Marrying and Giving in Marriage

May 18, 2004 | 34 comments

In the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark. When I was young this struck me as incongruous. I thought marriage was a good thing, but these verses seemed to associate it with the unrighteousness of times when the wickedness of men had become great in the earth; and every man was lifted up in the imagination of the thoughts of his heart, being only evil continually. Why would marriage be a feature of fallen times? Why would people keep marrying when they were otherwise setting themselves up against God?

Now that I am grown, I find less incongruity. Many marriage ceremonies do not create a matrimony. Some are the portal to vicious personal domination and violent rages. Others merely punctuate an amorphous sexual relationship that begins with shacking up, slides through periods of consensual infidelity or covert betrayal, and ends, if that’s the word, in no-fault divorce. Marriage ceremonies and marriages of the first or second type are in no way incongruous with a general decline into sin. After yesterday we can add Massachussetts Marriage to the list.

The marriage debate has subsided for a time. Massachussetts Marriage will make the marriage debate again go public. We saints have a role to play in fighting sins, this sin among them, and so we ought to participate in the debate. We ought to know the good arguments for why marriage should remain a real commitment between a man and a woman and for why the community ought not to legally encourage other arrangements. To that end, I’m posting a summary of Eve Tushnet’s remarks when she came out to address the St. Thomas More Society here at Notre Dame.

[Note: what I'm calling Massachussets Marriage she calls SSM. Others call it gay 'marriage', with or without the quotes, or homogamy.]

People get bogged-down thinking about SSM because they start by asking what the the definition of marriage is. These definitions are always partial. A better starting question is Why have the institution of marriage at all, and why should society care?

Marriage does more for society than even very close friendships. Marriage provides a responsible vision of manhood and links men’s affection, time, and money to their children (our 30-year experiment in unmarried fathers is a failure–see Jenifer Hamer, What It Means to Be A Daddy–). Marriage mediates the sexual differences between men and women and provides a way for gender differences [sex differences, for all you academics out there]; women without fathers tend to be more promiscuous because they haven’t seen that men can be asked to stay. Finally, society has an overwhelming interest in children (who are unconsenting and unresponsible parties, so even libertarians can be pro-marriage). Marriage is the best and least intrusive way of protecting children. Children need to grow up in a stable home with a mother and a father. Historical gay roles didn’t include marriage probably because gay relationships didn’t serve these ends, especially the latter.

In the last half-century, irresponsible heterosexuals have undermined these purposes of marriage and thus prepared the way for SSM. They’ve done it by trying to define marriage as about adults, love, and freedom–to the exclusion of children and duty. They’ve also done it by trying to treat men/women differences as cosmetic and their roles as fungible. Both of these new ways of thinking led to easy divorce, the exaltation of single parenthood, and many other marriage ills. Ultimately, however, treating marriage as just about love between fungible adults removes any real societal justification for the institution [ed.-to see why, read Orson Scott Card'sthe Marriage of True Minds ]. Society is now starting to recognize this; the marriage movement is poised to reverse some of the recent bad trends in law and stigma.

Unfortunately, SSM is a product of the bad heterosexual thinking that got marriage into trouble in the first place. Even worse, SSM wants to redefine the central case of what a marriage is. Divorce and single parenting, bad as their acceptance is, are not seen as ‘just as good.’ But SSM wants to be seen as ‘just as good.’ Despite its rhetoric, SSM is a demand that the government get in our bedrooms and legitimize our relationships. SSM will detrimentally affect marriage because it models marriage as primarily about love and affection between two adults. People live by models and roles, so SSM would only not affect marriage if viewed as something entirely different. But it won’t be, because gays themselves want to be seen as the same.

SSM advocates often argue that if children really are the societal reason for recognizing marriage, then we ought to forbid old people, and couples not planning on having children, and apparently infertile couples, to marry. However, these relationships can model the behavior that promotes good childrearing–fidelity between a man and a woman. They also provide a safe setting for accidental or unintended pregnancies. In contrast, gays cannot have children accidentally or model fertile unions. [Ed.-As Mormons, of course, we know that every union willing to be fertile can become so in the Lord's day, and every union not so willing will be dissolved.]

These were the notes I took from the discussion we had with her. Blame my notes and the format, not Miss Tushnet, for any problems in them.

Here’s the take-home argument I got from our discussion:
Society’s interest in marriage is promoting a financially and emotionally stable environment for the raising of children. Modern ideas that emphasize marriage as a way of recognizing a loving relationship between adults are destructive of its rationale. SSM is the acme of these unfortunate modern ideas. SSM marriage is not about children but about adults, which is why its proponents have had such a hard time explaining why legal recognition should be extended to gay partners but not to other adult relationships. Unlike couples, gay partners cannot have children. Furthermore, the push for SSM has never been about protecting the children that gays have artificially conceived and brought into their home; it has been about recognizing the equality of adult relationships. For these reasons, SSM will reinforce the model of marriage-as-adult-relationship that has so damaged the institution. Further, to the extent that gay partners do try to adopt/artificially inseminate/embryo implant/etc. their parenthood is providing a model of marriage in which the sex of the parents is irrelevant. This further damages the mission of marriage of making men into fathers.

Similar and admittedly better developed arguments can be found here, and here (collecting links). Jeff Jacoby’s article today is also worth checking out.

Related T&S Posts:
Of course any number of additional arguments can and have been made. Here are links to some the previous discussions in which we’ve explored them. Some of these posts are pro-SSM, but digesting their arguments is useful. If I’m missing anything, let me know.

Here’s a post arguing that Church silence on SSM isn’t approval: Not by my Voice or the Voice of my Servants [I posted this list of links before the Church announced its support for a traditional marriage amendment. Obviously this first link is now outdated, though it has proven correct. The Church's initial silence on gay marriage was not approval.]

Here are two related posts on the justice of excluding some gays and some philanders from the benefits of marriage if they’re constitutionally incapable of heterosexual monogamy: Polyamory and Eat, Drink, and Fling

Here’s a major post with major comments not on legalizing SSM at all, but on LDS doctrinal reasons for thinking that eternal unions must be fertile (i.e., heterosexual) unions: The Real Issue

Here’s a post on John Derbyshire’s views that homophobia has just as much historical and biological pedigree as does homosexuality: Yes, kind sir, I was made that way.
Of interest, Mr. Derbyshire has also speculated that homosexuality will end sometime in the next 100 years as genetic advances allow us to choose human nature (scroll down). [Update: Here's a related article, on the ways technology promises to up end our debates on sex. The fact that parents may be able to hormonally prevent their children from becoming homosexual is the jumping off point]

A post arguing that the Church’s explicit political positions don’t reflect God’s political priorities: Figuring Out What God Thinks

A major but inconclusive post on how the courts’ involvement with SSM has often confused arguments over SSM with arguments over the proper roles of the judiciary and of the gederal government: Obligatory Semi-Weekly Times & Seasons Homosexuality and Same-Sex Marriage Post, #13 (Yes, I’ve Counted)

A post arguing that gay marriage will not have the consequences predicted for it by analogy to the consequences predicted for interracial marriage, with major comments: State v. Bell and Changes to Marriage

A slippery-slope argument that legitimizing gay marriage is a step towards delegitimizing faiths that don’t embrace homosexuality: Turning BYU into Bob Jones.

A post with major comments on the propriety of legislating moral views into marriage law: Legislative Judgments of Morality and here’s a bunch of follow up links (3rd paragraph from the bottom).

Here’s a major post on what we mean when we talk about SSM threatening the moral fabric: Mormons and Lord Devlin

A post whose title says it all, with major comments defying categorization: The Importance of Gay Marriage to Conservatives

Here’s a post rebutting the view that homosexuality doesn’t occur in nature: Gay Penguins in the New York Times

A meandering discussion, entirely in the comments: Mitt Romney on Marriage

On the lack of good faith of some anti-SSM groups: AFA “Poll” and (Dis)Honesty?

A post arguing that gay relationships are as likely to be emotionally committed and sexually faithful as heterosexual relationships, and that marriage is about more than having children, with major comments: Perception of Gays

A tongue-in-cheek major post whose title says it all, with major comments: The Conservative Case for Group and Sibling Marriage

A major post with major comments on the ‘naturalness’ of homosexuality being irrelevant to the debate over its morality and the morality of SSM: Being Born That Way is Meaningless

A post suggesting that legality and morality are closely tied in the public mind, so that a legal victory for SSM will entail a public acceptance of homosexuality’s morality, with major comments: Multi-Moral America

A post on why SSM analogies to Mormon polygamy don’t work, with massive, major commentary: Mormons, Polygamy and Gay Marriage

A major post suggesting that gay marriage will actually strengthen the battered institution of marriage: Gay Marriage — David Brooks and the Conservative Case

Two major and unusually thoughtful post on whether Mormons should use natural law arguments against SSM: My (Mormon) Hang-up with (Opposition to) Gay Marriage and href=””>A Whole Lot More on Natural Law

A major post arguing, inter alia, that Mormons ought not to oppose SSM, because their opposition will strengthen the hands of the Christian Right, which is fundamentally opposed to Mormonism: Should Mormons consider the “Christian Right” as friends?

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34 Responses to Marrying and Giving in Marriage

  1. D. Fletcher on May 18, 2004 at 2:49 pm

    “They punctuate an amorphous bodily relationship that begins with shacking up, slides through periods of consensual infidelity or covert betrayal, and ends, if that’s the word, in no-fault divorce. These kinds of marriages are in no way incongruous. After yesterday we can add Massachussetts Marriage to the list.”

    I can’t tell you how mean-spirited and impossibly wrong I find this statement.

  2. Gary Cooper on May 18, 2004 at 2:57 pm

    D. Fletcher,

    Ummm…Could you elaborate on that last statement? “Mean-sprited” and “impossibly wrong”? Adam was accurately describing what all too many marriages are today, including a great many of the marriages of my siblings, parents and other family members. How was his statement wrong?

  3. D. Fletcher on May 18, 2004 at 3:03 pm

    Adding Massachusetts Marriage to the list of “bad” marriages. As if the government should only support “good” marriages. The government makes no judgment (nor should it).

    And why is it assumed by Adam that Massachusetts Marriages will be, by definition, bad and doomed?

    I’m a little too upset by this to be more eloquent. Sorry.

  4. Gary Cooper on May 18, 2004 at 3:34 pm


    I think your reference to “marrying and giving in marriage” is interesting, especially in light of the Book of Moses account about the “sons of men” bragging to Noah about how they had married his daughters, as if this somehow gave legitimacy to their wickedness. It couldn’t, and likewise even if SSM were approved throughout the land, it could never give legitimacy to homosexuality, nor bring happiness to its practice.

    D. Fletcher, I think Adam assumes that Massachusetts Marriage will be “bad and doomed” because, from an his particular LDS perspective, which in this case I share, “marriage” cannot render “right” and “happy”, in any *ultimate* sense, what is in fact a set of behaviors that is spiritually destructive. He could just have easily said that “people getting married heterosexually, just to have “legal sex”, is bad and doomed, and for the same reasons.

    With regard to government “making a decision” about what is a “good” marriage, well, government does this all the time. We expect it to, especially in a republic where we have a say as to who our leaders will be, and hence what our laws will be. We have the institution of mariage, and we have defined what it is, and we clearly have defined what a “bad” marriage is, since we countenance divorce and annulments. The problem is, that since our society has turned its back on God, basic institutions now falter, and the call for SSM is a symptom of this, for the reasons he stated.

    I’m certain that he didn’t mean to offend, but this brings up a point. I’ve noticed that a great many people who argue in favor of SSM, insist on marking the parameters of the debate with emotional responses that seem to hinge on “being offended” by almost any reason religious people give for opposing SSM. Your response was quite tame compared to a great many I’ve encountered elsewhere, such as SSM advocates being “offended” because:

    1. opponents state that homosexual sex is “sinful”

    2. that marriage between man and woman is “instituted of God”

    3. that the American legal and constitutional system was founded on the supposition that the God of the Bible is real, and that men are accountable to Him for the laws they make

    4. that this same Bible condemns homosexual activity

    5. that SSM will degrade the value and viability of marriage itself

    etc., etc. I could go on, but my point is that it’s reaching a point that almost any *reason* opponents to SSM give “offends” its proponents, so that rather than debate the issue on logic, etc., SSM proponents use emotion to attempt to dominate the discussion. This is a very effective device, but that doesn’t make it right or fair. Can we please discuss issues like this without getting offended so easily? Kaimi’s reiteration of the rules of debate here at T&S a few days ago would seem to properly outline the bounds of discussion here, so if we all stay in those bounds, can we avoid getting offended just because someone else states their case honestly?

  5. Julie in Austin on May 18, 2004 at 3:40 pm

    I think we have a rule around here that all discussions should eventually veer toward the topic of SSM, but I’m going to veer away:

    I agree about the societal benefits of hetero marriage. What I am wondering is: where is the lobby, coalition, pressure group, whatever you want to call it, that is working to make more hetero marriages fit the ideal (i.e., no divorce, involved parents, fidelity, etc.)?

    It seems to me that we have pretty much written off maintaining or improving hetero marriages. (Obviously, I am talking about society at large, not the Church). I am just wondering why there seems to be great effort to stop/end SSM based on the benefits of hetero marriage, but basically no effort to improve hetero marriages so they can fulfill the ideal. Thoughts?

  6. Gary Cooper on May 18, 2004 at 3:47 pm

    Let me add something to what I just said, to clarify. When religious people give religious reasons for opposing SSM, many proponents of SSM say they are “offended” because religious reasons are “irrational”, or at least beyond the realm of reason, and hence are not appropriate to debate. The problem is that this basically tells millions of people that they are essentially irrelevant to any political debate on the society they live in and raise their children in, unless they can bring reasons to the table that completely agnostic. This is in the face of the fact that founding of our nation and its political institutions was by men who for the most part were deeply religious (though some were deists or at least did not warm to religious *establishments*, though they were religious privately. One doesn’t have to agree with the religious reasons another person has for their political views, but to demand that another not state them, such as being offended because another believes that SSM will would have many of the same problems that bad heterosexual marriages do, is unfair, especially here at T&S, which by definition is a blog for religious people of a certain persuasion (LDS).

  7. Aaron Brown on May 18, 2004 at 3:47 pm

    Presumably, when Adam adds “Massachusetts Marriages” to “the list,” he adds them to the list of marriages which are not “incongruous” with the “eating and drinking” (i.e. hedonistic frivolity) of Genesis. Though obviously a perjorative reference to SSM, I didn’t read him as necessarily analogizing all gay marriages to heterosexual unions characterized by “consensual infidelity or covert betrayal.”

    But then again, maybe that is what Adam was trying to do. He’ll have to say.

    Aaron B

  8. Gary Cooper on May 18, 2004 at 3:54 pm


    Actually, there is a movement to improve hetero marriage, and its been around for some time. You see it in the legal push for “covenant marriage” (which was recently approved here in Oklahoma), the PromiseKeepers moovement (which concentrates on making men better husbands and fathers), etc. There is increasing discussion on the political Right about how and whether to move away from no-fault divorce towards some system of having to show cause in court for divorce, etc.

  9. D. Fletcher on May 18, 2004 at 3:55 pm

    Sorry I didn’t respond more rationally to the original post. I respect Kaimi’s terms, and it won’t happen again.

    The government doesn’t judge marriages before they’ve happened, with the possible exception of age of consent. The government doesn’t say, “you’re too tall and he’s too stupid… it will never work, is doomed to cost the taxpayers much money in the end, and therefore, legal marriage license denied.”

    The government also does not say, “we think the two of you will be bad parents, and we don’t want to end up supporting the children you produce and toss aside,” etc. Marriage (at the outset) is hopeful, in every case.

    Even if one believes that homosexuality is detrimental to one’s spiritual well-being, it doesn’t necessarily follow that homosexuals couldn’t make good partners and have perfectly good, long-lasting marriages.

  10. Nate Oman on May 18, 2004 at 4:20 pm

    D.: Actually, traditionally government has been rather involved in policing the boundaries of marriage. For example, one couldn’t contract legal marriages with those within a certain degree of consanguinity (frequently far beyond what you would think of as incestuous), one couldn’t contract bigamous marriages, one couldn’t contract marriages with sunset provisions (interestingly, you can do thus under shia’ interpretations of shar’ia and my understanding is that many Shi’ite muslims marry for 99 years, mainly as a way of sticking it to sunnis, who regard such marriages as immoral), for quite a while one couldn’t contract marriages that altered the normal distribution of marital property on divorce (ie no prenupts), etc.

    As you point out, the state has not generally policed the fitness of the particular parties to a marriage, but it has been quite active in other ways. Indeed, it is the government’s role in policing and defining the boundaries of marriage that differentiate marriage as a legal status from a simple contract.

  11. chad too on May 18, 2004 at 4:23 pm

    I’m going to side with D. Fletcher on this one. I find arguments against gay marriage that assume such relationships could never be happy or fulfilling to be specious from the start. Not in a wickedness-never-was-happiness sort of a way, but rather because the government makes no requirement of heterosexuals that their marriages be strong, fruitful, lengthy, happy, or otherwise (thank you Britney Spears). Heterosexuals don’t even have to live together to be linked by civil marriage.

    The government of Nevada passed no moral judgment on me nor my wife when we chose to get married (LV temple). We were not required to show evidence that our linking would be positive for society. We didn’t have to prove that we would provide another generation of taxpayers (good thing too, infertility can be a real bummer that way).

    Since we as heterosexuals weren’t burdened by such things, I don’t have any problem with homosexuals demanding equal treatment under the law.

    And if this has already been hashed elsewhere on this site, I’m sorry. I’m newish here.

  12. D. Fletcher on May 18, 2004 at 4:29 pm


    The government does set some boundaries for marriage, but I don’t think possible emotional fulfillment (or lack of same) has ever been a boundary. The boundaries seem to be biologically-based, which could be a legitimate reason to argue against gay marriage.

    But arguing that gay marriage by definition is bad and doomed, and therefore should be prevented, is indeed a poor argument. I, of course, would not make a very good lawyer.


  13. lyle on May 18, 2004 at 4:32 pm

    Adam: Thanks. This post makes a great contribution to the Restored Gospel’s fight, whether successful or not, to preserve the legitimacy & strength of eternal marriage.

    As one poster here recently recognized the new “True to the Faith” book, I thought a few quotes from it might be helpful for those who can’t decide whether to follow God’s word or the philosophies of men.

    “In the world today, many people dismiss & even mock marriage & the family. Amid such fonusing and destructive voice, the First Presidency & Quroum of the Twelve apostles provide the consistent voice of truth. They ‘solemnly proclaim that marraige between a man and a a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central ot the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His Children.’” p.97

    “Like other violations of the law of chastity, homosexual activity is a serious sin. It is contrary to the purposes of human sexuality. It distorts loving relationships & prevents people from receiving the blessings that can be found in family life & the saving ordinances of the gospel.” p. 31

    I’m going to take a stab in the “light” here & predict that this issue will generally follow the socio-political path of abortion. Some LDS folks will say homosexuality is immoral, but will support legalization & Massachusetss marriages. Most LDS folks will condemn MM & apply the counsel given by God & his Restored Gospel regarding the duty of members of his Kingdom.

    quoting from the Abortion heading, p. 4:

    “Members of The church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints must not submit to, perofrm, encourage, pay for, or arrange for an abortion if you encourage an abortion in any way, you may be subject to Church discipline.”

    Now…if only more of us would recognize that voting is only one of many ways to “encourage…in any way” both Abortion, homosexuality & MMS.

    Oh…and a belated thanks to Adam for the ____th SSM/MM post here at T&S and in the Bloggernacle.

  14. Russell Arben Fox on May 18, 2004 at 4:58 pm

    Adam, you have rendered yeoman’s service to us all in linking all of T&S’s SSM-related posts here in one spot; thank you. And thanks for the brief commentary attached to each.

    Julie, ditto what Gary said. I, for one, will happily admit that a successful effort to repair or at least moderate the damage which no-fault divorce, Las Vegas-style weddings, the collapse of the social taboo against out-of-wedlock births, etc., etc. has wrecked on our society would likely have far more and far more important consequences than any prohibition of recognition of same-sex marriages could have. But that doesn’t excuse us from figuring out what to do with the present struggle.

    It’s not an easy struggle for me. Just this morning, as Melissa and I were entering our local polling station to vote in Arkansas’s primary elections, a couple of women approached us in the parking lot, asking if we would sign a petition supporting the Arkansas Marriage Amendment. Arkansas already has legislation on the books prohibiting the recognition of same-sex marriage, but for a lot of the same reasons which are motivating similar efforts around the country, proponents of the amendment believe that such statutes are unlikely to survive without constitutional backing. Melissa signed without hesitation. I’ve talked about my reluctance to go the constitutional route with this issue before, especially given the sort of arguments usually made in favor of such. But after thinking a bit, I signed as well–it’s the sort of thing which ought to be on the ballot, if nothing else.

  15. D. Fletcher on May 18, 2004 at 5:05 pm

    Surprising even myself, here’s a question: am I the only person in the whole bloggernacle that is for gay marriage?

  16. Nate Oman on May 18, 2004 at 5:10 pm

    D.: I think that his highly unlikely…

  17. Kingsley on May 18, 2004 at 5:16 pm

    D.: What do you mean by “for”? You’re actively rooting for it, you’re supporting it pragmatically, morally, you support it but caveat caveat, etc.?

  18. lyle on May 18, 2004 at 5:29 pm

    we could always take a straw poll (here are some possible positions, feel free to create your own):

    1. in Favor of/Votes/Advocates for 100% legal homosexuality, gay marriage, etc.
    2. F/V/A of letting the public vote on the issue.
    3. F/V/A of calling this a constitutional issue requiring judges to decide.
    4. F/V/A a constitutional amendment to make gay marriage “illegal.”
    5. F/V/A a constitutional amendment to make gay marriage “legal.”
    6. F/V/A as an issue to be left to individual states.
    7. F/V/A never discussing the issue & accepting that regardless of whether right/wrong, it is a lost cause & we might as well accept it.
    8. F/V/A of discussing the issue & accepting that regardless of whether a lost cause it is wrong morally & legally, and make it a litmus test issue.

  19. Adam Greenwood on May 18, 2004 at 5:30 pm

    Mr. Fletcher:
    Read through any of our previous posts with major comments and you’ll realize that You’re Not Alone (cue music). Read through the rest of this comment and you’ll realize that I didn’t take any offense from your previous remarks. I think they were wrong, but not offensive.

    I did not intend to assert definitively that all SSMs are open relationships that will end in divorce (though I would be very surprised if, even in the future, they didn’t almost entirely begin with shacking up. I’m not holding my breath for the gay abstinence campaign). That said, I am inclined to believe that at least male SSMs are more likely to be so than most marriages. Neither did I intend to assert definitively that most SSMs will result in unhappy unions, though again I suspect that SSMs are more likely to be so than most marriages are. In the short term (read: in this life) I could be wrong. Rather, I’m saying that like open marriages, or marriages taken so lightly that easy divorce seems appropriate, SSMs are a symptom of the time–humanity caught up in the imagination and wilfullness of its heart.

    May I join the chorus that says hurrah for ending Las Vegas weddings and Las Vegas divorce, and hurrah for reinstating the stigma for adultery and out-of-wedlock birth? If, mirabile dictu, the Federal Marriage Amendment were to pass, I believe it would give a big shot in the arm to other efforts to shore up marriage.

  20. D. Fletcher on May 18, 2004 at 5:33 pm

    Caveat? Sorry, I don’t know what you mean.

    I support it without reservation, and I’m truly surprised that it wasn’t merely accepted with a “ho hum” my most of the population. There seems to be some misunderstanding that accepting gay marriage is a tacit approval of homosexuality. Even gays think this is the case.

    Why not let anybody of age marry that wants to? I can only think of one case (incest) where I would set a boundary. What harm does gay marriage do to regular old heterosexual marriage? How will it harm families? Will the government lose a lot of valuable money in single-taxpayer taxes? (Very little.) Seriously, why is it wrong (without taking a moral viewpoint)?

    I’m very surprised that the Church wouldn’t have encouraged gay people to marry, if only to attach a little commitment and morality to traditionally “free” gay relationships.

    Something about Adam’s post: the suggestion that homosexuality is bad, and we wouldn’t want “bad” people consorting with other bad people, because that would just make things twice as bad.

    If you remove any suggestion of a “moral” perspective, why wouldn’t everybody see the positive value in gay marriage?

    P.S. I didn’t even consider this until a few years ago when my own father, a Patriarch, came to me with the suggestion that he thought gay marriage was a good idea, and should be promoted (he had read Andrew Sullivan’s book). He’s right — it is a good idea, good for everybody, and bad for… nobody.

  21. lyle on May 18, 2004 at 5:40 pm

    D has a great point, implicit, in his last post: if SSM/MM becomes a point for hatred/lack of charity towards other individuals (or divides the Church & leads some into apostacy)…

    that would be the real sin; i.e. failing to find a way to love others unconditionally while not accepting/promoting their choices.

    of course…that is the challenge for everyone on just about every issue, isn’t it? whether a president, a dictator, or a family member?

  22. Chad too on May 18, 2004 at 5:41 pm

    Color me “F/V/A of calling this a constitutional issue requiring judges to decide.”

    Adam says: “If, mirabile dictu, the Federal Marriage Amendment were to pass, I believe it would give a big shot in the arm to other efforts to shore up marriage.”
    There’s an underlying assumption here that I think should be addressed before venturing into a discussion of “rightness” and “wrongness.” How, exactly, is a civil heterosexual marriage threatened by civil homosexual one? Instead of assuming de facto that there is a threat, I’d like to hear articulated what that threat is before making any further value judgments.

    And to address the counterpoint, how does withholding civil marriage from gays shore up civil heterosexual marriage?

    I think these are fair questions to ask.

  23. Kaimi on May 18, 2004 at 5:47 pm


    We’ve had a number of extended conversations (over twenty, with over a thousand comments made) on the blog about gay marriage. (See Adam’s update above, which is a great collection.)

    I, for one, am not sure that nationwide institution of gay marriage is required by the Constitution — i.e., I don’t think that a federalization of Goodridge is proper — but I’m generally in favor of state-by-state or city-by-city determinations (judicial or legislative), which would likely result in some jurisdictions allowing for gay marriage and others ruling against it.

  24. Adam Greenwood on May 18, 2004 at 5:49 pm

    1. If everyone, even gays, thinks legalizing gay marriage is tacit approval of homosexuality, then it is.

    2. I’m very surprised that you’re surprised. Having gays marry doesn’t end the immorality, it just concentrates it.

    3. Why particularly do you feel that we Mormons ought to remove any suggestion of a moral perspective? I suggest this removal is neither possible nor desirable.

    4. As to your characterization of my post–”the suggestion that homosexuality is bad, and we wouldn’t want ‘bad’ people consorting with other bad people, because that would just make things twice as bad”–I am at a loss. I had wondered why you couldn’t imagine any possible arguments against SSM in the comments to a post containing one such argument, but if this is what you understood of the post your inability becomes more explicable.

  25. chad too on May 18, 2004 at 5:51 pm

    lyle says: “Now…if only more of us would recognize that voting is only one of many ways to “encourage…in any way” both Abortion, homosexuality & MMS.”

    This line of thinking really bothers me. Taken to the extreme, it implies that Heavenly Father should somehow be responsible for our sins because after all, it was His plan that allowed us to choose between good and evil and by allowing us to choose evil He’s supporting evil.

    Ditto for Jesus Christ as the one who agreed to oversee the plan here on earth.

  26. Restoring Lost Comments on November 25, 2004 at 10:12 pm

    [Restoring Comments Inadvertently Lost in the WP transfer] :

    “Chad too”:
    Be sure to check out some of our previous arguments. You’ll find plenty of reasons, pro and con. I’d probably start with Mormons, Polygamy, and Gay Marriage, since that covered a vast quantity of ground.
    Comment by: Adam Greenwood at May 18, 2004 05:56 PM


    Kaimi: I think that I probably favor something like your version of the federalist solution. Here is the problem. Even if Goodridge is not federalized, will the federal courts allow states to refuse recognition of gay marriages under the FFC clause as violating public policy? I actually don’t think it is likely that the Supreme Court will issue a federal version of Goodridge, but I could imagine them adopting some unmeetable extra-clear statement rule for gay marriage under the FFC clause. This would actually be rather consistent with the court’s approach thus far with homosexulity (e.g. Romer & Lawrence) where rather than come out and provide constitutional protection for homosexuality (e.g. declaring homosexuality to be a suspect classification) they simply stretch and narrow existing doctrinal categories. I still don’t know what the holding in Lawrence is…
    Comment by: Nate Oman at May 18, 2004 06:01 PM


    “I still don’t know what the holding is…”
    Sounds like a great topic for a different thread Nate, i.e.: what to do with incomprehensible/almost impossible to interpret SCOTUS cases?
    Comment by: lyle at May 18, 2004 06:04 PM


    Adam et al,
    I could be totally off base here, but I’ve always read, “In the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,” as a statement indicating that the inhabitants of the earth were going about their pedestrian, daily lives despite the fact that Noah had warned of a coming cataclysm, rather than citing eating and drinking and marrying as signal of the wickedness of the times. Has anyone ever had a similar impression?
    Comment by: Davis Bell at May 18, 2004 06:17 PM


    That’s the only way I’ve ever read it. All is well, all is well, etc.
    Comment by: Kingsley at May 18, 2004 06:20 PM


    My thoughts indeed, Davis Bell.
    Comment by: Ben S at May 18, 2004 06:21 PM


    Thanks for the point to the former conversation; it’s too big for me to consider right now but I’ll try to get to it in the AM…
    Comment by: chad too at May 18, 2004 06:24 PM


    lyle says: “Now…if only more of us would recognize that voting is only one of many ways to “encourage…in any way” both Abortion, homosexuality & SSM.”
    Chad, I sympathize with your point with regard to some issues, but not this one. Marriage is not just something people do, like bowling, which the state of Massachusetts currently allows. Marriage is a legal institution that privileges certain relationships. So voting for SSM is completely different from voting for abortion to be legal.
    D., why have any laws whatever if you are going to stop looking at things from a “moral” perspective? What’s wrong with robbery and murder, if you ditch the “moral” perspective?
    I am deeply troubled that the powers of the state of Massachusetts to solemnize marriages have been debased, but if this becomes a wake-up call that forces the nation to acknowledge how marriage has already been corrupted, and do something about that, then good may come of it in the end. I’m trying to look on the bright side.
    Comment by: Ben Huff at May 18, 2004 06:25 PM


    It may be that the “marrying and giving in marriage” of Mt. 24:38 is an allusion to the mingling of the sons of God with the daughters of men in Gen. 6:1-4, just preceding the flood account. There is a theory that these unions, which resulted in the Nephilim, were a variant reason for the sending of the flood, but that the original connection has been redacted out of the story.
    Comment by: Kevin Barney at May 18, 2004 06:27 PM


    Ben: can you clarify the difference? I’m a little obtuse, I’ll admit.
    My point is that both abortion & homosexuality lead to church (disciplinary) councils; i.e. engaging directly in either, or supporting either, is in & of itself, sinful.
    How is voting to legalize one sin different from another? I re-invoke the Saints decision to reject Pres. Grant’s counsel re: prohibition (i.e. the Prophet said keep prohibition, the Saints didn’t listen). While Pres. Grant didn’t hold 1000s of disciplinary counsels…he/God could have.
    Comment by: lyle at May 18, 2004 06:31 PM


    On ‘marrying and giving in marriage’:
    In Matthew it clearly is a stand in for complacency. In Moses, not so clear–the marriages themselves are part of the problem.
    In any case, you’ll note that I’m not relying on the scriptures to support my claim. They merely lead me into it. In a sense I am taking the phrase out of context, at least as regards Matthew, but I generally don’t think quotes have to be used as their context would dictate unless one is relying on the authority of the quote. If one merely wants the language, then I have no problem with using quotes for whatever purpose they’ll serve, as a kind of hyperlinking of the intellect.
    Comment by: Adam Greenwood at May 18, 2004 06:37 PM


    lyle, the difference is described quite succinctly in the lead post to Mormons, Polygamy, and Gay Marriage.
    Comment by: Ben Huff at May 18, 2004 06:38 PM


    D. Fletcher — While I am not necessarily in favor of gay marriage, I see no way to avoid it on purely pragmatic grounds.
    Whether Mr. Greenwood or Ms. Tushnet care to recognize it or not, there are presently tens of thousands of children being raised in same-sex households (frequently by their biological parents). It is entirely rational for the state to want those homes to be as stable as possible, including some legal recognition of the adult relationship in those homes.
    Comment by: obi-wan at May 18, 2004 06:50 PM


    Thanks for the lead Ben…although it must be sufficiently succinct for me to be unable to find it (or I simply reject it as untenable & thus don’t ‘see’ it?).
    aiding & abetting is punished the same as actually committing the act in question, ergo: vote/support/advocating for abortion/SSM/alcohol etc., is the equivalent of doing the act oneself. While Church councils don’t seem to stick to this as a hard fast rule, i.e. only mentioned in the Abortion section, the logic seems compelling to me.
    Comment by: lyle at May 18, 2004 06:54 PM


    Ben says: Chad, I sympathize with your point with regard to some issues, but not this one. Marriage is not just something people do, like bowling, which the state of Massachusetts currently allows. Marriage is a legal institution that privileges certain relationships. So voting for SSM is completely different from voting for abortion to be legal.
    We seem to be past the voting stage. It’s legal in Mass. and if FFC holds those marriages would have to be recognized nationwide.
    Now it’s a civil rights issue. Marriage is indeed a privilege offered by a state. Goodridge found that the State requiring opposing gender in a couple applying for a marriage license in Boston violated the Mass. Constitution and likely the US Constitution, specifically the 14th Amendment.
    I don’t think Goodridge will make it’s way in front of the U.S. Supreme Court. They’ve already had one attempt made to get the issue there and it was turned away. The Massachusetts Supreme Court has ruled on Massachusetts law and that is likely to stand. I think the “federalization” (I hate that term, BTW, but I suppose it will do for now) will come when some same-sex couple elsewhere insists on being treated as any other heterosexual couple that married in Massachusetts and then moved to that state. I think the eventual Supreme Court case will be one debating the Full Faith and Credit clause, not the 14th Amendment.
    And as to privileging certain relationships through granting/withholding privilege, doesn’t the Due Process clause specifically forbid a state from doing that?
    Comment by: Chad too at May 18, 2004 06:55 PM


    This interesting article describes a demographic survey of who is actually getting married in MA. It is interesting to note that it is mostly women, about 30% have children, and many were in failed heterosexual marriages. Check it out.
    Comment by: Ta-lor at May 18, 2004 07:01 PM


    This interesting article describes a demographic survey of who is actually getting married in MA. It is interesting to note that it is mostly women, the median time together as a couple is 10 years, about 30% have children, and many were in failed heterosexual marriages. Check it out.
    Comment by: Ta-lor at May 18, 2004 07:02 PM


    Equating robbery, murder, abortion with homosexual marriage.
    Well, robbery hurts someone by the removal of their property. Murder hurts someone literally, by removing their life.
    Abortion may hurt two people, a mother and/or her child.
    Homosexual marriage hurts no one. It doesn’t involve anyone but the chosen partners. And in fact, it may be beneficial to them, to their children, and to society at large.
    P.S. I need to go read all those other threads, before posting here again. I’m sorry I don’t have the natural legalese, but to me, it’s a matter of courtesy, respect, and common sense.
    Comment by: D. Fletcher at May 18, 2004 07:12 PM


    “And as to privileging certain relationships through granting/withholding privilege, doesn’t the Due Process clause specifically forbid a state from doing that?”
    Chad too: No. The due process clause doesn’t come anywhere remotely close to enshrining such a principle. Furthermore, the viability of Goodridge style analysis in federal court is speculative to say the least.
    As for the Full Faith and Credit Clause, the issue is more complicated than you seem to assume. The Supreme Court has long held that the Full Faith and Credit Clause does not require a state to give full faith and credit when the act of another state violates the forum state’s firmly held public policy. Hence, it is not clear whether or not other states will be required to recognize Massachusetts same sex marriages. Furthermore, under DOMA SSM are irrelevant for purposes of federal law (e.g. no federal tax benefits for Massachusetts couples). The real question is whether the federal courts will end up creating some special version of the public policy exception analysis for SSM cases.
    Comment by: Nate Oman at May 18, 2004 07:14 PM


    And SSM harms lots of people. The people entering into it, the taxpayers, the state–particularly its authority, everyone who thought being married by the state was being married, until suddenly now what the state is doing in issuing “marriage” licenses is completely different. Not as completely different as one might suppose — Adam made that clear — but yet quite a bit different again. And everyone who thought the law was some kind of reference point for right and wrong — the state has let them down, indeed, abused their trust.
    Was there a serious discussion in Mass. of the idea of just not performing marriages at all (as the court indicated was an option) until the amendment process could go through? I know the idea has been around, but did the people with the ability to make such a decision show signs of considering it and saying why they didn’t do it? Did this come up in earlier discussions?
    Comment by: Ben Huff at May 18, 2004 07:51 PM


    lyle, I’m not entirely unsympathetic with your point. But I think there are some things one should condemn, but not through the use of state power, for example the overcooking of vegetables without a compelling cause (grin), which practice has done no end of harm to the American diet. Just which ones those are is a separate question.
    Comment by: Ben Huff at May 18, 2004 08:09 PM


    As I’ve said elsewhere (such as on the other threads), I don’t think that same-sex marriage will affect me at all. I’m not going to engage in it. I’m going to stay in my marriage, and life is going to go on. I’m not going to say, “Oh no, gays can marry now! My marriage now means nothing. I guess I’ll go cheat on my wife and beat my kids.”
    I think that the government definition of marriage has very little relevance for church members. The church chose to entirely ignore government definitions for forty-odd years. And it certainly has very little relevance for me. If the government chose not to recognize my marriage at all, it wouldn’t change my decision to be married. I didn’t get married because I wanted to enter a governmentally-approved quasi- contract, I got married because I wanted to have a relationship with my wife. That relationship is defined by me, my wife, and our beliefs, and I could care less what the regulations are governing (or not governing) it.
    So, the existence or non-existence of SSM won’t change my marriage at all. And as someone purportedly harmed by SSM under your argument, I just don’t see any harm in it for me.
    Comment by: Kaimi at May 18, 2004 09:26 PM


    Kaimi, I didn’t mean to imply any disagreement with you on whether this affects your marriage. Sure, the state is only marginally relevant to your marriage because your marriage is religiously defined. If your marriage broke, and you got divorced, the law might have something to say, but hopefully even then you would work it out without running into the laws much.
    But not everybody is like you in this way. I don’t know how many people’s marriages are shaped primarily by the laws, and hopefully for most there are at least some sort of ideals operating besides the law, but the law makes a difference in what people think of as the norm. The laws serve a key function in setting ground rules for the fairly high level of trust and cohesion we enjoy in our society. Particularly insofar as religious perspectives are marginalized from public discourse, and the “public” mode takes over more and more of our lives (mass education, mass entertainment, multinational corporations, etc.)
    The laws and legal privileges (such as marriage) serve as very important standards for and influences on conduct, and when their job is nullified in ways like is happening in Massachusetts right now, their authority suffers, and a major bulwark for social order, cohesion, etc. is weakened. So as a member of society who relies on social function and order and cohesion, okay, you’re not going to see the results immediately, but there is real damage done. A lot of the damage is in solidifying the “consenting adults” misconception of marriage that Adam identifies, and thus setting the wrong standard while obscuring the right one, increasing the tendency of relationships to dysfunction. But part of it is also just the amoralizing of the authority of government in general. The more the government uses its authority amorally or, as in this case, immorally, the more its authority becomes amoral or immoral, a mere matter of convenience and power.
    For starters.
    Comment by: Ben Huff at May 18, 2004 10:47 PM


    I’m sorry to veer the conversation way back, but I was busy graduating all day, and missed most of the conversation.
    Julie asks what happened to the coalition to make heterosexual marriages fit the ideal. Like D., I’m curious about the violent backlash that the issue of SSM has provoked; it seems to me a (largely) hypocritical response. SSM is sinful, and must be prevented at all costs, the opponents argue. But I hear no corresponding argument that heterosexual couples living together pre-marriage is damaging to the institution, although we can safely say that extra-marital sex is sinful. And heterosexual couples that live together rather than (or prior to) getting married, I feel, is a significantly greater threat to marriage than whether or not homosexuals can get married–if all couples move in rather than marry, marriage is doomed. If homosexual couples marry, however, it does nothing to prevent traditional marriage. If we (who are heterosexual) are so concerned with the sanctity and importance of marriage, why don’t we find ways to encourage those who choose not to marry to get married, rather than focusing on those who want to join the club?
    Rather than focusing on preventing one group from marrying (or, if you’re honestly opposed to SSM, in addition to preventing one group from marrying), why don’t marriage advocates fight the live-in couple? It would feel a lot more honest.
    Comment by: Sam B. at May 18, 2004 11:38 PM


    Sam B. said what I was trying to say a lot better than I did, although I would also add (1) divorce (2) infidelity and (3) generally low quality marriages to his indictment of shacking up.
    Of course it makes sense for those who oppose SSM to fight it. I think it is safe to assume that those who oppose SSM also oppose all of the things I have named above; but where is the outcry? Admittedly, there is the covenant marriage movement and efforts to change divorce laws, but those things are a drop in the bucket compared to the SSM ocean of opposition, if I may be allowed a fruity analogy.
    Comment by: Julie in Austin at May 18, 2004 11:44 PM


    maybe the reason their is a “lack of an outcry” is that those that oppose the various other evils listed above have been doing so consistently for decades…to no avail.
    mayhap they are tired of seeing their society go to pot; and at the lastest, most recent, ‘evil’ to be legalized have decided to dig in their heels & fight to the last.
    then again…maybe opposition to SSM/MM is just plain hypocracy & we should all put on rainbow armbands, vote the Prophet out of Office & join the great & spacious building?
    Comment by: lyle at May 19, 2004 12:12 AM


    Lyle, what’s the point of your final remark? Obviously it is overblown sarcasm and, presumably, it demonstrates just how ridiculous those who disagree with you are. But it is a straw man. I don’t think anyone here would come even remotely close to saying what you have hypothetically attributed to them. They may be wrong, but it doesn’t follow, as you imply, that they are anxious to move into the great and spacious building. Don’t create straw men against which you can argue. It isn’t nice.
    Comment by: Jim F. at May 19, 2004 12:22 AM


    Jim: you are right…my apologies. :)
    at the same time, it seems like it’s okay if one spends 5 min more typing & suggests that those that oppose SSM are hypocrites for not fighting against every other evil.
    Comment by: lyle at May 19, 2004 12:33 AM


    Kaimi wrote:
    “I think that the government definition of marriage has very little relevance for church members. The church chose to entirely ignore government definitions for forty-odd years.”
    Kaimi, I’m just going to ask a question, don’t yell at me, OK?
    One of our canonized scriptures is Article of Faith #12, which states,
    “We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.”
    Does the passing of the Massachusetts Marriage have any implications at all to Mormons? It seems to me that our Church accepts civil marriage as binding and unsinful, though it doesn’t lead to exaltation per se. The Church frowns on it, but upholds it. Couldn’t part of the uncomfortableness of the Church over gay marriage be that it would have to judge certain marriages (the heterosexual ones) as binding, but others as not? And for the first time, disobey the Government, contrary to this Scripture?
    Or, maybe I’m wrong, there are other ways that the Church doesn’t follow our Government letter-for-letter.
    Anyway, you said the Church ignores government definitions, but by definition, you are both eternally and legally married.
    Just wondering…
    Comment by: D. Fletcher at May 19, 2004 12:40 AM


    Kaimi, just to clarify my last post:
    You wrote:
    “I think that the government definition of marriage has very little relevance for church members. The church chose to entirely ignore government definitions for forty-odd years. And it certainly has very little relevance for me. If the government chose not to recognize my marriage at all, it wouldn’t change my decision to be married. I didn’t get married because I wanted to enter a governmentally-approved quasi- contract, I got married because I wanted to have a relationship with my wife. That relationship is defined by me, my wife, and our beliefs, and I could care less what the regulations are governing (or not governing) it.”
    This may be true, but you do have government approval for your choice, in which you may be safe and secure. But how would you feel if your choice was condoned by the Church, but not by the government? Like some of these polygamists….
    I think you might act differently, under those circumstances. You might think twice about getting married at all — better to leave it unsettled, than illegal.
    Comment by: D. Fletcher at May 19, 2004 01:18 AM


    Part of the reason why people who oppose people just shacking up are suddenly, openly, vocally, opposing SSM is that there is a very specific, very public, very open event to respond to, and something like a clear procedure for how to influence that event. E.g. constitutional amendments or whatever.
    Another part of the reason is that, to say it one more time, there is a big difference between merely tolerating some sinful behavior (not throwing people in jail for it) and positively awarding legal privileges for it! There is a big difference between not commenting on something and saying it is virtuous and praiseworthy! And while the law nowadays does not privilege or encourage shacking up in any direct way right now, the state of Massachusetts now privileges and specifically *licenses* (think of what that word means: to license something is to approve it, to specifically consent to it!) homosexual “marriage”.
    Comment by: Ben Huff at May 19, 2004 02:37 AM


    I’m sorry–I didn’t express exactly what I wanted to say: I don’t want to suggest that opposing SSM is, inherently, hypocritical (although, rereading what I posted, it does come across that way). Rather, I want to suggest that the bombastic attack on gay marriage as a threat to the very institution and foundations of marriage, while ignoring both shacking up and the other evils the Julie mentions, is hypocritical.
    And I’m not convinced that the silence is entirely a matter of allowing behavior vs. awarding legal privileges. Before Mass., there were anti-gay activists; I’ve yet to see anti-living together or anti-divorce activists getting riled up in the same way.
    Myself, I’m not sure where I stand. I do think it should be a democratic, rather than a judicial, decisions (there was an excellent article discussing this in The Atlantic Monthly about two months ago, but my wife and I just cleaned out our apartment, and so I no longer have it), but, when it came up in CA (and I could vote in CA), I abstained from voting on the issue. Neither side has entirely convinced me, and, because I won’t vote on the issue this year, I’ve not worried too much about it.
    Comment by: Sam B. at May 19, 2004 09:21 AM


    Word on the Genesis vs. Matthew scriptures. I didn’t raise my interpretation of the scripture as a way of arguing against your thesis; I just wanted to see if I was the only one who had entertained an alternative interpretation. Carry on.
    Comment by: Davis Bell at May 19, 2004 10:28 AM


    I get this argument all the time. Maybe I should respond to it in a post, once and for all, I don’t know.
    Anyway, I’m often asked, If you care so much about marriage, why don’t you try and do something about divorce and so on and so forth. Julie in Austin (I tip my hat) is the first person to employ the argument who actually seems interested in doing something about divorce herself instead of using the issue as a stick to beat us Massachussetts Marriage opponents over the head with. My response, to Julie and to others of good faith or no, is as follows:
    1. Political movements cannot try to achieve every objective at once, or they will fail.
    2. Public opinion/attention is much easier galvanized to defend the status quo than it is to regain lost ground. ‘Vice is a monster of such frightful mien,’ etc.
    3. The beneficiaries of SSM are geographically and demographically a minority. Much of the population will not feel their interests touched and so success may be more likely here than elsewhere.
    4. The debate over SSM is a chance for organization, public mobilization, and most of all public education. SSM will expose and hopefully commit the public to positions about marriage that will make future efforts easier.
    5. Law has normative force and in this country the Constitution is almost sacred. Future arguments about marriage and other relationships will be easier if we can point to some constitutional provision that represents those arguments.
    6. To very few is it given to choose their battles. We didn’t choose for gay activists to try and win approval through the courts, but they have, and the Republic reacted, and we have the issue of our day. As much as some would rather fight on different lines, the SSM debate is going to go forward and if its defeated it will damage the whole cause. We need to get over wishing for a liberal purity, where we only address each issue in proportion to its value, and start thinking politically.
    7. Finally, the SSM debate allows us to start a little containment on the homosexuality and the gender role fronts also.
    Comment by: Adam Greenwood at May 19, 2004 10:50 AM


    Adam, can you elaborate on #7, please?
    Comment by: Kristine at May 19, 2004 11:00 AM


    Eugene Volokh acknowledges that legalizing SSM will probably lead to some disabilities for people opposed to homosexuality (he cites an example).
    Comment by: Adam Greenwood at May 19, 2004 11:26 AM


    do you disagree that part of what’s driving the push for SSM is the feeling that (1) homosexuality isn’t really wrong and (2) gender differences are cosmetic so a male-male or female-female ‘marriage’ won’t differ in essentials from a traditional marriage?
    Comment by: Adam Greenwood at May 19, 2004 11:32 AM


    Adam, I don’t want to agree or disagree with you; I just want to understand what you mean by “containment” and why/how you are linking homosexuality (per se), gender roles, and gay marriage.
    Comment by: Kristine at May 19, 2004 11:40 AM


    Nate says:” No. The due process clause doesn’t come anywhere remotely close to enshrining such a principle. Furthermore, the viability of Goodridge style analysis in federal court is speculative to say the least.”
    Perhaps I referred to the wrong clause. I was referring to this part of the 14th Amendment, “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
    If marriage is a state-offered privilege, then I’d expect that it will be offered equally unless a legally compelling reason can be offered a la consanguinuity. Otherwise, shouldn’t the default be that it will be applied equally?
    And as to the Federal Courts, even Scalia says that he doesn’t see how the Court could stop SSM under the precedent of Lawrence.
    Comment by: Chad too at May 19, 2004 12:38 PM


    I’m not sure what you’re asking (one’s own ideas always seem to have a particular clarity and obviousness) but I’ll take a stab at expanding my remarks.
    I suppose that supporting SSM does not necessarily entail (1) the moral acceptance of homsexuality, (2) a belief that the sexes are generally indistinguishable, or (3) discounting the essential childbearing and childrearing function of marriage, or even any real role for marriage at all. In practice, however, these are some of the major strands that go into the support for SSM, so rejecting it will be a blow to these beliefs–it will help contain them.
    Comment by: Adam Greenwood at May 19, 2004 12:46 PM


    Nate says: “The Supreme Court has long held that the Full Faith and Credit Clause does not require a state to give full faith and credit when the act of another state violates the forum state’s firmly held public policy. Hence, it is not clear whether or not other states will be required to recognize Massachusetts same sex marriages.”
    I’m not suggesting FFC should allow a licensed NJ casino owner to open a gambling establishment in Provo claiming his license is valid there.
    Massachusetts doesn’t have marriage and same-sex marriage, it has marriage. Delaware, for example, has a long history of recognizing a marriage licensed in Massachusetts as valid in Delaware. FFC has been extended to Massachusetts marriages for more than 200 years. I think there’s a very good argument for a homosexual couple insisting their license also be covered under comity.
    Comment by: Chad too at May 19, 2004 12:49 PM


    Chad too: The priveleges and immunities clause was basically gutted by the Slaughter House Cases in the 1870s and is now more or less a dead letter. As far as I know about the only thing that violates the priveleges and immunities clause is being mauled by a grizzly bear while in the custody of park service police. (This is a real case.)
    The FFC issue is sticky. The casino liscense is not really a very good example, because such liscense are geographically limited on their face. Marriage is obviously dicey, but my understanding is that states have been allowed to refuse recognition of marriages from other states that violate the forum state public policy. As I recall there are some cases dealing with cosanguinity. Basically you have one state that lets people marry their cousins and another state that doesn’t let people marry their cousins. The non-counsin marrying state doesn’t have to acknowledge the marriage of the cousin marrying state.
    Comment by: Nate Oman at May 19, 2004 01:01 PM


    Ben says:
    “And while the law nowadays does not privilege or encourage shacking up in any direct way right now, the state of Massachusetts now privileges and specifically *licenses* (think of what that word means: to license something is to approve it, to specifically consent to it!) homosexual “marriage”.
    I don’t see licensing as inherently granting approval. I doubt anyone would get very far in an argument that the fact that the State of Utah issues, controls, and regulates liquor means that the Utah legislature (and the majority voters that elected those legislators) approve of alcohol use. Regulating is not the same as approving.
    Comment by: Chad too at May 19, 2004 01:01 PM


    whoops. That should say “…regulates liquor licenses…”
    Comment by: Chad too at May 19, 2004 01:08 PM


    Nate says: “Marriage is obviously dicey, but my understanding is that states have been allowed to refuse recognition of marriages from other states that violate the forum state public policy. As I recall there are some cases dealing with cosanguinity. Basically you have one state that lets people marry their cousins and another state that doesn’t let people marry their cousins. The non-counsin marrying state doesn’t have to acknowledge the marriage of the cousin marrying state.”
    True, but the non-cousin marrying state has some science on its side to justify it’s law. If Delaware (again, just an example) starts refusing to grant FFC to certain Massachusetts marriages and a newly-moved-to-Delaware gay couple with a Massachusetts marriage licence chose to sue, wouldn’t the burden be on Delaware to justify it’s law?
    This is why I asked the question earlier. There’s got to be a more compelling reason to deny gays marriage than “we the moral majority object” if such a denial is going to stand.
    Comment by: Chad too at May 19, 2004 01:27 PM


    Chad too,
    Albeit inadnvertently, you’re making a very good case for the Federal Marriage Amendment. You’re suggesting that once one state accepts gay marriage (or once the courts of one state have forced it to accept gay marriage) the federal courts ought to force all states to accept gay marriage. This does not exactly warm the cockles of my heart.
    Further, you keep repeating two canards: (1) the old canard that moral sentiments aren’t a rational basis for action. Why not? (2) that the only arguments against gay marriage are an appeal to moral sentiment. How can you say this after reading my post and the rather numerous arguments in the posts and comments I’ve linked too? Maybe you disagree with them, but the arguments are certainly there.
    I understand you may not have had time to digest all the reading. I’m not insisting that you do. I am insisting that you stop claiming there are no arguments against gay marriage. I am also insisting that you stop acting as if opposing gay marriage was guilty until proven innocent–as you are by your insistence that we show you the reasons for our claim–when you could explore those reasons yourself.
    Comment by: Adam Greenwood at May 19, 2004 01:46 PM


    Chad too: Two points. First, the FFC doesn’t ask about the rationality of the state’s reasons for refusing recognition. It only requires that the refusal rest on some clearly articulated public policy. It needn’t be good policy. For example, my understanding is that the science against many consanguinous marriages is not especially compelling, ie there is not a big problem in marrying your second cousin, etc. Second, the burden might rest on Delaware were the couple to attack the constitutionality of the Delaware public policy. The attack could come under either Delaware or federal law. If it came under federal law, then we would simply have the Goodridge question before the Supreme Court.
    Another interesting FFC side note is the validiting of DOMA, in which Congress stated that states were not required to recognize the SSM of other states. It is not at all clear that Congress even has the power to pass such a law.
    It is going to be a fun show to watch…
    Comment by: Nate Oman at May 19, 2004 01:53 PM


    You intrepret my viewpoint very well, short a Constitutional Amendment I don’t see how laws withholding marriage from gays can stand. Personally, I think amending would be a bad idea.
    I’ve read cursorily the places you directed me, and I find a lot of invective and moral posturing, but it still seems to come down to “we don’t like it” and I find that reasoning lacking.
    As to the two canards, The Lawrence decision specifically found that “…the fact that the governing majority in a State has traditionally viewed a particular practice as immoral is not a sufficient reason for upholding a law prohibiting the practice…” I’ve not said you have to be immoral, or even approve. All I’ve said is that if a law denying gay marriage is going to stand, it’s got to have more constitutional back-up than majority morality.
    As to canard two, what are your non-morality based reasons for denying gays access to marriage? I’d like to see what they are. The ones I’ve found in the writings were not legally compelling IMHO.
    Comment by: Chad Too at May 19, 2004 02:29 PM


    Nate says:
    “Another interesting FFC side note is the validiting of DOMA, in which Congress stated that states were not required to recognize the SSM of other states. It is not at all clear that Congress even has the power to pass such a law.”
    I agree. DOMA is on shaky Constitutional ground.
    Nate further says:
    “It is going to be a fun show to watch…”
    Yep. I’ll bring the root beer floats if you’ll pop the popcorn :-)
    Comment by: Chad too at May 19, 2004 02:34 PM


    Chad too: “I don’t see licensing as inherently granting approval.”
    Actually, read just about any stock prospectus/SEC registration form from a publicly traded company. Companies commonly say they are “licensed” by State x,y,z or the Federal government as stating that they are regulated/inspected/checked…i.e. _approved_ by the government. I think your alcohol analogy is inappositive.
    Nate says: “It is going to be a fun show to watch…”
    Hopefully, per President Packer’s address to the J. Reuben Clark law society, at least the LDS lawyers here at T&S will be doing more than “watching” but participating & acting to defuse the traps of the Adversary (such as SSM) that Pres. Packer said was our obligation & duty.
    Comment by: lyle at May 19, 2004 03:30 PM


    “You intrepret my viewpoint very well, short a Constitutional Amendment I don’t see how laws withholding marriage from gays can stand.”
    Frankly, I think that you are not justified in being so certain. Kennedy’s opinion in Lawrence went out of its way to distinguish the SSM issue. This is actually where Lawrence become mystifying. Do I read it as an equal protection case establishing that homosexuality is a suspect classification? Do I read it as rational basis case holding that sodomy laws lack a rational basis? Do I read it as a fundamental rights case stating that there is some fundamental right to (1) anal sex, (2) sexual intimacy, (3) intimate association, or (4) something else? Do I read it as a privacy case in the Griswald line? Do I read it as a neo-Lochnerian presumption of liberty case (Randy Barnett’s argument)?
    This is why I am honestly confused about what the holding is in Lawrence, and why I am extremely suspicious of those who claim to be able to draw clear implications from the case for SSM.
    Comment by: Nate Oman at May 19, 2004 04:10 PM


    Viva Lochner! Overturn Slaughter House!
    Comment by: lyle at May 19, 2004 04:36 PM


    I have made my way, slowly but ever determined, through all the previous threads concerning this issue. I respectfully submit to greater minds, more informed on issues of law, philosophy, sociology, and biology. I apologize to Adam and others for acting emotionally to rational arguments. And Adam deserves many kudos for categorizing these threads so neatly and completely, making it simple for all of us to peruse them.
    Perhaps a different thread could be set-up to contain some future posts in answer to my next query. Reading all the threads, I didn’t really find one concerning the appropriate behavior of the normal True Believing Saints (married, with children and callings) toward sinners. I don’t know if there is an answer to this question. Some have suggested casting them out, but this seems rather antiquated, an Old Testament solution, to me. The New Law might be to suggest “loving” them, even though disapproving, but how would this be implemented, exactly? Is it possible to “love” someone, but not allow them into your presence, or the presence of your children?
    For me, this is the central issue at stake here. Homosexuals are going to exist, whether by nature or choice. They are our sons, our fathers, our daughters, our teachers, our office mates. I have actually considered this SSM to be a great boon to society, because for once there seems to be common ground, in that gays want to commit to their relationships. When the original Gay Liberation movement began in the late 60s, the movement was geared toward sexual liberation, a freedom from the normal binding chords of relationships. But now, the mood has changed, it seems, and they seek a return to “moral” values like secure homes, loving spouses, and children.
    Is it possible for us to give them our charity, our loving support and attention, even though our own doctrine classifies them as sinners? I suggest that it is, and is the only recourse for a LDS adherent in the 21st century.
    I can only hope that this SSM will prevail, not as a “victory” over the enemy, but as a commonality that all adults, regardless of religion or sexual preference, can share.
    Comment by: D. Fletcher at May 19, 2004 04:59 PM


    You are correct, Nate, in that Lawrence doesn’t specifically address SSM. Since Lawrence wasn’t an SSM case, I am not surprised that Kennedy chose to distinguish it.
    What I do find clear (and what Kennedy calls “controlling” in the opinion) are the two points taken from Stevens’ dissent in Bowers; a)that moral disapproval alone is not a sufficient reason for the government to be able to ban a practice, and b) the intimacies of a sexual relationship are a liberty protected by the 14th Amendment, whether offspring can be produced or not.
    I join you in not seeing the declaration of a suspect class, but neither are heterosexuals declared as such. I read that Kennedy placed the activity itself out of the government’s purview as a protected liberty. I think in this way I tend to follow the privacy take a la Griswald.
    Where my certainty (hubris? stiff-neckedness? ;-))comes in is here; that I don’t see how the government can take an act that since Lawrence gives gays the privilege of “full right to engage in their conduct without intervention of the government” and then use it against them as a criterion for access to civil marriage.
    And thank you for this discussion. I very much enjoy discussing these things, even when I know there are those who will disagree with me. I doubt I’d find as comfortable a forum in High Priest Group!
    Comment by: chad too at May 19, 2004 05:08 PM


    D. Fletcher,
    Those are incredibly important questions; while it’s important and probably more entertaining to talk about the moral, religous, and legal philosophy behind gay marriage, the questions you pose have much more relevance to my day-to-day life.
    I’d be very, very interested to hear the reactions of others to those questions. I just posted a short entry on a related matter the other day, to be found at:
    I don’t claim the entry to be particularly insightful or well-written; it details my own thoughts on how to deal with the issues you raised.
    Comment by: Davis Bell at May 19, 2004 05:34 PM


    Chad too: “I doubt I’d find as comfortable a forum in High Priest Group!”
    Why is that? Isn’t the discussion edifying & centered around building up the Kingdom of God?
    Comment by: lyle at May 19, 2004 05:40 PM


    Lyle: Go into your average High Priest Group, say something along the lines of “I think gay marriage might have its plus sides, actually,” & see how far you get.
    Comment by: Kingsley at May 19, 2004 05:47 PM


    So…does that tell us anything? anything useful? or simply differentiate T&S as separated by a wide divide from the “average high priests quorum”?
    Comment by: lyle at May 19, 2004 05:51 PM


    Lyle: You asked why Chad doubted his High Priest Group would be as comfortable with this sort of discussion as T&S obviously is. What I implied, and what you then said outright, was that “T&S [is] separated by a wide divide from the ‘average high priests quorum’”. It is a simple answer, and I think not too far off the mark. It’s not meant to be a castigation of anything.
    Comment by: Kingsley at May 19, 2004 06:02 PM


    Chad too: The problem that I see with Lawrence is that I don’t know what to make of Kennedy’s discussion of the Steven’s dissent. Surely if we are applying traditional rational basis scrutiny of the post-New Deal variety, for example, one could ban sodomy on grounds of public health. The problem is that Lawrence doesn’t seem to be applying traditional rational basis scrutiny. One thus needs some account of both (1) what kind of scrutiny it is applying; and, (2) what it is that triggers this new level of scrutiny. It seems to me that Lawrence answers neither of these questions.
    So we then turn to the question of heterosexual marriage. Suppose that we challenge it as unconstitutional under Lawrence. What standard is being applied.
    Under traditional rational basis scrutiny it seems that child rearing arguments are sufficient to justify heterosexual marriage. (And lets be totally honest: Under post-New Deal rational basis scrutiny some cases say that the bare desire to benefit heterosexual married couples, period, is a rational basis.) The under and over inclusiveness of this argument isn’t an issue if we are apply traditional rational basis scrutiny. (This is why the majority opinion in Goodridge is ultimately unpersausive to me.) Lawrence, however, was clearly not applying this kind of scrutiny, otherwise public health would have decided the case in favor of the Texas law. So is whatever kind of scrutiny at issue in Lawrence triggered? Well, both cases involve homosexuals. That, however, suggests that homosexuality is a suspect classification for equal protection purposes. Not really what Lawrence said, is it? So then we say, well it is burdening some fundamental right protected by due process. And the right is? Intimate association? That doesn’t seem to really work because heterosexual marriage doesn’t seem to burden or punish homosexual intimate association. (This is the inverse of the argument that homosexual marriages would not burden or harm heterosexual marriages.) Perhaps we are talking about a burden on the fundamental right to marry a la Loving (misygenation case). The problem with this approach is that it is circular. The appeal to the funamental right to marry will only work if marriage is already defined so as to include homosexual unions, which, of course, is precisely the issue we are trying to decide. Put another way, the argument seems to use its conclusion as a major premise.
    The problem comes when you articulate Lawrence in terms more sophisticated than “gay rights supporters are right and their opponents are moralistic trogledytes,” and try to use it to construct a doctrinal framework for deciding a challenge to heterosexual marriage.
    Of course, I have great faith in the ability of the Supreme Court to decide such issues by ipse dixit, but I still try to hang on to the notion that constitutional analysis is more than simply trying to divine the mood of Anthony Kennedy or Sandra Day O’Connor.
    Comment by: Nate Oman at May 19, 2004 06:02 PM


    I don’t know that I ever used the word “trogledyte” per se but I don’t think it too much of a burden to require more than a moral argument or a majority argument against something that has been categorized as a 14th Amendment liberty.
    Perhaps my experience as an LDS Church member here in the South has colored me somewhat. I come across people constantly who castigate me because of how I exercise my 1st Amendment rights so I tend to be defensive about how we as Church members treat those who simply wish to exercise their Constitutional rights (and re: Kaimi’s discussion about aligning too closely with the Protestant religious right; Amen, Brother!). Yes, I concede that the degree to which things things are protected is in flux; that’s precisely what makes for good discussion!
    I actually have no problem with our church rejecting SSM. I’ve never held that somehow LDS people have moral objections to SSM or even SSA is wrong or inappropriate. I would never cousnel someone to indulge in such activities, but I am painfully aware of my lack of any civil authority to insist the government to the same. I do tend to skew toward a combination “render unto Caesar/allowing all men the same privilege” approach when it comes to civil liberties.
    Comment by: Chad Too at May 19, 2004 06:57 PM


    Chad too: There is not a single case in the United States, state or federal, which holds that homosexual marriage is a right protected by the Fourteenth Amendment.
    Not one.
    Given the complete absence of any on point precedent, I find the confidence with which you make these sorts of claims a bit disorienting.
    Comment by: Nate Oman at May 19, 2004 07:21 PM


    I think D Fletcher has made one interesting point that we need to address (about showing love): the majority of talks by Church leaders on homosexuality or SSM usually remind us of the need to avoid hateful behavior towards those struggling with these problems, but in discussions among the Saints (including many of those here at T & S), we tend to be a little short on the charity and long on seeing them as ‘the enemy.’ I think it is possible to ardently support banning SSM in a way that is against Church teachings.
    Comment by: Julie in Austin at May 19, 2004 08:58 PM


    Nate says:
    “There is not a single case in the United States, state or federal, which holds that homosexual marriage is a right protected by the Fourteenth Amendment.”
    I’m sorry, as I look back I see that I wasn’t clear in what I was referring to there.
    I was referring to protection from government intervention re: homosexual behavior being ensconced in the 14th by Lawrence. You are correct that no federal court has yet applied the 14th to SSM. The only Federal action I’m aware of was the SCOTUS denial of an emergency motion last week to stop what’s going on in Massachusetts. I don’t take that as tacit permission, I merely state it as part of the record.
    Three states have ruled that withholding access to marriage from homosexuals violated their own Constitutions; Hawaii, Vermont, and the reason we’re having this conversation, Massachusetts. Hawaii found that exclusion violated its own equal protection clause because it failed strict scrutiny in limiting access to government benefits based on sex. Vermont found that exclusion violated its “common benefits” clause which is described by the court as being similar to (though not exactly the same as) the 14th Amendment. Massachusetts similarly invoked the 14th as the minimum standard to which the state must keep, and ruled that the Massachusetts Constitution is even broader in the protection of civil rights.
    Hawaiians amended their Constitution, Vermonters created civil unions, and Commonwealthers have opened marriage to all couples, hetero or homo.
    Sorry I wasn’t clear earlier.
    Comment by: Chad Too at May 20, 2004 01:42 PM


    Forgive me for veering off the beaten path but I would like to say something with regard to the original intent of this post.
    What about children!!!
    I think it’s utterly selfish to assume that SSM has nothing to do with “my marraige”. Is there no concern for how this will take a step toward redefining marraige and what that means to the tender hearts of children! In my opinion, all other concerns are secondary.
    Comment by: Jack at May 20, 2004 10:54 PM


    Jack, the available data (which are admittedly not as robust as one might like) suggest that children raised by gay parents do pretty well by most measures of mental health, emotional adjustment, academic achievement, etc. As a group, they are far better off than children raised by single parents. They are also no more likely, or only slightly more likely (depending on which study you believe and what you take as the proportion of gays in the general population) to self-identify as homosexual than children raised by heterosexuals.
    What is your concern about the children?
    Comment by: Kristine at May 20, 2004 11:52 PM


    Kristine, how time tested is the data you refer to? Have any of the children grown into adulthood?
    My concern is that this will be another big step toward compromise – not in the sense of choosing the lesser of two evils – but rather, how long before there’s no restraint whatsoever on how a marraige may be designed? I can’t imagine the hurdles some children will have to overcome just to view themselves as created in the image of God. (as if it wasn’t difficult enough already!)
    Comment by: Jack at May 21, 2004 01:50 AM


    My problem with that argument is that it seems to be a stalling tactic which will always favor the status quo. Thus, one can oppose SSM, or abortion rights, or desegregation, or Social Security, or vaccination, or the introduction of the Designated Hitter rule, or any other change to the status quo, by saying “well, we just don’t know if it will have a negative effect on children.”
    And that stalling can be drawn out ad infinitum, as you’ve also illustrated. Are the children grown? Do they have children of their own? How do we know that the designated hitter rule won’t affect the grandchildren? Are the grandchildren grown? And so forth.
    “The children” grow up in a very different world than the last batch of “the children” in any case. We don’t need to pretend that we can or should freeze time and social conditions for “the children.”
    Comment by: Kaimi at May 21, 2004 08:14 AM


    Jack, there are some pretty good studies of kids who are now in their twenties. As I said, one might wish for more data, but what we’ve got says that children raised by homosexuals do just fine.
    Comment by: Kristine at May 21, 2004 08:20 AM


    That’s fine & dandy Kristine, but when scientific data doesn’t mesh with what the 15 say…I know whom I’m sticking with. Unless we want to get into the same discussion re: scientific studies & the WoW…it’s the same debate, only this time about something even more important.
    Comment by: lyle at May 21, 2004 12:35 PM


    Kaimi, I think you’re falling back on legal rhetoric. Labelling something as a “stalling tactic” doesn’t address the potential moral problems of the issue at hand. It only suggests that “stalling” might be bad in and of it self.
    Also, with regard to “favoring the status quo” (or not favoring the status quo, as the case may be); can we always know what will cause the public to favor a particular belief? If I were to suggest that education was no longer needed for children would the public do backflips in response merely because the idea didn’t fit the status quo? Would there be no genuine concern on the part of the parent for the future of his/her child regardless of what anyone else thought?
    PS. I’m sorry for my harsh tone in the previous comment. I wasn’t meaning to roast you personally. Overall, I enjoy your posts and comments very much.
    Comment by: Jack at May 21, 2004 05:17 PM


    jack: (grins) the problem is that _everyone_ knows that change is goode; and that the past is imperfect & so should be improved. hence, the status quo is always evil. ok…maybe only 99% of the time. The funny thing about this is…I almost believe it.
    Comment by: lyle at May 21, 2004 05:26 PM


    Kristine, I ditto Lyle’s comment – plus, I would tred very carefully as to placing too much confidence in research too soon. (call it stalling if you want, but I think sometimes wisdom suggests gathering a few more facts before breaking the back of what so many feel is a moral imperative) Think of the “memory wars” in the 90′s. Even after a century of research on memory there was a huge debate in the world of psycotherapy as to the validity of amnesia caused by trauma. (let alone the damage that was sustained by so many families)
    Comment by: Jack at May 21, 2004 05:57 PM


    Jack: Good point. Personally I think SSM is inevitable, a depressing signpost of Tolkien’s “long defeat,” but the Saints should dig in their heels as long as they can. I think on those rare occasions when the Church dives furiously into politics, the Saints should sit up & take notice: The Apostles being Apostles & all.
    Comment by: Kingsley at May 21, 2004 06:04 PM


    Chad too:
    You are again making my point. Your only argument for gay marriage is that you think current SuCo interpretations of the Constitution require it. In other words, you are letting what the law is influence your view of what it should be, in other words, your view of right and wrong. In part I am opposed to gay marriage because I suspect that a decent chunk of the populace will let gay marriage becoming law influence their view of what is right and wrong morally.
    D. Fletcher and other apostles of love, pure love, and nothing but love,
    Julie in Austin’s formulation is the most serious–she worries that some opposition to gay marriage ineluctably leads some of the opponents to treating gays as the ‘enemy’–but even it shows a flawed idea of what it means to love. Loving your enemy has never meant ceasing to have enemies, or throwing the gates open to the promotion of their iniquity. I submit that encouraging gays and the wavering to sin, encouraging them to heap damnation on their heads and waste away their mortal estate, is a particularly fiendish form of love.
    Kristine, Kaimi, Jack, and other champions of children:
    I am by no means convinced that gay parentage is the equivalent of joint fathering and mothering, because I am by no means convinced that the sexes are irrelevant. I know that Kristine rejects the Proclamation on the Family in this regard but I would hope that most of us wouldn’t.
    In any case, the game is given away when it is pointed out that practically anything is better than single parenting. Ay, there’s the rub. We want to strengthen marriage precisely to avoid this blight of single parenting and that means, for the reasons advanced in the post, opposing gay marriage.
    Comment by: Adam Greenwood at May 21, 2004 06:21 PM


    Adam: “I am by no means convinced that gay parentage is the equivalent of joint fathering and mothering, because I am by no means convinced that the sexes are irrelevant.”
    I tend to agree with you and believe that sex differences often matter a great deal. But I wonder what evidence would likely convince you that same-sex families are generally stable and loving.
    “We want to strengthen marriage precisely to avoid this blight of single parenting and that means, for the reasons advanced in the post, opposing gay marriage.”
    Could you clarify the reasons why and how opposing SSM helps avoid the blight of single parenting?
    Comment by: jeremobi at May 21, 2004 07:08 PM


    I don’t know about Adam, Jeremobi…but as for me and mine, any statement from the 15 would be acceptable as “proof.” Failing that, nothing will suffice. Course, i’m just a sop, teddy-bear & push-over. :)
    Comment by: lyle at May 21, 2004 07:33 PM


    “I know that Kristine rejects the Proclamation on the Family in this regard…”
    That’s a pretty strong charge, Adam, especially since I gave up a career I cared about because I cared more about prophetic counsel. Perhaps you’d like to rephrase.
    I am in complete agreement with you, and with the Proclamation, that a father and mother together is the ideal. You and I differ on how to constructively deal with realities that are less than ideal.
    Comment by: Kristine at May 21, 2004 07:55 PM


    Has the the old, Biblical view (& the one currently espoused by the Church) of homosexuality as an “abomination” been trumped by the niceness, stability, etc., of modern homosexuals? If it hasn’t, if homosexuality truly is the abominable horror described by the Prophets, it seems strange to bring in the niceness, stability, etc., of the practitioners of that abominable horror as evidence for the appropriateness of adding children to the mix. Thoroughly drenched in the P.C.ism of my age, & a close friend of more than one homosexual, I shudder at my own words–but it is hard to escape the feeling that a practice condemned by the Church in all ages hasn’t improved with time, & should receive my own condemnation as well, statistics, studies, polls, etc., aside.
    Comment by: Kingsley at May 21, 2004 08:00 PM


    I’m not suggesting same-sex parenting is the equivalent of traditional, mom and pop, parenting.

    But nothing less than a statement from any of “the 15″ would be “proof” that same-sex parenting is generally stable and loving?

    Isn’t this trusting in the arm of the flesh?
    How would any statement by “the 15� be disproved?
    If science is not convincing, what about personal experience, or a personal spiritual witness?

    Would that be enough or, to paraphrase Orwell, is seeing what’s in front of one’s nose a constant struggle?
    Comment by: jeremobi at May 21, 2004 08:01 PM


    I apologize. I in no way meant to level a charge. I wrote that merely because I thought you had rejected that particular portion of the Proclamation of the Family in a previous conversation. I am relieved that you don’t and further relieved that you were able to promptly correct my misstatement.
    Comment by: Adam Greenwood at May 21, 2004 08:06 PM


    Jack and lyle,
    I don’t mean to express a high level of confidence in the scientific data; don’t forget that I’m the daughter of an experimental physicist, and appropriately skeptical of social sciences (sorry, Brayden). I mean only to say that anguished cries of “but the children, the children” don’t really cut it either–there are neither scientific data nor explicit prophetic pronouncements on the unfitness of gays as parents. My personal acquaintance with gay couples who are raising children predisposes me to a belief that many, many homosexuals are thoughtful, commited, excellent parents (who, btw, Adam, do not think that gender is irrelevant, and work hard to make sure, for instance, that their sons have close male friends and relatives to do some of the requisite male role modeling, etc. I wouldn’t argue that that is the same as having a father at home, but it’s a lot better than lots of kids get.).
    Comment by: Kristine at May 21, 2004 08:07 PM


    I would be interested, KHH, in hearing about your decision to stay home sometime
    Comment by: Adam Greenwood at May 21, 2004 08:16 PM


    Kristine: “I mean only to say that anguished cries of ‘but the children, the children’ don’t really cut it either” seems like a sneer–is it? Is that really all that Lyle & Jack are doing?
    Comment by: Kingsley at May 21, 2004 08:16 PM


    Thanks for asking, Adam. There’s no dramatic decision moment to relate–I always knew I didn’t want my children to be in someone else’s care (except maybe their father’s) for long stretches of time when they were little. Since my husband is older than I am and wielded substantially more earning power by the time we met, it wasn’t practical for him to stay at home while I pursued what might well have proven to be an elusive academic job. It was pretty easy to see that being the kind of parents we wanted (and have been commanded) to be meant me staying at home. There wasn’t a lot of anguish around the decision at the time (that came later, when I had three kids under four!).
    I suppose it isn’t fair of me to invoke that choice as a defense against the evil-feminist-who-rejects-prophetic-counsel suspicion, as I didn’t feel, at the time, anyway, that I was explicitly making a choice to follow the prophet against my own will or better judgment. It was more that, having grown up with the goal of “bring[ing] up [my] children in light and truth”, there really wasn’t any choice to make anymore when I got to the point of choosing.
    Comment by: Kristine at May 21, 2004 08:52 PM


    Kingsley, it wasn’t a sneer, exactly, though it was certainly not an expression of admiration. I didn’t notice in either Jack’s or lyle’s comments any specific concerns about how being raised by married gay parents might be detrimental to children, and I confess that my hackles are always raised when people non-specifically claim that the well-being of children depends on adopting the position for which they are arguing. Children are often symbolically deployed as a way to raise the emotional heat of an argument without shedding light on the issues at hand.
    Sometimes the conversation goes like this:
    “I’m not sure what’s so bad about gay marriage.”
    “Well, I am! I mean, I’m not a bigot, I don’t care what people do in their bedrooms, but think of the children!”
    One is not, of course, meant to actually think about the children–this is just supposed to end the conversation, because the visceral disgust people may feel about homosexuality is compounded by the juxtaposition of childhood innocence with sexuality.
    I’m not saying this is what Jack and lyle were doing, but they weren’t very clearly *not* doing it, either.
    Comment by: Kristine at May 21, 2004 09:05 PM


    Jeremobi: If trusting the continued/

  27. annegb on February 7, 2005 at 10:34 am

    Okay, I don’t know where my question went, but what does onymous mean? Is it a word? It’s troubling to my early senility condition, which involves a certain OCD bent. I can’t find it anywhere. What does that word mean???

    Adam, that initial post really is wonderfully full of references, thanks for the one for Orson Scott Card. I am just loving Jackie these days. Jackie is my computer, she picked her name, I wouldn’t have picked Jackie becauase it’s not my favorite name.

    I woke up this morning thinking about my gay friend and her companion of 6 years. My friend is one of the kindest, gentlest people on the planet. She would die for a stranger. I think she’s a better person than a lot of heteros in my ward, that’s for sure, and I know God loves her.

    I think of her hurt face if I tell her that I couldn’t support civil marriage for gays. I don’t know why, but despite her goodness and commitment to her partner, it doesn’t feel right to me. At the same time, it doesn’t feel right that she can live so long with this person and not have any rights or just the common courtesies afforded a wife, if her partner should die. I am troubled by the harping on the proclamation on the family I hear by people who I know have no personal experience with homosexual individuals.

    I have no answers for this sad situation. Except thank God I’m not God.

  28. Kaimi on February 7, 2005 at 11:31 am


    Onymous means “using names” — it’s the opposite of anonymous (or pseudonymous). See .

    When we started, we were aware of a psuedonymous LDS group blog, over at the Metaphysical Elders, . We didn’t want to make any claims that we couldn’t back up, so we limited our self-description to the universe of onymous LDS group blogs.

    Of course, now that universe is larger than it was when we started. Still, we like the self-description.

  29. A. Greenwood on April 8, 2005 at 5:55 pm

    Thanks, AnneGB. I figure the next best thing to intelligence and creativity is linking to it.

  30. Kaimi on April 8, 2005 at 6:51 pm


    I thought the next best thing to creativity and intelligence is a nice MLT, a mutton, lettuce and
    tomato sandwich, when the mutton is nice and lean, and the tomato is ripe.

  31. Jack on April 8, 2005 at 6:56 pm

    They’re so perky…

  32. Sheri Lynn on April 8, 2005 at 7:35 pm

    Anne (I know you’re out of town, but I expect you’ll look back)…I too have had HS friends, who were committed to one another in every way except possession of a marriage license from the state.

    Many people who are heterosexual call themselves married but do not live it. I know people who have started making new families with new honeys before getting legally divorced from the last spouses…and they don’t seem to care much that they’re doing this. Hetero adulterers, swingers, whatever: they soil marriage more than committed gays could.

    My husband just stopped the movie he’s watching, and a sitcom from the network is on, and I’m appalled at the content. Two characters are talking to each other about their drunken encounter with one another and the effects on their families and spouses and jobs. I guess this is what passes for attitudes about marriage in popular culture? We don’t watch TV, but it amazes us that when we do catch a glimpse of commercial television, it always seems to be prurient stuff of one kind or another.

    I put this gay marriage issue in the category of beam-in-my-own-eye, and just be grateful that I don’t have this particular temptation, same-sex attraction. I think I’ll leave this problem to those who feel worthy to throw stones, because I can’t, in good conscience, resolutely and wholeheartedly take the stand my church has taken and fight this fight. I don’t doubt that homosexual conduct is a sin, but I think judging it so doesn’t make it go away, that it is temptation but not a preference, and it is well to prefer monogamous relationships to promiscuity–even for gays. Even if only as a practical matter of cutting healthcare costs, it would be a good thing to encourage commitment; allow “civil unions.” I don’t see how it makes me any less married if someone else somewhere thinks of himself as married to his own partner.

    I haven’t solved the rest of my own problems. I’ll get back to this issue when I have. I’ll be voting pro-life…this will probably amount to the same thing as being anti-gay-marriage. I’m not sure I’m happy about that.

  33. A. Greenwood on April 11, 2005 at 11:20 am

    OK, Kaimi. The second best thing.

  34. A. Greenwood on April 11, 2005 at 11:33 am

    Sheri Lynn,
    I’m pretty sure I’m reading you wrong, but it sounds like you’re saying that heterosexuals shouldn’t be criticizing homosexuals because, boy, heterosexuals have been making such a success of the institution of marriage.

    Where I disagree with you (assuming I’m understanding you right) is the idea that we have a group identity defined by our sexuality. So that heterosexuals as a group are responsible for what other heterosexuals do.

    In other words, as long as you and yours aren’t adulterous, divorce-prone swingers, I think you can speak out without violating ‘mote in your eye, beam in mine’ concerns.


Times and Seasons is a place to gather and discuss ideas of interest to faithful Latter-day Saints.