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Letter: Public versus private

Published: Saturday, Aug. 9 2014 12:05 a.m. MDT

Drew Clark argued in his column that Utah and states generally should have the constitutional authority to maintain the traditional definition of marriage to include only opposite-sex couples (‘Lawrence and Windsor won’t trump Utah marriage laws,” July 27). However, he made clear that in his view moral questions regarding sexual relations outside of traditional marriage are not relevant considerations for constitutional or public policy decisions regarding marriage and sex. Rather, he argued that sexual practices should be generally off limits to governmental regulation because they are “private” activities, while government regulation of marriage is proper because it is a “public” concern.

The better foundation for the proper delineation of competing interests is the idea that people are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable natural rights that need to be protected.

The amoral public versus private distinction as a foundation principle for determining the proper role of government is certainly not what the father of the country, George Washington, had in mind. In his First Inaugural Address he declared that “the foundations of our national policy will be laid in the pure and immutable principles of private morality … since there is no truth more thoroughly established than that there exists in the economy and course of nature, an indissoluble union between virtue and happiness …”

Benjamin Davis

Cottonwood Heights

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