Comments about ‘In our opinion: Needless confusion’

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Published: Tuesday, Sept. 17 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Las Vegas, NV

Let me see if I understand the second argument of this article: The Obama administration should basically stop trying to define marriage for the states because domestic relationships are a states' rights issue, e.g., these matters have traditionally been governed at the state and local levels, etc. Based on that logic, I'm fairly confident that when the religious right came asking the LDS church for its support in getting DOMA passed in 1996, I'll bet the church declined the invitation on these grounds and stated it did not support a federal definition that said marriage is only between a man and a woman. Isn't that how it went down? As to the other argument, yes, sometimes the big bad federal government (and "activist" judges) have to step in and protect unpopular minorities from being discriminated against by state laws. See generally Jim Crow laws, anti-miscegenation laws, Prop 8, etc.

Ogden, UT

The U.S. Constitution provides:

Section 1 - Each State to Honor all others

Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State.

Nothing in the article says that the government is trying to tell the states what marriage laws they can enact, just that they have to recognize marriages performed and allowed in other states. The issues mentioned in this article show that the U.S. Government is adhering to the quoted constitutional provision and requiring the states to do the same. In other words, the Constitution is being protected and defended. I thought that's what the far right wanted our president and the federal government to do.

Far East USA, SC

I really don't understand what the big deal is.

Government entities should issue a "civil union" license to replace "marriage" licenses.
They would act the same in all instances as a marriage license and be available to any 2 consenting adults.

Then, Churches can issue "marriage" licenses. These would be optional and carry no legal significance. They would be available to anyone who the church deems worthy, based on any criteria they want to use.

Would either side have a problem with this? Doesn't this solve the issues?

Mission Viejo, CA

In the DOMA ruling the courts said the Federal Government must recognize the marriages performed by a State, the Federal Government is complying. How is this confusing? Seems pretty straight forward to me.


"The Constitution preserves a system of government that reserves power to the states and to the people. As the nation navigates conflicting feelings and emotional views about the proper role of marriage under state law, its leaders must be wise and allow federalism to work."

I'm confused. For nearly two decades, the LDS church and the editorial board of this newspaper strongly supported DOMA, which imposed a federal definition of marriage on the states. Why is Deseret News now changing it's position 180-degrees and arguing for states' rights to define marriage?

Church member
North Salt Lake, UT

This paper seems to be a champion of state rights when it works for them, but against state rights when it doesn't.

We need to be more consistent.

Sandy, UT

For centuries, governments were not a necessary party to marriages. Why did it change? Because there were some who decided it was "improper" for society that certain marriage arrangements were taking place, primarily those of mixed race or plural spouses. As usual, government intrusion creates more problems than it solves. Maybe it's time for government to get out of the marriage business.

Here, UT

There will be NO confusion once ALL states recognize the rights of ALL Americans to marry the person of their choice.

Discrimination against lgbt couples is bigotry and un-American.

LDS Liberal
Farmington, UT


Curse that Abraham Lincoln for telling States they can't pass laws discriminating who is Free and who is a Slave based on the color of their skin!

Hallelujah to Gov. Lillian Boggs for sticking up for the Constitutional "States rights" over Federal and issuing the Extermination Order against the Mormons!
[“Gentlemen, your cause is just, but I can do nothing for you." Pres. Van Buren to Joseph Smith, because at that time [pre-Lincoln] States have the final say so.]

Perhaps we should letting the STATES continue to make those kinds of decisions!

[sarcasm, off]

Mission Viejo, CA

The belief that a "residency requirement" could be used is blown away by the particulars in the Windsor case. Edith Windsor and Edith Spyer had a Canadian marriage license. Spyer passed away in 2009, two years prior to New York (their state of residency) enacting marriage equality. The courts ruled that the Federal Government recognized other marriages performed in Canada, so it had to recognize Windsor's as well. There was no leeway given for whether or not their resident state recognized that marriage. The administration is just following the ruling when it is providing equal Federal services to all married couples.

Tooele, UT

Re: ". . . the LDS church . . . strongly supported DOMA, which imposed a federal definition of marriage on the states."

DOMA did no such thing.

It merely determined that, for purposes of extending eligibility for certain federal benefits, the federal government would define marriage as between a man and a woman. That federalism concept has been endorsed time and time again by the Supreme Court, notwithstanding its nonsensical, politically-motivated, activist opinion in the DOMA cases.

Federalism clearly permits conflicting federal and state definitions of marriage, just as it permits conflicting definitions of criminality regarding marijuana, and similar conflicts on many, many other issues.

And, by the way, most state's marriage laws invalidate marriages contracted by its citizens in other states or nations to circumvent its own laws.

So, good luck trying to enforce Hawaiian law on Utahns.

Springville, UT

Wow, this is all about marriage being defined the way you want it, and the government doing things the way you want it. The federal government has always had its fingers in marriage, so you allegations towards the Administration are just plain wrong. You want it both ways from the feds. Let's make this simple. Do away with any tax benefits to marriage. That gets the feds out of the way. As for the states, who should bend? Those states that allow gay marriage, or states like Utah that deny it? What gets me is that many love active government support of religion when it goes their way, and whine when it goes the other way (like the courts interpreting the Constitution). This is one of those instances.

LDS Liberal
Farmington, UT

‘In our opinion: Needless confusion’


Needless confusion?

You mean like get the Feds OUT when it suits my agenda,
get the Feds IN when it suits my agenda.

That sort of confusion?


"The Supreme Court sided with President Obama, and not with Congress." Actually, no - the Supreme Court upheld the Constitution, which is their duty and power under the system of checks and balances established by the Constitution. Congress can legislate all it wants, but that legislation cannot violate the Constitution.

As for state of residence versus state of ceremony, the IRS is merely following established precedence. For tax purposes, heterosexual marriages that are valid in the state where they were performed are considered valid in the state where the couple resides - even if that marriage would not have been allowed to take place under those circumstances in the state of residence. Examples of this include, but are not limited to, age, familial relationship, who attended the wedding, or who officiated at the wedding. If the IRS changes this rule, numerous heterosexual couples will be affected since there is no legally valid reason why prohibited heterosexual marriages should be recognized over prohibited homosexual marriages.

Following the Constitution and the established laws of the land, SCOTUS and the IRS are acting in the only legally valid manner possible.

Kevin J. Kirkham
Salt Lake City, UT

The Windsor decision requires the Federal government to accept legal marriages of Same-Sex couples performed in countries where we accept their opposite-sex marriages. The Full Faith & Credit Clause appears to require the same of states regarding marriages performed in other states. Some states allow first cousins to marry and others don't, yet the latter still recognize as valid such marriages performed in states that allow them. Why would same-sex marriages be any different?

It would appear, based on the Windsor decision, to be ILLEGAL for the feds to NOT accept "married" 1040 tax returns from same-sex couples whose marriages were legally entered into in other countries and especially other states that legally performed them. How could it not?

States may have the right to not perform same-sex marriages, but the Windsor decision and the Full Faith & Credit Clause clearly require that states recognize same-sex marriages performed in states, if not foreign countries, where such marriages are legal.

SSM opponents simply have run out of objective reasons to justify their subjective stance.

American Fork, UT

The confusion is needless, yet perpetuated by states like Utah.


@ SEY: Marriage has always been about government. It was a way of establishing paternity and who had inheritance rights. It has always been about government recognition - even with the most basic forms of government.

@ procuradorfiscal: "...most state's marriage laws invalidate marriages contracted by its citizens in other states or nations to circumvent its own laws."

Really? Name one state and its law that invalidates heterosexual marriages that are valid in other states. (Now, of course, if you look at other countries (not just states), polygamy comes into play - but Federal law as well as state law disallows the recognition of polygamy and there are legally valid reasons for prohibiting recognition of polygamy at this point in time - although that could change. But since this is a discussion of same-sex marriage not polygamy, I will not be distracted and will not discuss polygamy any further.)

One state and its law that invalidates heterosexual marriages that are valid in the state in which they were contracted. Just one. Prove your point.

And I again refer you to "In re May's Estate."

Mission Viejo, CA

So, Sey, you're cool with Sharia law? Because if the government gets out of marriages, religions will be left to enforce the rights and responsibilities of marriage as their own doctrines dictate.



"by the way, most state's marriage laws invalidate marriages contracted by its citizens in other states or nations to circumvent its own laws."

By the way that is a direct violation of the full faith and credit clause which is why Utah actually is planning to recognize those marriages for the purposes of state taxes.

Tooele, UT

Re: "It would appear . . . to be ILLEGAL for the feds to NOT accept "married" 1040 tax returns . . . ."

Only to someone unfamiliar with the law.

Under the constitution, in matters properly belonging to federal jurisprudence, federal law is considered "supreme" to state law. And, the feds are not obliged to accept state law on a number of subjects, including definitions of marriage, crime, environmental priorities, adoption, etc.

Just so's you know, the DOMA cases were [wrongly] decided, not upon full faith and credit or comity principles, but upon [flawed] equal protection theories.

Further, the decision left untouched Section 2 of DOMA, that protects traditional states from overreaching by pro-gay-marriage states. And, nearly every state refuses to recognize a marriage contracted in a foreign jurisdiction to circumvent its own laws.

Which, by the way is NOT a violation of the full faith and credit clause, but rather, a recognition of it. Such provisions, along with the still-intact DOMA, Section 2 prohibit activist overreaching by liberal-controlled states seeking to dictate the internal affairs of others.

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