by Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D

This article was originally pubished at National Catholic Register, March 22, 2010, under the title “Conferral of Parenthood Does Not a First-Class Citizen Make.”

“Domestic partnerships make us second-class citizens. We want marriage, just like everyone else.”

This is the constant refrain of the marriage-redefinition advocates. Drawing a legal distinction, any legal distinction, between same-sex couples and opposite-sex couples is unfair and amounts to ill treatment of the same-sex couples. But does this argument really hold up? (more…)

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The Implications of United States Ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child

Introduction

The purpose of this submission is to provide evaluative analysis of the potential implications of ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC or Convention) and to inform the public of perspectives regarding ratification. The CRC is a United Nations treaty seeking to promote children’s rights such as access to welfare, claim to a good education, and entitlement to freedom of religion.  Despite these laudable goals, there is substantial controversy regarding adoption of the treaty in the United States.  The current political climate brings this issue to the forefront as the Obama administration is researching when and how it will be possible to ratify the CRC with the concern that the United States may be falling behind as a leader in human rights without its ratification.  However, it appears that ratification of the CRC would impede United States sovereignty and fail to accomplish its intended purpose to increase human rights on a worldwide scale.

The current thesis presents an evaluative analysis of these potential implications of U.S. ratification of the CRC through providing the following: (1) a comparison of the United States’ existing law with legislation that would be required under the Convention, (2) an examination of the underlying assumptions and possible interpretations of the Convention through studying the changes its ratification has brought about in other countries, (3) an exploration of the potential risk to national sovereignty that would result from ratification of a treaty overseen by a body outside of the United States government. A thorough review of the potential implications provided through this evaluative analysis will contribute to a more informed position regarding ratification of the CRC than has been available to this point. (more…)

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Upholding the Ideal Family for Children: A Mother and a Father

Homosexual marriage has emerged as one of the most controversial public policy issues of the day. Understanding the issues surrounding homosexual adoption would help policymakers more wisely resolve the question of homosexual marriage because the government’s primary interest in promoting marriage as an institution resides in its capability to produce and raise children.  As scholar Richard Wilkins argues, “The very concept of marriage is indissolubly linked to the societal imperatives of procreation and child rearing. As the Supreme Court has recognized, procreation involves the ’very existence and survival of mankind.’ Laws protecting and preferring heterosexual marriage are a principled and necessary means of furthering this most imperative of all governmental objectives” (1992).  As some contest that homosexual marriage could produce the benefit of raising children through adoption, homosexual adoption is a crucial question in the debate over same-sex marriage. If homosexuals were given a right to marry, it would logically follow that they should be able to legally adopt children, as raising children is one of the primary functions of marriage.

The issue of homosexual adoption can be analyzed through a variety of frameworks that are commonly used to analyze public policies, including utilitarian calculations, rights, equality, societal norms and values, and pragmatism.  These frameworks raise a significant number of issues such as, how homosexual parenting compares to heterosexual parenting, whether homosexuals have a right to raise children and how this compares to the right of children to have a mother and father, and whether homosexuality is behavioral rather than an innate and immutable trait. Overall, these frameworks indicate that governments should promote placing children in traditional families at all costs, as research overwhelmingly shows that the traditional family provides the best environment and opportunities for children to achieve optimal development.

(more…)

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by Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D

Adoption is an important, yet peripheral issue in the relationship of the family to society. It is peripheral because typically, the percentage of children who are adopted instead of being cared for by their biological parents is rather small. It is nonetheless important because the societal standards surrounding adoption reflect the values and beliefs of the society. The standards may include informal norms and social expectations, as well as legislation passed by elected bodies, and policies formed by public and private adoption agencies. The subjects of those social rules range from the social norms under which biological parents voluntarily place children for adoption, the legal rules under which their consent is secured, and the conditions under which agents of the state may remove children from biological parents and place them for adoption. Society will also have a set of shared understandings, laws and social norms about the terms under which adults unrelated to the child may be considered as acceptable adoptive parents. All of these standards reflect the values of the society. (more…)

by Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D

Legalizing same-sex “marriage” is not a stand-alone policy, independent of all the other activities of the state. Once governments assert that same-sex unions are the equivalent of marriage, those governments must defend and enforce a whole host of other social changes. (more…)