Comments about ‘Richard Davis: On gay marriage, court shouldn't repeat abortion mistakes’

Return to article »

Published: Wednesday, March 27 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT

  • Oldest first
  • Newest first
  • Most recommended
Kearns, UT

So, you are stating that it should be up to each individual state to determine whether or not it is legal to discriminate against their neighbors. I get it, gays make up such a small percentage of the general population, so they really don't have a say in their civil rights. We don't want to upset the majority now, do we, because granting all the same rights to marry the adult they

Huntsville, UT

I happen to disagree with this article.

Unlike the abortion issue, Americans are fast accepting that GLBT Americans should be treated equally in marriage; in just a few short years, a majority of Americans now support same sex couple's rights to marry and that number is only going to continue to grow as older, more obstinate Americans move on to the next life and the younger generation moves into their place.

Abortion is a completely different type of issue.

Kearns, UT

My first message got cut of, but I see that most understand my intent.

Teachers have a difficult enough time teaching kids to respect one another regardless of their differences. We need to grow up as a society and teach respect for all citizens by example. It's time we stop marginalizing people who don't fit into our narrow definition of perfection.

Roland Kayser
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Regardless of the court's decision, gay marriage will be legal in the U.S. before too long. People in their thirties and under support gay marriage by a two-to-one ratio. In twenty years, when their generation is running the show, they will make gay marriage legal everywhere. An overwhelming majority of the public will demand it.

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

Before deciding on "who" is allowed to marry, wouldn't it be better to first agree on "what" marriage is?

The Lord's Prophets have said: "We, the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children."

What is "equality"? Is a man prohibited from marrying a woman? Is a woman prohibited from marrying a man? Is there any inequality?

We have laws to protect society. The easiest test of any law is to simply ask, "What would happen if everyone did what I want to do?" If society would suffer, then my "wants" and "desires" need to be re-evaluated. It is easy to see that society would fail if everyone served their sexual needs by having sexual relations with someone of the same sex.

God, no man, defined marriage.

There is total equality within that definition.

Society would crumble if marriage were redefined.

The decision that must be reached is clear.

Eugene, OR


You may consider them "the Lord's Prophets" who are speaking for "God", but to everybody who isn't Mormon, they're just one religion out of many. Why should they get to dictate secular law for everyone?

Poplar Grove, UT

@Mike Richards
I'm confused how society would crumble. Gay people have been around since.....forever. Gay people that are alive today are already living as couples. It's not like straight men would all of the sudden wake up and want to be with other men(same with the ladies). Gay people are already allowed to live the lifestyle they chose. Why not let them legally connect their lives, the only difference between banning and allowing gay marriage is the legal rights. The gay people who act married would be allowed to get married. How on earth does this affect your life in ANY way shape or form?

Orem, UT

Mike Richards, society would be worse off if everyone decided to make bicycles, so maybe we should not allow people to make bicycles. (dont you love reductio ad absurdum?) This is the problem with Kant's universalization requirement...there are very few things that would be good to have everyone do. Also the universalization requirement leads to other obviously wrong answers. It would be bad for everyone to get divorced so nobody should get divorced and women should stay in abusive relationships.

The Skeptical Chymist

@Mike Richards

I have never heard such a ridiculous argument as your statement: The easiest test of any law is to simply ask, "What would happen if everyone did what I want to do?"

I'm a chemist. What would happen if everyone did what I want to do? If everyone decided to become a chemist, we would have total societal collapse. No farmers, no bankers (ok, that might be a good thing :) ), no lawyers, you name it.

Your test of what is good for a society is ludicrous.

Twin Lights
Louisville, KY

The Skeptical Chymist,

Mike Richard's test is not ludicrous but is a rather standard part of ethical decision making.

Your post applied the test to non-moral decisions. There is no morality in choosing to be a chemist over a banker or a farmer rather than a lawyer. Those are preferences and are also things that (clearly) would not work in a society that has division of labor.

The application of the test is for ethical dilemmas. Should we allow folks to do X and, if we do, what would be the ramifications if everyone in society engaged in behavior X? (assuming we cannot hold the choice to just a few "select" people whom we would trust with the decision).

For example, if the behavior is murder, the effects are clearly negative so it should be forbidden (and no, I am not equating murder and same-sex marriage - just using a moral choice with an obvious negative outcome).

Reference employment, the moral question fitting the test would be "should everyone have the same profession?" and the answer would clearly be no because it would destroy society.

The Skeptical Chymist

@Twin Lights

If I accept your restriction of Mike Richard's test to moral decisions, let me propose another counterexample.

Is it moral to choose not to have children? I would submit that this is a very personal choice, that the state should permit the individuals involved to make. Some may question their ability to be good parents (and many who fail to ask this question should do so, in my opinion). They should have the right to avoid parenthood.

According to your (and Mike Richard's) test, it would be wrong to permit people to make the choice not to have children, because if everyone made this choice, where would society stand?

The test of what would happen if everyone made this choice, even when restricted to moral decisions, is still a ludicrous test. As regards moral decisions, I believe in giving individuals the maximum liberty possible, so long as there is no harm to others and the liberties of others are not infringed.

Orem, UT

Twin Lights please see my comment on why Kant's universalization criteria is problematic

Salt Lake City, UT

Why should gay marriage become legal?

'Kept From a Dying Partners Bedside' - By TARA PARKER-POPE - NY Times - 05/18/09

'...the couples had prepared for a medical emergency, creating living wills, advanced directives and power-of-attorney documents.'

And yet, even with Living Will, Medical Directive, Power of attorney and emergency contact information...

Janice Langbehn was kept from the bedside of her dying partner, Lisa Pond.

They were together for 18 years.

Salt Lake City, UT

Reported by our own Deseret news:

Gay Ca. veteran sues over denial of benefits’ – By Jessica Gresko – AP – Published by Dsnews – 02/01/12

‘The lawsuit announced in Washington involves a 12-year veteran of the Army, Tracey Cooper-Harris. After leaving the Army she married Maggie Cooper-Harris in California in 2008. Two years later, Tracey Cooper-Harris was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and she has received disability benefits through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs as a result. But her application for additional money and benefits that married veterans are entitled to was denied.’ – article

Salt Lake City, UT

More examples, of very much UNequal treatment:

'Gay Americans pay MORE taxes for FEWER rights' - By Suze Orman – CNN – 02/25/13

'We all have 83-year-old Edith Windsor to thank for in pushing the issue of same-sex marriage equality on to the national front. Edie and her partner Thea were together for 40 years. How many marriages do you know that have lasted that long? But when Thea died in 2009, Edie was hit with a $363,000 federal estate tax bill because as a same-sex couple they were not eligible for the unlimited marital deduction. Are we really a nation that says it is fair and just to demand Edie pay a $363,000 penalty because she is gay?'


@Mike Richards,

So you're ok with the federal government deciding what marriage is? This is definitely contrary to your usual posts about limiting the federal government. Wher ein the US Constitution does it say anything about marriage? Or is the consitutional argument reserved for when it suits your agenda?

And why should the government of any person have to abide by what some leader of a small religion declares? I couldn't care less what the "prophet" has to say on anything. The majority of Americans would probably agree with me.

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

There are only two choices whenever a question arises. How we choose defines us.

God defined marriage. Some people would allow government to re-define marriage. Which choice do you make? Do you stand with God or against Him?

Some people would limit birth. God told us to multiply and replenish the earth. Do you stand with God or do you stand against Him?

It's very simple. Those who reject God have told themselves that they can make the rules and that they can force others to accept their rules. They forget that rules were given to us to keep us from heartache and from misery. Yes, they can do whatever they want, but they can't escape the consequences of those choices.

Marriage has a purpose. It is not to save money on taxes. It is not to let someone into a hospital room. It is not a cloak to hide our actions from public scrutiny. It is a divinely appointed ordinance that is used to procreate and to provide for those whom we have welcomed into the world.

It needs no redefinition. God does not need our oversight.

Salt Lake City, UT

Mike's question is a good one: "What is marriage?" I'd answer by exploring the reasons people marry.

I believe most people marry because they love the person they're marrying, they want to make a commitment to each other. Many couples plan to have children, but not all. Some couples want children and can't have them.

As a practical matter, marriage isn't required for love or commitment or family formation. It doesn't prevent divorce or the end of relationships. Why get married? The short answer is that is provides a host of legal benefits and protections, such as inheritance of property and medical power of attorney, both of which can be incredibly important.

Mike offers a religious rationale for marriage. If one is LDS, his argument is probably convincing and compelling. But most people aren't LDS; something like 20 to 25% of Americans claim no faith at all. Many of them get married. Many people of faith never marry. Marriage may or may not be divinely ordained, but as a social institution, it serves certain legal purposes that apply or should apply to all couples.

Poplar Grove, UT

@Mike Richards
That is what LDS people believe about marriage. Which is fine, you are allowed to believe whatever you feel like. However, that isn't what the government believes about marriage, a government marriage license is a contract, that affords rights regarding another persons life, between consenting adults. What you are proposing Mike is to force LDS(others want to force similar christian values)onto the general population. The way marriage works according to the government currently is that a man and a woman who aren't related can get married. Really old people can marry really young people, different races can marry, you can get married and have 12 kids, or have no kids. Your church isn't(and shouldn't) be forced to recognize any marriage you don't think is valid. But the government isn't your religion, and shouldn't be enforcing your values.

Salt Lake City, UT

Mike Richards: "Marriage has a purpose... It is a divinely appointed ordinance that is used to procreate and to provide for those whom we have welcomed into the world."

I will grant you that one purpose of marriage is to encourage procreation and the nurturing of the children produced. I will even grant that it is a primary purpose. But it not the ONLY purpose. Why else would the overwhelmingly LDS Utah legislature make the INability to reproduce a mandatory legal requirement for certain couples to marry? That law was certainly not intended to promote procreation, yet it is on the books. It shows that there are other legitimate public policy purposes to marriage besides procreation.

However, let's assume your case is true, that the only purpose of marriage is to improve the welfare of children. Then you are ignoring the many children of gay couples (40,000 in California alone, according to reports of the Prop 8 case, or about 1% of all children according to my back-of-the-envelope estimates). Your opposition to gay marriage condemns those children to the many documented diminished outcomes that attend to children without married parents. Is that good for children?

to comment

DeseretNews.com encourages a civil dialogue among its readers. We welcome your thoughtful comments.
About comments