Friday, May 16, 2008

What's Your Reaction to California's Decision on Same-Sex Marriage?

Yesterday a "Republican-dominated" California Supreme Court struck down state laws against same-sex marriages. The LDS Church issued a press release, calling the decision "unfortunate". I agree, but not for reasons you might think. Did the California Court make the right decision?

Update 5/17/2008: California decision does not affect prohibitions against polygamy and marriage of close relatives. Why not?

Government should not sanction same-sex marriages for the same reason that it should not sanction heterosexual adultery--such activities tend to be destructive to the family as the fundamental unit of society.

Before you get too far into reading into my words, let me echo and agree with something that Madeleine Albright wrote in her recent book, The Mighty & The Almighty (one of the better books that I have read in a long time):
I oppose discrimination against gays and lesbians and am convinced that heterosexual adultery is a greater danger to the institution of marriage than homsexuality ever will be.

The Mighty & The Almighty, p. 80
I also think that, although the best family situation is one where children have a loving father and mother, the absolute worst family environment is one in which the father is abusive (mother being abusive is not much better).

That still doesn't change my perspective on how government should treat homosexuality. I don't support government 'going into people's bedrooms' to find out what lasciviousness might be there. But I do support laws banning adultery, sodomy, and so forth, because such activities should not be allowed in public, as they violate others' rights.

One thing that I appreciate about the California decision is that it is a state decision and not a federal decision--as I think many other decisions, including whether a woman has a right to abortion, should be. Utah has a Constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages, which I think is proper, and the US constitution requires all states to give full faith and credit to the laws of every other state, so even if two homosexuals were to get married in California, Utah would not legally have to recognize that union.

Discrimination is a broad term, but be it known that I discriminated against all other forms of cold cereal (and any kind of breakfast) when I ate Honeycombs this morning. With regard to homosexuality, the kind of discrimination that is wrong is for people to belittle others because of their sexual orientation/preference. I have written on SUMP before that I support laws in Utah banning workplace discrimination against homosexuality and the right for homosexual couples to adopt children under appropriate circumstances.

In a nutshell, California has every right as a state to decide whether or not it should recognize same-sex marriages. Morally, however, I think the wrong decision was made yesterday. Legally, I think the California supreme court is completely up in the night on this one.

Update 5/17/2008: The New American reports that
...while homosexual relationships have often been accepted in various pagan cultures, I don't know of one that instituted homosexual "marriage." The court ignored this, however, and redefined marriage to suit its agenda.

This is especially obvious given that Chief Justice Ronald M. George, according to Adam Liptak writing at the New York Times, said: "… the decision did 'not affect the constitutional validity of the existing prohibitions against polygamy and the marriage of close relatives.' "

Well, why not? According to Justice George's reasoning (again, reported in the Times): " ''Tradition alone' … does not justify the denial of a fundamental constitutional right."

Are we to assume that a stroke of a chief justice's pen does?

If same-sex "marriage" is a fundamental constitutional right, on what basis does the justice deny the right to marry to polygamists and others? Does he suddenly defer to Christendom's traditions when settling on a definition limiting marriage to two individuals?




67 comments:

  1. I agree with you on the federalism thing. But the question is whether the CA Supremes correctly interpreted the law. After reading through the majority decision and the minority comments, I must conclude that Justice Baxter is correct in stating that the majority created a new "right" out of whole cloth, something it has no authority to do. This will certainly add fuel to the push for an amendment to the state's constitution similar to what Utah has.

    As far as who appointed the justices, let's just take a look at the Republicans that appointed them. They were not exactly conservatives. But even "conservative" Republicans (nationwide) have a mixed record with their judicial appointees. Democrats, on the other hand, have a pretty strong record of appointing justices that view the role of the judiciary as a super-legislature as opposed to a strict interprative body.

    Mark Levin has also documented that, with the exception of a very few judges and justices, all of them tend toward increased liberal and legislative practices with tenure. This is the danger of lifetime appointments, a problem our Founders discounted as being improbable.

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  2. There is not a single credible study that even remotely suggests that same-sex couples cannot be good parents.

    If two gays get married, that doesn't impact your heterosexual marriage.

    We have far more important worries than gay marriage including

    - federal budget deficit
    - US trade deficit
    - declining dollar
    - overfunded and underperforming K-12 education system
    - congested transportation infrastructure
    - Unfunded Social Security and Medicare liabilities
    - Terrorism
    - Immigration
    - and dozens more


    In the long run, Republicans risk annihilation as the public eventually embraces gay marriage and Republicans, having long lost any credibility on fiscal issues, have nothng left to offer.

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  3. Frank, I'd challenge you to back the statement in the first paragraph up with some numbers of merit, before making such a statement. I believe it was KVNU's Tom Grover I am quoting when I repeat "I don't see how a gay person getting married damages my own marriage to my wife." I really have never understood the correlation so many of us want to make there, and the fragility of your own endeavors that implies.

    And Reach, I agree with you completely on lifetime appointments, but probably for a very opposite set of examples. And that probably is the best example against them of all.

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  4. Reach,

    I agree with you as well about lifetime appointments. I think at least on a federal level that the US Congress should have exercise the "good behavior" clause a few times by now.

    Anonymous,

    I never said same-sex couples couldn't be good parents. If you noticed, I said that they should be able to adopt children.

    Jason,

    I completely agree with Tom's quote: "I don't see how a gay person getting married damages my own marriage to my wife." My first paragraph (about government sanction) did not imply that I disagreed with such a statement, I didn't think.

    What I am saying is that any kind of sexual promiscuity is detrimental to society, which is why government should not condone public hetero- or homosexual promiscuity.

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  5. Government should not be in a position to sanction any marriage or other relationship: hetero, homo, mono, poly, etc. Marriage is a sacrament--a religious function. Religions should be left to themselves to determine for whom they permit this sacrament. Government should not be in the position to tell religions what are and aren't legitimate relationships (I believe our faith got pretty upset when the federal government tried to tell them that their marriage practice was adulterous and illegitimate). I believe it is an incredible hypocrisy for those who believe in libertarian government to then advocate the use of government to try to enforce their particular definition or practice of marriage on others. Government should be entirely out of the marriage biz.

    "But I do support laws banning adultery, sodomy, and so forth, because such activities should not be allowed in public, as they violate others' rights."

    Frank, this is absurd. Are you suggesting that married intercourse should be allowed in public? That for my temple-married neighbors to have sex on their front lawn would not violating the rights of others? You are sloppily conflating two very distinct issues here. You can make a case that public indecency laws protect our rights, which would cover any public sexual display. But you know very well that sodomy, adultery, et al, laws cover all instances of those actions, including private instances. In absolutely no possible way does consenting sodomy conducted in private--whether performed by homosexuals, adulterers, or my temple-married neighbors--violate my rights! Oh, you may say that you're not going to send cops into people's bedrooms to check, but that does not change the fact that the laws are there to judge those activities.

    Same goes for adultery. Adultery does violate the contract--or covenant--between individuals, but it should be addressed solely on those grounds, not under the auspices of any law specifically targeting adultery putatively protecting my rights. That argument just does not fly.

    If you want government small and liberty protected, then be consistent.

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  6. Derek,

    Woah. Woah! Woah!! Back the truck up!

    I do NOT support such activities in public. What I am saying is that such activities can only properly BE banned in public, because how can legal authorities ever know what two consenting adults are doing in private?

    I do agree with you that

    Government should not be in the position to tell religions what are and aren't legitimate relationships


    It's much worse in Europe, where someone has to be married by the government magistrate before they can go to their church, temple, etc. to be married the way they want to be.

    So in a nutshell, I agree that government shouldn't be in the business of sanctioning marriage at all.

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  7. At the risk of losing my job (Oh wait.. I don't work at the Church any more!!!)

    I'm pro gay marriage for a couple of reasons...

    1. Looking at the mockery that many celebrities and others have made of traditional marriages, I'm not sure the argument that marriage is something sacred is a good one, nor that this will somehow damage traditional marriages. From what I understand, this ruling does not force Church's to start performing same sex marriages, it just provides the opportunity for such unions to be recognized by law. Marriage, civil union - ultimately its the same thing when you think about it.

    2. There is something special about 2 people deciding to live together and care for one another that I think is honorable, and if anything, it is a benefit to our society. I think marriage just makes that commitment stronger.

    3. I'm not sure exactly how it destroys the traditional family. I'm not going to teach my kids that homosexuality is normal, but at the same time, they won't be learning that they are better than someone who chooses a different lifestyle, whatever the reason for that may be. They'll be given the facts and ultimately have to decide for themselves on the issue.

    4. The point about abusive homes being far worse is very valid and I would agree. I think the primary source damage to kids who may be adopted into a family with same sex parents would be from outside their family. The few families I have been exposed to that consist of same sex parents appear to be very balanced and come from loving and caring environments.

    5. There is certainly an element of the homosexual community that could be considered sexual deviants. I'm not sure these are the ones looking to make marriage commitments. There is likely an equal if not greater element amongst the heterosexual community.

    Personally I would have no problem with my kids playing with the kids of a gay or lesbian couple, as long as I knew them and discovered they were good people.

    The ward mission leader in my old neighborhood who had found Jesus for the fifth time after being involved in seriously disturbing stuff is not allowed near my kids.

    I think California did the right thing, and I would agree that this is a state issue, not a federal issue.

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  8. Frank,
    Homosexuality is not inherently promiscuous. That's where your argument breaks down. Why shouldn't the government sanction homosexual monogamy and stability to the same (i.e. equal) extent that they sanction it for heterosexuality?

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  9. "So in a nutshell, I agree that government shouldn't be in the business of sanctioning marriage at all."

    I like that! Maybe that's the best approach. I suppose this would mean a loss in any tax benefit to a traditional marriage, that would keep things far fairer.

    From the governments perspective if marriage were to be sanctioned, then it should only be in terms of a contractual agreement between two people.

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  10. "(same-sex marriages) tend to be destructive to the family as the fundamental unit of society."

    How?

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  11. Oh NO! The Gays are coming! THE GAYS ARE COMING!

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  12. From a philosophical standpoint, I agree with Derek's assessment that the government should not be in the "marriage" business at all. However, marriage is so intertwined in our legal structure that I believe it would be a nightmare to disassociate the two, although I'm sure contract lawyers would have a heyday with it.

    Better to just treat everyone equally regarding civil marriage and leave religions alone in determining which marriages they will sanction. That's how it works right now for heterosexual marriage anyway. For example, not all civil marriages are sanctioned by the LDS Church and no one is saying they should be.

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  13. Don,

    You ask:

    Why shouldn't the government sanction homosexual monogamy and stability to the same (i.e. equal) extent that they sanction it for heterosexuality?

    They should. I'm afraid that's not what would be happening, however. We have a big enough problem with heterosexual people getting married on whims.

    Upon reading Derek's comment, ich habe mich anders etwas besonnen. I have changed my thinking a bit.

    And I further an intrigued by UK's idea that government should enforce the contractual agreement between two people.

    Don,

    I imagine, with government sanctioning same-sex marrige, that a lot of Tom's, Dick's, and Harry's will get married and divorced to and from each other because the government says they can and because of the legal benefits that accrue. If I trusted that government would encourage monogamy and enforce the law against promiscuity in public, I wouldn't be so concerned.

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  14. Frank,
    You say you agree that the government shouldn't be in the marriage business. Does that mean you're willing to give up the legal rights and privileges associated with the civil aspect of your marriage?

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  15. "No State shall ...deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

    14th Amendment, United States Constitution. Duh. Nothing more to say.

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  16. Don,

    No. That's what I meant by enforcement of the contractual obligation referred to by UK above.

    Richard,

    Are you suggesting that two kids should be able to get married to each other? And man and a donkey? I'm not following. I must be having a duh moment.

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  17. UK,
    Excellent comment. I agree with everything except when you say that marriage should be a state issue and not a federal one. This is a federal issue simply because the federal government recognizes marriage for tax purposes. You could argue that the IRS should tax everyone individually and there should be no federal laws respecting the marriages of any state for any purpose, and I'd probably agree with you. But I don't think that's going to happen. Therefore, marriages from any state should be "portable" to any other state in our nation. Otherwise, it restricts the freedom and equality of those who cannot move freely and expect to be treated equally in their new location.

    In other words, the Federal DOMA should be repealed, the federal government should recognize any and all state-sanctioned marriages and states should have to recognize all valid marriages from other states. I realize we're a long way from this point, but the California Supreme Court decision is a step in the right direction.

    Or, as it seems we all mostly agree, we could altogether get rid of civil marriage and all of its attendant benefits.

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  18. "I'm afraid that's not what would be happening, however. We have a big enough problem with heterosexual people getting married on whims."

    "If I trusted that government would encourage monogamy and enforce the law against promiscuity in public, I wouldn't be so concerned."

    With all due respect Frank, I think this is a major cop-out. You're willing to deny freedom and equality to a segment of our population because you lack faith in our governemnt? I'm sorry, but that's bullsh*t! I think I'm kind of pissed-off about that statement . . . I'm leaving for now (not because I'm pissed), but I'll be back.

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  19. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  20. Yes, Frank, I was pretty confident you did not approve of public marriage intercourse (or any other sexual permutation). But it was wrong to single out sodomy and adultery in the context of public displays and the violation of rights. And you know very well that the vast majority of sodomy laws are flat bans, not merely public bans. If you want to discuss public indecency laws, that is a change of topic.

    I believe that the European laws are better than those of the U.S, because (as I understand it), they do treat it merely as legal contract (like I suggested), and leave the particulars up to the religion.

    Unlike the topic of your post on Dixon, this post does indeed reveal a fundamental ideological contradiction. If you believe that “government shouldn't be in the business of sanctioning marriage at all,” then you cannot logically support constitutional amendments (at any level) which legally constricts the definition of marriage (that is, sanctions a particular definition of marriage). That should be left to the individual religions. Since I’m not familiar with German, I’m not sure if you’ve seen the light on that or not ;)

    While I’m not pro-homosexual marriage per se, I’m most definitely opposed to constitutional or other legal restrictions concerning consentual marriage on both ethical, moral, and practical grounds, as I mentioned in a page on my blog.

    Koda, I’m in agreement on most of your points regarding homosexual marriage.

    Don, you are very right to question the conventional concepts that homosexuality is somehow more innately promiscuous than heterosexuality, and that legitimized homosexual relationships somehow threaten “traditional” marriage. Those are canards by the Right used to turn homosexuals/homosexuality into a boogieman they can exploit among their followers in order to perpetuate their own agenda. I know you weren’t asking me the question, but yes, I’d be willing to give up those privileges. My marriage isn’t about legal benefits.

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  21. Derek,

    I appreciate your (and everyone else's--except for maybe gaylen ;-0 )input on this issue.

    One point that I wish to clarify is that I hope I'm not just throwing out a canard of the right wing wackos--I didn't think I said or implied that homosexuality is MORE promiscuous than heterosexuality. What I did say is that both tend to be destructive of the family.

    I will add that I think heterosexuality is more promiscuous that homosexuality in that promiscuity means "consisting of a disorderly mixture". Homosexuality does not potentially result in a child that someone may not want.

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  22. "I imagine, with government sanctioning same-sex marrige, that a lot of Tom's, Dick's, and Harry's will get married and divorced to and from each other because the government says they can and because of the legal benefits that accrue. If I trusted that government would encourage monogamy and enforce the law against promiscuity in public, I wouldn't be so concerned."

    Don't heteros get married and divorced because of the legal benefits? Why should the concept that homos would do the same cause more concern? If there were no legal benefits for any marriage (aside from contractual enforcement), this wouldn't an issue, would it?

    Why do you keep bringing up promiscuity in public? How is that more of a concern in homosexual relationships than hetero? And why should the government encourage monogamy (reminding you again of the polygamous tradition of our own faith and its various modern offshoots)? It should enforce fidelity to which the participants enter in, but not innately monogamy.

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  23. My comment on the government view of marriage as a contractual issue was more for the protections that should be offered to persons engaging in such a contract. While this may or may not be extended to benefits, such as the IRS tax code, it would provide protections such as spousal privilege and legals rights in the event of tragedy or medical issues.

    Having read up a little more on the federal DOMA, I definitely think that needs to be done away with.

    Federally I think the government should recognize any State Marriage in regard to federal policy.

    The States would then be free to determine what constitutes a legal marriage in that state. If a state offers a benefit or protection for a marriage, then this needs to be extended to any marriage recognized in any state.

    Under this law, technically a State could declare polygamy to be a legal form of marriage and it would need to be recognized. I have not problem with that if that is what the state decides. This is probably a different topic though!

    I think the idea that homosexuals are promiscuous has risen from 'The Bogeyman Effect' by those against Gay Marriage, but also because a very small sub section of the Gay Community may be like this, and likes the exposure given to an issue like Gay marriage. Legalize Gay Marriage and that element will cease to associate itself with the issue.

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  24. Derek,

    You ask

    Don't heteros get married and divorced because of the legal benefits?

    Answer: Yes. And that is just as bad (or probably worse) than homosexuals doing it (see my last comment about promiscuity).

    You ask:


    Why do you keep bringing up promiscuity in public? How is that more of a concern in homosexual relationships than hetero?


    It's not. I apologize if that was not more clear before.

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  25. That last line should have been:

    "It [government] should enforce fidelity to which the contracts which the participants enter in, but not innately monogamy."

    Meaning if the provisions of the contract stipulate monogamous fidelity, and one party breaks that condition, the other can sue for breach of contract. If the contract stipulates fidelity to the dozen people in the marriage, or if the contract is between two people but they chose to include no provisions for sexual fidelity, then there is no legal recourse.

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  26. Frank,
    You don't think the government should be in the marriage business, but it is. You don't think homosexuality is inherently promiscuous. You think the government should sanction same-sex marriage to the same extent that it sanctions heterosexual marriage. You haven't answered my question about how same-sex marriages "tend to be destructive to the family as the fundamental unit of society." Derek has accurately shown that your "promiscuity in public" argument is not really relevant when talking about marriage equality. It simply doesn't follow that married gay people have a problem with public promiscuity. (I doubt you could accurately say that gay people in general are any more publicly promiscuous than straight people.)

    Assuming my above statements are accurate, why again are you against legalizing gay marriage?

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  27. This is why discussions on homosexual relationships and legal concerns absolutely drive me up the wall, Frank. You are bringing up what are some very real and legitimate concerns about relationships in general. But because they are being discussed in the context of homosexual relationships and the law, you are skewing the very nature of those concerns, and--unintentionally, I'm sure--helping perpetuate bigotry against homosexuals.

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  28. "And why should the government encourage monogamy? It should enforce fidelity to which the participants enter in, but not innately monogamy."

    If by enforcing fidelity you mean that the government should provide civil legal recourse to those whose spouses commit infidelity, then I agree. But there should be no criminal penalty for infidelity.

    As far as polygamy goes, I think it should be decriminalized, but not necessarily sanctioned. I don't find an inequality in saying that the government should recognize, for legal purposes, only one marriage for every individual. If someone then wants to religiously marry others, that's fine with me. There are definitely some legal issues regarding income taxes, property ownership and such that would need some attention so as to limit the potential for abuse, but I think it could be dealt with.

    That being said, any abuses (welfare, tax, child, sexual, psychological, etc.) found within a polygamous relationship or society should be aggressively prosecuted (just as they should in any sort of personal relationship.)

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  29. All very fine and interesting stuff. I'd urge readers to consider the ruminations of libertarian blogress Jane Galt on this subject. She discusses why she thinks it's nonsense to believe that the government can be separated from marriage.

    But even more important than her ruminations about that point is her discussion about why we should not be so arrogant as to think we should redefine marriage according to our modern interpretation of desires=rights. It's a long post, but it's worth the read.

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  30. Thanks for the links RU. Here's what I'm taking from the second one. Galt makes the argument that "Marriage matters. It is better for the kids; it is better for the adults raising those kids; and it is better for the childless people in the communities where those kids and adults live. Marriage reduces poverty, improves kids outcomes in all measurable ways, makes men live longer and both spouses happier. Marriage, it turns out, is an incredibly important institution." I can't argue with that.

    That being said, how is encouraging more marriage going to make things worse? I know, I know, I'm being "arrogant" in assuming that somehow it won't. But I don't see that anyone is trying to dismantle heterosexual marriage. Encouraging more marriage would logically seem, at least to me, to strengthen the institution as a whole rather than weaken it. It seems even more arrogant to assume that encouraging gay people to marry will somehow harm the "institution" of heterosexual marriage and therefore we shouldn't do it or, as Galt seems to argue, we should "go slow" in determining the correct course of action. I can see how that would be pretty insulting to gay people when it's their freedom and equality we're talking about.

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  31. Galt’s argument in the long article is based on a number of flawed perceptions. She seems to presume that permitting homosexual marriage would constitute a government program or government intrusion in social mores (“They may well be right. Nonetheless, libertarians should know better. The limits of your imagination are not the limits of reality. Every government programme that libertarians have argued against has been defended at its inception with exactly this argument”). This falls in line with the conservative fallacy that liberals/homosexuals are trying to use government to change the definition of marriage. The reality is quite different: liberals/homosexuals are trying to get government entirely out of the role as arbiter of what constitutes marriage. This is a reduction of the government’s role, not an expansion of it. Liberals want to avoid government creep Galt speaks of by getting government out of this religious institution.

    Galt seems to assume that the marriage certificate assures a “functional family.” I know of quite a few people with a marriage certificate, even a temple sealing, who would hardly qualify as a “functioning family.” Her implication that more “functioning families” would result if the government were to provide economic incentives for marriage by denying welfare benefits to an unwed mother is ludicrous. That pressure to marry would only increase the chance she will become yoked (through marriage) into a potentially abusive or otherwise disadvantageous relationship. It eliminates her leverage in the marriage “market.”

    Galt needs to remember that marriage itself doesn’t matter. Commitment to the relationship matters. That is what makes a family “functioning.” I see no evidence that legal enforcement of the conventional concept of marriage strengthens relationship commitment.

    Her assertion that the difficulty of obtaining a divorce kept families together and functional is likewise foolish. With legal divorce difficult to obtain, many couples simply abandoned each other, formal divorce be damned. It was hardly difficult in either the turbulent, teeming cities or the vast, remote rural communities of the nineteenth centuries to disappear and start a new life elsewhere.

    The arrogance is not in deciding religious institutions can decide for themselves what marriage is to them. The arrogance comes when we decide that our one particular definition of marriage at this one particular time should be legally cemented in our society. The arrogance comes in not understanding that marriage has had many different forms and meanings throughout time and throughout various cultures, and that we can decide to force our form and meaning on everyone through law.

    I'm a proponent of marriage. But marriage is a religious/spiritual issue, an issue of abstract concepts like commitment, trust, love, etc. Those are issues (unlike basic material provisioning and issues of material justice) in which government is entirely impotent. We should work with energy as individuals and religions to promote our perception of marriage. Leave government out of it.

    And the short one? In what ways would the removal of government from marriage disrupt society in the same way social security (to use her example) would?

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  32. "California decision does not affect prohibitions against polygamy and marriage of close relatives. Why not?"

    Why should it?

    "If same-sex 'marriage' is a fundamental constitutional right, on what basis does the justice deny the right to marry to polygamists and others?"

    That's easy. Same-sex marriage isn't a "fundamental constitutional right." But equality is. If you don't think polygamists and "others" are being treated equally, then let's hear your case . . .

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  33. Oh, c'mon, Don. Are you afraid that if you see my point that you're going to lose the whole argument? Not even I think that!

    Okay, so "it's not a fundamental constitutional right, but equality is." I agree.

    But explain to me then if someone wanted to marry more than one person how it would be fair to prohibit THAT while at the same time NOT prohibiting someone who wanted to marry one person of the same sex?

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  34. Koda,
    I think I agree with you. Hollywood has done a far better job of destroying traditional marriage and the family than Gays could ever hope to.

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  35. Thanks Guys...

    I'm not even sure if destroying marriage is even an objective of the Gay and Lesbian movement. I think it's all part of the plan by those who oppose it to induce fear into the rest of us to get us to oppose it as well.

    As I thought about this topic over the weekend, I realized that ultimately marriage is just a commitment between two (or more)people, that takes the relationship to a whole new level. Marriage either means something special or not and it can only be destroyed by those involved in it. Having the government or a religion recognize or approve of that is just a nice fringe benefit.

    And I think it's definitely a matter of equality, rather than anything else.

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  36. Frank, please don't attribute motive to me. It's not a matter of me "not seeing your point." I just want to know why you think it's relevant. How is equality not served if polygamy is outlawed while same-sex marriage isn't?

    I happen to think these are fundamentally different issues. Equality under the law is not diminished when everyone is prohibited from legally marrying more than one person. According to the court, "the right to marry" is a fundamental right under the California State Constitution and sexual orientation-similar to gender, race, and religion-is a "constitutionally suspect basis upon which to impose differential treatment."

    While I don't necessarily agree that marriage should be a fundamental constitutional right, I do agree that if it is, then it shouldn't be restricted based on sexual orientation. Restricting civil marriage based on the number of legally allowed spouses isn't the same thing.

    FWIW, I believe that polygamy should be decriminalized. I don't think it's the government's business how many "spiritual" spouses anyone has.

    As for marriage between "close relatives" I haven't looked too closely at the issue, but I do know there are concerns about inbreeding. Apparently, you can marry a first cousin in many states but not others. Is that too close? I don't know. Nevertheless, reducing the negative effects of inbreeding is probably a valid public health concern and reason enough to ban marriages between direct familial relations (i.e. parent/child or siblings).

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  37. Using your logic I don't see the difference. To paraphrase your words, then, I think that "Equality under the law is not diminished when everyone is prohibited from legally marrying [a person of the same gender]."

    I agree with you, by the way, that polygamy shouldn't be outlawed. So maybe that means I think same-sex marriage shouldn't be outlawed, I don't know.

    Either way, the Calif supreme court did not act legally after the law was passed against same-sex marriages.

    Also, I think that health concerns place the issue of marriage to a close relative in a different (apples-to-oranges) category.

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  38. "Equality under the law is not diminished when everyone is prohibited from legally marrying [a person of the same gender]."

    Ahh, but it is, because the court has ruled that sexual orientation is similar to race, gender and religion. It doesn't follow that polygamists would automatically garner the same designation with respect to the law.

    Laws against polygamy are based, speciously I believe, on concerns about public health and deleterious effects on the family. Personally, I don't see how polygamy is inherently a societal concern, therefore my stance that it should be decriminalized. But that doesn't mean the government has to sanction the plural marriages for matters relating to the law (tax purposes, rights of inheritance, etc.) The law is applied equally when it says that each individual is only allowed to legally marry one other person who is also legally able to enter into the marriage contract.

    Just because I believe something shouldn't be outlawed, that doesn't necessarily mean I believe it should be sanctioned. I believe that same-sex marriages deserve equal standing under the law and therefore, if we continue to sanction opposite-sex marriages then we should sanction same-sex marriages as well. I believe polygamy should not be against the law, but I don't believe the government is required to sanction multiple marriage partners for anyone, be they same or opposite-sex, in order for polygamists to be treated equally regarding the law.

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  39. "...the Calif supreme court did not act legally after the law was passed against same-sex marriages."

    How so? What specifically did the Court do that was illegal?

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  40. I apologize if I misinterpret you, but what you appear to be saying is that what is legal/right is whatever the court says it is. You ask:

    What specifically did the Court do that was illegal?

    The court overturned a perfectly constitutional state referendum. Three of the justices could see that this was a travesty of justice. The other four let their emotions get in the way of law.

    Also, I don't agree with your definition of what equality is when you compare same-sex marriage to polygamous marriage.

    A question: do you believe in God? A lot of my opinion about same-sex marriage is based on my belief that there is a God and that he wants us to be happy and become like him. Homosexuality, as well as adultery and a host of other vices, take us farther from those goals. I agree with Gordon B. Hinckley, who said that homosexuality is not a civil rights issue, it is a morality issue. Sexuality should be a private thing, but homosexuals attempt to make it anything but private.

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  41. Forgive me if I misinterpret you, but what you seem to be saying is that whatever is right/legal is what you say it is (well, according to your god that is.)

    "The court overturned a perfectly constitutional state referendum. Three of the justices could see that this was a travesty of justice. The other four let their emotions get in the way of law."

    Okay Frank. You're right, the majority of the court was wrong. Are you happy now? I don't really know what else to say to an opinion that is backed up by nothing but "those that disagree with me are just too emotional."

    It's not my definition Frank. It's the definition of the California Supreme Court. They deem sexual orientation to be similar to race, gender and religion and therefore subject to constitutional protection. I happen to agree with them, but I'm not just making stuff up here.

    Do I believe in God? Which one? ;) No, I don't. But I don't have a problem with you or your religion treating homosexuality however you want within the scope of your religion. How people are treated in a secular constitutional republic founded on the principles of personal liberty, freedom and equality for all is an altogether different matter however. If the best that you can do is that homosexuality goes against the personal morality established by your religion and therefore gay marriage should be against the law, well, I'm sorry, but that's just not good enough when we're talking about restricting the rights and freedoms of an entire segment of our population.

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  42. "Sexuality should be a private thing, but homosexuals attempt to make it anything but private."

    Right . . . we heteros never do anything in public to express our sexuality.

    Marriage is not a private matter Frank. In fact, more often than not, it's a very public expression of the love and commitment between two people who want to spend the rest of their lives together.

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  43. How about all the other California justices and those in other states who have never seen this so-called right to same-sex marriage. Are they wrong?

    What if just one of the California justices had voted with the minority in this case? Would you still feel that they had made the right decision?

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  44. No Frank, I wouldn't. But I would tell you why I thought that way rather than just saying they were too "emotional". I know you don't like homosexuality and don't agree with gay marriage, ostensibly because of your religion. What I want to know is why do you think the decision was incorrect? If it's just because your religion says so, well, I guess you don't have much to go on . . .

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  45. If I might chime in...

    It would seem we've been debating two different things.

    1. Gay Marriage itself

    2. The decision made by the court to overrule a decision made by the voice of the people. (At least that's what I've gathered.)

    I think the Gay Marriage is, and will likely continue to be a hot issue and very much influenced by personal opinion.

    However regardless of that issue, for a court to overturn a decision made by the voice of the people I think is very wrong. While I may agree with the 4 justices in this case that to allow Gay Marriage is fair and constitutional, I don't agree with the idea that a minority in power can overrule the voice of the people.

    I think in that light, I may actually agree with Frank on this one, even though we may differ slightly on the issue of same sex marriage itself.

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  46. I disagree UK. The reason for constitutional review by the courts is to prevent tyranny of the majority over a repressed minority. It's a foundational principle of our country. The California Supreme Court sees a constitutional basis to uphold equality regardless of sexual orientation, therefore the "voice of the people" in this case was unconstitutional and was rightly overturned.

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  47. Perhaps from your and my perspective, and maybe it was the right thing in this case, and then again, maybe it wasn't.

    I grew up under apartheid in South Africa, and that was very much a system where a minority dictated the direction of the entire nation. I'm not comparing the United States with that Nazi-like regime, but I do get very nervous when a minority seeks to impose it's will.

    I was just thinking of an episode of the Simpsons, where the mayor takes off or something, and so a counsel of the wise is put in charge. I seem to remember that the result was somewhat less than desirable. Imposing a specific view on people, no matter how much better it may seem to be, generally does not tend to end up well, at least not in my experience.

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  48. This isn't a matter of the minority dictating. This is a matter of protecting the minority against majority abuse. This is entirely different from apartheid. If gay people, the minority in this case, wanted to make marriage only between same-sex couples and forbid it between opposite-sex couples, then you might have a point. Of course, that's not even close to reality.

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  49. You're right, definitely not the same - but it still makes me nervous...

    I think I definitely need to spend some more time thinking about this. Your points do make a lot of sense, but at the same time I can see Franks point of view as well.

    Perhaps it's a pity that our society couldn't figure this out on it's own without the courts having to get involved.

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  50. It's funny, Don, that you don't try very hard to see my point of view. Yes, I've said it is for me a religious issue. But I have also said, like UK just did, that it's not appropriate for a court to overturn a constitutional referendum. You may have an idea of what you think is fair and equal, and so may they, but it does NOT make it Constitutional. The other question I asked points to the major issue--a multitude of justices have sat on the California supreme court, and it wasn't until just a couple days ago that 4 of them found a so-called right for same-sex marriage to be recognized by government. That's bunk.

    So if you'd like to disagree with me, fine. But don't just say that the only reason I've given is religious.

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  51. Frank, I see your point of view. It's not that hard to see. I'm just wishing you could expand on things a bit, if possible.

    "But I have also said, like UK just did, that it's not appropriate for a court to overturn a constitutional referendum."

    It wasn't a constitutional referendum Frank, whatever that is. It was an initiative statute, which is subject to constitutional review. The court had every right to determine its constitutionality and overturn it on that basis. As far as I can tell you are just flat wrong on this point. It's not a matter of opinion. If you can give me some facts to dispute this point, then I'd be happy to reconsider.

    "...it wasn't until just a couple days ago that 4 of them found a so-called right for same-sex marriage to be recognized by government. That's bunk."

    There is no "right for same-sex marriage" and that's not what the court found. This is a distortion of the ruling. The right is the right to marry, period. It's "embodied in the California Constitution." The court "found" that the right to marry could not be restricted based on sexual orientation. You might disagree with that, but it's not "bunk".

    "So if you'd like to disagree with me, fine. But don't just say that the only reason I've given is religious."

    I don't know why you are so defensive Frank. You started this thread seemingly willing to look at the issue openly and now you're just digging in your heels. I'm only asking you to clarify and expand on the reasons for your opinions, which you have not done. You continue to give me the same talking points over and over without anything to back them up. I know your opinions Frank. Tell me what forms them please, besides your religion, since that one we already know.

    Why is what the court did unconstitutional? What good is a constitution if it doesn't have courts to back it up? If the people of California decided, by initiative statute, to ban LDS Temple weddings, would that be constitutional? Would it be okay for the courts to overturn that?

    Please be clear, I'm not arguing whether or not same-sex marriage should be allowed anymore. I want to know why you think this decision was so egregious as a constitutional matter.

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  52. Koda, I’d take it a step further and say I’m positive that among the overwhelming majority of the GLBT movement, there is absolutely no interest in “destroying marriage.” That concept is a lie which has perpetrated by conservative elements to create a boogieman against which to mobilize their movement and then promote a broader agenda. Nothing more.

    Frank, I’m curious about this statement:

    “Sexuality should be a private thing, but homosexuals attempt to make it anything but private.”

    How are homosexuals trying to make sexuality a public thing? By wanting to hold hands, hug, or kiss in public? Is there anything they’re trying to do that isn’t already very public in homosexual relations? I’ll agree that society has become hypersexualized, but this is hardly the work of homosexuals. What they do want, as far as I’ve seen, is the ability to express their affection openly (such as by the means above). If we are interested in equality we will grant them just as much liberty in that regard as we do heterosexual couples.

    I agree that there is no “right to homosexual marriage.” Philosophically speaking, nobody has an innate “right” to any sort of marriage. But we, as individuals and as faiths, do have an innate right to freedom of conscience--a phrase very particularly linked from its inception to religious belief and action. Like all rights, we should protect that right from the tyranny of the majority just as much as from the tyranny of a minority. The fact that a majority in California (or Utah), or that a large minority of the Cal Supreme Court, believes marriage should be reserved for heterosexual couples is irrelevant on that philosophical ground.

    Legally, things are admittedly different. I agree with the Cal Supreme Court’s majority opinion that it was unconstitutional (regarding the state). But Frank’s point that amendments are a different matter. Given that James Madison’s desire for very explicit freedom of conscience had to be watered down to the murky language of Amendment 1, and that his Constitutional amendment holding state governments to federal rights standards was overruled, there is no legal grounds for overturning state Constitutional amendments. We as citizens must take it upon ourselves to defend that right for all people by battling such amendments.

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  53. Correction:

    I said: "Is there anything they’re trying to do that isn’t already very public in homosexual relations?"

    I meant: "Is there anything they’re trying to do that isn’t already very public in heterosexual relations?"

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  54. Don,

    Sorry that I called it a referendum.

    The majority opinion in the California case (I didn't read all 172 pages ;-) ) provides interesting insight into what many people are afraid of--the court majority states that because (and I think only because) California has domestic partnerships, that this has paved the way in their minds for the right to homosexual marriage. How long will it be then, as has already happened in some countries, before Californians will not be able to offer their opinion that homosexual behavior is a sin?

    In all of history, marriage has never meant anything but a relationship between a man and a woman. I'm sure glad I'm not as "enlightened" as the California majority. To give the same legal rights (which apparently from the opinion, California homosexuals already have) is one thing, but to change the definition of a word that has existed for 6,000 years is absurd.

    By the way, I'm not defensive. I just think it would be a more productive conversation if you would try to understand my point of view rather than find every avenue that you can to try and tear it apart. But either way, it's still interesting and educational, and I appreciate your input.

    Derek,

    You ask:

    Is there anything they’re trying to do that isn’t already very public in heterosexual relations?

    No, and I've already stated that I think heterosexual promiscuity is much more of a problem than homosexual promiscuity ever will be. But just because the cows are out of the barn doesn't mean we should let the horses out, too.

    You're right that society has become hypersexualized. This is the fault, first of all, of heterosexuals. The only reason that homosexuality is so in our faces now is because heterosexual perversion paved the way for it.

    You're right that with the mistake--(my opinion)--of the California Supreme Court, the only way to overturn this is with a state Constitutional Amendment. And with what affect it could have on my state if an amendment fails, I will be actively following and supporting an amendment that seeks to retain the word "marriage" within its long-understood definition.

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  55. "Sorry that I called it a referendum."

    Missing the point Frank. It's not a "constitutional" anything. It was an initiative that became a statute. Statutes are subject to constitutional review whether they come from an initiative, a referendum or the Legislature.

    "How long will it be then, as has already happened in some countries, before Californians will not be able to offer their opinion that homosexual behavior is a sin?"

    Forever? I guess I can't really say that, but it's not very likely this will happen Frank; I'm guessing you already knew that though. The CA constitution establishes a right to freedom of speech and freedom of conscience. To ban speech calling homosexuality a sin would pretty much mean dismantling the CA constitution.

    The conversation would be more productive if you would try to back up your opinions with something relative. I've asked you several times to tell me why you think the decision was wrong, constitutionally speaking, but all I get is factual misstatements, meaningless platitudes and fear-mongering. Your downward spiral into right-wing canards is surprising to me.

    "And with what affect it could have on my state if an amendment fails . . ."

    What effect could that be? More freedom? More equality? More individual liberty? Yeah, that sounds bad.

    "I will be actively following and supporting an amendment that seeks to retain the word 'marriage' within its long-understood definition."

    So you've placed yourself firmly in the anti-freedom, anti-liberty, anti-equality camp. Your evolution over the past few days has been stark and troubling. Earlier in this thread you seemed on the verge of agreeing that freedom and equality would win out over your personal religious ideas. Now, it seems exactly the opposite. Did someone at BYU get to you? Have you been threatened with dismissal from whatever position it is that you hold there? ;)

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  56. Nope. But I did a lot of studying last night, and I came to the conclusion that there is no reason--other than a stealth agenda, but I could be wrong--to try to call something marriage when one already in California has all the civil rights that marriage gives--if I understand the Court's opinion on the case.

    That's why the change of opinion.

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  57. So it's all about a word? You can't stand to have gay people using the word "marriage" because . . . why? What are you afraid of Frank?

    BTW, Frank, "dignity and respect" and "equality" are the reasons for the court's opinion, not anyone's "stealth agenda". Seriously Frank, what's with the right-wing talking points?

    Here are some relevant passages for those who haven't read the court's decision:

    "One of the core elements of the right to establish an officially recognized family that is embodied in the California constitutional right to marry is a couple’s right to have their family relationship accorded dignity and respect equal to that accorded other officially recognized families, and assigning a different designation for the family relationship of same-sex couples while reserving the historic designation of “marriage” exclusively for opposite-sex couples poses at least a serious risk of denying the family relationship of same-sex couples such equal dignity and respect."

    "...permitting same-sex couples access to the designation of marriage will not deprive opposite-sex couples of any rights and will not alter the legal framework of the institution of marriage..."

    "...retaining the traditional definition of marriage and affording same-sex couples only a separate and differently named family relationship will, as a realistic matter, impose appreciable harm on same-sex couples and their children, because denying such couples access to the familiar and highly favored designation of marriage is likely to cast doubt on whether the official family relationship of same-sex couples enjoys dignity equal to that of opposite-sex couples."

    "...we cannot find that retention of the traditional definition of marriage constitutes a compelling state interest. Accordingly, we conclude that to the extent the current California statutory provisions limit marriage to opposite-sex couples, these statutes are unconstitutional."

    Thanks for the discussion Frank. I think I'm done on this thread (unless anyone else wants to chime in.) I'm sorry you've made the decision you have and I hope that you'll reconsider in light of the principles of freedom, liberty and equality that our great nation was founded upon. You may have the last word in response if you so wish . . .

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  58. No, and I've already stated that I think heterosexual promiscuity is much more of a problem than homosexual promiscuity ever will be.

    Then why claim that “homosexuals attempt to make it anything but private”? Your statements aren’t consistent. When you say that they are trying to make it public, it sounds like you’re demonizing them the same what the religious right does. If you want to fight hypersexuality, fight it where it is a problem, don’t distract us from the real problem by creating a theoretical problem to fight.

    For the record, I want to be able to hold hands, hug, and kiss (discretely--for the most part;) )my wife in public. If I feel I should have that right, it would be morally wrong for me to imply that people with different relationships should not be extended the same right. I think this is all the vast majority of homosexuals want

    You're right that with the mistake--(my opinion)--of the California Supreme Court, the only way to overturn this is with a state Constitutional Amendment.

    Actually, I’m saying that supporting such an amendment betrays the concepts of freedom of conscience and of equality that we support.

    I came to the conclusion that there is no reason--other than a stealth agenda, but I could be wrong--to try to call something marriage when one already in California has all the civil rights that marriage gives--if I understand the Court's opinion on the case.

    I think you’re barking up the wrong tree. If we are not willing to allow faiths to permit marriage between people of the same sex if that faith deems it morally acceptable, then we oppose freedom of conscience. If we are unwilling to grant people in committed relationships of any sort the same legal rights we want for ourselves, we oppose equality. And if we are willing to give them those rights but use government coercion to withhold the name--if it talks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, but we refuse to call it a duck--then we are the ones maintaining a “stealth agenda” of bias and bigotry; not those who merely want their own right to make that choice.

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  59. Don,

    I wish you wouldn't accuse me of right-wing canard and try to see what I'm saying. If you could convince me that the court--AND the homosexual community--agrees with you that there is no stealth agenda, then I would be fine.

    Derek,

    I only caught part of your comment (I'm off to my son's baseball game), but just quickly: I have no problem if religions want to recognize same-sex marriage. I have a problem when the government sanctions it. Also, they (at least in California) ALREADY HAVE the same rights as us, so I can't see what calling it "marriage" would help anything...?

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  60. We're just seeming to talk in circles now, so this is my last point. You say that you have no problem with religions recognizing homosexual marriage. But you also say would support constitutional amendments which would prevent religions from doing just that. Your statements are again contradictory.

    I don't understand why you think not having such an amendment or law means that the state sanctions those relationships. I suggest that not having such an amendment merely shows that the state recognizes it has no authority to sanction or proscribe such marriages.

    Allowing religions to call homosexual committed relationships marriages if they so wish helps ensure equality and freedom of conscience. Refusing to call a duck a duck seems a bit too close to "separate but equal."

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  61. Don:

    There you go again. Accusing me of certain emotions (this time fear) that play nothing into it. If domestic partnerships have all the rights of marriage, then what point is to be gained by referring to domestic partnerships as marriages?

    Derek:

    Your interpretation of my stand is this:

    You say that you have no problem with religions recognizing homosexual marriage. But you also say would support constitutional amendments which would prevent religions from doing just that. Your statements are again contradictory.

    ...when in reality it is this

    I have no problem with religions recognizing homosexual marriage. But I also support constitutional amendments which would prevent the state from sanctioning it. (Other individuals and entities would be free to recognize it and call it what they want.)


    I may be proposing something that is not legally feasible, but that's where I've been coming from on this issue for most of this discussion.

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  62. Frank, since you directed a question my way, I'll answer. But I don't wish to keep going around in circles. I'm going to pose a couple of questions to you in response, but if you can't add anything to what you've said previously (i.e. if you can't or won't answer the questions) then don't bother.

    "If domestic partnerships have all the rights of marriage, then what point is to be gained by referring to domestic partnerships as marriages?"

    ...denying (same-sex) couples access to the familiar and highly favored designation of marriage is likely to cast doubt on whether the official family relationship of same-sex couples enjoys dignity equal to that of opposite-sex couples.

    "... I also support constitutional amendments which would prevent the state from sanctioning (homosexual marriage)."

    Why? What compelling state interest is served by preventing the government from sanctioning same-sex marriages?

    Why do you have a problem with the state using the word "marriage" for designating relationships which, as far as the state is concerned, are equal in standing?

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  63. Okay, I realize this discussion is several weeks old, but I came across it today as I was seeking out news/opinion about the first day of same sex marriages in CA, and felt I wanted to add a couple of cents to the thoughts expressed here. Maybe no one will see it, but I'll throw it out there anyway.

    The comments posted and the direction of this discussion remind me of a trip I made to Jerusalem a few years back. I was there for work for a week and we hired a driver to help us get everywhere we needed to be. He was Palestinian, had a wife and 4 children, and was just trying to make a living. His brother was a jihadist and when given an opportunity wanted to grill us on American policy. But our driver, Ibrahim, just wanted to live in peace and be able to provide for his family. He didn't need to change the face of international politics - he just wanted to know his kids could go to school and be safe, that he could come and go from his job without hassle.

    I remember that situation whenever I hear anyone talk about the "gay agenda." I can only speak for myself of course, but personally, my only "agenda" is to be able to take care of myself and my partner. I'm not trying to take over the world or force all the straights to be gay. I'd just like to know that I can visit my partner in the hospital and keep my house if my partner dies.

    As an openly gay woman who grew up LDS (and whose family is still very active) I CAN appreciate both sides of this argument. This debate becomes so emotional, and I do understand why. Even though the truth is NOT that marriage has always been a sacred union between one man and one woman, but in fact was for most of history a purely business transaction between families with interest in joining land or other property, I can still understand people’s gut reaction to the idea that two men or two women don’t constitute a marriage.

    But I find in talking to people about specifics, most of them are shocked to find out what being denied the ability to marry really means, in practical terms. Here is what it means to me, and to my partnership:

    * We can be denied the ability to see each other in the hospital or make decisions regarding each other’s care. For us, we are lucky that both sets of our parents are supportive of us and would not deny us this. And we can and should fill out paperwork to designate each other as having power of attorney and to designate any health care requirements (DNR, etc.), but in an emergency, if you don’t happen to have your paperwork on you, who wants to be hassled by a well-meaning but ignorant doctor or nurse about your right to be in the room with your loved one? Married couples do not have to worry about this. I’m willing to bet even unmarried straight couples rarely get questioned on their right to be in a hospital room.

    * My partner’s business offers domestic partner health benefits, although because I am also employed we don’t take advantage of it. We each have separate health insurance policies. But if I were ever unemployed, and we signed up for partner benefits, we would have to pay income tax on the value of the insurance policy.

    * We recently purchased our first home together. We are co-borrowers on the loan and we hold the title jointly, with right of survivorship, which means if one of us dies the other will automatically inherit the “other half” of the house. We can and should also make wills, spelling out that we are each other's benefactors. But because we are not married, the surviving partner will have to pay inheritance taxes on the portion of the house they inherit. This means that many “widowed” partners still end up losing their homes after the death of their partner. I know some straight married couples lose homes after the death of a spouse, but mainly because of bad financial planning. We can have the best financial planning and legal documents in the world (and spend a lot of money putting those in place), and still lose our house.

    * We both have 401(k) policies with our employers, and we have designated each other as beneficiaries. However, because we aren’t married, if one of us dies the surviving partner would have to pay up to 70% of that policy in taxes and penalties. A married spouse would be able to inherit the policy without taxes or penalties.

    * If one of us becomes ill or disabled, the other is not eligible for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act. We would have to continue working, and limit the care we could offer each other, or we would have to quit our jobs.

    These very basic things that inhibit our ability to take care of each other, and the part I don’t understand is why giving us these rights would impart harm on anyone else’s marriage or bring about the end of western civilization as we know it. I wish the discussion could take a more practical approach more often, because I really believe that if more people knew what is actually involved, they would have less of a gut reaction that gay marriage is wrong, and realize that if we are committed to each other, we should be able to provide for each other without all of the legal impediments.

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  64. Hi Sheri,

    Thank you for your comments. I appreciate them very much because of the situation that you are in and that you are familiar with both sides of the issue.

    My position may sound a bit strange, but here it is in a nutshell: I support your having all of the domestic partner benefits that you don't currently have (in fact, I didn't realize that you don't have some of those rights). That needs to be corrected.

    My only concern is that the government should not call this marriage, because marriage has been defined since the beginning of the world as between a man and a woman. For people, who, like yourselves, are involved in committed relationships, this may not make sense (although that's why I'm in favor of all of the rights you listed becoming part of your contractable rights with any other person). However, for nearly the same reason that I wouldn't want government to sanction heterosexual adultery, I don't want the government to say that homosexual unions are classified as "marriage".

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  65. Hi Frank,

    Thanks for responding - I wasn't sure if you'd find this comment way down here. :)

    Truthfully (though there are many who play on "my team" who would disagree with me) I would be fine with domestic partnerships, if using the word "marriage" is the dealbreaker. I know there are arguments about "separate but equal" and I think that is a valid concern. But for me, if I could stay here in Utah and still have a domestic partnership that would protect us against some of the concerns I listed, I would do that. Unfortunately, I doubt that will ever happen in our great state.

    I'm not sure I get your connection between gay marriage and straight adultery (though I tried hard throughout the discussion on this thread to see the connection you find there) - but that's okay. Also, I appreciate your romanticized vision of what marriage has historically been - though as a woman (straight or gay, I think this applies) I do feel that women have historically gotten the short end of the stick (so to speak) when talking about traditional marriages. Throughout most of history they have had little to no say in who they would marry and no recourse if they were badly treated. So...although your argument that marriage has historically been between one man and one woman is basically true, I'm not sure the "tradition" of marriage itself has always been above reproach or above a need for change.

    Anyway...interesting blog you have here. I'll be certain to continue to stop by and take a read.

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  66. You're right about my explanatory comparison of adultery with homosexuality. It's a religious perspective, admittedly influenced by the official LDS position on the Defense of Marriage Amendment. I'm not sure that I can understand my own position very well, let alone explain it. I'm sure there are a lot of homosexual unions that are MUCH MORE committed relationships than many heterosexual unions.

    You're absolutely right about women historically getting the short end of the marriage stick. I think that is changing much for the better, along with the ill-conceived notion that women can't be as skilled as men (for example) in the workplace. One thing I appreciated about former LDS prophet Gordon B. Hinckley was his constant reminders to the men of the church that they are not better than their wives, daughters, and mothers. In the most recent Worldwide LDS Broadcast, President Thomas S. Monson and other leaders reminded us that women are just as entitled to revelation as men, and just because men can hold the priesthood doesn't make them any better than women.

    At any rate, thanks for your input, and thanks for stopping by. Hope to see you around more often!

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  67. I'm glad you threw in your comments, Sherlin. I personally can't see homosexual couples ever getting the same rights which they deserve as long as conservatives make a big thing of the word "marriage." Oh, they'll say they're willing to give the same rights by a different title, but they'll always find a way to use the distinction to keep homosexual relationships second-class, just as the conservative Southerners kept the "separate but equal" blacks second-class. This is why, while I respect Frank's integrity, I do not believe his position will ever morally work. Government should stop trying to define it, period.

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