I’ve often criticized the Christian Right’s policies on marriage. My complaints are:
1) They ignore the true threat to marriage and parents’ rights–the family law system.
2) They do nothing to defend fathers’ rights, which are particularly vulnerable under the current system.
3) They bash gays, who haven’t done anything to anybody and deserve to be left in peace.
4) They waste an appalling amount of time and effort on non-issues like gay marriage while millions of children have been needlessly separated from the fathers they love and need.
The latest is a new New Jersey campaign from the National Organization for Marriage. Conservative columnist Maggie Gallagher, an otherwise intelligent lady who has inexplicably decided to fritter away her time on gay marriage, recently sent Opponents of gay marriage launch all-out N.J. campaign (Newark Star-Ledger, 11/29/07) out to her elist. The article states:
“A national campaign to block gay marriage came to New Jersey this week as conservative groups began airing radio advertisements and bombarded a key lawmaker’s office with as many as 200 phone calls an hour.
“The National Organization for Marriage debuted a radio ad warning ‘powerful special-interest groups want to redefine marriage,’ and the N.J. Family Policy Council sent out an e-mail urging people to phone legislative leaders and Gov. Jon Corzine.
“Leaders of both organizations said they were trying to block an effort to legalize same-sex marriage during the lame-duck session of the Legislature that ends Jan. 8, when new lawmakers are sworn…
“Brigid Harrison, a professor of political science and law at Montclair State University, said the anti-gay marriage campaign may be aimed not just at lawmakers, but at voters casting their ballots in the presidential primary on Feb. 5.
“‘This is something that is a wedge issue,’ Harrison said. ‘It drives people to the polls.'”
While the NOM is wasting time and sizeable sums of money bashing gays and gay marriage, New Jersey marriages are being shredded and fathers are being manhandled in family courts. A few examples:
1) Earlier this year a New Jersey Supreme Court ruling did away with even the pretense of meaningful judicial oversight of restraining orders (aka protection orders). According to After-Hours E-Filing Allowed for Domestic Violence Cases, TROs (New Jersey Law Journal, 7/24/07), all that is now needed for a restraining order is for the woman to give testimony over the phone to an on-call judge. The judge then issues the order electronically, so it’s immediately enforceable. In other words, all a woman has to do is pretend to be frightened over the phone and her husband gets booted out of his own home and will be arrested if he tries to visit or call his own children. To learn more, see my blog post New Jersey Does Away with Any Pretense of Meaningful Judicial Oversight of Restraining Orders.
2) A recent New Jersey appeals court reaffirmed a decision mandating that a man must pay alimony to his ex-wife–who killed their son. To learn more, see my blog post She Killed His Son but He Must Pay Her Alimony
3) Sharp anti-father custody bias. For example, in the study “Child custody arrangements: a study of two New Jersey counties’ published in the Journal of Psychiatry & Law, New Jersey mental health experts researched hundreds of custody cases in two New Jersey counties, Bergen (one of the wealthiest) and Essex (one of the poorest). Rich man or poor man, for these New Jersey fathers it didn”t matter–in either county they won custody in only one out of every 20 cases.
The “defenders of marriage” at the NOM probably don’t have a clue about any of these cases and about the myriad ways children are being separated from decent, loving fathers in family court. It’s not as important as the “threat” from gays.
To learn more, see my blog posts: