Same-Sex “Marriage” and Religious Freedom

 

Deployed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower (a Republican, by the way), members of the 101st Airborne escort black students to a previously-segregated high school in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1957

 

According to polling reported by an organization expressly committed to furthering same-sex marriage, 61% of Americans currently feel that churches and clergy should not be compelled to perform gay marriages against their will.  (See also this column, by the liberal columnist E. J. Dionne, which approvingly cites my friend David Blankenhorn.)  But 28% — which, depending upon your perspective, is either a small minority or a substantial and potentially threatening one — believe that clergy and churches should be forced to perform such marriages against their will.

 

I expect that this minority position (plainly tyrannical and flatly anti-constitutional though it seems to me) will grow and spread as those who oppose same-sex marriages continue to be demonized as ignorant, retrograde, and irrational haters comparable to the white bigots who oppressed African-American blacks in (and beyond) the pre-Civil-Rights South, unwelcome in polite society.

 

In this light, it seems to me that something like Senator Mike Lee’s proposed “Marriage and Religious Freedom Act” is urgently necessary, and urgently in need of vocal support.

 

 

  • Brock Lesnar

    The results of the poll are shocking to me. I can’t understand why even one person would want to force any church to perform SSM.

    It sounds like Americans need to do a much better job at teaching their children about the Constitution and separation of church and state.

    • mike

      The results are not surprising to me when considering the general tone of those who favor SSM and their willingness to silence, intimidate, and black list those who do not subscribe to their viewpoint. Tolerance is only allowable to those who are in favor of SSM.

      I agree with Dan that these numbers will only increase. A number of law review articles over the last 10-15 years have discussed the ever present collision of gay rights and religious rights under the First Amendment. During that period, gay rights have almost universally trumped religious rights. Hence, Catholic Charities in Boston no longer is in the adoption business and certain photographers and florists have been sued (and lost) because they don’t want to participate in gay marriage ceremonies.

      Law professors like Chai Feldblum and Jonathan Turley, of Georgetown, have regularly stated that gay rights should almost always outweigh religious freedoms. The Becket Fund has listed out many of the possible religious freedoms that may be threatened with the continued preference of gay rights over religious freedoms. For example, is it possible that a Christian university could lose its tax exempt status for refusing to accept same sex married couples into its married student housing? We are really only at the beginning of seeing greater limitations placed on religious freedoms in this country.

      • Brock Lesnar

        Mike wrote:
        “We are really only at the beginning of seeing greater limitations placed on religious freedoms in this country.”

        I’m not seeing any limitations placed on religious freedoms in this country. If anything, the legalization of SSM is an expansion of religious freedoms b/c religions or churches that desire to perform SSM will now be allowed to do so.

        Will the government ever force churches to perform SSM against their will? I can’t see a scenario where that would ever happen. The Constitution, separation of church and state, and well-established case law would literally have to be thrown out the window.

        If anything, SSM expands religious freedom and helps protect our Church from being forced to perform SSM.

        • Jeremy Alleman

          Adoption is being taken away from churches that won’t adopt children to Same Sex couples. How long before they force the Government to take away Tax exempt status from them for not providing space or even participating in ceremonies. The Church of England is already in a lawsuit (I don’t know how far along it is) with one couple that wanted a wedding in one of their chappels after a law was put into place to prevent such. Now, I know that matters are different here (State Church vs. individual conregations), but that sense of challenge is still there.
          While I hope that it doesn’t go further than that, it still won’t be the last push to force people to comply with this. I agree that the 1st Amendment should protect churches from this sort of incurrsion. However, we are dealing with a rising generation that thinks that we do have freedom of speech, as long as you don’t speak out on certain topics.
          As it is, if there are congregations that want to facilitate SSM, then more power to them. They are within their rights to do so. I don’t recall if there was anything stoping them, except that the marrages were not recognised by government before-hand. But that never stopped poligamists either.

        • utex

          As I read this I wonder: Are you aware of the fact that in 2006 Catholic Charities of the Boston Archdiocese chose to stop providing adoption services there rather than comply with state law anti-discrimination laws relating to gay marriage? I would say that anything is possible these days.

        • kiwi57

          Brock Lesnar: “If anything, the legalization of SSM is an expansion of religious freedoms b/c religions or churches that desire to perform SSM will now be allowed to do so.”

          That’s a specious claim. For some considerable time now, there have been churches (after a fashion) that have been performing same sex “marriage” ceremonies entirely without fear of government interference. That they were not licenced marriages did not in any way prevent such churches from performing whatever ceremonies they pleased.

          But you already knew that, didn’t you?

          Brock Lesnar: “If anything, SSM expands religious freedom and helps protect our Church from being forced to perform SSM.”

          Surely you must know you are talking meaningless gobbledegook there. In what alternative universe could our church, or any church, be forced to “perform” something that didn’t exist? The fact that there are jurisdictions that have created “same sex marriage” as a legal fiction means that there will be people who want to have same sex “weddings” in church buildings; and who may feel put out if they don’t get what they want.

          And Americans who don’t get what they want do have a way of starting lawsuits to give them “relief.”

          And “gay” agitators do seem to have a way of finding judges who assume that whatever “gay” people demand is ipso facto a “civil right.”

          I happen to know that there are lawmakers in Australia who are wondering, aloud, why churches should be uniquely permitted to “break” employment discrimination laws, such as by not ordaining women. (Or even non-members of their churches.)

          And if such lawmakers are in a tiny minority that nobody takes seriously — which just at present they are — then let us remember that it was only last week (or so it seemed) that anyone who didn’t think the notion of “same sex marriage” was just too silly for words, was likewise in a tiny fringe minority.

          And if they were social conservatives who were concerned about the possibility, there were plenty of “gay” agitators (and their useful-idiot collaborators) who were prepared to ridicule them for being slippery-slope alarmists.

          Already, the default rule in the US is that nobody is allowed to practice their religious principles on this matter; inside the walls of their churches is the sole surviving exception to that rule.

          And from where I sit, it is clearly not a question of if anyone will try to breach those walls, but when.

          And I wouldn’t want to try to bet which way the courts will go on this. Especially not in Northern California. Or Oregon.

          • Brock Lesnar

            Hi kiwi57, I trust you’re having a great day.

            The Constitution, well-established case law and separation of church and state all protect against the type of behavior you seem convinced is just around the corner.

            kiwi57 wrote:
            “Surely you must know you are talking meaningless gobbledegook there. In what alternative universe could our church, or any church, be forced to “perform” something that didn’t exist? The fact that there are jurisdictions that have created “same sex marriage” as a legal fiction means that there will be people who want to have same sex “weddings” in church buildings; and who may feel put out if they don’t get what they want.”

            There are people everywhere have/will “feel put out if they don’t get what they want.” That’s the beauty of our Constitution and SSM, because now there will be more religious options for these people.

            Now, churches who want to perform SSM will now be allowed to. This is obviously an expansion of religious freedom and reinforces the strength of our Constitution in protecting religions and allowing them to practicing how they want.

            There is no legal scenario in which the government could or would force SSM on religions who do not want to perform SSM. To say otherwise shows a complete lack of 200 years of established case law, the Constitution and separation of church and state.

            No need to panic my friend. SSM strengthens our Church, religious freedom, separation of church and state, and the Constitution.

          • kiwi57

            Brock Lesnar: “There are people everywhere have/will ‘feel put out if they don’t get what they want.’ That’s the beauty of our Constitution and SSM, because now there will be more religious options for these people.”

            Which would be fine, if and only if “these people” showed any willingness to accept the fact that there are other options.

            But we are talking about a group of people who are even more self-centred and “entitled” than most of their generation. They have demonstrated, time and again, that they are not willing to look at other options, if they have any chance of using legal compulsion to get the option they want.

            There are, after all, plenty of florists who would happily provide flowers for a “gay wedding,” but it’s the one who isn’t comfortable doing it that they will insist on using.

            Brock Lesnar: “Now, churches who want to perform SSM will now be allowed to.”

            Just like they always could. A fact you have chosen not to address.

            Brock Lesnar: “This is obviously an expansion of religious freedom”

            To about the same boundaries it had before.

            Brock Lesnar: “No need to panic my friend. SSM strengthens our Church”

            How? You keep repeating that mantra as if merely repeating it somehow proves it.

          • Brock Lesnar

            Hi kiwi57.

            kiwi57 wrote:
            “But we are talking about a group of people who are even more self-centred and “entitled” than most of their generation. They have demonstrated, time and again, that they are not willing to look at other options, if they have any chance of using legal compulsion to get the option they want.”

            I guess I’ll have to take your word for it. I, myself, as a LDS would feel very uncomfortable making such a generalization about God’s sons and daughters.

            Also, condemning/judging a group of people in such a manner really does diminish credibility and distracts from any legitimate points you may have. Again, you’re better than this kiwi57.

            kiwi57 wrote;
            “Just like they always could. A fact you have chosen not to address.”

            kiwi57, churches in 33 states (and in Utah just a couple of weeks ago) cannot perform SSM and have the same legally recognized. This is a no-brainer. Maybe I’m not understanding your point.

            kiwi57 wrote:
            “How? You keep repeating that mantra as if merely repeating it somehow proves it.”

            It’s undisputed that the recognition of SSM expands religious freedom because there are some churches that have congregations in Utah and other states where SSM is not legal, who desire to perform same-sex wedding ceremonies, and have the same recognized, but are currently unable to do so. With SSM, these religions/churches will now be able to do so.

            When the Constitution affords and expands religious freedom to one group, all groups are strengthened and separation between church and state becomes even more solidified. The LDS Church and its ability to practice its religion unfettered is strengthened.

            It’s also important to remember that not too long ago, the LDS Church desired the same protection and equal opportunities under the law when we were a religious minority.

            Goodnight kiwi57. I’ve enjoyed discussing these issues with you. You seem like a nice man who means well and is very passionate about his position.

          • kiwi57

            Brock Lesnar: “I guess I’ll have to take your word for it. I, myself, as a LDS would feel very uncomfortable making such a generalization about God’s sons and daughters.”

            Granted that all generalisations are over-simplifications and have exceptions; in this case it actually doesn’t matter whether it’s a valid generalisation or not. There are enough individuals in that group who have shown themselves willing to sue the florist of choice to force them to comply with their wishes rather than walk two doors down the street to find one who was happy to provide the service. Which you evidently think is just wonderful.

            Brock Lesnar: “kiwi57, churches in 33 states (and in Utah just a couple of weeks ago) cannot perform SSM and have the same legally recognized. This is a no-brainer. Maybe I’m not understanding your point.”

            My point is simply that the question of whether or not their ceremonies are “legally recognized” is not actually a matter of religious freedom. They are religiously free if they are able to perform their ceremonies without government interference. Do you know of any states where they are not?

            It is a novel argument to claim that government recognition of “same sex marriage” confers greater religious freedom. The reality is that it diminishes religious freedom for those people who do not wish to be coerced into supporting it.

            Brock Lesnar: “It’s undisputed that the recognition of SSM expands religious freedom because there are some churches that have congregations in Utah and other states where SSM is not legal, who desire to perform same-sex wedding ceremonies, and have the same recognized, but are currently unable to do so. With SSM, these religions/churches will now be able to do so.”

            That’s not “undisputed” at all. It’s a sophistry. You’ve slipped in the legal recognition bit as though it was fundamental to religious freedom.

            But it is not.

            True religious freedom is the freedom to live a religion. It is not merely the freedom to believe or worship, although those things are important.

            And same sex “marriage” was never about religious freedom. It was about privileging a self-appointed elite group by fictitiously classifying their non-marital relationships as marriages.

            Brock Lesnar: “When the Constitution affords and expands religious freedom to one group, all groups are strengthened and separation between church and state becomes even more solidified.”

            That’s another pretty slogan that does not bear scrutiny. The reality is that every time a government redefines a social institution, it takes more power to itself, and away from its citizens.

            Brock Lesnar: “The LDS Church and its ability to practice its religion unfettered is strengthened.”

            Come now, Mr Lesnar. You must know that you are playing word games. By that same approach, I expect you could “prove” that expanding federal jurisdiction “strengthens” states’ rights.

            The reality is that the ability of believing Latter-day Saints to uphold their religious principles regarding the sanctity of marriage is severely compromised.

            And the devil laugheth, and his angels rejoice.

            Brock Lesnar: “It’s also important to remember that not too long ago, the LDS Church desired the same protection and equal opportunities under the law when we were a religious minority. ”

            That, of course, is false. The Saints actually desired that their marriages not be criminalised by predatory legislation.

            But then, you are probably delighted with the Edmunds-Tucker Act, too.

          • Brock Lesnar

            Hello kiwi57. It’s good hearing from you.

            kiwi57 wrote:
            “Granted that all generalisations are over-simplifications and have exceptions; in this case it actually doesn’t matter whether it’s a valid generalisation or not.”

            Then why bother to make such generalizations in the first place? What was your point in doing so?

            kiwi57 wrote:
            “Which you evidently think is just wonderful.”

            Why would I think such behavior is wonderful?

            kiwi57 wrote:
            “They are religiously free if they are able to perform their ceremonies without government interference. Do you know of any states where they are not?”

            If by “without government interference” you mean not having the same rights, privileges and recognition, then there are 33 states where this is the case. Utah was also in this same bracket until a couple of weeks ago.

            kiwi57 wrote:
            “It is a novel argument to claim that government recognition of “same sex marriage” confers greater religious freedom. The reality is that it diminishes religious freedom for those people who do not wish to be coerced into supporting it.”

            You’ve made this assertion several times without providing any evidence. Let me ask again. kiwi57, how does allowing religions who want to perform SSM and have the same recognized and acknowledged diminish anyone’s religious freedoms?

            The answer is, it doesn’t. It actually does the opposite and expands religious freedoms by allowing religions who want to perform SSM and have the same recognized and acknowledged, the religious freedom to do so.

            kiwi57 wrote:
            “The reality is that the ability of believing Latter-day Saints to uphold their religious principles regarding the sanctity of marriage is severely compromised.”

            How? You’ve made this statement several times without any supporting evidence. The reality is, once religious freedom is extended to one group, all groups are strengthened and protected under the doctrine of separation of church and state.

            kiwi57 wrote:
            “The Saints actually desired that their marriages not be criminalised by predatory legislation.But then, you are probably delighted with the Edmunds-Tucker Act, too.”

            Why would I be delighted with the Edmund’s Act? It was a terrible piece of legislation that intended to limit a certain religion from exercising its religious freedom. Much like the opponents of SSM are doing.

            It’s interesting you should bring up the Edmunds Act. It was a piece of legislation that prohibited LDS from practicing polygamy (at least in theory). Recent court decisions have made this and any other similar legislation unconstitutional.

            The Edmunds Act was bad and an infringement on religious freedom, and the courts have remedied that type of legislation. Opponents of SSM are in a similar boat with the people who proposed the Edmunds Act. Opponents of SSM are trying to prohibit certain religions (ones who desire to perform SSM and have the same recognized) from exercising and practicing their faith.

            There is very little if any difference between the proponent of the Edmunds Act and opponents of SSM. They both wanted to limit religious freedoms from certain religions.

            kiwi57, as always it’s good discussing these issues with you in a civil and professional manner. Hope you have a great day, friend

          • kiwi57

            Brock Lesnar: “If by ‘without government interference’ you mean not having the same rights, privileges and recognition, then there are 33 states where this is the case. Utah was also in this same bracket until a couple of weeks ago.”

            No, I do not. By “without government interference” I mean that nobody is going to arrest them, prosecute them, dissolve their churches as legal entities, or impose any other government sanctions.

            Which, as you know, does not happen. Anywhere.

            Any religious body, in all those 33 states, is entirely free to perform whatever ceremonies it wishes for same sex couples. Claiming that legalising same sex “marriage” somehow confers greater religious freedom is utter nonsense.

            Brock Lesnar: “You’ve made this assertion several times without providing any evidence. Let me ask again. kiwi57, how does allowing religions who want to perform SSM and have the same recognized and acknowledged diminish anyone’s religious freedoms?”

            As already explained to you, very patiently, and which you blithely ignore, it diminishes the religious freedoms of those whose religious principles do not recognise “same sex marriage,” and who wish to integrate their religious principles into their whole lives; which is what it means to live a life of integrity.

            Brock Lesnar: “The answer is, it doesn’t. It actually does the opposite and expands religious freedoms by allowing religions who want to perform SSM and have the same recognized and acknowledged, the religious freedom to do so.”

            But they’ve always had “the religious freedom to do so.” It’s an utterly specious argument to say that group A’s religious freedom depends not upon what they are free to do, but what they do that those in group B are not free to ignore.

            Brock Lesnar: “How? You’ve made this statement several times without any supporting evidence. The reality is, once religious freedom is extended to one group, all groups are strengthened and protected under the doctrine of separation of church and state.”

            How? You’ve made this statement several times without any supporting evidence. The fact that the state mandates that those who do not believe as some group A does must recognise and uphold their actions, in spite of their principled objections thereto, manifestly does not strengthen and protect anyone but group A, and imposes the will of the government upon group B.

            Brock Lesnar: “Why would I be delighted with the Edmund’s Act?”

            Because you are smugly satisfied with government interference in the religious freedoms of those who do not agree with you. Including, but not limited to, the overwhelming majority of believing Latter-day Saints who, as all truthful people frankly acknowledge, oppose “same sex marriage.”

            Brock Lesnar: “It was a terrible piece of legislation that intended to limit a certain religion from exercising its religious freedom. Much like the opponents of SSM are doing.”

            Actually it’s nothing like anything the opponents of “SSM” are doing.

            Your comparison is a clear and intentional falsehood.

            Brock Lesnar: “Opponents of SSM are trying to prohibit certain religions (ones who desire to perform SSM and have the same recognized) from exercising and practicing their faith.”

            That’s a brazen falsehood, and you clearly know it.

            Those whose “faith” coincidentally matches their basest desires have always (at least throughout your lifetime) been free to perform their parody “marriages.” Having those ceremonies “recognized” by others is not part of their religious freedom, nor does it separate church and state. As you clearly know and enthusiastically approve, legislating to force others to “recognize” their parody marriages imposes the will of the government upon those whose rather purer religious principles teach them not to defile what is sacred.

            Brock Lesnar: “There is very little if any difference between the proponent of the Edmunds Act and opponents of SSM. They both wanted to limit religious freedoms from certain religions.”

            Thank you for another brazen falsehood.

            In reality, there is absolutely no difference between the proponents of the Edmunds Act and proponents of same sex “marriage.” They both wanted to limit religious freedoms from certain religions.

  • peredehuit

    I thought it was interesting that, according to the article you linked, 53% of Americans support same sex marriages. (Although this fact doesn’t change my feelings about it. I’m against it.) I find it encouraging that many are taking about the importance of family structure in society. Prof. Carle C. Zimmerman in his book “Family and Civilization” aptly demonstrates that there are only two ways to ensure an orderly society: families or government. As one decreases one has to increase to fill the void. For example as families breakdown, government has to step in to keep things under control. Even if same sex marriages, as the article suggests, were able to rescue the institution of marriage; I don’t see how it will overcome the real issues of selfishness and entitlement that are breaking apart all marriages.

    • Jeremy Alleman

      I agree with you. If we are devaluing marrage as a culture, how long will it take SSM to become obsolete?
      If anything, it makes matters worse because the reason for allowing it is because “Two people who love each other should be able to get married”. That’s great and all, but marriage is not based on love because there are several cultures that practice arrainged marriges (sp?). Also, what happens when two people fall out of love, Should they have a no fault divorce? How do children feature into this philosophy?

      • DanielPeterson

        It’s long been striking to me how rarely children and their needs and interests are mentioned by advocates of gay “marriage.”

        I shouldn’t be surprised, I guess. We live in a “me”-focused culture and we’re racking up enormous debts that we obviously intend to leave for our children and their children to deal with.

        Who cares, right?

        • Jeremy Alleman

          I remember a discussion we had in church about “The Family” proclomation. Someone pointed out that the mother and father are charged with most of the responsibility, but the only people that were entitled to anything was the children.
          “Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity.”
          Instead of just looking for the “What’s in it for me?” from adults, what if we looked to the needs of the Children?
          As an aside, my father gave me a book entitled “Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters”, and it was very interesting (and very intimidating) to me how much young girls need a father who loves and protects them, and all the studies that back that up. As a father, I hope I can live up to the needs of my own daughters. They deserve it.

        • Lucy Mcgee

          Do you truly believe that same sex couples interested in raising kids would not mention the needs and interests of children? Really?

          • DanielPeterson

            No, I don’t.

            What your question has to do with what I said eludes me completely.

          • Lucy Mcgee

            If one assumes that the most fervent advocates of same sex marriage are same sex couples, why would you come to the conclusion that children and their needs and interests are rarely mentioned by this group? Or are you referring to some other group that rarely mentions children and their needs but who are advocates of same sex marriage?

          • DanielPeterson

            I said what I meant, and I think it was entirely clear.

            I simply don’t see arguments for redefining “marriage” paying much attention to the needs or interests of children.

          • Ryan

            I’m thinking of those two gay men who had custody of twin girls. The men eventually decided to part ways and mutually agreed to split up the twin girls between them — each would get one — before their plan was blasted by intense criticism.

            I can’t help but imagine that these men looked at other people’s children before they got those girls and thought “I want one” with little or no respect to what it actually means to have children.

            We may be entering an age when children are the new poodles.

            I don’t envy the life that may await many: conceived by anonymous sperm donation, grown in a surrogate belly, transferred into the custody of some combination of person or persons, and raised by a faceless bureaucracy — shuffled from one government dictated benchmark in life to another.

            Sad.

        • Kevin_JK

          Children are one of the PRIME reasons for allowing SSM. Many gay couples have kids. Denying SSM weakens those families just as it would with a straight couple with kids who wouldn’t be allowed to marry. Marriage strengthens couples and families and stabilizes the environment for children.

          Denying SSM therefore prevents an otherwise more stable environment from forming. Children in same-sex families have a harder time, whether you believe it’s from the inferiority of same-sex parent and/or from societal bigotry. Denying these kids the stability that the kids of opposite-sex parents have is wrong. It is anti-child.

          You may claim that opposite-sex parents are better, but even if that were true, gays will keep being parents..whether through AI/surrogates or from previous opposite-sex relationships. Therefore the bottom line issue is whether our personal distaste for homosexuality and SSM justifies OBJECTIVELY harming the kids in same-sex families by denying them the stability that marriage would provide their family

          Do SSM supporters shy away from the issue on what is best for children? Hardly. It’s one of our strongest talking points.

          Again, denying SSM objectively harms families and children. How can we claim to be family-centric while working so hard to harm families?

          • DanielPeterson

            There are those who argue, quite seriously, that SSM will harm families and children and, indeed, the institution of marriage.

            They may or may not be right, but their arguments should be seriously considered.

            That has been my principal point on this matter.

          • Kevin_JK

            As stated, opposite-sex parents may be better for kids than same-sex parents. The studies don’t support that conclusion though. Even if the studies did, it has no bearing on whether SSM should be legal or not. Gays will keep being parents whether it is legal or not. That is reality. If the reality was that only married people were allowed to have and raise kids, then the arguments of SSM opponents regarding opposite-sex parents being better for kids would have to be considered in the debate, but since that isn’t reality, their assertions are moot.

            Many people who are beyond child bearing age get married. Why are such allowed to marry but same-sex couples, who likewise can’t have kids aren’t able to marry? How are those 2 couples so different that it warrants allowing the one to marry while disallowing the other? The arguments of SSM opponents regarding opposite-sex parents being better for kids have no bearing on the above and so their assertions are again moot.

            SSM can’t harm families. It can’t harm my 33 year opposite-sex marriage nor anyone else’s. Whose family will it weaken? it will only strengthen families…those of same-sex couples. Whose kids will be objectively harmed by SSM? Obviously not the kids of same-sex couples. they will be greatly benefited. How will other kids be harmed?

            Again, the bottom line is that denying SSM OBJECTIVELY harms families and children. Keeping the ban OBJECTIVELY benefits no one. it is anti-family and anti-child.

          • tonyloaf

            Your argument is bogus on so many levels.

            “Children are one of the PRIME reasons for allowing SSM.” False. The purpose of gay marriage is to promote the social acceptance and legitimacy of homosexuality. There have been innumerable studies done that establish that children do best who live in homes with their happily married biological parents. Government is, or should be, in the business of promoting what is best for society, in particular children, not what is second, third or fourth best.

            “Denying SSM weakens those families just as it would with a straight couple with kids who wouldn’t be allowed to marry.” You base this statement on the false premise
            that gays aren’t allowed to marry. Gays have always been allowed to marry on the same basis as anyone else. Gays, with children, can and should marry someone of the opposite sex and “strengthen their family.”

            “Marriage strengthens couples and families and stabilizes the environment for children.” True. Marriage (i.e. the heterosexual union, which is what marriage is in nature and has been in society for thousands of years) is the origin and foundation of civilization.

            “Denying SSM therefore prevents an otherwise more stable environment from forming.” No, it doesn’t prevent any such thing. Gays are perfectly capable of marrying
            someone of the opposite sex and forming stable environments for raising children.

            “Children in same-sex families have a harder time, whether you believe it’s from the inferiority of same-sex parent and/or from societal bigotry.” All the more reason for gays to marry someone of the opposite sex and give their children a chance to have a less hard life.

            “Denying these kids the stability that the kids of opposite-sex parents have is wrong” Again you base your statement on a false premise. It is not denial of SSM that deprives children of stability, but the refusal of gays to marry someone of the opposite sex and form an enduring heterosexual union. It is the refusal of gays to enter into those relationships which studies have shown to be the best environment to raise children; that is what’s wrong.

            “You may claim that opposite-sex parents are better…” There is no question in my mind that gays are capable
            of being wonderful parents. Which is all the more reason why they should get married (heterosexually) and have and raise children. Opposite sex parents is in fact the better environment in which to raise children.

            “Therefore the bottom line issue is whether our personal
            distaste for homosexuality and SSM justifies OBJECTIVELY harming the kids in same-sex families by denying them the stability that marriage would provide
            their family.” This statement is based on three false assumptions: 1) Personal distaste for homosexuality or SSM is not the issue and has nothing to do with whether society should recognize SSM. 2) I don’t know of any data that shows objectively, or otherwise, that denial of SSM
            harms children. 3) It is not the denial of SSM that harms children, but the choices of their parents who refuse stable traditional marriage and family life.

          • Kevin_JK

            KJK
            “Children are one of the PRIME reasons for allowing SSM.”
            TL
            False. The purpose of gay marriage is to promote the social acceptance and legitimacy of homosexuality.
            KJK
            Only if you believe the radical religious right. It’s really about equal civil rights.

            TL
            There have been innumerable studies done that establish that children do best who live in homes with their happily married biological parents.
            KJK
            Like the totally debunked Regnerus study?

            TL
            Government is, or should be, in the business of promoting what is best for society, in particular children, not what is second, third or fourth best.
            KJK
            The D&C says that government is to maximize freedom in order to maximize agency. The divinely inspired Constitution enshrines equal protection and equality. Opposing Civil SSM betrays those principles.

            KJK
            “Denying SSM weakens those families just as it would with a straight couple with kids who wouldn’t be allowed to marry.”
            TL
            You base this statement on the false premise that gays aren’t allowed to marry. Gays have always been allowed to marry on the same basis as anyone else.
            KJK
            Just as Whites and Blacks were “allowed to marry on the same basis as anyone else” in the South 60 years ago? Both were treated equally under the law since both were required to marry within their own race. Why should the Lovings complain?

            TL
            Gays, with children, can and should marry someone of the opposite sex and “strengthen their family.”
            KJK
            That’s what the Church used to advise gays…until they saw how disastrous it was with families and marriages broken apart. Your advice is the exact opposite of how to strengthen a family.

          • Kevin_JK

            KJK
            “Marriage strengthens couples and families and stabilizes the environment for children.”
            TL
            True. Marriage (i.e. the heterosexual union, which is what marriage is in nature and has been in society for thousands of years) is the origin and foundation of civilization.
            KJK
            Agreed, but since gays make up about 2-3% of the population and an even smaller number of marriages and parents, heterosexual marriage will in no way be endangered by SSM.

            KJK“Denying SSM therefore prevents an otherwise more stable environment from forming.”
            TL
            No, it doesn’t prevent any such thing. Gays are perfectly capable of marrying someone of the opposite sex and forming stable environments for raising children.
            KJK
            The Church, as stated discovered that that advice was anathema to forming stable environments for raising children and is why the Church no longer counsels gays to marry people of the opposite sex.

            KJK
            “Children in same-sex families have a harder time, whether you believe it’s from the inferiority of same-sex parent and/or from societal bigotry.”
            TL
            All the more reason for gays to marry someone of the opposite sex and give their children a chance to have a less hard life.
            KJK
            See above.

          • Kevin_JK

            KJK
            “Denying these kids the stability that the kids of opposite-sex parents have is wrong”
            TL
            Again you base your statement on a false premise. It is not denial of SSM that deprives children of stability, but the refusal of gays to marry someone of the opposite sex and form an enduring heterosexual union. It is the refusal of gays to enter into those relationships which studies have shown to be the best environment to raise children; that is what’s wrong.
            KJK
            As stated, this notion is anathema to forming stable environments for raising children and is why the Church no longer counsels gays to marry people of the opposite sex.

            KJK
            “You may claim that opposite-sex parents are better…”
            TL
            There is no question in my mind that gays are capable
            of being wonderful parents. Which is all the more reason why they should get married (heterosexually) and have and raise children. Opposite sex parents is in fact the better environment in which to raise children.
            KJK
            See above.

            KJK
            “Therefore the bottom line issue is whether our personal distaste for homosexuality and SSM justifies OBJECTIVELY harming the kids in same-sex families by denying them the stability that marriage would provide their family.”
            TL
            This statement is based on three false assumptions: 1) Personal distaste for homosexuality or SSM is not the issue and has nothing to do with whether society should recognize SSM.
            KJK
            Sure it is…especially when we allow straights who are passed child bearing age to marry, buy disallow gays of the same age to marry.

            TL
            2) I don’t know of any data that shows objectively, or otherwise, that denial of SSM harms children.
            KJK
            That’s easy, think of all of the benefits that the kids of married couples have that the kids whose parents are just shacking up don’t have. These kids have even more benefits and protections than the kids in same-sex families have since they are still guaranteed child support and visitation in case of divorce. They also can be placed on the working parents insurance. That’s not the case if the working same-sex parent is not the kid’s legal parent.

            TL
            3) It is not the denial of SSM that harms children, but the choices of their parents who refuse stable traditional marriage and family life.
            KJK
            See above.

  • Lucy Mcgee

    From the cited article, E.J. Dionne: Can gays help save marriage?

    “One person who hopes we will take this path is David Blankenhorn,
    president of the Institute for American Values. Once a strong foe of
    same-sex marriage, Blankenhorn has dropped his opposition and urged that
    we turn our attention instead to a disturbing development: Well-off
    Americans are far more likely to be in stable marriages than the less
    affluent. This creates a damaging social cycle — economic inequality is
    breeding family instability even as family instability is deepening
    economic inequality.”

    And if it means that a “Marriage and Religious Freedom Act” becomes law, then great. Unfortunately, this will doubtfully not calm the hate filled rhetoric espoused by people like Rick Scarborough, James Dobson, Pat Robertson, Gordon Klingenschmitt, Bryan Fischer and Brian Brown, but it is a very good start.

    • kiwi57

      Nor will it “calm the hate filled rhetoric” of those who maliciously demonise their ideological opponents as haters.

      However, it will give them a new “cause” as they set out to circumvent, overturn or just plain defy the legislation.

  • RaymondSwenson

    America has, for close to a century, a well-established tradition of recognizing that religion-based conscience trumps other legal obligations in the case of pacifists who refuse to serve in military combat roles. Though the Draft has ended, there are still Conscientious Objectors who are released from military service after their conversion to a pacifist religious belief. If we can do this in the important area of defending the nation against its enemies, we should be able to use the same kind of standard to excuse people who have moral objections to direct participation in “same sex marriage” ceremonies.
    The same sex couples are hardly lacking in the ability to find other providers who can make wedding cakes, special flower arrangements, specialty clothing, decorate the venue, or take pictures and videos for money. The cost to them of honoring the conscience of people with religious qualms is minimal. Besides, when personal initiative and creativity are involved, who would honestly want someone participating in their wedding ceremony who is being coerced by the police? Do you want such conscientious objectors to do a mediocre job, and louse up a special occasion, just so you can sue them afterward for breach of contract? Wouldn’t you rather hire someone who wants to do their best for you?

  • Chris365

    Why? The Marriage and Religious Freedom Act would simply be overturned because the only reason for a religion to not marry gays is because they are bigoted (as we are often reminded, in the courts of all places). If the courts can prevent a religion from human sacrifice, which violates constitutional and natural rights, surely the courts will prevent a religion from discriminating on sexuality, which will be found to violate constitutional rights.

    I should note, I don’t agree with this position I outlined above… The situation reminds me of those calling for a constitutional convention. What’s the point? We already don’t follow the constitution as written. Re-writing it will only empower via force of law those who want to push the constitution to new extremes.

    If I sound pessimistic, I am, because we already pass laws we don’t follow, ignore and overturn prior laws undemoctraically, etc. etc. It should be clear that one side is in it to win, and the other side assumes we can still play by the rules.

    I’m not advocating no longer playing by the rules, but I feel a little hopeless that legislation will ever make a difference when the President himself will demonize his opposition for advance XYZ, with regards to a law he signed which prohibits XYZ and then go on himself to decree XYZ in contravention of his own law.

    John Adams once said, we are a government of laws and not of men. We’ve departed very far from that founding principle.

  • Guy Briggs

    “… is urgently necessary …”

    What would be the point?

    Utah learned a long time ago that amendments to the Constitution do not necessarily mean what they say. If I remember correctly, the vote in Reynolds was nine-zip against.

    Constitutional amendments at the state level are beeing struck down – most recently summarily, and without bothering to follow precedent, by a single activist Judge who didn’t happen to like the amendment.

    Nothing in Lee’s proposed amendment (or a similar one being introduced in Utah by Anderegg) that the Judiciary is going to like any more than those.

    Seems to me we’ve gotten to the point where amending our Constitution is a colossal waste of time and money.


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