Here’s What Will Happen if Marriage is Redefined…

Editor’s Note: The following are the prepared remarks given by Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D. on January 15, 2013 to the Rhode Island legislature during hearings on the proposed redefinition of marriage. It is provided by The Ruth Institute.

Almost two years ago, I came to this place to plead with you not to remove the gender requirement from marriage.[1]  I predicted that children would have three legal parents[2] and that custody disputes would involve three or more adults.[3]  I predicted greater attacks on religious liberty for those who resist your war against the gendered nature of the human body.[4]  I predicted the systematic removal of gendered language from the law. No more husbands and wives, only spouses. No more mother and father. Only Parent 1 and Parent 2.[5]

All of these things have come to pass in other places.

Tonight, I have returned.

You will little note, nor long remember what I say here.   The rich people in our country have decided that we are going to have what you call same sex marriage.[6]  You will do what you have come to do.

So tonight, I have a few more predictions.

Some of you are in this fight for power, some for love.

For those of you who are in it for the power: I predict that even if you do not have enough votes this time, you will keep coming back until you do.

I predict that you will continue to remove any recognition of sex differences from the law.  The very bill you are considering tonight replaces “husbands” and “wives” and leaves only “parties.”   Banning a father daughter dance will seem like child’s play,[7] by the time you and your allies are done using the law to purge every last hint of sex differences from society.

I predict that you will grow more aggressive in attacking the natural bonds between parents and children.  You will continue to blur the distinction between “parent” and “non-parent.”[8]

But some excluded fathers will want a relationship with their children.[9] Some mothers will find sharing their child with another woman to be far more difficult than they expected.[10]  And some children will want to know their missing parent.[11]

No matter. Genderless marriage commits the state to taking sides against the natural parent and in favor of the socially constructed parent.

I predict that you will block any meaningful reform of the IVF Industry.  The IVF industry is guilty of grotesque exploitation of the poor by the rich, including the outsourcing of surrogacy to India.[12] I predict you will turn a blind eye to this and other abuses.

I predict that you will follow Quebec in its attempts to prohibit the belief that heterosexuality is normal.[13]  Wiping out a belief in something that is actually true will certainly open up vast vistas of government involvement in civil society.   Redefining marriage opens the door to increases in government power that could never be achieved any other way.

I do not know if any of these things are your intent or your wish.  But I predict they will be the outcome, the logical result of your marriage policy.

For those of you who are in it for the love, I have a few predictions for you too.

Many of us in the marriage movement are survivors of earlier phases of the Sexual Revolution.  We found that it didn’t work for us, the hook-ups, divorce, single motherhood, marital infidelity, cohabitation, as well as the contraception and abortion that made it all appear to be possible.  Only a few of us were wise enough to see from the beginning that this would end badly. And those who did see it, drew on the wisdom of the ancient Christian churches, churches that take a far longer view of things than most people do.

It would be astonishing if the steps you are contemplating tonight will work any better for you than the earlier stages did for us.

I predict that none of it will make you happy.  Not redefining marriage. Not the attempts to smother sex differences and biological connections. Not the further suppression of churches, religious organizations, and faith-filled private citizens. If normalizing homosexual activity were going to make you happy, it would have done so long ago.  You would not be so desperate today for affirmation from strangers.

And if any of you come to realize that the Sexual Revolution has been one empty promise after another, we will embrace you.  We will welcome you to our ragtag  ranks of  refugees, defectors and displaced persons from the great social civil war of our time.

Perhaps I will be mistaken, and you will never have a moment’s doubt for the rest of your lives.  In that case, we must continue to oppose you, to try to contain the damage we believe you are doing.

Even if we should lose this particular fight on this particular evening, we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength on the airwaves, we shall defend our beliefs, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight in the churches, we shall fight at the ballot box, we shall fight in the schools and in the courts, we shall fight on the web; we shall never surrender.

As for me, I shall sleep soundly tonight, knowing that I have done my duty to God and my country and to future generations. And with that, I wish you all, a good night.

[1] My testimony from February 2011 is available on-line at the Ruth Institute Marriage Library,

[2] California passed a bill permitting a child to have three legal parents if in the opinion of the judge, it was in the child’s best interest.  This particular law did not require the consent of any of the parents.  Governor Jerry Brown vetoed this bill, saying, “I am sympathetic to the author’s interest in protecting children. … But I am troubled by the fact that some family law specialists believe the bill’s ambiguities may have unintended consequences. I would like to take more time to consider all of the implications of this change.”  See my analysis of this bill, and the situation that gave rise to it, “Why California’s Three Parent Bill was Inevitable,”  The Public Discourse , September 10, 2012. a shorter analysis, see “A Little Girl Named M.C.,” available on-line at:

[3] For a Canadian case involving three parents see here:

For a British case involving four parents, see here:

[4] For example, an innkeeper in Vermont, , a minister in Ontario, Canada,  For more complete analysis  of the religious liberty implications of this bill, I defer to my learned colleague from the Alliance Defending Freedom, Ms. Kellie Fiedorek.

[5] Washington State’s new marriage bill replaces “husband” and “wife” with generic  “spouses” throughout the law.

The U. S. State Department attempted to introduce Parent 1 and Parent 2 on US Passports. After a public outcry, the attempt was abandoned.  But the attempt is still significant because it illustrates the momentum for removing gender-specific language from the law.

[6] To cite just a few examples, in New York, Wall Street Republicans contributed the money necessary to redefine marriage in the legislature.  In Washington state, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos contributed $2.5 million to pass the referendum redefining marriage.  Contributions of this magnitude made it possible for the proponents of genderless marriage to outspend the advocates of conjugal marriage many times over.

[7]The Cranston,  Rhode Island school district banned a father daughter dance, under pressure from the ACLU, that such a dance would be improper gender discrimination. ” Father-daughter dances banned in R.I. as ‘gender discrimination’” Los Angeles Times,  September 18, 2012,,0,2172144.story

[8] Family law radicals are already paving the way for the redefinition of parenthood, to go along with the redefinition of marriage.  One way to blur the distinction between parent and non-parent, and to break down “bionormativity,” is to create and/or expand the concept of “de facto parent,” in which a judge can decide whether someone unrelated to child either through biology or adoption, can nonetheless count as a parent.  “Court upholds woman’s ‘de facto’ parental rights,” Delaware on-line, April 18, 2011, The Delaware statute ”is not specific to same sex couples, but applies to other unmarried partners and stepparents.” NEWS01/104190347/Court-upholds-woman-s-de-facto-parental-rights?odyssey=mod|newswell|text|Home|s;  State of Minnesota, A05-537, May 10, 2007, In re the Matter of Nancy SooHoo, Respondent, vs Marilyn Johnson. See also,  In re parentage of L.B., a Washington case creating a four part test for definition of de facto parents.

For an academic defense of multiple party parenting by contract, see Associate Professor at Michigan State University College of Law, Melanie B. Jacobs, “Why Just Two? Disaggregating Traditional Parental Rights and Responsibilities to Recognize Multiple Parents,” 9 Journal of Law and Family Studies 309 (2007).  The media are also attempting to normalize the redefinition of parenthood. See this puff piece,  “Johnny has two mommies—and four dads,” in the Boston Globe, October 24, 2010,

[9] The In re M.C. case arose in part because the biological father came forward to try to care for his daughter after the birth mother went to jail for accessory to attempted murder of her former partner. “Why California’s Three Parent Bill was Inevitable,”  The Public Discourse , September 10, 2012.

[10] This is probably a factor in the drama in the background of the in re M.C. case.  It is surely a factor in the celebrated Miller-Jenkins custody dispute.    “FBI arrests Tenn. Pastor in Vt.-VA custody case,” Sign On San Diego, April 22, 2011. news/2011/apr/22/fbi-arrests-tenn-pastor-in-vt-va-custody-case/ “Vermont: ruling in Lesbian Custody Case,” New York Times, January 22, 2010,

[11] See the many blogs and websites started by Donor Conceived Persons, such as,,

[12] On the outsourcing of surrogacy to poor countries, see the following articles, which vary in their approval of the practice. Forbes considers it just another business. “The Newest Wave in Outsourcing to India: Surrogate Pregnancies,” Forbes, July 23, 2012.

The Center for Bioethics and Culture considers it exploitation. “Biological Eugenic Colonialism,” citing a story from May 2012,

WebMD just reports, “Womb for Rent: Surrogate Mothers in India,”

[13]“The Quebec Policy Against Homophobia,” also pledges to eliminate “heteronormativity,” which is the belief that heterosexuality is normal. http://

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Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D. is the Founding President of the Ruth Institute, an educational organization promoting lifelong married love to college students and young adults. She thanks Mr. Austin Muck, her 2011 Blackstone Legal Fellowship intern, for his assistance with the legal research on "In re M.C."

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