Comments about ‘Utahns call for civility in contentious same-sex marriage debate’

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Published: Saturday, Jan. 11 2014 5:10 p.m. MST

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a_voice_of_reason
Woods Cross, UT

@mauister who said:
"A lot of the pro no SSM proponents' arguments are based upon a belief that God does not want SSM and that is their argument, period. Those same proponents would likely take offense at the suggestion that God really doesn't have an opinion about SSM. They would also be offended, no matter how politely stated, that those whom they believe speak for God so that we can know without a doubt God's opinion regarding SSM really don't speak for God."

I'm glad that we misguided religious folk who believe in God and His many witnesses (ancient and modern) who have spoken against SSM have you. It would appear from your statement that you know God's thoughts and you speak for Him.

You also say that you don't think we can disagree in a civil manner if (I'm paraphrasing) irrational religious people are involved. I disagree. We'll never see eye-to-eye in particulars, but there are areas of middle ground where we could agree if we came together respectfully - like hospital visitation rights. But incivility will not breed cooperation and compromise where both sides are agreeable.

Alfred
Phoenix, AZ

@nycut:
"We care what it (LDS) DOES-- which has been to mobilize against gay people for the sole purpose of keeping them from being treated equally under the law."

Sounds as if you'd like to stem the LDS Church's right to mobilize against sin... is that right?

"Gay people had to fight institutionalized injustice every step of the way..."

Oh, wait... for a second there I thought you were talking about arrangements like polygamy, incest, brother/sister, close relative, geezer/child marriages.

"just to do what others take for granted: meet, date, have sex, marry, adopt, raise families-- facing derision, physical harm, arrest, job loss and legal discrimination just because of who they are."

You forgot... pass on a serious disease.

"Animosity toward gay people has caused tragic loss of human potential-- destroyed families and lives."

Then chose another live-style.

nycut
New York, NY

@Alfred
Your assertions illustrate the kind of animosity that is so problematic to civility. Each is rooted in negative stereotypes and prejudice. Each is as insulting as it is inaccurate.:

- that equal rights for gay people is the opposite of religious freedom
- that marriage between two gay grownups is somehow related to underage, incestuous or inter-species marriages
- that gay people are disease-ridden and dirty
- that "ceasing to be gay" is a legitimate antidote to anti-gay hostility

The constitutional principle of equal protection guards against a majority that says "we don't like [insert group] because they are all [insert prejudice], so we're going to gang up on them to make their lives miserable."

Gay couples are clearly harmed when kept from the legal protections marriage provides to citizens.

Opponents to gay marriage have struggled and failed to make convincing arguments as to who is significantly harmed when gay people marry. All they have is their personal revulsion and religious preference, neither of which is sound basis for law.

Born that Way
Layton, UT

nycut: Nice response, until this: "all they have is their personal revulsion and religious preference", which is trite and overly simplistic. You may consider my reasons unconvincing, but they are significant to me.

For many in the opposition it isn't about deprivation of any right, they don't see marriage as a right at all, but as a civil duty by heterosexuals in particular to provide a stable and safe environment for children generated in that union. For the longest time (especially in religious communities, but not limited to them) marriage and offspring have gone hand in hand. Nothing in society takes its place, when considering that aspect.

I have no issues with gay civil unions with partner benefits, etc, extended to domestic partners, nor do I really have any serious objections to adoption rights... I struggle with the erosion of significance heterosexual marriage has had in society. The legal definition has been reduced merely "consenting adults", which has very real legal consequences.

If marriage is codified in law as merely consenting adults, then in a strictly legal sense could incest and polygamy become legal... (which, imo, has significant risk to children).

TheProudDuck
Newport Beach, CA

The purpose of marriage has been held by multiple court decisions to be to regulate conjugal relationships that are reasonably likely to result in the birth of children, the protection of whose interests is a compelling government interest. Government really has no other reason to involve itself in regulating people's interpersonal arrangements.

By definition, gay relationships are significantly less likely to raise these issues. Accordingly, government declined to involve itself in regulating gay people's personal conjugal arrangements.

It is not necessary for the government to show "harm" in order to craft an institution that furthers the institution's purpose, and goes no further than that. Gay marriage is essentially an "off-label" use of the institution of marriage. Government *could* reasonably decide to expand its meaning to include gay relationships, but it is not obliged to. Treating different circumstances differently is not invidious discrimination.

Alfred
Phoenix, AZ

@nycut:
"@Your assertions illustrate the kind of animosity that is so problematic to civility."

I know... that's essentially what the DNews moderators keep telling me. I keep trying to improve.

"- that equal rights for gay people is the opposite of religious freedom"

I didn't say that.

"- that marriage between two gay grownups is somehow related to underage, incestuous or inter-species marriages"

No.. I said if one aberration of marriage is allowed (same-sex), to be fair all other combinations that mankind conjures should also be allowed.

"- that gay people are disease-ridden and dirty"

Anti-AIDS medications have resolved that issue.

"- that "ceasing to be gay" is a legitimate antidote to anti-gay hostility"

Try it, you might might find you like it. Besides, this life is where we meet/overcome our challenges.

"Gay couples are clearly harmed when kept from the legal protections marriage provides to citizens."

Then declare yourself un-gay and get married.

"All they have is their personal revulsion and religious preference, neither of which is sound basis for law."

John Adams said: 'Our Constitution is mad for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other.

Lane Myer
Salt Lake City, UT

TheProudDuck

Newport Beach, CA

The purpose of marriage has been held by multiple court decisions to be to regulate conjugal relationships that are reasonably likely to result in the birth of children, the protection of whose interests is a compelling government interest. Government really has no other reason to involve itself in regulating people's interpersonal arrangements.

__________________

Why was my mother allowed to get married at the age of 67?

Maybe gays just want the same marriage that she was able to receive from the government...

James Whistler
Chicago, IL

People on one side say, "I need to have the same rights for me and my committed gay partner as married opposite sex partners have. This means my gay partner being able to immigrate to the US (or to Utah), and for us to raise our own kids or to adopt, and to not be denied ordinary business services that are extended to straight people. And by the way, the tax and social security and health insurance benefits are really nice, too." People on the other side say, "no." I suppose that's pretty "civil", if put like that, is there any room left for compromise?

TheProudDuck
Newport Beach, CA

Lane, the answer to that hackneyed overused cliche of a comeback (seriously -- do you guys have a macro on your keyboard or something?) is that when government creates an institution to accomplish a specific purpose, it is not required to set that institution's contours so they do the absolute bare minimum necessary to accomplish that purpose. As anyone who has ever practiced administrative law knows painfully well.

Government may legitimately conclude that -- although some male-female couples may in fact be infertile, because of age or other reasons -- the intrusiveness and burden of making individualized determinations of that fact are unwarranted, even if some "off-label" uses of marriage may result.

Government might also legitimate conclude that there's no harm expanding the contours of marriage to include gay or polygamous couples. But it is not *required* to do so, as a matter of equal protection or otherwise.

A civil debate involves persuading your opponents that your view is right. An uncivil debate just calls them bigots and declares their consent unnecessary to impose your views on them.

Lane Myer
Salt Lake City, UT

"Government may legitimately conclude that -- although some male-female couples may in fact be infertile, because of age or other reasons -- the intrusiveness and burden of making individualized determinations of that fact are unwarranted, even if some "off-label" uses of marriage may result."

-------------------

And yet, in Utah, to be able to marry your first cousin, you must prove that you are infertile. What is that about? Talk about intrusive!

Two For Flinching
Salt Lake City, UT

@ Born that Way

No you don't. You don't care at all about your (made up) civil duty to "protect children." Single people (straight or gay) can adopt children on this state and I guarantee that you have never had an issue with that.

The fact is bearing children is completely irrelevant when it comes to who can, and who can't get married. It simply is not a requirement, or even a factor.

James Whistler
Chicago, IL

Here's a pattern of discussion I've seen in many comments.

A: My partner and I are gay and we want to get married.
B: You can't.
A: Why not?

B: Because marriage is only between a man and a woman.
A: That's not an explanation. That's just saying "you can't" again.

B: Because gay couples cannot reproduce.
A: What's the connection between marriage and reproduction?
B: Marriage is only for reproduction and child rearing.
A: So couples who can't reproduce can't get married?

This is where B says something about a "hackneyed, overused cliche" and avoids the logical question. The inability to reproduce is not sufficient reason to forbid a couple from getting married. B has find a better reason, if he or she can.

If a person or group is barred by law from certain benefits or responsibilities that other people freely enjoy, and the government can offer no compelling reason for that distinction, then the law is unjust and must be thrown out. This is what is meant by "rational basis."

Say No to BO
Mapleton, UT

Do you remember that New Year 2010 Celebration from the Conference Center?
Remember the lyrics to Be Strong?
You know, the part about standing for truth even if you have to stand alone.
Is it considered civil discourse to stand up and disagree with SSM?
Sometimes I wonder what these statements from Church HQ are telling us to do.

Born that Way
Layton, UT

twoforflinching: It's nice you can tell me what I care about. Especially in a discussion about whether or not the gay-agenda driven folks need to try a little.

I guess you proved the article's point.

You're entitled to disagree with me, but ascribing my motives oversteps the bounds of civil conversation and is a disservice to whatever cause you espouse.

Brahmabull
sandy, ut

I find it odd, and sad, that many people who are opposed to homosexual marriage because it is non traditional come from a church who was persecuted because they practiced polygamy, also a form of non traditional marriage. Boy do we forget what it is like to want to live our lives according to our own beliefs and merits, but not be able to because somebody else doesn't agree with it. I am sure that those persecuting the Mormon church justified it because they viewed polygamy as non traditional and as a sin. It is the exact same thing here, only it is the church and its members that are on the other side of it. So sad.

BTW - I am one of the first to say I don't agree with the homosexual lifestyle, but also the first to say I don't participate in it but if somebody else wants to then let them. There are many things that people do that I don't agree with, but others still have a right to do them.

Born that Way
Layton, UT

JamesW:It's easy to argue against a viewpoint that you oversimplify.

The government should have no interest in regulating your personal relationships, but instead provides protection for relationships with the potential to impact the future generations that abide within it.

Government uses endorsement programs all the time to stimulate social and economic growth and change. Gays can do whatever they wish to do. In many states domestic partnership laws can supplement relationships seeking to equalize inheritance laws and power of attorney benefits that come in a marital relationship.

But this is not about nomenclature, it's about how acquiescence benefits society. I'm perfectly willing to change sides if I saw compelling evidence of a significant social benefit.

Changing the legal interpretation of the marriage relationship to mean merely that of consenting adults has already shown detrimental effects on the law. Utah had its antibigamy laws struck down, because of the concept of consenting adults, which is a direct result of the successful gay marriage litigation.

Judges are legally obligated to open marriage up to an anything-goes interpretation should the reason for the change be based upon a legal precedent of marriage is merely consenting adults.

TheProudDuck
Newport Beach, CA

Whistler, we've gone over this. It is not the ability of a specific couple to reproduce that matters. It is the likelihood of a class of relationships, taken in the aggregate, to produce offspring, that matters. Government is not required, when it creates an institution to address a policy need, to customize the institution exactly to every last situation.

Taken in the aggregate, it is significantly more likely that a couple living together as man and wife will produce offspring, for whose welfare government is partly responsible, than a gay couple will. There's your rational basis right there. Rational basis is an extremely deferential standard.

There is no evidence whatsoever that when civil marriage was first introduced into Anglo-American law back in the 1700s, it was set up to cover male-female relationships specifically to disfavor gays. Including gay unions within the definition of marriage was simply not seen as necessary to accomplish the institution's purpose. And it's still not.

Lane Myer
Salt Lake City, UT

Proud Duck: "Taken in the aggregate, it is significantly more likely that a couple living together as man and wife will produce offspring, for whose welfare government is partly responsible, than a gay couple will. There's your rational basis right there. Rational basis is an extremely deferential standard. "

---------------------------

But, whether or not they can produce offspring, gay couples ARE raising children. It is estimated that 70,000 children are in the homes of gays here in America. Do you think the government is partly responsible for these children too? Why would the government only be concerned with the children of opposite couples? Why not all families? Why not offer the same benefits/privileges to gay parents (and by association, all gay couples - like they offer the same benefits to all heterosexual couples, whether or not they have/want/can conceive children) so that these 70,000 children will have the same backing from the government as other children? There is your rational reason, if you need one.

antodav
TAMPA, FL

This is human nature on display in all its glory, for everyone to see and observe with (hopefully) shame and disgust. It all results from people--both sides--trying to use the power of government to force others to embrace their values. It shouldn't be happening at all, except that people aren't able to grasp the concept that just because you disagree with something doesn't mean you should make it illegal--or, conversely, that you don't have the right to try to control how others think, or force others to accept you even after they show you the utmost tolerance.

Marriage laws should not exist, period. Everyone should just let everyone else do whatever they want, with whomever they want, and leave the government out of it. It is not the job of the state to legislate morality. People have their free agency. Mormons of all people ought to understand that, but somehow, in Utah, that basic doctrinal tenet gets lost in the flurry of misinformation flooding into homes through talk radio and Fox News. And the other side can't see its own hypocrisy either, clamoring for the state to enforce its views as well.

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