February 8th, 2009

Utah’s Sacred and Common Ground Initiatives


photo credit: Caucas

Three months ago, an organization called Equality Utah launched a campaign they titled the Common Ground Initiative. This initiative is a package of bills being considered in Utah’s current legislative session, each of which confers some additional privileges and opportunities to homosexual couples.

Proponents of these bills are implementing one of the most successful and subtle tactics in changing public opinion and shaping public policy: gradual subversion. Were these same individuals to come out and actually reveal their end game—the government-mandated acceptance and implementation of homosexual marriage in the state of Utah—citizens would soundly reject the proposal by a landslide majority.

Instead, gradual subversion is used to slowly chip away at the traditional definition of marriage through small steps and a distracted, ambivalent community. In this way, Equality Utah and their brethren in arms are taking a page right out of California’s recent history books. The California Supreme Court’s radical decision that mandated homosexual marriage in that state could not and would not have ever occurred had there not been a previous conferral of privileges and opportunities to homosexual couples (“civil unions”) that equated in almost every way to heterosexual marriages. By laying the foundation for so-called “equal” rights in that state, and by successfully obtaining a government-created civil union that mirrored marriage in every way except name alone, the Court had some small sliver of a reason by which to argue for the full-out provision of genderless marriage. After all, if homosexual civil unions and heterosexual marriages differ only in their label, then what substantial difference is there, if any?

Californians have now twice rejected by popular vote the decision to so alter the union of marriage. But behind the scenes, a slow and steady erosion was gradually taking place through the continual bestowal of “rights” upon homosexual couples who desired the same incentives and opportunities already afforded to their heterosexual counterparts. Had this subterfuge been recognized for what it was and stopped short, the Court’s decision would have simply remained a fantasy in the minds of the California homosexual community.

But now California’s playbook is open and unfolded to the country at large, and some Utahns are using its pages as a playbook for their own political ploy—thus, the Common Ground Initiative. Ironic it is, that the word “common” would be selected, since by using government to mandate genderless marriages, the institution itself does indeed become common. No longer held as special, granted societal privilege, or conferred any unique status, the partnership once held by many as sacred would indeed become common; if marriage can mean anything, then it means nothing.

Rightly so, then, did the Sutherland Institute name their countering campaign the Sacred Ground Initiative. This battle to prevent an eventual redefinition of marriage requires that it been seen as special (or sacred, in religious vernacular). As Sutherland president Paul Mero notes, some of the current stratagem used by the opposition to chip away at the public perception of marriage’s sacred role has been in play for over a decade:

By 1997, I had the equivalent of my Ph.D. in gay rights, but I was still learning. It was that year that I gained an important insight into the new gay strategy — Utah was to become ground zero in the war over gay rights. I learned this at an event at the University of Utah sponsored by Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays. Sitting there amidst a small group of gays and their loved ones, two lesbian sociologists reported on a community survey they had just completed. Their findings were revelatory in directing their strategies: they said, if we couch being gay in very personal terms, emotionally and with familial sentimentality, Utah’s Latter-day Saint population responds positively — in fact, so much so that they’re inclined to accept gays and give them civil rights, notwithstanding their religious beliefs.

Proposition 8 was not about California. It’s about Utah, and particularly Latter-day Saints. If Utah falls for gay rights, the whole nation falls for gay rights. The strategy to take Utah has been in play for over 10 years now. You can see the growing network of families and sympathetic neighbors who empathize with the plight of their young gay and lesbian family members. Utah’s streets are not filled with ridiculous displays of gay culture as you’ll find in San Francisco. Instead, we’re approached by well-dressed, respectable gays, or better yet their straight parents, simply appealing to our good consciences and moral sense of fairness.

Nothing else has changed. The arguments in favor of gay rights and gay marriage are as vacuous today as they were during the 1969 riots at the Stonewall Bar in New York City. Even their best minds still cannot explain how gay sex or gay marriage, or anything beyond gay fashion sense, benefits society. They simply can’t express a compelling state interest in their lives — a standard that our judiciary has long held important before we make public something that is typically private.

In short, the proposals of this “common ground” initiative are nothing more than the groundwork for an eventual campaign to overturn the 2004 amendment to the Utah Constitution, which states the following:

1. Marriage consists only of the legal union between a man and a woman.
2. No other domestic union, however denominated, may be recognized as a marriage or given the same or substantially equivalent legal effect.

To achieve this goal, the Utah homosexual community must first strike down the second portion of this amendment which forbids the “California plan”—the bestowal of every privilege of marriage save the word alone. It is no surprise, then, that this action is one of the initiative’s proposals.

With the family as the fundamental and most basic unit of society, it should be noted that the birth of the state occurred long afterward. Thus, as a creation and extension of that unit, in no way is it justified in changing its creator. Marriage and family both predate the state, and thus it is wrong for the government to turn around and impose an alteration of that venerable structure. So stated the New York Supreme Court:

The idea that same-sex marriage is even possible is a relatively new one. Until a few decades ago, it was an accepted truth for almost everyone who ever lived, in any society in which marriage existed, that there could be marriages only between participants of different sex. A court should not lightly conclude that everyone who held this belief was irrational, ignorant or bigoted. We do not so conclude.

In a 2004 ruling on a homosexual marriage adoption case, a federal appeals court stated that it does “not sit as a superlegislature to award by judicial decree what was not achievable by political consensus”. Realizing this, the proponents of Common Ground Initiative and similar campaigns seek first to erode marriage through warped definitions of equal rights and marriage itself, thus debasing a once-sacred institution into a common bestowal of government goodies.

Equality Utah hopes to succeed by cleverly crafting campaign talking points in a way that frames this as nothing more than an issue of equality and love, as Mero indicated was already happening over a decade ago. By framing their subversive political proposals in this way, and by downplaying their ultimate end game, Equality Utah and their partners wish to see Utah follow after California after having slowly and patiently laid the groundwork necessary for radical action. If Utahns learned anything from Proposition 8, it’s that such radical action becomes a costly venture to overturn. It’s easier, cheaper, and more effective to prevent the erosion of marriage ahead of time than to take up arms in a fierce battle with a vocal minority. As with other issues, an ounce of political prevention is worth a pound of constitutional controversy.

35 Responses to “Utah’s Sacred and Common Ground Initiatives”

  1. Clumpy
    February 8, 2009 at 10:15 pm #

    It’s odd – I look at a story like this and can only think how odd it is that we have special marriage rights in the first place.

    It’s definitely correct to say that gay marriage has never been accepted throughout history, mainly because civil marriage is a fairly recent construct. However, nearly every civilization that we pull our political and ethical philosophy from (Greece and Rome being the most prominent examples) mainstreamed homosexuality, and many European leaders had fairly prominent gay dalliances. That doesn’t make it right but this whole idea is hardly unprecedented.

    It’s true that civil unions will be accepted in Utah once activists appeal to Mormon sensibilities (and while the emotions of most gays wishing for acceptance may be genuine, that doesn’t change the other terms of the debate). Gay marriage will take more time but eventual acceptance is also possible if not inevitable. I lost my faith in the ability of Utahns to think rationally after the vouchers debate.

  2. Connor
    February 8, 2009 at 10:20 pm #

    I think it’s important to separate the “mainstreaming” of homosexuality and the legal sanction of such unions. Societies have turned a blind eye toward a number of moral evils throughout the world’s history, but few (that I can think of) enshrined such actions in their legal code.

  3. Paul Mero
    February 8, 2009 at 10:47 pm #

    Nice post. Thorough. Thanks.

  4. jasonthe
    February 9, 2009 at 3:30 am #

    Such a butt kisser Paul! :)

    Two things, Connor. One: it’s not just the homosexual community supporting the Common Ground initiative, it’s also those of us who subscribe to a more libertarian view of the role of the state when it comes to private matters. Call that subversive all you wish, it’s still more practical than theocratic government (also, more substantial, when it comes to representation). And two: Utah has a constitutional amendment to address this “mission creep” you are afraid of, correct? If not, Lavarr wasted a lot of our time and the state’s money a few years back placing the language in our constitution for (apparently, according to your claims here) absolutely no valuable reason, as (again, according to you) it does nothing to protect marriage as you would like the state to define it.

  5. Clumpy
    February 9, 2009 at 9:02 am #

    True, Connor, and the history of gay marriage in ancient cultures seems to be as tumultuous as it is here. I understand Rome and China in particular wavered on the issue. (Of course, I doubt either of us think that even a historical precedent of legal acceptance would necessarily justify the practice to those who oppose it.)

  6. Some Guy
    February 9, 2009 at 9:08 am #

    Prop 8 in California was the wrong direction, and representatives in Utah will likely muck things up just as bad. As Congressman Ron Paul has said, people should be able to get a legal contract and call it what ever they want, they just shouldn’t be able to impose it on other people.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UJz81lAwY0M

    What Prop 8 should have done is reiterate the First Amendment of the Constitution.

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    That means you can get a legal contract and call it marriage, but you can not sue an establishment of Religion for choosing not to recognize it.

    I believe very few people would have held this position against the Church.

    This is where I really disagree with the Eagle Forum. You can’t claim you are a defender of liberty and then make exceptions for issues that bother you.

    If the Eagle Forum and like minded people weren’t trying to pressure gay people into getting married, we wouldn’t have all these broken families where gay people get divorced because they finally come to grips with being gay. Then you have a gay people with children they want to put on health insurance plans.

    I don’t support gay adoption, and I do think something really weird is going on in the school system. I have been told by six or so different young people it is in style to be gay. They aren’t really gay. They are people with really weak minds so they run around with anything male or female, and live a promiscuous lifestyle. You have to have a really weak mind to let a style dictate your sexuality. This is an actual breakdown of society in a “Brave New World” sort of way, but it is a separate issue and should be addressed as a separate issue.

    You won’t be able to deal with the problem in public schools as long as you deny real gay people actually exist. People aren’t going to take Republicans seriously as long as they are running around claiming we can “cure” gay people. .

  7. Carborendum
    February 9, 2009 at 9:22 am #

    Connor,

    I just can’t agree with your position. I don’t believe gay fashion sense has in any way made this country better.

  8. Connor
    February 9, 2009 at 9:33 am #

    jasonthe,

    One: it’s not just the homosexual community supporting the Common Ground initiative, it’s also those of us who subscribe to a more libertarian view of the role of the state when it comes to private matters.

    I would argue that the homosexual community is leading the cause, and sympathetic folk like you are simply supporting it. For this reason I referred to “brethren in arms” and “partners” in my post—those who support the LBGT folk in their pursuance of “equal rights”.

    Call that subversive all you wish, it’s still more practical than theocratic government (also, more substantial, when it comes to representation).

    Um, what? I didn’t realize we had a theocracy; that’s news to me. You may conjure up notions of LDS representatives imposing God’s will on a secular state, but if this is what you believe, you err for the simple reason that each individual is persuaded by whatever beliefs of theology he may have. Whether it’s Christianity or atheism, secular progressivism or individualist nihilism, each person is influenced by his conception of the origin of man’s rights, and the proper role of government. Simply because you disagree with a religion held by many of the legislators does not mean we have a theocracy, nor does it admit the point that their non-LDS counterparts are likewise influenced by whatever their beliefs and understanding may be.

    And two: Utah has a constitutional amendment to address this “mission creep” you are afraid of, correct? If not, Lavarr wasted a lot of our time and the state’s money a few years back placing the language in our constitution for (apparently, according to your claims here) absolutely no valuable reason, as (again, according to you) it does nothing to protect marriage as you would like the state to define it.

    John Adams once commented that the (United States) Constitution was “made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” What do you think he meant by that? Short of some respect for nature’s God and the bestowal of individual rights from a higher power, you are left only with a positivist government that manufacturers rights and privileges as it pleases. A Constitution remains only in force when the people who live under it actually obey it; one need only look at the current state of affairs in the federal government to see how limited in power a piece of parchment can turn out to be.

    The 2004 amendment restrains the judiciary from taking any radical action, creating rights out of whole cloth like occurred in California. But this does not make the issue a bulletproof one, since in California we witness accusations in Strauss v. Horton that the Proposition 8 amendment to the Constitution is itself un-Constitutional. If civil unions in Utah are given the same privileges and equated in nearly every way to marriage, it would not be beyond reason to assume that a case might be brought forth with some similarly warped understanding of what a fundamental right truly is.

    But regardless of the judiciary, amendments can be overturned by the legislature and the people. By slowly augmenting the public sympathy for homosexual unions, the eventual case for homosexual marriage is made easier. The 2004 amendment does indeed protect marriage, but only so long as the people who put that amendment there hold fast to that belief. If for whatever reason they come to disagree with it, then we can kiss it goodbye, and credit the subversion as successful.

  9. Rick
    February 9, 2009 at 4:46 pm #

    After all the discussion is over the LDS Church will make a statement, if necessary, to clarify the situation or at least point to statements already made. If the Church was willing to intervene in California they are certainly not going to let things slip in their own backyard. Nevertheless, thanks for pointing out that we should be watchful for these homosexual subversives.

  10. Carborendum
    February 11, 2009 at 5:02 pm #

    Connor,

    I once heard a relative tell me that Prop 22 was the lock on the flood gate. If it failed, the earth would be sent into a tailspin of immorality and secularism.

    I didn’t really buy it at the time. But I remembered it. After all that has happened, and what is about to happen with Prop 8, I’m beginning to understand.

    I’m seeing the separation of the wheat from the tares on this one issue alone. In a related field, I’m seeing separation on the abortion issue and others.

    It’s raising my antennae.

    Yes, I recently had an upgrade from the Cyberdyne systems model 101 to the 2000.

  11. Daniel
    February 11, 2009 at 7:44 pm #

    With the family as the fundamental and most basic unit of society, it should be noted that the birth of the state occurred long afterward. Thus, as a creation and extension of that unit, in no way is it justified in changing its creator.

    The state is an extension of the family?

    You wacky person! I never know what you’re going to come up with.

    I suppose next you’re going to tell me that all religions are descended from Christianity.

  12. Kelly W.
    February 11, 2009 at 8:25 pm #

    Will the Church step forward with an official statement saying Gov. Huntsman is wrong to support gay civil unions?

    How sweet would that be?

    Did the Church ever have a statement against gay marriage while Romney was Gov. of Massachussetts?

  13. m&m
    February 12, 2009 at 2:20 am #

    Connor,

    You know how I feel about this issue in general, but I’m curious to know your thoughts on the Church’s statement that it is not against some rights for gays…rights that don’t conflict with family on the whole.

    While I share your concern about the creeping of tolerance toward full acceptance, I do think that there could be some middle ground. But that would assume that middle ground would be enough for gay rights activists, and I realize that that never will be. And the situation in CA has proven that.

    Still, I mull over this idea of some rights maybe not being so bad. I still don’t know the best way to package and provide those rights, though.

  14. Connor
    February 12, 2009 at 8:29 am #

    …I’m curious to know your thoughts on the Church’s statement that it is not against some rights for gays…rights that don’t conflict with family on the whole.

    Gladly. Here’s the Church’s quote:

    Even more, the Church does not object to rights for same-sex couples regarding hospitalization and medical care, fair housing and employment rights, or probate rights, so long as these do not infringe on the integrity of the traditional family or the constitutional rights of churches.

    First, I think that not objecting to something is wholly different from actively supporting and promoting it. Taken in its original context, this part of the quote shows that the Church’s main concern is the integrity of the union of marriage as being a heterosexual one. That’s where the battle line was drawn in specific regards to Proposition 8, and thus I interpret the quote to mean that the Church was not as concerned (at the time, at least) with civil unions; homosexual couples in California already have all these other “rights”, and that’s not what the organized effort for Prop 8 was about.

    Equality Utah has since put up this part of the quote on billboards and literature, using it to show tacit endorsement of their Common Ground Initiative. But again, I believe that not opposing something is not equal to a full and active support of it.

    Additionally, the Church listed only a few legal items over which it did not object: hospitalization and medical care, fair housing and employment rights, and probate rights. Expanding the issues beyond these fall outside of the relevance of the Church’s quote, and thus the quote cannot be broadly applied to any other civil union “rights” issue.

    Finally, the biggest “loophole” in this quote is the end, where the Church introduces the caveat: they don’t oppose these limited rights, “so long as these do not infringe on the integrity of the traditional family or the constitutional rights of churches.” As we all have different opinions on how best that integrity is secured, this alone leaves plenty of room for discussion on the specific merits and claims of each of the bills in the Common Ground Initiative, as well as any other related legislation.

    Still, I mull over this idea of some rights maybe not being so bad. I still don’t know the best way to package and provide those rights, though.

    You’ll notice that when referring to these government-granted privileges, I wrap the word “rights” in quotes. People these days seem to have a very warped definition of what a right truly is. There is no right to government-sanctioned marriage, only a right to freely associate with whom you please. And homosexuals currently have that. There is no right to employment without discrimination, because free association rights dictate that employers should be able to hire whomever they please, for whatever reason they desire. In certain, limited cases, then the issue may correctly be defined as a “right”—something all individuals inherently posses, superseding government’s purview. But all other government-extended privileges are, in my opinion, incorrectly referred to as rights, and by so referring to them, only serve to emotionally charge the issue, as people think that they are being denied what they’re entitled to.

  15. m&m
    February 12, 2009 at 12:42 pm #

    Connor…your thoughts make sense, and have been along the lines of my thoughts as well…particularly that not opposing something is not the same as actively supporting something.

    And that the concept of rights has become quite messed up.

    Thanks for your response.

  16. Some Guy
    February 12, 2009 at 12:56 pm #

    We are talking about a legal contracts vs church marriage. They are two different issues.

    My first marriage was by the Justice of the Peace and did not have a thing to do with religion.

    What we should do is let gay people get legal contracts and call them what ever they want, but they should be banned from suing a church for not wanting to recognize that contract, and they shouldn’t be allowed to adopt children, unless the children belong to their partner.

    We have all these gay people who try to get marred and it doesn’t work out. They can’t keep up charade, so they get divorced.

    This is a divide and conquer issue. Many gay people I know are against the North American Union and Global Government, but we can’t come together to fight those issues because we are hung up with this crap.

  17. Mark N
    February 13, 2009 at 10:40 pm #

    John Adams once commented that the (United States) Constitution was “made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

    Unfortunately, I think that applies to the whole economy thing and Wall Street, too.

    We’re doomed, in other words.

  18. Marc
    February 15, 2009 at 9:18 am #

    So the church thinks that gays should have a right to fair housing? If i rent out my basement, i wont be renting it to a gay couple. That is my right. I’m sure that gays will find someone out there more liberal than i and will be willing to take the gay couple’s money in return for housing. This “fair housing” right violates a property owners right so i dont see how the church can be for that.

  19. Carborendum
    February 16, 2009 at 11:30 am #

    Some Guy,

    I agree that this would be an acceptable compromise. But experience has shown that for liberals, this is never enough. Their understanding of “compromise” is that if they move far enough to the left, the compromise will be right where they wanted it. But then that becomes the new middle. The left moves further left, so does the right.

    Nowhere is this more apparent than in the two major parties. Democrats never compromised (or compromised very little). Republicans compromise. Then Democrats move further left. Republicans’ continued willingness to compromise has turned the Dems into socialists and the Repubs into liberals.

    This is not compromise. This is the left slowly getting more of what they want, while the right slowly loses everything.

  20. Brandon
    February 16, 2009 at 3:03 pm #

    Marc,
    Without getting into the issue of fair housing laws, why in the world wouldn’t you rent to a gay person or couple? (is their money gay?) Seriously, how does someone’s sexuality influence their ability to be a good tenant. I would love to hear your rational for discriminating in that way.

  21. Daniel
    February 16, 2009 at 4:53 pm #

    Carborendum: I wish what you said were true, but in reality, exactly the opposite happened.

    During the Bush years, Republicans moved the Overton Window so far to the right that people were actually discussing whether torture might be morally justified.

    Last week, we had President Obama giving away concessions on the stimulus package to the GOP in an effort to attract them and seem ‘bipartisan’. They voted against it en masse anyway.

    However you feel about Obama or the stimulus, you simply can’t argue that the GOP is full of conciliatory Democrat-pleasers. Please read the news or something before commenting.

  22. Carborendum
    February 17, 2009 at 12:22 pm #

    Daniel,

    The issue of torture is barely a Democrat/Republican issue. It is mostly a constitutional issue. There are individuals and eras of people who go against the constitution in both parties and in the population at large. BAD EXAMPLE.

    Have taxes gone up or down in the past 100 years?
    Entitlement program?
    Abortion rights?
    Religious freedom?
    Gay rights?

    You give one example over the past decade that is only partly a partisan issue and you ignore all the big CONTINUING issues that we’ve seen a CONSISTENT pattern of conciliations over the past century.

    Which will history remember? A big issue that is now passing? Or consistent issues that still drag on?

  23. Daniel
    February 17, 2009 at 7:32 pm #

    What you’re describing is simply the process of people becoming more liberal. It’s been said that reality has a well-known liberal bias, and I think the same can be said for civilisation. It’s not some liberal cabal. It’s the course of history.

  24. Some Guy
    February 18, 2009 at 2:20 pm #

    Daniel, I don’t mean this to be rude, but I don’t think you know what liberal really is. Republicans call corruption being liberal and Democrats call corruption being to the far right.

    You’re both creating a real problem by failing to communicate with each other. I have liberal friends and conservative friends. Often my liberal friends really do drive me nuts, but here’s what I see them doing.

    They see blatant corruption in their own party and they call it moving to the center because that’s what the media told them. Republicans are just as easily duped by the media http://baltimorechronicle.com/2009/010909Roberts2.shtml

    This country is going down. We all need to unite, but instead we are being divided and conquered. http://www.examiner.com/x-536-Civil-Liberties-Examiner~y2009m2d12-You-respect-my-rights-and-Ill-respect-yours

    As citizens who pay taxes, you can’t expect gay people to view themselves as second class citizens as you do. It’s okay for you to get a legal contract and call it marriage, but it’s NOT okay for a gay person. We are talking about a government issued contracts that gives people many benefits.

    I’m also not being the argument that college roommates might get a contract and call it marriage. If they do, who cares, but they are setting each other up for property disputes when the divorce comes.

  25. Connor
    February 18, 2009 at 3:15 pm #

    As of this morning, all of the Common Ground Initiative bills have been defeated.

  26. Carborendum
    February 19, 2009 at 8:04 pm #

    Daniel,

    So what you’re saying is:

    Even though the Romans had difficulty reproducing because of rampant homosexuality, promoting gay rights reflects reality.

    Even though every socialist/communist nation in the world has come to ruin under that system and only accepting more capitalist principles did some eventually recover, entitlement programs reflect reality.

    Even though every country that has abandoned religion has fallen to disorder and eventually fell to a degenerative revolution, atheism reflects reality.

    Even though the already rampant abortion rates being hyped up by abortin-on-demand would lead to the eventual extinction of the species, abortion rights reflect reality.

    Well, if that’s the reality you’re rooting for, I can understand why you feel discriminated against.

  27. Kai Cross
    February 27, 2009 at 1:38 pm #

    Carborendum,

    You need to provide some back up to your claims. For instance, there is no historical proof that Romans had difficulty reproducing because of “rampant” homosexuality.

    Likewise for your statement about how every country that has abandoned religion has fallen to disorder is also not true. Most of northern Europe seems to be doing quite well, and they have largely abandoned religion.

    Likewise the ridiculous statement about abortion. Tell me, do you actually try to do research or do you dream up these silly claims?

    Just curious.

  28. Kai Cross
    February 27, 2009 at 1:53 pm #

    Yes, the Common Grounds Initiative lost. What a shame.

    In the end, it’s about equality. Please don’t tell me that all the rights are already there for gay couples, because it simply isn’t true. What we have to do to secure them, such as legal documents and such, that cost lots of money… straight couples can do with the stroke on a pen on a marriage license.

    It’s also amazing that Mormons still think that civil marriage and religious marriage are one and the same.

    Mark my words… the world only spins forward, it only evolves. Eventually gay rights will be in “common” with the rest of the developed world. It will likely be in your lifetime, too… Since nearly 2/3 of Americans under 35 support gay marriage (2007 Gallup poll), it looks like you are going to lose.

  29. Connor
    February 27, 2009 at 1:57 pm #

    Please don’t tell me that all the rights are already there for gay couples, because it simply isn’t true. What we have to do to secure them, such as legal documents and such, that cost lots of money… straight couples can do with the stroke on a pen on a marriage license.

    By your own admission here, you note that homosexual individuals already enjoy these rights—the difference is that they have to pay more money to exercise the right.

    So what you should be saying, then, is that this isn’t about equal rights, but instead about the pursuit of government-granted economic incentives to make those rights more easily enjoyed.

  30. Kai Cross
    February 28, 2009 at 2:52 am #

    No, it’s about have equal access to those rights. That should be obvious. Without equal access, there are no equal rights. Even if gays DO get civil unions, we’re still not treated equally. It’s like the “white” and “colored” drinking fountains of the South. Same water, but… still discrimination.

    The right to join oneself to the person you love and want to make a life with should be universal. While it may not be accepted by every faith, it must be accessible to everyone under the law. That’s only fair.

    Believe what you like in your church (I was fortunate enough to escape mormonism), but the reality is that even if you’re married in a church or a temple, you must still obtain a marriage certificate. That means there is a religious aspect to marriage but also a civil one. Gays only want the civil one, as they believe in religious freedom as much as anyone else does.

    A better system (adopted by New Zealand) is that anyone, gay or hetero, gets a civil union certificate from the state, and if they want a religious ceremony, fine. But the religious ceremony has no tie to the civil union, and no legal standing. It’s simply, and beautifully, a rite, prayer and sacrament before God.

    That way, you can preserve your “sanctity of marriage”, and ALL of us can be equal under the law.

  31. Connor
    February 28, 2009 at 8:59 am #

    No, it’s about have equal access to those rights. That should be obvious.

    Once again, rights are being confused with privileges and opportunity. The right in question here is not marriage, but association. You yourself say that you should have the right to join yourself to the person you love. And you do! You can live with whomever you desire, and spend your life with them. Who is stopping you from doing that?

    But no, it is taken one step further. Not only do homosexuals want the right to be with the person they love, they also want the public to accept it and give it their blessing. Imagine a world where government had no involvement in marriage, and churches were the sole arbiter of the sacred union. And if these churches denied homosexuals the “right” to marry, what then? Would you sue them? Or would you spurn religion and simply enjoy your life free of a marital status?

    But government indeed is in the martial equation, for many reasons. As such, we the people have the right to determine who government will and will not sanction in this union. Just as not everybody has a right to a drivers license, business license, or some other government-granted privilege, so too is a marriage license subject to certain applied conditions that must be met. We the people, through our government, get to dictate what those conditions are.

    Thus, marriage is not a right—it is a privilege extended by government. The right you already do enjoy is that of associating with whom you wish. But you do not have a right to public approval of your private decisions.

  32. Kai Cross
    February 28, 2009 at 12:05 pm #

    What a round-about way to excuse your bigotry!

    First of all, the right in question IS marriage/civil unions, not association. If marriage is a privilege, then tell me, how did you EARN that privilege? Just by being heterosexual? Hmmmm, I’ll bet that that you had to do absolutely NOTHING to be hetero.

    Let’s talk about current political reality: The administration in power certainly believes that allowing gays to be legally united is a civil right. If you go to http://www.whitehouse.gov/agenda/civil_rights/ …and scroll half-way down the page, you’ll see it called a civil right.

    But even if you want to call marriage a privilege, it doesn’t matter. It’s a privilege than everyone should have equal access to. And don’t give me the silly argument that I, as a gay man, can marry a woman, therefore I have equal access. Because of who I am, fundamentally, that is not possible. Therefore, no equal access currently exists.

    I don’t care whether or not you accept me as a gay person. I know full well that you have chosen to reject science, tell me I have a choice, and believe that I am sinning against God and will never make the “Celestial Kingdom”. There are many things that you as a Mormon do that disgust me, too. However, in a CIVIL society, we grant equal rights across the board regardless of religious beliefs.

    You argument about the world where churches are the sole arbiter of marriage makes no sense, because a church has no way of granting the 1,100 civil benefits marriage provides. Again, you’re confusing civil marriage with religious marriage. (But if they did have that power, YES, I would sue them!)

    Ah, so simply because “the people” have decided that straight people only get the right of marriage, that makes it OK? Really?

    Do you know your history? Do you realize that every major civil rights advance made in this country has either been through the courts or a legislative body? And usually against the majority opinion? Can you guess the reason why?

    The end result is, either through the courts– whether it’s through state courts or an Supreme Court with Obama appointees… OR through equality-minded legislatures that recognize civil rights when they see it… OR through a popular vote (as stated above, a 2007 Gallup poll shows support for gay marriage to be at 65% for people under 35), state and federal gay marriage/union rights ARE coming, whether you like it or not. Do you realize that’s the reality?

    I’d suggest for you less arguing against it, and more preparation to accept it.

  33. Connor
    February 28, 2009 at 2:01 pm #

    Ah, the good ol’ B word. Funny how the activist segment of the homosexual community has demonstrated itself to truly be bigoted and hateful in recent months all while lobbing the same accusation at their victims.

    First of all, the right in question IS marriage/civil unions, not association. If marriage is a privilege, then tell me, how did you EARN that privilege?

    You’re ignoring my argument. Marriage through government sanction is by its very definition open to public scrutiny and approval. Rights are those actions which can be exercised and enjoyed free of any public acceptance or grant. This supports my assertion that the right in question is indeed association (which you enjoy free of government mandate), unlike marriage (which requires the intervention and declaration of government).

    The administration in power certainly believes that allowing gays to be legally united is a civil right.

    Mr. Obama believes all sorts of fiction, but his own personal whims does not make something a right. Rights are given by our Creator and existed before government. Homosexual marriage does not fall into this category, despite any support that “the administration in power” may lend to it.

    Therefore, no equal access currently exists.

    Tell me, Mr. Cross, where do you draw the line, then? You say that the opportunity for you as a homosexual man to marry a woman is not equal access to marriage, but I’ve never heard anybody on your side of the argument define where they would draw the line. What of incest, polygamy, etc.? Your same arguments apply to the marriage of any two individuals, so do you support anybody being able to marry anybody, without any standard dictating otherwise?

    I know full well that you have chosen to reject science…

    Oh, right, I’ve rejected science. Nice.

    Fact is, your self-identity can only be exhibited through outward behavior. You define who you are based on what you do. But when your desire to access certain “rights” rests solely on your actions, then that opens the debate to public scrutiny and judgment. Your side is quick to equate this quest as analogous to blacks and women, but their inherent identities and characteristics had nothing to do with their outward actions. Homosexuals cannot make this same argument, and thus the comparison falls apart.

    Ah, so simply because “the people” have decided that straight people only get the right of marriage, that makes it OK? Really?

    So long as you want government to sanction your union, then absolutely. You’re not asking for public acceptance of a private lifestyle, but instead demanding public support of a publicized union and style of behavior. If you want your neighbors to support your marriage, then they absolutely get a say in whether they think that that is right.

    …state and federal gay marriage/union rights ARE coming, whether you like it or not. Do you realize that’s the reality?

    I actually agree with you on this one. I oppose it, and I think that it signals the degradation of morality, but I do agree that your side will likely ultimately win many of the battles you’re fighting. But you’ll never convince me that that’s a good thing—only that public sympathy is shifting and your lifestyle is becoming increasingly popular.

    Does that mean I should roll over and let your side have its way, chalking it up as inevitable? Hardly.

  34. Kai Cross
    February 28, 2009 at 5:24 pm #

    Ah yes, the B word. Funny how you think you can apply it to us, when in reality we’re only protesting your position, not taking away your rights or privileges.

    The problem here is that you base your “arguments” on a lot of statements that you assume are universals truths, or just plain true. This is just not the case.

    Rights are those actions which can be exercised and enjoyed free of any public acceptance or grant.

    Since when is that? Let’s see… life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are considered to be rights, correct? And yet government has to issue laws and ordinances that protect them, correct? I’d call that “intervention and declaration of government”. And– what do you know? These rights got famous because they were IN a grand “Declaration”.

    But again, whatever you call it, there should be equal access and equal protection for all (14th Amendment, anyone?)

    Tell me, Mr. Cross, where do you draw the line, then? …What of incest, polygamy, etc.?

    Connor, there are distinct differences here. Incest and polygamy are not orientations, like hetero and gay. The first two describe situations and behaviors, the second two describe inherent traits. Furthermore, incest and polygamy are illegal, while heterosexuality and homosexuality are not.

    Fact is, your self-identity can only be exhibited through outward behavior.
    Blacks and women… their inherent identities and characteristics had nothing to do with their outward actions.

    As mentioned above, my outward behavior is an expression of my inherent self, just as much as physical characteristics define a person. This is true whether you are black, female or hetero. Therefore, the argument does not fall apart. As a society we have long recognized that many factors play into who we are.

    And this is where you HAVE rejected science, which has shown– whether it be nature or nurture or both– that sexual orientation is hard-wired into us. Therefore, who we love and who we have sex with are inherent to who we are. Instead, the Mormon church’s Evergreen organization and LDS Family (Social) Services continue to argue that orientation is a choice, when the rest of the scientific world disagrees.

    Mr. Obama believes all sorts of fiction, but his own personal whims does not make something a right. Rights are given by our Creator and existed before government. Homosexual marriage does not fall into this category…

    While I appreciate the sentiment of the founding fathers and agree that rights are inalienable, they are not given by our “creator”. Rights are determined by a government. You see, you’re dealing with a Deist here. Stating that a certain “creator” gave you rights or commanded that gay marriage is wrong not only makes no sense to me, but it is irrelevant to a civil government that claims to offer equal protection to all.

    By the way, just because your own personal whim (or religion) says that gay marriage is wrong, doesn’t mean it’s true either. However, that WOULD be the more honest way to play it for you and your ilk. Instead of making up all these arguments to suit your designs, simply say, “I don’t want gay marriage because that’s what my religion believes.”

    My own personal belief is that, for many, it’s more about fear of the unknown, and loss of power.

    …it signals the degradation of morality…

    Well now, it’s a shame you feel that way. I’ll bet that if you had a real friend who is gay (not just an acquaintance), that you’d feel different. When it comes to treatment of their fellow beings, gay people are about the most moral around. Again, this comes down to your rejection of science and the fact that sexual orientation is an innate part of who we all are– not a moral issue.

    You will find, as have other countries, that allowing gay marriage has nothing but a positive impact on society. Oh, I doubt that you’ll roll over… but think of your wasted energy. Focus on something you can really have a true impact on… poverty, illiteracy, climate change, etc.

    One more thing… it’s not a lifestyle, no more than the way you LOVE is a lifestyle. Lifestyle implies choice.

    It’s a life. Best of luck in yours.

  35. Some Guy
    March 3, 2009 at 9:29 pm #

    “Ah, the good ol’ B word. Funny how the activist segment of the homosexual community has demonstrated itself to truly be bigoted and hateful in recent months all while lobbing the same accusation at their victims.”

    Truly bigoted and hateful? That reminds me of what Bush said about the 911 terrorists. He called them cowards. They may have been crazy, but they sure weren’t cowards. I figure Bush said that because he thought it was the greatest insult he could come up with.

    And here we are. The economy is crumbling, but we have people dividing the country over gay marriage. We have people claiming their rights are being taken away, if they don’t block the rights of others.

    Why are religious people supporting government marriage, and claiming it as a religious ceremony?

    As someone who supports marriage between a man and a woman, I would like to see groups like the Eagle Forum to stop trying to get gay people to marry straight people. That’s a marriage doomed to fail.

    Gay people are being discriminated against, when they don’t have the same health insurance rights, or social security rights from those poor kids that were born into the broken marriage when they were trying to be straight.

    It would be great if the ultra right would realize they are being manipulated by being whipped up into a frenzy over gay marriage so they ignore what really matters. Their own family and can they support those family.

    Divide and conquer pal. You have been conquered by a divisive diversion.

    http://www.examiner.com/x-536-Civil-Liberties-Examiner~y2009m2d12-You-respect-my-rights-and-Ill-respect-yours

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