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In our opinion: Protecting rights of conscience

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  • postaledith Freeland, WA
    Aug. 23, 2013 2:58 p.m.

    This is for Anticounterculture: I have to disagree with your statement where you stated: "nobody is humiliating or browbeating or physically beating or maiming or killing those with same-gender attraction." It's happening, and it needs to stop.

  • Politico American Fork, UT
    Aug. 23, 2013 10:31 a.m.

    Religious liberty as defined in the first Amendment is fundamentally an individual right. Not a collective right. It is the right of conscience, and a person need not even be religious to exercise it. It protects the right to personal beliefs. The question then becomes "Can the government constrain a person to act against their own held beliefs without violating that person's right to hold those beliefs?". This is essentially the basis for the conscientious objector clause for military service. We have historically forced individuals to risk their lives in service to the country, but not at the expense of their own conscience. Could the government constrain a black photographer to photograph a mock lynching? Could the government constrain a Jewish photographer to photograph Neo-Nazi propaganda? This is much larger than simply a religious issue. It is an issue of basic conscience, and whether the Federal Government retains the power to craft laws which force individuals to violate their own conscience in the name of equality.

  • mark Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 15, 2012 10:02 p.m.

    Well, TheWalker, I understand you have religious believes on this issue, and I even understand those believes. But the question is, do you have anything other then your superstitions you can use to try to support your opinion?

    The reason I ask is because, like I said, if you are talking to people that share your religious believes you are fine, but if you are talking to people that do not share your superstitions you will not convince them.

    And that's key, because this issue will be settled in court not at the ballot box. As we've already said, you are not allowed, in this country, to vote away someone's rights. The courts are indicating that is how they see this issue, and if your side of the argument has nothing more then religious arguments to offer they are going to lose.

    Which is just fine with me, your side should lose. After all, who are you to think you have any right at all to tell someone else who they should love, who they should cherish? Who they should marry? Guess what? It's none of your business.

  • TheWalker Saratoga Springs, UT
    Feb. 14, 2012 10:37 p.m.

    The prophets, ancient and modern, have spoken clearly on the subject of homosexuality, and those of us that believe that the Bible was written by men inspired by their Creator do not take these words lightly.

    Although those that support a homosexual lifestyle would like to equate their cause with the civil rights movement, there are several significant differences, one of which is the fact that a person's skin color is determined at the moment of conception and cannot be changed.

    Although there are many who, through no fault of their own, are afflicted with same-sex attraction, acting on those feelings is a lifestyle which they choose of their own free will. Some, although certainly not all, have been able to change their sexual orientation.

    A homosexual lifestyle, like similar sins relating to the abuse of the powers of procreation, is condemned as a sin of immense moral magnitude by every prophet that has spoken on the subject. The majority of Americans, be they Christian, Jew, or Moslem, share these core beliefs.

    Attempting to force people to conform to a standard that violates their basic religious tenets will fracture this nation in a way that could easily lead to the destruction of our country.

  • From Ted's Head Orem, UT
    Feb. 14, 2012 9:47 p.m.

    Years ago I figured that same-sex marriage was likely going to be the law of the land and it was just a matter of time. As such I was curious about the LDS Church's opposition as I thought that Church leaders must certainly have seen the same eventuality. I understand the doctrine and history well enough to get that sometimes a stand is made (or a speech delivered) that resulted from the desire to go on record ("rid one's garments of the blood of this generation" as having opposed a undesirable action. Still, I wondered if there might be more to this than just "crying repentance." It seems possible that the day could arrive when sexual orientation is a protected class and as such there could be limitations on speech or actions of individuals or churches who believe that homosexual behavior is "sinful." I seem to recall some of the LDS Church leaders speaking on this issue and it would support the reasoning behind opposing same-sex marriages, akin to attempting to "hold the line" against an advancing enemy force. This is a battle that the LDS Church will surely lose, as foretold by their own scriptures...but one they must continue to fight.

  • mark Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 14, 2012 6:57 p.m.

    TheWalker says: The First Presidency has clearly stated the following: . . .

    Well, that may very well be. But what does that have to do with the discussion? I don't follow the religion you apparently do. I don't believe in superstition and if your "First Presidency" believes in calamities foretold of old that has nothing to do with me. If you want to believe in superstitions, by all means do, but don't expect it to have any relevancy to the conversation. Unless, of course you are only talking to those that believe as you do. But it won't convince those that don't.

    You also say, ". As a photographer, or medical professional, or adoption agency, I have to right to refuse to act in a way that violates my conscience, and to do so without fear of retribution.

    You absolutely do not have the right to refuse to act, and hold certain jobs. For instance, if you are a paramedic, you cannot determine who you treat and who you do not, you must treat everyone, no matter what your personal religious believes are.

    For instance, if you are a devout practicing Christian Scientist, and you are working in the medical profession, for instance as an ER doc, or a paramedic, and you attempt to treat a patient with prayer instead of medical interventions not only will you be fired, but you most likely will face lawsuits (that you will lose) as well as possibly criminal charges if your lack of action, led to harm. As a medical professional you have an obligation to act. And you cannot refuse to act based on religious , or any other, believe. Don't believe me? Become a first responder, and then try to not act on a scene based on religious believes and see what happens.

    'Enforcement of civil rights never violated anyone's religious beliefs, nor did it run counter to the teachings of the ancient and modern prophets."

    Are you sure? And so what? We do not base our laws, nor our rights, in this country on your religious believes, no matter what you think.

  • TheWalker Saratoga Springs, UT
    Feb. 14, 2012 5:14 p.m.

    Religious freedom, the right to act in accordance to your religious beliefs, encompasses all aspects of our lives. As a photographer, or medical professional, or adoption agency, I have to right to refuse to act in a way that violates my conscience, and to do so without fear of retribution.

    Although those that support a homosexual lifestyle would like to draw a similarity between their cause and the civil rights movement, there is (at least) one distinct difference. Enforcement of civil rights never violated anyone's religious beliefs, nor did it run counter to the teachings of the ancient and modern prophets.

    The First Presidency has clearly stated the following:

    'The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan... Furthermore, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.'

    These words are echoed by every prophet, ancient and modern, that has spoken on the subject. Attempting to force people to conform to a standard that violates their core beliefs will fracture this nation in a way that could easily lead to the destruction of our country.

  • lds4gaymarriage Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 13, 2012 10:37 p.m.

    Utes Fan
    What good is freedom of religion if the individual cannot live it outside of the religious edifice?

    LDS4
    They ARE free to live it outside of their churches. No one is forcing Christians to commit adultery or drink coffee. They simply need to obey the law. Jesus talked about "rendering unto Caesar that which is Caesar's". In our SECULAR society, the CIVIL rights granted to people and enforced by the CIVIL government definitionally need to be rendered unto Caesar (government). If the government says that a business can't discriminate and you elect, of your own free will and choice, to open a business, then you agree to be subject to the kings, rulers, presidents, magistrates, etc...in honoring and obeying the law. Don't try to hide behind your religious beliefs when you commit a crime.

    Tekakaromatagi
    Geez, I just got an order from the interior minister of a banana republic for 100 cattle prods. It seems they will be used for torture, should I discriminate against him or not?
    LDS4
    There is no law saying that you must sell them to the Generalisimo.

    T
    Or I am a mutual fund and I am registered with the SEC. I would like to have a socially responsible fund that won't invest in Israeli stocks. But that would be discriminatory.
    LDS4
    There is no SEC law that requires you to invest in Israeli stocks. There IS a law in NM that DOES say that you can't discriminate.

    USAlover
    The big question is if there's going to be a law that says if I'm grossed-out by two dudes kissing, then I have to pay restitution to the state?
    LDS4
    No, there is more likely to be a law that would fine the guys but WOULD allow man-woman PDA. Also, NO ONE has a right to NOT be offended.

    1aggie
    As I noted in my earlier post, this weakness was evident at trial; virtually no evidence showing harm to heterosexuals is in the trial record.
    LDS4
    Not only did they have extremely weak arguments, but they filed suit to prevent the public from hearing the recordings of the trial and see just how weak they really are. This gives them "plausible deniability" and they came blame their losses on "activist judges". Pathetic!

  • Pagan Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 13, 2012 3:06 p.m.

    'With same-sex marriage being legal for so long now in so many countries and states (literally millions of people live in jurisdictions where same-sex marriage has been legal for many years) one would think its detractors would be able to come up with thousands of real-world instances of harm caused to heterosexuals.' - 1aggie | 2:26 p.m. Feb. 13, 2012

    Let me support this.

    ** 'After 5 Years of Legal Gay Marriage, Massachusetts still has the lowest state divorce rate...' - Bruce Wilson - AlterNet - 08/24/09

    This data was collected from the 'National Center for Vital Statistics.'

    The 'slippery slope' arguments against gay marriage are fiction.

    Flights of fancy used to deny factual legal protections to gay and lesbian Americans.

    As such, they are not worthy of consideration.

    As, no one can PROVE any of the 'harm' that gay marriage will do, to our country.

  • 1aggie SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Feb. 13, 2012 2:26 p.m.

    @USAlover

    When you purport to rebut a position, it is customary to actually address the issue or position being rebutted (rather than raising a new point). Your assertion regarding democratic votes has nothing whatsoever to do with my comment about the lack of legal arguments against same-sex marriage.

    That said, your point is incorrect. There are many forms of democracy and many "democratic votes" around the world have resulted in same-sex marriage being legalized.

    With same-sex marriage being legal for so long now in so many countries and states (literally millions of people live in jurisdictions where same-sex marriage has been legal for many years) one would think its detractors would be able to come up with thousands of real-world instances of harm caused to heterosexuals. The fact that a lame photography anecdote is being discussed illustrates the weakness of the arguments against same-sex marriage. As I noted in my earlier post, this weakness was evident at trial; virtually no evidence showing harm to heterosexuals is in the trial record.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    Feb. 13, 2012 1:27 p.m.

    According to SLC law, backed by the LDS church, landlords and employers can't discriminate based on sexual orientation ie. their "right of conscience" isn't protected. But photographers, etc. can exercise their "right of conscience?" Are rights going to be defined by industry?

    The 1959 CA Unruh Civil Rights Act states:
    "All persons within the jurisdiction of this state are free and equal, and no matter what their sex, race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, disability, medical condition, marital status, or sexual orientation (added later) are entitled to the full and equal accommodations, advantages, facilities, privileges, or services in all business establishments of every kind whatsoever."

    (California recently held that a private school's was not covered by the Act, because it was not a business. (A school had expelled 2 students who were perceived as bisexual.) "Although the fact the School is nonprofit is not controlling, this does mean it should not be deemed a business unless it has some significant resemblance to an ordinary for-profit business.")

    Federal and state laws protect Drs. who don't want to perform abortions. There are various other laws in states regarding pharmacies. The public remains ignorant on these issues because the media does nothing to educate.

  • Happy Valley Heretic Orem, UT
    Feb. 13, 2012 1:15 p.m.

    How many women in the LDS church hold the priesthood since The ERA in 1972?
    Yeah, your arguments about forcing religions to Not discriminate just doesn't hold water.
    Can religious morals be forced upon Non-Believers, all the time, everyday here behind the zion curtain.

    Funny, how Wars are promoted as "moral" by the religious right,
    when clearly the man christianity is based on said they Aren't.

  • Pagan Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 13, 2012 1:11 p.m.

    'Proper, good, and wholesome marriage will always be between a man and a woman.' - very concerned | 9:06 a.m. Feb. 13, 2012

    Funniest post on this story.

    As:

    ** 'Gingrich Says He Cheated on His Wife' - AP - Published by NY Times - 03/09/07

    ** (Arnold) 'Schwarzenegger, Who Spoke Out Against Single Mothers and Vetoed Gay Marriage Bills, Fathered Child Out of Wedlock' - By Julianne Escobedo Shepherd - Alter Net - 05/17/11

    ** 'Sen. Vitter Apologizes for Number Showing Up on Phone Records of Alleged Prostitution Ring' - Fox News - 07/10/07

    ** '(Mark) Sanford Admits Affair After Secret Argentina Trip' - 06/24/09 - Fox News

    ** 'Gingrich pressed on affair' - 02/23/11 - CNN

    "You adamantly oppose gay rights... but you've also been married three times and admitted to having an affair with your current wife while you were still married to your second," Friedman said....' - article

    A child needs a mother and a father?

    2 word reply, maybe you have heard of her:

    Bristol. Palin.

    LGBT are not 'harming' straight marriage.

    Straight marriage, is.

    **'After 5 Years of Legal Gay Marriage, Massachusetts still has the lowest state divorce rate...' - Bruce Wilson - AlterNet - 08/24/09

  • Pagan Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 13, 2012 1:00 p.m.

    'If the often reported "public support" of gay marriage is valid, why has every proposed vote FAILED at the election box!' - USAlover | 11:26 a.m. Feb. 13, 2012

    Answer?

    Dollars.

    **'LDS Church's in-kind donations to Prop. 8 total $190K' - By Lynn Arave - By Dsnews - 02/03/09

    "Proposition 8 was a ballot measure in California last November that changed the state constitution to restrict the definition of marriage to opposite-sex couples and eliminated same-sex couples' right to marry." article

    **'Mormon Church agrees to pay small fine for mistake that led to late report of contributions in Prop. 8 campaign' - By Scott Taylor - By DSnews - 06/09/10

    Many against gay marriage use the Bible and God to justify their stance against gay marriage, right?

    If this was true...

    why did they need ANY money to 'defend' marriage?

    Any effort, any money, any time?

    Because...

    'If God didn't create gays, there wouldn't BE any.'

    And please, don't claim 'Satan Made gays.'

    God made Satan, too.

  • Pagan Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 13, 2012 12:49 p.m.

    ** 'Romney Maintained Massachusetts Contraception Requirement That Mirrors Obamas Rule' - By Igor Volsky - Think Progress - 02/07/12

    'In 2002 the very same year Romney campaigned for governor of Massachusetts the state enacted a contraceptive equity law that REQUIRED insurers that provide outpatient benefits to cover hormone replacement therapy and ALL FDA-approved contraceptive methods.' article

  • Furry1993 Clearfield, UT
    Feb. 13, 2012 12:34 p.m.

    To USAlover | 11:26 a.m

    Pretty much every civil rights issue would have been defeated at the ballot box at the time it came into force and effect. Why? Because the power brokers of the day lost some of their power and influence when other people's civil rights were protected -- the power brokers lost the ability to discriminate and to run roughshod over those in the minority they had previously been able to bully. That's why people's civil rights properly are NOT, and should not be, subject to being voted upon.

  • USAlover Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 13, 2012 11:26 a.m.

    @ 1aggie,

    Your comment: "The proponents of Prop 8 had their day in court and failed to put forth any credible arguments supporting their position. So I don't know why anybody should be surprised that they lost (and continue to lose). If the often reported "consequences" of gay marriage are valid, why were they not put forth and defended at trial?"

    My rebuttal: The antagonists of Prop 8 had their day at the ballot box and failed to put forth any credible majority supporting their position. So I don't know why anybody should be surprised that they lost the state vote (and every other democratic vote on gay marriage). If the often reported "public support" of gay marriage is valid, why has every proposed vote FAILED at the election box!

  • USAlover Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 13, 2012 10:44 a.m.

    The big question is if there's going to be a law that says if I'm grossed-out by two dudes kissing, then I have to pay restitution to the state?

    Those photographers who can be sued if they don't capture Steve and Larry's wedding on film, have rights of conscience...and indigestion. America is losing her mind!

  • USAlover Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 13, 2012 10:35 a.m.

    The Constitution was written for a moral people. The moment the same people become immoral and relativist, the same Constitution will sustain them in immorality.

    As much as I know the deterioration of the traditional family will undermine society, I can't defend my stance with only an appeal to the Constitution. There are other laws that govern freedom and prosperity and happiness that the Constitution doesn't include and the people wouldn't understand.

  • very concerned Sandy, UT
    Feb. 13, 2012 9:06 a.m.

    I believe these are inappropriate and unfair (though maybe sincere) rulings coming down from courts in San Francisco and elsewhere. If the GLBT community cannot predict where this is leading, then perhaps they donât want to admit their true intentions. They can see that the encroachment on religious liberties is headed decidedly in their favor, yet they imply we have nothing to to be concerned about. They should be able to see â as well as I can â the end of the road, at which religions are, in effect, shut down until they have no legal way to practice their religion as they have seen fit for hundreds of years.

    About comparing the rights of marriage with civil rights of African Americans, I respectfully propose they are two different things. One WILL NEVER change. Proper, good, and wholesome marriage will always be between a man and a woman. The other (civil rights for African Americans) NEEDED to be changed.

    But I will say that traditional marriage and civil rights for different races are similar in at least one way. They both need to be protected.

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    Feb. 13, 2012 8:02 a.m.

    Ute fan.."Also, the pro-gay marriage supporters don't support the law that marriage is between a man and a woman, as is their right to propose changes to those laws - but when a photographer or hotel owner challenges the interpretation of discrimination laws, the pro-gay supporters don't allow that challenge". Once again the hallowed conservative principle of "if I disagree with you I'm promoting a moral challenge..if you disagree with me you are denying me my right" How have the gay rights supporters denied non supporters their right to question? The only cases I'm aware of are lawsuits brought by pro gay rights supporters when non supporters have deliberatly disobyed exsisting laws.

    When prop 8 was being pushed no one said they didn't have the right to propose the proposition. Pro gay rights groups fought against it as was their right, and then questioned it's constitutionality, which was their right also.

  • 1aggie SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Feb. 13, 2012 7:59 a.m.

    The proponents of Prop 8 had their day in court and failed to put forth any credible arguments supporting their position. So I don't know why anybody should be surprised that they lost (and continue to lose). If the often reported "consequences" of gay marriage are valid, why were they not put forth and defended at trial?

  • Tekakaromatagi Dammam, Saudi Arabia
    Feb. 13, 2012 7:30 a.m.

    I have seen a lot of poverty created by out of wedlock births. Marriage is society's way to promote responsible procreation. So if I am a photographer and a gay couple want to get married, can I turn them down because of my political views that I do not want to participate in diluting an important societal institution?

    How, with the first amendment is it OK for me to turn them down for political reasons, but not for religious reasons?

    Geez, I just got an order from the interior minister of a banana republic for 100 cattle prods. It seems they will be used for torture, should I discriminate against him or not? Or I am a mutual fund and I am registered with the SEC. I would like to have a socially responsible fund that won't invest in Israeli stocks. But that would be discriminatory. After all we should not bring on our own private views into the public sphere. If a settler in the West Bank with dual citizenship is oppressing Palestinians he could object that a public licensed organization, my mutual fund, is promoting a private view.

  • my slc Newport Beach, CA
    Feb. 12, 2012 9:13 p.m.

    I am deeply saddened by this Deseret News editorial. One important item they have failed to mention is that Proposition 8 took the right of some 18,000 couples away. I am one of those who were legally married in that window.

    I ask all of those opposed of this decision to review the Proposition 8 ruling by the 8th District Court:

    Because under California statuary law, same sex couples had all the rights of opposite-sex couples, regardless of their marital status, all parties agree that Proposition 8 had one effect only. It stripped same-sex couples of the ability they preciously possessed to obtain from the state.the right to obtain and use the designation to describe their relationships. Nothing more, nothing less.

    All Proposition 8 accomplished was to take away from same sex couples was the right to be granted marriage licensesProp, 8 serves no purpose, and has no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California.

  • Utes Fan Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 12, 2012 7:41 p.m.

    People are saying that a hotel owner or photographer cannot discriminate against a gay wedding and equating that to preventing a black man entering a restaurant. A wedding does not equate to an individual person. I wouldn't expect a Christian photographer to be forced to photograph a person in the nude, likewise I wouldn't expect that photographer to photograph a gay wedding if she chose not to. Also, equating the religious freedom of these individuals to white-supremacists is offensive and simply avoids the real issues. What good is freedom of religion if the individual cannot live it outside of the religious edifice?

    "The discrimination law requires it" is the expected response from the pro-gay marriage side. However, as was pointed out in the other article, the discrimination laws did not address gay marriage when they were put in place, and the exact interpretation has been rather fuzzy - therefore I don't blame a photographer or hotel owner for challenging it. Also, the pro-gay marriage supporters don't support the law that marriage is between a man and a woman, as is their right to propose changes to those laws - but when a photographer or hotel owner challenges the interpretation of discrimination laws, the pro-gay supporters don't allow that challenge - they want to challenge the laws that they don't like but cry "bigotry" and "hatred" to others who feel the current interpretation of the discrimination laws as unjust. Double standard here.

    Also, the legalization of gay marriage and discrimination and the forcing of compliance to those laws is an open-ended issue: What groups will demand state recognition of their marriage(s) in the future? What will be considered discrimination by churches, businesses, organizations? The imagination is the limit, and as the years and decades go on, I suspect that many challenges to marriage and discrimination will take place that are considered shocking or out-of-ordinary today, which will further the confusion and, unfortunately, the freedom of us all and step us closer to totalitarian rule - the only way to force recognition of these laws. And, I suspect, freedom of an individual's expression of religion and even churches themselves will find their freedom jeopardized.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    Feb. 12, 2012 6:51 p.m.

    If you don't want to do business with people you find abhorrent, then it is best to not be in business.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    Feb. 12, 2012 5:59 p.m.

    So let me get this straight, anti-gay/lesbian folks are now victims of discrimination? Spare me.

    The problem here is that some think they are religious and everyone who does not agree with their religious views is anti-religious. They want special privileges for themselves but will deny the same for those of other views. They want protection from government intervention with their activities, but support government intervention in the lives of others. I am troubled by this self-serving hypocrisy. It is ultimately anti-freedom for all. It is evident that they would actually support state-supported religion as long as it is theirs, despite their own history and past teachings.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    Feb. 12, 2012 5:10 p.m.

    Jesus commanded us to love one another and not to judge. Jesus himself did little judging during his ministry. His harshest words, in fact, were for the religious authorities at the time.

    My "rights of conscience" tells me to extend love and service to all and leave the judging to Him.

    Families come in all shapes and sizes but what is most important is the love, care and nurturing of children. Some of the most dysfunctional, destructive homes look, from the outside as the most traditional.

    The Prop 8 defenders had ample opportunity to present evidence of harm to children, harm to society and harm to family. Apparently they lacked evidence. So, now the defense is "because I believe it, so be it." But one cannot/should not simply deny civil rights to people based on personal beliefs. History has shown that often, those personal beliefs were in error.

  • Mike in Texas Cedar City, Utah
    Feb. 12, 2012 4:04 p.m.

    Did the DMN editorial staff listen to the president? The notion that he backed away from the original program is just right wing political spin. You just let your right wing bias out of the bag again DMN. The president said that the intent was always to modify the program over the next year to insure that religious sensibilities were not unduly compromised. The DMN news editorial staff once again is bird flying with only one wing. The one on the right.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Feb. 12, 2012 2:37 p.m.

    J Thompson asks: Have religions imposed their will on government?

    Yes.

    On our money, In God We Trust.

    In many public, government meetings and sporting events, with an opening prayer.

    Exemption from some taxes and some laws.

    Religious advertising in the public square, buildings and highways.

    Religious participation in the ownership and control of business activity. Religious hospitals charge for their service. Religious retail outlets sell donated merchandise .

    Paid political lobbyists.

    More, most probable.

  • Henry Drummond San Jose, CA
    Feb. 12, 2012 1:41 p.m.

    The editorial calls for exemptions for religious people from having to follow discrimination rules. Hasn't that already happened? The Civil Rights Act of 1964 did not force Mormons to accept blacks into their priesthood or to marry them in Mormon temples. Neither will gay marriage laws. Many of the incidents the editorial and accompanying article refer to involve public funds. Why should people of conscious be allowed to discriminate in how they spend tax dollars? I find it very disappointing that the Deseret News is so reluctant to deal with the full story. Everyone is certainly entitled to their own opinion, but everyone is not entitled to their own set of facts.

  • J Thompson SPRINGVILLE, UT
    Feb. 12, 2012 12:09 p.m.

    Have religions imposed their will on government? Has the government in America been directed to donate "tithes and offerings" to a state church, as is done in most of the countries of Europe? Does the "King" receive council from the "Priest" as has been the way governments have operated for centuries in Europe?

    Too many times, those who have no use for religion make absurd claims that have no basis in fact. They want anything that is found in both religion and in government to be abolished, either from religion or from government. They want churches to be taxed, but they still want churches to feed, clothe and house the poor. They want hospitals to be forced to provide abortions and to provide contraceptives and abortifiacants to patients and to employees, but they still want establishments of religions to fund those hospitals to heal the sick who have no means to pay for that care.

    Establishments of religion do not dictate to the U.S. Government except when the U.S. Government refuses to acknowledge that the U.S. Constitution forbids the U.S. Government from interfering with establishments of religion.

  • Florien Wineriter Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Feb. 12, 2012 11:53 a.m.

    The separation of our religious life and our secular life has been an intense issue in our nation since the confederation was disolved nd we became a Federation. Most of the conflicting views have been about the intrusion of organized relgioous views into our secular lives. The most obvious was prohibtion. We do need continuous vigilence to keep government and religion from interferring with and/or invading each others jurisdiction.
    Early in human history marriage was souly a religious ceremony. Other marriages were simply the mutual agreement of people to cohabitate and raise a family. As society became more complex marriage became both a secular law and a religious ceremony. Too often religions have imposed their will on government to make the marriage ceremony and marriage laws primarily religious. It has been an asidious venture to impose religious authority in our secular lives. Continous vigilence is the price of liberty from both civil authority and religious authority.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Feb. 12, 2012 11:45 a.m.

    anticounterculture.

    If a man uses a hammer to build houses and another man uses hammer to make shoes, does either man have the right to say the other cannot do so? Does the use of a hammer of either man take away the from the usefulness of the hammer to the other?

    If two men call their union a marriage, does that change or limit the right to a religious man to hold the marriage of a man and women as sanctified by his God?

    If a man chooses not to believe as the religious man believes, how does that limit or control what the religious man is able to believe.

    If a religious man demands that all men must believe as he believes, is freedom of religion promoted or diminished?

    And as my body begins to fail, this mental jousting is all that is left. Cheers for the DS and internet for allowing opinions.

  • J Thompson SPRINGVILLE, UT
    Feb. 12, 2012 11:43 a.m.

    The issue is not equality under the law, as some would say, but the morality of the people who demand that their acts be sanctioned by government.

    When the morality of a people declines to the extent that marriage between a man and a woman become fodder for 3% of the people to demand that marriage be redefined and that the institution of marriage be annulled so that they can feel good about their own actions and activity, then that people has become so degraded and so corrupted that the conscience of that people no longer guides them to know right from wrong.

    Children have to be taught to pick wrong over right. Instinctively, they choose to do the right thing. They are taught to be selfish. They are taught to be unkind. They are taught to self-gratify themselves sexually. They are taught to do those things by ADULTS who have lost their moral compass.

    Now, supposed adults constantly tell us that marriage is not sacred, that children can be indoctrinated in a same-sex household, that anything goes, as long as they can find a judge that agrees with their views.

    Moral people do not behave immorally.

  • Henry Drummond San Jose, CA
    Feb. 12, 2012 11:28 a.m.

    It seems the Deseret News is confusing the public sphere and the private sphere. Here are some examples:

    1. Marriage:

    In the private sphere there is a ceremony to "solemnize" civil marriage. In the Mormon Church it is very difficult to qualify for such a ceremony known as a "Temple Marriage." In fact, up until 1878, blacks were forbidden from having a Temple Marriage under any circumstances.

    In the public sphere marriage is a contract providing legal benefits. Nobody would think of denying someone a civil marriage just because they did not qualify for a Mormon temple marriage. Likewise it would be improper for the public sphere to dictate who the Mormons should invite to their temple ceremony. And in fact, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 notwithstanding, nobody eve forced the Mormon Church to perform temple marriages for blacks.

    2. Adoption

    The Deseret News has repeatedly told the story of how the Catholic Church in Illinois was required by law to provide adoption services for homosexuals. They consistently fail to note, however that the Catholic Church was taking state tax dollars to run their agency. That made them a public adoption agency, not a private adoption agency. The Deseret News also fails to note that LDS Social Services in Illinois and other states, does not take public money. As a private adoption service they have never been required to place children with homosexuals, non-Mormons, or others who they would have to accommodate if they were a public adoption agency.

    3. Weddings
    The Deseret News has continued to run the story of a religious organization in Ocean Grove, New Jersey that was told they could not refuse to make an open air pavilion available to a homosexual couple for a marriage ceremony. Once again the Deseret News fails to note the organization was given special tax exemptions by the State by agreeing to make the site available to the public. By forgoing these public benefits, they are now able to reserve the pavilion for whoever they wish.

    4. Public Services
    The Deseret News has published stories of how business owners were fined for refusing to provide their services to homosexuals. They fail to note that businesses that provide public services operate in the public sphere. By doing so they receive tax deductions for the cost of operating their business and qualify for other benefits. In return they have follow the rules of the the public sphere that include health codes, building codes, and non-discrimination laws. Do you really believe for one minute that this newspaper would defend an Evangelical Christian for refusing to rent an apartment to Mormons because it offended his religious sensibilities?

    What is really at play here is that the Deseret News wants to mix the public and the private sphere when it suits their purpose. They not only want the public sphere to support their definition of marriage, but to enforce it as well. They claim it is the private sphere that is intruding on their religious rights. When you look at all the facts however, it appears the exact opposite is the case.

  • JustAnotherAverageGuy Holladay, UT
    Feb. 12, 2012 10:45 a.m.

    I compare this and the specific instances cited in the other article to the claim of consciencious objection to serving in the military. How is it right for the government to allow one to exempt oneself from military service, and then on the other hand compel one engaged in his/her own private business to provide services to someone who violates their conscience?

    Mr Bauman mentions the impact of public subsidy in the case of the wedding pavilion. I can see that as being somewhat relevant (although I personally think it violates the separation clause...), but the New Mexico photographers are receiving no such subsidy, and so should they not be allowed to conduct business with whomever they choose, at their own peril or profit?

    Sticky issue to be sure.

  • a bit of reality Shawnee Mission, KS
    Feb. 12, 2012 10:19 a.m.

    Living in a pluralistic society always entails compromise, and the way it works is that individuals need to either comply with the law or suffer the consequences of conscientiously objecting. Allowing people to be exempt from the law because of religiously-motivated disaporval of the law is a slippery slope towards lawless anarchy.

    For example, my deeply held religious convictions dictate that war and the mercenary military industrial complex that profits from it are wrong. Yet, every year THOUSANDS of the tax dollars that I myself pay finance these endeavors. If the Deseret News isnât furious about my conscious being violated over the government forcing me to finance a war machine, itâs hard to take them seriously when theyâre indignant about the government saying a professional photographer has to occasionally accept work taking photographs of a wedding ceremony of which they donât approve.

  • anticounterculture Salt Lake City, Utah
    Feb. 12, 2012 10:10 a.m.

    Whoa there. Now hang on Ultra Bob. Think about what you are saying about not infringing on the rights and freedoms of others.

    Don't you think that imposing one's will regarding religious-based morals cuts both ways here? How is it okay for a proponent of same-sex marriage to foist his or her will upon somebody that is religiously opposed to such a marriage? Isn't that an example of infringing on religious freedom?

    Let's make it clear here: nobody is humiliating or browbeating or physically beating or maiming or killing those with same-gender attraction. Those with religious convictions opposing same-gender marriage are doing so out of conviction and adherence to their religion, and out of the inherent desire to protect the sanctity of marriage.

    And here is my argument to your opinion that the protection of the first amendment for religious freedom does not apply: my opinion is that it does apply.

    These are opinions. Don't go rendering your opinion as though it were a statement of supported and accepted fact. Constitutional principles will be argued and interpreted through time immemorial. Let's not confuse opinion with fact.

    Thanks for your opinion.

  • 10CC Bountiful, UT
    Feb. 12, 2012 9:42 a.m.

    We've always had the tension between religious freedom and "rights of conscience" in this nation. Whose rights are predominant when a child is seriously injured in car accident and needs blood transfusion... but the parents are Jehovah's Witnesses and are opposed to that medical treatment because of their religious beliefs?

    The first child abuse cases in our country were prosecuted using animal cruelty laws, because society was opposed to interfering in intra-family concerns, it was outside the role of government.

    Rights of conscience were at issue when the Civil Rights Act was debated and passed, and certainly when interracial marriages were banned. Who was right - the interracial couple that wanted to be married, or the principled wedding vendor or hotel owner who refused to provide his public service to them?

    The great irony is seeing so many Utah conservatives eager to exercise their rights of conscience against gays, after the US government directly outlawed a sacred LDS institution, one that was proclaimed to be God's law, an everlasting covenant, etc.

    Which way is it?

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Feb. 12, 2012 9:38 a.m.

    Adult American citizens should have the right and freedom to do and be anything they please so long as they do not infringe on the rights and freedoms of others.

    When religious people seek to impose their beliefs on the general population many of whom do not wish those beliefs, the religious people are overstepping the bounds of the American creed and thus the protection of the first amendment for religious freedom does not apply.

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    Feb. 12, 2012 8:59 a.m.

    "Honoring procreation and conjugal acts of unifying love as sacred, churches have long played a central role in solemnizing marriage,"..but not the only role. In fact even in order to have a reckognized marriage in a church one needs a license from the state so..marriage is in the end a state function. Why then does the state need to bow to the definitions of the churches.

    I don't think a church should be forced to perform a marriage they don't approve of because it is a sacrament..however a church should not be able to define who gets married outside the bounds of their believers.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Feb. 12, 2012 8:35 a.m.

    The definition of marriage has no effect on religious freedom. Rights of conscience are, as religion should be, individual. Not group. If your church wants to marginalise gays fine, but don't expect our society as a whole to buy in. That gay people have been getting married and are married has in no way affected my marriage.

  • Furry1993 Clearfield, UT
    Feb. 12, 2012 7:54 a.m.

    What's sad is that this exact same editorial could have been written and published 40 or so years ago, only the subject of the "rights of conscience" would have been mixed race marriage and racial segregation. We were wrong then. Have we learned anything? It sure doesn't look like it.

  • Roland Kayser Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Feb. 12, 2012 7:53 a.m.

    The appellate court's decision is actually quite narrow. The ruling applies only to states that have already made same sex marriage legal. It says that the states cannot rescind that right unless they show a compelling legal reason to do so. Simple dislike of homosexuality was not considered to be a compelling reason.

  • Blue Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 12, 2012 5:41 a.m.

    Your privately held religious beliefs do not excuse a violation of other peoples' constitutionally guaranteed rights.

    If the wedding photographer mentioned in your main piece on this subject today had refused to photograph a black or a Jewish couple's wedding, would this newspaper champion racial and religious bigotry as a "right of conscience?"

    The parallels between discrimination against people because of their race or religion and the discrimination described today against people because of their sexual orientation is exact.

    Moreover, the fact that the _only_ defense offered for these discriminatory behaviors is religious speaks volumes about the intellectual emptiness of their position.

    The simple fact is that no rational basis exists for treating gay and lesbian couple as second-class citizens. What this newspaper calls a "right of conscience" is in fact nothing more than a claim to a right to ignore reality and the Bill of Rights to the detriment of other American citizens.

    That is a morally and legally doomed position for this newspaper to take.

  • Caprice PROVIDENCE, UT
    Feb. 12, 2012 4:06 a.m.

    Brilliant editorial. I loved every word.

  • Joe Bauman Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 12, 2012 1:36 a.m.

    Religious freedom is a valid concern, but it only applies within the a private context, that of religious practices. It does not give individuals the right to discriminate in a non-religious context, such as the photography dispute cited in they article by Ms. Israelsen-Hartley's that is mentioned in the editorial. If a realtor was a member of a white-supremacy group calling itself a religion -- and there have been such groups -- he would not have any right to refuse to sell a home to a black person. Religious freedom is irrelevant as a basis to refuse legitimate services to others, in a business context. In another false comparison brought up in the article, a Methodist church opposed gay people using its pavilion -- when the pavilion had what the article calls a "state-provided tax exemption for public areas of recreation or conservation." Notice the word "public" -- notice the fact that the tax break is financed by every taxpayer in that state, gay or straight. If the church did not want the pavilion to be open to all members of the public, it should not have accepted the tax exemption for its use as a public place. Because it chose to discriminate it lost that exemption. This has nothing to do with freedom of religion. The Methodist church can continue its discriminatory practices but has to do it on its own nickle, without the public subsidy. What makes this country so amazing is that we are supposed to guarantee freedom for all; we publicly acknowledge that all people are created equal. It's not just all whites or all men, it's everybody. All are endowed with equal rights to the pursuit of happiness in the pubic setting. The same rules do not apply in a strictly religious -- that is, private -- setting, as with events within a church. But they do apply to business, housing, public property and all other public purposes. The Deseret News should not confuse this emotional debate by conflating religions freedom with a claimed right to discriminate in a non-religious setting.