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Michael and Jenet Erickson: Rally for marriage, but treat all people with respect

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  • Chris B Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 27, 2014 9:56 a.m.

    I'm not LDS, but I stand with LDS prophet Monson, who, according to Mormons, speaks for God. My personal belief is that Pope Francis speaks for God and not Monson. Either way, nice to know I'm in agreement with these men(and the man they speak for). They have both stated only a man and woman should be allowed to marry.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 27, 2014 10:19 a.m.

    I don't worry about the pro-traditional marriage crowd getting violent (because there's no history of that happening in the past) but I do worry about the LGBT crowd getting ugly, confrontational, and violent (because there is ample history of that happening in the past).

    Google "proposition 8 protest lds". Dozens of documented examples.

    The intentionally confrontational protests planned and carried out by the LGBT community, vandalizing of temples and chapels, death threats to people who opposed the LGBT agenda (both in California and Utah)... there is a history of one side getting violent and confrontational... and it's not the traditional marriage crowd.

    I hope the gatherings at the capital are tolerant and peaceful... but I'm not taking my chances. I won't be there (for my own safety).

  • Jeff in NC CASTLE HAYNE, NC
    Jan. 27, 2014 10:21 a.m.

    You say "Freedom of religion is not freedom from religion. Religious and moral beliefs are no less entitled to inform the law than any other beliefs." I hope you mean that the establishment and free exercise clauses in the US Constitution do not authorize us to abolish religion entirely...you are wrong if you literally mean there is no avoiding codifying into law a religion's tenets. I agree that religious beliefs can be used positively in some occassions of enacting laws, but not EVERY occassion. You always will have to show reasonable grounds to tie everyone down to the majority's religious beliefs. In the case of marrige, permitting gay couples to wed would not mean your religious ceremonies have to follow suit, it just means your same-sex coupled neighbors will enjoy the same benefits and protections as you and your husband under the law of the land. You step right across the line of insults with your unsupported notion that gays cannot make good parents and are a danger to children. You can expect someone to give you an ugly label for expressing that in the "public square."

  • Values Voter LONG BEACH, CA
    Jan. 27, 2014 10:33 a.m.

    The article states: "Utah’s Amendment 3 defines marriage to mean the union of a man and a woman."

    But it does substantially more than that. It forbids --ANY-- protections for same-sex couples, even though, according to a recent Deseret News poll, a majority of Utahns now favor civil unions (or an equivalent) for gay couples.

    Amendment 3:
    1. Marriage consists only of the legal union between a man and a woman.

    2. No other domestic union, however denominated, may be recognized as a marriage or given the same or substantially equivalent legal effect.

    Might not this state of affairs lead LGBT Utahns to feel disrespected?

  • JoeE71 LEHI, UT
    Jan. 27, 2014 10:36 a.m.

    Excellent article. It says well what I believe too. Thanks for posting it!

  • RFLASH Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 27, 2014 10:39 a.m.

    The Constitution was not made up to allow one religious group to decide what another group's rights are! It is as simple as that. Being gay, I have some very strong beliefs myself, and they don't include the degrading ways in which some people's religion want to portray us! It does not matter how nice you are trying to be about this, because if we were to sit down and discuss what the truth really is, the religious views concerning gay people never have been and never will be good! In order to fit into that lifestyle we would have to accept some very degrading beliefs and they go against my own belief in what God intends for me! None of you would ever accept this being done to you. NONE OF YOU! Our constitution allows us to define our own marriage and make it as legal as any other marriage! When you refer to God and beliefs, it is always your own and you treat us as if our beliefs have no meaning! Why don't you live your 11th article of faith? Let us worship God our way!

  • UTSU Logan, UT
    Jan. 27, 2014 11:04 a.m.

    To Mr. & Mrs. Erickson,

    In our civil society, both believers and non-believers can get marriage license from government. Even though marriage has religious significance to some peole, it does not to others, and marriage is not a religious institution in our civil society, is has to be decided by the law, not by a certain religious sect.

    And even talking about religious freedom, according to Wall Street Journal, there are already more then half young evangelical Christians supporting SSM, the number is even higher among mainline protestants, and WSJ is hardly a liberal media. So for those believers who support marriage equality, how about their religious freedom?

    According to DN news survey, majority Utahans support civil union for same sex couples, and according to Salt Lake City Tribune, 72% of Utahans support such compromise. However amendment 3 has made it impossible, which is why amendment 3 has to go.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 27, 2014 11:07 a.m.

    Jeff,
    Who said "gays can't make good parents"?

    I re-read the article and didn't find it. That would make it a strawman (something nobody actually said, something ridiculous, something that's easy to poke holes in, but again something nobody's actually saying or thinking, just something you are assuming they would think/say).

    ===

    I think religious tenets (not necessarily any specific religion, but still religious tenets) are used when making laws all the time. (not literally every time, but frequently).

    Murder is against the law (thou shall not kill).
    Theft is against the law (thou shall not steal).

    I really don't think it's all that unusual for religious tenets to be manifested in our laws. I really don't see the need to get aggravated over it.

    It's not like making murder or theft illegal forces their religion on you...

    Gay marriage may be in a different category... but still... there's usually no big problem with religious tenets influencing our laws (till gay marriage and abortion came along).

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 27, 2014 11:14 a.m.

    RFLASH,
    Mormons aren't the only people who have issues with the gay lifestyle. Bringing up the 11th article of faith makes it seem like Mormons are the only people with issues on this... they aren't.

    But if you really think people are not allowing you to practice your religion because they won't let you redefine "Marriage"... then maybe you have a good point. If this is part of your religion then we should back off.

    We should not be passing laws preventing anybody from exercising their religion.

  • Badgerbadger Murray, UT
    Jan. 27, 2014 11:22 a.m.

    SSM proponents had their time at the Capitol. Now it is one man one woman marriage proponents' turn. Will they be harassed? SSM marriage rallies weren't. Will they afford those with a different the same courtesy?

    We will see Tuesday night.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Jan. 27, 2014 11:29 a.m.

    "marriage between a man and a woman is a social and religious practice that transcends culture and time". No. It's a legal contract that transcends mythology.
    As for 'Freedom of religion is not freedom from religion.' Sorry. Religion is free to make its' case and all, but it is not a major condition of our society, and it doesn't get to impose itself on us. If it does, I have equal claim (none) to demand that it be my religion as opposed to yours, because yours is mythological hooey. Laughable and fabricated. That's why religion has to be kept in check.

  • Values Voter LONG BEACH, CA
    Jan. 27, 2014 11:30 a.m.

    @ 2 bits

    Your comments strike me as lacking in historical perspective. Also, you might have more of a point if LGBT Californians and LGBT Utahns had a 20-plus year history of focused and intense efforts --in law-- of trying to prevent/outlaw/ or nullify LDS Temple marriages. Its a terrible feeling to have an aspect of your personal life placed on a ballot for all to weigh in on, and votes can be cast FOR ANY REASON, good, bad or indifferent -- I don't recommend it.

    About the above mentioned historical perspective, if I remember correctly, there are specific examples in Mormon history where members --at times-- had simply had enough and felt moved to defend themselves. Who can blame them?

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 27, 2014 11:57 a.m.

    Hutterite,
    Re: "No. It's a legal contract that transcends mythology"...

    Even if you throw out the religious aspect... biology seems to support the traditional definition.

    Biology isn't "Mythology"... is it?

    ===

    Values Voter,
    I don't know if my comments lack historical perspective. They reflect the history I'm aware of (but I don't claim to have knowledge of everything).

    I'm not sure which comments you're referring to. If it's the one about there being history of violence in the GLBT protests... If any of the results I got when I googled attacks on the LDS community by the LGBT community (in California and SLC)... are incorrect or fictitious... please let me know. They were reported by the national media (not just local sources).

    I try to be historically correct... but everything I post is just my opinion.

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 27, 2014 12:26 p.m.

    "While we affirm that being for marriage does not mean being against anyone"

    It does when you actively try and ban same-sex marriage; that involves directly being against someone.

    "genuine concerns for family, children, and religious liberty."

    You're trying to tear apart families. You don't care about the fact that single people can adopt in Utah (what makes a single person or even a single gay person adopting okay but a same-sex couple adopting bad?). Your religion is not required to perform or recognize same-sex marriages just like they don't have to perform interfaith marriages in the temple despite the nation having anti-discrimination laws based on religion. You have concerns, and I'll assume they're genuine... but they seem baseless or built on double standards (like the adoption matter).

    @2bits
    "pro-traditional marriage crowd getting violent (because there's no history of that happening in the past)"

    They did in France a few months ago. I would expect the LGBT side to be angrier though because their side has their rights suppressed while the other side literally has nothing to lose.

  • Tiago Seattle, WA
    Jan. 27, 2014 12:45 p.m.

    Thank you for this balanced article. I hope readers will check out the two links mentioned. Those are excellent resources to help bring more empathy and understanding to the conversation. They include words from LDS leaders and videos showing actual LDS people who experience SSA.
    I think those videos help us realize that people dealing with SSA are our people--our family, friends, and neighbors. For productive discourse, I hope we will frame the conversation less as some epic battle of "us" vs. "them" and more of a family discussion where we listen, seek to understand and to be understood, and show genuine care.

  • Lagomorph Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 27, 2014 12:50 p.m.

    I appreciate the Ericksons' attempt to empathize with the LGBT community's history of past victimization. I appreciate their view that standing for traditional marriage does not necessarily imply accepting a general animus towards gays (although this is the case for a great many opponents of marriage equality). I appreciate their call for respectful discussion and civility. I am grateful for the opportunity to accept their invitation.

    Ericksons: "It is the means by which an innocent, vulnerable child is united to his or her mother and father and becomes entitled to their mutual love and care."

    This is the crux of the matter. Current marriage law is a very blunt and inefficient instrument to achieve the desired end. The civil benefits of marriage are not afforded to some parents while they are bestowed upon nonparents. Remarkably, some couples must be certifiably nonreproductive to marry, and they get the legal benefits. And finally, the innocent, vulnerable children of same-sex couples are denied the benefits of married parents. It's a crazy way to run a policy. The benefits are not delivered to the proper recipients.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Jan. 27, 2014 12:51 p.m.

    "On Jan. 28, Utahns are invited to “Stand for Marriage—Stand for Amendment 3” at the Utah State Capitol Rotunda at 7 pm. Opponents of Amendment 3 have called for a rally on the Capitol steps a few hours before."
    ______________________________

    Sounds like a good night to stay at home and watch TV.

  • Meckofahess Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 27, 2014 1:02 p.m.

    To the gay community, please help us understand how biology and anatomy keep getting in the way of your logic?

    I was at the park recently and saw a bunch of wild ducks. There were about a dozen pair of mallards. I noted in each case that the pairs were a drake mallard and a hen mallard. Curious how those wild ducks were paired up that way.

    Biology and anatomy are just a couple of reasons why same-sex marriage doesn't resonate with everyone!

    Homosexual life style clearly is a choice some decide to pursue (and some sincerely feel in is not a choice -I understand that too). I believe many heteroxexuals might be willing to accept your choices as long as they don't infringe upon our rights. For example, we have a right to not have a bioligical male be legally enabled to enter into a women's rest room or locker room.

    If you truly want us to understand your needs and desired rights, try showing some understanding of our needs and desired rights too!

  • Values Voter LONG BEACH, CA
    Jan. 27, 2014 1:13 p.m.

    @2 bits

    I appreciate your civil tone, I'll do my best to respond in kind. (My post was directed to your original comment on top).

    I live in California. I had both my "No on prop 22" and my "No on prop 8" signs vandalized and/or stolen. I'm aware of a prop 22 bumper sticker being vandalized on LDS church property, in the parking lot, on a Sunday. (A police report was filed). Based on that knowledge, do I then go and draw conclusions about all (or even most) of the other side? -- No. I simply conclude that those are unfortunate, but predictable results of hotly contested political campaigns. I guess what I'm saying is, a.) Mormons too often have a habit of considering themselves the injured party without really acknowledging the hurt and damage they've caused and b.) they too often don't acknowledge that bad behavior occurs on both sides.

  • Jeff in NC CASTLE HAYNE, NC
    Jan. 27, 2014 1:17 p.m.

    @ 2 bits

    You ask me "Who said 'gays can't make good parents'? I re-read the article and didn't find it." Well, what do you think Ms. Erickson meant when she says "At the same time, we also invite opponents of Amendment 3 to walk in our shoes and to understand our genuine concerns for family, children, and religious liberty." If she thinks gay couples make good parents, what other "genuine" concern could she possibly have for children in all of this? They aren't the ones getting married. She mentions children two other times in the article in a similar way, that to oppose gay marriage protects the children, all very Putin-esque and quite insulting. Maybe if she had a study that supported her position, like the several studies that have been relied on by judges to battle anti-gay marriage laws in court that say the exact opposite.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    Jan. 27, 2014 1:23 p.m.

    "Conscience forbids us from taking such personal questions lightly."

    -- Conscience says if you don't believe in something you don't do it. It says nothing about preventing others from doing what you don't.

    "... marriage to mean the union of a man and a woman. "

    -- Not particularly "traditional" to Mormons.

    "Marriage cannot be expanded to include same-sex couples without first eliminating the profound and deeply held belief that marriage means the union of a man and a woman. "

    -- Garbage. Marriage has changed again and again over time and will change yet again, all without changing the meaning of marriage for men and women.

    @2 bits;

    Some things harm others; murder, theft are examples. SSM does no such thing.

    "We should not be passing laws preventing anybody from exercising their religion."

    Passing laws preventing LGBT couples from marrying does exactly that though.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Jan. 27, 2014 1:28 p.m.

    Even if you throw out the religious aspect... biology seems to support the traditional definition.

    Biology isn't "Mythology"... is it?

    No. But marriage isn't necessary to procreate. And procreation isn't necessary for marriage.

  • nonceleb Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 27, 2014 1:37 p.m.

    Amendment 3 does not violate the Constitution? Yes it does. Courts, in Utah and in other states too - like Oklahoma - and the Supreme Court upholding a lower court decision on California's Prop 8, have ruled provisions like this are unconstitutional. Freedom of religion is not freedom from religion? Again, yes it is. Freedom of religion has been interpreted throughout our history as freedom of conscience, which includes freedom to be agnostic or atheistic. Freedom of religion is not possible without separating religion from the public and political arena. You absolutely free to practice your religious beliefs in your private lives and in your religious community. But you cannot impose your religious beliefs on the rest of us. Utah might have fared better if Amendment 3 would have kept the term "marriage" for a union between a man and a woman. But it went further in forbidding any kind of civil union or contract that provided legal protections or benefits of marriage. That was uncivil.

  • Res Novae Ashburn, VA
    Jan. 27, 2014 2:43 p.m.

    This is an effort, done in good faith, to reconcile sincere belief in traditional views with sincere discomfort at the pain those views create for others. There are a lot of people who feel the tug both ways. The problem is that on this issue, there really isn't much room to reconcile those competing forces.

    SSM is inevitable. Accept that and save yourselves the dissonance of reconciling the irreconcilable.

  • One of a Few Layton, UT
    Jan. 27, 2014 3:40 p.m.

    The Erickson's acknowledge the SSM debate comes down to the meaning of the word marriage. If defined inclusively, it will loose its exclusivity and people not like me will be able to enjoy the benefits that should be exclusively for me and people like me. Now I understand the basis for my deeply held religious belief, it is the need to exclude people who aren't like me. Don't get me wrong, I'm not so liberal as to believe that allowing SSM will not impact society. People will experiment and may even decide to adopt an alternative way of life they would otherwise have avoided (perhaps unhappily) if society did not make it acceptable. But I'm just liberal enough to think it's not my business. I want my kids to be happy. I want them to pray and go to church and I want the person the each choose to spend their lives with to be an influence for good and a blessing. Oh, and they should change my diapers when I get old. But other than that, I think good Christians have enough trouble worrying about themselves. They could/should let this go.

  • glendenbg Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 27, 2014 4:04 p.m.

    The authors propose a zero-sum mindset which is simply false. They claim "Marriage cannot be expanded to include same-sex couples without first eliminating the profound and deeply held belief that marriage means the union of a man and a woman." Allowing gay couples to marry in no way prevents anyone from holding this view or leading their lives accordingly. Legalizing marriage for same sex couples requires no sacrifice on behalf of opponents - other than recognizing they live in a society in which some citizens hold a different and equally valid perspective.

    They also propose a view of marriage not reflected in American law. American law doesn't require married couples to view their marriage as sacred, special and unique or to believe it is about the complementery nature of male and female. There is no requirement that couples have children or provide them a safe home. People can horribly abuse their children and remain married. You don't have to believe any of things they believe about marriage to get married - if you're straight. IOW, they're proposing a false dichotomy between legalizing same-sex marriage and marriage as they view it.

  • equal protection Cedar, UT
    Jan. 27, 2014 4:07 p.m.

    Many are beginning to see that irrational same-sex marriage bans based on vile animus, hate and prejudice do not pass constitutional muster. Much like the historical personal views of every kind, caring, compassionate, and thoughtful person who just happened to hold deep and strong personal views on where African Americans should sit on public transportation, who they should marry, or their use of separate drinking fountains and educational institutions. The defense and support of Jim Crow laws are similar to same-sex marriage bans today, and most likely undeserving of respect or tolerance whatsoever when it comes to civil marriage and public accommodations law discrimination. The position of Virginia's AG might be a better model for Utah's Governor and AG, by showing leadership and respect for all of Utah's citizens.

  • Values Voter LONG BEACH, CA
    Jan. 27, 2014 4:31 p.m.

    @ One of a Few

    I like your analysis a lot, especially the part about definition.

    To couch this in terms LDS people might better understand, how about this?

    One could, if one wanted to, use a strategy of exclusion-by-narrow-definition to answer the question, are Mormons Christian? Of course, if your definition is sufficiently broad and takes into account the evolution of religions and cultures, the answer is emphatically yes. If, on the other hand, your aim is to wall off all certain groups, you might restrict your definition to include this or that orthodox belief and declare all those not in compliance -- not Christian.

  • Bob K portland, OR
    Jan. 27, 2014 4:44 p.m.

    Res Novae
    Ashburn, VA
    "This is an effort, done in good faith, to reconcile sincere belief in traditional views with sincere discomfort at the pain those views create for others....
    SSM is inevitable. Accept that and save yourselves the dissonance of reconciling the irreconcilable."

    --- You see, I do NOT find it sincere. Ms Erickson wrote another violin-playing plea for folks not to force her to think a couple of weeks ago, and the DN happily published it as an "editorial", although it was really also an op-ed opinion piece.

    Here is where the lack of sincerity shows most "For these reasons, Amendment 3 is about our families, our children, and our religion."
    --- No mormon families would be changed by the removal of the Amendment, except those in which someone has lied to God to make a false marriage and stay in the church
    --- No children at all would be effected, except in a positive way
    --- The religion might be forced to examine itself -- aah, that is the rub!

    It's all about mormons fearing change and lacking the capacity for fairness.

    I find it despicable that she and other writers on the DN suggest there might be violence.

  • LovelyDeseret Gilbert, AZ
    Jan. 27, 2014 6:13 p.m.

    "Either the law recognizes that there is something special, unique, and sacred about the union of a man and a woman or it does not"

    We fast and pray sometimes daily that the law recognizes this. For the good of society.

  • jcobabe Provo, UT
    Jan. 27, 2014 6:21 p.m.

    Tuesday will not be a good night for TV watching. I will be attending the rally supporting the Constitutional amendment, along with my 82 year-old mother.

    The time for comfortably sitting at home in front of the TV is past. Citizens need to participate in supporting the government process. New laws are being formalized as we watch. The terms of the law will represent Utah only if we participate, raising our voices together. If we do nothing, it will all be decided by someone elsewhere that does not know our interests or represent our values.

  • Lbone Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 27, 2014 7:15 p.m.

    To Bob K. who said "No children at all would be effected [sic], except in a positive way."

    Analyzing the aftermath of same-sex "marriage" in Mass. and Calif., we note that homosexual propaganda has freely found it's way into the public school systems, normalizing homosexual behavior as normal and cool. Increasingly, parents who wish to opt their children out of exposure to this material find themselves losing out to the school system. The gay agenda is a one-way tolerance. They want tolerance shown them but they show absolutely none towards those who disagree with them.

    Moreover, the brutally inflammatory rhetoric and the anti-family nature of the radical homosexual lobby has been identified as the #1 threat against religious liberty today. Those who dearly value religious values need to vigorously oppose this.

    I will be present along with many others like-minded folks who truly love the ideal that all children deserve a father and a mother.

  • equal protection Cedar, UT
    Jan. 27, 2014 8:28 p.m.

    It can't be all about biology can it now? If folks born inter-sex (dual gender) and can marry any person of whatever sex they choose, why discriminate against same-sex couples?

  • oragami St. George, UT
    Jan. 27, 2014 8:31 p.m.

    The organizers (Celebration of Marriage) of this “Stand for Marriage—Stand for Amendment 3” rally post on their Facebook page:

    "Evil WILL prevail so long as good people don't get their act together!"

    That's right. This group and their supporters associate support for same-sex marriage with evil. They, of course, are the "good people" in this war and same-sex marriage supporters are the adversary, the evil ones.

    Is this really the kind of rhetoric and divisiveness the Deseret News and the Erickson's wish to promote? Is this the kind of rhetoric that promotes civility and respect?

  • equal protection Cedar, UT
    Jan. 27, 2014 8:35 p.m.

    re: "I will be present along with many others like-minded folks who truly love the ideal that all children deserve a father and a mother."
    Then you're at at the wrong rally, you need to attend one concerning adoption and reproductive rights. Same-sex marriage has nothing to do with making sure a child has a mother and father.

  • Res Novae Ashburn, VA
    Jan. 27, 2014 8:44 p.m.

    @Bob K,

    Don't mistake a bad argument for lack of sincerity or good faith. It's a tough issue to muddle through for many Mormons like myself who juxtapose religious belief and our observations of gay family members and friends who want what straights have. I've done it and I can tell you that there's nothing more detrimental to the position you're advocating than to take someone's sincere effort to meet partway and throw it right back in their faces. Their arguments might be weak, but the how one rebuts them determines whether they will consider your arguments or entrench their views even deeper.

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 27, 2014 9:38 p.m.

    @Meckofahess
    "For example, we have a right to not have a bioligical male be legally enabled to enter into a women's rest room or locker room."

    That's a trans issue, not a gay/lesbian issue.

    "Biology and anatomy are just a couple of reasons why same-sex marriage doesn't resonate with everyone!"

    Sure, and the lack of attraction I have for the same sex is why I'm not personally going to get a same-sex marriage.

  • Stephen Daedalus Arvada, CO
    Jan. 27, 2014 10:12 p.m.

    I hear the fear in the authors' words, and feel sincere empathy about how difficult the coming years will be for them and others who share their views when state laws excluding same-sex couples from secular marriage are held unconstitutional, and Amend 3 is overturned. But these folks do each other no favors if they don't come to grips with the legal reasoning required to prevail if they want Amend 3 to stand.

    It is a disservice to hold rallies to remind each other about shared beliefs on the concept of marriage, without also explaining how the line of cases decided by SCOTUS over the past 20-30 years re: homosexual rights, makes nationwide recognition of SSM nearly inevitable. Without honest discussion of the challenge ahead, you will only increase the sense of disappointment and betrayal when the other shoe drops.

    If Judge Shelby's opinion is too close to home, please look up Judge Kern's opinion in Bishop v. Oklahoma, which comes to a similar conclusion for a nearly identical state law. Kern, like Shelby, considers each of the state's rationales for excluding gays/lesbians from secular marriage, and precisely explains how none meet the necessary standard.

  • C Reese Nebeker Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 27, 2014 10:42 p.m.

    This article claims (marriage)..." is the means by which an innocent, vulnerable child is united to his or her mother and father and becomes entitled to their mutual love and care."
    What crap! Biology has united those parents with that child. The child does NOT need to earn it's parents love & care.
    Regardless of a couples marriage status at the moment of birth a child is ENTITLED to it's parents care & love. When divorce happens, the noncustodial parent is still required by law to provide for the children. If they are never married, there are LEGAL requirements for the father to provide for the child which the State can pursue, regardless of the mothers wishes.
    If a custodial remarries, it opens a legal avenue for their new partner to assume the rights and responsibilities that an absent biological parent has forsaken. How much better, then, that this be legally binding regardless of the gender or sex of the parents? Allowing such loving and willing non-biological parents to have those rights & responsibilities in case the biological parent dies?

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    Jan. 28, 2014 6:34 a.m.

    So your god says your marriages are special and unique. Someone else’s god thinks all marriages are. Your god says your religion will suffer great harm if you are not allowed to practice views that discriminate against others. Others’ gods think ending discrimination against their creations would be a good thing. Your god is really concerned that children have a mother and a father in the home. Others’ gods don’t see parent gender as a critical issue.

    How do we decide which of the gods is right?

    Answer: We don’t have to. See the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. If you want to preserve the religious liberty promised there, then don’t attempt to codify your god’s beliefs into secular law.

    BTW, the kind of respect being called for here is akin to walking someone to your door – smiling, your arm around the person’s shoulder – and then slamming the door in their face as you leave them outside. Would this feel like respect if it were done to you?

  • Ranch Here, UT
    Jan. 28, 2014 6:42 a.m.

    @LovelyDeseret;

    You should eat before you waste away. Your prayers will be for naught because marriage equality IS coming to Utah and a city/town near you.

  • CHS 85 Sandy, UT
    Jan. 28, 2014 7:02 a.m.

    @LBone

    "Moreover, the brutally inflammatory rhetoric and the anti-family nature of the radical homosexual lobby has been identified as the #1 threat against religious liberty today."

    Identified by whom? Care to actually back up that statement?

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Jan. 28, 2014 7:16 a.m.

    In Utah, you must be a registered Republican to participate in a Republican caucus. You must be a registered Republican to vote on the Republican ticket in a primary. Why is that? Why would something as inconsequential as politics have rules (laws) that exclude people with other views from redefining the Republican platform and from selecting the Republican candidates?

    Marriage is so much more important than politics. Marriage is the fundamental unit of society. That is where a man and a woman create a family, with or without children. That is where they unify and bring together the best of both sexes to overcome the frailties of life. Most often that means that a man's strong back provides for and protects the family and that the woman's tender and caring heart nurtures the family. Both give themselves to a union that can produce children. Both participate with our Creator in providing physical bodies for children.

    Marriage is not "just" a piece of paper. Marriage between a man and a woman was ordained of God. He makes no apologies for His doctrine or for His rules.

  • Meckofahess Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 28, 2014 7:50 a.m.

    @Karen R.

    Karen, please explain who your God is? Is he or she the God of the bible or some other source? How do you know what your God believes? Please provide a citation from a Christian source that declares what you God teaches.

    The God of the bible doesn't teach the same as you God does apparently, if so we would like to better understand that.

  • Kalindra Salt Lake City, Utah
    Jan. 28, 2014 9:27 a.m.

    @ meckofahess: Why would Karen R.'s source have to be Christian? Why does does Karen R. have to justify any of her religious beliefs to you?

    And by the way, there are many Christian denominations who support same-sex marriage.

  • EDM Castle Valley, Utah
    Jan. 28, 2014 9:43 a.m.

    I'm sorry that it pains the Ericksons and others, but they will have to give up the idea that marriage belongs only to heterosexuals.
    The notion that SSM is wrong will just be a private and quietly held belief. No one will take that away.

  • Meckofahess Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 28, 2014 11:13 a.m.

    @Kalindra

    If you weren't mocking our religious beliefs I guess we wouldn't need to respond would we? You want us to justify our religious or other intellectual beliefs and when we try do that you call us bigots, haters, inhuman and so-forth. We can and do accept that you have a different point of view and we don't see you as a bigot or a lesser being for holding that view. We would appreciate it if you would extend the same level of respect towards us for the concerns we have. We don't expect you to agree with us, just to respect that we will never be able to agree on everthing as you will never agree with us on everything - but we can disagree with respect and dignity.

    Your make a good argument on the point that Karen R's source needn't be Christian - because most other major faith systmes such as Islam also condemn homosexuality. I guess unless there is no religions in the world, there will always be moral teachings to grapple with?

  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    Jan. 28, 2014 11:18 a.m.

    "Religious and moral beliefs are no less entitled to inform the law than any other beliefs. And attempts to silence religious expression from the public square are an affront to the American ideals of religious liberty and freedom of expression."

    Wrong. Religious beliefs are not entitled to inform the law, per Amendment 1.And no one is attempting to "silence your religious expression from the public square," also per Amendment 1.

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    Jan. 28, 2014 12:00 p.m.

    Meckofahess, your responses suggest that you believe that a belief in a religion or a god automatically confers morality and, conversely, an absence of belief in either automatically makes one immoral. Am I hearing you correctly?

  • Tiago Seattle, WA
    Jan. 28, 2014 12:23 p.m.

    @ Meckofahess
    For an example of another church that believe SSM is God-sanctioned, you can look at the Community of Christ (formerly RLDS). They believe in living prophets including Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, and personal revelation and they say those sources and the spirit lead them to support SSM. Search online for the Community of Christ Statement on Sexual Ethics. We don't have to agree with their interpretation but we need to at least be aware that good people, following their conscience and the light that they have honestly believe that SSM can be sanctioned by God. When we talk about religious liberty but only talk about protecting our own position while running over someone else's, it seems like we are are not so concerned about the concept of liberty as we are about protecting ourselves.

  • Cookie999 Albuquerque, NM
    Jan. 28, 2014 12:49 p.m.

    I stand for traditional marriage because I believe the strongest order in the universe is inherently male and female working as a partnership. I believe that many who desire to have this so-called 'same sex marriage' are dealing with deep feelings. I believe that many of them have found a look-alike, and that if they would let go of the person they are hanging onto, the person of the opposite gender the universal order would like them to meet will then be able to meet them more easily, if that person has not already died.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    Jan. 28, 2014 1:34 p.m.

    @Cookie999;

    I believe that the strongest order in the universe is quantum physics. There's nothing "male and female" about it.

    @Meck;

    Odin rules.

  • Meckofahess Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 28, 2014 2:22 p.m.

    @Karen R.
    You ask a fair question. No I do not believe that religion automatically confers morality on me or anyone else. I know religious people who I think are quite immoral sometimes. I also know atheists who say that they don’t need to have religion to have moral beliefs and standards. They say their moral standards are not derived from belief in a God and that one does not need to believe in a God to have a basic sense for right and wrong.
    What I would like to convey is that there is a need for gay folks and straight folks to seek to understand and then be understood. I’m not sure we can totally bridge the gap between the two sides? If there is a “middle ground” such as legal “same-sex partnerships” maybe that could work – I don’t know? I would prefer a win-win solution because a win-lose solution will leave one side feeling betrayed and that can’t have good long term consequences. Look at abortion, it is legal but an on-going controversy persists after all these years since Roe v Wade.

  • glendenbg Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 28, 2014 2:27 p.m.

    If this is a theological discussion, let me quote American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr who wrote "Equality is always the regulative principle of justice; as in the ideal of equality there is an echo of the law of love: Thou shall love they neighbor as thyself."

    I would also refer to theologian Paul Tillich who described our lives in terms of the interplay between the drive the realize one's goals the drive toward unity with other persons. Gay and lesbian persons are asking society to permit them to realize their goals of building stable lives, with committed spouses.

    If straight persons wish to follow the Great Commandment and love their gay neighbors as themselves, it seems a good idea to believe them when gay people say "I was born this way," and to believe them when gay people say, "Our loves and lives are worth the same dignity and respect as your loves and lives." It's not "gay marriage" it's just marriage between two gay people who want the opportunity to build a meaningful and committed relationship. The Biblical call to justice requires no less than extending that right to gay couples.

  • Liddle Bruda Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 28, 2014 3:43 p.m.

    @LBone

    Are you fighting as hard against the "scientific agenda" that you do the "gay agenda"? It would seem to me they are the same. If you believe that Evolution is incorrect, and creationism is what our history truly is, then you should be fighting just as hard correct?

    The thing is, no one is teaching that it is cool to be gay, or hip. I would wager a bet that you could ask most gay people and at some point in their lives they wish they were born straight.

    The idea of sending children to school is to let them learn to think for themselves. If you had your way, the only things that are taught in school are bible classes.

    Most people that fight the hardest against same sex marriage, equal rights etc, do not truly know a gay person. They may know someone, but aren't friends and don't associate with them. So the school system has to be tasked to give an alternative view from what children learn from their homes. Gay people deserve equal protection.

  • Liddle Bruda Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 28, 2014 4:04 p.m.

    @Mike Richards

    Marriage is no such thing. Marriage started out as a way to transfer property and create alliances where there were none before. Marriage does not nor has it ever required having children. And until you lobby to steralize the population until marriage, it will never be required to be married.

    Your beliefs in what a marriage is, are yours. You have no right to use your religion to tell someone else how to live their life if it doesn't infringe on your rights. Please explain how your rights are being infringed upon allowing gay people to marry each other.

    Also remember, there are relgions out there that believe same sex marriage is ok with God. So who's God gets preference? The answer is none. Marriage is a secular contract between two adults. There is no religious test to be married, nor signed affidavit saying you will have children.

  • Liddle Bruda Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 28, 2014 4:12 p.m.

    @Cookie999

    I don't believe that there is only one person in the world for each person. What happened if they never meet because they are on different Continents? The thing about sexuality, is it has nothing to do with finding a cookie cutter version of yourself, but someone who you share a loving bond with. I have many female friends, but no one that I could spend my life with, because I am not attracted to them.

  • nycut New York, NY
    Jan. 28, 2014 4:41 p.m.

    @Meck
    "Karen, please explain who your God is? Is he or she the God of the bible or some other source? How do you know what your God believes? Please provide a citation from a Christian source that declares what you God teaches. The God of the bible doesn't teach the same as you God does apparently, if so we would like to better understand that."

    Meck, you realize no one owes you an explanation about what their god says, right?

    And when it comes to making laws that affect us all, that no one is actually asking what you think your god says either?

    That's the neat thing about the United States and our pluralistic society. Here, citizens are treated equally under the law no matter what they believe, and laws can't be passed solely to codify a particular religious viewpoint.

    So we don't have to go to war over whose god has a bigger gun and will shoot your god when he gets home.

    It all falls under the religiously protected category of nobody's business but your own.

    Anyone worried about "attacks on religious freedom" should give that some thought.

  • nycut New York, NY
    Jan. 28, 2014 4:52 p.m.

    @Mike Richards
    "Most often that means that a man's strong back provides for and protects the family and that the woman's tender and caring heart nurtures the family."

    The limited gender roles you describe here hold little appeal for many married couples and do not describe the best talents of many men and women, who are usually a mix of the characteristics you describe.

    This may be your ideal, but there are many kinds of pairings and many ways to form families. Some pairings work well. Some don't.

    One that doesn't tend to work so easily is when a gay person marries a straight person.
    And that's why gay people need to be able to marry each other.

    It doesn't make sense for the law to exclude someone simply because you'd prefer to see their mix of masculine or feminine characteristics neatly correspond to their sex. It's not as if we’d accept a “masculinity test“ for men or “femininity test” for women before allowing them to marry.

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    Jan. 28, 2014 5:44 p.m.

    Meckofahess,

    I agree that Roe v. Wade was too far ahead of the curve. That aside, abortion is a choice. My nephew didn't choose his sexual orientation any more than I chose mine. Why should he be told to wait while his friends are allowed to pursue their happiness? He isn't different from them in any way except in how others view his sexual orientation. And he isn't responsible for this either.

    I really like what glendenbg wrote above: "[I]t seems a good idea to believe them when gay people say "I was born this way," and..."Our loves and lives are worth the same dignity and respect as your loves and lives."

    This is where heterosexuals get to start. We grant ourselves the benefit of the doubt. We are, so to speak, innocent until proven guilty. My nephew, on the other hand - my wonderful, thoughtful, hysterical nephew - is being told he is guilty and must prove his innocence, and he must do this by denying what you and I don't have to deny: our selves.

    I'm sorry, sir, but I won't accept anything but equal. Which he is.

  • Kalindra Salt Lake City, Utah
    Jan. 29, 2014 9:11 a.m.

    @ Meck: Where have I mocked your religious beliefs? Where have I asked you to justify your religious beliefs?

    You, on the other hand, have very clearly attacked those whose religious beliefs are different than yours.

    The fact that your religious beliefs oppose same-sex marriage is not a valid reason to prohibit same-sex marriage - and the fact that my religious beliefs support same-sex marriage is not a valid reason to allow them.

    The laws of the land should not be based on whose religion has more followers or who thinks their god is more right.

    Marriage provides many benefits, rights, opportunities, and responsibilities that can be provided in no other way and all families should have access.

    There is no societal harm caused by same-sex marriage and therefore there is no legal reason to prohibit it.

    Religion has nothing to do with it.

  • Lagomorph Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 29, 2014 10:21 a.m.

    Meckofahess: "I was at the park recently and saw a bunch of wild ducks..."

    It may seem like biology is a natural way to support your case, but it really isn't. Nature is not your ally for this issue.

    Biologists know that there are hundreds of ways organisms procreate (and not just among the bugs and microbes). Within the mammals, within the primates, and even among humans, there are many forms of family structures and types of pair bonding that are used in creating the next generations. Elk have harems. Cowbirds are nest parasites. Males aren't always required for reproduction-- some lizards employ parthenogenesis and live in sustainable all female populations for multiple generations.

    Your friendly mallards at the neighborhood park are not the best models for human family policy, either. While monogamous during the breeding season*, the drakes are mostly absent fathers. They leave the female after mating and do not participate in incubation, nor do they tend the children after hatching. I don't think you would want people to follow their example.

    * None of the literature I consulted addressed whether pair bonding is for life or an annual thing.

  • Inis Magrath Fort Kent Mills, ME
    Jan. 31, 2014 12:28 p.m.

    --- "Religious and moral beliefs are no less entitled to inform the law than any other beliefs."

    But you see, Mr. and Mrs. Erickson, the problem with religious beliefs informing the law is that yours is not the only religion at the table. Faith communities that embrace marriage equality include Quakers, the United Church of Christ, Reform Judaism, Conservative Judaism, the Unitarian Universalist Church and the Episcopal Church among many more.

    You are insisting that YOUR religion be written into American secular law and thereby forcing other religions into second-class status. You are advocating to prohibit the free exercise of religion for those faith communities.

    Conversely, if marriage equality were to become law (which it inevitably will) the YOUR religion will STILL BE FREE to practice your faith as you choose.

  • BCA Murrieta, CA
    Feb. 1, 2014 8:05 a.m.

    The authors of the article either don't understand Amendment 3 or have chosen to ignore its entire content. As has been stated before, the Amendment made illegal any formal recognition of same sex unions in Utah. This Amendment was not only to preserve a traditional definition of marriage but to make sure any gay unions were not sanctioned by the state. If such a sweeping ban is so obviously against gays, how in the world can it not be construed as "anti-gay" and labeled as such? Call it pro-marriage. Call it pro-children. Call it whatever you want. That doesn't change the nature of it, even when award-winning authors choose half-truths to tell a story.