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Missouri Family E-NewsJune 28, 2011

 

High Court Invalidates Video Game Restrictions
 
 

The U. S. Supreme Court has ruled that states may not restrict access by minors to video games including graphic violence.  The High Court, in a 7-2 decision, struck down a California law that prohibited the sale or rental of violence-laden video games to anyone under the age of 18.

 

The language of the California statute included video games that depicted "killing, maiming, dismembering, or sexually assaulting an image of a human being."

 

"Video games qualify for First Amendment protection," wrote Justice Antonin Scalia on behalf of the court.  "Like books, plays, and movies, they communicate ideas...Government has no power to restrict expression because of its content."

 

Justice Scalia went even further to say, in alarming fashion, that government cannot regulate most any commercial speech directed at children.  "The state wishes to create a wholly new category of content-based regulation that is permissible only for speech directed at children.   That is unprecedented and mistaken."

 

Scalia argued that children have long been fed a diet of violence.  "There is no tradition in this country of specially restricting children's access to depictions of violence.  Certainly the books we give children to read, or read to them, have no shortage of gore.  Grimm's Fairy Tales, for example, are grim indeed."

 

Dissenting Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer argued that the High Court was being inconsistent with its other rulings upholding laws restricting the sale of sexually explicit materials to minors.

 

"What kind of First Amendment would permit the government to protect children by restricting sales of extremely violent video games only when a woman in the game who is being bound, gagged, tortured, and killed, is also topless?"

 

California State Senator Leland Yee, the sponsor of the legislation, blasted the High Court decision.  "The Supreme Court has put the interests of corporate America first."

 

"As a result of their decision, the video game industry will continue to make billions of dollars at the expense of our kids' mental health and the safety of our community.  It is simply wrong that the video game industry can be allowed to put their profit margins over the rights of parents and the well-being of children."

 

Proponents of the California law claimed that the brains of juveniles have not matured to the point that a minor is able to handle behavior control.  The California Legislature relied on various studies that point to a link between violent video game use and an increase in aggressive thoughts, anti-social behavior, and desensitization to violence in both minors and adults.

 

Tim Winters, President of the Parents Television Council, says video game retailers have "an abysmal failure rate" in enforcing the industry's own age-based rating system.

 

"With the exception of GameStop, many in the video game industry appear to be unwilling to prevent the sale of [these] games to kids.  With no fear of any consequence for violating the age restriction guidelines, retailers can now brazenly sell games with unspeakable violence and adult content even to the youngest of children.  We will be monitoring this very closely." 

 

 

 

Pro-Life Group Booted from 4th of July Parade


A pro-life group has been kicked out of the annual 4th of July parade this weekend in Palatine, Illinois.  Parade organizers booted the group because their banner includes a picture of an unborn child.

 

The local pro-life group bounced from the parade is the Catholics Respect Life organization in Palatine, which is a suburb northwest of downtown Chicago.  The groups's banner depicts both a preborn child and an elderly woman, with the message "Palatine Area Catholics Respect Life from Conception 'till Natural Death."

 

The Palatine Area Jaycees, who organize the annual parade, decided the banner was offensive.  "Everyone's trying to promote their message," said Jaycee spokesman Bill Pohlman.  "But the event organizers felt this crossed the line."

 

Martin Kelley, co-founder of the pro-life group, was aghast at the decision.  "They decided that an unborn baby is too offensive.  It's an ultrasound photo.  It's not a picture of an aborted baby."

 

Kelley says the same banner has appeared in prior parades without objection.  He says the group was applauded all along last year's parade route and received several standing ovations from the crowd.

 

Kelley says the parade organizers are applying a double standard to the pro-life group.  He points out that other groups with potentially offensive messages have been approved for this year's parade, including the Parents and Families of Lesbians and Gays. 

 

 

Pro-Family Leaders Decry NY Vote to Redefine Marriage
 
 

Pro-family forces are roundly criticizing the New York Republican Party on the heels of action by the New York General Assembly to redefine the instititution of marriage.  Pro-marriage leaders are strongly denouncing Republican lawmakers who collaborated in changing the legal definition of marriage in the state of New York to include homosexual unions.

 

The New York Senate approved a bill legalizing so-called "same-sex marriage" on Friday by a vote of 33-29, and it was signed into law within minutes by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who had vigorously campaigned for its passage.  Four Republican Senators provided the margin of victory for the homosexual rights legislation.

 

Despite the fact that Republicans hold a majority in the New York Senate, and despite the fact that 29 of the 33 members of the Republican caucus were opposed to the bill, Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos caved to pressure from Cuomo, the "gay rights" movement, and the liberal media to bring the bill to a vote.  Similar legislation had failed last session when the Democratic Party held the majority in the Senate.

 

"Enormous political coercion has resulted in a profound lack of moral courage in the New York Senate," says Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council.  "A clear majority of the people of New York oppose counterfeit 'marriage,' but Governor Cuomo and anti-family lawmakers have shown that their allegiance is to a small but vocal minority seeking to redefine marriage and family."

 

"While it was the Democrats who were pushing this agenda, it is the Republicans in the New York Senate who ultimately allowed this to happen,"  Perkins continued.  "Sadly, the families of New York are not represented well by either of the state's major parties on this issue."

 

Brian Brown, President of the National Organization for Marriage, has pledged to commit $2 million in next year's elections toward the defeat of the Republican senators who voted to redefine marriage.  "New York Republicans must understand that voting for 'gay marriage' has consequences...Politicians who campaign one way on marriage, and then vote the other, need to also understand:  betraying and misleading voters has consequences, too."

 

The drive to pervert the institution of marriage in New York was assisted in large part by Kenneth Mehlman, the former chairman of the Republican National Committee.  Mehlman raised substantial sums of money from leading Republican donors to underwrite the cost of the advertising and lobbying campaigns for homosexual groups.  "Gay rights" forces hired former aides to Republican senators to lobby the Republican members of the Senate.  Wall Street bigwigs worked to persuade Republican Senators that "gay marriage" was crucial to the economic development of the state.

 

Homosexual activists are trumpeting the New York victory, saying that it will lead to nationwide legal acknowledgement of homosexual unions as equivalent to marriage.  "Now that we've made it here, we'll make it everywhere," says Evan Wolfson of Freedom to Marry.  "The momentum...is growing...with unprecedented support from Republicans, corporations, and even pro athletes."

 

New York becomes the sixth and by far most populous state to corrupt the historic legal framework of marriage.  Like New York, Vermont and New Hampshire redefined marriage through legislative action.  In the states of Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Iowa, liberal activist state judges redefined marriage by finding previously undiscovered constitutional rights to "same-sex marriage" in their respective state constitutions.

 

However, in every state where voters have had their say (thirty-one at this count) Americans have strongly reaffirmed the preservation of traditional marriage, with an average approval rating of 63%.  That percentage closely parallels the results of a recent national survey on the issue by Public Opinion Strategies, which showed that 62% of Americans believe that marriage should only be defined as the union of a man and a woman.

 

In the meantime, President Barack Obama continues his efforts to scuttle the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).  DOMA protects the vast majority of states that have preserved the traditional legal definition of marriage from being forced to recognize homosexual "marriages" from other states. 

 

The protections of DOMA are crucial in light of the nature of marriage laws in New York.   One does not need to be a resident of the state to be married there.  Homosexual couples from across the country could head to New York to be "married" and return to their home states demanding recognition of their "marriages" were it not for DOMA.  Iowa is another state that does not require residency as a qualification for a marriage license.   Same-sex couples from outside Iowa have constituted 60 per cent of those who have so far been granted homosexual marriage licenses in that state.

 

Missouri's Constitution, (amended by state voters in 2004 with a 71% vote) makes it clear that "to be valid and recognized in this state, a marriage shall exist only between a man and a woman. "  State law also declares that "a marriage between persons of the same sex will not be recognized for any purpose in this state even when valid where contracted."  However, in the absence of DOMA, advocates for homosexual "marriage" would argue that the "full faith and credit clause" of the U.S. Constitution compels the state to honor such unions.

 

While Missouri's Constitution prohibits the redefinition of marriage, it does not foreclose the establishment of civil unions.  This legal arrangement, which is equivalent to marriage in everything but name, has been adopted by the states of Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, New Jersey, Wisconsin, and most recently Illinois. 

 

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay recently called on the Missouri Legislature to adopt civil unions in Missouri.  Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan has previously expressed her support of such action.   

 

There is little likelihood that the Missouri Legislature will jump on the "gay rights" bandwagon anytime in the near future, particularly when it comes to the institution of marriage.  Republicans who dominate the General Assembly in both chambers are strong social conservatives, and many are committed Christians. 

 

However, legislative leaders in both parties have had a long history of being highly responsive to pressures from major corporate interests.  As the business community becomes more and more captive to the homosexual lobby, legislators in Missouri will have to withstand not only the usual carping from the liberal media, but the arm-twisting of some of their major corporate donors.  We pray that Missouri lawmakers, unlike their spineless peers in New York, will have the moral courage to do so.   

   

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