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Nine Moons » Blog Archive : The lameness of “I don’t see how gay marriage threatens my marriage” » The lameness of “I don’t see how gay marriage threatens my marriage”

The lameness of “I don’t see how gay marriage threatens my marriage”

Tom - May 16, 2008

Gay marriage is a complicated and contentious issue. I have given up trying to convince anyone on the internet that my view is the right view. But I would like to try to make one simple point: that it’s lame for gay marriage proponents to say things like this: “I don’t see how gay marriage threatens my marriage.”

Well, duh. The state could go so far as to expand civil marriage to include man/refrigerator relationships without doing any damage to my relationship with my wife (although, depending on what was inside the refrigerator, that might present a slight temptation). But that doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t care about whether or not the state sanctions man/refrigerator relationships. (For the record: I’m opposed.)

I’ve never seen anyone argue that gay marriage is a threat to their particular marriage. When people talk about protecting marriage, they are talking about the institution of civil marriage. Traditionalists hold that there are a lot of ways in which the institution of marriage can be damaged so that it doesn’t perform the societal role or have the cachet that they would like it to. Indeed, rampant divorce, “starter marriages,” the sexual revolution, and Tom Cruise have already taken their toll. Redefinition of civil marriage to include gay marriage is seen as taking it further down that road, to the detriment of society.

Of course, many people will disagree with that sentiment. But pointing out the obvious fact that one’s own marriage isn’t threatened doesn’t do anything to rebut that line of thinking.

P.S. To throw a bone to my pro-gay marriage friends I’ll criticize something that conservatives sometimes say: it’s lame to say that state sanctioning of gay marriage is a slippery slope that will end in state sanctioning of bestial or incestuous relationships. That will never happen, no matter how the gay marriage issue gets settled. It might open the door to sanctioning of polygamous relationships, or at least decriminalization thereof. But come on, is that really a threat to your marriage?

56 Comments »

  1. Tom, why should Mormons care about secular concepts of marriage?

    Comment by Steve Evans — May 16, 2008 @ 12:09 pm

  2. Steve-
    What do you infer is secular about marriage? I’m curious to know what those “concepts” are that you are referring to…

    Comment by cheryl — May 16, 2008 @ 12:16 pm

  3. Tom,

    If you feel that strongly about the institution of marriage and REALLY want to protect it, have you been working to outlaw divorce, adultery, out-of-wedlock births and those other MAJOR items which have destroyed it? Until you show that you are serious about addressing the root causes of marriage and family problems, your arguments against gay marriage sound hollow and discriminatory.

    If you are serious about protecting marriage then start spending some time, effort, and money in getting the government to ban those other things first.

    Comment by Michael — May 16, 2008 @ 12:18 pm

  4. Steve,
    I’m not arguing here that we should, but I do think we should. I think civil marriage as an institution can have some really good benefits for all members of society like providing a stable, healthy environment for children, for example. Mormons should want that blessing for all children and I would bet that the laws of a given society regarding marriage impacts how likely it is that that happens.

    That’s a reason we should care what the laws of society are. I’m not claiming right now that that’s a reason gay marriage should not be state sanctioned.

    Do you think that civil marriage laws have no impact on the overall health of a soiciety?

    Comment by Tom — May 16, 2008 @ 12:26 pm

  5. Michael,
    What argument have I made against gay marriage? I don’t think I’ve presented any argument for or against. My goal here is quite simple: to point out that it’s lame to use the “gay marriage doesn’t threaten my marriage” line. I have no further ambition with this post.

    Comment by Tom — May 16, 2008 @ 12:29 pm

  6. Hi Tom,

    I have given up trying to convince anyone on the internet that my view is the right view. But

    Lol. Walk away, mate.

    Comment by Ronan — May 16, 2008 @ 12:30 pm

  7. Ronan,
    I mean on the issue of gay marriage as a whole. I’m actually somewhat conflicted on the question of what the law should be anyway. As you can see, I would like to convince people on the internet that it’s lame to use the “gay marriage doesn’t threaten my marriage” line. There’s plenty of other, non-lame arguments to make, some of which are at least somewhat compelling to me.

    Comment by Tom — May 16, 2008 @ 12:37 pm

  8. Redefinition of civil marriage to include gay marriage is seen as taking it further down that road, to the detriment of society.

    Too late. It’s already far gone. Gay marriage isn’t going to make it fall any faster.

    What gets me is how up in arms everyone is about gay marriage, but I don’t recall the same fervour regarding opposing divorce, common-law relationships, adultery, and so on.

    Comment by Kim Siever — May 16, 2008 @ 12:53 pm

  9. Kim-
    Here’s the problem, though. The LDS Church has always been opposed to divorce, common law relationships and adultry. So has the Catholic Church, Episopalians, Baptists, Jews, etc. etc. etc.

    I think the reason so many people are “up in arms” about gay marriage is because they finally realize that their silence (the silent majority?) hasn’t done marriage any favors.

    Comment by cheryl — May 16, 2008 @ 12:57 pm

  10. The funny thing is it doesn’t even threaten the institution of marriage. How does two women making a commitment to each other destroy the institution? As far as I can tell it just changes it. The same as it was changed to allow two people of a different race to marry. Now it is allowing two people of the same gender to marry. It seems that people are just scared of change I guess.

    Comment by greenmormonarchitect — May 16, 2008 @ 1:00 pm

  11. Tom, I guess I am a little curious. You mention, for example, providing a stable environment for children. In your opinion that’s something best left to heterosexuals? What, specifically, does gay marriage do to the institution that devalues it? I’m speaking only of civil ceremonies here.

    Comment by Steve Evans — May 16, 2008 @ 1:40 pm

  12. cheryl,

    Really? Has the church pumped millions of dollars into campaigning against divorce? Or widespread acceptance of common-law couples? And so on.

    Comment by Kim Siever — May 16, 2008 @ 3:10 pm

  13. The funny thing is it doesn’t even threaten the institution of marriage. How does two women making a commitment to each other destroy the institution?

    This is another response that I think is flawed. If you redefine what an institution is, you threaten what it has always meant and been. You can’t fundamentally redefine something without fundamentally changing (even threatening) the institution as it has been. You can argue that you think the changes don’t matter, but you can’t argue that it doesn’t change and threaten what marriage has always been. And this is more than definitions, because marriage has been the foundation of society.

    Really? Has the church pumped millions of dollars into campaigning against divorce?

    Kim, I get the sense that the Church actually spends a lot of resources (tangible and intangible) working with the consequences of divorce, abuse, immorality, etc and trying to prevent such things. Just because they aren’t in the legal/political arena on these issues like they are with gay marriage doesn’t mean they aren’t putting money and time and effort and training and leadership focus on these things. Thing is, they aren’t in a position to affect legal/political change on those issues, but since gay marriage is an issue that has already been on the ballot, etc., initiated by others…the Church has just put some effort to support those endeavors. This is a watershed kind of issue in their eyes, imo.

    Comment by m&m — May 16, 2008 @ 3:36 pm

  14. Kim-
    What m&m said.

    Comment by cheryl — May 16, 2008 @ 4:08 pm

  15. Steve,
    You’re trying to engage me in the debate when really all I’m trying to do is comment on the debate. Your questions here are the right ones to talk about, though. I’m just not really inclined to get into it right now. It takes a lot of energy. Besides, as I’ve mentioned, I’m conflicted and I don’t have a strong position to defend. I do think that it’s legitimate to be concerned about the institution of civil marriage. I would like for civil marriage to mean more than it does and for people to take it more seriously as a lifelong commitment to monogamy, mutual respect, and shared childrearing responsibilities. I think that that would make life better for a lot of people. I personally don’t value homosexual unions as highly as heterosexual ones and so for civil marriage to include the latter unions diminishes the prestige of the institution in my eyes. That isn’t enough for me to have a strong conviction that civil marriage should be limited to heterosexuals, though, because I also value pluralism and equal protection and gay marriage bans feel contrary to those values.

    Comment by Tom — May 16, 2008 @ 6:03 pm

  16. You have a point about certain one-liner arguments having their faults, but I’d be a little more careful to say “that will never happen.” I think you underestimate the adaptability, ingenuity and depravity of humankind.

    Besides, I do think there is precedent in human history for acceptability of bestiality and incest. If it’s happened once, it will assuredly happen again.

    Comment by SilverRain — May 16, 2008 @ 7:27 pm

  17. I am rather ambivalent about the whole issue. I do have to smile in knowing that the last time our society had this discussion about what a marriage is; it was over our predecessors and their right to practice polygamy.

    Comment by JA Benson — May 16, 2008 @ 7:45 pm

  18. You can’t fundamentally redefine something without fundamentally changing (even threatening)

    The parentheses say it all, m&m.

    Comment by Ronan — May 17, 2008 @ 2:02 am

  19. The institution of marriage has indeed changed (from an owner/property contract to a legal partnership contract). Gay marriage is the result of that change not the cause. Singling out gay people for discrimination is a rather petty consolation prize to be demanding after the fact. See Discrimination against homosexuals: Why? Why? Why???

    Comment by C. L. Hanson — May 17, 2008 @ 6:41 am

  20. Actually, since there’s no possibility of homosexuals reproducing, why should there be any incest bar on gay marriage. So, I see a reverse discrimination case coming 20 years from now: some sterile heterosexual male who wants to marry his mother will claim that he’s being discriminated against because gays are permitted to marry close relatives, and since there’s no chance of him and his mother producing a child, the public policy basis for barring incest is gone.

    We’ve gone from homosexual acts being a crime in nearly every state 40 years ago, to anti-discrimination laws in most states, to civil unions and domestic partnerships and now, in several nations and two states, marriage for persons of the same sex.

    People scoffed at Scalia’s dissent in Lawrence v. Texas. What’s it been? 5 years? Look for the end of the incest ban, in gay relationships, just around the bend.

    Comment by Mark B. — May 17, 2008 @ 10:09 am

  21. The parentheses say it all, m&m.

    I’m missing your point, Ronan. Sorry.

    Comment by m&m — May 17, 2008 @ 12:22 pm

  22. I still don’t see how gay marriage threatens the institution of marriage. Sorry. Can you give any real concrete negative ramifications of legalizing gay marriage?

    Comment by Caroline — May 17, 2008 @ 10:49 pm

  23. The reason the argument is lame is that extending marriage to same-sex couples will have NO effect upon the marriages of opposite-sex couples. It is supposed to sound lame because everybody knows the public resists marriage equality due to anti-gay prejudice, not because same-sex marriage is a threat to marriage as an institution.

    Comment by Steven B — May 18, 2008 @ 1:29 am

  24. OK, I see what Tom is saying. No “actual” marriages will be harmed. (Hence, the lame argument.) Instead, it is feared, the “institution” of marriage will be harmed. Well, not harmed, just “threatened.”

    And m&m explains that it will be due to a “re-defining” of marriage, even a “fundamental” change to the meaning of marriage.

    Now keep in mind, there have been some radical changes to the definition of marriage, especially over the last several hundred years. There is the pre-Reynolds definition of “a man with one or more women.” That change wrecked havoc upon the LDS church, and even harmed many existing polygamous marriages, but the institution survived. Then there is the pre-Loving definition of marriage, being “the union of one white man and one white woman,” etc. The institution of marriage survived that “fundamental” change. And so far, after Goodridge, in Massachusetts, society hasn’t collapsed.

    Did these redefinitions change what the institute of marriage is? Yes. Has the institution survived? Yes.

    m&m warns us that it really matters, because “marriage has been the foundation of society.”

    To that I say, All the more reason to extend it also to same-sex couples and their families.

    Comment by Steven B — May 18, 2008 @ 2:50 am

  25. m&m,
    Sorry to be cryptic. Steven has articulated what is, I believe, the non-sequitur inherent in your parentheses. Yes, the Californian ruling has the potential to change marriage (as did Reynolds, Loving, and Goodridge), but it remains for you to prove that it would threaten marriage. “Threaten” implies something negative.

    Comment by Ronan — May 18, 2008 @ 6:11 am

  26. Common lame argument #2, seen here and elsewhere: “Because there are existing active threats to marriage already, when recognition of homosexual marriages is thrust upon a state, no proponent of marriage has any business objecting.”

    Comment by John Mansfield — May 18, 2008 @ 2:04 pm

  27. Of course, what the loaded rhetoric in John’s lame argument #2 obfuscates is that the gay and lesbian couples that seek marriage rights do so because the are also “proponents of marriage.” They too see the institution of marriage as foundational to society, and valuable to their lives and families. They desire to see marriage as an institution flourish, and consider marriage good for gays, good for The Family, and good for America.

    Comment by Steven B — May 18, 2008 @ 4:31 pm

  28. Steven B., we can all obfuscate with the words we choose and the ones we don’t. For example, you mention “the gay and lesbian couples that seek marriage rights.” Yet homosexuals are only a fraction of the people advocating homosexual marriage; the argument over this matter is mainly an argument between heterosexuals using this particular issue as a token of which way they think the world ought to be. I assert (by waving my hands) that heterosexuals who favor homosexual marriage tend to be indifferent concerning marriage compared to those who oppose homosexual marriage. (For a little more than handwaving, you can look at my post ranking the most and least marriage-indifferent states.)

    Comment by John Mansfield — May 18, 2008 @ 6:21 pm

  29. The church doesn’t care about gay marriage.

    The church cares about gay marriage in North America, specifically a little plot of land called Utah.

    When issues like this have arisen in places like Africa, Europe, etc. we never hear anything about it in general conference. No proclamations are issued. No campaigning.

    The closer the problem to Utah, the bigger a stink the bretheren raise.

    Comment by JM — May 20, 2008 @ 8:28 am

  30. Did these redefinitions change what the institute of marriage is? Yes. Has the institution survived? Yes.

    That’s debatable. The social meaning of marriage in the broader society isn’t what it used to be. It’s increasingly seen, not as a lifelong commitment that you fight and sacrifice to maintain, but as a temporary arrangement that can be made and broken on a whim. Importantly, it also used to function as the social license, if you will, to have a sexual relationship and to procreate. So has marriage as an institution survived? In the sense that there are still people getting married, yes. But it doesn’t have the social meaning it once had and I think there are real consequences to this. For example, I would say that this diminishing over time of marriage has contributed to high rates of out-of-wedlock births and all of the social ills that accompany that.

    I don’t think that most of the diminuition of the institution has come at the hands of the state. It has mostly come from organic, cultural changes. The law has probably been more reflective of the changes in the social meaning of marriage as opposed to being the source of them. That’s not to say, though, that state action cannot or has not diminished the institution. I don’t know all the ways that state recognition of homosexual unions as marriage will change the social meaning of the institution and I don’t know what all the practical consequences of those changes will be. But it’s reasonable to believe that it will be affected. Many people believe that it will be affected negatively. That’s where the debate is. My point in pointing out the lameness of stating that one’s own marriage is not in danger is to say that it misses the point. The conversation is about the institution of marriage, its social meaning and function, and the practical consequences of state actions relating to it. So I’m OK with people arguing that they don’t believe the institution will be affected negatively, just not that they don’t see a threat to their own marriage.

    Comment by Tom — May 20, 2008 @ 9:14 am

  31. The debate often ignores the shift in public opinion from marriage being viewed as a privilege granted by the state (via laws that are passed by a legislative majority) to being viewed as a fundamental right granted (or at least not prohibited by) a constitution.

    Would this be a fair analogy:

    The U.S. Constitution grants me the right to pursuit of happiness. One way that I choose to pursue happiness is by starting a business. Therefore, it is unconstitutional for the state to deny me a business license.

    Comment by Brent — May 20, 2008 @ 7:25 pm

  32. There is some reasoning that seems flawed to me here. If you say that homosexuals see marriage as the foundation of society as well, you have to realize that the whole point is that they want to change that foundation to include something that has never been ‘marriage’ before. They may believe in commitment, they may want state ratification of commitment, but they don’t see marriage as a foundation of society as I do when I talk about it, because I am talking about marriage between a man and a woman. To me, the very fact that they want to change the foundation is in and of itself problematic.

    I, like Tom, can understand if you want to suggest that there will be no negative effects if gay marriage becomes normalized and legal. But I think only time will tell, and so any of us, on either side, really are just all guinea pigs in this experiment, and no one can make a declaration about whether it will be positive or negative for society, marriage, family, children, etc. This is really only something that is born out over decades, even centuries, of time.

    Personally, I think we should be a little more careful about entering into something that really is a fundamental change to what has been the foundation of society for millenia (marriage between a man and a woman) and a little less willing to just say ‘It doesn’t matter” when we simply can’t know and the ramifications of this decision probably will be most clear after we are all gone.

    Frankly, to me this is why we need prophets. Because we simply can’t predict or know what the effects will be, and it may be too late to change things if consequences end up being negative.

    Even without them, though, I have concerns about free speech, religious rights, parental rights, taxpayer rights, that are rarely addressed by anyone in favor of gay marriage. I feel sometimes like the ‘I don’t see how gay marriage threatens my marriage’ arguments are used to avoid addressing other issues that many people think are legitimate. That is one of the things that bothers me about this argument, because in the end, my concerns go beyond just the definition of marriage or how it will affect my personal marriage. I am concerned about many other facets of this issue.

    Comment by m&m — May 21, 2008 @ 12:24 am

  33. What m&m said.

    If marriage is defined as a legally recognized union of a man and a woman, then a legally recognized union of two persons of the same gender is not marriage.

    Has there ever been, in history, when marriage has been defined as between members of the same sex?

    What does it mean then if if our society today sees an “injustice” that that definition causes that all the great minds and institutions of the past have missed? Are we really that much wiser?

    And, if I or my church sees heterosexual unions as preferred, will that be seen as “heterosexist” and on the same par as racism and/or hate speech? Will I be worthy of condemnation if I teach the same to my kids? What kind of ridicule will they recieve from society if they happen to trust my judgment?

    Comment by mondo cool — May 21, 2008 @ 10:35 am

  34. mondo cool-
    Awesome words. I never had thought of it that way before.

    And m&m is right on. Right. On!

    Comment by cheryl — May 21, 2008 @ 11:03 am

  35. But mondo, the thing is, the church already disapproves of homosexual behavior. So all your questions are already in play and will remain there, regardless of what happens with SSM.

    Comment by Mark IV — May 21, 2008 @ 12:27 pm

  36. So all your questions are already in play and will remain there, regardless of what happens with SSM.

    The questions may already exist, but do you really think that the answers and responses will stay the same? Seriously, folks, anyone who wants to think that this will all stop at marriage certificates seems to me to be in serious denial or deliberate avoidance. Gay rights activists aren’t going to stop with marriage. They have already started with indoctrination at schools, restricting free speech. I think religious rights could be at risk. This is about a lot more than just the definition of marriage, as critical as I think that in and of itself is.

    Comment by m&m — May 21, 2008 @ 12:49 pm

  37. m&m, my point is that we are already in the process of working out the answers to those questions, and have been for years now.

    Comment by Mark IV — May 21, 2008 @ 12:59 pm

  38. Mondo, just because a state defines something a certain way doesn’t mean the definition isn’t able to be questioned.

    I’m sure you would agree that a state couldn’t deny us our right to the religion of our choice by passing a statute that defines “religion” as “an organization that accepts the Nicene Creed as a basic tenet,” thus excluding us from being considered a “Religion” by the law.

    It’s important to remember that California is not required to offer civil marriage to anyone, heterosexuals included. If they are going to offer marriage, though, they have to follow their own constitution and not discriminate in how they implement it.

    The Court’s ruling is less gays-can-marry and more California-must-treat-all-citizens equally under it’s Constitution.

    And as to m&m’s fear that religious rights are at risk, this ruling proves just the opposite. Individual liberties are still respected and the State has to treat everyone equally. Seeing as how we LDS are at best 3% of the country’s population, I should think you’d be thrilled that courts are willing to protect the little guy in his rights even when a majority finds it unpopular.

    Comment by Chad Too — May 21, 2008 @ 1:10 pm

  39. m&m, my point is that we are already in the process of working out the answers to those questions, and have been for years now.

    OK, but my point is that I think SSM will likely just introduce more questions and issues and problems that aren’t currently really on the table, which just complicates things. I don’t think mondo cool is talking about how things are. I think he, like others of us, are concerned about what other things will come up if SSM becomes widespread. I just don’t think you can compare what is now to what will be if SSM becomes nationally legalized.

    And as to m&m’s fear that religious rights are at risk, this ruling proves just the opposite.

    Chad Too, I’m simply not convinced that this is going to hold out. Have you heard about the pastor in Canada who is legally unable to talk about his beliefs about homosexuality? Have you heard about the concerns experts in the realm of religious liberty law have about this? For example, from this article:

    “Just how serious are the coming conflicts over religious liberty stemming from gay marriage?

    “‘The impact will be severe and pervasive,” Picarello says flatly. “This is going to affect every aspect of church-state relations.’”

    Have you heard about parents in other places in the country who can’t influence what their children are exposed to in school, whose religious beliefs are not being protected or respected?

    I really think you are being simplistic in your thinking that all is well and things such as religious rights won’t be affected. I also don’t think that marriage is simply a “right” to be “equally provided.” That’s part of the problem and source of disagreement with this issue — whether marriage itself is a right.

    You won’t be able to convince me that other rights aren’t at risk simply by saying ‘individual liberties are respected’ because I have seen evidence of the opposite.

    Comment by m&m — May 21, 2008 @ 4:16 pm

  40. Mondo: Has there ever been, in history, when marriage has been defined as between members of the same sex? What does it mean then if if our society today sees an “injustice” that that definition causes that all the great minds and institutions of the past have missed? Are we really that much wiser?

    I think the weakness of this argument is that not so long ago it could have been used to defend slavery.

    “Has there ever been, in history, when there has been no slavery among humans? What does it mean then if if our society today sees an “injustice” that that definition causes that all the great minds and institutions of the past have missed? Are we really that much wiser?”

    I think the answer yes, we are that much wiser for banning slavery. The SSM advocates argue that banning SSM is also a less enlightened way of thinking. So the history/tradition argument is not particularly persuasive if we take it on its own merits.

    Comment by Geoff J — May 21, 2008 @ 5:02 pm

  41. Geoff J (#40):
    Are you arguing that in all of recorded history, with all of the philosophers, religious leaders, teachers, moral institutions, etc. that it didn’t dawn on any of them until “not so long ago” that slavery is an injustice?

    I think not. Slavery has existed among humans from antiquity and recognition that it is wrong (if merely for one’s self or cohorts) has existed just as long. The enlightenment to slavery’s evils is not something we woke up and found the other morning on our doorstep.

    SSM advocates are arguing that all the great minds and institutions of the past have been morally deficient because “marriage” has consistently and universally meant a legal union of the opposite sexes. The presumption is that there is no wisdom in that definition.

    Chad Too (#38):
    The State of California 1) isn’t the first group to define marriage as the legal union of members of the opposite sex; and 2) does not treat all citizens equally under its constitution in regards to marriage. I could not move there and marry my sister, nor my daughter. “All” citizens cannot marry whomever they wish. However, all citzens can marry a person of the opposite sex within the guidelines of the statutes. The question at hand, at least for me, is “Does changing those guidelines mean anything?” My contention is I see nothing from history or the history of thought that suggests that marriage should be re-defined to include legally recognized unions of the same sex.

    I may not see any injury to MY marriage, but that doesn’t mean my children and my children’s children won’t. But, I don’t think the burden of proof is mine – I think it is the SSM advocates’. How/What can they show me that it will be harmless? They certainly don’t have any historical gravitas – in law, in thought, in society -for it.

    Comment by mondo cool — May 21, 2008 @ 8:14 pm

  42. m&m;

    You do your argument no favors by pulling from the Weekly Standard. It’s part of the FoxNews family and hardly an objective source. Ditto the Canadian Pastor, I mostly find mention of it from agenda-laden right-wing outlets. I found one legitimate media report that points out that the ruling against him was because his speech incited someone to violence. I agree that in the US the case against him would be iffy and his charges would likely be dismissed, but this is Canada and their free speech laws aren’t as solid as ours. Besides, as Justice Scalia would be quick to point out, Canadian law has no basis in the US.

    No where did I say all is well. I similarly refuse to yell “the sky is falling” over this.

    Civil Marriage is not a right. Civil Marriage is a statutory construct, specifically at the state level. When people say the have a right to marry civally what they mean is that the State has no reason to refuse them a license without just cause. The argument is over whether or not homosexuality is a just cause, and the California court says it isn’t.

    None of the reasons you give for concern strike me as overriding the equal protection California must provide all it’s citizens.

    Comment by Chad Too — May 21, 2008 @ 8:16 pm

  43. Mondo:
    “However, all citzens can marry a person of the opposite sex within the guidelines of the statutes.”

    So would you capitulate if the statute regarding religion said that you can “Belong to any religion as long as it considers the Nicene Creed as doctrinally binding?”

    Your interpretation would also allow a state to forbid interracial marriages, a concept also found repugnant by our Courts. After all, any white citizen could marry any other white citizen…

    You’re saying the law should stand simply because it’s the law. I’m saying that any aspect of any law is subject to the Constitution and can be challenged and found unconstitutional. In this case, the court found that marriage under California’s definition excludes people who want to be married and does so without a sufficiently good reason. In so doing, it violates the California Constitution.

    The “children and my children’s children” argument also fails. For all we know that your marriage to Mrs. Mondo Cool might somehow eventually be damaging to your children or children’s children. You don’t have to prove otherwise, so neither should a gay couple.

    Comment by Chad Too — May 21, 2008 @ 8:27 pm

  44. Chad Too, I pointed to those things to suggest that we ought not think that there won’t be rights issues. I think it is very likely that there will be. Even given the limitations of the sources (and I realize the limitations), I could see these kinds of things happening. mondo’s comment above suggests that he/she can too. It’s not much of a stretch to go there in my mind. It’s not much of a stretch to see problems in the schools and with parental/taxpayer rights. It’s not much of a stretch to see more propaganda propagated and protected in the schools. Sure, it could end up that none of these things ends up being an issue. But maybe it could. Just cuz four judges say it’s all ok doesn’t mean it is.

    Of course, only time will tell.

    Comment by m&m — May 21, 2008 @ 9:01 pm

  45. The four judges didn’t say it’s all going to be ok. The four judges said that nothing indicates that it isn’t going to be OK. There’s a difference there.

    Comment by Chad Too — May 21, 2008 @ 9:08 pm

  46. Mondo: Slavery has existed among humans from antiquity and recognition that it is wrong (if merely for one’s self or cohorts) has existed just as long.

    Really? Do you know of evidence to support this claim? Slavery is brought up lots of times in the Bible but never condemned for instance. (See here) Who are all these people in antiquity who recognized it as wrong and how come Jesus and the prophets weren’t among them?

    But more to my real point — I am not defending SSM here. I am simply pointing out that the history/tradition argument just isn’t a strong argument against SSM and I think other arguments would likely be more effective.

    Comment by Geoff J — May 21, 2008 @ 10:14 pm

  47. Chad Too (#43):
    If there had never been any other historically documented system of religious belief outside of the Nicene Creed, I would carefully and throughly question the challenge to it before I would question the system. But, a statute defining religion as such has a vibrant history of arguments and practices against that definition – making it extremely difficult to capitulate to such a statute. (I am not opposed to the principle of challenging the status quo. I am opposed to the attitude that there is no wisdom in the status quo.)

    Even those morally repugnant laws banning interracial marriage never permitted any white citizen to marry any other white citizen. In general, they said any white citizen could marry any white citizen of the opposite sex.

    Antiquity is full of examples of interracial marriage – Moses married a black woman. The banning of interracial marriage does not have strong support in any religious heritage. Therefore, since those bans could not be strongly supported by an appeal to a Jewish, Islamic, Buddhist, Christian, etc. tradition, overturning them was a sustainable and proper proposition.

    The Constitution of the State of California failed to define marriage, I believe, because of the long, long, long historical understanding of what the word means – namely, the legal union of persons of the opposite sex. It has never meant otherwise. But, now comes the SSM advocates and their four judges, who overturn the SSM ban by changing the definition of marriage based on nothing other than their arrogance and sympathies.

    Since the traditional understanding of marriage is suspect because it possesses the label of antiquity (don’t trust anyone over 30 – Korihor referred to that as a “foolish tradition of [the] fathers”), a Constitutional Amendment (sadly) is necessary.

    Comment by mondo cool — May 21, 2008 @ 10:42 pm

  48. Geoff J (#46):

    How about the children of Israel in Egypt under the Pharaoh who knew not Joseph? I think the lot of them recognized being in slavery was wrong. Even Jehovah said, “Let my people go.” Yes, there is historical evidence for a lack of condemnation of slavery. But, it’s pretty universal that those enslaved did not like it; did not merely accept it; did long for freedom. That that individual recognition should be universally applied (i.e., if me being enslaved is wrong, then anyone else being enslaved is wrong also) hasn’t yet been completely incorporated in human practice. A shame. But, it is widely recognized.

    Even if I allow that history/tradition is not a strong enough argument against SSM, there is no history/tradition for a definition of marriage other than as between people of the opposite sex. Advocates who want marriage’s definition to include people of the same sex, therefore, put themselves in a position of moral superiority to virtually everyone who has ever lived before and to those who think the Judeo-Christian value system has benefit and wisdom. The 6,000+ years of understanding and practice of marriage should be discarded for less than 40 years of notions about SSM “because……ummm….well, 6000 years is – you know – OLD.”

    Personally, I do think there are reasons stronger and more persuasive than history/tradition: modern revelation is tops for me. (Yes, I realize that is personal and not “applicable” to others.)

    Comment by mondo cool — May 21, 2008 @ 11:25 pm

  49. Thanks, mondo. In the end, modern revelation does trump all. And I am grateful for people like you who hold to it, even if it isn’t ‘applicable’ to others. (I still am baffled and even frustrated by the fact that members of the Church will think supporting gay marriage is somehow a good thing given all that our leaders have said and taught. It’s hard enough to try to “defend marriage” with people who don’t share the same basic beliefs (as I understand I can’t convince anyone else with those beliefs to take the position I do) but it’s all the harder when your fellow members are trying to argue against taking the position the position the Brethren take. I have to admit it discourages me. Do we always need everything proven to us to trust their position? I find no support of THAT approach in scripture. But I suppose that is a threadjack. Perhaps a post for another day.)

    So, I have appreciated your more ‘non-religious’ reasoning as well.

    Comment by m&m — May 21, 2008 @ 11:50 pm

  50. Chad Too, I wanted to respond to something you said.

    The four judges didn’t say it’s all going to be ok. The four judges said that nothing indicates that it isn’t going to be OK. There’s a difference there.

    I am kind of shocked at this comment…as though this somehow changes things. In some ways, it almost makes it all more problematic to me…the casual, almost cavalier attitude of leaping into the unknown with something this significant all on the premise that “it seems like it will probably be ok, but we aren’t sure, even though others in our position disagree and even though the majority of people want something else.”

    Can you really say that you don’t see anything wrong with this? Imagine if it were something you cared about that had stood the test of time, religion, practice, and experience as a solid foundational institution for society. Would you think that changing all of that for four people’s interpretation of a few words (against the opinion of others in their position) would be ok?

    I can accept that you have an opinion about gay marriage, and you think legalizing it is a good thing. But I do not see how anyone can look at the way this has been decided, and the lack of solid support from fellow judges or the people or experience and time, and the lack of assurance that it is actually the right thing for society, and the apparent lack of considering potential future ramifications for other kinds of rights, and think that what has happened is ok…particularly with something of this magnitude.

    Comment by m&m — May 22, 2008 @ 2:03 am

  51. JM (29)
    When issues like this have arisen in places like Africa, Europe, etc. we never hear anything about it in general conference. No proclamations are issued. No campaigning.

    I’m sorry but you are wrong. Issues like this in other contries may not be a topic at general conference, but they certainly do matter. My parents served a mission in Africa and the LDS church is the only one who has any sort of opinion/standards on what marriage is. The Saints there are being warned and encouraged to support marriage. The brethren care about the issues that effect people all over the world, not just in Utah. You’re kidding yourself if you think that!

    Comment by Jill — May 22, 2008 @ 3:22 pm

  52. Its funny how quick Mormons are to support government regulation of a family relationship. It wasn’t that long ago that we fought the opposite to preserve our right to practice polygamy. Maybe it is our attempt to pretend that polygamy never happened.

    It seems like Mormons are generally in opposed to government control of moral issues but, why does everyone want the government to step in with this?

    Comment by KVB — May 22, 2008 @ 9:43 pm

  53. KVB,
    Gay marriage opponents are not asking for the government to step in and change anything. They are asking for the status quo. Any amendments or legislation codifying man/woman relationships exclusively as marriage are aimed codifying the status quo, not at increasing government oversight or regulation of anything.

    Comment by Tom — May 22, 2008 @ 10:05 pm

  54. The laws of God trump the laws of man every time. Marriage was ordained of God, and was clearly defined by Christ himself as the union of a man and a woman. Heterosexual marriage and families can survive into the Eternities, and are the only earthly institution with that possibility. Gay couples have no hope of Eternal increase or the survivability of their relationship. So when we trifle with “marriage”, we are trifling with the things of God. How long will it be – if gay marriage is legalized, protected, and sanctioned – before a gay couple presents at the Temple to be married? What will happen in the resulting law suit by said couple when they are denied? How long will it be before the government attempts to force the Church to permit such things? Indeed, is this not at least one reason why the Brethren are vigorously speaking out against the current trend? We have every obligation, as members of the Church, to follow their lead on this issue.

    If the governments of man want to define non-heterosexual unions of any sort, let them call them by another name. “Marriage” has already been taken, thank you!

    Regards,

    Neal

    P.S. Just for the record – I’m a homosexual Mormon who opposes gay marriage.

    Comment by Neal — June 4, 2008 @ 4:23 pm

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