Marriage

“We conclude that retention of the traditional definition of marriage does not constitute a state interest sufficiently compelling, under the strict scrutiny equal protection standard, to justify withholding that status from same-sex couples. Accordingly, insofar as the provisions of sections 300 and 308.5 draw a distinction between opposite-sex couples and same-sex couples and exclude the latter from access to the designation of marriage, we conclude these statutes are unconstitutional.”

California Supreme Court decision, In re Marriage cases.

How should we feel about this?

On the one hand, it’s undeniably true that the church opposes legalized same-sex marriage. The Proclamation on the Family clearly designates marriage as between a man and a woman. The church has consistently joined political opposition to same-sex marriage. There’s little doubt that it will do the same here. A ballot initiative is all but certain.

To what extent do church statements about political issues bind us? That, I’m not sure about. I know that church leaders have made past statements on politics, some of which I disagree with. (For instance, Ezra Taft Benson’s statements about the Civil Rights movement.) I respect the church as a religious community, but it is not my political party.

What does my own judgment tell me about the court’s decision?

Well, I know that legalized same-sex marriage in Massachusetts has not caused the end of all civilization. It’s unlikely that legalized same-sex marriage in California will have that effect, either.

I also know that legalized same-sex marriage hasn’t resulted in changes in church policies (despite the efforts of Buck and Mike to have their legal marriage recognized by church leaders). I don’t think the California decision will force the church to give ecclesiastical endorsement to gay couples.

The decision doesn’t actually change the system of rights a whole lot in California, either. Same-sex couples were already protected to a great degree under state law — they could enter a registered domestic partnership, which gave them the same rights under state law as a married couple.

I think many of the effects will be felt more on a personal level. One friend of mine is in a long-term, registered, same-sex relationship. She carries a packet with her, everywhere she goes. It’s thick and unwieldy, and it cost her thousands of dollars. It contains wills, and life insurance, and medical permission forms — everything that I take for granted. If I’m in a car accident, I’m sure that my wife will be able to visit me in the hospital. My gay friend has no such guarantee — and so she carries a book-sized packet of documents around, everywhere she goes.

My gay friends want to be able to raise kids, to have stable, long-term, legally-recognized relationships with people they love. And really, that’s not any different than what I want. Our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters already face substantial challenges in living their lives.

So on a personal level, I’m very much in favor of the decision. On a legal policy level, I tend to think it’s a good idea.

What should I think about it, as a church member? To what extent do I subsume my own personal, legal, or policy decisions, if the church says, “put a sign on your lawn”? To what extent can I rely on statements about the church’s official political neutrality?

I know that going Sonia Johnson (“you shouldn’t allow missionaries into your home”) is the fast track to excommunication. But if I disagree with the church’s political stance, can I refuse to put the sign on my lawn? Can I talk to friends or ward members about disagreements? Could I say that it seems problematic for a church with our history of marriage persecution to be so intolerant? What are the options for a church members who disagrees with a church political stance?

Could I even — gasp! — blog about it?

Comments

  1. Thanks heavens we British Mormons are so less politicized than you lot. Enjoy.

  2. Steve Evans says:

    Good heavens! Who will protect us from The Gays?? This is going to be a disaster of Biblical proportion.

    Especially if you’re a homophobe.

  3. Looks like prop 22 (that was the number right?) only delayed the inevitable when it comes to defining marriage in CA.

  4. They really need to cut down on the paperwork people need to do a domestic partnership. It’s silly and insulting.

  5. Well, the game ain’t over til the Supreme Court sings. (And yeah prop 22 is the right one.)

  6. Mark B. says:

    Let’s see.

    The prophets have taught that any homosexual acts are sinful.

    The court has made a decision that effectively normalizes homosexual acts–that says that relationships centered on such acts are the moral equivalent of the marriage of a man and a woman.

    And we’re supposed to conclude that this is a good thing–otherwise we’re “homophobic?”

  7. Steve,

    Are you suggesting is one disagrees with the CA Supreme Court decision, they are homophobic?

  8. Jami,
    Actually, the Supreme Court won’t step in, I believe, because California based its ruling on the state constitution, not the federal constitution. (I may be wrong, because I haven’t read the majority of the opinion.) If that’s true, the case has gone pretty much as far as it can.

  9. Steve Evans says:

    Guy and Mark, I said it was a disaster especially if you’re a homophobe. Come on, lawyers — read!!

  10. Sam B. Even if the prop 22 people gripe? (That law degree would come in so handy right now.)

  11. Jami,

    You can’t take away Constitutional rights, whether by proposition or not.

    I might be able to get voters to approve a Prop that says, “no rights for Muslims.” The court will still, rightly, strike that down.

  12. sister blah 2 says:

    #11–However, the new proposition that is set for the Nov ballot is an amendment to the CA State Constitution, so it would in turn override this court decision. (Dude, I should totally be a lawyer.)

  13. Kaimi,

    In answer to your questions: You can do whatever you want. (Free to choose and all that…)

  14. Sister blah 2,

    Correct.

    (It’s my understanding that the ballot amendment isn’t actually locked in yet; but that’s it’s essentially certain to be there.)

  15. Steve Evans says:

    To be even more lawyerly, Mark, there’s a few problems with your comments.

    “The prophets have taught that any homosexual acts are sinful.”

    Any? Really?

    “The court has made a decision that effectively normalizes homosexual acts”

    That’s a clear mis-read of the decision, isn’t it? It normalizes formal social relationships between homosexuals by allowing the use of the “marriage” nomenclature, be they chaste homosexuals or sexually ravenous homosexuals.

    “–that says that relationships centered on such acts are the moral equivalent of the marriage of a man and a woman.”

    This statement is problematic in a couple of ways. First, you’re saying that marriage is centered upon “acts” — which I presume you mean to be sexual intercourse. It’s highly debatable, isn’t it, that marriage is centered on having sex? At least that’s what Sumer tells me. Second, I am not sure that you can necessarily draw conclusions of moral equivalency from legal equivalency, but that’s a fine distinction.

    “And we’re supposed to conclude that this is a good thing–otherwise we’re “homophobic?””

    I don’t know if it’s a good thing, but I don’t think Kaimi’s saying we’re supposed to conclude that way. It’s not, in my opinion, an unalloyed good for everyone. Frankly I think it’s all rather silly; personally I think the State should get out of the marriage business and dispense civil unions, leaving the hallowed marriage vows to the religious institutions where they belong. But that’s just me.

    Anyways, if you disagree with me you’re clearly homophobes, so there.

  16. Sam,

    Yes – decisions based on state constitutional claims are not reviewable by the U.S. Supreme Court.

  17. Mark B. says:

    If it turns out to be a disaster of biblical proportions, Steve, why do you suppose that it will be worse if one is a homophobe?

    Some of those biblically proportional disasters seemed to wreak havoc more or less equally upon the just and the unjust. (You really think every one of those people drowned in the flood (local, universal, whatever) were equally unjust?)

  18. Mark,

    Prophets teach that alcohol consumption is sinful. The state normalizes alcohol by allowing it to be sold next to soda pop at the store. We should require the state to follow the Word of Wisdom.

    Prophets teach that tithing non-payment is sinful. The state normalizes tithing non-payment — hell, they don’t even ask about it. We should require the state to enforce tithing laws.

    Prophets teach that unbelief is sinful . . .

  19. kristine N says:

    personally I think the State should get out of the marriage business and dispense civil unions, leaving the hallowed marriage vows to the religious institutions where they belong. But that’s just me.

    Couldn’t agree with you more.

  20. Kaimi: I, homemaker that I am, only take away my children’s rights and freedoms.

    I thought an appeal to the Supreme Court was a request for a (somewhat) final resolution of the constitutionality question. I’m merely asking if the prop 22 people can ask the SC to review the case, not suggesting that they do so.

  21. Steve Evans says:

    Mark B., I only know what the Bible tells me, and Genesis 6 isn’t saying. Besides, isn’t it clear that people who hate homosexuals will be especially displeased by this CA decision? I am honestly not sure why you’re arguing the point, other than to be curmudgeonly…

  22. Kaimi, #18

    Yes, alcohol is normalized and the consequences for many non-consumers are tragic. Ask the children of an alcoholic.

  23. Michael K. says:

    #15

    It’s highly debatable, isn’t it, that marriage is centered on having sex?

    The church definition of the law of chastity states that you should have “no sexual relations, except with your husband or wife to whom you are legally and lawfully wedded”. Sounds like marriage and sex are very closely related in the eyes of church doctrine. Furthermore, it seems a strict reading of that definition includes married same-sex couples as living the law of chastity.

    I wonder if this notion has made it to Church headquarters yet.

  24. This will impact the presidential election.

    I predict that the LDS church will take a stand and provide funding to pass the constitutional amendment.

  25. bbell,
    How will this impact the presidential election? Not one of the three candidates is in favor of gay marriage, but the decision by the CA Supreme Court, based as it is on its interpretation of the CA constitution, has no legal impact outside of CA.

  26. kristine N says:

    MAC–the majority of consumers, though, are not alcoholics. It’s a mistake for us to take our very specific morality and try to apply it to those around us who have different beliefs.

  27. bbell — Which presidential candidate would even get behind such and constitutional amendment? Certainly not Obama (or Clinton) and McCain has not wanted to touch this subject if I am reading him correctly.

  28. I predict that the LDS church will take a stand and provide funding to pass the constitutional amendment.

    I hope you are wrong, bbell. I wouldn’t want to predict the fallout from such renewed direct action.

    Church should be fun this Sunday in the US in any case.

  29. Meh, I suspect it will get hardly a mention in my ward on Sunday Ronan. Certainly nothing over the pulpit.

  30. The [LDS] church definition of the law of chastity states that you should have “no sexual relations, except with your husband or wife to whom you are legally and lawfully wedded”.

    Yes, I’ve wondered whether this would eventually change due to legal recognition in several jurisdictions throughout the world of same-sex marriage. With today’s decision in California, I’m betting this wording gets changed soon to specify heterosexuality.

  31. Steve (15) My mom can’t enter into a domestic partnership with my sister even though they’ve been living together for years and share finances. In fact, a marriage without sexual relations is just a roommate situation. Otherwise, a whole lot of people who live together could be putting each other on their dental insurance (after having filled out the required book of paperwork, of course.)

  32. Husband and wife are gender specific words.

  33. MAC,

    So you’re in favor of laws that perfectly track church beliefs?

    There’s a name for that system of government, and it’s not “democracy” . . .

  34. Michael K. says:

    Jami,

    Yes, but it’s poorly worded such that a same-sex couple could infer that they are living the law of chastity because they are either a “husband” (to another husband) or a “wife” (to another wife). One could argue further that husband and wife roles are sometimes recognized in same-sex marriages so that they are in practice “husband” and “wife” even with the gender for both being the same.

  35. Mark B. says:

    Kaimi

    There is a difference between permitting behavior (drinking alcohol or not paying tithing) and giving behavior the state seal of approval.

  36. In most states, Mark B., you can’t sell liquor without a license. If that’s not a state seal of approval…

    Kaimi, I think you are probably OK supporting the court’s decision, as long as you refrain from criticizing the church for opposing it.

  37. I think that both Pres candidates will be asked if they support the CA Court decision.

    Both will waffle a bit. Obama esp. If MCCain is smart he will oppose the courts decision to establish his Conservative bona fides and paint Obama as an out of touch liberal on cultural issues. I am not sure though if McCain has the guts to do so.

    I do not see any reason to think that attitudes in SLC have changed since prop 22 Ronan. There is little or any fallout in the normal ward when this stuff comes up. We are asked in 2006 to go and vote for a constitutional amendment oppossed to gay marriage from the pulpit and in PH mtg.

  38. “I thought an appeal to the Supreme Court was a request for a (somewhat) final resolution of the constitutionality question. I’m merely asking if the prop 22 people can ask the SC to review the case, not suggesting that they do so.”

    Because of constitutional limitations (the “cases or controversies” clause), the Supreme Court can only hear actual cases. They can’t decide questions in the abstract.

    And they don’t have jurisdiction over state constitutional questions.

    This issue could conceivably go to the US Supreme Court if the state decision is challenged on Federal constitutional grounds. That seems very unlikely to succeed (or even to make it to Supreme Court appeal), but it’s not outside the realm of possibility.

  39. StillConfused says:

    I am okay with it so long as it doesn’t put a burden on taxpayers. For instance, if the benefits offered to same sex spouses exceed those offered to different sex marriages, I would be opposed. For instance, if same sex couples have proportionately greater medical expenses that result in a higher tax burden or insurance premium for different sex couples, then I am opposed to it.

  40. So you’re in favor of laws that perfectly track church beliefs?

    What? Where did I say that?

    You made the analogy of alcohol consumption to same-sex marriage. I was just pointing out that it was a good analogy.

  41. John Mansfield says:

    “We call upon responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.”–First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles

    Doesn’t seem to promote getting the government out of the marriage business, but no doubt some artful readers will explain how it in fact does.

  42. Michael K (34)
    Ah, yes…I see the vagueness.

    “No sexual relations except between a man and woman (neither of whom is trying to sneak around this definition in any way) who are legally and lawfully married to each other and no one else at the time of said sexual relations.” Just rolls trippingly off the tongue, doesn’t it?

  43. Husband and wife are gender specific words.

    Yes, but “you and each of you” are not. Ergo, a man could take that covenant, and keep it by limiting his sexual relations to activity with his legally wedded husband.

  44. re 41, I’m in favor of “measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society” and am, therefore, I am in favor of the CA supreme court’s decision.

  45. Steve Evans says:

    John (#41), you’re right that the Church’s particular call to political action isn’t what I personally would favor. I won’t argue otherwise. I suppose someone could discuss whether separating out marriage from state action and making it purely a matter of religion would result in those religious participants taking it more seriously. I don’t know if that’s the case. Good thing I can’t vote, huh?

  46. Martin Willey says:

    How should we feel about this? I don’t know how we SHOULD feel, but I know that I DO feel totally ambivalent. I thought Prop 22 was terrible and hate what society does to gays and lesbians. But, is it wrong to be troubled by the statement, “We conclude that retention of the traditional definition of marriage does not constitute a state interest sufficiently compelling, under the strict scrutiny equal protection standard, to justify withholding that status from same-sex couples.” I have to say, it has an ominous ring to me.

  47. Peter LLC says:

    Good thing I can’t vote, huh?

    Yup. Foreigners are the major perpetrators of voter fraud in the US. And nuns and out-of-state college kids.

  48. Pray and act as the Spirit directs. I really would like to know where homosexuality fits into the Plan of Salvation. I am sure it must be in there somewhere. I thought I had an epiphany about it a couple day days ago at work, but maybe it was just indigestion. This is probably one of those things like baptisms for the dead: if true marriage can only be between a man and a women, then it doesn’t matter what California says.

  49. I’m going to stick my neck out here and say that strengthening MikeinWeHo’s family by offering them marriage (if he wants it) offers no threat to my family and is, indeed, a good thing in this world.

    I simply cannot be persuaded to think differently. So be it.

  50. Kevin Barney says:

    I wish one of these things would happen in Illinois. I’d like to be able to tell my EQP that, no, I won’t be putting s sign in my yard, thank you very much.

  51. MikeInWeHo says:

    #39 = Weirdest comment of the day.

    Just to clarify what’s going on out here in CA, I’m including some quotes from CNN.com:

    “The parties cannot appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, as no federal constitutional questions are at issue.

    “This is the final say,” he said.

    California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said he would not pursue further action.

    “I respect the court’s decision, and as governor I will uphold its ruling,” Schwarzenegger said in a statement. “Also, as I have said in the past, I will not support an amendment to the constitution that would overturn this state Supreme Court ruling.”

    The only really interesting question today is this: Will the people of California eventually overturn this decision by voting to amend the state constitution?

  52. Single Sister says:

    Here in Canada gay couples of have been able to be legally “married” for the past year or so (we’ve even had our first divorce!). Has it made a substantial impact on the morality of the country? Probably not. I don’t see any drastic changes in day to day living around the city that I live in. However, from what I understand (and I could be wrong), it isn’t the individual things that happen that cause a civilization or country (or person) to become more sinful. It’s the slow, dripping one-by-one sinful act that causes the long-term problems both in society and for us as individuals.

  53. Steve Evans says:

    bbell (#24), I’ll take that bet.

  54. Here’s my problem with discussions on this issue. People talk as if everyone is either “not gay” or “gay.” In reality, most people are somewhere on the spectrum, with different proportions of heterosexual and homosexual potential.

    Whenever society starts accepting or legitimizing homosexuality more, it means that more people will choose to develop or “give in” to their homosexual potential than would have if the societal taboos remained strong.

    In other words, the more you accept homosexuality, the more homosexuals you will have. I personally hold that this is not good.

    On the other hand, I believe that some people on the far end of the spectrum do not have much or any heterosexual potential to work with, and I can’t imagine their awful dilemma. Also, I acknowledge that those who feel more homo than hetero potential face awful battles as well. But I hate to see those who feel equal parts homo/hetero potential or less homo than hetero get caught up into the homo scene because of societal trends.

    Also, here is something else I believe: When someone chooses to pursue or give in to their homo potential, their homosexuality grows and strengthens to the degree that the person feels it was inevitable and they even make the retrospective argument that they were always “gay.” In reality, I’m sure that it’s very, very rare for someone to be born truly 100% gay with no heterosexual potential at all. Sexuality can evolve over a lifetime, and our early decisions affect the pathway of that evolution.

  55. Chris Bigelow, you’ve hit upon my personal slogan:

    GST: Doggedly pursuing my limited “homo potential” since 1975.

  56. #48, I agree. Get someone to explain Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome, Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia or any of the other (pseudo)hermaphroditic disorders to me in the context of the Plan of Salvation and the Proclamation to the World on the family in a way that makes sense while you are at it.

    #49, I’ve had these conversations with my family members who are all married, and they are convinced I’ll change my mind once I’ve taken the plunge and gotten some kids of my own. I don’t think so, personally. Ha! actually, my brother thinks I’ll abandon all defense of Darwin once I have a son!

    #50, I can sort of relate. I had a sign up in my yard while in undergrad at the U of U for Matheson for Gov a couple of years ago. People came out of the woodwork to hurl epithets at me. “Freaking Democrat,” “bloody liberal,” etc, and my favorite was HPGL (who was in the State Senate) who told me that “I’d grow up someday.” Of course, that’s not on the same level since it was regarding an individual candidate, but the amount of heat that came down by revealing my true political color was impressive.

  57. Homo potential can be such a wily, unpredictable beast. As difficult to tap as it is to repress. Especially when mixed with heteropraxis.

  58. As difficult to tap as it is to repress.

    Brad, difficult to tap, yes. But admit that you would tap that.

  59. Get thee behind me, GST.

  60. Steve Evans says:

    “admit that you would tap that.”

    You’re hitting bottom here gst.

  61. Steve,

    I would bet that the church would help fund the effort. I think passing the constitutional amendment will be harder this time around.

  62. kristine N says:

    Chris–what about all the people who are truly homosexual–have very little heterosexual “potential” as you put it, but enter into heterosexual marriages anyway due to social pressures, and end up hurting their spouses and children (if there are any) when they can’t keep up the facade of heterosexuality anymore? How does leaving that as the only option for a legitimate relationship help anyone?

  63. I’m with Steve. No tithing wasted on this venture.

  64. kristine N says:

    Kevin–You’ve got a much better chance of involvement in something like this in Illinois than I have in Indiana.

    I’m glad the courts struck down prop 22. I did my part to get it passed in the first place and I’ve regretted that decision ever since.

  65. Over at Times and Seasons there has also been a discussion, which included the phrase “boobouise liberalism”. Shows the depth of emotion on the part of some over this issue.

    My first thought upon hearing the decision today was about MikeInWeHo, and also the parents of two YM that I worked with a few years back that are struggling with same-gender attraction. There is a lot of pain on both sides here, and I have to admit, I’m not putting any lawn signs in my yard.

    We’ve got folks out there that are BIC who can’t figure out where they fit in between the world and their church. It’s not the church’s fault about the young man who committed suicide on the doorstep of his stake center, but a lack of compassion from members may have had some impact.

    I wish I had an easy answer. I don’t. But I personally am trying to be as compassionate as I can. I thought about saying it’s not as if they were lepers, but that’s exactly where the Savior extended some of his grace. It’s not a sign of the apocalypse. What we do personally towards others counts much more than how we vote or act politically.

  66. Meh. In the US:

    -Gay couples can already adopt children (or conceive artificially).
    -Presidents have had affairs made public and are still widely loved and admired.
    -We distribute condoms at schools.
    -At least 90% of our population has sex before marriage.
    -We have experimented with requiring girls to get the HPV vaccine for admittance to public schools.
    -Close to half of marriages end in divorce.
    -You can pay money for sex – legally.

    I know the church sees gay marriage as a significant step towards this nation’s complete abandonment of our sexual code of conduct, but I think the camel’s been a quadriplegic for a while now. Our beliefs about the superiority of self imposed sexual restraint put us firmly in the “backwards” and “bigot” and “old-fashioned prude” camp, and it’s been that way for a while. If someone can stay faithful in today’s world, I think they should be able to deal with one where two men are allowed to get a tax break and visit each other in hospitals and get the other benefits that come from being legally married. I mean, it’s not like I’ll be teaching my kids that US law, or our culture’s definition for acceptable moral behavior are the only standards to be heeded anyway – we believe we’re a people set apart, and we follow a higher law.

    Personally, I’m still kind of uncomfortable when the church goes out of it’s way to participate in campaigns like Prop 22, but I think it’s pretty gutsy when the it stands up for what we believe is God-given truth concerning ideal families against this country’s scientific and moral “enlightenment” ideas on sexual relativism. The way I see it, it’s a war that’s already been lost – but at least we can say that we never stopped trying.

  67. I like the direction of your original post. The general tenor of the discussion following, however, is one of the major reasons I am no longer a member of your church. Though I have an appreciation for several of the comments – “dug”, “kristine N”, et al.

  68. Kristine N (#62): Yeah, those kinds of marriages carry horrible risk and I’d personally probably never encourage someone to take it. But I’ve seen people make them work too if they go into it with both partners’ eyes open. But of course the odds must be against even those brave couples. We hear all about the spectacular failures, but how many people with same-sex issues have been able to successfully find refuge in heterosexual marriage? I bet there are more of those than the failures, at least for people in the middle regions of of the home/hetero spectrum. But either way, the bottom line for me is that if you open the door to legitimized same-sex relationships, you’re going to get more people ripening in homosexuality than if you don’t, and that’s bad for civilization in a number of ways.

    GST and Brad: Fantastic, compelling rebuttals. I feel so wrongheaded and inadequate now.

  69. Michael K – I see no need to redefine the church’s definition of the law of chastity. Gay marriage may now be “legal” in the secular sense, but per LDS doctrine it certainly is not “lawful” in the theological sense.

  70. Mark IV says:

    if you open the door to legitimized same-sex relationships, you’re going to get more people ripening in homosexuality than if you don’t,

    Chris, that sounds logical, but I don’t think it is empirically true.

    Homosexuality has become more visible and legitimate over the past couple of decades, but the percentage of the population which identifies as homosexual has remained the same.

  71. Chris, I don’t think I was rebutting you. Just riffing on butt jokes. But, I should note, you can’t spell “rebuttal” without “butt.”

  72. kristine N says:

    Chris–what specifically is it about homosexuality that is bad for civilization? (not to go off on a tangent here…)

    I would suspect those who have the ability to choose and do actively desire to conform to societal pressures are capable of making heterosexual marriages work. Heterosexual marriage will always be more acceptable and more desirable to most people, and thus easier to maintain. That doesn’t change the fact that there are some who simply can not make a heterosexual marriage workable because, when it comes down to it, sexuality is an important part of marriage and they just don’t find the opposite sex physically stimulating. Maybe some who could make a heterosexual marriage work would go for a homosexual marriage, given the option, but I doubt that number would be any greater than those who, given a legitimate option, chose to follow their feelings rather than try to make a traditional marriage work–and hurting spouse and children in the process.

    If the only legal option open to people is heterosexual marriage you are, by default, forcing homosexuals to either marry into heterosexual relationships, or live a life that is either sinful and inappropriate, or nearly impossibly chaste.

  73. The church has issued a statement.

  74. Mark IV (#70): I think the gay movement and the very recent same-sex-friendly legislation are still too new to say. Anyway, I’ve heard so many estimates and polls on gay population percentages that I don’t even know what studies you’re referring to (I’ve heard as high as 10% and just this past week as low as 2%, so who knows what the year-by-year reality really is. You really think anyone can accurately measure this???).

    Just wait until you have kids growing up all their lives in a social environment where same-sex relationships are as valued and celebrated by society as hetero—or, in many circles, I daresay MORE so… More of those kids are going to embrace their inner homo potential instead of properly resisting it.

  75. “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recognizes that same sex marriage can be an emotional and divisive issue. However, the church teaches that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is the basic unit of society. Today’s California Supreme Court decision is unfortunate.”

  76. I couldn’t care less about who shacks up with whom, but I wonder to what extent precedents like this will be used to make homosexuals a “protected class” under the 14th Amendment. That would, I think, have very bad long-run implications for the LDS church and other groups that condemn gay sex and/or refuse to administer ordinances or other privileges to those who engage in it.

  77. Steve & Bbell: I think the church frowns on gambling too!

  78. Mark IV says:

    Chris,

    It is actually quite easy to sample the population and tabulate the response to the question: “Do you identify yourself as gay or lesbian?” And the percentage of people who answer affirmatively has stayed at around 4-5% for twenty-five years now.

  79. Bbell, the church did use tithing money before for DOMA-style amendments, in Hawaii and Alaska, if I remember right. There was a great deal of criticism about that, both from members and non-members, and here in California, we were told that church funds would not be used, and that the church building and meetings could not be used to promote Prop 22. The result, in my stake at least, was that very few people participated at first. Since that didn’t work, more and more was done in support of Prop 22 in our meetings. For example, the Young Men were taken out during their regular weeknight meeting to put up signs along the road. (Parents were not told of the plans. If I drop my kid off at the church, I expect that he will stay there if I haven’t been told otherwise. Putting up signs in the dark on a busy roadway for a political proposition I oppose is not ok.) We were given lessons in phone banking during RS. One time all meetings after SM were dismissed so that we could take lists of voters and go knock on their doors. I really hope it doesn’t come to that again. (and that’s just a very abbreviated list.) I know several people who have not come back to church since.

  80. Also, for a chronology of DOMA amendment involvement by the church, at least up through California, see this:

    http://www.lds-mormon.com/doma.shtml

  81. Kristine says:

    Yeah, the church’s “unofficial” involvement in the Prop. 22 stuff was extensive. My husband and I were called into the bishop’s office and issued “not a calling” to be in charge of the ward’s unofficial door-to-door campaign, which was conducted voluntarily by people contacted, just coincidentally, by their home teachers.

    We said no, but I did put up a yard sign, with the CTR symbol. It said “Choose the Right. Vote No on Knight.”

  82. MikeInWeHo says:

    re: 68

    This fruit was ripe years ago.

  83. #78, Mark IV, I’m in a fairly liberal medical school, and we were taught numbers a little lower than that. 1-3% IIRC. Can you point me towards your literature?

  84. Still reading the comments, but #15:

    “Personally I think the State should get out of the marriage business and dispense civil unions, leaving the hallowed marriage vows to the religious institutions where they belong.”

    That’s my take exactly.

  85. Mark IV says:

    peetie,

    I think we can account for the difference by noting that your lower figure describes people who are are exclusively homosexual. An additional 2-3 % have had homosexual experiences some time in their past.

  86. John Taber says:

    Steve & Bbell: I think the church frowns on gambling too!

    Only if it doesn’t occur in Utah. (They’re perfectly OK with racehorses being bred and raised in Utah, as long as they’re not actually raced there.) And we all know that in Nevada, gambling is at least subtly encouraged.

    Paula, I sincerely hope the Brethren don’t take the same tack they did with 22. If they do I’m going to write a few letters to Salt Lake, showing what toes are (or were) stepped on in my extended family’s case.

  87. #78, Mark IV, I’m in a fairly liberal medical school, and we were taught numbers a little lower than that. 1-3% IIRC. Can you point me towards your literature?

    I think the higher figures come in response to survey questions that ask whether a person has had even a single homosexual experience, like watching a show on the Bravo network, or attending band camp.

  88. Out of curiosity, who was in the Area Presidency when Prop 22 came up, and who is in it now?

  89. Isn’t Justin wonderful?

  90. #65 – Well said, kevinf.

  91. #82, re: #68 – Amen.

    The heterosexually dysfunctional fruit is every bit as bad as any homosexually dysfunctional fruit. If we’re going to decry the fall of the family in this country, and I think we should, let’s put the blame squarely where it belongs – on the heterosexual community.

    Just for a scriptural perspective here:

    The penalty under the Law of Moses for homosexual activity was the exact same as that for adultery. There was NO difference, ultimately, in how they were treated. If a state is going to allow for heterosexual “common law marriages” that fall outside the bounds of “traditional marriage”, why should they treat homosexual unions differently? Both are based SOLELY on self-identification as “married”. Why is one OK and the other taboo?

    My ONLY problem with this ruling is the extension of the word “marriage” when “civil union” is available and able to cover all aspects of a partnership that carries state sanction. As Steve said way back in #15, I would allow religious institutions to deal with “marriage” and simply make all partnerships recognized by the state “civil unions”. Separation of Church and State; end of “marriage” issue.

    So, in theory, I disagree with the decision even while I agree with treating all “couples” equally under the law. In practice, however, if the overall religious community won’t accept civil unions for homosexual couples, then I support the decision as the only fair and equitable alternative.

  92. Steve Evans says:

    “any homosexually dysfunctional fruit”

    You may have missed Mike’s meaning.

  93. No, Steve, I got it, if it was intended to have a double meaning, when I read it. My #91 was directed at #68 – and the wording was intentional.

  94. Adam Greenwood says:

    That’s a clear mis-read of the decision, isn’t it?

    No.

    Or else, by the same logic there’s no discrimination against homosexuals because homosexuals are still allowed to marry persons of the opposite sex.

    You can be a lawyer without pettifogging.

  95. without pettifogging?

    Yes, if you must.

    Without petticoats?

    Never!

  96. More of those kids are going to embrace their inner homo potential instead of properly resisting it.

    Chris, my earlier jabs were, in all honesty, not directed at you. But I, in all honesty, cannot tell if you’re expressing your genuine feelings here or just wryly satirizing some naively homophobic strawman.

  97. Actually, Kevinf, “boobouise” is an old French recipe. It involves egg yolks, melted butter, vinegar, white whine, and chicken breasts.

  98. #97 – Is that recipe the sexual culinary equivalent of “Puff, the Magic Dragon” – a thinly disguised reference to sexual activity? (and was white “whine” an intentional pun? If so, excellent one; if not, excellent one.)

  99. Kaimi,

    I thought it sounded vaguely culinary, like hollandaise conservatism: cream, butter, white flour, and grits. With biscuits.

  100. Maybe Kevinf meant booboisie? ( the general public regarded as consisting of boobs)

  101. Alas, it was Adam Greenwood’s word, so you’ll have to ask him. He later changed it from boobouise liberalism, to bobo liberalism. Seems to me that I’ve seen that here.

  102. Brad (#96): I’m expressing my genuine feelings. I’m definitely homophobic with regards to homosexuality itself, although not on an interpersonal level with regards to most individuals who identify as gay. I agree with the LDS Church that homosexuality is bad, something to be resisted and eventually overcome through the Atonement.

  103. Chris, joking aside, I respect your willingness to express your genuine feelings here in a nonpolemical manner. I might take issue with your presentation stylistically, but your tone has remained respectful.

  104. The general public regarded as clowns? I like it!

  105. I was told that you could lose your Temple Recommend if you supported gay marriage.

  106. Doesn’t say that in the CHI ;-)

  107. Kristine says:

    Elder Oaks, in the interview w/him and Elder Wickman at lds.org:

    “Decisions even for members of the Church as to what they do with respect to this issue must of course rest with each one in their capacity as citizens.”

  108. Nick Literski says:

    My ONLY problem with this ruling is the extension of the word “marriage” when “civil union” is available and able to cover all aspects of a partnership that carries state sanction.

    Ray, you’ve long made your position on this issue clear, and I appreciate it. With regard to your issue about language, may I point you to the reasoning of the Supreme Court of California?

    “…the exclusion of same-sex couples from the designation of marriage works a real and appreciable harm upon same-sex couples and their children. As discussed above, because of the long and celebrated history of the term “marriage” and the widespread understanding that this word describes a family relationship unreservedly sanctioned by the community, the statutory provisions that continue to limit access to this designation exclusively to opposite-sex couples — while providing only a novel, alternative institution for same-sex couples — likely will be viewed as an official statement that the family relationship of same-sex couples is not of comparable stature or equal dignity to the family relationship of opposite-sex couples. Furthermore, because of the historic disparagement of gay persons, the retention of a distinction in nomenclature by which the term “marriage” is withheld only from the family relationship of same-sex couples is all the more likely to cause the new parallel institution that has been established for same-sex couples to be considered a mark of second-class citizenship. Finally, in addition to the potential harm flowing from the lesser stature that is likely to be afforded to the family relationships of same-sex couples by designating them domestic partnerships, there exists a substantial risk that a judicial decision upholding the differential treatment of opposite-sex and same-sex couples would be understood as validating a more general proposition that our state by now has repudiated: that it is permissible, under the law, for society to treat gay individuals and same-sex couples differently from, and less favorably than, heterosexual individuals and opposite-sex couples.”

    I know better than to think you support anything that would classify anyone as second-class citizens.

  109. I am concerned about gay marriage being recognized in more jurisdictions. I feel for the gay community, and recognize how difficult the current situation is for them. However the Lord’s commandments are given to us for a reason, and it isn’t just to make gay people miserable. Regardless of one’s proclivities, avoiding homosexual behavior will lead to more happiness for the individual than participating in such behavior.

    I understand that others see this differently. Fine, but I accept the teachings of the brethren as inspired and hence when I oppose the spread of homosexuality, I am helping prevent people from becoming involved in something that leads to misery.

    To me it is obvious that legal recognition of gay marriage is about recruiting. I have heard all the arguments about insurance coverage, hospital visits, etc, but I still feel recruiting is a big part of the agenda. They have to recruit, because they don’t reproduce very well.

    While I do accept that there may be some obligate homosexuals, I feel they are few and far between. I have talked to a number of homosexuals in my practice, who have described “discovering” their homosexuality while under the influence of a gay teacher, relative, friend, etc. Legally recognized gay marriage will certainly enhance recruitment.

    As much as I respect the many gay people that I know, I can’t support gay marriage. I remember one lesbian women, who calmly announced to her adopted 9 year old daughter when introducing her to me, that I was a Christian, and Christians didn’t like people like them. Another lesbian couple we used to hang out with, who both had children from previous failed marriages, asked us to not let their children know we were Mormons, because she wanted her kids to like us, and they wouldn’t like us if they found out we were Mormons. Pretty heavy duty brainwashing going on with those kids. I can’t imagine that people that would do that kind of “education” of their children, wouldn’t recruit people as well.

  110. Thomas Parkin says:

    #102

    Chris, me too. Although I’m still ambivalent and agnostic when it comes to gay marriage. I wish I could support it – but I hold back. And it doesn’t have much to do with the church’s official position. I think I’d say I held fairly expected left liberal views on the issue (and most others) for a long time. However, nearly a decade of living on Capitol Hill in Seattle did something to me. It became like looking at a society entering its final stages. It’s an apprehension I can’t shake. I can identify some key moments in my change of feeling, however – I wrote a couple, but deleted them. I’ll include only one.

    A few years before I returned to the church, we were at Seward Park – a alrge, forested park that juts out into Lake Washington from South Seattle -with our son, and I was having a pleasant conversation with a lesbian couple who were there with their son. As we were sitting there, I thought about this boy and his father – whoever that may have been. And I was surprised to get that the situation at hand not only said that sometimes children go without fathers, but that he would learn that his own potential for fatherhood, and his own manhood, was of secondary importance to the desires of his parents. And my feelings ran along ‘the man is not without the woman, nor the woman without the man, in the Lord.’

    I understand that these are subjective experiences. And, so, I don’t argue it. I’m not meaning to say there is a spiritual element in them, either – they are only mine. And I also understand what opposition to gay marriage means to the experience and life of Mike, Nick and many other people who are decent people who love thier children.

    Now, I volunteer my services as a commentor to anywhere on the bloggernacle where they are not talking about gay marriage. I’d rather talk about … almost anything. I’d rather talk about abortion, or even gun control.

    ~

  111. MikeInWeHo says:

    re: 109 Second weirdest comment of the day.

    “…..they don’t reproduce very well.”

    Actually, Mormon mothers are the biggest producers of homosexuals in America. Every one of those huge extended families seems to pop out a ‘mo or two. :)

  112. This whole thing is just making my stomach hurt. I’ll be positively ill if the Church asks people to contribute like they did in 200 for prop 22.

  113. MikeInWeHo writes,

    Actually, Mormon mothers are the biggest producers of homosexuals in America. Every one of those huge extended families seems to pop out a ‘mo or two. :)

    A joke, for Mike:

    Q. When is a Mormon mom like a Manhattan landmark and tourist trap?

    A. When she’s a ‘Mo Ma . . .

    :P

  114. In Alaska when this issue came up, a high councilor came to our priesthood meeting and asked us to oppose the gay marriage issue. I spoke up that the Church was politically neutral and that Church meetings shouldn’t be used to promote or oppose any political issue. He said this was different and that the Church wanted us to get involved. Remembering what David Haight said at a leadership meeting I asked to see it in black and white, if the Church really had decided to make an exception for this issue. He told me I was out of line and that I needed to support the brethren. I told him I would be glad to support anything the brethren put in black and white. It was fairly contentious, for which I felt bad.

    Well I went and met with the stake pres. and he informed me the brethren had decided to get involved, and that a letter would be forthcoming. I suggested that no further action be taken until the letter was received. He suggested that he would decide how to run the stake. Ultimately, a letter did come, about 2 weeks later, from the area presidency. At that point I dropped my opposition.

    California is a lot bigger situation, and will be harder for the Church to win, but I am betting the Church will get involved.

  115. #108 – Nick, you are right; I don’t want second-class citizens designated by the state. Therefore, I want the state to stick to civil unions for ALL recognized couples and let religions designate “marriage” for whomsoever they choose. I’d rather tackle those issues separately, but, at heart, I want all treated equally under the law. As I said, if the religions won’t accept that, I am left with support for this decision as my second-best option.

  116. “To me it is obvious that legal recognition of gay marriage is about recruiting. I have heard all the arguments about insurance coverage, hospital visits, etc, but I still feel recruiting is a big part of the agenda. They have to recruit, because they don’t reproduce very well.”

    I’ll try to make this as respectful and substantive as I can, but that’s about the stupidassest, most contrived, ridiculous bit of hysterical ranting I’ve heard in weeks.

  117. Brad, I was trying really hard to find a merciful way to say what you just did and wasn’t succeeding. I don’t want to feed it, but I don’t want to ignore it. Thanks for solving my dilemma.

  118. Well Brad and Ray, It is easy to condemn out of hand, but reasoned discussion would be more credible.

  119. MikeInWeHo says:

    re: 118
    I’d be happy to have that reasonable discussion with you sometime, CW. A point-by-point response to your rather strong assertions requires more time than I have available this evening, however.

  120. I am going to support the bretheren on this issue. Its sad when so many members decide that they know more then the bretheren.

  121. Mark IV says:

    CW,

    The Guttmacher Institute has done a lot of work in this area. The argument that people can be turned from hetero to homo simply doesn’t hold water. We now have a generation of children who have been adopted and raised to adulthood by gay couples, and the sexual orientation of those children doesn’t differ from the rest of the population at all.

  122. Mark IV says:

    bbell,

    If you want to take that tack, perhaps you would like to share with the number of gay people you have sought out and befriended over the last few years.

    Sure, we can see lots of instances where the church leaders have condemned homosexual behavior. But if we want to be honest with ourselves, we also need to admit that Pres. Hinckley expecially asked as to go out of our way to extend a hand of fellowship to gay people.

  123. Kristine says:

    bbell,

    The “bretheren” have said that members should decide for themselves. Are you going to obey all their commandments?

  124. I will leave that discussion to you and Mike, CW.

    My only contribution (including a lack of response to any comments this generates) is that I attended college as part of the house system that was established for off-campus students. Many of my closest friends were gay and lesbian. For part of that time, I lived in a section of the metro area that had one of the highest per capita lesbian populations in the United States. I feel totally confident in saying that “recruiting” was not a “big part of their agenda”. In fact, I would say that “recruiting” (as it generally is interpreted) never crossed their minds.

    It would have been absolutely offensive to them to hear that someone thought they were trying to “recruit” someone into homosexual activity. Not one person I knew in that group ever once tried to convince a straight man to “turn gay”. That very accusation would appall them. That accusation is no more accurate for any of my homosexual friends and associates than would be the accusation that I, as a Mormon, have an agenda to recruit eternal polygamists. After all, everyone knows that’s what Mormons *really* want to do – swap plural wives for orgies in the afterlife. (Yes, I have heard that – more than once.)

    (There are homosexual pedophiles, but they are no more “recruiters” than are heterosexual pedophiles. PLEASE, don’t go there.)

  125. Thomas Parkin says:

    “The argument that people can be turned from hetero to homo simply doesn’t hold water.”

    Real quick. What I rarely (never) see explored on the bloggernalce is an idea that was held pretty more than any other by people I knew while outside the church. That is, that bisexuality is actually the default for all people, with people falling somewhere along the spectrum between very straight and very gay. My personal experience is that it is possible to move along that spectrum in ways that might surprise. I’ve probably said, at some point when young, when needing to assert my masculinity, that I’d never entertain a homosexual desire. That turned out to not be the case. Also – almost all my sexual desires were pretty much homosexual until I was about 13. At that point, I discovered the idea of a woman’s body, and knew that nothing else would ever do. So, the idea that one can know one’s potential sexual identity when young, or, really, at any point doesn’t really wash with my personal expereince or that of many people I know.

    ~

  126. Thomas, perhaps this is a rhetorical question, but wouldn’t that argue for opening up “legal, political” definitions of “civil unions” to both hetero- and homo-sexual relationships?

    I’m not saying I would make that argument in that way, but wouldn’t that be a legitimate conclusion from what you said?

  127. Kristine says:

    Part of the reason Mormons are not inclined to consider the argument that sexual orientation is arrayed across a spectrum, rather than being a binary condition, might be that such an assertion would seem to cut against the most common interpretation of the Proclamation on the Family’s declarations about eternal gender. The notion that sexual orientation is malleable enough for “recruiting” to be a possibility seems similarly contrary to the most common interpretation of that document.

  128. “Recruiting” is a loaded term and its definition varies enough from speaker to speaker that it’s really of limited utility.

    Like Ray, I’ve known many gay and lesbians, and I’ve never seen anyone attempting to turn a straight person gay.

    On the other hand, I think it’s quite common to support someone who is curious about their sexuality. I’m sure that if someone asked many of my gay friends, “I’m feeling attraction to another guy. Is that okay?” that they’d say, “yes, of course that’s okay.” And they’d be available as a sounding board, support, for that person.

    To my friends, that would be an act of support for someone in coming out, or in exploring their identity. To some critics, though, that kind of response is itself, “recruiting.”

  129. Kris,

    I don’t want to support the gay bashers. But the research that I’m familiar with _does_ suggest that some peoples’ sexuality (especially womens’) is sufficiently flexible that it could be possible to “recruit,” if one were inclined to do so.

    For instance, there’s research showing that many self-identified straight women have physiological arousal-type responses to depictions of gay sex. This backs up the assertions made by some queer theorists that women aren’t really either gay or straight — that instead, women reside on some location of Adrienne Rich’s “lesbian continnuum.”

    There was a great NYT article about this a few years ago where one scientist said something like, “I’m not sure women even have orientations — they just have preferences.”

    Of course, this militates against the strong gender- and orientation-essentialism in the Proclamation, too.

  130. Mark IV says:

    Recruiting was one of the most potent arguments used agains the idea of allowing gay people to adopt children. It was feared that the parents would indoctrinate the children into a gay orientation. The fears are completely unfounded. This paper is a pretty good summary of the research. Among other things, it says:

    The committee report found that none of the several hundred children studied evinced gender identity confusion, wished to be of the other sex or consistently engaged in cross-gender behavior. No differences were found in the toy, game, activity, dress or friendship preferences of boys or girls with gay parents compared with those with heterosexual parents, nor any differences in sexual attraction or self-identification as gay.

    Sexual orientation really is a difficult thing to change, as BYU’s attempts at reparative therapy demonstrated.

  131. That California Supreme Court is so silly. First they say you can’t ban interracial marriages. Now they say you can’t ban same sex marriages. The next thing you know they will say you can’t ban polygimous marriages.

  132. Kristine says:

    Kaimi, if it were as easy as all that, don’t you think the experiments with electroshock and ipecac at BYU would have had more success? (And how is it that we dare accuse gays of “recruiting” when we have that nasty little episode and a few more decades of seriously misguided attempts at “reparative” therapy in our collective past?)

    I’ve read those articles, too, and there’s not much more there than we already knew–some women are lesbians just for college. Prisoners engage in gay sex. Yawn. Nobody reports any significant success with changing orientation, even in subjects who are highly motivated to do so. Behavior can be modified; orientation not so much. If direct interventions like administering electric shocks aren’t efficacious, it’s hard to imagine that ANY public policy is going to have big effects on orientation. Why not, then, err on the side of mercy?

  133. Agreed on all normative points, Kris.

    I do think, on the descriptive level, that the jury is still somewhat out on the malleability of sexuality (particularly female). But that does not, in anyway, justify responses like electroshock (!) or anti-recruiting hysteria.

  134. Kristine says:

    I should clarify–I believe the experiments at BYU did not actually involve what we think of as “electroshock” therapy, but rather the administration of electric shock to the hands (and feet? can’t remember the details) in conjunction with viewing gay porn, to try to create an aversion response.

    Not much less disturbing, but…

  135. Mormongirl says:

    To me it is obvious that there is some element of choice in homosexual behaviors. Although some may be born homosexuals, others are just somewhere along the spectrum. When Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed, the cities were entirely occupied by homosexuals, not because they were all born with a genetic tendency but because it became accepted and normal and so more were willing to experiment with such behaviors. If public policy puts a stamp of approval on homosexuality, then more will be willing to try it out.

  136. Steve Evans says:

    “I’ve never seen anyone attempting to turn a straight person gay”

    Have you SEEN Devil Wears Prada??

    But seriously folks, get a hold of yourselves. Don’t talk silly about gay people like they have horns or something.

  137. Phouchg says:

    The church will attempt to influence the forthcoming battle in a future election in California. But their attempts will be smoked out much more efficiently than in 1999-2000. The internet culture is much more pervasive now, and blogs, messsage boards, You Tube etc. will be much more effective at exposing the church’s strategy.

    Justice Brandeis was right when he said “Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman.”

  138. Might I point out something that nobody wants to admit.

    “My gay friends want to be able to raise kids, to have stable, long-term, legally-recognized relationships with people they love. And really, that’s not any different than what I want.”

    A man and a man, or a woman and a woman, can not have children together. This is not a issue of discrimination or bigotry. It’s a simple fact of nature.

    Homosexual relationships are an aberrant mental condition. Whether caused by genetics, or hormonal levels during pregnancy, or by sexual abuse, or as a free choice. It doesn’t matter. It’s not normal. It’s not even natural, and it is certainly at odds with God’s appointed order.

    That’s just the way it is. Claiming otherwise is simply trying to live in a fantasy world. Now I have no problem with people who want to go live in this fantasy world they’ve created for themselves. It’s no skin off my nose.

    But please, stop trying to use the law to force everybody else to pretend along with you. We are under no moral obligation to go along with homosexual fantasies about being a normal and accepted lifestyle. Nor are we obligated to legally recognize them as such.

    We who are opposed to legal recognition of homosexual marriages are not trying to attack homosexuals or their fantasies about being normal. You leave us alone, and we’ll leave you alone. We simply want the legal and societal attributes of marriage to follow the obvious natural order of things.

    It is the homosexuals who are being oppressive here. In that they are trying to force the majority to play along with their little fantasy, even if that means abandoning a definition of marriage that pre-exists all current forms of government on Earth.

    Yes, marriage has gone through many changes in society, but always- it has always been between a man and a woman (or a man and multiple women- but even then each relationship is treated as a separate marriage between a man and a woman). This is true even for societies such as Rome and Greece were homosexual relationships were common and even acceptable lifestyles. Ancient Thebes would laugh at anyone suggesting that two men could be married together. All while having their most elite military unit limited to pairs of homosexual lovers.

    This is not about bigotry. It’s about homosexuals who want to fulfill their sexual desires, while still being able to pretend that they can live the “American Dream” of a spouse and kids. Guess, what- they can’t.

    Life is filled with choices, and if you choose to have exclusive sexual relationships with those of your own gender you are not going to have kids. That’s the simple natural consequence that follows from that choice. But today nobody wants to deal with natural consequences- instead they want to kind some way to cheat and “have it all”.

    But even if the homosexuals win and get their marriages recognized by the government, is that going to change anything real? No it will not.

    Maybe it will convince more people to play along with their fantasy, but eventually they’ll still feel just as empty as they did before. They’ll get their little marriage certificate, and for a few years it will make them feel better about themselves, allowing them to convince themselves that their fantasy of “having it all” is happening. Eventually that will fade though.

    What demand will they make then?

    Because that’s what always happens when you play along with delusional people. The keep on demanding more and more reassurances that their fantasy is real.

  139. Fwiw, the anti-homosexuality religionists lost the *legal* argument against homosexuality the moment they made it a scientific argument by claiming that such inclinations are “unnatural”. That barn door will never close in our society. They now lose the *legal* argument the minute they claim that “every child deserves to be raised by a mother and a father” – since they are unwilling to take that statement to its natural conclusion and remove children from single, heterosexual parents.

    The only argument against homosexual civil union or marriage that works on any level is the religious one – that God commanded that sex and marriage be maintained within traditional marriage recognized by the Church. That, however, is a tenuous *legal* argument, and it is exacerbated by society’s unwillingness to enforce that basic foundation and punish heterosexual sex outside of marriage. It is undermined further by society’s allowance of common law “marriage” – which is explicitly outside of traditional marriage recognized by the Church.

    Our society has lost this argument – because of how heterosexuals responded and failed to respond to heterosexual challenges to it. If we won’t battle heterosexual alternatives *within the law*, we shouldn’t battle homosexual alternatives *within the law*. If we start addressing all alternatives equally, this discussion changes dramatically – but the general heterosexual population will never allow that. Case closed, imo.

  140. Steve Evans says:

    Mormongirl, from what source are you getting this incredible information re: Sodom & Gomorrah?? Holeee smokes. Is that what we’re teaching in Sunday School these days?

    I find it ridiculous that somehow all the public is waiting for to go gay is some sort of stamp of approval. The floodgates being barely held back by our wafer-thin line protecting the definition of marriage. Good heavens, people — These are the kinds of reasoning that years from now you’ll just be embarrassed about. Think out the mental gymnastics people went through regarding the priesthood ban; some of the crazy talk on this thread is highly reminiscent of such spurious doctrine.

  141. Steve Evans says:

    …and as if on cue, Cicero’s #138 appears. Come on BCCers!

  142. J. Michael says:

    Re #88: Not particularly germane, but there have been no area presidencies in North America since August 2004.

  143. Cicero is like my inner homo potential. If I don’t feed him, he usually goes away.

  144. Yes, marriage has gone through many changes in society, but always- it has always been between a man and a woman

    Cicero (#138),

    If you are taking a world or historical view, this is not true. There are cultures throughout the world that have had and continue to marriages that involve a transgendered partner. So although they may have husband and wife roles, they are not biologically male and female (which seems to be your assertion).

  145. Yes, marriage has gone through many changes in society, but always- it has always been between a man and a woman

    Cicero (#138),

    If you are taking a world or historical view, this is not true.

    I believe I read somewhere that the most prevalent historical form has been polygamy. So it’s not exactly been man-woman through history — more like man-woman-woman-woman . . .

  146. Nick Literski says:

    #127 and #129:
    Please remember that “gender” and “sexual orientation” are two entirely distinct characteristics. The fact that a man is gay has no bearing on whether his gender is masculine or feminine. Sure, there are effeminate gay men. There are also effeminate straight men. Furthermore, a very large portion of gay men actually accentuate, and even exaggerate traditionally masculinity.

    Of course, this is one of my complaints about the Proclamation Against Certain Families. It confuses biological sex with gender, and by implication, suggests that homosexuals are somehow confused about whether they are male or female.

  147. Thomas Parkin says:

    Kristine “Part of the reason Mormons are not inclined to consider the argument that sexual orientation is arrayed across a spectrum, rather than being a binary condition, might be that such an assertion would seem to cut against the most common interpretation of the Proclamation on the Family’s declarations about eternal gender.”

    and Ray ” wouldn’t that argue for opening up “legal, political” definitions of “civil unions” to both hetero- and homo-sexual relationships”

    and Kaimi “Of course, this militates against the strong gender- and orientation-essentialism in the Proclamation, too.”

    I’m not sure. A man or woman who has homosexual (bisexual) tendancies or practices is no less a man or a woman. I think the question of what a man or a woman is that the other is not – except a man or woman – is a question than is only tangentially related to sexuality. I can see your point, Kristine and Kaimi. Sexuality is a personality trait that lies at a deep strata, and gender perhaps even deeper, maybe they are easily conflated. But if being, say, nuturing, isn’t an essential characterisitc of essential feminine, then why should having a mutable sexuality say anything about it.

    *shrug*

    And Steve, ““I’ve never seen anyone attempting to turn a straight person gay” Have you SEEN Devil Wears Prada??”

    I certainly won’t mention some of the movies I’ve … been aware of.

    Kristine, “some women are lesbians just for college”

    I know women – my wife for one – who consider their bisexuality a deep part of their personality, and would find that statement dismissive and offensive.

    ~

  148. Ray Agostini says:

    Kaimi wrote:

    I know that going Sonia Johnson (”you shouldn’t allow missionaries into your home”) is the fast track to excommunication. But if I disagree with the church’s political stance, can I refuse to put the sign on my lawn? Can I talk to friends or ward members about disagreements? Could I say that it seems problematic for a church with our history of marriage persecution to be so intolerant? What are the options for a church members who disagrees with a church political stance?

    Could I even — gasp! — blog about it?

    According to Dallin Oaks there’s no room for this kind of diversity:

    I close with a thought about diversity. Diversity is one of the
    favorite buzz words of our time.
    Properly applied, it is a wonderful
    concept that encourages harmony, love, and individual growth. But like
    its companion concept of tolerance, it can be misapplied to the
    detriment or destruction of its proponents and those around them.

    How much should we show tolerance toward evil? Do we tolerate foul
    language at the pulpit? How about false doctrine? Should we practice
    diversity in our personal values or our intimate associations?
    ………

    On this subject I applaud the words of Patricia B. Grey of Provo
    in a recent letter to the editor in the Deseret News of October 20,
    1993. Her letter begins by observing that the word diversity, as used in
    some recent public communications, is more reflective of “modern
    political thought than revealed truth.” Her letter continues:

    Certainly “God cherishes diversity” in almost everything–except his
    followers’ loyalties and beliefs. The LDS Church exists as evidence of
    his rejection of diversity in beliefs.

    A quick survey of the scriptures finds no support for such diversity
    within the church. Rather there are more than 4~ calls to unity,
    including “if ye are not one ye are not mine.”

    I do not pretend to speak for the church, but perhaps I represent the
    thousands of intelligent, independent people whose souls respond to
    the spiritual power of general conference rather than the mental
    exercises of Sunstone Symposium.[sic]
    [13]

    (FARMS Annual Dinner, 1993.)

    Better have a chat to Sonia for some tips before erecting those lawn signs.

  149. At heart, this post is not about the root(s) and nature of sexuality; it is about sexual practice and pairing in legally recognized unions. As I said in #139, the central battle has been lost – and the heterosexual religionist community lost it on their own. When your foundational argument is flawed (“It’s unnatural.”), and when you refuse to enforce the follow-up arguments when they affect heterosexuals, you have no legal leg left.

    Don’t blame homosexuals for our current situation; the fault lies firmly in the other camp.

  150. Thomas Parkin writes,

    Kristine, “some women are lesbians just for college”

    I know women – my wife for one – who consider their bisexuality a deep part of their personality, and would find that statement dismissive and offensive.

    I don’t think there’s anything inconsistent with recognizing that bisexuality is a deep and important part of some people’s personality, and at the same time recognizing that there are others who truly are “bisexual until graduation.”

    One of my own closest friends is somewhere on the lesbian continuum that might be accurately described as bisexual. But that doesn’t change the fact that for at least some other women, it’s a much less integral part of them — they enjoy their malleability during college, but have no inclination to commit to a permanent bisexual lifestyle.

  151. Exactly, Cicero. That’s why the infertile are just empty delusional husks of humans. We shouldn’t play along with their fantasies of full human life and potential. This is why I am against their adopting. Being infertile, they are incapable of providing children with capable role-models, much less finding any enjoyment out of their cold, soulless, childless lives.

  152. rondell says:

    Kaimi 145,

    Actually, more cultures in the world practice polygyny than monogamy. Just in numbers, though, monogamy is practiced more than polygamy because the societies that practice monogamy tend to be much larger than polygynous ones. (I teach soc of family)

  153. Ray Agostini says:

    Ray said:

    Don’t blame homosexuals for our current situation; the fault lies firmly in the other camp.

    I not only agree with your name, but also your comment.

  154. #148 – Sorry, but that doesn’t address Kaimi’s questions. The Church has said clearly that widely varying political beliefs are allowed. I will never put such a sign in my yard, and I have no doubt I will never be excommunicated or disciplined in any way for it.

  155. Kind of ironic – my #154 following Ray’s #153. :)

  156. Kristine says:

    Thomas, I wasn’t saying anything about bisexuality, only about the studies Kaimi (sort of) cited. I suspect that I’m in agreement with your wife, that sexuality is a deeply rooted and tremendously significant element of personality. The viewpoint I meant to dismiss is the one that says it’s relatively easily influenced by experimentation. I’m sorry that I was too flip.

  157. Thanks for your comment, Cicero. It’s perfect, really, as a springboard.

    Cicero writes:

    “Homosexual relationships are an aberrant mental condition . . . It’s not normal. It’s not even natural.”

    Kind Benjamin writes:

    “For the natural man is an enemy of God . . .”

    With these two simple ingredients, we have all we need for an irrebutable, pro-gay-marriage, LDS syllogism.

    1. Homosexuality is not natural.
    2. But the natural man is an enemy of God.
    3. Therefore, God wants us to do the _opposite_ of what the natural man would do.
    4. And the natural man would clearly not be gay, because homosexuality is not natural.
    5. Therefore, God wants you to be gay.

    Or at the very least, to support gay marriage. 8)

    ===

    Thanks for playing, all. It’s been lots of fun reading the comments in this thread.

    Many of you have given great comments about the original post topic. How do we reconcile Mormonism with our own divergent political or policy beliefs? How do we reconcile vague political theoretical statements with lived reality of our brothers and sisters? These aren’t easy questions. Gay marriage presents some really troublesome issues for Mormons, and promises to bring out our worst — and maybe, our best. Many comments explored these issues in depth I could never have matched myself, and I’m grateful to commenters for their contributions to this discussion. Thanks especially to those who have been regular and consistent voices for reason and compassion.

    I do think the temperature is getting kind of high, though, in recent comments. And I know that some of my blogging hosts have the same concern. As a mere guest here, I really don’t want to abuse anyone’s hospitality by letting the rowdy party go on too late.

    So, with the blessing of the regular admins round here, I’m going to shut down comments for now. Perhaps we’ll revisit the topic at a later date. Apologies to anyone who gets cut off mid-comment.

    If you still reallyreallyreally need to say something more about it, e-mail me and I might post it. (Or, if you need to get something off your chest, just go tell Adam that he’s wrong (grin); or Janet that she’s awesome; and if you’re still bored, go make fun of DKL for the glaring lack of a marriage thread at MM.)

    Good night, everyone, and good luck.

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