The Uruguayan Senate passed freedom to marry legislation today allowing same-sex couples to marry, making Uruguay nearly certain to be the 15th nation in the world – and the fourth in Latin America – where gay and lesbian couples can share in the freedom to marry. The bill passed today had been modified slightly since passage by the Chamber of Deputies in December, but those changes are expected to be easily approved by the deputies. President José Mujica has said he intends to sign the bill.
Argentina is the only country in Latin America that has legalized gay marriage, with Brazil and Mexico having legislation in process.
About two of every three poor children live in single-parent households. Yet if poor single moms married the fathers of their children, nearly two out of three would be lifted out of poverty.
And contrary to the mainstream media line, teen pregnancy is a small part of the picture: In 2008, the most recent year for which data is available, babies born to girls under 18 accounted for 130,000, or 7.5 percent, of the total 1.72 million out-of-wedlock births.
It’s not as simple as young men “manning up” and becoming the lawfully wedded husbands of their girlfriends, live-in or otherwise. These unmarried mothers tend to be in their 20s, without much income or education. They come to depend on public assistance; many learn how to work the welfare system.
Research shows that a child raised in a home where Dad is married to Mom is much less likely to live in poverty, get arrested as a juvenile, be suspended or expelled from school, be treated for emotional or behavioral problems, or drop out before completing high school. Taxpayers foot the bill for more than $300 billion a year in means-tested government spending on low-income single moms – and, in relatively rare cases, single dads.
France’s first lady, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, went on national radio Wednesday evening to quell talk that an international plot was behind recent infidelity rumors within the presidential couple.
“We’re not victims of any kind of plots,” Ms. Bruni-Sarkozy said in an interview with French radio Europe 1. “I came here to prevent a matter of no importance taking on proportions that I find ridiculous.”
Earlier this week, two people close to Mr. Sarkozy—lawyer Thierry Herzog and communications adviser Pierre Charon, who also manages the presidential hunting grounds—said the rumors could have been the product of a plot, planted to discredit France’s president or move financial markets at a time Mr. Sarkozy was promoting new global financial regulations.
This is starting to smell,
Their comments, made in separate interviews with French media, created a distraction for the administration of Mr. Sarkozy, who had just pledged to return his focus on reducing unemployment after his ruling party had been thrashed in regional elections last month.
The plot theory also unleashed a political witch hunt, as various allies to Mr. Sarkozy pointed fingers at each other. On Wednesday morning, Rachida Dati, who was Mr. Sarkozy’s Justice Minister until last year, went on radio and denied playing any role in spreading rumors about the president. “This must stop,” she told French radio RTL.
Under a new law, France is to become the first country in the world to ban ‘ psychological violence’ within marriage.
The law would apply to cohabiting couples and to both men and women.
It would cover men who shout at their wives and women who hurl abuse at their husbands – although it was not clear last night if nagging would be viewed as breaking the law.
The law is expected to cover every kind of insult including repeated rude remarks about a partner’s appearance, false allegations of infidelity and threats of physical violence.
While it shouldn’t be the role of government to intervene in this, and the law looks unenforceable to my skeptical eyes (every kind of insult? Like, “your mother wears combat boots”?), let’s hope they enforce it against women. However, it’s unlikely it’ll be enforced against women perpetrators: The Express reports,
The law is aimed at protecting women who suffer the worst attacks of this kind, ranging from comments about their appearance to threats of violence.
While most reported domestic violence is inflicted by men against women, my educated guess going by experience is that the worst inflictors of psychological abuse are women – women who mock their men in public, and who cut them down at every opportunity they have, whether in the company of strangers or in private.
Professor George uses the ages-old process of human reason for his theological and moral arguments that retired Princeton professor John Fleming referred to in our conversation two years ago,
Fausta: And if I remember correctly, St. Augustine emphasized reason as a means of getting closer to God.
John Fleming: Absolutely. We’re used to the idea that there’s some great divide or conflict between faith and reason. This idea, in a sense, grew in the Late Middle Agesn when Thomas Aquinas and other great theologians of that period had to deal with the rediscovery in the Latin West of Aristotle and a system of moral theology that seemed to be totally independent of the Christian revelation.
But, say, for Augustine, and for most of the early fathers of the Church, there was no conflict between faith and reason because faith seemed, on the basis of their empirical experience, a reasonable proposition. So, although Augustine would never do what Thomas Aquinas did, which is to sit down and in academic fashion try to prove the existence of God, you find in the Confessions and elsewhere lines of argument that basically are doing the same thing: argument by design. Some of this is highly relevant to theological controversy even today.
The NYT article seems to miss that very important point. However, Ryan Anderson, writing at The Corner, points out
Without a doubt, George and the other so-called “new natural lawyers” are innovative, but their innovations are in the service of reviving and refining what Isaiah Berlin called the central tradition of Western philosophy, the tradition that runs through Aristotle and Aquinas. Rather than manufacturing novel philosophical theories, George and his colleagues see themselves as appropriating and building on the wisdom of the ages to tease out the purposes and meanings of various social practices. In other words, this is philosophically critical conservative thought at its best.
This is most apparent in George’s arguments over abortion and sexual morality. Few citizens could explain to a sophisticated skeptic’s satisfaction why all people deserve the equal protection of the laws, or why cold-blooded murder is wrong. When the question is put to them, their likely response is that “they just do; it just is.” The right to life for the adult is just one of those self-evident propositions. So, too, with equal protection. You either see it, or you don’t.
Philosophers like George help make explicit the implicit judgment of the ordinary citizen. We ought not to murder adults because they possess intrinsic worth by virtue of the kind of creature that they are — rational and free animals. They are beings possessed of a rational nature. We ought to provide equal protection of the laws to all people because while they may vary in their gifts and talents, at their core all people possess the same fundamental dignity; each life is thus equally worthy of protection and promotion. But what is true of human beings in mature stages of development, George observes, is no less true of them in earlier developmental stages. What is true of the adult is also true of the unborn child. Any basis for distinguishing the two would, his arguments show, be unjustly arbitrary and have abhorrent logical consequences. The conclusion is straightforward: No human being may legitimately be harmed or denied the equal protection of the laws on account of such morally arbitrary features as age, size, stage of development, or condition of dependency. Championing the embryological science that conclusively demonstrates that the developing embryo and fetus is a whole member of the species Homo sapiens, George simply applies the same moral reasoning implicit in our Western legal and political tradition to the contemporary question of the dignity and value of unborn human life.
The same is true for marriage. Yet the Times is particularly keen to push the view that George has developed and sold a new conception of marriage. But a social practice such as marriage has its own intrinsic rationality, based on the nature of the human person and the goods that fulfill people. This rationality is usually only implicitly grasped, frequently thought to be common sense and self-evidently true. As a result, it becomes embodied in legal, political, and religious institutions. As George and I argued a few years ago in NRO, none of these institutions created marriage. Rather, they all recognized this pre-political (and even pre-religious) natural institution and provided it with legal support and religious solemnization. George’s philosophy seeks to articulate the implicit rationality in these social and legal practices to explain and make explicit why marriage — the moral reality that our traditions track — has the structure that it does and is relevant to the political common good in the way that it is.
While he certainly would not have been installed in one of Princeton’s most celebrated professorial chairs without having produced more than a few important insights and powerful original arguments, his contributions build on the wisdom of those who have gone before — Plato and Aristotle, Augustine and Aquinas, Locke and Montesquieu, Coke and Blackstone. They are certainly contributions that justify the Times in calling him “the Conservative-Christian Big Thinker.”
Indeed, it is a philosophy for our time.
In a lighter mode, the NYT also missed that Prof. George also plays the banjo:
I am not going to opine about whether Elin should or should not stick with her husband (although early reports are saying she’s planning to stand by him, after a revision of the prenup). Instead, I say that she should do whatever it is she has to do. If that is taking the tool of her husband’s trade to smash the window of his Cadillac Escalade, so be it. If that is combing through his phone and dialing up any suspicious numbers, go to it. If that is trying to work through it (hopefully, with help of a professional), then help yourself. If that is to handle it behind closed doors, then do that.
Maybe Jessica’s all for a double standard; Dr. Helen explains,
Or maybe what you are really saying is that you are for female privilege. If so, just say it out loud so everyone can know where you and your fellow sadistic “crowd” stands, not for equality between the sexes, but as a proponent of violence against men.
Laura Munson writes about how she overcame a marital crisis:
This isn’t the divorce story you think it is. Neither is it a begging-him-to-stay story. It’s a story about hearing your husband say “I don’t love you anymore” and deciding not to believe him. And what can happen as a result.