Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Where Dr J has been in February: Virginia and DC

The Ruth Institute exists to promote lifelong married love to the young by creating a social and economic climate favorable to marriage. We accomplish our mission through speaking engagements across the country.

I had two major trips in February. I went to Washington, D.C. and Northern Virginia, and then to the Minneapolis area. I spoke on “Alternatives to Feminism” to Federalist Society chapters at Georgetown Law School and the University of Virginia Law School. The UVA students surprised me. A couple of women who identified themselves as feminists came up to me to tell me that had expected to hate me and my talk. But they were astonished by how much they agreed with my message that women have been sold a bill of goods, when they were told to eschew marriage in favor of complete focus on a career. One of them told me that she thought I was a “totally awesome feminist.”

As a result of that encounter, I got to thinking, “what the heck is feminism, anyhow? Do we really need to rehabilitate the word? Or should we start over with new terminology to describe a pro-woman position within the broad conservative context?” So, we have started a discussion over at the Ruth Youth blog. Go check it out and tell us what you think feminism is or should be. If you have college age friends or relatives, send them to the Ruth Youth blog.

Same sex marriage was on the agenda at the George Mason University Law school in Arlington, Virginia and the University of St. Thomas Law school in Minneapolis. At George Mason, I debated same sex adoption with Gabriel Hudson, a young political science professor, (pictured.) I gave a speech about same sex marriage and Proposition 8 at the University of St. Thomas.

By the time I arrived home from my trip to George Mason, I found a nice hand-written note in the mail.
“I wanted to thank you for your participation in George Mason Law’s same sex adoption debate. While I may have ideological differences from yours, I found your presentation today very fair and respectful and I respect you for that. Sincerely, … Vice President/Secretary of GALLA, LBGT Law Association.”

That made my day. We need more civil discussions of these important issues. I’m proud to play a small part in raising the level of the debate.

At the same time, these events revealed just how much work we have to do on campuses. I have often made the point that same sex marriage requires us to believe that mothers and fathers are interchangeable. Many, many young people do not have a problem with that. They insist that we demonstrate things that are intuitively obvious to older people. I am committed to bringing the best arguments and the most respectful presentations of these issues. With your help, I will continue to carry this message to campuses across the country.

(This was originally published in the Ruth Institute free weekly newsletter. Click here to subscribe.)

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