Author Archives: William C. Duncan

Dodgy social science in the Utah same-sex marriage case

In their recent submissions to a federal court judge who’s being asked to mandate same-sex marriage in Utah, the plaintiffs included a declaration from a sociologist, Charlotte Patterson, who commonly weighs in on litigation with the message that mothers and … Continue reading

Posted in Family, Gay Rights | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

What can we expect from judges?

The American Civil Liberties Union has decided to bring lawsuits in Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Virginia alleging the U.S. Constitution mandates redefining marriage in those states’ laws to include same-sex couples. It was probably not a good sign that shortly … Continue reading

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Supreme court DOMA and Prop 8 marriage cases: a preliminary analysis

The U.S. Supreme Court has now issued its decisions in the two marriage cases, both on 5-4 votes. In the Proposition 8 case, the majority said that since the group that had brought the measure to the voters had not … Continue reading

Posted in Federalism, Gay Rights, Marriage | 4 Comments

The bottom line in the marriage cases

With Supreme Court decisions imminent in two cases about marriage, it is good to remember the question the court is being asked to answer. The two cases ask the same basic question: Does the U.S. Constitution require a state (Proposition … Continue reading

Posted in Gay Rights | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Religious liberty in the crosshairs

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has recently concluded hearings on religious liberty and the invaluable Kathryn Lopez of National Review has published an interview with Peter Kirsanow, one of the commissioners, about what he learned from that experience. The … Continue reading

Posted in Religion | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Redefining marriage: good for business?

Here’s an anecdote to add to the discussion over redefining marriage. The Blaze reported on an article from Chief Executive magazine listing the “Best and Worst States for Business.” The top states are: Texas Florida North Carolina Tennessee Indiana The … Continue reading

Posted in Marriage | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

May 8: A big day for Utah in 1895

Wednesday, May 8, 1895, was the last formal day of the Utah Constitutional Convention. Unlike the lawyer-dominated Philadelphia Convention, the top occupation of Utah delegates was farming, though lawyers were certainly represented. The president of the convention was John Henry … Continue reading

Posted in Constitution | Tagged | 1 Comment

Politics of nihilism

At a recent discussion sponsored by the invaluable John Adams Center, someone remarked on the seeming incoherence of current progressive politics. As I understood the analysis, the progressivism of the early 20th century had reasonably clear (if tragically misguided) aims, … Continue reading

Posted in Miscellaneous | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Substantive equal protection and the definition of marriage

A conventional narrative of constitutional history says that in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the U.S. Supreme Court commonly used the “due process” clause of the Fifth and 14th amendments to strike down laws, particularly in the economic … Continue reading

Posted in Marriage | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

Talking about marriage: a new conversation?

On January 29, the Institute for American Values announced a New Marriage Conversation. The conversation was intended to address the “hollowing out of marriage in mainstream America” by bringing “together gays and lesbians who want to strengthen marriage with straight … Continue reading

Posted in Marriage | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Will this Legislature uphold or undermine ideals of family?

Animating the Sutherland Institute’s efforts on family issues at the Legislature is the principle that individual family disintegration or failure to form is not the only problem our society faces. The increasing social and legal acceptance of family breakdown and … Continue reading

Posted in Family | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

What is marriage? The divorce edition

It is a tired trope that people who care about marriage are inordinately worried about it being redefined and should just work to address the problem of divorce. Of course, in fact, they have been doing just that for a … Continue reading

Posted in Divorce | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Amicus brief to Supreme Court explains churches’ interest in Prop 8 case

Among the submissions to the U.S. Supreme Court explaining why the federal Constitution does not require states to redefine marriage is an important amicus brief representing a number of religious denominations, including The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. … Continue reading

Posted in Marriage | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Can we save marriage by redefining it?

A peculiar case for redefining marriage posits that the institution can be strengthened by redefining it. More people will then, the argument goes, want to marry or at least will want to strengthen marriages generally. The challenge is that the … Continue reading

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Talking past each other

The phrase “talking past each other” surely applies to the “debate” in which we are supposedly engaged over the meaning of marriage as it relates to divorce, redefinition, cohabitation, unwed parenting, etc.  On one side, there are discussions of the … Continue reading

Posted in Family | Tagged , | 1 Comment