Comments about ‘10th Circuit Court ruling: Reasonable people can have good-faith disagreements’

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Published: Sunday, June 29 2014 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Kevin J. Kirkham
Salt Lake City, UT

Zabet, the same rights and privileges AREN’T available through contract law. Those which are require couples to pay thousands in legal fees that you got for free. There are over 1000 government benefits available only through marriage.

"Why can't there be a distinction between heterosexual unions and same-sex unions?" For the same reason there can’t be White's Only drinking fountains. Even if the government provided benefits were identical (the exact same cool, clean water coming out of both the White and Black fountains), both cases imply a distinction without a difference saying that one really isn't as equal or as good as the other.

"It just doesn't make sense that same sex unions are considered the same as heterosexual marriage." What is the difference between a marriage of retired gays and of retired straights? Neither is going to produce kids. Why can the latter marry but the former can't?

"Let's live and let live and agree to disagree and treat each other with love and compassion." That’s easy to say when you have all of the benefits and they have none. Can reasonable people abide that (Mosiah 4:16-18)?

Eagle Mountain, UT

@ Zabet

I would like to understand why it is so important for same-sex couples to have the stamp of approval of state recognized marriage


I doubt the sincerity of your claim.

Are you married by the State? Why did you need State approval of your union? Couldn't that have been solved by Contract Law? Can't anyone designate their friend, partner, or whoever, to receive health benefits and death benefits? What exactly is it that marriage provides that can't be provided any other way?

Salt Lake City, UT

Zabet, In a word, no, one cannot have the same rights and privileges through contract law. No one can designate their friend, partner or whoever to be on their health insurance at work. Most employers have a married spouse requirement to be added, or you could have the neighborhood on one persons plan!

There are about 3 rights that I know of (out of over 1300 federal rights) that one can gain by paying a lawyer. 1) You can have a person of your choice make medical decisions for you if you cannot make them yourself. 2) You can have a person inherit your possessions at your death (but they will have to pay income tax on that inheritance, unlike a spouse who pays none). 3) They can have a power of attorney if you designate it.

People who have gone to a lawyer for these rights have had to pay over $5,000 to have them. Even then, in Utah, we have Amendment 3 which will void these contracts - if the state wants to declare them as like a marriage. Remember section 2 of amendment 3? It forbade the state to recognize ANYTHING that acted like a marriage!


Provo, UT

Kudos to the Ericksons for a sober and well-argued article. There is no constitutional right to marry whomever you wish, regardless of how often pro-SSM folks assert it. Overwhelming evidence shows that children fare best in a household with their own mother and father. Maintaining a legal structure that supports this fact constitutes a rational basis for a state to define marriage as between a man and a woman.

Equal protection under the law can be achieved through civil unions without tampering with the definition of marriage. If we dilute the meaning of marriage we lose a foundational strength of our society.

family girl
Spanish Fork, UT

Civil unions are an obvious point of compromise, but the same sex community is not satisfied with just rights. That is a smoke screen that activists hid behind. Much more is at stake than simply marriage.

Salt Lake City, Utah

@ family girl: A couple of questions for you: Were you old enough to vote 10 years ago? If so, did you vote for or against Amendment 3? If you were not old enough to vote 10 years ago (or even if you were), have you ever read Amendment 3?

Amendment 3 states, "1. Marriage consists only of the legal union between a man and a woman. 2. No other domestic union, however denominated, may be recognized as a marriage or given the same or substantially equivalent legal effect."

Civil unions are not a compromise because civil unions are prohibited by the same Utah State Constitutional Amendment that prohibits same-sex marriage.

Most states that have laws or constitutional amendments prohibiting same-sex marriage also have verbiage that prohibits civil unions.

Another point - the Eagle Forum and other politically active conservative groups that oppose same-sex marriage also oppose civil unions or any other recognition of same-sex relationships. I don't know if you follow Utah politics at all, but well over 95% of the time, laws supported by the Eagle Forum pass and those opposed by the Eagle Forum don't.

Spanish Fork, UT

Perhaps Civil Unions ahousl be considered as a compromise to provide basic "rights" for same sex couples without inclulding equal rights for adoption and other issues where children are concerned.

Logan, UT

"Equal doesn't mean the same. It just doesn't make sense that same sex unions are considered the same as heterosexual marriage."

You are right, Equal doesn't mean the same. for example, man and woman are not the same, but they are treated equally under the law.

"Perhaps Civil Unions ahousl be considered as a compromise to provide basic "rights" for same sex couples without inclulding equal rights for adoption and other issues where children are concerned."

Did legislature and voters considered your point in 2004? No.
Now the arc of the moral universe is clearly bending towards justice, towards marriage equality, negotiating civil union seems too little, too late.

Salt Lake City, Utah

@ Zabet: There are approximately 399,000 children in foster care. Approximately 15% of them are in group homes or institutions. Approximately 10% of the children in foster care age out without ever being adopted or permanently placed.

("Approximately" because the numbers change every year, but the basic facts remain the same.)

Why don't we worry about getting permanent homes for all these children and then focus on whether or not we should place the restrictions you propose?

(Hint: By time there are more homes than children looking for homes, no one will care about the gender of the parents because we will have confirmed - yet again - that same-sex parents do just fine.)

Cleveland , OH

@Zabet: "...without inclulding equal rights for adoption and other issues where children are concerned."

Gay couples have children that one partner had from a previous relationship that they are raising together. Blocking the stepparent from having a legal relationship to the child takes away stability and means that if something happens to the biological parent the child could end up in the system.

Gay couples have children through artificial insemination or through a surrogate. In either case, only one of the parents has a legal relationship to the child.

Gay couples adopt in many states and raise children in stable and loving homes. They often take children that are not considered adoptable and who would end up living in foster care all their lives.

The truth is that the few studies that have been done to date on families headed by same-sex couples show that the children tend to be adjusted and happy and do well. In fact, the best indicator for well-adjusted kids is two parents - gay or straight - in a stable home.

Salt Lake City, UT

Redwings, there have been more than several members of my Ward and many in my State that have left marriages due to SSA. I know of several due to the profession that I am in. Also the Deseret News needs to be more frank and open that this happens with alarming frequency. It isn't just a rare occurrence.

Salt Lake City, UT

As I read the Church New last week it dawned on me that there has not been one argument against "traditional marriage" put out by the LBGT community??? No one. They are not fighting to destroy traditional marriage. They are fighting for the right as citizens to be allowed the same civil rights as other citizens. I really had a reality check that my traditional marriage has never been under attack at all.

Here, UT

family girl says:

"Civil unions are an obvious point of compromise, but the same sex community is not satisfied with just rights. "

Uhm, sweetheart, you FORBADE civil unions right along with marriage in Amendment 3. You wouldn't give an inch, now you are going to lose the mile.

I find it pretty ironic that you call yourself "family girl" and deny our families.


See comment to 'family girl' above.

Ogden, UT

@MtnDewer 5:10 p.m. July 1, 2014

One problem with the documents -- they are only effective when the people who are given copies of them deem them effective. Before moving to Utah, my legal practice included drafting the type of documents you reference including a document giving the client's partner absolute control of the client's medical treatment. They were properly drafted, properly executed, notarized and recorded (as required by law to make them legally effective). That should have made them absolutely effective -- yes? Unfortunately the answer is "no." When a client required hospital care, the hospital often refused to follow the medical power of attorney and instead contacted the patient's biological family for authority and directions. In one case the family not only negated the attorney-in-fact's (my client's partner's) directions, it banned him from the room when my client passed.

Wills can be contested.

The documents, most of the time are effective. There are times though, where they are merely "feel good" documents and the person's wishes are not observed. You're right -- contract law is not truly effective. Legal civil marriage mitigates those issues.

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