The Vanishing American Family

The Vanishing American Family<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

Stephen M. Crampton, Esq.

A few years ago, a clever ad campaign bemoaned the vanishing American hamburger. It depicted a grandmotherly woman holding open her hamburger bun and asking, "Where's the beef?" While the ad campaign was humorous, we ought seriously to lament the vanishing American family, which is being redefined and railroaded almost out of existence. And when court cases invent new terms to describe family members, we ought to ask, "Where's the beef?"

The American family is under fire from so many enemies it is difficult to keep track of them all.

Our love affair with no-fault divorce has left an endless trail of broken homes and shattered lives in its wake. Today, a marriage contract is easier to break than a cell-phone contract. While virtually every state provides, at taxpayer expense, a "how to" guide for obtaining a divorce, there is not a single document made available to those wishing to save a marriage. It should come as no surprise that it was Vladimir Lenin who first instituted no-fault divorce in a calculated attempt to destroy the family.[1] How successful he was.

Not only does easy divorce threaten the family, but the sexualization of society threatens it as well. Government schools teach kids how to put on a condom but not how to stay in a marriage. Viewing porn online is considered a constitutional right, while excluding "homophobic" military recruiters from campus is deemed a virtuous act.

But perhaps the greatest threat to the American family is activist courts seeking to redefine the nature of the family.

Take, for example, the recent ruling of the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia in Tina B. v. Paul S., holding that a lesbian partner was entitled to custody of her deceased lover's little boy because, although she was not related to the boy by blood or marriage, by golly she was at least his "psychological parent." After all, it was her half-brother -- did I mention he is a convicted felon? -- she induced to have sex with her partner in order to impregnate her. So, the five year old boy was uprooted from the happy, two-parent home of his grandparents and forced to live with the lesbian's dysfunctional family.

The court wrote in defense of its decision that the case was made necessary "only because too many people love this little boy." I guess we all just need to "feel the love" and get over it.

Contrary to the court's trite efforts to make light of the case, the real reason the lawsuit was made necessary was because of the reckless and life-threatening behavior of the lesbian petitioner herself. I do not mean her sexual practices; I mean her falling asleep at the wheel after an all-night party at a gay bar in Charleston, causing her vehicle to veer into oncoming traffic and suffer a head-on collision, killing her lesbian lover, the mother of the child. Pardon me for asking, but what exactly is it that is "gay" about this lifestyle?

The <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />West Virginia Supreme Court capitalized on the situation and made a name for itself where it most desired recognition, namely among the cultural elites. No doubt there is high praise echoing in the halls of the New York Times and the Washington Post, and congratulations all around at the ACLU and Lambda Legal; not so much for the actual opinion of the court as for the stepping stone it provides for future recognition of same-sex marriage. I trust the self-esteem of the justices in the majority is at an all-time high.

The court carefully crafted its opinion to appear as though it was a scholarly, matter-of-fact analysis of cold hard law and fact. But in truth, we should ask, where's the law? The decision of the West Virginia Supreme Court was an exercise in social engineering, not law.

As the scant facts already mentioned amply prove, this was not a hard case factually. It was bizarre. But in weighing the interests of the lesbian partner against those of the maternal grandparents, the court barely even mentioned the forgotten grandparents, so eager was it to embrace the high priestess of homosexual hip. So much for equality.

Mind you, the lesbian petitioner never attempted to adopt the child, and the deceased mother never bothered to prepare a Will naming her lesbian partner as guardian. Nor was there a shred of written documentation confirming the lesbian's claim that the couple "considered themselves married." But these minor details could not deter the court from rushing to make new law recognizing a same-sex partner as a "psychological parent."

Neither was the case difficult legally. The fiction of the "psychological parent" has been used in West Virginia only sparingly in the past, and then only in cases involving custody disputes among relatives, whether by blood or by marriage. It was invented as a means to prop up the crumbling infrastructure of the traditional family. The court here turned established law on its head, and used it to tear the nuclear family apart.

Furthermore, state law was clear that the lesbian partner could not initiate a custody action on her own. Since she was the only party petitioning the appellate court for relief (having jointly brought the initial action with her felonious half-brother, who dropped out when it was appealed), the case could and should have been dismissed on that basis alone. But the court was determined not to let a good opportunity to hone its social engineering skills pass, so they treated her as an intervener rather than a petitioner, and let the case proceed. In high-sounding rationale, they proclaimed that "a mere procedural technicality" should not take precedence over the "best interests" of the homosexual agenda -- I mean, child.

Under the guise of simply interpreting a statute, then, the West Virginia Supreme Court undertook to radically change the law. Claiming to abide by the will of the legislature, in fact they did violence to it.

It is the role of the legislature to set social policy, not the judiciary. Moreover, it is the duty of all branches of government to preserve and protect the nuclear family. Civilization itself demands no less. When activist courts undertake to redefine what a parent is, they tamper with the very essence of what makes a society. If we fail to protect what little remains of the vanishing American family, we may soon find ourselves without any beef at all.

Mr. Crampton authored a friend-of-the-court brief in the West Virginia case, and serves as Chief Counsel of the American Family Association Center for Law & Policy (CLP), a public interest-type law firm defending the constitutional rights of Christians. The CLP's web site is Mr. Crampton's daily radio show, "We Hold These Truths," can be heard on almost 200 radio stations nationwide. He can be reached at

[1] I am indebted to the fine work of David Kupelian of WorldNetDaily for many of these facts. See Mr. Kupelian's article, "Whatever Happened to Marriage?" in Whistleblower magazine, Vol. 14, No. 3 for a more complete analysis.

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