Answers

Short(ish), possibly accurate answers to some legal questions about Prop 8.

Q1. What happens to the 18,000 same-sex couples who married in the interim?

A. Nobody knows.

The language of Prop 8 does not make clear whether it applies retroactively. California Attorney General Jerry Brown has taken the position that it does not apply retroactively. However, some Prop 8 advocates have said that they will sue to have it applied retroactively, in effect nullifying the 18,000 marriages that took place before the election.

There are rules against applying criminal laws retroactively, but Prop 8 is not a criminal law and so there is no bar against retroactive application there. Plus, it’s not clear conceptually that this would even be a true retroactive application. If California, going forward, simply refused to give any prospective legal effect to previously contracted California marriages, this could be argued to simply be a normal prospective application of the statute.

Thus, retroactivity is going to be a mess. At least one prominent legal scholar has suggested that, if the proposition is found to apply retroactively, that the legislature should pass a special statute converting same-sex marriages into registered domestic partnerships, in order to minimize confusion about issues like property distribution.

The church has not made any statements that I’m aware of about retroactivity.

Q2. Will Prop 8 hold up in court?

A. Probably.

There are currently several lawsuits to overturn the proposition. They all look like longshots.

The best argument that gay rights advocates have is that the proposition made too big of changes in the constitution to be passed the way it did. In a nutshell, little changes to the constitution can be done by simple majority vote, but big changes — revisions, as they are called — require a more complicated process.

It’s not a bad argument, and it may actually succeed. On the down side, the existing precedent is extremely spotty. (One case, from 1990, involving a much broader voter initiative. That’s it.) I’d say the odds are against this. (But then, I thought the odds were against Marriage Cases, too.)

There are also arguments that the amendment is inconsistent with the constitutional body. This is a really unusual legal argument — in effect, it’s an argument that part of the constitution is itself unconstitutional. It’s an argument that can be made in theory — see this article by Jason Mazzone for one example — but I highly doubt a court would buy it.

Q3. Will the church lose their tax status over Prop 8?

A. Unlikely.

Several organizations are pushing for the church to lose its 501(c)(3) status over its actions on Prop 8. It’s become a popular refrain at protests, too, with protesters chanting “tax that cult.”

Ironically, church leaders suggested that one reason to support Prop 8 was that unless it was passed, the church’s tax status might be in danger. That was an extremely speculative idea — there’s nothing in existing law to suggest that result; anything of the sort would require a major extension of Bob Jones in a way that hasn’t ever happened. (How many churches have lost tax status over Bob Jones and social policies in the past 25 years? Oh. None.) A group of 60 prominent law professors said outright that gay marriage would not affect church’s tax status.

On the other hand, there is ample precedent for religious organizations losing tax exemptions for excessive political activity. And so it is the church’s involvement in the election itself which does potentially threaten its tax status, in a way that gay marriage and Bob Jones never did.

However, the standard is such that it’s unlikely the church will be found in violation. The relevant standard is that

no organization, including a church, may qualify for IRC section 501(c)(3) status if a substantial part of its activities is attempting to influence legislation (commonly known as lobbying).

The relevant question then is whether a substantial part of the church’s activities were lobbying. How do we know what substantial is? Ask the IRS:

Whether an organization’s attempts to influence legislation, i.e., lobbying, constitute a substantial part of its overall activities is determined on the basis of all the pertinent facts and circumstances in each case. The IRS considers a variety of factors, including the time devoted (by both compensated and volunteer workers) and the expenditures devoted by the organization to the activity, when determining whether the lobbying activity is substantial.

Under the substantial part test, an organization that conducts excessive lobbying in any taxable year may lose its tax-exempt status, resulting in all of its income being subject to tax.

Wow, that was helpful. I’m not a tax attorney, and that standard is clear as mud. The people I’ve talked to about tax law issues have said that it’s unlikely that the church’s level of involvement in Prop 8 would be viewed as a substantial part of its overall activities.

Note that more radical related ideas — e.g., that the church could be subject to hate speech lawsuits over Prop 8 — are just crazy talk.

Q4. What now?

Good question.

First, note that Prop 8 does not affect registered domestic partnerships. It also does not affect antidiscrimination laws (Unruh) which prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. It very likely does not even affect the Marriage Cases ruling that sexual orientation is a protected category (except as to the specific application to marriage).

Remember, Marriage Cases had a negligible legal effect in California anyway. Same sex couples already had all legal rights under state law, if they had a registered domestic partnership.

Federal law does not recognize same-sex marriage. Whether or not a state labels a union marriage or not, the couple still does not receive federal tax benefits or other federal benefits.

Advocates like Evan Wolfson like to point out that there are roughly 1200 differences (depending on how you count) between marriage and civil union / domestic partnership. The kicker is that those differences are all federal. And California can’t do anything about that, Marriage Cases or not.

As I explained to an audience of mostly attorneys, a week and a half ago:

Registered domestic partner gives all of the legal rights as marriage, on a state level. Marriage is restricted by federal law, so on a federal level, marriage will be man/woman, regardless of what a state says.

Thus, either Prop 8 passes, in which case same-sex couples can have a registered domestic partnership with all of the state-law benefits of marriage, but receive no federal benefits. Or, it fails, in which case married same-sex couples have all of the state-law benefits of marriage, but receive no federal benefits because of DOMA.

Either way, the legal effect is exactly the same.

(There are a few very very small differences in law — they get a footnote in Marriage Cases – but even advocates concede that they don’t really matter.)

California law really does treat registered domestic partners the same as married couples. Cal Fam Code 297.5 provides:

Registered domestic partners shall have the same rights, protections, and benefits, and shall be subject to the same responsibilities, obligations, and duties under law, whether they derive from statutes, administrative regulations, court rules, government policies, common law, or any other provisions or sources of law, as are granted to and imposed upon spouses.

Thus Medicaid, taxes, pensions, probate rights, and so on, are all equivalent at the state level. And California’s actions can’t change the way federal law treats these areas — regardless of whether California allows marriage, it doesn’t change DOMA. The remaining legal inequities are not at the state law level. They are the effect of DOMA, and as long as DOMA is on the books, they will remain, regardless of whether Cal (or Massachusetts, Connecticut, etc) recognize marriage at the state level.

So, once the dust settles, how does this change things?

Not much.

Comments

  1. Steve Evans says:

    Thanks for this.

  2. Wow, that was helpful. I’m not a tax attorney, and that standard is clear as mud. The people I’ve talked to about tax law issues have said that it’s unlikely that the church’s level of involvement in Prop 8 would be viewed as a substantial part of its overall activities.

    I’m no tax attorney either, but that standard does seem to convey some level of meaning to me. “Substantial” as related to an organization’s overall activities or expenditures must bear some reasonably large percentage of those overall activities or expenditures.

    Since the Church’s (as distinguished from its members’) expenditures and activities related to prop 8 were negligible as compared with its overall expenditures and activities related to its normal efforts of member operations and missionary work, there is almost no chance these could be considered “substantial.”

  3. actualthoughanonlesbian says:

    1) Not all advocates concede that those footnoted differences do not matter. I do not.
    2) Never mind the footnote; access to the right to the title of ‘marriage’ under the laws of CA is a right that matters.
    3) DOMA and what changes: you have, for reasons that puzzle me, failed to mention a significant difference that the passage of proposition 8 makes –one which brings it directly into contact with DOMA. Suppose at least one half of DOMA were overturned, i.e. that which prohibits recognition of marriages between persons of the same sex on the Federal level. Had the situation in CA remained as it was on Nov.3, those 18000 couples would then automatically be recognized as married under Federal law (as are all couples whose states of residence recognize them as legally married). Now, however, courtesy of your proposition 8, the 18000 couples are s.o.l. with regard to the 1200 Federal rights and responsibilities, *even if* the relevant prong of DOMA is overturned.
    I’m sure the LDS attorneys and lobbyists were well aware of this in ensuring that 22 million plus LDS dollars were poured into the fight against equality.

  4. So, once the dust settles, how does this change things?

    Not much.

    This is why I thought the Church’s efforts with regard to prop 8 were misguided. All of the money and effort spent on this issue doesn’t really amount to much in the end, so why do it? Why draw this particular line in the sand (so to speak) in this particular place? It makes no sense to me, unless you just want to see who will “follow the prophet” and who won’t. Is it possible that’s what this was all about?

  5. Thanks for this Kaimi.

    Actualthoughanonlesbian:

    If DOMA were repealed or amended to allow same-sex couples to receive federal recognition, it is likely that the Congress would include civil unions and domestic partnerships in its scope, not just marriages.

  6. actualthoughanonlesbian says:

    Nate W– I know you know this, but what you are describing is a very particular possibility under which two separable congressional actions are performed simultaneously– viz. (1) the repeal of the Federal-recognition prong of DOMA, and (2) the extension of the 1200 rights and responsibilities to couples in registered civil unions and domestic partnerships.
    I see no reason, legislatively or politically, to imagine it likely that those two things will/would happen simultaneously (even if the 2nd did eventually happen). Even those politicians like Obama who have had both the decency and the guts to speak out against the Federal-recognition prong of DOMA have said nothing to the effect of advocating the kind of extension of involved in (2). I think your thesis that the two are likely to be combined is nothing more than a convenient thesis meant to obscure one aspect of the damage of proposition 8.

  7. 1) Not all advocates concede that those footnoted differences do not matter. I do not.

    Really? Which ones matter?

    I mean, there’s a reason why they’re in the footnote. They are, basically, the right to marry a minor with parental consent, and the right to marry someone you’ve never lived with.

    So unless you’re marrying a 16-y-o, or a prisoner, they really don’t matter.

    (These are effects of the way the registered domestic partner statute is written. It gives all the same rights to married people as to registered domestic partners; but you’ve got to be at least 18 and cohabitated to register.)

    2) Never mind the footnote; access to the right to the title of ‘marriage’ under the laws of CA is a right that matters.

    That’s what the majority opinion said; and it’s what the Connecticut court recently said, too. A number of state court have rejected the argument.

    I agree that marriage is an important symbol. As a pragmatist, I tend to think the actual effects of marriage are more important than the title. I stand by the assertion — _Marriage Cases_ had a negligible legal effect in CA; and Prop 8, undoing _Marriage Cases’_ legal effect, has a pretty negligible effect, too, given current law.

    you have, for reasons that puzzle me, failed to mention a significant difference

    It’s because I’m trying to undermine equality. Or, maybe it’s because this is a quickly fired off blog post.

    You’re right — this change does matter if DOMA gets overturned on the federal level.

    I kind of doubt that’s going to happen — DOMA passed by something like 85-15, even with significant Democratic congressional representation and a Democratic president.

    But yes, to the extent that DOMA changes, then the effect of Prop 8 is much more significant.

    (And frankly, is changing DOMA even a good idea at this point? Seriously — if Obama touched DOMA, it would be about 30 seconds until the federal amendment movement really kicked into high gear.

    Gay marriage has lost in every state it’s been on the ballot in, hasn’t it? If DOMA changes, it energizes the federal amendment folks, and then I think chances are that it ends up in the _Federal_ constitution.

    Maybe DOMA can change in ten or fifteen years. By then the generational change will be far enough along. But if it changes in 2008, it could permanently end any chance of change.)

  8. Actualthoughanonlesbian:

    You misunderstand my motives. Anyone who has read my comments on this subject knows that I am an advocate for gay marriage. I just tend to think that were the Congress to repeal the federal recognition prong of DOMA, they wouldn’t restrict the benefits to those states that use the term marriage. This is especially because it would tend to upset the apple cart in a lot of states. So long as Congress views civil unions to be an acceptable compromise, they have a motive to extend federal rights to civil unions as well as marriages.

  9. actualthoughanonlesbian says:

    For instance, the living together provision is no minor thing for, for example, couples who are forced by professional circumstances (c’mon, I know you know such couples) to commute for a while, or those who are forced by personal circumstances (e.g. eldercare) to do so.

    To say that “gay marriage” has “lost in every state that it’s been on the ballot” – is true under one interpretation, but misleading. Didn’t make it to the ballot in MA b/c there wasn’t really the popular support for re-enshrining inequality; the anti equality marriage amendment passed in AZ, but not the first time. And there are a variety of states, like IN, in which attempts to place discriminatory amendments on the ballot failed.

    I don’t know about the pragmatic guess your making on DOMA. I suppose what would happen under such circumstances would partly depend on how much money the LDS decided to pour into getting a Federal amendment against equality.

  10. Kaimi:

    Do you really think that amending DOMA to allow for federal benefits would cause that sort of a backlash? I’m not talking about interstate recognition (which DOMA has no legal effect on). Would extending federal income tax benefits to same-sex couples motivate the right that much?

  11. And Kaimi, one more question: I don’t know much about California standing law, but how would one go about showing particularized injury that would give one standing to challenge Jerry Brown’s interpretation that prop 8 would only be applied prospectively? I wonder if his opinion might not be law (absent an act of the legislature, of course).

  12. Nate W.,

    Amending DOMA to change the interstate recognition provisions would absolutely kick off that backlash, I think.

    Amending DOMA on just the federal-benefits level? Maybe.

    Actualthoughanonlesbian,

    Do you really think that the federal amendment wouldn’t pass in today’s political climate? Remember, all it takes is 37 states, and it’s carved into stone after that. How many states have a state DOMA or DOMA-equivalent on the books?

    I don’t know about the pragmatic guess your making on DOMA. I suppose what would happen under such circumstances would partly depend on how much money the LDS decided to pour into getting a Federal amendment against equality.

    Do you really think that the church would have a significant role in a federal amendment debate? Let’s be serious. There are almost a million Mormons in California; there is no significant Mormon presence in states outside of a dozen states in the west.

    And really, why the hostility in comments? I mean, for heaven’s sake, you’re addressing me and calling it “your proposition 8″ which is really funny if you’ve read anything that I’ve written on the topic.

  13. actualthoughanonlesbian says:

    The role of the LDS church:
    I don’t think it’s the numbers of people that count most here; I think it’s the numbers of zeros that follow the dollar sign that count most.
    I apologize for the tone of hostility. I’m weary and angry, but you in particular are certainly not the main target of either. My irritation in response to this post was because your answers to these questions were so minimizing, the effects you glossed over in your initial response real and important to those of us who actually fall under the rubric of such laws, and because, frankly it’s just a little bit misleading, in a dangerous way. In what way? Well, look at Ronan’s post above yours (which you link to an old post of your own). That is, posts like this, when they don’t make it clear that given half a chance, the LDS church would support dissolving civil unions and/or domestic partnerships for couples in which both persons are of the same sex, give cover to the misleading and misinformed tactics that got proposition 8 passed in the first place. [oh look, it doesn’t matter, we’re not trying to enshrine inequality..]

  14. You’re right, that I don’t have the personal investment that you or others do on the topic. I’m looking at the legal issues, but it’s not my marriage that’s being dissolved, here. Some people who I’m close to are personally suffering a lot over this. As a straight person, I’m not.

    I’m actually going to attend a wedding party/shower for one friend this week. (They married a month ago, the party wasn’t planned till later.) And it’s going to be really weird, because the couple is devastated over the election news, and so it’s like, shit, what do you say? The normal shower “congratulations on tying the knot” seems out of place.

    As for the answers to these questions — well, I’m just a law professor. These _are_ the legal answers, as best I can tell. I’m making no normative or broader social claims about what _should_ be taking place. And for that matter, I’m making no spiritual or religious assertions about what God wants to happen. I’m just addressing the legal issues: What happens to couples who already married, what about tax status, what about court challenges, and so on.

    Of course, on a personal, social, emotional, spiritual level, the election is a very big deal for many people. I’m not trying to minimize that. If it came across that way, I didn’t mean to. But I’m limiting the scope of this post; I’m discussing just the legal issues. I’ll leave the broader social or personal analysis to others.

  15. actualthoughanonlesbian says:

    with regard to “what do you say?”

    How about– mazeltov! Here are two (or more if there are kidlets) tickets to Canada, where we’ve got you a house, a couple of nice jobs…

  16. Doesn’t the Constitution say something about applying things retroactively?

  17. Kaimi, thanks for this summary. The only caveat I would add is that with the supposedly Republican governor of California calling on the Cal. Supreme Court to overturn Prop 8 there may be a political environment in which all legal arguments are swept aside in favor of the “will of the people” that results in Prop. 8 being overturned in effect. All kinds of convoluted legal arguments could be used to justify this.

  18. Dan,
    Kaimi addressed that–basically, you can’t retroactively make something criminal. Civil law changes retroactively all the time (at least in the world of the tax law, which is the world I know).

  19. I should mention, too, that several gay-rights groups have argued that the vote is still unfinished. They’re right, in a sense. A couple of million ballots remain uncounted (mostly absentee ballots).

    However, it is unlikely that the current gap of half a million will be made up by those ballots. News organizations concur; see, e.g., the LA Times analysis here: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/politics/cal/la-me-ballots9-2008nov09,0,4500310.story

  20. Last Lemming says:

    Two more questions.

    What are the chances that the California court will respond by ordering the state to get out of the marriage business altogether and have domestic partnerships only?

    If that happened, would religious couples be required to live together prior to entering into a domestic partnership? (One of those insignificant differences, you know).

  21. there may be a political environment in which all legal arguments are swept aside in favor of the “will of the people” that results in Prop. 8 being overturned in effect

    Um, if that were, in fact, “the will of the people,” Prop 8 would have been defeated. Why do people keep saying things like this? There can be many good arguments against prop 8, but one of them cannot be that the will of the people oppose it.

  22. Yeah I have the same question as #20. If the protected class and equal protection parts of In Re Marriage Cases still stand, it seems to push us in that direction.

  23. Interesting stuff Kaimi. I always appreciate an explanation of these kind of things, especially as usually when I am looking at law my eyes start rolling up in the back of the head as I get swamped by the language.

  24. Question is… does the Church now jump into the effort full-boar to overrule the Connecticut Supreme Court?

  25. I’ve seen the argument in #20 made in a few places. I think that’s unlikely to happen. It would require a pretty unusual theory of constitutional interpretation.

    It’s pretty well accepted that amendments don’t just get added into the existing mix; they _change_ the constitution where they conflict with other provisions.

    So, we don’t say that we have to reconcile the 13th amendment (no slavery) with the 3/5ths clause in the U.S. Constitution. Rather, the 13th amendment strikes out the 3/5ths clause.

    Similarly, we don’t try to reconcile the 18th amendment (prohibition) and the 21st (no prohibition). Or the 12th amendment with the wacky prior VP selection method.

    Rather, the later amendment undoes or alters the existing scheme, and it is the later amendment that controls.

    As a matter of constitutional interpretation, this seems to be by far the most natural reading here as well. Prop 8 simply amends the EQP clause, so that it does not include same-sex marriage.

    I realize there are other potential ways to harmonize the two. And for advocates, it would be fun and ironic and schadenfreudeish if Prop 8 were to actually end marriage.

    But I see no reason why the court would take that option, rather than simply adopting a plain vanilla interpretation of the amendment as, well, amending the prior law.

    But then, I’m not a constitutional law scholar, in part because I think constitutional law is largely about needlessly tying oneself in knots . . .

  26. SinisterMatt says:

    #24:

    “Question is… does the Church now jump into the effort full-boar to overrule the Connecticut Supreme Court?”

    That’s an interesting point. Since the Church has shown itself to be fully committed in California to the banning of gay marriage, I’m also wondering if that does mean that it has effectively painted itself into the corner in regards to any challenges to gay marriage in Massachusetts and Connecticut. My understanding is that the reason for intervention in California was because California oftentimes sets cultural precedents for the rest of the country. Could the same be said for allowing it in Connecticut or Massachusetts?

    In regards to the article, I think that a good “olive branch,” if you will, would be to not retroactively apply the proposition to those who had married before November 4.

    Cheers!

  27. Kevin Barney says:

    Thanks so much for this, Kaimi. These were exactly the kinds of questions I’ve had, and I had yet to see a decent treatment of them. I really appreciate you laying it out like this.

  28. Steve Evans says:

    full boar?

  29. Whole hog!

  30. Thomas Parkin says:

    Piggy from which nothing can be subtracted without diminishment!

    ~

  31. Do you really think that the church would have a significant role in a federal amendment debate? Let’s be serious. There are almost a million Mormons in California; there is no significant Mormon presence in states outside of a dozen states in the west.

    I guess it depends on your definition of significant. And as seems to have been forgotten, the effort in CA was a collaboration between various churches.

    Where are states where the Mormon Church would either have a significant role on a federal amendment debate *OR* would have another religious base with which to collaborate? (Focusing on the number of zeros, as actualthoughanonlesbian says).

    Utah, California, Arizona, Idaho, Wyoming, for starters. All have high Mormon concentrations.

    Parts of Texas have relatively high concentrations of Mormons, although the Church wouldn’t have to do much here to get the ball rolling. I imagine there are coalitions in Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida, Georgia, and Alabama for the Church to hook up with. And the Carolinas. And Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia, Kansas, the Dakotas, Nebraska, Montana, Alaska.

    (Oh wait – those are all red states or blue states with a conservative bent.)

    I’ve just mentioned 21 states. That’s more than halfway to passing an amendment. Can they get 16 of the remaining 29?

    It doesn’t have to be the Church taking the lead. Fortunately, there are already other bedfellows leading the charge. And it seems clear that the Black and Latino churches are part of that coalition.

  32. (I missed Oklahoma and Arkansas. Of course, living in Texas, it’s easy to overlook OK and AR. That’s 23. Need 14 of 27.)

  33. On the tax-exempt status question: since Prop 8 was a state law, would a “substantial” portion of the Church’s activity generally have to be geared toward lobbying, or just a substantial part of its activity in CA? That’s a pretty serious difference. Clearly, Prop 8 was small potatoes compared to the overall activity of the Church in the US broadly (let alone globally). But what about in CA specifically?

  34. StillConfused says:

    Thank you for pointing out the reality of the differences between domestic partnership and marriage for legal purposes. I couldn’t find any substantive difference between the two so I could not see what the huge uproar was.

  35. Brad, even in CA the church’s prop 8 efforts were only a tiny part of the church’s overall activity. Remember, all the money and organization went through a separate, non-tax-exempt organization.

  36. you fail to note the president-elect obama supports a repeal of DOMA (his chief primary opponent did as well).

    even allowing for the back and forth of congerssional debate, at least some federal rights are likely to begin flowing in the next 4 years. the question is exactly which forms of gay union those rights will attach to.

  37. palerobber says:

    #6:

    the FMA is deader than dirt.

    when republicans brought it up for a vote a few years ago they couldn’t even get a simple majority in the senate, let alone the 2/3 needed for passage. oh, and they’ve lost 12 seats (maybe 14) since then.

    it’s true that repealing DOMA would change the terms of the debate some – but not that much.

  38. Here’s what I don’t understand: How is there a federal definition of marriage if it seems to be up to the states to decide if gay couples (or, for that matter, first cousins) can legally wed? What federal legislation exists concerning the definition of marriage?

  39. Adam Greenwood says:

    I am adequately outraged.

  40. Kaimi,

    When the lawsuits to overturn were reported, an article in the SF Chronicle (11/05) stated, “Some of the same legal organizations filing suit Wednesday offered similar arguments this summer to try to remove Prop. 8 from the ballot, but the court refused, while leaving room for a postelection challenge.”

    Can you comment on how the court “left room” for the current lawsuit and how that action may affect your Question 2? Is it possible that the election results, included the relative closeness of the vote compared to the vote on Prop 22, would influence the court’s decision?

  41. “Here’s what I don’t understand: How is there a federal definition of marriage if it seems to be up to the states to decide if gay couples (or, for that matter, first cousins) can legally wed? What federal legislation exists concerning the definition of marriage?”

    Not and expert (and I didn’t stay at a Holiday Inn last night), but I would think DOMA addresses not the marriage contract itself but rather how the Federal government treats things like filing status for Federal income tax and how spouses of Federal employees are treated.

  42. Katya,

    DOMA has two main effects. First, it states that states do not need to recognize other states’ same-sex marriages. Second, it sets out that federal law does not recognize same-sex marriage. So, for instance, same-sex couples cannot file their federal taxes as married; nor do they get married social security benefits; and so on.

    The first prong has been argued to be inconsistent with constitutional provisions (full faith and credit). So far, challenges to DOMA have not been successful. The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear cases on DOMA thus far.

    Major DOMA provisions can be found here:

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/28/1738C.html

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/1/7.html

  43. Very informative. Thanks, Kaimi.

  44. Agreed. Thanks for the summary, Kaimi.

  45. United States legality aside, is it not important anymore to involve ourselves as members in the political process when it comes to normalizing homosexual behavior?

  46. Meaning: ;-)

    Remove ourselves (most of us on this blog) from the United States “battlefront” and where do you all see us (particularly members of the Church) in the political struggle to maintain the Church’s stance on morality? Do we stay out of the fray or do we get involved in future initiatives if they concern our locality?

  47. Again, to clarify (good grief I’m hazy):

    Members are disagreeing whether the Church, or its membership, should be politically involved in preserving the traditional definition of marriage, or that of celestial marriage. I guess I am rambling, but there seems to be a few “camps” coming out of this issue:

    -Homosexual behavior and gay marriage should be allowed a status of normalization

    -We disagree with Church doctrine on the nature of homosexuality and its eternal place in the cosmos

    -We actively seek to “fight,” “oppose,” “challenge,” the Church on the issue

    -Homosexual behavior and gay marriage are not according the teachings of the scriptures or modern prophets therefore:

    -We participate in political activity to maintain traditional marriage

    -We allow it to normalize because it just will eventually, yet we maintain disagreement with this inevitability and homosexual behavior as God-ordained

    -We just get confused and play some good ole American PlayStation to pass the time and hope our relationship with God gets better

    -Or… nothing?

    Just some scattered thoughts, maybe someone can put them together. I’m off to institute now, but really, does this extend or matter to our international membership, spread throughout the globe, or are we getting tunnel vision?

  48. The Church didn’t come up with the idea of proposition 8 all by itself. It went along with a broad coalition of denominations. The LDS church happens to be a convenient target, thus the hubbub.

    Disagreement is not dissent. Suppose you and the presidency are in the Garden Of Eden having a discussion with Eve on whether or not she should eat the apple. The prez says eat the apple that man may be. You say, No, God commanded not to eat it and besides, that Lucifer guy creeps me out. It’s not a strict case of right and wrong.

    The only way to solve a problem is to look at from a higher level of thinking than what created it. In tough problems like this one, I use the Beatitudes as that level of thinking.

  49. Q1. What happens to the 18,000 same-sex couples who married in the interim?

    A. Nobody knows.

    Is it just me, or does it seem reasonable that any law to which the answer to the question “How will making this change in the law affect people?” is “Nobody knows” should never be passed in the first place?

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 9,828 other followers