26 August 2015

Latest News From Milwaukee: The Archdiocese Moves Closer to Confirming a Plan

It's been a long time (over a year, in fact) since I've posted about the seemingly never-ending Chapter 11 bankruptcy of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Milwaukee. For those whose memories are a bit hazy, go here, here, and here to catch up.

Matters have moved forward with an Amended Plan of Reorganization and its Third Amended Disclosure Statement. News reports suggest that the Archdiocese and its nemesis Creditors' Committee (locally represented by my former firm), which advocates for the victims of sexual abuse, have reached a deal. Read about it here.

From a legal perspective the disposition of the cemetery trust has piqued my interest. Buried in the 399-page disclosure statement is the description of the facts surrounding the creation and management of a trust to maintain the thousands of graves of Catholics buried in the the cemeteries maintained by the trust:
Since at least 1911 , the Archdiocese accepted money to be held in trust for the care of grave sites. For several decades, the Archdiocese told buyers of grave sites that it would put money aside for perpetual care. Buyers of grave sites were assured that funds had been set aside for that purpose. Consistent with that promise, the Archdiocese put a portion of the money from grave site sales into a separate account segregated from the Archdiocese’s general funds. There was a regular and separate audit of the trust fund each year by an independent auditor, and the money was invested by a separate group of outside investment managers. Because the funds were held in trust, special attention was given to ensuring that the funds were separated from the Archdiocese’s general funds and ensuring that these perpetual care funds would be there for their intended and pledged purpose --the care for the resting places of the departed. Perpetual care has important meaning in the Catholic faith. It is to protect the sanctity of the body so that it can one day be reunited with the soul. Catholic cemeteries are sacred places maintained in a way that helps to fulfill God’s promise about death and resurrection. In 2008, the Archdiocese transferred the funds, which at the time were still held in trust in the separate account, to a new formal trust. (Emphasis added.)

Thus, not until three years before it filed its Chapter 11 did the Archdiocese create a formal trust, an event that the victims of abuse assert was to defraud them of a substantial resource for payment of their claims. The Archdiocese (and the cemetery trustees) claim that the history of the administration of the cemetery trust assets demonstrates that the Archdiocese never actually owned the funds even though no formal trust existed.

I have several times remarked on the importance to Christians of demonstrating in a tangible way their belief in the communion of the saints. In other words, the graves of the saints in heaven should be in proximity to the living worshippers. See here and here.

This does not, of course, answer the question of whether the funds in the cemetery trust of the Milwaukee Archdiocese are or should be available to pay the claims of living victim-creditors. It does, however, explain why the Archdiocese and trustees of the cemetery trust fought hard to keeps the trust's assets out of the property of the Archdiocese's bankruptcy estate.

The settlement provides that
The Cemetery Trust agrees to:
(i) reimburse the Archdiocese for past perpetual care expenses that had not previously been reimbursed by the Cemetery Trust;
(ii) contribute $8 million to the Plan Trust;
(iii) lend up to $3 million to the Archdiocese secured by Archdiocesan real estate assets; and
(iv) commit to reimburse the Archdiocese at least $1.95 million per year for costs incurred in maintaining the Milwaukee Catholic Cemeteries for as long as the loan is outstanding. In exchange, the Cemetery Trust will receive a global release of all claims against the Cemetery Trust.

This represents a substantial contribution from the cemetery trust, which in turn suggests that its trustees perceived a real possibility of losing. In any event, with these additional funds it appears this case is finally on the road to resolution.

21 August 2015

Detroit's Not The Last!

As a follower of Chapter 9 municipal bankruptcy, the conclusion of Detroit's mega-case left me a bit dispirited. Sure, I posted a few follow-up comments here and here but it simply wasn't the same.

I was thus excited to read of a new municipal bankruptcy filing, this time by the "city" of Hillview, Kentucky. Read the Bloomberg report here. Sadly, however, Hillview, with its population of 8,000, promises not to provide nearly the level of legal and political excitement as had Detroit. Indeed, Hillview has only one large and problematic creditor, Truck America Training, which recently received a judgment for breach of contract for $11.4 million.

Interest on the judgment is clicking along at $3,700 per day, which works out to $168 per resident per year. Of course, even keeping current with the interest does nothing to pay off the principal amount of the judgment, which would cost each resident $1425. The only ways the city could plausibly expect to pay would be to cut current expenditures drastically. Simultaneously paying other municipal creditors means that many municipal services would be eliminated or curtailed, a topic I addressed in Who Bears the Burden? The Place for Participation of Municipal Residents in Chapter 9. Alternatively, tax rates would be raised to a point where the net result might be a reduction in tax revenue, which I discussed in Who Pays the Price The Necessity of Taxpayer Participation in Chapter 9.

The evident inability of Hillview to pay this judgment in full makes one wonder why the city and  Truck America weren't able to cut a deal before the city filed for relief under Chapter 9. As I described in yet another article about municipal bankruptcy, Municipal Bankruptcy: When Doing Less Is Doing Best, a city has the power to "cram down" a recalcitrant creditor without concern for complying with the roadblock of the absolute priority rule that commercial or individual creditors face.

I'm sure there's more to this story and I'll let folks know what I find out.

17 August 2015

It's Coming South

For some time I've been posting about the challenges to the the ability of Trinity Western University of Vancouver, British Columbia, to add a degree in law to its program offerings. Turns out that TWU has a code of student conduct that limits licit sexual activity to folks who are married to each other, with a commonsensical definition of marriage as between a man and a woman. For a brief survey of my posts go here, here, and here.

Faced with the prospect of members of the bar who had read the law at such a university, several of Canada's bar councils have voted peremptorily to ban graduates of TWU from pursuing their vocation in their provinces.

TWU has filed legal actions to reverse such discriminatory actions and has met with mixed success. See here (my post about the legal proceedings in Nova Scotia) and here (about those in Ontario).

More recently, since the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in Obergefell, I wondered how long it would take before totalitarian efforts made their way from north of the 49th parallel to the United States. The short answer is, not long at all.

This past Friday saw the Council on Legal Education of the American Bar Association--the organization that accredits law schools in the U.S.--give notice that it had initiated review of Standards 205 ("Non-Discrimination and Equality of Opportunity") 206 ("Diversity and Inclusion"). Standard 205 currently provides a religious exemption, which, however, has its limits:

This Standard permits religious affiliation or purpose policies as to admission, retention, and employment only to the extent that these policies are protected by the United States Constitution. It is administered as though the First Amendment of the United States Constitution governs its application. (Emphasis added.)
The import of such reviews is obvious. The result of these reviews are not certain but the pressure to force law schools to abandon any standards of conduct for students or faculty to the extent those standards impinge on sexual autonomy will quickly increase

It may be a matter of time before the totalitarian remaking of reality overcomes all resistance. Assimilate or close is the goal, and the wheels of bureaucratic compliance will grind to dust all who stand in the way.

12 August 2015

One Out, One In: Family Christian Stores and Gospel LIght Publishing

With no surprise--but some personal disappointment--the plan of liquidation of Family Christian Stores, which arranges for its sale to previous owner and largest creditor, Richard Jackson, was approved by the bankruptcy court. Read about it here. As I posted a week ago here, the creditors of FCS believed that taking a 65% haircut on their pre-bankruptcy claims was better than the alternative: shuttering the FCS stores, selling off what inventory remains, and having one fewer retail outlet for their materials.

Will the reduction in debt be enough to keep the new Family Christian Stores in business? Quoting from from a literary agent, Sarah Zylstra at Christianity Today notes here that FCS will still have a tough row to hoe.

But Family Christian Stores' survival comes at a price. Yesterday one of its vendors, Gospel Light Publishing, has filed its own Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Read about it here. The world of print media is an increasingly tough one so it's not the case that the bankruptcy of FCS was the only cause of Gospel Light's financial woes. The write-off of $143,000 owed by Family Christian Stores, however, was certainly the precipitating factor.

You can read Jacqueline Palank's more detailed account of the Gospel Light bankruptcy in the Wall Street Journal here.

07 August 2015

The REAL Election: Family Christian Stores Bankruptcy Ballots

MLive reports here that the unsecured creditors of Family Christian have voted overwhelmingly in favor of its plan of liquidation. No surprise because these creditors are the book sellers who will have no customers if the business of FCS is liquidated.

But wait! Didn't I write above that the creditors had voted in favor of a plan of liquidation? Indeed, I did. The plan of FCS proposes to sell virtually the whole kit and caboodle to Richard Jackson, previous owner, largest lender, and successful bidder at the previous unsuccessful auction. Once its assets have been sold to a new Jackson-controlled entity, the proceeds will be "liquidated" by paying them to the creditors of FCS. And even though the booksellers' will have taken a huge haircut on their past claims, they will continue to business with the "new and improved" FCS in the future.

Two thoughts. First, the spokesman for FCS didn't know how the other seven classes of creditors had voted. In other words, there could be a spanner in the works if even one class of creditors voted "nay." I'm kinda' hoping at least one class votes against the plan just to see a confirmation fight.

Second, if the plan is confirmed and the sale takes place, what makes us think that even a leaner FCS will succeed in the marketplace? After all, the world of selling books and tchotchkes didn't work before and I'm not sanguine it will work any better this time around. But I could be wrong. The new incarnation of FCS will have substantially less debt than its pre-bankruptcy form so perhaps--just perhaps--it will stay afloat for years to come.

Donald Trump, Bankruptcy, and Morality

I missed last night's Republican candidate debate but according to Adam Levitin (here) several of the challengers implicitly chastised Donald Trump for the bankruptcies of corporations that bore his name. (For those who are interested, per the Wall Street Journal they were the Trump Taj Mahal in 1991, the Trump Plaza/Castle in 1992, Trump Hotels in 2004, Trump Entertainment in 2009 and 2014.)
Levitin makes the point that notwithstanding his overall boorishness, Trump is correct that corporate use of Chapter 11 does not reflect a moral failure:
Bankruptcy is a background term to every contract. It's an embedded option. Lenders price for it.  This is old news to bankruptcy scholars, even if it still shocks some people. ... Trump had every right to file his companies for bankruptcy, and no one should weep for his lenders having lost money. They were sophisticated parties ("sharks" he called them, but that's a bit harsh, I'd just say "consenting adults"), who presumably priced for Trump's bankruptcy risk and had diversified portfolios.
I agree but for slightly different reasons. Levitin seems to argue that there is no moral obligation to perform a contract. I have disagreed and you can read my posts here, here , and (for the philosophically-minded) here for my arguments in favor of the existence of moral obligations of corporate entities.

Yet, just as contract-party promisors, whether individual or corporate,  have moral obligations, so do creditor promisees. Creditors have a moral obligation to forgive as I have argued in a three-part series here, here, and here. In other words, both the Trump-named corporations and their professional creditors operated in a moral environment and it is unbalanced to assert that moral standards applied to only one side.

But what do moral obligations have to do with the legitimacy of corporate Chapter 11 bankruptcy? Very little. Here's where I agree with Levitin's conclusion. The lenders to the Trump entities did price the risk of bankruptcy into their loans and whatever shortfall they suffered was simply the realization of a risk they knowingly and willingly undertook. There's no crying in commercial lending.

For some insights on the history and morality of the discharge in personal bankruptcy download my article The Missing Piece of the Puzzle: Perspectives on the Wage Priority in Bankruptcy (here).

04 August 2015

Detroit Follow-Up

I posted about Detroit's Chapter 9 municipal bankruptcy many times. (Go here, here, here, and here for a sampling.) Drawing on Detroit, I even wrote an article about the place of municipal residents in a city's bankruptcy case (Who Bears the Burden? The Place of Municipal Residents in Chapter 9).

But for a human side of the story of Detroit's long slide into its financial black hole, read this piece in the Detroit Free Press: "The Last Days of Detroit's Chaldean Town."

I certainly didn't know that
Catholic Iraqis, known as Chaldeans, began coming to Detroit a century ago. In the 1960s, they began pouring in, some to join their families, some to escape the persecution that this Christian minority faced over the years in Iraq. Metro Detroit now is home to 121,000 Chaldeans, according to the Chaldean Community Foundation.
Nor that Saddam Hussein twice donated large sums to Sacred Heart Chaldean Church, for which he was awarded a key to the city of Detroit.

The disintegration of Chaldean Town followed the pattern of many other of Detroit's ethnic communities. Prosperity enabled suburban flight and increasing crime encouraged it.

One can only hope that Detroit's confirmed plan of adjustment will help reverse the city's descent and enable existing and new communities to grow and thrive.

31 July 2015

Please Excuse the Delay

I haven't posted for over a week but believe I have a good excuse. We have continued to unpack and arrange matters at our townhouse in Raleigh and I spent the remainder of the past week moving into my office at Campbell Law School.

It was a significant endeavor as my before and after photos attest:


What you can't see is my view of the Sacred Heart Cathedral and School. I also get to look down on the nearby headquarters of the North Carolina Democrat Party.

Two days of meeting to review the Campbell Law Self-Study in preparation for the sabbatical visit of the ABA Site Team and then to get ready for classes.  And blogging.


27 July 2015

The Aesthetics (!) of Contract Theory: Part 1

For too long I've been getting easy pageviews by posting about student loans. (By my rough count, I've posted on student loans upwards of 40 times.) Thus, it's about time I get to something important like the intersection of aesthetics and contract theory. Or rather, it's time to post a few times about an article by Efi Zemach and Omri Ben-Zvi by that title, which you can download and read for yourself by going here.

Zemach and Ben-Zvi captured my interest because most contemporary contract theory is framed in terms of efficiency. Regardless of its appearance of mathematical precision, law and economics--by far and away the leading framework for contract theory for the past 30 years--is little more than what J.S.Mill characterized as a glorified pig's philosophy. Which kinda works for contracts because folks regularly use them for rather piggish purposes.

On the other hand, a relatively few folks find the center of contract theory in some form of neo-Kantian autonomy while fewer yet (like my erstwhile colleague Kenny Ching) find the paradigm for contract theory in Aristotelianism as reworked by Thomas Aquinas; in other words, virtue theory. There are evev a very few reliance-theory holdouts, to whom Zemach and Ben-Zvi direct some sustained attention.

On yet another hand, a significant number of generally right-minded folks frame their contract-theoretical work around three poles of this trilemma (efficiency, autonomy, and virtue) in what is commonly known as contract theory pluralism. For examples of my pluralistic endeavors download Principled Pluralism and Contract Remedies (here) or Mission Possible: A Paradigm for Analysis of Contractual Possibility (here) or even Consideration in the Common Law of Contracts: A Biblical-Theological-Critique (here). Zemach and Ben-Zvi 

Utilizing an aesthetic approach seemed like a breath of fresh air on what has become an intractable discussion. My intrigue was initially disappointed. Zemach and Ben-Zvi quickly disclaimed applying serious aesthetic theory to contracts. Instead, they explained, they use "aesthetics" as another primarily cognitive (or pre-cognitive) form of analysis "by understanding aesthetics as the space within which jurist make pre-theoretical commitments that shape the way they experience the structure of legal discourse." Or, in a more poststructuralist vein, aesthetics "determines how one experiences oneself as already situated in certain (contingent) space." Almost gibberish.

In my opinion, one can skim Part II of Zemach and Ben-Zvi's article without great loss. There are some interesting insights, like the authors' admission that their aesthetic analysis is just as embedded in their pre-theoretical commitments as any other starting point: "We briefly discuss the claim that our discussion of aesthetics begs the question since our explanation of aesthetics is also informed by a certain aesthetic." Yet they hasten to add that "this is true--but unimportant." Why? Because "aesthetics are [merely another] way of being in the world and cannot, by themselves, make anything correct or incorrect." Are they certain about that?

After concluding their rationale for not writing anything at all, Zemach and Ben-Zvi go on in Parts III, IV, and V to deploy their aesthetic analysis to the autonomy, reliance, and utilitarian theories of contract law. Sadly, they disregard virtue theory. While occasionally misbalanced in application, we here see the authors perform valuable work as they get at the pre-theoretical "takes" characteristic of these theories. Then in Part VI, they take on pluralism(s) to mixed reviews. But more of all of this in subsequent posts.

24 July 2015

Yet Another Student Loan Post

Go here to read a post about the debacle that is for-profit higher "education." In short with the collapse of Corinthian College and the very public complaints by its students that they borrowed lots of money for nothing, the federal Department of Education has put in place a mechanism for loan forgiveness. Bloomberg has a more detailed report here.

As I remarked in a post from three years ago:
It has been practices of the federal government (such as subsidizing student loans at the outset and later removing any limit on the interest rates that it would subsidize) and intense lobbying of Congress to limit additional oversight of for-profit schools that has exacerbated this sorry state of affairs. Rent-seeking and agency capture at their finest!
 Or again, from two years ago:
Why are we ("we" meaning the Federal government, which guaranties most student loans) handing out student loans like candy at Halloween? I've posted herehere, and hereabout our corrupt and irresponsible current system in which private lenders have no skin in the game and, together with venial (often for-profit) college administrators, lead unsuspecting young 'uns to undertake debt for no useful purpose.
Student loan forgiveness represents a double subsidy. Not only is the federal government making loans without inquiry into the ability of the borrowers to repay, it now forgives repayment of the money that has already been lent. The second half of the subsidy thus credits those student borrowers who got the least for the taxpayers' dollar. A rather perverse incentive one might say.

(If anyone knows what came of the momentary convergence between President Obama and Senator Rubio on the subject of addressing for-profit schools, let me know.)

20 July 2015

A Closer Look at the Student Loan "Crisis"

I put crisis in scare quote because Adam Levitin doesn't believe there is one, at least not as commonly understood. Read his post here.

My occasional posts on student loans have focused on their use by for-profit and other schools as a means to subsidize substandard education (here and here). I have also explored the challenges of discharging student loans in bankruptcy (here and here).

Levitin takes a macro-level approach and concludes there's no student loan crisis as the word crisis was used in connection with sub-prime mortgages:
Student loan debt is highly concentrated within the population and is generally structured in a way that does not create sharp liquidity crises: long (and often deferrable) maturities, no sharp repayment shocks, and often offers established repayment and forgiveness programs.
In other words, student loans do not put at risk the edifice of America's financial system. Student loans do, however, put at risk America's long-term capacity for credit-financed (and is there any other kind?) growth:
The real concern with student loans is not an acute liquidity crisis, like a mortgage payment resets or a massive surge in defaults, as with underwater homeowners.  Instead, the systemic danger from student loans is a debt overhang problem in which consumers' consumption habits are altered by the constant drag of debt service. That's not a "crisis" yet, but it's a problem that needs to be addressed before it becomes one.
America's economy is driven by consumer debt. Without the capacity to incur debt, consumers won't consume as much and corporations and their employees, suppliers, etc. will face slow growth. In turn, this will depress the prospects for employment of everyone. In other words, a vicious cycle.

What to do about the problem isn't clear to Levitin: "It's not obvious to me how to fix the student loan debt problem; there are drawbacks to all of the proposals around. But we'd do far better addressing the problem now than in a decade or two, when it starts to really weigh on the economy."

Shutting off the spigot seems like a plausible solution but that's hardly feasible politically. After all, government-backed student lending is one of the prize entitlements of the middle class. Thus, I can confidently predict that nothing meaningful will happen.

How's that for going out on a limb?

13 July 2015

If Not the Declaration, Then What? The Cultural Genealogy of SSM in America

Last week I posted a friendly critique of an argument that judicial acceptance of a Constitutional right to same-sex "marriage" found its warrant in the principles of America's Declaration of Independence. You can read it here.

To be sure, the Declaration tilts toward a political philosophy of natural rights but I argued that tilt was not as pronounced as some have suggested. In other words, the original American audience of the Declaration would have understood it in terms of the long-standing tradition of British Protestant constitutionalism of which natural law with duties as well as rights embedded in a broader order was part. (More about that here and here.) I concluded that post as follows:    "[Political] liberalism may have contained within it certain seeds of its own destruction but the flowering of those seeds owes as much to historical contingencies as it does to the liberal tradition as such."

What are the historical contingencies that caused the natural rights tilt of the Declaration to flower into a right to same-sex "marriage" particularly and maximal sexual autonomy generally? Thankfully, addressing this question is easier than at first it might seem. Alastair Roberts has written an exceptionally cogent post Before Obergefell: Some Thoughts on How We Got Here (download here). My burden here is to highlight Roberts's review of the relevant social and cultural history of the past two hundred-plus years and add a few of my observations.

First, our understanding of the nature of sex has changed:
The character of marriage has changed under many influences. Medical, technological, and economic influences have been among the most powerful of these. Contraceptive medication and other contraceptive devices, coupled with greater access to abortion, have facilitated the growing detachment of sex from procreation. It has normalized a situation where society regards the default form of sex as "safe"—sterile and, ideally, STD-free. Sex that is open to the possibility of procreation is a break from the default form of sex, either a failure of responsibility or a determined act of choice. It is no longer regarded as just natural.
Sex is no longer understood as inherently connected to procreation. Not all sex before the invention of the Pill led to new life, of course, but the connection between the two was too obvious to have needed much explication. However, "as sex in all of its standard forms is now sterile by default, it has become homogenized, the only criteria that continue to matter are consent and pleasure." Sexual activity oriented to pleasure and limited only by consent "creates the conditions for a proliferation of non-marital sex. No longer perceived of as the responsible context for sexual relations, marriage gradually becomes a mere lifestyle choice, rather than a set of governing cultural norms."

With the change of marriage as institution to marriage as lifestyle, the presence of children is no longer tightly bound to marriage. Children too are a lifestyle choice. Marriage is no longer the precursor to marriage nor marriage to children who become a mere option, and an expensive one at that.

Second, "marriage has also been changed by the related forces of capitalism and the state." With respect to his first point, Roberts observes that "marriage and the family is no longer a primary site of production, whether of material goods and services, or of community and society." Over a century ago, "production of goods and services migrated from the cooperative economy of the home to the industrial workplace." Division of labor leads to division of hearth and home and further individualizes the self-understanding of married persons that in turn subjectivizes their understanding of the meaning of marriage. If marriage is oriented neither to the purpose of having and raising children nor the goal of economic stability, it end up being "all about me."

Concerning his second point, Roberts characterizes the family-displacing role of the modern nation state as follows:
Mass mobilization of the population for the purpose of the national economy led to men and women being pushed into the workforce in an increasingly undifferentiated manner. The wider communal, social, welfare, and pedagogical functions once largely performed by families were steadily taken up by the state and its agencies.
As I read him, Roberts is not arguing that the state has actively sought to displace marriage and family as the basic units of society. Instead, the individualized aspirations of those living in a consumer capitalist economy (where "individual choice and autonomy are dominant and foundational cultural values") and the demands of the capital-controlling corporations devastate the family and thus "open" social space such that the state seems to be the last, best hope of social stability. 

Next, Roberts makes some interesting observations about the every-expanding notion of equality:
The values of egalitarianism and individual choice have been integral to the movement towards same-sex marriage. The notions of "equal" marriage and the right of every individual to marriage as a lifestyle choice expressive of their love appear self-evident to most persons within our society. These values of equality, individual choice, the pursuit of pleasure, and self-expression—the values of liberal capitalism—are sacred and any threat to them will be treated as heresy.
Equality as understood in classical liberalism had to do with equality before the law. Until well into the nineteenth century, social, sexual, and familial equality were beyond the remit of liberalism. Did liberalism nonetheless contain within it the seeds of the sorts of "equality" that turn all institutions and even virtues into lifestyle choices? Perhaps, but I continue to believe that but for the fantastic growth of ostensibly non-teleological economic and scientific systems, the reality of legal equality would not have spilled over into all aspects of society.

In any event, in view of the changes in the understanding of sex, the dis-integrating effects of corporate capitalism, and the expanding notions of equality,
Marriage, as it functions for the proponents of same-sex marriage, is regarded more as a form of expressive lifestyle choice for individuals, rather than a vocation and set of cultural norms imposed upon wider society. Any set of cultural norms that marriage might impose upon prospective spouses or upon the society more broadly are resisted. Marriage must be a pure choice.
And, if marriage is pure choice, then same-sex "marriage" ineluctably follows. Indeed, same-sex "marriage" is a positive good because it adds to the choices of lifestyles available and what, in a world of neo-classical economic theory, can be better than more ways in which to satisfy subjective wants and thus increase net social welfare? Which explains why 
so many large corporations have jumped onto the gender-neutral marriage bandwagon. Gender-neutral marriage is not only good for business, firmly situating corporations on the progressive "right side of history," it is a vindication of liberal capitalism’s social ideology.
While I might quibble with Roberts's straightforward identification of liberalism and capitalism, I do not disagree that large-scale corporate accumulations of capital--and the means of social and political control that follow from those accumulations--relentlessly grind to sand all natural forms of social order because "they undermine freedom of choice and expression." And freedom of choice directed to nothing more than individual satisfaction is the efficient cause of corporate profitability. (For more on the telos of the corporation go here, here, and here.)

I have done little more than scratch the surface of Roberts's lengthy post. I strongly recommend that my readers go to the source and read him for the elaboration of these and more points which go far to explain the "why now" of same-sex "marriage."