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My view: Religious marriage separate from government

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  • Alfred Phoenix, AZ
    June 19, 2014 12:50 a.m.

    "These groups have believed that marriage is a spiritual contract between a man, a woman and God, and that this contract is part of an eternal process"

    In the Old Testament and even the New, religion and government was one and the same. So, it is not correct to say that marriage was only a spiritual contract back in the day.

  • Bob K Davis, CA
    June 19, 2014 2:02 a.m.

    Perhaps those of us (including me) who are above the age at which we are still likely to marry ought to keep our opinions to ourselves, and listen to the younger generations, who are yet to marry.

    This article would make sense if it were factually correct, which it is not.

    I know the DN must push itself to print anything that vaguely agrees with the official mormon views, so I was not surprised to see this, but most of it is fantasy, at best.

    Maybe 10 years ago, this piece would be worthy of discussion -- or even 5 years ago -- but now, to anyone who sees what is going on, I compare this to "Let's keep the buggy whip factories open, because the horseless carriage is a fad"

    Many people of the same sex, particularly if raised mormon, feel that God has given them their partners to love and be family with forever. I think that Jesus would be the first to urge us to honor that.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    June 19, 2014 6:10 a.m.

    "Marriage has never been a government granted right"

    I was married in Utah and my Marriage License was issued by the State of Utah and the ceremony was performed by a Circuit Court Judge.

    Try getting legally "married" without that and then tell me that it is not a "government granted right"

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    June 19, 2014 6:59 a.m.

    "For thousands of years, marriage has been defined by religious culture and has been practiced functionally as a religious contract between man, woman and God. Marriage has never been a government granted right, but a god-given commandment..."

    Lost me right there.

    If we are going to have an honest debate about gay marriage then we need to honestly describe history the best we can and not look at it through Mormon glasses. We've tried this tainted argument before and it just hasn't worked well in the courts.

  • Br. Jones East Coast, MD
    June 19, 2014 7:00 a.m.

    Respectfully, you need to check your history. While it was never seen on a large scale, polygamy was practiced in Hinduism for thousands of years and it has no principle forbidding it.

  • ordinaryfolks seattle, WA
    June 19, 2014 7:01 a.m.

    If Adam and Steve who are good members of the Congregationalist Church (which approves of gay marriage) wish to get marriage, what gives you the right to thwart their intentions? Is your religion superior? Because that is what you are saying.

    Secular government serves as a means to protect minorities in religion from the tyrannies of the majority religions. In this way we prevent open hostilities. Witness the Middle East and the endless intra-secular conflicts between Sunni and Shiite Muslims.

    And besides, Utah voted to prevent even civil marriages with its vote. In this way the people of Utah showed animus to homosexual marriage or civil unions. And animus to those who follow different religious beliefs.

    Your option may have been a good one when the debate started. However, the determination of the religious fundamentalists in sync with the bigotry of many to kill any public recognition of the inherent right for gay couples to be treated equally before the law put the issue where it is now. You reap the whirlwind when you refuse to compromise or acknowledge other's rights to equal treatment and claim a religiously superior belief system.

  • FreedomFighter41 Provo, UT
    June 19, 2014 7:03 a.m.

    For thousands of years, marriage has been defined by religious culture and has been practiced functionally as a religious contract between man, woman and God. Marriage has never been a government granted right"

    Government and religion were often the same back in the day.

  • one vote Salt Lake City, UT
    June 19, 2014 7:07 a.m.

    Yes, take the libertarian approach and get government out of marriage completely. The license fee hardly raises revenue. People could have whatever organization or religion they want to take care of marriage and divorces by agreement.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    June 19, 2014 7:58 a.m.

    Marriage is a legal contract. The sacrament portion is a religious rite. They should be completely and entirely separated. That is the only solution. Why do many Americans want to keep mixing government and religion? They are best when kept apart.

  • Andrew American Fork, UT
    June 19, 2014 8:10 a.m.

    I think that is the way we will need to go since the government seems to want to tell religious organizations and everyone else what is right and what is wrong.

    Let's take a vote on morality. All in favor of killing this group say AY, opposed Nay. AYs have it. Civil protections seems to be going by the wayside in favor of the "voice of the people".

    Seriously, many foreign countries already have this practice and it seems to work out well enough.

  • Darrel Eagle Mountain, UT
    June 19, 2014 8:10 a.m.

    The only way religious freedom is protected is by a secular society with secular laws.

    Otherwise, we lose religious freedom. One religion will ultimately win out, and other beliefs will be crushed into insignificance.

    Either we have a secular society with religious freedom, or we have a State Church. It is truly a binary choice with no alternative. My religious freedom is only as protected as the least popular religion's rights. Our laws must be religiously neutral.

    Laws need to be based on if harm can be demonstrated to another person, or society as a whole. My freedoms cannot trump another's; nor can theirs trump mine. That is equal protection under the law.

    Unless harm to someone else's life, liberty, property or rights can be shown we have no legal basis to deny same sex marriage.

  • Tiago Seattle, WA
    June 19, 2014 8:26 a.m.

    This article hurts my head. Even though Mr. Woolley and I live in the same country and belong to the same church, his view of history, law, and religion is completely foreign to me. I do not understand his defensiveness and fear.

    In my view religious rites and truths cannot be changed by law and will not fall to secular "attacks." To believe that the government can change religious truths suggests that religious truths are weak and changeable. Loyalty to God does not require a rejection of secular society--in fact, secular society is a foundation of religious freedom. Living in a secular world requires tolerance and respect for all sincere beliefs. Loyalty to God requires us to love our neighbor as ourselves.

    I am glad that Mr. Woolley at least recognizes the importance of ensuring civil protections for every citizen, including same-sex couples. The best way to provide equal protection for same-sex couples is through the government legal contract we call marriage.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    June 19, 2014 8:28 a.m.

    This is reaching. You can say marriage is the domain of religion when divorce is, too. Otherwise, it's a legal contract. Religion is a very optional veneer on it.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    June 19, 2014 8:29 a.m.

    My previous comment was seemingly denied as it hasn't appeared. My comments on other articles have been pulled after-the-fact for some reason, maybe I shouldn't comment at all moderators?

    In any case, the author of this opinion piece doesn't know his history of marriage. Thousands of years ago same-sex marriages were recognized, right along with opposite sex marriages, in many cultures. If he's going to make broad statements he should at least learn some of the facts first.

  • Henderson Orem, UT
    June 19, 2014 8:37 a.m.

    Do we really want our country to be ran by religions?

    How has that worked for the middle-east?

    As someone who has been to other countries and studies history for a living, I grow increasingly weary of the vocal minority desiring that religion control our government.

    We indeed live in scary times. Do we really want to become a theocracy? Is that what the FF imagined?

  • southmtnman Provo, UT
    June 19, 2014 8:37 a.m.

    Those who oppose same sex marriage and want to be taken seriously must cease the spewing of completely false statements, beginning with this one:

    "Yet today, religion is being attacked by the secular world."

    There is no "attack" on marriage. Same sex couples simply seek marriage equality - to have the same legal and social status as their opposite sex couple counterparts.

    If that is an "attack", then the "sharing" of the gospel is an "attack" on the LDS faith by trying to extend its benefits and blessings to those who are not members!

  • Midvaliean MIDVALE, UT
    June 19, 2014 8:38 a.m.

    This is already being done. There are quite a few "spiritual" marriages all over the west. It's only legally binding under the "law." There is where it gets tricky.

  • Bendana 99352, WA
    June 19, 2014 8:40 a.m.

    Whew, that was some first class pearl clutching.

  • Tekakaromatagi Dammam, Saudi Arabia
    June 19, 2014 8:46 a.m.

    @Ranch Hand: "In any case, the author of this opinion piece doesn't know his history of marriage. Thousands of years ago same-sex marriages were recognized, right along with opposite sex marriages, in many cultures."

    Well that is news to me. Can you go into more detail?

    (I am skeptical, about 20 years ago someone made the 'discovery' that in the first few centuries of Christianity that there were religious blessings of same gender friendships and so they extrapolated and concluded that same gender sexual unions were being blessed.)

  • Sneaky Jimmy Bay Area, CA
    June 19, 2014 8:56 a.m.

    Apparently the author failed to pull the Wooley (pun) over the eyes of most readers judging by the posts here. Of course the author is trying to support the position of a religious organization with this "unbiased" editorial. There would be no debate if the religious organizations accepted the LGBT community as equals and not sinners.

  • E Sam Provo, UT
    June 19, 2014 8:57 a.m.

    Historically, marriage was about ownership, not equality.

  • Aggie238 Logan, UT
    June 19, 2014 8:58 a.m.

    Despite a few errors in historical facts, I agree with the author's main point. Marriage, and the freedom to choose who one will marry, is a right which should not be "granted" by government. Like any other right, such as the freedom of speech, it is granted by God and is inherent to every individual, no matter their race, religion, political leanings, sexual orientation, etc. If we abdicate to government the ability to define who may be married, then it can also define who may not be married, or whether certain groups may solemnize marriages if they disagree with the government definition. It is plausible that this could at some future date turn out badly for one or more groups of people, as it has in the past. For this reason and others, marriage should be completely separate from government, and should be viewed as a private contract between consenting adults and, if they so choose, their families and/or their God. There are legal considerations which come with marriages and other such private associations. For this, the government should act within its sphere and provide a separate system of legal protections such as a civil union.

  • Spangs Salt Lake City, UT
    June 19, 2014 9:03 a.m.

    This article is a great vehicle for those wanting to claim that a secular society is the enemy of religion today. Lucky for the rest of humanity, a secular society allows space for all religions, beliefs and persuasions to coexist. That is the beauty of secularism. It isn't the absence of religion, it is the establishment of a neutral playing field for all religions.

    Mormons should be especially grateful for a secular society, as it keeps other less tolerant Christian faiths from shoving their beliefs down the Mormon throat, as it were. What if all prayers and religious houses of worship were required the presence of a Christian cross?

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    June 19, 2014 9:03 a.m.

    And thus America's descent to fascism continues...

    Right wing rhetoric is becoming scarier and scarier.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    June 19, 2014 9:08 a.m.

    @Tek;

    It's been covered again and again on these pages.

    The Assyrians had blessings for same-sex unions written into their religious texts, and they were also recognized in Mesopotamia.

    The Romans and Greeks had same-sex marriages as did the Chinese and ancient native Americans.

    The information is available out there for those willing to research a bit.

  • my_two_cents_worth university place, WA
    June 19, 2014 9:15 a.m.

    "By shanghaiing the title of marriage to rename its civil unions, governments attempt to make themselves the replacement of God and religion in society. Government civil unions, renamed marriages, are its artificial alternatives for religious marriages. They convey less reverence toward marriage."

    Religious marriage ceremonies not receiving the stamp of approval from the state are given no legal recognition in the eyes of the state. Religious institutions in these 50 United States are given the authority to perform marriage at the pleasure of the state. The state owns Marriage, not religion. If religious sensibilities are so fragile as to fall apart at the states use of the word marriage to perform state business I suggest the religions find a new word, not the other way around.

  • Red San Antonia, TX
    June 19, 2014 9:23 a.m.

    Americans continue to rationalize their deviant behavior and force others to accept them just how they are.

    Respect is always earned. Being worthy of respect is something to strive for.

  • ZenMormon West Valley, UT
    June 19, 2014 9:25 a.m.

    It's funny, some are saying how the author of this piece is wrong and that he doesn't know his history, but yet they do not post facts themselves. Facts should be followed by siting a source. like this, "While it is a relatively new practice that same-sex couples are being granted the same form of legal marital recognition as commonly used by mixed-sexed couples, there is a long history of recorded same-sex unions around the world." Same-sex marriage: the personal and the political. ISBN 1-894663-63-2. If you want to say that the author is not putting history accurately, show it.

  • MoNoMo Fair Oaks, CA
    June 19, 2014 9:31 a.m.

    And lets not forget a man and woman, another woman and another woman ...... , right?

  • Aggie238 Logan, UT
    June 19, 2014 9:32 a.m.

    Sprangs,

    "Lucky for the rest of humanity, a secular society allows space for all religions, beliefs and persuasions to coexist."

    I think that is exactly what the writer is trying to promote...separating secular government from religious practice, and therefore permanently protecting all religions, beliefs, and persuasions from government intrusion. Under this system, same sex couples could both be married and be afforded legal protections, without threatening the right of religious people to define marriage as they see fit within their own sphere of influence. There are plenty of religions or other "spiritual groups" out there willing to marry same sex couples if they so desire. If they (or anyone else) then want the legal protections, or if they only want the legal protections without the religious marriage, they can go that route as well.

  • FT salt lake city, UT
    June 19, 2014 9:33 a.m.

    The more opponents talk and write editorials like this, the sillier their arguments appear. There is so much factually incorrect in this editorial to write in under 200 words. People who were on the fence or even opposed to SSM have become proponents for it because of weak, unfounded arguments like those expressed in this editorial.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    June 19, 2014 9:43 a.m.

    "Americans continue to rationalize their deviant behavior and force others to accept them just how they are."

    I'm pretty sure the same was said about polygamy many years ago.

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    June 19, 2014 9:48 a.m.

    I'm not sure where this fear comes from that government will "force" religions to change.

    Churches can still deny performing marriages to couples of different race.
    I've personally never heard of the LDS church being forced to admit a person into any of their temples, have you?

    To me, this whole thing has been blown out of proportion. Paranoid pieces, such as these, don't help those who support traditional marriage at all. It makes us all look foolish.

  • Henry Drummond San Jose, CA
    June 19, 2014 10:00 a.m.

    Our religious beliefs and societal traditions are vital to the fabric of society. Though each faith, minister, and individual can define marriage for themselves, at issue here are laws that act outside that protected sphere. Once the government defines marriage and attaches benefits to that definition, it must do so constitutionally. It cannot impose a traditional or faith-based limitation upon a public right without a sufficient justification for it. Assigning a religious or traditional rationale for a law, does not make it constitutional when that law discriminates against a class of people without other reasons.

    The beauty of our Constitution is that it accommodates our individual faith’s definition of
    marriage while preventing the government from unlawfully treating us differently. This is hardly
    surprising since it was written by people who came to America to find both freedom of religion
    and freedom from it.

    Judge John G. Heyburn II
    Bourke v. Beshear (CV-750-H)
    February 12, 2014)

  • Understands Math Lacey, WA
    June 19, 2014 10:00 a.m.

    I think this sentence from the final paragraph pretty much sums up the whole commentary: "Religious doctrines and ordinances that are enacted as contracts between God and imperfect human beings can not be civilly negotiated."

    The thing is... nobody is doing this. Civil marriage equality is not about forcing religions to change doctrines. Implying that it does is a cross between the Strawman and the "Begging the Question" fallacies. Marriage equality is about the civil arena. You have the right to your religion, but you do not have the right for civil laws to comply with the tenets of your religion.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    June 19, 2014 10:37 a.m.

    Agreed with the letter.

    I have argued for this for 20 years now.

    It was the uber-far-right who sought to deny ALL legal rights and legal recognition of Unions or Partnerships and turned this into a debate over the definition of "maririage".

    BTW --
    When Religions start unDoing the marriages they performed and issue Divorces,
    presided over by Bishops, Pastors, Reverends, Immams, etc.
    then I might reconsider my position.

    A License is issed by the State,
    And is only revoked by the State.

    I was married AND Sealed in the SaltLakeTemple --
    I was required by LAW to get a legal license,
    and file it with the State.

    Like a business License or filing Articles of Incorporation.
    A man/woman [or man/man, or woman/woman] simple become a legal "unit" or "entity",
    as far as the State is concerned.

    Religous ceremonies are simply a religous "rite" or "ordinance" with no legal bearing.
    Like Baptism, Priesthood, or Sealing...

    No State involved -- No religous Freedom is lost.

    As so many others have already mentioned --
    Other countries do a civil signing,
    followed by a religous ceremony.

    No differnt than the way my parents or Grandarents did it.

  • TerryII Kuna, ID
    June 19, 2014 10:42 a.m.

    Our government confers the same secular rights to all marriages regardless of which authorized religious leader or secular judge performs the ceremony. These secular rights are not granted by the church, they are granted by the government. By secular rights I mean the tax advantages, veteran rights - like the veteran cemetery case in Idaho, laws pertaining to hospital visitations, adoption, etc... Gay couples are denied those secular rights even if they are not seeking a religious ceremony. Our constitution guarantees equal rights for all. This is not a threat to the religious aspect of marriage.

  • RedWings CLEARFIELD, UT
    June 19, 2014 10:58 a.m.

    Ranch:

    None of the civilizations you point to were Judeo-Christian societies. Like it or not, our society is based on Judeo-Christian beliefs and law. So let's stick to comparing apples to apples...

    Regardless of history and attempts to revise it (on both sides of the issue), providing for separate religious and civil unions is the best and most "equal" answer to the SSM vs Religion debate. Yet no one wants to go there, especially the LGBT. The arguments against it from them are nonsensical.

    Why can't we actually compromise and have all rights protected and honored? It leads me to believe there really is a bigger agenda than equal marital rights going on...

  • nonceleb Salt Lake City, UT
    June 19, 2014 11:06 a.m.

    This might sound like an ideal solution, but it would actually be disastrous for the institution of marriage and the legal family. One takes vows at a church or temple wedding, but there is no legal force behind them. Churches have no enforcement powers, beyond admonitions, counseling and sanctions such as excommunication. There are literally hundreds of state and federal legal protections and benefits of marriage and family, ranging from taxes, inheritance, health care decisions, visitation, custody, spousal and child neglect and abuse, child protection services, restraining and eviction orders, etc., etc. Churches do not have law enforcement agents, legally binding courts, legal family and child protection institutions, or legally binding contracts. This might seem like a panacea, but it is a libertarian pipe dream, which in practice would harm the institution of marriage and family.

  • Understands Math Lacey, WA
    June 19, 2014 11:26 a.m.

    @RedWings wrote: "Why can't we actually compromise and have all rights protected and honored? It leads me to believe there really is a bigger agenda than equal marital rights going on..."

    The compromise is civil marriage equality, as currently exists in nineteen states and the District of Columbia. Religions do not have to perform them, or even recognize them, but the legal benefits of marriage are available to same-sex couples just as they are to opposite-sex couples. All rights are protected and honored.

  • Darrel Eagle Mountain, UT
    June 19, 2014 11:35 a.m.

    @RedWings

    Like it or not, our society is based on Judeo-Christian beliefs and law.

    =============

    Care to back up that claim? Where in the Constitution does it say that?

    The one I read prohibits the establishment of any religion.

    Did Christianity help form the basis of some of the Framers thinking? Absolutely.
    But not all were Christians.

    We are at most a secular nation, with secular laws in which the majority of the people living within it claim some kind of tie to Christianity (not sure why people site Judeo-Christian... not many of the Framers (if any) were Jewish).

    If religion is the basis of law, we are no different than someone trying to establish Sharia law.

    The interracial marriage ban was a religious law, and was properly struck down.

    Harm to a person, or society must be shown for a particular freedom to be infringed upon.

  • MDurfee OREM, UT
    June 19, 2014 11:37 a.m.

    This sounds like a reasonable solution to the current culture crisis over marriage. It is possible to separate the legal, government-regulated, contract from the religious contract and give them separate titles and designations, but equal legal protection. Thus the sacred nature of the religious contract can be preserved from government intrusion, and the LGBT community can have equal protection under law.

  • Aggie238 Logan, UT
    June 19, 2014 11:42 a.m.

    nonceleb,

    "There are literally hundreds of state and federal legal protections and benefits of marriage and family..."

    Yes, which is why a separate and secular legal institution such as a civil union should be instituted by government to provide those protections and benefits for those who desire them, or did you miss that part? Additionally, the current association of these privileges and protections with marriage is the primary argument as to why same-sex couples are being denied their right to equal protection under the law (not to mention the freedom of association) and why same sex marriage is an argument in the first place. If they don't have access to those benefits because they can't be legally married, then they are being denied their constitutional rights. This "libertarian pipe dream," as you call it, is the only way to guarantee both the protection of those rights as well as the right to freedom of religion. Else the fighting will just continue and the pendulum of power will continue to swing first one way, then the other until the cows come home. Better to just cut it down.

  • Br. Jones East Coast, MD
    June 19, 2014 11:46 a.m.

    @ ZenMormon -- To be fair, it's hard to post links in comments, they're usually blocked. As for my own comment, there are examples in both Indian history and Hindu religious stories of both polygyny and polyandry being practiced. A law was passed in 1955 banning polygamy for non-Muslims in India; presumably the law would not have been enacted if nobody was engaged in the behavior it sought to prevent.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    June 19, 2014 12:00 p.m.

    There is so much misinformation being posted that maybe we should review some factual statements.

    The 1st Amendment says: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;" That's the entire text concerning religion. NO LAW means exactly what it says. Congress cannot pass any law that redefines religious doctrine and it cannot pass any law that requires people of faith to abandon their religious doctrine.

    The official doctrine of the LDS Church, as proclaimed to the world, is: "We, the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children."

    Those who accept God as their Creator will obey His commandments. Those who reject God as their Creator will look to government to allow them to do what they want, supposedly without moral restriction.

    Government has no authority to change religion doctrine or to redefine moral principles.

  • The Wraith Kaysville, UT
    June 19, 2014 12:00 p.m.

    As a bit supporter of same sex marriage I agree. You can keep your religious definition of marriage, other religions will keep theirs (and that includes a great many religions who support same sex marriage). The only thing we ask is that the government treat people equally under the government marriage laws.

  • USU-Logan Logan, UT
    June 19, 2014 12:25 p.m.

    @Aggie238

    civil union actually was a good compromise 10 years ago, unfortunately, Utah legislators and Utahans rejected it.

    Now America people have evolved on this issue, and majority support same sex marriage already, and SSM opponents try to go back to the old "separate but equal" option? Too little too late.

  • morpunkt Glendora, CA
    June 19, 2014 12:27 p.m.

    My friend tells me that this already takes place in Holland. In order to quell the controversy. First you need to unite civilly in court, then do your "own thing" after that. Problem solved.

  • Lane Myer Salt Lake City, UT
    June 19, 2014 12:35 p.m.

    All of you who want the government to have a separate defination of "civil unions," would you respect other Christian religions who actually "marry" gays in their churches?

    Would you consider those gay couples as "married?"

    All I see this doing is dividing up who got married in a church (both gays and heteros), and who got married in a church (again, both gays and heteros)!

    And, I cannot ever even think that any couple would ever say, "We got civil unionized!"

  • Frozen Fractals Salt Lake City, UT
    June 19, 2014 12:47 p.m.

    @Mike Richards
    [The official doctrine of the LDS Church, as proclaimed to the world, is: "We, the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children."]

    Nobody is trying to change that (at least not by gov't force of law).

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    June 19, 2014 1:04 p.m.

    "The official doctrine of the LDS Church, as proclaimed to the world, is: .......

    Government has no authority to change religion doctrine or to redefine moral principles."

    And no church has the authority to establish the doctrine for others who do not choose to have it imposed on them.

    Are you suggesting that if a church banned interracial marriage, that the govt could not sanction it?

    If the Government started to require that the LDS church perform SS marriage, I would stand with you in opposition.

    Until then, please dont make it sound like anyone is forcing SSM on others.

  • wrz Phoenix, AZ
    June 19, 2014 1:14 p.m.

    Bob K:
    "Many people of the same sex, particularly if raised Mormon, feel that God has given them their partners to love and be family with forever."

    They don't need marriage to love and be a family with forever. Just shack up together. Besides, marriage is not forever... just 'until death do you part.'

    "I think that Jesus would be the first to urge us to honor that."

    Well, we know that Jesus' dad created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.

    ordinaryfolks:
    "Secular government serves as a means to protect minorities in religion from the tyrannies of the majority religions."

    Not in our system of governance under our Constitution... which was designed to keep government totally out of religion.

    one vote:
    "Yes, take the libertarian approach and get government out of marriage completely."

    You may not want that because that would mean anybody could marry anybody, such as your brother or sister, mom and dad, or even a child (like a religious sect does now). And maybe you could marry all your close friends and relatives at the same time. Kind of a communal thing.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    June 19, 2014 1:17 p.m.

    @JoeBlow
    Far East USA, SC

    The people of Utah voted against same-sex marriage. They voted to require that marriage only take place between a man and a woman. They added that to the Utah Constitution. As such, that is the supreme law of Utah. The United States Supreme Court told us that STATES have the right to define marriage and that the Federal Government does not have that right. Even after the Supreme Court made that ruling, a Federal Judge, Robert J. Shelby, ruled against the Supreme Court, using the descenting opinion as basis for his ruling.

    You wrote: "Until then, please dont [sic] make it sound like anyone is forcing SSM on others."

    I believe your statement to be in error. Judge Shelby is forcing the State of Utah to disobey the Supreme Court and to obey him instead.

  • Aggie238 Logan, UT
    June 19, 2014 1:33 p.m.

    USU-Logan

    No, this is not "separate but equal." That would be a situation in which religious marriages were administered by the state for traditional couples only and a separate civil union provided (also by the state) for same-sex couples only. In contrast, this scenario allows for both same sex and opposite-gender couples to be able to both be married in a private religious (or "spiritual," or whatever you want to call it) context AS WELL AS being able to secure the legal protections we currently associate with marriage through a secular, legal civil union provided by the state. Any consenting adults could participate in one, the other, or both thus, it is not "separate but equal" as you have characterized it, presumably drawing comparisons to racial segregation. The reason for the separation is simply to de-couple state interests and religious practices, thus permanently ensuring religious autonomy to define marriage within its own sphere without defining it for everyone else, and while still providing an avenue for legal protections for all couples who wish it. All couples would be free to participate in both as desired.

  • RedWings CLEARFIELD, UT
    June 19, 2014 1:33 p.m.

    Darrel -

    We are saying the same thing: That Judeo-Christian values and morals were the basis for much of the Framers ideas. Saying that we ae based on those beliefs and laws does not demand a statement of such in the Constitution.

    I know there is a lot of revising to the history of our country from Left leaning "history" professors, but if you actually read the words of the Framers, it is irrefutable that they were Christian. Their negative comments about religion centered on their experience with the Church of England - their reference point for organized religion.

    Read what Jefferson - every athiests favorite Framer - said about Christ (his Savior) and his desire for a return to the primitive Christian Church.

  • Darrel Eagle Mountain, UT
    June 19, 2014 1:56 p.m.

    @Mike Richards

    They voted to require that marriage only take place between a man and a woman. They added that to the Utah Constitution. As such, that is the supreme law of Utah.

    ==================

    False.

    The Supreme Law of Utah is still the United States Constitution. The Utah Constitution cannot legally violate that document, or Federal Law (please see Article VI)...even if the ballot passed 100-0. The Equal Protection clause prohibits even the States from creating a different class of citizens with a set of different rights.

    States do have a right to define marriage...as long as it does not violate any of the above criteria. Generally speaking, with the Full Faith and Credit clause, if you are married in one State, you are married in all 50. If you were married in Utah, and move to California, you do not have to remarry, you don't even have to register that marriage in California. Utah would need to have sound legal reasoning to not recognize a marriage performed in another State; especially if they recognized some and not other marriages. That, too, would violate the Equal Protection clause.

  • MaxPower Eagle Mountain, UT
    June 19, 2014 2:04 p.m.

    @RedWings

    Name one idea that can be uniquely traced to a Judeo-Christian belief that the Framers codified into law.

    Thou shalt not kill? Steal? That's just being a good person. Most religions also teach that.

    To be honest, they were more influenced by John Locke, than Jesus in the formation of our Government.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    June 19, 2014 2:11 p.m.

    RedWings says:
    "Ranch:

    None of the civilizations you point to were Judeo-Christian societies. "

    --- So? The point is that the article argues tha marriage has ALWAYS been such-and-such. It clearly hasn't. The author never made any indication he was talking ONLY "Judeo-Christian" society.

    In any case, what has that to do with it; doesn't the First Amendment guarantee "religious freedom"? Which means, as I read it, that ALL religious views are included, not just the "Judeo-Christian" views.

    Your religion can call "marriage" whatever it wants. In our secular society we will call the contract "Marriage".

    @Aggie238;

    Why don't you religious worriers decide to call your religious unions something else instead of forcing secular society to change? Holy Matrimony sounds pretty good to me for you guys.

    @Mike Richards;

    "NO LAW" Amendment 3, for instance? (You don't have the right to vote on the rights of others).

  • Understands Math Lacey, WA
    June 19, 2014 2:12 p.m.

    @Aggie238 wrote: "The reason for the separation is simply to de-couple state interests and religious practices, thus permanently ensuring religious autonomy to define marriage within its own sphere without defining it for everyone else, and while still providing an avenue for legal protections for all couples who wish it."

    In the 19 states and D.C. where civil marriage equality is the law, state interests and religious practices are decoupled. Churches have the autonomy to define religion within their own churches, while the law defines marriages within the civil arena. Which changed nothing.

    The Catholic Church has never been required to recognize the marriages of divorced people, what makes you think that they'd be required to recognize the marriages of a same-sex couple?

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    June 19, 2014 2:36 p.m.

    There is much nonsense being printed about "rights" and about "equality". There is NO right to marry. Marriage is licensed by the State, just as driving, or fishing, or hunting, or practicing medicine is licensed by the State. Not everyone is allowed to drive, or fish, or hunt or to practice medicine. There are restrictions imposed by the State. The State of Utah requires that those who are marrying be of the opposite sex. That law applies equally to everyone.

    The 14th Amendment does not give equality to all. You and I earn different amounts of money. You and I live in different sized homes. We drive different cars. We work at different jobs. We have differing levels of education. There is no equality.

    Feelings about your sexual preferences are not the basis for equality, just as feelings about your salary cannot be used to justify your "right" to rob a bank to make your "income" equal to a movie star.

    The Constitution was not violated. The 14th Amendment is not what the same-sex marriage crowd claims. Their sexual feelings are not a basis for an equality test.

  • USU-Logan Logan, UT
    June 19, 2014 2:37 p.m.

    @Aggie238

    Our government has three branches, marriage and its related laws are under judiciary branch. There are 1100+ benefits and rights for married couple in federal laws alone, God know how many legal writings in all 50 states' laws.

    You want to expunge all these away and change every occasion, every term of marriage in all these law books into civil union? Simply because some religious people don’t like the fact same sex couple can now get married? Have you ever thought whether such extreme measure could be possible? Simply put, not gonna happen!

  • MaxPower Eagle Mountain, UT
    June 19, 2014 2:47 p.m.

    @Mike Richards

    Not everyone is allowed to drive, or fish, or hunt or to practice medicine. There are restrictions imposed by the State.

    ===========

    The restriction imposed are those such that to allow said person one of the above licenses would either be of harm to themselves, another or society.

    We do not routinely deny drivers licenses; unless they have a medical condition that would prevent them from safely operating a motor vehicle. A State can impose a restriction that says one who is blind cannot drive; however, they cannot say one who is Black cannot drive.

    See the difference?

  • Lane Myer Salt Lake City, UT
    June 19, 2014 2:52 p.m.

    Mike R: "Marriage is licensed by the State, just as driving, or fishing, or hunting, or practicing medicine is licensed by the State. Not everyone is allowed to drive, or fish, or hunt or to practice medicine. There are restrictions imposed by the State."

    ------
    But Mike, if they are not allowed to drive, fish, hunt or practice medicine, there is a good reason. Show the HARM, Mike. One must show the harm before you can take away a privilege that everyone else is enjoying. No one has been able to do that yet in a court of law.

    ************

    "The 14th Amendment does not give equality to all. You and I earn different amounts of money. You and I live in different sized homes. We drive different cars. We work at different jobs. We have differing levels of education. There is no equality. "

    --------

    Mike, you know that equality is not trying to make everyone the same. It is equality under the LAW. The law (and the courts) must treat everyone equally. That is the ideas behind the 14th amendment. No one, even twins are the exact same in experiences and situations in life but everyone should be equal under our laws.

  • Tiago Seattle, WA
    June 19, 2014 3:02 p.m.

    @Mike Richards
    "There is so much misinformation being posted..." "There is much nonsense being printed..."

    Respectfully, the misinformation and nonsense is coming from those who oppose the right of gay people to marry each other. Since 2010, more than a dozen of the best lawyers in America have had the chance to make the legal/constitutional argument for why the government should discriminate against gay people and not allow them to marry members of the gender they are attracted to. Those arguments have been heard by judges who have been nominated by Republicans and Democrats. These are judges who have sworn an oath to administer justice without respect to persons and to faithfully and impartially discharge and perform their duties under the Constitution and laws of the United States. Those judges have all found no legal basis for prohibiting gay people from marrying each other. This will soon get to the supreme court and they will confirm the same.
    There is no valid legal argument for prohibiting same-sex marriage. Your continued insistence that equality under the law for gay people will violate religious rights or rites and force doctrinal change is based on fear and not reality.

  • J Thompson SPRINGVILLE, UT
    June 19, 2014 3:48 p.m.

    Who defines "harm"? Do the people who redefined "marriage" have the right to redefine "harm"? They might say that keeping children from knowledge of God does no harm. Those who believe in God would disagree; they would say that without knowledge of God that children would lose proper perspective; they would say that being told that morals are relative and not absolute could destroy a child's ability to choose right or wrong. They might say that witholding knowledge of God from a child, because that child would lose respect for a parent if that child realized that the parent was disobeying God's doctrine, is reason enough to keep the child from learning God's doctrine.

    What is the worth of a child? What "harm" could be caused if that child is taught to disrespect Diety?

    Equality under the law is an interesting concept. Every man has the "right" to marry any woman who will have him. EVERY MAN.

    No government bestows "rights". Rights are bestowed by our Creator. So says the Declaration of Independence.

    God defined marriage. God gave us "rights". He prohibits same-sex sex and "marriage" expect between a man and a woman.

  • Lane Myer Salt Lake City, UT
    June 19, 2014 4:25 p.m.

    J Thompson, You might have a good argument if you were denying all atheists from marrying and having children. You might make sense if there were statistics that prove that those who commit crimes did not believe in God (they do, usually), and if there was a push (lead by those who believe in God) to take the children away from any parent who believes that morality is relative.

    There isn't any of these situations afoot.

    Harm is decided by legislatures and by courts. It takes legal, scientific, and authoritive arguments to prove that tax-paying, law-abiding citizens should not be treated equally under the law - not just someone's belief. That is why those who are against SSM are losing in the courts. They cannot show any harm besides the harm to their beliefs and egos that they must be right. Not even a "what if" or a "wait and see" will allow judges to withhold the rights and privileges that others enjoy. They need to see "harm" to society or people. All they are seeing is legal facts that the people who are being harmed by the ban on SSM are gay couples and their children.

  • wrz Phoenix, AZ
    June 19, 2014 4:26 p.m.

    Mike Richards
    "The people of Utah voted against same-sex marriage."

    Well, I think the federal government had a hand in deciding what marriage in Utah would be (see Edmunds Anti-polygamy Act - 1882).

    Now, all of a sudden SCOTUS (re DOMA) says the authority to define marriage is not a federal but a State authority. Except... wait for it... if it involves a certain type of marriage (SSM) it suddenly becomes the fed's job to decide.

    I think our federal government is all screwed up... especially SCOTUS. And they're suppose to be learned folks.

    Darrel:
    "The Equal Protection clause prohibits even the States from creating a different class of citizens with a set of different rights."

    Wrong.

    The Equal Protection Clause (Amendment 14) says... 'nor shall any STATE... deny to any person within its jurisdiction equal protection under the law.' And since there is no federal law re marriage, only state law applies. And each citizen in Utah has equal protection under Utah law in that they can marry whomever they please provided the person is not married, not closely related, of legal age, and of the opposite sex.

  • MaxPower Eagle Mountain, UT
    June 19, 2014 4:31 p.m.

    @JThompson

    With all respect, assuming you and I are of the same religion (living in Utah, the odds are really high) we believe God will not force Salvation on anyone, to do so would violate our very agency.

    Alma rights of believing in God as a privilege.

    We also allow others to Worship Who, How and What they may. Some of these beliefs allow for same sex marriage. We cannot force them to accept our point of view. We can preach, teach, expound and exhort, anything else is unrighteous dominion.

    We have these rights simply by existing. They were not even given by God, for if God were to violate that very agency, He would cease to be God. Neal A. Maxwell taught that our will is really the only thing we can give God, because it is the only thing we were not given by Him.

    You and I can preach all day long the sins of Homosexuality, but as for this Nation, there is no legal basis to deny it.

  • MaxPower Eagle Mountain, UT
    June 19, 2014 4:51 p.m.

    @wrz

    And each citizen in Utah has equal protection under Utah law in that they can marry whomever they please provided the person is not married, not closely related, of legal age, and of the opposite sex.

    ==============

    A rational argument can be made to deny marriage in each of the above cases, with the exception of the last. That is why it is under legal scrutiny.

    If rights are to be denied, they must be done under due process, and with demonstrable harm to either a person, or society as a whole (that's why we don't give driver's licenses to 6 year olds)

    So unless the State has a compelling legal reason to deny a certain class of people a marriage license, while giving them to another class of people (denying gays, and allowing straights) it is not equal protection under the law. It gives one group rights another does not enjoy.

  • J Thompson SPRINGVILLE, UT
    June 19, 2014 5:29 p.m.

    In another part of this paper are comments about the right to lie. It seems that some are using that right. Some are trying to use religion to justify same-sex marriage. Some are quoting scripture to defend their "right" to do as they please, presumably without consequence. Is that what religion teaches? Does religion actually tell us to "eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die" or that it's okay to sin a little because God will beat us with a few stripes and then welcome us into His kingdom. Do they presume that that is what God's doctrine is?

    Christ told us differently. He said, "straight is the gate and narrow the path". He said that there would be few who followed that path and few that would qualify for entrance at the gate. He told us that God could not look upon sin with the lease degree of allowance.

    That's a very different story than some are telling. The purpose of religion is to keep us from falling victim to those who tell us what we WANT to hear.

    Religion frees us from our self-indulgent selves.

  • the truth Holladay, UT
    June 19, 2014 6:20 p.m.

    Marriage is NOT a government given right.

    But government has interjected themselves into marriage because of tax law, and it eventuated in to other law.

    The writer is right.

    Remove those tax laws and any other marriage based or related law, and get government out of Marriage.

    It is not the government business.

  • FreedomFighter41 Provo, UT
    June 19, 2014 7:11 p.m.

    @ the truth

    "Marriage is NOT a government given right"

    Yes it is. Court cases have declared it so just like they decided that giving endless money to repub politicians is a form of free speech.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    June 19, 2014 9:41 p.m.

    @Mike Richards
    South Jordan, Utah

    The 1st Amendment says: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;" That's the entire text concerning religion. NO LAW means exactly what it says. Congress cannot pass any law that redefines religious doctrine and it cannot pass any law that requires people of faith to abandon their religious doctrine.

    ======

    And Utah's Amendment 3 does precisely that -- prohibits some religions from performing their own SSM.

    And legalizing SSM does NOT redefine LDS Doctrine anymore than legalizing beer or shopping on Sunday.

    BTW --
    I find it cowardice for Mike and J Thompson to rant and rave on the Deseret News.

    Try getting out or your comfort zone, stop playing only on the home field, and preaching to the church choir.

    None of us are Patriotic enough, Mormon enough, or Self-Righteous enough for either of your judgments anyway...

  • Meckofahess Salt Lake City, UT
    June 19, 2014 9:52 p.m.

    I believe the author makes sense in saying "Government civil unions, even if called by the name of “civil marriages,” are not marriages but a parallel legal arrangement. Such unions can provide civil protections of safety, health and welfare, as in properties in common, revenue-sharing, health and life insurance protection, plus emotional, personal and life support actions". A legal government civil union/partnership or whatever you call it is not the same nor equal to marriage on a number of fronts including: biological, anatomical, or moral (as defined by many traditional Christian, Islamic and many other faith systems. It is a parallel arrangement but different. We fully accept the right for people to be different and we value the diversity of persons and their opinions. I for one do not want my gay friends to be denied the above mentioned civil benefits in a legally committed relationship.

  • A Quaker Brooklyn, NY
    June 19, 2014 11:02 p.m.

    I agree with the headline. Religious marriage is separate from civil marriage. Too bad the author didn't leave it there. The rest of the piece is factually challenged.

    Marriage in English Law and in Europe in general was Common Law. The Church did not get involved until 1563, pursuant to a declaration at the Council of Trent. The Church monopoly on marriage was short-lived. During the Protestant Reformation, "the role of recording marriages and setting the rules for marriage passed to the state, reflecting Martin Luther's view that marriage was a 'worldly thing'." (- Catholic Encyclopedia)

    In England, it wasn't until 1753 that an Act required marriage by the Anglican Church, but Jews and Quakers were exempt, permitted their own customs.

    Civil marriage can't be replaced. Religious institutions are allowed to discriminate in their rites. There needs to be a place where persons of mixed faiths, lapsed faiths, no faith, or nondenominational beliefs can be married. Since the Reformation, in many European countries, even countries with official national religions, you can have whatever religious ceremony you want, but if you don't also get married at City Hall, you're not married.

  • Furry1993 Ogden, UT
    June 20, 2014 9:33 a.m.

    The religious rite of marriage should have no connection to the registration of civil marriages/civil unions/civil partnerships -- whatever a person wants to call them. There should be one "active" two-person civil relationship at any time (due to the legal complexities that can come from more than a two-person relationship), controlled by regulations that mitigate against harm (no underage party to the relationship, no close kinship to protect against genetic disasters, etc.) with no limination on whether the relationship could be same-sex or opposite-sex. The creation of the civil marriage-union-partnership should be done exclusively by civil authorities, probably by registration of the relationship. The civil marriage should be the only relationship that matters at law, and should be controlling for all of the 1100+ issues for which "marriage" controls now.

    Once the civil/legal relationship is created, the parties should have every right to go to whatever religious source they choose to get a religious confirmation of their relationship and to make the convenants that the religion deems necessary. Religious marriage should have no LEGAL force and effect but should control for all issues pertaining to the religion and its rites.

  • KellyWSmith Sparks, NV
    June 20, 2014 10:31 a.m.

    The comments to this article are astonishing to me as many as so far from the truth that they have resorted to intellectual gymnastics to support their cause. The ignorance of real truth is amazing. Using terms that sound like something Lucifer used in the pre-mortal existence to speak against God's plan, they have reduced the power and meaning of what marriage truly is to resemble something you could win at a carnival if you are lucky.

    The fact is there is no such thing as "marriage" between same gender people and there never will be, no matter how the laws are changed to try to create it. God instituted marriage between Adam and Eve and that set the pattern for all of us to follow.

    The real goal of these people is to try and remove the guilt they feel for doing something that sears their conscience thinking changing laws will make it so. There will come a day when we will all stand before God and have a perfect recollection of all our guilt and will wish the rocks and mountains would hide us from His presence.

    Sadly, many here will regret their actions, for eternity.

  • the truth Holladay, UT
    June 20, 2014 5:31 p.m.

    @FreedomFighter41

    Once again the left is wrong.

    Marriage is not a right given BY government,

    But a right already belonging to the people and the states.

    Because of statutory regarding marriage, the courts have wrongly given federal government a say.

  • Furry1993 Ogden, UT
    June 20, 2014 6:30 p.m.

    To MR, JT and the others making the "God says" argument -- which God? Before you can sustain an argument using that premise there has to be agreement about which God's authority is being invoked. The God reverenced by LDS? Catholics? Evangelical Protestants? Episcopalians? Quakers? And so on. And those are only some of the Christian denominations. Add to that several iterations of Judaism. And then there are the non-Christian faiths. Each one of these has a God who "says" something different on just about every subject. So tell us -- which God are you invoking and why should those who believe differently accept your assertion of who God is and what of what "God says" when they believe differently from what you preach.

  • Furry1993 Ogden, UT
    June 20, 2014 6:47 p.m.

    @the truth 5:31 p.m. June 20, 2014

    You forget. Marriage has long been held to be a fundamental human right. That makes it one of the unenumerated rights protected by the Ninth Amendment to the US Constitution an as such something protected by federal law. Yes, states have control over marriage but only to a certain point -- that point is the equal protection under the law afforded by the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution. When the states try to impair the equal protection under the law of US citizens the federal government is within its rights to step and top the impairment. As with Loving V Virginia the federal government is stepping in to thwart a tyranny of the majority, this one being based on (natural) gender identity and affinity instead of (natural) racial identity. The government and the judges are well doing their jobs. More power to them.

  • MercyNLovelie USA, CA
    June 20, 2014 11:58 p.m.

    "Government officials should only be authorized to perform civil unions." Bingo.

  • Lightbearer Brigham City, UT
    June 21, 2014 2:39 a.m.

    Even prominent Christian leaders have said that marriage is a worldly matter, not a religious sacrament.

    Martin Luther (1483-1546), for example:

    "No one can deny that marriage is an external, worldy thing, like clothing and food, house and property, subject to worldly authority, as the numerous imperial laws that have been enacted on the matter prove" ("On Marriage Matters").

    "Therefore, because marriage and wedlock are a worldly business, it does not behoove us pastors or servants of the church that we should establish or govern anything of them, but we should leave it to every city and land to act in this according to their own custom and tradition" ("A Marriage Booklet for the Simple Curate").

    And John Calvin (1509-1564):

    "[Marriage] is a good and holy ordinance of God. And agriculture, architecture, shoemaking, and shaving, are lawful ordinances of God; but they are not sacraments. For in a sacrament, the thing required is not only that it be a work of God, but that it be an external ceremony appointed by God to confirm a promise. That there is nothing of the kind in marriage, even children can judge" ("Institutes of the Christian Religion", IV, XIX).

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    June 21, 2014 1:41 p.m.

    There is nothing to prevent religions from continuing to have their own religious ceremonies and admonishing their own followers according as they will as it pertains to marriage. Government involvement in marriage hasn't changed that.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    June 21, 2014 3:48 p.m.

    "Religious marriage separate from government"

    ++++

    So are you saying it would make you happy if the government were to refuse to recognize anyone that has a religious marriage?

  • skrekk Dane, WI
    June 21, 2014 5:01 p.m.

    I think the LDS church should return to its long tradition of performing religious weddings between one man and one or more women, all of the same race.

    But keep your sharia laws out of my secular government, Mr Woolley. Your religious beliefs have zero bearing on the secular legal contract of marriage. Nor can your sharia laws be used to deny gays the civil rights you enjoy. Otherwise you should have written this column in 1963 when Utah dropped its ban on mixed-race marriage, a ban which the LDS church vehemently supported at the time.

  • Laura Bilington Maple Valley, WA
    June 22, 2014 6:31 a.m.

    Br. Jones writes, "presumably the law would not have been enacted if nobody was engaged in the behavior it sought to prevent.

    Not necessarily true. Your own state of Maryland had a law banning marriage between Malays and American Indians. There were no known examples of such couples wanting to get married but the state Ledge, in its infinite wisdom, forbade them anyway. In more recent years, we have states passing anti-flag burning laws and laws mandating ten years in prison for killing a Bigfoot.

  • Laura Bilington Maple Valley, WA
    June 22, 2014 6:56 a.m.

    Mike Richards writes, "Those who accept God as their Creator will obey His commandments. Those who reject God as their Creator will look to government to allow them to do what they want, supposedly without moral restriction. Government has no authority...to redefine moral principles."

    A few gentle comments:

    Lots of people believe that they were created by God. Not all of them agree with you as to what is "commanded". It is presumptuous to announce that your version of creation and your ideas of what is commanded should apply to the rest of us.

    Many of us do not believe the Adam-and-Eve-6000-years-ago story. It's insulting to say that we therefore "look to government" to structure our behavior because we lack a moral compass.

    If your "moral principles" include denying gay couples governmental recognition of their marriage, or denying them housing or employment, government should and will "redefine" them for you. You're free to privately grouse about it but you can't infringe on their rights just because your religion doesn't approve.

  • Kevin J. Kirkham Salt Lake City, UT
    June 22, 2014 3:55 p.m.

    As others have stated, there is no way to remove secular government from marriage. If a man dies without a will, the wife isn't entitled to his goods since she, under the law, is just a roommate, since government doesn't recognize religious rites, which marriage would then be considered. His goods would go to his children or parents as they now do for singles who die intestate.

    The cleanest break would be to have ALL couples be considered legally married/joined/united/etc...upon signing a form in front of a clerk and a couple of witnesses. The couple (traditional or SS) could then go to clergy and have a religious ceremony, but that ceremony would have no legal weight. Clergy should also be prevented from performing legally recognized marriages, just religious ones. I have heard of clergy performing religious marriages that have no legal standing so that the parties don't lose alimony, Social Security or pension benefits related to their previous spouses.

    Religions would still be free to denounce SSM or inter-racial marriages or mixed faith marriages, etc..but their sectarian positions should hold no weight.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    June 22, 2014 5:37 p.m.

    Don't the FLDS perform "religious" marriages that are not recognized by the State?

    Reverse, and viola! We have the solution.

    The "State" performs the legal binding,
    The "Religion" performs the Spiritual binding.

  • Laura Bilington Maple Valley, WA
    June 22, 2014 6:10 p.m.

    wrz writes, "They don't need marriage to love and be a family with forever. Just shack up together. Besides, marriage is not forever... just 'until death do you part.'"

    I understand that your religion believes that certain people are married forever and some not so. Others of us think that God is somewhat more accepting of all his children.

    "Well, we know that Jesus' dad created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve."

    Whoever actually created Adam and Eve, also created Adam and Steve, and also Eve and Elaine.

    You are free to believe that God decrees that Adam and Eve should enjoy a sexual relationship but that Adam and Steve should stay forever celibate. The problem comes when you want your beliefs codified in civil law.

  • Furry1993 Ogden, UT
    June 24, 2014 7:02 a.m.

    @cjb 3:48 p.m. June 21, 2014

    "Religious marriage separate from government"

    ++++

    So are you saying it would make you happy if the government were to refuse to recognize anyone that has a religious marriage?

    ------------------

    Provided the couple registered a civil marriage/union/partnership first (creating their legal relationship), whether or not there they also participated in a religious marriage ceremony should be a non-issue. The registration of the civil relationship would control all legal issues. The religious relationship would control all issues pertinent to the religion only, and would have no standing under civil/secular law. The religious marriage controls the couple's standing within the religion. The civil marriage controls the couple's eligibility to the 1100+ rights and responsibilities under civil/secular law. Render unto God what is God's and unto Caesar what is Caesar's.

    What is hard to understand or accept about that?