Friday, October 31, 2008
Thursday, October 30, 2008
The first item you took issue with was our sign that says, "Prop 8 = Religious Freedom." You were quite decisive (and loud) in your opinion that marriage has nothing to do with religion. To that I ask, "Who was the first ever recorded marriage?" Oh yes, it was Adam and Eve, married by God. Hmm...nope, definitely not religious. You're right.
The second item out of your mouth was an attempt to "lord" (pun intended) your supposed authority over us by stating your educational record - as if you being a philosophy major and religion minor gives you authority over everyone else in opposition to your views. What? I am ignorant and you are enlightened simply because my degree was in Marriage, Family, and Human Development and not philosophy or religion? I am not allowed to peacefully promote a cause because I don't agree with you? That sounds an awful lot like bigotry to me...yet I'm the one who has been labeled the bigot...over and over and over again.
The third item that offended you was our "supposed" hate speech. Here are the signs we were holding. You tell me if any of them says anything about hate:
Prop 8 = Religious Freedom
Honk if you like Prop 8
Prop 8 = Free Speech
Honk for Prop 8 ... one man and one woman
Prop 8 Protects the Innocence of Children
Prop 8 = Less Government
Prop 8 = Parental Rights
Yes on Prop 8 = one man and on woman
Well, I certainly see no hate in there. Neither are we condemning gay people. WE ARE SIMPLY FIGHTING FOR TRADITIONAL MARRIAGE AS BEING BETWEEN A MAN AND A WOMAN. Sadly, in California, "hate speech" laws are becoming more and more subjective. If I say I do not agree with homosexuality, and you decide your feelings are hurt, I could be slapped with a fine for "hate speech." What happened to respectfully disagreeing, Ma'am?!
The last item that I am the one taking issue with, is your very fierce accusation that by having our children at our sign waving this morning, we were effecting child abuse. Yes, my jaw actually dropped when I heard that one. Child abuse? Could you please go and aim some of your "energy" in the direction of real child abusers - I'm sure DCFS could use a "strong" person like you on their team. Then again, they might actually fire you once their cases build up based on false accusations like yours today. I tried to tell you that we are not abusing our children by teaching them to responsibly and respectfully stand up for something they believe in, but you would not listen. Of course not. You talked right over me in your fit of anger and outrage.
You walked away from us this morning, yelling over your shoulder, "What are you so afraid of?!" To that I say, "People like you." I am afraid of people who will not tolerate an opinion other than their own - who steamroll over any opposition to their views. I am afraid of people who act and speak out of anger rather than conviction - whose arguments are presented with accusation and disdain rather than respect. I am afraid of people like the woman who said to me, on another corner at another time, "Who cares what your children are taught in school?" I care. Very much. When parental rights are denied with respect to education, a child's education suddenly becomes a matter of the state rather than the home. What else will that open the door for "the state" to lawfully teach my child in the name of a "well-rounded" education? I am afraid of people who think that I hate homosexuals just because I do not want them to have the word marriage. The implications of that concession are frightening and far-reaching indeed. I am afraid of a society in which whoever yells the loudest gets their way. Suddenly "We, the people of the United States," have become like a crowd of angry, intolerant teenagers, one that the government needs to make allowances for and appease in order to avoid scrutiny and mutiny. I wonder what happened to the democracy that allows for a difference in opinion? I want to know when our government began to rule based on what's fair instead of what is right? When did it become more important that you be elected for another term than that you accurately represent the people who voted you into office? I am afraid for my children and what they will be facing in school and community by the time they are teenagers. And it is that fear, coupled with my religious convictions, that keeps me actively (and peacefully) supporting Proposition 8 day in and day out. In a society plagued by a skewed sense of entitlement, perhaps it will be difficult for you to understand this more accurate representation, my indignant friend - I am entitled to my opinion; I am entitled to share it with others without being called names; and I am entitled to teach my children what is right as I am sure you do with yours. I maintain that I am neither a bigot nor intolerant. I do not hate. I fight fair for what I believe in and I would ask that you do the same.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Proposition 8 and California's Schoolchildren: A Primer on Falsehoods
by Lowell Brown
Perhaps the most hotly-debated question about Proposition 8 is the measure's impact on schoolchildren. If Proposition 8 fails, will young children be taught that same-sex marriage is equal to traditional marriage? Opponents of Prop 8 have adamantly -- and falsely -- claimed this will not happen.
The fact is, Prop 8's leading opponents have been very public for a long time about their goal of teaching schoolchildren about gender orientation at very young ages. What is worse, they have openly promoted strategies for overcoming or circumventing parental objections to such teaching. It is foolish to believe they will not use the same approach to teaching children about same-sex marriage.
Why this matters
When it comes to private sexual practices generally, I've long been attracted to the view of English actress Beatrice Campbell: "I don't care what [people] do, so long as they don't do it in the street and scare the horses." My work colleagues and friends, and anyone who really knows me, know that I consider their personal lives to be just that: personal. All my friends, gay and straight, know I support them in seeking personal happiness. I support California's already very expansive laws providing for domestic partnerships, which, in Family Code Section 297.5, guarantees to registered domestic partners "the same rights, protections and benefits . . . as are granted to and imposed upon spouses." (Family Code, Sec. 297.5.)
But marriage is different, and so is teaching schoolchildren.
Most seven year-olds still need to learn how to sit up straight and cover their mouths when they sneeze. Kids don't need the schools teaching them about gender orientation -- an arcane and confusing subject to even the most precocious children -- before they have even thought about their own sexual identities.
Besides, if we are going to start teaching six year-old children that same-sex marriage is the same as traditional marriage, that's a decision that should be made by the people, not by four of the seven judges on the California Supreme Court.
The law on teaching schoolchildren about marriage
Misinformation about just what California's Education Code says about marriage has been flying around the internet and on television and radio ads by the No On 8 campaign. There is no doubt, however, what the Education Code requires as to teaching about marriage and families. Here's an excerpt from the key statute, Section 51933:
(b) A school district that elects to offer comprehensive sexual health education pursuant to subdivision (a), whether taught by school district personnel or outside consultants, shall satisfy all of the following criteria:
. . .
(7) Instruction and materials shall teach respect for marriage and committed relationships.
What Prop 8's leading opponents have said about parental rights
The response to these concerns from from Prop 8's leading opponents has been that Prop 8 has nothing to do with schools. Amazingly, even the State Superintendent of Public Education has filmed a television ad promoting this falsehood.
Think about it: If the State Supreme Court has defined marriage to include same-sex unions, and schools are required to teach about respect for "marriage and committed relationships," well, it seems pretty obvious that from kindergarten on, kids will be learning about same-sex marriage, doesn't it?
But it gets worse. The other response from the No On 8 group has been that parents can simply "opt out" of instruction about gay marriage. This is another deception. The same people who make that claim have argued forcefully that no opt-out rights exist, as long as the instruction is part of "diversity education" encompassing gender orientation. They've even made their case in court.
Regarding opt-out rights, an organization called the California Safe Schools Coalition published A Question & Answer Guide for California School Officials & Administrators. The Coalition's Steering Committee includes The California Teachers Association, Equality California, American Civil Liberties Union chapters throughout California, State Senator Sheila Kuehl, and other prominent backers of No On 8 who have already raised millions of dollars to oppose the measure.
Here's one of the questions and answers:
Can parents 'opt out' of their children's participation in school programs that discuss sexual orientation and gender identity?
State law explicitly provides that “instruction or materials that discuss gender, sexual orientation, or family law and do not discuss human reproductive organs or their functions” is not subject to the parental notice and opt out laws. Thus, where issues of sexual orientation or gender identity are raised in school programs other than HIV/AIDS or sexual health education, such as programs designed to encourage respect and tolerance for diversity, parents are not entitled to have notice of or the opportunity to opt their children out of such programs. California law does not support a broad parental veto regarding the contents of public school instruction.
The California Safe Schools Coalition also published on its web site a "Question and Answer Guide to California's Parental Opt-Out Laws." The Guide's goals include helping educators who are promoting "tolerance and diversity" to circumvent the opt-out laws, as evidenced by this question and answer from that guide:
Do parents have a constitutional right to prevent their children from receiving education in public schools on subjects they disapprove?
Almost never. Parents have filed a number of court cases seeking to prevent public schools from teaching their children controversial literature or subjects . . . and have lost virtually every case. Courts have held that so long as the public school curricula are secular and reasonably related to educational goals, parents do not have veto power over the content of public school instruction. . . . Schools may wish to excuse students from non-essential activities (such excusing a Jehovah's Witness student from a Valentine's Day party) but are not legally required to excuse students from curricular activities such as . . . diversity education. The interests of the school and student in education outweigh parents' interests in preventing their children from being exposed to ideas that conflict with religious traditions.
[By] carefully articulating the purpose and content of diversity education programs, schools can both fulfill their legal duty to ensure a safe and nondiscriminatory school environment for all students, and also avoid violating parents' notice and opt-out rights.
(Somewhat curiously, the Question and Answer Guide seems to have disappeared from the Safe Schools Coalition's web site. An e-mail correspondent sent me the Question and Answer Guide on October 23. By October 26, as I am writing this post, the guide no longer appears on the internet. The now-defunct URL is here.)
Proposition 8 raises serious and controversial issues. Instead of continually dissembling about the real facts and the law, it's time for the opponents of Prop 8 to get serious about addressing those issues.
Monday, October 27, 2008
Polls and Pols by Thomas Sowell
This was recorded on a talk show called Odyssey at Chicago Public Radio in September 2001. While they were discussing the issue of slavery for much of the segment, Obama's statement about our constitution being flawed was not solely in reference to that issue.
Joe Biden, the Democratic vice-presidential nominee, has told Americans to expect a “major international crisis” that will present an early test of a Barack Obama administration.
His comments were seized upon by the Republican campaign yesterday to raise fresh doubts about the prepared-ness of Mr Obama to be commander-in-chief.
Speaking at a fundraiser in Seattle on Sunday night, Mr Biden said: “Mark my words, it will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy. The world is looking. We’re about to elect a brilliant 47-year-old senator president of the United States of America. Remember I said it standing here . . . we’re gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy.”
He cited Russia and the Middle East as possible places that may cause problems, as well as the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan – “crawling with al-Qaeda” – as being of particular concern.
Mr Obama would need help and support, Mr Biden suggested, “because it’s not gonna be apparent, initially, that we’re right.” He then spotted the media in the room, “I probably shouldn’t have said all this because it dawned on me that the press is here.”
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Would the Last Honest Reporter Please Turn on the Lights? by Orson Scott Card
Thursday, October 23, 2008
As defined by Miriam-Webster online:
a person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices ; especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance.
What's so interesting about that, you ask? Well, I find it very interesting that the definition of the word bigot depends largely upon the definition of the word "intolerance" which definition seems to be loosely applied and overreaching of late.
I love this excerpt from The Divine Institution of Marriage:
"In today’s secular world, the idea of tolerance has come to mean something entirely different. Instead of love, it has come to mean condone – acceptance of wrongful behavior as the price of friendship. Jesus taught that we love and care for one another without condoning transgression. But today’s politically palatable definition insists that unless one accepts the sin he does not tolerate the sinner.
As Elder Dallin H. Oaks has explained,Tolerance obviously requires a non-contentious manner of relating toward one another’s differences. But tolerance does not require abandoning one’s standards or one’s opinions on political or public policy choices. Tolerance is a way of reacting to diversity, not a command to insulate it from examination."
So, happily, I announce that I am neither a bigot nor intolerant. I neither hate nor discriminate against homosexuals. While I do not agree with the lifestyle, I have no ill-will toward the human. I am completely willing to respectfully listen to opposing views, but have yet to receive the same courtesy from Prop 8 opposition (with one exception, I repeat, one - that's you, my dear friend L). I have found, in my week of sign-waving, that opposition to Prop 8 is largely represented by very angry people who have no regard for my views or concerns (defaulting more often than not to the wholly unoriginal use of their middle finger), but would rather drive by screaming about my supposed bigotry while effectively illuminating their own. Ah, 'tis a twisted world we live in where what's black is called white and what's white is called black.
California Decision Will Radically Change Society by Dennis Prager
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Also to be taken with a grain of salt is the author's adamant blame of Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney for "allowing" same-sex marriage to become legal in Massachusetts. I don't really know anything about his office or life under his public service, but I do know that after reading this I did a little search on Mitt Romney and same-sex marriage. The first television interview I found had him saying that he didn't want either same-sex marriage or civil unions, but that if he had to choose between the two, he would choose civil unions. Seems pretty clear to me. And, after further research, I found that Eric Ferhnstrom, Romney's communications director, responded to questions about Romney's position on same-sex marriage with an email statement: "Governor Romney believes Americans should be respectful of all people. What he opposes are the efforts by activist judges who seek to redefine the longstanding institution of marriage being between a man and a woman." Anyway, like I said, a grain of salt.
What same-sex "marriage" has done to Massachusetts.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Friday, October 17, 2008
So, let's move on to tonight's little victories. As I set up camp on the corner this evening, the W family approached with some homemade signs made by our very own T. One sported a very important message "Prop 8 doesn't take ANY rights away" and the other served to, shall we say, rally the troops a bit. Well, really, the second had a two fold mission. In this simple request, "Honk if you like Prop 8," we were able to not only effect a cacophonous symphony of automotive horns, but we also eliminated the opposition's method of drawing attention to it's fingers and thumbs and frowns. Utterly and completely foiled, they were. You are brilliant, T! We were also blessed with a car full of youth who kept circling back to come through our intersection over and over blasting their horn and screaming out their windows in support of Prop 8. Bless them, whoever they are. I would love to adopt them.
You know, I think a lot of my political opinions are being influenced right now by the whole same-sex marriage issue. I know that Obama and Biden have said they are also pro traditional marriage, but that's easy to say when, after elected, they will likely have the opportunity to appoint liberal supreme court justices who could then attempt to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act which decided that
- No state (or other political subdivision within the United States) need treat a relationship between persons of the same sex as a marriage, even if the relationship is considered a marriage in another state.
- The Federal Government may not treat same-sex relationships as marriages for any purpose, even if concluded or recognized by one of the states
You may not be afraid, but I am terrified.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
This evening, I was back at my post with a few more friends to fill out our numbers, among them two teenage boys with whom I had an excellent time joking around and goofing off. They decided to tally all our negative responses and by the end of the hour and a half block, we had only 26 negative reactions directed at our corner including thumbs down, mouthed "no's," shaking heads, screams and yells, birdies (not the nice ones you feed crackers and teach to speak), and one man who held up traffic to educate us about the folly of our ways. It was interesting, though, how the bad stuff seemed to just roll right off our backs and when we got a friendly honk or wave or "God bless you," we felt elated. The signs we wave impart a whole slew of information, including the following:
Prop 8 = Religious Freedom
Prop 8 = Parental Rights
Prop 8 = Free Speech
Prop 8 = Less Government
Vote Yes on Prop 8
They are designed to encourage people to think and desire to educate themselves. I decided to use our stationary time to quiz the boys on why each of these statements was true. They did surprisingly well for a couple of high school boys and I was impressed with their understanding of Prop 8 and the implications should it be defeated. I was especially impressed with their willingness to spend a Wednesday night on a city block, hanging out with the Primary president and waving Prop 8 signs. I told them as much and received a very wise response from one, "Well, the outcome of this issue will effect us, so really there's no better place we could be."
Tomorrow morning I head right back out again as I will tomorrow evening. This is my life every weekday until the Nov. 4th elections. I haven't been great at walking door to door. It was too difficult with my two boys. I'm not good at getting to my phone lists, though I still have one and intend to get going on it. But sign waving is apparently "my thing" because my fire is blazing once again! Thank you to all my friends who have opened their homes to my boys! Soren and Anders are having a blast getting out to friends' houses every single day, twice a day! It's every kid's dream, I tell ya.
Monday, October 13, 2008
WHY I'M VOTING "YES" ON PROP 8, OR A NOTE BY A NEONATE LAWYER
by Carolyn Deverich
I have gay friends. I have straight friends. I love them both and respect their views. And I believe—sincerely—that we live in a country where all views are sacred and deserve to be respected and protected under the law.
That is why I support Proposition 8.
First, let me premise this post by stating that I’m not a raging, elephant-riding Republican or an unschooled, bible-bashing automaton (if you are either of these, I apologize if I offend). I've been around the proverbial block on the issue of free exercise. During my undergraduate studies, I chaired a regional committee on Constitutional autonomy in education. In 2003 and 2006 I wrote and published articles on the clash of First Amendment liberties and secular doctrine. I worked under the leading counsel on First Amendment rights at the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington D.C. I'm not saying my views are more legitimate than anyone else's, I just want to clarify that I’m not spouting blindly on the subject.
Now let’s all get one thing straight: religion will be affected by a redefinition of marriage. Both liberal and conservative scholars admit that the outcome of Proposition 8—whether passed or rejected—will dramatically shape the First Amendment landscape. The basic premise of the debate pits First Amendment rights of free exercise against Fourteenth Amendment guarantees of equal protection. And legal scholars betting on the outcome predict universally that free exercise will lose the fight.
I am not arguing that if Proposition 8 doesn’t pass, churches will be silenced at the pulpit or forced to change their religious creed. But when free exercise and equal protection collide—and they will—free exercise will get the short end of the stick. Marc Stern, a contributing editor of “Same-Sex Marriage and Religious Liberty: Emerging Conflicts,” explains: “[N]o one seriously believes that clergy will be forced, or even asked, to perform marriages that are anathema to them. Same-sex marriage w[ill], however, work a sea change in American law. That change will reverberate across the legal and religious landscape in some ways that are today unpredictable.”
Take education, for instance. In Massachusetts, the state Supreme Court—not a vote of the people—redefined marriage just as occurred in California. In 2007, a Massachusetts elementary school began teaching kindergarten and first grade children about same-sex marriage using a book which told the story of a prince who “lived happily ever after” with another prince. (*I’m not commenting on the quality of the story here, just the legal outcome*). Some parents requested that their children be allowed to opt-out of such instruction until the seventh grade. They did not challenge the use of the book as part of the school’s curriculum. When the school district refused to let the children opt-out, the parents sued in federal court.
They lost. In a 47-page opinion, the First Circuit held that the parents’ right to choose traditional marriage education for their child was not protected by the First Amendment because same sex marriage was permitted by Massachusetts law. Free exercise could not justify legal exemption where due process and equal protection rights were in play.
A similar outcome is not only possible in California, but likely. California’s Supreme Court has already mandated same sex marriage under the law, and unless voters amend this law in November, the court decision stands. California schools would be authorized to teach the same sex tenets of California policy. And it is not difficult to imagine a same sex curriculum under the Education Code which requires schools to teach children about marriage from kindergarten forward.
When First Amendment rights are pitted against Fourteenth Amendment due process, somebody will get hurt. This is not a Chicken Little prophesy. It is a legally-recognized fact. (For a brief note on the sham security blanket of the “In re Marriage opinion, see footnote 12).
A collision of First Amendment and equal protection rights is not the only consequence of redefining marriage. If the California court’s “In re Marriage” decision stands, the American system will have failed. Our three-branch institution is governed by the “separation of powers” principle. Each governmental branch—executive, legislative, and judicial—has a distinct and constitutionally-limited role which “checks and balances” the others. The legislators make the laws. The executive enforces the laws. The judiciary makes sure the laws square with the Constitution. For the system to survive, the branches must play by these rules.
The “In re Marriage” decision was a check-and-balance mess. The California court stepped into distinctly legislative territory when it redefined marriage as between “any two people” in direct contravention of California voters. This definition was not an interpretation of existing law, it was the invention of a statutory right. Whether you’re liberal or conservative, gay or straight, the system isn’t working right.
Some same sex marriage supporters compare the current conflict to the civil rights movement. A poorer comparison does not exist. (I lie. Comparing Prop 8 to the Potato Famine of 1845 would be pretty bad.) This is not a civil rights issue. Wait. Let me say that again. *This is not a civil rights issue.* Civil rights are implicated when a “fundamental right” protected by the due process and equal protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment is restricted. There is no fundamental right to gay marriage.
An important distinction must be made here. Common usage of the term “rights” conflates two distinct legal meanings: those rights that are specially provided for under the Constitution (e.g., free speech), and those rights that exist simply because no law has been passed restricting them (e.g., the right to use a cell phone while driving). The latter type of right is not protected under the law and is subject to potential regulation. The former type is protected and cannot be withheld; however it must be constitutionally-derived. To expand “fundamental rights” outside this boundary would unravel the fabric of American law. Now to get technical. The Supreme Court has recognized a right to the marriage institution as defined by law. And, as acknowledged by every court adjudicating the issue, both gay and straight citizens have equal access to this right. Straight or gay, a citizen is allowed to “marry” as defined by law—i.e. to couple with a person of the opposite gender. What same-sex marriage supporters are arguing for is the “fundamental right” to couple with any person. This is not a recognized “fundamental right.” In fact, the California Supreme Court’s entire premise for the “fundamental right” of same sex marriage rests on a misinterpretation of the “right to privacy,” a uniquely Californian entitlement concocted by a legislative staffer in the 1970s. It is on this “privacy right” that California’s court-fabricated “right” to same-sex marriage derives. (For a brief word on equal protection, see footnote 21 below.)
Many of you reading this are Mormon, and I make a final note to you here. There are some of you who are up in arms—nay, outraged—that the church would dare enter the secular arena and preach politics from the pulpit. It offends your very soul that General Authorities are discussing the weighty affairs of government. To you, this entire situation just feels plain wrong. Your feelings are not misplaced. This situation is so wrong, it violates the founding principles of our nation. But the error is not on the church’s part, it is on the state’s. By authorizing the reconstruction of a markedly religious rite, the judiciary has violated Establishment Clause principles which prohibit government interference with religious faith. In effect, the state has shoved the church into the middle of the civic street, and we are trying to drag ourselves back onto the sidewalk again.
I support the right to believe. I support equal rights. And I endorse apportionment of the rights and liberties provided by our Constitution to every citizen—gay, straight, religious, or agnostic. That is why I support Proposition 8. It's not because I don't love my gay friends. It's not because I think people who believe differently than I do are bad. It's just that as a rights-respecting American citizen, I am not willing to override basic principles of Constitutional liberty.
...And now I'm stepping off my soap box. Respond at will.
 If you’re really that curious (please don’t be): Carolyn A. Deverich, "Establishment Clause Jurisprudence and the Free Exercise Dilemma: A Structural Unitary-Accommodationist Argument for the Constitutionality of God in the Public Square," 2006 BYU L. Rev. 211 (2006); Carolyn A. Deverich "Saving Grace: Deterrents to the Secularization of American Law," 17 PreLaw Review 71 (2003).
 I also don't mean to sound like an arrogant, elitist snob. For the record, I still can't tie my shoelaces without singing the bunny song.
 Anthony Picarello, president and general counsel of the leading First Amendment law firm in the country noted that “[t]he impact of [the same sex marriage debate] will be severe and pervasive. This is going to affect every aspect of church-state relations. …[T]he church is surrounded on all sides by the state [and] church and state butt up against each other. The boundaries are usually peaceful, so it’s easy sometimes to forget they are there. But because marriage affects just about every area of the law, gay marriage is going to create a point of conflict at every point around the perimeter.” quoted in Maggie Gallagher, “Banned in Boston,” The Weekly Standard, Vol. 11, Issue 33 (May 15, 2006), available at http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/012/191kgwgh.asp; Mark Hemingway, “Gay Abandon,” National Review, July 14, 2008, available at http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1282/is_/ai_n27925966.
 As law professor and gay marriage scholar Robin Wilson puts it, “If the courts treat [same sex marriage] as a ban on racial discrimination, then there’s not much likelihood that any religious claims will survive.” Nationally-recognized gay civil rights advocate and Georgetown law professor Chai Feldblum agrees, noting that the clash between free exercise of religion and sexual liberty is real, and when the two conflict, “[one] ha[s] a hard time coming up with any case in which religious liberty should win.” Both Felblum and Wilson are contributing editors of the recently published book, “Same-Sex Marriage and Religious Liberty: Emerging Conflicts” (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers 2008).
 “Same-Sex Marriage and Religious Liberty: Emerging Conflicts” (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers 2008).
 I use education as a counterargument to Morris A. Thurston’s contention that Prop 8 supporters are lying when they cite school curriculum as a target for the same sex marriage fallout. (Thurston’s article is available at http://www.mormonsformarriage.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/secondversionresponsestosixconsequencesifprop8fails1.pdf). Thurston uses education as his first example and so I use it as mine.
 Parker v. Hurley, 514 F.3d 87 (1st Cir. 2008), available at http://www.ca1.uscourts.gov/pdf.opinions/07-1528-01A.pdf.
 For my legally-minded friends who prefer an in-depth breakdown: The Parker court analyzed the parents’ First Amendment claims under U.S. Supreme Court opinion, Wisconsin v. Yoder, which views due process and free exercise rights “interdependently.” 406 U.S. 205 (1972). Under the Yoder approach, the First Circuit looked to whether the school’s curriculum imposed a “constitutional burden on the [parents’] rights, or on those of their children.” Finding no parallel between the Yoder plaintiffs’ “unique and demanding religious way of life that is fundamentally incompatible with any schooling system” and the Parker parents’ religious objection to mainstream law, the court held that the parents had “no constitutional right to ‘direct how [the] public school teaches their child.’” In short, there was “no federal case under the Due Process Clause which has permitted parents to demand an exemption for their children from exposure to certain books used in public schools.”
 Thurston’s uninspired argument suggests that it won’t be MANDATORY to teach same sex education in the schools. Well sure, Thurston. I agree. But once a school DOES start teaching same sex marriage, parents can’t do much about it.
 Cal. Educ. C., § 51890(a)(1), available at http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/waisgate?WAISdocID=75854627166+0+0+0&WAISaction=retrieve.
 I have a comment to those of you whipping out your copy of Morris A. Thurston’s “Mormon Myth” commentary (available at http://www.mormonsformarriage.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/secondversionresponsestosixconsequencesifprop8fails1.pdf): Aside from Thurston’s education argument which I already addressed, the entire premise of his “no-effect-from-gay-marriage” argument is that there are no on-point cases deriving an anti-traditional marriage stance from the adoption of same sex marriage. Seeing that only four states have legitimately addressed the same sex marriage issue—and only in the past five years—this is not particularly surprising . Legal scholars recognize that the redefinition of marriage “[is]not like a bone sticking out of a limb or blood spurting out of a wound. …It will be at least a full generation before all the consequences [of redefining marriage] are known. Like smoking, it will take years and decades to see the result.” Carrie A. Moore, “Gay Marriage Criticized,” Deseret News, August 23, 2008 (quoting Professor Lynn Wardle). Thurston’s “but it hasn’t happened!” argument is the equivalent of me saying I shouldn’t bother wearing a seatbelt because I haven’t gotten into an accident yet. Have you SEEN me on the freeway?
 Some same sex marriage supporters point to the language of the “In re Marriage” court as proof that traditional marriage citizens will not be impacted by a redefinition of marriage. Specifically, they quote the tail end of the argument which states, “[A]ffording same-sex couples the opportunity to obtain the designation of marriage will not impinge upon the religious freedom of any religious organization, official, or any other person; no religion will be required to change its religious policies or practices with regard to same-sex couples, and no religious officiant will be required to solemnize a marriage in contravention of his or her religious beliefs.” “In re Marriage Cases,” 43 Cal.4th 757 (Cal. 2008). While I like that the court gives a shout-out to the traditional camp, this statement is mere “dicta”—the equivalent of a legal belch. It is not part of the court's actual holding, has nothing to do with the adjudicated issue, and is not enforceable in a court of law. It's just judges passing gas. So as for the argument that religion won’t be affected…it’s just a lot of wind.
Kerrigan v. Commissioner of Public Health, (October 10, 2008) (slip op.) (Zarella, J., dissenting), available at http://www.jud.state.ct.us/external/supapp/Cases/AROcr/CR289/289CR152G.pdf.
 Of course, this raises the option of amending the Constitution to provide for a certain right. This is what a majority of the amendments to the Constitution do.
 Courts are clear that a restriction of “fundamental rights” is necessary to preserve our legal system. In short order, the courts have denied a “fundamental right” to smoke in public (Fagan v. Axelrod, 550 N.Y.S. 2d 552, 560 (1990)), to groom one’s hair (City of North Miami v. Kurtz, 653 So.2d 1025, 1028 (Fla. 1995), to adopt (Smith v. Organization of Foster Families, 431 U.S. 816 (1977)), or to receive public health care. The list continues, my space does not.
 See, e.g., Zablocki v. Redhail, 434 U.S. 374 (1978); Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1 (1967); see also Skinner v. Oklahoma ex rel. Williamson, 316 U.S. 535 (1942).
 See e.g., Andersen v. King County, 158 Wash. 2d 1, 65 (2006) (law limiting marriage to marriage between one man and one woman ‘‘does not distinguish between persons of heterosexual orientation and homosexual orientation’’); Goodridge v. Dept. of Public Health, 440 Mass. 309 (2003) (Cordy, J., dissenting) (‘‘[t]he classification is not drawn between men and women or between heterosexuals and homosexuals, any of whom can obtain a license to marry a member of the opposite sex; rather, it is drawn between samesex couples and opposite-sex couples’’); cf. Hernandez v. Robles, 7 N.Y.3d 338, 359 (2006).
 Comparisons to the 1948 Perez v. Sharp case which compelled interracial marriage are not analogous for this reason. There, black citizens were not protected equally under the law because, unlike white men, they were not allowed to marry white women. Here, gay and straight citizens are treated identically under the law.
 That right, a two-word amendment to the California constitution, was designed to impose privacy restrictions on the disclosure of public records. See Bob Egelko, “‘... And Privacy’: How a Two-Word Amendment to the State Constitution in 1972 Led to the Legal Basis for Same-Sex Marriage in California,” California Lawyer (August 2008), available at http://californialawyermagazine.com/story.cfm?eid=895415&evid=1.
 In validation, Justice Ronald M. George explained that “the right to marry is an integral component of an individual’s interest in personal autonomy protected by the privacy provision of article I, section I.” “In re Marriage Cases,” 43 Cal. 4th 757, 818 (2008).
 A note on equal protection and discrimination (for Nate, particularly). Some posit the theory that side-by-side marriage and civil union laws violate the equal protection clause because they “single out” the gay class. However, “the constitution does not, of course, prevent the legislature from dealing differently with different classes of people. It means only that classifications must be based on natural and substantial differences, germane to the subject and purpose of the legislation, between those within the class included and those whom it leaves untouched.” Eielson v. Parker, 179 Conn. 552, 566, 427 A.2d 814 (1980) (see Brown v. Merlo, 8 Cal. 3d 855, 861 (1973) (equal protection provisions permit legislation that singles out a class for distinctive treatment “if such classification bears a rational relation to the purposes of the legislation.”). A marriage statute purposed on the legal union of a man and a woman passes muster here. (See Kerrigan v. Commissioner of Public Health, (October 10, 2008) (slip op.) (Zarella, J., dissenting), available at http://www.jud.state.ct.us/external/supapp/Cases/AROcr/CR289/289CR152G.pdf). On a non-legal plane, discrimination exists on both sides of the argument. Ironically, the same-sex marriage camp advocates a position that would result in the discrimination of those who oppose them. As Maggie Gallagher describes, under the proposed same-sex marriage arrangement “[p]eople who oppose gay marriage will be treated under law like bigots who opposed interracial marriage. Sure, we don’t arrest people for being racists, but the law does intervene in powerful ways to punish and discourage racial discrimination, not only by government but also by private entities.” Maggie Gallagher, “Banned in Boston,” The Weekly Standard, Volume 11, Issue 33 (May 15, 2006).
 I am MORE than supportive of ensuring that same sex couples receive identical status as heterosexual couples under the law. But reclassifying "marriage" wholesale --an act that will legally do NOTHING to the current rights of gay couples under California law—is not reflective of the rights authorized by our laws. Rights that are authorized are available to all citizens. See the California Code which provides that “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 provision or sources of law, as are granted to and imposed upon spouses.” Cal. Fam. C. § 297.5.
 On the most fundamental level, these beliefs derive from my religious conviction in the words of our prophet, Thomas S. Monson. But that is fodder for another day.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
What a crazy day! Someone stole the Prop 8 signs in north Peñasquitos last night!!! You know, I think it may have backfired on those opposing Prop 8. People were more insistent on getting a sign back, and even some who didn’t want a sign before, wanted one after learning what happened! Now, those who may have been casually for Prop 8 are REALLY for it.
This is obviously not your average campaign/movement/issue.
Friday, October 10, 2008
I remember well all the buzz about California Proposition 22 back in 2000, when this very same issue (with the very same 14 words as on Prop 8) was being avidly promoted as well as vehemently opposed. I also remember thinking at the time, "Boy, I'm glad I don't have to fight to protect marriage here in Utah. I hope those Californians really get out there and take the time, make the sacrifice, offer their services and money in order to pass Proposition 22 and preserve marriage as a union between a man and a woman." I didn't realize that my voice, even while in Utah, could make a difference. And so can yours...wherever you are. The truth is, we tech savvy young'uns are the future of tomorrow and we have been blessed with an incredible tool for spreading the word and uniting together in a common cause. If you have a blog, add a widget that says you support Prop. 8 - and Prop 102 (AZ) and Marriage Amendment 2 (FL) - and include some informative links in your sidebar, and post your thoughts and feelings about this issue. If you "Facebook," join the Prop 8, and 102, and 2 support groups and invite your friends to do the same (I haven't figured out how to invite people yet, so if you know, please share). If you Twitter, write down your thoughts about these protect-marriage propositions. As we were admonished by leaders of the LDS Church a couple of nights ago, just do whatever you can. Find your strength and use it to help protect marriage as a union between a man and a woman. Whether you squeak or roar, let yourself be heard. If you have $10 you can spare, send it over to the people at protectmarriage.com and know that you made a t-shirt or a sign or a pin/sticker in defense of marriage. If you spend a lot of time at home, ask about making phone calls to California, Arizona, and Florida residents to impart information and encourage a "yes" vote. Put a sticker on your car, stroller, window, golf bag, backpack, etc. Cast aside your usual accessories and instead sport a "Protect Marriage" or "Yes on Prop 8" button with your cute outfits until November 4th. There are so, so many ways to contribute to this. It's not just about walking door to door distributing information and fliers. It's about saying, "This is what I believe, this is where I stand, and this is what I support." I know who and what has lit the fire under me, and I've got plenty to go around, so think of me as your personal fire and get hopping! I'll see you on the other side of November 4th and pray that the outcome of all our combined effort is a positive one.
The Catholic Church has responded by urging Catholics to vote "yes" on the November 4th ballot initiative of whether or not to hold a constitutional convention. "Unlike many other states, Connecticut does not have a public referendum process. This means there is no ordinary way for citizens to have their voices heard on critical constitutional matters. The only opportunity Connecticut residents have [to make] a real impact on the state Constitution is a vote every twenty years on whether to hold a Constitutional Convention. This is a rare and unique opportunity to allow voters to contribute to the constitutional process and to advance their values. Because the opportunity is so rare, we must be sure to take full advantage of it" (ctfamily.org).
Six Catholic bishops — including the Archdiocese of Hartford, the dioceses of Bridgeport and Norwich, and the Ukrainian Catholic Diocese of Stamford - issued a statement following the Supreme Court decision, saying that they were "extremely disappointed."
"The Supreme Court of Connecticut has chosen to ignore the wisdom of our elected officials, the will of the people, and historical social and religious traditions spanning thousands of years by imposing a social experiment upon the people of our state. The decision of the Connecticut Supreme Court also raises a very real concern about the infringement on religious liberty and freedom of speech with the judicial imposition of same-sex marriage."
One of the three dissenting judges, Justice Peter T. Zarella, "argued that there is no fundamental right to same-sex marriage. He accused the majority decision of failing to discuss the purpose of marriage laws, which he said is 'to privilege and regulate procreative conduct.'
'The ancient definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman has its basis in biology, not bigotry,' Justice Zarella continued. 'If the state no longer has an interest in the regulation of procreation, then that is a decision for the legislature or the people of the state and not this court'" (Catholic News Agency).
The state of Iowa is also scheduled to hear arguments on same-sex marriage this week.
In response to this recent Connecticut Supreme Court ruling, "the Protect Marriage Coalition and its volunteers are stepping up efforts and continuing their unprecedented grassroots campaign across the state of California. This weekend hundreds of thousands of lawn signs will appear on lawns in every community. Church services in some African American ministries will cut their meetings short to allow their members to get out into neighborhoods and post signs. The Protect Marriage campaign is sending its message out on radio and television stations throughout the state and informing voters about the profound consequences Californians will face if traditional marriage laws are not restored" (MarketWatch).
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Tonight I had the opportunity to attend The Divine Institution of Marriage Broadcast from Church headquarters in Salt Lake City to stake centers throughout California. Dan had to work late, so I readied the boys and packed an arsenal of treats, drinks, and diversions whose sole purpose would be to help them forget that it was way past their bedtime. As I prepared to leave the house, my emotions were all over the place, but foremost was an intense desire for confirmation that what I am doing and what I believe is right. I snuck away from the boys and dropped to my knees in prayer by my bed. Wave upon wave of raw emotion hit me as I recognized the challenges I face as a hopeless people pleaser - normally I shy away from conflict; I shrink from confrontation; I say yes more often than is healthy; and I never share my opinions for fear of contradicting someone else's and causing bad blood. And then I tried to reconcile that self-knowledge with my desire to actively support Proposition 8, and the effect was this intense torn feeling which can more accurately be described as feeling like being ripped to shreds. At any rate, nothing earth-shattering occurred while I prayed - Soren and Anders came to investigate the strange and unfamiliar scene of their mother weeping on her knees - but when I finished, I felt at peace. The broadcast was packed, with the chapel filled and attendees spilling into the hard folding chairs set up in the cultural hall. My heart went out to them and their numb bums. We were addressed by Elders Ballard and Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve and Elder Whitney Clayton of the Quorum of the Seventy. The message was one of love and conviction, presented in a very loving manner (one I obviously have not mastered), that yet did not lack determination. I was particularly impressed and validated by Elder Ballard's singling out of young single adults and young married couples in spearheading efforts and dedicating as much time as possible to the grassroots movement to support Proposition 8. He also begged young people to use the diverse forms of media available to discuss and promote Proposition 8. It was really funny as he tackled a list of popular media resources such as texting, twittering, blogging, and "writing on your walls." He mentioned that in his time, "writing on the wall" would have meant facing his mother's wrath. All in all, the meeting was very validating, reassuring, and uplifting. I left that stake center tonight with renewed commitment to dedicate as much time as possible, and more, to this worthy cause and if you also support Proposition 8, I encourage you to do the same in whatever way you can. The leaders who spoke tonight also announced a new website where people can go to find information and answers to commonly asked questions about Proposition 8 and same-sex marriages. I have included a link to that website (Preserving Marriage) and other resources in my sidebar for your reference.
Soren nearly fell asleep on the bench at church while a good friend, Janet, entertained Anders with a paper airplane construction tutorial (note that my toys and snacks and drinks didn't divert long enough...they never do). The boys literally dropped into bed when we got home and I hope to do the same soon. Tomorrow the boys will be loaded into the double stroller accompanied by an already packed (and hardly touched) arsenal of distractions and we will be thanking Heavenly Father for the 17 degree drop in temperature as we walk around our neighborhood doing 2nd passes. Good night!
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Proposition 8 contains 14 words: "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California."
Marriage has always been the term used to explain the union of a man and a woman. The only thing Proposition 8 does is clarify the term "marriage."
I have heard from a lot of people who oppose Proposition 8 that they feel it is unfair because it will take away the rights of gay and lesbian couples. But it will only take away one right: the right to "marry." It will not affect the legal rights of gay and lesbian couples in any other way.
California has unquestionably guaranteed that gay and lesbian couples who register their domestic partnerships "shall have the same rights, protections, and benefits, and shall be subject to the same responsibilities, obligations, and duties...as are granted to and imposed upon spouses." California Family Code section 297.5. Proposition 8 does not affect the rights and protections set forth under section 297.5 in any way, shape, or form.
So there are no rights that accompany marriage that do not accompany domestic partnerships. Don't believe me? Read the exact text of section 297.5 and see for yourself:
297.5. (a) 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.
(b) Former 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 former spouses.
(c) A surviving registered domestic partner, following the death of the other partner, 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 a widow or a widower.
(d) The rights and obligations of registered domestic partners with respect to a child of either of them shall be the same as those of spouses. The rights and obligations of former or surviving registered domestic partners with respect to a child of either of them shall be the same as those of former or surviving spouses.
(e) To the extent that provisions of California law adopt, refer to, or rely upon, provisions of federal law in a way that otherwise would cause registered domestic partners to be treated differently than spouses, registered domestic partners shall be treated by California law as if federal law recognized a domestic partnership in the same manner as California law.
(f) Registered domestic partners shall have the same rights regarding nondiscrimination as those provided to spouses.
(g) No public agency in this state may discriminate against any person or couple on the ground that the person is a registered domestic partner rather than a spouse or that the couple are registered domestic partners rather than spouses, except that nothing in this section applies to modify eligibility for long-term care plans pursuant to Chapter 15 (commencing with Section 21660) of Part 3 of Division 5 of Title 2 of the Government Code.
(h) This act does not preclude any state or local agency from exercising it regulatory authority to implement statutes providing rights to, or imposing responsibilities upon, domestic partners.
(i) This section does not amend or modify any provision of the California Constitution or any provision of any statute that was adopted by initiative.
(j) Where necessary to implement the rights of registered domestic partners under this act, gender-specific terms referring to spouses shall be construed to include domestic partners.
(k) (1) For purposes of the statutes, administrative regulations, court rules, government policies, common law, and any other provision or source of law governing the rights, protections, and benefits, and the responsibilities, obligations, and duties of registered domestic partners in this state, as effectuated by this section, with respect to community property, mutual responsibility for debts to third parties, the right in particular circumstances of either partner to seek financial support from the other following the dissolution of the partnership, and other rights and duties as between the partners concerning ownership of property, any reference to the date of a marriage shall be deemed to refer to the date of registration of a domestic partnership with the state.
(2) Notwithstanding paragraph (1), for domestic partnerships registered with the state before January 1, 2005, an agreement between the domestic partners that the partners intend to be governed by the requirements set forth in Sections 1600 to 1620, inclusive, and which complies with those sections, except for the agreement's effective date, shall be enforceable as provided by Sections 1600 to 1620, inclusive, if that agreement was fully executed and in force as of June 30, 2005.
So, why then are we still fighting same-sex marriage, you ask? Well, the answer is simply this: "Marriage" has always been between a man and a woman. It is a sacred institution, designed by God, that has been upheld as such since the beginning of time. Nothing is to be gained by allowing homosexuals to call their unions "marriage." They already have all the same rights as heterosexual couples. But in losing the definition of marriage as being a union between a man and a woman, Satan is one step closer to destroying families as God intended them to be - father, mother, and children - through complacency and in the name of "tolerance" and "open-mindedness." What this comes down to, for me, is a firm belief in continuing revelation through a living prophet of God here on earth. I believe same-sex marriage is wrong because my own testimony confirms what the leaders of our church are telling us. Their counsel rings true. I realize that the issue of same-sex marriage is not only a Mormon one, and that Mormons are not the only people/groups who oppose same-sex marriage, but my religious beliefs are the source of my convictions, and as such, they will always be present in any argument I make against homosexuality. In June 2008, the LDS Church leaders released a statement entitled "The Divine Institution of Marriage." Here are some of my favorite quotes from that inspired statement:
"The focus of the Church’s involvement is specifically same-sex marriage and its consequences. The Church does not object to rights (already established in California) regarding hospitalization and medical care, fair housing and employment rights, or probate rights, so long as these do not infringe on the integrity of the family or the constitutional rights of churches and their adherents to administer and practice their religion free from government interference."
"The Church’s opposition to same-sex marriage neither constitutes nor condones any kind of hostility towards homosexual men and women. Protecting marriage between a man and a woman does not affect Church members’ Christian obligations of love, kindness and humanity toward all people."
The Divine Institution of Marriage
Marriage is sacred, ordained of God from before the foundation of the world. After creating Adam and Eve, the Lord God pronounced them husband and wife, of which Adam said, "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh." Jesus Christ cited Adam’s declaration when he affirmed the divine origins of the marriage covenant: "Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, and said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh."
Marriage between a man and a woman is central to the plan of salvation. The sacred nature of marriage is closely linked to the power of procreation. Only a man and a woman together have the natural biological capacity to conceive children. This power of procreation – to create life and bring God’s spirit children into the world – is sacred and precious. Misuse of this power undermines the institution of the family and thereby weakens the social fabric. Strong families serve as the fundamental institution for transmitting to future generations the moral strengths, traditions, and values that sustain civilization. As the Universal Declaration of Human Rights affirms, “The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society.”
Marriage is not primarily a contract between individuals to ratify their affections and provide for mutual obligations. Rather, marriage and family are vital instruments for rearing children and teaching them to become responsible adults. While governments did not invent marriage, throughout the ages governments of all types have recognized and affirmed marriage as an essential institution in preserving social stability and perpetuating life itself. Hence, regardless of whether marriages were performed as a religious rite or a civil ceremony, married couples in almost every culture have been granted special benefits aimed primarily at sustaining their relationship and promoting the environment in which children are reared. A husband and a wife do not receive these benefits to elevate them above any other two people who may share a residence or social tie, but rather in order to preserve, protect, and defend the all-important institutions of marriage and family.
Challenges to Marriage and Family
Our modern era has seen traditional marriage and family – defined as a husband and wife with children in an intact marriage – come increasingly under assault. Sexual morality has declined and infidelity has increased. Since 1960, the proportion of children born out of wedlock has soared from 5.3 percent to 38.5 percent (2006). Divorce has become much more common and accepted, with the United States having one of the highest divorce rates in the world. Since 1973, abortion has taken the lives of over 45 million innocents. At the same time, entertainment standards continue to plummet, and pornography has become a scourge afflicting and addicting many victims. Gender differences increasingly are dismissed as trivial, irrelevant, or transient, thus undermining God’s purpose in creating both men and women.
In recent years in the United States and other countries, a movement has emerged to promote same-sex marriage as an inherent or constitutional right. This is not a small step, but a radical change: instead of society tolerating or accepting private, consensual sexual behavior between adults, advocates of same-sex marriage seek its official endorsement and recognition.
Tolerance, Same-Sex Marriage, and Religious Freedom
Legalizing same-sex marriage will affect a wide spectrum of government activities and policies. Once a state government declares that same-sex unions are a civil right, those governments almost certainly will enforce a wide variety of other policies intended to ensure that there is no discrimination against same-sex couples. This may well place “church and state on a collision course.”
The prospect of same-sex marriage has already spawned legal collisions with the rights of free speech and of action based on religious beliefs. For example, advocates and government officials in certain states already are challenging the long-held right of religious adoption agencies to follow their religious beliefs and only place children in homes with both a mother and a father. As a result, Catholic Charities in Boston has stopped offering adoption services.
Other advocates of same-sex marriage are suggesting that tax exemptions and benefits be withdrawn from any religious organization that does not embrace same-sex unions. Public accommodation laws are already being used as leverage in an attempt to force religious organizations to allow marriage celebrations or receptions in religious facilities that are otherwise open to the public. Accrediting organizations in some instances are asserting pressure on religious schools and universities to provide married housing for same-sex couples. Student religious organizations are being told by some universities that they may lose their campus recognition and benefits if they exclude same-sex couples from club membership.
Many of these examples have already become the legal reality in several nations of the European Union, and the European Parliament has recommended that laws guaranteeing and protecting the rights of same-sex couples be made uniform across the EU. Thus, if same-sex marriage becomes a recognized civil right, there will be substantial conflicts with religious freedom. And in some important areas, religious freedom may be diminished.
How Would Same-Sex Marriage Affect Society?
Possible restrictions on religious freedom are not the only societal implications of legalizing same-sex marriage. Perhaps the most common argument that proponents of same-sex marriage make is that it is essentially harmless and will not affect the institution of traditional heterosexual marriage in any way. “It won’t affect you, so why should you care?’ is the common refrain. While it may be true that allowing single-sex unions will not immediately and directly affect all existing marriages, the real question is how it will affect society as a whole over time, including the rising generation and future generations. The experience of the few European countries that already have legalized same-sex marriage suggests that any dilution of the traditional definition of marriage will further erode the already weakened stability of marriages and family generally. Adopting same-sex marriage compromises the traditional concept of marriage, with harmful consequences for society.
When a man and a woman marry with the intention of forming a new family, their success in that endeavor depends on their willingness to renounce the single-minded pursuit of self-fulfillment and to sacrifice their time and means to the nurturing and rearing of their children. Marriage is fundamentally an unselfish act: legally protected because only a male and female together can create new life, and because the rearing of children requires a life-long commitment, which marriage is intended to provide. Societal recognition of same-sex marriage cannot be justified simply on the grounds that it provides self-fulfillment to its partners, for it is not the purpose of government to provide legal protection to every possible way in which individuals may pursue fulfillment. By definition, all same-sex unions are infertile, and two individuals of the same gender, whatever their affections, can never form a marriage devoted to raising their own mutual offspring.
It is true that some same-sex couples will obtain guardianship over children –through prior heterosexual relationships, through adoption in the states where this is permitted, or by artificial insemination. Despite that, the all-important question of public policy must be: what environment is best for the child and for the rising generation? Traditional marriage provides a solid and well-established social identity to children. It increases the likelihood that they will be able to form a clear gender identity, with sexuality closely linked to both love and procreation. By contrast, the legalization of same-sex marriage likely will erode the social identity, gender development, and moral character of children. Is it really wise for society to pursue such a radical experiment without taking into account its long-term consequences for children?
As just one example of how children will be adversely affected, the establishment of same-sex marriage as a civil right will inevitably require mandatory changes in school curricula. When the state says that same-sex unions are equivalent to heterosexual marriages, the curriculum of public schools will have to support this claim. Beginning with elementary school, children will be taught that marriage can be defined as a relation between any two adults and that consensual sexual relations are morally neutral. Classroom instruction on sex education in secondary schools can be expected to equate homosexual intimacy with heterosexual relations. These developments will create serious clashes between the agenda of the secular school system and the right of parents to teach their children traditional standards of morality.
The Sanctity of Marriage
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has chosen to become involved, along with many other churches, organizations, and individuals, in defending the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman because it is a compelling moral issue of profound importance to our religion and to the future of our society.
The final line in the Proclamation on the Family is an admonition to the world from the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve: “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.” This is the course charted by Church leaders, and it is the only course of safety for the Church and for the nation.Okay, while I've obviously included most everything from The Church's statement, there is still more worth reading that I left out. If you want to read the whole thing (and I highly recommend it) it can be found here. This explains so much, in a way that I can only ever wish to be able to express myself. What makes me sad is that so many people will be driven away from religious affiliation because of this issue. So many people think the LDS Church to be "high-and-mighty" because of it's position on same-sex marriage. But, as Elder Dallin H. Oaks, member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, has explained:
And while we, as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, do most definitely oppose same-sex marriages, it is not with malice or anger. We love, as Jesus has commanded us to love. We accept, but we are not required to sit back and tolerate or condone. Hopefully we can all recognize that essential difference.