Comments about ‘Drew Clark: Lawrence and Windsor won't trump Utah marriage laws’

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Published: Sunday, July 27 2014 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Salt Lake City, UT

One of the reasons I remain troubled by the Deseret News' position is that I don't see how different marriage laws from state to state can be managed in the "United" States. Say an SSM couple moves from a state allowing SSM to Utah. What happens to their social security survivorship rights? Say they entered into contractual arrangements in the state of origin as a couple, are those contracts, say for a house or car, now null and void? What about pension and/or 401K survivor benefits? Are they then shredded? This doesn't even get to the disruption involved if there are any kids involved.

I believe two systems of marriage will break up the United States. We are now the owners of the world's #2 economy - I think we should hang together.

I'm happy to hear any and all thoughts on this critical matter.

American Fork, UT

Okay, let's kick your can for a minute. If states get decide who gets to call themselves married, as you maintain, is anyone entitled to be legally married outside the state that they were married in? Does any adjacent state have to recognise any Utah marriage? Marriage is just contract law, and it should be recognised nation wide. Any other concept will just make it worse.

Springville, UT

I see where you are coming from Drew, but I wonder if the Supreme Court isn't playing chess while Utah leadership plays checkers? I believe key members of the Supreme Court want to rule on Kitchen v. Herbert, and they don't want Utah to drop our appeal like other Republican States did when they came to the conclusion their cases would fail on higher appeal. SCOTUS is simply granting stays now in order to reel us in. The Supreme Court has struck down state defined marriage before when they found certain state definitions of marriage to be discriminatory (Loving v. Virginia). Utah once had a law defining marriage as between a man and woman of the same race only - but it was unconstitutional. This Kitchen v. Herbert case bears too many similarities to Loving to realistically expect the Supreme Court to uphold Utah's current definition of marriage. With all due respect to you as an opinion writer, over 20 state and federal judges trained in constitutional law, and of both political parties have ruled in disagreement with you in just the last 6 months alone (at least one of those judges - Judge Kimball - was a BYU Law graduate).

Sandy, UT

Funny, it seems the federal government had no trouble at all trumping Utah's marriage laws....back around 1887 or so.

Roland Kayser
Cottonwood Heights, UT

From the piece: "Changing a core aspect of marriage cannot be forced upon a state under the guise of the 14th Amendment."

This is flat our wrong as the Supreme Court ruled in Loving v Virginia.

Heber City, UT

"What happens if the Supreme Court upholds Utah’s marriage laws?"

The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.

liberal larry
salt lake City, utah

"What happens if the Supreme Court upholds Utah’s marriage laws?"

I can tell you exactly what will happen. Utah will strut, and crow about the wonderfulness of their moral victory, but the celebration will be short lived.

Large corporations, and high tech firms will slowly cross Utah off of their lists of eligible spots to do business with, and Utah business leaders will be in a panic.

Utah's legislators will quietly find a way to reverse Utah's discriminatory laws, or face the prospect of becoming an economic, and social backwater.

Denver, CO

Don't hold your breath Drew, same sex marriage is a matter of when, not if in Utah. The courts ruled that Utah's same sex marriage ban was unconstitutional. They also granted two stays: 1. on implementing decisions overturning Utah's ban on gay marriage. 2. on recognition of gay marriages that took place under the ban. Lawrence ('03) reversed a ruling allowing states to regulate bedroom activity, "Bowers ('86) was not correct when it was decided, and it is not correct today." Even if Justice Scalia wrangles a victory (coalition with Thomas, Alito, Roberts, and Kennedy), it will likely be reversed within a decade or two as it was in Lawrence. Utah's ban fundamentally conflicts with the 14th amendment, and in order to fulfill this anti-gay marriage fantasy in-perpetuity, the court would need to undo Loving v. Virginia and refined equal protection. Radical elements on this court, led by Scalia, will do handstands to comply with your wish, but they are fighting precedent and the tide of history. This argument seem more geared to the benefits of a theocracy than the need to follow the equal protection provisions of the 14th amendment.

seattle, WA

If your opinion on the matter would carry the majority in a Supreme Court ruling, how do you reconcile one state allowing same sex marriage and another not. Aren't states required to recognize legal acts of another? Do you wish for state A to refuse to recognize state B's acts, in a pique of anger over SSM? It could happen, you know. Some states are controlled by quite liberal/progressive governors, legislators and electorates who just might take that step.

Another good argument against this gentleman's opinion might be the Catholic church. It is against Church dogma to divorce. Yet the Catholic church is forced to recognize and deal with civil divorce. The Catholic church has been in business for a long time, and maybe the good people of Utah ought to emulate the Catholic church and reconcile themselves with the fact that same sex marriage will become quite common, and may indeed become the law of the land.

seattle, WA

Another thing, Mr. Clark.

You have said: "Our constitutional rights to life, liberty and property do not require anyone, let alone the state, to publicly recognize private acts. A truer live-and-let-live attitude permits consensual private activity without coercing public acceptance."

Is not the argument that atheists and other non-believers make for Christmas symbols and other forms of Christian observances? If you wish to be consistent in your views, please work your way out of that conundrum.

Somewhere in Time, UT

Dear Drew Clark:

I hope with all my heart that you are right. I can't imagined any justification for imposing this so-called "right" on the people of this state or any other.

E Sam
Provo, UT

As usual, the DN gets the case wrong. This isn't about states' rights. If gay people are citizens of the United States, how can they be denied something as fundamental as the right to marry? You seem to suggest that Utah can pick and choose what rights it's going to allow gay citizens to have. Doesn't work that way.

Eugene, OR

Unless I'm missing something, I'm pretty sure that there is no requirement that a married couple ever consummate their union, and thanks to Lawrence v. Texas, two unmarried people can have sex as long as they can both legally consent. Regardless of the assumptions we naturally make, where's the valid basis for tying in sexual activity to marriage?

And the DN's editorial staff grows ever more desperate...

Salt Lake City, UT

"The Supreme Court on July 18 ruled in favor of Utah..."

No they did not. They simply granted a request to wait.

Centerville, UT

I agree that it would be productive to consider what happens if the Supreme Court upholds Amendment 3. As Mr. Clark points out, some states will likely vote to allow same-sex marriage. Will Utah give full faith and credit to a marriage performed in a state where it was democratically allowed? Suppose someone married in that state moves here to teach at a public university and eventually retires and dies. Under federal law, the surviving spouse would be entitled to Social Security benefits. Would the state of Utah pay survivor retirement benefits?

Bill McGee
Alpine, UT

So far, in every legal challenge in every single state, US District Courts have ruled that state constitutional bans on same sex marriage violate the 14th amendment and are therefore unconstitutional. Casting aspersions on those who support this action by labeling them as the "intellectual elite" will not change the fact that opponents to this trend have not yet won a single case in a Federal court. If you want other precedence, look no further than the US Supreme Court throwing out Utah's anti-miscegenation amendment in 1963. There is clear precedent for the Supreme Court to insert themselves into state laws on marriage. (For those of you not "intellectually elite" enough, Utah had a law banning mixed race marriages that the Supreme Court threw out as unconstitutional.)

Finally, why was it necessary to label those who support same sex marriage as the "intellectual elite?" Name-calling dampens rather than encourages dialogue, and it retrenches thinking by labeling those who disagree as "other." For someone who is the opinion editor of a regional newspaper, you should understand that name calling is not the same thing as building an argument.

Provo, UT

"Marriage...binds a child to a mother and a father".

No, it doesn't.

Children are "bound" to their mothers and fathers even when there is no marriage. Adoption, custody, and guardianship legally "bind" children to parents. Custody and guardianship are often, but not always, implicit in marriage.

Convoluting parenthood and marriage is a common but red herring tactic used by those who oppose marriage equality.

Gaithersburg, MD

Nice try and an interesting premise, but I don't see it flying. Civil marriage has been considered a contract for a very long time. And while you would want the religious interpretation of the reasoning behind marriage to enter into the argument, it does not. People of all exceptions legally marry.

Furthermore, two straight atheists can go to City Hall, obtain a marriage license, be married by a judge, with no mention of religion, and that couple's marriage is recognized by that state, all states, the Feds, and all other countries. Perhaps, a number of religions would not recognize such a marriage but as we are talking about legal matters, who really cares about the opinion of some (and certainly not all) religions?

No, like it or not, this is a legal matter (as we are speaking of civil law) and the issue will be resolved in the courts.

As far as your claimed "victory" by obtaining a stay, I agree with Mage, and it has been a discussion among many friends. Wouldn't it be ironic that a conservative state such as Utah be the SCOTUS case that wins marriage equality for the country?

Springville, UT

Wow, I know you believe in your cause, but this borders on fantasy. It proves that a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing. I don't know how the current Supreme Court will rule, particularly as it is more political now than ever, but the rationale in this piece is really shaky and is more wishful thinking.

A couple of additional comments. I ask you, how have the gay marriages that have been performed here in Utah and in other places changed a single, solitary thing? How has your life been impacted? How have your family and children been harmed? Can you even tell a difference? I'm betting it's more of a concept than reality, all of the sky is falling talk. Second, calling SSM proponents things like "cultural elitists" is showing desperation and immaturity. It's just not true, nor is it fair to slam the majority of Americans who have no problem with it.


It seems that some who want to loudly proclaim they are against SSM are merely acting out as modern day Pharisees. It's as though the statement demonstrates how "worthy" they are. If though one actually believes in eternity, why spend so muc; time worrying over a non-eternal matter? We line in a world where genocidal actions are commonplace. We also ignore poisoning the planet because after all, we need more billionaires. It seems like we have forgotten who our neighbor is and, that we are supposed to love them; regardless of who they love.

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