Center for Family and Society Newsletter – Feb. 2, 2012

1. Permanent Sexual Revolution

By Bryce J. Christensen and William C. Duncan

In his study of the creation of a national government in the United States, historian Forrest McDonald highlighted an anomaly about America’s revolutionary experience. He notes that “parting with accustomed forms” of government unleashes a new power: “The power unleashed in the parting is magnificent to behold; but its greatest power, as the American experience had hinted and Europe’s would soon demonstrate, is the power to destroy, for man’s accustomed forms are also his sense of self-restraint.” Professor McDonald also notes that the American Revolution “led unerringly to Valmy, and Valmy to Napoleon, and Napoleon to the Revolution of 1830, and that to the Revolutions of 1848, and those to the Paris Commune of 1971, and that to the Bolshevik Revolution, and that to the African and Asian Revolutions in Expectations, and those to eternity. … The French, the Russians, the Italians, the Germans, all the planet’s people in their turn, would become so unrestrained as to lose contact with sanity.”1

It is a matter of historical record that these modern political revolutions were not kind to the family. Both the French and Russian Revolutions led to the institution of unilateral divorce, to take but one example. This “innovation” has now, regrettably, been accepted as the default legal policy in the United States, though as the result not of a political revolution but of a social cataclysm we call the “sexual revolution.”

Karl Marx intended the communist effort to be a “permanent revolution” not cut short once “bourgeois” goals were realized but continuing until the logical end of dictatorship of the proletariat.2 It is increasingly clear that the sexual revolution is meant to be a permanent revolution, seeking not just a loosening of mores but rather the destruction of any traditional restraints. This, in turn, will require the complete marginalization or even persecution of defenders of sexual morality and the family.

Thus, in the span of two weeks in December, the following stories were reported:

• A unanimous panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit allowed a university to require one of its counseling students to participate in a special “remediation plan” to compel her to separate her religious beliefs about sexuality from her work as a counselor. The beliefs in question surfaced when this student suggested in class that “she believe[d] GLBTQ ‘lifestyles’ to be identity confusion” and again when she “related her interest in conversion therapy for GLBTQ populations, and … tried to convince other students to support and believe her views.” The student in question may still challenge the requirement after the fact, but the court has said she is not likely to prevail.3

• A national gay rights legal organization filed a lawsuit against a bed and breakfast owner who declined to allow unmarried couples to rent a room in her facility.4

• At a respected blog discussing family issues, a blogger wrote the following:

There are some arguments no reasonable person makes anymore. A person arguing that consensual gay sex is intrinsically immoral and perverse has disqualified themselves from reasonable debate. In mainstream society this is a settled question, and there’s no longer any need for any LGB person or ally to answer such arguments anymore (except perhaps with a raised finger).5

• An employee of Macy’s department store was fired after refusing to allow a “transgender” man dressed as a woman to use the women’s dressing room in the store.6

• In the first weeks of January, an Iowa court created a novel presumption of maternity. It held that the longstanding legal presumption (based in common sense and biological realities) that the husband of a child’s mother is presumed to be the child’s father must be applied to “married” same-sex couples so that the same-sex spouse of a woman who had borne a child conceived through artificial insemination must be presumed to be the second “mother” of the child.7

All of this suggests the permanent sexual revolution is intent on removing from the public square any trace of religiously based sexual morality; the notion that marriage is and should continue to be understood as having an intrinsic tie to biological realities and the needs of children; and even the biological reality of sex difference.

This is not to suggest that the final triumph of the sexual radicalism is inevitable. Just this week, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously refused to allow a church to be sued for employment decisions regarding a religious teacher.8 That the argument to the contrary, clearly beyond the pale as it was rejected even by the justices most open to expansive government power, was supported by the Department of Justice should give us all pause.

Professor McDonald points out that America’s experience with political independence was different from the European revolutions and their progeny: “That the American Revolution and the American people … should have produced a governmental system adequate to check the very forces they unleashed; this was the miracle of the age, and of the succeeding age, and of all ages to come.” He notes that it might have been different:

The Americans might have suffered a similar history [to revolutionary movements in Europe], had they followed the lead of those who, in 1787, and 1788, spoke in the name of the people and of popular ‘rights.’ But there were giants in the earth in those days, and they spoke in the name of the nation, and the people followed them. As a result, the Americans were, despite themselves, doomed forever to be free.

Whether the freedom secured by the “giants” responsible for our constitutional government can be kept may depend on whether we can successfully defend the constitution of society based on the foundation of the natural family.

Bryce J. Christensen, Ph.D., is associate professor of English at Southern Utah University and adjunct fellow of Sutherland Institute’s Center for Family and Society. He is a contributing editor to The Family in America and author of Divided We Fall: Family Discord and the Fracturing of America (Transaction, 2005). He has also published articles on family issues in Society, The Public Interest, Policy Review, Modern Age, and other journals.

William C. Duncan, J.D., is director of the Marriage Law Foundation and is the director of Sutherland Institute’s Center for Family and Society. He formerly served as acting director of the Marriage Law Project at the Catholic University of America’s Columbus School of Law and as executive director of the Marriage and Family Law Research Grant at J. Reuben Clark Law School, Brigham Young University, where he was also a visiting professor.


1. Forrest McDonald, E Pluribus Unum (Liberty Fund 1965), 370-371.

2. See the helpful Wikipedia entry “Permanent Revolution” for sources and citations at

3. Keeton v. Anderson-Wiley, No. 10-13925, U.S. Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit, December 16, 2011, at

4. Jennifer Sinco Kelleher, “Gay Couple Sue Hawaii B&B, Claim Discrimination,” Yahoo News, December 20, 2011, at

5. Barry Deutsch, “When We Have a Civil Discussion of Marriage Equality, It Will Hurt,”, December 6, 2011, at

6. “Macy’s Employee Fired After Refusing to Allow Transgender Shopper to Use the Women’s Fitting Room” Daily Mail, December 8, 2011, at

7. Gartner v. Department of Public Health, Case No. CE 67807, Iowa District Court, Polk County, January 4, 2012, at

8. Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, No. 10-553, U.S. Supreme Court, January 11, 2012, at


2. Capitol Daily Video: Legal Advice to Immigrants

By Alexis Young 

SB 144 aims to stop predatory practices by individuals claiming to provide legal advice to immigrants. Find out what Senator Luz Robles (D-Salt Lake City), the bill’s sponsor, and Stan Rasmussen, Sutherland’s director of public affairs, had to say about the bill.

To watch this video on Sutherland’s YouTube channel, click here.

3. Capitol Daily Memo: 2 Divorce Bills Heard

By Matthew Piccolo 

Two bills that would affect divorce proceedings in Utah were heard in House committees this week.

The first, HB 290, would require a married person seeking a divorce to take the state’s mandatory divorce orientation course before filing for divorce, and then that person’s spouse would be required to take the course within 30 days after receiving a petition. It would also make the orientation course free and stop allowing couples who take the course to forgo the current 90-day waiting period. …

To read more of this post on the Sutherland Daily blog, click here.

4. Capitol Daily Video: Foster Children

By Alexis Young 

This video update is about HB 241, a bill sponsored by Representative Christine Watkins (D-Price), which would prohibit the Division of Child and Family Services from removing a foster child from a foster parent who is the child’s relative, without clear and convincing evidence that the relative is incapable of caring for the child. We interviewed Representative Watkins and Stan Rasmussen of Sutherland to learn more about the bill.

To watch the video, click here.