Taking the Long Term View on Marriage Equality

Intellectually, one can only sustain the orthodox position against marriage equality if one assumes that gays are not fully human or somehow defective. Unfortunately, biology contradicts that notion.

The Church is correct in asserting the freedom for the organization and its members. However, our liberty ends where it begins to take away the liberty of others.

Democracy is no license to discriminate minorities. The founding fathers referred to that as the tyranny of the majority.

If the brethren only spend two hours in the Harold B. Lee Library, they would learn that same gender attraction is a natural phenomenon, which includes species ranging from insects, reptiles, birds, and mammals, including all the primates.

The brethren would also learn that homosexuality is not any more problematic than heterosexuality. Sexuality is a challenge, to be sure, but sexual orientation does not exacerbate these problems in any observable way.

The brethren have tradition on their side but facts are a stubborn thing. In a free environment, this conflict cannot end any better than a struggle in favor of flat earth geography.

If one believes in God the creator then the creation is His most awesome revelation. Ignoring the scientific consensus in favor of debunked tradition puts short term political success ahead of long term self-interest, to say nothing of the suffering that we are causing our children and neighbors.

As disciples of Christ, we have an obligation to tend to the wounded in the gutters of society. The Savior formulated that obligation to illustrate the meaning of neighborly love, which is the very essence of Christianity.

There is no other commitment that can suspend neighborliness without compromising our discipleship.

7 thoughts on “Taking the Long Term View on Marriage Equality

  1. Ignoring the scientific consensus in favor of debunked tradition puts short term political success ahead of long term self-interest, to say nothing of the suffering that we are causing our children and neighbors.

    So true. I can’t help but wonder how this will affect the LDS church in the long run. Will they eventually come around to tolerating homosexuality, and somehow explain this battle away? Will the organization fail to adapt, and eventually wither away…?

  2. Hellmit: In my view your assertions are irresponsible and unsustainable.

    One surely need not assume that gays are substandard or non-human to believe that gay sexual relations hold a different place in history and culture different from heterosexuals. The difference is based on biology and not some sort of non-sense about gays being less than humans. Gay relations don’t beget children.

    Our liberty to define the kind of relations we believe that the State has an interest in protecting doesn’t end where our own views end. We have the right to organize and have our views heard and to persuade about the kinds of relationships that ought to be given state sanction. We do it all of the time. You don’t have a right to marry your sister, or to have relations with your daughter.

    Democracy leaves the deciding of large social concerns and issues to the electorate and not the few judges who think their opinion matters more than anyone else. Believe it or not, there are actually documents that are adopted as foundational that define these rights and not a group of folks who think their agenda matters more than the basic voice of the people or the language in the documents they interpret.

    Attraction is a natural function — but as long as there is a distinction between the “natural man” and the responsible person, between a person who just gives in to his or her passions and appetites and those who control them for the benefit of society, your point about this distinction if both juvenile and inane. The fact that someone might be attracted to your sister, or to small children, isn’t a justification for the State granting such relationships as a basic right.

    And you are on the wrong side of history on this one: 30 states have made it a part of their basic constitutional or statutory law already. Your assertion about debunked science is laughable — science doesn’t have any say about moral obligations. Just what is the “debunked” tradition you claim science has shown to be “debunked”?

    We can agree that we are called to love — but that doesn’t entail that we are called to require the State to protect just any relationship as marriage.

    As one who has admired your even-handed posts in the past, I am more than disappointed in the rhetoric and sheer nonsense of this post.

  3. Blake, many heterosexual marriages don’t beget children either. So unless you plan to take away marriage rights from all heterosexuals who don’t want to have children, this part of your argument doesn’t work.

    You seem to misunderstand what kind of gov’t we are supposed to have. Our type of democracy was not set up to be strictly majority rule. It’s meant to have the courts step in to protect the minority from the tyranny of the majority when necessary. In this sense, the CA Supreme Court did not over step their bounds, they did what they are designed to do.

    How does gays refraining from expressing their sexuality positively benefit society?

  4. One surely need not assume that gays are substandard or non-human to believe that gay sexual relations hold a different place in history and culture different from heterosexuals. The difference is based on biology and not some sort of non-sense about gays being less than humans. Gay relations don’t beget children.

    Blake, let’s not use the argument that marriage is only justified because of the ability to beget children. That seriously weakens your case. Plenty of heterosexual couples are childless, and I don’t see anyone fighting to take away their right to stay married.

    Democracy leaves the deciding of large social concerns and issues to the electorate and not the few judges who think their opinion matters more than anyone else. Believe it or not, there are actually documents that are adopted as foundational that define these rights and not a group of folks who think their agenda matters more than the basic voice of the people or the language in the documents they interpret.

    Judges are appointed to protect the minority from the “tyranny of the majority.” When the majority vote to remove the rights of a minority, as the Founding Fathers realized was possible in a democracy, the judicial branch of government has the responsibility to preserve these rights. Using the word “agenda” in describing the GLBT community reveals your own bias. Which minority would not seek to defend its basic right to marry?

    Attraction is a natural function — but as long as there is a distinction between the “natural man” and the responsible person, between a person who just gives in to his or her passions and appetites and those who control them for the benefit of society, your point about this distinction if both juvenile and inane. The fact that someone might be attracted to your sister, or to small children, isn’t a justification for the State granting such relationships as a basic right.

    The reason people are not allowed to marry their sister, or small children, or dog, is that these situations create victims. The risk of genetic disease caused by incestuous relationships is reason enough to not allow sibling marriages. And children are not capable of making an informed decision on the subject. Nor are they the beneficiaries of such a one-sided (and potentially abusive) relationship. Look there are plenty of reasons for opposing these relationships without having to dig into scripture or “tradition.”

    The problem here is that the definition of the “natural man” is a decidedly religious one, and should not be written into the constitution. And please, please stop stereotyping gays as people who “give into [their] passions and appetites” and claim that you, by contrast, “control them for the benefit of society.” This is a perfect example of the sentiment Hellmut was criticizing.

    The fact is, unless you have been less than forthcoming, you probably have never felt, much less had to control, any homosexual feelings. And how is a gay person who seeks to marry someone of his/her sex giving into his/her passions anymore than I was when I married my wife? Deciding to marry someone is a very principled, responsible way of demonstrating your love to someone — and the churches have now removed their right to do so. By not allowing gays to marry, the only option you leave them is to live in the same unwedded state that you so criticize as being responsible for society’s problems.

    And you are on the wrong side of history on this one: 30 states have made it a part of their basic constitutional or statutory law already.

    Your accusation of being on the wrong side of history is a few years premature, Blake. Proposition 8 passed by a much narrower margin than did Proposition 22 eight years ago. And there are legal ramifications which threaten to take this back to the courts. In a few decades, history books will describe this similar to the civil rights period of the 1960’s.

  5. Great points, Hellmut. In a decade or two, we will see the issue in court, and arguments such as Blake’s will be found wanting.

  6. Thanks for stopping by, Blake.

    I might agree with you if you could demonstrate how being gay is irresponsible.

    Marrying my sister would be irresponsible for genetic reasons. That applies to marrying my daughter as well. More importantly, the latter is inherently abusive in light of parental dominance over their children.

    By the way, the incest taboo is a biological phenomenon.

    There is no analogy with gays. Gays marrying each other does not constitute an empirically observable detriment.

    I agree with you that the state does have an interest in parenting. I would go a step further and observe that parents shoulder a burden that prevents them from competing on an even playing field in the market place. That may have policy implications with respect to the support that government and society shall extend to families with children.

    The fact that gays do not have children with each other poses no threat to anyone else. Therefore, it cannot justify the use of the coercive powers of the state to deny gays marriage equality or any other form of discrimination.

    No doubt, you have history and culture on your side. That’s the nature of prejudice, which is necessarily rooted in history and culture. Although human beings operate necessarily within a historical and cultural context, it does not follow that human beings are necessarily prejudiced against gays.

    On the contrary, as human beings we ought to strive to improve our culture by rendering it more humane. I do not agree with you that rights come from lists. Rights rest on the power of human beings to assert their humanity.

    Rights are a reflection of power.

    With respect to gays, we are witnessing how a traditionally persecuted group asserts itself. The most important asset in their struggle is a better understanding of human nature because the life sciences debunk homophobic prejudices.

    Clearly, you view the lack of children as a defect. That means that you view gays as defective and less than fully human. Your behavior validates my claims about the intellectual and ethical nature of your persuasion.

    By the way, there are thousands of gay parents who are doing a fine job. To date, every peer reviewed study of gay parents demonstrates that their children are well adjusted.

    I am afraid that your opinions do not withstand empirical inquiry. You fail to identify any detriment to the public or members thereof that stems from marriage equality.

    Therefore, you cannot justify the resort to state coercion for the purpose of excluding of human beings who do not share your religion.

    With respect to history in the sense of destiny, many liberal democracies have already recognized the equality of their gay residents and citizens. As elected officials and voters recognize the humanity of our gay children and neighbors, more governments will recognize it by including gays in all the liberties and obligations of citizenship and residency.

    California is a case in point. Proposition 22 passed with some 20%. Proposition 8 failed by merely 5. Young people who are less likely to obsess about traditional prejudice are overwhelmingly supporting marriage equality.

    It is only a matter of time until majorities flip. I am willing to bet you a three course meal that there will be marriage equality in California by 2020.

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