Comments about ‘Philosopher kings: Transformative decisions best left to people's representatives’

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Published: Sunday, July 13 2014 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Daedalus, Stephen

Ericksons: "...the two-judge majority for the Tenth Circuit found a fundamental right to same-sex marriage 'deeply rooted in the history and tradition of the United States.'"

The Ericksons further insinuate that the 10th Cir. is improvising by "newly applying...constitutional principles...[merely] in light of increased understanding about sexual orientation."

100% falsehoods.

Google "13-4178.pdf" to read the opinion.

See pp 40-41 where the majority expressly rejects that the issue before it is "whether there is a right to participate in same-sex marriage."

Instead, the fundamental right considered by the 10th Cir. is the "freedom of choice to marry" established in Loving v Virginia and cited by SCOTUS many times since.

The 10th Cir. cites SCOTUS precedent Lawrence v Texas (2003) holding gays and lesbians share the same fundamental rights as heterosexuals, despite how moral disapproval against them was once codified into criminal code.

The 10th Cir. breaks no new ground by applying strict scrutiny to a law that infringes upon a fundamental right.

Utah simply failed to demonstrate how Amend 3 (a law that infringes LGBT citizen's fundamental right to exercise choice in marriage) was "narrowly tailored to serve a compelling state interest."

Provo, UT

I applaud the Eriksons for putting the focus of the same-sex marriage debate on what it needs to be on: children. Redefining marriage also redefines parenting, and redefining parenting will have a huge impact on children whether we like it or not. Society is about to conduct a huge social experiment on our most vulnerable population. It’s a population who can't give their consent. No responsible institution in the world would grant permission to conduct such an experiment because it would likely be considered unethical. We have no right to trample on children's civil rights in this manner.

A Quaker
Brooklyn, NY

No one is asking you to "endorse same-sex marriage." You may continue to condemn it, denigrate it, ignore it, or despise those who enter into it. What you can't do is legally prevent it.

That is the big difference. People have rights. Even people that you don't like, or don't respect, still have rights. Their rights are not dependent upon your "endorsement." And one of the rights that people have is to form lifetime bonds to loved ones. That you don't recognize or appreciate that love is not their problem. It is yours.

But, when you attempt to enact your lack of appreciation into law, to attempt to interfere with their lives, to prevent them from accessing the same rights in a lifetime relationship that others are fully entitled to, that is their problem, and the courts now realize that they need to address that.

This doesn't change your lives in any way. If you can't recognize that fact, you do indeed have a serious problem, but it is not the one you're describing.

Starry starry night
Palm Springs , CA

While I find the tone of this OP/ED to be respectful and evolved in its views of gays in our society, I disagree with the inflexible conclusions about procreation's central role in the institution of marriage. Marriage, throughout history, has meant different things. Even within the Church of Latter Day Saints there has been a history of conflict that required adaptation to changing times. As society advances, all of us will need to move forward as well. The definition of family has irreversibly changed. The structure of our society confers legal and financial protections through the structure of marriage. Rather than weakening marriage, inclusion of same sex unions strengthens the institution by declaring the fundamentality of its traditions and protections as irreplaceable. As we fully absorb our gay fellow citizens into our culture and as we recognize the immutability of their sexuality we advance our culture and the institution of marriage at the same time. A win-win for all. We are living in historic times, let's all rise to the challenge with our hearts and our eyes wide open!

seattle, WA

So, apparently now as the argument is being made by those who oppose same sex marriage, children have a civil right to be raised by their biological parents.

Holy ghost Batman, talk about hypocrisy finding a civil right not enumerated in the Constitution, is apostasy n the Republican/Tea Party. Let us at least try a little political consistency.

And, if indeed is a right for offspring to be raised by biological parents, then what do with do to people who decide not to continue their marriage, give up a child for adoption, or other circumstances that violate this new right? Fines? Incarceration? Exile?

All this huff and puff from the anti same sex marriage crowd just continues to show the vacuity of their arguments.

GK Willington
Salt Lake City, UT

re: Irony Guy

Agreed. Its like the *edited* version of rule 7 in Animal Farm.

A Quaker
Brooklyn, NY

@ordinaryfolks: There's no reason to stop there. Let's take their faux reasoning to its logical conclusion.

IF every child has an absolute right to its biological parents, then obviously society has a duty to enable that right. That duty includes direct financial support where necessary, support programs, and support personnel. Direct financial support might include aid to the child's parent or parents for additional housing and ongoing living expenses. Support programs might include publicly-funded childcare, so a young mother could complete school and/or job training. Support personnel might include nanny services to make sure the child not only integrates well with its family situation, but gets every advantage in early education. And social services to rehabilitate unfit parents or support unprepared ones.

These people who claim "Children's Rights!" are complete hypocrites, since they're the same people who oppose any spending for programs which would make that possible, and the first to scream "Socialism!" at even the suggestion of it.


Awesome article. Kids need a mom and a dad. I stand with kids on this issue.

Karen R.
Houston, TX

The authors devote a paragraph to establishing their gay-friendly bona fides, yet refer to gay people as "individuals who experience same-sex attraction." I wonder if they refer to their hetero friends as "individuals who experience opposite-sex attraction."

I know, I know - "SSA" is a thing - an affliction, a "challenge" to be overcome. But our "increased understanding about sexual orientation" actually rebuts this notion. The only part of the universe still holding fast to this myth is the religious part - and in diminishing proportions.

Fine, Ericksons - place loyalty to your religion over knowledge. This is your choice. But don't in the next breath claim respect for gay people when you can only see them through the prism of your faith - a faith that tells you they have an affliction even as gay people and evidence are saying, "This is not true."

I have to go now. I have a meeting with my boss who experiences opposite-sex attraction and left-handedness.

Payson, UT

Awesome article! Every child deserves a father and a mother!

Kaysville, UT

Yes! Thanks for making such a clear description of the situation. Our society should be very careful about redefining the basic unit of our communities. Adult desires should not outweigh the good of the children. Great article!!!

Springville, UT

Great analysis by the Ericksons. Very thoughtful and thought provoking. Those who have tried to disagree on this comment thread have done a poor job of addressing the concerns they express. Many sound like they didn't read the article. The Ericksons say nothing derogatory about same sex attracted people. But rather express respect and gratitude for them sharing their experiences. They are only suggesting that changing the definition of marriage is something that needs debated and discussed thoroughly,exploring the probable effects on society generally and on children directly, rather than a few men wielding power in seeming response to slogans and the latest popular beliefs.

Salt Lake City, Utah

Utah law allows first cousins to marry if they are unable to have children. If marriages are to be "child-centric," this law needs to change.

Utah law allows single individuals to foster and adopt. If children "deserve" a mother and a father, this law needs to change.

Many children are being raised by single parents. If children have a "right" to a mother and a father, laws need to be passed to correct these situations.

Why is it that so many people are concerned about "the children" when it comes to limiting the right of same-sex couples to marry but not at any other time?

Many children are being raised by same-sex parents. Prohibiting marriage to these parents does nothing to provide the children with two opposite-sex parents, but it does make their situation less secure and threatens their stability should something happen to one of the parents.

Salt Lake City, UT

Re: A Quaker " People have rights. Even people that you don't like, or don't respect, still have rights. Their rights are not dependent upon your "endorsement." And one of the rights that people have is to form lifetime bonds to loved ones. That you don't recognize or appreciate that love is not their problem. It is yours."

Well stated and exactly right.

Ogden, UT

It may be worth noting that the title, "Transformative Decisions are best left to People's Representatives" which has been quoted in the comments several times, seems to have been misunderstood by those who quoted it.

I understand the arguments against allowing representatives to dictate transformative decisions, and I agree. But that is not the point of the authors, and construing it as such is a gross misunderstanding. The authors' point is very clear, which is that such transformative decisions should be made by the PEOPLE, or their representatives, NOT by a few judges. And I think that's something we can all get on board with.

Although it is nice to voice an opinion here, we all know that this string of comments will not dictate what is right or wrong for America or for same-sex marriage. The only value our comments have is rooted in the hopes that the people actually do get to choose the future of America. If, on the other hand, we continue to allow the judges to make these transformative decisions for us, these comment strings will have no worth at all. Let's all hope for better!

Los Alamos, NM

Loved the article!! Very well said. Let's do all we can to help our children!

Karen R.
Houston, TX

@ factoid

The only reason judges are making these calls at this time is because people took it upon themselves to vote on the rights of others. One reason it is now being argued that "transformative decisions" should be made by the people/their representatives is because those with this view see that they're losing in the courts. If they were winning in the courts they'd be all about the judges.

But what I also hear when some make arguments like this is, "Wait. We're not ready." I can empathize with this and I do wish the world worked so that we could all feel prepared for the next change coming around the bend. But it doesn't and it would be unfair to ask gay people and their families to wait until everyone can get their heads wrapped around this. They've been waiting to be acknowledged as equal citizens for centuries. The sooner we end this injustice, the better.

Ogden, UT

One argument for same-sex marriage is that there is no higher law by which any of us need abide, and morality stems from religion. If true, then marriage, gay-rights, abortion, or whatever the issue, is only a preference and we should accept any choice another makes. However, those who argue in this direction are often caught saying things like, That's not fair! or You're being hypocritical. Well doesn't that let the cat out?

If there is no morality by which we need abide, then there is no wrong in hypocrisy or unfairness. It's simply preference.

Once you pull the unfair card, you have admitted that there is a higher law each of us is aware of that establishes right and wrong, and that this law IS NOT created by man. If true, then we must be very alert towards our consciences as we establish political laws. Is it possible that this law touches not only how we interact with others, but how life begins/ends, children are raised, and how we treat these procreative abilities?

Give me a leader with a true moral conscience, and I will give my loyalty and life.

Here, UT


Morality doesn't stem from religion.


Preventing gay couples from marrying does absolutely NOTHING to "help the children".

Springville, Utah, UT

I couldn't agree more! I appreciate this explanation by Michael and Jenet Erickson and am grateful for the wise words of Judge Kelly. Adult choices should not be the priority, and the people, not the judges, should have the final say. What is ultimately best for children is the big issue, and each child truly benefits from both a mother and a father. I feel strongly that marriage, as defined since the beginning of recorded time, should stand...always as the bedrock institution it was designed to be for the benefit of children, families and society.

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