Proposition 8 – It’s Not Exactly Cut and Dry

your_vote_counts_button_3.jpgI’ve been standing back for awhile listening to the various sides in the blogosphere on Proposition 8 in California. The proposition is in response to a Judge overturning proposition 22, a law which attempted to define marriage being between a man and a woman. The Judge declared the law unconstitutional, making Gay marriage legal in the State of California. Opponents against the Judge’s decision have organized Proposition 8 to amend the State Constitution, thereby making marriage between two of the same gender illegal. I thought that since many of my readers are in California I would chime in.

As a Mormon (aka, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), like Louis Gray, I’m very torn on this issue. I had several gay friends in High School, and while I wasn’t very close with them, they were some of the nicest people I knew. Frankly, I wish the world had more people as nice and genuine as many of the gay people I know. I know many of my gay friends would never be able to change even if they wanted to – it’s part of them. It’s something as natural to them as eating is to you and me.

At the same time, my religion teaches me “that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife.” To me, our church’s manifesto on this subject, “The Family: A Proclamation to the World“, is one of the most beautiful and divinely inspired pieces of writing in these modern times. It teaches me that “all human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.” This includes those that are Gay – yes, we believe they have a part in God’s plan as well, and I believe this to be true. Unfortunately, in my religion it cannot include marriage.

While I’m grateful I don’t have to make the decision on whether I’m voting for or against this amendment, I do understand the great difficulty others are having showing love towards those with same-gender attraction, while at the same time following what their faith teaches them is sacred and true. Here are some of the major issues they are contemplating:

Natural/Human Rights

Those against the amendment say that Gay people are born gay. There are conclusive studies that show there could be genetic evidence of being gay in both gay and lesbian people.

At the same time the pro-8 supporters argue that despite some being born gay, regardless of whether it can be proven or not, that voting “no” on proposition 8 will encourage under-age “experimentation” for those that may not have been born with the trait. At the same time, some studies of a “gay gene” have been debunked as being biased and lacking concrete evidence, supposedly because the scientists themselves were homosexual.

The Human Rights issue simply isn’t clear enough yet to prove someone can be born gay or not to make it as clear as someone being black or white, or man or woman. And even if it were, there are other issues that come into play that add a whole lot more complexity to the legal definition of marriage and how that definition could affect society.

Parental Rights, Education About Homosexuality

This is one I can’t quite wrap my mind around (of course, I can’t quite wrap my mind around most of this). Those for voting “yes” on 8 argue that parents will lose power to control what their children are being taught in schools. In fact, there are cases in Massachusetts, where a Kindergartner was taught a story about 2 gay parents without notification of the parents. The “no” on 8 would argue that the parents were told about this in a letter sent out earlier in the school year. At the same time, in San Jose a professor was fired for quoting a textbook, stating that homosexual behavior could be influenced by “genres” and “environment”. There are also many other cases from Massachusetts legalizing Gay marriage listed here.

All this ends up sounding very bigoted however to the “no” on 8 supporters, if you can prove, and believe that homosexuality comes from birth. Based on the links above though, these are both highly contested viewpoints in the scientific community. I think you’ll find in the comments below that this continues to be contested (if I can predict correctly).

Church Rights / Freedom of Religion

If I were to have to vote, this is the main thing that would end up influencing me. To me this is the most convincing. The fact is, entire religious doctrines are at stake with this amendment. This is the main reason the LDS Church is involved (and just to set the record straight, it was the Catholic church, not the LDS church that instigated this).

If this amendment takes place, I predict there will come a time when all religions have to accept Gay marriage into their doctrines. Already, this has become an issue in Massachusetts where at least one religious faith is being sued for not allowing a Gay marriage to take place on their property. There are also other cases. This isn’t a matter of letting religions just do what they want to do and keeping the legal definition separate from the religious. Things all change when it becomes legal. I can’t have government forcing my religion to change its beliefs. That takes away from my right to worship. I’m very concerned about this one.

As you can see, the issue of Proposition 8 isn’t very cut and dry. There are many studies, and many issues, all conflicting with each other. The one fact I think we all agree on is that we want our Gay friends and neighbors to all have the best life they can possibly have – I think we all agree they have a right to that. I’m just glad I’m not the one having to make the decision to vote for or against Proposition 8. I hope I’ve presented at least some of the studies, on both sides, for you to make your own decision. Please feel free to discuss in the comments!

Advertisements

36 thoughts on “Proposition 8 – It’s Not Exactly Cut and Dry

  1. “Those against the amendment say that Gay people are born gay.”

    I think that's likely more a correlation than a causal statement (as it appears to be). For me, it's mostly that I'd rather have the government a little less picky about what I do with my life. Assuming sexual orientation were a choice, I think if I found someone I truly loved who was a man, I don't see why i would deserve less.

    Good points were made by the Mormons for Marriage group: http://mormonsformarriage.com/ — in particular, they likened it to their previous beliefs in polygamy and thought it wasn't the state's job to break up a marriage that was perfectly legitimate in their eyes.

    Sitting in a room full of older republicans arguing about how the idea of homosexual marriage would destroy the sanctity of marriage, I felt compelled point out that the only person who hadn't been divorced in that room was the staunchest democrat against whom they were all arguing, but my previous question of “Do you believe that the relationship between two people you've never met and will never met affects yours?” was met with a resounding “yes!” by all of the people, so I figured there was no way to appeal to these people, so I just kept quiet and listened.

    I have no interest in controlling or otherwise limiting other people's happiness. I think it's ridiculous that I have to, but i'm voting no on 8 because I haven't seen an argument for it that looks like anything other than control of and discrimination against people the proponents don't even know.

    Like

  2. All due respect, but technically LDS is somewhere between Religion and Christian Cult. Seriously, I know a little about your bible and spiritual leader — I just have to chuckle at how adoringly perverse and judgmental people can be. I do think the whole polygamy issue brings up what is private, public sphere and where personal belief ends and public policy begins.

    Please make your argument for tolerance or against tentacle rape without relying on some dubious text. We can't all be required to read everyone's bible. Did you notice the economy crashing around you? I'm not sure people are that bothered by Rick and Steve''s rights in California. Rights that include losing one's shirt not in the market, but to a bad spouse with a good lawyer.

    Disclosures — Grandma was Mormon, mother went on to try too many “religions” to mention here — I'm understandably and comfortably atheist with a healthy suspicion of cults.

    So please do go on… and let me know if you think I should work to abolish your church's tax-exempt status. When churches were granted that tax relief, they were not the multi-million-dollar businesses they are now. Freedom “of” religion is also freedom “from” religion. My flying spaghetti monster against your Jeebus+friends any day.

    You do wear it well by the way. I'd never have guessed 🙂

    Like

  3. “At the same time, my religion teaches me “that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife.”

    If a homosexual couple promises not to procreate children, would it be OK with you if they form a family unit that is legally recognized?

    In the 1960s, 37 states found it illegal for Sammy Davis, Jr. to marry his wife, and if they attempted to share a room when he was on tour, they were at risk of being arrested. What do you believe God's position to be on a marriage that's 26% lawful, 74% unlawful?

    I believe that marriage is a religious rite, and that government should not recognize it at all. I don't expect all to agree, or perhaps any to agree, but I would eliminate the joint income tax return, would allow any group of two or more adults to form a community of property, and would register an adult's paternity of a child, granting both paternal rights and responsibilities, with any evidence of parentage (which could either be DNA evidence, or sworn statement of acknowledged parent.)

    Note that this would allow for a child to have 15 people claiming to be the parents, but the more love a kid has, the better off the kid is, right?

    We have an unfortunate example on this page of what happens children have inadequate parenting.

    From the standpoint of a mainline protestant, it's pretty clear that LDS fully qualifies as a religion. The LDS professes to be Christian, and only the churl would argue that point. A “cult”? That term is normally reserved for a false religion. I just talked with God, and am assured that most adherents to LDS are sincere, same as other recognized religions.

    All of us seem to have some hatred in them, but when one can't keep it from spewing, it suggests that they are being overwhelmed. Such individuals may be unpleasant, but they deserve our sympathy, and need our prayers.

    Like

  4. I really do not care what adults do in their own bedrooms. Frankly, I think it is none of the government's business. However, I do not want other people forcing their point of view on my children. Perhaps you missed the 1st grade class in California that took a field trip to see a number of gay marriage ceremonies.

    Like

  5. Laws should not be based on scripture, though, surely. Isn't that the whole point of separation of church and state? What any given religion has to say about a law should be completely irrelevant.

    Like

  6. “The proposition is in response to a Judge overturning proposition 22”

    That's as far as I needed to read to understand your position on Prop 8.

    It would be far more accurate to say that the California Supreme Court's 7 judges decided, 4 judges to 3, that Prop 22 was unconstitutional.

    Any additional inaccuracies in your article I'll leave to others to correct.

    Like

  7. Ouch Reechard! I didn't attack anyone in my article. It was my point to share facts for and against. I don't understand your definition of “cult” – everyone in this church is given choice, anyone can leave, and in fact, in relation to Prop. 8, anyone can speak out against it without recourse. I don't understand you calling my church “a cult”. It's no more “a cult” than any other religion out there.

    Like

  8. Mark, I wasn't really stating my position on Prop. 8 – I do suggest you read further. My point was to state the facts that I had. I'd love to see yours. I admit I don't know everything about it – it's confusing to me. Do you have a link stating the details of the 4 to 3 vote? I'd love to read more.

    Like

  9. It sounds like you've defined marriage as a religious issue. If it is, then ALL citizens should be allowed access to marriage (through their own faiths). You can't define marriage as a religious issue, cry religious freedom and then deny that freedom to certain citizens.

    If a church is willing to marry a gay couple (and there are MANY that do), then their marriages should be recognized by the law.

    It seems like a VERY easy decision to me.

    Like

  10. The Judges overturned an amendment that the People voted for. This overturning of something that was decided by the people, of the people and for the people is Illegal and unconstitutional. The judges overstepped their bounds. The fact is that California already voted on this, and voted to make it illegal for Gay Marriage. Judges have no right to overturn what the people, the foundation of this nation, have already decided. They are not above the people.

    Like

  11. Hey Jesse, you said “Already, this has become an issue in Massachusetts where at least one religious faith is being sued for not allowing a Gay marriage to take place on their property”. However, the article you link to is about two lesbians getting happily married in San Francisco. In the bottom of the article, they mentioned a few cases where people had been convicted of discrimination against a protected class, but I didn't see any instances of churches being forced to marry a couple against their religious wishes.

    Do you mind clarifying if there was a church that has actually been forced to marry gay people against its religious beliefs? It seems as ludicrous as being forced to marry people who aren't of their faith, or are divorced, or don't qualify for religious marriage for many other reasons.

    Like

  12. what has that to do with gay marriage…I would ask why a 1st grade class is even being taken to ANY marriage ceremony for a class trip.

    Like

  13. I always find it funny when one christian group clings to the 1st Amendment and their rights but then denigrates other religions rights.

    Like

  14. Luke, it's actually a New Jersey case – I had my states wrong (I wrote
    this late). It's later in the page, under “Gay Rights, Religious
    Liberties: A Three-Act Story” – it's about a Methodist church that was
    sued for not wanting to allow a gay marriage to take place on their
    property.

    In addition, this article has some other examples of religions being
    sued or similar due to their positions on homosexuality:

    http://churchstate.org/site/1/docs/Fact_Checkin

    Like

  15. Oh, I hadn't read all the way down the page – my bad.

    Man, that is a tough one. I agree that it is wrong to infringe the religious right to prohibit marriage. The methodists could easily have said “I'm sorry, you've been divorced before, we don't want you to marry here.” And that would be okay too. Just as there are some judges who have gone too far in suppressing gay marriage, there are clearly also some cases where judges go too far the opposite way – suppressing religious freedom. I am a Catholic, and have long been conflicted about my church's beliefs in this matter.

    That said, I think it is interesting that in the New Jersey case, nobody was forced to perform or recognize a marriage. The clause under which they were found guilty was discriminating by not letting someone use a public place, much the same way a restaurant would be for not serving a black man. Now obviously I don't know anything about the actual pavilion but it's a different line of argument, and one that sort of makes sense.

    Anyway, I appreciate you laying out the facts.

    Like

  16. Yes, that is the point of seperation of church and state – but Jesse's right, if you say that same-gender marriage is legal, you are effectivley giving the “right” to be married by ANY church regardless of your sexual preference (or the churches stipulations). Church and State are seperate, but unfortunetely, if the two end up clashing, a lawsuit will win.

    So, since governent has the ability to overturn church regulations, it is up to the church's to fight against anything that would put any religions' convictions at stake.

    Like

  17. Of course not! Nor did I! And here is where I whack you on the shoulders with that silly stick! get it? But don't think I won't seriously do my part to eliminate tax-exempt status.

    As far as technical definition of “cult”, anything that young or involving a rewrite of an ancient text, accompanied with visions and miracles that were unwitnessed by others… Let's see… then there's the confusing part about Jeebus coming to Utah, isn't there?

    I'm not trying to get you to accept this definition, but now perhaps you see how some language hurts, and how people don't usually think too hard about it. Now what else did you have to say about those raging faggots in California who want to ….. get married and settle down?… wait, there's something wrong here 🙂

    Like

  18. I didn't write this post to get into a religious discussion on if my
    church was right or wrong, Richard. Your comments about my church are
    inaccurate and offensive. I stated nothing about if I was or was not
    in support of Prop 1, nor was there any language that I intended to
    offend either side – I'd appreciate you respecting me the same way.

    I think you need to re-read this post, Richard – it was my intent to
    share facts from both sides so you could make your own decision. I
    think when it comes down to it, I'm actually on your side on most
    points – I'm not going to get into which way I would vote though if I
    were in California. If you have facts towards your point of view,
    please share them – this isn't a forum to attack anyone. I won't
    allow it, on either side.

    Like

  19. Great response and right on target … Churches are in no danger from this Proposition. Thanks for clearing up some of the FUD that continues to build up on this issue.

    Like

  20. You're prediction that had Proposition 8 passed that religious organizations would have to possibly change their doctrine to permit homosexuals to marry within their churches couldn't be anymore of an excuse than your “I want my gay friends to be happy but I'm glad I don't have to make that decision.” Civil marriages occur every single day between men and women that have no religious influence at all and that is the human/civil right that Proposition 8 has taken away. No where would your right to worship have been impacted. It someone reminds me of people who don't mind interracial dating as long as it is their daughter who brings home the black man. It's another example of legislation passed to force people to keep a particular churches standards. Now that's the spirit of Christian love and kindness. Next year, Proposition 9, every Monday night has to be Family Home Evening. Families not spending time together are the real threat to America.

    Like

  21. You're prediction that had Proposition 8 passed that religious organizations would have to possibly change their doctrine to permit homosexuals to marry within their churches couldn't be anymore of an excuse than your “I want my gay friends to be happy but I'm glad I don't have to make that decision.” Civil marriages occur every single day between men and women that have no religious influence at all and that is the human/civil right that Proposition 8 has taken away. No where would your right to worship have been impacted. It someone reminds me of people who don't mind interracial dating as long as it is their daughter who brings home the black man. It's another example of legislation passed to force people to keep a particular churches standards. Now that's the spirit of Christian love and kindness. Next year, Proposition 9, every Monday night has to be Family Home Evening. Families not spending time together are the real threat to America.

    Like

  22. “Things all change when it becomes legal. I can’t have government forcing my religion to change its beliefs.” Then why should a religion (that not everyone even believes in) be allowed to force its beliefs upon others. It seems to me the only people who actually care whether or not gay couples marry are religious conservatives. If the only true reason people arent allowing same-sex couples to marry is because of religious beliefs, that is a completely unfair argument. A lot of people aren't even religious, so I don't think that should be the last word. Ever since the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s, times have changed and people began to fight for what is truly right; not what the bible says. And yes this is another civil rights fight. Because equal means equal, not everyone except gays…or blacks, or women, or whoever else has had to fight for their right of freedom.

    Like

  23. “If this amendment takes place, I predict there will come a time when all religions have to accept Gay marriage into their doctrines”

    You're making a slippery slope fallacy. Also you are ignoring the religious rights of others.

    Some churches believe marriage is sacred and they don't believe in discriminating. Why should you're religious beliefs trump those of others?

    Like

  24. Chris, my personal opinion on this is Marriage ought to be a religious
    contract, and not a legal one in the first place. I don't think it belongs
    in Government. Again, *personally*, I think everyone is due the same rights
    when it comes to partnerships.

    However, even removing the term, “marriage” from the equation from a legal
    standpoint is still a slippery slope. At what point is a “partnership”
    established legally with all the same rights as any other partnership? What
    if a couple, man and woman, give birth to a child naturally and don't want
    anyone but a man and woman to take care of that child? Will the desires of
    the natural birth mother and father be respected? What about Polygamy? Can
    a man form “partnerships” with multiple women and is he entitled to the same
    rights as 2 men or 2 women forming the same partnership with each other?
    Mormons don't believe in polygamy any more, but there are many off-shoots
    to the Mormon faith that believe they're being discriminated against as well
    when it comes to marriage rights.

    Where do we draw the line? I'm not sure I know the answer to that, and
    that's why I say the issue is not exactly cut and dry.

    Again, I'm not exactly saying I have an opinion (other than perhaps that I
    don't think Marriage should be a legal term in the first place), but there
    are a lot of issues at hand that need to be worked out, and we need to
    consider them all before deciding what the legal definition of lifelong
    partners entails.

    (I should disclaim that none of these comments entail a representation or
    statement or official opinion of my religion or faith – they are simply my
    personal opinions. I'll leave those official statements to
    http://newsroom.lds.org)

    Like

  25. No one is trying to force a Rabbi to marry 2 lesbian Muslims. Christian preachers are not forced to marry Jewish straight couples even with current law.
    Why are you spreading this misinformation?
    Homosexuals, and trans-gender people just want to get married at a court house, or by some other person sanctioned by the LAW to perform the ceremony.

    Nice try.

    Like

  26. No one is trying to force a Rabbi to marry 2 lesbian Muslims. Christian preachers are not forced to marry Jewish straight couples even with current law.
    Why are you spreading this misinformation?
    Homosexuals, and trans-gender people just want to get married at a court house, or by some other person sanctioned by the LAW to perform the ceremony.

    Nice try.

    Like

  27. “If this amendment takes place, I predict there will come a time when all religions have to accept Gay marriage into their doctrines”

    You're making a slippery slope fallacy. Also you are ignoring the religious rights of others.

    Some churches believe marriage is sacred and they don't believe in discriminating. Why should you're religious beliefs trump those of others?

    Like

  28. You're prediction that had Proposition 8 passed that religious organizations would have to possibly change their doctrine to permit homosexuals to marry within their churches couldn't be anymore of an excuse than your “I want my gay friends to be happy but I'm glad I don't have to make that decision.” Civil marriages occur every single day between men and women that have no religious influence at all and that is the human/civil right that Proposition 8 has taken away. No where would your right to worship have been impacted. It someone reminds me of people who don't mind interracial dating as long as it is their daughter who brings home the black man. It's another example of legislation passed to force people to keep a particular churches standards. Now that's the spirit of Christian love and kindness. Next year, Proposition 9, every Monday night has to be Family Home Evening. Families not spending time together are the real threat to America.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s