Supporting the Church’s position on same-sex marriage

As some readers may know, the Church acted quickly yesterday to express its disappointment about the California’s Supreme Court’s imposition of same-sex marriage on the state (despite a 2000 initiative against SSM that passed overwhelmingly). There are very few public issues on which the Church has taken such a clear public stand, and in my opinion there are strong reasons for that. The purpose of this post is to gather the arguments supporting the Church’s position. Comments attacking Church authorities or the Church’s stand are not welcome, although there is room for discussion to refine and comment on the Church’s stance on this issue.

Here’s what I have been able to gather in a short few hours. Please post additional comments with links or arguments I have missed.

The California Supreme Court decision is arrogant and confused

“We have banished morality from serious public discourse”

Judicial overreach

Destroying the institution of marriage is only the beginning

Gay marriage opponents are not giving up

The “discrimination” claim is completely bogus

It is extremely clear that children do best when raised by a mother and a father

More children being raised by a mother and a father lowers the crime rate

There is very little long-term demand for marriage among gays and lesbians

Divorce is much more common among same-sex couples

Evidence from northern Europe (which has had SSM the longest) shows that legalized SSM leads to an overall destruction of marriage as an institution in general. There is a direct correlation between the prevalence of SSM and co-habitation, the rise of legal polyamory, an increase of children born out of wedlock and a slippery slope of moral decay.

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About Geoff B.

Geoff B graduated from Stanford University (class of 1985) and worked in journalism for several years until about 1992, when he took up his second career in telecommunications sales. He has held many callings in the Church, but his favorite calling is father and husband. Geoff is active in martial arts and loves hiking and skiing. Geoff has five children and lives in Colorado.

83 thoughts on “Supporting the Church’s position on same-sex marriage

  1. Frankly, I think the church should be pushing to get the state out of the business of relationships all together. Let marriages be handled by religions and not the state. Remove the family as the identifying unit by the state and make it individuals. Let there be no tax benefits or drawbacks for any kind of union, whether heterosexual, homosexual or polygamous. Let religions decide how to handle those kinds of relationships.

  2. Yes, Tossman. Like I have said numerous numerous times, I’m really a moderate. Just on the war in Iraq and torture am I your worst nightmare. 🙂

  3. Dan, your comment to “remove the family as the identifying unit of the state and make it individuals” directly contradicts the Church’s Proclamation on the Family:

    “We call upon responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.”

    You are certainly welcome to your opinions, but this is clearly not the direction the Church is going on this issue.

  4. I was glad to see this, this morning. After reading all of your points—I’ve decided to enumerate them and throw the ones out that don’t hold water. I’ll show why they are very poor arguments.

    1. It’s immoral. This is perhaps the very worst argument. This is completely subjective and goes back to, “My God said so…”

    2. Gays and lesbians don’t really want to get married. Irrelevent. I don’t care if there is low demand. Civil rights are civil rights (which is the claim). I will remind you that there was little demand for interracial marriage also.

    3. The Slippery Slope. I loathe arguments of hysteria. Homosexuality breeds polygany? Polyamorous relations? Beastiality? Then how come when Mormon were polygamous there wasn’t suddenly a huge surge in homosexuality, beastiality and pedophilia? (It is interesting to note, however, that one of the claims against the FLDS is that polygamy leads to pedophilia). Society will continue to decline along the same lines without legalization of gay marriage. In fact, it could much more convincingly be argued that the legalization of same-sex marriage would show legitimacy of these unions, and therefore make other relations (beastiality) less legitimate? Wouldn’t that be a good thing?

    4. Judges can’t do this. They can, and just did.

    5. Children raised by married parents lowers the crime rate. So will allowing same-sex couples with children lower the crime rate? Supposing that no, only married hetereosexual couples raising children and marry contribute to a lower crime rate–Is a lower crime rate a legitimate reason to deny civil liberties? Then let’s band guns! and alcohol!

    6. Children fair better when raised by 2 biological married parents. The study cited was pretty convincing. I’m not sure, however, we can or should say something “might happen”. The study showed we don’t know the answer, therefore we shouldn’t allow something because of some future outcome that might be bad or might not?

    7.The original definition of marriage is a man and a woman. This is the best argument. It is also the only one so far I see as completely legitimate (and possibly #6). However it is not without questions. As a society we are forced to ask ourselves, again leaving religion out of it, why is it in the interest of the state to have marriage at all?
    Why was marriage ever part of government? Why did the state ever decide it was in the state’s interest to sanction marriage contracts? Why is it still in the interest of governments to promote and protect marriage? These questions have to be answered or we have nothing.

    8. Gays and lesbians have higher divorce rates. So are we going to take all the people who have high divorce rates (like people who have been divorced before) and not allow them to marry again? This seems like an attack against the gay community: “ You aren’t legitimate because you get divorced more.” Sounds silly, doesn’t it?

    I have thought of more reasons that I feel hold a lot more water than any of these points (except #7). I’ll try to enumerate them later, and hope people try their hardest to poke holes in them.

    Dan has an excellent point. If all the questions to #7 cannot be addressed adequately, I see that as the only option.

  5. Mmiles, I appreciate that you are looking closely at this issue, but I’d like to pick a few nits with you. I won’t address all of your issues, but I’ll try.

    1)The “moral” issue is central to understanding why laws exist in the first place. Why is anything illegal? Because people have made moral judgments that society should not sanction it. Why is it illegal to go to your neighbor’s house and “liberate” their bicycle? Because people have made a moral decision that stealing is “wrong.” There have been societies in which stealing has not been wrong under certain conditions. For example, I lived in Nicaragua in the 1980s, and the ruling government made a decision that “the poor people” could take over houses owned by “rich people.” In fact, I lived right next to a house that had been “liberated” from the rich people, and what happened was that 100 people with machetes were organized by a group of government thugs to go to the guy’s house and take it over “in the name of the people.” In fact, what happened is that after the poor people did the dirty work, a high-level government official moved into the house and liberated it for himself. When the poor people, who were planning on moving in with their families, complained, the army was sent in to get rid of them. Do you see where moral relativism gets you? Chaos. Of course, the same thing happened in the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, China and many other places.

    The point is that moral laws are in place not just “because God said so” but because without moral laws society does not function. The Founding Fathers warned about this many, many times because they had lived through the French Revolution and watched the horrors that took place when people tried to set up a new society without moral laws (remember, the French Revolution was an atheist revolution, whereas God and God-given moral laws were clearly important to the Founding Fathers).

    If you go to the Supreme Court today you will see a big display of the Ten Commandments on the walls there. Why? Because the very foundation of our law is the morality of the Ten Commandments. You cannot sweep this under the rug by saying morality is “subjective.” There was, until very recently, a countrywide consensus that certain moral foundations were necessary for the continuing functioning of our democracy. One of them was the old-fashioned idea of “chastity until marriage.” Again, this is a “subjective” moral law, but it is right there in the Ten Commandments (no adultery) and very, very clearly in the Old and New Testament, both of which very clearly decry homosexuality and premarital sex.

    So, because there was a societal consensus that some morality is indeed necessary for our society to function, there was an acceptance until very recently that homosexuality and indeed all sexuality outside of the marital bond should be taboo. Those taboos have disappeared for most people, but what I am arguing, and I believe the Church is arguing very clearly, is that this is a new trend that goes against societal rules set up by our Founding Fathers, and if you study the disintegration of societies worldwide, sexual licentiousness leads directly to society decay. That is one of the messages of the Proclamation on the Family.

    So, saying morality is “subjective” is, with all due respect, a very weak argument. If morality is subjective, what is to stop you from stealing your neighbor’s bicycle, especially if you can get away with it and sell it off for money, and nobody will ever find out? The reason you don’t do it, even if you can get away with it, is because it is “wrong” in addition to being illegal. And even if you were to move to Nicaragua and were told it is no longer illegal, there would still be something inside you telling you it is “wrong” to go and take something that does not belong to you.

    The very same principal applies to homosexuality and today’s current movement to legitimize behavior that has been seen as “wrong” for millennia.

    As Elders Oaks and Wickman point out in the interview I discussed in the other post, it is not wrong to feel attraction to the other sex. It is wrong to act on that attraction. This is definitely a moral value judgment, but it is also clearly true in the same sense that it is “wrong” to go steal your neighbor’s bicycle. The moral component of our laws is based on what CS Lewis calls the “Tao,” which is to say that almost all people in all places recognize that there are things that are “wrong.” And they develop laws in all societies saying that people should act in certain ways, and teach their children certain things, so they don’t do things that are “wrong.” God gives us a conscience to tell us things are wrong, and then society develops laws based on that conscience after taking the consensus of hopefully the majority of the people in society.

    One of the primary problems with same-sex marriage is that it teaches people that “wrong” behavior is in fact “right.” It codifies and legalizes and normalizes behavior that most human beings know is not right. The gay rights movement has played on human sympathies to try to get people to overcome their consciences, and in fact has done a very good job confusing people over right and wrong.

    But please, please, please don’t come with the argument that morality-based laws are “subjective.” All laws are based on morality.

  6. 2)MMiles, regarding the fact that very few gays and lesbians want to get married, this is in fact extremely relevant. Many black people would be extremely upset at you comparing black civil rights to gay civil rights. The two are not comparable. Gays make choices about what they do with their sexual habits (they can always choose to be celibate)– blacks cannot choose their skin color. The reason this is relevant is that if you are going to take a step that revolutionizes the basic foundational unit of society — ie families with one father and one mother — you need to have an overwhelming societal need to do so. For example, let’s say that there was a nuclear war and there were only 10 men left and 200 women left in the entire world, and there was a need to re-build society. You can see how there would be an “overwhelming societal need” to perhaps consider temporarily changing the definition of marriage to include polygamy so that society could be rebuilt and survive.

    What is the “overwhelming societal need” to allow gay marriage? Well, in fact when you study the issue you find out that very few gays and lesbians actually get married, and once they do they divorce in relatively huge numbers. NOT allowing gay marriage has very little impact on their lives because other laws can be passed that give them societal rights without affecting the foundational institution of marriage. That is why this argument is important.

  7. mmiles,

    Here are some better arguments.

    First, you can’t have both Same-Sex Marriage and Traditional Marriage. Defining marriage to be “the union of any two persons” replaces Traditional Marriage.

    Here is another list from the link above.

    1. Society’s best and perhaps only effective means to secure the right of a child to know and be raised by her biological parents (with exceptions justified only when they are in the best interests of the child).
    2. The most effective means yet developed to maximize the private welfare provided to children conceived by passionate, heterosexual coupling (with “private welfare” meaning not only basic requirements like food and shelter but also education, play, work, discipline, love, and
    3. The indispensable foundation for that child-rearing mode—that is, married mother-father child-rearing—that correlates (in ways not subject to reasonable dis-pute) with the optimal outcomes deemed crucial for a child’s, and therefore society’s, well-being.
    4. Society’s primary and most effective means of bridging the male-female divide.
    5. Society’s only means of transforming a male into husband-father, and a female into wife-mother, statuses and identities particularly beneficial to society.
    6. Social and official endorsement of the form of adult intimacy—married heterosexual intercourse—that society may rationally value above all other such forms.

    These are not the only social goods produced by the marriage institution, but they are the relevant ones for purposes of adjudicating the marriage issue. They are relevant because they are the social goods produced uniquely by the man-woman meaning, and that must, therefore, disappear when that meaning is deinstitutionalized.

  8. 3)The slippery slope argument is extremely relevant. As you may know, laws are based on case law history. When the Supreme Court decided in favor of abortion in 1973, it based its decision on an earlier decision that found a “right to privacy” in the Constitution allowing birth control. In fact, there is no such thing in the Constitution as a “right to privacy,” but the Supreme Court invented it so it could allow birth control. At the time, commentators said, “well, yeah, it’s a good thing because it’s silly to outlaw birth control, but this is dangerous because the Supreme Court is inventing new rights that aren’t in the Constitution, and that’s a slippery slope to inventing new rights all over the place.” And they were exactly right because just a few years later the Supreme Court used the “right to privacy” to justify imposing abortion on all 50 states.

    So, two states supreme courts have invented new rights: rights to overturn the institution of marriage, which has existed for centuries as primarily a one-man, one-woman institution. So, if you allow one man to marry one man, under what justification can you prevent one man to marry five woman or five women to marry one man or a man to marry his cow or a 30-year-old man to “marry” a 10-year-old boy he finds wandering around the streets? You may say to yourself, “well, there are all kinds of justifications — people don’t accept polygamy and bestiality and pederasty.” And indeed they don’t. But 30 years ago people didn’t accept homosexuality either, but now you can’t even go to a movie or turn on the TV without seeing a gay character somewhere. Such a thing would have been just as “socially unacceptable” 30-40 years ago as a man marrying a 10-year-old boy is today.

    If you read the article on what is happening in northern Europe, they are already having to deal with this issue. Polyamory is being legalized in some countries because once you allow same-sex marriage, you move the bar of what is socially acceptable so far back that it becomes impossible to stop other forms of sexual deviancy.

  9. Geoff,
    Thank you for your very concise answer. I agree completely with your point. However I don’t see how it applies to the homosexuality argument. Society at large has already decided that fornication is not immoral. With all due respect, we have to reason with that society, the same society that is dubious about the morality or immorality of homosexuality.
    Society does not think it is immoral to get drunk, and there are few cries for prohibition nowadays.
    Society sets up laws for a reason. Laws against stealing are there to protect ownership of property. This is still valued in our society (ownership of property) so the laws still stand. In communist countries when ownership was not valued, the government could take everything.
    If you want to argue homosexuality is immoral as a social value, go ahead. But tell me why. I can see why rampant stealing and lack of ownership would be a bad thing for society and even argue why it might be a pinnacle law:
    1. There would be no reason to work if whatever you achieved could be taken at will
    2 . There would be no guarantee that I could eat, therefore live and have a legitimate existence
    3. There would be no reason to live in a society with laws, it would be better for me to live elsewhere to continue my own survival.
    Not stealing enables society to exist as a cohesive unit. Now please tell me how homosexuality ruins society? Why is it in the interest of the state to not allow it?

    The 10 Commandments posted in the Supreme Court is irrelevent to the discussion at hand, I think.
    I really do appreciate your beautifully written response. It was needed to be put so eloquently. However (maybe I am being too sensitive–if so my apologies), it came out on the side of condescending. As a former philosophy and religious studies major, I am not an idiot. I am fairly well read and understand the concept of morality.

  10. Mmiles, I guess I would answer your comment by first saying I’m sorry if I can across as condescending. If we were having this discussion face-to-fact, I think my body language would (hopefully) show that that is not my intent at all. I’m just trying to put together a reasoned, logical argument, which is what you have asked for now several times.

    Your response really raises two separate discussions. One is why homosexuality is “wrong” and the other is why SSM is “wrong and bad for society.” The first one is so fraught with danger that I’m afraid I would be blogging for the rest of my life to explain it. I could get into biology, societal mores, issues of hygiene, AIDS and on and on, but frankly it would get us nowhere. I would just like to repeat what the Church says on the issue, which is that some people are “born with” same-gender attraction, and I don’t know why that is. They are brothers and sisters in Christ, and we need to show them love and respect. Some people are “born with” a genetic tendency to eat too much and become overweight, or to be drug abusers or they are born blind or deaf or with ADD and another type of handicap. Part of our role as brothers and sisters in Christ is to help them. We do not help them when we encourage them to engage in behavior that will A)interfere with their eternal progression and B)hurt their consciences because they know it is wrong. So, we need to show them love and compassion but we also need to state (in the right circumstances) clearly that certain behavior is wrong. Whether they continue that behavior is up to them.

    So, if you don’t believe homosexuality is “wrong” there’s probably not anything I can do to convince you on that issue. I guess I would ask you how you would advise your children: would you tell them that all sexual activity is OK? If not, then what would you tell them, and how? If your 15-year-old daughter tells you she’s going to sleep with her boyfriend, do you say, “OK, honey, but be sure to use a condom” or do you say, “Honey, not in my house. That behavior is wrong!” And on what moral basis do you determine it is wrong?

    I have four children, and my advice to them is going to be the same: no sex before marriage (sex before marriage is “wrong”). If one of them comes to me at some point and wants to discuss homosexuality, I will tell him/her such behavior is “wrong.” I will encourage him/her not to act on such feelings/tendencies. If he/she still does it, then I will offer him/her all the love possible without sanctioning behavior I believe is wrong. I have absolutely no moral confusion about this issue: some behavior is wrong and some is right.

    I want to address your claim that society has decided that “fornication is not immoral.” This is a very interesting claim. There was a Gallup polls recently on this issue, and I can’t remember all of the responses, but something like 90 percent of the people thought adultery is “wrong.” About 50 percent, I believe, thought sex before marriage is “wrong.” I forget the percentage who thought homosexuality is wrong, but it was about the same as the percentage who thought sex before marriage is wrong.

    So in fact society is very divided on this issue. There is no consensus that “fornication is not immoral.” In fact, there still seems to be a strong sense that fornication is inevitable but that there is still something wrong about it.

  11. the same society that is dubious about the morality or immorality of homosexuality.

    Well, California wasn’t dubious over genderless marriage(the topic at hand). They voted against it.

  12. It is quickly becoming apparent that I will not be able to keep up with all of the comments and argue effectively. I hope I will be better able to address your counterclaims later. I appreciate the comment above highlighting the effects on children. I think it will be easy to show that children are a key, if not the key, factor in support of traditional marriage.

    I am going to sidestep some of your questions but hopefully clarify my own position. I do think homosexuality is wrong from a religious standpoint. You don’t need to convince me. I actually think biology and the arguments you mentioned should not be dismissed, especially not on the marriage issue. They would very much support, I think, a marriage amendment. If a good case could be made using biology, then it should be used.
    I am playing the devil’s advocate in part because I am still left with questions and in part because it is imperative we answer the same questions to the world.
    I am hoping to gain from this discussion a set of concrete reasons why there should be an amendment to the California constitution, as a Californian, as a member of the church, as a citizen, and as someone who wants to thoroughly understand why God instituted things as such. So far I feel like I have little to nothing. So help me out here. The morality of homosexuality is not what I want to discuss. I really see the starting point with the answers to these questions:
    Why is it in the interest of the state to have marriage at all?
    Why was marriage ever part of government? Why did the state ever decide it was in the state’s interest to sanction marriage contracts? Why is it still in the interest of governments to promote and protect marriage?
    A bit redundant, I apologize.

  13. somed00d-

    But they might be this time around. Have we moved so far away from what our laws mean and why they are in place that we have no idea why we have them at all? It seems so, and if we can’t explain them now, there isn’t a need for them.

  14. “Why is it in the interest of the state to have marriage at all?
    Why was marriage ever part of government? Why did the state ever decide it was in the state’s interest to sanction marriage contracts? Why is it still in the interest of governments to promote and protect marriage?”

    Mmiles, these are indeed the central questions. I believe the more you study this issue the more you will come to the conclusion that marriage is the essential building block to a functioning, stable, peaceful society. This is why the Church is so intent on keeping families together and building them up, and why Satan is so intent on breaking down families. Anything that builds up stable families inherently is good, and the institution of marriage is the best force for creating and maintaining stable families. Anything that breaks down the institution of marriage should be shunned — by Church members and by society in general.

  15. Frankly, I think the church should be pushing to get the state out of the business of relationships all together. Let marriages be handled by religions and not the state.

    And what of non-religious people who want to marry?

    Given the types of some of the churches out there, I’m not sure I’m willing to allow them to handle divorces (mostly favouring men, for example), which is what would need to happen if they handled all marriages.

  16. This is how I see the situation.

    Let’s agree from the outset that marriage and family are important. and that we should support measaure that help marriages and families to succeed.

    I see the re-definition of marriage not as a cause, but as a trailing indicator, of larger problems. 99.9% of the damage that has already been done to the institution of marriage has nothing to do with gay people. Do you think this view has merit?

  17. Geoff-
    I was hoping for help. Yes these are the central questions. Can you answer them using logic?
    For instance: Marriage was instituted to regulate the laws governing inheritence.
    What else?

  18. 99.9% of the damage that has already been done to the institution of marriage has nothing to do with gay people.

    Wholeheartedly agree.

  19. Oh, great point, Kim Siever. Sometimes in these debates I marvel how some things have become matters that only a religious person is allowed to care about. A few weeks ago Adam Greenwood put up a post about a photographer in New Mexico who was punished by a court for declining a job to photograph a homosexual ceremony. There was a lot written about how this infringed the photographer’s religious freedom, but I wondered why a non-religious person’s wish not to serve a homosexual ceremony shouldn’t be as valid a motive to decline a job as someone else’s religious convictions. We worry about religious freedom being restricted; we should worry more about it being the only remaining refuge for freedom.

  20. Mark IV, I agree with you about homosexual marriage being a trailing indicator, something that comes up only after society has forgotten what is particularly important about the marital relation. Fighting it is a bit like reducing an excessive pressure by bending the gage needle. I oppose it anyhow, though, because I don’t want trivialization of marriage to become irreversible and something each couple has to overcome completely on its own.

  21. Geoff and M* admins,
    I propose the following: In light of the recent legal events and upcoming political events (California): M* dedicate a series of posts to claims, one at a time, as to why traditional marriage should be legally defended–constitutional amendment.
    There should also be posts as to questions of why it is not a good idea (I have one question that has not been overcome, and don’t see how it could be, frankly).
    The first post should be dedicated solely to why marriage was became a matter of state contract, in interest of the state, in the first place.
    This should lead to a bunch of conclusions that would form a basis for not only ourselves, but others to state exactly why we support an amendment. No more empty rhetoric and hysteria, but instead justifiable reason.
    What do ya’ say?

  22. mmiles, that’s partly what I’m doing here, although to be quite frank this may be one of the few places on the internet where you can come to hear somebody defend the Church’s policy, so in the interests of balance I’m not really too concerned with portraying the other side.

    Let me propose another course of action for you: please read Maggie Gallagher’s testimony here:

    Then read this article:

    Then, you may want to read this book:

    I think those three sources can make the argument better than I can.

  23. Kim and Mark IV, regarding the statement that most of the damage to marriage was not done by gay people, it’s hard to disagree with that. I’m willing to say that Elizabeth Taylor and Britney Spears alone have done more to damage marriage than all of the gay people in Massachusetts and California. However, Elder Oaks directly addresses that question this way in the Church PA interview:

    “PUBLIC AFFAIRS: There are those who would say that that might have applied better in the 1950s or earlier than in the 21st century. If you look at several nations in Europe, for example, traditional marriage is so rapidly on the decline that it is no longer the norm. If marriage is evolving, ought we to resist those kind of social changes?

    ELDER OAKS: That argument impresses me as something akin to the fact that if we agree that the patient is sick and getting sicker, we should therefore approve a coup de grace. The coup de grace which ends the patient’s life altogether is quite equivalent to the drastic modification in the institution of marriage that would be brought on by same-gender marriage.”

  24. FWIW, I completely agree that the government should be out of the marriage business. The same government that sanctions my marriage can also forbid it (a lesson apparently lost on Latter-day Saints since 1890).

    As to the question of where unchurched people go, the answer is simple — marriage should become a private contract involving the individuals (and God, if they choose). The marriage could then be dissolved only if the contract were violated by one of the two parties, or they mutually consented to dissolve it. This would do away with the current messy state of divorce law in the U.S., as marriages would be defined by contract beforehand.

    Yes, this does mean that marriage at large ends up being something that Latter-day Saints don’t like or want, but there are many things we don’t like that are legal (like fornication).

    This is a distinctly libertarian view that stems from the belief that government is too frequently used by individuals and groups to prevent other individuals and groups from doing things of which the former does not approve. Our use of marriage law can (and has!) been turned against us. Best to have a hands-off government that allows people to live as they see fit, as long as they don’t directly harm others.

  25. To Elder Oaks, I would ask, why apply medicine to only one symptom? Or perhaps I should ask, why spend the vast majority of our resources on addressing one symptom? Wouldn’t the sick patient still remain sick? To heal the patient, shouldn’t we be addressing all symptoms equally?

  26. Geoff,

    The thing is, once we admit that SSM is a trailing indicator, we can no longer call it the CAUSE of social ills. That is why, even though I have a great deal of respect for Gallagher’s intentions, I do not find her arguments convincing.

  27. Hmm, in a post titled “Supporting the Church’s position on same-sex marriage,” and calling for information that backs up the Church’s position, so far Somed00d and John M are the only ones who get “A’s” for “reading and following directions” while mmiles gets a B-plus because she’s at least trying. Some other people are going to fail this class!


  28. Geoff makes me smile. 🙂

    Seriously, if you’re looking for people to agree with you, a blog is the worst place to post your feelings. A closed email list of vetted participants would better suit your needs.

  29. Geoff,

    I’m not sure that pointing to the theft/law/morality link really makes the point, here.

    Yes, some laws have traditionally been linked to religious, moral standards. (E.g., theft laws, as you note.)

    On the other hand, there is also a longstanding tradition in this country of _not_ elevating all religious / moral restrictions to the status of law. You mention the Ten Commandments and theft — but really, do you think the law should ban the making of graven images? The disrespecting of parents?

    So it’s not really enough to point out that some laws are, in effect, legal codifications of religious or moral mandates. That’s obvious.

    Why, though, do you think that gay marriage is more like theft or murder — a religious rule that is codified as a legal rule — and not more like graven images or coveting?

  30. (Not intended as an attack on Geoff’s statement — simply a request for clarification).

  31. Geoff,
    We can’t really say to people, “Go read this. Go read that. It explains it better than I can.” In reality that says we do not really understand it ourselves. If we really could deconstruct the issues at hand in our own minds, then we would be able to explain them smply to others. That is not to say that reading other things is not useful, but you are losing some credibility. If you understand it, you should be able to state X,Y & Z as reasons without being verbose. Further, I think the Lord expects us to know what we are talking about when defending something of this magnitude. If we can’t defend marriage reasonably. maybe it truly is indefensable.
    While I appreciate Guy’s post, it attacks the legalities of the decision and little else. He still does not say, “We defend marriage and this is why.”
    That is what we need–not a big book of theories and rhetoric.

  32. Since Prop. 22 was overruled yesterday, I’ve seen dozens of Latter-day Saints comment that they want an end to state recognition of marriage; they want marriage to be a private matter, perhaps involving a couple’s religious group, but with no relevance to society at large. Meanwhile, many of these same people claim that recognition of homosexual marriage does nothing that affects heterosexual marriage.

    Kim Siever, does it really seem to you that opposing homosexual marriage is more than a small fraction of what the Church is doing to promote marriage and families, that it is only applying medicine to one symptom of a sick patient?

  33. Kaimi, you have given me some food for thought. If I may, I would like to ask for some time to respond because it’s family time in the East where I live, and this will be a busy weekend with very little time for blogging. But I really appreciate you visiting and asking a thought-provoking question. I liked your post at BCC, btw, even though we disagree on this issue. 🙂

  34. Have they spent millions of dollars opposing the recognition of common-law couples, John? Have area presidencies organized campaigns to be read from pulpits encouraging members to oppose divorce? And so on.

    I never said they were treating one symptom. I said they were spending the bulk (not all) of their resources on one symptom.

  35. I expect that the Church spends far more on social services to place children of unwed mothers in homes where they’ll be reared by a mother and a father married to each other than it does on political lobbying.

  36. The Provident Living website list the addresses of dozens of LDS Family Services offices in the United States, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, England, Japan, Mexico, and New Zealand.

  37. If we can’t defend marriage reasonably. maybe it truly is indefensable.

    In the end, though, we can’t do this without talking about the plan of salvation at some point. We are not supposed to just defend marriage for temporal, societal reasons, although those reasons exist. We also defend marriage because it is fundamental to the plan of salvation.

    Elder Bednar said: “Do we perhaps talk about marriage without adequately teaching the importance of marriage in the Father’s plan? Emphasizing marriage without linking it to the simple and fundamental doctrine of the plan of happiness cannot provide sufficient direction, protection, or hope in a world that grows increasingly confused and wicked. We would all do well to remember the teaching of Alma—that “God gave unto [the children of men] commandments, after having made known unto them the plan of redemption” (Alma 12:32; italics added).”

    Again, I agree with you that we ought to be able to talk about reasons that people can relate to, even if they don’t share or believe our beliefs. I think there are many of these examples. But in the end, we cannot fully separate this critical matter from the plan of salvation. We are here to defend marriage AND teach the plan…that is part of our mandate as members, imo.

  38. m&m-
    Within our homes Elder Bednar’s quote is appicable.

    It is the mandate of church leaders to teach the world about marriage and how it pertains to the Plan of Salvation. It is not my mandate to go across the street to my neighbors who are a lesbian couple, knock on the door and explain marriage and how it fits into the Plan of Salvation. It is my mandate as a good Christian to be a good neighbor. It is a my mandate as a citizen to explain why law X is good for our country and why am voting for it.

    For my own testimony and for my family I need to understand marriage in God’s plan. Part of really understanding it pertains to why it is important here. I won’t fully get the eternal perspective if I don’t get the earthly part. I am convinced of this.

  39. I will try to be much more concise here than I was on BCC.

    I support the Church’s MORAL stance 100%; I have strong reservations about fighting gay marriage LEGALLY. Those reservations stem from the rank hypocrisy I see in the application of laws relative to sexual activity and marriage.

    I want all treated equally within the law. If marriage is important enough to protect legally – **and I believe it is**, I say ban ALL non-traditional marriages and punish anything that weakens it. In that light, any leniency for heterosexual deviance (meant in its literal definition) like common-law marriage and heterosexual adultery undermines the sanctity of marriage every bit as much if not more than homosexual deviance. If we are going to ban homosexual marriage, therefore, it is moral hypocrisy and legal discrimination to NOT ban common-law marriage, for example.

    I do NOT want to see gay “marriage”, especially when civil unions can provide all the important social benefits other than religious legitimacy, but I will NOT support targeted discrimination against one group while ignoring the same activity / arrangement in the majority group that is damaging marriage FAR more than the tiny minority group ever can.

  40. Hit submit before finishing my main point about the actual post’s question:

    I think the way we defend the Church’s opposition to gay marriage is by focusing on the bedrock moral nature of the Church’s view on sexuality. I think we do so by opposing ALL forms of deviation from our scriptural and doctrinal standard – meaning we stand up and more vocally oppose anything that weakens the family. If we can’t stand up to the powerful heterosexual, religious groups who truly are the ones destroying marriage in this country, we really aren’t committed to defending marriage, imho.

    It’s kind of like the common war analogy to me:

    If you are going to fight a war, bring out the big guns and fight to win. If you can’t commit to that, get out of the fight and let other people piddle around slowly killing each other. I just don’t see the big guns being employed in this fight.

  41. Geoff,

    Sorry, I guess I misunderstood you. I don’t think the research you cite gets the job done. Kurtz isn’t taken seriously by anybody, including some of his own colleagues at NR. Gallagher is somewhat better, but the paper which purports to show that SSM is bad for kids is simply wrong. To assert that there has been no good research has been done on this issue is misinformed, to say no more. There are literally hundreds of studies, involving tens of thousands of kids, over a period of decades, which tell us that gay parents don’t harm kids. This is legitimate research – large samples, adjusted for time, double blind, peer reviewed. When we choose to simply ignore this work because we don’t like the results, we just look stupid. If these are the best reasons we can find for the church’s position, then we might as well pack it in right now. We do the church no favors by advancing weak arguments.

  42. mmiles,
    Like I said, I don’t disagree that it is really important to understand the issues that affect society with relation to this, and I have long felt that we needed to be able to dialogue about this in more ‘logical’ ways. The problem is that often ends up being more useless debate, and in the end, few people are compelled by ‘stats’ on either side.

    I don’t disagree that we need to be kind to our neighbors, but I’m also not convinced that part of missionary work is also, when the Spirit directs, letting people know about the plan of salvation. I think the Lord expects us both to know what is going on around us, to be able to be involved with knowledge and understanding, but also to be willing to talk about the plan with others along the way, too. I personally don’t think Elder Bednar was only talking about how we talk about marriage in our homes, but maybe that is just me. 🙂

    Again, I am all for having logical arguments for this, but in the end, if it’s about social science or prophetic guidance, I will choose the latter even if the former doesn’t agree. That will affect my conscience’s vote. I realize not everyone sees it that way.

  43. Here are some givens that people must accept regarding this issue. If they can’t they should probably leave.

    1. Same-sex marriage really means genderless marriage.

    2. Marriage is not just about a couple(narrow view). Marriage is much much more(broad view).

    3. The state will always be involved in marriage.

    Regarding #1. Same-Sex marriage means changing the definition of marriage to mean the union of any two persons. Much more correctly termed genderless marriage. So you don’t think this is a big deal? Think it through.

    Regarding #2. You can whine and complain, nash your teeth and foam and the mouth, BUT it does not change the fact the marriage is more than just a committed couple. It’s also about gender, children, forebears, posterity, neighbors, and the state.

    Regarding #3.
    In one way or another the state is the enforcer of any contract or legal commitment. The state could certainly lessen its involvement in marriage, but not much. The state would still have to:
    – keep track of who’s children belong to who.
    – settle any contest of the marriage contract in court.

    Anyone who thinks that if the state got out of the business of marriage, then divorce would not longer be a problem is not thinking things through. Children and lawsuits people.

  44. somed00d,

    The state has to be involved in sanctioning legal unions of some sort. It does not *have* to be involved in “marriages”. There is a difference. (Iow, your #3 does not have to include “marriage”.)

    “Marriage is not just about a couple (narrow view).” – Nobody here made that claim. Nobody.

    “You can whine and complain, nash your teeth and foam and the mouth” – Nobody here did that. Nobody.

    “Anyone who thinks that if the state got out of the business of marriage, then divorce would not longer be a problem is not thinking things through.” – Nobody here said that. Nobody.

  45. Marriage is just about a couple .
    I’m am whining and nashing my teeth, and flailing about, and foaming at the mouth.
    Divorce really won’t be a problem.

    No Ray! Take back what you said!

  46. Mark IV: “There are literally hundreds of studies, involving tens of thousands of kids, over a period of decades, which tell us that gay parents don’t harm kids.”

    I don’t think there’s much conclusive evidence one way or the other when one is talking about the effects of gay marriage versus straight marriage on children. SSM hasn’t been around long enough to make such research possible–and what legal SSM there is at this point is probably too insignificant to supply a robust study with the numbers needed.

    That’s where the thinking was a couple of years ago, anyway. I don’t think the research has caught up yet–nor will it until SSM becomes a viable institution.

    That said, I’m dubious of anything that would purport that children are as well off being raised by two adults of the same sex as they would be by two adults of the opposite sex–all things being equal. There has GOT to be some qualitative difference between the two scenarios–and it is highly doubtful that the pluses and minuses of each respective scenario would be equal–whatever the arithmetic . That would be an insane coincidence.

  47. Mark IV, this is really one of my pet peeves, but I think it needs pointing out. I have linked to a post by Stanley Kurtz, who writes very regularly for National Review and is, among conservatives, one of the more respected defenders of traditional marriage. To claim, as you do, “Kurtz isn’t taken seriously by anybody, including some of his own colleagues at NR,” is really a very weak argument. First of all, if you read NR regularly, you will note that there is a wide divergence of opinion among conservatives, and some of them like Kurtz and some don’t, but the pooh-bahs who run the magazine/web site wouldn’t tout him as one of their regular commentators if he “wasn’t taken seriously.” So with a broad brush you strike down every argument, the millions of words the man has written on marriage, because he “isn’t taken seriously by anybody.” Please excuse me because you often make excellent arguments, but this is just balderdash, and it is something that needs to be pointed out. Character assassination simply is not a good way of making a convincing argument. I think a much better way of making a convincing argument is to say, “well, I’ve read Stanley Kurtz’s many articles on the death of marriage in northern Europe, and he confounds correlation with causation. There may be a correlation between the death of marriage in northern Europe, but he has never been able to prove causation.” Now, that would be a good argument, and in fact it is one that Kurtz needs to do a better job on in my opinion, but to say he isn’t “taken seriously” is, I’m sorry to say, just an intellectually lazy thing to claim.

  48. Kaimi, I promised you an answer to your post way, way up there (no numbers on WordPress). Your question was:

    “Why, though, do you think that gay marriage is more like theft or murder — a religious rule that is codified as a legal rule — and not more like graven images or coveting?”

    Answer: just to be clear, I am not advocating the Bible as our moral code. I’m not advocating stoning adulterers, for example. My only point is that there IS a moral component behind law. One of my pet peeves is the constant argument you hear from people these days, and I really think it is an argument that people have not thought through very carefully, which is “government has no business regulating morals.” This argument is completely nonsensical because the same people who generally say government should not regulate morals want to impeach President Bush because he has acted in an “immoral way” and “Bush lied.” And on the subject of homosexuality, these same people say it is “not fair” and “discriminatory” and “immoral” not to provide same-sex couples the “right” of marriage.

    So, in fact they DO believe government should regulate morals — they simply believe government should regulate the morals they believe in, not the morals I believe in.

    So, let’s do away with the silly argument that “government should not regulate morals.” This is because all laws are based on some morality. Something is illegal because (hopefully a majority) of people decide it is “wrong.” My example above is that it is “wrong” to go steal a person’s bicycle, even if you can get away with it. Let’s instead have a discussion what kinds of morals are important.

    There are a variety of ways of interpreting the first commandment, and to claim it is all about “graven images” is a legalistic sophistry, because you know that is not what it is about. It is really about having the Lord Jehovah (Jesus Christ) first in your life and to not allow yourself to have idols and other material objects that are more important than Him (see Pres. Kimball’s talk on the subject). But you are correct that this is a religious commandment that cannot become the law of the land, at least in modern-day America. I would argue that the tenth commandment (no coveting) is indeed a factor in modern-day criminal law because you are more likely to prove somebody is guilty of something if you can prove they coveted it — imagine the difference between telling a jury “he has always wanted that 1967 Mustang I had — he would look longingly at it every day — and then he stole it!!” and not having that evidence. So, clearly, coveting does have a place in the law.

    But your larger point that some religious tenets cannot have a place in modern-day America is certainly undeniable. So, in that case, we must line up a variety of arguments. My arguments are:

    1)There is no overwhelmingly societal need to overturn the millenia-old definition of marriage as a one man-one woman institution at this time, especially since very few gay/lesbian people even take advantage of SSM once it is instituted, and when they do, they divorce in greater numbers.
    2)SSM is one of the factors, but not the only one, degrading traditional marriage. This hurts society and hurts children, and one of the goals of people who care about society should be to uphold institutions that will lower crime, drug use and in general improve conditions for children. There are direct societal costs to us all when the institution of marriage is degraded.
    3)People with same-sex attraction have other solutions, which is to go to a sympathetic pastor/justice of the peace and to get “married” in front of their friends and loved ones and carry out personal, private contracts between each other.
    4)State courts’ imposition of SSM on the people, especially when they have clearly voted against it, is a clear case of judicial over-reach. It involves inventing “rights” out of thin air, and is an extremely dangerous judicial precedent. Kaimi, as a law professor, I would think you would be extremely concerned about this issue. What if times change and a state supreme court in 2020 suddenly decided that because of global warming the population needed to be decreased and therefore all people over 55 should be executed as a population control mechanism? To do this, they cited a long trend of court cases in favor of increasing government involvement in preventing global warming and they said the U.S. Constitution includes a “right to the survival of the planet” and a “right to health care?” Considering the events leading up to the gay marriage decision, in which rights have been invented willy-nilly, I think we all should be extremely concerned about this judicial trend, but especially you.
    5)I am extremely concerned about the new trend toward limiting religious expression. Canada is already suffering through this, and pastors who simply read from the Bible can suffer sanction from “human rights” commissions in Canada. What will happen to Latter-day Saints when our positions are considered “intolerant” and a violation of “human rights?”
    6)As a member of the Church, I consider it one of my temple covenants to uphold the Church and consecrate myself to the Church as much as possible. This includes sustaining Church leaders on a local and international level and sustaining and supporting the positions that the Church takes on public issues. If the Church were involved in politics all the time, I would have a problem with this, but this is one of the few public issues the Church has taken a stand on, and it seems to me the least I can do to uphold my temple covenants is to point out I will support the Church. Other people may make other decisions — that is between them and their consciences. (I would like to point out that your BCC post shows you are considering this issue very carefully, and you get kudos from me for doing this).
    7)Law should have moral components. I consider the normalization of homosexual behavior immoral. Other people consider people who oppose the “right to choose” immoral. Well, I will vote for my moral beliefs — they can vote for theirs. The legalization of SSM involves the normalization of homosexual behavior, and I’m agin’ it.

    You will notice that the “moral argument” is only one of many I use on the SSM issue.

  49. I guess I understand what people mean by “The state should get out of the marriage business.” Relabel marriage to unions and define them as genderless. I’m good with regular expressions.

    Genderless Marriage – s/Marriage/Unions/g

  50. Geoff B.

    I think you are absolutely right. It was wrong of me to be so dismissive of Kurtz’s work. If you will allow me to repent, I would just like to say the following: I’ve read Stanley Kurtz’s many articles on the death of marriage in northern Europe, and he confounds correlation with causation. There may be a correlation between the death of marriage in northern Europe, but he has never been able to prove causation.

    Thank you for the reminder! 🙂

  51. Jack,

    As far as children being raised by gay parents goes, I intivte you to read the baron’s excellent summary over at We have tracked over a million kids raised by homosexual parents, and there is simply no evidence to suggest that they are harmed by it. And they are far better off being raised by two homosexual adults than by only one hetero adult.

    This is important, because Utah’s adoption law is especially perverse, although Utah is not alone. The law there does not allow children to be adopted into homes where to gay adults live. Instad, we allow them to go for years in foster care. Let’s be clear: foster care is the worst of all possible outcomes for these kids. Physical abuse, sexual abuse, even death, is so prevalent among foster children that it literally turns my stomach. We apparently don’t allow gays to adopt due to a vague fear that we are on a slippery slope. But for the kids in foster care, there is no slippery slope; they are all ready at rock bottom.

  52. Wow, what incredible verbiage! I really like the way you phrased that! 🙂

    Anyway, you just hit on one of my sore spots — I really get tired of the intellectual laziness that goes on (mostly on the left) these days. I can’t tell you how many times I’ll read somebody say, “everybody knows Ann Coulter/Bill O’Reilly/Sean Hannity (pick your name) is a complete idiot” as if ANY right-thinking individual MUST KNOW they are idiots. Well, sometimes they are idiots. But sometimes they make good arguments. The point is, listen to the argument, weigh the evidence, look at the entire body of work, etc. There are some arguments that even Ann Coulter has made that most thinking people agree with. There are some that are asinine.

    I spend a lot of time reading conservative web pages/magazine/editorial pages, and I just don’t see that as much. Yes, they make fun of the NY Times as a liberal newspaper, and there’s some of the “liberal media” gang-banging, but for the most part you don’t read, “everybody knows that Frank Rich/Michael Kinsley/Michael Moore is a complete idiot” (well, sometimes it happens with Michael Moore, but anyway). I really do see a lot more attempts to take the arguments seriously, even in the case of Michael Moore, and try to de-construct them and counter them instead of hating people just because it’s the “in” and politically correct thing to do.

    So, I put your Kurtz put-down in the category of “everybody knows he’s an idiot,” and it’s simply not true. Some of his arguments need some work, some of them have been refuted, but some of them are really quite good, and are taken quite seriously in some circles.

  53. I agree with you, Geoff, re: the sort of lefty closedmindedness and laziness that thinks the word Coulter is a punchline.

    I guess I was mostly reacting to the way that Kurtz doesn’t do a very good job of defending his work against the critiques that other people at NR make. When he tries to answer even some of his conservative colleagues (which really should be like preaching to the choir), he just doesn’t do a very good job of it. It seems to me as though he is often grasping at straws.

  54. Mark IV, following your advice, I looked at that Waters of Mormon post. The Baron repeats an estimate that there are over one million kids being raised by homosexual couples in the U.S. That’s not the same thing as a million children being tracked for outcomes. If there are some good studies on outcomes for such children, I would be interested in taking a look at them. I’m particularly curious what the measures of good outcomes will be.

    And to turn a cliche on its head in a darkly humorous way, I’ve known foster parents who, as far as I can tell, didn’t abuse or murder their charges.

  55. Hmmm, actually the source the Baron pointed to estimates over a million children being raised by homosexual parents, mostly single, not homosexual couples. The estimate is given as from as low as one million to as high as nine million, which means no one is counting anything, just having some fun throwing out assumptions and order-of-magnitude estimates.

  56. John,

    Google is a wonderful thing. I just googled ‘children raised by gay parents’ and looked through the first wo pages of results, including studies by the APA and AMA. Good outcomes are defined by educational achievement (same as everybody elses’ kids), rate of reported mental illness (same as everybody elses’s kids), social adjustment (same as everybody else’s kids), and sexual orientation (same as everybody else’s kids).

    The baron is correct, social conservatives have to meet a high burden of proof if they want to continue opposing adoption by gays on the grounds that it harms children.

    Of course there are great foster parents. But I continue to believe that, overall, foster care is a worse alternative than being raised by to homosexual adults.

  57. Mark IV, thanks for the link. I’ll see if I can find the mentioned American Academy of Pediatrics report. One concern I have, and it may be incorrect, is that the summary you linked seems to say that at least some of the study involves comparing children reared by homosexual couples with those reared by divorced single parents and finding that there is no difference between the two groups. If so, that says something (“Two mothers are no worse one on her own.”), but not necessarily that the outcomes are same as those experienced by children reared by a father and a mother.

  58. The other option, since supporting the Church’s position is an invitation for mockery and scorn, is to quit worrying about the damned great and spacious building and wait for it to fall.

  59. Mark IV,

    Here is a paragraph from the link you provide:

    “Because most children whose parents are gay or lesbian have experienced the divorce of their biologic parents, their subsequent psychologic development has to be understood in that context. Whether they are subsequently raised by 1 or 2 separated parents and whether a stepparent has joined either of the biologic parents are important factors for children but are rarely addressed in research assessing outcomes for children who have a lesbian or gay parent.”

    Here is a plain admission that there simply is not enough research to determine whether or not children fare as well under the care of two parents of the same sex as they do with a mother and a father–all other things being equal. That is the point I’m driving at.

  60. I’ve been curious about the research on good outcomes for the children of same-gender couples, since it doesn’t seem to square with the research that shows negative outcomes for both boys and girls raised without fathers (negative outcomes including, but not limited to, earlier promiscuity, drug-use, and for boys, increased behavior problems.)

  61. Well, I’ve now read through that 2002 AAP technical report, and it’s claims are quite a bit more modest than what those who point to it say. The bulk of the studies that are summarized in the AAP report are comparisons between children raised by divorced single mothers and those raised by lesbian couples. They don’t seem it even look at divorced mothers who have remarried.

    The outcome I would be most interested in is the ability and willingness of children to form and maintain marriages of their own compared with others of their age, but none of the studies appear to have examined that question.

    I also find interesting this 2006 Pediatrics article “The Effects of Marriage, Civil Union, and Domestic Partnership Laws on the Health and Well-being of Children.” The findings that it summarizes are the same as the 2002 technical report four years earlier, and the studies cited in both summaries are mostly from the early and mid 1990s. Contrary to the article’s title, little research is cited regarding the effects of the civil union laws of the 1990s; there is only a summary of what the laws are.

  62. Hardly a large enough sample, I knew one person who was raised by an openly lesbian couple. I met him when he was a senior in high school. He acted hyper masculine. He screwed every female he could. He said he wanted everyone to know he wasn’t gay.

    I can just imagine how Junior High was for him.

    Children have a right to a Mother and a Father.

  63. The other option, since supporting the Church’s position is an invitation for mockery and scorn, is to quit worrying about the damned great and spacious building and wait for it to fall.

    The people of California voted to define Marriage as only between a man and a women. The majority of people in the US agree with the Church’s position.

    BUT then someone becomes learned, then they think they are wise and they hearken not to the counsels of God. Don’t worry people, God will probably understand. Right now it is a commandment to become as learned as you possible can. How can you help it?

  64. The issue of government’s role in the institution is an interesting one for me.
    Is “marriage” not the vehicle through which our cities and states are populated, re-populated and provided with capable, working tax payers?
    It seems to me that a nation without a state-sanctioned and state-governed institution that legally binds together the biological parents of the future building blocks of that self-same nation is an entity that has no concern for the interests of its citizens.
    There is no better way for our nation’s government to protect the investment that is the USA than to take an active role in defending and defining “marriage.” The issue isn’t simply random, independent citizens whose actions and unions have no way of effecting the whole. It involves our responsibility to contribute to the building up of our country. While heterosexual unions morally shouldn’t and couldn’t be mandated to procreate, that potential to do so is what makes the sanctity of marriage very much the business of the government and especially the Church.

  65. WesleyW,

    I wholeheartedly agree. Creating new “citizens,” or the potential to do so, is indeed the business of government. In fact, I daresay that a good and moral government is dependent upon married heterosexual couples to produce the contributing, law-abiding, and well-balanced offspring who will uphold the values upon which this country was founded and continue to maintain the social contract.

    I am an educated man, but I am not really interested in studies that try to disprove the obvious. Men and women are different, and each contributes unique and complementary elements to the development of their children. This idea that men and women are interchangeable, and that children raised by same sex couples have the same outcomes is grossly flawed. If studies show they have the same outcomes as children raised by heterosexual married couples, I’m inclined to think it’s because the vast majority of children are still raised by hetersexual couples, and this has a norming affect. If the norm was 90% homosexually-raised children, versus 10% heterosexually-raised children, I think we’d be talking about a much different world.

  66. Geoff, I’m with you almost all the way on this, but I think it’s risky for Mormons to publicly make the following argument:

    if you study the disintegration of societies worldwide, sexual licentiousness leads directly to society decay. That is one of the messages of the Proclamation on the Family.

    The problem is, our own leadership has in the past used this argument, only with monogamy cast as the villain: as you probably know, Brigham Young, George Q. Cannon, Orson Pratt and others publicly proclaimed that at the root of Rome’s downfall was monogamy. In more recent times, it has been said to have been homosexuality. Our opponents know about these statements, and where to find them, and how to cast them up to us.

    We need better arguments. You’ve been advancing several, but I just wanted to nitpick and suggest you reconsider this one.

  67. Chuck, I’m unaware of the claims by early Church leaders that monogamy led to Rome’s downfall, and frankly that sounds pretty fishy to me. I guess it would depend on the context. A lot of the claims of early Church leaders saying strange things are taken out of context.

    As for reconsidering that argument, well, it’s not in my calling to reconsider the Proclamation. But I will agree with you that you definitely need to be careful how you use these arguments, and that’s good advice.

  68. As a Canadian Latter-day Saint I have followed the church’s position on prop 8 in CA with much interest. As many of you may know Canada has had legalized same sex marriage for several years now, and I am proud of this fact! Right before the vote on this issue in the Canadian parliament the stake president showed up in our ward and asked all members to write a letter to their MP (congressman) stating that they oppose same sex marriage. Many of us ward members scoffed at the idea, the church is supposed to be politically neutral and it had no business telling us what position we should take. (Just a note: Republicans are considered to be in league with Satan to many Canadians and this plays a big part)

    Now for my part I oppose the “idea” of same sex marriage. I believe a marriage is between one man and ONE woman. I also believe that homosexuality is sin and against God’s law.

    However, I don’t believe that I or any one else has the right to impose their religious beliefs on those that do not share them. If gays wish to sin, the laws of agency give them that right. Also gays should not be denied the same benefits that married people receive. There is nothing in the Canadian Constitution that will allow for discrimination against gays. And preventing them from marrying and receiving spousal benefits the same as heterosexuals is discrimination.

    So on the basis that Canada is ruled by a Constitution I support same sex marriage. Even though personally I believe homosexuality is a sinful practice. The same as fornication and adultery amongst heterosexuals is a sin.

    In closing here is a fact that will shock many of you Utah Mormons. Scouts Canada has allowed in homosexual boys for well over 10 years now, and the LDS church in Canada is still very active in Canadian scouting.

    Yet in the USA the church has said it will pull out of scouting if gay boys are allowed in.

    If the church continues to support Scouts Canada with homosexuals allowed in, why can’t they do it in the USA as well?


  69. This is the best argument I have heard against gay marriage.

    Gay marriage doesn’t satisfy life’s purpose

    It is amazing to me the extent that people will go to in order to achieve their personal goals. Take, for example, Prop. 8 that was on the ballot . This is the second time the California voters have passed this law, and yet those who fought against Prop. 8 continue to fight against the will of the people.

    They keep saying this is a religious issue. That is not true. Everyone needs to answer the question of “What is the purpose of life?” Leaving religion out of the answer, as well as the Bible and personal opinions, there is only one answer that can be given that will satisfy the laws of NATURE. That answer is: “Reproduce yourself and your species.”

    Can two female or two male marriage partners conform to this law? No! So, this is not a religious issue alone. It is an issue that defies the laws of nature. The animal, bird, fish, insect, and plant kingdoms all live this law. They reproduce themselves as per nature’s laws.

    If any of these kingdoms failed to live this law, their kingdom would become extinct in a short period of time. If the plant kingdom failed to live this law, there would be no food for man or animals to eat. We would soon become a dead planet.

    Only man wants to defy this law of nature. In so doing, they become destroyers of, rather than contributors to, the human race.

    Society is based on the family of husband wife and children. This is how the next generation rises. I can just see states or countries legalizing gay marriage and then losing population.

  70. Jon M,

    Humans are social animals and, as social animals, not all have the breeder role. In fact, universal mating yields a weaker species, not a stronger one. How many species practice universal mating? Moreover, gays can assist propagation of their genes via assisting related breeders.

    Oh, in case you’re wondering, I’m a breeder with my genes thrown back in the pool six times now.

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