sex “marriage” at 46%, was actually conducted in March, 2004. In other words, the favorite poll of CT’s pro same-sex “marriage” activists gauged where public opinion was one year ago — before the court decision imposing same-sex “marriage” in Massachusetts went into effect, before 13 out of 13 states amended their constitutions to protect marriage and before CT’s own Judiciary Committee approved a civil unions bill. The FIC poll conducted by Harris Interactive, which was done last month, shows that 78% of the voting public believes that marriage is a union between a man and a woman and 76% would like to vote on it. If anything, putting last year’s UConn poll side-by-side with the more recent FIC poll conducted by Harris Interactive shows that the public is moving in our direction.

Unlike Colin McEnroe, the pro same-sex “marriage” editors of the Courant seem to have detected this trend and they are alarmed. In its second editorial on the topic in four days, the Courant warns that those of us seeking a referendum “are on thin ice.” If so, why the need for a second editorial that simply repeats the arguments the paper made on Friday?

There is no need for a referendum, the Courant sniffs, because lawmakers can instead “take into account polls that show public support for civil unions, if they think such evidence is crucial to their decision-making.” But “if” lawmakers — to the exasperated sigh of the Courant — deign to consider public opinion before voting on civil unions, why would a poll be a better representation of public opinion than an actual vote by the people? And if the Courant really believes that the polls accurately reflect public support for civil unions, why does it fear a referendum?

“Civil rights issues ought not to rise or fall on polls or non-binding straw votes,” the Courant huffs. But this is an assertion, not an argument. Whether the legalization of same-sex “marriage” is a civil rights issue is precisely the point upon which we disagree. It is one thing to disagree with our arguments, but the Courant refuses even to engage them.

“Residents would have good reason to fear traveling down that slippery slope” toward making CT an initiative and referendum state, the Courant claims. Why? Because residents would have a state government that is more accountable to them? Or is it actually the editors of the Courant that have “good reason to fear” allowing CT to have referendums and initiatives? Do the editors fear waking up one day to a CT that is not the “progressive” and “enlightened” place they always said it was, but rather, a state whose moral beliefs more closely resemble those parts of the country that the Courant has, for years, looked down upon?

And then there is this:

The legislature might have the authority to approve a ballot question to go before voters in a special election on a day other than Election Day. But that would be very costly and of dubious validity, considering the state's history of low turnouts for special elections.

So even by the Courant’s own admission, it is legal to hold a referendum — the only dispute is whether it can be held on Election Day. The Courant frets about the low turnout of a special election. But if there was a low turnout, would that not put to rest the fears stated in the Courant’s previous editorial, about a referendum being “polarizing” and “fomenting anger?”

But the real question posed by today’s editorial is: why? Why did the Courant feel the need to run a second editorial on civil unions/same-sex “marriage” just four days after its last one? No major new development regarding the civil unions bill has been reported in the Courant since the first editorial was published and the second editorial offers no new arguments. So why did the Courant feel it necessary to publish a second editorial against the referendum? What is happening at the state capitol that the Courant is not telling its readers?

Posted at 1:47 PM

“WHAT LIBERAL MEDIA BIAS?” [Peter Wolfgang]

That question — the title of a book by a liberal commentator — is also the point of “Stop The Whining Over Liberal Media,” a letter in today’s Courant criticizing Rich Kendall’s earlier letter for saying the media’s coverage of the civil unions/same-sex “marriage” issue has been biased. Kevin Miner, the author of today’s letter, offers a hypothetical standard for media bias that is more revealing of a particular mindset than he realizes:

If there was truly a liberal media, I would be a commentator on CNN and Bob Novak would be in jail.

Miner would likely include this among the assertions made by Rich Kendall to which he objects:

The latest big lie perpetuated by liberal editorial staffs and networks is that there is no real opposition to civil unions in Connecticut, except from those in the gay lobby who won't settle for anything less than same-sex marriage.

In fact, I commented on this as well, in a Mar. 3rd blog:

In the circles Courant reporters run in, we’re probably not “the most visible opposition” to civil unions. You are not likely to see FIC at the Love Makes a Family fundraisers that Pat Seremet writes about in her Java columns, for instance.

More hyperbole from a “conservative whining over the so-called liberal media,” right? Those tempted to think so might want to read today’s Java column, “Love Makes A Family And a Great Party,” wherein the Courant’s gossip columnist reports on, sure enough, the latest LMF fundraiser:

Love may make a family, but at his grand manse in Bloomfield, which he shares with his partner, Bill Beeman, a resort financier, Michael van Parys made the dinner. First, it was an arugula wrap with prosciutto, mushroom croustada and spinach balls, followed by tenderloin with peppercorn crust, ravioli with lemon and artichoke sauce, carrots with cilantro, and the most gorgeous stemware a Cosmopolitan ever had the privilege to be poured into.

Here at FIC, we do not have “the most gorgeous stemware a Cosmopolitan ever had the privilege to be poured into,” but if you are willing to give us some volunteer time we will be happy to buy you a cup of clam chowder at Max Bibo’s. We might even spring for a large.

Posted at 10:45 AM

March 14

WEEKEND ROUND-UP [Peter Wolfgang]

Based on things heard and seen in our state’s newspapers and airwaves over the weekend, the public’s opposition to civil unions/same-sex “marriage” is beginning to have an impact.

“In all my years on the air, I have never seen a response like this.” That was radio host Brad Davis describing a poll of his listeners which he conducted on Saturday. For three hours he asked his listeners if they are for or against legalizing same-sex unions. The producer took 415 calls. Only 13 were for it; 402 calls — 97% — said they opposed same-sex civil unions. To potential critics who may say that Brad’s listening audience mirrors his own conservatism, he pointed to a pre-election poll of the same listeners showing 51% supported Bush and 48% supported Kerry, which closely mirrored the actual results of the election. As Brad’s poll shows, opposition to civil unions/same-sex “marriage” is widespread and transcends the usual divisions in our culture and politics.

Further proof of this fact was on display in a Saturday piece by Courant columnist Stan Simpson, an African-American who rejects the attempt by pro same-sex “marriage” activists to hijack the civil rights movement:

Count me in as a firm `No' vote in this movement to have Connecticut endorse gay marriage. This is not a civil rights issue. It's about sexuality, sexual orientation and trying to shoehorn it into public policy…the distinction with interracial unions is that it never disrupted the foundation of marriage as man and woman, or the biological concept of producing children.

In my book, you can be for individual rights, but against gay marriage.

"People have the right to live as they choose," says Brian Brown, executive director of the Family Institute of Connecticut, which opposes gay marriage. "But they don't have the right to redefine our basic core social institution — marriage. Support for protecting marriage as the union of one man and one woman has absolutely nothing to do with hate, prejudice or bigotry. We need to affirm everyone's basic rights."

The Saturday Courant also carried one of the best — and longest — letters to the editor ever printed on this topic. Rich Kendall, the writer, hits all the right notes, including criticism of the bias that is sometimes present in media coverage of this issue. The Courant, to its credit, prints the criticism:

For three years, those of us who support traditional marriage have been vilified in the press and over public airwaves as right-wing extremists who want to impose their religious beliefs on the gay community and deny it its civil rights.

The latest big lie perpetuated by liberal editorial staffs and networks is that there is no real opposition to civil unions in Connecticut, except from those in the gay lobby who won't settle for anything less than same-sex marriage. This totally ignores the rigorous and sustained opposition by a large segment of the voting public.

It should give pause that 90,000-plus petition signatures were presented to the governor and General Assembly last year demanding passage of a Defense of Marriage Act and that more than 6,000 residents braved a 10-below-zero wind-chill factor to protest at the state capitol last February.

Evidence suggests that the liberal news media in this state are censoring the pro-family message.

Almost as if it were determined to prove Rich Kendall right, the CT Post on Sunday ran a long feature article on civil unions/same-sex “marriage” without any mention of the new FIC poll conducted by Harris Interactive showing that 78% of state voters believe that marriage is a union between a man and a woman and 76% want to vote on the future of marriage. Nevertheless, pro-family activists can note with appreciation the Post’s interview with Democrat Rep. Jim Amann:

House Speaker James Amann, D-Milford, said the bill will be taken up by the Democratic caucus. “I'm still in favor of marriage being between a man and a woman; that's me personally.

“If the caucus wants a debate I won't prevent it,” he said. “The judiciary vote was lopsided, but it is not a thumbprint of where the rest of the House is on this. I haven't done a head count but if there is no support for it in the caucus we won't run with it.”

Indeed, Speaker Amann’s public assessment of the co-chairmen of the Judiciary Committee suggests that the majority party is not of one mind on the issue:

“Mike [Lawlor] is a great guy, but he is from the liberal side of the aisle,” Amann said. “Sen. McDonald is gay and has been pushing for this since he came into the building.”

Posted at 11:15 AM

March 12

WHAT'S REALLY AT STAKE IN THE SSM DEBATE [Ken Von Kohorn]

David Frum's latest essay crystalizes much of what FIC has been warning about in this space. He begins by recounting a little-reported incident last month at Harvard:

On February 26, Jada Pinkett Smith, wife of Hollywood star Will Smith, sparked a fierce little controversy at Harvard after receiving an award. In her thank-you speech, Pinkett Smith told the story of her life. She described how she had grown up as the child of two teenage heroin addicts and overcome adversity to build a successful career and a happy marriage. She concluded:

“Women, you can have it all — a loving man, devoted husband, loving children, a fabulous career. They say you gotta choose. Nah, nah, nah. We are a new generation of women. We got to set a new standard of rules around here. You can do whatever it is you want. All you have to do is want it.”

What could possibly be offensive about this message?

According to a complaint issued by the Harvard Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, Transgender, and Supporters Alliance, as reported by the Harvard Crimson, Pinkett Smith’s words “implied that standard sexual relationships are only between males and females.” “Our position is that the comments weren’t homophobic, but the content was specific to male-female relationships,” said one of the Alliance’s co-chairs. The other added: “I don’t think [Pinkett Smith] meant to be offensive, but I just don’t think she was that thoughtful.”

The organizers of the award ceremony agreed to apologize for the 'offensive' remarks.

Frum then reminds us of the Boston Globe editorial we referenced in this space on March 7th — the one that criticizes Massachusetts Gov. Romney for even suggesting that kids do best with both a mom and a dad.

And finally, there is this:

Prodded by its famously high-handed courts, Canada is now amending its laws to accommodate same-sex marriage. The province of Ontario has passed a law deleting the words “wife,” “husband,” “widow,” and “widower” from every statute in which they appear. The federal same-sex-marriage bill now before the parliament voids the term “natural parent” wherever it occurs in Canadian law and replaces it with the term “legal parent.” Should the federal bill pass, motherhood and fatherhood will have been deprived of all juridical meaning in Canada — and children will belong to any adult or group of adults to which the state may wish to assign them.

Notice the pattern. As the same-sex "marriage" movement gathers momentum, it is clear that it is not just about "fairness" or "equal rights." It is about redefining marriage for everyone. Or, as Frum puts it:

For years, advocates of same-sex marriage have pledged that their big idea will have little or no effect on the 97 percent or so of the population that is not gay. All they wanted, they said, was that marriage rights be “extended” to a very small minority: What possible difference could that make to anyone else? But as same-sex marriage advances from slogan to reality, we are learning that it will make a very big difference to us all.

Same-sex marriage does not extend marriage. It transforms marriage.

We highly recommend that you read the entire essay here.

Posted at 4:15 PM

March 11

COURANT SAYS: “DON’T LET THE PEOPLE DECIDE” [Brian Brown]

“That simply is not how we do things here in Connecticut.” Those were the words of Anne Stanback — head of the pro same-sex “marriage” lobbying group Love Makes a Family — heard on the radio yesterday, responding with horror to the suggestion that we should let the people decide the future of marriage in Connecticut.

Today, our state’s largest paper declares its agreement with Anne’s elitist view.

In an editorial published with unusual haste — it was just yesterday that the Courant covered this story — the editors write:

Feelings run strong on both sides regarding whether the state should permit civil unions or marriage between same-sex couples. So it's hard to imagine that a statewide, non-binding referendum proposed by critics will do much to advance the argument or enlighten legislators.

Really? How does it follow that because “feelings run strong” on civil unions/same-sex “marriage,” a referendum will not “do much to advance the argument or enlighten legislators?” Will a referendum only “advance” an argument or “enlighten” a legislator if it is on an issue about which people do not have strong feelings? This is the muddled thinking that is typical of Courant editorials on this topic.

The Courant objects to a referendum “as a way of giving all the state’s voters a say”:

But voters have plenty of say. For one, they elected the representatives now serving their interests in the General Assembly, and they can vote them out if they don't like what they see.

Before writing the lines above, the Courant editors should have taken a second look at an op-ed that appeared in their own newspaper on Nov. 16, 2004. In “A Legislature Beholden — But Not To The Voters,” Robert Satter, a judge trial referee in Hartford Superior Court and the author of “Under the Gold Dome: An Insider’s Look at the Connecticut Legislature,” lays out the grim statistics:

In 2004, 61 state representatives had no opposition from the other major party…This amounted to 40 percent of the House races going uncontested this year…13 senators had no opposition from the other major party…This amounted to 36 percent of Senate seats going uncontested…57 House members in contested races against a major party opponent won by 60 percent or more…Adding those 57 races to the 61 uncontested races means that 118 House members, or 78 percent won in a walk…The figures are similar for the Senate…78 percent breezed to victory and only eight seats, or 22 percent, were in play.

Satter explains why, contrary to the Courant’s editorial, voters do not have plenty of say:

This situation occurred not by chance but by design…the legislature…has become particularly adept at designing House and Senate districts so as to assure the re-election of incumbents…With the use of sophisticated computer programs, they can practically guarantee that result. Incumbents don’t just win but win with such large margins as to eliminate competition.

On the “critical question” of “what kind of a legislature results from such elections” Satter writes that the likely prospect

is a legislature catering to special interests because it has no fear of retribution at the polls. Legislators raise much of the money for campaigns — as much as $50,000 for a House race and $200,000 for a Senate race — from lobbyists and special-interest groups. Legislators not beholden to their constituency for retaining their seats are peculiarly susceptible to the blandishments of such lobbyists.

And that is why a civil unions/same-sex “marriage” bill is moving forward in the legislature. That is why the Archbishop of Hartford said the bill is “advancing with no attempt to determine the will of the people.” It was not, as the Courant’s editorial claims, because “it’s advancing in a direction he and like-minded people disagree with.”

In fact, it is the Courant’s pro same-sex “marriage” editors who oppose a referendum because the likely result is something that they would disagree with. An overwhelming majority of 78% agree that marriage is the union of one man and one woman. 76% of state voters want the chance to vote on a constitutional amendment that would define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

Yet the Courant, which had itself editorialized in previous election cycles against the negative effects of uncontested races, now says “the voters can vote them out if they don’t like what they see.” It is the Courant, which had implied in its Mar. 4th “The Ground Has Shifted” editorial that the civil unions vs. same-sex “marriage” debate is the only one now taking place in Connecticut, that is now afraid to let the people decide. It is the Courant, which in an editorial last year had dismissed opposition to same-sex “marriage” as “yesterday’s wars,” that now describes a popular vote on marriage as a “polarizing referendum,” that would “foment anger.”

Contrary to the Courant, FIC’s “true goal” in asking for a referendum on marriage is not “fomenting anger,” but rather, to let the people decide. The Courant’s true goal in opposing the referendum is to make sure that they don’t.

Posted at 1:45 PM

March 10

NICE TRY [Brian Brown]

We received a call this afternoon from someone claiming that this line from Peter’s blog was inaccurate:

The difference, of course, is that [Love Makes a Family’s] poll was conducted by a political organization while FIC’s poll was conducted by Harris Interactive, a reputable polling firm.

Our caller insisted that LMF’s poll was conducted by UConn, not a political organization, and that, indeed, FIC has “a lot of inaccuracies on your blog.”

Well, it’s good to know that our blog is being read by our opponents and that it is causing enough of a stir to generate the occasional hostile call or hysterical e-mail. But it is our caller, not FIC, that needs to check his facts. LMF’s poll was not conducted by UConn. Here’s my op-ed that was published in the Courant on Jan. 13th, 2004 about LMF’s bogus poll:

Look Closer At Poll Supporting Same-Sex Marriage

Brian S. Brown

Recently, Love Makes a Family, the lobbying group pressuring our state to radically redefine marriage, released a poll in which it claimed that 77 percent of Connecticut residents would find same-sex marriage acceptable and 57 percent support it. Neither of these assertions are remotely accurate, and the news media have done a grave disservice to the democratic process and their own standards by repeating these flawed figures without researching them.

Repeated polls by major polling companies (Gallup, Zogby, Pew Charitable Trust) show that an overwhelming majority of Americans oppose same-sex marriage. In Pew’s most FIC poll, 59 percent oppose same-sex marriage and only 32 percent support it. A majority oppose civil unions in most reputable polls.

By all indications, Connecticut residents follow a similar pattern. A Quinnipiac University poll conducted a week before Love Makes a Family’s “poll” found that more Connecticut residents oppose same-sex marriage than support it.

Why, then, was the Love Makes a Family poll so incongruous? First of all, because it was not conducted by a polling company at all: It was done by a campaign company that specializes in electing Democratic candidates rather than testing the pulse of the people. (Don’t take my word for it. Visit their website at www.decisionr.com and examine their standards for yourself.)

Further, this poll does not even say what Love Makes a Family purports it to say. It never asks, “Do you support or oppose same-sex marriage?” Instead, its authors make up new and confusing categories, such as “civil-marriage.”

And when it does ask a question that seems to make sense, it counts those who answer in opposition as actually in support. Respondents who answered that they would “not like” civil unions, but would accept them if enacted (what is that supposed to mean — the respondent would not lead a revolt?) are counted as supporting civil unions. This is how Love Makes a Family comes to the gross fabrication of 77 percent of Connecticut residents supporting civil unions. Again, I invite readers to look at the poll themselves and make up their own minds at Love Makes a Family’s website at lmfct.org.

Every time the people of a state have had the opportunity to vote on redefining marriage, they have opposed it. Hawaii and California are not exactly conservative states, yet their residents passed Defense of Marriage acts (allowing those states not to recognize same-sex unions from other states) with overwhelming majorities when it became clear what was at stake.

That is because defending marriage transcends party labels, cultures, races, religions or any other differences. Marriage is truly our most multicultural and trans-historical institution. The people of this nation and state realize that the future of the family, the very foundation of our social order, is at stake — and they are not going to remain silent while it is radically redefined.

Brian S. Brown is executive director of the Family Institute of Connecticut, a nonprofit group that led a petition drive for a Defense of Marriage Act in Connecticut this past year and plans to take up the drive again in February.

Posted at 3:43 PM

COURANT GIVES GOOD COVERAGE [Peter Wolfgang]

We have not been shy about criticizing the Courant’s same-sex “marriage” coverage when we thought it lacked balance. But we have also never hesitated to praise our hometown paper when we see something we like — and we certainly like what we see today!

The largest article on today’s front page is about yesterday’s FIC/CT Catholic Conference press conference, revealing that 76% of state voters want to have a vote on the future of marriage. The online version does not do justice to the hard copy. The article is located on the center of the front page, with a photo of Hartford Archbishop Henry J. Mansell and a large quote from him on the defense of the family and democracy appearing above the fold. The caption beneath the photo provides a succinct summary of the image. Clearly, the editors who designed today’s front page understood the newsworthiness of the event.

This is due in no small part to the good reporting of Courant staff writer Daniela Altimari, who has accurately and fairly conveyed FIC’s positions in the articles she has written. Today’s piece is no exception:

Led by the Connecticut Catholic Conference and the Family Institute of Connecticut, the coalition will continue to lobby the legislature. But as part of a campaign dubbed "Let the People Decide," it will also make its case directly to state voters through newspaper and radio ads, direct mail, phone banks and a rally at the Capitol on April 24.

Daniela goes on to note the multicultural nature of our pro-family coalition — a fact that the press usually ignores — and quotes Bishop LeRoy Bailey of The First Cathedral in Bloomfield. She also reports what the AP did not:

If a vote were held, opponents of gay marriage expressed confidence that they would prevail. They touted the results of a new poll, jointly commissioned by the Catholic conference and the Family Institute, which shows broad resistance to changing the state's marriage laws.

The poll, conducted by Harris Interactive, asked if marriage should be defined as a union between one man and one woman. About 78 percent of the respondents said they "totally agree" with that statement. Completed in late February, the poll had a margin of error of 4.9 percent.

Anne Stanback of Love Makes a Family is quoted objecting to our poll on the grounds that her group “commissioned a poll that got almost the opposite results.” The difference, of course, is that LMF’s poll was conducted by a political organization while FIC’s poll was conducted by Harris Interactive, a reputable polling firm.

To the idea that we should Let the People Decide, Stanback had this response: “that’s not the way we make laws in Connecticut.”

Posted at 10:44 AM

March 9

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS: A TEXTBOOK CASE OF BIAS [Brian Brown]

FIC and the CT Catholic Conference held a press conference today unveiling new polling data that completely turns the conventional wisdom of our state’s elites on its head: 76% of state voters want the chance to vote on a constitutional amendment that would define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. An overwhelming majority of 78% agree that marriage is the union of one man and one woman. These numbers clearly refute the claim by our opponents’ that the “ground has shifted” in Connecticut and that the only debate taking place is between civil unions and same-sex “marriage.” A legislature that gives that impression to media outlets is not a legislature that is reflecting the will of the people.

So, what do you do with this inconvenient fact if you are a reporter who is biased against our cause? Why, you would write the story that the Associated Press wrote, of course: a brief item about the press conference making no mention of why the press conference was held (the poll results) and refusing even to mention the groups who held it (FIC and the CT Catholic Conference). But Anne Stanback of Love Makes a Family is, of course, quoted.

We are hopeful that other media outlets will offer a less biased report on our poll. For instance, mentioning the poll’s actual existence — and its findings — might be a nice touch.

Posted at 4:40 PM

March 7

SO MUCH FOR FATHERS [Ken Von Kohorn]

Maggie Gallagher, an indefatigable fighter for the interests of children and society, sent us this email earlier today:

Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney said recently that while children may be well raised in many environments, the ideal environment is a mother and a father. Look at the tongue-lashing he got from the Boston Globe who said comments like these have no place in "enlightened political debate."

As I and others have predicted, once you have gay marriage, saying that fathers matter will become the equivalent of making racist statements.

Because the promise of gay marriage is that gay couples will be viewed and treated as just the same as everyone else.

Posted at 3:43 PM

ANOTHER SLAP TO DEMOCRACY [Brian Brown]

New Haven Superior Court Judge Patty Jenkins Pittman has denied FIC’s motion to intervene as a defendant in Kerrigan vs. State of CT, the case filed by seven same-sex couples seeking a court-imposed legalization of same-sex “marriage.”

This is another slap in the face for self-government in Connecticut. Our opponents claim that a legislative decision to legalize same-sex civil unions without a court order is an expression of democratic support for their cause. Peter notes, below, one reason why their claim is false. Another reason is that — at the very same time our opponents claim to have the people on their side — they are still pursuing an undemocratic court mandate to redefine marriage.

We are up against an unaccountable legislature and an undemocratic court. But the people are on our side. We can see that in the thousands of citizens that are calling and writing to their representatives and in the calls flooding into the offices of local radio hosts like Brad Davis.

And we have a poll to prove it. On Wednesday, FIC will be holding a press conference to reveal new information proving what we have said all along: the people want the right to decide the future of marriage. If we are ever going to resolve this issue, the legislature and the courts must step aside and LET THE PEOPLE DECIDE!

Posted at 3:23

SOCIAL LIBERALISM, PRAGMATIC APATHY OR SOMETHING ELSE? [Peter Wolfgang]

Today’s New York Times has a piece bringing its readers up to date on the civil unions/same-sex “marriage” issue in CT:

But in Connecticut, the exit ramp to New England and its distinctive style of social liberalism, no court ruling has been necessary to push state-sanctioned civil unions toward what lawmakers in both parties say is likely passage. And while changes in neighboring states may have altered perspectives here, some say the state has long been known for tolerance, or at least pragmatic apathy.

Like the Courant, the Times tends to confuse the legislature with the actual people of Connecticut. Both papers should take a second look at “A Legislature Beholden — But Not To The Voters,” an op-ed by Judge Robert Satter that was published by the Courant on Nov. 16th and cited by Brian on this blog on Nov. 17th:

A legislature in which more than three-quarters of its members feel themselves immune from accountability to the voters, and start thinking of their safe seats as personal fiefdoms, threatens the quality of our democracy.

Indeed, there are occasional hints from the Times that it knows public opinion in CT is more complicated than is being reported. An article in the Sunday edition, while covering divisions within CT’s religious community from a mostly pro same-sex “marriage” perspective, ended with a quote that will ring true for many of us:

"I think the last major problematic issue that came before the Episcopal Church was women's ordination," he said. "People got comfortable with that, the newness of that, and it settled back in. I think, however, that with homosexuality and gay marriage, the liberal side would have suggested that the topic would have died down and gone away and people would have acquiesced to this revision in thinking, but it hasn't because this is very doctrinal. It's the difference between what is sin and what is not sin. I do believe that it may ultimately end up with the Episcopal church dividing, and other denominations following suit."

Posted at 2:28 PM

CIVIL UNIONS, FATHERLESSNESS & GORDON HAMILTON [Peter Wolfgang]

On March 3rd, in response to a report that the new head of the CT chapter of the ACLU — a former NAACP official — would make the passage of a same-sex unions bill his top priority, I blogged:

What a waste of resources. The epidemic of fatherlessness is at the root of the youth violence that Hartford is currently experiencing. Instead of focusing on that, Mr. Vann wants to pass a bill that will actually increase fatherlessness!

Thomas Finn expands on this point in a letter in the Sunday Courant that is worth quoting in full:

Same-Sex Unions Put Kids At Risk

The Courant has provided virtually seamless support for same-sex marriage/civil unions — while avoiding a balanced discussion of the risks to children should either become law.

Until March 2, that is. Consider the headlines: "Rell Joins Backers Of Same-Sex Civil Unions" [Page 1] vs. "Raising Boys To Men Takes Dads, Too" [Connecticut section].

I see a contradiction here. In the latter article, columnist Stan Simpson identifies the damaging effects to our youths from the absence of positive men (dads) as heads of households, while in the former, we read of the governor's support for civil unions.

Because these unions permanently remove a child's opportunity to be raised in a home with both his or her mother and father, then our state is attempting to legally certify a relationship that puts kids into Mr. Simpson's category of risk.

Mr. Simpson's concern for children being raised without both parents does not reflect hate or discrimination. Rather it reflects the reality that the health and welfare of kids raised without both mom and dad are at risk.

I'm not swayed by the statements that research has shown kids raised by same-sex couples are not at risk. I've read that research and it doesn't show that.

Let's remember that government didn't define marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman, nature did. Government, therefore, does not have the power to redefine the nature of marriage and its benefit to children and society.

In the natural world, no matter what laws we change, two nights can't make a day.

Thomas F.X. Finn, Southington

Dr. Finn is right to cite Stan Simpson’s March 2nd column, which is must-reading for anyone fighting for the family in CT. I was particularly struck by this reference in the Simpson piece:

A lot of the role models that our young males are following are only the negative ones, the ones they see on the rap videos and listen to on the radio," [Boys & Girls Club President Kenneth] Darden says. "Unfortunately, that's what they're responding to. They're not responding to those positive individuals out there really doing some significant things."

Darden mentions the late Gordon Hamilton, the recently deceased Watkinson School basketball coach and city youth counselor, as an example of a young man worth modeling. Hamilton, 31, received little attention until he died in a January car crash on the New Jersey Turnpike.

Gordon and I grew up in the same neighborhood in Manchester and knew each other from the time we were children. He was close friends with my brother, Erik, who served as his assistant coach at Watkinson and finished the season as head coach after Gordon’s tragic death.

Gordon grew up to be the man we all respected precisely because of the role his father played in his life. This point was underlined for me at his memorial service when one young man spoke from the pulpit about the effect Gordon had on his life. “A lot of us didn’t have our fathers around when we were growing up,” he said. “Gordon shared his father with us.” He went on to describe the times Gordon’s dad was there for him and other fatherless boys, the things they would do together and how Sam Hamilton helped fill that empty space in their lives.

Gordon’s legacy is one more example of why children need both a mom and a dad. If the legislature — and Gov. Rell — pass the same-sex civil unions bill, it will help create a class of children for whom motherlessness and fatherlessness will be permanent and obligatory, not just the falling short of an ideal but a deliberately chosen outcome! Our state government will, in effect, be saying to men like the one who spoke at Gordon’s funeral: “Your pain means nothing to us. What matters is the satisfaction of the adults.” What lawmakers in their right minds would say that to the children of their districts?

Posted at 10:13 AM

March 4

COURANT ADVOCACY CONTINUES [Brian Brown]

The lead editorial in our local paper today declares that “the ground has shifted” on the same-sex “marriage” debate: “Connecticut is having a conversation about whether civil unions or same-sex marriage should be codified as state law.” Actually, no, that is not the debate Connecticut is having. The General Assembly is having that debate. The people of Connecticut want a statewide referendum, but that is the debate the legislature thus far refuses to have and the Courant prefers to ignore. To imply — as this morning’s editorial does — that because of the Judiciary Committee’s vote, the civil unions vs. same-sex “marriage” debate is the only one now taking place in Connecticut, is just pure advocacy.

But that is the Courant’s pattern: run a few articles in the news section misrepresenting the facts (“The most visible opposition to the [civil unions] bill” comes from pro same-sex “marriage” absolutists) print a few related items in the entertainment section (today’s review of “Lesbians on Ecstasy” reads like a parody of the genre) and then publish an editorial declaring — voila! — “the ground has shifted.”

“Wait,” you say, “what about today’s pro-family op-ed by Marie Hilliard, executive director of the Connecticut Catholic Conference? Isn’t that an indication of even-handedness by the Courant?” Marie’s op-ed is excellent, making all the necessary points succinctly and with clarity:

The Connecticut legislature and Gov. Rell should not take such a historic step without the consent of the people. The people should determine whether they wish to have marriage and family, premier institutions of society, permanently redefined for all of our society.

A referendum vote would allow the people of Connecticut to voice whether they believe that all it takes to make a family is love, or whether the family is a much more profound institution than this simplistic definition entails. Let the people decide.

But no, the Courant is not even-handed on this issue. Yesterday, the Courant’s op-ed editor told me the paper would run a piece I had written for today’s edition. Two hours later she contacted me again to tell me the board changed its mind about publishing my op-ed. They were printing Marie’s piece instead, because she had not written for them previously and they felt I had been published “too much” on the Courant’s op-ed page.

First, I have been published on the Courant’s op-ed page twice. Second, why could the Courant not run both pieces on different days? Given that the vast majority of articles published day-after-day in the Courant about this issue favors the pro same-sex “marriage” side, publishing both Marie’s op-ed and mine would have only been fair.

But the Courant is not about fairness. It is about pursuing its own agenda, pure and simple. As pro-family citizens continue the fight at the state capitol, countering the politically-motivated bias of the Courant is something we should all be thinking about. The people of Connecticut deserve to hear both sides of the story equally — and the Courant is putting its heavy hand on the scale.

Posted at 10:44 AM

March 3

COURANT RUNS SEMI-CORRECTION; OTHERS STILL GETTING IT WRONG [Peter Wolfgang]

Yesterday, the Courant published this curious line: “The most visible opposition to the [civil unions] bill has come from those within the gay community who saw civil unions as not going far enough” [emphasis added]. Today, our state’s paper of record ran this correction:

The Connecticut Catholic Conference and the Family Institute of Connecticut have been visible opponents of marriage or civil unions for same-sex couples. A story on Page 1 Wednesday neglected to mention their opposition.

In the circles Courant reporters run in, we’re probably not “the most visible opposition” to civil unions. You are not likely to see FIC at the Love Makes a Family fundraisers that Pat Seremet writes about in her Java columns, for instance. Nevertheless, the “most visible” line was a ridiculous error, making the Courant appear as out of touch as the late New Yorker movie critic Paulene Kael in 1972 (who then lived in New York City's Upper West Side), when she famously remarked, "I don't know how Richard Nixon could have won; I don't know anybody who voted for him." We appreciate the Courant’s semi-correction.

Others in today’s Courant, though, are still getting the big picture wrong. Anne Stanback’s op-ed has the usual language about the pro same-sex “marriage” cause as another “movement for civil rights,” despite testifying last month that she “would never be so presumptuous as to say the African-American struggle and the gay struggle are the same.” In fact, same-sex “marriage” proponents make that presumption all the time. Just ask pro-family radio host Brad Davis, who noted this morning how much he resents the e-mails from activists accusing him of bigotry: “I thought the gay movement was a loving movement that appreciated open debate. But you don’t want open debate. It’s your way or no way.”

Today’s paper also has a piece announcing that Roger C. Vann, a former official of the NAACP, will be the new executive director of the Connecticut chapter of the ACLU. His first priority? Passing the same-sex civil unions bill.

What a waste of resources. The epidemic of fatherlessness is at the root of the youth violence that Hartford is currently experiencing. Instead of focusing on that, Mr. Vann wants to pass a bill that will actually increase fatherlessness!

Posted at 12:32 PM

March 2

“IN LIKE A LION…” [Brian Brown]

As we enter the month of March it is time once again to step back and consider where things stand in the battle to protect marriage in Connecticut. The news is not good. But we at the Family Institute have a number of measures planned which could turn the tide with this present legislature — if pro-family citizens respond by rising up in record numbers.

First, the bad news. In total disregard for the will of their constituents, the Judiciary Committee of our state legislature voted on Feb. 23rd to approve a “civil unions” bill that would legalize same-sex “marriage” in everything but name. In fact, if this bill becomes law it may well create a domino effect causing the legalization of same-sex “marriage” in name as well as fact. The passage of this bill could severely undermine the position of Atty. Gen. Richard Blumenthal, who is defending the legality of Connecticut’s marriage statutes in a case brought by seven same-sex couples seeking a court-ordered imposition of same-sex “marriage.” The court hearing Kerrigan vs. State of Conn. may well interpret civil unions — a separate entity created specifically for homosexuals — as a violation of the state constitution’s equal protection clause and impose same-sex “marriage” as a remedy.

At the start of this legislative session, Love Makes a Family, the pro same-sex “marriage” movement’s chief instrument in Connecticut, said it would oppose civil unions and support only same-sex “marriage.” On Jan. 27th on this blog, I responded:

Despite the “all or nothing” rhetoric, if LMF fails to make headway on same-sex “marriage,” they could back Rep. Lawlor’s civil unions bill at the last minute, claiming that they are “moderating” their position and are willing to accept a “compromise.”

Sure enough, yesterday’s Courant ran an article with this headline:

Change Of Heart On Civil Unions: Gay Rights Group Softens Its Stand

While reporting on LMF’s decision to drop its ploy, the Courant mischaracterized Gov. Jodi Rell’s position on the issue, or at least the one she had up until yesterday:

Rell has expressed support for the general idea of expanding the rights of gay couples, but has not weighed in on the bill's specifics.

At the time that sentence was published Gov. Rell had not “expressed support” for “expanding the rights of gay couples” but in fact had said just the opposite: that she did not see the need for further legislation because she believed that previous legislation had adequately addressed concerns raised by pro same-sex “marriage” activists. Here are the Governor’s exact words, from an interview published by the New Haven Register on Dec. 10:

On the issue of gay marriage, Rell said she does not favor it. "I’m an old-fashioned person when it comes to that. I believe in marriage between a man and a woman." Rell also questioned the need for civil unions. "I’m not sure what it would accomplish," she said, pointing to protections already in place allowing gay couples to adopt children, as well as to have access for hospital visits. "I think we have gone a long way in changing the statutes to address those concerns," she said.

Ever since Gov. Rell gave that interview, the Courant has censored and distorted her position. The propaganda-disguised-as-reporting in our state’s largest newspaper may have had its intended effect. Here are the lead paragraphs of a front page piece in today’s Courant:

Gov. M. Jodi Rell endorsed the concept of civil unions for same-sex couples Tuesday, adding to the momentum building behind the gay-rights measure.

"I don't believe in discrimination of any sort, and I want people to have equal rights and equal opportunities," Rell said.

The governor said she had not evaluated the civil-unions bill approved last week by the judiciary committee, but for the first time she offered unqualified support for the concept.

"The concept I don't have trouble with," Rell told reporters after a ceremony at the Capitol for new judges.

While Gov. Rell has gone from having “questioned the need for civil unions” to declaring it a “concept I don’t have trouble with,” it is not clear that the Courant’s headline, “Rell Joins Backers of Same-Sex Civil Unions” is accurate. One radio report described her comments this way: “if the right civil unions bill were to reach her desk Gov. Rell would sign it.” That seems a more accurate characterization of her remarks than the Courant’s insinuation that the Governor has already joined the side of those seeking the passage of S.B. 963.

Of course, the same Courant piece includes this bizarre line: “The most visible opposition to the [civil unions] bill has come from those within the gay community who saw civil unions as not going far enough” [emphasis added]. Really? I was not aware that Love Makes a Family had topped the 90,000 signatures FIC gathered in opposition to legislation of this nature or the 6,000 people we rallied on the steps of the state capitol last year. The Courant appears to have dropped all pretense of objectivity when covering this issue. The weird “inside baseball” quality of its reporting about alleged differences between different pro same-sex “marriage” factions makes it read more like the in-house journal of the “gay rights” movement, rather than an objective news source that all sides can turn to for accurate reporting.

But we know where the biased liberal media stands. The question is: where does Gov. Rell stand? It is up to the pro-family movement to make clear to her — and to our legislators — that there is no “right” civil unions bill. It is same-sex “marriage” in fact and very likely in name, too. Gov. Rell and our legislators must understand that, because of the Kerrigan case and the stated goals of our opponents, a vote for civil unions is a vote for same-sex “marriage.”

So, what is to be done? First, we need every pro-family citizen of our state to contact their state senator and state representative and ask them to VOTE NO on civil unions. You can use the resources of FIC’s website to contact your legislators by clicking here. You may also send an e-mail to Gov. Rell asking her to veto the civil unions bill by clicking here.

Second, we need to get letters to the editor from pro-family citizens into our state newspapers to counter the overwhelmingly pro same-sex “marriage” bias of the “mainstream” media. You can use the resources of FIC’s website to send letters to your local newspapers by clicking here.

Third, FIC will be holding a press conference on March 9th to unveil new information regarding where the Connecticut public stands on marriage protection. After the 9th it will be clear that legislators who refuse to let the people vote on a marriage protection amendment are not representing their constituents.

Fourth, FIC will be holding a Protect Marriage Rally on Sunday, April 24th, 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM on the steps of the state capitol in Hartford. We need as big a turnout as possible to stop the passage of the civil unions bill. Spread the word to your friends, family, churches, pastors, every like-minded pro-family person you know. Whether or not we can defeat civil unions/same-sex “marriage” in Connecticut will depend largely on the number of people who attend this rally.

Fifth, there will be a Protect Marriage lobby day at the state capitol on April 27th, the Wednesday after the Rally. Like the Rally, we need as big a turnout for this event as possible if we want to defeat the civil unions bill. Our opponents have made it this far because they have a large and constant physical presence at the legislative office building. The only way to stop their momentum is for the pro-family movement to outdo them in letting our representatives know — face to face — that their constituents oppose civil unions and same-sex “marriage” and that we want a vote on the marriage protection amendment.

We have a tremendous task ahead of us if we are to protect marriage in Connecticut and there are still other issues that need to be addressed: the proposal to make Waterbury abortion-free, which was almost passed by the city council; the public health committee’s approval of a bill that would use your tax dollars to clone and kill human embryos; the bill that would require a minor to notify her parents before getting an abortion; the bill that would create a special exception allowing someone who assisted in a suicide to get accelerated rehabilitation; the teenage abstinence bills that are bottled up in committee; the epidemic of fatherlessness in Hartford that has led to a wave of youth violence; the list goes on.

FIC intends to have a hand in all of those issues, but without losing focus on the one issue that looms over the future of the Connecticut family: the fight to protect marriage from being radically redefined. Toward that end, I am pleased to announce the hiring of Peter Wolfgang as our new Director of Public Policy. Although a recent hire, Peter has been fighting side-by-side with us from the beginning and many of you already know him. You will be hearing more about — and from — Peter in the days ahead. He will be joining me as a regular blogger on this site.

They say that “March goes in like a lion and out like a lamb.” Policy-wise, March certainly has come in like a lion for the pro-family movement of Connecticut. But for many of us, March will indeed go out like a lamb — the paschal lamb, whose Easter feast we will celebrate on Mar. 27th this year. As we approach that most hopeful of days, let us remember that the darkest of defeats can sometimes be a prelude to the greatest of victories.

Posted at 5:39 PM

February 28

WHAT THEY REALLY THINK OF MARRIAGE…AND OF YOU [Brian Brown]

Pastor Rick McKinniss of Wellspring Church in Berlin had a great op-ed in yesterday’s Courant on the pitfalls of legalizing same-sex “marriage.” His closing paragraph is worth quoting in full:

Our legislators need to weigh these considerations carefully before legalizing a redefinition of marriage that would create a court quagmire and further weaken family life. Recent generations have certainly seen how imperfectly people live out the ideals of covenantal marriage between one man and one woman as a foundation for family. But our laws protect and reward that ideal because it best protects children and strengthens society. Radically changing the definition of marriage and family, however, will only make the attainment of that ideal harder — and our social fabric will be further weakened in the process.

The pro-family view put forth by Rev. McKinniss — that a redefinition of marriage will weaken marriage as a societal institution — is usually treated with scorn by our opposition. But it’s amazing what local pro same-sex “marriage” activists will admit to when they wander away from Love Makes a Family’s talking points. In a pro civil unions op-ed in today’s Courant, for instance, attorney Vicki Veltri writes:

Indeed, I'd like the government to move away from the patriarchal institution of marriage. Why are we in the gay community so eager to immerse ourselves in an institution that we've all said is so inherently full of gender stereotyping?

And that’s in the middle of an article from a “gay citizen of Connecticut” arguing that the state should legalize same-sex “marriage.” Thanks for telling us what pro same-sex “marriage” activists really think of marriage, Ms. Veltri.

Indeed, Ms. Veltri’s piece deserves a wide readership. Those few pro civil unions legislators who said they were not accusing opponents of bigotry, as well as Gov. Rell — who has not even said if she would veto the bill — should note this line: “I really would like to have a president and a governor who would stop using my sexuality as a vehicle for whipping up hatred” [emphasis added]. Does the governor know that this is how pro same-sex “marriage” activists describe her (rather mild) expression of concern for the sanctity of marriage?

And the people of Connecticut — the majority of whom oppose same-sex “marriage” — should note Ms. Veltri’s next line: “The only way for that [same-sex “marriage”] to happen is to gain acceptance by educating an ignorant public” [emphasis added].

And there it is, people of Connecticut: what pro same-sex “marriage” activists really think of marriage, the governor and you.

Posted at 11:00 AM

February 25

LMF STILL HAS FRIENDS [Brian Brown]

Sure, liberal lobbyist Betty Gallo and Judiciary Committee Chairman Mike Lawlor have split with Love Makes a Family over its role as state puppet for the national pro same-sex “marriage” movement. But LMF still has one ally that will never abandon them: the Associated Press. In a story so slanted that it could have been written by Anne Stanback, the AP informs us today that “Vermonters say gay marriage would be better than civil unions in Conn.”

According to the piece, although civil unions is same-sex “marriage” in everything but name it is still not good enough for Vermont homosexuals, who say that Connecticut is settling for what they now believe to be a “moderate, conservative alternative” in civil unions.

First, it is interesting to note that while 1,000 Vermont same-sex couples have contracted civil unions, 6,000 out-of-state couples have. Events in New England appear to be driven by a national homosexual movement desperate for victories wherever possible, not by the perceived needs of their constituents in a given area. Second, that movement’s insistence that legalizing marriage in everything but name is not enough for them confirms what we have said all along. Their goal is the redefinition of marriage, not equality.

Third, if you want to know how the pro same-sex “marriage” movement has made it this far, just read your morning paper. The media in general — and the AP in particular — is incredibly biased in their favor.

Posted at 11:49 AM

February 24

A DARK DAY FOR CONNECTICUT [Brian Brown]

Yesterday was a dark day for our state. Civil unions legislation was overwhelmingly approved by the Judiciary Committee. WE MUST UNDERSTAND THIS: CIVIL UNIONS LEGISLATION IS SAME-SEX "MARRIAGE" BY ANOTHER NAME. IT IS IN EVERY WAY IDENTICAL TO MARRIAGE ON THE STATE LEVEL.

As usual, in a completely undemocratic fashion, the Judiciary Committee leadership scheduled the vote only hours before it occurred. We lost on civil unions by a 25-13 vote. This shows you just how out-of-touch our elected officials have become. (In the days ahead we’ll be posting a recap of their remarks prior to the vote, as we did for the Feb. 7th hearing.) Once again T.R. Rowe (R-Trumbull), did us a massive service in getting the word out and leading the fight to protect marriage. You can read the coverage in the Courant by clicking here.

It is now essential that we move our campaign to the next step. WE MUST NOW CONTACT EVERY SINGLE MEMBER OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY AND ASK THEM TO OPPOSE CIVIL-UNIONS/SAME-SEX "MARRIAGE" LEGISLATION. Same-sex unions legislation still has to be approved by both our House and our Senate and signed into law by our governor. While our chances for stopping the bill in the Senate are minimal, we can still stop the bill either in the House or by a veto by the governor. You can send an e-mail to your elected officials by clicking the button at the bottom of this page.

PLEASE FORWARD THIS E-MAIL TO YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY! Without a grassroots response unlike this state has ever seen, same-sex "marriage" will be coming to our state.

We are also planning another massive rally, a poll, and a lobby day at our capitol. We will do absolutely everything in our power to protect marriage. We are up against a biased media, a liberal judiciary, an out-of-touch legislature, and a well-financed homosexual lobby. We are more in need of your support now than ever. Click here to donate online on our secure server.

Without your help, Connecticut will likely become the second state in our nation to pass civil unions. What is more, passage of civil unions will make it almost assured that our courts will mandate same-sex "marriage."

TAKE ACTION NOW BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE!

Using our Grassroots Action Center you will be able to send an e-mail directly to your own state representative and state senator by clicking the button at the bottom of this blog. You will also be able to download a pre-written letter that you can change and put in your own voice.

CLICK BELOW TO ACT!

Click the link below to log in and send your message: http://votervoice.net/target.asp?id=fict:4224224

Posted at 10:04 AM

February 23

CIVIL UNIONS VOTE TODAY [Brian Brown]

Prof. Brown’s claim about public opinion notwithstanding, the Republican-American had its own theory about why Love Makes a Family (LMF) is pursuing an “all or nothing” strategy in Connecticut. Here’s the excerpt, from my Feb. 14th blog:

But [pro same-sex “marriage” activists] are astute election- and poll-watchers. They need to go for the jugular now because outside of the Northeast, resistance to same-sex marriage and support for a constitutional amendment reserving marriage for one man and one woman are growing quickly.

Today’s Courant confirms the Republican-American’s suspicion that LMF is nothing more than the national pro same-sex “marriage” movement’s beachhead in Connecticut. In a story about liberal lobbyist Betty Gallo’s decision to break with LMF over its “all or nothing” strategy, Rep. Lawlor criticizes LMF for taking its orders from the national movement, and Anne Stanback basically admits to the charge.

The upshot of all this is that the Judiciary Committee will vote on an amended version of S.B. 963 that would legalize civil unions. THIS VOTE IS SCHEDULED FOR SOMETIME THIS AFTERNOON. Please make use of our Marriage Protection Action Center to contact the Committee and ask them to vote NO on S.B. 963 and H.B. 6601 in any form and YES on H.J. 29, the marriage protection amendment. Tell them that civil unions is same-sex “marriage” by a different name and the pro-family movement is opposed to both. The only way to win this is to make your voice heard in Hartford and to pray for our state.

Posted at 12:35 PM

February 21

WHO'S "FUNDAMENTALLY ANTI-DEMOCRATIC?" [Brian Brown]

Jennifer Gerarda Brown, a professor at Quinnipiac Law School, has an op-ed in yesterday's Courant urging that the legislature not wait for a pending court decision before legalizing same-sex "marriage." Her reasoning is that if a legislature were to vote for same-sex "marriage" without being forced to do so by a court (as happened in Massachusetts and—with some smoke and mirrors—in Vermont) it would demonstrate the "fundamentally anti-democratic" nature of the proposed Federal Marriage Amendment (FMA). She further claims that the pro-family movement is "desperate to enact" the FMA because we "know" the public is turning against us.

Really? Prof. Brown makes an assertion about our "desperation" based on a single poll. Nowhere in her article does she mention last year's 13-out-of-13 state vote for marriage protection amendments to state constitutions, which passed even in liberal Oregon.

But if Prof. Brown and the pro same-sex "marriage" movement really believes that they are the defenders of democracy, there is a way they can prove it. Connecticut's pro-family movement is supporting H.J. 29, a bill that would allow the public to vote on whether or not to amend our own state constitution to protect marriage. Thus far, the Judiciary Committee's pro same sex unions chairmen will not even allow a hearing on the bill. Why does the pro same-sex "marriage" movement not join us in asking for a hearing on a bill that would let the people decide? After all, Prof. Brown informs us that it is pro same-sex "marriage" activists that are fighting for democracy. So what are they afraid of?

Posted at 11:12 AM

February 18

COURANT ENDORSES SAME-SEX “MARRIAGE” [Brian Brown]

In an editorial filled with the usual confusions and falsehoods, our state’s largest newspaper endorsed full blown same-sex “marriage” today. Like Sen. Mary Ann Handley’s bizarre comment during Anne Stanback’s testimony (see my Feb. 10 blog), the editorial begins by comparing pro-family advocates to those who opposed “banning slavery, allowing women to vote and permitting interracial marriages.” Ironically, the same paragraph condemns the making of “hurtful statements.” The hypocrisy of our “tolerant” opposition knows no limits.

The Courant notes that the reforms mentioned above did not “bring down civilization.” If the editors actually engaged our argument — instead of a straw man caricature of it — they would have to admit that those who warn about slippery slopes are sometimes right. Or do the editors, like Rep. Themis Klarides, still believe that the divorce revolution of the 1970’s was a wonderful thing?

The Courant accuses the thirteen states that passed marriage protection amendments last year of “prejudice.” The paper fails to note that the “prejudiced” include the liberal states of Oregon and Michigan.

The Courant makes the usual distinction between “civil” and “religious” marriage, claiming that the granting of same-sex “marriage” is “a civil rights issue, not a religious issue.” Tell it to the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic fraternal order that is being sued by a lesbian couple in Canada for refusing to rent their hall for the couple’s “wedding” reception. If same-sex “marriage” is legalized in Connecticut, similar violations of religious freedom will be coming soon to a church or church-related institution near you.

“It is hard to argue against” same-sex “marriage,” the Courant claims. Nonsense, I do it all the time. What is hard to do is to make an argument for same-sex “marriage” that is logical and does not rely on demonizing the opponents of same-sex “marriage.” As today’s editorial further proves.

Posted at 3:25 AM

GREAT MOMENTS IN CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY [Ken Von Kohorn]

The New Haven Register reported on Tuesday that a small church in Milford, the Woodmont UCC Congregational, has received 30 new members — in part because of its explicit welcome of "gays, lesbians, bisexual and transgender people." That is certainly one way to grow a congregation. Here are some excerpts:

The membership at Woodmont United Church of Christ, Congregational, has increased dramatically since the congregation made it known it that welcomes gays, lesbians, bisexual and transgender people, the church pastor said Tuesday.

The Rev. Paige Besse-Rankin said while the church’s formal announcement came Monday, the congregation has made it known for some time that it is open to everyone, a move she concludes led to 30 new members signing up for her church.

Kingdom Life Christian Church Bishop Jay Ramirez said every church should be open to everyone. But Ramirez, who leads a congregation of 2,500 members, said he can’t understand how a church can endorse homosexuality or same sex marriage.

"When (being gay is) called sinful it’s a personal attack," Besse-Rankin said.

Besse-Rankin needs to take up her complaint with the Almighty. In the meantime, the recent increase of 30 members notwithstanding, her church remains on the order of one-twentieth the size of Bishop Ramirez's church. The church-going people of Milford are not intolerant, they have simply voted with their feet for a church that actually adheres to Biblical teachings — as opposed to opportunistically moving with the tides of human behavior.

Posted at 11: 45 AM

February 17

ACTION NEEDED ON PARENTAL CONSENT [Brian Brown]

H.B. 5484, a bill requiring parental consent before a minor can receive an abortion in Connecticut, is being held up in the legislature’s Select Committee on Children. At least half of the committee members support holding a public hearing on the bill, but the co-chairmen have not agreed to it. Please contact them and ask them to bring this bill to a hearing. They are:

Sen. Edward Meyer (D-Branford, Durham, Guilford, Killingworth, Madison, North Branford)
E-Mail: Meyer@senatedems.ct.gov
Phone: (860) 240-8600

Rep. Michael Cardin (D-Ashford, Tolland, Willington)
E-Mail: Mike.Cardin@cga.ct.gov
Phone: (860) 240-8500

Connecticut is one of the few remaining states in the nation where a minor child can receive an abortion without her parents being made aware of it. Please help us put a stop to it. For more information, see the Connecticut Catholic Conference’s fact sheet by clicking here.

Posted at 4:04 PM

February 16

ISSUES FORUM [Brian Brown]

The Courant held its “issues forum” yesterday. This is what was reported about the same-sex “marriage” discussion:

Legislators then discussed the prospect of passing legislation that would allow same-sex partners to form civil unions despite a call from some advocates to settle for nothing less than the right to marry. Amann guaranteed there will be debate on the issue this year, but DeLuca was blunt.

"In my opinion, civil unions probably would have come out of the judiciary committee this year," DeLuca said. But, following the all-or-nothing stand of the advocacy groups, "I don't think it will now."

We hope Sen. DeLuca is correct. But even if he is, that is only half the battle. The co-chairmen of the Judiciary Committee, Rep. Lawlor and Sen. McDonald, must allow a hearing on a marriage protection amendment. If the amendment bill were to pass, it would allow the people to decide the future of marriage in Connecticut. That is the only proper way to resolve an issue of this magnitude.

Posted at 2:30 PM

February 14

THE CULTURE TURNS [Brian Brown]

The Hartford Advocate and its sister publications usually provide a reliable barometer of left wing opinion in Connecticut. Which makes the article about Pope John Paul II in the current Advocate all the more amazing:

What informed this great will was a Polish strain of "personalism," an existential philosophy that stresses the dignity of the individual. We only can attain full personhood through moral action. Whatever one's position on abortion, birth control, pre-marital sex or whatever, the Pope's position on these matters is not arbitrary, but consistent with a philosophy that stresses the importance of each human life. Each of us — just conceived, or standing outside a coal mine in the rain — is eternally valuable. We matter. Can we be mad at this fine Pope because he wanted us to believe this?

To be sure, the Advocate piece is not uncritical about the Catholic Church. But as recently as ten years ago it would have been impossible to imagine the Advocate publishing the paragraph excerpted above. Something is changing in our culture and the Advocate is right to recognize John Paul II’s role in it. Hats off to Alistair Highet for writing this piece and to the Advocate for publishing it.

Posted at 1:54 PM

GATHERING STEAM [Brian Brown]

Love Makes a Family’s demand for same-sex “marriage” has helped gather steam for marriage protection in Connecticut. On Sunday, the Republican-American ran a succinct, tightly-argued editorial against same-sex “marriage.” The editors have a theory as to why pro same-sex “marriage” activists are pushing an “all or nothing” strategy in our state:

But they are astute election- and poll-watchers. They need to go for the jugular now because outside of the Northeast, resistance to same-sex marriage and support for a constitutional amendment reserving marriage for one man and one woman are growing quickly.

But our opponents’ “all or nothing” strategy has caused resistance to same-sex “marriage” to grow quickly here, too. In a Saturday article in the Bristol Press, four Democrats — Sen. Tom Colapietro, Rep. Kosta Diamantis, Rep. Betty Boukas and Rep. Roger Michele — and one Republican, Rep. Bill Hamzy — all express opposition to same-sex “marriage” and civil unions. These legislators, and their constituents, provide further evidence that marriage protection is a bipartisan cause:

Diamantis said that gay marriage is about the only issue that constituents have been phoning him on. "Their sentiments are strong," he said, and they’re against it. "Clearly, on this one, people come out," Diamantis said.

Posted at 10:50 AM

BRAVERY IN THE BRASS CITY [Brian Brown]

It is rare for a public official to tackle the abortion issue head-on in Connecticut. But that is exactly what one Waterbury Alderman plans to do later this month, according to this front page piece in today’s Republican-American:

WATERBURY — For at least a few minutes on Feb. 22, abortion will take center stage at the Board of Aldermen. Independent Party Alderman Frank J. Caiazzo Jr. has placed an item on the agenda, suggesting the city pass an ordinance making Waterbury an "abortion-free city." …Caiazzo said he thinks the pro-life agenda is something Waterbury residents agree with, particularly given the religious and family-oriented middle class communities that make up his Town Plot base. He also is the father of two adoptive daughters, which is in keeping with the anti-abortion view on what alternatives should be.

It is not clear what effect the ordinance might have on Waterbury Hospital, the city’s only abortion provider — or even if the ordinance will pass. Nevertheless, it is a public service for Alderman Caiazzo to provoke conversation about one of the grave moral issues of our time. We hope that elected officials in both major parties will follow his lead.

Posted at 9:43 AM

February 11

WHAT NEXT FOR MARRIAGE PROTECTION? [Brian Brown]

Pro-family supporters who receive our e-mails already know what first steps must be taken following Monday’s hearing. If you do not already receive our e-mails, you can join us in fighting for marriage protection by clicking here.

The media coverage of the hearing helps illustrate the long-term challenges we face. The most obvious is to make sure the public knows the truth. The Danbury News Times, for instance, falsely reported that Gov. M. Jodi Rell “favors expanding rights for gay couples.” In fact, this is what was reported about Gov. Rell’s position in the Dec. 10th New Haven Register:

On the issue of gay marriage, Rell said she does not favor it.

"I’m an old-fashioned person when it comes to that. I believe in marriage between a man and a woman." Rell also questioned the need for civil unions.

"I’m not sure what it would accomplish," she said, pointing to protections already in place allowing gay couples to adopt children, as well as to have access for hospital visits.

"I think we have gone a long way in changing the statutes to address those concerns," she said.

At the time, we offered “two cheers” for Gov. Rell and we said we would reserve the third cheer until she vetoes a civil unions bill, if that should become necessary.

And it just might. Despite the opposition of both FIC and Love Makes a Family, “state lawmakers said they plan to push ahead with civil union legislation,” according to the Courant’s article about Monday’s hearing. If so, then, as the Courant reported, FIC will oppose it as much as same-sex “marriage” and we will continue to push for a hearing on the marriage protection amendment:

Opponents of gay marriage also spoke against civil unions, which they condemned as gay marriage by another name.

Instead of marriage or civil unions, lawmakers should be debating a state constitutional amendment banning such unions, said Brian Brown, executive director of the Family Institute of Connecticut.

"Democrats and Republicans, suburbanites and urbanites, African Americans, Hispanic and white Americans — the majority of all major groups in America agree that marriage is and only can be the union of one man and one woman," Brown said.

He held a petition that he said contained 90,000 signatures of residents who support a constitutional amendment. "We are seeing the will of the few trumping the will of the many," Brown said. "This committee itself is not even giving a public hearing to a bill that would let the people decide the future of marriage."

Posted at 1:50 P.M.

NOT QUITE WHAT ST. VALENTINE HAD IN MIND [Brian Brown]

You may remember “People of Faith for Gay Civil Rights (PFGCR),” the pro same-sex “marriage” group whose most outspoken member, Frank O’Gorman, refers to crimes against pro-family churches as “justice actions.” It seems O’Gorman has an “action” planned for Monday, according to his group’s website: the “MCC Third Annual Valentine’s Day Marriage Equality Action.” Says the flier, “On Monday, February 14th, members and friends of Metropolitan Community Churches all across the USA will visit their town or city halls to request marriage licenses as same-sex couples.” Despite O’Gorman’s verbal support for crimes against churches, Love Makes a Family is co-sponsoring the event with his group.

“Join us on this national MCC campaign to highlight the discrimination inherent in current marriage laws which segregate out same-gender couples,” PFGCR’s site proclaims. But one must wonder — as our legislators are beginning to wonder — why is it “discriminatory” to limit marriage to members of the opposite sex, but not “discriminatory” to limit it to two people? “What is the magic about the number two?” Rep. Cafero asked pro same-sex “marriage” activists this week. “That has to be a question that needs an answer.”

But activists for the other side could not answer him. Which leads us to ask: how much longer before polygamists join pro same-sex “marriage” activists at town hall on Valentine’s Day to demand their own marriage licenses?

Posted at 11:10 AM

REP. WALKER AND THE REDEFINITION OF MARRIAGE [Brian Brown]

At Monday’s public hearing on the pro same-sex “marriage” bill, Rep. Toni Walker (D-New Haven) questioned my definition of marriage as the union of a man and a woman. She said Webster’s Dictionary is her “foundation” and that when she looked up the word “marriage,” she did not see the words “man and woman.” In fact, Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (tenth edition) includes this definition of marriage:

The institution whereby men and women are joined in a special kind of social and legal dependence for the purpose of founding and maintaining a family.

This edition was published in 1995. Perhaps Rep. Walker was reading from a more recent edition. But if Webster’s editors removed this definition of marriage as recently as some time in the last ten years, they — and Rep. Walker — are making our point for us. When we say that marriage is being “redefined,” we mean it literally.

Posted at 9:33 AM

February 10

ANNE STANBACK’S TESTIMONY [Brian Brown]

Anne Stanback, head of the pro same-sex “marriage” lobby “Love Makes a Family,” testified after me at the Judiciary Committee’s public hearing on Monday. In her brief testimony she essentially argued that tolerance wasn’t enough — society owes same-sex couples its approval. “Marriage equality,” she said, is more than benefits and protections. The current law denies “us” — homosexuals — respect under the law. Marriage is more than the sum of its legal parts. It is a cultural institution. Therefore, only marriage helps same-sex families. She cited the Massachusetts court case legalizing same-sex “marriage” in that state and a recent ruling that could have the same effect in New York City. “Does the ‘constitution state’ deserve less?”

The legislators questioned Stanback for almost an hour and they were about as tough on her as they were on me. But whereas their questions to me were mostly about first principles — What is marriage? Why not same-sex “marriage?” etc. — their questions to her were mostly about the politics of the issue. Rep. Larry Cafero (R-Norwalk) told her that the members of the Committee had “evolved” on this issue. He said he favored legislation in 2000 and 2002 giving same-sex couples additional benefits, however he “struggles” with the concept. “With all respect to Rep. Walker,” — who had made the bizarre claim that marriage is not defined by the union of a man and woman because she could not find that definition in Webster’s Dictionary — “the man-woman definition of marriage is the one we all grew up with. You (Love Makes a Family) were in favor of civil unions before. Back then, you said ‘we’re not talking about gay marriage, we’re talking about civil unions.’ The legislature moves your way and now, all of a sudden, Love Makes a Family is not interested in civil unions. It’s same-sex ‘marriage’ or nothing.”

Stanback responded by making a blanket — and false — claim that at the time of her birth “in this country, legally marriage was between people of the same race.” She claimed that a plurality of the population now supports same-sex “marriage” because “same-sex couples have shared their stories.” Rep. Cafero seemed not to appreciate Stanback’s insinuation that his hesitation to support same-sex “marriage” makes him the moral equivalent of a racist. “I struggled [with this issue], I was a hero three years ago [for supporting previous legislation backed by Stanback] and now I’m criticized for not supporting full same-sex “marriage” — from Love Makes a Family. That is somewhat disconcerting.”

At this point Rep. Cafero asked Stanback about language in the pro same-sex “marriage” bill that says that Connecticut does not condone homosexuality. Stanback’s response: “Yes, I’d like that taken out of the bill. Nor should the state condone heterosexuality. I don’t like that language. When people get to know us, they’ll see they have no reason to fear condoning it [emphases added].” Despite all previous claims to the contrary, Stanback was clear that her aim was not mere tolerance, but the reshaping of society’s mores.

Rep. Cafero noted that current marriage laws place limits on the sex, number, age and familial relationship of those who can marry. If same-sex “marriage” is legalized, “it is a logical next question to ask: what is the magic about the number two?” It was the first indication that the pro-family movement’s much-derided concern about polygamy was finally being taken seriously. Rep. Cafero also mentioned Tom Greene’s lawsuit in Utah and reiterated his point: “That has to be a question that needs an answer.”

“I don’t know what the magic is about the number two,” Stanback replied. “It’s about who can marry, not how many. It [polygamy] is a hollow argument. I can’t answer you any better than that.” But Stanback answered better than she knew, essentially proving our point for us. Rep. Cafero pressed the matter with her. “People [polygamy proponents] can come forward and press their ideas,” she said. “That doesn’t mean it would happen.” She repeated her line about “who can marry, not how many” and claimed that legalized polygamy was not a logical extension of same-sex “marriage.” Rep. Cafero tried to get a more definitive answer from her. “I don’t know if it’s discriminatory to limit marriage to two,” she said, in a remarkable concession [emphasis added]. “I haven’t seen polygamous groups in Connecticut [emphasis added].” It was an amazing qualifier — “in Connecticut” — and Rep. Cafero knew it. “Ten years ago, groups weren’t asking for same-sex ‘marriage,’” he reminded her. He closed by asking her if she would support a civil unions bill if it makes it out of committee. She said no, calling it “separate and unequal. We oppose civil unions.”

Sen. Mary Ann Handley (D-Manchester) opened with a comment that somehow managed to work in references to women’s suffrage, desegregation and Auschwitz all in the space of a minute. That was the wind-up. Here was her pitch: “If we pass same-sex ‘marriage,’ do you see any hurt to society?” Stanback answered “no.”

Sen. Ernest Newton (D-Bridgeport), after noting that his own experience as an Afro-American has taught him that legislation has not ended bigotry, asked “Are you willing to risk not having anything unless you can have same-sex ‘marriage?’” Sen. Newton said he had read the Courant’s pro-same sex “marriage” op-ed by civil rights hero John Lewis “whom I respect, but I don’t understand how this is a civil rights issue.” Stanback’s response: “I would never be so presumptuous as to say the African-American struggle and the gay struggle are the same.” It was a rare backing-away from one of the pro same-sex “marriage” movement’s more grandiose claims. The fact is, they say or imply it all the time.

“It hurts that we backed you before and now it’s ‘same-sex ‘marriage’ or nothing,’” Sen. David Capiello (R-Danbury) told Stanback. He also raised a concern about polygamy. “What if,” he asked her, “in the interim, you end up with the marriage protection amendment because of your ‘all or nothing’ strategy?”

Sen. Andrew Roraback (R-Goshen) cited a post-election New York Times article about a chastened pro same-sex “marriage” movement pursuing a slower strategy. He suggested that, unlike the more sober national movement, the state’s pro same-sex “marriage” activists were putting their personal interests over their political interests. He said there must be a “division of opinion in the gay community” over Love Makes a Family’s opposition to civil unions. Sen. Roraback expressed displeasure that “what was heralded as a civil rights triumph a few years ago is now derided as an affront.”

“Every national gay group backs us,” Stanback responded. On Love Makes a Family’s ‘all or nothing’ strategy, these groups told her “that is the right decision in Connecticut.” She reminded him of FIC’s opposition to civil unions and told him “you’re not getting a break” from the pro-family movement by supporting civil unions. Sen. Roraback told her she could have waited for the Kerrigan decision. “Love Makes a Family would love to pass a bill through the legislature,” she responded. “We don’t want to wait three years.”

Sen. Roraback returned to the New York Times article as being more in tuned with public opinion. “I wish I could share with you the 500 e-mails I’ve received” showing that there would be a backlash if same-sex “marriage” were legalized, he said. At this, pro same-sex “marriage” Rep. Michael Lawlor (D-East Haven) suggested that Stanback could produce 500 e-mails too, if needed. “It does not appear hard to do,” he said.

We know differently. It was not an accident that Rep. Lawlor’s one intervention on behalf of Stanback’s cause during her testimony came at that moment. Sen. Roraback’s reference to the e-mails you, our supporters, are sending to the Judiciary Committee was one of the most important moments of the entire hearing. Rep. Lawlor and the pro same-sex “marriage” movement know the only thing standing in their way is the willingness of our fellow citizens to stand up and be counted on this issue. That is why FIC will never stop fighting for your right to be heard. That is why, if this issue is ever going to be resolved, the politicians must let the people decide.

Watch this space in the coming days and weeks for more information on what you can do to persuade our legislators to allow a hearing on the marriage protection amendment.

Posted at 4:56 PM

THE PROPAGANDA BEGINS [Brian Brown]

Any doubt that Sen. Roraback’s proposal to lessen the penalty for assisted suicide is just the opening shot in a renewed effort to legalize it in Connecticut was erased by today’s Courant. Here is an excerpt from Helen Ubinas’ column on the suicide in Litchfield that inspired Sen. Roraback’s proposal:

In 1995, the judiciary committee held a public hearing to consider making Connecticut the second state to legalize assisted suicide. Obviously that didn't happen. And obviously it's time to take a look at the law again…But another judiciary committee member, Sen. Andrew Roraback, offered a good alternative to overhauling the statute. Wednesday he pitched a bill that would make someone accused of aiding, not causing, another person's suicide eligible for accelerated rehabilitation. [Judiciary Committee Chairman Michael] Lawlor said he supports the proposal. The thing that complicates these cases, Lawlor said, is that there is always love behind them.

It’s all there: the admission of the ultimate goal, the praise of an incremental step toward achieving it, the exploitation of a headline-grabbing event to get the ball rolling and the assurance that, after all, it’s all about love. But killing someone is not an act of love. Making certain your loved one gets treated for the depression that made him or her suicidal is an act of love.

If Sen. Roraback’s bill becomes law, it will further a culture of death that does not value the weak, the elderly, the infirm, the handicapped, the underprivileged and the unborn. This is one more battle — one of many — that the pro-life/pro-family movement must fight at our state legislature if we hope to protect human dignity in the “Constitution State.”

Posted at 1:15 PM

GOV. RELL’S DILEMMA — AND OURS [Brian Brown]

Gov. Rell proposed her first state budget in an address to the General Assembly yesterday. Good people can and will disagree over any number of items in her budget, but Connecticut’s pro-life community will be united in opposition to the last item mentioned in this excerpt from today’s editorial in the Republican-American:

"We must not embark on a spending spree of new programs and policies," [Gov. Rell] declared, and then announced her plan to embark on a spending spree of new programs and policies: $1.3 billion more for transportation improvements, $58 million more for the Department of Children and Families, free college education for children adopted after Jan. 1, $5.5 million for a pilot program for universal preschool, $57 million more for public education, $2.5 million more for the Indian casino host towns, $15.5 million for laptops for high school English classes, $5 million more for mental-health services AND $20 MILLION FOR EMBRYONIC STEM-CELL RESEARCH [emphasis added].

FIC will continue to follow the progress of the budget and to keep our members informed of opportunities to prevent our tax dollars from being used to clone and kill embryonic human beings.

Posted at 10:10 AM

February 9

MONDAY’S SAME-SEX "MARRIAGE" HEARING [Brian Brown]

On Monday the Judiciary Committee held a hearing on two bills that would legalize same-sex "marriage" in Connecticut. Pro-family supporters contacted their legislators, attended the hearing and prayed for the protection of marriage in larger numbers than ever before. Those prayers were heard during the lottery to choose the order of speakers, when I happened to pick a number making me the first to testify.

During my three minute speech I told the members of the Judiciary Committee that if the people of Connecticut had a choice on this issue, they would decide the same as 13 other states — including liberal Oregon — did last year: to protect marriage. I pointed to my left, where we had parked six boxes containing 90,000 signatures by people "as diverse as Connecticut itself" asking for a marriage protection amendment. I reminded the legislators that children do best with a mom and a dad and that same-sex "marriage" severs the tie between marriage and childrearing. Its legalization would mean the will of the few trumping the will of the many. It is not a message of fairness for the Judiciary Committee to hold a hearing on the two pro same-sex "marriage" bills but not on H.J. 29, the bill calling for a marriage protection amendment. They should let the people decide. If pro same-sex "marriage" legislators truly believe the people are on their side, I asked, why will they not allow a hearing on our amendment?

The legislators questioned me for an hour and a half. Pro-same sex unions Sen. Andrew McDonald (D-Stamford) asked about the difference between "civil" and "religious" marriage. Marriage pre-exists the state, I explained. It is an anthropological institution. The state recognizes it because it is in the state’s interest to do so, as the negative consequences of the 1970’s divorce revolution further proved. The core definition of marriage has not been contested across time or culture.

Against Sen. McDonald’s questions, I maintained that the pro same-sex "marriage" bills do affect people’s religious beliefs and can infringe on those beliefs. "How does the bill detract from religion?" he asked. I pointed to our petitions, which were signed by everyone. Marriage is a central part of culture. Pro-family citizens oppose the redefinition of marriage out of altruism, not because it will have some immediate negative affect on their own marriage. Marriage is for the greatest good, the common good. The primary purposes of marriage are childrearing and social cohesion. I quoted Edmund Burke on marriage being society’s first little platoon. Yes, marriage involves companionship and love, but love alone does not make a family. To say otherwise is to sever one of its most important functions.

"We allow gay adoption," Sen. McDonald pointed out. He also cited single moms and abusive nuclear families and asked me why marriage is the defining element of the ability to rear children. "There’s no contradiction," I told him. Yes, single parenthood is a problem. I was not laying blame and single parents do need our help. But legislation should be the viewed from the perspective of what can occur. With same-sex "marriage" the state creates an institution where children will *never* have the ability to have both a mom and a dad. It does not work well for society. I pointed to pro same-sex "marriage" Scandinavia, where more parents now cohabit and never marry. The state should shoot for the ideal, I said. In general, children do best with both a mother and a father.

In an apparent reference to my negative mention of cohabitation, Sen. McDonald asked, "Would same-sex ‘marriage’ ameliorate your convictions? I know you think it would dilute the institution of marriage, but would it make it worse? How?" This is how we got here, I told him, with the divorce rates so high. Same-sex "marriage" did not get us to this point, but is only conceivable because we’re here. Same-sex "marriage" further destroys the shared public understanding of what marriage is. If same-sex "marriage" is ok, why not polygamy? By taking this last step (same-sex "marriage"), you do away with a shared understanding of marriage.

Noting FIC’s opposition to civil unions, Sen. McDonald asked "So you’re against more rights for people who live together and love each other?" I took exception to the question’s premise. "That’s like asking if an aunt who is a caretaker for her niece should have more rights," I said. The granting of rights should not be based on sexual relationships other than marriage. So, of course FIC would oppose civil unions. Taking one last stab, Sen. McDonald asked about special arrangements for the children of same-sex couples who end up in court. I noted that in most custody cases of same-sex couples, the mother and father are still alive and that, depending on the issue, probate court is available.

Sen. Ernest Newton (D-Bridgeport) asked why the residents of Connecticut should have a say on this issue by voting on a constitutional amendment. I agreed that the constitution should not be amended lightly. But it will be amended one way or the other because of the Kerrigan case. Four judges imposed same-sex "marriage" in Massachusetts and it could happen here. The only way to stop it is the marriage protection amendment. Courts should not make law. Both sides come to the legislature every year on this issue. Why not let the people decide? And this is not your average issue — it’s crucial to the well-being of society. We are not denying anyone rights or benefits. Same-sex couples can already write wills and have health conservator documents written up. To say the amendment denies them rights is like saying a grandfather and grandson who live together are being discriminated against. Marriage should be protected because of its uniqueness, it is not discriminatory. "Why wouldn’t voters trust us with this?" Sen. Newton asked. Some issues, I replied, are so salient, so monumental, so important that the people must decide. The legislature should give people that chance.

Rep. Bob Farr (R-West Hartford) noted the existence of illegitimate children, lack of commitment, co-habitation and companies that provide "domestic partnership" benefits. "Isn’t civil unions better because it stops the erosion of marriage?" he asked. Look to Sweden, I responded, where both homosexuals and heterosexuals can have civil unions. Where there is no shared definition of marriage, such as Sweden, these in-between way stations lessen the number of marriages. I reminded the Committee that before people began trying to legalize same-sex "marriage" in Connecticut, FIC’s efforts were focused on strengthening marriage. We oppose same-sex "marriage" because it takes a sledgehammer to all our previous work by destroying a shared definition of marriage.

Sen. David Cappiello (R-Danbury) said that while he joins us in opposing judicial usurpation, he was concerned that our amendment would break with the constitutional tradition of granting more rights, not less. I told him that we are not taking rights away because same-sex "marriage" does not exist in Connecticut. The issue will not go away once the courts can trump the people. If you want people to decide, then we need an amendment vote. Sen. Cappiello asked about other arrangements. Anything that creates a separate institution, I responded, a way-station to marriage, we would oppose. We need to protect marriage from redefinition by the courts.

Some of the most hostile questions of the entire 90 minutes came from Rep. Themis Klarides (R-Derby). She noted the failure of some traditional households and accused me of wanting to keep children in unhappy nuclear families. Citing Rutgers’ David Popeno, I explained that, if you control for other variables, social science shows that kids overall do best with a mom and a dad, despite the exceptions. Gender is not unimportant and marriage is based upon the complementarity of male and female. Same-sex parenting is new and so there is not a lot of data on it yet. But the research on motherlessness and fatherlessness does exist and scholars like David Blankenhorn in "Fatherless America" have demonstrated its harmful effects. We did not have this data in the 1970’s when divorce laws were first liberalized, but we now know that no-fault divorce was not a panacea. It is the same thing with same-sex "marriage." Based on what our culture experienced with the divorce revolution, why would we again change the societal model of marriage?

Rep. Klarides praised liberalized divorce laws and said that she thought it unfair that divorces used to be harder to obtain. She said she didn’t care if a child’s parents are two men or two women and that she did not believe I was putting the best interests of the children first. I reminded her that I said children "do best" with a mom and dad, not that they could "only" be in a home with them. I was not creating an either/or scenario. But the social science is clear. As legislators, I reminded her, you have a duty to create the best culture you can. You can do that by allowing an amendment vote. We should create a marriage culture. Statistics show that the divorce rate is declining. "But," I told Rep. Klarides, "you’re suggesting one extreme or the other." You can’t support a bill that, by its very nature, destroys marriage. There is already a Canadian commission looking into polygamy. If you support same-sex "marriage," then you have to answer, why not polygamy?

Rep. Klarides could not answer my question. "Polygamy is a hollow argument," she said. "Then, why not?" I replied. At this, she went for the cheap applause line. "Do you think if same-sex ‘marriage’ is passed, I’ll say tomorrow I’ll be a lesbian?" I reminded her that I had explicitly said from the beginning that, no, I’m not saying that. We’re making arguments from the public good. Marriage is a shared public good.

"When you say ‘we,’ for whom are you speaking?" asked pro same-sex "marriage" Rep. Michael Lawler (D-East Haven). I reminded him of the 100,000 petitions on the floor to my left. "You’re opposed to any legal recognition for same-sex ‘marriage?’" he asked me. You word it to suggest it already exists, I responded. We’re opposed to same-sex "marriage." We oppose civil unions because it is same-sex "marriage" by a different name. "For any two persons?" Rep. Lawlor asked. I told him that we oppose any attempt to create institutions that mimic marriage. "We recognize business entities but you’re opposed [to civil unions]," he responded. "You’re just opposed to the fact that there’s same-sex couples that love each other? It seems like opponents are against anything having to do with homosexuality. You’re so concerned about a slippery slope that any recognition is opposed by you guys." I reiterated our opposition to any mimic or counterfeit of marriage. I pointed to the amendments passed in Oregon, Michigan and 11 other states to illustrate that people are waking up to the fact that marriage is being redefined and they are opposed to it.

"Where do your funds come from?" Rep. Toni Walker (D-New Haven) asked. "Where does your definition of marriage between a man and a woman come from?" Our funds come from private donors, I responded, and our definition of marriage comes from social science, common sense and all of human history. Marriage is the most trans-historical, multicultural institution we have. If you propose a different definition, what is the foundation? Rep. Walker claimed that Webster’s definition of marriage does not mention man and woman. In the weirdest moment of the entire 90 minutes, she said Webster’s was her "foundation" and she went on to discuss the definition of discrimination. I told her that I was not arguing in favor of discrimination. Is Tom Greene in Utah being discriminated against because he can’t practice polygamy? I’m not trying to deny people their rights and people can disagree without being accused of evil motivations. "You’re creating a law that discriminates," Rep. Walker insisted, "the amendment amounts to not hearing other people." That’s not correct, I told her. The law currently allows marriage between a man and a woman. The marriage protection amendment stops any court-ordered redefinition.

Anne Stanback of "Love Makes a Family" testified after me. I will comment on her testimony in this space tomorrow.

Posted at 3:07 PM

SO, HOW DID IT GO MONDAY? [Ken Von Kohorn]

That's the question FIC has repeatedly been asked during the last 48 hours or so. "It," of course, is the Judiciary Committee's hearing on two bills legalizing same-sex "marriage," and the short answer is that it went well. Brian will be posting a longish blog on his testimony later today and tomorrow he will offer a recap — and some thoughts of his own — about Anne Stanback's testimony. For now, though, we thought you might appreciate some of the feedback from FIC's in-box, all directed at Brian:

I wanted to congratulate you and your team on the great work done in Conn. yesterday. After receiving your update...we are all encouraged (but prayerful) by the efforts of you and the dedication you have shown. I...look forward to working with and learning from those who are making such a tremendous difference like yourself. Thank you for all you're doing...

Keep up the great work! This is a fight we must win. I will mail in my contribution for the Harris Interactive poll.

Both on WTIC radio and at the Judiciary Committee, you did an excellent job. You were very articulate, easy to follow and pleasantly engaging with the committee. This was one of your finest hours!...

I saw you last night on the [CTN] at the hearing on same sex marriage. I was riveted watching you defend marriage bravely and so capably. I also marveled at your cool and knowledgeable responses to...questions. You did a great job of teaching...people with your answers as well as all those who were watching.

Why don't they (the representatives) "trust" the people of Connecticut with this most important issue? Trust us enough to let us decide, let us vote on an amendment to our Constitution.... Rep. Walker (the one who accused you of discrimination) I am amazed, uses the Webster's Dictionary as her only legal means of research on marriage? Amazing! Don't we have history books and a law library in the capital? Thank you for all you did and are doing. May God richly bless you for your stalwart efforts!

I was at the Hearing today, myself and our pastor, we heard your argument and want to thank you for such a strong and powerful message you put before the Judicial Committee. You were speaking for me and thousands of others. You are helping us keep this state and the institution of Marriage as God had intended it to be. Please keep up the good hard work. Are you helping other states start a Family Institute like ours? God bless you and your family. We did not get to speak, and I am still unaware of the outcome of today's hearing. I am watching the streamed video now.

I was refreshed by the clarity and persuasiveness of Brian's views expressed during your call to the Ray and Diane Show. I was unaware of your organization until I heard you on this show. I am against same sex marriage but had been willing to support...civil unions. Brian's points about the incremental nature of this movement are making me think again. I will be visiting your site to keep posted on your organization's activities. Thank you for speaking out on WTIC AM!...

Firstly, I want to say thank you for all the work you are doing to protect marriage in Connecticut. Without you we would have lost this battle long ago. I will continue to keep you and your staff in prayer for God's guidance and help...

Posted at 1:26 PM

PROPOSED BILL WOULD MOVE CT CLOSER TO ASSISTED SUICIDE [Brian Brown]

According to an article in today's Waterbury Republican-American, State Sen. Andrew Roraback (R-Goshen) plans to introduce a legislative proposal in the Judiciary Committee TODAY that could lessen the legal penalty for assisting in a suicide by making a distinction between "causing" the suicide and "aiding" in it. The passage of this bill would move us closer to the legalization of assisted suicide in Connecticut. Please use the resources of the Family Institute of Connecticut's Marriage Protection Action Center to contact the members of the Judiciary Committee and ask them to OPPOSE Sen. Roraback's proposal to lessen the penalty for assisted suicide. Please call attention to this issue to every like-minded person and ask them to do the same.

Posted at 9:30 AM

February 5

ADOPTION SHOULD FAVOR MARRIED COUPLES [Ken Von Kohorn]

The Institute for Marriage and Public Policy has just issued a Policy Brief covering adoption law in the fifty states. Here is their Executive Summary:

While all 50 states assert that adoption is governed by the “best interests of the child,” legal preferences for married couples in adoption are rare. More states explicitly ban "discrimination” based on marital status than contain even mild preferences for marriage. Five states (Alabama, Kentucky, Maryland, New Jersey, New York) make it illegal to prefer married couples in placement decisions. Only one state (Utah) codifies a clear preference for married couples in adoptions. Recommendation: State legislatures should codify appropriate preferences for married couples (where available) in adoption law.

Connecticut should explicitly favor married couples for adoptions. Social science — as well as common sense — recognizes that kids do best with a mother and a father in a stable marriage. Any policy that does not pay homage to that basic truth shortchanges children in need of adoption.

Posted at 12:05 AM

February 4

ABSTINENCE EDUCATION HEARING ON FEB. 8th [Brian Brown]

Our state legislature’s Select Committee on Children will be holding a public hearing this Tuesday, Feb. 8th, on two bills that could lead to increased abstinence education in Connecticut’s public schools. Click here to read the action alert received today from the Connecticut Catholic Conference. FIC supports the passage of these two bills and urges the pro-family movement to attend Tuesday’s hearing.

Posted at 12:34 P.M.

COURANT PLUGS MARRIAGE ADVICE BOOK [Brian Brown]

On the front page of the Courant’s “Life” section today, staff writer Kathleen Megan has an article about a book by Steve Campbell

that contains marriage-saving advice in terms that he believes guys will understand. That is, using football and other sports analogies to explain the intricacies of relationships. Called "Third and Long: Advice From a Guy Who's Learned the Hard Way" ($12.95 at Amazon.com), it's a book that Campbell wishes had been available to him several years ago, when his marriage began to fall apart….His title, he said, is drawn from that moment in a football game where all is not lost, but when "you have to buckle down and get that first down — or else you'll lose the game."

Based on Megan’s piece, “Third and Long” seems to be worth the $12.95. We are grateful to the Courant for making the public aware of it.

Posted at 11:10 A.M.

February 3

SAME-SEX “MARRIAGE” HEARING ON FEB. 7 [Brian Brown]

The pro-family movement has spent the winter warming up for the main event: the battle to protect marriage in 2005. Here in Connecticut, it’s time for Round One.

The Judiciary Committee of the Connecticut General Assembly will hold a public hearing on legislation legalizing same-sex “marriage” this Monday, Feb. 7th, from 1:00 to 6:00 P.M. in Room 2C of the Legislative Office Building in Hartford.

The bill under consideration, S.B. 963, is the most extremist pro same-sex “marriage” bill imaginable. It legalizes “marriage” for “any two persons…regardless of the sex.” It removes the words “bride and groom” from the current statute and replaces it with “both persons.” It adds language listing various types of families that are in “the best interests of the child” while omitting any mention of a child’s need for both a mom and a dad. It removes the statutory language declaring Connecticut’s public policy to be that marriage is between a man and a woman. nIt is, in short, the most “in-your-face” pro same-sex “marriage” bill ever devised by Connecticut’s radical anti-family elites.

The decision by Love Makes a Family that it will only support the most extreme pro same-sex “marriage” bill proves what FIC and other pro-family groups have said for years. The goal of pro same-sex “marriage” activists is not equality or compromise, but the radical redefinition of marriage for all of society. That the majority of our fellow citizens believe that marriage should remain the union of man and one woman is a fact held in utter contempt by pro same-sex “marriage” activists. n Even if legislators were to enact the false compromise of “civil unions” these activists would not stop pushing for same-sex “marriage.”

FIC sent an e-mail alert earlier this week calling on pro-family supporters to contact Judiciary Committee members and ask them to oppose S.B. 963, the bill legalizing same-sex “marriage.” We also oppose H.B. 6601, a bill that would force Connecticut to recognize same-sex “marriages” from Massachusetts and other countries. We support H.J. 29, a bill that would allow a referendum on amending our state constitution to read “that it is the policy of the state of Connecticut, and its political subdivisions, that only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or legally recognized as a marriage.”

FIC calls upon all pro-family supporters to contact the Judiciary Committee members and tell them you OPPOSE the two bills legalizing same-sex “marriage” and you SUPPORT H.J. 29, a bill that would let the people decide the future of marriage in Connecticut. If you did not receive our e-mail alert, you can use the resources on our Marriage Protection Action Center to contact Judiciary Committee members and to give us your e-mail so that you can receive future alerts. We also need as many pro-family supporters as possible to attend Monday’s hearing so that the legislators can see that most people want marriage protected, not redefined.

For those who are willing, we also need pro-family citizens to testify at the hearing. Speaker order will be determined by lottery and sign up to be included in the lottery is from 9:00 A.M. to 12:30 P.M. on Monday in Room 2500. You must bring 65 copies of your testimony. Speaker order will be posted in Room 2C at 12:45 P.M.

While the 2005 battle for marriage protection in Connecticut is just beginning, this first round is crucial. Whether we succeed or fail in preserving society’s most important institution for the well-being of children will depend largely on the willingness of you, the pro-family citizens of Connecticut, to stand up and make your voice be heard. Won’t you please join us?

Posted at 12:03 P.M.

February 2

CANADIANS WANT TO PRESERVE MARRIAGE [Ken Von Kohorn]

According to today's National Post, Canadians overwhelmingly want to maintain the definition of marriage as between one man and one woman — and they would prefer a referendum rather than letting Parliament decide the definition marriage for them. Here is an excerpt:

As MPs begin debating the government's same-sex marriage bill, a healthy majority of Canadians would actually prefer to see the contentious issue decided by a country-wide referendum, a new National Post/Global National poll suggests.

More than two-thirds said they would prefer a direct say on the gay marriage question, rather than a free vote in Parliament that lets politicians act according to their conscience, the survey indicates.

And the poll suggests the same-sex legislation might go down to defeat in a plebiscite, with 66% saying they support keeping the definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman.

Sounds more than a little like our prescription for Connecticut: Let the People Decide.

Posted at 11:08 A.M.

February 1

EMBRYONIC STEM CELL RESEARCH HEARING [Brian Brown]

The Public Health Committee of the Connecticut General Assembly held a hearing yesterday on whether the state should give $10 million of our — the taxpayer’s — money to embryonic stem cell research (ESCR). The Hartford Courant’s article on the hearing was notable for its fairness and balance, and for stating clearly what ESCR supporters are trying to hide: that the proposed bill “endorses cloning as a means to obtain embryonic human stem cells.” It also requires the destruction of the cloned embryos, which is why we rightly call it a “clone and kill” bill.

The hearing began with a panel of three pro-ESCR speakers. Paul Pescatello of Connecticut United for Research Excellence (CURE), a lobbying group established to build up the state’s economy, said the bill was about “bricks and mortar” — the building of research centers. Dr. Dianne Krause of Yale — perhaps the most heavily endowed university in the nation — worried that Yale’s ESC researchers would be hired away by other schools if $10 million of taxpayer funds were not forthcoming (actually, she called the $10 million figure “a nice start”). Nicole Phaneuf, whose five year old daughter has juvenile diabetes, unintentionally provided heartbreaking evidence of how the biotech industry is misleading people. “Embryonic stem cell research is our only hope,” she testified. “Without this, we have no hope.”

During the Q and A with the pro-ESCR panel, Rep. Mary Ann Carson (R-New Fairfield) zeroed in on Dr. Krause’s definition of cloning as beginning at implantation. “The word ‘cloning’ just has too many meanings,” said Krause, who believes the human embryo is not a human being prior to implantation. Under questioning from Rep. Carson, however, Dr. Krause conceded that if the same embryos she wishes to experiment on are implanted, they could continue to grow into human beings.

The highlight of the hearing was the testimony of Dr. Micheline Mathews-Roth, a professor of medicine from Harvard who spoke for the pro-life panel that followed the pro-ESCR panel. Dr. Mathews-Roth stated what should be obvious: to obtain embryonic stem cells, you need to destroy a 5-7 day old human. “That is a fact of science, not religious belief.” She quoted several biology textbooks to support her statement.

A slight, elderly woman, Dr. Mathews-Roth was nonetheless a whirlwind of intellectual clarity. The only way to get embryonic stem cells, she said, is to “break open” the embryo, killing it. “They are whole, intact members of our species. This is a fact of embryology.” She noted that injection of embryonic stem cells can cause immunological rejections in patients and other problems that are not present with adult stem cells.

Ethically, she said, patients in a hypothetically successful ESCR experiment should be informed that a very young human is being killed to treat them. “Otherwise, the doctor is intellectually dishonest.” Because some patients may not wish to have other people killed in order to treat them, lack of full disclosure could lead to lawsuits. She noted that the CURE handouts on ESCR fail to be forthright about this. “CURE ought to say ‘we think killing humans is justified’ and give the reasons.” ESCR, she said, amounts to the ultimate age discrimination, saying that the youngest human lives are not worth preserving. “Does Connecticut really want to sanction the practice of deliberately starting the lives of members of our own species for the purpose of harvesting their parts?” Dr. Mathews-Roth noted that the Iacocca foundation is funding adult stem cell research that could help the little girl with juvenile diabetes whose mother testified earlier. “Isolating embryonic stem cell research,” on the other hand, “does kill a growing human. And that’s pretty awful.”

The Rev. Ted Tumicki of the Diocese of Norwich, a moral theologian, underlined the ethical questions raised by the bill. Would you create your own twin and kill him for his stem cells? How about human/animal hybrids? How about your own biological child? “The bill answers ‘yes’ to all these questions.” Fr. Tumicki noted that the bill’s review provisions leave too many questions unanswered and amounts to a rubber stamp. “This is a fast bill. We need a good bill.”

Individual testimonies following the two panels began with Connecticut’s pro-abortion Lieutenant Governor, Kevin Sullivan, who accused pro-lifers of putting out “massive amounts of disinformation” regarding ESCR. But if this were true, wouldn’t pro-ESCR legislators have exposed the misinformation during their question and answer session with the pro-life panel? During the Q and A with the pro-life panel, however, the only adversarial questions asked by legislators were the usual chestnuts about favoring one religion over another and philosophical disagreements over when human life begins. Not one pro-ESCR legislator challenged the pro-life panel on an item of “disinformation.” But during the Q and A with the pro-ESCR panel, Rep. Carson exposed Dr. Krause’s false claim that the bill forbids cloning.

The only people putting out “massive amounts of disinformation” in this debate are working on behalf of the clone and kill bill, not against it. FIC will continue to support the honest side in this debate as they strive to prevent taxpayer dollars from being used to deliberately destroy human life.

Posted at 4:45 P.M.

January 31

SOCIETY HAS STAKE IN STEM CELL DEBATE [Brian Brown]

In about a half hour from now, the Public Health Committee will be holding a hearing on whether to use our tax dollars to fund the cloning and killing of human embryos in order to experiment on the embryos’ genetic material. If you can still make it to the hearing, please do come. We need to pack the room with citizens who value the sanctity of all human life, including the embryo.

People like the family mentioned in today’s New Haven Register article are being misled. Embryonic stem cells have not been demonstrated to be of any medical value. The bio-tech industry is raising false hopes in order to secure funding from the public which they cannot get from the private sector, where savvy venture capitalists refuse to invest in something that does not work. Meanwhile, adult and umbilical cord stem-cell research, which has produced results, gets very little public funding. The drive to use taxpayer dollars for embryonic stem cell research is driven by ideology, not science.

We all have a stake in the outcome of this debate, because we as a society will have to live with the results.

Posted at 10:05 A.M.

January 28

BREAKING…SAME-SEX “MARRIAGE” BILL RAISED [Brian Brown]

A bill legalizing same-sex “marriage” in Connecticut was referred to the Joint Committee on the Judiciary today. No hearing has been set. You can read S.B. 963, “An Act Concerning Marriage Equality,” by clicking here.

As promised by Love Makes a Family — and lamented by its allies — S.B. 963 is the most extremist pro same-sex “marriage” bill imaginable. It legalizes “marriage” for “any two persons…regardless of the sex.” It removes the words “bride and groom” from the current statute and replaces it with “both persons.” It adds language listing various types of families that are in “the best interests of the child” while omitting any mention of a child’s need for both a mom and a dad. It removes the statutory language declaring Connecticut’s public policy to be that marriage is between a man and a woman. It is, in short, the most “in-your-face” pro same-sex “marriage” bill ever devised by Connecticut’s radical anti-family elites.

This battle is just beginning. I will be sending an e-mail alert to all of our supporters next week on what they can do to stop this effort to destroy marriage and to get a vote on a marriage protection amendment. We need your support, your activism and your prayers to convince the politicians to let the people decide the future of marriage in Connecticut.

Posted at 1:56 P.M.

ANOTHER GREAT MOMENT IN CONN. JOURNALISM [Brian Brown]

On Jan. 21st I blogged about the Courant’s article on the “historic” importance of a lesbian police recruit declaring her sexual orientation to fellow recruits who already knew she was a lesbian. Today’s Courant brings us another great moment in Connecticut journalism. In a photo and article that takes up half a page in its West Hartford edition, the Courant informs its readers that “about 30 people” at a UCC church in New Britain held a candlelight vigil to “say all are welcome [here], and in particular the gay community.”

The vigil was prompted by television controversies involving homosexuality, including the decision by two networks to reject a UCC ad that depicts homosexuals attending a UCC church after being rejected at other churches. But that ad makes the same error the vigil attendees do and the networks were right to reject it. There’s a difference between faithfully upholding the scriptural prohibitions against homosexual activity and forbidding those with such inclinations from entering your church. No pro-family church does the latter. The implication, in both the ad and the vigil, that pro-family churches are bigoted is a slur.

Today’s article begins by quoting the thoughts of a 12-year-old vigil attendee who “isn’t quite sure how she feels about the whole debate” regarding homosexuality and the church. The photo in the Courant’s print edition depicts one 14-year-old and four 12-year-olds holding candles at the vigil.

One has to wonder about a movement that puts 12-year-olds in front of the media to discuss their thoughts about homosexuality. In fact, one has to wonder about a movement that thinks the rejection of a TV ad and the criticism of a cartoon is a good reason for a vigil.

Posted at 12:25 P.M.

January 27

DR. FRANKENSTEIN WANTS YOUR TAX DOLLARS [Brian Brown]

The following information was received from the CT Catholic Conference. As I mentioned in today’s e-mail alert, we need as many people as possible to testify at Monday’s hearing if we want to stop the government from using our tax dollars to fund “clone and kill” research on embryonic human beings.

ACTION ALERT

January 31, 2005 Public Hearing On EMBRYONIC STEM CELL RESEARCH

A public hearing on legislation for State support, including State Funding, of embryonic stem cell research has been scheduled by the Public Health Committee. Bill number SB934. The hearing will be held on January 31, 2005, at 10:30 a.m., in the Legislative Office Building, Room 1D. Sign-up begins at 9:00 a.m. If possible, please bring 40 copies of testimony. Please try to attend this hearing and express your opposition to human embryonic cloning and embryonic research.

Bill overview/issues.

1. The bill does not completely ban human cloning. The human embryo is by its very nature human and this bill clearly allows for the creation and destruction of human embryos for the harvesting of stem cells. It allows for the taking of these cells well into the embryonic stage of development. It is commonly mentioned that the cells are extracted in the first 4 -7 days of growth. However, this bill allows the harvesting of embryonic stem cells up to at least the first 20-22 days of growth and potentially even longer based on language interpretation.

2. The bill does not ban invitro fertilization of a woman for the purpose of harvesting embryonic stem cells from aborted embryos or fetuses for the purpose of research.

3. The bill allocates $10 million over two years for the purpose of embryonic and adult stem cell research. However, the bill does not setup any ethical standards for who can sit on the advisory board that oversees the funding. Can people who have financial self interests in this research be able to sit on the advisory board? Will the board be dominated by embryonic stem celll supporters resulting in very little funding for adult stem cell research?

Contact your State Senator and Representative, and especially members of the Public Health Committee ,to express your opposition to this type of stem cell research. The Catholic Church fully supports adult stem cell research which is already in the human trial stages on many illnesses. The immoral destruction of human life (the embyro) for research purposes is not necessary.

For more information visit our website or click here.

Posted at 2:51 P.M.

“LOVE MAKES A FAMILY” GOES OFF THE DEEP END [Brian Brown]

Dispirited by pro-family victories on the national scene, local pro same-sex “marriage” activists have claimed their cause will fare better here, on what they have dubbed “Planet Connecticut.” Now, even Love Makes a Family’s own allies are beginning to wonder if the group is from another world.

You could almost hear the disappointed sigh in the Courant’s headline today: “Tactic May Stall Bid for Civil Unions.” According to the article, Love Makes a Family (LMF), the main pro same-sex “marriage” lobbying group in Connecticut, has made a “controversial decision” to launch “an all-or-nothing” campaign to legalize same-sex “marriage,” rather than “civil unions.”

LMF’s decision has distressed its allies in the legislature:

"We have a real opportunity to pass a civil union bill this year with all the rights of marriage. The position taken by Love Makes a Family puts that at risk," [Rep. Cameron] Staples [D-New Haven] said. "I was disappointed."

Even Rep. Staples and the Courant are beginning to realize that Love Makes a Family is an extremist organization. But they should not be surprised by LMF’s position. It follows naturally from the group’s misreading of Connecticut public opinion on same-sex “marriage.” Pro same-sex “marriage” legislators and the Courant are aghast at LMF’s “all or nothing” push for same-sex “marriage” because they are slightly more tethered to reality. LMF, on the other hand, may really believe its own spin about the fictional “Planet Connecticut,” a land where an “enlightened” majority favors same-sex “marriage.”

If so, Connecticut’s pro same-sex “marriage” media establishment bears some of the blame. Today’s Courant piece, for instance, uncritically touts a UConn poll purporting to show that a majority of state residents favor civil unions and a plurality favors same-sex “marriage.” Then, regarding LMF’s current campaign, the paper adds:

A same-sex marriage bill faces seemingly insurmountable hurdles: The legislation would originate in the judiciary committee, where it probably would be defeated, and Gov. M. Jodi Rell is strongly opposed to gay marriage.

First, some polls are more reliable than others. Who now remembers the UConn poll of a few years ago that supposedly proved that the people of Connecticut wanted higher taxes? The poll’s credibility collapsed after Courant columnist Laurence Cohen examined the wording of the questions. The same thing happened when I wrote an op-ed for the Courant exposing a bogus poll commissioned by Love Makes a Family.

Second, Gov. Rell’s opposition is not limited to same-sex “marriage.” On Dec. 10, the New Haven Register published this:

On the issue of gay marriage, Rell said she does not favor it.

"I’m an old-fashioned person when it comes to that. I believe in marriage between a man and a woman." Rell also questioned the need for civil unions.

"I’m not sure what it would accomplish," she said, pointing to protections already in place allowing gay couples to adopt children, as well as to have access for hospital visits.

"I think we have gone a long way in changing the statutes to address those concerns," she said.

So far, Gov. Rell’s opposition to civil unions has been noted twice in the Courant: in a sidebar published in tiny print and in a letter to the editor that appeared on a Saturday. In its two major same-sex “marriage” articles published since Gov. Rell made those comments — on page A1 and B1 — the Courant behaves as if she never said it. It is this type of slanted reporting that has led Love Makes a Family down a blind alley.

Further, the Courant piece does not engage the issue. Same-sex “marriage” is wrong because it would create permanent and obligatory motherlessness or fatherlessness for children who need both a mom and a dad. The disastrous consequences of the divorce revolution of the 1970’s have taught us not to engage in vast, untested social experiments with children. If same-sex “marriage” is legalized, further distortions of marriage — such as polygamy — will become inevitable. Schools would indoctrinate children with a societal redefinition of marriage, regardless of parental opposition.

Although it looks like Love Makes a Family has come off the rails, pro-family supporters must remain vigilant. Pro same-sex “marriage” Rep. Michael Lawlor says he does not “rule out offering a civil-union bill.” Despite the “all or nothing” rhetoric, if LMF fails to make headway on same-sex “marriage,” they could back Rep. Lawlor’s civil unions bill at the last minute, claiming that they are “moderating” their position and are willing to accept a “compromise.”

But it would not be a compromise at all. Civil unions are same-sex “marriage” by a different name. We are fighting to protect the institution of marriage, not just the name. If civil unions are legalized in Connecticut, as LMF knows, state courts may seize on it as a pretext to impose same-sex “marriage,” claiming a violation of the constitution’s “equal protection” clause.

The Family Institute of Connecticut and our supporters will continue the fight against the destruction of marriage, regardless of whether its supporters refer to the radical redefinition they seek as same-sex “marriage” or “civil unions.” And we will continue to fight for the right to have a vote on a marriage protection amendment to our state constitution. For there to be a final resolution of this issue, the politicians must let the people decide the future of marriage in Connecticut.

Posted at 1:55 P.M.

January 26

“NO NAME-CALLING WEEK” [Brian Brown]

5,100 middle school teachers in 36 states have signed onto “No Name-Calling Week,” an initiative of the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network to stop what they believe to be an epidemic of verbal abuse against homosexual students. It’s a truism that people ought to respect one another and not engage in name-calling. But, as an editorial in the Waterbury Republican-American notes:

The irony of GLSEN's involvement here is homosexual activists are knee-jerk name-callers. If anyone speaks out against homosexual marriage, for example, GLSEN and its ilk do not attempt to rebut their arguments, but rather immediately brand them as homophobes, as if the principled belief that marriage should be reserved for one man and one woman is based on irrational fear of homosexuals.

That hypocrisy has been evident here in Connecticut, as I noted in my Dec. 16th blog. In fact, we received so much hate mail from same-sex “marriage” supporters recently that we created a new feature on the home page, Comments from Our “Tolerant” Opposition, so the public could see it for themselves. If the pro same-sex “marriage” movement really wants to reduce intolerance in our society, they could start by confronting the hate coming from some of their own members.

Posted at 10:25 A.M.

January 25

A CAUTION ON HIGHER EDUCATION [Ken Von Kohorn]

Some of our readers may have heard about the scolding Harvard president Lawrence Summers has received from academia for even suggesting that there may be innate differences between men and women's brains, when it comes to math, science and engineering. One of our favorite commentators, Dennis Prager, has published a column today about this incident that is well worth reading — especially if you have children nearing college age. Some excerpts:

Outside of the university, most people know that men and women are innately different, that they therefore have some different innate abilities, and that the latest research shows that the two sexes actually have physically different brain structure and composition.

But such empirical truths are not utterable in the most intellectually closed places in America — our universities.

To come to realize that the highest institutions of learning often do not value learning but seek to propagandize their children (largely against everything they, the parents, believe in) is too painful. Most people can't confront the fact that, unless their child is studying the natural sciences, they have paid huge sums of money for their child to be able to share bathrooms with members of the opposite sex, read columns in college newspapers about American evil and tongue techniques for better oral sex, binge drink, and with a few noble exceptions, be propagandized.

As readers are aware, this year I am writing a series of columns making the case for Judeo-Christian values. The secular university provides one of the most cogent arguments for those values: This institution, which is the most opposed to Judeo-Christian values, is also the least committed to truth.

An excellent source of valuable information about the educational atmosphere and political climate on many college campuses is ISI's Choosing the Right College 2005.

Posted at 10:25 A.M.

CONN. POST BREAKS FROM THE PACK [Brian Brown]

It’s unusual for a Connecticut newspaper to publish an unbiased article on the concerns of local pro-lifers. It’s even more unusual for that paper to do it twice in one week. The CT Post’s willingness to do so puts it head and shoulders above the pack. Two excerpts from today’s article:

Most of the region's news organizations, including the Connecticut Post, devoted prominent coverage Thursday to an incident in Seymour in which a man cut six puppies' throats.

[Wrote in a pro-lifer:] "This week in Bridgeport alone about 21 innocent children were brutally murdered on Main Street [the location of the Summit Women's (abortion) Clinic]. Did they receive front-page coverage? Have we become so accustomed to legalized child killing that it doesn't bother us any more?"

To read the whole article, click here.

Posted at 9:36 A.M.

January 24

FAMILY-FRIENDLY SOCIAL SECURITY REFORM [Brian Brown]

President Bush’s goal of reforming social security has been much discussed in the news lately. Less discussed has been the role played by families with children in supporting social security and the burdens the current system places on them. The Courant helps to correct that omission today by running Philip Longman’s excellent op-ed on the topic. As Longman notes, it is children that ultimately finance the system and “the only true solution is to ease the burdens on today’s parents that are driving down birthrates…”

Yet parents get no compensation from Social Security, nor from the wider economy, for the investments they make in their children. Instead, Social Security pays the same benefits, and often more, to people who avoid the burdens of parenthood. So long as Social Security effectively penalizes people for having the very children the system requires, it contributes to a downward spiral of falling birthrates leading to higher and higher tax rates.

To read the whole article, click here.

Posted at 10:03 A.M.

January 21

“HISTORIC” MOMENT FOR CT STATE POLICE [Brian Brown]

Stop the presses! Something big occurred in the history of Connecticut law enforcement yesterday:

"That was a very first for our organization. We struck history today with the Connecticut State Police," said Carney, of the Springfield Police Department.

What was it, you ask? Have the state police done something about the 7.3% crime increase in Connecticut’s capital city? Have they single handedly reduced Hartford’s ranking as the seventh most dangerous city in America?

Well, no. But a police recruit “came out” during a diversity training course to fellow recruits who already knew she was a lesbian. The Courant apparently shares Detective Carney’s assessment of the importance of this event, at least enough to publish an article about it.

Meanwhile, the Louisiana Supreme Court ruling upholding that state’s marriage protection amendment? The federal judge in Florida who upheld the constitutionality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act? The Courant has yet to print a word about either decision this week.

Posted at 2:43 P.M.

January 20

RARE SIGHTINGS OF AN ENDANGERED SPECIES [Brian Brown]

On Dec. 1st in this space I mentioned Anchor Rising, the conservative Rhode Island blog run by Justin Katz. Today, Justin posts his interview with Jeff Jacoby, the Boston Globe’s lone conservative columnist. It’s subtitled, naturally, “An American Conservative in New England.” Considering all my blogging about the Courant, I found this exchange interesting:

AR. You've written a number of straightforward and obfuscation-dispelling columns about same-sex marriage. To my experience that's a particularly rare action for a member of the New England media. In Rhode Island, for example, the news department of the Providence Journal has practically advocated for same-sex marriage, and even conservative talk radio hosts claim an inability to see anything wrong with it. Why do you think something so clear to you and me barely seems to register as a real argument among New England opinion makers?

JJ. Same-sex marriage, like the mainstreaming — even celebrating — of homosexuality generally, is one of those ideas that you have to believe in to be in the media or opinion elite, especially in a blue state. Just as you have to believe that the United States is a rogue nation led by a crazed cowboy, just as you have to believe that there is no more fundamental qualification for a federal judge than unblinking support for easy abortion, so you have to believe that the understanding of marriage that has prevailed for 5,000 years is a manifestation of ignorant redneck bigotry. Maybe it's a question of DNA. Or maybe it really is true that we come from utterly different origins: Conservatives are from Mars, liberals are from San Francisco.

To read the full interview with one of New England’s most thoughtful conservatives, click here.

Posted at 3:03 P.M.

COURANT COVERAGE IS SELECTIVE [Brian Brown]

It is worth noting whenever the Rev. William DuBovik, longtime pastor of one of Hartford’s most thriving Eastern Orthodox parishes, has a letter in the Courant. Here’s his latest:

Abortion Coverage Is Selective

How sadly ironic that at a time when people are correctly questioning the propriety of capital punishment and when we collectively mourn the victims of the tsunami disasters, a group at Yale University is staging a film festival to promote the right to kill unborn babies, and The Courant gives it plenty of free publicity [Life section, Jan. 17, "Abortion Rights Subject Of Films"]. One wonders whether The Courant will give news coverage to the thousands who will gather in Washington on Jan. 24 for the annual March For Life.

All life is sacred, and although pregnancy, giving birth and raising children present challenges and require sacrifice, these are not justifications to end life and thus deprive oneself of the joy of participating in God's creative acts.

The argument that this is about freedom falls short because no one is compelling someone to become pregnant. However, once a new life enters the picture, one's responsibilities do change.

The Rev. William DuBovik, Hartford

The writer is pastor of All Saints Orthodox Church in Hartford.

Fr. DuBovik’s concern about the Courant’s coverage is a familiar one to readers of this blog. And, in addition to the items mentioned by Fr. DuBovik, or previously on this blog, we can now add one more.

Yesterday, the Louisiana Supreme Court unanimously upheld as constitutional the marriage protection amendment that was passed last year by 78% of the state’s voters. There is not a single mention of it in today’s Courant. Does anyone doubt that if the Louisiana decision had gone the other way, news of it would have been prominently featured in the paper?

Posted at 11:35 A.M.

January 19

“THE HEART OF AMERICA IS CHANGING” [Brian Brown]

This Saturday marks the 32nd anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the infamous Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion. The pro-life movement in Connecticut has never had it easy, but we still manage to achieve some successes, as the Connecticut Post reports today:

That would bring to 1,335 the number of women talked out of aborting their pregnancies at Summit [the Bridgeport abortion clinic] during the past 15 years, according to Marilyn Carroll of Milford and Carmen Lopez of West Haven, who head the Connecticut chapter of Operation Save America.

"Not one is sorry she kept her baby," said Carroll, whose group offers the women help with food, clothing and counseling.

Rev. Flip Benham is quoted in the article noting that abortion clinics in the U.S. have declined from 2,000 in 1991 to 726 today. “The heart of America is changing,” he says.

We need to change the heart of Connecticut, too. Visit the events page of FIC’s website for information about the Hartford March for Life. We will post news of other pro-life events as information becomes available.

Posted at 10:28 A.M.

January 18

PETITION DRIVES, THEN & NOW [Brian Brown]

Most Mass-attending Connecticut Catholics are choosing not to sign the Church’s petition for the repeal of the state’s death penalty law, according to a front page article by Mark Azarra in the Republican-American today. Azarra asks Fairfield University professor Paul Lakeland to comment:

Low petition turnout or not, "the bishops themselves are going to keep hammering away on the death penalty," Lakeland said. But, he added, "if they don't do well on this it may chasten them on what issues they bring (to parishes) for signup" in the future.

This is wishful thinking on the part of pro same-sex “marriage” activists, including Lakeland, a “liberation theologian” who dissents from Church teachings on human sexuality. Two years ago the Catholic Church in Connecticut worked with other denominations and the Family Institute of Connecticut on a petition drive that generated 90,000 signatures calling for a state Defense of Marriage Act. In fact, it was the laity who approached the bishops for permission to conduct the Catholic portion of the marriage protection petition drive in the first place. In the fight for faith and family in Connecticut, we know we can count on the Catholic Church to be among our strongest allies.

Posted at 11:10 A.M.

January 17

UNITE FOR LIFE [Brian Brown]

The Courant has another editorial today praising the efforts of pro-abortion lawmakers who want to use our tax dollars to kill human embryos in order to experiment on them. While the Courant diligently notifies its readers every time an anti-death penalty event or a pro-abortion film festival is scheduled, today’s editorial neglected to mention that a public hearing on legislation regarding embryonic stem cell research will take place Jan. 31st.

FIC encourages the entire pro-family movement to get active in the effort to stop our tax dollars from being used to kill embryonic human beings. We should not let pro-abortion advocates demagogue the pro-life cause as some mere idiosyncratic Catholic belief. Too often in the media’s coverage of the stem cell debate, that is exactly what they have done. Let’s show them that the movement to protect embryonic human life is as broad and diverse as the movement for the protection of marriage. Below is the relevant information, courtesy of the Connecticut Catholic Conference.

ACTION ALERT

EMBRYONIC STEM CELL RESEARCH

A public hearing on legislation for State support, including State Funding, of embryonic stem cell research has been scheduled by the Public Health Committee. The hearing will be held on January 31, 2005, at 10:00 a.m., in the Legislative Office Building, Room 1D. The exact language of the bill is not yet available. Please try to attend this hearing and express your opposition to human embryonic cloning and embryonic research.

Contact your State Senator and Representative to express your opposition to this type of stem cell research. The Catholic Church fully supports adult stem cell research which is already in the human trial stages on many illnesses. The immoral destruction of human life (the embyro) for research purposes is not necessary.

For more information visit our website or click here.

Watch for future updates on this issue.

Posted at 10:40 A.M.

January 14

EAST LYME UPDATE [Brian Brown]

On Jan. 4 in this space, I blogged about how parishioners at St. Agnes Church were fighting back against the efforts of a homosexual couple to make the church remove its “Defend Marriage Now!” banner. The men’s efforts included a media campaign against the church and an attempt by the town government to force the pastor to remove the banner. Parishioners struck back, with an article, an op-ed (re-printed on this blog) and five letters to the editor in the Lyme Times.

In the Jan. 7th issue of that paper (not available online), pro same-sex “marriage” activists return fire. In an op-ed, “St Agnes Crosses Free-Speech Line,” John de la Roche claims the banner “does more than exercise their [the parishioners] right to free speech. The banner is offensive to its neighbors” and these parishioners have therefore “crossed the line.”

But if free speech is only permitted as long as it offends no one, then there is no right to free speech. Perhaps that is exactly what de la Roche is trying to say. Our opponents often suggest that merely stating opposition to their goals is the equivalent of a hate crime. For all their talk about civil rights, they seem not to believe in either the “free exercise” of religion clause in the First Amendment or in the free speech clause.

The same Jan. 7th issue includes three pro same-sex “marriage” letters to the editor. My favorite is by Gretchen Raffa, an official with the CT chapter of the pro-abortion group NARAL Pro-Choice America, who describes FIC as believing that "children benefit only from a family defined by a mother and father figure [emphasis added].”

Actually, FIC believes that children do best in a family with a mother and a father, not a mother and father “figure.” One has to wonder about the ability of our opponents to engage us in a civil debate when they cannot even manage to state our positions accurately.

Posted at 10:10 A.M.

January 13

FAST TRACK TO INHUMANITY [Brian Brown]

Connecticut is on the “fast track” toward using taxpayer dollars to clone and kill human embryos in order to experiment on their genetic material. Of course, yesterday’s Courant article puts it differently, describing a “scientific gold rush” set off by California’s decision to give $3 billion to embryonic stem-cell research, which will supposedly lead to cures for any number of diseases.

It’s interesting that the Courant’s stem cell coverage always mentions the effect California’s decision will allegedly have on our state’s politics, but its coverage of same-sex “marriage” never suggests the 13-out-of-13 state vote for marriage protection amendments will matter here. And while the paper gives fawning coverage to the Catholic Church’s opposition to the death penalty, it sounds like an anthropologist explaining the strange beliefs of an alien tribe when reporting on Catholic opposition to the destruction of human embryos:

Marie T. Hilliard of the Connecticut Catholic Conference said her group is opposed to the measure because embryonic stem cells are obtained through the destruction of days-old embryos. Since the Roman Catholic church believes life begins at conception, her group equates the destruction of the embryos to sacrificing children, she said.

In addition to being inhumane, embryonic stem cell research is inefficient. Why is it that scientists have been able to raise private funds for adult stem cell research and not embryonic stem cell research? Because only the former is producing results and venture capitalists aren’t going to waste their money on what doesn’t work. No, for that, we have the government. And your wallet.

Posted at 10:52 A.M.

January 11

YOUR VOICE MATTERS [Brian Brown]

The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to invalidate a Florida law that prevents homosexual couples from adopting children, according to an AP article in today’s Courant. Here’s the money quote:

"This shows the justices clearly want to give gay rights a rest, at least for this term," said David Garrow, a constitutional expert and historian. Garrow said Justice Anthony Kennedy, who wrote the 2003 opinion, and the justices who supported it may have sensed a strong backlash lurking behind the Florida case, which brought gay rights together with children and family issues.

There is a lesson here for those of us fighting for marriage in Connecticut. Our voice counts. Despite all the false spin from the other side on how the alleged need for same-sex “marriage” should trump the will of the majority, if enough of us raise our voices in protest, it won’t happen. Even the supposedly apolitical courts will back off.

But the question remains: will we raise our voices? Will the many citizens of Connecticut that are pro-family finally rise up and demand that the legislature and the courts respect the sanctity of marriage? If we wait until something big happens — until the legislature legalizes civil unions or the state court hearing the Kerrigan case imposes same-sex “marriage on us — it may be too late. The time to speak up is now.

If you know someone who believes in our cause but has yet to join the fight, encourage him or her to visit FIC’s website and sign up now. The situation at our state capitol is dire. We cannot hope to turn the tide unless we draw enough new members to our cause to have the same affect on our state government that the pro-family movement had on the Court that refused to invalidate the Florida adoption law.

Posted at 9:50 A.M.

January 10

TESTING THE WATERS [Brian Brown]

“All we’re asking for is ‘civil’ marriage, not ‘religious’ marriage. We would never try to impose our will on the churches.”

How often have we heard pro same-sex “marriage” activists make this claim? Perhaps some of them even believe it. If so, they should read the Chicago Tribune article that appears in today’s Waterbury Republican-American. At a Catholic school in Costa Mesa, CA. the pastor has allowed the sons of a homosexual couple to be students there — despite a letter from eighteen parents complaining about their presence. As the article delicately puts it:

The case, along with a similar one at another Roman Catholic school, have raised questions about the church's policies regarding the education of children of same-sex couples.

In that other case, a lesbian couple is suing a Catholic parish in Eugene, OR. for $550,000 because the school refused to admit their adopted daughter. The objecting parents at the Costa Mesa school felt their children could not receive full-fledged instruction on faith with the two boys in the school. They said they could not see how a teacher could fully explain the church's policies on homosexuals without causing the two boys anxiety over their fathers' lifestyle.

But their feelings — and those of the Oregon parish — don’t matter to a movement that, at least here in Connecticut, still claims not to be opposed to religious liberty:

Martha Walters, [the lesbian couple’s] attorney, said that under local ordinances the school, although private, is a place of public accommodation.

"It is like a restaurant," she said. "It is a private business, but the public has access…"

Gay and lesbian advocates said they expect church school access to be a growing cause of concern among same-sex couples with children.

"All parents, gay or straight, want a quality education for their children," said David Tseng, an attorney in Washington who had worked with Parents Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, a national advocacy group.

"We are at the cutting edge of a civil rights movement," he said. "There are people out there testing the waters."

Make no mistake. Their claims to the contrary notwithstanding, if local activists succeed in bringing same-sex “marriage” to Connecticut, the religious freedom of those opposed to it will be their next target. After all, what does the First Amendment matter when up against “the cutting edge of a civil rights movement?”

Posted at 11:10 A.M.

January 7

MEDIA NOTICES SOMETHING GOOD [Brian Brown]

I’ve had occasion — ok, lots of occasions — to comment on local media bias against people of traditional faith. But I am interested in noting those instances when the press does cover the good work being done by our friends and allies. Such is the case with a piece in the Connecticut Post today about the efforts of Milford’s Kingdom Life Christian Church to provide relief to the victims of the tsunami in Asia. A tip of the hat to the Post for covering this story and to Bishop Jay Ramirez, a friend of FIC, for providing another example of Christian love to a secular world. And, of course, we offer our prayers for all those still suffering from this horrible calamity.

Posted at 1:13 P.M.

January 6

FAIR AND BALANCED? [Brian Brown]

The Catholic Church in Connecticut will be holding a petition drive this weekend asking parishioners to oppose the death penalty, according to a front page article in the Courant. The Republican-American also has a front page piece on the petition drive (not available online).

I do not mention this in order to comment on the death penalty. What I find notable is the media coverage regarding this new petition drive. Beginning in Nov., 2002, the Catholic Church and FIC worked together on the largest petition drive in state history—90,000 signatures so far—calling on our legislators to enact a Defense of Marriage Act. At the time, the Courant ran a brief item about our effort on the back page of its news section.

But the anti-death penalty drive makes the front page. In fact, the Courant considers it as important as Gov. Rell's State of the State address, since those are the only two items to get "above the fold" attention on today's front page. The article itself seems designed to increase the public's awareness of, and participation in, the anti-death penalty cause. From reading the piece we learn, for instance, that: 1) There will be a petition available to sign this weekend. 2) There will be a press conference on the state Capitol steps Wednesday. 3) There will be a death penalty forum on Thursday, time and location provided. 4) There will be a worship service the night before Michael Ross' execution, time and location provided. And: 5) There will be a prayer vigil a few hours prior to the execution, time and location provided.

Some time toward the end of this legislative session the pro-family movement will be holding another Marriage Protection Weekend, complete with events occurring throughout the state. Can we count on the Courant to give our events the same level of free advertising that it gave to the anti-death penalty cause? Of course not. And the mainstream media still wonders why everyone thinks they're biased.

Posted at 11:00 A.M.

January 5

BREAKING…GOV. RELL CONCLUDES “STATE OF THE STATE” SPEECH [Brian Brown]

Gov. Rell just finished her first major address to the legislature. She listed the issues she considered to be most pressing for this session. They included the budget, medical malpractice reform, embryonic stem cell research — but not civil unions. Gov. Rell, I believe, does not want that bill on her desk any more than we do.

Her speech included many uplifting passages about throwing off “the self-imposed shackle of partisan politics” and working together. Most interestingly, she talked about how her recent surgery for breast cancer has affected her world view. Quoting from my notes:

“I have been unexpectedly faced with my own mortality. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I am looking at things a little differently now, with new eyes.”

As the session unfolds, we in the pro-family movement will continue to hope that Gov. Rell’s new take on things will include a reverence for marriage and the sanctity of human life. On marriage, we have good reason to be hopeful.

Posted at 12:53 P.M.

I’M NOT ASHAMED [Brian Brown]

…to tell you that I will be appearing on a public access program called “I’m Not Ashamed.” The theme of the show is “God, Country and Family” and it will begin airing on local stations next week. Here’s a listing of where and when it airs:

  • New Haven, Hamden, West Haven — Saturday night 8:00 pm Ch 27
  • Soundview Media (Fairfield county) — Thursdays at 3:00 pm
  • Comcast Middletown (Middlesex county) — Saturday nights 6:00 pm
  • Comcast Danbury (Danbury, Ridgefield, Bethel, Brookfield) — Monday nights 9:00 pm
  • BCTV (Branford) — Sundays 10:00 am
  • Comcast Clinton (the shoreline from Branford, Guilford, Madison, etc.) — Monday nights 9:00 pm
  • Charter Communications (Windham county) — Mondays at 9:30 pm
  • Tele-Media (the valley towns- Derby, Ansonia, Oxford, Shelton, Seymour, Naugatuck, etc.) — Tuesdays at 6:00 pm
  • ETV (East Haven) this studio runs the show 6 times a month usually toward the end of the month, no dates given.
  • NHTV (North Haven) — same as above.

Posted at 11:05 A.M.

January 4

ST. AGNES PARISHIONERS FIGHT BACK [Brian Brown]

On Dec. 13th in this space I wrote about a homosexual couple in East Lyme who had launched a campaign to force St. Agnes Church to stop displaying FIC’s “Defend Marriage Now!” banner. Their efforts included a biased article in the Lyme Times and an attempt by the town government to curtail the church’s right of free speech.

The town’s effort at censorship has not yet been successful and the media campaign has only made the lay faithful of St. Agnes Parish angry. Perhaps sensing that its previous article lacked balance, the Lyme Times ran a second, less lopsided, piece in its Dec. 24th issue (not available online). All five of the letters to the editor in that issue supported the church’s right to hang that banner. In addition, the paper ran an op-ed by John Sweeney, a Niantic resident, on the hypocrisy of those attacking the banner. It is reprinted below, with the permission of the author.

“Tolerance” as a Weapon of the Intolerant

by John Sweeney

I now know something I never knew in the 13 years I have lived here. Apparently the entire town of Niantic is a group of intolerant homophobes. We must be, if one pair of homosexual partners is beginning to have “second thoughts” about moving here because of a banner (“Gay Couple Offended by Church Banner,” December 10th). And I always thought we were so nice; how could I have missed this Nazi-like atmosphere?

East Lyme has just been painted with the brush of intolerance by the Coalition of the Perpetually Aggrieved, a loose confederation of professional victims trying to intimidate a decent society in the name of “tolerance.” The chief aim of the thin-skinned CPAs (with apologies to Certified Public Accountants) is to claim their Constitutional right to never be offended, by trampling on everyone’s actual Constitutional right to free speech.

According to the story, gay sex partners Joseph Smith and Joshua Parker, incorrectly described as “newlyweds” (since their Vermont civil union is not legally recognized in Connecticut), noticed a banner outside of St. Agnes Church that read, "Defend Marriage Now! Join us in taking a stand for marriage and the family!" The fairly innocuous banner, provided by the Family Institute of Connecticut, sent these two into Code Red. Rather than first speaking like mature adults to the church’s pastor, Rev. Arthur Archer, they went straight to the newspaper to try to publicly intimidate them into removing the banner. They also wrote a scathing e-mail to Brian Brown, FIC’s executive director.

The Lyme Times implied that the church caved in, by reporting that they removed the banner following a reporter’s call about the pair’s complaint. However, Rev. Archer explained to me that church policy places a time limit on posting outside signage, and the time limit happened to coincide with the complaint. To the church’s credit, the sign has since been returned to a different location. It will remain there (unless it is vandalized like the banners in six other towns by the “tolerance” crowd) as long as their policy permits, and/or until they are challenged by the East Lyme Zoning Commission, to whom Parker and Smith have tattled.

This temper tantrum by Parker and Smith exposes some issues about “tolerance” that we should explore. In fact, their e-mail to the FIC has me a bit confused. It appears that the language they used would fall under their own definition of “intolerant.”

But maybe it’s just me, so I have some questions for the CPAs.

What is the definition of tolerance, and how is your e-mail to FIC an example of that? In it, you wrote, "Your so-called 'organization' sickens me and you are an abomination…!” Is calling someone an abomination an example of tolerance? The Bible calls homosexual acts an “abomination to the Lord.” Is the word “abomination” an example of tolerance in your e-mail but not in the Bible?

Your e-mail continues, “I think that you and all so-called 'Christians' should not spend all your time trying to condemn gays or hating us because you too are also [sic] committing a huge 'sin' by not practicing God's Word and loving thy neighbor." Do you hate us because of that? If my disapproval of your sin of homosexual activity is hatred, then is your disapproval of my “huge sin” also hatred?

I felt offended by being called an abomination. Should I not feel welcome in this town? Would you like to see all Niantic citizens leave town, who think marriage is by definition between one man and one woman?

To the pastor who said that discrimination of any kind is against her church's baptismal covenant: So you don’t discriminate at all? Would an adulterer lead your young marrieds’ ministry? Would a pedophile teach Sunday school, or an abusive alcoholic become the pastor? Do you require any kind of special degree to become ordained? How does that work with your baptismal covenant?

Another pastor indicated that gay people wanting to commit themselves to a monogamous, faithful relationship in marriage is acceptable. Could bisexuals be monogamous and faithful to qualify for this definition of marriage? Please provide a definition of marriage that doesn’t discriminate against anyone.

If a married parishioner was involved in statutory rape, should either party be lovingly confronted, or would that be hateful? Is it possible to accept and love someone while not condoning their behavior? I don’t allow my children to smoke; do I hate them?

Did Jesus ever tell anyone that He loved, to “go and sin no more”? Was He being hateful and discriminatory?

If someone writes an article criticizing this editorial, should I feel threatened by their hatred and make broad accusations against the whole town? I eagerly await your answers.

John Sweeney lives in Niantic.

Posted at 10:12 A.M.

January 3, 2005

CONNECTICUT, 2005: THE BATTLE BEGINS [Brian Brown]

It’s a new year and a new legislative session. Time to consider where things stand in the battle to preserve marriage in the state of Connecticut.

On Jan. 1 the Hartford Courant launched a front page, above-the-fold pre-emptive strike for the legalization of civil unions, which is same-sex “marriage” by a different name. According to the Courant “several legislative leaders say civil unions…are most likely to win broad support in Connecticut.” These include Republican House Minority Leader Bob Ward and Democrat House Majority Leader Jim Amann, who says that for the first time “he expects a spirited floor debate” on the issue. And there is this, from the major champion for the destruction of marriage at our state legislature:

"Based on the election results in Connecticut, it seems as though, at a minimum, [the legislature] could support some type of civil union bill," said state Rep. Michael Lawlor, D-East Haven. "I support marriage and I think that's where we'll end up. The question is, how long does it take to get there?"

As everyone knows, the state’s election results were about John Kerry, not same-sex “marriage.” But that’s just one of the items the Courant neglects to mention in its assessment of state public opinion on this issue. The paper does not mention that in little more than a month — November, 2002 — FIC and our allies collected 70,000 petitions calling for a Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). It does not mention that on a freezing cold day — February 8, 2004 — six thousand people rallied in front of the state capitol for the passage of the DOMA. And, in its most glaring admission, the Courant neglects to mention in its front page article that Gov. Rell — who, with her 80% approval rating, knows where the people stand — has spoken against civil unions. (The paper grudgingly acknowledged two days later, in a sidebar on page B2, that the Governor was “skeptical” about civil unions.)

Despite all this, the threat of a civil union bill being passed by this legislature is very real. As I said on Brad Davis’ radio program this morning, the pro-same sex “marriage” groups have been lobbying every day at our state’s capitol and they are making progress. The people of Connecticut have to stand up on this issue. This is real and it is coming unless we call our state representatives and demand that they stand up for traditional marriage.

Thanks to the loss of pro-family stalwarts like Sen. Win Smith, there is no way to predict what will happen in this legislature. Although the pro-family movement did not lose state elections on this issue, we are nonetheless in a difficult position. If a civil unions bill is enacted, the state court hearing the Kerrigan case — a case filed by a group seeking the legalization of same-sex “marriage” — may use it as a pretext to impose same-sex “marriage” on Connecticut.

Now is the time for the pro-family citizens of Connecticut to stand up and be counted. Those of us who have been in this fight all along must redouble our efforts. Most importantly, those who have been sitting on the sidelines must get involved. It took the legalization of same-sex “marriage” in Massachusetts before the nation was roused to defend the family. If Connecticut citizens who are not yet active in the pro-family fight are waiting for the same thing to happen here before they get involved, the battle will have been lost before it has even been engaged.

In the coming days, weeks and months I will be contacting you, the pro-family citizens of Connecticut, about what you can do to protect marriage in this legislative session. In the meantime, please spread the word about FIC to everyone you know. A call to arms has been issued, and we cannot hope to win the battle unless the everyday citizens of Connecticut hear it.

Posted at 11:54 A.M.

December 30

STATE’S TOP CENSORED NEWS STORIES OF 2004 [Brian Brown]

“From Rowland to Rell to roundball, take a look back at the top news stories in Connecticut during the past 12 months,” says the teaser for Fox 61’s “News at Ten” program in today’s Courant. Well, if Fox 61 says “roundball” — whatever that is — qualifies as one of the state’s top stories for 2004, who am I to disagree?

Still, I have to wonder why 6,000 people rallying on a freezing cold day in February in front of the state capitol for the passage of a Defense of Marriage Act does not qualify as one of the state’s top stories of the year. A few local newspapers have already done their “top state news stories of the year” articles and I have yet to see a mention of our rally.

It is possible to find the rally and other stories if you know where to look. Call them “The Top News Stories of 2004 That Our State’s Media Wants You To Forget.” Here, for instance, is an account of the rally, posted Feb. 9 on the website of Catholic blogger Mark Shea:

Report: Rally For Marriage 2004

A reader writes:

Where to begin? Perhaps with the media coverage, since that's how most of the state experienced our Rally. It was predictably biased. According to a neutral third party — the capitol police — 6,000 people rallied in Hartford yesterday in favor of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and against efforts to legalize same-sex marriage. The Associated Press, whose reporting throughout this debate has been remarkable — even by the normal standard of liberal media bias — for its pro-gay marriage slant, put our numbers at "about" 3,000. Most of the state's media followed the AP's lead, with WTIC 1080 AM telling its listeners last night that we had "nearly" 3,000 and that a brief pro-gay marriage rally at Bushnell Park had 40 people. Of all the wonderful things said by our speakers, the AP ran only a single quote: Baptist Bishop Bailey's "Are we a nation under God or under gays?" By itself, that quote does not reflect the tenor of the speeches, or even of Bishop Bailey's own speech.

The Hartford Courant never gave a specific number for the people at our Rally, limiting it to a vague "hundreds" in the caption under the front page photo and "thousands" in the first paragraph. A gay counter-rally at a nearby church, however, drew "more than 800," if you believe the Courant. The Bushnell Park pro-gay marriage rally shrunk from the AP's "40" to "a few dozen." The Courant also claimed that Catholic Bishop Rosazza "mocked" Love Makes a Family when he made a reasoned argument that loves alone does not make a family. However, the Courant did take note of the diverse, multicultural nature of our movement, which is a major breakthrough in the quest for honest media coverage of the same-sex marriage issue.

The New Haven Register put our numbers at 4,000, but claimed the Bushnell Park rally had "75." The paper said our goal was to pass a federal DOMA, a law that has been on the books since 1996 (we're trying to pass a state DOMA). The Register acknowledged the lopsided numbers of the dueling rallies, but added that the pro-gay marriage side "will get their chance" next week, when they hold another rally.

The media coverage was not all bad. Though there was a tendency by local television to give the false impression of a rough parity between our rallies, channel 30 aired a sound byte by Protestant Bishop Ramirez expressing our lack of animosity toward our adversaries and pleading for fair coverage from the media (the Courant mentioned this, too). Leslie and I were treated fairly by CPTV for an interview with Carolee Salerno that aired over the weekend. The New London Day, which published the best article, , was the only media outlet to note: 1) the cold weather that "more than 4,000" endured, 2) that, while six speakers addressed our crowd of thousands, "70" of the "600" people at the church's pro-gay marriage rally were "speakers" 3) that Bishop Bailey told pro-gay marriage lawmakers that we would vote them out of office and 4) that Love Makes a Family's Ann Stanback is apparently pro-life, declaring that we should be fighting "divorce and abortion" instead of gay marriage. I'd love to see a reporter with guts follow up on that comment with Stanback.

What else? There was good participation by Catholics at the Rally: the Sisters Minor of Mary Immaculate, the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, and lay people holding up signs of the Divine Mercy were all quite visible. Except for my own Council I didn't see any Knights of Columbus that I recognized, though I know there was a bus-full from East Hartford. The speakers were good, Brian Brown's leadership was excellent and his op-ed in today's Courant, ctnow.com — OPED , is so well-written that it will likely trump the media bias that I have discussed.

After the Rally, several small groups from the counter-rallies showed up to heckle us. I recall in particular one mini-van of angry lesbians that pulled up to us as we were cleaning up. "How's marriage doing, boys?" the driver taunted us. "You save marriage, yet? How are your marriages doing? How many divorces do you have between you, huh? How many divorces do you have?" she kept repeating. "Where were you when the legislature was cutting aid to the poor? Where were your rallies, then?". I suspect our angry lesbian cares as much for the poor as Ann Stanback does for the unborn. But this is the sort of incident that never makes the press. Had it been one of us taunting one of them, it would likely have been added to hate crime statistics.

Finally, my own involvement: I led the Pledge of Allegiance. Here is how I began: "In the 1950's, the Knights of Columbus led the effort to persuade President Dwight D. Eisenhower and the U.S. Congress to add the words "under God" to the Pledge of Allegiance. Last year, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals declared the reciting of the Pledge by schoolchildren to be unconstitutional because of those words, 'under God.' As we gather together in this great cause, let us begin by declaring in defiance of those on the 9th Circuit Court and the Massachusetts Supreme Court who would impose their will on us, that we are a free people, a self-governing people, a nation 'under God.'" My comments were well received by the crowd.

On May 17, FIC held a counter-rally to protest the judicial imposition of same-sex “marriage” on Massachusetts. A description of the day’s events was posted the next day on www.marriagedebate.com by moderator Eve Tushnet. Here it is:

REPORT FROM A CONNECTICUT RALLY AND COUNTER-RALLY: Peter Wolfgang

[Peter Wolfgang, of New Hartford, is a district deputy for the Connecticut State Council of the Knights of Columbus.]

[Eve notes: I'm interested in reading these personal descriptions of events, from any perspective. Please do send them along. I can't guarantee that I will post them in whole or part, but I am always trying to find the telling details that individuals on the ground notice even when reporters might miss them. I should note, of course, that I have no way of verifying any such accounts, since the whole point is that I'm not there—if I were there I'd just post my own impressions! Anyway—here are excerpts from Peter's account:]

On Sunday, pro-gay marriage forces held a rally at the state capitol in anticipation of their victory in our neighboring state. Borrowing a page from their book, the Family Institute of Connecticut held a counter-rally on the opposite side of the capitol an hour before the pro-gay event. Brian Brown gave a forceful presentation on the need for a federal marriage amendment. Bishop Gonzalez, a leader of Hartford's Hispanic Protestant community, spoke with compassion and sensitivity—but also with honesty—about the Christian teaching on homosexuality found in Romans 1.

As usual, we had a diverse, multicultural crowd, which included some new faces. Mormons, dressed in their Sunday best, seemed more visible than they had been in the past. Among Catholics, there was a strong contingent from Regnum Christi. As each side continues to hold dueling rallies I am left with the impression that the other side has reached the limit of its support while our side continues to gain new adherents.

During our counter-rally we were surrounded by pro-gay marriage protesters, who heckled us and tried to shout down our speakers. Were it not for the capitol police I think they would have dived into the crowd or rushed the stage. One held a sign that read "The Family Institute of Connecticut Uses the Bible the Way Hitler Uses Gas." After our rally we were heckled by a man dressed in a priest's outfit holding a sign advertising his Web site: www.shameoncatholics.org .

So far as I could tell, none of this made the press. Instead, the media focused on a phony scare caused at the pro-gay marriage rally by one man who left a vial of holy water there. The area was cordoned off as police checked to see if it was something hazardous. Last I heard, the man was arrested for felony breach of peace and was being held on a $10,000 bond.

Finally, here’s my Oct. 26 post on this blog regarding a same-sex “wedding” in East Haven:

A Morning With The “Tolerant”

KC 101 did eventually perform a same-sex “wedding” in East Haven. Here’s the story.

The Family Institute of Connecticut Action Committee (FICAC) — a legally separate entity — bought three billboards in the town of East Haven. Two say “Protect Marriage: Vote McCann” and the third says “A Vote for Mike Lawlor is a Vote for Same-Sex ‘Marriage’...Period.” Mike Lawlor, East Haven’s state representative, is — in the words of the CCLU — the “major champion” of the pro-same sex “marriage” lobby at our state legislature.

Last Thursday, the New Haven Register ran an article on the “controversy” sparked by the billboards. In it, Lawlor describes himself as someone who “favors some sort of government recognition of same-sex relationships, whether through civil unions or gay marriages.” Of course, Lawlor’s not just another pro-same sex “marriage” legislator — he’s the man most responsible for forcing the issue on the public.

KC 101 eventually found a lesbian couple whose “wedding” was performed Friday by morning DJ Vinnie Penn beneath the FICAC billboards. A small crowd was present representing both sides. Here’s an excerpt from the Oct. 23 Register:

“So, as the women said their on-the-air vows, one man kept up a constant patter loud enough for the radio audience to hear.

“This is ugly! This is sin! It’s not good!” said the man, who would not give his name.

“Why don’t you go tell it to a rock!’ yelled a female supporter, who said she was a 20-year old East Havener but did not want to divulge her name because her parents didn’t know she was there.”

I was there. The Register’s article doesn’t begin to cover what actually happened in this exchange.

After describing the same-sex “wedding” as a sin the man, an African-American with a thick accent, went on to say “You’re too brilliant for this. You’re too intelligent for this. Please don’t do this. It’s not good for America.” To which the 20-year old responded, “I was born in America. Where the **** are you from?”

The man was unfazed. “It’s against God,” he said. “That’s your God,” the girl responded, as she took a wiccan symbol that she wore around her neck and waved it at him. “I have a 3.9 GPA at Southern [Connecticut State University],” she added, for no apparent reason.

Other same-sex “marriage” supporters followed her lead. One woman asked the man if he was on welfare. Others asked him if he was himself a homosexual.

Having now attended several rallies, counter-rallies and “guerrilla theater” of the sort hosted by KC 101 on Friday, there are two things I can always count on:

1) Those who claim for themselves the mantle of “tolerance” are often the least tolerant people you will ever meet. And

2) The local media will do it’s best to make sure that you never know it.

In addition to the items above, in 2004 FIC also defended pro-family Bishop LeRoy Bailey’s right to speak at a Martin Luther King Day event, put up billboards around the state calling for marriage protection, responded to criminal attacks and government censorship of churches displaying our “Defend Marriage Now!” banners, filed a motion to intervene in Connecticut’s same-sex “marriage” lawsuit and launched this blog. I personally spoke at several pro-family churches in the state this year as well as the New Haven Festival of Arts and Ideas, held several public debates with same-sex “marriage” advocates like Ann Stanback and the Episcopal bishop of Connecticut, and was honored at awards dinners held by Christian Heritage School and Conquest, a Catholic boys youth group.

You wouldn’t know it from the “top state news of the year” stories in our local media, but 2004 has been the busiest year yet for FIC’s fight to protect marriage. 2005 promises to be busier still. We’ll keep fighting until marriage is permanently protected in Connecticut. And when that day arrives, know that it is because you, our faithful supporters, made it happen. Happy almost-New Year.

Posted at 2:33P.M.

December 29

ANOTHER GOOD MOVE BY GOV. RELL [Brian Brown]

On Dec. 6 in this space I made this comment in response to an article by Kevin Rennie in Northeast Magazine:

Rennie, a former Republican legislator from South Windsor, writes: “Worrisome for the GOP is that in the North, Bush increased his share of the vote while other Republicans were losing.” Yes, but why? Rennie doesn’t tell us.

That’s too bad, because it was the most important sentence in the entire “Last Word” issue. The GOP in New England tends to distance itself from President Bush’s pro-family positions out of the belief that those positions will hurt them here. But if the main difference between Bush and the New England GOP is Bush’s pro-family stance, and Bush did better in New England than the local party, what does that say about local GOP reluctance to embrace the pro-family cause?

Unlike the national party, Connecticut Republicans suffered significant losses last month. If the state party had been as firmly committed to protecting marriage as the national party — and ran explicitly on that commitment — the results would have been different. Instead, the state GOP has dug itself into a hole by its reluctance to fully embrace the pro-family cause. It’s time for them to reconsider.

Four days later I noted with appreciation the following comments by Gov. Rell, from an interview with the New Haven Register:

On the issue of gay marriage, Rell said she does not favor it.

"I’m an old-fashioned person when it comes to that. I believe in marriage between a man and a woman." Rell also questioned the need for civil unions.

"I’m not sure what it would accomplish," she said, pointing to protections already in place allowing gay couples to adopt children, as well as to have access for hospital visits.

"I think we have gone a long way in changing the statutes to address those concerns," she said.

Now, according to a Dec. 23 article in the Courant, Gov. Rell wants pro-family Rep. William Hamzy, R-Plymouth, to be the next chairman of the Connecticut Republican Party.

Maybe someone in Gov. Rell’s office is reading this blog. Or maybe not. Either way, there will be less in the state’s 2006 election results for Kevin Rennie to find “worrisome for the GOP” if the Governor continues along her current path.

In the meantime, we at FIC wish her a speedy recovery following her recent surgery, and many good wishes.

Posted at 2:00 P.M.

December 28

MERRY CHRISTMAS — II [Brian Brown]

Yes, I know Kathy Lee quit her show with Regis a few years ago. But this editorial from the National Catholic Register, a Connecticut-based newspaper, is the best commentary on anti-Christmas bias that I’ve seen. The paper has given FIC permission to reprint it in its entirety. Enjoy.

Christmas Scares Them

This Christmas, thank God the culture is so set against mentioning Christ.

After you get angry about it, we mean.

Christians in 2004 America find themselves in a situation that a reader summed up rather nicely. “A few years ago we were asked to ‘Keep Christ in Christmas,’” wrote Ed Lynch of West Nyack, N.Y. “Now it seems we should ask to ‘Keep Christmas in Christmas.’”

The Catholic League has noticed the same thing — and has kept a record.

Fontana, Calif., skipped Christmas and celebrated a Festival of Winter this year. Said Catholic League President Bill Donahue, “Santa Claus, who is not associated with anything other than Christmas, was inexplicably present…and there was a tree lighting ceremony, though no one said why trees are lighted in December.”

Chapel Hill, N.C., sponsored a “Holiday Parade” and “Community Sing and Tree Lighting,” as part of “a series of holiday events.”

Glendale, Ohio, had a Holiday Walk on the Village Square.

Historic Franklin, Mich., has held an annual Holly Day Festival for years. This year, they dropped the word “holly,” because “holly” suggests Christmas.

In Kansas, the Catholic League found the following correction in The Wichita Eagle newspaper: “A story in Monday’s paper referred to a tree that was lighted at Tuesday’s Winterfest celebration as a ‘Christmas tree.’ In an effort to be inclusive, the city is actually referring to this tree as the ‘Community Tree.’”

Does it seem that there is excessive shame, or worry, about mentioning Christ’s name? Does it make you angry? It made rapper Kayne West angry, too.

He was recently nominated for 10 Grammy awards. His hit song “Jesus Walks” is laced with profanity, but its basic message is summed up in lines like these: “The way schools need teachers / The way Kathy Lee needed Regis / That’s the way I need Jesus.” In it, he makes the point that everybody needs Jesus.

Since he’s no Christian music artist, a reporter on CBS news’ “60 Minutes II” asked West how people reacted to the new song when he recorded it.

Said the rapper, “People would be like, ‘Yo, it’s the best song I ever heard, but it’ll never make it on radio,’ and it frustrated me, so the second verse I wrote about how they say you can’t say Jesus on radio…The word Jesus was like saying [the ‘N-word’]…It’s gonna offend people for you to say Jesus.”

He’s right. People are very offended if you use God’s name respectfully — though, ironically, it’s socially acceptable to use it in vain.

But this should give us great hope.

Why? Because there was a time, not so long ago, when you could speak about Christ much more freely — in part, because fewer people took him seriously.

The word “Christmas” didn’t offend the irreligious element in society back then. Nativity scenes in public didn’t make agnostics rage. These things were harmless references to a quaint old story. Science was the new vehicle for answering men’s questions and many people assumed it would eclipse religion altogether, just as it had done in Europe. In the meantime, why complain about pious old stories?

But it didn’t turn out that way in the United States.

If anything, the past decade has seen signs of a religious revival. First it was the high school students who would burst into prayer at school-sponsored events as school officials looked on, horrified. Then it was the rise of the Christian shadow-culture, with its own music, books and videos that became such a major business force in the 1990’s. Now, in 2004 alone, in addition to the success of “Jesus Walks,” The Passion of the Christ became a blockbuster movie and a groundswell of support by Christians was credited for the president’s re-election.

Jesus isn’t so harmless anymore. Suddenly, the word “Christmas” doesn’t fall on the ear of the culture like a quaint harking back to a sweet old story. Now, it’s more likely to be a direct challenge to the listener, because it refers to a particular person — a radical, polarizing person who can’t be ignored.

This has actually brought our culture closer to the ethos of the first Christmas. That first Christmas wasn’t so sweet, really: Christ’s coming was brutally opposed by Herod, who had soldiers kill baby boys because he wanted Christ dead.

If Christ’s name is making our neighbors uncomfortable again, we can thank God. It means they’re taking him seriously. And it means they need to hear from us how they can overcome their fear and find much to receive from the newborn King.

Posted at 3:14 P.M.

MARRIAGE PROTECTION VOTE NEEDED [Brian Brown]

An AP story in today’s Courant reports that, despite pro-family gains in the last election, the Federal Marriage Amendment (FMA) still faces an uphill battle in the next Congress. Pro-family Senators point to court cases pending in several states and tell the AP that Congress will approve the FMA after more courts impose same-sex “marriage” on their states, as occurred in Massachusetts.

But Matt Coles of the American Civil Liberties Union's Lesbian and Gay Rights Project said that's unlikely — and not entirely by accident.

Many of the cases making their way through the courts were filed by individuals not affiliated with leading gay rights organizations, he said, and were not framed to challenge the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act.

Frontline groups have held off, he said. "People think that neither the country nor the courts are ready for it and probably we'll lose. Nobody likes to take cases and lose."

But same-sex “marriage” proponents are not limiting their legal tactics to attacks on the federal DOMA. In Connecticut, a “frontline” pro-same sex “marriage” group has filed a suit asking the court to use the equal protection and due process clauses of our state constitution to impose same-sex “marriage” on us. This is one of the major reasons why Connecticut needs a vote on a marriage protection amendment to our state constitution; whether or not to redefine society’s most precious institution is a question that ought to be decided by the people, not the courts.

Posted at 10:45 A.M.

December 25, 2004

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Connecticut in the Crosshairs will resume Tuesday, December 28th. FIC wishes all readers an enjoyable Christmas time.

Posted at 10:05 A.M. [Revised]

December 23

FIC ACTION COMMITTEE VINDICATED [Brian Brown]

On Oct. 28th in this space I linked to a New Haven Register article about a bogus complaint that had been filed against FIC ACTION COMMITTEE by a member of a pro same-sex “marriage” group. Here’s the relevant quote:

“The group’s treasurer, Brian S. Brown, who is executive director of the Family Institute of Connecticut, a separate tax-exempt group, said Currie need not worry.

“Currie’s complaint is ‘totally baseless and I look forward to the elections commission finding that it’s baseless, because we’ve already worked through all this’ and ‘we’ve been in constant contact with the Elections Enforcement Commission,’ Brown said...

“[Brown] said the payments Currie says appear to be payments to itself actually are payments from the FIC Action Committee to a third organization, Family Institute of Connecticut Action Inc., a lobbying organization.”

Yesterday we received a letter from the Elections Enforcement Commission stating that it unanimously voted to dismiss the complaint after finding that FIC ACTION COMMITTEE did not violate the law. I said at the time that the complaint was totally baseless and that has now been confirmed by the Commission. This is yet another failed attempt by the “tolerance” hypocrites to silence those who dare to oppose their agenda.

Posted at 4:15 P.M.

IN NEWINGTON, IDEOLOGY TRUMPS COMMON SENSE

A recently negotiated contract will give school district employees in Newington medical insurance benefits for their “same-sex partners,” according to an article in last Sunday’s Courant. Upon learning that they will be compelled to fund a contract that equates same-sex unions with marriage, outraged taxpayers signed petitions and attended town meetings to register their opposition.

The teachers won the same-sex benefits, which will cost taxpayers $80,000, in exchange for lower wage increases and increased insurance payments. This is a strange negotiating strategy for Newington’s teachers since, as the Courant notes, “teachers’ unions try to keep the status quo rather than relinquishing anything that affects all members in exchange for new perks that benefit only a few.” The paper quotes the comments of a few experts, including this from a labor attorney:

"It is unusual that a bargaining unit would take on higher costs that are going to affect all of its membership in order to obtain a benefit that will be used by so few," he said. "It is contrary to every trend and may become an issue in the future for the union itself."

How will the union’s leadership explain to its members that it let pro same-sex “marriage” ideology trump the best interests of those members? I’m sure that will indeed be “an issue in the future for the union itself.”

Posted at 4:00 P.M.

December 22

COURANT COLUMNIST ON ANTI-CHRISTMAS BIAS [Brian Brown]

Don’t be fooled by the article’s title. Although the Courant’s Business page headline says “Right Hijacks Holiday Simplicity” Dan Harr, a self-described “liberal, Jewish columnist” has written a sympathetic piece on the dwindling public presence of Christmas in Connecticut. Harr believes this is a result of commerce, not ideology, and he throws a few digs at uppity Christians who think otherwise. But he finds it “mildly annoying” that stores won’t say “Merry Christmas,” and does a fine job of documenting the near-total absence of Christmas at the Westfarms mall.

Posted at 3:45 P.M.

December 21

THE “TOLERANCE” HYPOCRITES LOSE A LOCAL BATTLE [Brian Brown]

The mayor of Milford said the city will not remove the privately-funded Nativity scene from the town green, despite a threat of legal action from the CT state director of American Atheists. You can read about it here (link requires registration).

When a group of six atheists protested the Nativity scene on Sunday, they were met by 250 Christian counter-protesters. What motivates the Left to provoke these confrontations? Do they really believe the world is a better place for it? Writing in the Dec. 27 National Review, Ramesh Ponnuru pretty much nails it:

If I’m right about liberalism’s instinctive reflexes, then contemporary liberalism has forfeited the creed’s ancient claim to promote civil peace. The modern liberal version of separation of church and state is supposed to keep us from refighting the European wars of religion. That’s what the liberal justices on the Supreme Court tell us in their opinions in church-state cases. But if liberal secularism amounts to the unwitting imposition of the views of an irreligious minority on a religious majority, then it hardly seems likely to foster social harmony. Nor has it.

Posted at 5:00 P.M

December 20

UCC JOINS FORCES WITH HATES CRIMES SUPPORTER [Brian Brown]

Commentary on the hypocrisy of our “tolerant” opposition is a regular theme of this blog and our opponents certainly do provide enough examples of it. But even for someone as used to it as me, this next item really takes the cake. Pro same-sex “marriage” activists joined forces with a defender of hate crimes against pro-family churches yesterday to hold a rally to “defend tolerance.”

The Courant tried to drum up support for the “Rally to Defend Church’s Tolerance” on Saturday but only a “crowd of about 50” showed up, according to today’s story. The rally called “for tolerance and freedom of speech” in response to the banning of a United Church of Christ (UCC) advertisement by two TV networks. Frank O’Gorman of People of Faith for Gay Civil Rights called the networks refusal to show the ad “a critical example of the silencing of progressive voices” and a UCC conference minister is described as grateful for the support.

He shouldn’t be. Last summer, pro-family churches that displayed our “Defend Marriage Now!” banner had those banners stolen or vandalized in Norfolk, Wallingford, South Windsor, Stamford and Darien. We held a press conference denouncing these hate crimes, saying we would not be silenced or intimidated. Even many pro same-sex “marriage” media outlets understood our point, with the Hartford Advocate, for instance, noting that “For folks trying to legalize [same-sex “marriage”] with a civil rights argument, church vandalism is not exactly the best way to do it.”

But someone forgot to tell Frank O’Gorman. In a comment on the website of a pro same-sex “marriage” church, O’Gorman defended hate crimes against pro-family churches, asking rhetorically whether their property should “enjoy immunity” from what he called “justice actions.” (You can read O’Gorman’s twisted logic in his own words by clicking here.)

It is shocking that the UCC would organize a rally to “defend tolerance” against those who “silence” others with a man who defends hate crimes against pro-family churches. But then again, the UCC ad that was banned by the networks is itself exclusionary. According to a spokesman for CBS, the ad was rejected “because it implied that other churches turned away people.” Here’s the description of the ad that appeared in the Dec. 2 Courant:

The 30-second ad, called "Night Club," shows two bouncers standing in front of a nameless church, selectively letting in worshippers. A white heterosexual couple is admitted past a velvet rope into the church, but the bouncers block a male couple and several individuals of color. Later scenes show smiling people of various races — including a pair of women — standing together.

"Jesus didn't turn people away. Neither do we," the commercial's voice-over says.

This is simply slanderous. Not only is it a lie to suggest that pro-family churches exclude congregants with homosexual inclinations, the ad’s suggestion that pro same-sex “marriage” churches are multicultural while pro-family churches are racist is completely false. The pro-family movement is the most racially diverse, multicultural, multiethnic and ecumenical social force since — well, since the civil rights movement of the 1960’s which our opponents falsely claim as their own. The pro same-sex “marriage” movement, by contrast, is overwhelmingly white and upper middle class. It is one thing for our opponents to refuse to acknowledge this, but to create a media event around an ad that turns reality on its head is an act of desperation.

Pro same-sex “marriage” activists, not pro-family supporters, are the most intolerant element in our public life today. Just last week another “Defend Marriage Now!” banner was defaced, this time on Boulevard Street in Hartford. In East Lyme the town government, at the behest of a homosexual couple, is trying to force a church to remove its banner. Here at FIC, we continue to receive a steady stream of vile hate mail from pro-same sex “marriage” supporters, complete with Nazi swastikas and messages like “screw you Jesus freaks” and worse. There is nothing in Connecticut’s pro-family movement that compares to the hate and intolerance that we constantly experience from the advocates for same-sex “marriage.”

But we are not deterred. If anything, we are inspired. Our opponents would not be trying to silence us if they did not think we were making progress. And they are right to think so. In 2004 thirteen states voted to protect the “one man-one woman” definition of marriage. In 2005 a dozen more states will have that opportunity, and we will fight to make Connecticut one of them. As the hypocrisy of the “tolerant” becomes more evident, the goal of securing marriage protection becomes more possible. In the long run, the UCC’s embrace of hate crimes supporter Frank O’Gorman will only further our cause.

Posted at 4:48 P.M.

THE “TOLERANCE” HYPOCRITES [Brian Brown]

The “tolerance” hypocrites are in overdrive this week. Yesterday, a handful of atheists protested the mere presence of a privately-funded Nativity scene on the town green in Milford. They were met by over 200 Christian counter-protesters. You can read about it here and here.

The atheists have the right to express their view, of course. But the Left behaves as if its right to free speech is a right to be free from criticism, and so it equates criticism of its statements with censorship. We are glad people do not fall for this rhetorical sleight of hand, and we salute those Christians who exercised their own right of free speech to let the atheists know what they think of attacks on Christmas.

Opposition to public displays of Christmas decorations is nothing more than hate-driven paranoia. Just because someone is an atheist does not give him a license to become an anti-Christian bigot.

And that’s not just me talking. Those words come from Michael Cook, an atheist from Windsor, in an op-ed that appeared in Saturday’s Courant:

I am sick and tired of anti-Christian bigots complaining about religious Christmas decorations on public lands. If you are a Christian, these decorations represent religious beliefs. If you are not a Christian, they are simply pretty decorations, no more significant than a jack-o’-lantern on Halloween or a shamrock on St. Patrick’s Day. Christmas decorations are not going to harm anyone. There is nothing offensive going on here. We are not talking about displaying posters of Adolf Hitler. It frightens me that neo-Nazis can stage a parade and be supported by the American Civil Liberties Union, but a Nativity scene is considered offensive.

Good for Mr. Cook for seeing through the hypocrisy of his fellow atheists and good for the Courant for having the courage to run his piece. Now watch for the Courant to run letters from atheists accusing Cook of attacking their right to free speech. Those who make reason their god are often the most unreasonable people of all.

Posted at 12:18 P.M.

December 16

COURANT STILL FIGHTING “YESTERDAY’S WARS” [Brian Brown]

Perhaps recognizing that yesterday’s “Hooters” editorial was the single lamest thing it ever published in support of same-sex “marriage,” the Courant’s editors take a second stab at it today. Unfortunately, today’s editorial is not much more coherent than yesterday’s.

The paper notes that “No floods, fires, earthquakes or other cataclysmic events” have occurred in the seven months since same-sex “marriage” was legalized in Massachusetts. As Rabbi Greer asked rhetorically at our Rally for Marriage last year, "What did they expect? An earthquake? A tidal wave? It will be decades before we see the disastrous results." In fact, an AP story over the weekend — which the Courant fails to mention — has reported on the significant number of same-sex “divorces” that have already occurred in Massachusetts.

The Courant claims that the refusal of the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the challenge to the Massachusetts case means that states are free to make their own decisions on same-sex “marriage” and a Federal Marriage Amendment is, therefore, unnecessary. This is the sort of cracker-jack analysis that caused the editors to dismiss opposition to same-sex “marriage” as “yesterday’s wars” just prior to the election. The challenge was dismissed because it was based on the “guarantee clause,” an unusual approach that was unlikely to gain a hearing with this Court. When a pro same-sex “marriage” case does make its way to the Court, it will be based on the “full faith and credit” clause, on the claim that the other 49 states must give “full faith and credit” to same-sex “marriages” performed in Massachusetts. In light of the Court’s sudden discovery last year of a constitutional right to homosexual sodomy, it is unlikely that the Justices will allow the states to make their own decisions about same-sex “marriage.”

The Courant notes that “most Americans are leery” (adamantly opposed, actually) to same-sex “marriage” but are “evenly divided” over “equal benefits,” etc. As Gov. Rell noted last week — in an interview that has received no mention in the Courant — same-sex couples in Connecticut already have the rights they claim not to have. And according to a poll that was reported on WTIC 1080 last night — but not in the Courant — most people oppose civil unions.

The editorial makes reference to the pro same-sex “marriage” lawsuit pending in Connecticut and ends with this: “More legal challenges elsewhere are likely in both state and federal courts until this contentious issue is resolved.” When pro same-sex “marriage” advocates say the states should decide the issue for themselves, this is what they mean: state courts, not legislatures. Theirs is a movement for judicial tyranny, not democracy. The only way for the people to have a say on whether marriage should be radically redefined is to have a vote on amending our constitution. Because, one way or another, our constitution is going to be amended: either by the people or by their robed masters.

Posted on 3:30 PM

GOT HATE? [Brian Brown]

Pro same-sex “marriage” activists and their supporters in the media claim that their movement is all about “tolerance” and “diversity.” According to them, it is the pro-family movement — those of us who fight to protect marriage from radical redefinition — that are motivated by hate and intolerance. In fact, it often seems that the only response pro same-sex “marriage” activists know how to make to well-reasoned opposition is to simply dismiss their opponents as a bunch of haters.

Those who buy into the “pro same-sex ‘marriage’ people are tolerant/pro-family people are hateful” picture ought to see the love letters we’ve been getting from the “tolerant” lately.

Most of them are anonymous. Many of them are scrawled in black magic marker. For people who endlessly mention the separation of church and state or their dislike of religion, a surprising number of them try to engage us in theological debate. These are usually letters of the “your behavior is an affront to God, shame on you” variety.

One writer informs us that our work makes him “imbarrassed” [sic] to be a Republican. Another says, “I consider the election of Bush to be reinforcement for bigots and the ignorant. If CT weren’t Democratic, I’d move to Canada.”

Our mere willingness to express a viewpoint that our hostile correspondents disagree with is, to them, proof of our bigotry. One correspondent, apparently unable to tell the difference between people who work democratically toward a goal she opposes and mass murder, refers to us as “the conservative Christian Taliban.” Another writer claims that after we pass a Marriage Protection Amendment our next goal will be to “exterminate” homosexuals.

But FIC has never advocated violence, hate or bigotry toward anyone. Instead, we’re the ones receiving anonymous phone messages like this: “I hope you all get cancer of the testicles and die.” Pro same-sex “marriage” activists may call us fascists, but it was not someone on our side who mailed us the letter that read “GO F*** YOURSELVES” with a Nazi swastika on it. Nor was it someone on our side that left the note on the windshield of one of our volunteers, whose car had a pro-DOMA bumper sticker, which said, “You should have been aborted in your mother’s womb. You Christians should all be lined up and shot.”

It seems the true feelings of our opponents are best described by this succinct note, which we received yesterday: “SCREW YOU JESUS FREAKS.” Remember this the next time pro same-sex “marriage” activists drone on about how “tolerant” they are and how “hateful” we are.

Posted on 2:11 P.M.

December 15

THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE COURANT [Brian Brown]

It’s been over six weeks now since President Bush was re-elected by voters who said moral values was their top concern. The Courant, which had endorsed the President but advised him to drop his opposition to same-sex “marriage” and abortion — since these are, the paper claimed, “yesterday’s wars” — still does not know what to make of it. In today’s edition the editors are reduced to citing the preponderance of “Hooters” restaurants in red states as an argument for same-sex “marriage.” Values voters are hypocrites, the paper implies, so why not ignore them on same-sex “marriage?” From shouting false-but-high-falutin’ arguments about equality to mumbling about “Hooters.” How far the mighty have fallen.

The sad thing about the Courant is that if it did not waste so much newsprint on marriage-destroying propaganda it could actually be a useful tool for families, who need all the help they can get. A piece on the physical difficulties faced by older parents with small children — which the Courant reprinted from the Baltimore Sun yesterday — shows how the paper can disseminate information that will actually help its readers, rather than cause them to roll their eyes. We need more stories like this from the Courant and fewer cheap shots at values voters who dare to reject the paper’s advice.

Posted at 10:10 A.M.

December 14

STATE WANTS TO FUND THE KILLING OF HUMAN EMBRYOS [Brian Brown]

In an article in today’s Courant Gov. Rell says she would like to make “a one-time revenue deposit” of $10-$20 million dollars from the state surplus to fund stem cell research. Undeterred by a projected deficit of about $1.3 billion in the next fiscal year, Rep. Jim Amann, the House Speaker-elect, wants to spend $2 billion on stem-cell research.

Here’s the key excerpt:

Legislators, Amann said, must be sensitive to opposition to embryonic stem cell research from the Roman Catholic Church and others on moral grounds. Part of the controversy revolves around the belief that human embryos should not be destroyed because they constitute life.

"Absolutely, we have to be extremely careful," Amann said. "What they fear is they confuse it with cloning sometimes. It's going to require a study that makes it quite clear that we're not aborting or using fetuses."

FIC appreciates Rep. Amann’s civility, which is in marked contrast to the cries of “bigotry” we usually hear from our opponents in the same-sex “marriage” battle. But with all respect, it is the funding proponents that are confusing the issue.

Nowhere does this article make clear the distinction between adult stem cells and embryonic stem cells. Nor does it make clear that funding proponents want the money for embryonic stem cell research. There is no moral dilemma in research on stem cells from adults or umbilical cords. In fact, adult stem cells are the only kinds that have thus far produced real advances in medical research.

But embryonic stem cell research involves the creation of human life specifically for experimentation. Proponents confuse the issue by making a false moral distinction between “therapeutic” research and cloning. They claim that, while it would be wrong to create a human being through cloning, there is no harm in extracting stem cells from an embryo if the embryo is destroyed afterwards.

Their moral logic is exactly backwards. If it is immoral to create a human being through cloning, it is even more immoral to create one specifically to experiment on his genetic material and kill him afterwards. What proponents call “therapeutic” cloning is really a policy of “clone and kill.”

Connecticut should not go down this path. As the recent election showed, our country wants to pull back from the culture of death, not plunge deeper into it. State funding for the destruction of human embryos would implicate all of us who pay taxes in the killing of innocent human life.

FIC will continue to monitor this situation and keep our supporters informed of any new developments. Until then, we can all educate ourselves further on this issue by visiting the web site of the Connecticut Catholic Conference: www.ctcatholic.org.

Posted at 11:00 A.M.

December 13

PRO-SAME SEX “MARRIAGE” ACTIVISTS TRY TO CENSOR CHURCH [Brian Brown]

On Dec. 2 in this space I wrote about an e-mail we received from Joshua Parker, a homosexual resident of East Lyme who said our “Defend Marriage Now!” banner on a local church “sickened” him and was an “abomination” in the eyes of God. Parker wrote that he and Joseph Smith, an East Lyme native with whom he had a “civil union” in Vermont, would launch a media campaign to force the church to remove the banner. Their opening salvo appeared in the Lyme Times on Friday.

“It is disingenuous for any mature church leader to assert that the words ‘defend marriage’ are anything but code for anti-gay political action,” claims Smith. In fact, the only disingenuous thing here is Smith’s attempt to paint anyone who disagrees with him as a bigot.

We have seen this before. When our banners were first displayed on churches across the state last summer, those churches were subject to a campaign of harassment and intimidation. Banners were stolen or vandalized in the dead of night. One prominent pro-same sex “marriage” supporter described hate crimes against pro-family churches as “justice actions.” But we were not deterred. We stood up to the cowardly criminals who tried to silence us then and we will stand up to the hypocritical self-professed champions of “tolerance” who try to censor us now.

Interestingly, Parker and Smith help make our case for us. Initially, pro-same sex “marriage” activists claimed that religion was the only possible motivation for opposing their cause. But last summer they claimed that the attacks on pro-family churches did not qualify as hate crimes because the message on the banner was political, not religious. FIC, having always considered religion one of several legitimate reasons for opposing same-sex “marriage,” noted the opportunistic change of tune in our opponents’ spin.

Smith and Parker prove our point. “My first reaction [upon seeing the banner] was indeed theological,” Smith says. In both the article and their e-mail to us, Smith and Parker, who claim to be born-again Christians, clearly see our banner in religious terms and react to it on that basis. Their comments ought to put to rest the claim that opponents of the banner are not motivated by religious animus.

This episode also calls into question the commitment of pro-same sex “marriage” activists to the separation of church and state. Last summer the town of Norfolk, at the behest of pro-same sex “marriage” activists, claimed falsely that a church that hung our banner violated zoning laws. Now, Smith and Parker say they will contact their “elected representatives” as part of their effort to have the banner removed from the East Lyme church. Indeed, the article ends with the mayor of New Paltz, N.Y. declaring ominously, “The banner wouldn’t go up in New Paltz.”

Against all attempts at harassment, intimidation and government censorship, pro-family churches will continue to publicly proclaim their support for the protection of marriage against those who seek to radically redefine it. Contrary to the Lyme Times, for instance, the banner at St. Agnes Church was not taken down; it was moved to a more prominent location. Inspired by these examples of courage, more churches have called to request our banners. FIC will continue to stand by them and support them in any way we can. In fact, we are currently in talks with churches in New Paltz.

Posted at 4:26 P.M. (with previously missing last paragraph added at 8:50 A.M. on December 14th).

December 10

UKRAINE’S CONNECTICUT CONNECTION [Brian Brown]

The Most Rev. Basil H. Losten, the Ukrainian Catholic bishop of Stamford, has declared Sunday, December 12, a day of prayer for peace and freedom in Ukraine. FIC joins Bishop Losten, one of our state’s pro-family leaders, in prayer for the success of Ukraine’s democracy movement. Below is the bishop’s statement, from The Sower, Stamford’s Ukrainian Catholic newspaper (not available online).

PROCLAMATION

A Day of Prayer and Vigils for Peace and Freedom for Ukraine

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

We are living in historic times: our Ukrainian nation is demonstrating before the whole world the indomitable spirit that has characterized it throughout decades of persecution. A new generation of young people, who have built a tent city in Independence Square in Kyiv, is giving voice to its fierce patriotism and defiant heroism, becoming a symbol of what it means to be children of God, free from all fear, seeking only justice. Their sincerity could no longer suffer the evil of deceit, falsification and lies, and has become an inspiration to the whole nation and a standard of freedom and democracy held high for the world to see.

The world marvels at what is taking place in Ukraine, and supports the rightful demands of the Ukrainian nation to free itself of the long-standing interference of Russia, which persists in its attempts to control Ukraine by supporting the present corrupt government.

Ukrainians in many countries on all continents stand united behind their brothers and sisters in Ukraine, for the hunger for freedom has no borders to contain it. You, dear children of Ukraine, who find yourself far from your motherland, and all freedom-loving peoples who care about the future of Ukraine, can support this defense of democracy by joining your voices in this cause, by your prayers and by your financial support.

We, hereby, proclaim Sunday, December 12, 2004 to be a day of prayer and vigils for peace and freedom for Ukraine in all the parishes of the Stamford Eparchy and ask that a special collection be taken up for the dire needs of our freedom fighters in Ukraine.

Joining you in prayer and the hope for a bright future for the land of our forefathers, I bestow my Episcopal Blessings.

Most Rev. Basil H. Losten, Eparch of Stamford

Posted at 4:12 P.M.

TWO CHEERS FOR GOV. RELL [Brian Brown]

As Ken notes, the greater accountability of government in the U.S. makes it less likely that we will follow Canada’s lead on same-sex “marriage.” We saw proof of this on Election Day when 11 out of 11 states — even liberal Oregon — voted a Marriage Protection Amendment into their constitutions. Two additional states did the same thing earlier in the year, bringing the total number to thirteen. Whenever the people are given a choice, they vote to protect marriage.

If Connecticut had been given that choice we, too, would have voted to protect marriage. But a Marriage Protection Amendment was not on the ballot in Connecticut. Recent election results in our state, therefore, do not reflect majority opinion on same-sex “marriage.”

And we are not the only ones who know this. In an interview published in the New Haven Register today, Gov. M. Jodi Rell has this to say:

On the issue of gay marriage, Rell said she does not favor it.

"I’m an old-fashioned person when it comes to that. I believe in marriage between a man and a woman." Rell also questioned the need for civil unions.

"I’m not sure what it would accomplish," she said, pointing to protections already in place allowing gay couples to adopt children, as well as to have access for hospital visits.

"I think we have gone a long way in changing the statutes to address those concerns," she said.

If the spin coming from the state’s pro-same sex “marriage” movement were true — that the election proves Connecticut is different than the rest of the country on same-sex “marriage” and that the passage of a civil unions bill is “almost inevitable” in the next legislative session — Gov. Rell would not have made these comments. A governor does not earn an 80% approval rating without knowing where the people stand.

So, Connecticut’s pro-family movement offers two cheers for Gov. Rell. We’ll withhold the third cheer until she vetoes a civil unions bill, if that should become necessary. For now, though, the Governor’s comments are most encouraging to the state’s pro-family citizenry, as we prepare for the battle ahead.

Posted at 11:30 A.M.

AS CANADA GOES ... ? [Ken Von Kohorn]

By now you may have heard reports about the Canadian Supreme Court decision that has opened the door to same-sex marriages in Canada. Canada is rapidly becoming an important test case as to how same-sex "marriage" legalization would alter the cultural landscape — and the portents are not good. Fortunately, as yesterday's David Frum's Diary points out (we have also posted his column on our website), there are important differences between the political processes in the U.S. and Canada. We have many more checks and balances that can temper the power of unelected judges. However, for those checks and balances to work effectively, We the People must roll up our sleeves and get involved. We will be letting you know how you can help, here in Connecticut, as the new legislative session begins next month.

Posted at 6:02 a.m.

December 9

CONFESSIONS OF A “CAL” READER [Brian Brown]

“Cal,” — short for “Calendar,” — is the weekend entertainment section that appears every Thursday in the Courant. Nearly every issue features a mention of the latest pro-homosexual propaganda show at one of our local college campuses. A few weeks ago it was a homosexual film festival at Trinity. The descriptions of some of the films — a woman finds liberation through a lesbian affair with a domestic servant from Ghana, etc. — sounded like a parody of political correctness.

Today’s Cal announces a play running at UConn this weekend. The headline is “Gay ‘Confessions of a Mormon Boy.’” The accompanying photo — which includes two pictures of the same actor — illustrates the play’s theme. In one picture you can tell the character is Mormon because he’s wearing a suit and holding the Book Of Mormon. In the other picture you can tell he’s “gay” because, well, he’s disrobing.

Before you accuse me of stereotyping, consider that it is the play’s publicists that created this photo. As for myself, I still don’t understand why the New Haven Advocate felt it necessary to run a photo of me with the caption “Brian Brown: not gay.” But in light of today’s Cal, perhaps that’s for the best.

Posted at 4:01 P.M.

December 8

HAPPY CHANUKAH [Brian Brown]

The Family Institute of Connecticut would like to wish a Happy Chanukah to all our Jewish supporters. Chanukah, the Jewish Feast of Lights, began at sundown Tuesday. In an essay published last Chanukah, Rabbi Daniel Lapin, president of Toward Tradition, offered important insights on why the message of Chanukah is “not just for Jews.”

Posted at 11:05 A.M.

HOW TO REACH THE COURANT [Brian Brown]

Yesterday I encouraged our supporters to write to the Courant to counter the false portrayals of the pro-family movement that it frequently publishes. Here are the paper’s guidelines for letters to the editor:

The Courant welcomes letters of public interest. Letters must include an address and day and evening phone numbers and be exclusive to The Courant. Generally, letters should not exceed 200 words. We reserve the right to edit and shorten letters and run them in any electronic form. Writers ordinarily are limited to one published letter every two months.

Posted at 10:28 A.M.

KUDOS TO THE COURANT [Brian Brown]

The Courant has a feature article today on the support husbands give to wives who suffer with breast cancer. The article is not untouched by some of the silliness one expects from the Courant — a reference to “sweat lodges” and “energy healers” — but nothing on how traditional faith aids those who suffer. Still, a positive portrayal of marriage without a plea for its redefinition is such a rare thing for our local paper that it is worth noting. Kudos to the Courant.

Posted at 10:20 A.M.

December 7

SPEAK UP ABOUT ANTI-CHRISTIAN BIAS [Brian Brown]

There’s a letter to the editor in today’s Courant that is worth re-printing in full:

Speak Up About Anti-Gay Bias

We were heartsick to hear the following account from a friend. Over Thanksgiving dinner with her extended family, Grandma proclaimed that 16-year-old Sandy, long-time family friend and recently out of the closet as a lesbian, would have been better off if her suicide attempt several years ago had been successful. After all, Grandma said in her righteousness, the Bible tells us that homosexuality is an abomination.

Could this be how the current "moral values" will enrich us? And what about Sandy? Do we really want more gay-bashing that will encourage more suicide among gay and lesbian teenagers, already the highest group at risk for suicide attempts?

The recent refusal by CBS and NBC to air a United Church of Christ ad celebrating the inclusiveness of God's love has exacerbated the situation. Do Americans believe that a church ad declaring that "Jesus didn't turn people away. Neither do we" is too controversial to air?

We're thankful that there are many religious and highly moral people worshiping in congregations that do not consider gays to be a fringe element to be merely tolerated. Or worse, that they are abominations in the eyes of God, unworthy of membership in a religious community.

Silence is not golden. It's time for Americans who hold deeply spiritual commitments to the values of justice, fairness and equality to speak up.

Donna and Gary Gianini, Co-chairmen, Welcoming Congregation Committee, The Universalist Church of West Hartford.

Did the story told by the Gianinis — that a Christian Grandma wished death upon a lesbian teenager at a Thanksgiving dinner — really happen? I don’t know. Neither do the Gianinis. They are merely repeating hearsay by a third party in a public forum. It would be inadmissible evidence in a court of law, but it’s good enough for the Courant.

There are some reasons to doubt the veracity of this story. Aside from its being told by someone who did not actually witness the event, it seems to fit perfectly the caricature that pro-same sex “marriage” activists have of pro-family Christians as people motivated by hate. Add to that its authorship by the “Co-chairmen” of the “Welcoming Congregation Committee, The Universal Church of West Hartford” and one might fairly conclude that the letter, like the UCC ad, was an attempt to pump up a liberal church by falsely portraying pro-family Christians as haters. And yet the Courant saw fit to run it.

Imagine the co-chairmen of a Protect Marriage Committee at an Evangelical church submitting a letter to the Courant. Imagine that in the letter, they described hearing from a friend about a Thanksgiving dinner attended by a homosexual couple who bragged about their infidelity following their “marriage” in Massachusetts and that their liberal church affirms their behavior. Imagine the authors closing the letter by saying they’re “thankful that there are many religious and highly moral people” at their church, unlike the church the homosexual couple attends.

The Courant would never let that letter see the light of day. But a letter using flimsy evidence to depict pro-family Christians as haters? The Courant’s just fine with that.

The letter in today’s paper is part of a deliberate strategy by pro-same sex “marriage” activists to portray pro-family citizens as haters. Our opponents have resorted to these tactics because they know they cannot win on the merits of their arguments. Instead, they’re hoping that enough letters like this will cause the pro-family movement to lose public support, thus suffering a “death by a thousand cuts.”

We should not take this lying down. Readers of this blog know that it is the pro-family movement that is really on the receiving end of hate and prejudice. We know that we are motivated by love — for our families, our country and even our opponents — and not by hate. I encourage everyone in our movement to write their own letters to the editor so that people will know what our movement is really about, rather than the lies perpetrated by the other side. Letters can be e-mailed to the Courant at letters@courant.com.

Posted at 11:22 A.M.

December 6

THE WORD AFTER “THE LAST WORD” [Brian Brown]

Pity the Courant, the presidential election did not go its way. Sure, the paper endorsed Bush. But that decision belonged to the publisher. Given much of the news and opinion slant of the Courant these last four years, it’s unlikely the endorsement would have survived a vote by those responsible for the paper’s daily content. Further, the endorsement condemned as “yesterday’s wars” President Bush’s support for the protection of marriage and the right to life — the very issues that won him reelection. Small wonder, then, that for the last month reading the Courant has been like eavesdropping on a group of liberals engaged in primal scream therapy.

But no longer. Yesterday’s Northeast magazine is, the title assures us, “The Last Word” on the election. Most of it consists of typical Courant commentary: Mike Swift listing the ways Connecticut supposedly differs from red-state America (we have better teeth, etc.), Lowell Weicker taking umbrage at the belief held by many that America “was founded by those fleeing religious persecution” (“Not so.”), Jerry Dunklee recommending as a model Mother Devine — a woman who mixed Buddhism and Christianity to create her own church (“America’s like that.”), and so on.

It was not all bad. Jeff Shult’s guide to the new political correctness was funny (“When encountering a ‘Liberal’ on the street, an Evangelical Christian should resist the urge to use an offensive greeting such as ‘Who’s your daddy?’”) and Courant publisher Jack Davis makes keen observations on the misuse of the term “progressive.”

And then there was Kevin Rennie. Rennie, a former Republican legislator from South Windsor, writes: “Worrisome for the GOP is that in the North, Bush increased his share of the vote while other Republicans were losing.” Yes, but why? Rennie doesn’t tell us.

That’s too bad, because it was the most important sentence in the entire “Last Word” issue. The GOP in New England tends to distance itself from President Bush’s pro-family positions out of the belief that those positions will hurt them here. But if the main difference between Bush and the New England GOP is Bush’s pro-family stance, and Bush did better in New England than the local party, what does that say about local GOP reluctance to embrace the pro-family cause?

Unlike the national party, Connecticut Republicans suffered significant losses last month. If the state party had been as firmly committed to protecting marriage as the national party — and ran explicitly on that commitment — the results would have been different. Instead, the state GOP has dug itself into a hole by its reluctance to fully embrace the pro-family cause. It’s time for them to reconsider.

Posted at 12:40 P.M.

WHEN “TOLERANT” PEOPLE ATTACK [Brian Brown]

The Courant’s music reviews are not part of my normal morning repertoire, but it’s hard to resist a headline like “Violent Assault of Ministry.” Ministry, it seems, is a “left-wing industrial-metal” band that played at Toad’s Place in New Haven over the weekend.

During the performance the band “fed its hatred of President Bush” with the singer “shooting a Bush-masked stagehand while the crowd raised fists, devil-horns and voices in approval.”

“This, of course, is the irony,” the reviewer informs us. Of course. “Ministry is undoubtedly preaching peace.” Undoubtedly. A fake assassination of a hated President is just an “ironic” way of “preaching peace.” What don’t you understand about that?

Posted at 10:55 A.M.

APPELLATE COURT GETS ONE RIGHT [Brian Brown]

Courant columnist Frank Harris III reacts today to a recent decision by our state appellate court:

Last week's Connecticut Appellate Court ruling was a welcome sign that the clock may be ticking away from the notion that one should not spank a child, no matter what.

The court overturned a ruling that essentially says any marks left on a child from a parent who metes out corporal punishment amounts to child abuse. It found that spanking a child does not automatically make one a child abuser. It found that parents have the right to impose reasonable physical punishment.

The discipline of children is an inexact science and reasonable people will naturally disagree over the best way to go about it. What’s notable about the state agency rule struck down by the court is that it left no room for reasonable disagreement. Under the old rule, the slightest mark caused by the spanking of a child made the parent who administered it a child abuser.

Families need to make their own decisions about the upbringing of their children, without undue interference by the government. We in Connecticut’s pro-family movement are pleased that our appellate court has reaffirmed that principle.

Posted at 9:52 A.M.

December 2

CRITIC’S CORNER [Brian Brown]

In the two months since the blog began I’ve received a lot of feedback, most of it positive. But there is the occasional grump. Most of them sound like this guy:

ATTN: Mr. Stanley Kurtz

Dear Mr. Kurtz:

Your so-called "organization" sickens me and you are an abomination to all Christians as well as in the eyes of my God! My God is not a vindictive God and he loves all people, and I think that you and all so-called "Christians" should not spend all of your time trying to condemn gays or hating us because you too are also committing a huge "sin" by not practicing God's Word and loving thy neighbor.

We are all God's children by far, and there is enough hate and crime as well as war going on in this world. We are people too, and we are as well very capable of raising and having strong families. The reason that I even wasted my time and energy to visit your Website is due to the fact that my husband and I had our Vermont Civil Union over the summer and we have recently migrated back to Niantic. My husband, [name withheld], is a native to this area and graduated from East Lyme High in 1980 and introduced me to this very beautiful village during the summer. I too fell in love with Niantic, so we decided to move here and to make this our permanent home.

During our walk to the beach on the afternoon of Nov 29th, we walked past St. Agnes Church and to our dismay noticed your huge banner strung across the back of the church. After seeing this abomination we were sickened. We want you to know that we are very committed Christians who are deeply saddened by this unneccessary public expression of hatred, and we have now begun the process of notifying the news media as well as our elected representatives. All of us are working together to encourage St. Agnes Church to remove this inflammatory and asinine banner and to let the community know that East Lyme will not have this kind of garbage in our community.

We are people too, and again: We are _all_ God's children and we are _all_ a part of the community!

In Christ,

[name withheld], East Lyme, CT

First, I’m not Stanley Kurtz. This poor fellow evidently confused me with the author of one of the articles linked to on our homepage. Second, I’m accused of “condemning” and “hating” others by a man who declares in his first sentence that FIC not only “sickens” him, it’s an “abomination” in the eyes of God. Who’s the hater here? As usual, our adversaries need to take a look in the mirror.

This e-mail is representative of the general tone of much of our opposition. Their inability to debate us on the merits — rather than dismiss our view as a mere “expression of hatred” — explains why they keep losing elections.

Posted at 3:03 PM

PROGRESS? [Brian Brown]

The Courant has a front page article today declaring that the “generation-long erosion in ‘traditional’ parenthood is now over.”

I hope so. Making Connecticut as family-friendly as possible is, after all, FIC’s reason for existing. But newspaper articles are, as is often said, “the first draft of history.” Time will tell if the statistics cited by the Courant prove the paper’s conclusion.

The data available does not seem to indicate that we have emerged from the post-1960’s crisis of the American family. Rates of divorce and single parenthood are still astronomically high. What it does show is that those rates are not getting higher. The drive toward the destruction of the family seems to have been thrown in neutral. The challenge ahead for the pro-family movement will be to throw the destructive trends into reverse.

Posted at 10:14 A.M.

THE NETWORKS GET ONE RIGHT [Brian Brown]

NBC and CBS are refusing to run an ad produced by the United Church of Christ (UCC), a denomination whose leadership is adamantly pro-same sex “marriage.” Liberal radio host Colin McEnroe was in a quite a tizzy about it yesterday, insisting that viewers could barely notice the homosexual couples in the ad. In the first sentence of today’s Courant article, we are told the ad was “created as a message of tolerance and inclusion.”

No, it wasn’t. The ad was created by smug liberals to proclaim their moral superiority to those Christians who are so uncouth as to actually be faithful to Christian morality. Here’s the Courant’s description of the ad:

The 30-second ad, called "Night Club," shows two bouncers standing in front of a nameless church, selectively letting in worshippers. A white heterosexual couple is admitted past a velvet rope into the church, but the bouncers block a male couple and several individuals of color. Later scenes show smiling people of various races — including a pair of women — standing together.

"Jesus didn't turn people away. Neither do we," the commercial's voice-over says.

This is one time when the networks got it right. According to a spokesman for CBS, the ad was rejected “because it implied that other churches turned away people.”

The people who made this ad are the ones always insisting that they are “open and affirming” — that it is only those dastardly conservatives who judge others. But can you imagine Catholics or Evangelicals producing an ad that promotes their churches specifically by attacking other churches? And then trying to air it on CBS and NBC? And then throwing a hissy fit in the media when they didn’t get their way? “Chutzpah” is a word that comes to mind.

“Clueless” is another. There’s a difference between faithfully upholding the scriptural prohibitions against homosexual activity and forbidding those with such inclinations from entering your church. No pro-family church does the latter. The UCC ad is a slur. Our congratulations to the networks for not allowing one instance of liberal bigotry on to their airwaves.

Posted at 9:35 A.M.

December 1

“WE NEED A RESOLUTION” [Brian Brown]

Mary Bonauto, the attorney who won the same-sex “marriage” case in Massachusetts and has filed suit in Connecticut in hopes of achieving the same thing here, spoke to “50 students and visitors” at the University of Hartford yesterday, according to the AP. Given the AP’s tendency to exaggerate the numbers for pro-same sex “marriage” events while downplaying the numbers at pro-family events, plus the fact that the Hartford Courant couldn’t be bothered to cover a lecture in their own back yard, it doesn’t seem to have been much of an event. This, after the Courant ran an announcement encouraging people to attend and Bonauto herself took to the local airwaves to drum up interest.

Bonauto calls it “an encouraging sign” that Gov. Rell opposes a Federal Marriage Amendment. But governors have no role in the passage of federal amendments. Bonauto is grasping at straws.

Which is understandable. If the U.S. Constitution is eventually amended to protect marriage, Bonauto’s colleagues in the pro-same sex “marriage” movement will have her to thank for it. More than anyone else, it was Bonauto’s victory in Massachusetts that made the passage of a Federal Marriage Amendment possible.

“It’s just clear that the discussion here in Connecticut is at a point that we need a resolution,” Bonauto told the audience. That’s the one thing she and I agree about. And the way to have a resolution is to allow the people to vote up or down on a Defense of Marriage Amendment to our state constitution. Otherwise, we will be stuck with an unelected court or an unaccountable legislature imposing their will on us regarding the most important moral issue of our time: the preservation of marriage. That’s no way to “resolve” differences.

Posted at 2:27 P.M.

FMA NOW! [Brian Brown]

The Republican-American’s editorial page offers a rousing endorsement of the Federal Marriage Amendment (FMA) today. The editors are right to remind us what we’re up against:

Politics at the Capitol in Connecticut similarly have taken a hard left turn in recent months. With more liberal legislative leadership — that's saying a lot — and a governor who supports public financing of benefits for homosexual couples and opposes a constitutional amendment affirming traditional marriage, those advocating same-sex marriage in Connecticut will have an easier row to hoe.

The editorial’s title offers the only legitimate resolution of the same-sex “marriage” issue: “Let the people decide.”

Posted at 1:44 P.M.

ANCHOR RISING [Brian Brown]

We are not alone. In addition to this blog, there are others throughout New England that have established a presence on the internet in order to fight the anti-family elites in our region. One of the best websites can be found at anchorrising.com, a Rhode Island blog. Run by Justin Katz, a conservative writer/musician/artist, Anchor Rising is a good resource for connecting with like-minded people throughout our region. Having spoken before a large pro-family audience at Rhode Island’s state capitol in early October, I can tell you that there are many in our neighboring state that are committed to putting all of New England “on the right side of hope.” Thanks to Justin, pro-family New Englanders now have another outlet for their voices to be heard.

Posted at 1:14 P.M.

NOT “INEVITABLE” [Brian Brown]

Whenever I debate anti-family activists or legislators there is one assertion they always make: that same-sex “marriage” is “inevitable.” As Joshua Baker and Maggie Gallagher explain on National Review Online today, there is nothing inevitable about it. Contrary to claims made by pro-same sex “marriage” advocates, young people’s opposition to same-sex “marriage” is actually increasing.

When I last testified before the Judiciary Committee, Chairman Lawlor asked me about polls showing young people being more favorable to same-sex “marriage.” “We have a lot of work to do with the youth,” I said — a response that caused shocked gasps from the pro-same sex “marriage” audience.

It looks like they’ll have a lot more to gasp about in the years ahead. The only thing “inevitable” about same-sex “marriage” is that some will continue to make the false claim that same-sex “marriage” is inevitable.

Posted at 12:39 A.M.

CIVIL UNIONS = SAME SEX “MARRIAGE” [Brian Brown]

It’s the first of the month — time for a refresher on where things stand in the battle to protect marriage in Connecticut.

The “gut punch” of thirteen out of thirteen states voting to amend their constitutions to protect marriage combined with supposed pro-same sex “marriage” victories in Connecticut has left local anti-family activists with a case of vertigo. Their dizziness has caused them to conclude that they live in a (by their standards) better place called “Planet Connecticut,” a land where it is “almost inevitable” that the next legislature will legalize civil unions. You can read about it from their perspective here.

It is possible — though not inevitable — that our legislature will legalize civil unions next year. FIC will fight for the family with every resource at our disposal. Whether we succeed will depend largely on the support of you, our grassroots activists. You can help our efforts by using our home page to contribute to the Family Institute.

The same-sex “marriage” issue could be resolved once and for all by allowing Connecticut’s voters to vote up or down on a Defense of Marriage Amendment (DOMA) to our state constitution. Anti-family advocates will oppose this because they know and we know what they’re not telling the media: that a few legislative races in Connecticut do not reflect the will of the majority on same-sex “marriage.”

This is confirmed by the fact that anti-family legislators are focusing on civil unions, not same-sex “marriage.”

But how will the public react when they realize that a vote for civil unions is a vote for same-sex “marriage?” As the Connecticut Catholic Conference makes clear, civil union is a phony compromise. The courts will use it as a pretext to impose same-sex “marriage” by claiming that civil union is a violation of the equal protection clause. The same activists pushing for civil unions will be only too happy to push the equal protection argument in court; they’ve said so repeatedly.

Civil unions will not prevent same-sex “marriage” — it will guarantee its passage. The only way to permanently protect marriage in Connecticut is to allow voters the opportunity those in thirteen others states had: to vote for or against a Defense of Marriage Amendment.

Posted at 12:00 P.M.

November 30

DOMA NOW! [Brian Brown]

The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to take a case that could have led to the overturning of the decision legalizing same-sex “marriage” in Massachusetts. Does this, as the New Haven Register claims, “boost the chances” that marriage will be redefined here in Connecticut?

No. Even Anne Stanback, head of Love Makes A Family, told the Courant she “doubted it would have a significant effect” on her effort to destroy marriage as we have known it. The case was based on a claim that the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court violated the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of a “republican” form of government when it undemocratically imposed its will on an issue that should have been decided by the people’s representatives. We are in complete sympathy with that claim. But it is hardly surprising that the same entity that imposed Roe v. Wade on the nation — the ultimate usurpation of politics by a court — would not support the claim. At least not until there are more Justices on the bench who respect the Constitution they are supposed to be interpreting.

But even without the “boost” the Register hoped for, the pro-family movement will have a tough fight in the next legislative session. Bob Ward, the head of the Senate Republicans, is quoted in that same Register piece saying that he would “probably” support a civil unions bill.

Our goal for this next legislative session will be to convince Ward and his colleagues — on both sides of the aisle — not to join the courts in imposing the destruction of marriage on an unwilling public. They must put the issue squarely before the voters by allowing us to vote on whether to amend our constitution to protect marriage.

You can help our effort by using the resources on our home page to call your state senator and representative. Tell them you want the people to vote on a Defense of Marriage Amendment (DOMA) to our state constitution.

You can also use our home page to donate to the Family Institute of Connecticut. As you can tell from the items linked to on this blog, we have never been in more need of your support.

As always your support — in money as well as time, prayer as well as activism — is deeply appreciated.

Posted at 11:07 A.M.

November 29

PLANET CONNECTICUT, 2004 [Brian Brown]

The pro-same sex “marriage” movement suffered its most crushing political defeats this year, with thirteen out of thirteen states — even liberal Oregon — voting to amend their constitutions to protect marriage. Most of these Defense of Marriage Amendments passed by 70-80 percent.

So how do Connecticut’s pro-same sex “marriage” activists respond to the public’s overwhelming rejection of their cause? By pretending they live in a different place, a fantasy land called “Planet Connecticut.” At least, that’s the impression one gets from Carole Bass’ article in the Nov. 25 New Haven Advocate.

Yes, in the last election pro-family Sen. Win Smith lost and pro-same sex “marriage” Rep. Mike Lawlor won. But most Connecticut voters cast their ballots based on their choice for President, not for or against same-sex “marriage.” As a recent headline put it, “Nobody asked Connecticut voters about moral issues.” If they had — that is, if there had been a DOMA on the ballot — Connecticut would have voted the same as blue-state Oregon: against the President but for the protection of marriage.

Because there was no DOMA on the ballot, same-sex “marriage” activists are reading the defeat of a few pro-family state candidates as a public endorsement of their cause. In the Bass piece and elsewhere, they now describe a civil unions bill as “inevitable.”

The threat is real. But “inevitable?” No.

We’ve been here before. The state election results in 2002 also favored the anti-family side. Yet in the 2003 session Rep. Lawlor couldn’t even pass a “domestic partnerships” bill through the committee he chairs.

That’s not to say that victory is assured for our side, either. It will be a long, hard fight for the pro-family movement.

The only way to resolve the same-sex “marriage” issue once and for all in Connecticut is to put it before the voters, as was done in Oregon and elsewhere. Let the people decide: Should we preserve the meaning of marriage or radically redefine it? The legislature must allow the people to vote on whether to put a Defense of Marriage Amendment into our state constitution.

Same-sex “marriage” supporters should not mind putting the issue squarely before the voters. That is, if they really believe that “Planet Connecticut” is on their side.

Posted at 2:00 P.M.

November 25

THANKSGIVING [Ken Von Kohorn]

Happy Thanksgiving to all! Today the Family Institute thanks God for our many blessings and especially for you, our supporters. Without you, to put it bluntly, we would not exist.

Today we also offer thanksgiving for blessings from a far off location: China. Today's New York Times has a front page story which, in typical Times fashion when it comes to matters of religion, accentuates the negative ("Violence Taints Religion's Solace for China's Poor"). But reading between the lines lurks a major story: the gratifyingly large number of new Christians in the People's Republic of China. In the story's fifth paragraph, Times readers learn that there are more church-going Protestants in China than in Europe. This is a little-reported story in the Mainstream Media and is an astounding development, portending great things for the future of peace and prosperity in the world.

A recent book, Jesus in Beijing: How Christianity is Transforming China and Changing the Global Balance of Power by David Aikman (Regnery — 2003), gives the amazing details of how courageous believers in China have prevailed, despite imprisonment and torture, in bringing the message of God's salvation to millions of Chinese — peasants and even high party officials who had been hungering for spiritual uplift after decades under the repressive communist regimes.

So let us give special thanks for what even the New York Times can't ignore. As people become freer after living in chains, they thirst for God's word. That this is manifesting itself in China can only be a blessing for the world.

Posted at 12:45 P.M.

November 24

Kinsey [Brian Brown]

The Advocate newspapers — and similar media outlets — have done their part to de-legitimize marriage and make this world a more dangerous place for children. But where did this trend begin? It began with Alfred Kinsey.

Kinsey, a “sex researcher,” published “Sexual Behavior in the Human Male,” in 1948. Though Kinsey’s research has been widely discredited, he launched the sexual revolution by offering pseudo-scientific evidence for his claim that all manner of perversion and deviance were already widespread in America.

Naturally, Hollywood has just produced a hagiographic film about Kinsey. Naturally, the Courant’s feminist film critic gives the film four stars today in a review titled (of course) “BRINGING SEX OUT OF THE DARK AGES.”

As Frederica Mathews-Green explains, Kinsey did not liberate us from the dark ages; he put us there. As Sue Ellin Browder writes, he did it on the basis of phony science. If you want to know more about Kinsey — and what you can do to stop Hollywood and the Courant’s lionization of him — click here and here.

Posted at 4:05 P.M.

November 23

WHAT ARE THESE “MORAL VALUES” THINGIES ANYWAY? [Brian Brown]

On Nov. 9 in this space I noted that the Connecticut Post’s regional/local section for that day had articles on six different sexual crimes. I’m not the only one who noticed. Joe Miksch writes about it in the Nov. 18 issue of the Fairfield County Weekly, one of the chain of left-wing newspapers associated with the Hartford Advocate.

Miksch’s main point is that we should not blame the newspaper for printing disturbing news. “[I]f you really want to blame someone for that, try the child molesters.”

That seems rather obvious. But in making his case, Miksch adds this: “And to think people have the temerity to criticize this newspaper for those naughty advertisements toward the rear of our paper.”

Miksch doesn’t get it. The reason those crimes are so prevalent is that we have a culture where anything goes and no act can be stigmatized, lest one be thought “judgmental.” There is no reason why consumers of ads for every kind of adult perversion will not eventually turn their attention to children. Pop culture and academia have already begun the process of legitimizing pedophilia, the final taboo. History will record that it was media outlets like the Advocate chain that helped put us on this road.

Miksch ends his piece by taking swipes at the comic strips “Family Circus” and “Mallard Fillmore.” But Miksch’s moral logic — or lack thereof — makes him a dead ringer for Mallard’s clueless “Mainstream Media Man” who, after the election, had to ask Mallard: “What are these ‘moral values’ thingies anyway?”

Posted at 1:07 P.M.

November 22

SMALL STEP FORWARD FOR THE ASSOCIATED PRESS [Brian Brown]

The AP has an interesting piece today on how same-sex “marriage” is part of a broader attack against marriage and what the pro-family movement is doing about it. Of course, the reporter does not put it in quite that way. But then, this is the AP we’re talking about. The reporter noticed the comprehensive nature of the pro-family effort to protect marriage. We’re happy with that, even if he fails to understand that this is not something new.

Posted at 3:56 P.M.

MEMO TO BESSY: IT’S CALLED AN “ELECTION” [Brian Brown]

“Until Nov. 3,” Courant columnist Bessy Reyna writes, “I had been complacent in my belief that I lived in a country that welcomed the exchange of ideas.”

But because her preferred candidate did not prevail on Election Day, Reyna has concluded that we do not live in a country that welcomes an exchange of ideas. Instead, we live in a country where voters “stifle debate and impose ideological homogeneity.”

It’s too easy to point out that Reyna exhibits all the dissent-stifling characteristics she attributes to those who dare to vote differently than her. So, here’s another question: Where does the Courant find these people? Is there a journalism school that specializes in churning out columnists that are this lacking in self-awareness?

Posted at 2:44 P.M.

November 18

FOR STRONGER MARRIAGES [Brian Brown]

There is some good news in today’s papers. The Republican-American has an AP piece on Smart Marriages, a conference held in Dallas to help strengthen the institution. Protecting marriage from the attempt to radically re-define it is an urgent priority. But we must also fight to strengthen traditional marriage, which has been so de-valued in our culture in recent decades. Conferences like this are a good place to start.

Posted at 4:45 P.M.

YOUNG PRO-LIFERS [Brian Brown]

They get less attention from the Courant than pro-abortion interns. But the young have been trending pro-life for some time now. In 1997 the Courant ran one article on Feminists for Life.

The Courant should take a second look. Through its college outreach program, FFL has been at the forefront of changing young minds about abortion. Now that would be a story worth covering.

Posted at 4:17 P.M.

LATEST DISPATCH FROM “YESTERDAY’S WARS” [Brian Brown]

Wednesday’s Courant included a sympathetic look at local pro-abortion activists, who want the recently re-elected President Bush to “know that there’s a large constituency that disagrees with his stance on reproductive rights.” Can you imagine the Courant running an equally sympathetic piece, say, eight years ago, on local pro-lifers who wanted a re-elected President Clinton to “know that there’s a large constituency that disagrees with his stance on the right to life?” To ask the question is to answer it.

Anyway, it seems that all is not well with the younger pro-abortion activists. There’s a concern that, following the election, they feel “dejected and could be difficult to rally for another battle.”

But supporters of the culture of death need not fear! “The interns are re-grouping.” At the University of Hartford there will be a “fund-raiser and education plan for World AIDS Day.” (Will the “education plan” include abstinence? Don’t hold your breath.) At Yale there will be an “abortion-rights film festival.” (Will it include “The Silent Scream?” I’m guessing no.) Yale will also hold an “emergency contraceptive day” run by a pro-abortion student group whose membership “has doubled since the election.”

The Courant would have us believe that the pro-abortion movement is experiencing a reaction to President Bush that could have political repercussions. There’s just one problem. They told us the same thing before the election.

At the beginning of this year, the Courant ran a fawning profile of the energetic Erin Aiello, a UHart student and Planned Parenthood intern who organized local support for the pro-abortion march in Washington. The paper gave her a full page, big photos, the works. But that was then. Here’s what she sounds like now:

“All of us interns worked so hard for the last three years…We did voter registration. We marched in Washington. It was kind of frustrating to know here we have another four more years. I was personally hurt.”

Ms. Aiello, of course, is nowhere near as hurt as the victims of her activism. But this is a good reminder to the rest of us not to take too seriously the abortion coverage of a newspaper that seems incapable of understanding what’s at stake.

Posted at 3:35 P.M.

November 17

THE DEATH OF MARRIAGE: COMING SOON TO CT? [Brian Brown]

Fasten your seat belts. Connecticut’s in for a wild ride in the next legislative session. According to the Danbury News Times, it’s full speed ahead for the legalization of same-sex “marriage” or civil unions next year.

Rep. Robert Godfrey (D-Danbury), who chairs the committee that decides what bills make it to the House floor, says it is “almost inevitable” that a civil unions bill will become law in 2005. Gov. Rell’s spokesman refused to say that she would veto the bill. A pro-same sex “marriage” activist from Bridgeport says civil unions will be “a great first step” toward the legalization of same-sex “marriage.” Rep. Mike Lawlor (D-East Haven) says that once civil unions pass, legislators will ask “Why not marriage?”

Every poll of Connecticut voters conducted by a reputable polling company (Wirthlin, etc.) shows our state is overwhelmingly opposed to having a radical re-definition of marriage imposed on us. The information reported by the News Times confirms Robert Satter’s thesis that we have “A Legislature Beholden — But Not To The People.” As Satter writes:

A legislature in which more than three-quarters of its members feel themselves immune from accountability to the voters, and start thinking of their safe seats as personal fiefdoms, threatens the quality of our democracy.

Between an unaccountable legislature and an activist court, things look grim for the family in Connecticut. But it also looked that way two years ago, right before we defeated the “domestic partnerships” bill in Mike Lawlor’s own committee. Peter Wolfgang’s article on that victory is worth re-reading, as we steel ourselves for the challenges ahead.

We beat back the destruction of marriage before in Connecticut. We can do it again. But we’ll need your help. Watch this space for updates as the battle heats up.

Posted at 9:50 A.M.

November 16

UNREASONABLE [Brian Brown]

In a letter to the Courant, Frank O’Gorman, a board member of People of Faith for Gay Civil Rights, “beg[s] to differ” with my quote in Saturday’s paper that “a person of faith and reason understands that marriage is about a man and a woman.” You see, “[a]s a gay Catholic who is usually fairly reasonable,” O’Gorman believes...

Well, I don’t really know what he believes. I was so struck by O’Gorman’s self-description that I never finished the letter. O’Gorman, the most extreme pro-same sex “marriage” activist in Connecticut, is best known for having described hate crimes against pro-family churches as “justice actions.” At an FIC rally last May, a member of his group held a sign that said “The Family Institute uses the Bible the way Hitler used gas.”

Yes, there are homosexual Catholics who are “fairly reasonable.” But Frank O’Gorman is not one of them.

(For information on Catholic outreach to homosexuals, click here.)

Posted at 10:17 A.M.

November 15

DO NOT TAKE ADVICE FROM THIS MAN [Brian Brown]

You have to hand it to Dan Haar. While other local lefties are still crying in their lattes, the Courant’s liberal business columnist claims that “[a]s the nation lurched to the right on Election Day, Connecticut moved hard the other way,” and he smells an opportunity:

Eventually, progressive-minded folks would settle — or choose to stay — in Connecticut and other like-minded states. Since socially liberal people tend to be well educated, the ranks of technology workers and creative types could swell here.. And, that, clearly, would be a boon for the state’s vibrancy and prosperity.

Never mind the bigoted assumption that religious conservatives lack education and creativity. If Haar’s thesis was true, we would have seen it by now. Yes, the Republicans gained seats in Congress while losing seats in the Connecticut General Assembly in 2004. But it also happened in 2002. In fact, in happened in 1994, the year a pro-family majority took over Congress.

So by Haar’s standards, Connecticut and the nation have been on opposite ideological tracks for a decade now. The result? Connecticut’s population growth was so slow that we lost a seat in Congress.

If Dan Haar is the kind of thinker that the state’s business elites turn to for advice, it’s no wonder our local economy isn’t in better shape.

Posted at 10:49 A.M.

MESSAGE RECEIVED [Brian Brown]

The Left is having a tough time adjusting to the news that most of the country rejects their agenda as a matter of moral principle. In Saturday’s Courant, local lefties express their dismay that “conservative Catholics, white evangelicals and black Protestants...found common cause on gay marriage, abortion and stem cell research,” a convergence which led to a “formidable political tide.” The article quotes my observation that it was those “non-negotiable issues” that created our coalition.

In response, we pro-family citizens are accused of being a bunch of fear-mongering, diversity-hating, poor people-ignoring, narrow-minded, hypocritical, simple-minded fundamentalists who can’t think for ourselves. It was also claimed that the religious left “did not respond” to us.

In fact, we’ve been hearing the Left’s response for years. That’s why they lost.

Posted 9:47 A.M.

November 12

STATE LEADER OF UCC COMES UNHINGED [Brian Brown]