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Same-sex marriage (SSM) and civil unions

Opinions by religious leaders and individuals

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Statements expressing a variety of positions:

bulletFamily Research Council (FRC): Mark Regan, a policy analyst with the FRC said: "Civil unions are a counterfeit version of marriage that will diminish the value of marriage." 1

bulletGerard V. Bradley: Bradley is a professor of law at the University of Notre Dame, president of the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars, and a regular columnist for Catholic Dossier. One of his specialties is law and religion. He is quoted as saying that homosexual marriage would  mean "the demolition of marriage." 2

bulletAnon: "A loving man and woman in a committed relationship can marry. Dogs, no matter what their relationship, are not allowed to marry. How should society treat gays and lesbians in committed relationships? As dogs or as humans?" Posting to an Internet mailing list; used by permission of the author.

bullet"Trixie1226:" "I believe that marriage should be between one man and one woman. Period. God did not create Adam and Steve or Eve and Adah. It clearly states in the Bible that homosexuality is wrong. The fact that this is an issue clearly shows how sick the world has gotten." 3

bullet"JRT:"  "Marriage is a sacrament that two loving people bestow upon each other. I do not regard gender as an issue here. What is important is their love and desire to live together in a committed lifelong relationship." 4

bulletRabbi Shmuley Boteach: "...what two gay men do in the privacy of their bedroom is totally different. Unlike polygamy or incest, no rational person can argue that two men having gay sex is going to undermine the legal institution of marriage. Those that do are probably more interested in attacking gays than protecting marriage." 5

bulletAnon: "Actually, I believe the best solution would be to remove government from the business of marriage altogether. Marriage should be a sacred trust between two consenting individuals and, if they wish, their families and houses of worship, not individuals and the government. We are treading in very dangerous waters when we ask the government to regulate personal relationships, especially something with the religious overtones of marriage." 6

bullet Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV) : " This case for same-sex marriage "reflects a demand for political correctness that has gone berserk. We live in an era in which tolerance has progressed beyond a mere call for acceptance and crossed over to become a demand for the rest of us to give up beliefs that we revere and hold most dear in order to prove our collective purity. At some point, a line must be drawn by rational men and women who are willing to say, 'Enough!' " 7

bulletAnon, "There is no reason that the federal government, or anyone for that matter, should restrict marriage to a predefined heterosexual relationship. Because it is the right of the homosexual legally, socially, and economically, matrimony between lesbian and gay couples should be accepted in the United States. Because our country has been founded on the Constitution, in which all men are created equal; we cannot deny the basic human and legal right of marriage to a class of individuals due to their sexual preference." 8

bullet Charles Johnson: "For gays who may have been viciously rejected by family and friends because of their sexual orientation, having legally and socially legitimate kin would have psychological benefits which cannot be ignored. Also, allowing gays to marry would help encourage stable, married life while discouraging the flamboyant and often promiscuous fringe lifestyle of some of the most vocal homosexual activists. Thus, gay marriage would not only bring the social benefits of more stable relationships to gays; it would also help end much of the ignorance, confrontationalism, and social stigmata--and thus the ostracism, brutal violence, and self-loathing--associated with homosexuality today." 9

bullet Charles C Peyton: "During the debates over gay marriage with California’s Proposition 8 and now with New York allowing same-sex couples to wed starting on [2011-]July 24, I’ve often heard people on the con side assert that since the ideal situation for child-rearing is a stable family with a mother and father, gay marriage should be banned.

I don’t know if that’s true, but suppose it is. That ideal is rare; even in many two-parent families there is often severe dysfunction, and “stable” is not an accurate descriptor. As a Mormon bishop, my father would sigh and say, without sharing specifics, that I’d be surprised how few marriages were happy in our upper-middle-class California ward.

And what about all the children who have no parent? Wouldn’t one loving parent, gay or straight, be better than none? Or a stable couple, both of the same gender? In the world we must deal with people and solutions that fall short of the ideal, but with gay marriage, opponents argue the opposite.

Voltaire famously lamented that 'the perfect is the enemy of the good.' That’s an accurate critique of this argument against gay marriage: In the name of perfection, people are rejecting goodness." 10

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Response to Charles Peyton's letter:

Charles Peyton's brief letter seems to have struck a nerve among what we assume is the predominately Mormon readership of the Salt Lake City Tribune. Within six days, the letter had received 127 comments posted by readers. Essentially all were positive toward's Peyton's letter and towards SSM. However, they are not typical of Utah residents:

  • In 2009, Jeffrey Lax and Justin Phillips of Columbia University published a paper in American Political Science Review showing the support for SSM in each state, during 1994-6, 2003-4, and 2008-9. Utah showed, by far, the lowest support for SSM of any state, at about 12%, 14% and 17% support for the three time intervals.

  • On 2011-JUN-29, Nate Silver, a statistician who has the FiveThirtyEight blog on the New York Times computed the probability of a hypothetical citizen initiative passing on Election Day of 2012-NOV that banned same-sex marriage in the state. He concluded that such a vote in Utah would be either "favored to receive a majority" or "very likely to receive a majority" depending upon which of two statistical models he used. Actually, the state of Utah has a constitutional ban against SSM, so a referendum would be redundant.

A few of the comments posted by readers of the newspaper, selected for their diversity, are shown below:

  • Thom Watson wrote:
  • "I'd also note that adoption by same-sex parents is not tied to same-sex marriage; already such adoption is legal in nearly all U.S. states, and same-sex parents have been raising their own biological and adopted kids for years, long before marriage equality was even seriously being discussed. Whether or not same-sex couples are allowed to marry will not change that fact. So the rhetoric on one side that same-sex marriage should be banned because kids need a mom and a dad just makes no logical sense whatsoever; the two issues are already legally irretrievably separate. Banning same-sex marriage does not and will not stop same-sex couples from having kids through surrogacy, adoption or raising kids from previous heterosexual encounters.

    In fact, 2010 census figures suggest that in nearly every state between 1/5 and 1/4 of households headed by same-sex couples are raising children already. Preventing same-sex couples from marrying, then, has no impact whatsoever on the number of kids being raised by their biological father and mother, even if we were to grant that the latter case is preferable (and a significant amount of research in fact suggests that the sex of the parents makes no difference in the quality of the care and support given, or the outcomes for the children); all it does is hurt the kids that already are being raised and that will continue to be raised in those same-sex-headed households."

  • "Stink" wrote:

    "Equality" is one word. But if Republicans can say homosexuals are the bogeymen it's brings them votes from the illiterate."

  • "cootswa" wrote:

    "Most gay parents I know are great at raising their kids.  Those who adopt are dedicated and cherish the opportunity of being a parent. Opposition to gay adoptions and gay marriage is vile, because it is based on lies, ignorance, fear, and prejudice."

  • "David from Sandy UT" wrote:

    " 'In the name of perfection, people are rejecting goodness.' No, Charles, the self-deceived hypocrites are deliberately pulling irrational nonsense out of their nonsense storage orifices to justify  stripping their neighbors of the secular benefits and protections that many of their ilk now enjoy. People are welcome to their opinion concerning the "ideal" family.  Sadly, reality does not support their irrational prejudice.

    Personal opinion does NOT justify stripping law-abiding citizens of their Fourteenth Amendment constitutionally guaranteed RIGHT to Equal Protection of the Laws.

    Here is your statement re-worded:  'In the name of irrational prejudice and self-deception, people are rejecting The Golden Rule and The Rule of Law, specifically Fourteenth Amendment constitutional law.' I do not give a flying rodent flatus if people do not want to share their precious word with their neighbors.  Personally, I think people who care more about a smudge of printer's ink on a legal document than the constitutional rights of their law-abiding, tax-paying adult neighbors have their priorities mixed up.  How stupid do people have to be not to see the simple solution:  Use a different word on the legal document.

    Utah--Hypocrisy Elevated."

  • "desert_rat:" wrote:

    "What's good about sexual perversion?" [Received 1" like"]

  • "FormerAF" responding to "desert rat" wrote:

    "What perversion? Perversion is in the eye of the beholder. What kind of sewer passes for your brain?" [Received 12 "likes"]

  • "Howard" wrote:

    "Pretty good letter. Gender combination is irrelevant. Responsible, stable and loving are everything. If you have those, the family unit is ideal."

  • "scratphd" wrote:

    "A most excellent letter. Provides food for thought. Voltaire is in good company with the great swamp philosopher Pogo, who lamented: 'I have met the enemy and he is us.' Caring parents, whatever their gender is a wee bit more important than the twisted logic that some pass off as  'morals'."

  • "Nungwa" wrote:

    "Marriage promotes monogamy. Monogamy promotes stable relationships. Stable relationships are beneficial to society. 

    I was raised in an evangelical family - replete with ministers and missionaries. I've seen 'the other side' of the argument and found it without secular merit. 

    By all means allow each religious organization to continue to perform whatever rite or ritual they deem appropriate to whomever they deem worthy. That is their right protected by the 1st Amendment's Free Exercise clause.

    On the other hand, those who are members of religious organizations who embrace the GLBT members of their congregation or the non-religious should have the right to choose their life partner without the insinuation of religious beliefs they do not subscribe to. 

    Gay people are raising children and have been doing so since the beginning of time. They should have the right to protect their partners and their families in the same way hetero couples can."

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References:

  1. Pamela Ferdinand, "With Vermont in the lead, controversy progresses," Washington Post, 2001-SEP-4, at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/
  2. Mentioned in a letter to the editor of First Things magazine, 1999-DEC, by reader Mark Peterson. Issue 98, Page 5.
  3. From a public forum of Beliefnet.com. Posted on 2003-JUN-30.
  4. Ibid, JUN-29.
  5. Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, "Homosexuality Is A Religious Sin, Not An Ethical One," Beliefnet.com, at:  http://www.beliefnet.com/
  6. Robert Colaco, "The Lie: Homosexual marriage is none of the government's business," one response to a questionnaire, 2000, at: http://www.haveyoubeenliedto.org/
  7. Senator Robert Byrd, Congressional Record, 1996-SEP-10, at: http://www.jesus-is-lord.com/
  8. Anon, "Acceptance Of Homosexual Marriage," at:  http://www.freeessays.cc/db/43/sxg35.shtml
  9. Charles Johnson, "Civil Rights and Family Values: Defending Homosexual (and Heterosexual) Marriage," LGBT and Queer, 1999-MAR-7, at: http://www.eskimo.com/~cwj2/
  10. "Rejecting goodness," Salt Lake Tribune, 2011-JUL-29, at: http://www.sltrib.com/

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Copyright 2001 to 2011 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2001-SEP-04
Latest update: 2011-AUG-04
Author: B.A. Robinson

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