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Published: Sunday, Nov. 24 2013 12:00 a.m. MST

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ClarkHippo
Tooele, UT

Drew - A few points

1 - Your quote is not from the U.S. Constitution, but from from the Declaration of Independence. Big difference.

2 - The marriage equality debate is focused around the religious issue because, if the government can force churches to fund birth control, what would stop them from forcing churches to marry same-sex couples?

3 - Many editorial writers have expressed the sentiment that true marriage equality will not take place in the U.S. until all churches perform them.

3 -

isrred
South Jordan, UT

I am a full supporter of marriage equality, but it makes me cringe when people mis-attribute that line to the Constitution. It's from The Declaration of Independence.

Hutterite
American Fork, UT

The religious freedom angle is just another angle to play in this debate. Religion is very good at claiming victimhood, but I think we're starting to hear it more as crying wolf.

Stalwart Sentinel
San Jose, CA

Marriage is wholly secular in the US, there is no religious litmus test to be married and your marriage certificate originates from the State, not a Church. If the couple chooses, they may also be married within a religion but their religious ceremony is not the driving factor in determining their standing under the law.

ClarkHippo

Which religions have been forced to fund birth-control? Before you answer, please note that listing organizations (not churches) that are founded by people who happen to be religious are not churched and do not enjoy the same protections as a Church.

Further, the COTUS and heaps upon heaps of case law stop the government from forcing Churches to perform SSM. Your fear of SSM in the Temple is no more rational than to think that a Lutheran couple could sue the LDS Church for discrimination and get married in our Temple. So, following your logic, only Mormons should be allowed to marry lest "others" sue for not having access to our Temple.

Finally, just to make sure, your last point is "editorials say it, so it must be true", correct? Comparing legal arguments: fundamental right per the COTUS vs "editorial says so". Hmm.

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

Since when was the Catholic Church not an establishment of religion? Since when were the hospitals and schools run by the Catholic Church not part of their establishment? Since when was the Constitution modified to allow government to tell us what constituted an "establishment of religion"?

Lincoln believed in God, he spoke of God, he worshipped God. He did not persecute establishments of religion. He would not have allowed government to spend one penny on destroying the unborn or of preventing conception. On January 2, 1863, Lincoln wrote: "But I must add that the U.S. government must not, as by this order, undertake to run the churches. When an individual, in a church or out of it, becomes dangerous to the public interest, he must be checked; but let the churches, as such take care of themselves. It will not do for the U.S. to appoint Trustees, Supervisors, or other agents for the churches."

Obama compared himself to Lincoln. Obama is no Lincoln.

Thinkin\' Man
Rexburg, ID

It isn't a debate about "marriage equality," either. It's a debate about changing the definition of marriage. If you reframe it as an equality issue, you are forced to equate and legalize all forms of marriage, including polygamy and polyamory.

Steve C. Warren
WEST VALLEY CITY, UT

Drew, you are absolutely right in saying: "In reality, the issue orbits around the ideals espoused by our Constitution . . . "

The correct part of the Constitution that should be referenced is the 14th Amendment, which states: " . . . nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." Notice the similarity in wording with the Declaration of Independence.

ConservativeCommonTater
West Valley City, UT

When a church or religion enters the business of business, it enters the secular world. Claiming religious exemptions for a business enterprise crosses the line.

Government cannot dictate religious beliefs unless those beliefs and practices are in violation of state and Federal law or present a threat to the public.

That is why Warren Jeffs was arrested, tried and jailed. His religious beliefs violated state and Federal laws.

In Utah, Catholics cannot have their well known Bingo games because it violates Utah state law.

Business or Church, take your pick, but you don't get both.

procuradorfiscal
Tooele, UT

Re: "In reality, the issue orbits around the ideals espoused by our Constitution that "all men are created equal . . . ."

Well, Declaration of Independence, but, OK, the sentiment is correct.

This issue really does orbit about the equality ideal, and the LGBT side of it is pushing making LGBT Americans -- as Orwell put it -- "more equal than others."

LGBT already have every single legal right I do. Their activists, however, want to make up new "rights," and imbed them in law, to the detriment of those of us that espouse traditional family values. And most of us are, indeed, religious.

LGBT activists bully and bellyache to advocate laws that produce "rights" and privileges for them that have a disparate impact on religious people. That kind of thing has been held unconstitutional by every Supreme Court that has heard such as case since the mid-50s.

It still is.

the old switcharoo
mesa, AZ

The clergies need to ask themselves why they are not against all "sin" equally. Isn't shacking up just as bad? Yet we all know and work with people that live together without being married and don't have any problem socializing with them. Nobody is trying to pass laws to enforce all the cohabitation laws still on the books.

It's just so much easier to single out small minorities isn't it?

If we lived in a theocracy I would live by it's rules as long as it was MY religion. But this isn't a theocracy.

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Both states and churches are immunized from the national government. But because the states were limited by their borders they did not need further protection from the national government. Churches do not have borders and thus needed the extra protection. Thus the words in the First Amendment.

It should be noted that the part of the First Amendment pertaining to religion does not give freedom of religion to individuals

spring street
SALT LAKE CITY, UT

churches and those of faith have never been immune for civil laws when they choose to enter into business outside their ecclesiastical duties. This i nothing but the last breaths of a dead debate.

Badgerbadger
Murray, UT

Long before there was a Declaration of Independence, or The Constitution, churches were performing marriages, as were Native Americans performing marital unions by their own label and traditions in this country. The government sought to have records of such marriages, and then regulated them and endorsed them. The churches didn't fight this invasion into their religious unions because the laws were consistent with the predominant religious beliefs. Now we see the laws diverging from those beliefs.

Marriage should be given back to the churches. There should be no laws governing marriage at all. There should be no difference in how people are taxed by virtue of marriage. There should be no death taxes whatsoever, so everyone can leave anything they have left when they die to whomever they want, and the government cannot impoverish a grieving widow, or children, or best friend. The money and assets one accumulates are taxed as they accumulate, so there is not excuse for taxing them again upon death.

This is a religious freedom issue completely, and really nothing else.

Badgerbadger
Murray, UT

Don't bother talking about how some churches will perform marriages that others will not. That is okay with me. The real issue is that the government shouldn't be regulating those marriages/churches, not by penalties or perks. Government should be completely neutral.

This allows freedom for everyone, those seeking non-traditional marriage and those seeking to honor traditional marriage alike.

No straw man argument about marrying children either. We are talking about consenting adults. There are standards of decency we can all agree on.

The only people who would oppose this freedom and respect for others are those who seek to inflict their values on everyone else via the government. They seek control and domination over everyone else, and there is definitely a very vocal minority trying to do just that. They don't seek equality. The equality argument is a front for what they really want, which is control over others.

procuradorfiscal
Tooele, UT

Re: "It should be noted that the part of the First Amendment pertaining to religion does not give freedom of religion to individuals"

Huh?

Well, if you mean it simply restates natural law and embeds in our founding documents the rights God gave us, OK, I'm with you.

But to suggest that the words, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . ." does not guarantee the American individual a right to keep bloated, unaccountable government out of his religion, leaving religion a matter of individual free choice, simply makes no sense.

RanchHand
Huntsville, UT

@procuradorfiscal;

Point 1: Heterosexual is also a sexual orientation. This does not make LGBT individuals "more equal than others".

Point 2: Homosexuals absolutely do not have all the same rights you have. For starters look at the over 1100 benefits that you receive from the government simply for having a legal note declaring that you are "married".

Point 3: "I'm afraid of the big, bad LGBT bullies" is still not reason to deny equality under the law.

Contrariusier
mid-state, TN

@Mike Richards --

Mike, notice this part of Lincoln's quote: "When an individual, in a church or out of it, becomes dangerous to the public interest, he must be checked".

Well, guess what -- discrimination IS dangerous to the public interest. Therefore, according to Lincoln's own words, it must be checked even when committed by religious individuals.

@procurador --

"LGBT already have every single legal right I do. "

Baloney. In many states they still don't have the legal right to marry the person of their choice. In many states, they don't have the legal right to live free of workplace or other discrimination. In many states, they don't have the ability to walk down the street holding hands without fear of getting beaten or killed for who they are.

@Badgerbadger --

"The government sought to have records of such marriages, and then regulated them and endorsed them."

Actually, originally marriages were civil affairs. Religion didn't enter into it until much later, in historical terms. And there wasn't any such thing as a standard Christian church wedding until the Middle Ages.

Hmmm. Maybe *churches* should get out of the wedding business?....

pragmatistferlife
salt lake city, utah

Badgerbadger..if there are no laws governing marriage (the state has no involvement in or influence over marriage) and only churches marry people does that mean atheists just shack up and call it what they will. And what happens when the union falls apart and the provider just takes off and leaves the others including children destitute? It's just too bad so sad.

Pagan
Salt Lake City, UT

Your religion starts with yourself.

And ends, at other people.

Beliefs, should not be forced to dictate the actions of others.

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Procuradorfiscal.

Just where in natural law do you find any reference to religion and or the notion of god giving anything more than life?

Just where in the First Amendment do you find any reference to the individual?

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