Same-Sex Marriage

I haven’t written much on this subject because I’m not sure how to approach it. The easiest way, I suppose, would be to talk dispassionately about the law and its ramifications, but then I’ve always been interested in the human effects of such things.

One of my kids said not long ago that they didn’t understand the big uproar over allowing gay people to marry. Said child said, “That doesn’t affect anyone else but them.” Despite what Prop. 8 proponents say, continuing to allow homosexual marriage will not destroy heterosexual marriage, won’t “turn” children gay, won’t lead to a slippery slope wherein people are free to marry pets and household appliances.  As my daughter said, it doesn’t affect anyone but those who marry.

From what I can see, the fight is not over extending specific rights such as property rights or estate control or even medical visitation. The real issue is over the word “marriage.” Simply put, certain groups, my church included, want to own the word “marriage” and exclude same-sex couples from being included in that exclusive club.

From what I can see, there are no practical effects to giving homosexuals the right to enter into the same kind of marital contracts that heterosexuals enter into. It’s just that word. The courts have already determined that allowing that one word to define homosexual unions is consistent with equal treatment under the law. That seems reasonable to me. Some of my good friends are gay, and they have written extensively about why this issue is important to them (see Todd’s Hammer, Sideon’s Sanctuary, and a new blog I just discovered, Yes I Am).

I completely understand where my friends are coming from. The judicial branch of government has confirmed that they have a right to marry (and call it a marriage), and yet certain groups are trying to take that right away. An analogy would be that after the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s, white Americans banded together to amend the Constitution to provide for discrimination against non-whites.

So, what is it about that word that gets people so upset? I don’t need to mention that it’s a little hypocritical for Mormons to insist on a “one man, one woman” definition of marriage. For many years the federal government put a lot of pressure on the LDS church over its practice of non-traditional, polygamous marriage. But now they find themselves “defending” the use of a word because they don’t like the idea of a despised group co-opting “their” word.

Honestly, this whole business reminds me of the “coloreds” in South Africa. I’m not talking about black Africans, who were denied basic human rights, but rather I mean those of non-white races (Indians, Filipinos, and mixed-race people) who were sort of in a weird limbo: not being black, they weren’t as disdained as the African majority, but not being white, they were not granted the same political and social status as whites. That’s sort of what our society has done with homosexuality. The public face of Mormonism is tolerant, for the most part, but in private people disdain and joke about gays and lesbians. If nothing else, the fight over Prop. 8 is pushing some of the private into the public eye.

I suspect that some day soon the idea of discriminating against same-sex marriage will be treated with the same bemused puzzlement that we now feel when we think of whites-only drinking fountains. And everyone will know what most of us already know: the LDS church is on the wrong side of this issue.


10 Responses to Same-Sex Marriage

  1. Hellmut says:

    With respect to “judicial activism,” keep in mind that the California legislature voted several times in favor of marriage equality. Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed the bill for the express purpose of letting the California Supreme Court decide.

    It turns out that the court did exactly what the legislature wanted to do anyways. And Schwarzenegger is fine with that.

  2. Your daughter actually makes
    an amazing point


  3. Lamanite says:

    There was some great stuff in Dialogue last year about this. The position I like best is when someone opposed to SSM says, “I oppose it because I believe it’s wrong”. This shit about moral fabric of our society is nonsense. It’s disingenuous. There is no valid position, IMO, to oppose it on any social/economic grounds. Just say “I think it’s wrong and according to my theology- so does God”. Otherwise this nonsense about it being an affront to traditional marriage is crap.

    However, if it gets to the Supreme Court, there is a 5/4 majority that will agree with right wing evangelicals. So sorry for the Gay couples that may be affected.

    Big UP!


  4. sideon says:

    You called it earlier, Runtu – this one issue is going to bite the Morg in the ass for a long time.

    They (Morg) have been wrong on every civil issue in the past century: lying about polygamy to become a state (and still secretly practice it for decades), their opposition to the equal rights amendment, their opposition to the civil rights movement, and their long-standing hatred for all that is gay (except when it’s lucrative to show the female on female action at your local Marriott – and I do believe I finally saw a bisexual option the last time I was in DC, but I could be messing up my hotels).

    If “marriage” was strictly a religious issue, then athiests, pagans, buddhists, taoists, satanists, and even Mormons and their multi-gods wouldn’t be able to marry.

  5. Lamanite says:

    Sideon’s reply is nothing but polemical clap trap that can’t be backed up with a single reference.

  6. K*tty says:

    Okay, Lamanite, maybe Sideon can’t remember what hotel he actually saw the movie at, but he is dead on about the other stuff. And yes there are references. Don’t make me do your homework.

  7. runtu says:

    Uh-oh, Sione,

    You think you have anger issues? Don’t piss off Sideon.

    In all seriousness, he’s right. The church has been on the wrong side of just about every major civil rights issue of the last century.

  8. Lamanite says:

    K*tty Says:

    I always like the homework response to a CFR. So I will retract. I’m aware of the Church’s position then and now regarding all of the issues. However, it seems the myopic view of Mormon critics is always focused on the “Then” instead of the “Now”.

    What really set me off was the “hatred for all that is gay” comment. I think it’s hyperbole at best and polemic at worst.

    This institution and structure of the Church is always making mistakes. The Gospel remains perfect.

    We really screwed up Polygamy, Polyandry, Civil Rights, Equal Rights amendment, MMM, pressuring Historians to withhold information, i.e. Brooks, Arrington, etc. But we are trying. We call ourselves Saints and yet were as screwed up as you guys. My only consolation is that at the end of the day I get to repent and try to be better the next. I think he Church as a whole is on that path too.

    Big UP!


  9. sideon says:


    Thanks for doing your homework. You get a cookie and a bronze star, which is not quite good enough for the gold, but as a god in training, I’ll throw you that bone.

    If the Gospel was prefect it would mention porn at your local Marriott.

  10. Lamanite says:

    Sideon, the comparison is not apt, but even more wonderful is that my responsibilities lie with my family. The Marriotts could sell porn, liquor and crack for all I care.

    The Gospel to me has allowed me to better. The Brethren make mistakes but it doesn’t change the fact that Jesus said “Love one another”. So I just do my best to love and serve.

    I’m a pretty weird Mormon.

    Jah live!


    PS. Are you Christian?

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