California’s Prop 8 and the triumph of lunacy

Well, it’s time for the non-Mormon blogger to chime in on Prop 8.  As some of you know, I live in the San Diego area.  I, along with the rest of my compatriots here, have been inundated with pro- and anti-Prop 8 propaganda.  We must protect traditional marriage! (What the heck is that, anyway?) We must protect the rights of gays to marry! (Where is *that* right spelled out?)  There was too much dreck for anybody to possibly sort out.

Here’s the irony.  At its heart, Prop 8 wasn’t about gay marriage at all.  It was about how we understand the role of government in deciding how churches can deal with their members.  By passing Prop 8, the churches, who should value their independence from civil authority, have invited the “arm of flesh” into their chapels and said, “Yes, YOU, the government, can now decide who can marry and who can’t.”

How in the hell can Mormons, of all people, with their history of persecution and problems with the government, possibly support this intrusion of state into church affairs?  And the Baptists!  Don’t they have a tradition of independence and separation from government?  Something bad has happened along the way, and it’s time religionists wake up and see that their silly, knee-jerk reactions to issues like gay marriage are, on a macro level, threatening the very institutions they’re trying to preserve.

Alas, vox populi has become pox populi.  And, in the end, there may very well be a pox on all our houses.  As for me and my house, we will serve a rational approach to the issue.

Comments

comments

80 comments for “California’s Prop 8 and the triumph of lunacy

  1. Jeff Spector
    November 6, 2008 at 1:58 pm

    First of all, it must be recognized that it was 52% of California voters who did this, not the churches or the Pro On 8 Committee. Certainly, the committees for and against tried to influence voters one way or the other, but, as far as I know, not a single Pro on 8, Catholic church, Mormon Church official was in the voting booth with the voter forcing a YES vote.

    Another thing that needs to be noted is that if the measure would have lost, you would not have seen scores of protesters in the street, spewing all kinds of foul language and hate toward the Pro Gay side for having won their battle.

    If you cannot understand why the Churches were really fighting for the amendment, then I am sure you can’t see it has little to do with Gay Rights.

  2. November 6, 2008 at 2:00 pm

    I agree with you completely. I am surprised that the LDS Church supports the government being able to define marriage. What is going to happen when polygamy is restored???

  3. Tommy D
    November 6, 2008 at 2:42 pm

    I don’t live in Cali but if I did I probably would have voted for Prop 8. That said, I didn’t feel comfortable at all about the church being in the vanguard on this issue. It harmed us more than helped us and makes me wonder what is going to come next. Anyone else feel this way?

  4. Wendal
    November 6, 2008 at 3:31 pm

    I’m with you #3. It leaves me uneasy at times, especially coming from those around me…. Both my father in-law and Step Father are over the top with it. Their comments are full of hate towards the gay community; of course, they also felt the same about having a black president. Alot of people I know act like they are okay with homosexuals, but the things they say (in closed doors, where they feel no one will be offended) don’t reflect it at all.

  5. Hope
    November 6, 2008 at 3:35 pm

    This is definitely a topic that has gotten its fair share of discussion and I thought it time to give my two cents… for what they’re worth. I am LDS and I live in Utah. Not that it should matter, but it seems to. I’ve thought a lot about the implications of proposition 8 and the churches involvement in it and at first to be honest I didn’t agree with it at all. And then I started to think about what would happen if the church hadn’t gotten involved. The LDS church doesn’t believe in same sex marriage. Now let’s say for a moment that the church hadn’t gotten involved. Now let’s also assume that prop 8 was defeated. What are the lasting effects on the church in those circumstances? In the state of California the LDS church would be going against the law by not allowing same sex marriage. It is interesting that you criticize the church for taking some type of action, what do you think they should have done? Stood by and watched as one of their central beliefs became illegal?

  6. DavidH
    November 6, 2008 at 3:35 pm

    I am leaning more and more toward the position articulated by Clark and others that “marriage” should be exclusively governed by religion, and the government’s involvement limited to providing legal rights associated with domestic partnerships or civil unions.

    My recollection from my missionary service in Mexico is that there was then two forms of marriage–“por lo civil” and “por la iglesia”. Some people we met had been married “por la iglesia” (the Catholic church) but not by the government “por lo civil”. Others had been married por lo civil but not por la iglesia. As missionaries, we were told that to join the LDS church, a noncelibate cohabiting couple needed to have been married por lo civil, being married por la iglesia did not suffice.

    I understand that the law continues there in a similar way, so that couples wishing to be sealed in a temple in Mexico must be married “por lo civil” first, which I believe takes place outside the temple.

    Perhaps a compromise in California would be if the legislature eliminated marriage as a governmental status–simply characterizing those previously married heterosexually or homosexually as partners in civil unions. From thereon, the state could issue licenses only for civil unions. This would be similar to the concept in Mexico of being married “por lo civil.” A couple could choose to be “married” “por la iglesia” in a religion if they so chose.

  7. ZaneC
    November 6, 2008 at 3:46 pm

    I for one was relieved that Prop 8 passed. I don’t agree with Gay marriage and I don’t think that I am “homophobic” by saying that. They are trying to upset thousands of years of tradition and convince us that it’s “ok” and if we don’t agree with them then we are narrow minded bigots.

    I saw some blogs this moring talking about this and they referred to anyone that disagreed with their position as “religious kooks”. If we are going to be painted with that broad brush because we hold our values dearly then so be it.

    Jeff Specter was right though. It was the people who voted yes on it and passed it and they also did the same thing in Arizona and Florida. It’s obvious that there are still a lot “conservative” people in America who are holding onto their traditional beliefs and are not being pushed around by a small minority group trying to justify their actions.

  8. November 6, 2008 at 3:50 pm

    Hope,

    Maybe I am just clueless but how does making homosexual marriage legal make the heterosexual marriages of the LDS Church illegal? The Church only performs marriages in the temple for members who have a recommend. If that in itself isn’t a violation of law, then I’m not seeing how not performing homosexual marriages in the temple would be illegal.

  9. Wendal
    November 6, 2008 at 3:52 pm

    #6- I have thought about that as well actually. I served in Uruguay and had to go through the same thing with people we were teaching.

  10. November 6, 2008 at 4:01 pm

    ZaneC,

    Values change, my brother. Even in the Church values have changed to adapt to a progressing society. I wouldn’t be surprised if in a few decades all Christian churches, including LDS, allow homosexuality to be practiced. That is what happened with African Americans. As society’s understanding of race changed so did the Church’s acceptance of African Americans. Some people choose to be at the forefront of progression and not hold onto what the Church teaches as values until the last minute.

  11. Jeff Spector
    November 6, 2008 at 4:06 pm

    Actually, it isn’t just “conservatives” that are not in favor of Gay marriage. many of the Demos, including Obama and the Clintons do not favor it.

  12. ZaneC
    November 6, 2008 at 4:15 pm

    Captain

    The Lord doesn’t change. He is the same Yesterday, today and forever. What was true for Adam or Moses is also true today no matter how much society tries to change that. I don’t believe that homosexuality will ever be allowed to be practiced in the LDS Church because it would alter our fundamental beliefs in the family as the central unit of the church. In the proclamation it states this in the first paragraph:

    We, the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.

  13. November 6, 2008 at 4:26 pm

    The meaning of words should deserve a trip to the dictionary and not a trip to the polls. Here is how I approach the matter:

    1. It is impossible (practically or legally) to have two processes and terms define the same thing – there will be necessary differences. Therefore Civil Union can not be the same as marriage. There is no such thing as separate but equal.

    I don’t see the consistency of the Obama / Biden position for the following reasons:

    2. It is not Just to treat people differently without some type of proven harm to society. If one side concedes that a civil union is acceptable, it seems to concede that there would be no harm if the civil union was called marriage. A rose by any other name . . . etc.

    3. Religions are entitled to discriminate as a matter of course: if one wants to belong, one has to follow the rules. Governments are not entitled to discriminate unless they have a bona fide reason to do so (like Affirmative Action or more obvious cases like requiring drivers to be able to see the road, etc.).

    4. The government has long been the authority with exclusive jurisdiction over what a marriage can be. In fact, churches only got involved in last 300 – 400 years. Churches has long accepted the governments authority with respect to needing a license to perform a ceremony.

    5. THEREFORE, should churches wish to prevent same sex marriages they can mandate their 1st amendment guaranteed doctrines to reflect as much. Should a minister wish to provide marriage services to the public (say at a drive through chapel) the minister would be required as an agent of the State, to marry all qualified comers.

    Proposition 8’s purpose seems to serve only to mandate that marriage must equate to the definition of local religious customs without regard the merit of alternative arrangements. A bad law that will need to be fixed someday.

  14. November 6, 2008 at 4:33 pm

    ZaneC,

    Did the Lord change when he extended the priesthood to African Americans? The LDS Church changes with society – all religions do. I don’t see this as the Lord changing, but as a Church of imperfect humans growing.

  15. November 6, 2008 at 5:04 pm

    oh my lanta, will this conversation ever end?

  16. Mark N.
    November 6, 2008 at 5:25 pm

    It is interesting that you criticize the church for taking some type of action, what do you think they should have done? Stood by and watched as one of their central beliefs became illegal?

    I guess I need to have somebody explain to me which one of our central beliefs would have become illegal if the proposition hadn’t passed?

  17. Bill
    November 6, 2008 at 5:29 pm

    I think that there is a very real posibility that prop 8 will be overturned by the courts.

    Suppose there was a ballot proposition that said that people in some minority group (maybe people with red hair) couldn’t get married in California. Even if it got voted in, the courts probably wouldn’t let it stand.

    Minorities do have rights, even though they can’t prevail at the polls.

  18. Wendal
    November 6, 2008 at 5:29 pm

    My magic 8 ball says “All signs point to no”

  19. DavidH
    November 6, 2008 at 5:30 pm

    “The government has long been the authority with exclusive jurisdiction over what a marriage can be. In fact, churches only got involved in last 300 – 400 years. Churches has long accepted the governments authority with respect to needing a license to perform a ceremony.”

    My understanding is exactly the reverse–that historically, until the church and state became separate, the state simply deferred to the church on the matter. That was why, in order for Henry VIII to divorce and remarry, he had to arrange for England to secede from the Roman Catholic Church.

  20. JimD
    November 6, 2008 at 5:34 pm

    I am surprised that the LDS Church supports the government being able to define marriage. What is going to happen when polygamy is restored???

    I imagine that Mormons won’t bother with marriage licenses, will perform their religious ceremonies and then cohabitate with their new “spouses”, raise their families, and be very grateful if the government just leaves them alone.

  21. don wilson
    November 6, 2008 at 5:55 pm

    I am a returned missionary and BYU graduate. I am also a gay man with an adopted son. My son was a former student of mine and when his mother suddenly died, I was able to step in and become dad. He was also Mormon. I am raising him Episcopalian.

    The tolerance that I see in the church is mostly limited to a few wards in urban areas. My best friend’s brother, a bishop in the San Diego area) gave $2500 to the yes people and confessed to his brother that he was pressured by the stake president. This alone should be reason to revoke the tax exempt status of the church.

    However, I think I am most baffled by a church that was founded on the principle of non-traditional marriage only 150 years ago to turn so against SSM. Joseph Smith received the revelations on “Celestial Marriage” that allowed him to marry girls as young as 16. The irony is laughable!

    Of course, I understand the bigotry that has existed in such tracts as “To the One” that promotes violence against homosexuals and Spencer Kimball’s writings on forgiveness to have laid a strong foundation for the principle of bigoted activity and insensitivity to those “peculiar people” that are a different “peculiar” than straight, white Mormons.

    If you think we (the collective gay community) are just a bit angry, you haven’t begun to understand the issue.

    You are dead on when it comes to educated people not wanting to be associated at all with the church. I wrote the church at 3am on Nov. 5 and asked to have my name and my son’s name removed from the records already. I will also be asking all my Mormon acquaintances/enemies (no longer to be called friends or family) to look my son in the eye and explain why they have a right to destroy his family.

    Our one hope will be, as the years pass and Jesus doesn’t come in glory to judge the living and the dead, thinking human beings will have to reassess their beliefs and hopefully will have room for a belief system that is not exclusive, but inclusive.

  22. November 6, 2008 at 6:17 pm

    With all that has been said and done on the issue of “gay marriage” I am surprised so many still don’t understand the core issue. I’m old enough I remember the time when same sex-sex was considered a perversion by our culture. I also remember when airplanes were first hijacked. Here is how they relate: If you bought a ticket on an airline from Chicago to L.A. you wouldn’t appreciate someone hijacking it to Cuba. The same thing goes for marriage, marriage has always been between a man and woman. Gay’s are trying to hijack marriage, and our culture is telling them no. Gay’s need to come up with their own kind of union.

    Gay marriage is insulting to those who believe in God. The scripture make it clear that same sex-sex is contrary to God’s plan. For those thoughtful individual, who don’t acknowledge the scripture, they voted yes on prop 8 because their gut tells them marriage is between a man and woman.

    Gay sex is their business–in my opinion, but I’m not going to stand still and allow marriage to be high jacked so gay’s can feel better about what they do. What they do is not natural and trying to justify it by calling it marriage is the equivalent to hijacking an airliner to suit their travel plans and desires to make the rest of us respect them.

  23. Mark N.
    November 6, 2008 at 6:38 pm

    Gay marriage is insulting to those who believe in God.

    But if gay people don’t believe in your particular version of God or the associated Plan of Salvation, (and I’m sure that plenty of gay people do believe in God), what gives you the right to impose your God’s version of the Plan of Salvation on them?

    Now, you have every right to go preach the gospel to them, and convert them so that they decided to believe in your version of God, and will therefore attempt to live as you think they ought to live, but you have no right to use the influence of your church to claim the power of the state to force them to live in a manner that accords with your religious beliefs.

    Your God doesn’t belive in gay marriage? Great. Now all you have to do is persuade them, “by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned; By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile”, and you will save their souls. No other method will meet with your Heavenly Father’s approval.

  24. Mark N.
    November 6, 2008 at 6:42 pm

    If you bought a ticket on an airline from Chicago to L.A. you wouldn’t appreciate someone hijacking it to Cuba.

    I think what your problem is, is that you are convinced that your airliner, and every other airliner in the world, only goes from Chicago to L.A., and if somebody tries to show you that airliners are also capable of being taken to Walla Walla, Washington (for example), you consider that to be a hijacking.

  25. November 6, 2008 at 7:11 pm

    Mark N.

    I agree with your #23, but #24 is nonsense.

  26. Rich
    November 6, 2008 at 7:42 pm

    Isn’t it ironic, that same sex promoters are now attacking the church’s tax exempt status. They kept saying it was a lie, but they are only confirming the truth of claims: If you don’t toe the line on public policy, they will try and take your tax exempt status. All of their commercials claimed it was a lie but there they are doing exactly what we said they would do.

    Problem is, when they try and pass the next amendment to restore gay marriage we are going to have all of these examples of how they will try and use tax exempt status to make the church follow public policy. I can see the commercials now.

    Interesting times indeed.

  27. November 6, 2008 at 7:45 pm

    Mark N.

    As far as I can tell, Gay’s have every legal right that a married couple has (if I’m wrong correct me). That being the case, why are Gay’s demanding a claim to marriage when society doesn’t want to change the definition of marriage? Reasonable people in the Gay community need to recognize this reality and move on.

  28. November 6, 2008 at 7:55 pm

    #21 Don said: I will also be asking all my Mormon acquaintances/enemies (no longer to be called friends or family) to look my son in the eye and explain why they have a right to destroy his family.

    Would you explain in detail how prop 8 destroyed your “family”? Am I missing something? What has changed for those in the gay community? As far as I can tell-nothing, except that they can’t legally be married, but they can legally be united, can’t they?

  29. Rigel Hawthorne
    November 6, 2008 at 8:19 pm

    I believe that what is the absolute ideal for a child is to be raised by opposite-gender parents who create a loving/secure environment and are the genetic progenitors of the child. I understand that circumstances arise where this is not always possible. Nevertheless, knowing your biologic progenitors answers so many questions about who you are, where your traits and talents came from, how you react to challenges and how you can rise above. Having parents that are of the opposite gender provide within the family unit the appropriate interaction for development of the male psyche and female psyche that according psychological theorizing, are within each of us. Adoption can be a noble and successful endeavor, but I’ve witnessed multiple times the struggle of adoptees dealing with feelings of abandonment. I’m aware that studies show that children of gay parents have good emotional well-being, but I’m also aware that their approach to gender role modeling and sexual exploration is altered.

    Having said that, I’m not opposed to the concept of legal marriage of same sex couples or adoption by gay individuals. I think it is unwise, however, for a society remove a family unit based on opposite gender biology as the prime model for rearing of children. It is that model that has led to the successful development of the society in which we live. The changes that follow this removal lead to the androgynous state of birth certificates with “Parent A” and “Parent B”; elementary primers that cannot have Dick and Jane with a mother and father without a representative same sex couple, removal of gender-specific language such as “homecoming king and queen” etc.

    I remember going to a movie with my mom and seeing my first gay couple and having an explanation that they were good individuals who saw things and lived lives different than the customs we were familiar with in our family. I was about 10. This is the age I would like my own children to reach before I bring this up with them if they do not encounter a friend with a gay parent before that time.

    I believe there is an agenda with books such as distributed in the Massachusetts school to introduce kids early to models of gay families so they will not develop the “ick” factor that naturally occurs in some degree to children with heterosexual orientation. Then the mind may be opened in the teen years to explore bisexuality. In this 50-year phenomenon of tagging individuals as either “gay” or “straight” the message will continue that same gender attraction = gay = rejection of the possibility of happiness in a heterosexual marriage.

    I understand MoHoHawaii’s explanation that when all of the layers are removed he is gay at the core, but there are others who even though they have same gender attraction are at the core happiest in a heterosexual relationship. For those individuals, the secular education that the only way to deal with homosexual inclinations is to embrace and explore them impedes their progress to the thing that will bring them the greatest happiness and security. The church is one of the few voices left endorsing the option of putting aside homosexual inclinations. This voice may be shut down in the future as being intolerant.

    Is it too much to ask that legalization of gay marriage come with recognition of the value that opposite-gender biologic parenting has contributed to society? To allow birth certificates to use “mother” and “father” as the printed names for parents? To let “Dick and Jane” primers depict pictures of opposite gender parents as norm?

  30. captainmelody
    November 6, 2008 at 9:28 pm

    Jared,

    With all due respect, if we did things simply because that is how they have always been done we wouldn’t progress as a Church or a society. Even the LDS Church makes changes to policies and procedures when certain times call for it.

    What would you do if the government came out and said the Church needed to cease performing temple marriages because the social norm is to get married in somewhere that all can attend? That is how it has always been and because the temple is secret and cannot be supervised to ensure marriage is preserved we could no longer practice temple marriage?

    I hate to drop the WWJD, but even if homosexual marriage were wrong in the sight of God I wouldn’t see Jesus Christ making the statements you have.

  31. Annon.
    November 6, 2008 at 9:39 pm

    If I’ve learned anything from this entire issue it is that my community is is full of people who are totally clueless about the lives and experiences of others, and see no need to listen, no need to learn, no need for empathy, and no need for a serious engagement with ethics because they already have all the truth they want or feel they need.

    I have no doubt that in the long term the passing of prop 8 is going to back fire in ways that Church leadership never even thought of.

  32. Brittany
    November 6, 2008 at 11:36 pm

    I don’t see why people get all worked up about what the LDS church believes. If you don’t like it, leave it. If you don’t agree with them, agree to disagree. It is what it is. They don’t “conform” as so many of you have said. Back in Joseph Smith’s time it was NORMAL for ALL PEOPLE to be married at 16. Seriously? Have you not even entered society? Kids these days are getting married at 16 and if they aren’t, they have 3 kids anyway by 3 different dads. Leave it alone. Get over it and get over yourself. Agree to disagree and grow up already. Why do we all have to act so childish and crucify others because of their beliefs? I might believe something and tell you, you might believe something and tell me. I may not agree with you and likely you won’t agree with me, but that doesn’t mean I don’t like you as a person, just means we don’t agree.

    And for the gentleman who grew up in times when words like “gay” and “sex” were taboo and nudity and swearing were SO not seen or heard on TV. Seriously? People did you forget that it is society that is changing…. NOT the LDS church. Well I will most likely be inundated with swear words and all sorts of bashing, but seriously. AGREE TO DISAGREE and get over yourselves.

  33. CarlosJC
    November 7, 2008 at 12:46 am

    “We must protect traditional marriage! (What the heck is that, anyway?)” Just a man and a woman living together and having children when they can, as God commanded.

    Its interesting how the gay lobby can now call it ‘pox populi’ and an irrational result. Actually, there was a free vote, people voted and that’s it, the issue is done. What if McCain had resorted to ‘pox populi’?

    #32

    Thanks Brittany for standing up to common sense here.

  34. CarlosJC
    November 7, 2008 at 12:49 am

    #31,

    “I have no doubt that in the long term the passing of prop 8 is going to back fire in ways that Church leadership never even thought of.”

    NO WAY!

    They did it on purpose so that members, especially on the mormon bloggasphere, will finally get the message on where the church stands in regards to homosexuality.

  35. working mother
    November 7, 2008 at 5:01 am

    32, Brittany, I have to disagree that it was normal to get married at 16 in JS day. Actual census data from those times show that women married at 19 or later. As puberty was later then, a larger percentage of girls hadn’t started menstruating by age 16. Men tended to marry later, in their 20’s or 30’s. I would like to see the data showing that most women married at 16.

    I am not passionate about SSM, but I do feel that it was not right for the church to become so politically involved. I think it would be fine to emphasize to their own members their opposition to SSM and encourage them to become involved. But to strong arm members into donating money, some of them against their own consciences, and tracting door to door, even at one point starting phone banks in Utah to influence politics in California – well, I think that does cross the line between separation of church and state and is inviting a lot of problems for the church.

    In addition, though Prop 8 won this battle, it was by a lot less than Prop 22 – a 10% shift in popular opinion in a few short years. Another 10% shift will certainly happen on demographics alone, as it is clear that young voters overwhelmingly voted against it. What I am saying is that in 10 years SSM will be legal in California, and probably some other states. All this fuss will have stirred up bad feelings for no particular good reason. The church can maintain its stance against SSM without stirring up all this enmity. SSM has been legal in Canada for years, and the church has not been forced to change its stance on temple marriage, etc. Weighing costs vs benefits – I think the church’s actions to defeat proposition 8 will be a net cost to the church. Just my take.

  36. November 7, 2008 at 5:38 am

    working mother,

    I don’t know where you got your census data, but look at a graph of 1850 census displayed here (the original from Wikimedia). If you look at cumulative percentages, it is obvious that a clear majority of women were married by the time they were 19. Legal age was 10 in the States, only raised to 12 in late 19th century. So our statutory rape measures are not what we should go by.

    Anecdotal evidence doesn’t prove anything, but my grandmother got married at 17 in 1921, and then it was no big deal. Her sisters got married younger than that rather than later (and they were not Mormons).

    Sorry to fire off offtopic like this…

  37. November 7, 2008 at 6:39 am

    Jeff, I’m with you on this entirely. I have no idea what the Church was thinking in supporting Prop. 8. In fact, I see it as a sign of their own “falling away.” I have actually stopped paying tithing to the Church because of this and other similar recent nonsense. For some reason they are attempting to effect a schism to divest themselves of certain people (I’m sure they aren’t doing this on accident.)

    And, then, just to mix things up, we have the President-elect of the United States of America saying:

    “It’s the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled. We are, and always will be, the United States of America.”

    In this case, I see the President (to be) of the nation being more loving and accepting than the President of the Church, and I just don’t know how to parse this type of input. How we have fallen!

  38. prairie chuck
    November 7, 2008 at 10:21 am

    #8 “Maybe I am just clueless but how does making homosexual marriage legal make the heterosexual marriages of the LDS Church illegal? The Church only performs marriages in the temple for members who have a recommend. If that in itself isn’t a violation of law, then I’m not seeing how not performing homosexual marriages in the temple would be illegal.”

    If you think that winning the right to marriage will sate the gay activists you are sadly mistaken. They wanted tolerance. They’re getting it. They wanted approval. It’s coming—not there 100% yet, but getting there. They wanted legal rights. They got them in Canada. So in Canada they’ve taken the issue to the next logical step: they want sanctions against anyone who won’t tolerate or approve. Ministers are being jailed or fined for speaking out against homosexuality.

    It appears that in the gay world “live and let live” only applies to one side.

    If there were any reasonable assurance that legal recognition of gay marriages were their end goal, this wouldn’t have been the knock-down, drag-out fight it’s become. But some know better. Some know that legal recognition of gay marriage is only the camel’s nose.

  39. November 7, 2008 at 10:47 am

    prarie chick,

    That sounds more like paranoia than reality. And I don’t necessarily believe that homosexuals fighting against discrimination is a bad thing.

  40. Last Lemming
    November 7, 2008 at 10:52 am

    38 comments and nobody has pointed out that the premise of the original post is complete nonsense. Nothing in Prop 8 gives government the right to dictate to churches to whom they may or may not offer religious rites. It limits the ability of churches to act as agents of the state, but that is entirely appropriate as the state inevitably places limits on any entity seeking to act as its agent.

  41. Chris J
    November 7, 2008 at 11:55 am

    Brittany – It actually sounds like from your comment that you don’t think it is O.K. to agree to disagree. There is room in the church for people to have disagreements. It does not have to be, “like it or leave it”. In the end we all have to find what works for us as we “work out our salvation” by looking to the author and finisher of our faith. With that being said…
    Even if it was normal for 16 year old girls to marry, they would usually not marry someone who was already married. Joseph Smith was ALREADY married. Probably for many different reasons he felt like this was going to be a good thing (many guys probably would). Joseph Smith is not the example to look to as the ideal husband/marriage. Gordon Hinckley seemed to be a much better husband than Joseph Smith.
    The church never conforms. Come on, do we as Latter Day Saints, need to continue on with this kind of thinking. Mormonism is becoming more and more mainstream christian all the time. If there has been on thing constant in the church for the past 150 years it is change. Priesthood, temple endowment, polygamy, etc. The church changes as society changes, it just seems to be about 20 years behind.
    It is just a matter of time and society will (in general) accept homosexual marriage. When pressure mounts the church will too, but it will fight for some time. Blacks holding priesthood and pologamy have taught us this. The church is like any other organization – self preservation is the ultimate goal.
    Mormons, fighting to have government define marriage as between one man and one woman, Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, John Taylor, and many other early mmembers must be turning over in their graves.

  42. Saddened
    November 7, 2008 at 11:56 am

    Hi Everyone, I stumbled across your blog, and its been really interesting, and I have a few thoughts for consideration.
    One big statement I’ve been reading all over (here and other blogs) is that “gays in a union have the same rights as people in a marriage, with a different word”
    If that was the case, maybe this wouldn’t be such a big deal.
    Gay people in a civil union etc. do not have the right to shared social security, oftentimes medical benifits, hospital visitation even as the partner or their CHILD is dying, property rights (if its in the name of the deceased, and often times wills are contested because the union isnt a marriage, leaving the surviving long-term partner with nothing.) So no, it is NOT the same right now, and that is why they are protesting.
    Secondly, I also believe that prop 8 will have a great and unknown backlash. There are too many parallels to other civil rights movements, and I fear that the grandchildren of Yes on 8ers will be ashamed to hear that their grandparents voted to remove the marriage rights of same sex, committed couples. No, perhaps not from a religious standpoint, knowing LDS policy, but from a civil rights viewpoint.
    These are two different things. You don’t vote against Buddhist or Hindu couples, or take away their right to be married, even though they practice Idol worship, and you dissagree with their lifestyle, right?
    I don’t think that anyone has pointed out that many other churches have been marrying gay couples for YEARS, the Unity church movement has been marrying same sex couples for decades, as have many others.
    What GLBT folks are looking for is a legal recognition of their choice to be in a committed, long-term relationship, not to make you change your religious views, or even your views on their lifestyle. Think what you want, but taking away someone’s right to happiness and equality…I couldn’t do that.
    This has nothing to do with your religion, or your family, they have religions of their own, and families of their own, wheather you support their choices or not.

  43. saddned
    November 7, 2008 at 12:00 pm

    sorry about the weird text, don’t know what happened there! Think of it as a challenge! Will try to fix it if possible

  44. November 7, 2008 at 12:02 pm

    prairie chuck,

    “Ministers are being jailed or fined for speaking out against homosexuality.”

    This is no accurate. Jail is only an option for criminal or serious provincial offenses. There have been no instances of this with respect to religious teachings. The religious right and the Islamic extremist in Canada can spout all the crap they want and they do: regularly.

    There have been incorrect decisions by the Human Rights Tribunals, at least one case in Manitoba. Most of these decisions were overturned on appeal. There have been cases where school teachers have taught religion based teachings in the public school system and that is not acceptable and they have been censored. Agents of the state shouldn’t teach personal beliefs as fact, I think that isn’t controversial.

    There is an interesting case in Alberta where a minister was fined under the Human Rights Tribunal decision (which are usually crappy decisions) because he was preaching against same-sex rights at a church group. The line crossed was that he was saying the cause should be fought ‘by whatever means necessary’ (or something like that). A couple of kids left and beat up a couple of gay kids in the community.

    In the end no right exists in a vacuum. The right to speech is not to yell fire in a crowded theatre, the right to remain silent is limited by requirements to provide ID, and the right to religious freedom is limited by rules not to provoke violence.

    The live and let live is a legitimate expression. Violence against gays is just as real as violence against people of faith. California illustrates this. A person who organized and promoted a systemic hatred of groups is allowed. If someone promotes violence they are crossing a line.

    I don’t see the church having a worry about provoking violence. They might need to pull “To Young Men Only”, but that would be about it. Was that worth the division and the 20 million dollars? I don’t think so.

    Sorry for the diversion Jeff, interesting post and perspective.

  45. don wilson
    November 7, 2008 at 12:55 pm

    First…civil unions do not give the same rights as marriage. I was in a long distance relationship for 7 years with a man in Mexico. He will remain the love of my life. He is successful there and I am here. If we were married and it was recognized by the US, he could legally immigrate here and have gainful employment. As it stands now, he will remain a beautiful memory, but not my life partner. That’s one way it destroys families.

    Another is with the message it sends to my son. His family should not be recognized and my relationship does not merit societies approval. He comes from a second class family and should feel shame and loathing because of it. That is the message.

    Rigel Hawthorne said
    “I believe that what is the absolute ideal for a child is to be raised by opposite-gender parents who create a loving/secure environment and are the genetic progenitors of the child…Adoption can be a noble and successful endeavor, but I’ve witnessed multiple times the struggle of adoptees dealing with feelings of abandonment…think it is unwise, however, for a society remove a family unit based on opposite gender biology as the prime model for rearing of children”

    Rigel, Rigel, Rigel…

    The truth is that opposite-gender parents are failing the families in this country and not gay families. 75% of the African-American woman voters favored prop 8 and as an inner-city educator for 20 years, I can assure you that they are not raising good families and their kids are failing miserably. There are exceptions to the rule, but I will put my family and my sons rise from poverty and failure to his current giftedness and success in Boy Scouts, piano, clarinet, soccer, spirituality, and propensity towards charity and kindness against any of their families any day.

    Mormon families are also struggling with how they are doing as seen in Utah with the largest teen suicide rate and in being the anti-depressant pill popping capital of the world. The fact is that raising children is hard no matter who you are. I do agree that it is best for the parents who bare the children to raise them, but not if the parents are drug or alcohol addicted, involved in gangs, prone to beating or molesting, etc. Even though it may seem an ideal in your lily white world, the truth is that kids need good parents regardless of the makeup of the family. Adopted kids thrive in the right environment and with the right parents. The issues you bring up like health records are of a concern to the adopted child, but will be for the good adoptive parents.

    Imagine what our world could have been like if the Mormon Church (and all churches) would embrace their gay and lesbian brothers and sisters and give them the role of caring for the unwanted, neglected and abandoned child. Our world would be a much better place. Instead you have relegated us to the back seat. Actually, Mormons have done worse. You have relegated us to “the sin next to murder” (that would be the words of the former prophet of Jesus, Spencer W. Kimball) and have advocated violence against us (Boyd K. Packard, Apostle of the ever loving Jesus.) You have forced your gay and lesbian brothers and sisters out of your wards and stakes and into the “gay ghettos” of our large urban areas or into suicide to escape the humility of being different and a bad creation in a Mormon Society.

    The early Christians came to Jesus and complained that there were others preaching Jesus that was not one of “them.” Jesus replied, “if they are not against us, then they are with us” I think you should take the same tactic in regards to marriage. Giving me the right to marry does not diminish the institution of marriage, but strengthens it. It says that all relationships should be bound by law and that you should not co-habitate out of wedlock. What the yes on 8 movement has failed to see is that as you force others to have relationships out of wedlock, you are forcing the world to see other types of relationships that are working. That in turn, gives the message that marriage is not the only answer. You have shot marriage in the foot and crippled the institution.

    In regards to forcing churches to recognize gay marriages…that is just pure poppycock and untrue. No need to elaborate, just read the law.

    In regards to the “next steps” to be forcing religions into jail if they don’t marry gays and lesbians…again, more poppycock and the workings of a persecution complex wrapped up in a Idaho basement filled with guns and a years supply of food…”They’re coming to take me away, ha ha he he ho ho” Please come back to reality.

    In regards to the rest of the yes on 8 people, please live your lives, preach your gospel, plan for eternity with your multiple wives in the highest third of heaven and leave the rest of us alone. Change is going to happen and many of your own children will be gay and lesbian and if you don’t push them into suicide or out of you homes and heart, our work will have opened up society for them, so that they can stand up and be counted as full citizens of this great country. You are on the wrong side of history and will one day be as ashamed of your stand, as you are about calling African Americans “fence sitters” that are condemned to blackness and no priesthood or calling the good guys “white and delightsome.”

  46. November 7, 2008 at 4:11 pm

    The saddest result I’ve seen from this effort by the church is that in many cases it has divided families further. Many people are resigning from the church over this issue (several dozen have notified me of their intentions to resign over this issue just in the last few hours).

    I wonder if as Working Mother pointed out, this was a fight that was worth fighting. In less than a decade this law will be repealed, and the damage the church has done to families and its own public relations black eyes will take a long time to heal.

  47. Victor E
    November 7, 2008 at 4:24 pm

    I find the argument that one day the LDS church will change their policies towards homosexual activity just like they changed with blacks and the priesthood to be weak. (#41 Chris J) The circumstances of the two situations are entirely different. Although with blacks and the priesthood there were numerous teachings and assertions that turned out to be completely wrong, the teaching was never that being black was an inherent sin. It was taught that one day, sometime in the hereafter, God would give them the priesthood. Blacks receiving the priesthood was taught to be a matter of timing. To the contrary, homosexuality is taught to be an inherent sin. There are numerous passages in the bible that condemn sodomy and homosexuality. Since there is no precedent of the LDS church changing its position regarding what it considers a sin, I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for it to happen.

  48. captainmelody
    November 7, 2008 at 6:13 pm

    Chris J,

    You captured my thoughts exactly.

    Victor E,

    The premise is that as culture and society change religions must and do adapt to those changes. Many feel that the LDS Church began extending the priesthood to African Americans because the Church was in jeapordy of tax and legal consequences not doing so. And the view that blacks were subordinate creatures which was very prominant inside and outside the Church 100 years ago had given way to a progressive view of racial equality.

    In a world that is still strongly against homosexuality it is difficult to imagine the Church being in jeapordy of tax and legal consequences, or society adopting a progressive view toward homosexuality. But history teaches us that this will happen and when it does it will not be surprising if the Church allows those who are in homosexual relationships to participate fully in the Church and priesthood. I am even willing to predict that homosexual marriages will one day be performed in the temple.

    To me it is pretty simple. The Church is led by imperfect humans that are part of a society. As society changes so do the imperfect humans leading the Church. And as they change so do the policies, procedures and teachings of the Church. Those who hold onto the view that God doesn’t change and therefore his Church doesn’t change seem to be turning their backs to reality. The LDS Church today is so different from the one Joseph Smith established he wouldn’t even recognize it. Does that make it wrong? No. But if its members aren’t willing to admit change than they are being dishonest with themselves and those they bring into the Church.

  49. November 7, 2008 at 7:14 pm

    I am a returned missionary and BYU graduate. I am also a gay man with an adopted son. My son was a former student of mine and when his mother suddenly died, I was able to step in and become dad. He was also Mormon. I am raising him Episcopalian

    Was his mother LDS?

  50. November 7, 2008 at 7:18 pm

    Andrew, one of the saddest things I’ve seen from this is the drive some people have to encourage others to leave the Church.

  51. The Zealot
    November 7, 2008 at 7:37 pm

    “What is going to happen when polygamy is restored???”

    Captain Melody,

    There is no assurance whatsoever polygamy will be restored. There is no such doctrine except a passing comment by Bruce R. McConkie in Mormon Doctrine. It will take a whole new revelation for it to be restored, and we have no good evidence such a thing would ever have a chance in heck of happening.

  52. The Zealot
    November 7, 2008 at 7:48 pm

    Bill, you say “I think that there is a very real posibility that prop 8 will be overturned by the courts.”

    The whole reason they made it a constitutional amendment to the state constitution in Cali was to make it out of the reach of the Cali state supreme court. The real question is, what kind of court, if any can overturn a state constitutional provision? I hope there isn’t one, as I support prop 8. I have sympathy for the feelings and real struggles of homosexuals, but the Lord has to draw a line in the sand somewhere sometimes.

  53. The Zealot
    November 7, 2008 at 8:06 pm

    “When pressure mounts the church will too, but it will fight for some time. Blacks holding priesthood and pologamy have taught us this. The church is like any other organization – self preservation is the ultimate goal.”

    Chris J.,

    This may well be the one thing that will cause the church to even risk dissolution as an institution. This may be the one issue that will bring about the persecution that was prophesied by Heber C. Kimball. I would wager that this is finally the one issue that the Lord will never budge on, because the Law of Chastity is the one thing where there can never be compromise.

  54. Bill
    November 7, 2008 at 9:09 pm

    #52–The California state supreme court can invalidate Prop 8. Prop 8 has already been challenged on the basis that the proper procedure was not followed in amending the constitution. If the state supreme court agrees, then prop 8 could be thrown out.

  55. Ray
    November 7, 2008 at 9:15 pm

    There has been and still is too much hyperbole in discussions of this topic – from both sides. I think it merely served to show the core character of those involved – on both sides. I’m tired of it – from both sides.

  56. Don
    November 7, 2008 at 11:39 pm

    I am a returned missionary and BYU graduate. I am also a gay man with an adopted son. My son was a former student of mine and when his mother suddenly died, I was able to step in and become dad. He was also Mormon. I am raising him Episcopalian

    Was his mother LDS?

    My son was baptized Catholic and was also baptized Mormon by the influence of an Uncle. I converted on my own at the age of 12. I stayed active through the mission and BYU. I converted my mother, grandparents, sister, brother. I have managed to get them all out of the church except my Brother who is married to a Mormon girl and living in Happy Valley. As stated by her Mother at the wedding…”(they) are waiting in great hope for the lost ten tribes to come marching over those mountains with new scriptures that have been hidden from view>” These are the people we are putting our rights to a vote with…Lunacy, lunacy, lunacy. Please keep to yourselves and stay out of our lives!

  57. Scooter
    November 8, 2008 at 6:24 pm

    What an amazing world to wake up to in California on Wednesday:

    1. Proposition 8 passes, not so much due to Mormon funding as Barrack Obama’s coattails! It was really African-American and Latino supporters, who turned out to vote in historically large numbers who made all the difference.

    2. Mormons observing the social consequences of marriage regulation. Whether Propostion 8 was right or wrong, it all brought back the tales of how my family coped with the stark consequences of the Edmunds-Tucker Act as their families were split apart. Some of the sadder stories were those of gay unions who had considered their marriages blessed by their churches because they’d had legal validity, only to find that called into question.

  58. Rigel Hawthorne
    November 8, 2008 at 10:45 pm

    Don Wilson,

    I really appreciate your comments and humor.

    “The fact is that raising children is hard no matter who you are.” Agreed

    “I do agree that it is best for the parents who bare the children to raise them, but not if the parents are drug or alcohol addicted, involved in gangs, prone to beating or molesting, etc.” Agreed

    “The truth is that opposite-gender parents are failing the families in this country and not gay families. ” As I said, I’m not opposed to gay adoption. I’m happy for the success of your son.

    I’ve met gay men who I know would be good parents and others who I’m afraid would fare no better then the parenting failures you listed. They just don’t have access to biologic fertility to make the case in point.

    I know my lily white ideal may seem like an impossible dream, but I’m trying to make it happen one degree at a time, beginning with my own family. Being perfect like Father in Heaven is perfect is a dream that may seem equally impossible, and I am by no means confident that I will end up on the third of heaven you cited.

    The concerns you simply brush off as poppycock are not things that I brush off as easily. Convince me that #38 is wrong, and I will be more likely to vote in favor of gay marriage if the ballot issue arises in my locale.

  59. November 9, 2008 at 1:27 am

    Re #38, the case I believe Prarie Chuck is referring to involves a minister who spoke with such hate about homosexuals, a couple young members of his congregation beat up a couple of people. Incitement to violence is a crime even in the US. I find it somewhat probematic that you seem to think
    A: that beating the sh** out of people because they are gay somehow is ok, and
    B: that violence agains gay people somehow is a reason to discriminate against them. Lovely.

  60. CarlosJC
    November 9, 2008 at 8:02 am

    Today the Catholic church came out supporting the LDS position on SSM: “Rev. John C. Wester, bishop of the Salt Lake Catholic Diocese, said his church took a strong stand in support of Proposition 8” (http://www.sltrib.com/lds/ci_10937437)

    Yesterday Huckabee during his program on Fox congratulated the ‘mormon church’ for its lobbying against SSM and also noted that they (baptists) are not in favour of SSM.

    Just two small, and to me, important signs that Pt. MONSON was both correct and inspired in taking a leadership roll in this issue, leading the entire Christian community. It puts our church in the forefront in the battle against SSM and by logical implication, against homosexuality and reaffirms both the doctrine found in the law of chastity and the proclamation on the family.

    And all this after the LDS gay lobby in Salt Lake City had been trying to get an audience with him to discuss possible doctrinal changes on homosexuality, something they couldn’t get with Pt Hinckley.

  61. Holden Caulfield
    November 9, 2008 at 9:49 am

    There are few seeking doctrinal changes when it comes to homosexuality. I think what gays would like is a crumb of understand and compassion. I felt President Hinckley felt his job was done when he said he didn’t know the reasons behind homosexuality, that he wasn’t an “expert”, but he knows they “have a problem”. I’m glad those are not the passive sentiments of those seeking a cure for AIDS.

  62. CarlosJC
    November 9, 2008 at 6:20 pm

    Holden,

    The current and past (Hinckley) church leadership have gone out of its way to change the zero-tolerance of homosexuality that one can see was as part of the McKay/Smith leadership days. And while Kimball called it ‘the sin against nature’ the current brethren, including Oaks and Holland for example, don’t use those terms anymore, at least not publicly. They have actually been offering that ‘crumb of understanding and compassion’ you mention here but that is done within the framework of considering homosexuality a sin. This is especially noticeable considering all that Oaks did as BYU president with his secret agents who chased down active homosexuals.

    I personally don’t care all that much if gays are a couple or if they are married or not, as long as that gay couple will accept that my church is not discriminating against them when a ward Bishop refuses to marry them (if gay marriage is legal), or that they later claim that we are discriminatory and shouldn’t hold marriage license granting capacity in our Temples.

    But the main problem I have is with church members who accept gay marriage and think that such a couple should be accepted in the ward family. And the problem is then with the doctrinal changes which must follow if this change goes through, for example, if they can legally marry and we accept that then why can’t they be sealed for time and all eternity? And what is the doctrine with regards to a gay couple in the celestial kingdom, will they still be ‘a couple’ and have the ability to reproduce and create worlds?

    The main problem with SSM resides in how much of our own doctrine needs to change to accommodate this new way of thinking.

  63. Kari
    November 9, 2008 at 8:13 pm

    Why does anyone think that the church is really going to be accused of discriminatory practices if it were to continue to teach that SSM is immoral, even if it is legal? Carlos, can you explain this?

    I am not aware of any coffee drinker, alcohol user, or smoker having sued the church for refusing to baptise them or a bishop failing to grant a temple recommend to any member who does these things. The church, as far as I am aware has never be accused of discriminating against these groups of people.

    The argument that without prop 8 the gay and lesbian community would somehow be able to force churches into marrying them should be seen for what it was — a scare tactic aimed at drumming up support for prop 8.

    Another question. I have seen many Mormon commentors/commentators suggest that prop 8 passed because of the support of the African-American and Latino support, and the statistics certainly support this. Are there any polls/studies/anecdotal evidence as to why these groups offered such support? As communities that are generally (yes it is a generalization, but not all generalizations are necessarily bad) less educated, did they just get misled by all the lies being spouted by the yes on prop 8 group? Certainly as a group, these communities are not the example of stable family relationships that I want my children to follow. What made them vote the way they did?

  64. November 9, 2008 at 8:46 pm

    Why does anyone think that the church is really going to be accused of discriminatory practices if it were to continue to teach that SSM is immoral, even if it is legal? Carlos, can you explain this?

    Look at what has happened to the Boy Scouts over some of these issues.

    The entire “get the Boy Scouts” approach by some groups has pretty much gotten the attention of a large group of churches. Just FYI.

  65. CarlosJC
    November 9, 2008 at 8:59 pm

    Karl,

    Because the church represents the state every time it marries a couple. Marriage is controlled by the states not the church. The church is granted permission to marry in a way that is recognized as lawful by that State not the other way round.

    As now is the case with adoption in states that recognize SSM, there is every indication that an organization that refuses to marry one group of people that the state says can be married will result in it been judged as discriminative and therefore banned from performing marriages (Just like the catholics are banned from offering adoption services, under state programs, in MA)

    Smokers don’t bother suing the church but the gay lobby is sure to every chance it gets!

    And smokers can still be married by a Bishop and this happens when a church member marries a non-member (where Bishops have that authority given by the State) plus Bishop’s marry some couples who are expecting a baby ie a couple in sin (fornication) who don’t qualify for Temple marriage but still do for State marriage. Bishops do this usually quietly due to the social pressures but do it frequently in some places.

    About latinos and black, while I don’t have any figures, anecdotal evidence suggests to me that its due to the traditional view of family and marriage which these groups have. Even though Latinos don’t usually consider gay sex as such when the man acts as a male in the sex act, they still will view traditional marriage as the correct type. Maybe its more of a case of hypocrisy than conservative values? don’t know.

  66. CarlosJC
    November 9, 2008 at 9:00 pm

    #64

    Sorry, its Kari not Karl 🙂 my apologies

  67. Kari
    November 9, 2008 at 9:00 pm

    Stephen,
    What exactly is your point about the Boy Scouts? Last time I checked, they are not a religious organization. The issue with the BSA was the fact while they refuse to hire homosexuals, or allow them to serve as volunteer leaders, they often get preferential treatment from government. As a private organization, the BSA may choose to limit who can serve in their organization (just like Augusta can continue to refuse membership to women). But given current anti-discrimination laws, they shouldn’t get preferential treatment. Let the BSA pay market rates for rent (as opposed to, for example, the $1/yr rent they used to pay the city of Philadelphia), or pay full price for access to state and national parks and forests, etc.

    The BSA is still allowed, by law and with support of the courts, to exclude whom they wish. They just can’t enjoy preferential treatment from government. Why do you think that Churches would fare differently?

  68. Ray
    November 9, 2008 at 10:51 pm

    #62 – “But the main problem I have is with church members who accept gay marriage and think that such a couple should be accepted in the ward family.”

    Carlos, how about accepting civil unions and accepting gay couples into the ward family – or simply accepting gay couples into the ward family? Are you opposed to either of those?

    I would not stop preaching our current understanding of the Law of Chastity if gay couples and their kids were attending church with us, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to specify homosexual activity as different in any way than unmarried heterosexual activity. Strictly speaking, they both are considered fornication in the Church and are exactly the same in general category. I would teach the principle (no sexual relations outside of marriage) and leave it at that. If a gay couple understands that they will hear talks and statements calling their actions sin, just as members who smoke and drink hear talks and statements calling their habits sin, I will sit next to them and embrace them and be ecstatic to worship with them – as part of the ward family.

  69. Ray
    November 9, 2008 at 10:54 pm

    Oh, and I wish we were more accepting of those who struggle to keep commandments that come easy to us, since all of us struggle to keep commandments that are easy to someone else. I would love it if, at any given moment, 50% of the people in our sacrament meetings were not baptized members – and if we let conversion happen according to the Lord’s timetable instead of pressuring people to join NOW or stop attending with us.

  70. November 10, 2008 at 1:05 pm

    Oh, and I wish we were more accepting of those who struggle to keep commandments that come easy to us, since all of us struggle to keep commandments that are easy to someone else.

    Well said.

    Let the BSA pay market rates for rent (as opposed to, for example, the $1/yr rent they used to pay the city of Philadelphia) for a building they built, refurbished, and purchased and that they foolishly let title remain with the City in order to share the building with others? One issue is not the “pay market rates” but “have any access whatsover” in many situations. The Boy Scout issues are much more complex, but my view is tempered by the number of times they have been sued by parents over actions of individuals like my ex-brother-in-law.

    Have they reacted the best way? Any different from not allowing heterosexual males to take care of young girls in girl scouts? I’m not sure, but I do know that the surrounding issues and case law and legal efforts have really drawn a great deal of attention.

  71. Mark N.
    November 10, 2008 at 2:04 pm

    The whole reason they made it a constitutional amendment to the state constitution in Cali was to make it out of the reach of the Cali state supreme court.

    Seems to me then that their whole plan was based on a flawed understanding of what puts something out of the reach of the CA Supreme Court.

  72. November 10, 2008 at 3:28 pm

    http://www.bycommonconsent.com/2008/11/answers/#more-4346 makes for some nice comparison.

    Mark N., nice point.

  73. November 25, 2008 at 7:49 pm

    Well, I suppose I’ll put my two cents in and say this:

    Times do change and I cannot and do not expect everyone to get with the times. As a gay man, I would like to have the same rights as heterosexual people. It doesn’t matter what your religious beliefs are in this matter. Put them aside for a moment and look at me. Don’t look at my sexuality, it is the very least important thing about me. I’m human. I’m 19. I’ve got a whole life ahead of me and I only want to have as easy of a job as I can. I wake up every day, knowing that things are going to be just a tiny bit harder for me; that I will have to face somebody in the next 24 hours who will look at me and wish that I didn’t exist. I don’t wish that THOSE people would go away. And, honestly, it doesn’t bother me that much that they feel that way. They get to have their opinion, even if I, internally, dissent.

    I don’t deny that the Mormon faith has the right to tell me that I cannot, in their temples, be wed. That doesn’t bother me. I wouldn’t really want to be married in a church that doesn’t want me anyway. (Although, I find that really poor form of them. It seems to me if you are wanting to convert people and save them from eternal damnation it would be wise not to push them away. You would want them close so that you could help them… Not hinder their path to redemption. But, maybe I miss the point of conversion.)

    People tell me that I should just accept another name for uniting myself to another person, like a Civil Union and that “marriage” should be reserved for heterosexual people. I say, give us marriage and you can have “holy matrimony.” Because what Mormon wouldn’t say that holy matrimony doesn’t embody the spirit that they feel that marriage should have. Holy matrimony is sanctioned by God. Holy matrimony is and always was strictly a church term. And, any heterosexual person who isn’t blinded by their religious beliefs would be fine just having a marriage same as me. Everybody wins. Nobody hurts…

    And, that people, is what this is about for me. It’s about hurt. I do not tell people they cannot do what they want if it isn’t hurting anyone. I do not tell the (rather scary) protesters at the Gay Pride parade that they don’t have the right to feel that way. All that I ask is for the same consideration. Do not tell me that I do not have the right to feel that I should have the same rights as they do. I’m not hurting anyone. And gay marriage doesn’t hurt anyone.

    It’s time for America to take a reality check. It’s time to push out radical discrimation by religious groups. We need to find a way to get along. It really isn’t that hard. Just mind your own business. If gay marriage doesn’t have any effect on you, don’t protest. Keep to the things you understand. Or, if you feel that you MUST protest, at least try to understand the other person’s point of view and try to understand it. It is the intelligent thing to do. As Aristotle said, “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”

    Thanks for your time,
    Greg

  74. Ray
    November 25, 2008 at 9:18 pm

    Greg, I agree with much of what you say here, but I have to point out the absolute irony of one sentence:

    “Or, if you feel that you MUST protest, at least try to understand the other person’s point of view and try to understand it.”

  75. Jon M
    March 25, 2009 at 7:30 pm

    This is the best argument I have heard against gay marriage.

    Gay marriage doesn’t satisfy life’s purpose

    It is amazing to me the extent that people will go to in order to achieve their personal goals. Take, for example, Prop. 8 that was on the ballot . This is the second time the California voters have passed this law, and yet those who fought against Prop. 8 continue to fight against the will of the people.

    They keep saying this is a religious issue. That is not true. Everyone needs to answer the question of “What is the purpose of life?” Leaving religion out of the answer, as well as the Bible and personal opinions, there is only one answer that can be given that will satisfy the laws of NATURE. That answer is: “Reproduce yourself and your species.”

    Can two female or two male marriage partners conform to this law? No! So, this is not a religious issue alone. It is an issue that defies the laws of nature. The animal, bird, fish, insect, and plant kingdoms all live this law. They reproduce themselves as per nature’s laws.

    If any of these kingdoms failed to live this law, their kingdom would become extinct in a short period of time. If the plant kingdom failed to live this law, there would be no food for man or animals to eat. We would soon become a dead planet.

    Only man wants to defy this law of nature. In so doing, they become destroyers of, rather than contributors to, the human race.

    Society is based on the family of husband wife and children. This is how the next generation rises. I can just see states or countries legalizing gay marriage and then losing population.

  76. March 25, 2009 at 9:23 pm

    So… you oppose gay marriage because you believe that the purpose of marriage is reproduction? In that case, no doubt you are equally opposed to marriage by heterosexual couples who decide to remain childless, or heterosexual couples in which one or both partners is infertile? And once a couple’s children have grown up and moved out of their house, surely there’s no reason for them to remain married anymore now that reproduction and child rearing are done?

    Or could it be possible that you actually believe that marriage has some valid purposes other than reproduction, and that the “best argument you have heard against gay marriage” is not a very good argument after all?

  77. Ray
    March 26, 2009 at 12:08 am

    kuri, is your last paragraph a rhetorical question? 🙂

  78. Jon M
    March 26, 2009 at 3:16 am

    Kuri:
    States/countries have an interest in keeping their states populated. The state of Washington Supreme Court ruled that lawmakers have the power to set marriage as being between a man and a women. The model of a husband wife and kids is not perfect but the best one out there. Is the gay community advocating monogamy with their quest for marriage? God does not lie. There are always consequences for actions.

  79. March 26, 2009 at 2:36 pm

    Ray,
    Is that a rhetorical question?

    Jon,
    You said, “States/countries have an interest in keeping their states populated.” OK, let’s stipulate that as true. How does allowing gay people to marry each other threaten population size? After all, if gay couples don’t want children, aren’t they already not having them? How could allowing them to marry possibly cause fewer children to be born?

  80. Jon M
    April 4, 2009 at 12:05 am

    Kuri:
    No state or country can afford the consequences of legitimizing deviancy.
    Same sex copulation is not natural just like humans copulating with animals is not natural.
    It will turn on on self to society’s own destruction. Do you think God lies?

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