Strengthening Families vs. Fighting Gay Marriage

By: Guest
February 19, 2012

Today’s guest post is from A Friend

In light of the recent Prop 8 decision in California, the church issued the following statement:

“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints regrets today’s decision. California voters have twice determined in a general election that marriage should be recognized as only between a man and a woman. We have always had that view. Courts should not alter that definition, especially when the people of California have spoken so clearly on the subject.

“Millions of voters in California sent a message that traditional marriage is crucial to society. They expressed their desire, through the democratic process, to keep traditional marriage as the bedrock of society, as it has been for generations.

“We recognize that this decision represents a continuation of what has been a vigorous public debate over the rights of the people to define and protect the fundamental institution of marriage. There is no doubt that today’s ruling will intensify the debate in this country. We urge people on all sides of this issue to act in a spirit of mutual respect and civility toward those with a different opinion.”

In my view, the main difficulty with the position of the Church and other institutions supporting Prop 8 is their focus on procreation and family environment as the rationale for opposing same sex marriage.  If these were really the issues, then one is left to wonder why these institutions haven’t spoken out and supported legislation that will define marriage based on procreation and will restrict marriages to ones that foster a positive family environment.  If the church were sincere in its desire to strengthen families, rather than lobbying against gay marriage, we would be encouraged to lobby for legislation like the following that would improve the likelihood that families are a safe environment for children:

  1. Bar someone who has been convicted of child abuse from marrying for at least 10 years. 
  2. Bar someone who has been convicted of any felony from marrying for at least 5 years — bad example for kids. 
  3. Significantly tighten up the standards that must be proved to grant a divorce. 
  4. Reconsider permitting single moms to remarry — statistics show, for instance, that child abuse rates (for both men and women) increase sharply when the abuser is not the biological parent. 
  5. Require anyone applying for a marriage license to affirm that they intend to procreate children, and agree that their marriage will be dissolved in ten years if no children are born. Then they must re-apply, or accept a civil union instead. 
  6. Rethink granting marriage licenses to couples over 50, since they can no longer procreate. Give them a “civil union” license instead.
  7. Rethink granting marriage licenses to couples of any age that have been surgically sterilized. Give them a civil union license instead.
  8. Require that the prospective husband and wife submit, along with their application for a marriage license, documentation of either employment with total salary exceeding some reasonable minimum, say $30,000 per year, or else savings in an insured savings account of some reasonable amount, say $200,000, sufficient to cover expenses of raising at least one child through high school and a year or two of college.  After all, low household income and/or lack of solid employment are very strongly linked to the delinquency and sub-par educational performance of children that may be born to that family.

The point is this: Each one of the proposed additions to marriage law, including the above, can be very solidly justified on grounds of procreation and the need for a safe, stable and nurturant environment for children. If these are really the principal rationales for Prop 8, then why haven’t we seen some proposals along these lines by the institutions promoting Prop 8?

Instead, the current prevailing view, in virtually every state and foreign nation, is that if a couple wants to take on the obligations of a legal marriage, then by all means we should permit it without regard to the personal circumstances or procreative intent of either person. Marriage supposedly beats the heck out of a couple “living in sin,” without any legal recourse for support if one of them hits the road. Today, states don’t even bar felon inmates currently in prisons from marriage (and more than a few marriages have taken place in prisons).  Also, most states don’t require a blood test any more — just a one-day waiting period (except for Nevada, which permits marriages on the spot).  This is shorter than the waiting period to buy a handgun.

Admittedly, these are humorously extreme. But I do not recall the Church nor any other conservative institution ever promoting any measures vaguely like these.  This position significantly undercuts these institutions’ opposition to gay marriage on procreation and family environment grounds.

Discuss.

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54 Responses to Strengthening Families vs. Fighting Gay Marriage

  1. leon p on February 19, 2012 at 5:41 AM

    quick typo, the church supports prop 8, not opposes it. prop 8 bans gay marriage. hence hte nickname, prop h8.

    So what exactly is the rationale for people who want to ban gay marriage other than, “it’s against my religion.” i am totally open to new ideas, but i’ve never had this one explained to me. any takers?

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  2. hawkgrrrl on February 19, 2012 at 7:09 AM

    leon p – good catch! fixed.

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  3. KMB on February 19, 2012 at 8:06 AM

    If 100% of people opposed to gay marriage supported all of those listed policies, what percentage of gay marriage supporters would change their mind on the subject? (Answer: zero)

    This is a red herring; just like abortion supporters asking why pro-lifers don’t oppose the death penalty. (Many do, and abortion supporters believe they are wrong and ignore their arguments just as much as the others.)

    Gay marriage supporters support gay marriage because they…believe gay marriage should be legal. It has nothing to do with any other policy — that’s a smokescreen to act as if their belief in gay marriage is somehow dependent on other people supporting policies that *might* “support families”. Why not ask why people opposed to gay marriage don’t oppose the death penalty more — it’s just as relevant.

    “So what exactly is the rationale for people who want to ban gay marriage other than, ‘it’s against my religion.’”

    The rationale could be: government recognition of same-sex relationships using the word ‘marriage’ isn’t necessary. No straight-forward interpretation of the Constitution dictates the necessity for the word ‘marriage’ in regards to recognizing same-sex relationships. And judicial fiats creating social policy X that aren’t supported by a popular vote are improper, regardless of what X happens to be.

    Basically, gay marriage is not a civil right, and never was. Recognition of same-sex relationships using the terms “civil union” or “domestic partnership” fulfills any moral obligation to support existing same-sex partnerships with legal and practical benefits — “marriage” in comparison has only symbolic benefits and is not necessary.

    None of those arguments are tied to religion, even if a lot of the people making them are religious.

    Most gay marriage supporters start with the assumption that gay marriage should be legal and then just play defense against counter-arguments from the opposition. It’s an entirely different matter to start with the assumption that gay marriage has never existed in human history and is not needed today, and then attempt to demonstrate it *should* exist (not just *can* exist and the world isn’t going to descend into chaos). A much more difficult proposition (excuse the pun), and many gay marriage supporters don’t even try.

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  4. Stephen M (Ethesis) on February 19, 2012 at 9:04 AM

    is that if a couple wants to take on the obligations of a legal marriage

    Assuming age, lack of certain relationships, etc.

    It is interesting, once you start divesting marriage from historical context the arguments you can make.

    All of which allow you to argue against marriage, which is why so many people see the divorce from context as an attack on marriage.

    A point this post makes very nicely.

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  5. dba.brotherp on February 19, 2012 at 9:43 AM

    So this is all about who controls what the marriage “brand”? Marriage is basically the forming of a “corporation” between individuals. This “corporation” gets legal benefits from the government. I don’t get upset every time a business incorporates, why should I get upset when people want to incorporate a relationship. I still haven’t heard a convincing argument on how allowing gay marriage would affect my marriage in a negative manner. My concern is that we are so focused on this hot button issue that the real issues affecting marriage (spousal abuse, jobs, etc) are being ignored.

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  6. Howard on February 19, 2012 at 9:44 AM

    I think the debate on gay marriage comes down to those in favor feel seperate but equal is not equal and those opposed feel gay marriage isn’t marriage at all beacuse gays are not like them. The rest of it on both sides amounts to straw man arguments. When you look at the underlying dynamics there is nothing different in this debate than the civil rights debate therefore it will eventually end with the same outcome and it is well on it’s way to that end.

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  7. Will on February 19, 2012 at 10:50 AM

    The LDS church has every right to defend it’s stand on traditional marriage.
    More importantly, the people if California should have the say over some activist judge. This is the disturbing aspect of this debate — that a judge can overturn the people.

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  8. Cowboy on February 19, 2012 at 11:06 AM

    This whole issue is strictly about labels, or “brand” as has been noted. Look,I don’t the think the government should be in the business of trying to define personal relationships, so long as we adhere to a reasonable standard of consenting adults. Still, at present they are doing just that, and we are helping them. Because of comlexities associated with taxes and power of attorney, we need a system that grants individuals the right to designate these rights as they choose, as well as benefit from the tax exemptions, etc. That’s already in place however. From here, homosexuals should simply insist that they are married. Go to Church’s that will perform the marriage, get the State civil union license, but a marriage certificate from the Church. Then they should refer to themselves as a married couple. The fashion of such a thing would make changing the law just a no-brainer.

    To speculate for a moment, this is just what the Church fears. As social tides change, inevitably they will be forced to do the same. This will require yet again, some about face on a thing that was “never understood”. Once homosexuality is considered normal, the Church will be forced to reconcile itself to the fringe of society or conform. Failure to do so will make them look bigoted. Still, with changes like this comes greater risk of exposing that the Church is influenced by social evolution, rather than by divine immutable principle.

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  9. Cowboy on February 19, 2012 at 11:13 AM

    Will:

    These are tired arguments. First, “activist judges” is cliche, and bad cliche at that. What makes one an “activist”? The responsibility of the judges was to determine whether the marriage ban was constitutional. Reason being, is that the constitution does not allow a majority to vote away the constitutional rights of a minority. Where I am surprised by all of this, is that you are usually a dominant voice in the “get government out of our way” camp when it comes to economic policy, regulation, etc. However, you seem to be heavilly in favor of government regulation of marriage. There seems to be something of an ideological disconnect there?

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  10. Will on February 19, 2012 at 11:33 AM

    Cowboy,

    Exactly get the government (judge) out of the way and let the people decide. Why should one judge overturn the voice of the people?

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  11. alice on February 19, 2012 at 11:47 AM

    #7 It was not “activist judges” but the constitution of the state of California which overturned Prop 8. This is a legitimate function of the constitution. Ultimately, it may be the US Supreme Court which is also willing to overturn it on exactly the same principle of all citizens having equal protections of the law.

    I understand that you don’t like the decision. The church won’t either. But brandying the expression “activist judges” is no talisman against state and the federal constitutions being upheld.

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  12. Stephen M (Ethesis) on February 19, 2012 at 11:54 AM

    There are two things going on that the Church has concerns about.

    First, things like the Black woman fired from a civil service protected job for disagreeing with a newspaper editorial equating gay marriage to the Black civil rights movement. She wrote a letter to the editor and lost her job (and, I might note, the Ohio case was properly decided by the appeals court). It is not just criminal prosecutions for possessing doctrines as has happened in other countries, but the full gamut of concern.

    The second was well expressed by Jane Galt at http://www.janegalt.net/blog/archives/005244.html

    Now, are either necessarily right? Just because there will be side effects, just because some of them are harsh, is that a good reason to deny people an emotionally rewarding confirmation?

    I’m not saying it is.

    But I’ve noticed that every time I read an argument in favor of prop 8, I find myself against prop 8 (or similar things).

    Every time I read an attack on prop 8, I find myself persuaded that prop 8 might make sense after all (using “prop 8″ as a short hand for the entire debate).

    This essay by “A Friend” has suddenly caused me to doubt my pro-gay marriage stance. I thought that was not possible, but I guess it was after all.

    I need to think more.

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  13. Will on February 19, 2012 at 11:56 AM

    Alice,

    The judge is an activist as he is going against the law. The constitution of California allows for the people to make these types of decisions through propositions. This is the whole reason California has propositions.

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  14. Will on February 19, 2012 at 12:18 PM

    As for your comment about federal law, it clearly states “we the people” not him the judge. We the people are smart enough to make these decisions. We the people are smart enough to say it is not a violation of anyone’s civil right to say marriage should be between a man and a would. It is arrogant and non-constitutional for one judge to overturn the voice if the people — people that heard the argument passing the proposition would violate anyone’s civil rights.

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  15. Howard on February 19, 2012 at 12:22 PM

    Cowboy wrote:Once homosexuality is considered normal, the Church will be forced to reconcile itself to the fringe of society or conform. Failure to do so will make them look bigoted. Still, with changes like this comes greater risk of exposing that the Church is influenced by social evolution, rather than by divine immutable principle. Great anylisis Cowboy, well said!

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  16. Howard on February 19, 2012 at 12:29 PM

    Stephen,
    I don’t get it. Isn’t the case of the black woman being fired a freedom of speech issue? How is it a gay marriage issue the church is concerned about? Seems like quite a stretch to me.

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  17. Steve on February 19, 2012 at 1:50 PM

    Will –

    Presume that the people of California approved one or more of the following propositions. Do you think there might be a role in declaring any of them unconstitutional, thereby striking the proposition?

    * Because of budget problems, National Guardsmen on duty will henceforth be housed in the homes of residents, at the homeowners’ expense.

    * Animal activists, believing that restraining an animal amounts to animal cruelty, seek to ban pet ownership.

    * That anyone caught stealing will have a hand removed on public television.

    * All California Children will be required each day, at school, to pledge their loyalty to the State of California.

    Is there a role for a judge with respect to any of these, even if 75% of Californians favor the particular proposition.

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  18. Cowboy on February 19, 2012 at 2:04 PM

    Will:

    That is not what “we the people…” means. It is stated in the preamble to the Constitution, and is intended to state the purpose of the Constitution, as well as emphasize that the U.S. government was established by the people, and derives it’s powers therefrom. The Constitution is the framework from which judges are supposed to work, in cases like this. It does not advance a system where majority rules in any situation. The preamble states:

    “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

    You will note, that it states that the purpose was to create a system of justice, promote a “tranquil” society, develop a system of defense, and lastly, promote liberty.

    It says nothing of mob rule, which is essentially what your point would amount to. Your call to get “judges out of the way” is not consistent with the constitution, but rather bespeaks the opposite. Mob rule, and no liberty.

    I’ve been of the opinion for a while that while most Americans will gladly soundbite American patriotic rhetoric, that when you actually break down their points, they are not actually lovers or defenders of constitutional principles.

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  19. Stephen M (Ethesis) on February 19, 2012 at 2:33 PM

    Howard she got fired for not supporting gay marriage. There is a confluence.

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  20. Howard on February 19, 2012 at 2:43 PM

    Stephen,
    Are they worried it will become an epidemic?

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  21. Bryan on February 19, 2012 at 2:57 PM

    Since scripture so clearly supports heterosexual relationships (1 Cor 11:11 Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord) the Church doesn’t necessarily need to be involved in the minutiae of every last legal aspect of marriage. Since same-sex “marriage” is so clearly against the will of Heaven the Church ought to take a stand where it’s warranted and can devote the resources. I think a disservice is done when assume that action A demands that actions B, C, D, and E be taken also.

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  22. prometheus on February 19, 2012 at 3:48 PM

    Here are my thoughts on this matter, for what they are worth. :D

    If the primary concern is strengthening the family, I would have to ask what the definition of a family is before I could worry about making them stronger. Is a family nuclear only? Extended? Does it allow for adoption or is it blood relations only? Can a single parent have a family? What about orphans with no parents at all – are they family? What about a single orphan? Can he or she have an adopted family? Can it be more than just adults adopting (ie. a group of kids forming a family)?

    It would appear that a large number of social dynamics can be construed as family, so denouncing gay marriage as a means of strengthening the family seems rather nonsensical.

    I also think, given that state sanctioned marriage brings with it all manner of civil, tax, and employment benefits based on a romantic relationship, that there is an argument to be made that denying gay couples the right to those benefits is (or at least should be) against the law.

    (Of course, I think that there is something to mandatory parenting courses before having children, but that is a whole different rant…. :D)

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  23. FireTag on February 19, 2012 at 3:49 PM

    Steve:

    Well, if 75% of the people approved, they could at least amend the California Constitution, pushing things into the Fed Constitutional debate. What powers the people delegate to government, they can always take back. Otherwise, trying to keep the people from making bad decisions only allows rulers to be the ones to make bad decisions — usually more often if history is any guide.

    Nevertheless, the overturning of gay marriage would, IMO, be a bad decision.

    By the way, Maryland will have gay marriage on the books before the end of the 2012 legislative session in March, it now seems certain.

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  24. Douglas on February 19, 2012 at 4:15 PM

    The OP is nothing but a pathetic “red herring” as another poster described. Procreation is a purpose of marriage but not necessarily the overriding one. The only things that might be considered would be restriction(s) on taking out a marriage license for convicted felons and/or abusers, but, again, please demonstrate what it the overriding duty of any sovereign state to do so. Else it lies upon the individuals concerned to perform their respective due diligence BEFORE entering into the marriage contract.
    The primary issue is that under the banner of “gay rights”, or as in other threads discussed, “reproductive rights”, it’s being hornswoggled from getting the State out of the private lives of consenting adults (regardless of how disgusting a conduct they consent to) to overriding the ability of religious groups and their adherents thereof to associate (or not) withsoever whom they choose AND to practice their faith in accordance with their conscience. In the case of the hopefully soon-to-be-one-term current occupant’s of “Casa Blanco en DC” unconstitutional dictums on dispensing contraceptives free of charge, I’m just waiting for some Feminazi with an ideological axe to grind filing suit against BYU on behalf of an aggrieved coed when she goes to the health clinic at Student Services and is refused her “free” contraceptives. Likewise w/o doubt some aggrieved homosexual couple is just waiting to demand that an LDS bishop perform a marriage on their behalf, and will sue him and the Church when refused. Mark my words, this isn’t about rights, it’s about some groups being more “equal” than others and misusing the legal process to trash religious freedoms. “Gawd” help us to live in such an America, certainly one that its founders never envisioned possible.

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  25. Howard on February 19, 2012 at 4:42 PM

    Douglas wrote: Procreation is a purpose of marriage…

    Should procreation or the intent to procreate be required for marriage? Would the use of surrogate sperm and/or eggs qualify for an infertile couple’s procreation? How about for a gay couple’s procreation? If not why not?

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  26. Restored2Again on February 19, 2012 at 4:49 PM

    This is a fascinating discussion. However, I have to admit that to me the debate about whether gays are as worthy as non-gays in terms of God’s favor at time when the world and the United States is on the brink of disaster is a bit like standing on a beach and arguing whether a two-piece bathing suit is modest and proper enough to wear on a beach instead of a one-piece bathing suit while a tsunami races towards us. Thought FireTag did a nice job in the post before this one of pointing out the economic situation that is a crisis now: http://www.wheatandtares.org/2012/02/18/economic-recovery-steering-by-the-rear-view-mirror/

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  27. troff on February 19, 2012 at 5:12 PM

    #24. Interesting that you called the OP a red herring when your post is full of them.

    “…getting the State out of the private lives of consenting adults (regardless of how disgusting a conduct they consent to)…”

    All I can say is I’m glad you’re not in my bedroom.

    “In the case of the hopefully soon-to-be-one-term current occupant’s of “Casa Blanco en DC” unconstitutional dictums on dispensing contraceptives free of charge, I’m just waiting for some Feminazi with an ideological axe to grind filing suit against BYU on behalf of an aggrieved coed when she goes to the health clinic at Student Services and is refused her “free” contraceptives.”

    How does this relate to the topic at hand? All this does is expose many of your biases.

    I think you missed the point of the OP. The purpose of this discussion is not whether the church or other interested parties should actually pursue the bulleted items, but rather fighting against gay marriage doesn’t really help those who are looking to strengthen marriages.

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  28. Jake on February 19, 2012 at 5:49 PM

    What I find interesting about this is that essentially it breaks down to semantics. In the end the church wants to control what the word marriage can mean. The problem is that no one can control what the definition of a word means. Just because a court, a religion tries to restrict what it means doesn’t make it its definition.

    The concept of Marriage is a very flexible thing and changes by cultures, the early christians had no marriage ceremony and it was simply a verbal agreement between two parties. It was only in 110AD when Bishop Ignatious said that couples needed a bishops approval that a ceremony really took on.

    More importantly, as the OP argues I don’t think arguing over definitions does anything to strengthen a relationship. Just as arguing over who is a christian, and what the definition of a christian is, does nothing to help us be more christlike.

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  29. Stephen M (Ethesis) on February 19, 2012 at 6:29 PM

    Howard: “Are they worried it will become an epidemic?

    They are worried it will be a serious problem. The entire sequence of matters that happened to the Boy Scouts (where in many areas Boy Scouts can no longer use public parks or state land) got their attention, later developments have only gotten more focus.

    Right now there are a number of serious issues, from both sides, much of it driven by litigation.

    On the other side, given that marriage is a religious sacrament, a church ought to be free to marry who, what and when they please. We have a Methodist church locally that marries gays. They ought to be allowed to do that, as a matter of religious freedom.

    Ah well. Interesting enough comments.

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  30. Brian on February 19, 2012 at 6:45 PM

    The church needs to quit insisting it cares about the will of the people. What the majority wants or does not want is completely irrevelant to the church, yet they include this in almost every anti-same sex marriage pronouncement.

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  31. Don on February 19, 2012 at 6:48 PM

    A reason why this issue may already be lost for the church is exactly what you cite above: procreation. Marriage, without any help from gays, has become something that two people do whether they have any intention to have children or not. Once you remove children from the equation, the church’s argument against gay marriage doesn’t hold up too well. That is, unless the church wants to require all married couples to have kids!

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  32. L-dG on February 19, 2012 at 6:50 PM

    All the hand-wringing about “the will of the people” being overturned is completely disingenuous––the smelliest kind of red herring. The Church will continue to harp on about it, just until popular opinion turns in support of gay marriage (and, it seems that this has already occurred in California, if recent polling is at all accurate). If/when the shoe is on the other foot, the LDS hierarchy would be only too happy to find an “activist judge” to rule in their favor; they’d likely write new LDS Newsroom blurbs about the wisdom of the Founding Fathers in creating a Constitution that led to the practice of judicial review.

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  33. Rigel Hawthorne on February 19, 2012 at 8:34 PM

    If technology existed to create a “semi-permanent” contraception for men, then consequences for breeding individuals who do not provide a safe environment for children could be implemented more effectively.

    If a man, for instance, fathered one child without choosing to be involved in the parenting of that child, then an implanted 7 year birth control could be mandatory.

    I have a female patient who came from a dysfunctional family where domestic abuse was witnessed. Prior to age 20, she had two children out of wedlock, leaving the first to be raised with her parents and raising the second as a single mother only because he parents told her that they wouldn’t take another one. After the second child, the patient elected to have her tubes tied. As her care was being performed by her OB, I wasn’t privy to how that form of birth control came up in the conversation. I breathed a silent sigh of relief when I heard the news, but also sadly reflected that by her gender, she bears in a permanent way the irresponsible choices of 2 people. The man/men, presumably continue to have fertility.

    In that perspective, gay relationships are being held up as better reaching the interest of children. Irresponsible choices may lead to infections, but not to unwanted children. However, relationships which do create biologic offspring who are raised by those who were responsible for procreation do, in my opinion, provide a value to society that deserves special protections. If the institution of marriage has become outdated, evolved to signify a different meaning, or too far destroyed by our society to be the vehicle to provide such protections, then a search for another is an idea with merit.

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  34. jks on February 19, 2012 at 10:37 PM

    It’s just another step in the world marching on to some sort of sci-fi story where babies are created and grown in incubators and the state is responsible for all of them rather than babies being created by a mom and dad who then raise them. And maybe will eventually stay plugged in, and live our matrix-like virtual life without having to do anything real all all.
    From the gym treadmills, to the big screen tvs, to the xbox & wii, to the iphones and internet. We are choosing an alternate reality.

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  35. Mark N. on February 19, 2012 at 10:41 PM

    Doctrine and Covenants says that the “law of the land which is constitutional, supporting that principle of freedom in maintaining rights and privileges, belongs to all mankind, and is justifiable before me.”

    If the Supreme Court eventually decides that gay marriage is constitutional, will we need an asterisk added to section 98?

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  36. Matthew73 on February 19, 2012 at 11:50 PM

    Is anyone else struck by the irony in the Church’s statement that “we have always” had the view “that marriage should be recognized as only between a man and a woman”?

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  37. L-dG on February 20, 2012 at 12:43 AM

    “we have always” had the view “that marriage should be recognized as only between a man and a woman”

    I’m sure it’s news to Brother Brigham, who must be positively revolving in his grave. Especially if you consider all the social ills that early brethren blamed on monogamy, including the fall of Rome! (Of course, now everyone knows that was the gays’ fault.)

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  38. Howard on February 20, 2012 at 12:59 AM

    The phrase a man and a woman does not exclude polygamy.

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  39. hawkgrrrl on February 20, 2012 at 8:14 AM

    I think the list above should have included something about Kardashians being prohibited from tarnishing marriage.

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  40. Cowboy on February 20, 2012 at 9:48 AM

    Howard #38:

    And yet that really is the whole issue. It almost seems tired to reinforce this, but let’s not forget the Mormon theology regarding marriage is anything but “traditional”, so long as traditional means Judy and Ward Cleaver. They are so willing to assert an authoritative opinion on this matter, and yet they completely dodge accountability for polygamy. If there was ever a Church on the face of the whole planet whose leadership had no business politically interefering into the marriage practices of the broader society, then it is the Mormon Church!

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  41. Matthew73 on February 20, 2012 at 12:01 PM

    @ Howard (#38)

    I thought somebody might try to argue that but I just don’t see how the argument holds water. As an article in the English language, “a” is singular. I realize the phrase “a man and a woman” is not identical to “one man and one woman” but they have the same meaning. From my perspective the Church’s statement (“we have always” had the view “that marriage should be recognized as only between a man and a woman”) is either (i) an outright misrepresentation; (ii) an innocent misrepresentation (perhaps the folks in the Church’s PR dept. don’t know about polygamy?); or (iii) a disingenuous attempt at hair splitting.

    I am curious, how do you read the phrase “a man and a woman” to include polygamy?

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  42. Last Lemming on February 20, 2012 at 12:33 PM

    The Church is a conservative institution in the old-school sense. It is much more inclined to use its political influence to preserve things that work than to impose untested changes on society. Options 5 through 7 in the OP fall into the latter category. The Church will never get out in front on those issues, but likely would not oppose them if somebody seriously proposed them. (Personally, I would vote for them.)

    I could see the Church actually taking the lead on Option 3 at some point. Given its opposition to the ERA and its own leadership structure, it could even support an option that made it harder for men to get out a marriage than for women without being inconsistent. (The data show women are the overwhelming losers in divorces.)

    The other options are just bad ideas because they would drive procreation even more outside of marriage than it already is.

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  43. annegb on February 20, 2012 at 12:33 PM

    I don’t think they’re humorously extreme. I think some of them are right on. You have a point. Which only adds to my ambivalence.

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  44. Douglas on February 20, 2012 at 12:39 PM

    #27 – don’t worry, I wouldn’t go anywhere near YOUR bedroom.
    The ability to proclaim the Gospel, the best way to strengthen families here on earth and the only way to continue them in heaven, is under threat in this country over the cause of so-called “gay” and/or “reproductive” rights (sometimes amalgamated with ‘womyn’s’ rights). The clamor by the gays to be left alone as consenting adults has been supplanted by the “we’re here, w’ere queer, and we ain’t going away” mantra, and won’t stop until it’s “you MUST accommodate and be friendly to what the radical gays want” in conducting the business of your faith. Translation: the First Amendment will be as effectively ripped from the Constitution as have the Ninth and Tenth Amendments, because some groups (but especially gays) want to be “more equal” than others.
    Though Libertarian of political bent, having seen that the gays and their liberal affiliates have no respect for religious and/or personal freedoms of anyone that disagrees with their views, I have to stand with the conservatives on this subject.

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  45. Justin on February 20, 2012 at 1:22 PM

    I liked dba.brotherp #5:

    Marriage is basically the forming of a “corporation” between individuals. This “corporation” gets legal benefits from the government. I don’t get upset every time a business incorporates, why should I get upset when people want to incorporate a relationship. I still haven’t heard a convincing argument on how allowing gay marriage would affect my marriage in a negative manner. My concern is that we are so focused on this hot button issue that the real issues affecting marriage (spousal abuse, jobs, etc) are being ignored.

    Made me think of Louis CK’s bit on same-sex marriages.

    The historical context of the family is polygamous tribes. It is not that idealized Western nuclear family of middle-income, college educated, five kids and a dog kinda home.

    The church adopted itself into that institution [which is politically-termed "Pro-Family"], and re-framed the “eternal families” doctrine to foster wider recruitment.

    So currently, the LDS church is really only “pro-family” towards the pro-LDS Church families.

    People should just be taught the Lord’s sexual laws and have the sealing power explained and offered to them. Then I say let them be free to organize their relationships as they see fit — whether it be to remain single or to enter monogamy, polygyny, polyandry, or a multihusband-multiwife arrangement and allow the sealers to seal all these relationship covenants so that they may remain throughout eternity.

    On the homosexual marriage issue — I would give it as an educated opinion [not a prophecy] that when same-sex marriages are legalized [because I think they will], the church will not sanction legal plural marriages in the United States [should they become legal through the legalization same-sex marriage] — and if push came to shove, then they’d legalize homosexual marriages before they legalized polygynous or polyandrous ones.

    It already is legal for plural adults to co-habitate, have sexual relations with each other based on personal marriage covenants, and raise any resulting children — and the church would excommunicate any family found living this way.

    The entire “pro-family” position-shift by the LDS church in the 20th century was entirely about getting away from polygamous families — and has nothing to do with the legality [or not] of this-or-that certain type of marriage arrangement.

    This will become evident once same-sex marriages are legalized.

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  46. Justin on February 20, 2012 at 1:24 PM

    ^
    Sorry — my italicizing got messed-up towards the end there…

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  47. Howard on February 20, 2012 at 2:11 PM

    Matthew73,
    I suspect it means a man and a woman per marriage. There may be one man (or possibly one woman) but there could be more than one marriage. The wording excludes gay marriage without excluding polygamy.

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  48. Heber13 on February 20, 2012 at 3:12 PM

    #40: “If there was ever a Church on the face of the whole planet whose leadership had no business politically interefering into the marriage practices of the broader society, then it is the Mormon Church!”

    Its pretty ironic, isn’t it?

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  49. CL on February 21, 2012 at 1:22 PM

    Matthew73,

    I don’t believe the Church has ever sanctioned any marriage that wasn’t between one man and one woman. That is, there is no ceremony or ordinance whereby a man is married or sealed to multiple women at the same time. Rather, plural marriage means separate marriages between one man and his various wives, each ordinance being between one man and one woman (and God). So, the Church’s statement does not preclude polygamy, at least in the way practiced by the Church.

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  50. Ryan on February 21, 2012 at 4:36 PM

    A Friend,

    You said:

    >>In my view, the main difficulty with the position of the Church and other institutions supporting Prop 8 is their focus on procreation and family environment as the rationale for opposing same sex marriage.<<

    I've heard others raise this issue before. I guess the distinction I see is that the Church focuses on procreation and family environment as "a" rationale but not necessarily "the" (as in only) rationale. However, if you have information that contradicts my understanding I'd be interested to hear it.

    Also, I think a distinction needs to be made between categorical exclusion versus individual exclusion. For example, certain individual male/female couples are not able to procreate. However, categorically, same sex couples cannot procreate. This obvious difference, I believe, shows a rational reason for supporting marriage between a man and a woman but being opposed to SSM.

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  51. Howard on February 21, 2012 at 6:38 PM

    Ryan,
    Categorically I am a member of a white and delightsome people.

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  52. Cowboy on February 23, 2012 at 11:00 PM

    Ryan:

    Aside from conceding that individually some heterosexual couples can’t procreate, while categorically all homosexual couples can’t, what exactly does this prove?? I don’t see the connection to your conclusion. You say:

    “This obvious difference, I believe, shows a rational reason for supporting marriage between a man and a woman but being opposed to SSM.”

    I fail to see how the observation supports the conclusion. How does the inability to procreate justify opposing SSM?

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  53. Ryan on February 24, 2012 at 10:26 AM

    Cowboy,

    The distinction is that procreation provides a rational reason to favor heterosexual marriage over homosexual marriage. I don’t think many people, outside of the most extreme environmentalists, would dispute that married couples having children contributes to the common good. Look at the measures that governments take to encourage child bearing. So, if procreation contributes to the common good, and heterosexual spouses can categorically procreate (although there are individual exceptions), while same-sex spouses are categorically unable to procreate, it makes sense to promote and support heterosexual marriage but not homosexual marriage.

    This is of course only one aspect of the debate. But on several occasions I have heard people argue that because some heterosexual couples are unable to procreate, procreation itself provides no rational basis to support heterosexual marriage and not SSM. My point is that this argument is flawed because it treats an individual limitation as though it were a categorical limitation.

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  54. Cowboy on February 24, 2012 at 10:49 AM

    Ryan:

    Your logic is completely backwards. It only makes sense if you assume that society bears a cost against your “common good”. In other words, SSM is wrong because nature prohibits homosexual couples from procreating. Are you then suggesting that SSM is wrong because it is in our “common good” for homosexuals to be married into heterosexual marriages and procreate?

    If you answer yes, then you have to account for likelihood that the marriage will fail, which most people would argue is against the “common good”.

    If you answer no, then what alternative would you suggest? Celibacy? How does a celibate homosexual contribute to your “common good” anymore than one that is involved in SSM.

    The only other way to make sense of your argument is to assume that most people are actually bi-sexual, and that given the opportunity to choose between either a child-bearing heterosexual marriage, or a non-procreating homosexual marriage, some who would have otherwise chosen a heterosexual marriage will choose SSM.

    This line of reasoning doesn’t compute.

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