Comments about ‘Mormon Parenting: The conjugal and revisionist views of marriage’

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Published: Friday, April 19 2013 5:00 a.m. MDT

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Ricardo Carvalho
Provo, UT

Would anything written here prevent a gay couple from taking a conjugal approach to marriage? We know plenty of heterosexuals who have taken a revisionist view based on the number of divorces and affairs that exist (though I am not sure the authors would claim that all divorces are a result of the revisionist view). We have so little experience with gay marriages that we cannot really comment on their persistence.

Highland, UT

Brilliant. While I agree with you, I'm still left wanting more explanation as to why homosexual marriage only fits into the revisionist view of marriage. (Similar to the first comment.)

Christian 24-7
Murray, UT

I guess you missed the part about a "man and a woman" in the paragraph describing traditional marriage.

Far East USA, SC

Marriage can be viewed, as it has since history began, as an exclusive commitment between a man and a woman"

Would this characterization have been made in the context that existed in Utah prior to 1890?

Kind of hard to condemn gay marriage while accepting that polygamy was once acceptable, if one contends that "since history began" that marriage is an "exclusive commitment between a man and a woman"

Salt Lake City, UT

Exactly how does gay marriage fall into the category you define as "a bond in which fidelity is subject to one’s own desires — a bond which one leaves when emotional fulfillment is no longer found."

That is your initial premise, and it seems a pretty shaky one.

Las Vegas, NV

Although the ideal is obviously a traditional marriage where Mom is married to Dad, sometimes it just doesn't work out that way. But every divorce situation is different.

Obviously some marriages end for petty reasons that could have been avoided.
But other times it's abuse. That abuse doesn't have to be physical. It can be emotional or psychological abuse
In those situations, both partners have to be on board to improve the marriage in order for it to be saved. If only one partner is willing to compromise, and the other partner stands firm in their "It's my way or the highway" belief, the marriage will be an unhealthy one. And when a marriage like that continues, what does it teach children? It teaches them that marriage is about abusing your spouse. Or allowing your spouse to abuse you.

There are examples of children whose parents have remarried and their environments are so much healthier. The kids are excelling at school and are happy because they're no longer in a toxic household.

I realize that's not the case with all divorces.
My point is that every divorce story is unique.

College Station, TX

Carvalho said "We have so little experience with gay marriages...", but advocates of gay marriage report both in the media and the courts that there is enough experience to deem it as appropriate and suitable for family life as traditional marriage. So which is it? On one side society is supposed to let marriage be redefined because we don't know enough to say anything about it, then on the other side we're supposed to let marriage be redefined because experts show that relationships and children are just as well with gay partners. I think the article is responding to the definite assertions made by gay-marriage advocates, even though Carvalho is correct in pointing out those assertions can't possibly be trusted since we (i.e. society) do not have enough experience with it. We shouldn't redefine marriage and societal relationships based on such wishy washy ideas.

Waco, TX

George (the speaker quoted) and coauthors Girgis and Anderson in “What Is Marriage” give a more complete definition of traditional marriage than that included in the article. Physical union has potential to procreate. Homosexual union, no matter how loving and committed, cannot. According to empirical evidence they cite, gay couples live according to the revisionist definition. Their marriages do not include fidelity. Why should it when physical union has not and cannot produce children whom are protected by sexual fidelity between parents? A better question is can gay marriage harm society by delegitimizing traditional marriage. The authors answer affirmatively. Parenthetically, the authors do exclude polygamy as a form of traditional marriage as JoeBlow suggests although I would disagree with his conclusion.

salt lake, UT

Why is not in the opinion section? I find it humerious that they would. be so bold as to claim others are revisionist when nothing they claim has any factual bases.

American Fork, UT

Gays are going to marry, so quit fretting about it already. There's important stuff going on today.

Sneaky Jimmy
Bay Area, CA

The married homosexual couples that I know have marriages that are every bit as strong, loving, committed as any other good marriage. The authors show their provincialism when they lump all homosexual marriage into one category. As for what's best for children let's ask ourselves is it better for a child to be adopted by a loving homosexual married couple and be cherished or to become the ward of the state and be bounced from one foster home to another?

Provo, UT

The revisionist attitude is indeed widespread, and the intellectual forefront of the same-sex marriage movement often espouses it explicitly. But the real perplexity lies in the idea of a same-sex couple that openly embraces the heteronormative conjugal model. They could, in principle, tell themselves that leaving their same-sex spouse would be a grave moral and spiritual error, unless that spouse was abusive or sexually involved outside the marriage. Although I've never encountered, it is not inconceivable that some self-identifying gay/lesbian people could start advocating for sexual abstinence before same-sex marriage, especially when they come from a background (like a Mormon one), where abstinence is the standard. They could even say: "I would never acquire children, if I thought that it would be a disadvantage to them not to have both a mother and a father, but since the APA and a few other such organizations have stated in their amicus brief to the Supreme Court that mothers and fathers *as such* have no significant value, I'm going to have kids too." I don't find this hypothetical scenario watertight, but it is the one we must respond to.

Saint George, UT

The thing about faith is that it involves 'mysteries', such as marriage is between a man and a women, something that no amount of research, claims, or otherwise is ever going to prove. It is a thing of the heart and of the spirit, a prompting that comes from God. The world was 'flat' for centuries and no amount of effort to prove otherwise turned a head. Eventually, the truth was borne out. Gay marriage will take a century, or until the universal God of all mankind returns, before that truth will once again be noted as a 'mystery' without debate, just as it is no longer debated that the world is round.

Far East USA, SC

Obviously the issue of homosexuality and gay marriage are lightning rods.

Here is a bit of a side issue.

Based on many comments, here and in the past, it is obvious how strongly some feel against homosexuality (even leaving the gay marriage issue out the equation.)

Is the environment in your home such that one of your kids could tell you that they were gay?
Or do they feel that it would bring too much shame and disappointment to the family based on things said around them.

Or do you feel that it would be impossible for you to have a gay kid because of their upbringing?

Personally, I think these are bigger issues than whether or not you support gay marriage.

Things to think about.

West Valley City, UT

Homosexual relationships cannot, by definition be "Traditional". Traditional marriage is the optimal situation to create and raise children. Homosexuals cannot create children (hope that's not a surprise). Ideally, all children would be raised by their own mother and father. With this in mind, adoption would only happen in rare situations of orphaned children. Because of sin and immorality, this is not the case. Sin and immorality destroys marriages. Sin and immorality destroys chastity and as a result children are created and brought into this world in less than ideal cirumstances. The ideal is harder to find than it should be. Nevertheless, we should all want and strive for the ideal in our own lives and as a society. This is what will make our society stronger and create a better tomorrow. We cannot let sin an immorality determine our world and our future when we can do something about it.

Dayton, NV

"Marriage can be viewed, as it has since history began, as an exclusive commitment between a man and a woman, which forms a physical and an emotional and a spiritual bond distinguished by its comprehensiveness and its fidelity."

That's a pretty modernized version of traditional marriage. For most of the history of the institution, marriage has been the transfer of custodianship of a woman from her birth family to her husband's family. Expectations of fidelity rested principally upon the woman. That we have now created an expectation of symmetrical fidelity is obviously to be lauded. Meanwhile, excluding homosexual couples from the institution is becoming increasingly self-evidently unjustifiable. Another generation should pretty much relagate this bigotry to the ash heap where lie anti-miscegenation laws (another non-traditional variation on marriage that the institution has survived just fine, thank you).

Salt Lake City, UT

"Marriage can be viewed, as it has since history began...."


Have you done any actual historical research into the institution of marriage?

Does your "since history began" begin about 150 year ago?

Goodness that is arrogant and ignorant.

Since history began, indeed!

Boise, ID

I enjoyed this article and felt it provided valuable and important ideas on the importance of preserving and promoting in every way possible traditional marriage.


Missing background

Princeton Prof. Robert George is a conservative and involved in conservative organizations.

The NYTimes article was primarily about the couple's (both prominent NY residents) about their house decor, not their marriage.
The NY Times quoted the couple. Its somewhat a leap to infer that the Times was extolling the circumstances of their marriage isn't it?

Past LDS Church leaders deviated far from traditional marriage, a subject never discussed...


"...Last week saw a setback for the forces of maximum freedom. A representative of millions of gays and lesbians went to the Supreme Court and asked the court to help put limits on their own freedom of choice. They asked for marriage.

Marriage is one of those institutions — along with religion and military service — that restricts freedom. Marriage is about making a commitment that binds you for decades to come. It narrows your options on how you will spend your time, money and attention.

Whether they understood it or not, the gays and lesbians represented at the court committed themselves to a certain agenda. They committed themselves to an institution that involves surrendering autonomy. They committed themselves to the idea that these self-restrictions should be reinforced by the state. They committed themselves to the idea that lifestyle choices are not just private affairs but work better when they are embedded in law."

(David Brooks, "Personal Freedom Loses One")

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