Prop. 8 Cometh

November 4, 2008 | 33 comments
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From the Church:

Marriage between a man and a woman is central to the plan of salvation. The sacred nature of marriage is closely linked to the power of procreation. Only a man and a woman together have the natural biological capacity to conceive children.

Marriage is not primarily a contract between individuals to ratify their affections and provide for mutual obligations. Rather, marriage and family are vital instruments for rearing children and teaching them to become responsible adults. While governments did not invent marriage, throughout the ages governments of all types have recognized and affirmed marriage as an essential institution in preserving social stability and perpetuating life itself. Hence, regardless of whether marriages were performed as a religious rite or a civil ceremony, married couples in almost every culture have been granted special benefits aimed primarily at sustaining their relationship and promoting the environment in which children are reared. A husband and a wife do not receive these benefits to elevate them above any other two people who may share a residence or social tie, but rather in order to preserve, protect, and defend the all-important institutions of marriage and family.

extensive studies have shown that in general a husband and wife united in a loving, committed marriage provide the optimal environment for children to be protected, nurtured, and raised. This is not only because of the substantial personal resources that two parents can bring to bear on raising a child, but because of the differing strengths that a father and a mother, by virtue of their gender, bring to the task. As the prominent sociologist David Popenoe has said:

The burden of social science evidence supports the idea that gender differentiated parenting is important for human development and that the contribution of fathers to childrearing is unique and irreplaceable.

Popenoe explained that:

. . . The complementarity of male and female parenting styles is striking and of enormous importance to a child’s overall development. It is sometimes said that fathers express more concern for the child’s longer-term development, while mothers focus on the child’s immediate well-being (which, of course, in its own way has everything to do with a child’s long-term well-being). What is clear is that children have dual needs that must be met: one for independence and the other for relatedness, one for challenge and the other for support.

Social historian David Blankenhorn makes a similar argument in his book Fatherless America. In an ideal society, every child would be raised by both a father and a mother.

. . .

Our modern era has seen traditional marriage and family – defined as a husband and wife with children in an intact marriage – come increasingly under assault. Sexual morality has declined and infidelity has increased. Since 1960, the proportion of children born out of wedlock has soared from 5.3 percent to 38.5 percent (2006). vorce has become much more common and accepted, with the United States having one of the highest divorce rates in the world. Since 1973, abortion has taken the lives of over 45 million innocents. At the same time, entertainment standards continue to plummet, and pornography has become a scourge afflicting and addicting many victims. Gender differences increasingly are dismissed as trivial, irrelevant, or transient, thus undermining God’s purpose in creating both men and women.

In recent years in the United States and other countries, a movement has emerged to promote same-sex marriage as an inherent or constitutional right. This is not a small step, but a radical change: instead of society tolerating or accepting private, consensual sexual behavior between adults, advocates of same-sex marriage seek its official endorsement and recognition.
. . .
Legalizing same-sex marriage will affect a wide spectrum of government activities and policies. Once a state government declares that same-sex unions are a civil right, those governments almost certainly will enforce a wide variety of other policies intended to ensure that there is no discrimination against same-sex couples. This may well place “church and state on a collision course.”

The walls of a home provide a defense against detrimental social influences and the sometimes overreaching powers of government. In the absence of abuse or neglect, government does not have the right to intervene in the rearing and moral education of children in the home. Strong families are thus vital for political freedom. But when governments presume to redefine the nature of marriage, issuing regulations to ensure public acceptance of non-traditional unions, they have moved a step closer to intervening in the sacred sphere of domestic life.

Strong, stable families, headed by a father and mother, are the anchor of civilized society. When marriage is undermined by gender confusion and by distortions of its God-given meaning, the rising generation of children and youth will find it increasingly difficult to develop their natural identity as a man or a woman. Some will find it more difficult to engage in wholesome courtships, form stable marriages, and raise yet another generation imbued with moral strength and purpose.

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33 Responses to Prop. 8 Cometh

  1. Dan on October 26, 2008 at 10:54 pm

    That’s why I say that we should remove the issue of marriage from the state completely. Let religions handle marriages.

  2. Blake on October 26, 2008 at 11:52 pm

    Dan: Amen. Since states have only civil authority and can therefore only perform civil unions, the state ought not be in the business of mimicking religious rites. In fact, for the state to perform marriages entails that the state is involved in actually performing rites, ceremonies and performances that are religious in nature and therefore violates the Establishment Clause.

    Only a religion can do more than a civil ceremony. Given that fact, the only thing that the CA court added to the protections and privileges of homosexuals by allowing them to marry was to allow them to call their ceremony a “marriage.” However, in doing so it opens up Pandora’s box for war on religions because they won’t recognize such civil ceremonies as being equivalent to the marriages that only religions can perform. Since same sex couples already had all of the protections and privileges under CA’s very broad civil unions statute that a civil marriage granted except the name “marriage,” it follows that there is nothing gained for same sex couples and there is a huge downside for the interests of religions who oppose homosexual sexual relations. Thus, the only rational course of action is to vote for Prop. 8 since there is no downside and no upside for same sex couples if it passes and there is a substantial likelihood of downside for religious organizations if it doesn’t pass.

  3. JKS on October 26, 2008 at 11:56 pm

    Dan, it used to be that society supported the traditional family. It was the norm. It was in society’s interest to help families stay intact. I am married with four children and everywhere I look I see that this way of life and raising children is being undermined.
    Now we might as well be pod people. Lets just put an egg and sperm in an incubator and let it grow in Matrix like pods till they are full grown. It is now the state’s job to raise them and they apparently don’t need parents and intact families.
    Marriage isn’t just about religion.

  4. Mark N. on October 27, 2008 at 12:03 am

    Pandora’s box has already been opened, because I doubt this is ever going to be seen as anything but a equal rights issue now that the California Supreme Court has framed it in those terms. Since virtually all of the rights due to a married couple have been granted to domestic partners over the years, a domestic partnership is virtually the equivalent of marriage in the eyes of the law. I don’t know what the polls are saying at this point about the chances for passage of the proposition (it seems to depend on which poll you’re looking at), but even if it does pass, I fully expect it to be overturned one way or the other.

  5. Todd Wood on October 27, 2008 at 12:03 am

    VOTE YES!

    Sorry Adam, I couldn’t help but throw in a little emotion, too. A cry from a heart in S.E. Idaho.

  6. Chino Blanco on October 27, 2008 at 12:43 am

    Every last member of the church could donate down to their last penny in this effort to get Prop 8 passed, and these words would still remain the same:

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

  7. Derek on October 27, 2008 at 12:55 am

    If it wasn’t for legal parental obligations, there might be a case for government-sanctioned marriages.

  8. MikeInWeHo on October 27, 2008 at 1:38 am

    re: 4
    It does seem that the Chief Justice of the CA Supreme Court has signaled that the court won’t allow Prop 8 to stand even if it passes. Apparently there’s something about revising vs. amending the state constitution. The argument will also be made that Prop 8 conflicts with the equal protection section of the CA constitution, which already protects gays from discrimination. Can any of the lawyers here weigh in on that?

    It’s unfortunate that both sides have cast the consequences in such draconian language. No matter the outcome on November 4th, this debate is going to go on and on and on.

  9. the narrator on October 27, 2008 at 3:27 am

    Since when has marriage been solely a religious rite?

    If you are going to say that it is actually a religious rite that the government is mimicking, then why not make SSM a religious right that others can participate in as well? (the play on words was intended)

    If the government is merely mimicking a religious right, then how can we say that the government ought to discriminate this secular rite because it goes against our religious views of what a marriage ought to be?

    And finally, how exactly do we determine what a ‘traditional’ family is? Whose tradition? At what time period? At various time periods ‘traditional’ marriage has meant anything from practically being property ownership, to polygamous relationships, to being based on extremely biased gender inequality, to being largely social contracts made by parents for economic purposes, to being romantically instigated, to the Cleaver family, to….

    Are you saying that within the last couple decades we have finally reached the pinnacle of thousands of years of ‘traditional’ family evolution?

  10. Ronan on October 27, 2008 at 5:24 am

    Marriage is not (exclusively) a religious rite. What a ridiculous claim.

  11. Phouchg on October 27, 2008 at 8:58 am

    I still think it is interesting that the Pleasantville/Leave It To Beaver image of “family” is what is held up as a traditional family. Traditional in 20th century white bread suburban America perhaps, but certainly not the norm throughout the eons of human history. A family is whatever you make of it.

  12. Roland on October 27, 2008 at 9:19 am

    Witness to Poor Character – Hate the Sin – Love the Sinner

    I’ve observed with interest the hate and anger pent up in the No on 8 while for the most part (but not always) the Yes on 8 and has attempted to conduct a civil campaign.

    I’ve watched here in Southern California that as the Yes folks have posted bumber stickers and Yes signs to show their support that the opposition has been very busy in tearing down and stealing signs. You can see the evidence of ripped up YES signs along many roadways now.

    They ask for tolerance and understanding but allow none to me to explain my views.

  13. Geoff B on October 27, 2008 at 9:50 am

    I just sent more money to the Protect Marriage group last night. Yes on Prop 8.

  14. JimD on October 27, 2008 at 11:06 am

    Mike, I can’t find the exact post now, but I remember seeing the issue discussed over at the Volokh Conspiracy sometime this summer–I think around early August.

    –Jim

  15. Peter LLC on October 27, 2008 at 11:50 am

    Come now, Roland, let us not demonize our opponents as angry and intolerant based on the actions of a few.

  16. Eugene V. Debs on October 27, 2008 at 12:11 pm

    If marriage was left strictly to religious denominations, that might solve the problem. Gay people could be married by Unitarian ministers or ministers from lefty protestant churches. Churches that adopted the one man, one woman approach would continue to marry only heterosexual couples. All of these unions would be recorded by the state as a civil union and be given identical status–e.g., joint tax returns, hospital visitiation, etc. State power would not be used to make gay people feel like second class citizens. State power would not be used to force denominations to perform gay marriages against their will.

  17. queuno on October 27, 2008 at 12:17 pm

    I still think it is interesting that the Pleasantville/Leave It To Beaver image of “family” is what is held up as a traditional family. Traditional in 20th century white bread suburban America perhaps, but certainly not the norm throughout the eons of human history. A family is whatever you make of it.

    For what it’s worth, we’ve heard a couple of times over the past year how gospel standards supersede cultural norms.

  18. MikeInWeHo on October 27, 2008 at 12:55 pm

    re: 13

    I agree with Roland that there is a lot of anger out there. My ‘hood is replete with No On 8 signs, and I would be concerned for the safety of any intrepid Yes On 8 folks canvassing the area (there haven’t been any). Yes On 8 signs would be gone in a flash, but there aren’t any to be seen. While I wouldn’t defend those behaviors, I understand the anger. Keep in mind that at this point, Yes On 8 is effectively an attempt to nullify thousands of existing marriages. How could there not be a vehement response?

    Let’s ask this question: What would happen in Provo if there were an attempt to ban temple marriages by the Christian Right? What would happen to the No On Temple Marriage yard signs there? My guess is there would be a similar angry response.

    One of the scariest things about Prop 8 is how the campaign reflects the increasing polarization of our society. It’s clear that each side feels existentially threatened by the other. History shows us that in situations like that, violence is never far behind.

  19. No on 8 Mormon on October 27, 2008 at 1:07 pm

    “Only a man and a woman together have the natural biological capacity to conceive children.”

    O.K. Then lets limit marriage to fertile men and women who plan on having children. Everyone else can have a domestic partnership.

    but seriously,

    What I don’t understand is why more of us democracy loving Mormons aren’t concerned about the fact that the civil rights / civil participation / civil standing of a minority group are being put up to a simple majority vote. Regardless of how we feel about the merits of prop 8, structurally it’s highly problematic.

  20. Gerald Smith on October 27, 2008 at 1:15 pm

    Governments got into the marriage business, not because it was a nice thing to do, or to give individuals rights; but to ensure the continuation of society. Governments found over time that traditional marriage ensured that children were raised in better environments than outside of the traditional bonds of marriage. Studies today show the same thing.

    The US government desired to encourage traditional marriage, and so it established traditional marriage as a cut above, officially recognized and encouraged, in order to benefit society, and NOT the individuals involved.

    For government to get out of the marriage business would demean the tradition. It would mean that government had no need to support and sustain the one key ingredient that sustains and maintains society: traditional family.

    We would be foolish to imagine that all things are equal in society. When we make all things the same, then nothing is special. No other structure than the traditional family has shown to sustain and protect a society’s future.

  21. Rameumptom on October 27, 2008 at 1:24 pm

    Chino #6,

    Yes, all men are created equal. But that does not mean anything regarding to marriage. All men, as adults, are not equal, are they? Did not the Founding Fathers see that to maintain equality via governmental force was not an option? Their point in the statement that all are created equal, was to establish that the king is no better than the commoner at birth.

    Yet, those same Founding Fathers still agreed with moral concepts. Many established adultery laws in their states, for example. Obviously, they accepted the concept that traditional marriage was of value to society, as well as within the bounds of religion.

    Do we not believe government has the right to establish bounds in relationships? If not, then should we also abolish rules for incest? If we open the door for SSM, then how much futher down the road will it be until the California Supreme Court allows NAMBLA to have their day in court?

    I think this is a slippery slope to the destruction of our society. Studies show that traditional marriage maintains society and is of a benefit to society. SSM has only shown to be a benefit to the individuals involved, as studies show children require both a father and mother.

  22. No on 8 Mormon on October 27, 2008 at 1:29 pm

    “We would be foolish to imagine that all things are equal in society. When we make all things the same, then nothing is special. ”

    That’s right and here is the deep heart of the yes on 8 homophobic fear: “If gay folks can get married then I’m not special anymore.”

    [Ed.--any further accusations of homophobia will be grounds for comment deletion]

  23. the narrator on October 27, 2008 at 1:55 pm

    #24

    “Governments got into the marriage business, not because it was a nice thing to do, or to give individuals rights; but to ensure the continuation of society. Governments found over time that traditional marriage ensured that children were raised in better environments than outside of the traditional bonds of marriage.”

    The idea that governments got involved with marriage because of the continuation of society or for the sake of children seems highly specious or mythic. Rather, it seems that the government’s involvement with marriage began as extensions of property rights of the husband. Nearly all marriage laws up until the last several decades were made for the husband’s benefit. This includes marriage and adultery laws in the Mosaic Law which basically treated women as property and were established to protect the groom’s right to his wife/property.

  24. Billy G on October 27, 2008 at 1:59 pm

    I guess the LDS church has lost the ability to have members in Canada. The families in Denmark are no more.

    With SSM all over the world the scare tactics and all of the fear raised here seems a bit over blown. The church should oppose gay marriage the same way they do non-married man and woman households what is the difference they are both immoral.

    Remember how loud the mormon protest was every time Romney was asked about polygamy? Or temple secrets?

    When people talk about us the way we talk about Homosexuals we scream prejudice. It is a fine line but leave teh homophobia where it belongs in the closet.

    Governments got into the marriage business to give equal legal protection to non-religious couples. There was no thought to society benefit. There was no thought to maintaining traditional families it was more to do with property ownwership and applying contract law to divorces. It was far more to make sure women and children weren’t homeless and starving.

  25. Chino Blanco on October 27, 2008 at 2:00 pm

    Rameumptom #25,

    I was raised Mormon. I was raised to believe that coercion is fundamentally contrary to what we’re all about. I honestly don’t know what to make of this newfound Mormon eagerness to enlist the state in our latest attempt to promote Mormon norms.

    “Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burned, tortured, fined, and imprisoned, yet we have not advanced one inch toward uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half of the world fools and the other half hypocrites.”

    – Thomas Jefferson

    That said, I dig your moniker. “Rameumptom.” We might all benefit from reacquainting ourselves with the origin of that word. It’s been a while ago, but FYI, I’ve previously borrowed that word to describe the platform on which the Yes on 8 campaign has set up camp:

    http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2008/6/30/73912/1147/89/544016

  26. Last Lemming on October 27, 2008 at 2:42 pm

    Let’s ask this question: What would happen in Provo if there were an attempt to ban temple marriages by the Christian Right? What would happen to the No On Temple Marriage yard signs there? My guess is there would be a similar angry response.

    Just for the record, your analogy is not valid. “Banning” temple marriages implies that celebrants would either be physically barred from the temple, or subject to prosecution after the fact. Prop 8 would neither bar same sex couples from facilities in which religious rites could be carried out, nor subject them to prosecution for participating in such rites.

    A valid analogy would be if the Christian right were to attempt to eliminate the civil sanctioning of temple marriages. So celebrants would have to go through two separate ceremonies–just like they already do in Europe. No big deal to me. In fact, I think they would be doing the Church a favor by facilitating greater involvement of nonmember families. But you’re probably right about the reaction in Provo either way.

  27. dug on October 27, 2008 at 2:57 pm

    If you say that children “require” a mother and a father, don’t you really mean children, according to research, generally (and not always, because some mothers and fathers hardly qualify for the title) do better do better with a mother and a father?

    Don’t Mormons argue that temple marriage is best? But we aren’t walking the streets to ban lesser marriages, those performed at city hall, the country club, or, for shame, at another church.

    We satisfy ourselves in proclaiming that our marriages are better. Like a missionary teaching an investigator, we don’t tear down his house, we build him better house, and hope he’ll move.

    I find Prop 8 and anti-SSM marriage talk generally makes the perfect the enemy of the good.

    These people want to get married. Isn’t that a step in the right direction? Let them.

  28. Roland on October 27, 2008 at 3:04 pm

    What is driving the show in California is in 2000 we passed Prop 22 by a 61% majority only to have it flipped by 4 liberal activist judges.

    In the last 8 years our highly liberal legislature keeps trying to force gay agenda items into the public schools and other parts of daily life.

    This year San Diego fireman filed a harrassment lawsuit because they were forced by the city to march in the Gay Pride parade.

    Last week the California Teachers Union (which has a very liberal leadership) donated $1 million to No on 8. The rest of the teachers are saying why are using my union dues like that when all of the social studies show that children perform much better in the schools when they are raised in the home with a traditional Mother and Father.

  29. the narrator on October 27, 2008 at 3:10 pm

    #33

    code words:

    “liberal activist judges” = judges who disagree with me.

    “highly liberal legislature” = legislature that disagrees with me.

    “gay agenda” = a view of civil liberties that i disagree with.

    “very liberal leadership” = leadership that disagrees with me.

    “all of the social studies” = selective and limited social studies that agree with me.

  30. Adam Greenwood on October 27, 2008 at 3:27 pm

    “code words”=mealy mouthed circumlocutions for home truths that I would rather avoid.

  31. Billy G on October 27, 2008 at 3:28 pm

    Social studies show children do better in homes where love is shown, where they have both father and mother in their life, where they have stable consistent families.

    Selective studies show lots of things many fit just fine in with Gay coupling.

    Any links to an objective study that actually studied children in stable loving gay homes and similarly stable loving christian heterosexual homes?

  32. Adam Greenwood on October 27, 2008 at 3:29 pm

    Every last “member” of the church could could oppose the Church’s stance all they wanted, and these words would still remain the same:

    “Whether by my mouth, or the mouth of my servants, it is the same.”

  33. Adam Greenwood on October 27, 2008 at 3:38 pm

    If only some here found it a little more difficult to serve two masters. Comments are closed.

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