Mormon leaders find unlikely evangelical and Catholic allies in fight against gay marriage

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The Mormon Church continues its fight against same-sex marriage, now with new denominational allies.


The Mormon Church continues its fight against same-sex marriage, now with new denominational allies.


The Mormon Church continues its fight against same-sex marriage, now with new denominational allies.

The Mormon Church continues its fight against same-sex marriage, now with new denominational allies.

Mormon leaders have joined their voices with those of four other Christian traditions in urging the Supreme Court to take a stand against same-sex marriage.

And those four other groups have not exactly been historical friends to the Latter-day Saints.

On Thursday, the five groups filed an amicus brief requesting the nation’s highest court to hear an appeal that originated in Utah. They desire the court to rule definitively in favor of traditional marriage between a man and a woman.

Let’s take a look at those four groups.

  • The National Association of Evangelicals. Despite some recent thawing of evangelical-Mormon relations (God bless you, Richard Mouw), there’s not much love lost between these two groups. Evangelicals have broadly accused Mormonism of being a cult, and have produced an astonishing cottage industry of books and sensationalist Godmakers-style documentaries about the brainwashed, unsaved, misguided Latter-day Saints.
  • The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. This is another example of bad blood, but this time it’s hardly one-sided; Mormon leaders have had an unfortunate history of pounding on Catholicism from the pulpit, in books like Bruce R. McConkie’s unfortunate Mormon Doctrine, and in interpretations of Roman Catholicism being the “great and abominable” church mentioned in the Book of Mormon. (Thankfully, this is no longer taught.) Catholics have been intensely critical of Mormons in the past too. They don’t think our theology is Christian, and the bishops have disagreed with several Mormon practices, such as baptisms for the dead.
  • The Lutheran Church (Missouri Synod) has a well-written document on its website outlining the denomination’s many differences with the Latter-day Saints. According to the LCMS, Mormons don’t adhere to sola scriptura, don’t hold truck with the traditional Trinity, don’t buy into the notion of original sin, and appear to believe in works righteousness. Mormon baptisms are not considered legitimate, and our version of the Lord’s Supper “is not administered in accord with Christ’s institution and therefore is not a valid sacrament.”
  • The final player in the amicus brief is the Southern Baptist Convention, a group that, according to Slate magazine, “has probably . . .  played a bigger role in perpetuating the idea that Mormonism is a cult” than any other church. From Mike Huckabee claiming that Mormons view the devil as their brother (um, huh?) to its 1998 effort to beat the Mormons at their own game by taking the Baptist message door-to-door when the SBC just happened to choose Salt Lake City for its annual meeting, Southern Baptists have been more welcoming to ants at their famous barbeques than they have to many Mormons in their midst. And the antipathy has, historically, been mutual. Mormons don’t recognize Baptist baptisms (or those of other Christian denominations), for example, or any priesthood outside the LDS Church.

And yet here we all are, filing briefs together in this cozy manner. Strange, strange bedfellows.

Why is the LDS Church joining forces with religious groups that have rejected it? And why are those groups in turn courting favor with the Mormons whose theology they have so roundly criticized?

Because the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Southern Baptist leader Al Mohler said as much when he spoke at Mormon BYU last fall:

“I do not believe that we are going to heaven together, but I do believe we may go to jail together . . . I do not mean to exaggerate, but we are living in the shadow of a great moral revolution that we commonly believe will have grave and devastating human consequences.”

Mohler couldn’t get through his speech without emphasizing that Mormons were wrong about the Trinity or stating without equivocation that he didn’t think the Mormons in the audience would be joining him someday in heaven.

But still, he said, those theological differences can and should be put aside in the face of a much broader evil, which he cast in terms of a loss of religious freedom. Sexuality, he said, is “now clearly becoming a religious liberty issue.”

Now, this is interesting. Baptists have been preaching about religious liberty for centuries now, with a glorious tradition of urging a “wall of separation” between what Roger Williams called the “garden” of the church and the government. In order to protect that garden, government can’t interfere with religion.

It’s ironic, then, that Southern Baptists, as ecclesiastical heirs to Williams, should call upon the government to deprive some individuals of basic civil rights under the law — in the name of religion.

And it’s doubly ironic that the Baptists should join hands with the Mormons in order to do so.

  • Gregory Peterson

    The awesome power of Gay…bringing long time enemies together in common cause. I almost have a tear. Or is it a sigh?

  • Tornogal

    There may be irony in this confederation, but there is little surprise.

    The common denominator among these faiths is fear: fear of the consequences of not being in the club, playing by the rules, and–at least in the case of Mormonism–fear of not paying up (tithing).

    And what does marriage rights do to that set of fears? It calls them into question, and that’s something the big cheeses just can’t have going on. None of those groups can afford to have pesky members of their flocks asking the really tough questions like “How exactly does allowing marriage between two same-sex people who want to be committed to each other REALLY AND TRULY do anything to diminish heterosexual marriages?”

    The fact is, when people start questioning those things, the leaders of those faiths start being questioned, and that just can’t be allowed to happen.

  • Larry

    Clear proof that the arguments against marriage equality are neither secular nor rational. I can think of no group of organizations most UNSUITED to filing amicus briefs on the subject than a group of churches.

    So for the time being these various evangelical groups hate gays more than they hate Mormons. But lets be honest, the minute things inevitably go under on the issue, they will go back to hating the LDS.

    Btw New England Baptists, the heirs to Roger Williams’s legacy have no direct relationship with Southern Baptists anymore. The split came in the early 19th Century over the Southern Baptist support of slavery. So as a church Southern Baptists have always been a bit behind the curve when it came to notions of civil liberties.

  • The Great God Pan

    For those of us living in California, an anti-gay Catholic/Mormon/Evangelical united front is last decade’s news. I think that’s the very definition of “interfaith work,” which this site usually seems to be in favor of.

    An overwhelming hatred of gay people has proven capable of (temporarily) uniting Jews, Muslims and Christians in Israel, of all places (*), so surely a trifling little amicus brief is no big surprise. The Mormons shouldn’t get too comfortable, though, as the other denominations will go back to denouncing them once this is over.


  • Oscar

    I had a ultra religious upbringing, in a secluded “cult” type group. Homosexuality was one of the biggies of sins and it was drummed into us day after day that we were to “save ourselves for marriage” and that on the big day a switch would magically be thrown and one could suddenly procreate (for that was what marriage was all about) and live happily ever after.

    And so this act of legislation and that act of legislation came to pass and I watched the predictions of social doom being decreed by the ardent haters of homosexuals from my past and I wondered what all the fuss was about for I knew I’d grown up in such an extreme religious group that hearing other groups being called “abnormal” seemed totally farcical.

    I eventually married, but out of faith. I decided not to have children and did not follow any religious persuasion. Duly I was relegated to the periphery of my family and I just got on with life.
    Decades latter the scandal has broken, the religious “cult” I grew up in was full of paedophiles who raped, molested and beat their own and others children in the group. It was all covered up with religious ideological manipulation so that each child was terrified of eternal damnation if they dared speak out. The investigations began and the punishments dished out and I gave my evidence against the religious bigots of my upbringing who still scream their religious messages of hate against anyone who is anything other than heterosexual and yet conveniently close a blind eye to what was done to their own children in their “cult”.

    I walked away from my family and the crazy religious past with it’s dark secrets and it’s messages of hate. Finally I am almost mentally free of the fear that such a past envelopes one with. I still look sideways at those who cast stones at others, for my experience has taught me that those that do often have dark secrets that they cover up and I just try and quietly get on with life. Gay or straight, it matters not, to each their own and if in the words of Glen Campbell, one can “try a little kindness” along the way, then one has got it pretty right, me thinks.

  • Doc Anthony

    Strange bedfellows? Sure. But national emergencies tends to produce such odd results.

    You don’t have to be Christian to understand that this nation is in free fall with NO parachute. Gay Marriage itself, makes that point totally clear. This nation is about to get what Sodom got.

  • EDGY

    Doc, You mean father daughter incestuous drunken sex after it was destroyed?

  • TomW

    Alliances of this nature despite fundamental theological differences have been frequent in recent years. Not particularly groundbreaking.

  • rob

    The LC-MS
    president is a Harrison perhaps that’s why he thinks this is a legit government and he can go to it and it will do the right thing .. not every one in the Wisconsin synod thinks the united states government was founded on Legitimate grounds like Missouri synod Harrison does…Most often it does not do the right thing only the popular thing.

  • rob

    Mormon leaders joined their voices with Christians ..

    it was not the other way around …

    lets not forget that important point..

  • rob

    I suppose if your family were one of the original signers Like
    lc-ms president Harrison you also might tend to think this government will get it right..

  • TomW

    You make it sound as if the Latter-day Saint Christians altered their position on same-sex marriage to align with non Latter-day Saint Christians.

  • rob

    did you know police and firemen and teachers have molested children game wardens and brothers and sisters and how about this one are you a Father
    do you have kids ? do you know fathers and mothers have also molested children are you human? I hope your not human
    because do you know they have molested children?

  • Billysees

    @ Tornogal
    @ Oscar

    Very meaningful comments.

    About any gay issue, the voices of hypocrisy are rampant. Because of that, here’s what’s happening to these ecclesiastics —

    1. But God can choose what is nonsense in the world to make the wise feel ashamed. God can choose what is weak in the world to make the strong feel ashamed…….1Cor 1:27

    2. God can choose what is low and despised in the world, what is regarded as nothing, to set aside what is regarded as something……..1Cor 1:28

  • rob

    Its not Loving to suggest Mormon teaching is christian

  • TomW

    It’s not rational to deny it.

  • 2 Corinthians 6:14-16a, ” Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God.”

  • Matthew


    You state that the objective of the alliance is “…to deprive some individuals of basic civil rights under the law.” But this is not an effort to deprive others of rights, but to stop the redefinition of civil rights.

    Recently a farm in New York stopped operation of their business hosting wedding receptions because they were not permitted the freedom of conscience to decline to host a homosexual couple’s reception without either paying large fines or suffering imprisonment.

    This has never been about equality. Equality was present in California even with prop 8:

  • Matthew


    You state that the objective of the alliance is “…to deprive some individuals of basic civil rights under the law.” But this is not an effort to deprive others of rights, but to stop the redefinition of civil rights.

    Recently a farm in New York stopped operation of their business hosting wedding receptions because they were not permitted the freedom of conscience to decline to host a homosexual couple’s reception without either paying large fines or suffering imprisonment.

    This has never been about equality. Equality was present in California even with prop 8: Civil unions provided all of the rights and privileges _under_the_law_ that marriage did.

    Satan’s agenda is the destruction of God’s plan for families as the union of man and woman. He has made great progress doing this from the inside with tools like adultery and divorce. Now he is working to get us to call good evil, and evil good.

  • WilliamRichardsonMesa

    “Basic Civil Rights” is apparently a moving target in our current society. The difficulty is that to label something a basic civil right is to effectively end the discourse. Marriage never was anything but the union between different sexes. We have so devalued marriage (no fault divorce, children out of wedlock, etc.) that we now think the “marriage” cam mean anything we want it to be. And we make it so by calling it a civil right.

  • trytoseeitmyway

    “An overwhelming hatred of gay people.” Get real. I notice how much you folks have to exaggerate, since a reasonable and fair understanding would not meet your needs.

  • trytoseeitmyway

    Incoherent Comment of the Week.

  • trytoseeitmyway

    Matthew, I agree with you. It is particularly ironic to condemn as rights-depriving offering a legal argument to Supreme Court justices at a time when the precise nature and boundaries of the relevant rights have not been settled, and when competing rights and interests are in play. Jana’s simple black-and-white formulation (as you quoted it) disregards those nuances and implies that religious leaders and others who disagree on legal and policy grounds should just shut up because the mere expression of an opinion is its own moral wrong. This should be repugnant to anyone who, like Jana, speaks on other occasions in favor of intellectual diversity.

  • trytoseeitmyway

    The religious leaders should just shut up, right? That’s pretty much your view? On account of you think they’re unsuited to do so, for reasons you don’t bother to elucidate. Hmmm. Sounds like a complete crock to me, but I guess you think I’m “unsuited” too.

  • Larry

    If they want their irrational, sectarian and discriminatory religious beliefs to be given color of law, they should just shut right up. It violates all notions of religious liberties within our 1st Amendment.

    Religious freedom means nobody should be compelled under the law to follow the dictates of any given sect or faith. Unless a law has a secular and rational purpose, it has no business on the books.

  • Larry

    You don’t think legalized discrimination is a sign of overwhelming hatred?

    How about rhetoric calling people evil and demanding that they be shunned from public life?

    There is no exaggeration here, just uncomfortable facts here that you don’t want to look at.

  • Larry

    You are both a bunch of delusional fools who are falsely trying to play victim here. In Matthew’s case he is dishonest as well. Proposition 8 took away an existing right to gays for the sake of sectarian religious motives.

    You do not have a legal right to discriminate in business. Taking clearly malicious and harmful actions towards others, as discrimination does, is not taking a stand on principles. There is nothing moral about it. Its just an extension of personal bigotry. Using scripture to look for excuses for behaving badly to others.

    Religious freedoms always ended where they cause harm to the public. You have the same right to religious based business discrimination as you do to perform human sacrifice and witch burning.

  • trytoseeitmyway

    So you think that religious leaders are uniquely disqualified from expressing opinions. Everyone else can, but not them. What’s next burning their books?

    Friend, notions of public policy that underlay both legislation and constitutional interpretation derive from the values that animate moral thinking. Constitutional democracy is all about how to accommodate and harmonize competing views, even if that means that the values which someone would like to be expressed will not be, due to conflict with other values or simply that the values are not sufficiently well represented in the population as a whole. They should have taught you this in school, but maybe you weren’t listening, I don’t know.

    There is no a priori reason to think that values which derive from religious belief are any less entitled to consideration than those that don’t. In fact, the Founders of the American constitutional democracy would be horrified to hear your assertion that religious values are somehow disqualified. It is true of course that no establishment of religion is to be preferred by the state over any other, but anyone is entitled to seek to persuade anyone else to share his or her values and to advocate in a democracy for those values to be expressed and represented in law.

    I haven’t read the amicus brief – and of course you haven’t either – but I am confident that it offers legal arguments and a policy viewpoint that deserves as much to be considered as any. Nothing in that brief is going to say that God is telling the US Supreme Court do decide thus and so. What it is going to say, I am fairly confident, is that religious institutions strongly support the ideas of family and of sexual morality, and that there is a legitimate governmental interest in supporting and protecting those values. It follows that the will of the people as expressed by elected representatives or in direct-ballot initiative measures ought to be given more respect than the trend of lower federal court cases has done. There is nothing illegitimate about that point of view and efforts to suppress the expression of that point of view are morally wrong.

  • trytoseeitmyway

    There is no legalized discrimination and clearly I don’t think that the law of marriage as it has existed nearly universally throughout human history is founded on hatred of homosexuals. That’s just a silly, nonsensical idea, and it shows how you folks have to exaggerate to make your points because to express them fairly and respectfully would help to demonstrate the fallacies. Marriage customs and laws developed without anyone particularly thinking about homosexuals.

  • TomW

    Larry, Prop 8 didn’t take away an existing right. It RESTORED an existing defition of marriage which was already on the books in California when the judiciary decided to disregard the will of the 61% which had passed Prop 22 just a few short years earlier. The only right which was abrogated was that of the citizens of the state of California to amend their own constitution.

  • Jim Hodgen

    It is interesting that Jana has adopted the stance that marriage is a ‘civil right’, not a state-granted privilege. Religion has essentially nothing to do with any of the state-granted contractual privileges that are sought, it is just one of several agencies of the government to signal the onset of those contracts.

    On the other hand, the rejection of civil unions – with all the contractual privileges and optional religious recognition – was a statement by the movement that it was not ‘equal’ enough.

    The struggle with this topic is that at its heart is a behavior that is often marked by emotional pathology… and the current lines are drawn in such a way that the only outcome that appears to be acceptable… the only endpoint is that everyone must ‘proactively approve’ of those that engage in the behavior… and since that approval is a ‘civil right’ the full force of the government must be applied to compel everyone to do so.

    that seems to be the heart of the amicus brief… whether the plain language says that or not. I am curious why Jana uses the subtle language of coerced approval instead of the more intellectually honest open discussion of the endpoint. Perhaps she could comment and let us know.

  • Larry

    When speaking about laws covering people of all faiths, many religious leaders ARE unqualified to speak on the subject. The subject is politics, not theology.

    You are making a ridiculous strawman argument. It would be much more honest if you addressed what I said instead of going on a rant based on imaginary arguments posed.

    All laws must have a rational and secular purpose. Having religious authority does not disqualify someone from proposing changes in our laws, but it doesn’t qualify them either.

    The basic tenet of religious freedom is that our laws have to be independent of purely sectarian religious concerns. Again without that rational and secular foundation to a law or proposed law, it has no business on our books.

    Let me stress upon you, since you clearly missed the point, a religious leader may speak on such subjects. But for our courts to take it seriously, there must be something else besides dogma and scripture behind it. Our laws are never beholden to your faith or the faith of others. What is expressed in religious ideas of family and morality and what can be given color of law, are not always going to coincide.

    I am fairly confident that the only arguments in support of the bans, which the court will even bother with will be the nonsensical “procreation” argument. The one which ignores the legal status of non-biological children to families and the legal underpinnings of marriage laws.

  • A. Smythe

    I’m glad someone else thinks the same.
    Someone (Oscar) has taken the time to write a very good account of their personal journey. That should be applauded, not have some incoherent dribble comment posted about it.

  • Larry

    So what is gained by not expanding it any further? The ability of you to discriminate against gay couples and their families. Nothing more than animus against a group.

    Tradition doesn’t mean squat unless you have a rational and secular reason for keeping it going. Marriage laws are universally gender neutral these days (also not traditional). Gay marriage requires no changes to existing legal structures [unlike frequently used but crappy analogy of polygamy]. As for customs, those are not the business of our laws.

    You certainly aren’t going to have arguments against gay marriage which involve anything other than bible thumping and expressions of personal animosity to them.

  • Larry

    You are absolutely wrong on all accounts. It invalidated several thousand legally existing marriages.

    Thanks to the 14th Amendment, the judiciary is allowed to throw out state and local laws (which are always passed by a majority vote) which violate notions of equal protection under the law.

  • Larry

    The problem with the “why couldn’t they do civil unions” argument are:
    1. Civil Unions do not have the consistent recognition by governments and agencies that marriage has.

    2. If it was not an inherently inferior status, marriage equality opponents would not be discussing it as an option.

    3. The people who opposed marriage equality ALSO opposed civil unions in the past. There is no need to compromise with people now who were not willing to do so earlier. Especially when ban after ban is being knocked down by the courts.

    4. It also rings of “separate but equal” arguments.

    The appellate decision for the Prop 8 case has a fairly detailed description of the arguments against the civil union compromise

  • trytoseeitmyway

    If you think your arguments were imaginary, well, perhaps I’ll just agree with you there. But a patient refutation of them wasn’t a rant. You’re still claiming that an explicitly religion orientation is a disqualification when the subject is politics, but the whole purpose of democracy is to grant equal right to participate in the democratic process regardless of one’s status. I also agree that policy viewpoints are most persuasive when expressed in non-sectarian terms, which is why I expect (just as I already said) that the amicus brief will focus on policy arguments to which religious preference is orthogonal. You’re right to say that the strongest arguments in favor of allowing states to retain their traditional control over the qualifications to marry are the ones based on the legitimate state interest in maintaining birthrates and legitimacy, providing healthy environments for children, and encouraging and protecting the intergenerational transfer of wealth and culture. While religious beliefs and values support these values implicitly, one is not required to be particularly religious in order to understand their importance. It’s been nice conferring with you and I’ll let you have the last word.

  • trytoseeitmyway

    It’s silly to say that gay marriage requires no change to existing legal structures because of course the challenge to existing legal structures is what the litigation is all about.

  • Larry

    “The strongest arguments in favor of allowing states to retain their traditional control over the qualifications to marry are the ones based on the legitimate state interest in maintaining birthrates and legitimacy, providing healthy environments for children, and encouraging and protecting the intergenerational transfer of wealth and culture.”

    None of which are actually addressed by a gay marriage ban.
    In fact the bans make such interests unnecessarily difficult for many. Which is why so many of them have gone down in flames in various Federal cases.

  • Larry

    Not silly at all. All one has to do is look at how other states and countries have handled it. If there were legal procedural difficulties in such matters you would be capable of coughing up a real world example to use from those places. You don’t. Nobody is citing anything to that effect.

    The challenge is to cultural animosities.

  • The Great God Pan

    Let’s not pretend “civil unions” were a compromise that same-sex marriage opponents were willing to make.

    Nearly all of the laws that outlawed same-sex marriages also explicitly outlawed civil unions, domestic partnerships and any other euphemized marriage-like legal arrangements.. Even in allegedly “liberal” California, an attempt was made to do away with the state’s domestic partnership registry on the grounds that it had established de facto same-sex marriage.

    So, I think opponents of same-sex marriage are engaging in a bit of self-serving historical revisionism when they chide activists for not having duly considered a compromise that was never on the table. “In hindsight, we wish we had compromised and offered you civil unions. Why were you too strident and arrogant to compromise when we weren’t bargaining?”

  • The Great God Pan

    Well, let’s consider the evidence.

    First, let’s take another look at what I said, including the context that you conveniently excised:

    “An overwhelming hatred of gay people has proven capable of (temporarily) uniting Jews, Muslims and Christians in Israel, of all places…”

    I then provided a link to a story about a Jewish/Muslim/Christian alliance that formed in opposition to a gay pride parade in Israel, and that included a cash bounty that was offered for any gay people that were killed in the parade.

    So, are you arguing that offering a cash bounty for killing gay people is NOT evidence of overwhelming hatred? I wouldn’t be surprised if you feel that way, but something tells me you wouldn’t be willing to publicly declare it, even using a pseudonym…

  • TomW

    At the end of the day, Larry, we are all entitled to promote a society which we feel is best. There is no requirement that one’s motivations must be secularly motivated. If one’s ideas of best government are fully aligned with one’s faith, one has the right to pursue such a course, just as those whose ideas of best government preclude religious philosophies are entitled to do the same.

  • TomW

    You’re the one who is in the wrong, Larry. The renegade actions of the juduciary invalidated the previously expressed will of the citizens of the state. To the extent that several thousand people took advantage of the window created by the renegade action, this does not mean that the citizens are forever barred from reasserting their constitutional right to define the laws of their own state. By your twisted logic, any judge who creates a right to ANY other practice has forever enshrined something holy which becomes a deprivation of rights to those who exploit the loophole created by judicial fiat.

    The right which truly died in 2008 was that of the people of the state to amend their own constitution, and THAT is a travesty.

  • Larry

    ” By your twisted logic, any judge who creates a right to ANY other practice has forever enshrined something holy which becomes a deprivation of rights to those who exploit the loophole created by judicial fiat.”

    They do and they have. Like the long tradition of segregation, sectarian discrimination and banning single women from renting apartments. Equal protection under the law means traditions don’t mean squat unless you can give rational and secular reasons to keep them. ALL discriminatory laws were passed by a legislative majority. We have the Bill of Rights to keep majority voters from attacking the rights of others. To put limits on what you are allowed to put to a popular vote.

    The 14th Amendment is hardly a loophole. Maybe you should read your history. There is a compelling historical reason why state governments are no longer considered trusted as the final source on civil liberties. It came over a century ago.

    You do not have a right to discriminate against others. Your religious beliefs are never going to be enough of a reason for justifying laws in this country. What you consider holy is not ever going to be a concern of mine, nor can you force me to care, by color of law.

    What it comes down to Tom is you don’t actually like freedom of religion or civil liberties on general. You want privileges to control and attack others based on your faith.

  • trytoseeitmyway

    Evidence. That’s what you call evidence. It’s actually your hyperbolic exaggeration of some Time magazine writer’s hyperbole.

    The article cites “an unknown Jewish extremist group” for putting up signs threatening parade participants. Since the poster(s) of the signs is “unknown,” there is actually no evidence that the poster is (a) Jewish or (b) a group. We just know there were some signs.

    Now, then the author moves on to a Muslim counterprotest. In an entirely editorial flourish, the author says, “[I]n a rare display of solidarity with Jewish extremists, an influential Islamic cleric is urging Muslims to stage a simultaneous protest . . . .” There is actually zero evidence – zero – that anything that the cleric said had any reference at all to the signs posted by some unknown person or persons. The Muslim cleric was just urging a counterprotest, completely unrelated to any objectionable signs. On the issue of hatred, there was no evidence – none – of hatred, but rather evidence that Muslims regard homosexuality as sinful and that the location of the parade (within Jerusalem’s walls) is regarded as offensive. My own view is that a parade or demonstration is simply free speech and that it should be tolerated and apparently the government of Israel feels likewise. I will grant you that according to the article the Muslim cleric thinks that the gay protesters should be punished (under Sharia law one assumes) but this is less evidence of hatred than of a legal opinion. You and I find that opinion offensive, of course, and I hope that no nation anywhere will have to be subject to Sharia law. The only tie-in to Christians cited in the article is that some Evangelical group were “upset by what they saw as the deliberate flaunting of sexuality in Christendom’s most sacred place.” How you get hatred or murderous intent out of that is quite beyond me, but of course you make up stuff all the time, so I guess I should not be surprised.

    None of this has ANYTHING AT ALL to do with filing an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court, so one wonders that you found this non-evidence relevant to anything in the first place. But It seems clear enough that it was your purpose to suggest that the filing of the amicus brief was based on “hatred of homosexuals,”: which is why I wrote to take issue with you.

    Hope that clears up everything to your satisfaction. If not, I won’t try to help you any further because, well, you know, what would be the point?

  • Gays have the exact same rights as I, a male heterosexual, have, that is, to marry a woman. Lesbians have the same rights as do every heterosexual woman does, that is, to marry a man. Total equality. What gays and lesbians want is a different equality.

    The case before the court is to seek a definition of the word marriage, and the organizations asking for this definition have the greatest claim on the right to ask for this as marriage has historically been a religious, not political, rite, and it has historically been between a man and a woman. Religious organizations are simply asking the court to sustain this historical and religious union and definition.

  • Larry

    “Both rich and poor are banned from sleeping under bridges”.

    So marriage laws get changed. Unless you have a rational and secular purpose behind keeping the status quo, it means absolutely nothing.

    “Some of our citizens are made deeply uncomfortable by the notion of same-sex marriage. However, that same sex marriage causes discomfort in some does not make its prohibition constitutional. Nor can past tradition trump the bedrock constitutional guarantees concluded that those laws cannot withstand even rational-basis review”
    -Judge John E Jones III

  • Jim Hodgen

    Well, I think I see your point – that the Constitution trumps tradition – but in what way is the Constitution changed so that the need of a given group for an endorsement by society for it’s behaviors in the pursuit of happiness is suddenly apparent?

    The point made by the judge you quoted is valid as a point, but his application is paradoxical and lacks any basis for the sudden emergence of the ‘right’ to the title of marriage. If one exists, then by all means it should be brought out. It just hasn’t yet.

    What has changed? Society’s interests, yes… so that means that different groups can legislate to their choosing… but to suddenly create a new right? Equal in what?

    There is ample precedent for the Constitutionality of Congress passing laws to define exactly what marriage is… and ironically the Mormons are the test case for that. Congress did pass laws that were subsequently enforced to extremes… and now the ability to pass laws like that is not constitutional? What a fascinating lesson in civics of convenience the Mormons must be witnessing as a culture. Laws against their way of life were passed after they were drawn into the Union and they were coerced to obey.

    Now they work through the law to get a significant majority of a state to agree with them and the courts create a new ‘right’ that trumps the law… how droll.

  • Jim Hodgen

    That is not an accurate statement. I sense some angst now… especially in the “…historical revisonism…” and “…strident and arrogant…” There was a lot of feeling a way through to a solution… but that wasn’t enough for activists. It was all or nothing – and you’re not done yet are you?

    The genuinely scary part of the movement you defend is that it is pushing for endorsement. A cake shop owner has to go through sensitivity training in order to avoid penalties and possibly jail time or a federal civil rights investigation they can’t afford to defend themselves against because they don’t agree with a behavior.

    There is no First Amendment right to point out the downsides of the redefinition of marriage… the debate is closed and there will be penalties for dissenters. It is acceptable for a crowd to demand the removal of a private citizen from a post in government or a private business if they do not agree.

    Where does this stop? The current administration is pressing laws that eliminate the ability of any group of people to state a religious preference that is not endorsed by government… but there is no Constitutional outcry there.

    It seems that as long as you feel you hav the crowd at your back, the Constitution says what you want it to mean. But you should be very careful. when you erode equal law to mean acceptable law and selective enforcement, you may find yourself with the crowd at your throat. A lesson learned over and over again in history but not taught much by today’s liberal arts faculties.

    So given your declamation of ‘rights’… what is off limits to ‘marriage’? I ‘have a friend’ that is very, very fond of cars…

  • Jim Hodgen

    It was not a right… it was a fiat granted by a government without a plebiscite. when a plebiscite was held, the majority of the voters were against it and the law was restored to what it had been.

    The CA Supreme Court denied standing to the people that put the plebiscite together… a tactic that will come back to haunt those that used it the very near future… they will soon need standing and they have created the precedent to be denied it.

    The only enumerated ‘rights’ under the US Constitution are ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’. there have been some limited extensions and some cases made that specific behaviors violate those right but you expose your ignorance with your earlier comments.

    Also, you have not thought through the consequences of pushing your desires for approval, endorsement and emotional support as civil rights… because they are now squarely up against existing rights to freedom of speech, freedom of assembly ( or to assemble with people of your choosing… which include the reciprocal right to not have to have someone in the group of your choice), the freedom to worship as you please without government interference or involvement, the right to sell what you want, when and how you want in accordance with the law.

    That case will cause you man, many problems. In the haste of the movement you espouse to get what your heart desires, you have sown the seeds of hostility and rejection because off your willingness to trample on others to get what you want, the way you want and to have the power to force others to do what you want.

    The overreach will wipe out many of the gains you feel you have achieved. There will come a day when the civil unions will seem like a good deal. Stridency is short term, caring is long term. What path have you chosen?

  • Jim Hodgen

    Ahhh. they fear it so their arguments are not rational. What are ‘marriage rights by the way? Why does the emotional state of a couple (or soon, a larger group then a larger group of mixed species… there is no end to your argument) have to do with law?

    You argue further down that there has to be a rational reason for a law to exist… you are providing any tests for ‘rational’ so your argument is a little suspect.

    The stance has nothing to do with questioning their faith or questioning the leaders. If there were only two adherents left, these churches would still stick the base principles they have espoused… they are not driven by social norms of the day.

    Your statement though is interesting in its presumptions of right and wrong and its indictment of those that are ‘wrong’. What do you think should happen to those who are so completely wrong about this topic? Should the same thing happen to others that are wrong? Fascinating topic.. no?

  • Obama Story

    Nice article Jana but its not uncommon for these various groups to put aside doctrinal differences and cooperate on important issues. Its more common than the article would suggest.

    Additionally its not just all other faiths against the Mormons either. Well within the tent of “Traditional Christianity” they fight and squabble among themselves and at times barely tolerate each other. I didn’t realize until recently that among the Trinitarian faiths, there several version of the Nicene Creed each finessed to suit the differences and interpretations of the various faiths and even these change over time.

    I attended the Southern Baptist Convention’s annual meeting a while ago and it was full of arguing and discord, one individual church contending with another, all within the convention. It was always about different points of doctrine and the direction the faith was going. These weren’t minor ripples, some were heated angry exchanges!

    As of late, I see less and less outward hostility towards the Mormon faith from these other churches than before.

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  • Therese Z

    How does SSM diminish natural organic marriage? Simple. It messes with the children of the union. There is no actual way that the pairing of two people of the same sex can produce a child. The child they bring into their group has a parent outside of the group. And every child has the right to know his or her parents, mother and father. Many children are denied that knowledge by the irresponsible behavior of their parents who do not marry and who walk away from their responsibilities, but marriage between the conceiving partners is the normative and superior method of child-rearing.

    SSM is not about producing and caring for the children that should be the natural outcome of sexual expression between the parties. It is about feelings, apparently. And children are commodities in that setup.

  • Larry

    So children from a marriage can only be produced biologically if they aren’t going to be “messed up”?

    I am sure every adoptive couple, elderly couple, infertile couple, foster parent and everyone who has used fertility science to have children thinks you have said the most ridiculous statements ever.

    Of course you treat the children of a gay couple as a theoretical construct instead of 3 million or so real people. By doing so you ignore their existence and issues in favor of making up nonsense to excuse what is clearly bigoted nonsense motivating your position.

  • Larry

    The lack of rational and secular arguments against marriage equality is further evidence that your position is motivated by something which is less than above board.

  • Larry

    You are arguing against facts already established in public record.

    The Federal Appeals Court and Supreme Court already found the Proposition 8 rulings to be procedurally correct. So I can just disregard your whining about the result of the cases at this point.

    The fact that existing marriages were invalidated by Prop 8 meant the government had to cough up a compelling reason for doing so. The burden was on the state to justify such an attack on their liberties. They couldn’t. They still can’t justify these bans when it comes to arguing them in court.

    The main problem is you think your prejudices (abetted by self-serving religious arguments) are a compelling reason to deny a group civil liberties.

    You guys are victims of your own maliciousness and a fear that your views will not be in the majority anymore. Had the bigots not bothered with instituting such bans they would have been more successful. By simply waiting for marriage equality to work its way through the legislative process, more likely than not, it would never take hold.

    By instituting a ban using the legislative process, you raised 14th Amendment issues and brought the judiciary in. Being so hell bent on closing the door on marriage equality, they actually hastened its legal acceptance.

    Karma is a harsh mistress.

  • Larry

    You don’t have a right to discriminate in business. It didn’t wash when people wanted “whites only” establishments, it doesn’t work against gays either. Nice to see that you don’t even bother distinguishing your arguments from those the KKK used to bandy about 50 years ago.

    Where does it stop? When religious minded bigots finally realize that they have to cough up something other than “God’s Will” as an excuse to treat others badly if they want protection for their behavior under the law. Religious freedom never gave you the right to attack others nor did it ever mean that your religious views have to be given color of law.

  • Larry

    The definitions of marriage are being changed, so why should that be important?

    Unless you have a compelling rational and secular reason for maintaining the current definition of marriage, then there is by all rights permission to change them to accommodate unions which were not ordinarily contemplated. Marriage laws are permissive in nature. You need a compelling reason to ban a given union.

    The “slippery slope” argument equating SSM to polygamy, incest and buggery always fail to account for the very clear rational and secular reasons for them being banned.

  • TomW

    Larry, you write: “The burden was on the state to justify such an attack on their liberties. They couldn’t.”

    The problem is that the Democrat leadership REFUSED to represent the citizens of the state before the court, thus placing the citizens at a distinct and unfair disadvantage in pursuing the upholding of their duly voted upon constitutional amendment.

    Furthermore, your blathering about hatred, bigotry, and maliciousness is a fantasy of the political Left. The vast majority of those who oppose same-sex unions do so for reasons of faith and believing that it is in the overall best interest of society that children deserve both a mother and a father to the greatest reasonable extent. The evil intent ascribed to those who oppose these unions is nothing more than a rhetorical tool by those who seem to have their own anger management issues.

  • TomW

    When you compare your ideological foes to bigots and the Klan, you lose all credibility.

  • TomW

    Contrary to your expressed view, Larry, there is no constitutional requirement that people have a secular argument to pursue their societal aspirations. The Constitution preserves people’s respective religious influences; it doesn’t ban them.

  • DJ in AZ

    Really tough questions? Do you think religious believers ever ask themselves the question, “How exactly does allowing marriage between two same-sex people who want to be committed to each other REALLY AND TRULY do anything to diminish heterosexual marriages?”? They don’t ask that question, because that’s not the issue to believers, and it never was. It doesn’t affect their own marriage. It affects their kids thinking, and their communities, and the society we all live in. It’s a matter of right and wrong, of obedience vs. committing sin, of faithfulness to God vs. anything goes, of morality in society vs. immorality, and of kids that grow up choosing true marriage vs. kids that could grow up to view sin as being morally acceptable. None of the believers in God and Christ want to live in that kind of society, nor have their kids live that way, either.

  • Larry

    Oh no! We will have to treat gay people like human beings in public!!

    Next thing you know they are going to tell us that we can’t deny them business, a place to live or employment!!

    The children of gay couples and your children may be in the same schools, in the same neighborhoods, or even dating!

    The horror!

  • Larry

    I am not going to bother arguing an issue already settled and put to public record. The decisions in their entirety are all available online. You feel to the need to argue points and facts which were already determined by people with a duty to evaluate such things. There is no need to bother responding to that.

    Tom, you ARE a bigot. One with a very poor excuse in trying to cover up what is clearly animosity towards gays and the families they try to create.

    The whole “children need a father and mother” argument is so stupid that nobody ever bothers bringing it up in court arguments. Whomever at the AFA came up with that should have been fired. But it is already viral among you guys. The argument is so stupid that if you thought about it for one minute, you would see the glaring flaw in it. It of course ignores the fact that you would rather see children in legally single parent homes, never born, in foster care, or foreign orphanages than in the care of gay parents. So obviously that concern is really just nonsense you put out in public to appear like a reasonable person.

    If you really had concern for the children in gay couples you would be able to point out alleged harm/damages caused by such families. They have been around openly for at least 30 years. You would see harm caused in places where gay marriage is legal. But you don’t have evidence of either. You have to dishonestly treat marriage equality like a hypothetical construct.

    The truth is, you oppose marriage equality because you think gays are icky and evil. Its not comforting to address it so frankly but it is the sanest way to do so.

  • Larry

    When you use THE SAME EXACT ARGUMENTS as the Klan, the comparison is more than apt.

    Complaining about being called a bigot is not a refutation of it. You are not trying to show I am incorrect. Just showing how thin skinned you are.

  • Larry

    Yes there is, its called the 1st Amendment. The Establishment Clause. Creating laws for purely sectarian concerns is the establishment of religion.
    See Lemon v. Kurtzman (1971)

  • TomW

    Larry, when you make uninformed comments such as, “Tom, you ARE a bigot. One with a very poor excuse in trying to cover up what is clearly animosity towards gays and the families they try to create,” the only thing you accomplish is exhibiting your personal venom to all the world.

    When you dismiss the entirety of faithful Christianity as bigots for believing the teachings of prophets, whether ancient or modern, you disqualify yourself as having anything constructive or truthful to offer to the discussion.

  • Larry

    By all means feel insulted. Its not like you feel the need to show that I am wrong somehow in the assessment.

    Somehow “faithful Christianity” in your eyes means deliberately harming others and looking for scriptural excuses for your behavior. Its not worthy of respect and somewhat insulting for the entirety of Christendom. Many “faithful Christians” do not share your views.

    Your religious beliefs are your business. I do not have to care what they are or how you express them. That is, provided you are not trying to use such belief as a pretext for acting badly to others or demanding our laws act in accordance with them.

  • TomW

    Larry, I would have to place value upon your criticism to be truly insulted by you. But since your imbecilic rhetoric places you beyond the bounds of being taken seriously, I can only pity you. You do a disservice to well-meaning individuals who sympathize with the same-sex marriage movement and prefer civil conversation to hate-filled diatribes vilifying their philosophical opponents.

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  • Fred M

    I am not going to label anyone a bigot or an imbecile.

    But I think it’s important to point out something. TomW, you say that “the vast majority of those who oppose same-sex unions do so for reasons of faith and believing that it is in the overall best interest of society that children deserve both a mother and a father to the greatest reasonable extent.” I think this is true. I don’t think there is anything intentionally malicious about most people’s opposition to same-sex marriage. But I would also add that the vast majority of those who opposed interracial unions in the past also did so for reasons of faith and believed that it was in the best interest of society that they not happen. It was taught in the Church for years, and such marriages were not allowed. “Shall I tell you the law of God in regard to the African race? If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be so”–Brigham Young, JD, and his teachings were supported and repeated by the prophets which followed him, until eventually the Church officially changed its position. And now interracial marriages are allowed, even in the temple. But for decades they weren’t.

    So things change. Not saying they will in this case. But they definitely do.

  • TomW

    Fred, I’m glad you are able to recognize that the vast majority of people who oppose same-sex unions do so from a position of faith, not hate. Ironically, those who tend to make such attribution are often the ones whose commentary is the most venomous in such discussions.

  • Larry

    I don’t buy it at all. Faith just happens to be the excuse used when people want to justify their position and excuse what is clearly spiteful, harmful and yes malicious behavior.

    You simply seek to present your view in the most socially sanctioned form possible. Blame it on your faith. Find others who think likewise and come up with half-hearted arguments to present in public.

    There is nothing remotely honest in the arguments being presented for your view. It all boils down to saying “God says I don’t have to treat these people like human beings”. It is nothing but hatred given public form. I find no need to be civil or even remotely respectful to such a venomous point of view.

  • The Great God Pan

    All that verbiage, and none of it contradicts the simple fact that opponents of gay marriage also opposed “marriage lite” substitutes, such as civil unions. What a waste of words.

    Civil unions were never on the table. That is why the marriage bans also banned arrangements that carried the benefits of marriage under other names. We both know it. Why try to revise history?

  • The Great God Pan

    “The only enumerated ‘rights’ under the US Constitution are ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’.”

    Is this a joke or do you actually think the Declaration of Independence is the Constitution?

  • Jim Hodgen

    All right… someone is actually reading and thinking!

    Now that we are actually talking about the constitution, enumerate the rights that are spelled out in the constitution plus the extended annexes created by the Supreme Court and tell me where ‘marriage equality’ comes in.

    i’ll be waiting…

  • Jim Hodgen

    Civil unions could have been the target of a push by the same activists for a uniform Federal Law… but they weren’t. Why not?

    Why is it seen as an inherently inferior option? all the same legal rights and property rights. what is so offensively different that you use inferior and superior terminology?

    Separate but equal… think about what you just said. What is the meaning of equal in this context? Put it in print for us.

  • Jim Hodgen

    I’m not revising history… I’m asking why those rights were not enough… why the appearance was more important than the substance… and why there is so strong a desire to compel approval and supportive behaviors.

    Why is it ok to bend others to endorse this behavior? the answer to that question will have to stand up to scrutiny… and solipsisms about evil, hateful, stupid, uncaring and other escape words won’t cut it.

    Why is the appearance and endorsement of others more important than their rights to disapprove of a behavior?

  • Jim Hodgen

    re you claiming to be a mind reader? “It all boils down to…” whatever your conclusion needs to be. You have not even remotely uncovered by thoughts or intent, you have merely used a rhetorical trick to win a point.

    You have not however answered a number of very legitimate questions posed to you on this site. that is what you are missing and losing in the process.

  • Jim Hodgen

    Your last few lines tell a large story. “I find no need to be respectful…” says a lot that is painfully sad about you. You believe that others are enemies, not thoughtful human beings that have something that might be of value if you listened and pondered.

    You are compelled in your words here at least to coerce through denigration, defamation and conflation those that disagree with you… don’t endorse your views. Yet you also give many clues that you wold feel very hard done by if you were to bear the brunt of similar negativity…

    Your calumny leaves me untouched except for sorrow over your failure to realize that all of the social approval you seek and speak so forcefully for means nothing when you disrespect those you seek the approval from.

    You live in a paradox… a paradox that will leave you empty and hurting very soon. For your own sake, start to think of others, think for yourself and not as part of the seasonal chaff floating down the river of life. You will be happier and have more respect for yourself when you do.

  • mo

    Nonreligious people are uniquely unsuited for speaking about public policy.

    Hey Larry, I can make irrational statements on the internet too!

  • Debbie Snowcroft

    From the article: “Why is the LDS Church joining forces with religious groups that have rejected it?”

    The article should have asked, “Why is the LDS Church joining forces with religious groups that Mormonism describes as the Church of the Devil?”

    From Brigham Young to Bruce R. McConkie, Mormonism has taught that it is the “only true church” and that the world of Christianity is apostate and constitutes the Church of the Devil. The Book of Mormon is very clear:

    “And he [an angel] said unto me: Behold there are save two churches only; the one is the church of the Lamb of God, and the other is the church of the devil; wherefore, whoso belongeth not to the church of the Lamb of God belongeth to that great church, which is the mother of abominations; and she is the whore of all the earth.” [Book of Mormon, 1 Nephi 14:10]

    From a theological POV, Mormonism is forming alliances with the Church of the Devil. What could be more perplexing — or more revealing?

  • TomW

    Debbie, you comment: “The article should have asked, ‘Why is the LDS Church joining forces with religious groups that Mormonism describes as the Church of the Devil?’ ”

    An important correction: “Mormonism” does NOT call out any particular denomination as “the Church of the Devil.”

    Various LDS leaders have had their perspectives on the matter, but none which call out any particular denomination or groups of them have had doctrinal ratification.

    One might find this link useful:

  • Larry

    I previously described abovewhy they are not enough:

    1. Its an inherently inferior legal status lacking the general recognition of rights and default rules in all places that marriage has.
    [“Separate but equal”]

    2. It was never on the table for people like yourself.

    3. Now that full marriage rights are a distinct possibility, there is no purpose in any compromise.

  • Larry

    Why ask for an inherently inferior compromised status when the full thing is available?

    As stated earlier, people opposed recognized civil unions with the same rigor they opposed marriages. So that door was already closed.

    Separate but equal. Exactly what you are proposing. An inherently inferior segregated form of rights and privileges giving the appearance of equality but not is actuality. I can’t help it if there are direct unambiguous parallels between your position and the segregationists. Even civil rights leaders found the similarities apparent. Hence the NAACP’s open support of marriage equality.

  • Matt

    This gay marriage issue for many Christians, including myself, is an issue of morality and eternal principles. Now, those in defense of gay marriage and gay rights are claiming that we want to treat them differently in society because they are desiring to have a same-sex relationship with another consenting adult.

    This issue is a matter of eternal law. Christians strongly believe that the act and practice of homosexuality is a sin, even an abomination, based on scripture, based on faith, and also based on modern day revelation (if you are LDS).

    Why should Christians openly express any feeling of any type of acceptance for sinful behavior? We have been commanded to love the person committing the sin, but to hate the sin. The sin is the act, not the person. BIG DIFFERENCE. Those in support of gay rights declare that those who oppose them are violating their rights, their agency, and the commandment because they cry “God is love”, as if to suggest that God does not see any problem with the act or behavior. This is a gross misunderstanding for some, and just a pure lie for others.

    Do we tolerate other acts of sin in our society? Yes. Do we tolerate all types of sin in our society? The answer is No. We do not tolerate many types of sin. Gays want to walk freely among the believers without being judged for their behavior. They want to be seen as “normal”. They demand public tolerance for their once private, now very public indulgences. They want others to feel that they are wrong for thinking of gays as being different, and they liken it to racism.

    It’s not a debate. One will either keep the commandments or they wont. They must live by the consequences. Ultimately, it is my feeling that gays want those who are not gay to declare that what they are doing (or, better put, what they claim they ARE as opposed to what they have chosen to be) is not wrong- that homosexuality is not wrong. They may convince some Christians, through this deceptive approach, to go against their original beliefs, because they feel guilty for standing true to the word. Others will press through the darkness, holding to the word, ignoring fingers of scorn, and be greatly blessed for overcoming the world.

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  • you overestimate yourself

    I find these articles interesting because of the arrogance of the religious organizations. Whenever these opinions are written, they are almost always from the stance that the religious “own” marriage.

    There is only one answer the court can come up with and that is marriage under a civil union, the one that the government recognizes, can not be denied to its people under equal rights. You simply have no say from a religious point of view. Even the groups represented here don’t perform marriage ceremonies the same way, let alone have a say on how civil unions are performed and recognized by the government. Marriage is not a religious matter when it comes to the government and its people.

    Government is not regulating how religions perform particular marriage ceremonies in different religious sects, don’t try to impose a religious view point on what is obviously a secular argument….and should be.

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