Comments about ‘Overstock executive launches campaign to amend Utah Constitution over religious liberty’

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Published: Friday, Aug. 9 2013 10:40 p.m. MDT

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Kaysville, UT

Quite frankly, if it were ever to come to that. I think it would mean civil war. Liberals are pushing the envelope and its going to come back and bite them.

American Fork, UT

churches should be able to practise what they believe. Within the context of the church, and it's members, and the law. If you really want more than that, for religion to hold a higher place than law, then watch out. Because then, you're inviting everyone to the table, and you have to give them equal seating.

Salt Lake City, UT

"....would prohibit requiring a religious organization to "solemnize, officiate in, or recognize any particular marriage or religious rite of marriage in violation of its beliefs,"

On the surface this seems perfectly reasonable. A religious faith has a right to determine whom to allow in its various rites, including marriage. But there are some pitfalls here. What about businesses owned by churches? These businesses offer benefits of various types. Would this amendment allow a religion to deny couples' benefits to LGBT folks who work for the businesses they own? Could religion refuse to hire LGBT people in the businesses they own? The Overstock CEO had better think long and hard about this. I'm sure he will.

Mainly Me
Werribee, 00

What I find interesting is the claim by militant homosexuals that no religion will ever be forced to perform homosexual marriages, they just want "equal rights." The same thing was claimed in England and now there is a suit in the British courts by two homosexuals that will force churches to perform homosexual marriages. I'm sure the World Court will side with these men, since it's in the interest of social fairness.

Guess, what? This is coming to a place near YOU.

Wilf 55

Fine if Johnson wants that assurance, but no church has ever been compelled to marry anyone it deems not compliant. The LDS Church uses the temple recommend to do so. The Catholic Church refuses to wed a man and a woman when one is divorced only civilly or has “perpetual impotence to have intercourse”. It’s Canon Law. No contest.

Dabakis is right too: divide “marriage into a civil ceremony for all couples, and, if they choose, a separate religious rite performed in a house of worship.” That’s the way it’s done in most countries around the world: only civil marriage is legally valid. That civil marriage must precede any religious wedding, which is seen as an optional ceremony to “solemnize” the event, not a legal marriage. The church can refuse that ceremony if it deems the union inappropriate.

Grand Forks, ND

Forcing religious institutions to marry homosexuals WILL be a goal in the near future for the LGBT agenda because they will claim discrimination from a religious institution they may belong to.

A Scientist
Provo, UT

Religious imperialists have been pushing the envelope of liberty and propriety for generations, and now it is coming back to bite them. We must be tolerant when they whine and express naive outrage as their hegemony is deconstructed.


Public opinion has shifted. The law won't force churches to perform gay marriages, bad PR will.

Buena Vista, VA

Douglas Kmiec says it is unlikely that churches will be forced to provide same sex marriage. He's probably right. But if you asked people 30-40 years ago if we'd have gay marriage at all, they would have said unlikely, but look at what has happened. You just never know any more these days what the future will bring. We should have passed a US constitutional amendment against gay marriage when we had the chance. That chance is now long since passed.

ute alumni
paradise, UT

never purchased anything on overstock brfore, i will now. thanks!

Alexandria, VA

I find it interesting that so many are interested in preserving "religious liberty" and yet no one seems to be interested in preserving "religion". Just an though - in twenty or thirty years down the road we will find ourselves with many constitutional amendments and laws preserving things like "religious liberty" and no one who is interested in religion. Perhaps we might want to re-examine the focus of these seemingly "well-intended" efforts.


Nothing like creating a law for something that doesn't exist, what a waste of time and energy . It seems more like a veil attempt to draw publicity to his company and collect money for other purposes. A wedding ceremony is only a religious experience for those that choose to do so. Marriage is still a civil union that require you to get a marriage license from a government entity, you then have the option to pick what kind of ceremony you want, be it church, Justice of the Peace, or a Las Vegas wedding chapel. Nothing requires churches to preform wedding ceremonies.

salt lake city, utah

JimE, when have you ever heard a liberal say a church needs to do anything within the limits of it's ecclesiastical functions that it doesn't believe in, much less perform marriages they don't condone? Churches only bump into secular authority when they step outside their ecclesiastical functions and operate in the secular world. They may believe they have an obligation to perform good works in the secular world, but functioning in the secular world obligates them to adhere to secular law even when performing good works.

No one is required to have a religious marriage and never will, however, all marriages are authorized by the state and therefore subject to secular law. Secular society and law is changing but no need to require church's to do anything.

sandy, UT

"Liberals are pushing the envelope and its going to come back and bite them." There are more Liberals than Conservatives. The coming conflict will be between the rich and the poor, not between Liberals and Conservatives. This effort about making churches perform same sex marriages is ridiculous. Not one decision, either at the Supreme Court level or at any of the Federal District court levels has declared that a church has to marry same sex couples.NOT ONE! This is a LEGAL issue, not a religious issue. Making and mixing it is the religious community's answer to Democracy, for them and them only. Leave it alone. You are losing the battle. Besides you don't support Democracy either. Johnson is trying to gain a tax advantage saying his business is a "religious" organization because of his beliefs. It'd amazing how the religious right is always trying to outflank taxes to their advantage but they want the taxpayers to foot the bill for their charter schools and vouchers.

Auburn Hills, MI

Shouldn't the amendment include provisions for religions to also not accept divorces, since divorce is forbidden in the bible, to not accept marriages where the bride wasn't a virgin on her wedding night, since pre-marital sex is forbidden and therefore marriage isn't possible for the woman who isn't a virgin? The amendment should also include a provision that lets churches not recognize adulterous marriages, where one or both spouse(s) was previously married, and then divorced.

I think it's really important to capture all the correct biblical marriage rules in this amendment and demonstrate a genuine commitment to God's word.

The Skeptical Chymist

Jonathan Johnson need not fear that the government will force religious organizations to conduct marriages against their will. This is absolutely prohibited by the First Amendment.

After all, no church has been forced to conduct inter-faith marriages if it is against their policy to do so.

The LDS church has not been forced to conduct temple marriages of individuals who are deemed unworthy.

The Catholic church has not been forced to marry individuals who have been previously divorced, which is against their policy.

No church (to my knowledge) has been forced by the government to conduct interracial marriages, if it is against their policy.

No church WILL be forced to conduct same-sex marriages if it is against their policy.

All of these types of marriages are allowed by the federal government, at least in some jurisdictions, yet no church is required to conduct them.

Johnson's worries are groundless.

On the other hand, when a religious organization engages in commerce, then their commercial activities must obey the laws that all businesses are subject to.

Eden, UT

Misunderstanding often creates fear. The emotion that follows fear is anger. Utah, filled with people who don't understand the issues involved in gay rights are fearful. This fear is creating anger - which in turn, is supporting bad decisions. From denying African Americans the priesthood to supporting polygamy, bad decisions eventually give way. If this "Constitutional Amendment" gains national attention, Utahans, again, will find themselves on the fringes - marginalized by misunderstanding and intolerance.

Auburn Hills, MI

I don't understand why religionists don't mind forcing their beliefs on others, such as trying to get creationism or prayer in public schools, or Ten Commandment memorials in public buildings, yet they chafe when they perceive that someone is forcing views on them! What's good for the goose is good for the gander, so to speak.

The fact is, no church has ever been forced to perform a wedding for any couple it didn't want to. This amendment is just a way to poke gay people in the eye, and insult them.

Silver Spring, MD

This is a waste of time and effort. Clergy of all faiths cannot be compelled to officiate at weddings out of sync with their convictions, a right protected by the First Amendment. Catholic priests refuse to perform weddings for divorced persons. Orthodox rabbis will not perform weddings of non-Orthodox. Persons seeking wedding officiants have no trouble finding willing clergy, secular officials or humanist celebrants. We should be concerned about real religious liberty problems, such as the Republican drive to force all taxpayers to support religious private schools through vouchers or tax credits schemes (which Utah voters twice rejected), or the Republican drive to limit women's rights of conscience with regard to abortion. -- Edd Doerr, President, Americans for Religious Liberty (arlinc.org)

Cedar City, UT

I haven't shopped at Overstock since the CEO called Utah voters stupid for not approving vouchers.

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