Turning the Hearts of Children and Fathers

Fatherlessness:  A Crisis of the Highest Magnitude in Our Culture

From the desk of WFA president Julaine Appling:

I probably ought to do this commentary on marriage in Wisconsin. Maybe I should address some of the amazing statements Judge Barbara Crabb made in her ruling that ignored the votes of 1.6 million Wisconsin citizens and overturned the marriage protection amendment.  Or maybe I should address the judge’s apparent desire to delay clarifying her order and issuing a stay so that all persons of the same-sex who wanted to could get marriage licenses in the seven-day window her disregard for the rule of law opened.  But I’m going to resist the pull to do any of that.

Instead I’m going to talk about fathers—yes, I know Fathers’ Day was this past Sunday.  No matter.

Now, I can’t resist the obvious here. In declaring Wisconsin’s Marriage Protection Amendment unconstitutional, Judge Crabb basically said children do not need both a mother and a father to grow up to be productive, healthy, contributing citizens.  Yes, that’s exactly what legalizing same-sex marriage does. It purposefully and legally deprives a child of either a mother or a father.

ImageThis I know. Children need their fathers.  Late last month, Wisconsin Family Council released our new publication, Wisconsin’s Cultural Indicators, 2014 Edition. A couple of weeks ago in this commentary, I discussed some of the data in this document.  I noted that written all over it is the impact of fatherlessness on our families, communities and state.  When fathers are not in the homes, children are subjected to an unbelievable host of problems.  It’s a miracle when a child is in a single-mother home and isn’t profoundly affected by many of these ills.

So here are some of the problems single-mother children are much more likely to experience over children who live with their married moms and dads.  They are more likely to experience poverty, to experience truancy, to drop out of school, to live dependent on government, to get in trouble with the law, to abuse drugs and alcohol, to be sexually active before marriage, to have health issues, to be subjected to physical and sexual abuse—and the list goes on.

I don’t think it’s an overstatement to say fathers are pretty much irreplaceable in the lives of their children.  More and more research is showing what we should know by experience and common sense that fathers don’t parent like mothers.  That they are typically the parent that lays out the boundaries, encourages some risk taking, provides a very real sense of comfort and security, toughens up boys and protects girls, comes at life and parenting from a more logical than emotional approach.  All of this balances the incredible, also-irreplaceable contributions from a mother.  God, the designer of male and female and marriage, gave to both of them all that they need, in a complementary way, so that they can together provide exactly what children need.

ImageFatherlessness is a crisis of the highest magnitude in our culture.  I am haunted by the closing verses of the last book of the Old Testament, Malachi 4:5 and 6.  The prophet Malachi writes:  “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.”

That verse tells me, sadly, that fatherlessness is not new—and that it takes work and determination for fathers to stay connected to their children.  Apparently God thinks that a strong father-child relationship is important, even if federal judges don’t.  He tells us that if the hearts of the fathers and children aren’t turned towards one another, He, Almighty God, was going to smite the earth with a curse.  His plan is for men and women to marry, generally to have children, and to together bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.  When society skips the marriage part of God’s plan but still has babies or breaks this lifelong commitment by divorce, we reap the natural consequences of our choices.  The problem is the children are the ones who suffer first, most and longest.

In a time when judges and liberals are bent on destroying God’s plan for marriage and family, we as Christians must hold God’s standard high and we must certainly rally around fathers and fatherhood—for the sake of the children.  May we seek, like Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers.


WFA Pens Op Ed: Liberal Judge Thwarted Will Of People

ImageWFA president Julaine Appling via the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 6/9/2014:

“With the single stroke of the pen of a single, unelected, unaccountable judge, marriage has been turned on its head in Wisconsin, the will of the people thwarted, the rule of law disregarded.

Some are saying same-sex marriage is now “allowed” in Wisconsin. That’s not true. We the people did not “allow” this seismic change in our foundational societal institution. We had it thrust upon us by an activist judge with an agenda.

The citizens of our state spoke on this issue in 2006 with a solid vote (over 59%) in favor of keeping marriage between one man and one woman. Our votes and voice were wrested from us by this judge and by those who took the cowardly way and ran to the court rather than try to dismantle the amendment the same way the amendment was enacted.

Now that U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb has ruled, presto — state’s rights and the will of the people notwithstanding, restricting marriage to one man and one woman is somehow, almost magically, unconstitutional. The message from this ruling is clear. The millions of citizens who voted to protect marriage in 38 states, including 1.6 million Wisconsin citizens, and all the lawmakers who were involved in crafting and approving the language of the amendments were too ignorant to understand the U.S. Constitution. Crabb and federal judges in 14 states have ignored the expressed will of the majority and instead allowed a well-organized, well-funded, vocal minority to redefine the institution of marriage.

The fallout from Friday’s ruling, should it stand, will be profound. While it may take some time for the effects to be noticeable, they will begin, in subtle ways, immediately.”



Read the rest HERE.



Wisconsin Family Action Asks, “What Happened to “We, the People?”

Federal judge strikes down WI Marriage Protection Amendment

Press release from Wisconsin Family Action:

MADISON—Today US District Judge Barbara Crabb struck down Wisconsin’s Marriage Protection Amendment, ruling it unconstitutional.

“We are deeply disappointed but not surprised at Judge Crabb’s ruling,” said Wisconsin Family AcImagetion President Julaine Appling.  “All over the country federal judges have replaced “We, the people” with “I, the judge” when ruling on state constitutional amendments that define and protect marriage as one man and one woman.  Rather than going through the stringent legislative process required to place a proposed constitutional amendment on the ballot for a vote, radical homosexuals have used the courts to nullify the vote of a majority of Wisconsin citizens as well as those in 26 other states.”

ImageWith a single stroke of a single judge’s pen, marriage has been turned on its head in Wisconsin, effective immediately.  Wisconsin Family Action anticipates a hearing on whether or not the judge will put a stay on her ruling.  It also hopes that Attorney General JB Van Hollen will file a timely appeal of this decision with the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.

“The struggle to preserve and protect traditional marriage is far from over and will continue,” said Appling.  “A benighted judge’s ruling cannot change the fact that a marriage of one man and one woman is the healthiest, most prosperous, and most stable place not only for the man and woman but also for the children they may bring into the world.  Trying to destroy an institution that has served and prospered societies for thousands of years is the height of arrogance and a gross pandering to a well organized, well funded, very small minority who, rather than take this important issue to the people of Wisconsin, did an end run around the will of the people.”

Defending Marriage: A High Honor

From the desk of Wisconsin Family Council president Julaine Appling:

One of the highest honors I have is to strengthen, preserve and promote marriage in this great state.  From time to time, our work includes defending this God-ordained, God-designed institution, the people who share our belief in marriage, and rule of law in our state.   Last week, I and four board members of Wisconsin Family Action, our sister organization once again had the privilege of doing just that.

marriageIn the fall of 2006, nearly 60% of the voters approved Wisconsin’s Marriage Protection Amendment, which preserves God’s plan for marriage in our state law.

Basically from the moment that the amendment passed, it has been under legal attack.

In July 2007, a UW-Oshkosh professor filed a lawsuit alleging that the amendment dealt with two subjects not just one, and therefore the vote was unconstitutional.  In 2009, the State Supreme Court ruled in a unanimous decision that the amendment dealt with only one subject—marriage.  We were privileged to have filed a couple friend-of-the-court briefs in this case, in defense of the institution of marriage, the will of the people, the rule of law and the state constitution.

The fight didn’t end there. In 2009, Governor Jim Doyle enacted through the state budget a statewide, same-sex-only domestic partnership that at the very least is substantially similar to marriage.  Our attorneys immediately filed a lawsuit on our behalf alleging that the partnership is unconstitutional. We filed the lawsuit because it is absolutely imperative that the institution of marriage, the will of the people, the rule of law and the state constitution be defended.

Last year, the case reached the State Supreme Court and oral arguments were held this past October.  Right now we are waiting for the court to issue its ruling in this case.

But that’s not all.  On February 3 of this year, Wisconsin’s number was up.  The ACLU, on behalf of 16 open homosexuals, filed a lawsuit in federal court here in The Badger State, alleging that the amendment passed by a majority of state legislators in two consecutive sessions and then soundly approved by “we the people,” is unconstitutional.  The lawsuit alleges that the amendment violates the equal protection clause of the US Constitution, as well as the due process clause.

We were pleased that current Attorney General JB VanHollen immediately said he would vigorously defend the amendment on behalf of the state.  We also knew given that we have been uniquely and substantially involved with this amendment from the beginning that we could add to the supporting arguments.  So, our attorneys petitioned Federal Judge Barbara Crabb to allow us to file a friend-of-the-court brief in this critical case.

Earlier this month, the court granted us permission, in spite of the fact that the ACLU and its clients vigorously opposed our petition.  I am pleased to tell you that last Wednesday, May 14, we formally filed our brief in this case again defending marriage, the will of the people, and the rule of law and the state constitution.

adfIn every one of these cases, our friends at Alliance Defending Freedom have stepped up and taken us on as clients.  Their stable of extremely competent attorneys across the country and especially their local allied attorneys right here in Wisconsin have done an extraordinary job of working with us in defending marriage, the will of the people, the rule of law and the Wisconsin Constitution.  We are deeply grateful for their ongoing help.

The lesson in this history of Wisconsin’s Marriage Protection Amendment is that defending marriage is not a one-and-done deal. It requires eternal vigilance on the part of all of us.  It demands a great deal of time, money, skilled attorneys, and commitment—and certainly calls for much prayer.  It requires strategic partnerships, not the least of which is partnerships with the Christian citizens in this state who share our values.  We covet your prayers and involvement as God leads you, as we daily have the high honor of strengthening, preserving, promoting and, yes, defending marriage and family in our great state.

Fed Judge Allows Group to File Brief in ACLU v WI Marriage Protection Amendment

ImageThis past February, the ACLU, on behalf of 16 people in same-sex relationships, filed a lawsuit in Wisconsin’s Western District federal court alleging that the state’s Marriage Protection Amendment passed by nearly 60% of the voters in 2006 violates the US Constitution.  Late last week, Western District Federal Judge Barbara Crabb issued an order allowing Wisconsin Family Action president Julaine Appling and 4 Wisconsin Family Action board members to file a friend-of-the-court brief that will support the marriage amendment and the will of the voters.

The court is set to hear this case on August 25th.

Appling states, “While we are confident that Attorney General JB Van Hollen will aggressively defend our Marriage Protection Amendment, we are very pleased that the court agreed that we are uniquely qualified to be involved with this case.  We have had, from the beginning, a major role in this amendment becoming a reality.  It is imperative that we do everything we can to defend the amendment, the will of the people and the institution of marriage.”


ACLU: Attacking Marriage; Usurping the Process

From the desk of Wisconsin Family Action president Julaine Appling:

The debate went something like this, Attorney one: “If the people of Wisconsin want to change the definition of marriage, they can do that if they want to. But right now they’ve made a decision, and it’s a wise decision to promote both sexes, the diversity of mothers and fathers in our families.  That’s not an unreasonable thing at all, recognizing that kids have mothers and fathers. That’s the decision they’ve made, and they’ve made since the beginning of their statehood; and the Supreme Court has affirmed that that is constitutional for them to do.”

Attorney 2’s response: “How long do we ask people in loving, committed relationships, raising children together already, to wait for fair treatment for recognition of their loving relationships? Do we ask the legislature, this legislature in Wisconsin which is very unlikely, to put that to the voters?  Do we ask them to wait for two separate sessions of the legislature, two-year sessions of the legislature and another vote….?”  

ImageThat was a virtually word-for-word repeating of the debate I listened to last week about the lawsuit that the ACLU has filed on behalf of four homosexual couples.  The lawsuit was filed in Wisconsin’s Western District Federal Court and alleges that the Marriage Protection Amendment that nearly 60% of the voters approved in 2006 violates the US Constitution. 

Beyond undoing the amendment, this lawsuit also asks the court to strike any gender specific language in relationship to marriage from our state statutes.  So, essentially, if the court agrees with the ACLU and these eight homosexuals, then theoretically, Wisconsin will have redefined marriage with the stroke of a judge’s pen. 

Now, I am not saying this happens at the first level of the judicial process. Typically what the judge does is make his or her determination and then, if the decision is an overturning of current law, will put a “stay” on the order, pending the case working its way through the appeals process.  The stay basically says nothing changes in the law until all appeal options have been pursued and a final decision rendered, usually by the US Supreme Court by taking the case and rendering a decision or by that court not taking the case and forcing the decision of the appellate court to stand.  However, it would still be true that marriage would be essentially redefined in the judge’s opinion.  All that stops that from happening is the judge being prudent and exercising the stay.  And the judge does not have to exercise that option.

ImageSo that brings us back to the debate between the ACLU attorney and the attorney defending our marriage protection amendment.  Basically what the ACLU attorney is saying is, “We don’t care about the rule of law.  We don’t care about the constitutional provision that dictates how we amend the state constitution.  We want what we want, when we want it and we’ll use whatever means we have to in order to get what we want.  We don’t care about children. We don’t care about religious freedom.  We want these loving and committed same-sex couples to have their relationships recognized and affirmed now.”

Quite honestly, there is no other reason for them to circumvent the rule of law in this situation than that they, like two-year-olds, are demanding their way right now. 

The Wisconsin Constitution says to amend the constitution, you need to pass the exact same resolution in the state legislature in two consecutive legislative sessions and then get a simple majority vote among the state’s voters on a statewide ballot.  It’s purposefully rigorous and time consuming. 

But those bent on redefining marriage for everyone have once again run to the courts hoping to avoid this prudent process and mostly hoping to avoid having to take their proposed redefinition of marriage to the people for a vote.

You should be appalled by this ACLU-led lawsuit. If you were one of the over 2 million Wisconsin citizens who voted for the amendment in 2006, you should be outraged that your vote could be negated by a single judge.  You should be alarmed that the rule of law is being blatantly ignored and bypassed. You should be very concerned about what this lawsuit could mean to you, to your family-owned business, to your religious freedom, to what your kids learn in the public school and more. 

Marriage is once again under attack in Wisconsin.  We urge you to pray and to stay informed.  Be prepared to talk knowledgeably and wisely about this issue with people in your sphere of influence, including your family members and your church leadership.  Much is at stake as these whining and demanding plaintiffs usurp the constitutional process to get their way. 

ACLU Attacks Marriage in Wisconsin

Wisconsin Family Action president Julaine Appling gives initial response to ACLU’s lawsuit filed on Feb. 3, 2014, alleging Wisconsin’s Marriage Protection Amendment is unconstitutional. The amendment was passed in 2006 by nearly 60% of the voters.