Gay : Marriage :: Mormon : Christian

January 23, 2014 | 277 comments
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A Play in One Act

Heber: . . . and that’s why we should all recognize that Mormons are Christians.

Aquinas: Whoa, whoa. I understand your enthusiasm. The label of Christian is really valuable. But it also has a set definition. And I don’t think Mormons are in that definition.

Heber: Why not? We believe in Jesus, don’t we? Christianity is defined by one thing: Belief in Jesus.

Aquinas: That’s where you’re wrong. In fact, there’s a lot more to Christianity than belief in Jesus. Throughout human history, the word “Christian” has included a complicated package of additional, interrelated ideas. There is the Nicene creed, the Trinity, and a variety of other beliefs. And no entity satisfies that particular combination except for mainline Christians.

Heber: But those are peripheral, cultural, possibly wrong. And when you look at it, even those have changed repeatedly over the years.

Aquinas: Yes, there has been some shifting over time. But the label has always included some basic attributes, beyond simply a belief in Jesus. The Trinity, for instance.

Heber: And, who exactly defines it that way?

Aquinas: The Christian community!

Heber: You mean, people who are satisfied with the existing system? Isn’t that a little self-interested?

Aquinas: It’s no more self-interested than your group seeking social validation by trying to glom on to an existing, respected label. This illustrates my point. Part of the value of these terms is that they don’t just include everyone.

Heber: Maybe so, but the way that the understanding has changed over time shows that only the most important core attribute matters. And at its most fundamental level, Christianity is about belief in Jesus, and Mormons have that. Therefore, we should be included.

Aquinas: Hey, I’m happy that you believe in Jesus. But you don’t get to just go around changing the definition of a word. It’s not a single-axis thing. When people hear the word Christian, they make a set of assumptions. If we dilute that, it will undermine public understanding about the institution of Christianity.

Heber: Why would my inclusion in the definitional umbrella of “Christian” affect other people’s beliefs? I’m not hurting anyone.

Aquinas: You’re undermining two thousand years of tradition! You don’t get to just change definitions like that.

Heber: Why not?

277 Responses to Gay : Marriage :: Mormon : Christian

  1. Lorian on January 23, 2014 at 9:30 pm

    Ah, I see what you did there… ;)

  2. Steve Martin on January 23, 2014 at 10:00 pm

    Yes…but which Jesus?

    There’s more than one, you know.

    There is Jesus the teacher. Jesus the helper. Jesus the example. Jesus the task master. And Jesus the Savior, for the ungodly…those who do not deserve anything.

    Christians believe in the last Jesus. Who accomplished everything on the Cross, for real sinners.

    For the first four Jesuses…you don’t even need a Cross.

  3. Lorian on January 23, 2014 at 10:11 pm

    I dispute that there is one single, exclusive definition of “Christian.” Many have slaughtered others over the centuries in defense of such an exclusive branding, but I’d like to believe we could get beyond the idea that others must be burned at the stake for disagreeing with someone else’s religious definitions.

  4. Nathaniel Givens on January 23, 2014 at 11:13 pm

    Your thought experiment doesn’t really work for me, Kaimi, because I don’t want (unconditionally) to be called Christian. I think everyone who’s looked at the issue seriously understands that there are two valid definitions of the term:

    (1) A Christian is someone who worships Christ as defined in the New Testament. Mormons are Christian.

    (2) A Christian is someone who embraces the doctrines and creeds of historical Christianity (Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox). Mormons aren’t Christian.

    Only people are who are seeking for power or advantage are going to insist on having one and only one term for what is obviously two separate concepts. The Church has made this clear since our inception. Catholics will recognize Protestant baptisms and vice versa, but Mormons recognize none but our own. So we excluded ourselves first, before the rest of the Christian world got around to returning the compliment in recent decades.

    It may or may not be a coincidence that this is the same basic logic I favor a new institution for homosexual unions instead of a redefinition of marriage, which is an institution that has evolved primarily in relation to heterosexual (i.e. procreative) considerations.

  5. David Redden on January 23, 2014 at 11:51 pm

    Nathaniel, I’m not sure if I’m following you. Are you saying that because homosexuals hold themselves out as something other than heterosexual, we should use some term other than “marriage” to refer to their marriage?

    Kaimi, your post does a nice job of exposing how the argument over the “definition of marriage” is either a rationalization or a pretext for a deeper, more difficult set of issues.

  6. Steve Martin on January 23, 2014 at 11:56 pm

    I would never suggest “burning anyone at the stake”…but I will defend the Jesus who forgives real sinners, for His sake (not even for our own sakes)…against all those who would make Him into a cosmic stable boy…one who helps us into the saddle (where we are in charge).

  7. Lorian on January 24, 2014 at 12:02 am

    Nathaniel, that’s an awfully simplistic set of definitions of “Christian.” I would propose to you that there are far more than that. Many denominations teach that their members are the only “true” Christians, and define their terms quite dissimilarly. For instance, you describe most Christians as being credal. And yet, not even all of the “catholic” denominations (Roman, Eastern Orthodox — various brands, Anglican/Episcopalian, and Lutheran, to one degree or another) subscribe to all of the Creeds (Athanasian, Nicene and Apostles). Eastern Orthodox, for instance, accepts only the Nicene Creed. Most of the mainstream western churches accept all three, but Methodists don’t accept the Athanasian Creed. Most other evangelical, fundamentalist and Pentecostal denominations don’t subscribe to any creeds, believing their salvation to be based upon personal faith, alone, and not upon any denominational subscription to a creed.

    I’ve attended any number of protestant/evangelical churches which openly taught that their church was the only place where true Christianity could be found — they certainly didn’t agree that Catholics or mainstream protestants were “Christians.” And Catholics and Orthodox are famous for their exclusions of one another and all other denominations from their definitions of Christianity.

    As to each accepting one another’s baptisms, again, you are incorrect. While Catholic and catholic groups (Roman, Anglican and Orthodox, as well as Lutherans and some mainline protestants) will accept any baptism performed with water in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit as valid, this primarily only includes denominations which allow infant baptism. Groups which believe that baptism must take place after the age of accountability (with there existing many different definitions for that age) do *not* accept Catholic or other baptisms, particularly when performed upon infants or young children. Nor will they accept baptisms performed only in the name of Jesus, and often will not accept baptisms performed by any method other than immersion. They will also rebaptize even individuals who have been, by their definition, correctly baptized, whereas catholic groups, believing baptism to be a sacrament (most evangelical groups don’t subscribe to more than two sacraments if they believe in the existence of sacraments at all) will not rebaptized unless there exists significant doubt that the individual was ever baptized or was baptized correctly.

    So, you see, the “definitions” of Christianity vary widely by denomination, just as do the definitions of *religious* marriage (sacrament, ordinance or blessing). That’s why defining *civil* marriage by the dictates of one or another church’s definition of *religious* marriage would be as erroneous as making a legal governmental definition of “Christianity” and only acknowledging as legitimate the religious beliefs of those who conformed to the official governmental definition of “Christian.”

  8. Lorian on January 24, 2014 at 12:05 am

    Steve Martin – “Defend” how? By force of law, or simply by statement of belief? I think that’s really what is at stake, here.

  9. Steve Smith on January 24, 2014 at 12:09 am

    “I favor a new institution for homosexual unions instead of a redefinition of marriage”

    Well it is nice that you cut your typical obfuscation and finally bore your true colors, Nathaniel. But as Kaimi pointed out in one of his responses on the Gene Schaerr thread, society has been redefining marriage since the dawn of time, much like Christians have been redefining what it means to be Christian since the dawn of Christianity. I must also point out that in much of the free world today you would be redefining marriage to restrict it to opposite-sex couples only, for gay romantic unions are already recognized as marriage. This idea that there is this set natural definition of marriage is ridiculous. Marriage was invented by and defined by humans. What we have recently discovered is that a small percentage, but a very large number of the human population is gay (if we assume that just 2% of humans are gay, and it is probably a higher percentage than that, and concentrated all of the gays into a single area and made that area a sovereign nation, it would be the tenth most populated country in the world at 140mil), that there is nothing inherently wrong with being gay, and that there is nothing that makes gay romantic relationships inherently inferior or inherently less capable of working out long term than straight romantic relationships. So why not allow gay romantic couples to enter into a marriage union if they so desire? To say otherwise is to implicitly regard gays to be inferior.

  10. chris on January 24, 2014 at 1:00 am

    Steve Smith, So I suppose you accept the proposition that because someone is predisposed to X, X must be acceptable?

    If that’s the case, there isn’t much point in debating the issue, unless you’d be open to the idea that predisposition is not in and of itself a reason for something to be considered moral in God’s eyes.

    The “why not” would clearly be answered in the purpose of the church. We’re children of God, he sent us here to become like him, to return and live with him some day, as he does. Everything we know, as of now, points to the fact that exaltation is a Husband-Wife arrangement. So that at least one reason why it would be “wrong” in our faith’s eyes.

    Now, why is it wrong in the eyes of society and therefore the law? There are plenty of areas where that has been debated. Here is I think one reasonable starting point, but I have some of my own thoughts as well.
    http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2010/12/2217/

    To this post, the author’s rationale is tempting but not entirely to the point. Marriage not only comes bundled with a set of beliefs and values (like Christianity) that we apply rhetorically to our behavior, but is literally the best building block we have for society itself. It should go without saying that the vast majority of every generation in human existence was largely founded on marriage. There are variations across time and place, but those variations still have a lot in common (male-female-husband-wife-children). That children don’t always make an appearance is not a valid enough justification for severing the male-female foundation.

    All that being said, since we can acknowledge there have been variations in marriage across time and culture (although none really to the extent we’re talking about with ssm), it should be entirely within the right of a society to discuss potential variations, and permit or deny them.

    True, as a society, we’ve lost much of the true purpose of marriage, we’ve forgotten, it, we’ve neglected to teach it over the generations, and now we are reaping the fruit of generational complacency. But that is not enough justification to tell your neighbors who are waking up to the problems with the institution of marriage in our society that we ought to further erode it’s fundamental focus and purpose.

  11. Lorian on January 24, 2014 at 1:25 am

    Chris, may I just say that it is astounding how far my eyes can roll back in my head every time yet another heterosexual man presumes to tell me what the nature of my existence is and should be? How about defining your own marriage, and allowing that others have the freedom to marry as *they* see fit, and live according to the dictates of *their* own consciences and beliefs?

    I remember a wonderful scene from an old episode of the Roseanne show in which Roseanne and her sister, Jackie, are arguing in their “Loose Meat” restaurant about their family, their mother, and therapy. At one point, Roseanne attempts to tell Jackie how she believes Jackie should handle her life or her relationship with their mother. Jackie does about the healthiest thing I ever remember her doing on the show. She says, “Roseanne, this is Yoooooou (motioning an invisible wall between them with her hands), and this is Meeeeee (turning her hands the other way to describe the other side of the invisible wall between them). Yoooooou…Meeeeeeee…Yoooooou…Meeeeeee…”

    It’s called good boundaries, Chris. You get to live your life and make your decisions and marry the person you feel best suited to marry, and raise the family you decide to have (God-willing). I get to do the same.

  12. Steve Smith on January 24, 2014 at 1:55 am

    chris, “That children don’t always make an appearance is not a valid enough justification for severing the male-female foundation”

    Who is in favor of “severing the male-female foundation?” I’m in favor of expanding the foundation of marriage to include gay couples. That will lead to an increase in the number of happy marriages and potentially provide a more stable environment for the kids of gay couples.

    “it should be entirely within the right of a society to discuss potential variations, and permit or deny them”

    OK, sure. That is occurring this very minute. In some US states and countries, gay marriage has been legalized by majority vote of the legislature. In other places it has been the judiciary that has ruled on a specific case based on a reasoned argument that since gay marriage causes no demonstrable harm to anyone else that barring it would be unconstitutional and unlawful.

    “But that is not enough justification to tell your neighbors who are waking up to the problems with the institution of marriage in our society that we ought to further erode it’s fundamental focus and purpose.”

    Wait, how exactly is legalizing gay marriage further eroding the fundamental focus and purpose of marriage? I’ve heard that reasoning before, but I’ve never been able to make sense of it. If anything it would seem that legalizing gay marriage would strengthen the overall institution of marriage and reinforce its focus and purpose.

  13. SteveF on January 24, 2014 at 2:17 am

    Lorian, homosexual couples can already marry as they wish. The question is whether or not the gov’t should officially recognize these marriages and additionally actively endorse them through economic incentives on par with and as is done for heterosexual marriages.

    Using your logic the gov’t is also obligated to officially recognize and give economic incentives to anyone who wishes to define marriage in any way they personally see fit. There are a lot of ridiculous examples that could be used to show why this principle doesn’t make sense, but I want to mention a genuine one–polygamy. Do you feel the gov’t should be obligated to officially recognize and give benefits to these “marriages” in the same way it currently recognizes other forms of marriage, simply because that is how those people wish to define marriage?

  14. Manuel Villalobos on January 24, 2014 at 3:11 am

    “Part of the value of these terms is that they don’t just include everyone.”

    Very true. The issue reminds me of Dr Seuss’ Star Bellied Sneetches.

  15. Steve Martin on January 24, 2014 at 9:06 am

    Lorian,

    We ‘defend’ by speaking the truth.

  16. Cameron N on January 24, 2014 at 9:44 am

    Doeth this offend thee? What and if you see the Son of Man ascend up to where He was before?

  17. Jax on January 24, 2014 at 9:51 am

    But as Kaimi pointed out in one of his responses on the Gene Schaerr thread, society has been redefining marriage since the dawn of time, much like Christians have been redefining what it means to be Christian since the dawn of Christianity.

    So “marriage” is something that is highly changable, with definitions that are alterable (as opposed to something God-defined and stable)? And is determined by the human society at the time? Sweet! Then you have no problem with those of us fighting to make sure our society chooses the man-woman concept since we’re just participating in the natural order of things. And because you don’t think God has set a defintion for marriage then ANY definition is acceptable, right?

    In the meantime, those of us who believe God has defined marriage and set boundaries for it will continue to strive to convince people we are right. And since we think all passions and appetites must be kept within the bounds the Lord has set, which clearly condemn/disallow homosexuality, we will continue to reject homosexual marriage on political and religious levels.

  18. Steve Smith on January 24, 2014 at 11:44 am

    Jax (17), in many societies past and present, marriage is not just between two individuals, but between two families who must accept each partner and often arrange for them to marry. Sometimes a dowry is involved, as in lots of poor, rural central India (a hideous practice that is used often as a means of extortion on the bride’s family, which the Indian gov. has been trying to end). A hundred years ago in the US, it was illegal for a black person and a white person to marry. In much of Africa and the Middle East a male is allowed to be married to multiple women at the same time. In some places it is acceptable for a 13-year-old girl to be married to a twenty-year old man. In some cultures a woman is treated as chattel (movable property) of the male in marriage and has no right to seek a divorce. In Shi’i Islam, temporary marriage is practiced as a form of legitimized prostitution (a man may marry a woman for a couple of hours or something). So should we just accept marriage anything that people want it to be? No. Clearly we should reject marriage in which one or the other party is not of age, not consenting, already in another marriage (although I’m not opposed to legalized polygamy as long as all parties are consenting and have equal rights to get out of the marriage contract), is an animal, or has a major cognitive disability. But the marriage of one person to another of the same-gender poses no demonstrable harm to society. Also if polls are correct, a majority of the US population favors the legalization of gay marriage. So opponents are in the minority. Also according to a recent Salt Lake Tribune poll (http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/57391605-78/marriage-sex-percent-state.html.csp), Utahns are split evenly on gay marriage, with 32% Mormons in favor of it. In fact a majority of Mormons favored civil unions.

    As for God defining what marriage is, can you establish anywhere in the world where God has written or stated that what God’s definition of marriage is? Don’t say the Bible or the scriptures, because those were clearly written by human beings. Besides there are lots of people who claim that God’s definition of marriage includes gay marriage. How do I know that they’re not right?

  19. Steve Smith on January 24, 2014 at 11:48 am

    “Lorian, homosexual couples can already marry as they wish.”

    No they can’t. There is no marriage without government.

    “Using your logic the gov’t is also obligated to officially recognize and give economic incentives to anyone who wishes to define marriage in any way they personally see fit”

    Once again, no they’re not. Lots of peoples from Africa and the Middle East believe that an arranged marriage between a 13-year-old girl and a 20-year-old male should be recognized as marriage. In that case it is the responsibility of the government to deny that marriage because the girl is underage. There is just cause for the court to bar that marriage.

  20. SteveF on January 24, 2014 at 12:36 pm

    Steve Smith #19. “There is no marriage without government.”

    There is. I can think of several examples, and I’m sure if you thought about it for a moment, you could too. Not sure why you would think people do not have the power to define their own relationships.

    “Once again, no they’re not.”

    That was my point. There is no reason the gov’t should be obligated to officially recognize and endorse all non-illegal relationships as citizens wish to engage in and define them.

    And I agree the gov’t has right to and probably ought to criminalize certain acts/relationships, but I’m not sure how this supports your point. When relationships are not illegal/criminalized, then citizens are by definition free (not restricted) and maintain the right to enter into such relationships as they see fit. Having this freedom is a different issue entirely from saying the gov’t ought to officially recognize and/or actively endorse (through economic incentives) such relationships.

  21. Lorian on January 24, 2014 at 1:21 pm

    SteveF #13:

    Lorian, homosexual couples can already marry as they wish. The question is whether or not the gov’t should officially recognize these marriages and additionally actively endorse them through economic incentives on par with and as is done for heterosexual marriages.

    As you, yourself, point out in your own backpedaling, only in a very disingenuous sense, that we can make loving commitments to one another, but have no actual civil equality. Kind of like how slaves in the south could have “marriages” in the form of commitments made to each other in the eyes of their fellow-slaves, but their owners could at any time break them up and sell them separately to other owners. And kind of like how, prior to Loving v. Virginia, mixed-race couples in some states could make loving commitments to one another, but would be treated as unequal by their state government, which would not recognize them as civilly married.

    Yes, I have been married to my wife for nearly 23 years. But, despite the fact that our twin daughters are 12 years old, we have been unable to protect our family with the full rights and protections of civil marriage until just this past summer, when DOMA’s Section 3 was overturned by SCOTUS. We’ve been legally married in our state since 2008 (just before Prop 8), but still had no federal recognition of our marriage until this summer, 2013. That doesn’t change the commitment and the love my wife and I have shared for the past 23 years. But it makes a world of difference to our family, and to our ability to protect our children.

    In essence, what you are saying is that children raised by same-sex couples are inherently inferior to their peers who are raised by opposite-sex couples, and should be treated as inferiors by society and discriminated against by the government.

    Using your logic the gov’t is also obligated to officially recognize and give economic incentives to anyone who wishes to define marriage in any way they personally see fit.

    Um, using MY logic? Hardly. Please quote for me the portion of my post wherein I stated that society/government should be obligated to recognize *any* arrangement as a civil marriage, regardless of the participants, so long as someone “wishes” it to be that way. Where did I say that?

    In fact, I’ve had discussions on this issue with you in the past, Steve, so you very well know that this is not my position at all. Marriages between minors, non-consensual marriages, marriages between children and adults, marriages to animals (all of these by definition, non-consensual), marriages to people in comas, marriages to toasters and other inanimate objects – please. Stop being ridiculous. No one is advocating (at least not anyone here!) that marriages be permitted which are exploitative, hazardous, or involve those who are unable to give valid legal consent.

    If consenting, fully-informed, non-coerced adults which to enter into polygamous marriages, I, personally, don’t have a problem with that. I can see where the government might have legitimate concerns in that the structure of such marriages, if carried out in large scale within a community (particularly if there is an overwhelming preference for polygyny, without a balance of polyandry), tends to create situations in which there are too many young men who cannot find eligible women to marry them, and in which exploitation of younger and younger women becomes incentivized, again by the imbalance between men looking to marry more wives, with insufficient numbers of available women. But if such marriages occur on a small scale, and, again, all of the participants are educated, fully-informed and consenting adults, I don’t see any harm. In fact, I see some potential benefits to children who gain more loving, involved parents, and a large number of siblings with whom to interact.

    That, however, has little to do with marriage equality for same-sex couples, for whom marriage is essentially the same as marriage between opposite-sex couples. It requires no adjustment to existing family law, since family law in every state is structured around the concept of two adults and their offspring. Legalization of polygamy will require massive overhaul of family law to accommodate for additional complexities in inheritance, divorce, custody, community property and taxation.

  22. Lorian on January 24, 2014 at 1:24 pm

    Steve Martin #15 – Good. So long as you confine it to speech, I see no harm. When you attempt to *legislate* your religious beliefs, your version of “the truth,” that’s where it’s a problem.

  23. SteveF on January 24, 2014 at 2:20 pm

    Lorian #21. Backpedaling? That was my first comment, not sure what there was to backpedal against. I am being genuine in my thoughts, not sure why you think I’m not.

    “Um, using MY logic? Hardly. Please quote for me the portion of my post wherein I stated that society/government should be obligated to recognize *any* arrangement as a civil marriage, regardless of the participants, so long as someone “wishes” it to be that way. Where did I say that?”

    I didn’t say you said that. What I said was “using your logic”, and meant that was the natural conclusion of your logic. Here’s the quote: “How about defining your own marriage, and allowing that others have the freedom to marry as *they* see fit, and live according to the dictates of *their* own consciences and beliefs?” I assumed this was an argument for government-recognized SSM. But if it was only an argument for privatized marriage rights, which already exist, then I guess I was just agreeing with you by pointing that out. Given the context however, I think it was an argument on your part for government-recognized SSM, and so I pointed out that personal definitions in non-illegal relationships are not sufficient to obligate the government to officially recognize and economically endorse that relationship.

    “In essence, what you are saying is that children raised by same-sex couples are inherently inferior to their peers who are raised by opposite-sex couples, and should be treated as inferiors by society and discriminated against by the government.” Nope, not what I’m saying.

    “…for whom marriage is essentially the same as marriage between opposite-sex couples…” That’s where I disagree. That argument in my mind rests on the assumption that male and female are essentially interchangeable, which given current secular knowledge on the subject is quite an extremist assumption. Sex is not a single superficial physical trait difference, but rather a major categorical difference–perhaps you’ve read my comments on this post I Believe in Gender Roles , as it looks like you left one there as well. Therefore, male-female, male-male, female-female relationships are 3 categorically different arrangements, just as male-female-female would be another category as well. And since it is reasonable to believe that effects and outcomes *might* differ in these various arrangements, the government should not be obligated to legislate them as if they were exactly the same, and surely should not be obligated invest/endorse them through monetary incentives when benefits to society at large are unknown or uncertain.

    I agree that all such non-illegal arrangements, including non-romantic relationships, that desire to legally share assets and be joined should be afforded the same rights and protections offered to couples in marriage (hospital rights, inheritances, etc.). So I am for civil-unions in all such cases.

  24. SilverRain on January 24, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    Lorian, perhaps it will help you understand that is exactly how the religious feel about others legislating their sexual beliefs.

  25. Steve Smith on January 24, 2014 at 2:27 pm

    SteveF, marriage is different than a romantic relationship. Marriage is a contract between two people that comes with entitlements and obligations that are enforced by outside parties. If anything has been consistent with marriage throughout human history, it is its contractual nature. The terms of the contract may have differed across space and time, but it has always been a contract. And there is no contract without enforcement, and no enforcement without government. Suppose two people are married in a village of three people in the middle of the Amazon rain forest. As long as that third party acted as the person recognizing that marriage between the other two, holding the two responsibilities (over children), enforcing agreements between the two about property-sharing, s/he would be acting as a government.

    People can enter whatever romantic relationships they please and try to hold each other to certain obligations. They can call that relationship a marriage, but it is not really a marriage without outside recognition, defining of entitlements and obligations, and the enforcement of those.

  26. Steve Smith on January 24, 2014 at 2:42 pm

    Silver Rain, who is legislating people’s sexual beliefs? You are entitled to protection by the first amendment to believe whatever you please about sex and human sexuality and to make those beliefs public. You do not have the right, however, to make me bear a burden because of your religiously-informed sexual beliefs.

  27. Lorian on January 24, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    SilverRain, what Steve said. What *I* object to is other people who use the government to force me to live by their religious beliefs, or to be denied rights because of their religious beliefs. I’m not using the force of law to make you marry a woman. Others are attempting to use force of law to *deny* my right to marry a woman. Hopefully you can see the difference, here, because it is an important one.

    The day I try to pass a law which tells you what you can or cannot believe, or how you can or cannot live your life (with respect to anything which does not cause harm to others) is the day you will have a valid complaint against me.

  28. Lorian on January 24, 2014 at 3:09 pm

    SteveF #23 – Nothing I said should lead to a conclusion that I endorse exploitative or harmful relationships, child molestation, or anything of the sort. The fact that you would extrapolate my comments to suggest such a thing merely means that either you don’t know me very well (which should hardly be the case, since we’ve had this conversation before), or you wish to discredit my remarks by making false attributions. In any case I have clearly corrected the record. YES, I’m referring to legal civil marriage, not to private commitments, and NO, I’m not referring to children, ducks or toasters, for the previously well-defined reasons. Clear enough?

    As to your religious beliefs about gender roles, they have no bearing on civil marriage rights or on parenting. Current research clearly supports the conclusion that the sex/gender of parents has no bearing on positive parenting outcomes. There is nothing about the role of parents which demands any particular configuration of sexual organs (other than the basic act of procreation, which can readily be accomplished through other means than direct copulation). Kids don’t care what genitalia you have (nor should this even be a factor in your relationship with your children, I would hope). They care whether you love them, whether you nurture them, whether you are there for them when they need you. Current research does NOT support your idea that a “man-woman” pairing is “best for the kids.” There’s nothing wrong with it, but nothing to say that it is in any way germane.

  29. Steve Martin on January 24, 2014 at 3:12 pm

    God’s law says homosexuality is sin. It’s clear and unambiguous.

    Because of our willfulness, we will do what we will do.

    __

    We were ALL born liars (according to Jesus).

    But that doesn’t make it right.

  30. SteveF on January 24, 2014 at 3:15 pm

    Steve Smith #25. I agree in general sense, if government refers to more than just the state and rather more basic organizations. Tribal and religious marriages are good examples, still contractual in nature, but do not require recognition from the state.

    Likewise, private organizations (as small as a single 3rd party individual) could (and may?) equally exist to perform same-sex marriage, and would likewise require no intervention/recognition from the US government.

  31. Wilfried on January 24, 2014 at 3:29 pm

    Ditto all what Lorian and Steve Smith said on this thread.

    And I’ll take advantage here to refer to my article on ethical issues and same-sex marriage. Seen from a broader and international perspective.

  32. Steve Smith on January 24, 2014 at 3:31 pm

    Steve Martin (29), you’re confusing ancient Hebrew law with God’s laws. No one knows what exactly God’s laws are. But there are lots of people making up their own laws and trying to claim that they are God’s laws. All laws are created by humans.

    SteveF (30), privatized marriage ceremonies simply won’t work in the US. I mean, everyone is within their legal rights to have private marriage ceremonies and call whatever relationships they want marriages, but whatever marriage contracts are drawn up that are not recognized by the US government (at least in the US) are not binding, so they are in essence pointless contracts. The US government has to be involved in marriage to help establish order in society. It needs to protect individual rights (so no marriages with both parties’ consent) and bind people to entitlements and obligations, if they so desire to enter into a marriage contract.

  33. SilverRain on January 24, 2014 at 3:49 pm

    Steve Smith and Lorian. Government IS a set of enforced beliefs. People of faith also resent being forced to live by beliefs they don’t espouse.

    The main difference I see is that not as many religions are demanding that those who disagree with them vote against their beliefs, as seems so very common among those who are fighting to change what constitutes a state marriage. Though I’m sure there are some out there, sadly.

    But, as I’ve stated before, I’m not here to change the minds of people unapologetically closed-minded to those who disagree with them. Nor to listen to the same arguments I’ve heard again and again which fail to convince. I just thought perhaps this once it was worth it to point out something that might help you understand your political opponents. Such understanding is helpful to those who are truly seeking to change minds and hearts.

    I obviously miscalculated your interest in such a thing. ;)

  34. Steve Martin on January 24, 2014 at 3:49 pm

    Come on Steve Smith.

    The Bible says that men should not lie with men. That’s not directed at the Jews alone. But anyone.

    It’s just not in the interest of society.

    The true test if something is truly good, or not, is if it’s good if everyone did it.

    Heterosexual relationships are what God is after, and it is what is good for societies and children.

    But sinners just want what they want and to hell with what God wants.

  35. SteveF on January 24, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    Lorian #28. You’re fighting a straw-man in you first paragraph, I also mentioned that I wanted to put ridiculous examples aside and never insinuated you were an advocate for such things, and explicitly said non-illegal relationships (also implying ones that actually exist) several times.

    I also referred specifically to the secular knowledge of society, and was referring to my comments that applied specifically to that, not any religious-based argument. The research in this arena is young, and far from comprehensive. And given nearly a billion years of the evolution and specialization of the sexes (which pressures would theoretically select for that which would give greatest advantage to rising generations), I find it very presumptuous to assume after the relatively minuscule, decades, of far from comprehensive research that we know all effects/outcomes of same-sex parenting. To even think that we know everything to study is presumptuous in my mind. And then to assume that sex is entirely interchangeable is just willful ignorance.

    And then in the face of this ignorance, to say the government is required to give same-sex married couples monetary incentives for their relationship on par with opposite-sex couples is irrational in my mind. It would be like requiring an investor who puts money into one business that has proven successful in providing returns for thousands of years to give equal investment in an up and coming business that would like to tackle the same market with a new and as yet unproven business plan. And even if that plan shows some merit, why would the investor be required to invest in the two equally when the proof-of-concept is not entirely equal and there are clear foundational differences between the two?

    Here’s another example that I think is illustrative. Imagine a baby gorilla loses its parents to a fire in the wild, but escapes and is rescued and taken into a wildlife reservation. If it were possible to give this baby new parents in the reservation to be raised, what would be preferable? Giving this baby gorilla a new mother and father as it had in the wild? two father gorillas? or two mother gorillas? Or are all of these options exactly the same and equally preferable one with another?

    We are apes. I find it prideful to think that we are smart enough that our biology no longer makes a difference. When it comes down to it, we’re still animals, and we don’t even know what we don’t know. I find it wise to stick with biology, and stop pretending that sex/gender, in the absence of robust evidence, is somehow interchangeable in our species without effect, when basic evolutionary theory predicts the opposite.

  36. Michael P. on January 24, 2014 at 4:03 pm

    To echo what SilverRain said, our laws are the moral beliefs that we compel each other to follow on threat of punishment and loss of property or freedom. There is no neutral position.

  37. WalkerW on January 24, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    Typically, those claiming that Mormons are not Christian are relying on thousands of years of tradition. Mormons are often seen as outside “orthodox” Christianity. An EQ lesson just last Sunday focused a lot (for whatever reason) on the question, “What would you say if someone said you (a Mormon) were not Christian?” I answered that I’d first clarify (“You mean orthodox, traditional, or creedal Christianity?”). But I’d then agree that by traditional standards, I’m a heretic. And I’m ok with that.

    Another made the comment that there is a sense of pride among Mormons who try to fit with the mainstream. We’re outsiders. Deal with it. We try to stress our similarities instead of pointing out the importance of our differences. Common ground and friendship is fine (“Friendship” is a fundamental principle of Mormonism). But this is quite different from saying we are the same. This is why I love the Givenses ‘The God Who Weeps’: differences that matter.

    So, the thought experiment doesn’t work for me either. I much prefer Nate Oman’s reasoning: http://timesandseasons.org/index.php/2013/04/why-gay-marriages-are-a-good-idea-but-marriage-equality-worries-me/

  38. SteveF on January 24, 2014 at 4:14 pm

    Steve Smith #32. The US is somehow different from the rest of the world? Tribal and/or religious marriages have been / are efficacious in other times and/or places, but not in the US right now? I think you are overplaying the importance of the enforceability of the contract to marriage. When I lived in West Africa, tribal marriages were more common than and seen as just as or more legitimate than legal marriage, but were hardly enforceable. Even so, individuals can and do create enforceable contracts with each other in the US, so I don’t really buy that argument either.

    Another example–up until recently, Utah law recognized and acknowledged non-gov’t marriages as marriages by outlawing polygamous marriages (even performed privately). Also, I remember reading about a province in Canada that recently upheld a similar law, that outlaws not polygamous sexual relationships (which was/is not illegal), but specifically polygamous marriages (that are performed in private or religious ceremonies) implicitly recognizing privately-performed marriage as marriage.

  39. Lorian on January 24, 2014 at 5:32 pm

    Steve Martin #29 –

    God’s law says homosexuality is sin. It’s clear and unambiguous.

    In. Your. Opinion.

    I believe in God. I read the Bible. There’s nothing in there that says, “Homosexuality is a sin.”

    You’re entitled to your personal beliefs and your personal interpretations of what you think this or that passage might mean. And you’re entitled to live by those beliefs and interpretations. You’re *not* entitled to inflict them upon me or to deprive me of civil rights and equality based upon your personal beliefs.

  40. Alison Moore Smith on January 24, 2014 at 5:45 pm

    Lorian, you seem to forget that Times & Seasons is an LDS blog and, yes, in LDS doctrine homosexual activity is a sin.

    As for “inflicting” religious belief on others, ALL laws “inflict” a value set on those who don’t share the value set. Sunk cost.

  41. Lorian on January 24, 2014 at 5:48 pm

    Tribal marriages are the same as civil marriages. They are simply being overseen and enforced by a different civil authority — the tribe, in this case.

    Religious marriages are overseen and enforced by a religious community. Like tribes, religious groups can make their own rules for who does or does not qualify for their marriage. The difference, however, between tribal marriages and religious marriages is that religious marriages carry no weight as civil marriages if they are performed without a civil marriage licenses, formalized by a licensee of the state. By our government’s agreements with tribal authorities, tribes have a sovereign ability to oversee their own civil marriages, and to have those marriages acknowledged by state and federal government, just as a marriage performed in another country would be acknowledged by our government (assuming it did not violate basic prohibitions, such as involving a child bride, or someone whose participation was coerced).

    Religious marriages have no civil standing (absent a civil marriage license.

    When a same-sex couple makes a commitment to one another in a place where civil marriage is not available to them, that contract is enforced in a variety of ways. For my wife and I, our commitment was between ourselves and God. We made a promise to be faithful to one another and to commit our lives to each other, to always be together and to care for each other. Our families knew we were committed to each other, but we did not have any formal ceremony to which they were invited. The main parties to our agreement were ourselves and God.

    Other couples have a commitment ceremony in front of their friends and families as witnesses.

    These types of commitments are very much well and good. They help to reinforce commitments and support the couple in their lives. But what they do NOT do, EVER, even if the couple draws up legal contracts, powers of attorney, etc., is confer the federal and state rights and protections of civil marriage. They do not allow the couple to automatically inherit each other’s property. They do not make the couple anything more than “legal strangers” to each other in event of a tragedy. They do not allow the couple to file joint taxes or to collect one another’s social security. There are a host of protections which we as a society have put in place to help get couples and families through difficult times and provide stability for families. Many or most of these are not available *except* through legal civil marriage.

    They are not available to couples who have “commitment ceremonies.” They are not available by going to a lawyer and spending thousands of dollars to “draw up contracts.” They are not available by having a minister or priest perform a sacramental or religious marriage.

  42. Lorian on January 24, 2014 at 6:04 pm

    Alison Moore Smith – I don’t by any means dispute the LDS Church’s right to teach whatever it wishes about homosexuality, or members rights to believe it. What I dispute is those who make blanket statements about other people expect that everyone should *share* their beliefs. It would be like if a Roman Catholic looked at you with disbelief and said, “But Mary WAS born without sin and she WAS assumed into heaven without dying! How dare you believe otherwise! I’m going to make a law that everyone has to believe Mary was born without sin and remained a virgin her whole life!” Particularly if they then tried to coerce you into becoming a nun so that you could be more like their ideal of Mary.

    Any time someone makes a blanket statement to me that, “Homosexuality is clearly and unambiguously a sin! God’s law says so!” I’m going to dispute that statement on a number of different grounds, not least the question of what, exactly, is “God’s law;” who is this God you’re referring to because I don’t think I recognize him from the picture; and where, exactly, is the “unambiguous statement” that “homosexuality is a sin” made, because it isn’t in my Bible. Not to mention, “Why is *your* religion’s definition of ‘sin’ binding on *me*? It’s *your* religion.”

    As long as the church teaches to its members and its members teach to each other, you’ll get little or no argument from me. But when the church takes a particular topic and starts trying to force it onto the lives of non-members, then non-members get to have opinions on the subject, KWIM?

    As to the issue of secular laws “inflicting values” on the unwilling, the difference is that secular laws are, when properly made, based upon secular considerations, such as one person not depriving another person of life, liberty, pursuit of happiness, property, etc. They are not based upon “My God said so.” Even if someone’s God actually *did* say so, that’s not the basis for the law. The law is there to stop people from harming one another. If they are not harming others, but someone’s God’s law said, “Don’t do this,” that is not sufficient justification for a civil law prohibiting that action.

    God says, “No card playing! (where, I’m not sure, but heck, enough churches believe it that we’ll pretend it is so)” so we pass a law prohibiting people from playing solitaire. Um, no. We might pass laws against gambling with cards, because gambling tends to get tied in with organized crime, tends to cause a lot of people serious economic problems, creating a burden on the surrounding society. That’s arguably a good enough reason to restrict people’s rights to gamble. But not good enough to restrict their rights to play cards. And “My God said so,” just doesn’t cut it. Not for civil law.

  43. SteveF on January 24, 2014 at 6:04 pm

    Lorian #41. I agree, which is why I think in addition state civil unions should be available to any two people and perhaps small groups who wish to be united together and obtain these protections and rights.

  44. SilverRain on January 24, 2014 at 7:05 pm

    Secular morals are based upon “because I say so,” which isn’t really any better. *LOL* But there are solid secular reasons for opposing state gay marriage, against which deliberate blinders kind of get wearisome.

    I personally believe that paying people just because they have a sexual relationship which will never produce children by definition is not in the best interests of a financially failing government.

  45. Alison Moore Smith on January 24, 2014 at 7:16 pm

    Lorian:

    I don’t by any means dispute the LDS Church’s right to teach whatever it wishes about homosexuality, or members rights to believe it.

    Steve Martin said, “God’s law says homosexuality is sin. It’s clear and unambiguous.” You responded, “In. Your. Opinion.”

    It should be clear and unambiguous that in the context of discussion on an LDS blog, LDS participants will generally present and accept the authoritative LDS position. It’s simply a fact that in the LDS church homosexual behavior is considered a sin. It seems unreasonable to me that someone would go to an LDS blog and refuse to let LDS participants discuss topics from within an LDS doctrinal standpoint.

    In other words, no, it’s not just his opinion, it’s the LDS church’s official position and this is an LDS blog.

    What I dispute is those who make blanket statements about other people expect that everyone should *share* their beliefs.

    I can’t speak for Steve Martin, but I doubt anyone on earth believes that all LDS (or other) beliefs are shared universally.

    It would be like if a Roman Catholic looked at you with disbelief and said…

    You’re missing the part about this discussion happening at St. Patrick’s cathedral and me insisting that Catholic’s are intolerant loons who need to be corrected on their foolishness and insensitivity.

    Any time someone makes a blanket statement to me that, “Homosexuality is clearly and unambiguously a sin! God’s law says so!” I’m going to dispute that statement on a number of different grounds, not least the question of what, exactly, is “God’s law;” who is this God you’re referring to because I don’t think I recognize him from the picture; and where, exactly, is the “unambiguous statement” that “homosexuality is a sin” made, because it isn’t in my Bible.

    Ignoring the context in which you’re speaking is short sighted. You’re not new to associating with and arguing with Mormons. You already know the answers to your questions. You know why we say it’s God’s law. You know why it doesn’t matter that it’s not in the Bible. You’re ignoring them for the sake of restating your positions.

    Not to mention, “Why is *your* religion’s definition of ‘sin’ binding on *me*? It’s *your* religion.”

    As I stated above, all law is the imposition of one value set on those who don’t share the value set. If not value set, then yours, or someone else’s.

    The purpose of discourse should be to come to reasonable conclusions about which beliefs will take precedence and how they will be imposed. To pretend there is some kind of neutral non-value-based territory is simply disingenuous. (Plus false.)

    As long as the church teaches to its members and its members teach to each other, you’ll get little or no argument from me. But when the church takes a particular topic and starts trying to force it onto the lives of non-members, then non-members get to have opinions on the subject, KWIM?

    And as long as Mormons can live in a vacuum that isn’t impacted by other’s value sets, I’m sure that will work just fine. Oh, yea, there isn’t a vacuum like that, is there?

    FTR, I don’t recall claiming you could not have an opinion. That doesn’t sound like something I’d say.

    As to the issue of secular laws “inflicting values” on the unwilling, the difference is that secular laws are, when properly made, based upon secular considerations, such as one person not depriving another person of life, liberty, pursuit of happiness, property, etc.

    Oh, so you’re pro-life! Good! Let’s start there!

    BTW, I don’t know of any secular laws. What are some examples? What is secular about the BELIEF that we shouldn’t, for example, deprive someone of life or property?

    They are not based upon “My God said so.”

    No, they’re based on, “I said so.” Also problematic, IFKWIM.

    Even if someone’s God actually *did* say so, that’s not the basis for the law. The law is there to stop people from harming one another. If they are not harming others, but someone’s God’s law said, “Don’t do this,” that is not sufficient justification for a civil law prohibiting that action.

    And it all comes down to the definition of “harm,” doesn’t it?

  46. Lorian on January 24, 2014 at 7:52 pm

    SilverRain #44 –

    there are solid secular reasons for opposing state gay marriage

    Then I guess the legal team which defended Prop 8 in court wishes they had you to help them out. Because they spent months of preparation and millions of dollars trying to come up with even a *few* secular reasons for opposing state-recognition of marriage equality for same-sex couples, and they could not even come up with one legitimate argument to support their case.

    I personally believe that paying people just because they have a sexual relationship which will never produce children by definition is not in the best interests of a financially failing government.

    So you advocate that the elderly, the surgically-sterilized and the congenitally infertile be denied civil marriage licenses? You would agree that any couple who gets civilly married, but fails to reproduce within, say, 2 years — heck, even 5 years — after marrying should have their civil marriage automatically annulled? Because that’s the only way your argument here could work. AND, if gay couples can prove their “value” to society by either reproducing or by adopting unwanted children of heterosexuals, then why would they not be of sufficient “worth” to merit the same treatment under the law as reproductive (or adoptive) heterosexuals?

  47. Lorian on January 24, 2014 at 8:00 pm

    Alison Moore Smith, the part that *you* are missing throughout your above post is that we are discussing *civil* marriage. Those who wish to apply LDS religious definitions and values to *civil* marriage are going to be called on it, whether they are on an LDS blog or the steps of St. Pat’s.

    Inherent in Steve’s statement, “God’s law says homosexuality is sin. It’s clear and unambiguous” is the context of this conversation, in which his statement can actually be read as, “YOU may not get *civilly* married, because God’s law says homosexuality is sin. It’s clear and unambiguous.”

    First of all, no it’s not. Not even in a religious context. But Steve is welcome to *believe* that it is, if he likes. He’s just not allowed to impose his religious beliefs on my civil marriage. Any more than a Jewish person is allowed to impose his/her beliefs on Steve’s bacon and egg breakfast burrito. Though I have to say that my civil marriage is of a good deal more consequence than Steve’s burrito. IMO.

  48. Steve Smith on January 24, 2014 at 8:01 pm

    Alison, Lorian isn’t here to bash LDS people (besides I think Steve Marten is not LDS but of some other Christian denomination), she’s here to have a reasoned debate about gay marriage. As for LDS people generally accepting the authoritative position, according to a recent poll (http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/57391605-78/marriage-sex-percent-state.html.csp) 32% of Mormons in Utah are in favor of gay marriage, not to mention the fact that the OP appears to be in favor of gay marriage as well. The thing is that an increasing number of LDS are subscribing to reason when it comes to gay marriage and are rejecting the notion that when the prophet speaks the thinking is done/debate is over.

  49. Lorian on January 24, 2014 at 8:06 pm

    Alison – Re your statement: “No, they’re based on, ‘I said so.'”

    No, they are based upon general agreements in society that WE agree that these things are so. We begin our government and our laws from the premise that individuals have basic rights, which should be protected up to the point where they begin to infringe upon the rights of others.

    I’m not going to allow you to draw me into an abortion derail on Kaimi’s thread, but there is a very informative discussion going on at fMh right now, so feel free to jump in over there.

  50. Lorian on January 24, 2014 at 8:06 pm

    Thank you, Steve Smith.

  51. Alison Moore Smith on January 24, 2014 at 8:14 pm

    Lorian, you appear to believe I’m discussing something besides civil marriage, like temple marriage. I’m not, just to be clear.

    Yes, many LDS will wish to apply LDS religious definitions and values to civil marriage. And others — such as yourself — will wish to apply your own value-driven definition to civil marriage. As we both know, there are many types of marriages in various parts of the world now and historically. In all cases people have applied their value sets to the definition and laws surrounding them.

    On an LDS blog, you should ASSUME that the general position will be at least somewhat supportive of the authoritative LDS position and rather than feeling the need to “call out” those who actually do follow that norm, you might think about discussing your position rather than scolding the believers.

    If I’m to accept your extrapolation of Steve’s statement, he’s simply saying that because God has said homosexual relations are sinful, that society should follow that pronouncement. Given, again, that this is an LDS blog and that IS the LDS position, neither Steve nor anyone else posting from the LDS perspective should be forced to explain that position (particularly given that you know very well what it is).

    As I said before, the discussion is about what values become part of the legal structure — the LDS church’s, yours, or another variation. Steve is (in your statement) simply saying that the law should follow the church’s position.

    The odd thing to me is that YOU think the law should follow YOUR values on the matter and you don’t see the contradiction.

    First of all, no it’s not. Not even in a religious context.

    Honestly, I’m not sure why you’re pressing this point. You DO know enough about the church to know where this comes from, but I’ll be happy to quote the handbook for others who might be reading:

    Homosexual Behavior and Same-Gender Attraction

    Homosexual behavior violates the commandments of God, is contrary to the purposes of human sexuality, and deprives people of the blessings that can be found in family life and in the saving ordinances of the gospel. Those who persist in such behavior or who influence others to do so are subject to Church discipline. Homosexual behavior can be forgiven through sincere repentance.

    If members engage in homosexual behavior, Church leaders should help them have a clear understanding of faith in Jesus Christ, the process of repentance, and the purpose of life on earth.

    While opposing homosexual behavior, the Church reaches out with understanding and respect to individuals who are attracted to those of the same gender.

    If members feel same-gender attraction but do not engage in any homosexual behavior, leaders should support and encourage them in their resolve to live the law of chastity and to control unrighteous thoughts. These members may receive Church callings. If they are worthy and qualified in every other way, they may also hold temple recommends and receive temple ordinances.

    So, yea, it is clear. Crystal.

    And, yes, people do impose their value sets on others every single day with every single law. It’s just a specious argument to keep claiming that somehow MORMONS can’t use their beliefs as foundation for law because, you know, Mormons and all that.

  52. Lorian on January 24, 2014 at 9:14 pm

    Alison, the bloggernacle lost the right to restrict discussions of marriage to purely the LDS perspective when the church decided to join the political fight over civil marriage equality. When you go marching on street corners waving signs in people’s faces, advocating that their families are less deserving of civil rights than your own, you open yourself up to some outside input.

    I would never come to an LDS blog and argue whether Joseph Smith was an inspired prophet of God or not. That’s none of my business. This, however, *is*.

    My views on marriage equality are not just based on some random personal ideas I have. They are based upon our *nation’s* values of equality and fairness for all citizens. My children don’t deserve to have fewer rights in society than your children simply because they happened to be born to two women, rather than a woman and a man. That’s got *nothing* to do with religion, and *everything* to do with Equal Protection.

  53. Jax on January 24, 2014 at 10:14 pm

    That’s got *nothing* to do with religion, and *everything* to do with Equal Protection.

    Lorian, your children have the same access to marriage that mine do. It is a lie to call it an Equal Protection issue. It isn’t. We are all equally able to marry. Same allowances, same restrictions.

    Thought I suppose now that some states have legalized SSM it is an unequal opportunity. Rather than re-equalize by allowing everyone to have a SSM, I’d much prefer going back to when nobody could. That would be just as equal for everyone!

  54. Rune on January 24, 2014 at 10:40 pm

    Speaking of a government deciding on the society’s values, one of the strongest founding principles of the government in question, one of its prime directives, if you will, is that it will not favor any particular religion in the crafting of its laws. Any law based on a value that runs parallel to a religious belief must establish the merit of that value outside of any faith context or argument, because those laws will affect and place burdens on more people than just one religious group, and may -in fact- force violation of the religious beliefs of another person. (Note: letting other people get married in a way that you, yourself, do not approve of is not causing you to violate anything, and since neither they, nor the law, are members of your faith that hold to your beliefs, neither are they.)

    You may still believe they are violating God’s law. But that is not for the government to decide. There are plenty of people out there who think you’re violating God’s law by eating pork, or not covering your head, or growing a beard, or being born into a family of the wrong faith or lineage, or, or, or. The law absolutely cannot and should not be involved in my-word-vs-your-word arguments over what God said or what is God’s law or who has it holds it hears it right. The law should not be involved in that, even if a religion believes that it should.

    There has yet to be a non-religious demonstration of reason to prevent homosexual romantic partners from establishing the same basic sort of relationship that heterosexual romantic partners already engage in.

    Even arguing that the state has some interest in keeping birthrate up doesn’t touch it, because it relies on the assumptions both that homosexual couples allowed to marry each other would then not be meaningfully contributing to the production and rearing of children more than they would otherwise (by being coerced into unwanted heterosexual couplings?) and that -that- arrangement is somehow morally and socially preferable to letting them form families as they wish.

  55. Lorian on January 24, 2014 at 10:41 pm

    My children DO have the protections of marriage equality now that Prop 8 and DOMA Section 3 have been overturned. As long as my family remains in California. Of course, we don’t have the freedom to move or travel from state to state without having mine and my wife’s marriage invalidated the moment we cross state lines.

    It is absurd to claim, however, that children of same-sex couples in states which still do not have marriage equality have “equal access” to the rights and protections which civil marriage grants to the children of opposite-sex couples. First, children have no control over who their parents are, and, second, the old saw that says gay people have the freedom to marry the opposite-sex person of their choice is little more than a crude joke.

  56. Lorian on January 24, 2014 at 10:48 pm

    Thank you, Rune. Well said.

  57. Cameron N on January 24, 2014 at 11:36 pm

    Government making no laws respecting the establishment of religion has nothing to do with specific values heavily influenced by religion, no matter how much people say it does. As evidenced by Jefferson hosting the Baptist group at the White House, the same group he wrote to weeks before with the famous out-of-context ‘wall of separation’ quote.

    There doesn’t have to be a non-regliious reason for opposing homosexual marriage. Sure, it’s great if we bring that up to, but it is sufficient for us to say ‘God said so and that is our conscience and we respect your differing opinion.’

  58. Lorian on January 24, 2014 at 11:44 pm

    Cameron, you could not be more wrong, as evidenced by people using those same arguments in support of slavery, segregation and antimiscegenation. SCOTUS has determined that these laws, motivated by prejudice and supported by religious beliefs, but flying in the face of equality and fairness, are unconstitutional.

    By the way, there is nothing about Jefferson hosting a Baptist group at the White House which has anything to do with Congress making laws regarding Establishment of Religion. Presidents have often hosted religious leaders and groups at the White House. This is not proof that laws can be purely motivated by religious prejudice or belief, with no secular justification.

  59. mtnmarty on January 24, 2014 at 11:54 pm

    Same sex marriage does not change the right to have same sex sex. So, homosexual behavior is not legally legitimated by same sex marriage. What is legitimated is same sex relationships with the legal protections of marriage.

  60. Rune on January 25, 2014 at 12:04 am

    There has to be a non-religious proof of reason. There has to be something more than one group saying, “I believe this,” or, “God said so.” A legal decision cannot stand on “God thinks it’s icky,” not and still hold true

    Of course people’s beliefs are going to influence their own priorities, even in lawmaking.

    But maybe you can tell me how basing a legal decision on “I believe God said so,” and no other reason that can stand on its own is not making a “law respecting an establishment of religion?” It would be the government agreeing that what one religion says about God’s will is legally right, based only on what that religion said about God.

    It. Cannot. Do that. Not and stand against the constitution.

    Nor against our own Articles of Faith, either. I am honestly baffled by people who are more interested in holding others not of our faith to something that is never explicitly stated in our canonized scripture, and themselves seeking to violate the Articles of Faith, which unequivocally states that we believe in being subject to governments and that we allow all “the same privilege” of worship and belief to all people. And that includes not insisting they live by our beliefs to the extent that they do not cause us demonstrable harm. There is no “we allow” if we don’t actually and in practice allow it. We should be a lot more concerned about how our own behavior is in line with our own faith, rather than fretting over whether or not anyone else’s is.

  61. Manuel Villalobos on January 25, 2014 at 12:07 am

    “Yes, many LDS will wish to apply LDS religious definitions and values to civil marriage. And others — such as yourself — will wish to apply your own value-driven definition to civil marriage.”

    This is too blunt of a deceitful statement to let go, because it is simply not the parallel as it is implying to be.

    LDS will wish to apply LDS religious definitions and values to civil marriage *AND* in so doing exclude people from society and civil rights that wish to apply their own value driven definition. Which is NOT the case with gay marriage supporters. Heterosexual marriages are not called to be banned, annulled, or not recognized by the law in any way. The positions are NOT equal. One is actively suppressive of the rights of others, and the other is simply not.

    A little detail that seems to be self-servingly left out in these stupidly false little parallels being made between the two approaches.

  62. Jax on January 25, 2014 at 12:36 am

    There has to be a non-religious proof of reason. There has to be something more than one group saying, “I believe this,” or, “God said so.” A legal decision cannot stand on “God thinks it’s icky,” not and still hold true

    Something like, say, countless years of common understand that “marriage” meant man and woman? If someone 100 years ago (or 50, 20, 5, today?) that “I’m married” do not the overwhelming majority of people understand that as man and woman? And how overwhelming?? Probably not quite 100%, but definately not as low as 90%. So if 90% (or more) of a society understand a word/phrase to mean one specific identifiable thing, then that IS the “proof of reason.” That is the REASON that the definition should not be changed. There ought not even be a “legal decision” for this to hinge on. Everyone just knows what marriage is. If a man says, “I”m married” another one would naturally and instinctively ask, “Who is your wife.” Does anyone ask “to a man or a woman?” No! There is no ‘reason’ to try to legislate that 90% of the people ought to change the way they talk and understand their own language. Let “marraige” be a man and a woman as is commonly understood and accepted. If you want to come up with something else to call Man/man or woman/woman then do it… but a “marriage” it is not.

    It’s not that Christians are trying to legislate homosexuals out of society. It’s that we don’t want homosexuals to force us to accept their definition of marriage when almost NOBODY agrees with them. Imagine if you tried to legislate that we were to now call the moon “sun” since it is a similar shape and also has some of the benefits of light like the true sun has. That is what SSM is. It is a similar construct (2 people) and may even have some of the benefits (loving couple capable of raising/loving a child) but it is NOT a marriage. The sun and moon are different, and so are real marriages and same-sex marraiges.

    That is why Kaimi choose the topic of Mormons as Christians. Because Mormons WANT other Christians to think of us as Christian. But they don’t. That’s why his post is so effective. It’s great actually. He is using a great technique for the degenerate purpose of embarassing us into accepting a great sin into our society, which is unfortunate, but their is no denying it is a great piece of writing!!

  63. Casey on January 25, 2014 at 12:44 am

    The best part about the direction this thread has taken as it’s gone down the gay marriage rabbit hole is how much it proves the OP’s point.

  64. Rune on January 25, 2014 at 1:11 am

    Jax, did you even read the OP?

    And the definition of marriage has been evolving, constantly and recently. Do you know how long it took for there to be laws on the books that actually protected against spousal rape? That didn’t just assume, hey, marriage means that he’s entitled to her body, and how they go about arranging that is just their business. Do you know how recent that change on the books is? That change that decided that the definition of marriage did not include an unquestioned assumption that your wife’s body was yours, and it was just on you to, y’know, not take it in ways she didn’t want?

    Probably well within your lifetime. Boy, am I glad THAT definition changed.

    “That’s the way it’s always been,” is not a legal argument any more than “God said so,” is, especially not against other strongly-backed concerns. It’s certainly not a trump card.

    Speaking of absurd claims, your “almost nobody” is ridiculous, since a growing majority in the US actually support gay marriage now.

    And you have no constitutionally-protected right to live in a world where you don’t have to encounter people you don’t agree with living the lives they’ve chosen. Thank God.

  65. Steve Smith on January 25, 2014 at 1:25 am

    “It’s that we don’t want homosexuals to force us to accept their definition of marriage when almost NOBODY agrees with them.”

    This just made me laugh. Have ya checked the polls recently? (58% of US population supports legalizing gay marriage: http://www.freedomtomarry.org/resources/entry/marriage-polling) If by “NOBODY” you mean “majority of US citizens” and by “almost” you mean “the clear” then I would agree.

  66. Manuel Villalobos on January 25, 2014 at 1:26 am

    “…when almost NOBODY agrees with them.” That must be a tiny little bubble you have created around yourself to live in.

    I bet deep in the middle of the South people felt this same way about the issues with slavery prior to the civil war. The metaphor of calling the moon the sun may be better replaced with the actual historic event: it like calling a black man a free man, when a condescending group doesn’t want to and uses religion (imagine that) to justify their vile exclusionary philosophy.

  67. Rune on January 25, 2014 at 1:30 am

    There’s just so much else wrong with Jax’s comment, I hardly know where to start.

    What the majority thinks doesn’t bear on people’s rights, regardless. Equal protection is a guaranteed right, no matter what the majority thinks. (Though majority opinion can get in the way of redress for a while, a good long while sometimes.)

  68. Jax on January 25, 2014 at 1:31 am

    Did I read the OP? Yeah, that’s why I called it excellent work! Did you even read my post? Because your comment about how ” growing majority in the US actually support gay marriage now” doesn’t address my remarks at all. It in no way addresses that MOST of them think of Man and Woman when they think “marriage”. And to distinguish Man/Woman from Man/Man everybody acknowledges the difference by using a different phrase: ‘Same-sex marriage”. Why do they use a different phrase? 1) because it IS different, and 2) because if you just used the phrase “marriage” they would think Man/woman instead of man/man or woman/woman. You yourself have to use the phrase “gay marriage” to distinguish it from ‘marriage’. We can’t even have a normal converstation about this if we don’t call it something different BECAUSE IT IS DIFFERENT AND NEEDS A DIFFERENT NAME.

    We’re not bigots or intolerant for not wanting to have an entire society/nation required to change their vocabulary and definitions to include a relationship that DOES NOT FIT the defintion, nor has it ever fit the definition in the history of this country.

    It is a different relationship. It needs a different, distinguishing name. I understand their are gov’t benefits that married people have that SSM proponents want access to as well. There are gov’t subsidies for corn that I want access to; but I can’t get them by growing beans and just demanding that my beans be called “corn” so that I can get some benefit, and then calling everyone who opposes me a bigot (not used on this post yet, but has before) or intolerant. Nor can I claim I’m being discriminated against because I don’t get the same subsidy as the corn-growers get. If I want the benefit I have to grow corn!!

  69. Jax on January 25, 2014 at 1:33 am

    Hey look, Steve had to use a different phrase too

    (58% of US population supports legalizing gay marriage:

  70. Rune on January 25, 2014 at 2:01 am

    Right, right, the disingenuous compliment to make it look like it agreed with you. I know Kaimi’s stance on these things. He doesn’t. You’re being a twerp.

    Jax, of course we have to call it “gay marriage” right now, because of the law issue we’re talking about. Do you think people like Lorian think of her marriage as anything other than just marriage? Do you think it has a qualifier on it in her mind, her children’s, her friends’ and loved ones’? The only people imposing that qualifier on it are the ones who are themselves trying to keep it separate, and we’ll only keep using it so long as the lack of rights for the one group is an issue. Using the distinction as an argument is about as reasonable as the “stop hitting yourself” nonsense that kid bullies pull. Stop doing what -you’re- doing, and it -won’t- be called anything different. There will be no need. (Besides, what about the “traditional” marriage term? Oh noes, I can add “traditional” to the kind of marriage you’re thinking of when speaking of different kinds of marriage! It must not be real marriage!)

    Let’s see, what other terms of distinction can we use for different kinds of marriage…?

    Polygamous, polygynous, polyandrous, second, arranged, civil, religious, interracial, contract, political, convenience . . . I’m sure there are more.

    So, what, you want to keep the convenience of being able to make certain assumptions when someone uses the term “marriage?” And by certain, I really mean only one, since it only involves the gender of a spouse. That is ALL the distinction would tell you. Well, sorry, but your convenience of assumption in casual conversation is a paltry concern compared to the needs of real families to be legally bound to each other and have their rights and responsibilities towards each other respected and enforced.

    Now, I’m sure that you, personally, have a whole host of other assumptions that you are attaching to the meaning of “gay marriage,” but in that hypothetical conversation, the only thing you would learn with certainty about a person you’re having (hopefully) polite conversation with, is the gender of the spouse, which you personally may not have been expecting. Really, that’s the only thing that using the term “gay marriage” would convey to you with any specificity.

    And if you’re so hung up on that one thing that you don’t see the rest of the people and the relationship, then yes, you are a bigot.

  71. Steve Smith on January 25, 2014 at 2:04 am

    “There’s just so much else wrong with Jax’s comment, I hardly know where to start.”

    No need. We’ve given him enough rope and he has pretty well hanged himself.

  72. Jax on January 25, 2014 at 2:17 am

    then yes, you are a bigot.

    Right, because bigots often say use terms like “loving couple capable of raising/loving a child” when talking about Same-Sex couples. And by using that phrase I obviously am not seeing the people or the relationship. It seems you’ve only looked at one thing (my opposition to SSM) and got “hung up” on just that and called me a bigot.

    Hey Kaimi, isn’t there a T&S policy against that? Do you police your own posts? Or since RUNE agrees with you does she get a freebie or two??

  73. Rune on January 25, 2014 at 2:21 am

    There was an “if” there, dear. It’s really up to you and your actual stance and behavior towards same sex couples (not just what you say,) that determines whether you’re a bigot or not. You show you’re not by not acting like one, and not supporting bigoted laws and policies.

    So, up to you. -Do- you see the whole people and the depth of the relationship? And you don’t have to bother answering me, actually. I’m going to bed, and it’s not me you really have to prove that to, anyway. Though, I daresay, those who are, are probably pretty glad you’re not the one making the laws that affect them.

  74. Howard on January 25, 2014 at 10:02 am

    Please clearly and succinctly explain how heterosexuals are harmed by gay marriage. Please clearly and succinctly explain how the church is harmed by gay marriage.

  75. Jax on January 25, 2014 at 10:33 am

    Homosexuality is a sin. Sin is harmful.

  76. Jeff G on January 25, 2014 at 10:39 am

    Howard,

    The whole point of conservatism is that anybody who thinks that they understand enough about the social world we live in to presume to give a “clear and succinct” explanation of it or the effects of any policy in it is simply fooling themself. The vast majority of successful societies throughout history have not actively embraced gay marriage, and this is enough to suggest that any reform on that front ought to be slow, cautious and piecemeal.

  77. Kaimi Wenger on January 25, 2014 at 10:59 am

    We’ve got a lot of really interesting conversations going on in comments here. :)

    I’ll respond to some specifics shortly. For now, I wanted to note, the post is focused on a specific set of claims about marriage. One strand of argument against same-sex marriage is definitional in nature — it focuses on the idea that society has set definitions for important terms, and that gay and lesbian individuals are trying to “change the definition,” and that this is wrong.

    I think that this argument has a number of parallels to definitional arguments used by critics of the church, in the Mormons-as-Christians debate.

    In each case, there is a core definition: Christianity means belief in Christ. Marriage is a union of two persons as partners.

    In each case, there are a variety of secondary characteristics which, over time, have become associated with the term. Christianity includes belief in the Trinity. Marriage is about gender roles.

    In each case, there is one party focusing on a definitional core and asking for broader application of the term, and another party focusing on secondary aspects and insisting on maintaining a less inclusive application of the term.

  78. Mark B. on January 25, 2014 at 11:00 am

    It is remarkable that people are so quick to shout “equality” when the relationship of two persons of the same sex is not the same as the relationship of two persons of the opposite sex. (If you insist that it is, then tell me who’s the husband and who’s the wife. And which of the spouses is entitled to insurer-paid birth control under Obamacare.)

    And I don’t understand how “equal protection” means that if one man can marry a woman, another man can “marry” a man. (You’re not describing any kind of “equality.” You’re redefining what marriage means.)

    And do thinking people really argue that the changes in laws and customs relating to marriage (from polygamous to monogamous, from arranged to “romantic,” etc., etc.) are somehow one long progression in which the jump to admit as marriages the unions of two persons of the same sex is just one more step? You may as well argue that arranging the chairs on the deck of the Titanic is separated by just a minor difference in degree from sinking the ship.

    Whatever the arguments in favor of legal recognition for same sex relationships, they aren’t helped (except in the minds of the non-thinking masses or the already-converted true believers) by arguments that twist language into an unrecognizable parody of itself.

  79. Mark B. on January 25, 2014 at 11:04 am

    Kaimi–you ignore a central part of the definition of marriage when you say that it’s the union of two persons as partners. It’s the union of two persons of the opposite sex as partners.

    And sex is not simply “gender roles.” Maybe the laws of nature have been suspended in California, but I doubt it. As a scientist friend of mine used to say, if you want to cheat, make sure you cheat another human being. Because Mother Nature cannot be cheated.

  80. Howard on January 25, 2014 at 11:05 am

    Jeff G.
    I understand that the whole point of conservatism is to oppose change. I guess from your perspective the Amish are on the right track? But your comment doesn’t answer my questions.

  81. Kaimi Wenger on January 25, 2014 at 11:07 am

    Okay, for comment specifics.

    Lorian, your comments are fantastic. Very well done in pointing out overstatements all around. I mean, you already know this. But I wanted to point it out anyway. :)

    Steve M and various folks have noted that, according to Mormon doctrine, homosexuality is sinful. Of course, according to Mormon doctrine, non-belief in Jesus is also sinful. So perhaps the state should ban Jewish marriages and Muslim marriages too? Or, we could realize that, in a pluralistic democracy which is not a theocracy, government will allow some actions which one or more religious groups consider sinful.

    Either that, or we could ban everything that any group considers a sin. Yikes.

    And SteveM, if we’re going to those particular Bible verses

    1. Lorian’s relationship with her wife is not banned anywhere.
    2. We should also start applying other Levitical law. You know, stoning people for swearing, and whatnot.

  82. Kaimi Wenger on January 25, 2014 at 11:09 am

    Mark B., and Christianity isn’t just about belief in Jesus, it’s about belief in Trinitarian Jesus.

    See, it’s easy to bring in secondary aspects to block broader application.

  83. Kaimi Wenger on January 25, 2014 at 11:11 am

    Also, a big Amen to everything that Rune said about the role of government, religion and democracy. Amen, Rune! :)

  84. Lorian on January 25, 2014 at 11:12 am

    Jax, but you still didn’t explain, clearly and succinctly, how it harms *you* if *I* (in your opinion) sin. Does it harm *you* if I drink coffee? Does it harm *you* if I don’t believe in the Book of Mormon? Does it harm *you* if I kiss my wife? How?

    You’ve made the statement that you consider it harmful that you get confused if someone says they are married, and you assume that means to someone of the opposite sex, but it turns out their spouse is of the same sex as they are. How, again, does that actually harm you? It rocks your boat. Okay, fine. But you know, we make a *lot* of assumptions about other people we can’t see.

    Did you know that most people in this country, if they are hearing a description or reference to another person whom they have not met and cannot see, will assume that the person being described to them is white? It’s true. And if they subsequently find out that the person is black, they have to stop and adjust their mental picture. “Oooooohhhh! He’s *black*! Well, that changes everything, doesn’t it???”

    You know what that means? That we should make up another word for “black people,” so that we white people don’t have to be confused into thinking that someone being described to us is white, when they actually aren’t? Or that we should always be careful to qualify when we are discussing *black* people, and make sure our listener fully understands that the person we are describing is *black*, whether it is relevant to the conversation or not?

    Or how about this — we stop assuming that everyone we meet or hear about is exactly. like. us, and feeling “harmed” and deceived when we find out that isn’t the case?

    It is not because there is something wrong with being black that *you* assume a person being described to you is white when someone describing them doesn’t specify otherwise. It is because you live in a majority white country, where black people are a discriminated minority. You have privilege.

    It is not because there is something wrong with same-sex couples having marriage equality that *you* don’t think of a spouse of the same sex when someone tells you they are married. It is because you live in a majority heterosexual world, where gay people are a discriminated minority. You have privilege.

    There’s nothing *wrong* with you for assuming, when you hear about someone, that they are white and heterosexual — based upon the demographics of people in this country, they very likely may be. But it also doesn’t mean there is something wrong with *them* if they are *not*. And the only reason it *would* mean there was something wrong with *you* is if your opinion of them changes after you find out they are NOT white or NOT heterosexual. If you have a resentment against them for messing up your little picture of “how *real* people ought to be.”

    It’s hard when we start learning that our small, insular communities are not representative of the wide world outside, and we have to work through our xenophobia, our white/straight/male/USAmerican or other cultural privilege. It hurts. It’s uncomfortable. But it doesn’t mean someone is harming you. Hang in there. You *can* get through this and come out the other side to be more like Jesus, who *didn’t* judge and who loves all of us equally and fairly and completely.

    It’s okay to let go of trying to control others. Even if I *were* sinning, it’s not on you, dude. It’s okay to live your life and allow me to live mine. It’s not a sin for you to let others be who they are and make their own decisions in life. Relax. Let it go. You don’t have to save the world. Jesus took care of that.

  85. Lorian on January 25, 2014 at 11:14 am

    Thank you, Kaimi!

  86. Lorian on January 25, 2014 at 11:25 am

    Jeff G #76 –

    The vast majority of successful societies throughout history have not actively embraced gay marriage, and this is enough to suggest that any reform on that front ought to be slow, cautious and piecemeal.

    The vast majority of successful societies throughout history have not actively embraced abolition of slavery, and this is enough to suggest that any reform on that front ought to be slow, cautious and piecemeal.

    The vast majority of successful societies throughout history have not actively embraced interracial marriage, and this is enough to suggest that any reform on that front ought to be slow, cautious and piecemeal.

    The vast majority of successful societies throughout history have not actively embraced women’s emancipation from being property of fathers or husbands, and this is enough to suggest that any reform on that front ought to be slow, cautious and piecemeal.

    The vast majority of successful societies throughout history have not actively embraced women voting, and this is enough to suggest that any reform on that front ought to be slow, cautious and piecemeal.

    The vast majority of successful societies throughout history have not actively embraced airplane flight, and this is enough to suggest that any reform on that front ought to be slow, cautious and piecemeal.

    The vast majority of successful societies throughout history have not actively embraced freedom of religion, the ability to worship as one pleases, and this is enough to suggest that any reform on that front ought to be slow, cautious and piecemeal.

    The vast majority of successful societies throughout history have not actively embraced Mormonism, and this is enough to suggest that any reform on that front ought to be slow, cautious and piecemeal.

    I hope you can see where I’m going with this. If not, let me know and I’ll offer you some more examples.

  87. Jeff G on January 25, 2014 at 12:06 pm

    Lorain,

    Ask any Marxist and they will tell just how slow, cautious and piecemeal the abolition of slavery has actually been

    Howard,

    Conservatives don’t oppose change. Indeed, we think change is inevitable and this is the exact reason why providing any clear and succinct plan for society is utterly futile. Society is like a titanic-sized barge barreling forward at full speed and the best we can hope to do is point our tiny little rudders in a direction that will eventually and hopefully alter it’s course in the desired way. But any ideas of immediate, voluntary and lasting change are totally out of the question.

  88. Howard on January 25, 2014 at 12:06 pm

    Lorian,
    JeffG. has very unorthodox ideas about the value of logic so paradoxing him is unlikely to have the desired effect, he may well agree with your list.

  89. Lorian on January 25, 2014 at 12:10 pm

    Howard – LOL. Touché.

  90. Howard on January 25, 2014 at 12:10 pm

    Jeff G,
    I’m sorry you find sociatal change so intimidating.

  91. Jeff G on January 25, 2014 at 12:10 pm

    Lorain again,

    Pointing to a bunch of processes which very much were slow, cautious and piecemeal hardly serves to prove the conservative wrong.

  92. Jeff G on January 25, 2014 at 12:12 pm

    Howard,

    I’m guessing 88 and 90 are examples of the logic which I should strive for?

  93. Howard on January 25, 2014 at 12:19 pm

    Lorian,
    Jeff wants you to forgo your right to be married to your wife just in case it might somehow negatively affect the greater good (he and
    Jax).

  94. Jeff G on January 25, 2014 at 12:24 pm

    Howard,

    I’m sorry you find understanding people who disagree with you so intimidating.

  95. Howard on January 25, 2014 at 12:38 pm

    Jeff,
    Anxiety can be treated with exercise and/or meds, it isn’t necessary to treat it by attempting to control others.

  96. Alison Moore Smith on January 25, 2014 at 12:40 pm

    Steve Smith, I didn’t divine nor assign a motive to Lorian being here.

    Whether Steve Martin is LDS or not isn’t relevant. That his statement under discussion — that God says homosexual behavior is sinful — IS the LDS policy is the issue. That is true no matter what polling or the OP’s author think.

    Given that this IS an LDS forum, it should be assumed that the official LDS position is understood and even generally accepted. And taking on a mission to “call out” those who might actually take that official position seriously is problematic.

    When on a forum specifically designed “to discuss ideas of interest to faithful Latter-day Saints” — and when you reduce that official church position “your. opinion.” or mockery then, well, *I* will call it out. KWIM?

  97. Mark B. on January 25, 2014 at 12:44 pm

    Mark B., and Christianity isn’t just about belief in Jesus, it’s about belief in Trinitarian Jesus.

    See, it’s easy to bring in secondary aspects to block broader application.

    I suspect that there are scholars of Christianity who can point out that historically there have been many strains of Christianity that were not Trinitarian, and that there are many today that are not.

    But, beyond the fact that your analogy doesn’t really work, your suggestion that the complementarity of the opposite sexes is a secondary aspect of marriage is begging the question. You offer no argument in favor of it, just a broken analogy which is inapt.

    If I were to argue that the central requirement of Christianity is faith in Christ, that He died as a sacrifice for mankind, and rose the third day, I could then say that the appropriate analogy to marriage is that the central requirement is that it involve a man and a woman. And your bringing in Trinitarianism is as irrelevant to that as arranged marriages, child brides in India and anti-miscegenation laws.

    When you’ve managed to amend the laws of biology to allow reproduction by same-sex couples, give me a call and I’ll reconsider what is central and what is not central to the definition of marriage.

  98. Howard on January 25, 2014 at 12:45 pm

    I don’t know ASM. Can that position be clearly backed by the Bible? If not are we left with because LDS prophets said so? Because LDS prophets have a long history of saying things that are not so today!

  99. Howard on January 25, 2014 at 12:49 pm

    Also I think we should be nice to Lorian, she’s an investigator. :-)

  100. Jeff G on January 25, 2014 at 1:07 pm

    Sorry about misspelling your name, Lorian. Stupid autocorrect on the ipad.

  101. Howard on January 25, 2014 at 1:09 pm

    Perhaps LDS prophicy should come with a stale date!

  102. Frank Pellett on January 25, 2014 at 1:36 pm

    Just because no one has committed theft against me does not mean I should not oppose all theft. The damage is to society as a whole so the arguments should be on it’s effects on society, not the whole “how does *my* doing this hurt *you*”.

    As SilverRain tried to say, having an opinion that is in line with or influenced by religious belief is the same as having an opinion that is based on non-religious belief. Dismissing one or the other just because they do not come to the same conclusion as you is a poor use of time. There are both religious and non-religious for SSM, just as there are both religious and non-religious against it. Using “sin” as an argument with people who do not have the same definition is fruitless.

    There are arguments, completely secular, against same-sex marriage. The fact that some people, even judges, have not accepted them does not mean those arguments are invalid, merely that the person involved did not accept them. The process is there to try and balance out the different opinions, to try and find the balance between judicial law and popular opinion. It will continue to be interesting to see how it is handled in the upper courts. If they ultimately decide that States have the right to decide their own laws on marriage, then Prop 22 and Prop 8 could go back to being in effect, subject to yet another vote on it by the people of California (which would undoubtedly be the reverse of the previous two Propositions).

    For the original post, while well written, it seems to be another “let’s put up a slightly stronger strawman, just to kick the anthill” (to join metaphors). Yes, there have been some trying to insist on being accepted by other “Christians”, but I’ve seen more of are attempts to simply explain to those who may not know what we actually believe. Jesus knows I’m a Christian, and that’s good enough for me.

  103. Lorian on January 25, 2014 at 1:47 pm

    Alison said:

    — that God says homosexual behavior is sinful — IS the LDS policy is the issue. That is true no matter what polling or the OP’s author think.
    Given that this IS an LDS forum, it should be assumed that the official LDS position is understood and even generally accepted.

    Ah, see, but I DO assume that the “official LDS position is understood and even generally accepted.” What I do NOT agree with is, in this case, that it is TRUE. And since it is being used as a battering ram against me and my family, I will feel free to dispute it.

    I could say, “Hey in the Assembly of God (the church in which I was raised), it is understood that Mormonism is a cult, and is not Christianity. This is generally accepted. Therefore, the A/G church is going to begin agitating to pass laws that Mormons should be denied the right to build temples in our cities!”

    I wonder if you’d have a problem with that? If you came to my blog (assuming I was still a member of that church), where I was defending the idea that you should not have the right to build temples or carry out temple ordinances, would you say, “Hey, that’s cool that you want to deny us the right to worship as we please, because I assume that your church teaches that we are a cult and I assume that most people in the group accept that as fact, so I won’t dispute it, or try to help you understand why it is not correct, and why you shouldn’t be trying to interfere with my right to worship as I please.” Or would you say, “Hey, that’s not true! And even if you accept it as ‘truth,’ it doesn’t give you the right to interfere with my right to worship as I please!”

  104. Lorian on January 25, 2014 at 1:52 pm

    Frank Pellett said:

    There are arguments, completely secular, against same-sex marriage.

    I have yet to hear a single one which held water, Frank. Feel free to change my mind. There ARE NO secular arguments demonstrating any way in which marriage equality for same-sex couples “harms” society. Not truthful ones, anyway. That’s why “judges haven’t believed them” — because attorneys arguing against marriage equality have not been able to present any.

  105. Lorian on January 25, 2014 at 1:53 pm

    JeffG – No problem. It gets mixed up all the time. ;)

  106. Jax on January 25, 2014 at 1:56 pm

    How does SSM harm me.

    Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.

    As part of a community and nation that will be harmed, allowing SSM directly involves the well-being of myself and my family.

    Also, I want as many societal pressures (both positive and negative) as possible to help keep my children for sin/temptation. As my children are reaching young adult years and start trying to come to grips with sexuality, I don’t want ANY influences telling them that homosexuality is acceptable. If at some point my son thinks to themselves, “I wonder what it would be like kiss a boy?” I don’t want any examples he can look to that tell him, “Bob is a good guy and has a happy marriage to Jim. Homosexuality can’t be THAT bad/wrong/evil.” It is that wrong/bad/evil and just me telling him that might not be enough. If society at large starts to accept the lie that “homosexuality is normal and fine” then he might be more likely to experiment than if every influence (not just his parents) are telling him that it is wrong.

    So how does it harm me. It makes it more likely that I lose my sealing bond with my kids because they choose a sinful lifestyle. I increases the likelihood that I’ll spend nights consoling and sobbing wife who has watched her children turn their backs on God. It directly undermines the values I’m trying to teach them about right and wrong. It tries to make evil into good (homosexuality into a loving family) and good into evil (moral people into intolerant bigots).

    Homosexuality IS a sin. Anything that makes it more prevalent, or more acceptable, in society is harmful to all members of that society. Maybe my morality causes a homosexual couple anguish. That is much more acceptable to me than allowing their sin to cause anguish for me. I’ll side with the morals over the sin EVERY TIME.

  107. Lorian on January 25, 2014 at 1:57 pm

    Mark B. #97 –

    When you’ve managed to amend the laws of biology to allow reproduction by same-sex couples, give me a call and I’ll reconsider what is central and what is not central to the definition of marriage.

    Well, then, I guess you’re ready to do that reconsidering, since my wife and I have beautiful twin 12-year-old daughters, whom we conceived by the very same exact method as thousands of heterosexual couples use every single year to create their families. Why are we supposed to be treated differently than they are, again?

  108. Michael P. on January 25, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    Howard,

    I don’t know ASM. Can that position be clearly backed by the Bible? If not are we left with because LDS prophets said so? Because LDS prophets have a long history of saying things that are not so today!

    Do you question everything that the prophets say that is not found in the Bible? Or just the ideas and commandments that offend a socially progressive mindset?

  109. Rune on January 25, 2014 at 2:30 pm

    Jax, your entire argument still hinges on a faith claim.

    That is not enough for lawmaking.

    It’s clearly enough to motivate you, personally, but it is still not enough to craft a law around, for all the reasons I’ve already gone over above.

  110. Howard on January 25, 2014 at 2:50 pm

    Michael P,
    Given the ban on Blacks fiasco I do question what LDS prophets say by confirming it with the spirit. You should too! The Bible reference was to common ground on this thread. Thanks for your interest in my.process.

    Jax, it must be very uncomfortable living in fear of sin!

  111. Mark B. on January 25, 2014 at 3:01 pm

    Lorian, #97

    Why are you to be treated differently? Because you are different. As far as I remember, there isn’t a husband in your so-called marriage. That alone should tell you that yours is different.

    That a very very tiny percentage of children born to married couples are conceived through IVF involving either sperm cells or eggs (or both) from others is hardly a basis for throwing over the definition of marriage to admit some persons involved in some other arrangement where one of that couple has also conceived a child through IVF. You may as well say that your relationship to your chair is a marriage, since you and your chair have managed to birth a child the same way a few heterosexual couples have.

    And, you may of course continue to say that you and your wife have “conceived” but nature itself tells us that it’s not true. That emperor simply has no clothes.

  112. Steve Smith on January 25, 2014 at 3:02 pm

    Frank Pellet, the comparison of SSM to theft doesn’t work. In a case of theft I can prove demonstrable harm. What demonstrable harm is caused from legalizing SSM?

    Jax, the how does SSM disintegrate the family? If anything it appears that legalizing SSM would help strengthen the family. Also I don’t think you understand why people are gay. They aren’t gay because of outside influences or because it is a cool trend, they are gay because of natural biological factors. I think you would find it remarkable that there are gay people all over the Muslim world, which is by far one of the most disapproving cultures towards the gays.

    I find it ironic that you decry homosexuality and gay marriage and claim that it causes some sort of harm that you cannot rationally prove. Yet you don’t realize that the intolerance towards gays that you preach is much more likely to cause harm. If one of your children is gay, I fear that they may be on the suicide watch list.

  113. Howard on January 25, 2014 at 3:05 pm

    Mark B,
    Wow! What in your view does that say about my 28 year childless marriage to a woman?

  114. Jax on January 25, 2014 at 3:08 pm

    Jax, it must be very uncomfortable living in fear of sin

    Personally I think it is the preferable way to live

    O Lord, wilt thou redeem my soul? Wilt thou deliver me out of the hands of mine enemies? Wilt thou make me that I may shake at the appearance of sin?

    , and that they world would be a MUCH better place if everyone lived that way… including my kids. That is precisely the type of environment I want them to live in. Faithful, surrounded by people who know the Lord and are scared to bring about His wrath because they love Him so much they won’t do anything to not be in His presence.

  115. Jax on January 25, 2014 at 3:10 pm

    Jax, the how does SSM disintegrate the family? If anything it appears that legalizing SSM would help strengthen the family. Also I don’t think you understand why people are gay. They aren’t gay because of outside influences or because it is a cool trend, they are gay because of natural biological factors.

    I find it ironic that you decry homosexuality and gay marriage and claim that it causes some sort of harm that you cannot rationally prove. Yet you don’t realize that the intolerance towards gays that you preach is much more likely to cause harm. If one of your children is gay, I fear that they may be on the suicide watch list.

    Hmmm… that sounds familiar

    It tries to make evil into good (homosexuality into a loving family) and good into evil (moral people into intolerant bigots).

  116. Rune on January 25, 2014 at 3:11 pm

    Mark B., would you then argue that all children born to families who used in-vitro, donors, or other widely accepted methods of fertility treatment, were not legitimate parts of that family?

  117. Howard on January 25, 2014 at 3:12 pm

    Steve Smith It comes from a privileged sense of entitlement inhanced by the appearance of authoritative support. “I’m right to view you (your lifestyle) as less than because you are a sinner.”

  118. Howard on January 25, 2014 at 3:15 pm

    Never mind that we’re all sinners, gay sin is (somehow) worse and if Oaks doesn’t like it I don’t have to like it either’

  119. Rune on January 25, 2014 at 3:19 pm

    Funny thing about terms, the meaning of “husband” and “wife” has already changed so much in the last few centuries. And, again, I’m so very, very glad that the terms no longer convey a master-and-chattel relationship.

    What else do the terms convey now? Why does it matter who is the husband and who is the wife? Gender roles? Well, we’re back to something that is socially changeable and/or religiously driven. There are a lot of people who don’t believe in such gender roles, and view spouses in a marriage as equal partners whose right and responsibility it is to divide the joys and burdens of their relationship between themselves.

    Barring gender roles, then, is it really of such vital importance that a functioning penis be present in a marriage? For some couples, maybe male infertility or injury that impairs sexual function would be a deal-breaker. For some, it wouldn’t be. It’s really up to them, isn’t it?

    You can argue the values you believe attach to these things all day long, and that’s great. But you still can’t legislate them, because they still boil down to faith claims and personal preferences and philosophies as far as the law is concerned.

  120. Alison Moore Smith on January 25, 2014 at 3:20 pm

    Lorian:

    No, they are based upon general agreements in society that WE agree that these things are so. We begin our government and our laws from the premise that individuals have basic rights, which should be protected up to the point where they begin to infringe upon the rights of others.

    Lorian, you know well that gay marriage isn’t part of the “general agreement,” it’s a change to the “general agreement” we’ve had for quite some time in this country. So “calling out” those who don’t agree with your change to the general agreement doesn’t seem to fit your description.

    I’m not going to allow you to draw me into an abortion derail on Kaimi’s thread…

    Hmmm. Derail? I was just agreeing with you about how wrong it is to harm others. You know, by ripping body parts into pieces. That’s kind of the deprivation of life and happiness that you said you object to. Plus it really sucks, getting sucked into a sink and all. But, oh, not THAT kind of harm to life and happiness…

    Alison, the bloggernacle lost the right to restrict discussions of marriage to purely the LDS perspective when the church decided to join the political fight over civil marriage equality.

    Actually, no. “The Bloggernacle” is comprised of a raft of PRIVATELY owned blogs. It is solely at the discretion of the individual owners how/when/where/why they restrict the discussion.

    You have been welcomed here and in many other LDS blogs/pages (including MormonMomma) where you have made your positions clear. As far as I know, you’ve never been modded here. T&S is quite open various viewpoints (as our author list shows). But any owner in the Bloggernacle has the right to restrict discussions to whatever perspective s/he chooses.

    BTW, you imply that until the church got involved in Prop 8, they DID have a “right” to restrict discussion of marriage to a purely LDS perspective. Please clarify how that transition from right to no right worked in your mind.

    When you go marching on street corners waving signs in people’s faces, advocating that their families are less deserving of civil rights than your own, you open yourself up to some outside input.

    Straw man.

    I’ve never taken the position that your opinion should be shut off. I haven’t even made that claim HERE, in a private forum. (I’m going to a blogger conference in a few weeks and I’m one of the few people telling people NOT to remove negative or contrary comments. So, yea, I kind of believe in open discussion.)

    It is the “calling out” mentality that is wrong-headed. This is an LDS forum and to try to put people on the defensive about following official authoritative LDS positions is bad form.

    In other words, I encourage participation, but if anyone should be “called out” in an LDS forum that promotes itself as “faithful” it shouldn’t be those presenting the actual official church position.

    I would never come to an LDS blog and argue whether Joseph Smith was an inspired prophet of God or not. That’s none of my business. This, however, *is*.

    And there’s the rub. As soon as you think something impacts you, it becomes your business. And as soon as it’s your business, you start calling people out.

    My children don’t deserve to have fewer rights in society than your children simply because they happened to be born to two women, rather than a woman and a man.

    OK, can we just pull back on the rhetoric for ONE SECOND here? I know it’s not popular or anything, but no children have been born to two women. Ever. I’m sorry that science is politically incorrect on that issue. Look, I’m adopted, so I’m not all about biology or something, but can let’s at least keep some logic in the discussion. OK?

    In addition, the progressive diatribes about who deserves what is beyond the pale. I deserve a trip to France and a cruise to Alaska. See that it’s done.

    That’s got *nothing* to do with religion, and *everything* to do with Equal Protection.

    EVERYTHING has EVERYTHING to do with value sets. How can you claim equal protection without claiming value? How can you claim anything is “deserved” without claiming value?

    If value is up for debate then it is when it helps you AND when it hurts you.

  121. Howard on January 25, 2014 at 3:23 pm

    Basically Packet and Oak’s words are used by biased and/or angry members to identify targets of their outrage for catharsis.

  122. Alison Moore Smith on January 25, 2014 at 3:23 pm

    Rune:

    There has to be a non-religious proof of reason. There has to be something more than one group saying, “I believe this,” or, “God said so.” A legal decision cannot stand on “God thinks it’s icky,” not and still hold true.

    What’s your non-value based reason for making this claim?

  123. Alison Moore Smith on January 25, 2014 at 3:34 pm

    Manuel Villalobos:

    LDS will wish to apply LDS religious definitions and values to civil marriage *AND* in so doing exclude people from society and civil rights that wish to apply their own value driven definition. Which is NOT the case with gay marriage supporters.

    Of course it is. And if you can’t see that, shall I say this is “too blunt of a deceitful statement to let go”? Yes, I think I shall.

    Let’s suppose that Jane’s value set is to live in a world where people respect her belief that God’s command with regard to homosexual behavior is respected and abided. Ah, but then if SSM is legalized she will not be allowed to apply her own value driven definition, now will she?

    As I said, ALL laws impose the beliefs of one set on those who don’t share the beliefs. ALL laws. Pretending that those who believe in heterosexual only marriage aren’t impacted (or imposed upon or having “religions forced down their throats”) by the legalization of SSM or other things they are opposed to is simply selectively choosing harm to fit your narrative.

    Heterosexual marriages are not called to be banned, annulled, or not recognized by the law in any way. The positions are NOT equal. One is actively suppressive of the rights of others, and the other is simply not.

    You’ll note that i’ve never presented them to be equal. (If you actually read my comments.) What I said was that many people would apply LDS religious definitions and values to civil marriage, that Lorian would apply HER religious definitions and values to civil marriage, and that everyone else in the discussion would as well.

    And let’s note, that simply by defining marriage in any way we DO include some and exclude others. (That’s the POINT of definitions.) So, yes, the LDS definition includes some and excludes others. Lorian’s definition includes some and excludes others. So does every other position/definition.

    In other words ALL definitions will “actively suppress” those NOT included in the definition. That should be obvious.

  124. Chad on January 25, 2014 at 3:42 pm

    The main concept that those arguing against same sex marriage here are missing is the reality of homosexuality. It is as much of a choice as heterosexuality is. The reason why the conversations about equality are happening now is a growing understanding in society of this reality. It is fundamentally unfair to demand that homosexuals be constrained to a paradigm that not only doesn’t fit them but can be very harmful.

  125. Jax on January 25, 2014 at 3:54 pm

    It is as much of a choice as heterosexuality is

    IMO whether homosexuality is a choice or not is irrelevant. Maybe they choose it maybe they don’t. Even if they don’t choose same-sex attraction, do you think every other sinner “chooses” to have their temptations? Do thieves choose to be tempted to steal? Do liars choose to be tempted to lie? Do adulterers choose to have adulterous impulses? Does it matter what causes the impulse/temptation, choice or nature? The person who acts on impulse to steal is a thief and sinning; not because of the impulse but for acting on it. The adulterer isn’t guilty because of the temptation, but because they act on it. The homosexual isn’t guilty for the feelings, but are if they act on them. Everyone chooses whether to act on their sinful impulses or not, and it is the choice that makes us guilty. Gays who reject their sinful impulses are among the best of people for resisting sin among one of humans most powerful emotions. Gays promoting SSM are insisting that we accept their choice to embrace their sinful impulses and call them normal/acceptable/good. They aren’t!

  126. Alison Moore Smith on January 25, 2014 at 4:04 pm

    Rune, Howard, the ad hominem is over the top. I realize that name-calling conservatives is the norm in progressive circles, but it’s inappropriate nonetheless.

    Kaimi:

    Of course, according to Mormon doctrine, non-belief in Jesus is also sinful. So perhaps the state should ban Jewish marriages and Muslim marriages too? Or, we could realize that, in a pluralistic democracy which is not a theocracy, government will allow some actions which one or more religious groups consider sinful.

    What does this even mean, Kaimi? It’s so nonsensical it boggles the mind.

    Jews shouldn’t be married because they don’t believe in Jesus? The real parallel would be that Jews can’t be member of a church that requires belief in Jesus because they don’t believe in Jesus.

    Either that, or we could ban everything that any group considers a sin. Yikes.

    Kaimi, I think you could easily dissect the fallaciousness of this comment if you wanted to.

    Of course we don’t ban everything everyone considers a sin. But, of course, we DO ban all sorts of behaviors that we, collectively (based on our VALUES) consider to be bad, wrong, or harmful to society.

    You, Lorian, et al are parsing words like “sin” and “religion” as if they fall on the loon side of the tracks without acknowledging that they follow very clearly the very same process as “harmful” and “values” on the things YOU promote.

    Just stop. Particularly because, like it or not, this IS an LDS forum where “sin” and “reilgion” should not be portrayed as kooky and, again, because it’s nonsense.

  127. Howard on January 25, 2014 at 4:10 pm

    Name calling? What name calling?

  128. Chad on January 25, 2014 at 4:21 pm

    Jax,

    The problem with reducing homosexuality to a “temptation” is how many facets of life are affected by a person’s sexuality. It’s not just about sexual fulfillment, it’s about relationships, emotional intimacy, family, life fulfillment, and so much more. Barring those individuals from the natural progression of their attraction is far more cruel than barring a thief from stealing. In fact, stealing and adultery are really just social constructs, where homosexuality is biological. Gays who resist their nature are usually miserable, same-laden individuals who commit suicide at far higher rates and have a far lower rate of life satisfaction.

  129. Michael P. on January 25, 2014 at 4:22 pm

    Howard:
    ” biased and/or angry members to identify targets of their outrage for catharsis.”

    How about that one?

  130. Howard on January 25, 2014 at 4:28 pm

    Michael P,
    That is a description of what I see taking place, not a name I’m calling anyone.

  131. Alison Moore Smith on January 25, 2014 at 4:39 pm

    Lorian, if you are under the impression that I’m confused about your beliefs in the the illegitimacy of the LDS sanction against homosexual behavior, let me clarify that I am clear that you don’t agree with it. Also, let me reiterate that, yes, I know you have a desire to dispute the sanction (although, as I said, whether you’re “free” to do so in a given forum is up to the forum owner, not you, all feelings aside).

    Therefore, the A/G church is going to begin agitating to pass laws that Mormons should be denied the right to build temples in our cities!” I wonder if you’d have a problem with that?

    Good heavens, do you not know how much opposition we get EVERYWHERE we try to build? What would my supposed “problem” be based on?

    I think the way the church approaches these situations is generally good. They don’t do it by going to the “offending” church to tell them their beliefs are false and demand proof of harm.

    If you came to my blog (assuming I was still a member of that church), where I was defending the idea that you should not have the right to build temples or carry out temple ordinances, would you say, “Hey, that’s cool that you want to deny us the right to worship as we please, because I assume that your church teaches that we are a cult and I assume that most people in the group accept that as fact, so I won’t dispute it, or try to help you understand why it is not correct, and why you shouldn’t be trying to interfere with my right to worship as I please.” Or would you say, “Hey, that’s not true! And even if you accept it as ‘truth,’ it doesn’t give you the right to interfere with my right to worship as I please!”

    I would say neither.

    First, I don’t tend to hang out on AG sites.

    Second, if i did, I would try to explain my difference of opinion and show them why mine was different. I would not do it by asserting that THEIR. OPINIONS. were specious and mine were sound. I would not do it by elevating my beliefs above theirs. I would not do it by presenting my beliefs as being somehow superior and sound by claiming them to be non-religious while theirs were merely crazy God-talk.

    And when they soundly refuted a point I had made, I would try to acknowledge it and address it rather than simply ignore it or leap to a new argument.

    No, not that I always debate in the best way or in the way I think I should, but the intent is to do so in good faith and without ad hominem.

    There ARE NO secular arguments demonstrating any way in which marriage equality for same-sex couples “harms” society. Not truthful ones, anyway.

    It’s kind of amusing, really, that we get back to definitions here.

    Any secular arguments against gay marriage aren’t truthful arguments — Lorian has declared — so we can dismiss then out of hand. So there aren’t any. By definition. The discussion is over.

    Howard:

    That is a description of what I see taking place, not a name I’m calling anyone.

    1970s Pop Psych 101.

    Remember class, never tell your child he’s a “bad boy.” Tell him he’s a “good boy doing bad things”! Ah, that feels better.

  132. Jax on January 25, 2014 at 4:41 pm

    The problem with reducing homosexuality to a “temptation” is how many facets of life are affected by a person’s sexuality. It’s not just about sexual fulfillment, it’s about relationships, emotional intimacy, family, life fulfillment, and so much more.

    which is why I said this

    Gays who reject their sinful impulses are among the best of people for resisting sin among one of humans most powerful emotions.

    Having the self control and faith to do it is beyond me, and I applaud them and will continue to encourage/strengthen/help them. It’s not an easy task, but it can be done. Celibacy has been accomplished before.

    Barring those individuals from the natural progression of their attraction is far more cruel than barring a thief from stealing.

    You sound like you think it is me barring them. God condemns it, and I side with Him. Or are you talking solely the political progression of their cause? because then I am firmly trying to bar it because their “cause” is to make sin acceptable and common place amongst us. Even if the law changes to favor them I won’t accept SSM as acceptable any more than I would accept a murderer/adulterer/thief/con-artist and say that their sins are acceptable either. Everyone sins, myself included. But good people try to overcome their sins – not fully embrace them and then demand that everyone else accept it as well.

  133. Howard on January 25, 2014 at 4:47 pm

    Not exactly sure what you are trying to say Alison, first it was name calling, now coaching it it? Am I not allowed to be clear and direct here?

  134. Howard on January 25, 2014 at 4:48 pm

    Couching

  135. Michael P. on January 25, 2014 at 4:51 pm

    AMS,

    Amen!!! that is all.

  136. Lorian on January 25, 2014 at 4:54 pm

    Alison:

    Lorian, you know well that gay marriage isn’t part of the “general agreement,” it’s a change to the “general agreement” we’ve had for quite some time in this country.

    I know no such thing, Alison. While I would agree that marriage equality for same-sex couples is not, itself, something which the majority has agreed upon, by any means (though that seems to be changing rapidly), it is the underlying *principle*, that all of us are equal, inherently, and deserve to enjoy the same rights granted to other citizens, in equal proportion, without establishing a system of unequal classes of those who are entitled to rights vs. those who are not. Did the whole country agree on abolition of slavery? Considering we fought a tremendous and bloody war over it, which nearly destroyed our nation, I’d say the answer is a resounding “NO.” But was the abolition of slavery *based* upon principles of fairness and equal treatment under the law which are a part of our *basic* agreements as a society? Our basic values as a nation? You bet. And did equality for black people spring up full grown upon the abolition of slavery? No, because even STILL there was not a majority in agreement that black people should be treated the same as white people – but does that mean that black people, based upon our foundational agreements as a society, *deserve* to be treated equally? Was it “justice” that they were still treated for one hundred years (and more, since racism is still alive and well) as a secondary class of humans, undeserving of equal treatment and equal access? I should say not.
    AGAIN, not joining you in your abortion derail. Go to fMh if you wish to engage me on that topic. Or write your own post.

    “The Bloggernacle” is comprised of a raft of PRIVATELY owned blogs.

    Well aware of that fact. I’m a perma at one of them.

    It is solely at the discretion of the individual owners how/when/where/why they restrict the discussion.

    Very true, and if you think I’m a troll you should feel free to ban me.

    You have been welcomed here and in many other LDS blogs/pages (including MormonMomma) where you have made your positions clear.

    Which I appreciate. I would venture to suggest, however, that I have contributed positively to the conversation, and continue to do so.

    As far as I know, you’ve never been modded here. T&S is quite open various viewpoints (as our author list shows). But any owner in the Bloggernacle has the right to restrict discussions to whatever perspective s/he chooses.

    That sounds like a threat, Alison. Please feel free to follow through if you feel I merit such punishment. Personally, I’ve seen people make very personal insults towards me in this very thread and not be threatened with moderation, but, hey, you call the shots.

    BTW, you imply that until the church got involved in Prop 8, they DID have a “right” to restrict discussion of marriage to a purely LDS perspective. Please clarify how that transition from right to no right worked in your mind.

    Alison, it seems to me that either you’re not reading my posts thoroughly, or you are working hard at misunderstanding and misrepresenting them. I made it clear that it is the church stepping off its lawn and onto mine which made it fair game for me to come over and hang out. The church consists of its members. As long as there are folks here who are going to *attack* my family’s right to be treated equally under the law, I have the right to vocally and strenuously object to such discrimination. And I will. You don’t want to hear from me about it, then stop advocating that I be treated as less of a citizen than you. Stop advocating that my *civil* marriage be treated as less worthy than your *civil* marriage. Stop advocating that *my* children be treated more poorly by society than yours. You’re not a “better citizen” who deserves more rights in society simply because you happened to be born (I presume) heterosexual and you happened to (I presume) fall in love with a man. This makes you *different* from me, not *better*, not more deserving of equal treatment by society.

    I kind of believe in open discussion…It is the “calling out” mentality that is wrong-headed. This is an LDS forum and to try to put people on the defensive about following official authoritative LDS positions is bad form. In other words, I encourage participation, but if anyone should be “called out” in an LDS forum that promotes itself as “faithful” it shouldn’t be those presenting the actual official church position.

    If you think I’m calling people out for holding and following personal beliefs which apply to their own lives, you are mistaken. As I said earlier (and you even quoted me), I have no problem with the church teaching its members how it wants them to behave, or with members adopting those beliefs for their own lives, even if it causes them, as individuals, personal pain and suffering which I might consider completely unnecessary. What I have a problem with, is people advocating the position that (and I’m going to bold this, because I want to make sure you get it, and that this time I am perfectly and unmistably clear):

    ”My church teaches that it is a sin to be gay. I believe it is a sin to be gay. THEREFORE, YOU should not be gay, and I am going to do everything in my power to advocate for and make sure that you are treated unequally by society because you are gay. I am going to do everything in my power to make sure that your *children* are treated unequally by society, because they are, in my opinion, illegitimate and should never have been conceived, and certainly should not be raised by someone like YOU.”

    This is the loud and clear message being broadcast by folks on your side of this discussion, Alison. And it is a *personal* attack upon myself and my family. And I *will* feel free to call it out when I hear it. If you don’t like that and you wish to ban me, you will need to do what you need to do.

    If it were confined to, “Hey, we think you’re a sinner and we don’t want you in our church,” I’d say, “Hey, whatevs. I don’t particularly wanna be in your church, anyway. Have fun.” But when it morphed into, “Hey, we think you’re a sinner and we want to make laws that you and your family are less than us and our families and should never, ever receive equal treatment in society,” that’s when the game changed, Alison.

    And there’s the rub. As soon as you think something impacts you, it becomes your business. And as soon as it’s your business, you start calling people out.

    Yes. I’m glad you understand. That’s about the size of it. Glad we could clear that up.

    OK, can we just pull back on the rhetoric for ONE SECOND here? I know it’s not popular or anything, but no children have been born to two women. Ever. I’m sorry that science is politically incorrect on that issue. Look, I’m adopted, so I’m not all about biology or something, but can let’s at least keep some logic in the discussion. OK?

    Whoa, Alison. I don’t know if you can hear yourself and understand just how insulting and rude you are being, here.

    If a woman and man get married, and it turns out he has a low sperm count, it is quite *common* (don’t know how familiar you are with the world of Assisted Reproductive Technologies, or ART) for them to go to a sperm bank and purchase frozen sperm to use for either insemination, In Vitro, or other ART procedures. Depending on the state in which they have their baby, the infant which results will most likely be legally considered the offspring of the husband, despite the fact that his gametes were not used in its conception, without even an adoption being required. There is, in many states – mine included – a legal “presumption of fatherhood” for any child born to a married woman. Unless the husband (or another man with whom the woman had an affair) challenges the paternity of the infant, the law presumes that the woman’s husband is the father. A few states have separate laws which pertain to infants conceived with donor sperm, but my state presumes legal parentage for the married couple.

    Such is now the case, too, for lesbian couples who are legally married in this state. Both women are listed on the birth certificate as the legal parents of the child at birth. This was not the case until a few years after my daughters were born, sadly, so my wife had to go through the heartbreak and frustration of having to legally adopt the children who had been hers since conception, the children she was present with for every milestone from conception through pregnancy, through the traumatic premature birth in which I nearly died – the woman who was the first to hold our babies while I lay unconscious, with doctors working to save my life, who gave the babies their names and stayed with them in the NICU until I was well enough, nearly two days later, to finally be brought to see them. She is every bit as much their mother as I am, Alison, whether you wish to smear and belittle her role as their parent or not.

    But what I’m trying to get at is that, if a couple in your ward got married, couldn’t conceive, went to a fertility clinic and conceived a baby using donor sperm, *you* would be unlikely to ever even know about it – it’s not something most heterosexual couples advertise. But even if you did know about it, I’m betting you wouldn’t walk up to the wife at the baby shower and say, “Your children weren’t born to you and your husband – they were only born to YOU. He’s not their “legitimate” father. He had nothing to do with any of it.” I bet you wouldn’t even say that behind her back. Let alone to her face. No, it’s only because you’re speaking with a lesbian that you feel free to pass such judgment on my family and to invalidate my wife’s role as the mother of my children, and mine as the mother of hers. I repeat – do you hear yourself? I cannot imagine how anyone could speak like that to another person and go home and feel good about it.

    In addition, the progressive diatribes about who deserves what is beyond the pale. I deserve a trip to France and a cruise to Alaska. See that it’s done.

    Did you *pay* for a trip to France and a cruise to Alaska? Because if you did, then I’d definitely agree that you deserve to have them.

    I pay my taxes. I vote. I do all of the things as a member of this society that you do, Alison. And I and my family *deserve* the exact same rights and protections as citizens of this country which you and your family enjoy.
    <blockquoteHow can you claim equal protection without claiming value? How can you claim anything is “deserved” without claiming value?No, you are the one who wishes to deny my family equal protection under the law. It’s up to you to explain what it is that makes my kids less valuable than yours, my family less valuable than yours.

  137. Josh Smith on January 25, 2014 at 4:58 pm

    I find Lorian’s argument very persuasive, both on this thread and others. Correct me if I’m wrong, but it basically boils down to this: “I love my spouse. I’m raising two children. People don’t have to agree with my family choice, but I deserve respect. I want all of the rights and obligations tied to marriage for myself and my children.”

    Even if one disagrees with SSM, is there not some small part of your soul that reaches out to Lorian? What about her children? Is there not some part of your mind or heart that says Lorian’s children deserve all the legal benefits of marriage?

    Surely some of you volunteer at your children’s schools. Do you not run into children who you would wish to endow with every legal right available, regardless of the choices parents make?

  138. Mark B. on January 25, 2014 at 5:26 pm

    Howard (113)

    Nothing at all. I haven’t said anything about childless marriages.

    Rune (116)

    No. Why would I say that? People a lot wiser than I am have counseled against the use of donor sperm in fertility treatments. And blogs like this one help one understand why.

    And your discussion of the changing of the roles of husband and wife is simply another version of the failure to see a distinction between a difference in kind and a difference in degree. You may as well say that a bunch of animals in a field are all sheep, because they all have white coats. But calling a sheepdog a sheep doesn’t make it a sheep. (To which you might add: “See. That animal even has “sheep” in its name, so of course it’s a sheep.” Which is equally persuasive.)

    For the thousands of years of recorded human history and for however many millions of years of unrecorded history preceded that, children were conceived the same way–a man and a woman had sexual intercourse, a sperm cell fertilized an egg, and 40 weeks later a child was born. But, with advances in medical technology, an exception to that pattern became available, with varying degrees of success, approximately 40 years ago. And now that 40 years of experience is the basis for an argument that the entire history of marriage should be tossed out in favor of a new definition? Surely there should be something more secure than the scanty evidence drawn from that rare exception on which to base a radical re-ordering of society.

  139. Rune on January 25, 2014 at 5:33 pm

    AMS:
    [blockquote]What’s your non-value based reason for making this claim?[/blockquote]

    I never said that, or anything like that. I said that a legal decision must have a good argument to support it that can be made independent of faith claims or religious beliefs. I don’t know what I can say more than I have already, which would make that more clear.

    If the government could accept claims of faith and belief and legitimate cause for legal decisions, then the government would be in the business of deciding which religious group was right about God above all others that might disagree with them. That would be immensely inappropriate, grossly unjust, and a violation of our own principled belief that all men are allowed the same privilege that we claim: to worship how where and what we may.

  140. Mark B. on January 25, 2014 at 5:39 pm

    Whoa, Alison. I don’t know if you can hear yourself and understand just how insulting and rude you are being, here.

    If someone is being “insulting and rude” here, it’s not Alison. It’s Mother Nature. Take up your fight against her, Lorian.

  141. Rune on January 25, 2014 at 5:43 pm

    Howard, I asked you that, because that is exactly the stance you are taking in regard to Lorian and her family.

    Also, calling the change in the arrangement between husband and wife shifting from master-chattel to more egalitarian partners a difference in “degree” is mind-boggling. Just because the genitals involved remain the same? Good grief. I’ll tell you straight up, my hetero marriage to my husband has a LOT more in common to Lorian’s marriage than it does to a master-chattel arrangement, regardless of a penis entering a vagina in both my marriage and the latter. The presence or absence of P-in-V sex does not override all other aspects of human relationship.

    Master-chattel was just a different “degree” of what we have now. Wow. That claim deserves much stronger language than this board allows, because it’s completely atrocious.

  142. Lorian on January 25, 2014 at 5:44 pm

    Josh Smith #137 – Thank you. Excellent summation of my thoughts. I appreciate it.

  143. Jeff G on January 25, 2014 at 5:45 pm

    There are a few points in this discussion which first, I have to disagree with and second, are not directly related to SSM but to the liberal understanding of conservatives:

    1) Conservatives do not believe that argument and reason are the tribunal against which policies are to be judged, but are instead power-plays meant to recruit and shore up political support. Rather, conservatives see practical experience (as found in tradition) to be much closer to the tribunal against which policies are to be measured. Thus, thinking that a conservative owes you an argument for their position totally misunderstands where they are coming from.

    2) Conservatives do not have a clear explanation for how some policies hurt or help anybody, nor do they believe that anybody else does or can have one. To spell out the effects of any one policy change on society is similar to spelling out how one bit of DNA effects the organism or how one neuron effects cognition. Thus, the fact that a conservative can’t clearly unpack a cost/benefit analysis of some policy change doesn’t mean that anybody can.

    3) Conservatives aren’t terribly interested in how a policy hurts or helps them personally. The whole “if you don’t like X, then you don’t have to do it” line of reasoning is totally foreign to a conservative mind since policies of issues of morality rather than self-interest. The liberal will typically want to resist the idea that conservatives resist SSM and the like for moral rather than self-interested reasons since it make the liberal look like they do not have morality on their side. But conservative don’t necessarily want or expect the liberal to grant that the former have morality on their side so much as grant that their objections are marked by a noble morality rather than a fearful self-interest.

    4) Conservatives do not think that help and harm are the only or even the most important standards against which to measure policies. Even if a policy doesn’t not clearly help anybody this does not in and of itself mean that it is a bad policy. It is for this reason that appealing to the sanctity or sinfulness of some behavior *is* a legitimate argument from the conservative perspective. Construing some behavior as sinful or righteous helps to structure society in ways which we trivialize at our own expense, or so believe the conservatives.

    5) Conservatives do not feel at all compelled to convince or convert the reforming liberals that they engage with. It is change rather than the status quo that carries the burden of political proof since the latter just is the starting point from which any change must depart. As such, any perspective which posits that we can step outside of all political arrangements and weigh or compare the status quo against some alternative is nothing but fantasy.

    Thus, whenever a liberal says something like

    “SSM will clearly help some people and unless you can give me a clear argument as to how it will harm you or anybody else your opposition to it can only be attributed to some psychological shortcoming,”

    they are really just demonstrating their own shortcomings.

  144. Josh Smith on January 25, 2014 at 5:45 pm

    Mark B.

    Seriously?! Even if you’re anonymously typing away in the Wilkinson Center, you should still be civil.

  145. Lorian on January 25, 2014 at 5:51 pm

    Mark B. #138 –

    People a lot wiser than I am have counseled against the use of donor sperm in fertility treatments.

    The question is not whether it is “wise” to conceive using donor gametes, or whether Mark B. would “counsel against it.”

    The issue is that, not only is it perfectly legal to conceive children in this manner, but thousands of couples do so every year, the vast majority of them heterosexual. And while *some* of those couples are accorded the same rights and protections under the law for their families as couples who conceive by putting a penis in a vagina, yet other couples are denied those same rights and protections for their families, because their families are not considered to have been brought into being legitimately, despite the fact that they were conceived by the *very* *same* *method* as those of the heterosexual couples.

    We cannot have two different sets of rules for people who are in the exact same position doing the exact same thing.

    Not to mention the fact that we don’t discriminate in the provision of marriage rights and protections to childless couples — even those who are intentionally childless or who never had the most remote possibility of conceiving, or to couples who create their families through adoption.

  146. Lorian on January 25, 2014 at 5:53 pm

    Rune, in #141, you addressed “Howard,” but you meant Mark B. Just cleaning up the record.

  147. Howard on January 25, 2014 at 5:55 pm

    Jeff G
    So what is the point of your conservatives entering into open discussion?

  148. Rune on January 25, 2014 at 5:55 pm

    I know quite a few conservatives who would take high umbrage at the broad claim that conservatives don’t believe that argument and reason are the key to judging policy.

    You make it sound like conservatives don’t care about reason. An individual conservative’s failure to adequately defend their perspective against well-reasoned and supported concerns is their own failing, and says nothing bad about the liberal individual who has actually managed to make their case.

  149. Rune on January 25, 2014 at 5:57 pm

    Lorian, you’re right. My mistake, I saw the attribution for the top quote as the name.

  150. Lorian on January 25, 2014 at 5:59 pm

    Mark B #138 –

    an exception to that pattern became available, with varying degrees of success, approximately 40 years ago.

    Forty years ago? You think alternative methods of conception came into being 40 years ago? You might be thinking of in vitro fertilization. I’m not sure how old you are, but you are apparently not terribly conversant with alternative reproductive technologies if you think IVF is the only and first of them. Artificial insemination has been around a LOT longer than 40 years, and is responsible for many, many, many millions of babies born to heterosexual couples. Donor gametes, likewise. You may wish to do some research on this topic.

  151. Jeff G on January 25, 2014 at 6:02 pm

    Howard,

    That comment was essentially me listing off the mistakes that I have seen you make in this open discussion. Granted, my comment was a little meta for the topic at hand, but I was hoping to help commenters such as yourself better understand those of us who disagree with you, if only so you could make the necessary changes in your approach so as to better win us over. I don’t expect you to be won over to conservatism in any way. Rather, I’m just trying to help you anticipate our objections and replies, something which is always helpful to both sides.

  152. Lorian on January 25, 2014 at 6:06 pm

    Jeff G #143 –

    1) Conservatives do not believe that argument and reason are the tribunal against which policies are to be judged, but are instead power-plays meant to recruit and shore up political support.

    Sorry, but I couldn’t get past the first line of your post, because it was too ludicrous and damning of your position to be believed. Conservatives don’t believe in reason? So logic and argument are “power-plays”? That’s why we have a system of law and government and, in particular, a judiciary which is *based* upon the concept of reasoned, logical argument? Because conservatives don’t believe in it?

    I mean, watching the stuff that exudes from the House of Representatives, I can well believe that your statement is representative of the feelings of many conservatives in that body, but personally, I’d be ashamed to openly argue in the context of any debate that “reason” and “argument” should be left out of things entirely. Apparently we are to be governed by emotion and irrationality? :sigh:

  153. Rune on January 25, 2014 at 6:07 pm

    Jeff G, telling the other side of the conversation that their own reason will not be likewise met does not exactly help a discussion along.

  154. Jeff G on January 25, 2014 at 6:07 pm

    Rune,

    You make it sound like you know conservatives better than they know themselves. An individuals failure to let those they disagree with speak for themselves or take to time to see things from their perspective is their own failing and says nothing bad about the conservative individual who has actually managed to show a systematic miscommunication between the two sides.

  155. Jeff G on January 25, 2014 at 6:09 pm

    Lorian,

    We certainly agree on one thing: You clearly did not make it past the first line of my post.

    Why is the claim that human reason and argument are inadequate to these important tasks so radical?

  156. Howard on January 25, 2014 at 6:14 pm

    Jeff G
    I know I have served as your model for other posts so I’m not surprised you’ve used me here as well but that response side steps my question. Please answer it. Why would conservatives of your description enter an open discussion. If your description is true and representative, what would the point of open discussion be?

  157. Rune on January 25, 2014 at 6:15 pm

    Where do you get that? I’m not saying anything at all about conservatives in my arguments. There are some issues that I’m conservative on, myself–like keeping government out of the validating religion business. I’m making my arguments. Feel free to do the same, if you think they can withstand examination.

  158. Jeff G on January 25, 2014 at 6:26 pm

    Howard,

    I misunderstood you comment. (I thought you were asking to point of my post that comment rather than the point of conservatives entering discussion.)

    The answer to your question is the same as the reason why liberals do so, to recruit and shore up support. The last things we want is for liberals to have an unopposed voice on any issue. Both sides agree that words and beliefs matter. The difference lies is the standards against which we evaluate those words and beliefs.

  159. Rune on January 25, 2014 at 6:27 pm

    Jeff G, you seem to be making a very extensive and comprehensive burden of proof error. Not all humans reason perfectly, it’s true. Nothing can be utterly proved beyond a shadow of doubt, it’s true. But those two points do not discount or diminish the value of reason and demonstrations of proof, and they do not absolve anyone, conservative or not, from bearing the burden of proof for their own opinions and beliefs when those beliefs come up against those of anther person in an incompatible way. In your own life, do what you have to, because logic and reason do take effort and can be tiring. You allocate your resources where you can.

    But you do not get to bow out from the responsibility of reason when your opinions, beliefs, habits, assumptions, desires, and even faith come up against those of other human beings in an obstructive and incompatible way, especially in a legal sense. In those cases, you absolutely do bear the burden of proof to justify your own stance against the full weight and reason of the considerations of the other side. If not you, then someone who represents you. Still, it must be done. The reason must be dealt with. To claim otherwise is preposterous.

  160. Lorian on January 25, 2014 at 6:33 pm

    Jeff G #155 – If conservatism means that reason and logic should be checked at the door, then there’s hardly a point in discussing anything with you, is there? What you appear to be saying is that you want society’s big decisions to be made based upon how you *feel* about it, instead of with reason or logical thought and argument. Do you really, truly, honestly believe that we shouldn’t use logic and rational argument to make decisions which govern how our society functions? Sorry to keep asking you, but you keep confirming that this is truly what you meant to say, and I’m just floored by the idea that anyone who believes he should be taken seriously in a discussion of this nature would forswear the use of logic and reason. Call me gobsmacked. It feels kind of like Joe Frazier just walking in and handing his belt over to George Foreman and saying, Hey, let’s just skip this whole thing and you can be the champ.

  161. Jeff G on January 25, 2014 at 6:33 pm

    Rune in 153,

    In a certain sense, I think you are right, but not in another. It just depends on what you mean by “furthering the conversation”. One way of putting my comment would be that sometimes you need to back up a bit in order to move forward. I was trying to point out how a number of liberal strategies in these discussion are really just dead ends and should not be pursued any more. If, however, liberals can back up a bit and take a look at some assumptions (assumptions which seem so obvious that merely calling them into question seems ludicrous, etc.) I think they could not only understand conservatives a bit better, but maybe even win them over more effectively. As things stand, however, I agree with Jonathan Haidt that conservatives almost always understand liberals better than the latter do the former.

    I’m not sure that I want to pursue this line of thought much further, as I’m sure that I’ve already thread-jacked a bit too much.

  162. Jeff G on January 25, 2014 at 6:37 pm

    Ruse,

    Claiming that an alternative position is ludicrous or preposterous speaks more to your own inability to comprehend something than it does the feasibility of the position. In other words, merely deriding a position doesn’t count as an substantial objection to it.

    Lorian,

    You are putting a lot of words into my mouth. I never said that reason and argument don’t matter at all and it’s clearly not true that if they did not matter at all, that there would be no constraints or purpose to political engagement.

  163. Jeff G on January 25, 2014 at 6:38 pm

    Whoops! “Rune” not “Ruse”. Sorry about that.

  164. Rune on January 25, 2014 at 6:39 pm

    I did not “merely,” Jeff G, I added that statement -after- a reasoned refutation, and adding it after does not negate the reason. No matter what you think about “conservatism.” If you cannot answer my refutation and choose instead to ignore it, that’s your failing, and I am under no obligation to take you seriously.

  165. Lorian on January 25, 2014 at 6:44 pm

    Jeff G – This is what you said:

    Conservatives do not believe that argument and reason are the tribunal against which policies are to be judged, but are instead power-plays meant to recruit and shore up political support.

    That sounds pretty definitive to me. Policies should not be decided through reason and argument. Reason and argument are merely things liberals do to conservatives to try to convince them of stuff they don’t want to believe. What did I miss?

  166. Rune on January 25, 2014 at 6:47 pm

    If conservatives are necessarily as you describe, (which I still don’t buy,) then of course they know liberals better than liberals know them. The reason-using liberals go to the trouble to explain themselves thoroughly, while the conservatives demanding through closed lips that the liberals read their minds, and then get huffy when they don’t.

  167. Jeff G on January 25, 2014 at 6:55 pm

    Lorian,

    I was simply making the (obvious) point that just because something sounds perfectly reasonable, doesn’t mean it will work as planned. Arguments and reason are tools which are meant to accomplish certain tasks, and predicting the future outcome of some policy change is a task to which they are not at all well-equipped.

    Rune,

    Your assignment of the burden of proof makes perfect sense within a court room, or within academia. But I see no reason why it can or should be generalized to all aspects of life. This is exactly where the conservatives will tend to disagree with liberals: following Burke, the former think that theory in the area of politics and society is hubris.

  168. Lorian on January 25, 2014 at 6:59 pm

    Jeff G #167 – You bear the burden of proof because you are the one who is advocating that a class of people be deprived of civil rights and protections for themselves and their children.

  169. Lorian on January 25, 2014 at 7:01 pm

    Creating a “second class” of citizenship is a very serious business in a supposedly egalitarian society. It cannot be done simply because the majority wishes it to be so or “feels” like it’s religiously justified.

  170. Rune on January 25, 2014 at 7:07 pm

    Jeff G, we are talking about a legal status. I specifically left wiggle room for other aspects of life, but legal decisions are what we are talking about. And this is something that will probably, someday, be finally decided for once and for all in the Supreme Court. My point absolutely 100% applies here.

    Keep believing that it’s not best for society, keep living for the kind of society you want, whatever. Conduct the other aspects of your life as you see fit. You just don’t get to make laws that shape everyone else’s world the way you want to without good reason.

  171. Jeff G on January 25, 2014 at 7:08 pm

    Rune in 166,

    That’s one perspective on it. Another perspective would be as follows: Liberals simplify the world in order to understand it the best they can (nothing wrong with this). They then attempt to turn their understanding back on the world in order to pursue the changes they seek, forgetting about all the dirty details and complication which they originally sidelined for the sake of understanding (here lies the problem). The conservative doesn’t think that our understanding of the world is bad, just inadequate to ever think we can control and manipulate it as we please. This is why we feel no obligation to theorize and explain the world to the liberals’ expectations and standards since any such theories and arguments will never be good enough for the purposes at hand.

    Trying to bring things back to the issue at hand, I can’t tell you exactly how good or bad the effects of SSM will be… and neither can anybody else. That is the point. That is why conservative advocates change that is slow, cautious and piecemeal. Since our theories about how such things will play out can never be good enough, let’s go slow enough to cautiously see rather than merely theorize about how things will play out.

  172. Jeff G on January 25, 2014 at 7:16 pm

    Lorian,

    Conservatives aren’t trying to create anything at all because they are nervous about such foresightful “creations”. Nor do they see your appeal to the egalitarianism of society as carrying much weight.

    Rune,

    You are again begging the question for conservatives who do not think that the courts are the places that issues such as these should be decided. It may very well be that conservatives disagree with the courts decision because of the decision that they happened to reach. It is also true, however, that conservatives disagree with the idea that the courts should be making such decisions at all. Judicial activism (as conservatives call it) comes all too close to the theoretical simplifications that conservatives object to in liberals. For this reason, the conservative objection to any such judicial ruling is *not* ad hoc in nature.

  173. Rune on January 25, 2014 at 7:20 pm

    For someone claiming to understand liberals so well, reducing their points of view to “oversimplifications” doesn’t seem like all that deep an understanding, itself.

    Whether or not conservatives or anyone else for that matter would agree with this decision coming down to the supreme court still has no bearing on whether or not there is a burden of proof at hand. There is. There must be good reason.

    And this is happening “slow and piecemeal” right now, a state at a time. That has nothing to do with any of my objections regarding some of the reasoning that has been presented here.

  174. Rune on January 25, 2014 at 7:23 pm

    (or lack thereof)

  175. Lorian on January 25, 2014 at 7:24 pm

    Jeff G, what you are really saying here is that the status quo is workin’ out just fine for you, and if it happens to be dumping all over someone else, that’s really no skin off your nose. You like the way things are and you want it to stay that way. That’s how many whites felt about segregation, too. Hey, it’s good for us. Who cares if it’s crappy for black people. If we let them change stuff around, it might not be as good for us, so what’s a little poverty and discrimination and under-privilege for black people, just as long as I’ve got mine?

  176. Lorian on January 25, 2014 at 7:31 pm

    The fact is that, in order to justify laws which deprive a class of people of equal rights and protections under the law, it is *incumbent* upon those making such laws to demonstrate just cause why society has a valid interest in denying those rights and protections to that class of people. This is our legal system, Jeff. This is how our laws and government work. It’s not up to me to show why I deserve the same rights as you. It is *your* burden to demonstrate why I do not. It’s up to you to show, not just that you have “worries” about “what it could do to society” at some nebulous future point, if The Gays have equality; but rather, that equal marriage for gay people and their families will clearly cause this or that demonstrable harm in the here-and-now. Seriously. That’s how it works. Ask a lawyer. That’s why the Prop 8 attorneys failed in the court challenge to Prop 8. They simply could not come up with any clearly defined demonstrable harm that marriage equality would cause to society, beyond vague religious ideations of judgment and horrors, which are not admissible as evidence in court.

  177. Jeff G on January 25, 2014 at 7:32 pm

    Lorian,

    “he status quo is workin’ out just fine for you, and if it happens to be dumping all over someone else, that’s really no skin off your nose”

    I said nothing of the sort. I didn’t say anything at all about my own position within society. For all you know, I might be gay myself. Why do liberal activists always fall back on attributing psychological and social motives which amount to little more than an ad hominem attack?

  178. Lorian on January 25, 2014 at 7:35 pm

    Incidentally, this:

    Conservatives aren’t trying to create anything at all because they are nervous about such foresightful “creations”

    …is not true.

    Any time you make a new law (as conservatives did repeatedly during the last decade, in state after state) which declares that only one class of citizens is eligible to receive a certain set of civil rights and protections, you are, by definition, creating a second class of citizens which is *ineligible* to receive those rights and protections (no matter how much you try to avoid using their name in the sentence). That’s what it’s all about, Jeff. Creating a privileged class and a less-privileged class.

    When you do that, you have to be able to show just cause for treating the less-privileged class with less…er…privilege. That burden belongs to those who create the law, as the GOP and NOM are now discovering as state after state has its anti-marriage-equality law stricken down as unconstitutional.

  179. Rune on January 25, 2014 at 7:37 pm

    Why are you, Jeff G, falling back on relying on gross generalizations of “types” of people rather than displaying any kind of good faith in this discussion, or philosophical rigor?

    The fact is, people who dug in exactly the way you are attempting to now, who presented the exact same sorts of justifications and value weighting as you are now, were the very same people who opposed anything that changed the state of society as far as any group that was (or is still) receiving fewer rights, protections, and benefits via the law than the majority, going all the way back to slavery. This is a constantly repeated pattern. You are echoing people who you might not wish to be echoing.

    Regardless how you feel about gay marriage, you really ought to have a care what kinds of justifications you trot out in opposition to it. It’s very easy to fall in with a very bad company, and the ends really do not justify those means.

  180. Lorian on January 25, 2014 at 7:38 pm

    Jeff G #177 – Okay, you opened the door. Are you gay? Are you heterosexual? You can’t imply possible membership in the group against which you advocate discrimination unless you are willing to come clean. Otherwise, you are merely attempting to obfuscate.

  181. Michael P. on January 25, 2014 at 7:48 pm

    Jeff G.,

    I think Lorian and Rune are confirming and proving your point even better than your own posts.

  182. Jeff G on January 25, 2014 at 7:52 pm

    This will probably be my last comment in this thread. Nobody is ever going to change their mind on the fly, so the best I think that either side can hope for is to make some good points for the other side to think a little bit more about.

    Rune,

    We all must pick and choose the points that we address, especially in this venue. While I have certainly advocated a lack of philosophical rigor, I don’t think that I demonstrated such a lack at all. I brought up those points that helped my former, very liberal self see the coherence in conservatism hoping that it would have a similar effect on you. I never thought to convert you, only to help you see that conservatives are not less consistent than liberals, only differently consistent.

    Lorian,

    Yes, I am trying to obfuscate my psychological and social identity since such things are supposed to be totally beside the point according to the rules of philosophical rigor. Personally, I don’t care about your sexual preferences, etc. and I wouldn’t expect you to care about mine either. That’s the stuff that ad hominems are made out of.

    Anyways, you both made some good points that are worth of my consideration and I hope you think the same of mine.

  183. Lorian on January 25, 2014 at 7:57 pm

    Mark #111 – Missed this little Nasty-gram earlier:

    Why are you to be treated differently? Because you are different. As far as I remember, there isn’t a husband in your so-called marriage. That alone should tell you that yours is different.

    So, if you met me at the home of a friend, would you sneer at me like this? Is this what you believe Jesus would do?

    And yes, my wife and I *did* conceive our children together. We chose the donor. She paid for the procedures. We both were there from the moment of conception onward. I endured the pain and hardships of a tremendously difficult pregnancy. She took care of me while I spent months on bedrest. She made special protein and vegetable smoothies for me to drink to make sure the babies got enough nutrition when I was too sick to eat (which was most of the pregnancy — I lost 45 pounds in 33 weeks). She has parented our children with me from their first day of life. I cannot imagine who else would be the parents of our children.

    Keep your sneering to yourself, please. I haven’t sneered at you.

  184. Lorian on January 25, 2014 at 8:03 pm

    Jeff G #182 –

    Yes, I am trying to obfuscate my psychological and social identity since such things are supposed to be totally beside the point according to the rules of philosophical rigor. Personally, I don’t care about your sexual preferences, etc. and I wouldn’t expect you to care about mine either. That’s the stuff that ad hominems are made out of.

    No, that’s not what you’ve done. What you’ve done is claimed a possible identity for yourself which might tend to legitimize your point of view, and then refused to state whether or not your claim is true. That’s like saying, “Hey, I don’t support gay marriage, but some of my best friends are gay, and they don’t want it, either,” only your way is even more disingenuous, since you imply that you might be gay in order to legitimize your position and suggest that it might not proceed from a place of heterosexual privilege. That’s sleezy.

    That’s like someone arguing that black people don’t deserve equality and then claiming they might have African heritage, to forestall being called a racist. Uh uh. That’s the epitome of racism.

    You’re either heterosexual or you aren’t. You don’t get to try to garner legitimacy for your anti-gay ideas by claiming you might be a member of the very class of people you seek to oppress.

  185. Rune on January 25, 2014 at 8:07 pm

    You can pick and choose what you bring up, but you can’t just pick and choose what you value and what you disregard when it comes to the other side. You’ve chosen to derail and try to lecture broadly on what conservatives are and what liberals are. That hasn’t really had much bearing on the discussion of marriage rights.

    And whether or not you are a member of a particular group and whether or not you actually have their perspective is not irrelevant. You cannot speak for a group you are not a member of, and whether or not you actually have a particular perspective is vital to the ethos of your argument. To try and claim, or even insinuate, an ethos that you have no right to is downright dishonest, and is a cruel theft from those who actually are members of that group.

  186. Lorian on January 25, 2014 at 8:14 pm

    What Rune said. I could have joined the discussion, pretending to be straight (with all the privilege which goes with it), and avoided being sneered at and having my marriage and my children belittled by folks like Alison and Mark. I could have claimed I had no skin in the game, but was just arguing from a theoretical perspective. But that would be dishonest. And I don’t do dishonest. Do you, Jeff?

  187. Howard on January 25, 2014 at 8:38 pm

    Jeff G,
    I’ve been pondering your position and discussing it with a conservative friend. The bias toward tradition is an interesting one. The US is a republic and as such the rights of minorities cannot be abridged by the majority. So CA Prop 8 goes to a popular vote and wins but is later invalidated by the court. Did we hear support for the tradition of republic based minority rights from conservatives? No! We heard critism about activist courts overturning the will of the people! It seems the tradition bias card is only important in opposing change, not supporting it!

  188. Rune on January 25, 2014 at 8:56 pm

    It’s also interesting how lawmaking that amounts to codifying the way the privileged majority sees and experiences the world was assumed here as not being a new creation. The codification is absolutely the new creation, and one that erases the “traditional” experiences and perspectives of non-majority peoples. It’s a new construct that legally establishes something that was assumed by many, but was not yet legally established for all, such as the state amendments and laws claiming marriage was only between one man and one woman. Yes, that was the mainstream social assumption and expectation, but the legal codification was a new creation, created on the assumption that the experience and expectation of the majority was the “reality” and disregarding the lived realities of a minorty, (but not insignificant number,) of peoples who were not the majority.

    Considering all of the lived realities, and not just the unquestioned centrality of the majority experience, is a vital step in crafting new laws to make sure we do not inadvertently violate our own Equal Protection Clause, even if, especially if, a majority is fine with it going forward unexamined because it codifies their own experiences and assumptions.

  189. Howard on January 25, 2014 at 9:04 pm

    Here’s another one, my conservative friend wants to hold fast to the tradition of the US constitution. Okay, but that is a living document designed to allow for change! So amending it is holding fast to it’s tradition!

  190. Lorian on January 25, 2014 at 9:20 pm

    Yep. Considering that the first amendment was adopted in 1791.

  191. Howard on January 25, 2014 at 9:30 pm

    So Jeff G,
    What do you mean by tradition? Do you mean tradition is a convient anchor for resisting change or that tradition should be followed even when it implies change?

  192. Steve Smith on January 25, 2014 at 9:30 pm

    Wow, here are some homophobic highlights from the thread:

    Mark B. (111) “Why are you to be treated differently? Because you are different. As far as I remember, there isn’t a husband in your so-called marriage. That alone should tell you that yours is different.”

    Mark B. (140) “If someone is being “insulting and rude” here, it’s not Alison. It’s Mother Nature. Take up your fight against her, Lorian.”

    Alison (120) “OK, can we just pull back on the rhetoric for ONE SECOND here? I know it’s not popular or anything, but no children have been born to two women. Ever. I’m sorry that science is politically incorrect on that issue. Look, I’m adopted, so I’m not all about biology or something, but can let’s at least keep some logic in the discussion. OK?”

    It goes to show that when you can’t come up with a logical reason as to why gay marriage is bad, just hurl insults at other people’s families. After all, logic, reason, facts, and justice all have a well-known pro-gay marriage bias.

  193. Mark B. on January 25, 2014 at 9:34 pm

    AI–in humans. First case cited in Wikipedia: 1884.

    Donor ova: First child born: 1994.

    My point still stands.

  194. Mark B. on January 25, 2014 at 9:38 pm

    I suspect that if you told Steve Smith that the only way two people, unaided by technology, can conceive a child is that one must be a man and the other a woman, he’d still find a way to declare you “homophobic.”

  195. Lorian on January 25, 2014 at 9:42 pm

    Steve Smith #192 – Thank you, Steve. <3

  196. Lorian on January 25, 2014 at 9:47 pm

    Mark B #193 – Wikipedia? Seriously?

    Pretty sure people have known the “cup-and-turkey-baster” trick since long before 1884 (hey, but thanks for researching wikipedia on that). But even if it were 1884, that hardly makes conception through donor sperm a 40-year-old experiment. What’s your point, exactly?

  197. Kaimi Wenger on January 25, 2014 at 9:50 pm

    Mark B,

    For millennia, human birth was frequently accompanied by maternal death. The risk varied from place to place, but lifetime maternal mortality was often in the neighborhood of 10%, sometimes more. And infant mortality was also very high — often above 20%.

    Of course, in the past few decades, some medical folks have suggested doing away with this time-honored pattern.

    No one has considered the risks of such massive social changes, which go against all of recorded history.

    Bring back infant mortality!

  198. Mark B. on January 25, 2014 at 9:54 pm

    Lorian (183)

    If you haven’t been sneering, then Steve Smith is doing the sneering for you.

    You argue long and insistently that your “marriage” should be treated equally because it is the same as a marriage of two people of opposite sexes. That argument fails on the most basic level because your marriage is not the same as a marriage of two people of opposite sexes. And all the love and nurturing and commitment in the world still doesn’t change that.

    I have never said that you should be mistreated or sneered at because of your living arrangements, nor have I suggested that your children should be mistreated, or taken from you, or anything of the sort. Nor have I ever said that same-sex marriage should be banned because homosexual relations are sinful. My point is simply that all the equality arguments in the world fall flat because you are arguing that something that is unequal should in fact be declared equal.

    If you want to make arguments that gay unions should be accorded the same or similar privileges as are granted to marriages, then make those arguments. But don’t try to tell me that it’s a matter of “equality.”

  199. Lorian on January 25, 2014 at 9:58 pm

    Ah, but Mark, you *have* suggested that my children should be mistreated. You want to have my children denied equal rights and protection in society because you disapprove of who their parents are. Denying equal marriage to same-sex couples means denying equal protection to their children. Or else it means advocating that they not be permitted to have or raise their own children. One or the other. Which is it? You either want my children taken away from me, or you want them to be treated differently from the children of straight couples. You tell me.

  200. Mark B. on January 25, 2014 at 10:02 pm

    Lorian (196)

    The point is that two persons of the opposite sex are still required to propagate the species. There’s a reason that societies all around the world developed man-woman marriage as the basis for the continuation of human life.

    And a few years of experience of medically assisted variations (which, by the way, still require a male and a female gamete) is hardly a strong basis for tossing millenia of human experience out the window.

    And, your response to Steve Smith seems to confirm that you applaud his doing the sneering for you.

    Kaimi–I’d tell you that your latest is ridiculous but I suspect that you know that already.

  201. Lorian on January 25, 2014 at 10:08 pm

    Mark #200 – Your comment would make sense if *only* couples capable of procreation were allowed to marry. But since 90-year-olds can get married, and the surgically sterilized can get married, and couples who declare their firm intent to never give birth can get married, your “only-a-man-and-woman-can-make-a-baby” argument kind of falls flat. Particularly when gay people parent children — born to them and/or adopted — all the time. If there is something inherently more valuable to society about couples who choose to procreate or to parent, then it is as valuable when same-sex couples do as when opposite-sex couples do it. The *manner* of conception can hardly be the feature which makes parenting valuable to society, since we applaud those who adopt other people’s unwanted children. Why is adoptive parenting only valuable to society if the parents have interlocking genitalia? Why would their genitalia matter at all?

  202. Lorian on January 25, 2014 at 10:10 pm

    But now we’re recycling the thread, Mark. Did you even bother to read where I posted the very same thing upthread? Can you come up with something new, besides “Hey! You can’t have a baby with another girl!” The fact is, I can, and did. But that doesn’t have anything to do with whether or not we can get civilly married. It DOES have a great deal to do with the ways that *you* wish to punish my kids for who their parents are, however. I notice you’re avoiding addressing that issue.

  203. Mark B. on January 25, 2014 at 10:19 pm

    Lorian, your argument sounds like the young man who, after killing his parents, sought protection from the court because he was an orphan. If your children are 12 years old, they were born before any state in the Union recognized same-sex marriages. So you were obviously prepared to bring them into a world where they were not entitled to those rights. But now you blame me for not thinking that they should be entitled to them?

    What rights do you fear your children will be denied? The right to be cared for and taught by the adults in the home, those named on their birth certificates as parents? The right to be treated as your children, and to visit you in the hospital and to inherit your property when you shuffle off this mortal coil? I have never suggested that any of those rights be denied them.

    Or is it that you fear your children will grow up with the stigma of parents who are unmarried? I don’t think our society blames children for their parents’ condition any more–just check the legal digests under “Bastardy” and you’ll see that the volume of cases has slowed to a trickle. And they’re not likely to be subjected to any disability whatever the marital state of the adults in the household.

    But I cannot (and neither can anybody else) accord them the right to live in a household where their mother and father, married to each other, also live. I can’t grant them “equality” with a household that looks like the Smiths down the street, where there is a father and mother and children. No amount of change in the marriage laws of the state can change that. A change in marriage laws cannot make your household equal to the hypothetical Smiths’ household.

  204. Rune on January 25, 2014 at 10:20 pm

    The point is, simple reproductive biology, while important, is not the all-encompassing heart and core of human relationships. We are a bit more than that. And while it’s true that we are a sexually reproductive species, and marriage has been traditionally a measure to control that reproduction and establish heirs, it is still a social layer atop of biological reproduction (though you can believe it to be a God-inspired, even a God-commanded one,) and not strictly necessary for the species to continue. The actual biological conception of a new child is only one part of bringing that child up to themselves be a biologically viable member of the species, to say nothing of a good citizen and decent human being.

    Mark B., if you claim that Lorian’s family is inferior because a portion of the base genetic material came from a donor, then you are making that argument against every family that has ever brought children into the world that way. It’s the exact same thing, the exact same methods, the exact same sort of experience and involvement for the parents.

    Do those children not deserve the same legally-protected stability for their homes and families, or the same inheritances from the parents who raised them, as other children?

    If it’s not the method of fertility treatment that is your objection, (since that is the same for any couple that cannot conceive through simple sex, regardless of orientation,) then what does it’s neccesity have to do with your opposition?

    Homosexual couples have been well proven at this point to be a positively contributing element to society as far as the rearing and raising of children is concerned, and if marriage really is all about providing stable homes and families for children (and not just getting them born) then we should be doing all we can to contribute to the stability and support that these families get, at least to the same degree that we do for hetero-established families.

  205. Jax on January 25, 2014 at 10:22 pm

    Lorian,

    If your kids have “punishment” for their parents, it is the parents fault, not society’s. If you don’t want your kids to be left out because they have gay parents, then you shouldn’t have brought them into a house with gay parents. You knew the conditions of society when you made that choice, don’t now try to lay it on our feet.

  206. Lorian on January 25, 2014 at 10:25 pm

    Jax #204 – So, the children of interracial couples deserve what’s coming to them, huh? Their parents should have considered society’s hatred for interracial coupling before having the audacity to get married and bring forth mixed-race kids? That’s what you’re saying here?

  207. Lorian on January 25, 2014 at 10:26 pm

    Steve Smith, I think you can add #204 to your list of most egregiously hateful comments…

  208. Jax on January 25, 2014 at 10:41 pm

    I dated a girl for quite a while who I really liked. Her family had a long history of illnesses/diseases that I didn’t want my children to have in their family history. So I stopped dating her because the conditions weren’t right for what I wanted for my children.

    If you live in a country where SSM isn’t allowed, but you want your kids to have the privileges available to married parents, then make sure to have kids within a marriage.

    If you live in an area where interracial kids are ostracized/harassed, and you don’t want that for your kids, then don’t have kids with someone of a different race. You can solve that issue before it is an issue.

    You have a kid, Lorian, that you choose to bring into your home. I didn’t choose the conditions of that home, you did. Don’t get all huffy with others that the conditions for your kid aren’t what you want them to be. The conditions you are talking about were preventable and you choose both the conditions AND to bring a child into them. It is not anybody else’s fault. Take some responsibility for YOUR kid.

  209. Steve Smith on January 25, 2014 at 10:52 pm

    Sheesh, I think comment 204 may top the list of homophobic highlights. I would love to continue to have a reasoned discussion about gay marriage, but you can’t really have a discussion with people who plug their ears and shout “la, la, la, la, la.”

  210. Rune on January 25, 2014 at 10:55 pm

    And thus we see that Jax is more willing to defend negative and unjust societal circumstances as if they were simply natural, than to defend the rights of children and families who just want human dignity within those societies. It’s not like those societies are wrong or anything, it’s just unfortunate, and people subject to it should just learn to live with it, I guess.

    But he’s totes not a bigot, yo.

  211. Mark B. on January 25, 2014 at 11:00 pm

    Rune, evidently Kaimi was piqued that I thought his argument about infant mortality wasn’t serious, so I don’t know that you’ll see this response. But let me point out that “inferior” is your word, not mine. I simply said that same-sex unions are different, and the fact that they are different suggests that “equality” is less than helpful as a concept for addressing the issue.

    You say that “Homosexual couples have been well proven at this point to be a positively contributing element to society as far as the rearing and raising of children is concerned” but I would say that the evidence is scant and we cannot know at this point. The fact that there are websites like the one I linked to in comment 138 suggests that “well proven to this point” may be less certain than some maintain.

  212. Steve Smith on January 25, 2014 at 11:04 pm

    “If you live in an area where interracial kids are ostracized/harassed, and you don’t want that for your kids, then don’t have kids with someone of a different race. You can solve that issue before it is an issue.”

    And now we have racist highlights from the thread. Uh, how about instead of allowing ourselves to be cowed by the intimidation and threats of bullies, racists, and homophobes we stand up to them and tell them that what they’re doing is wrong and hateful.

  213. Rune on January 25, 2014 at 11:18 pm

    Mark B., in that insistence of difference, you are advocating for inferior treatment for them. You are insisting that their families not receive public protections that other families literally take for granted, despite being contributing members of the society, and paying the same taxes to that public institution. You are insisting that their return for their membership in society be less than what you get, and that it’s right that it’s so.

    That is treating them as inferior.

    We are talking about people who are raising children, who are participating in their communities, who work jobs, pay taxes, maintain homes, and live human lives. We are talking about people who are actively seeking out the stability and commitments of marriage. They contribute, and their contributions have held up at least as well as those of the average hetero couple.

    And you are insisting that they get less from being part of society. The best homosexual married couple deserves less from society than the worst heterosexual married couple. Because they are “different.”

  214. Lorian on January 25, 2014 at 11:33 pm

    So, Jax, your solution to the problem of race discrimination in the south would not be to institute civil rights legislation, but to tell all the black people to stop having babies until everyone stopped hating them, right? No more black babies, no more white people hating black babies. Voila. Problem solved.

    And I’m betting you’d never move, if your job insisted on transferring you, to a place where Mormons were hated and your kids would face kids in school who would hate them for their religious beliefs? Because you’re responsible for your kids getting hated on because you chose to have kids, even though you’re Mormon, right? It’s certainly not the fault of the hateful kids or their parents?

    As a matter of fact it’s a pretty easy solution to any societal problem of discrimination against a minority — just inhibit that minority’s rights or ability to reproduce — hey! no more minority problems! Of course, that sounds a bit like eugenics, doesn’t it? And of course, there will still be gay people in society, because they mostly have heterosexual parents. By the way, what should those heterosexual parents with gay kids have done differently to make sure they would have kids that wouldn’t be bullied or discriminated against? Oh, that’s right — you think people *choose* to be gay, and that it is probably their parents’ fault.

    Jax, you need to haul yourself out of the 1950’s and into the 21st century. I hope you keep posting this hateful crud, because you are seriously embarrassing those on your side of this discussion.

  215. Lorian on January 25, 2014 at 11:44 pm

    Mark, the problem with your earlier comment is not the fact that you pointed out that my wife and I are “different” from a heterosexual couple. To me, that seems pretty obvious. I suspect the average 5-year-old would be capable of making the same observation. And there is nothing inherently wrong with being different. Five-year-olds also notice that some of the kids they go to school with have different-colored skin than they do. Typically they are able to note this difference without believing that it means their schoolmate should be *treated* differently than they are, just because they have observable physical differences. That’s where the 5-year-old just zipped past you in the “appropriate treatment of our fellow human beings” race.

    Just the fact that my wife and I look different from you and your wife doesn’t prove we should be treated differently by society, any more than a black person, or a disabled person or anyone else who looks different from you deserves to be treated differently or have fewer rights.

    The offensive thing about your post was not that you noted that my wife and I look superficially different from a heterosexual couple, but that, 1. You assumed that because we look different, we should be treated differently, and 2. That you referred to the most sacred relationship in my life as a “so-called marriage.” But I’m pretty sure you knew that, and did so with the full intent of being offensive. Which makes it that much more un-Christlike.

  216. Lorian on January 25, 2014 at 11:52 pm

    Mark #210 –

    You say that “Homosexual couples have been well proven at this point to be a positively contributing element to society as far as the rearing and raising of children is concerned” but I would say that the evidence is scant and we cannot know at this point.

    Well, it’s good to be confident in yourself, but if you find that your opinions about a scientific area of study stand in direct opposition to those of every major professional organization in the country within whose purview an issue lies (including the AMA, the American Psychological Association, the American Psychological Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the National Association of Social Workers), perhaps you might want to rethink your position and see whether it consists in fully-informed self-confidence, or perhaps hubris.

  217. Lorian on January 25, 2014 at 11:54 pm

    The second APA would be “the American Psychiatric Association.”

  218. Howard on January 26, 2014 at 10:36 am

    You can’t have sex the way my wife and I do which is only true and divinly authorised way to do it. When you have sex your your way it isn’t the way God intended and everyone knows unauthorized sex is a very serious sin next to murder! You are setting a terrible and dangerous example for “your children”. You are not like me or my wife, what you do is a disgusting perversion of what God intended. You are either a mistake of nature or a willful sinner either way you should not be granted equal status to me because you are clearly wrong and less than me and I do not want the sanctity of my marriage diluted and polluted by calling your perversion marriage to. Sorry if you find this harsh but Elder Oaks a prophet has impressed on us the seriousness of this issue and I believe that justifies calling you out for the lifestyle you choose and for supporting something LDS prophets abhore. Christianity is obviously something you do not take seriously!

  219. Josh Smith on January 26, 2014 at 12:18 pm

    Howard #217

    Howard, you sound frustrated and scared. For what it’s worth, I’m going to caution you to be careful with your words.

    Many years ago I completely failed someone who turned out to be homosexual. I had no idea the individual was homosexual. I could have given much more support than I did. It’s been years and I really wish I could go back and show more kindness, more friendship. Failing that person at a time when he most needed a friend still haunts me.

    When you look around your work, your family, your church, consider that you really don’t know the hearts and minds of others. Err on the side of compassion.

  220. Rune on January 26, 2014 at 12:44 pm

    Pretty sure Howard was paraphrasing the other side of the argument and not actually writing those words in earnest.

  221. Josh Smith on January 26, 2014 at 1:05 pm

    Holy moly! I’m not too sharp with nuance. Sorry Howard.

  222. Howard on January 26, 2014 at 1:12 pm

    :-)

  223. Lorian on January 26, 2014 at 1:53 pm

    Yeah, that’s pretty much exactly what I’m hearing the other side saying. Very well summed, Howard.

    And thank you, Josh for looking out for the gay person listening, because, you are right — the message was an extremely hurtful and alienating one (though I knew that Howard was paraphrasing the words of others to try to help them hear themselves). Thank you both.

  224. Howard on January 26, 2014 at 2:38 pm

    Another erosion of the family is unwarranted and selfish birth control. – Spencer W. Kimball, October 1979 General Conference

  225. Howard on January 26, 2014 at 2:42 pm

    The words of LDS prophets should come with a stale date! “Best if used by…”. Including their still evoloving words regarding gay marriage.

  226. Steve Smith on January 26, 2014 at 3:17 pm

    “God said so,” “it’s gross and unnatural,” “gay marriage will cause some inexplicable harm to society that we can’t seem to prove yet,” and “you can’t have kids naturally” are about the only reasons anti-gay marriage types come up with to argue against gay marriage. There is no deep reasoning. It is purely reactionary, irrationally paranoic, and tribalistic. It is the paranoia against gays that is causing harm to society, not the gays.

  227. Howard on January 26, 2014 at 3:36 pm

    Yes, I think it’s a projection by the privileged class to reduce their dissonance through controlling other’s behaviour rather than their own (anxiety, disgust, hatred etc.) and in doing so they become intrusive and invasive. Of course given the privileged’s sense of entitlement and lack of sense of community with the minority they turn this around posing the minority as a (undefinable) threat to the greater good (who just happens to be themselves).

  228. Jax on January 26, 2014 at 3:37 pm

    “God said so,” “it’s gross and unnatural,” “gay marriage will cause some inexplicable harm to society that we can’t seem to prove yet,” and “you can’t have kids naturally” are about the only reasons anti-gay marriage types come up with to argue against gay marriage. There is no deep reasoning.

    “God said so” is the best possible argument that COULD be made. Many of you keep saying there is no reason behind our decision, but that is only because you choose to ignore/reject the reason. There is a reason, the best possible reason, but you ignore it. That doesn’t make us bigoted, tribalistic, paranoid, etc.

    It is the paranoia against gays that is causing harm to society, not the gays.

    It is failure to follow divine counsel that is harming society, not the people urging others to follow it. You might choose to reject that reasoning, but your rejection of it doesn’t mean that we don’t have any.

  229. Howard on January 26, 2014 at 3:39 pm

    Jax,
    Please quote God saying so.

  230. Jax on January 26, 2014 at 3:50 pm

    Howard pick up the scriptures, listen to General Conference, etc!

    “But Jax, that’s not ‘GOD’ its other humans”

    Yes, but that is what Prophets do, they give us the words of God

    “But prophets have been wrong before, so we can’t believe them at all”

    Then what is the point of belonging to a church with living prophets if you are going to reject the things they try to teach you?

    “Well, in this case I don’t like what they have said so I choose not to believe them. I want “GOD” to actually say it or else I won’t believe.”

    Well, then I suggest you find a church that doesn’t have “faith” as an operational requirement

  231. Howard on January 26, 2014 at 3:56 pm

    Jax,
    I have my own relationship with God and I bear witness that he loves gays as much as he lives you and he wants both of you to be happy.

  232. Jax on January 26, 2014 at 3:59 pm

    He also wants all of us to rid ourselves of sin. Making it socially acceptable to live in sin does nothing to advance His work nor glory.

  233. Howard on January 26, 2014 at 4:02 pm

    He wants you to worry about your own sin and let others worry about their own.

  234. Jax on January 26, 2014 at 4:12 pm

    Actually he wants us to preach repentence and faith on His Son.

    And happiness isn’t his goal, salvation is. He wants us to be obedient. Happiness is the natural outcome from obedience. Assuming you’ve seen “The Testaments” you might recall the son who asks his father, “Why can’t you be happy for me?” To which his father replies, “I am happy because you are happy. But I am sad because your happiness cannot last.” He absolutely doesn’t want us to be happy in our sins, it is a temporary happiness perhaps, but it is eternal happiness He wants for his children.

  235. Howard on January 26, 2014 at 4:22 pm

    Man is that he might have joy.

    Get past obedience it’s just a beginning lesson. The mighty change of heart obsoletes obediance as it commonly used.

  236. Lorian on January 26, 2014 at 4:25 pm

    Jax, in a country with freedom of religion, as opposed to a theocracy, your beliefs and your prophet’s beliefs only apply to those who *voluntarily* choose to believe and follow your religion. They are sufficient, yes, to prescribe and proscribe the beliefs and behaviors of those who *voluntarily* join your church, but they are not sufficient cause for the *government* to restrict the lives of citizens. The government doesn’t even have the right to tell *you*, a Mormon, that you *must* follow the councils of your prophet, let alone *me*, a non-Mormon.

    Aren’t you glad that the government cannot tell you that you must believe in and follow the teachings of the Reverend Sun Myung Moon? or that you must be baptized into the Roman Catholic Church and attend mass on all Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation? Or force you to have your *children* baptized into the Roman Catholic Church, on pain of having them removed from your custody?

    I’m glad my government doesn’t force anyone else’s religious beliefs on me (except in error, which is hopefully corrected, as we are seeing with bans on marriage equality dropping like flies around us).

  237. Michael P. on January 26, 2014 at 4:30 pm

    Howard,

    Why do you keep bringing up Oaks and Packer. All of them preach this same thing. And yes, God loves everyone and wants us to worry about our own sins. But the commandments still exist. I completely understand it when LDS members think that we can’t legislate our views on marriage, but honestly I don’t understand at all those members who suggest that our views are wrong to begin with.

  238. Howard on January 26, 2014 at 4:41 pm

    Oaks and Packer are typically the most outspoken. Please support your claim that all of them preach the Oaks/Packer version of SMS gospel with quotes from the other 13 starting with Cardiff.

  239. Howard on January 26, 2014 at 4:42 pm

    Uchtdorf

  240. Michael P. on January 26, 2014 at 4:57 pm

    Howard,

    I am not going to spend Sunday afternoon looking up quotes for you. For one, think of all the letters and statements the First Presidency sends out to be read to Sacrament meeting. Eyring, Uchtdorf and Monson sign them all. If you really want quotes, I think Millennial Star did do a post back in October that had quotes from nearly every single member of the First Presidency and the Twelve, in the past year alone, concerning the church’s position on gay marriage. You can google the rest.

  241. Howard on January 26, 2014 at 5:15 pm

    Michaek P.
    Uchtdorf’s “Don’t judge me because I sin differently than you do is what needs to be applied to the topic of SSM.

  242. Steve Smith on January 26, 2014 at 5:17 pm

    ““God said so” is the best possible argument that COULD be made. Many of you keep saying there is no reason behind our decision, but that is only because you choose to ignore/reject the reason. There is a reason, the best possible reason, but you ignore it. That doesn’t make us bigoted, tribalistic, paranoid, etc.”

    You certainly have a reason behind your thinking, but you have no logical reasoning based on evidence to back your thinking. Instead your reasoning is based on a logical fallacy: argumentum ab auctoritate, or, argument from authority. Legislation in the US simply cannot be based on someone’s belief that God said so. One can only imagine that had that been the case in US history, Mormonism may have never come into existence, because members of the predominant religion in the US would have likely used the government to extinguish rival religions, as was the case in pre-modern and early modern Europe. You don’t seem to realize that freedom of religion in the US includes freedom from religion. In other words, no one should be forced to bear the burdens of another persons’ religious beliefs. And you should be grateful for that, because that means that Mormons in the southern US are not forced to bear the burdens of the beliefs of Southern Baptists and can build their chapels and temples where they they please there.

    That you claim to not be bigoted, tribalistic, and paranoid is highly disingenuous. A great number of your comments on this thread (especially comment 207) strongly suggest that you are. I just marvel at how both reactionary and radical extremists lack so much self-awareness. It is quite frightening sometimes.

  243. Michael P. on January 26, 2014 at 5:23 pm

    Howard,

    You just leap from one statement to another… round and round in circles. I completely agree with you on the Uchtdorf quote. But once again refraining from judgment is not the same as accepting behavior. I highly doubt that Uchtdorf would agree to your interpretation of his statement.

  244. Howard on January 26, 2014 at 5:34 pm

    Michael,
    I’m hiking in the mountains. If you would like to provide an Uchtdorf quote I am happy to engage with you further but my choosing one for you to support your position makes no sense.

  245. Michael P. on January 26, 2014 at 5:43 pm

    Like I said, I am not going to do this for you Howard. But I will help you with some steps you can follow.

    1) Read the letters from the 1st Presidency on SSM which Uchtdorf signs
    2) consult Google & lds.org
    3) Find the post from last fall on Millennial Star I mentioned.

    And why do you care so much about Uchtdorf saying something about it? Is he your favorite apostle? Something else?

  246. Jax on January 26, 2014 at 5:44 pm

    Legislation and laws in EVERY country, community, group are based one on principles/values of that group. They all reflect somebody’s values. There is no rational reason that having them reflect your values (“equality” in marriage) is superior to having them reflect mine (morality in marriage).

    Hopefully those laws reflect the values of more than one someone; it would be great if they reflected the values of everyone. In this case, where we obviously have differing opinions/values, the pro-SSM side is saying that we should have it reflect their values because they have X number of people on their side. The anti-SSM people are saying we should have it reflect their values because they have God on their side. I don’t care how many people/laws/scientific studies/etc the pro-SSM marriage people line up – I will stand on the side of God, God’s prophets, and God’s church. As soon as He says “homosexual acts are no longer a sin” then you’ll have a compelling case. Until then my reasoning of “it is wrong” is just as legitimate as your reasoning of “it is the right thing to do.”

  247. Howard on January 26, 2014 at 5:50 pm

    Michael, you made the claim.

    And btw, Uchtdorf didn’t say don’t judge me unless I’m gay! So I suspect he would be happy to see it applied here.

  248. Howard on January 26, 2014 at 5:56 pm

    Jax,
    The US is a republic, the rights of minorities cannot be abridged by the majority and there is seperation of church and state. This and a change in attitude by the people is why SSM is becoming legal.

  249. Michael P. on January 26, 2014 at 6:01 pm

    Sigh… yes of course it should be applied here. You can love someone and not judge them but still think that what they do violates God’s commandments. Can I explain this any more clearly???

  250. Howard on January 26, 2014 at 6:10 pm

    Shouldn’t that be left between them and God???

  251. Michael P. on January 26, 2014 at 6:12 pm

    Of course, that is the way it will be for all of us.

  252. Lorian on January 26, 2014 at 6:17 pm

    Michael #248 –

    You can love someone and not judge them but still think that what they do violates God’s commandments.

    Yes, to a point. When you start telling them how they are, in your opinion, “violating God’s commandments,” you have passed into the realm of judging, for sure. And when you take actions to try to force them to *stop* (or face your consequences for) doing something you consider to be a “violation of God’s commandments,” you are not only judging them, but condemning and punishing them, as well.

    *Think* what you like, but please remember that what you *think* does not give you the right to interfere in other people’s lives.

  253. Jax on January 26, 2014 at 6:34 pm

    Howard,
    marriage is a man and woman. Everything else is a counterfeit. Marriage is available to everyone under the same rules, with the same restrictions. Nobody is being oppressed.

  254. Michael P. on January 26, 2014 at 6:35 pm

    Lorian,

    I understand your view on laws regarding same-sex marriage. Honestly, I think we all know in which direction the legal winds are blowing. So for me, I don’t really care to argue about it anymore. It is just a matter of time.

    My disagreement with Howard is two-fold: 1) That he and other members like him pretend that the church’s official position on this either doesn’t matter or is actually only held by a small and vocal part of the leadership. 2) That being Christian means unconditionally accepting everyone’s behavior and choices. I agree that to be Christian means to love other people at all times, but it also means to hold certain standards and covenants to God. I guess it is the tension between those 2 obligations that all Christians have to reconcile.

  255. Howard on January 26, 2014 at 6:38 pm

    I understand your perspective but it’s becoming apparent the courts disagree.

  256. Howard on January 26, 2014 at 6:42 pm

    Michael,
    Hold those standards and covenants for yourself and let others work out their own salvation. I would say the same to Elders Oaks and Packer should they join this discussion.

  257. Michael P. on January 26, 2014 at 6:45 pm

    Howard,
    So the church should stop teaching about same-sex marriage? What other commandments should they stop teaching then? I see no good reason to stop there…

  258. Josh Smith on January 26, 2014 at 6:47 pm

    I think we’re now beating the spot where the dead horse once lay. Just a couple questions completely off topic:

    Where can I get an avatar? I’ve been receiving emails with pictures and I’d like to post one.

    How long does a thread go before we shake hands and go for drinks?

    Are there any meet-ups of bloggernacle contributors? In South East Idaho?

    Howard, where on earth are you hiking in the mountains in January?

  259. Howard on January 26, 2014 at 6:53 pm

    Michel,
    Teaching gospel principals has NOTHING to do with judging others.

    Josh, Southern California. :-)

  260. Josh Smith on January 26, 2014 at 7:17 pm

    Nice.

    We’re not even dreaming about hiking here in Idaho. Just x-country skiing until early April.

  261. Jax on January 26, 2014 at 7:20 pm

    Give up and shake hands??

    I’ve only been coming back to check in to see if we can hit #300.

    Don’t give up now!!!

  262. Josh Smith on January 26, 2014 at 7:29 pm

    Okay. Here’s another contribution toward 300.

    Jax is buying. Howard will have a frapucino. Michael P. will have a Sprite.
    I’ll have a diet Mountain Dew.

    Lorian?
    Rune?

  263. Lorian on January 26, 2014 at 7:37 pm

    Diet Pepsi for me, please!

  264. Josh Smith on January 26, 2014 at 7:39 pm

    :-)

  265. Howard on January 26, 2014 at 7:41 pm

    Josh Lol! Our Jan. heat wave finally cooled to the 70s.

    Shake Jax, it’s always fun blogging with you!

  266. Jax on January 26, 2014 at 7:42 pm

    I’ll buy the drinks… who is paying for the airfare?

  267. Howard on January 26, 2014 at 7:43 pm

    ‘Night Michael P!

  268. Michael P. on January 26, 2014 at 8:37 pm

    I’ll take a root beer y’all

  269. Josh Smith on January 26, 2014 at 8:40 pm

    Okay. Root beer for Michael P. :-)

  270. Rune on January 26, 2014 at 8:59 pm

    Ginger beer for me. ?

    Cock and Bull rather than Jamaican style, if you can swing it. If not, the other is fine.

  271. Rune on January 26, 2014 at 9:13 pm

    Huh. That random “?” was supposed to be the heart icon you get for Alt-code 3.

  272. Jax on January 26, 2014 at 9:21 pm

    ?

  273. Jax on January 26, 2014 at 9:21 pm

    Yep… shows up as a question mark!

  274. mtnmarty on January 26, 2014 at 11:04 pm

    Jeff G’s conservatives

    1. Ride unicorns except when they are hunting for dragons and then they ride flaming lions.

    2. Think arguments are just power plays except when it comes to the definition of marriage and then its not a power play its a god-given meaning that is unnatural to deny.

    3. Always use green gnomes rather than red gnomes because green gnomes are way more traditional and anyone that says that red gnomes are better just doesn’t get it and is revealing their own short comings.

    4. Know that Superman can beat up batman because kryptonite isn’t real but there are lots of jokers in the deck so batman will have his hands full.

    5. You can’t beat a conservative in a fight because conservatives know that you can’t step outside.

    6. Never pay back their debts because usury is a sin and debt collectors are just making a power play to deny the sinfulness of the interest they are charging.

    7. Arguments that use “if you don’t like it, you don’t have to do it” are foreign to conservatives because the past when they were 21 and read Ayn Rand and were all libertarian is a foreign country. That’s why tradition is so great, because you can change it every day and don’t even need to remember it.

  275. mtnmarty on January 26, 2014 at 11:52 pm

    Personally, I think states should have the power to decide these questions not the federal government but I do think that more people are dropping opposition to SSM because they see it as inconsistent with the choices they would like to have themselves and that the arguments against often are not applied to similar circumstances.

    1. The homosexuality is wrong argument. Well, why aren’t the opponents of SSM based on this argument trying to outlaw homosexual acts? That would certainly be the more direct route. Propose a constitutional amendment to allow it or a new government or whatever. As far as I can tell, we’ve got plenty of homosexual acts going on in states without SSM, so why argue that allowing SSM would change anything.

    2. The “you need two sexes to reproduce” argument. Well, I don’t see where marriage makes anyone more fertile, so why does this matter. We allow the infertile to marry. It seems that nature can enforce its own rules without help from marriage laws.

    3. The everyone has the same standards applied for marriage. This is only valid argument if you don’t find gender discrimination problematic.

    4. The God’s against it argument. The selective application of the God’s against it argument is astounding. What makes this case so special compared to the many other ways that our laws don’t reflect God’s will.

    I’m not saying people can’t oppose it based on religious convictions, I’m saying that the arguments are losing because they are weak arguments. I’m not saying that means SSM is a good thing, I’m just saying that even if you think its a sign of moral decay, it can’t be in the top 100 of things that are morally decaying.

    I mean why not reinstate a stronger punishment for adultery if one is so concerned about moral decay? Why pick on the minority just because you can?

  276. Jared on February 13, 2014 at 12:50 am

    Universal GAYety is Coming !

    Gays are found throughout history. For the first time ever – finally – they’re almost worldwide! Wow!
    This global gaydom is even foretold in the Bible – predicted by Jesus (see “days of Lot” in Luke 17 and compare with Genesis 19).
    And the Hebrew prophet Zechariah (14th chapter) says that during the same gay “days” ALL nations will come against Israel and fulfill the “days of Noah” at the same time (see Luke 17 again) – a short time of anti-Jewish genocide found in Zechariah 13:8 when two-thirds of all Jews will die.
    In other words, when “gay days” have become universal, all hell will break loose!
    Shockingly, the same “days” will lead to and trigger the “end of days” – and when they begin, human government will quickly wind down in just a few short years. For the first time in history there won’t be enough time for anyone to expect to live long enough to be able to attend college, have kids and grand-kids, save for and enjoy retirement, etc.
    One final thought. The more we see gays “coming out,” the sooner Jesus will be “coming down”!

  277. Lorian on February 13, 2014 at 2:06 am

    Um…Jared? You’re making stuff up again. The Bible doesn’t say anything about “gay days.” And the idea that gay people have only recently come to exist “worldwide” is utter hogwash. Gay people have always existed. It is only recently that many people have come to understand (unlike yourself) that gay people are not a threat, and so gay people have been able, more and more, to come out openly in society without having to fear (excessively, anyway) retaliation and violence because of the superstitious prejudices of those around them.

    You’re not adding to that process, but it’s happening in spite of folks such as yourself, and, God-willing, will continue to expand until all gay people in this country and the other countries around the world can live in safety, peace and equality with their neighbors. Bless you, Jared. May God open your mind and heart, and grant you peace and healing.