Monday, May 12, 2008

The Summer of 1787

I HAVE ALWAYS THOUGHT OF HISTORY as a riveting story, not as a dry recitation of dates and facts. The story of how the U. S. Constitution was written is one such story and it is marvelously told by David O. Steward’s The Summer of 1787: The Men Who Invented the Constitution.

From fishing rights on the Potomac River to Shays’ Rebellion, Steward tells the fascinating story of the events leading up to what we now call the Constitutional Convention and the dramatic interplay among men of diverse backgrounds whose work in Philadelphia laid the bedrock that our nation was built upon.

School children are taught only the bare bones of what happened in Independence Hall that long summer of 1787. Steward, however, paints a much fuller portrait of what transpired. The Summer of 1787 tells the story of men, some great, some not, who argued the meaning and purpose of government and in doing so took on the great political and cultural questions of the day. Men, who only years earlier had declared that all men were created equal, now wrestled with the question of slavery and representation in Congress, as well as other issues that would tear them apart. It was not an easy task and in the end they did not all agree.

Many students tend to think that because the Founding Fathers were all united in their desire for independence, they were also united in the shape and direction of the new nation should take. Nothing could be further from reality, and Stewart delves into the character of the men and issues that met in that convention hall to tell a gripping, fast-paced, and well researched story of the birth of the nation.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

ADF: Foreign same-sex “marriage” issue unresolved in New York

ALBANY, N.Y. — Although the New York Court of Appeals declined to hear an appeal from an appellate court’s decision holding that municipalities must recognize foreign same-sex “marriages” in the Empire State, Alliance Defense Fund attorneys point out that the final word has not yet been heard on the issue. The court reasoned that it could not hear the case because the lower court’s decision had yet to “finally determine the action.” Once that occurs, the Court of Appeals may again be asked to consider the case.

“The government should promote and encourage strong families. New York’s marriage laws do that; recognizing same-sex ‘marriages’ performed in foreign countries does not,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Brian Raum. “Foreign marriage laws should never trump New York’s public policy on marriage, which does not recognize unions between members of the same sex. Marriage is under attack because certain special interest groups are trying to reduce it to little more than a benefits system for emotionally attached couples without regard for the ramifications.”

The issue of whether the state should recognize foreign same-sex “marriages” is also being addressed by other New York courts. ADF attorneys are engaged in several other appeals involving the extension of taxpayer-funded benefits normally reserved for married couples to state employees involved in same-sex “marriages” that are otherwise illegal in New York.

“Any of these cases may find their way to New York’s high court. Until that happens, the issue will not be definitely resolved,” Raum explained. “These lawsuits are in different appellate divisions than the one declined by the New York high court Tuesday; therefore, they are not bound by that poorly reasoned appellate decision.
A copy of the friend-of-the-court brief ADF attorneys filed March 17 in the New York Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, in Martinez v. County of Monroe is available here.

ADF is a legal alliance defending the right to hear and speak the Truth through strategy, training, funding, and litigation.