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[Comments] (15) Conflicted: I swore to myself that I'd finish posting on Alaska before I posted on other things, but I just can't help myself right now.

Geez, you leave the lower 48 for a week and look what happens. Not only does headline "Bush to back constitutional ban on gay marriage," but a flyer was distributed in church yesterday noting that the First Presidency would like me to write to Barbara Boxer & Diane Feinstein to support such an amendnment.

Susie and I discussed this issue at large last night, and the following conclusions were finally reached:

1. A letter was written from the First Presidency on May 26, 2006 and must have been read in church while we were on vacation. There is no posting of this message on the church's website, which means that, since I didn't hear it and cannot read it, I am not bound to follow its precepts.

2. I did find some excerpts from a trusty site that Nate Oman posts on, and I agree with his premise @

3. I really really hate the phrase "or the legal incidents thereof."

4. Why can't we all just get along? I mean, hey, if my church decides that they will not condone these actions by allowing same-sex marriages within the church, I am ok with that. It's a private institution, and that is their prerogative. But it is an entirely different matter to say that same-sex marriage is constitutionally defined and is strictly prohibited by the Bill of Rights. Ironically, I think anytime a prohibition pops up there, the whole system becomes a paradox.

5. I think people's views change largely through experience and relationships. I think I am fired up about this topic now because I finally know some people who have chosen an alternate lifestyle. They are happy, good people. Why should they be denied such "legal incidents"? But for too many of the masses who don't have these relationships, they don't care. I would propose for them to assume that their sibling/child/best friend were gay and then think about the issue. But for too many of these people, I'm afraid the proposal would only fall on deaf ears.

6. How does allowing civil unions threaten what I have in a marraige anyway?

7. Susie and I really hope this does not pass.


Posted by Alyson at Tue Jun 06 2006 09:37

Amen, John! There is a lot of latent bigotry and prejudice behind a lot of the talk that goes on at any church and all over the states. I abhor the facade that people wear in "defense of marriage" to ineffectively disguise intolerance and hate. I wonder if Joe will weigh in on this discussion. If he does, I'm going to run and hide.

Posted by Kristen at Tue Jun 06 2006 11:21

I sincerely hope the bill does pass. I find it hypocritical that people who disagree with others label them bigots because they have made personal decisions for themselves that are contrary to their own. Who is to say that they are intolerant and hateful?

I think it is a sensitive subject, and to not respect other’s decisions and beliefs but to demand your own beliefs to be respected is arrogant.

Posted by Alyson at Tue Jun 06 2006 15:54

Kristen, I didn't say that all advocates of traditional family are intolerant and hateful. There are many individuals that justify intolerance toward homosexuals because they morally disagree with the lifestyle choice. I find that hypocritical. Supremely hypocritical.

Posted by Alyson at Tue Jun 06 2006 16:05

Sorry I've come off so confrontational. I want everyone to get along! I make my choices, my neighbor can make his/hers, and we will still be friends! That is my wish.

Posted by Rachel at Tue Jun 06 2006 18:22

to not respect other’s decisions and beliefs but to demand your own beliefs to be respected is arrogant.
At the risk of coming off as confrontational... to me Kristen's words exactly describe what the ammendment is. Why is one person's view of marriage more valid than another's? What gives someone the right to say that he/she can marry, but these other people can't? It's ok by me if other people want to not "believe" in gay marriage. That's fine. Don't believe in it. But to say that others can't as well *is* arrogant. I don't understand the supposedly christian arguements against gays. It's like pointing out the mote in your brother's eye and not noticing the beam in your own. I wish people would worry about being good citizens for themselves and let he without sin cast the first stone, etc, and not go tearing down perfectly good relationships just because they don't fit in with their own ideal. No one is perfect, so can't we just get along? I hope not to start an arguement, just to state my opinion and say that I think John did a great job of stating his, with which I fortunately agree.

Posted by Sumana at Wed Jun 07 2006 04:37


John has given reasons for his opposition of the proposed amendment. I also oppose it, and I have both feelings and reasons behind my opposition.

You seem to believe that supporting the amendment is a personal decision for yourself. But this isn't about your choice to be heterosexual (I'm assuming you did choose to be heterosexual?) or your choice to marry a man. You are making a public policy decision that affects other citizens. Public policy decisions are open to debate, as are the reasons and feelings, legitimate and illegitimate, behind people's positions on those choices.

If John doesn't want that a possibly heated discussion to take place in his comments, I can open a thread on my blog instead.

Posted by John at Wed Jun 07 2006 08:48

First of all, I fully allow heated discussions on my blog, as long as they are considerate. I think that we have all grown throughtout our years of blogging, and are all better at having an open discussion without purposefully offending others.

Second, I would like to thank Kristen for posting. It takes guts sometimes to be the minority voice.

I just read that the amendment did not pass. But I still have a final remark to add. I am LDS. I do not consider myself a liberal mormon, or whatever they are calling themselves these days. When the prophet speaks, I listen and obey. But not until I know for myself. And that is why this has been difficult for me. Until yesterday night, when I finally read the statement released by the First Presidency. All they said was that they support marraige being defined as between a man and a woman, and we should support the family. It did not explicitly require me to support this particular legislation.

Which is good. I do support marriage as being between a man and a woman. But I also support civil unions between various groups. Mainly because it's semantics. For all intents and purposes, lets call marriage a Biblical term, and Civil Unions a governmental term to simplify the argument. Allowing civil unions still preserves the sanctity of Christian marriage as being between a man and a woman, but still allows people who do not want to have a "marriage" to receive the legal incidents owed to them as citizens of this country and as fellow human beings.

This way, people with alternative lifestyles can have hospital visitation, inheritance, and insurance rights same as the rest of us. These are not things that only those with a marriage should have, but anyone in a committed relationship deserves.

My coworker told me yesterday (who is LDS) that he agrees with the above, except that he doesn't think that homosexuals should be allowed to adopt. Since when did homosexuals become outright pedophiles? And why does he assume that homosexual parenting would influence a child to be a homosexual? After all, heterosexual parents produce homosexuals all of the time. If A does not equal B, then B certainly cannot equal A. Once again, these misconceptions come from good people who are either misinformed or don't personally know any gay people. Just like people who don't personally understand or know a Mormon will think that I'm not Christian.

Lastly, I think a lot of Christians read the first sentence of the amendment and think, oh, marriage definition, yeah, I support that. And they forget about the rest of the amendment. Would any of you in favor of the amendment be willing to call Uncle Leonard on the phone and tell him that you don't think that he and Jeff deserve hospital visitation rights, common law inheritance rights, or cooperative insurance rights? Cuz that's what you would be voting for.

In conclusion, it's all semantics. Want to define marriage as religious, as between a man and woman? Fine with me. But don't make the government accept your religious definition and thereby deny civil unions that only purport to extend benefits to all equally. That's all I'm saying. I've found peace now with my religion and my willingness to accept people for who they are.

Posted by Susie at Wed Jun 07 2006 15:59

My two pennies: Marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman, and I think it's a religious definition and doesn't need to be put into the constitution.
I support civil unions, commitment and not denying people rights.

I was teasing John last night that he's gotten all liberal since marrying me. I blame Rachel ;)

Posted by Kristen at Wed Jun 07 2006 19:07

I am sorry if my statement came off as hostile or rude. I am still working on being tactful and I apologize. Just so everyone knows, I still feel the same about everyone no matter what their stand is on issues. That is I still love everyoneand like everyone as well.

First, I must say that I supported the amendment foremost because the First Presidency (whom I believe receives direct revelation from Jesus Christ himself) put out a message saying that we should be for it. However I feel about it is second to that fact. The prophet speaks; I obey whether it is only having only one earring in each ear all the way to not supporting gay marriage. I hope people do not interpret my faith as religious zealousness or the "far right Christians". It is strictly a moral issue for me, not a political one.

Secondly, I am not against civil unions as a legal term. I believe there are those that exist. Maybe not to the full extent of marriage rights, but I doubt people are getting kicked out of their loved one's hospital room because they are related or they aren't getting things left for them on a Last Will and Testament. No one told any friends or family to leave at a certain time at the hospital when I had Lily even though some visitors were late. And I know they have Power of Attorney papers that give other people the right to act in your name with legal matters. There are ways around it. I am ignorant as far as what is on the books in each state about civil unions but I doubt gay couples are get far less rights than regular friends do. I am pretty sure there are legal ways for gay couples to work around things to get benefits.

As far as adoption goes for gay couples I am against it. The reason being I will quote the Proclamation to the World which the LDS church views as scripture,
"The Family is ordained of God. Marriage between a man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are ENTITLED to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity."

No where else will you find "the Brethren" stating that children or people are entitled to anything else. They are entitled to a father and a mother, and I do not dare say so otherwise. Therefore I truly want children to be reared by both a mother and a father. Not to mention all the psychology books say that influence from a male and a female are the best for a child in a balanced and healthy upbringing.

The argument of "I would rather a child be brought up by loving non-abusive father, father home or mother, mother home than an abusive father mother home." Well if we are theoretically speaking the theoretically best home for a child to live in is a loving mother and father home. I don't want anyone to be abused. I am for CPS finding good homes that have a loving mother and father who don't abuse kids.
I also believe that there should not be gay adoption because in the Proclamation to the World it states, "We further declare that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and a woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife."

As far as Uncle Leonard goes, I love him. I wish I knew him better but unfortunately for me he is shyer than I am so it makes it hard to get very close. I wish him the best. I want him to be happy and I hope he does find true happiness in this life.

So there you go; that is how I feel. A lot of my opinions are based on faith in the Church of Jesus Christ of LDS and the leadership thereof. If you think I am hateful, mean, arrogant, or intolerant then take it up with Gordon B. Hinckley because I do what he says or at least I try to.

Posted by Kristen at Wed Jun 07 2006 19:39

I did some research and I found that Vermont, Cali, Conneticut, and NJ already have civil union laws that give equal rights to same sex partners. That is up to the state.

Also a statment released by the White House states, "The amendment should fully protect marriage, while leaving the state legislatures free to make their own choices in defining legal arrangements other than marriage."

In addition to that on it says that the 2004 version was changed from the 2002 and that... "The 2004 version replaces the phrase "unmarried couples or groups" with "any union other than the union of a man and a woman." As a result, the FMA would not overturn state laws that grant "legal incidents" of marriage to unmarried heterosexual couples, such as those in common law marriages.

Because the second sentence no longer refers to "state or federal law," the Amendment would likely allow state or federal legislators or voters to enact legislation granting some of the "legal incidents" of marriage to same-sex couples.

So in my understanding, the amendment leaves it up to the states to define civil unions as some states have already done so.

Posted by Jill at Thu Jun 08 2006 16:58

The prophet speaks, I obey. It is an interesting concept, one a lot of people have trouble understanding. And this is also on a topic a lot of people have trouble understanding. I suppose that is where excercising free agency and faith come along. I know for myself, that sometimes things don't make sense or it doesn't seem like a big deal, and I also know that the Lord does everything for a specific reason, and while it may not be clear to us why we are asked to do certain things, it will become clear to us later, even if it is millions of years later. For me, I didn't write to Bennett and Hatch...mostly because I have worked too much to think about it, and also because being from Utah, I knew their vote wouldn't change regardless of how many people wrote in. It is interesting that the First presidency of the Church voiced an opinion though...generally they try to stay out of all political matters except to encourage us to vote for the people we think would best help the community. Anyway it hasn't passed yet, but it will be interesting to see where it goes in the future.

Posted by Sumana at Thu Jun 08 2006 17:43

See, policy we can debate. Even values we can debate. But once epistemology enters the picture, there's no way to be polite. "Your method of deciding what's true is wrong" or "I believe God is telling me the inerrant truth" has no place in civil discourse, yet religion's influence in politics means we have to deal with it all the time.

Once people have beliefs that we hold dear, that we specifically guard against change no matter what we learn or hear, how can we know they're true?

Critical thinking is our immune system against nonsense and fallacy. HIV kills the immune system - that's its dark genius. When your beliefs tell you that doubt is a moral danger, there is no way to have any kind of productive discussion, because you won't let yourself be changed.

Posted by jill at Mon Jun 12 2006 14:36

I like the statement by Sumana, "Critical thinking is our immune system against nonsense and fallacy."

Posted by jill at Mon Jun 12 2006 14:39

I like the statement by Sumana, "Critical thinking is our immune system against nonsense and fallacy." I guess one thing that I have learned during my years of being a couselor, "seek to understand before you seek to be understood." I am glad there are so many different opinions, and different people. It keeps life interesting, and keeps the mind working.

Posted by Joe Walch at Thu Jul 06 2006 20:46

I missed a good blog. I should get out of the lab more often.

Repentance and Forgiveness. That is what it all boils down to. That is why we are here. The PhD's and $'s are all superfluous to the main objective of why we are here. I am just sad that some of us forgot what we were fighting for in the pre-earth life. I am sad that this war has continued and claimed casualties here.

I find it very difficult to repent of my sins. I also find it difficult to forgive sometimes. I have, however, felt of the love of the savior through my meager repentance, and through that I have hope that it will be allright.

I just hope that people would stop denying the love of God to themselves and to others.

Good Blog John

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