CA Supreme Court Upholds Prop 8; Gay Couples Remain Married

John Dehlin Culture, Discrimination, gay, Government, homosexuality, marriage, politics, sexuality 277 Comments

The link to the article summarizing the CA Supreme Court decision is in the sidebar to the left.  In summary, the court allowed Prop 8 to stand (keeping marriage in CA defined as being between a woman and a man) but also allowed all homosexual couples married prior to its passage to retain their married status.

[poll id=”6″]

Please refrain from turning this into an argument about the nature or morality of homosexual activity or gay marriage.  This is a poll about a legal decision, and comments should be about the decision.

Comments

comments

Comments 277

  1. The argument for overturning prop 8 was rather tenuous (e.g., trying to classify an amendment as a revision so that a mere majority wouldn’t cut it)…so I mean, I guess I can’t say the courts were out of line. Good job on keeping the marriages, I suppose.

  2. I would have argued that Prop 8 was a violation of the separation of church and state since the objections to gay marriage are grounded in religion and the campaign was funded mostly by the catholic and LDS churches.

  3. The campaign was largely Church (religion in general) sponsored, however the law passed based by the vote of the people, so the Church and State argument doesn’t fly well. The one that has confused me is how Utah money can go unchecked in support of a campaign that effects California citizens.

  4. how Utah money can go unchecked in support of a campaign that effects California citizens.

    Because a campaign is just a marketing effort. It’s not state sponsored and the outcome is not officially/directly related to how much money is spent on a campaign (only in theory). If I want to convince people that my position is correct, it shouldn’t matter how I do it. It is up to the people to make their own determination after my marketing efforts.

  5. Options 3 and 4 don’t make any sense. Overturning Prop 8 would have automatically allowed all the marriages to continue, and therefore their legal status wouldn’t even need to be addressed. And incorrect on both, that prop 8 should have been overturned and none of the previous marriages acknowledged as marriages, is nonsensical for the same reason. There are really only three possible outcomes of this decision:

    1 – The court was correct on both counts.
    2 – Prop 8 should remain, and should cancel all previous same-sex marriages in California.
    3 – Prop 8 should have been overturned.

    I vote for #3.

  6. Ryan:

    I understand that the outside funding is probably legitimate, I guess I am just surprised that a State would not want to protect itself from outside influences. On the other hand, California really needs a positive cash flow, so the influx of Utah money may have been a good thing.

  7. I think the decision to allow a majority to vote away the rights of a minority is a TERRIBLE mistake. I think this should go directly to the US Supreme Court. And I think, further, that every minority in the country is vulnerable if this decision stands. That should give every one of us great concern because we all represent some sort of minority at various times and aspects of our lives. Meanwhile, the protection of the rights of the minority has, until this moment, always been a keystone of American democracy.

  8. From a constitutional perspective I think the court made a logical decision, in that the arguments made in favor of striking down the ballot Prop. were admittedly weak. Nonetheless, the pragmatic results of upholding Prop. 8 are tragic. Its going to take a lot more work to sort everything out. I know this work is ongoing, so I look to the near future with hope.

  9. Sadly, I can’t help but wonder how soon the LDS church and its “Yes on 8” lackies will start petitions circulating for a second amendment, specifically making Prop 8 retroactive, in order to wipe out the 18,000 families they missed the first time.

    No, I’m not just being snarky. Look at the comments at the Deseret News, and you’ll get some idea (misrepresentative sample, to be sure) of how many LDS are angry that the 18,000 marriages still stand.

  10. “(misrepresentative sample, to be sure)”

    You think? 🙂

    Seriously, comments at the Deseret News and the Salt Lake Tribune prove one thing and one thing only – that there are plenty of idiots and extremists on both sides of every issue.

    Also, I doubt highly the Church will back a second, retroactive amendment – and to label everyone with whom you disagree “lackies” . . .

  11. Alice: “Meanwhile, the protection of the rights of the minority has, until this moment, always been a keystone of American democracy.”

    I can’t say I agree with that statement. Minorities of all kinds have fought and continue to fight various battles throughout the history of our country. Although there are many serious implications for minorities everywhere with this decision, there are also serious implications for rule by minority. It’s a delicate balance to be struck, and the responsibility of our judicial system. But you surely must realize that this is the nature of people in general, that there will always be a disagreement on something? (Lest we forget, the LDS church in general is in many ways and places –Utah obviously not included–a minority of its own, and is no stranger to discrimination. I think it’s only fair to keep this in mind.)

    Personally, I think the arguments were weak as well. And I also think that upholding legal marriages prior to the passage of Prop 8 was the right thing to do. If the anti-8 side were to present more solid arguments in the future, I think the court is wholly obligated to consider the case again with as much of a blank slate as possible. Going straight to the US Supreme Court is a it much at the moment, but if reasonable process is followed and that’s where the case goes, then seeing where it goes will be an interesting ride

  12. Kari and Alice, although I share your position on the issue generally, I disagree, Kari, that #3 was the correct outcome. Legally speaking, it would have been inappropriate judicial activism by the court to overturn this referrendum. The problem is with the referrendum system, but that is outside the purview of the court in this instance. I happen to agree that it is too easy for the majority to alter many state constitutions, but again, that’s the system those states have chosen. As to the numerous comments that this is an ominous sign for the equality movement, I strongly disagree. The passage of Prop 8 was unfortunate, in my opinion, but I think the court had the obligation to get the review right according to the law, which restores order and calm under the rule of law, and also restores credibility to the entire process. If the court was to reject Prop 8, it would only make its supppoprters feel disenfranchised, and it would destroy the credibility of any authoritative body in California in the future. In my opinion, there has been a significant amount of damage done to the image and reputation of the groups that pushed Prop 8 over the edge, not least of which is the LDS church. Don’t forget, it passed by a slim margin as it is. It’s my opinion that the next time this issue shows up on the ballot in CA, many people will be unwilling to align themselves with the anti-gay marriage movement and the result will be different. If, as the anti-Prop 8-ers are vowing, the issue is on the ballot as soon as next year, I expect the other side will prevail.

  13. “Minorities of all kinds have fought and continue to fight various battles throughout the history of our country. ”

    Can’t say I disagree with this. Still, the direction of evolving law has been to ensure the rights of minorities who present their petitions to the courts.

    In the case of Prop 8, the appeal was directly to the electorate who voted away rights of a minority. And the CA Supreme Court, in allowing this, has turned its back on a vital pillar of American democracy.

    Justice has never been a guarantee. It has ever been a struggle and always will be.

  14. #10:
    Also, I doubt highly the [LDS?] Church will back a second, retroactive amendment

    That’s only because the first time was an unmitigated public relations disaster, and the cause of at least several hundred formal resignations of individual LDS membership.

    and to label everyone with whom you disagree “lackies” . . .

    I certainly don’t label “everyone with whom [I] disagree” as such. I was referring specifically to the campaign organizers and their employees/contractors. Considering the information which has come to light regarding who was paying the bills (plus an ongoing investigation still pending), Ray, I don’t think the term is all that rash.

    #11:
    (Lest we forget, the LDS church in general is in many ways and places –Utah obviously not included–a minority of its own, and is no stranger to discrimination. I think it’s only fair to keep this in mind.)

    This only makes the LDS church’s organized effort to legislate discrimination all the more heinous, since they should actually know better.

  15. #13

    There’s no reason it shouldn’t go to the US Supreme Court. State Constitutions are subordinate to the US Constitution. They specifically cannot outlaw a right guaranteed by the US Constitution. Since this is very much a question of equal protection under the law, the USSC is the next logical and imperative step.

  16. This will not go to the supreme court. Marriage is a state-run institution. And the arguments of the CA supreme court were that equal protection was not in question since there are civil unions in California granting full rights and protections of married people. So…it will be interesting if and when a ‘Prop 8 equivalent’ comes up in one of the 11 states that do not allow civil unions or any rights/protections for same sex couples (such as Utah). Based on the reasoning of the California supreme court, they would have to overturn any voter-based amendment as unconstitutional because there is no equal protection.

  17. Thanks, Douglas, I had forgotten about that while I was distracted with Alice’s comment.

    Alice, I don’t know that it would in any way serve as some sort of consolation for the moment, but I think that gay marriage will find its way into legal status with some time. I personally probably wouldn’t vote for a law legalizing it; I do think public opinion will shift in favor of gay marriage rights. I assume that from your perspective this probably doesn’t fix the here and now, though. As for justice, I doubt we would ever completely agree on a common definition, so I’d rather not stray into the ways that figures into whether or not justice was served for either side in this situation.

    Nick, I was simply trying to point out that vilifying a single church, which rarely actively involves itself in legislation, and is commonly the object of discrimination, for one piece of legislation is a bit harsh. Do you feel similarly about other churches that joined in the effort but were not made as prominent, or are Mormons a special case??

  18. #17

    I was part of press conference with California Faith for Equality this Morning (I am a spokes person for the organization). One of the first things our layers made clear in their presentation was that Prop. 8 can not be appealed to the US Supreme Court. The question before the California court did not address equal protection under the law. Keep in mind the Court ruled on the question of Prop. 8 being an amendment to or a revision of the CA constitution. That’s it, and its something that the USSC has no say in. You say its the imperative step to go to the USSC but be aware that lawyers from a number of civil rights organizations here in CA who are working on the issue strongly disagree both legally, and in terms of tactics. Our lawyers called, not for further judicial review, but for another ballot prop. and perhaps some reform to the process of how we alter the CA constitution.

  19. JRo- I fully anticipate that same sex marriage protections will become the law of the land. I expect it will happen within the lifespan that is left to me at the age of 60+.

    As to my perspective and my need for consolation, I assume they’re the same as every other American’s who values the protections of the Constitution. As a straight woman in a marriage of more than 40 years with 3 straight children, I have no other agenda but justice and compassion for my fellow man and, in that, I assume we’re all equal and comparable.

    As for those who are offended by the concept of same sex marriage, I am equally prepared to defend their right not to enter into one. Again, I assume we’re on more or less the same ground here keeping in mind that the Constitution grants equal protection under the law but has no protection from being offended. Thank God, because some people will be offended about just about anything.

  20. A popular referendum to amend a state’s constitution shouldn’t be overturned by the courts unless there is a compelling precedent. I still think that homosexuals should be permitted to marry under civil law and I think that their right to do so under the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution will be established sooner or later. The decision not to invalidate or annul the marriages that were performed before the prohibition went into effect represents good sense and good will — I’m not sure if it’s good law, not being familiar with some of the arguments against it. But kudos to the court for letting them stand.

    Religious bodies should be permitted to decide based on their own preferences whether or not to marry gay couples in religious ceremonies. I can’t fathom why anyone would have a problem with this, but I guess many people do.

  21. #19:
    Nick, I was simply trying to point out that vilifying a single church, which rarely actively involves itself in legislation, and is commonly the object of discrimination, for one piece of legislation is a bit harsh. Do you feel similarly about other churches that joined in the effort but were not made as prominent, or are Mormons a special case??

    It amazes me that LDS leaders/members will cry “religious persecution,” let alone “discrimination,” when anyone criticizes their political crusade against marriage equality. As for the LDS church being “singled out,” their own leaders were boasting in firesides, etc., that they were carrying the bulk of the work and contributions on their shoulders—but then cried “persecution” when opponents of Proposition 8 used the same claim against them. Suddenly, the LDS were “just one part of a coalition.” Nonsense. The fact remains that approximately 60% of the contributions to “Yes on 8” were made by LDS members at the behest of Mr. Monson, not to mention the countless volunteer hours. Even the “Yes on 8” campaign leaders openly acknowledged that they never would have succeeded, if not for the LDS involvement.

  22. Btw, I realized I didn’t comment on my answer. From a legal standpoint, I think the court got it exactly right – even though I also think it will be obsolete within the next few years.

    I think one thing this has highlighted is that it should be much harder to amend a constitution than it currently is in CA. It should be almost impossible to amend it and then overturn the amendment in a very short time frame. I favor a super majority over a simple majority, if only to keep a constitution from getting changed every 2-4 years by a very narrow vote. That type of legal volatility simply isn’t good, imo.

  23. Re #14 “it would have been inappropriate judicial activism by the court to overturn this referrendum”

    Agree

    Re #14 “it passed by a slim margin as it is. It’s my opinion that the next time this issue shows up on the ballot in CA, many people will be unwilling to align themselves with the anti-gay marriage movement and the result will be different.”

    Agree. The California voters will pass it next time. Barack will not be on the next ballot measure and the voter turnout and representation will be different. As far as mobilizing against ANOTHER California marriage initiative, who would want to have cars marked “Bigot lives here” parked in front of their homes again (for putting up a sign in their yard)? Who would want to be pressured to resign from their job because of a donation recorded on the internet again? Church members were asked to give of their time and means to support the measure, but not their jobs and lives. With the number of other states that have now legalized SSM, the California voters on the fence are more likely to see it as inevitable. Isn’t it already?

  24. I agree, Nick. We didn’t constitute anywhere close to a large percentage of the votes, but we certainty provided the organization and money that was needed. It’s silly for any member to be proud of the results but express surprise about the reaction. I think there are legitimate concerns and complaints about the nature of the reaction, but I don’t think there is any room for surprise.

    I don’t believe that has any bearing whatsoever, however, on any legal issue.

  25. You’re correct that it doesn’t relate so much to the legal issue, Ray. I was only answering another commentator’s question.

  26. Sorry, Nick. I didn’t realize that came across as anything but a statement. I didn’t mean it to be any kind of criticism. I also was responding to others – not just to you. I had to go back and read the post to realize how it must have sounded.

    Again, my apologies.

  27. Thanks, Nick, for your thoughts on the LDS church’s role in the matter. I think I understand clearly your feelings about that part of the Prop 8 issue. When I said “a bit harsh” I did choose my words carefully–not saying “extremely” or “wildly” or “unbelievably” harsh. I’m not trying to cry “religious persecution” as you mention, and it’s probably coming across that way. Really, I mentioned the church’s history of being discriminated against more for historical perspective. I think it’s valuable to keep in mind. You’re free to criticize, and I’ll maintain that it is rare for the LDS church to take political action on this scale and that should be considered somehow even if the purpose was disagreeable. I would say, though, that it’s a fact that there were other people involved in the campaign, and I’m interested in your thoughts about the other half of the question: do you feel as negatively toward the other groups on the “Yes on 8” side? You’ve very thoroughly explained your opinions about the LDS church; please, I’d just like your thoughts on the rest of those involved in the effort (and don’t bother naming names, I’m not asking for a list of who you do and don’t like, just your thoughts about other churches/organizations who supported the measure). A clear answer to that question and I’m out of your hair.

  28. So a 52/48 popular vote is a slim margin but a 53/47 popular vote is a landslide, people?

    Honestly, if the liberals on the NET are going to call obama’s 6 point split in the popular vote a landslide, then we should also call a 4 point spread a landslide.

    But now, I’m also in favor of changing the amendment rule to a higher percentage. Right now, before the gay activists force gay marriage down our throats, whether we like it or not.

    Oh, and Nick,
    I don’t mind losing faithless members who love the philosphies of men rather than the restored Gospel. We don’t need faithless members. Let them resign all they want. Church leaders were completely inspired in this. Bad PR has never killed the church, capitulation and resignation has destroyed the souls of some members, but it is always their choice.

  29. NOYDMB, I am glad there is room in the church for members like you, and like me. 🙂

    Wow that sounded bad. What I meant was, I think the gospel is more inclusive than many of us allow it to be.

  30. The marriages should be annulled. Society should not embrace any other model other than husband, wife, and children. This is the only model that works, however imperfect. No one on this message board is here because of 2 men or 2 women.

  31. Ray, i don’t see the need for you to apologize so much. Everyone on both sides of the fence has their own opinion. Do you see any anti-Prop 8 people apologizing?

  32. “i don’t see the need for you to apologize so much”

    Wow. Just wow.

    If everyone would apologize more, or at least soften up a bit, we’d all learn more and there would be less polarization.

    Although, Jon, I’m sorry if that came across bad. 🙂

  33. Fwiw, I try to apologize whenever I feel I have been in the wrong in some way – even if that is merely in an improper choice of words that conveys a meaning I didn’t intend. I’ve had to work hard on developing that particular characteristic over the years, and it’s been a worthwhile effort.

    So, I’m sorry, Jon, if my previous apology bothered you. (just kidding – *grin*)

  34. I think Prop 8 shows the church has, since GB Hinckley took the lead in this, started realizing there are times to speak up.

    Remember Elder Hales talk in Nov08:
    “To my inquiring sister and all who seek to know how we should respond to our accusers, I reply, we love them. Whatever their race, creed, religion, or political persuasion, if we follow Christ and show forth His courage, we must love them. We do not feel we are better than they are. Rather, we desire with our love to show them a better way—the way of Jesus Christ. ”

    There are times when it should influence for good. I wonder if the “PR nightmare” comes from not having experience in really doing this and once SPs and others get told to fight for it, it is not carried out the best way because we’re not used to doing that as a church.

    But it seems the church is trying to respond to opposition.

  35. On taking the case to the US Supreme Court, my understanding is that there is a “federal case” to be made for gay marriage on equal protection and full faith and credit grounds, but with the current court, ultimately it would certainly lose there by a 5-4 or 6-3 vote. Such a precedent could easily cause a 20- or 30-year delay in full marriage equality. Gay rights activists are therefore working state-by-state and avoiding taking cases to federal courts at this time.

  36. Nick

    “Look at the comments at the Deseret News, and you’ll get some idea (misrepresentative sample, to be sure) of how many LDS are angry that the 18,000 marriages still stand.”

    I couldn’t disagree more. That Deseret site is probably THE best place to gauge average mormon thought, and its typical of what I’ve always found in Church were homosexuality and hence gay marriage, is considered both unnatural and dirty. Its in places like this blogg and other similar ones that accept gay marriage and say sorry to gays.

  37. #18 green mormon: “This will not go to the supreme court. Marriage is a state-run institution. And the arguments of the CA supreme court were that equal protection was not in question since there are civil unions in California granting full rights and protections of married people.”

    You know, in all the confusion and bickering in this matter, I’ve never been able to actually establish whether the civil unions really ARE 100% equal to marriage except in the title of “marriage.” Some YES people have tried to tell me that we’re simply fighting over the right to call it marriage, that gays are getting the same rights and protections via civil unions so they should be satisfied with that, whereas gays are saying that’s not true. I find it hard to believe that people are simply fighting over a title. Either side apparently feels they are being denied something if they lose.

    I sometimes feel like I have to be a lawyer to really understand this issue and to cut through all the propaganda from either side.

  38. 41. I’ve read the opinion. Civil unions did not used to be equivalent to marriage. Now, something (name not known) that is the same as marriage but without the word *m*a*r*r*i*a*g*e involved will be available to same-sex couples.

    Opinion, p. 41 “in all other respects same-sex couples retain the
    same substantive protections embodied in the state constitutional rights of privacy
    and due process as those accorded to opposite-sex couples and the same broad
    protections under the state equal protection clause that are set forth in the majority
    opinion in the Marriage Cases, including the general principle that sexual
    orientation constitutes a suspect classification and that statutes according
    differential treatment on the basis of sexual orientation are constitutionally
    permissible only if they satisfy the strict scrutiny standard of review.”

  39. #40:
    That Deseret site is probably THE best place to gauge average mormon thought, and its typical of what I’ve always found in Church were homosexuality and hence gay marriage, is considered both unnatural and dirty.

    Carlos, keep in mind that I’m talking about the “reader comments” on the Deseret News website, rather than the actual newspaper content. Granted, even the newspaper gets some wild stuff, like Orson Scott Card calling for the violent overthrow of any government which provides marriage equality.

    That said, have you taken the time to read the “reader comments” at desnews.com lately? Some are thoughtful, but many of them are embarassing to either side of the topic. Several LDS critics who post there are often prone to hyperbole, while several LDS members who post there are enough to make Chris Buttars look progressive and (dare I say it?) “saintly.”

    Heck, anyone who’s seen my blog comments knows I can be a bit incendiary at times, but even I cringe at the unfettered vitriol that gets poured out by both sides in desnews.com (as well as sltrib.com) “readers comments” sections! (Not that I don’t read them—who can look away from a train wreck?)

  40. Carlos, I couldn’t agree more with Nick on this one. The reader comments on both the DNEWS and the Trib (usually for only the religion or immigration-related articles. There are decent conversations on the other stuff) are not representative of anything other than people generally turning their smart brains off and their dumb brains on, and letting each other have it.

  41. What I find interesting (read: funny) is that anyone would take the “readers comments” of ANY newspaper and categorize it as a representative sample of a population as a whole.

  42. #40

    “…homosexuality and hence gay marriage, is considered both unnatural and dirty. ”

    And, hence, the high number of LDS youth suicides.

  43. #43 “Carlos, keep in mind that I’m talking about the “reader comments” on the Deseret News website”

    Yes, sorry, I was talking about the comments section too. Its that us Mormons, I think, are rather repressed and frustrated individuals in church on Sundays -one simply can’t go off on tangents too much or say anything contentious due to that “Spririt of Contention….” , so then all we have to really show our true inner vessel is A)the bloggernacle comments sections for the more liberal mormons and B) deseret news comments section for the more traditional/conventional type.

    But yes, some are rather rude and embarrassing but its what Mormons actually think -imho off course. I’d say that SLTib is 10 times worse than Deseret because, it seems to me, that there are more non-members and full blown anti-mormons there. 🙂

    #48, Sure some youth suicides are due to identity conflicts but there is a lot more involved in youth suicides. It isn’t that simple but here the subject matter is different one.

  44. #39 – Kuri, I believe it is settled law that the right to marry is not a constitutionally protected right, and marriages are not protected by the full faith and credit clause. This is why other states have never been compelled to honor gay marriages performedi in Massachussetts for the past several years, and to my knowledge no such suit has ever been brought. As to the question of equal protection, I’m not quite as clear on that, but I do know that sexual orientation is not a constitutionally protected class as are race, religious affiliation, gender or age. I agree with many of the posters that it is merely a matter of time until the court includes sexual orientation as a protected class, but it is not currently.

  45. #50

    I must confess I have no idea if or to what extent “it is settled law that the right to marry is not a constitutionally protected right”. Mind citing the information that supports this?

    As to “no such suit [challenging other states’ right to withhold recognition from gay people married in MA under the full faith and credit clause ] has ever been brought”, this would tend to murky the waters on the establishment of the judgment you refer to in the preceding paragraph.

  46. Just to clarify, as to whether the right to marry generally is a constitutionally protected right, my understanding is that the matter is long since settled. My point was that the matter is settled to the extent that no one has attempted a challenge involving gay marriages from Massachussetts. I will work on getting a cite to better explain the state of the law.

  47. From a FAQ piece on Slate.com in 2004:

    “If Massachusetts (or any other state) passes a law saying that same-sex couples can marry, do all other 49 states have to give full faith and credit to that law?

    The full faith and credit clause of the Constitution states: “Full faith and credit shall be given in each state to the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state.” This seemingly broad rule, however, is not without its exceptions. Importantly, a state may not have to give full faith and credit to a law that violates its “public policy.” That, of course, raises the question of what a particular state’s public policy is. Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick has noted that “states have been permitted to refuse to recognize marriages from states with different policies toward polygamy, miscegenation, or consanguinity for decades.”

    Complicating the matter is the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which Congress passed and President Clinton signed in 1996. It states that “no State shall be required to give effect to a law of any other State with respect to a same-sex ‘marriage’ ” and then goes on to define “marriage” and “spouse” for purposes of federal law (for example, for purposes of federal income tax law). Adding another layer of complexity, 39 states have passed their own defense of marriage acts, which tends to support any argument that same-sex unions violate those states’ public policy. These issues will eventually play themselves out in the courts.”

    This is obviously not a primary source, or even a necessarily good one, and not current. However, it reflects my understanding of the issue of marriage contracts vis-a-vis the full faith and credit clause. That is, that marriages have long been excepted from protection under the full faith and credit clause for a number of reasons. That said, perhaps this will be revisited in the courts with respect specifically to gay marriage. The other good point the article makes is the Defense of Marriage Act which specifically exempts states from having to recognize gay marriages from other states, although there has been much litigation surrounding the DOMA.

  48. I see. That actually seems quite clear. …until it’s challenged. And I suspect that will happen.

    I still believe that this is very much a matter of equal protections under the law and I have no doubt there will be a case to that effect. Not sure whether additional states granting the right to marriage or some legally protected alternative thereto will take pressure off with respect to a broader ruling on equal protections or increase the number of people who want clarification of their particular marriages or unions as they move through the national population.

    In any case, I think it’s extremely premature to think of the CA Supreme Court’s most recent ruling is final.

  49. The homosexuals currently have the exact same rights as the heterosexuals, they can marry anyone from the opposite sex they wish. In the case at hand, the homosexuals are demanding “special” rights, which in my opinion should not be grnated. The courts have shot down the idea of polygamy for 150 years, why should they grant homosexuals special rights after only 20 years of whining? I guess what I am saying to the pro-gay-marriage folks is; Get in line.

  50. The homosexuals currently have the exact same rights as the heterosexuals, they can marry anyone from the opposite sex they wish. In the case at hand, the homosexuals are demanding “special” rights, which in my opinion should not be grnated [sic].

    Don’t worry, LD! We don’t want any special rights that you’re not also entitled to! When marriage equality is upheld, you (as a presumably heterosexual man) will have exactly the same right that I have, to marry an individual of the same sex!

    That way, we can be even on this whole “you have the same rights we do” argument. I’ll have the right to legally marry a person of the opposite sex, just as you’ll have the right to legally marry a person of the same sex, and vice-versa! I would never, ever, wish to deny you the right to marry a person of your same sex, when I expect to have that right myself!

  51. Br Jones,

    I don’t know the case law since then (IANAL), but Meyer v. Nebraska established a 14th Amendment based constitutional right to marry in 1923, and states routinely apply full faith and credit to marriages. Legally marry in one state, and you’re legally married in all 50 states — unless your spouse is the same sex as you. Then you’re SOOL.

    So, as your WaPo articles notes, DOMA is quite reasonably challengeable on full faith and credit grounds as well as 14th Amendment grounds. The reason it’s not being aggressively challenged in federal courts now is strategic. The challenge would certainly fail in the current Supreme Court, setting an unwanted precedent that could take 20 or 30 years to overcome. But if Obama is around long enough to replace one or two conservative justices, you can bet that many gay-marriage cases will appear in federal courts.

  52. alice As for those who are offended by the concept of same sex marriage, I am equally prepared to defend their right not to enter into one. made me smile.

    I’ve personally commented on my own thoughts, but I liked that comment.

  53. I’m glad it tickled, Stephen, but I absolutely meant it. Literally.

    Not being forced into a same sex marriage or any other marriage is everyone’s right. Persecuting, denying, discriminating against or otherwise attempting to relegate another American to second class status is NOT.

    Not cheerful or amusing but true and extremely important to keep in mind.

  54. #41

    “You know, in all the confusion and bickering in this matter, I’ve never been able to actually establish whether the civil unions really ARE 100% equal to marriage except in the title of ‘marriage’.”

    An interesting question, to be sure. In fact, I think if anyone takes the time to read the CA Supreme Court’s ruling, they reassert the right of same sex couples to enter into legal relationships that afford ALL the protections enjoyed by straight couples. They seem to have gone to some trouble to make clear that, as a result of Prop 8, any legal relationship between gay people can not be called a marriage but that there must not be any actual protection denied to them or go unrecognized.

  55. brjones

    Very interesting comment. Today they filed in some Federal Court a challenge to Prop8 claiming it unfair and against equal rights protection etc (by the two same lawyers who opposed each other in Bush v Gore) but I wonder and ask wouldn’t the courts need to overturn all the related legislation to validate their arguments? that is overturn everything from Prop8 to DOMA and that sect.5352 of RS (of Reynolds fame)?

    Just asking because if they do need to then the gay lobby will, in an indirect way, fight to also restore the right to polygamy. Ironic isn’t it.

    #56 “The homosexuals currently have the exact same rights as the heterosexuals, they can marry anyone from the opposite sex they wish. In the case at hand, the homosexuals are demanding “special” rights”

    Nick:
    Exactly, why can’t you see this? You aren’t asking for equality but a special concession or waiver for marriage.

  56. Alice:
    Society is perpetuated by the concept of husband, wife, and children. However imperfect, no other model works. Not 2 men, not 2 women. The State of Washington Supreme Court ruled recently that the lawmakers did indeed have the power to make marriage between a man and woman only. In order to perpetuate society and keep it going, is discrimination acceptable by not permitting same sex marriage, marriage between close relatives, polygamy, etc? Yes. Society shold not legitimize the deviancy of homosexuality. It would have grave consequences for society.

  57. #64:
    #56 “The homosexuals currently have the exact same rights as the heterosexuals, they can marry anyone from the opposite sex they wish. In the case at hand, the homosexuals are demanding “special” rights”

    Nick:
    Exactly, why can’t you see this? You aren’t asking for equality but a special concession or waiver for marriage.

    Carlos, LD claimed that by seeking legal recognition of same-sex marriages, gays and lesbians are asking for “special rights.” A “special” right would be one that is only afforded to certain individuals or groups. In other words, LD is claiming that gays and lesbians are asking that they–and they only–be allowed to marry a person of the same biological sex. This is simply untrue. Have you ever seen any proposed legislation which suggests that “everyone can marry someone of the opposite sex, but only homosexuals will be allowed to marry a person of the same sex?” Of course you haven’t, because nobody has made that suggestion.

    Now, the obvious answer on your part may be “That’s REALLY only a right for homosexuals, because I’m straight, and I would never WANT to marry a person of the same sex!” In other words, you don’t feel like you’d gain any right, because the exercise of that right is repugnant to you. The very thought of you marrying another man is so completely ridiculous, that legal recognition of same-sex marriage doesn’t seem to provide you with any gain, since it’s a right you’d never want to exercise. Correct?

    Well, Carlos, welcome to the club!
    When anti-marriage-equality pundits claim that gays and lesbians have “the same right as everyone else, because they have the right to marry someone of the opposite sex,” they’re engaging in a cynical exercise. The thought of marrying a woman is every bit as repulsive to me as marrying another man would be to you. The very thought of me marrying a woman is so completely ridiculous, that legal opposite-sex recognition doesn’t provide me with any gain, since it’s a right I’d never want to exercise.

    We all have legal rights that we’d never actually be willing to exercise. That doesn’t mean, however, that those are “special rights,” which are only allowed for those who want to exercise them.

  58. To “deviate”, in the purest sense, is nothing more than to be different. It is not necessarily a moral affront and there’s no reason it has to be viewed as an attack on the conventional. It’s the insecure, intellectually limited or the simply rigid, I think, who tend to overreact and apply moral restraints instead of recognizing that it’s “deviates” like Benjamin Franklin, Joseph Smith, Henry Ford and Martin Luther King who say “let’s do something a different way” and move a whole culture ahead.

    Is there something “wrong” with homosexuality? I suppose there is to people who choose to persist in the belief that it’s behavior that gay people choose as an affront to the private lives of the general population or to decency itself. But the growing evidence of biology is that it’s a condition of birth that is no more related to anyone else’s biological drives than eye color or height. Viewed that way, as an attribute deigned by Heavenly Father before birth, getting exercised by who has children is no more appropriate than tallying the children of those who are sterile, who have had reproductive systems ravaged by disease or who are unable to find life mates — intrusive and piling on.

    Meanwhile, Mormon popular and public culture, if not the church itself, has embarrassed itself by spreading hysterical lies, demonizing it’s own youth, putting the integrity of it’s own families in jeopardy, tarring the spiritual mission with a political agenda that creates great distrust in the general population, attacking the essential principles of the Constitution and squeezing the stressed financial resources of families in an economic crisis with a mere fool’s errand.

    Not easy things to say. Not easy things to watch happen. NOT said in rancor. But, as a matter of simple observation, there’s truth to it. And, at my age, I’ve seen it happen before in the Civil Rights era and in the ERA era. Neither time was the church on the side of the angels and neither time did it prevail for long. Both times it wounded itself both internally and externally. …but not, I think, as much or with the consequences, as it is today.

    As to what “special” right gay Americans are asking for, the proponents of this argument should be ashamed to make it. You have as much right as a fish to breathe underwater. If it is not your nature to do so, referring to that “right” is pointless and insulting.

    Haven’t enough faithful and sincere gay Mormons been pushed into straight marriages only to eventually give in to the fact that it’s not a sustainable lifestyle for them or the straight spouses and dependent children? Haven’t you seen enough suicides and families broken up in confusion, sadness and turmoil? Perpetuating that is foolishness, cruelty and tragedy and I hope it never happens to any of the children of people here just as much as I hope gay Mormon Americans can pursue companionship and their right to the promise of domestic tranquility, that Black Saints can have all the blessings of the priesthood and that, eventually, women will be able to bless their own children !

  59. Haven’t enough faithful and sincere gay Mormons been pushed into straight marriages only to eventually give in to the fact that it’s not a sustainable lifestyle for them or the straight spouses and dependent children?

    Individuals like LD and CarlosJC believe that I (as a gay man) should indeed marry a woman. Such a position, however, demands that we ask each of them one question: Which one of you gentlemen will eagerly approve a “faithful” gay man marrying your own daughter?

  60. #68:
    Mark the words of your own leaders, LD. They have already “accepted” homosexuality, and repeatedly stated that it is not a sin. In fact, they openly admit that they don’t know the cause of homosexuality, and that it may be biologically influenced.

    What the LDS church does not accept is sexual activity between persons of the same biological sex. “Homosexuality” is a sexual orientation, not an action.

  61. Lone Danite, this is a patently absurd statement regarding a church that is led by ongoing revelation, and one about which its leaders have said literally ANYTHING is righteous when commanded by the lord. Out of the context of revelation and the will of the lord, nephi’s murder of laban, the doctrine of polygamy and even the conception of jesus, would all constitute the violation of the most serious commandments of god. The point is, according to LDS theology god can condone any behavior he chooses and that behavior ceases to be sinful. Additionally, your statement completely ignores history, which has shown that strongly held, fundamental mormon doctrines and practices have been abandoned or changed. In practicality you may be correct that the church will never accept homosexuality. But that doesn’t make your statement any less inappropriate. The church does not grant you, or any other man, including the prophet, the right to make such statements, and it is not supported in the doctrine.

  62. #72 – this comment is offensive on a number of levels. First of all, homosexuality is not a crime, and it is fantastically inappropriate to compare it to pedophilia. Secondly, NL specifically stated that the state of being a homosexual, i.e. someone who is attracted to someone of the same sex, is not a sin, but only the behavior constitutes sin. Men who are invovled with NAMBLA are actively campaigning for the acceptance of sexual relations between adults and children, which is a crime in our society. I would submit to you that if someone is attracted to children, but does not act on those attractions, then you are commanded by god to accept them, according to your own doctrine, although your comments make it pretty clear you don’t.

  63. I have never seen NAMBLA represented in a gay pride parade, LD, nor do I believe that such a thing would ever be allowed. If you are simply suggesting that there may be one or more pedophiles walking in a gay pride parade, I would simply point out that the same is quite likely true of any parade. In fact, not so many years ago, there was an active pedophile serving in the First Quorum of the Seventy of the LDS church.

    Furthermore, your attempted analogy is entirely misguided. First, children are legally incapable of giving informed consent to sexual activity (as are zebras, box turtles, and your livingroom sofa). Second, sexual activity with minors is a criminal offense throughout the United States.

    So what is bisexuality?

    Do you need a dictionary, LD? Bisexuality is a sexual orientation, characterized by sexual and romantic attraction toward persons of both the same and opposite sex. One can be a bisexual virgin, just as one can be heterosexual virgin, or a homosexual virgin.

  64. Lone Danite: You are wrong. I am so sick of the “tolerating gays will lead to tolerating pedophiles” line of reasoning. It is a grossly inaccurate, unfair and hateful comparison.

    Alice: I agree completely.

    Nick: I agree with your points as well. But I have a few questions. If you are going to drop a bomb like “not so many years ago, there was an active pedophile serving in the First Quorum of the Seventy of the LDS church” I would like to know more details. Like, when, who, and what happened? Was he excommunicated? Did he go to prison? Perhaps the story has been discussed in more detail at another time on this site but I have never heard of that.

    I think the church, although claiming to be divine and claiming to help people, has caused a lot of unnecessary pain in their treatment of gays. For me, the bottom line is this: the church has made people who naturally are attracted to the same sex feel like dirt. If causing pain and heartache to someone who simply feels attracted to people of the same sex is not wrong, what is? Once again, society is 20 years ahead of the church. Soon, gay marriage will be accepted across the nation, but the church will be behind the times like it was with women’s rights and blacks. Why is a church led by god simply 20 years behind enlightened society?

  65. #66 Nick “gays and lesbians are asking for “special rights.”” “This is simply untrue” etc

    Cool, good explanation, thanks. My real hope though is that along with that so called ‘gain’ we can also pick up the right for me to marry 3 or 4 women simultaneously; they should leave consenting adults to live as they wish. It would solve some social problems because how many wealthy men have mistresses on the side…well I’m rambling again 🙂 but wouldn’t this fight be easier if you tackled it from the ‘free consenting adults’ angle?

    “The thought of marrying a woman is every bit as repulsive to me as marrying another man would be to you”

    I wish I knew why this is so. But what do you really think will happen after the final judgment day, you know Mormon belief, so what do you believe will happen at the end of it all when kingdoms are assigned and couples exalted. Do you think there will be gay Gods or gay angles who live ‘together’ without offspring? (and I ask sincerely, no hidden or trick questions, and I ask you since you know Mormon doctrine well having been a member for years) By the way I would approve you marrying my daughter if you loved each other and were willing to try. I would also approve her marrying someone she loved but who was incapable of sex,for example some eunuchs, as long as they loved each other.

  66. Alice:

    “As to what “special” right gay Americans are asking for, the proponents of this argument should be ashamed to make it” Ouch! your nails scratched me bad girl! it hurts.

    “You have as much right as a fish to breathe underwater. If it is not your nature to do so, referring to that “right” is pointless and insulting.” Doh! Ok, but if I give the fishy his right to breath underwater, say with some special equipment (like a frogman) would that be OK with you???

  67. #76:
    If you are going to drop a bomb like “not so many years ago, there was an active pedophile serving in the First Quorum of the Seventy of the LDS church” I would like to know more details.

    Sorry, Derek, I assumed it was pretty much common knowledge. Old guys like me don’t stop to think that it’s been twenty years–heh!

    The below link is a rather good summary of the story. I would only add that the girl claimed Lee told her the contact was justified, because polygamy was secretly approved among the leaders of the LDS church. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_P._Lee

  68. # 72 “Aren’t there men who are sexualy oriented/attracted to children (NAMBLA) that march in Gay-Pride parades? Should I accept them?”

    Of course not! Those are people who use their greater power and authority to victimize unwilling people who don’t have the resources to refuse them or don’t understand that they’re not required to consent. To conflate that with consenting adult partners is intellectually dishonest.

  69. #79 “Doh! Ok, but if I give the fishy his right to breath underwater, say with some special equipment (like a frogman) would that be OK with you???”

    Frankly, I’m of the Mrs. Patrick Campbell school: “It doesn’t make any difference what you do in the bedroom as long as you don’t do it in the street and frighten the horses.” Of course, in this case, I’d substitute “under water” and “as long as you’re not impinging on the rights of others”.

  70. #78:
    “The thought of marrying a woman is every bit as repulsive to me as marrying another man would be to you”

    I wish I knew why this is so.

    Hehehe…and there, my friend, is the fascinating mystery of human interaction, both physical and emotional! Aside from the fact that your attraction is common in society, I wish I knew why you would find women so attractive! 🙂

  71. #68:
    Mark the words of your own leaders, LD. They have already “accepted” homosexuality, and repeatedly stated that it is not a sin. In fact, they openly admit that they don’t know the cause of homosexuality, and that it may be biologically influenced.

    Can you provide some references for the rest of us? I’m not familiar with the statements you speak of, and they seem at best a stretch of what I have indeed heard.

  72. You clearly have not done your homework, NAMBLA is a condoned organization within the homosexual movement, and has been allowed to march side-by-side with them in their parades. Look it up for yourself. Why do I have the feeling you already know this?

  73. Condoned by whom? Some homosexuals may welcome support from wherever they can find it. Others would be repulsed by their involvement I am sure. But what is your point? Are you saying homosexual freedom to marry will lead to the freedom of adults to have sexual relationships with children? Is that what you are saying?

  74. “I have never seen NAMBLA represented in a gay pride parade, LD, nor do I believe that such a thing would ever be allowed.”

    It’s this kind of attitude that is so evil about you people. Yes I said YOU PEOPLE. You are evil. You know that homosexual men rape boys, but you pretend to not know.

  75. LD,

    You said, “…NAMBLA is a condoned organization within the homosexual movement, and has been allowed to march side-by-side with them in their parades,” but then you said, “…in the eighties and nineties, …homosexual activists began banning NAMBLA from ‘gay pride’ parades to clean up their public image….” Which is it? Is NAMBLA a condoned organization or a banned organization?

  76. And perhaps you should do your homework, LD. Why don’t you read the research and enlighten us all as to what percentage of child molesters and rapists are homosexual? Generally I am tolerant of people’s ignorance, because I don’t know much myself, but your ignorance on this topic is hateful and dangerous. You don’t know what you’re talking about, so I would suggest you do a little research before you start spewing your bigoted garabge on a friendly site. I don’t mind bile, but at least get your facts straight.

  77. You know that homosexual men rape boys, but you pretend to not know.

    (Setting aside all the differences between hetero/homosexuals and pedo/ephebophiles) I also know that heterosexual men rape girls. What’s your point?

  78. Homosexuals have no problem with pedophilia. Ten or fifteen years ago they started distancing themselves to try to clean up their image. Today they lie and act like NAMBLA has never had any association with the gay movement (as shown by your friend’s comment to me above). Why else would they openly march with them in gay-pride parades, which very much did in-fact take place, if they don’t condone their activity?

  79. LD

    You are embarrassing yourself. Please stop.

    Are you really going to lump all homosexuals as people who have “no problem with pedophilia.” Guess what? I’m sure some homosexuals are pedophiles. I’m also sure some heterosexuals are pedophiles. What is your point? And further, how does whether or not homosexuals can marry one another affect their alleged propensity to be or sympathize with pedophiles?

  80. Some NAMBLA people used to be prominent in the gay rights movement. So what? They aren’t anymore. Everybody hates NAMBLA now, and it barely exists as an organization anymore anyway.

  81. Give me a break. If back in the 90s the grand wizard of the KKK was invited to sit up on the stand at General Conference, would you say:

    Some kkk people used to be prominent in the Mormon movement. So what? They aren’t anymore. Everybody hates the KKK now, and it barely exists as an organization anymore anyway.

  82. You never answered my quesions Danite.

    As discussed earlier on this site, a pedophile was a member of the first quorum of the 70. Does that mean the church accepts pedophilia? Of course not.

    Further, the Church is very organized. You can’t really compare an organized church to the homosexual movement.

    But again I say, what does this have to do with homosexual marriage? You seem to be arguing for the banishment of all gays from society. That is not the issue here, the issue is whether they should be able to marry.

  83. You don’t have to try to convince me, I already know. Spend your time convincing those naive schoolchildren that homosexuals really are like the guys on Will & Grace. I already know they are really a bunch of perverts who can’t control their sexual urges. Kind of like the guy who gets arrested for sexually abusing his neighbor’s goat.

  84. I noted above, that LDS leaders “have already ‘accepted’ homosexuality, and repeatedly stated that it is not a sin. In fact, they openly admit that they don’t know the cause of homosexuality, and that it may be biologically influenced.”

    In #84, J.Ro asked:
    Can you provide some references for the rest of us? I’m not familiar with the statements you speak of, and they seem at best a stretch of what I have indeed heard.

    Absolutely. In late 2007, the LDS church released their most recent official statement on the subject, in pamphlet form. You can find the pdf version at http://www.lds.org/topics/pdf/GodLovethHisChildren_04824_000.pdf

    To quote from the pamphlet:
    “Many people with same-gender attractions have strong testimonies
    of the gospel and, therefore, do not act on those attractions.
    Attractions alone do not make you unworthy. If you
    avoid immoral thoughts and actions, you have not transgressed
    even if you feel such an attraction. The First Presidency stated,
    “There is a distinction between immoral thoughts and feelings
    and participating in either immoral heterosexual or any homosexual
    behavior” (letter, Nov. 14, 1991).”

    Simultaneously with the above pamphlet’s appearance, Jeffrey R. Holland published an article in the October 2007 Ensign. Again, let me provide some relevant quotes:

    HOLLAND: “I too affirm that God loves all His children and acknowledge that many questions, including some related to same-gender attraction, must await a future answer, perhaps in the next life. Unfortunately, some people believe they have all the answers now and declare their opinions far and wide. Fortunately, such people do not speak for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”

    HOLLAND: “In saying this, let me make it clear that attractions alone, troublesome as they may be, do not make one unworthy. The First Presidency has stated, ‘There is a distinction between immoral thoughts and feelings and participating in either immoral heterosexual or any homosexual behavior.’ If you do not act on temptations, you have not transgressed.”

    Also in 2007, lds.org published a “interview” on homosexuality, between the LDS Public Affairs Department, Dallin Oaks, and Lance Wickman. From that article:

    OAKS: “The distinction between feelings or inclinations on the one hand, and behavior on the other hand, is very clear. It’s no sin to have inclinations that if yielded to would produce behavior that would be a transgression.”

    OAKS: “We’re not talking about a unique challenge here. We’re talking about a common condition of mortality. We don’t understand exactly the ‘why,’ or the extent to which there are inclinations or susceptibilities and so on.”

    OAKS: “The Church does not have a position on the causes of any of these susceptibilities or inclinations, including those related to same-gender attraction. Those are scientific questions — whether nature or nurture — those are things the Church doesn’t have a position on.

    I trust these are sufficient to help clear things up for you, J.Ro.

  85. If back in the 90s the grand wizard of the KKK was invited to sit up on the stand at General Conference, would you say:
    Some kkk people used to be prominent in the Mormon movement. So what? They aren’t anymore. Everybody hates the KKK now, and it barely exists as an organization anymore anyway.

    The comparison isn’t very apt, because the gay rights movement is decentralized and the Church is centralized, but if they repudiated the Klan and had nothing to do with them anymore, I might say that.

  86. #85:
    You clearly have not done your homework, NAMBLA is a condoned organization within the homosexual movement, and has been allowed to march side-by-side with them in their parades.

    LD, you need to provide us with sources for these outlandish and truly offensive claims. I’m not calling you a liar, but I think you’ve been quite dramatically deceived.

  87. Nick, I think #101 is a little misleading, in that the church was extremely late on this. For years the church either avoided the issue or let local leadership make claims like, “god will never put a female spirit into a male body.” I understand the church has clarified their stance lately but I don’t think it is fair to act like the church accepts homosexuality and does not consider it to be a sin.

    Even the church’s stance today is cruel, in my opinion. They basically say never act on your sexual urges. And elder oaks said that gay children should not put their parents in the uncomfortable position of bringing their partners around the family. Please don’t. How about please do accept your children no matter what. How about please do accept your children’s choices.

  88. The gay community likes to pretend that it is not guilty of pedophilia. In the straight community there are lots of pedophiles. In the gay community there are lots of pedophiles. Society has no obligation to promote or legitimize homosexual relationships. Gay sex and gay marriage have no purpose.
    Addiction to gay sex is like any other addiction. It’s an addiction.
    http://www.evergreeninternational.org
    This website promotes the idea the people are not born gay and that same sex attractions can be diminished or eliminated. If this is true, Satan is fooling alot of people. In the pamphlet God Loveth His Children, the First Presidency says that same sex attraction was not present in the pre existence and that it WILL NOT BE present in the next life.
    This is clearly the best argument I have ever 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. Society should not legitimize the deviancy of homosexuality.

  89. #87:
    Okay, so Harry Hay, along with unidentified activists, evidently protested the exclusion of NAMBLA from gay pride parades. So the guy had some “out there” ideas. How does this prove your claim that NAMBLA marches in gay pride parades, and is welcomed/respected by all homosexuals?

    #89:
    It’s this kind of attitude that is so evil about you people. Yes I said YOU PEOPLE. You are evil. You know that homosexual men rape boys, but you pretend to not know.

    LD, what are you drinking? I’m fully aware that there are gay pedophiles. I’m also well aware that there are pedophiles who victimize both underage girls and boys, yet insist that they are heterosexual (of note, these men invariably lose any interest whatsoever in young boys, once those boys are old enough to show any signs of puberty, such as body hair). Is the latter something you “pretend not to know?”

    I would suggest that, rather than relying on notorious anti-gay organizations such as “Concerned Women for America,” you broaden your reading. As a start in the right direction, I would suggest the following pro-gay article, which actually cites scholarly studies on the subject of heterosexual vs. homosexual pedophiles: http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com/Articles/000,002.htm

    #95:
    Homosexuals have no problem with pedophilia.

    I am a homosexual, as many first-hand witnesses can readily assure you. I have a huge “problem with” (i.e. I have ZERO tolerance for) pedophilia. Therefore, your statement is proven false.

    #100:
    You don’t have to try to convince me, I already know. Spend your time convincing those naive schoolchildren that homosexuals really are like the guys on Will & Grace.

    Good grief, I certainly hope not! Will is pretentious, and Jack is WAY too “swishy” for my taste. Besides that, both of them need to actually eat something, and put some meat on those scrawny bones!

    I already know they are really a bunch of perverts who can’t control their sexual urges. Kind of like the guy who gets arrested for sexually abusing his neighbor’s goat.

    Okay, LD, now you’re getting so over-the-top, that we don’t know whether you’re trying to be funny, or experiencing symptoms of mental illness. Feel free to clarify—or if you actually think you’re both sane and truthful, give us something to back up these claims, rather than exagerrated rants.

    (By the way, was that a male goat, or a female goat that you were arrested with?)

  90. #104:
    Nick, I think #101 is a little misleading, in that the church was extremely late on this…I understand the church has clarified their stance lately but I don’t think it is fair to act like the church accepts homosexuality and does not consider it to be a sin.

    Actually, Derek, what the LDS church has done is follow (as in quote verbatim) the rhetorical softening of the evangelical anti-gay movement. The latter realized over the years that they were simply getting tuned out as hatemongers, so they toned things down in the same ways that the LDS church subsequently did. I’m simply being charitable, by letting the most recent official statements represent the current “official” position of LDS leaders.

    As for Mr. Oaks’ advice to the parents of gay children, I agree with you that it’s entirely reprehensible.

  91. Jon, you basically argue that bc homosexual marriage cannot lead to offspring, that it has no purpose, is deviant, and should not be permitted.

    So what should we do with heterosexuals who cannot procreate? Should we invalidate their marriages?

    What about heterosexual couples who choose not to have children? Should we invalidate their marriages?

    Or what about friendship? That is a relationship that does not lead to offspring. Should it be ruled as deviant?

  92. Same sex relationshops are deviant and unnatural and society has no obligation to condone them.
    The only way society perpetuates itself effectively is husband, wife and children.
    My posts speak for themselves.
    Discrimination is acceptable if society wishes to continue perpetuating itself. All these pro-gay marriage folks are asking all of us to accept this deviant lifestyle and it just is not going to happen. Two men and two women do not constitute a marriage no matter how much you try to change the definition.

  93. #105:
    The gay community likes to pretend that it is not guilty of pedophilia. In the straight community there are lots of pedophiles. In the gay community there are lots of pedophiles.

    The “gay community” is no more “guilty of pedophelia” than the “straight community.” There are straight pedophiles, and gay pedophiles. Both are to be condemned for their victimization of children.

    Addiction to gay sex is like any other addiction. It’s an addiction.

    Sexual addiction is quite a different subject. There are gay sex addicts, and straight sex addicts. One can even be a purely monogamous, heterosexually-married sex addict. Yes, sex addiction is an addiction—regardless of the object of one’s sexual desires.

    This website [Evergreen International] promotes the idea the people are not born gay and that same sex attractions can be diminished or eliminated.

    Evergreen International is not sponsored or endorsed by the LDS church. Further, that organization’s blanket claim that “nobody is born gay,” and that homosexual orientation “can be diminished or eliminated” is in contradiction to the words of the LDS First Presidency, which specifically acknowledge that not everyone will “overcome” homosexual orientation “in this life.”

    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.

    So will you still champion “the will of the people” when a later initiative revokes Proposition 8, and marriage equality again becomes the law in California?

    The animal, bird, fish, insect, and plant kingdoms all live this law [i.e., heterosexual activity only].

    Homosexual activity has been observed and documented in over 400 animal species. Google it.

  94. Dexter:
    Homosexuality is not the norm. It deviates from the norm. If it were the norm, the earth would be depopulated in no time at all.
    Nick:
    Addiction to gay sex is an addiction. Period. Gay sex should be avoided just like you would avoid crystal meth, tobacco, or any other addiction.

  95. Is today ignorant day? I have never seen so many posts with no rationality behind them.

    Jon: Is any specific marriage the norm? Should marriages where the bride is taller than the groom be labeled deviant because they are not the norm? Should marriages where the bride is five years older than the groom be outlawed because they are not the norm? Should marriages of white women to black men be outlawed because they are not the norm?

    Addiction to heterosexual sex is an addiction. Period. Should it be avoided just like you would avoid meth?

  96. Addiction to gay sex is an addiction. Period. Gay sex should be avoided just like you would avoid crystal meth, tobacco, or any other addiction.

    Is that like the old (racist) saying, “Once you go black, you’ll never go back,” jon?

  97. This site is addictive. I need to avoid it. I am wasting too much time talking to people who refuse to use logic.

  98. Seriously though, jon, I shouldn’t make fun of your comments. Like you, I was once a closeted LDS man, who knew full well that his sexual/romantic/emotional attractions were toward other men. I know exactly what sort of anguish you’re going through. I also know how easy it is to grab onto “easy explanations” like the “addiction” claim, or the “dad was absent, mom was too close” theory, or Evergreen’s “you just haven’t learned how to be manly enough” teaching. I’ve been through all of those, believing them one by one, until further examination revealed their flaws.

    I wish you all the best, as you grow through these difficult times. Most of all, I wish you the peace and joy that can eventually come as you learn to love yourself for the gay man you were created to be, never more to suffer the pain and humiliation of constantly trying to hide who you are.

  99. Wrong, Nick. I know that SSA exists but to act on it is akin to acting on pedophilia urger or urges to kill. Acting on it, ultimately, will lead to nowhere. When the First Presidency says that all members with SSA who will not act upon them and will keep the commandments is promised all blessings in the life after this, that’s a mouthful. Good, solid, true doctrine.
    When societies continue to embrace worldy doctrines, there will be catastrophes of all kinds. Recessions, depressions, natural, unnatural disasters.

  100. #119:
    I know that SSA exists…

    Yes, the Social Security Administration, does exist.
    Of course, you probably are referring to the imaginary diagnosis of “same sex attraction.” That term was coined by the evangelical anti-gay movement, in order to make homosexual orientation sound like a syndrome/disease/disorder. The LDS church subsequently adopted the term from them. There is no such diagnosis among licensed therapists, with the exception of those who are actually employed by anti-gay religious groups.

    When the First Presidency says that all members with SSA who will not act upon them and will keep the commandments is promised all blessings in the life after this, that’s a mouthful.

    Yes, it certainly is a mouthful. Of course, the First Presidency doesn’t make such a promise, since one also has to be in compliance with a host of other commandments, in order to receive the promised “blessings.”

    When societies continue to embrace worldy doctrines, there will be catastrophes of all kinds. Recessions, depressions, natural, unnatural disasters.

    Of course, societies like the State of California, which reject “worldly doctrines” by enacting Proposition 8 never experience recessions, depressions, natural disasters, or “unnatural” disasters.

    Okay….okay, everyone…stop laughing at that last part, or you’ll make him feel bad!

  101. This was once an important, an interesting and a civil discussion.

    It’s too bad that there are people who can’t deal in salient information and offer a reasonable argument. We all lose when they enter the conversation. And it’s too bad they don’t even recognize that they actually do more damage to their position when hysteria and hate are what they have to offer. ::sigh::

    We won’t all agree but we should all be interested in getting a better understanding of the truth and one another.

  102. Amen, alice.
    Unfortunately, this is a very emotionally-charged topic for many. Often, there’s a whole lot going on “behind the scenes” that we can’t be privy to.

  103. Thanks for the references, Nick. You see to be roughly equating thoughts, inclinations, attractions etc. with action on them. The following may be considered on a different order than sexual orientation; addiction can be heavily influenced by genetics or biology, but a tendency toward drug abuse isn’t considered a sin, rather the drug abuse itself is seen as the sin. (That’s not said meaning to equate homosexuality with addiction; it’s the closest example I could think of, but not being homosexual I have no fully viable comparison. It’s unreasonable assume that completely invalidates what I’m saying though.) It doesn’t seem like homosexual “tendencies” are a special case here. Instead, it seems that what is so reprehensible to you is more fundamentally the belief itself. Though a right you wanted may have been denied, the degree of serious harm done to homosexuals in this legislation case seems relatively minimal.

    All beliefs aside, I think it really is just a matter of time before the gay marriage issue is settled in your favor. It might take some patience, but you’ll likely get what you want.

  104. #124:
    You see to be roughly equating thoughts, inclinations, attractions etc. with action on them.

    Rather, I’m pointing out that it’s inaccurate to say that LDS leaders consider “homosexuality” a sin. Homosexuality is a sexual orientation–a matter of physical/emotional feelings and attractions. LDS leaders have been quite clear lately in stating that those feelings/attractions are not, in and of themselves, sinful. What LDS leaders do condemn, on the other hand, is homosexual activity, i.e., sex between persons of the same biological sex. You can’t get excommunicated for being homosexual (anymore—that used to be different), but you can get excommunicated for having sexual relations with another person of the same biological sex.

  105. Crap, people. This type of slugfest is stupid and destructive and wrong on a site like this. I really HATE having to pull out my comment moderation stick, but this is out of control. *sigh*

    The Church’s current stance is articulated in the pamphlet “God Loveth His Children”. Nick linked it in comment #101 and is 100% correct in his comments about that stance.

  106. Everyone:

    Please don’t feed the trolls. Generally, when you do, they can sit back, gorge themselves and be perfectly happy – while you end up tied up in knots inside.

    Is that really what you want – to make them happy while you suffer?

  107. I second that Ray. I tried to engage on a gay marriage opinion piece in the USNEWS this morning, but was quickly overwhelmed by the ALL CAPS READ THE BIBLE OR BE DAMNED AND GAY MARRIAGE IS THE END OF CIVILIZATION AND YOU WILL ALL BE JUDMENTED (real spelling)!!! commmenters. It’s experiences like that that make me value the conversations here even more, even when they get a little troll-ish.

  108. if propagating the species is the way of nature, and therefore a desirable ends, and again therefore a social justification for prohibiting same sex marriage, then I think monogamy, and even marriage in general are socially destructive. If we look to the animal kingdom as an example (though I am no expert, I realize that the mating and nurturing habits among species vary) wouldn’t we, as a society, be better off then to promote alpha males in impregnating all females of the pack, while relegating the subdominant males to then help the pregnant women in the nurturing of the offspring. Monogamy certainly contravenes effecient propagation by limiting the number of children concieved by our superior specimen. There are theories out there which suggest that homosexuality is natures way of managing overpopulation – which any economist will tell you can be a blight on natural resources. I can’t certify whether this correct or not, but it provides a reasonable explanation as to how and why homosexuality fits very naturally into the scheme of biology. In other words, the inability to produce offspring may very well be the point- which is ironic given that is the justification used by LD to explain how un-natural homosexuality is.

  109. AdamF – Not to mention it is very difficult to connect the dots on how homosexuality contributed to subprime lending practices, and a mortgage bubble that has impacted our current economy. I tend to think that economist’s are probably more correct on this one.

  110. Ray, thank you for your ever-patient reminders. I do apologize if I’ve been part of the problem; I hope I haven’t, and that my following comment doesn’t have to be moderated. I apologize particularly to Nick and Alice if I’ve been inflammatory in our discussions. I didn’t intend to.

    Nick, I didn’t actually tell you but the link to “God Loveth His Children” definitely was helpful in clearing the church’s position. My only disagreement with what you’ve said is that the way I read it, the publication encourages “Latter-Day Saints who are and sometimes feel discouraged but sincerely desire to live a life pleasing to our Father in Heaven” to do things that presumably would lead them further from that attraction. Certainly not closer to it. If the church sees an activity as condemnable, the logical step would be to dissuade people (in some way, again certainly not to encourage it) from the attraction toward said activity, though the attraction itself is not condemnable. For that reason, I have trouble seeing the church’s position on Prop 8 in a negative light. Churches whose beliefs are otherwise could have been (and some likely were) equally rightfully anti-8.

  111. And I thought JRo represented his perspective reasonably and articulately. That makes the discussion between well-intentioned people looking for light and knowledge all the more interesting and useful.

    I join JRo in hoping I wasn’t part of the problem.

  112. I will say this. At least these kind of conversations, despite the vitriol and contention, help me to crystallize my own viewpoint.

  113. Ray:
    People who advocate gay marriage and gay sex seem to be the ones that are most tolerated on this board. People who espouse the counter view are the ones demonized. How strange is that?

  114. Jon, just so you know, I advocate neither. It’s not the message generally that offends here; it’s the tone. I mean that. I hope you continue to comment, but I also hope you write your comments with the idea of how you would react if someone else wrote the opposite comment to you in the same tone.

    That’s the only thing I plead for here – a civil tone, NOT unanimity of belief. Unanimity of belief would be boring on a site like this.

  115. This isn’t a topic that I would normally be interested in commenting on but I am wondering how far the legal ramifications of allowing same sex marriage would reach. If I understand correctly, the proponents of same sex marriage argue that it should be allowed as equal rights under the law. I believe that was the reasoning behind the CA Supreme Court’s previous decision which legalized same sex marriage and the IA Supreme Court’s recent decision. If same sex marriage is legalized based on the principle of equal rights, wouldn’t that same reasoning demand that other currently illegal marriages be legalized? Wouldn’t polygamists and those who wish to enter into a polygamist marriage be able to demand and be granted the same legal marriage status based on the principle of equal rights? Would it be fair to deny that right to three or more consenting adults? What about incestuous marriages? Wouldn’t cousins, siblings, and even parents and children be able to demand and be granted the right to marry based on the principle of equal rights? What about marriages between adults and children? If a parent consents to a twelve, ten, or eight year child (who also consents) marrying an adult, could the state deny that if they are demanding equal rights? Remember, this isn’t about what’s morally or ethically right but about what’s legal based on equal rights under the law. How far would this be carried out? If anyone responds to this comment, please don’t comment on what is morally right or wrong, but keep the discussion focused on what is legally allowable.

  116. They are very different. The state has compelling reasons to not allow incest. Offspring from siblings marrying have a much higher likelihood of birth defects. The state has a compelling reason not to let children get married, no matter what their parents think. Polygamy is also different. Homosexual marriage is still marriage of one person to another, same as heterosexual marriage. Plural marriage brings in complications and potential problems not present in homosexual marriage.

  117. DB: I presented a similar argument a couple of years ago to some friends and acquaintances, who instantly proceeded to discard the idea and exclaim that a slippery-slope type of argument was highly fallacious 🙂 (Incidentally, I was not aware that a number of them had degrees in philosophy.) Anyhow, without getting into the morals of it, and with the qualification that I have no legal training, I think it would be difficult to use same-sex marriage law in and of itself as justification for the things you mention. I doubt that any current court in our country would allow these things. But, while the type of argument you bring up may be considered fallacious, I would say that it’s still possible, but only with same-sex marriage as one of many events over time leading to serious changes in our society and what we consider acceptable. Now that I think about it again, the additional necessary conditions may be what make the argument a difficult one. The legal issue that concerns me more than this has to do with the implications new marriage laws could have for churches that will not perform same-sex marriages. (Obvious example: the legal status of LDS temple marriages, which the church would never make available to gay couples. Again, I’m no lawyer, and someone may have an argument against this or see some way around it, but that still doesn’t account for future laws. With the many potential implications extending beyond moral and religious beliefs involved, it seems to become an increasingly complicated matter.)

  118. When it comes to future legal decisions and Mormon doctrine, I tend to avoid saying
    “never”. Generally, I think that’s a good thing – that we have both an open legal AND doctrinal canon. It allows us to swing too far sometimes, but it keeps us from being stuck hopelessly in the past – which is not good for societies or religions, imo.

  119. #39:
    DB, others have already pointed out the reasons that most of your listed scenarios wouldn’t be likely, but I would have to say the situation is different in regard to plural marriage between consenting adults.

    That said, those who wish to marry plurally already have a worthwhile equal protection argument, whether same-sex couples are allowed to marry or not. The two are completely independent, albeit similar in terms of legal theory, from one another.

    #41:
    The legal issue that concerns me more than this has to do with the implications new marriage laws could have for churches that will not perform same-sex marriages.

    Assuming, of course, that the United States does not amend the U.S. Constitution to revoke the free exercise clause of the First Amendment, the government is already prevented from requiring any religious organization to solemnize (or even recognize or approve for ecclesiastical purposes) any marriage that is in conflict with their teachings/beliefs.

    Have you ever heard of any churches being forced by the government to perform marriage ceremonies for interracial couples? I can assure you there are still religious groups in the United States who believe that deity absolutely forbids interracial marriage, at least when it comes to persons of African descent. Society as a whole may condemn such an attitude, but nobody can force those churches to perform such a wedding.

    For a more specific example, the LDS church did not allow persons of African ancestry to receive temple ordinances until 1978. This means, of course, that on the basis of their race, these persons were refused an LDS temple marriage. Still, there is no indication that the LDS church was ever pressured, let alone required, to perform such marriages. Even now, the LDS church does not permit non-LDS persons to be married in an LDS temple, and again, no government is going to require them to.

  120. Well Nick, there is no doubt in my mind you would change all that if you had the chance. You showed your true colors when you went after the Boy Scouts, a private organization. You came very close to pulling it off too, 5 to 4.

  121. I agree with Dexter that incestuous marriages and marriages of legal minors who CAN NOT give informed consent would still retain their adverse consequences to the general society and and, therefore, remain illegal.

    The case for consenting adults in polygamous marriages is somewhat different and I can foresee the possibility of a time when a challenge could be brought and a later time when it could prevail. (What the church would then do, would be interesting to see…) However, since it already IS happening, I think having it out in the open would present the opportunity to monitor the effect on minor children (the real potential abuse in polygamous families) and to establish a standard of financial responsibility. Both the federal government and several state governments could benefit considerably by not being duped into supporting the various wives of a single husband. Furthermore, having a legal status, an abused wife or wives could openly call for assistance. I see that as a positive. Finally, the fundamentalist communities wouldn’t necessarily be restricted to mating within the same genetic group and perhaps the astronomically soaring incidence of fumarase deficiency could be stemmed.

    Whether or not there are a significant number of consenting adults lining up to be in polygamous marriages at some point is a situation I’d be willing to see and to endure — not having to enter into one myself — so that the hundreds of thousands of gay Americans who are daily and certainly being discriminated against could have the same availability of enduring love & companionship, the right to domestic tranquility and the opportunity to give stable homes to homeless children.

  122. #144 – LD, please lay off the “you” accusations. You’ve been swinging the “all homosexuals are (fill in the blank) stick” rather widely in your comments. That’s just as untrue as anti-Mormon activists who claim all Mormons are (fill in the blank).

  123. As I said, someone else may see ways around it. I know there were a number of people who were concerned about the implications of the wording of the California law when it comes to LDS marriages. I don’t claim to have read the actual language of Prop 8 or the California constitution (and have never claimed such). I’m not a California resident, and none of the states I’ve lived in have voted on it either (during my eligible years in those states). That said, I put more stock in what those I know with legal training said than I did in my own lack of understanding of the legal language. I also don’t know on which issues a given state’s constitution takes legal priority over the country’s constitution. These are some of the reasons I avoided activism on any of the issues.

    I know it’s pointless to worry about everything that could ever happen. Predicting the future consistently and accurately is quite impossible for us. The situation I raised, however, does seem conceivable. Minorities of all kinds have, as we’re all well aware, been denied all sorts of things throughout history. Many express concern about the legal future of same-sex marriage. Why is concern about traditional marriage (though not in minority)0 so unreasonable? For many in the past I expect it was only barely conceivable that same-sex marriage would ever become legal. But see how much closer it’s come to legality now than it was a hundred years ago? Two hundred, three hundred years ago? So many never thought that black people would have rights equal to whites. Now, excepting the opinions of some rather individual and isolated cases, they have been given those legal rights for decades.

    What we see as impossible today is not necessarily impossible in the relatively near future. If it’s a matter of a change to the US Constitution then I say that laws, even major ones like in the US Constitution, have been changed before and can be changed again with the right conditions, however unlikely they may seem imminently.

  124. #47:
    I don’t claim to have read the actual language of Prop 8 or the California constitution…

    Proposition 8, in its entirety, stated “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid and recognized in California.”

    That said, I put more stock in what those I know with legal training said than I did in my own lack of understanding of the legal language.

    Okay, not to boast, but:
    Juris Doctor, Northern Illinois University College of Law, 1999
    Admitted to the Illinois and Washington state bars (currently retired status)

    I also don’t know on which issues a given state’s constitution takes legal priority over the country’s constitution.

    A state constitution can never interfere with the rights protected by the national constitution. A state constitution can, however, provide additional and/or stronger rights than the national constitution, for that state’s citizens.

    If it’s a matter of a change to the US Constitution then I say that laws, even major ones like in the US Constitution, have been changed before and can be changed again with the right conditions, however unlikely they may seem imminently.

    While it’s certainly not impossible, it’s much more difficult to amend the U.S. Constitution than (for example) the California constitution.

  125. While the language of Prop 8 is “only marriage between a man and a woman is valid and recognized in California”, it’s worth noting that the CA Supreme Court seems very much only to have ruled with respect to the word “marriage” when they issued their ruling earlier in the week. They let stand the provision that only a man and a woman could be “married”. But they took pains to reaffirm the rights of gays in CA domestic partnerships. They ruled that Prop 8 was not an unconstitutional revision of the CA constitution specifically because it did nothing to jeopardize the fact of or the equal protections of same sex domestic partnerships. They have recognized, if you will, “separate but equal” institutions based on gender discrimination and that is why I think it’s still destined to be struck down — and rightfully so — by the US Supreme Court.

  126. Juris Doctor, Northern Illinois University College of Law, 1999
    Admitted to the Illinois and Washington state bars (currently retired status)

    A very clear example of why my involvement goes no further than discussion. 🙂 I studied various aspects of human behavior, and the brain, rather than laws or medicine. So that’s the academic/professional perspective I bring into my comments. Combined, of course, with the best understanding I have of the other aspects of matters.

    And for what it’s worth, the worst grade I ever got was my college American Gov’t./Economics class. Still learning, as I’m sure is apparent. 🙂

    So then, all opinions aside about whether the law is right or wrong, is there any possible way for a state to interfere in a church’s marriage rights like we’ve been talking about, without changing the US Constitution? (Or is that too broad of a question?) Were the law to have been written differently but reasonably in California, say, could they have obstructed temple marriage?

  127. So then, all opinions aside about whether the law is right or wrong, is there any possible way for a state to interfere in a church’s marriage rights like we’ve been talking about, without changing the US Constitution?

    No, though the government isn’t strictly obligated to recognize any religious marriage ceremony as a legal, civil marriage. On the other hand, if the government recognizes the marriages of one religious group as legal civil marriages, they have to recognize those of all the other religious groups. It’s an “all or nothing” sort of thing.

    Were the law to have been written differently but reasonably in California, say, could they have obstructed temple marriage?

    The only possible way I can see that happening, is if a constitutional amendment were passed in California, saying that only marriages solemnized in a publicly-accessible location would be valid or recognized by the state. This is actually the situation the LDS church faces in many foreign nations (which, of course, are not under the U.S. Constitution). In those countries, couples go to city hall for a public civil marriage, and then right away afterward, they go to the temple for their religious marriage/sealing ceremony.

    Such an amendment wouldn’t be considered religious descrimination, btw, because it wouldn’t interfere in any way with the practice of the LDS faith. Couples could absolutely still be married in a private, restricted-access ceremony, according to their faith. They’d just ALSO need to go through a civil ceremony that was public, in order to make it legally recognized.

  128. NL is correct about the temple marriage issue. That was a particularly unfortunate scare tactic utilized by the Prop-8 proponents, as they know unequivocally that it is untrue. Massachussetts has been marrying same sex couples for years, and I guarantee you would have heard about it if the LDS church had been forced to marry gays in the Boston temple. It’s simply not an issue.

    As to the comparison between SSM and polygamy, a major difference is that the Supreme Court ruled long ago that plural marriage was not protected by the constitution. Every Mormon should be familiar with this legal issue. This is the underpinning of the battle between the church and the U.S. government in the 19th century. Obviously there’s no way to say that the court couldn’t revisit the issue of polygamy, but it is currently settled law in this counrty that laws outlawing polygamy are not unconstitutional. Therefore, there is very little chance that legalizing gay marriage will have any effect on the legality of plural marriage.

    Beyond that, Dexter made the point very succinctly that the state has a strong interest in regulating what types of marriages should be legal. There are obvious and compelling reasons for outlawing the other types of marriages discussed above. There are no such reasons for outlawing gay marriage, which is why opponents continually and predictably fall back on their slippery slope arguments regarding some mysterious and amorphous destruction of society, and the argument that we have no right to change the meaning of a word. By the way, if this were true, the word property would still include africans.

    Finally, Lone Danite, while your pithy and witty responses are certainly appreciated here, perhaps you should spend some time thinking about problems closer to home. I can guarantee with virtual certainty that your children, neices, nephews or other children in your life, have been or are currently being taught and mentored by closeted homosexual members of the mormon church. So in one sense, I guess the gays are already in the Boy Scouts.

  129. In those countries, couples go to city hall for a public civil marriage, and then right away afterward, they go to the temple for their religious marriage/sealing ceremony.

    That’s is what my wife and I did in Japan. We went to city hall and the US embassy in the afternoon and filled out some papers and boom! we were legally married. About 4 hours later, we went to temple and got sealed.

  130. Nick, thanks for the helpful clarification. I’m familiar with the situation in some other countries. So I’d have to say that as long as nobody is forced to perform marriages they object to for religious reasons, and it’s not made unnecessarily or discriminately difficult, the concern I raised seems resolved. Hopefully it would never come to that. I’d guess there would be other, more serious societal problems if it did.

    And I second the suggestion in 153. I’ve enjoyed a laugh or two from Lone Danite, but it became ridiculous a while back.

  131. I agree with Nick and brjones that Lone Danite’s responses are offensive.

    If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, I wonder where perversion resides.

  132. #83, Nick

    Nice but you did not say anything about the doctrine questions, about gay Gods or gay angles? I also noticed that you called Oaks “Mr”, you proving a point with that? I’ve always taken you for a closet mormon now gay mormon and still a believer in our particular kind of religion, the separate Godhead eternal marriage etc, but now I wonder?

    And “juris doctor” -now I dislike you 🙂

    RE: “As to the comparison between SSM and polygamy, a major difference is that the Supreme Court ruled long ago that plural marriage was not protected by the constitution” -I understood that to be a ruling that religious belief and practices couldn’t be used as a defence in criminal cases, right? in Reynolds v. US; was there another ruling on polygamy? And how is that different to the current Defense of Marriage Act that Clinton signed? I mean to make SSM possible wouldn’t the supreme court have to strike down DOMA too?

  133. You are correct that the SC would have to strike down DOMA if it were to determine that sexual orientation was a protected class and legalize gay marriage on the federal level. I suspect that eventually that is what will happen. The difference between DOMA and the state of the law on polygamy is that DOMA is merely codified federal law that has yet to be tested at the SC, while laws banning polygamy have been tested before the SC and have been found to be upheld as constitutional. At some point DOMA will go before the SC, but until that time, the state of the law surrounding it will remain unsettled. The law surrounding the legality of polygamy is completely settled. As stated above, however, the SC could decide to reverse that stance at some point and legalize polygamy, but I would be surprised to see it happen.

  134. Carlos, as someone who is not LDS, Nick saying “Mr.” is much more respectful than most and definitely fine here.

    I understand the lack of concern for what the courts probably would never try to force on a religion, but it’s important to acknowledge that the courts, in fact, HAVE forced the general social moral on religions in the past relative to marriage – and some of the current apostles’ parents (not just “ancestors”) were affected directly by that intervention. The senior apostles were born one generation after Tucker-Edmunds and the near annihilation of the Church by the Government, with their own parents and uncles and grandparents being jailed and having to go into hiding. IT’S NOT ACADEMIC TO THEM.

    I think it’s understandable for them to be wary of claims that, “The government will never try to force religions to alter their beliefs regarding marriage.” It would be the height of irony if the LDS Church nearly got destroyed for being too liberal in its marriage practices then, a little over 100 years later, through pressure from a very liberal court or society, starting taking serious blows for being too conservative in its marriage practices.

    All I’m saying is that, while I agree it is unlikely the Church will face serious legal pressure to perform certain marriages against its will, our particular history is the one example that leads me to be more wary of accepting that claim wholeheartedly. There’s this thing about learning from history, and ours is quite instructive.

  135. “as someone who is not LDS, Nick …. : That’s surprising to me since I always saw Nick as a Mormon who wasn’t excommunicated because he’s inactive only but that he was still LDS inside or in essence. So then if the church did change its doctrine on gay sex and SSM, in that it wouldn’t be a discipline issue, Nick still would not be a member? is that what the case is? just wondering now, more than before. It puts all these comments in context then.

    And yes, our history with marriage show that the government can and does intervene in what we consider a religious practice. It may also happen today with baptism for the dead since if some get their way in Congress that practice will also be banned as offensive to a minority, Jews mainly. So when they say that Temple marriage won’t be affected I take a wait and see stance. I’m not yet convinced that the gay lobby won’t be able to condemn the Church as a organisation that discriminates against them because it doesn’t ‘Temple Marry’ a SS couple.

  136. Ray, wonderful! That’s basically what I very poorly tried to say before about history. Your last paragraph is the core of my own thoughts on the matter.

  137. brjones:

    “while laws banning polygamy have been tested before the SC”

    What are those other Laws? I only know about Reynolds. And yes I hope they do test DOMA in SC but before Obama loads the court with wild left wingers, or racists Latinas, although somewhat hot latinas 🙂 , like this Sotomayor seems to be.

  138. #159:
    “as someone who is not LDS, Nick …. : That’s surprising to me since I always saw Nick as a Mormon who wasn’t excommunicated because he’s inactive only but that he was still LDS inside or in essence. So then if the church did change its doctrine on gay sex and SSM, in that it wouldn’t be a discipline issue, Nick still would not be a member? is that what the case is? just wondering now, more than before. It puts all these comments in context then.

    Sorry about the confusion, Carlos. I voluntarily resigned my membership in the LDS church in January 2006, by directing that my name be removed from their records. For the record, I was under no censure of any kind at the time, and my stake president thanked me for not having “broken my covenants” or given any cause for disciplinary action.

  139. Two perspectives here, one scientific, and one from a real situation in the Community of Christ.

    Evolution works in funny ways. I’ve been a Type I (juvenile) diabetic for 45 years. The disease was invariably fatal before the early 20th Century and is partially genetically inherited. Yet evolution preserved it. The reason now seems to be that the genetics that make one vulnerable to the diabetes also provide increased protection against dying while still in the womb. In other words, the vulnerability to the disease actually increased the chances I would survive to reproduce.

    I scan too many science journals each week to remember where I read this, but there’s some evidence for a similar effect influencing gay men. The genetics passed down from parents that may partially influence gayness in a son seems to make a daughter more fecund. The gay male may not have sons and daughters, but he ends up with lots more neices and nephews, and evolution likes that solution to perpetuating the species just fine.

    The second point is that your leaders have to look beyond the United States (and even Japan). The leadership of the Community of Christ is seriously concerned that actions of even local church leaders to comply with requests in states where gay marriage has been legalized, which attract local public news coverage, can get back to governments in the non-Western world. If they do, it would provide the basis for actions by those governments which could include expelling the church and physically persecuting our membership in those countries.

  140. That’s an interesting perspective on diabetes and, potentially, same sex attraction. Never heard that before. Will look for additional info related to it.

    As to your second point, I’m not sure I’m clear on it. Mind elaborating?

  141. I will, but very, very carefully. Much (most?) of the population of the world lives in cultures in which Mormon, let alone Community of Christ, positions toward homosexuality are seen as far too permissive and even depraved, and many of those same cultures offer little or no protection for religious rights of cultural minorities, especially those with connections to an “American church”.

    ONLY official church disciplinary sanctions for any support of equal rights for gays is acceptable to certain national governments as a condition to continue church operations in those countries. Even inquiries about the use of church facilities for gay marriage in US states where the practice is legal have triggered publicity that increases danger to church members abroad in an age of internet access. Our Apostles and stake-president-equivalent administrators in those countries have so warned us.

    At that level, church leaders have to consider a different set of issues than we do as individuals.

    That’s as much as I can say.

  142. So, shall I interpret that to mean that the message of American churches, as such, is already sufficiently unwelcome that adding even the perception of tolerance for same sex attractions is enough to put missionaries and other church personnel in jeopardy?

    What portion of overseas missions would this apply to? And what areas? Certainly not to Western European nations where equal marriage rights are gaining support and even complete legitimacy.

  143. No, jon, I was not “mistreated at church” for being gay, because I was closeted. The few leaders and/or friends who were aware of that fact were quite compassionate. In fact, the single best, most loving experience I ever had with an LDS priesthood leader was when I told my stake president (at the time I was serving as his executive secretary) that I was coming out of the closet and leaving the LDS church. He was an amazing individual.

  144. So Nick, if the first presidency came out too and said: We received a new revelation from God and can now accept that homosexual activity is OK if and only if its done within the bounds of SSM; would you return to church? to full membership with a TR and all? A revelation like Kimball had with the priesthood?

    (Theoretically speaking off course)

  145. I is highly unlikely would ever return to the LDS church, even in that event, CarlosJC. Understand that I did not leave the LDS church “because I was gay.” Rather, I came out of the closet and left the LDS church after having lost my faith in LDS-ism, Mormonism, and christianity as a whole. In other words, I have much larger, more foundational disagreements with the LDS church than just their requirement of “super-chastity” for homosexual members.

  146. LD, only one comment was deleted? I’m surprised that many of yours have been let through. 🙂 For example, #89 is clearly a personal attack, something that we have said up front won’t be tolerated, but yet, we still do now and then. Go back and read Ray’s post on civility and commenting. It’s really not opinions that are the problem, but the tone used. Thanks.

  147. Alice:

    I have no data on your church situation, but the attack on your Apostle (as simple robbery) in Africa this past week illustrates how atypical the American discussion may be. And the attempts by the Anglicans to firewall off their African and North American / Western European communions from each other moves steadily toward schism. That might not be even a theological option for LDS given connections of gender to your concepts of the afterlife and the notion of still being the one and only true church.

    In the Community of Christ, we do not have the last two complications, and we still have no solution that isn’t going to involve a lot of innocent people getting hurt.

    Perhaps CofChrist gays and lesbians will increasingly leave the church as individuals and may well form their own support groups for worship and sacraments outside the authority of the church before the church can resolve this at the institutional level. Perhaps you’ll see NA conservatives schism instead. Perhaps we’ll stay in a dysfunctional relationship until God shows us a way forward. But I don’t think the third world cultures are going to change on their own before one of the other things happens.

  148. I don’t know if this has been mentioned in any of the previous comments, but a federal lawsuit was filed last week challenging the constitutionality of Prop 8. A number of experts have opined that this could be the first case regarding SSM that may go all the way to the Supreme Court.

  149. Nick,

    Cool; I was very curious about that one. I suppose the marriage etc was all to fit the mold of good Mormon, in the beginning. No worries though.

    brjones #175

    Yes, It has. Actually I asked you about it back in #64, seems u missed it 🙂 ,

    Raymond McCarthy, no need to censor again, censoring only ends up actually given the censored a louder voice in the long run

  150. I suppose the marriage etc was all to fit the mold of good Mormon, in the beginning.

    I was a full-blown religious zealot, Carlos, and I did what I truly believed deity demanded of me. Sad to say, there are many gay LDS men out there, who are such true believers that they have married heterosexually, believing that their obedience would be rewarded. Many of them were even promised by their bishops, stake presidents, etc., that if they married (and in many cases they were told never, ever to tell their wives that they were attracted to men), deity would turn them straight.

    I hear from countless men in this situation, almost daily.

  151. Nick, knowing you only from this forum the past few days and from reading a few older posts of yours, I’m interested in what it is that you do. What position are you in that puts you in contact with gay LDS men so often?

  152. Well Nick, although I hope you’ve found your peace, I kind off agree with that idea that deity may help a gay person. Not necessarily ‘turn them straight’, I doubt that, but maybe help then find peace. It’s a similar situation to single men and women, finding peace with life’s given conditions and challenges.

    But then again we’d have to measure which ‘peace’ is better. The Deity one or the one that comes from full acceptance of one’s homosexuality and then gay relationship or SSM etc. Sometimes I wonder, off course, but with an eternal perspective.

    The ‘full-blown zealot’ kind off tells me a lot. I’ve never know a zealot to last the distance in church. Obviously that’s not the way to go about with church things imho 🙂

    Cheers,

  153. I’m tempted to answer with “standing on my head!” 😉

    Seriously though, my contact with gay LDS men is not work-related. Shortly after I came out of the closet, I became involved with an organization serving (and made up of) gay men who were fathers. Most members of the group happened to be men who married, had children, and then divorced after coming out of the closet. It so happened that former LDS men were FAR disporportionately represented in this group (about 1/4, and this was in Seattle). While I no longer participate with that group, it lead me into contact with other groups of LDS and former-LDS gay men, where I participate very regularly.

    Among these gay LDS men, I see a wide range. A few are still at the point of trying desperately to get deity to answer their prayers by turning them into heterosexuals–though these men are typically drawn to other groups dedicated to such purposes. Some of the men have been out of both the closet and the LDS church for several years, and are there to be supportive of others on that journey. Some of the men are newly out and/or divorced, and are seeking a shoulder to cry on from someone who’s “been there,” as they go through their challenges. Still others (far too many) are still married and closeted. Among those married, closeted gay LDS men, I’ve seen individuals who’ve served (or are currently serving) in a variety of ward and stake leadership positions. In most cases, they have never shared their struggle with their wives. At least a third (and yes, this includes several of the leadership types) have resorted to adultery once or more in an attempt to satisfy their needs.

    In a surprising number of cases, the men are “out” to their wives, but only to their wives. These wives would rather keep the family intact (at least in appearance), despite having little or no physical or emotional intimacy with their husbands. A few of the wives even allow their closeted gay LDS husbands to seek out sexual activities elsewhere, all the while maintaining appearances via activity in the LDS church. Others demand their husbands become involved in counselling, Evergreen, etc., confident that deity will “fix” them.

    You might also be interested to know that for gay LDS men who do come out of the closet and divorce, the response from others, including their own children, varies considerably. In many cases, these men remain close friends with their ex-wives, and are very involved in their childrens’ lives. On the opposite extreme, however, some LDS ex-wives have convinced judges in conservative states to cut off all contact between the father and children because he’s gay, or to order that the father not live with a male partner (neither of which, I think, would survive an appeal to a higher court). Even where there are no court orders to impede visitation, many LDS children effectively disown their gay fathers, under the influence of their mothers and/or the church they’ve been raised in.

    Anyway, that’s probably more answer than you wanted to hear, but you managed to get me on a roll.

  154. #79:
    Well Nick, although I hope you’ve found your peace, I kind off agree with that idea that deity may help a gay person. Not necessarily ‘turn them straight’, I doubt that, but maybe help then find peace.

    That’s certainly true, Carlos, and each person needs to find their peace, whatever that means. When I’ve communicated with men in this situation, I’ve stressed that they need to live with integrity. There is no peace in hiding who you are, but there is even LESS peace in violating marital and religious promises (as opposed to openly and honorably withdrawing from those promises when appropriate). Whatever a man concludes he must do, he needs to do without the burden of deception.

  155. “Whatever a man concludes he must do, he needs to do without the burden of deception.”

    Amen. That’s one of the reasons I respect you so much, Nick.

  156. Nick-

    It really grieves me to read about families torn apart by this. And it’s tragic — nothing short of tragic — to hear that children are cut off from their fathers and vice versa.

    The gay guys that I know (not LDS) — being close to me in age (62) — were also in straight marriages and had kids in the era when no one was accepting of same sex attraction. …least of they themselves. They have been fortunate enough to get themselves sorted out and to go on to have wonderful relationships with their ex-wives and their grown kids and healthy, lifelong relationships with new partners.

    Makes sense to me that families can be saved even in divorce! They’re wonderful guys and they were attracted to the women they married (if not sexually) and the women to them. After all that all of them have been through, it’s great to see them resolve the hurt and confusion and salvage the abiding friendships. But how tragic to think of people who are left with the hurt and alienation that compounds itself…

    THAT’S why a little honesty about who people are in their deepest core and some tolerance for it is imperative. There isn’t a fiber of my body or my soul that doesn’t believe Heavenly Father wants it or children wouldn’t be born gay.

  157. I would hope that at least those in these families could move forward and find a happiness apart from what they have experienced with homosexuality, though I’m sure many do not. It’s both interesting and rather heartbreaking to see how far people go to maintain an illusion, both to themselves and to others. I see it so often in my own community, though to a clearly lesser degree. Yes, that was more than I expected, but provided some very useful insight.

    And just imagine what standing on your head might do, in addition to the rest 🙂

  158. #180-“In a surprising number of cases, the men are “out” to their wives, but only to their wives. These wives would rather keep the family intact (at least in appearance), despite having little or no physical or emotional intimacy with their husbands. A few of the wives even allow their closeted gay LDS husbands to seek out sexual activities elsewhere, all the while maintaining appearances via activity in the LDS church.”

    My question in relation to these situations is why is the wife the one having to sacrifice physical and emotional intimacy and give up her relationship with her husband (while protecting him in his and allowing him to satisfy his “needs”) in order to keep her family intact? Is the family not the responsibility of both the mother AND father? So, the mother sacrifices all of her needs in order to let the father get his needs met and feel good? Is it just me or doesn’t the idea of placing sexual desire in front of a spouse you’ve committed yourself to (not to mention children) seem ridiculously selfish?

  159. I understand if a person is attracted to the same sex and chooses not to marry into a heterosexual relationship because of this, but once the choice has been made to marry into a heterosexual relationship and to have children it is not about how you “feel” anymore. That was a choice you made and a committment that needs to be honored. How many parents have handicapped children or spouses who become mentally ill and stay there with them as they committed too even though they would love to be somewhere else, WITH someone else? Everyone starts out single so they can decide what they want, but once they make that decision, it is not fair to “jump ship” on your family because you don’t feel a certain way. Lots and lots of people don’t feel warm and cozy in their family relationships but they do what it takes to make it work because they are committed to them.

  160. Jen-

    I guess you and I feel differently about how wise it is for people to be stuck in a relationship that’s not right for them. But you highlight the fact that pressuring gay people into straight marriages is as wrong for the straight spouse (let’s not pretend they’re all women) as it is for the gay spouse. And even though the kids may not be privy to why it doesn’t work, there’s no doubt they pay a price too. Probably as much while the spouses stay married as when they finally accept the reality that eluded them earlier or they tried to ignore.

    Who is served if they force themselves to stay in the marriage? As you point out, there’s a straight spouse not getting their need met. Is that problem solved when the gay spouse stays monogamous and sexually frustrated too? And if your answer is “the kids” I can tell you as the child of straight, incompatible parents who stayed married until we were college age, it doesn’t work out that way. Sad, but it doesn’t.

  161. Alice-

    What does it mean to be incompatible? I was raised in a home with an abusive father and my mother stayed with him until he died. Were they right for each other? They did love each other when they got married but my father became selfish and thought more of himself, his feelings and his needs than my mother’s. It is a CHOICE to think more of oneself then another and it is a CHOICE to love your spouse. Having years of experience watching the selfishness go on in my family of origin, it is NOT about incompatibility most of the time, it is about thinking of oneself and behaving selfishly. When a person chooses to put their spouse’s needs above their own and vice versa, it can work, especially when they chose each other above all others in the first place.

    I do agree that there are appropriate times to divorce and that is between God and the couple, but if a person is entertaining ideas of being with another person and this is the reason, I don’t feel you can justify it.

  162. Jen, just to be sure you understand you are talking about something different than what Nick said, Nick said it’s better to be divorced than to violate marriage covenants. He addressed lots of different things he’s seen, and he spoke directly AGAINST the husband getting his needs met while the wife goes unfulfilled.

    I agree with the general message you are providing, but I don’t think it’s totally incompatible with what Nick said – unless you are implying that divorce should not occur even in cases of abuse or obvious, destructive frustration and deception. Your last comment clarifies that you aren’t saying that, so I really don’t think you disagree with Nick’s final conclusion – that whatever the decision is it should be an open and honest decision, not one based on deception.

  163. Ray-

    I realize that I was responding more to what Nick said was going on within a group of people than to what Nick himself actually said. I have watched specific people I know and deeply respect stay with their spouse under the most severe of circumstances. One man in particular stayed with his wife as she became severely mentally ill and through the years did many erratic and costly things. I am quite sure he was not sexually fulfilled during these many years of marriage. I don’t see how sexual attraction (whether it be to a man or a woman) could ever be a justifiable reason to break up a family. When I read the things Nick said were going on, it is greatly disturbing that people are willing to allow sexual feelings, attraction, etc. to take precedence over their family’s well-being. That was what I was commenting on and it probably would have been better to comment about it to my spouse or friends then on this blog. I realize that my comments are taking this post way off topic so I will make this my last.

  164. Jen, I have NO problem with the comments. They are thoughtful and spot-on, imo. I just thought you were taking Nick to task, and I wanted to make sure to draw the distinction.

    I misread it. That’s my fault.

  165. #185:
    My question in relation to these situations is why is the wife the one having to sacrifice physical and emotional intimacy and give up her relationship with her husband (while protecting him in his and allowing him to satisfy his “needs”) in order to keep her family intact? Is the family not the responsibility of both the mother AND father? So, the mother sacrifices all of her needs in order to let the father get his needs met and feel good? Is it just me or doesn’t the idea of placing sexual desire in front of a spouse you’ve committed yourself to (not to mention children) seem ridiculously selfish?

    Jen, first, I need to point out that if you read my comment carefully, you’ll see that I in no way condoned such an arrangement. To the contrary, I criticized it as being without integrity. That said, these women are HIGHLY codependent. For some LDS women, a substantial portion of their personal worth comes from their standing in their church community, and despite some real advances over the last couple decades, a divorced LDS woman simply doesn’t have the same social standing as a married LDS woman–especially if that woman has self-esteem issues in the first place. It’s not the men saying “I’ll stay if you let me fool around.” It’s actually the women saying “I can’t bear you leaving, even if that means you need to fool around.” Either way, however, it’s sick and wrong.

  166. I understand if a person is attracted to the same sex and chooses not to marry into a heterosexual relationship because of this, but once the choice has been made to marry into a heterosexual relationship and to have children it is not about how you “feel” anymore. That was a choice you made and a committment that needs to be honored.

    Jen, I used to feel exactly the same way you do. This may come as a surprise, but the fact that I wasn’t getting to have sex with another man was not what led me to divorce and come out of the closet. Sex is important, but it’s certainly not everything. It was only as I grew older, and in my maturity felt more keenly the need for emotional intimacy, that the situation eventually became unbearable.

    Maybe in the best of all worlds, we’d all understand ourselves perfectly, we’d know exactly what we wanted, and we’d act accordingly. In the real world, however, most of us take time (some more than others) to understand ourselves. This is all the more difficult when a core aspect of who you are is loudly condemned by those persons around you that you respect and care about. If you’re convinced that you’ll be punished by deity for acting according to your own feelings, you end up playing all sorts of mental games to convince yourself that those feelings aren’t real. You may even make some very bad choices, just because everyone around you has you convined that those are your only choices.

  167. Nick-

    As I mentioned in comment #191, I was commenting on what you said was going on with some people, not to you specifically. In response to your comment “It’s not the men saying “I’ll stay if you let me fool around.” It’s actually the women saying “I can’t bear you leaving, even if that means you need to fool around.” I feel that is a major generalization. I agree with you that some LDS women are highly codependent, but I think there is a difference in being codependent and expecting a husband to do his share in providing for the care of his family. I believe many LDS women don’t want their marriages to fail, so they try to do what they feel is best to assure that doesn’t happen. I imagine many of them are seeking the Lord’s guidance as well (obviously this applies to LDS men as well). This may make them appear to be codependent when in reality they are just trying to be careful about making any final decisions that will affect them and their children so deeply. As you know, the world does not have the same perspective on marriage as LDS people do and because we believe it goes beyond this life, I am sure many LDS people don’t want to let go of something until they are very sure there is nothing left to hold on to.

  168. Whoa! Now we’ve got a can of worms!

    The questions are:
    1) does the LDS patriarchal culture force co-dependency on women and
    2) does the imperative to get everyone sorted into heterosexual marriages as quickly as possible regardless of their core nature* create the situation where women** are trying to grasp stability here-and-now and for eternity for themselves and their children CREATE the problem when people who were at liberty to choose sustainable gay relationships in the first place would prevent it from developing

    *thank you, Nick, for pointing out that it’s not about sex but about the essential nature of how people achieve intimacy of a much larger, deeper and essential nature

    ** we keep assuming all the gay Mormons are men; that’s such a mistake

    BTW, I am not shouting when I use caps. I don’t know how to create italicized text.

  169. Alice, if you really want a can of worms, ask me about my view on “marital arrangements” and the creation of spirit children in the hereafter. I get knocked by both sides on that topic. 🙂 (Actually, that’s a topic for a different post, so don’t ask.)

    and I agree totally that we tend to overlook lesbian Mormons in these discussions. That’s too bad.

  170. Alice, FYI to italicize text you can use basic HTML tags. (without the spaces, if I can get this to works) begins the italicized portion, and will end it (again, without the spaces). If that doesn’t work, look at http://www.2createawebsite.com/build/html.html#basic where you will see the tags for bold, underline, and italics. Beyond that, I don’t know what the comment system is capable of. There also may be another way to do it, but this is how I do it.

  171. ** we keep assuming all the gay Mormons are men; that’s such a mistake

    We hear so much more, though, about the men. I’m sure there are women as well. But I can count maybe once within the church that I’ve heard of a woman divorcing her husband because of attraction to another woman. Whether it happens as often with women as with men, but they are silent about it or stay in the marriage and tough it out, is completely unapparent.

  172. Women seem to be a little more fluid in their sexuality than men. There has been some interesting research from the Univ. of Utah about this… just wondering if that explains why “perhaps” more LDS women than men may stay in their marriages in this case.

  173. #194 Nick-

    You mentioned that your situation became unbearable and that you divorced and came out of the closet. I am curious now that you have been away from the LDS church and your previous life, do you feel you have found the emotional intimacy you were lacking?

  174. Nick,

    “It was only as I grew older, and in my maturity felt more keenly the need for emotional intimacy, that the situation eventually became unbearable. ”

    Only problem for me here is that this is the same argument made by every Woman who I saw confess to adultery, her needs for Emotional Intimacy weren’t met but they got ex’d anyway. They never say it was about the hot sex! It ended up being just an excuse.

    So sorry, I have my doubts about all this. One may be attracted to a man, well understandable, I know some men are hot 🙂 brad Pitt types or Jackman..but then the act..well…one should be able to fully control their sexual functions and sexual being. If you go through life without any sex, as many do, well so be it. Being single and rich isn’t a justification for a single or divorced man hiring a hooker nor will sex with another man be justified because of the need for physical or emotional well being or Emotional Intimacy needs. Law of Chastity is pretty clear, maybe brutal for some, and all encompassing. And it hasn’t changed. Sorry Nick, I don’t mean to deliberately offend you, just expressing my belief here, jmho.

  175. Cool, it works!

    Thanks J.Ro, i always wanted to know how they did that 🙂

    maybe MM can add the tags or some link to explain how its done?

  176. #204 “Only problem for me here is that this is the same argument made by every Woman who I saw confess to adultery, her needs for Emotional Intimacy weren’t met but they got ex’d anyway. They never say it was about the hot sex! It ended up being just an excuse.”

    Carlos-

    I don’t doubt that some people want and need emotional intimacy and some people have no idea what that’s all about. If you don’t, you’ll probably always think it’s just about sex. ::shrug::

    At my age I can tell you that in my marriage the sex is not all that abundant — hasn’t been for years and that’s mutual — but the intimacy is what makes it the most valuable thing in my life. Ever! And makes me believe an eternity together is possible and worth living for.

  177. #203:
    You mentioned that your situation became unbearable and that you divorced and came out of the closet. I am curious now that you have been away from the LDS church and your previous life, do you feel you have found the emotional intimacy you were lacking?

    Very much so. Perhaps the most important key to emotional intimacy is each partner’s willingness to truly be open to the other. If you’re busy trying to hide/deny/smother a core aspect of who you are, there’s simply no way that you can experience emotional intimacy with another person. If you’re continually “holding something back” like that, you won’t allow yourself to be a giving partner, parent, or friend. Maybe that’s why in my own experience, I found I was a much more compassionate person toward others, after coming out of the closet.

    #204:
    Heh…no offense taken, Carlos. I realize you’re just speaking from your own observations and experience. 🙂

    Only problem for me here is that this is the same argument made by every Woman who I saw confess to adultery, her needs for Emotional Intimacy weren’t met but they got ex’d anyway. They never say it was about the hot sex! It ended up being just an excuse.

    You’re right, Carlos. In some cases, “she doesn’t understand me,” “he doesn’t listen to me,” etc., are just pop-psychology excuses for a person who acted in the heat of the moment. Where do you draw the line between excuses and “real issues?” I’m not sure. Perhaps it has something to do with what I said earlier about integrity. If a gay LDS man is married to a woman, and he violates his existing marital vows and/or religious promises, he has acted without integrity, no matter how much he may say about emotional needs, etc.

    On the other hand, I think such issues can legitimately lead an individual to openly and honorably withdraw from the marital vows he/she made, inherently freeing her/his spouse from the same obligations. Likewise, such an individual can openly and honorably withdraw from promises he/she has made in connection with his membership in a religious organization, inherently freeing that religious organization from the promises they extended to her/him. I’m inclined to take such a person’s expression of emotional needs much more seriously, under those conditions. Of course, since I’m in this latter group, some will read that as self-justification. 🙂

    They never say it was about the hot sex!

    Hopefully that’s a benefit, rather than a primary motivation!

  178. I don’t doubt that some people want and need emotional intimacy and some people have no idea what that’s all about. If you don’t, you’ll probably always think it’s just about sex. ::shrug::

    What, you saying that its OK to commit adultery so long its for emotional intimacy reasons? or what? love using these tags 🙂 cause I’m ::shrugging:: here

    [ I love using these tags 🙂 ]

  179. Not to change the direction here, but emotional affairs are worse than physical affairs. Way more difficult to recover from. Granted, there isn’t really an objective way to discipline a member for it, but in my mind it is a bigger issue, and a WAY bigger sin, depending on the extent of it, of course.

  180. #208 Nick-

    If you don’t mind answering, is God a part of your life now, or has He had to drop out of it because of the conflict you felt in the past?

    I have a family member who is a lesbian and ended up leaving the church and now talks of God as a She, so I am curious how coming out has affected your perceptions of God.

  181. AdamF-

    I think it is easy to say emotional affairs are worse than physcial affairs because you are a man, but for a woman, physical affairs are very much emotional affairs. There is a big difference between how men and women process these types of things and men don’t understand that typically unless they are faced directly with it.

  182. I know this is unnecessary, but I just want to thank everyone for the incredibly civil way this conversation has developed. This is a great example that edification doesn’t have to involve total agreement – that people can talk about ANYTHING in a respectful manner if they simply respect those with whom they disagree.

    This has been a wonderful discussion over the last few dozen comments.

    Thank you, everyone.

  183. Jen,
    My changes in perception toward deity aren’t just a function of my coming out of the closet. Rather, it was the other way around. Before I came out, I found myself increasingly unable to believe in the deity traditionally represented in Mormonism/LDS-ism. It’s fair to say, of course, that in the three and a half years since I came out, my beliefs regarding deity have further evolved.

    These days, I’m generally agnostic. While I’m not an atheist, I do not believe in an individual, personified deity. If anything, my impressions are more pantheistic, in that I see all of creation as a manifestation of deity–whatever “deity” may ultimately be. At this point, I’m pretty comfortable in my uncertainty, feeling no pressing need to discover or embrace some “definitive answer” in regard to spirituality. After so many years of LDS-ism, I’m frankly reluctant to devote much energy to a particular spiritual practice. To the extent I do so, however, I find Buddhism very uplifting.

  184. #213:
    This has been a wonderful discussion over the last few dozen comments.

    As I go frantically counting back a “few dozen” comments, to discover what part wasn’t wonderful…. 😉

  185. Nick,

    Great that you can see the why, just my personal experiences not necessarily any revelation.

    Re: Where do you draw the line between excuses and “real issues?” For me its all about the Action , what was done. Sure there’s this reason and that reason but as you law guys say, those are the motives and the first step needed to committing a crime/sin, second is action, right? Then the ‘real issues’ determine how long it take to change, repent and be forgiven imho

    But we again agree on something. What you say about integrity is certainly true in that its better to leave marriage first than break any covenant by cheating and lying, and realistically one can’t have ‘adultery’ without deception or lies first. Its also good,imho, that you encourage truth first to those you know. But then we probably disagree about the final steps. I think in the end God looks to the heart and if a gay man is emotionally involved and loves his partner then I’m sure they take that into consideration and repentance is quicker than it is for adultery (which has many extra sins/issues on top). But I believe they will still ask a gay man for repentance because a gay relationship is a dead end situation in eternity, no kids no exaltation, limited life in the afterlife. For me this is why they call you to repentance but I’m sure we disagree here 🙂 But anyway, have to go to work now, so I’ll read up on MM again tomorrow, cheers.

  186. I have a family member who is a lesbian and ended up leaving the church and now talks of God as a She, so I am curious how coming out has affected your perceptions of God.

    I visited another small church years ago on Mother’s Day, and was caught off guard when the preacher begun his prayer “Oh, mother-father God…” From the comments during the sermon I know there were some serious feminists in the congregation. It is interesting to see the ways that people’s beliefs about deity change according both to what happens in the rest of their lives, and according what those around you believe.

  187. Actually Jen, I can’t take credit for that idea, it’s based on research and clinical experience, by a woman (Shirley Glass), fwiw. It’s not about whether I’m male or that it’s easy to say. 🙂 Women (overall) tend to be hurt more by emotional affairs, while men more by physical. Emotional affairs are more damaging in the long run (and the hardest to recover from) because not only was there physical intimacy involved, but often love. All that being said, I only have a little experience in this area (books and working with two couples who have had affairs), so if you have any knowledge or insight into this, I am more than happy to learn more!!

  188. #209 “What, you saying that its OK to commit adultery so long its for emotional intimacy reasons? or what? love using these tags cause I’m ::shrugging:: here”

    No. I am saying a mere mortal lifetime without genuine intimacy. An eternity in that situation would turn the Celetial Kingdom into a sentence.

  189. “I know this is unnecessary, but I just want to thank everyone for the incredibly civil way this conversation has developed. This is a great example that edification doesn’t have to involve total agreement – that people can talk about ANYTHING in a respectful manner if they simply respect those with whom they disagree.

    This has been a wonderful discussion over the last few dozen comments.

    Thank you, everyone.”

    Ray-

    With a single exception, I couldn’t agree more!

  190. AdamF-

    The impression I got in this comment: “Not to change the direction here, but emotional affairs are worse than physical affairs. Way more difficult to recover from. Granted, there isn’t really an objective way to discipline a member for it, but in my mind it is a bigger issue, and a WAY bigger sin, depending on the extent of it, of course” was that you were referring to emotional affairs as something that did NOT involve physical intimacy. But in your comment in #219 you are stating that emotional affairs involve not only physical intimacy, but often love, so I am somewhat confused as to what you mean by emotional affairs. I don’t know that we are talking about the same thing because I was assuming that emotional affairs DID NOT involve physical intimacy.

  191. Sorry about that. 🙂 Clearing it up:

    Emotional affairs may or may not involve physical intimacy (of all kinds). Fact (well, according to research) is, it’s a lot harder to recover from a significant emotional affair (even without a lot of intimacy, or intercourse) than it is from one that is brief and only sexual, without love/attachment involved. Check out the book: Not “Just Friends” by Shirley Glass. She explains it better than I do. Don’t get me wrong–I’m not taking anything away from the potential damage an affair that was only physical could cause.

    I would love to hear more of what you know about this stuff, or where you are coming from. I still have plenty to learn.

  192. “An eternity in that situation would turn the Celetial Kingdom into a sentence.”

    alice, this is profound. Perhaps one of the most profound things I have read in months. I don’t know why I had not thought of it from this angle, but I agree. Any kind of eternity without emotional security with significant other(s) would indeed be hell.

    And by other(s) I DO NOT necessarily mean polygamy. 😉

  193. AdamF-

    I don’t know if this post is the best one to talk about these issues because it is going so far off topic, but I will make a few comments anyway.

    I do know that many women who have had husbands involved in pornography feel as though their husbands have cheated on them and not just with one woman but with many women. Even though there was no “emotional” affair per se, the physical arousal that men have with other “women” is very devastating to the wife and she feels it very deeply. Not only is trust significantly destroyed but the woman’s confidence can be completely shattered and this can take years to recover from. Many men who are involved in pornography truly don’t understand what the big deal is when their wife finds out about it and don’t understand why she feels so devastated. Men are able to compartmentalize and women cannot do this and many times feel it is directly related to them in that they are not enough for their husband. This type of “affair” via the internet can take a very long time for women to recover from because of the emotional damage it does, so I don’t necessarily agree that an emotional affair is a lot harder to recover from, but I am sure this study isn’t accounting for pornography and the major damage it can do.

    Trying to come back to topic somewhat, I had a friend who’s husband left her for another man. This creates a set of feelings that others don’t even have to deal with because truly the woman can’t even compete and is left feeling quite helpless. No matter what “type” of affair, they are all painful and damaging in one way or another.

  194. Good points. I agree. Affairs are damaging, regardless of the type or extent. Perhaps you are right–we haven’t really been talking about the same things–or using the same definitions. Emotions are certainly involved in cases of porn addiction. No argument there. It is a big deal, for some more than others. My only point was that BRIEF, one-time things are not as damaging as long-term, emotionally involved affairs–even when there was no actual sex involved. Obviously (although it’s a bit different) the same thing could be said for porn use. There’s no way to measure it, but it’s a personal opinion of mine that long-term extra-marital emotional intimacy makes a stronger case for church discipline than a one-time physical affair, both bad as they may be.

    In the book she does talk about internet issues, and it’s not just one study, but years of research, rather.

    “Many men who are involved in pornography truly don’t understand what the big deal is when their wife finds out about it and don’t understand why she feels so devastated.”

    I wonder if this is actually a defense. Perhaps they don’t want to understand (perhaps even subconsciously). From what I have learned, it often takes some good therapy for a spouse to start to understand the pain they have caused. There are a lot of reasons why a man (in this case) may be hesitant to explore that, although it is necessary for recovery.

    Finally, off-topic is okay post 200 comments! 😉 Really though, my original comment came off of the one right before it (Carlos, I think). Emotions play a HUGE role in these issues. I wonder if sometimes we play up the physical side and overlook the emotional damage.

  195. What do two gay men and two lesbian women do when they look at each other knowing there can be no natural family?

  196. AdamF-

    “There’s no way to measure it, but it’s a personal opinion of mine that long-term extra-marital emotional intimacy makes a stronger case for church discipline than a one-time physical affair, both bad as they may be”

    That is interesting to think about. If my husband chose to sleep with someone just due to physical drives, it may be harder for me to understand than if he developed an emotional relationship with someone at work, or school, etc. and crossed the line in that way. What makes you feel the way you do about that, I am curious?

  197. I agree, it may be harder to understand if it was just a spur of the moment type of thing.

    I feel the way I do because a case where (assuming an LDS couple here) a partner develops an inappropriate extra-marital emotional bond, basically falling in love with that person, the original marriage or relationship may be past reconciliation, while in the other scenario, there was only a physical affair (bad as it is) but no attachment with another person involved, thus the marriage may be saved in the long run.

    Throw in sexual intimacy to the mix (which often–but not always–eventually happens anyway) and you really have a recipe for disaster.

  198. #227:
    What do two gay men and two lesbian women [sic] do when they look at each other knowing there can be no natural family?

    jon, have you ever met “two gay men and two lesbian women” who want to form a family?

  199. Nick:
    Of course. They must find other ways to have a family whether it be through a 3rd party or adoption.

  200. Ray:
    Jen and Adam F are off topic. Now we are going to be able to say that Ray allows people to stray off topic and point to this blog as the example.

  201. What do two gay men [or] two lesbian women do when they look at each other knowing there can be no natural family?

    They must find other ways to have a family whether it be through a 3rd party or adoption.

    You seem to have answered your own question.

  202. Ray:
    Jen and Adam F are off topic. Now we are going to be able to say that Ray allows people to stray off topic and point to this blog as the example.

    By the time we hit two hundred comments, it’s no surprise that we’re not on the exact topic. It would be a pretty tough justification to make after a good hundred-fifty or so comments that were mostly on topic.

  203. Nice, jon. It happens all the time, and I only mention it when it gets egregious or happens in the first few comments.

    As J.Ro said, after about 100 comments, if people want to get off on tangents I’m not going to complain – unless, of course, they get vitriolic and nasty in doing so. Therefore, I won’t comment on your off track comment – to be fair. 🙂

  204. Re: off-topic

    This reminds me of a friend who has a 3 year-old girl. In their house you are not allowed to eat on the couch. One time a visitor was eating on the couch, and the little girl had a fit, of course.

    Wow that sounds like a slam to Jon. It is not. In my original comment, as I said, I was trying to comment on the significance of the emotional bond vs. sex alone, which was related, perhaps not well enough.

    I must say though, it was not Jen’s fault! I take responsibility. 🙂

    And this has been an off-topic comment as well.

  205. Actually, jon asked about “two gay men and two lesbian women” forming a family. I asked, fairly I think, whether he knew of any such examples. Of course, jon’s point is that two persons of the same biological sex are presently unable to mix their respective DNA to produce natural offspring of both partners. jon does not, however, entertain us with an explanation of why this fact is germane to a discussion of civil marriage equality.

    Given that jon seems to equate a “natural family” with unassisted procreation, it seems fair that we call upon jon to answer the following:

    (1) What do a fertile man and an infertile woman do when they look at each other knowing there can be no natural family?

    (2) What do an infertile man and a fertile woman do when they look at each other knowing there can be no natural family?

    (3) What do an infertile man and an infertile woman do when they look at each other knowing there can be no natural family?

    (4) What did Dallin Oaks (at the age of 68) and Kristen M. McMain (in her “mid-50s”) do on August 25, 2000, when they looked at each other knowing there could be no natural family?

    (5) What did Russell M. Nelson(at the age of 82) and Wendy L. Watson (at the age of 56) do on April 6, 2006, when they looked at each other knowing there could be no natural family?

  206. Great points Nick (and I’m on topic this time!!!). Companionship is just as important, if not ultimately even more important than procreation, imo.

  207. AdamF-

    I can’t let you take all the responsibility for going off topic, I have to acknowledge my accountability in doing so as well, otherwise I would be a hypocrite in telling my kids everyday to be accountable for their choices! 🙂 Thanks though, it is easy to tell you are a kind person.

    Nick-

    Thanks for writing Wendy L. Watson’s age, I was trying to look that up the other day. I had no idea that Russell M. Nelson married her until two days ago when I read about the incident with them in Africa.

    I have tried to talk to people who feel same sex attraction on different occasions and have really tried to understand them better. I think there are a lot of things that we can come to understand about others as we go through different experiences, but this is one issue that I haven’t felt like I have been able to come to understand better and I wish I knew how to. I think the biggest reason is I cannot relate to those feelings at all, so it is quite a struggle. One of my biggest struggles is that I have such a strong belief in God and the gay and lesbians that I have had deeper conversations ALL have lost their belief in God or it has changed dramatically from what it was before. I am interested to know if there are LDS gay men and women who have maintained their belief in God (as He is taught to be from the LDS perspective) and if they feel they have a close relationship with him as well.

  208. Re: 101-
    It has been interesting to step back and look at statements made by church leaders regarding homosexuality and how they have evolved over time, softening the church’s stance.

    I view it as one of the “products of the time and culture in which we live”. Times and cultures are changing, as will the church’s official statements.

    I have always loved Elder Oaks, but I was disturbed by his encouragement for parents to push their children away. The church seems to be testing out different ways of “dealing” with homosexuality in the church, and I think this is just another that was tried out, unsuccessful, and won’t continue to be encouraged.

  209. In college, I had a neighbor who said he that when he got married, he’d only have sex with his wife when they were trying to have a baby. (we all said, “good luck with that”.) I had never heard that sex was only for procreation before. Since then I’ve heard things that make it sound like that was once a common thought among LDS folk?

    I’ve been reading And They Were Not Ashamed, which has quotes from church leaders about sex being for both procreation, and to bind the couple together, so people who feel strongly about keeping marriage between a man and a woman need a new argument.

    Sex isn’t only about procreation.

  210. #242:
    I had never heard that sex was only for procreation before. Since then I’ve heard things that make it sound like that was once a common thought among LDS folk?

    Yes, it appears that this once had some traction among LDS. Several years ago, I happened to pick up an old book by an LDS author, from an estate sale. I eventually got rid of it, but kicked myself later for the sheer “freak appeal” that the book had—I can’t remember the title or author (definitely not a GA), and I’ve never seen another copy. The author insisted that sex was only for procreation, even to the point of declaring that it was sinful for a man to engage in sexual activity with his wife during pregnancy, since the act couldn’t result in procreation.

    This author was not only extreme, but hilariously misinformed. He described certain newborns being covered with what physicians now call “creamy vernix,” and clearly assuming it to be (ahem…) some other substance, said it was shameful evidence that the parents had committed the “perversion” of having sex during the mother’s pregnancy!

  211. #240:
    One of my biggest struggles is that I have such a strong belief in God and the gay and lesbians that I have had deeper conversations ALL have lost their belief in God or it has changed dramatically from what it was before.

    Well, imagine being told throughout your life that deity hated you, or at least that deity hated something that seemed to be a core part of your personality. Imagine being told that if you prayed hard enough, exercized sufficient faith, made enough effort, and “relied on the atonement” enough, deity would “remove” that thing about you that he hated. Imagine you wanted so badly to please that deity, that you spent years praying, fasting, begging, pleading, weeping, and trying to do all you were counselled to do, yet that deity still wouldn’t “bless” you by removing the thing that made you unacceptable to him.

    For awhile, you might conclude that you just hadn’t done enough yet to “deserve” that “blessing.” At some point, however, you just might see your faith “lost” or “changed dramatically.”

  212. #244,

    Yes, it appears that this once had some traction among LDS

    But Kimball put a stop to it, actually I remember it was even before he was president. But there are always some zealots around.

  213. WOW that IS nuts. Then again (although not as extreme) a friend of mine once said that the reason the Church’s position on birth control has changed was because members could not keep the commandment, a la the law of consecration. Really. That was like a month ago.

    Sorry, off topic again. *slaps hand*

  214. Since we’re on the subject, the New Hampshire legislature has now given final approval to civil marriage equality. The governor is scheduled to sign the bill at 2:15 Eastern Time today!

  215. Nick-

    Even though it is not the same circumstance, I know what those feelings are like having grown up in a home with an abusive father. I saw my friends with their parents who loved them and wondered for years why God hated me and put me in that situation and I was convinced something was fundamentally wrong with me. I was so full of sorrow I was suicidal as a teen and had no one to talk to about what was going on in my life. I understand the process of praying and trying to have enough faith for things to change, things out of my control, and I watched them NEVER change. I know without a doubt that the experience I had growing up as a child changed my entire life and I lost opportunities that I can never get back because I was so busy trying to survive rather than be a child and grow and develop.

    I don’t have to imagine wanting to please God, because I have felt that to my core and have felt like I failed miserably. I realize that this isn’t the same in relation to same sex attraction, but the feelings are very similar. Even though I went through all of those things, for some reason I was never able to not believe God was still there. I was not able to deny Him, even though I really wanted to. This was more what I was curious about, and AdamF led me to a blog where I might find more of the understanding I am looking for.

    I hope you know that I did not ask these questions in a judgmental fashion, but in a sincere one having been through somewhat of a process myself in relation to God and sincerely wanting to understand more.

  216. Since off-topic got Ray’s blessing—–Nick, the most maddening thing to me on prop 8 was the fact that the church did not publicly acknowledge that good, active members might vote differently (and have that be acceptable) until after the election. It was mentioned the day after the election that due to individual life experiences, etc, that church leaders realized that members might vote differently. As I saw my wife agonize over the decision (torn between conscience and duty), I was really bugged that this was not mentioned a day or two earlier. I felt it a betrayal of trust to people like my wife. Before election day, the most we got was “you won’t be punished” for voting against it. What disappointed you the most re: church actions in prop or what may have surprised you in things the general church did/said?

  217. Jen,

    My heart goes out to you for the struggle that you have had. It is unfortunate that things happen to the most innocent of God’s children. One of the things I have realized is the power of God’s gift of choice. This is the most powerful gift we have been given by Him apart from our physical body. That power of choice causes people to do good and in some cases, to do evil. The power of choice is a central piece of the great plan of happiness. And, because of it, God is almost powerless to change the wrong choices that some make. it is no consolation to those who suffer at the hands of those who make wrong choices, but they will receive the reward they have earned. but, Savior has invited us to cast our burdens on Him, as Ray mentioned in another post and He will help relieve you of the hurt.

    The why “bad things happen to good people” is a great mystery of life.

  218. #243-

    AdamF-

    I got so busy reading one of the blogs you listed I forgot to thank you for directing me to it. I am finding it very insightful and helpful. *virtual hug back* 🙂

  219. Jeff-

    Thank you for your comment. Looking back now I can say I am grateful for the experience I had as a child because it has made me who I am today, but it took me years to get to that point. I have learned that God doesn’t jump in and save the day for everyone, even when it seems like the most obvious and loving thing to do. Those “thorns in our side” may be there for half our lives or even all of our lives and yet I truly believe God can and will make up the difference someday. It may not be now or in the next 10-20 years or even in this life, but I know He is capable, willing and desirous to give us all that He has if we will but accept Him. I can honestly say that I understand pain so deep it hurts to pray or even consider that there is anyone there, because you can’t help but wonder if they are there, how can they ignore you so perfectly day in and day out? I believe there are many who feel this way inside and it becomes too painful to consider a loving Heavenly Father just watching idle, doing nothing, so that belief in Him has to be shed or changed dramatically in order to cope with the pain, otherwise it is all consuming. I don’t know why God allows some to have to carry so much but I do know that He never leaves them and is always there for them. Me saying that is quite a thing because even now I feel abandoned by the Lord, but still I cannot say that He is not there,it is just not possible for me to do, my spirit knows He is and I cannot deny it.

  220. Jen,

    You have great wisdom and learned much. Heavenly Father will never leave us alone, though it may feel that way. It did even to the Savior…..

  221. #251:
    I hope you know that I did not ask these questions in a judgmental fashion, but in a sincere one having been through somewhat of a process myself in relation to God and sincerely wanting to understand more.

    I didn’t take your comment as judgmental in any way, Jen. No worries!

    #252:
    What disappointed you the most re: church actions in prop or what may have surprised you in things the general church did/said?

    Hmm…it’s honestly rather hard to choose the “most disappointing” or “most surprising” aspect of the whole LDS involvement. I do think it was very unfortunate that some LDS resorted to “eating their own,” even to the point of telling those members who were troubled by Prop 8 that they should be excommunicated for “not following the prophet.” I was shocked, though not necessarily surprised, at how brazen LDS leaders were in claiming that gays and lesbians who criticized the LDS campaign were “religious persecutors,” trying to take their rights away. I honestly still haven’t figured out whether (1) LDS leaders were truly that blind to the irony of their statements, or (2) LDS leaders simply thought gays and lesbians were too loathesome to be entitled to any rights at all.

  222. I still think there’s got to be a simpler, more realistic option (3) somewhere. But I don’t claim to have the right one.

  223. Bottom line is that society has an interest in promoting heterosexual relationships and not homosexual ones.
    How else is society to keep on propagating itself? People will say we have too much people on the planet but truth is the Earth is very fertile and if food were divided equally globally, everyone could get five pounds of food every day.
    States/nations have an interest in keeping their states populated. Is discrimination acceptable to not allow other unions such as same sex, polygamous, polyamorous, incestuous, or any other deviant unions? Yes, it is.
    To maintain a harmonious society it is essential.
    The people of Sodom and Gomorrah and the people of Noah’s time did not believe that the consequences would come.
    But they always come.
    Sooner or later.

  224. #259:
    Bottom line is that society has an interest in promoting heterosexual relationships and not homosexual ones.

    Why? You’re making an unsupported declaration, as if it was “proof” of something.

    How else is society to keep on propagating itself?

    Society seems to be doing a remarkably competent job of propagating itself, despite the fact that gays and lesbians have been around for millenia.

    Is discrimination acceptable to not allow other unions such as same sex, polygamous, polyamorous, incestuous, or any other deviant unions? Yes, it is.
    To maintain a harmonious society it is essential.

    Why? You’re making an unsupported declaration, as if it was “proof” of something.

    The people of Sodom and Gomorrah and the people of Noah’s time did not believe that the consequences would come. But they always come. Sooner or later.

    In each of those cases, deity allegedly rescued the truly righteous. If you’ve got things so well settled, jon, and you’re so sure you’re one of the “good guys,” you shouldn’t have anything to worry about! Based on the examples of Noah and Soddom/Gomorrah, you’ll be wisked out before the brimstone or rain starts falling!

  225. Sexual immporality has always been the single biggest cause of societies failing.
    Consequences of sexual immorality are inescapable.
    Legalizing it to kingdom come makes no difference.
    We always pay the consequences for our behavior.

  226. When people decide to leave the lifestyle behind, they usually:
    1. Recognize gay sex for what it is. An addiction that is not good for them.
    2. They avoid people and places that will lead them into it again. This also may involve getting out of a relationship they have been in for a long time.
    3. They may find support at the church of their choice.
    4. They realize that God’s way are not their ways and God sees what we do not.
    5. They realize that they are loved by God and members of the church and that he does not want them to live this way. Alma’s ever eternal words. Wickedness never was happiness.
    6. Ultimate healing will come if one remains faithful and makes the choice not to backslide.

    Singing off this blog. I realize that my comments are not popular with everyone but that’s the point of a blog. We all have our own opinion whether others like it or not. Remember, agree to disagree like Ray says.

  227. #224 Adam- Thank you for that kind comment. I’m glad I was clear even if I didn’t quite complete the first sentence. ;>

    #262 jon- I don’t think it necessarily matters if a response is “popular”. Some of us have had to live with what we consult our consciences with and pray long and hard about for a decade before others can even bear to hear it.

    The truth needs to be told! Who knows how the Holy Spirit speaks to the church. Perhaps when a revelation is particularly difficult, Heavenly Father needs a louder voice and speaks with the whole population as He did in the 60s & 70s about the priesthood.

    So, if your conclusions are based on the truth and not a personal comfort zone, don’t rely on permission or popularity to speak them. OTOH, if you feel you said what you had to, then I thank you for your contribution to a vigorous and interesting conversation.

  228. Fwiw, military conquest has been the most prominent reason for the fall of a society in the history of the world. Iow, unrighteous dominion (and the greed and pride that drive it) is the root of group failure.

    That’s worth pondering in light of the D&C statement about how pervasive unrighteous dominion is.

  229. “That’s worth pondering in light of the D&C statement about how pervasive unrighteous dominion is.’

    I wonder if the label of unrighteous dominion applies to governments and governmental agencies, religious organizations and special interest pressure groups equally…

  230. #261:
    Sexual immporality has always been the single biggest cause of societies failing.

    On what evidence do you reach this conclusion, jon? You’re making an unsupported declaration, as if it was an unquestionable fact.

    Consequences of sexual immorality are inescapable.

    Certainly, if one belongs to an organization which considers your sexual behavior “immoral,” you will experience consequences.

    Legalizing it to kingdom come makes no difference.

    Certainly, the repeal of unconstitutional laws against homosexual activity made no difference in regard to those consequences which the LDS church imposes on its own members who engage in such.

    We always pay the consequences for our behavior.

    Yes, this is true. What consequences do you pay for being a closeted, self-loathing gay man, hell-bent on deceiving others about who you are and what you feel?

  231. I’ve been peeking at this conversation here and there but have not chimed in thus far because it seems to be the usual LDS stuff. Two comments from JM catch my eye though.

    #261 “Sexual immorality has always been the single biggest cause of societies failing.”

    This idea is not exceptional in conservative religious circles, and says more about the attitudes of the person who makes such a claim then it does about any given society. That being said I would love to know how they quantify the relationships between their understanding of “sexual immorality” and a societies ability to govern itself, economic distress and military conflict. The short answer is that they can not and do not quantify such relationships because there is no relationship to quantify. Jon’s statement and many others like it arise out of fear of the homosexual other, who folks like Jon do not understand, or trust, or know much of anything about. What is interesting is that such statements are often made in a religious context that is specifically Christian. But what we can not ignore is that the idea that the other poses a threat to society and are to be feared and fought against due to ontological difference, is an idea that is completely contrary to the spiritual and ethical foundations of the Hebrew and Christian systems of thought.

    “When people decide to leave the lifestyle behind, they usually:
    1. Recognize gay sex for what it is. An addiction that is not good for them.
    2. They avoid people and places that will lead them into it again. This also may involve getting out of a relationship they have been in for a long time.
    3. They may find support at the church of their choice.
    4. They realize that God’s way are not their ways and God sees what we do not.
    5. They realize that they are loved by God and members of the church and that he does not want them to live this way. Alma’s ever eternal words. Wickedness never was happiness.
    6. Ultimate healing will come if one remains faithful and makes the choice not to backslide.”

    Now this is an interesting statement and I am glad to provide the counter example:
    When gay folks come to terms with their gayness they:
    1.Realize that all the people telling them that their “lifestyle” is a “choice” have no idea what they are talking about.
    2.Become part of supportive communities and being healing and learning how to move past years of self loathing that comes from believing other people’s false idea about them.
    3. May find support at the church of their choice such as the UCC or reform Jewish temples, or Episcopalian, or many other religious organizations.
    4. Realize that God’s ways are not homophobic and that God can and does love and support them as gay people.
    5. Realize that God’s ways are not our ways and that they will need to be more patient, more compassionate than others, and they realize that they will not enjoy full civil rights and participation with out fighting for such rights.
    6. may come out of long term depression.
    7. Are able to be in higher quality and longer term relationships than they had previously.
    8. Get along better with family and friends.
    9. Enjoy more stable and productive lives.

    Jon’s statements and others like it are textbook examples of the kinds of homophobia we see today. Its not necessarily hateful or violent, but it is very fearful, viewing gay folks as posing a serious threat. What is more, such homophobia is more than willing to be proscriptive. What Craig Owens use to call “The indignity of speaking for the other.” Religious conservatives truly believe that they have a better understanding of homosexuality than people who are gay do.

    Further Jon’s statements (and many others like them) use religion in a totalizing and specifically ideological way. Asserting that their understanding of religious truth is normative. One thing that must not be forgotten is the religious experiences of gay folks themselves, including personal revelation, service in the community, preaching and giving blessings. Their prayer lives, etc. etc. etc. Its an ethical necessity that we let gay people describe and assess their own lives and religious experiences, that they tell us what their relationship with God is like, and that we be willing to listen to their experiences and not seek to find theological justification for our own fear of the other.

  232. #262—“1. Recognize gay sex for what it is. An addiction that is not good for them.”

    Douglas Hunter–thanks for your thoughtful reply to JM. Personally, when I read that #1, I don’t bother to read #2. I’m glad people like you and Nick continue the dialogue.

  233. #262:
    When people decide to leave the lifestyle behind, they usually:

    jon, what do you mean by “the lifestyle?” Joseph Nicolosi, chief author/promoter of the so-called “reparative therapy” engaged in by Exodus and Evergreen (i.e., that gays just haven’t learned how to be masculine enough, so learning such skills as playing basketball will turn them straight), doesn’t seem to be able to define the “gay lifestyle,” though he certainly condems it loudly. My “lifestyle” as a gay man includes many things, jon, most of which are much like the “lifestyles” of anyone else commenting on this blog.

    1. Recognize gay sex for what it is. An addiction that is not good for them.

    Sexual addiction will indeed cause myriad problems for an individual who suffers from it. This is true, whether the addict engages in sex with persons of the opposite sex, or with persons of the same sex. Can you provide any reputable data, jon, to back up your repeated claim that all homosexual activity is the result of addiction? If not, you’re simply making an unsupported declaration, as if it was unquestionable fact.

    2. They avoid people and places that will lead them into it again. This also may involve getting out of a relationship they have been in for a long time.

    You mean places like weekly Evergreen support meetings, jon? Of course, the leaders of Evergreen doesn’t like to admit that their members often hook up with each other for sex right after the meetings, do they? I guess all that talk about Jesus turning them into “real men” gets the gay LDS guys pretty excited!

    3. They may find support at the church of their choice.

    Yes, so long as they make all the right statements, acknowledging their deity-given duty to hate themselves.

    4. They realize that God’s way are not their ways and God sees what we do not.

    Then what makes you certain, jon, that Evergreen’s way is deity’s way? What makes you certain that Evergreen sees what deity sees, if you don’t?

    5. They realize that they are loved by God and members of the church and that he does not want them to live this way. Alma’s ever eternal words. Wickedness never was happiness.

    Wait a second…first you said that self-loathing gays who retreat into the closet can find support in “the church of their choice,” but now you say they are “members of the church,” and follow it up by quoting from The Book of Mormon, indicating that by “the church,” you mean the LDS church. Which is it, jon? Are the people you describe part of “the church of their choice,” or are they all LDS?

    6. Ultimate healing will come if one remains faithful and makes the choice not to backslide.

    Considering it’s plain that you pulled this list of talking points from Evergreen and/or its adherents, why do your claims oppose those of the LDS first presidency? The LDS first presidency and quorum of the twelve have made it clear that they don’t know the cause of homosexual orientation, so why does Evergreen claim that they know both the cause and the “cure?”

    jon, again, I understand what you’re going through. I know how desperately you wish you could “change” your sexual orientation, and I also know how easy it is to fall prey to Evergeen, Nicolosi, et. al. After all, they provide you with quick, plausible-sounding explanations of why you’re gay. They tell you that your parents failed to teach you how to be a “real man,” so you can say it’s “not your fault” that you’re gay. That’s a whole lot easier than telling yourself that you must be horribly evil, isn’t it? So you buy what they’re selling, and then you give them more of your time and money, because if they know why you’re gay, surely they know how to “cure” you and make you straight!

    jon, don’t fall for these hucksters. Take a good look at what they’re telling you, and compare that to what has been officially stated in the past two years by the LDS first presidency and quorum of the twelve. If you do so, you’ll see that they don’t line up. Then, since you’re trying to be a faithful member of the LDS church, you need to ask yourself why these men are telling you something so different from what your own church leaders are saying.

  234. The court’s decision highlights the fact that California’s constitution is a joke. Ballot initiatives, once imagined as a progressive form of participatory democracy, are nothing more or less than the tyranny of the 30-second tv ad. The tyranny of the ballot initiative has made California’s budget a permanent joke. The electorate doesn’t have the time or capacity to educate itself on every issue facing a state. In the end it’s important to separate powers so that slim, fickle majorities of the masses don’t wreak havoc to a state’s long-term interests.

  235. #272 – I completely agree, John. I lived most of my life in Arizona, which is plagued by a similar system, and it is absurd.

  236. #272 – AMEN, John. It’s a result of horrible, weak leadership that doesn’t want to take responsibility for the hard choices that might actually anger someone – so they sluff it off onto the electorate and call it empowerment. It’s lousy governmental practice, plain and simple.

  237. #274 – jon, simple question, just for my own clarification of your legal position. (I meant that. I just want to know how you feel about the legal side of this, which is what the main topic of the post was.)

    Do you agree with the Tucker-Edmunds Act that outlawed polygamy? Why or why not?

  238. #261. Help me understand. What societies have failed due to sexual immorality? What are the inescapable consequences of sexual immorality?

    I agree with the Edmunds-Tucker Act of 1887. The practice of polygamy was and is repugnant, disenfranchising women and even worse abuses underage girls forcing them into marriage. The Edmunds-Tucker Act was a success because it forced the Mormon Church to make a decision. The church could either choose to continue practicing the doctrine of polygamy and the result would be the church would cease to exist as a corporate entity. Or the church could choose to keep itself as a corporate entity but give up the practice of polygamy. This put the church into a difficult position because the Lord told prophet John Taylor in 1886 that polygamy was an everlasting covenant that cannot be abrogated nor done away with but will stand forever. The Lord told the prophet that he will never revoke the law of polygamy because it is everlasting. So given the difficult choice of supporting an everlasting doctrine or keeping the church as a corporate entity the Mormon church chose to sacrifice their doctrine and keep the church as a corporate entity. The Edmunds-Tucker act was successful in eradicating the Mormon’s sexual immoral, abhorrent practice of polygamy. Regardless of the legal-ease with the 1887 Act it was successful in stopping the Mormons of practicing this hideous doctrine. The American public, at the time, considered polygamy and slavery as the two great evils in American society.
    To answer my own question. One of the consequences of sexual immorality is that the public stands up to demand the practice be stopped, the government listens and takes action to stop the sexual immorality.

    Now that the church has survived, as a corporate entity, 122 years later the church can now defend the “right of traditional marriage” against Prop 8 in CA.

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