Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Was this the real battle?

I feel now, and have always felt, that gays should have the same rights under the law to enter into a marriage contract as anyone else does. When marriage is something that takes place in a courtroom, every citizen of the country has the right to sign a contract with anyone else. Here is where I get to say, "This is America, buddy", and sound like a redneck.

I am a politically moderate gay Mormon married man -- just so you know where I am coming from. I firmly believe that the Supreme Court of the United States made the correct decision on the recent gay marriage case correctly.

I am not required to support it on Facebook (though I do). I don't have to like all the rainbow photos (though I got to tell you that I am pleased for my friends who feel validated this week and wish them all the happiness in the world.)  If we have put the federal government in a position where they have to regulate marriage and marriage licensing, then everyone has the right to marry.

The bigger concern for me has always been of freedoms in general. I am not interested in forcing my moral code onto someone else, and I will not have them force theirs upon me.  Some things just feel wrong, and I would fight that fight until my fingers bleed.

The real issue is not that the government gets to regulate marriage for all, but quite the opposite. The government should not be in our homes and in our bedrooms. The fight, the issue we should have been fighting for is not the regulating of marriage but in putting marriage back in the hands of the people.

I support the right of two people to marry and I support the right of a pizzeria to cater any event they choose. I also support the right we have to attend the wedding or patronize that pizzeria – or not.

Where we go from here.  

First things first.  Congratulations to all the new married people. 

Next thing, and I believe the very next thing: There will be those who will use this week’s ruling to aggressively pursue religious institutions who choose not to marry gays -- which is exactly why several religious institutions have been engaged in pushing for personal and religious freedoms protection in courts of law. (Ah, who am I kidding.  I am talking Mormons and Catholics.)

The same morality that conservatives used to exclude homosexuals will now be aimed at those who do not share their personal beliefs. 

Your religion doesn't allow gays to marry?  Take that.

The SCOTUS answered the question in the right way but we should have been asking a different question. Our focus should have been wither we want the U.S. government to have a more say in anyone's marriage? 

What we have done is given the government itself a dose of Viagra. This ruling that we asked the supreme court to make has effectually enhanced the power of the federal government and lessened ours. The feds get to make the decisions now, and it shouldn't be their call. The final say should have been the peoples. 

We should have been trying to restrict government from having more than limited say in the marriage between two people. 

And now, the real battle starts.


  1. Cal - years ago (trust me, YEARS ago!) I argued that the American state should follow the European model of requiring individuals who wanted the legal benefits of marriage as a civil contract to be civilly married by government authorities, leaving them free to have a religious ceremony afterwards if they desired the blessing of a higher authority.

    But, since we Americans insist on having ordained ministers be agents of the state when it comes to marriage, it seems only fair that the ministers of religions that support same-sex marriage (such as the Unitarian Universalist Church, the UCC and other liberal Protestant groups, the MCC, Reconstructionist, Reformed and Conservative Jews) should be permitted to practice their religion too.

    I just don't see gay rights groups coming after churches or religious groups that don't practice same-sex marriage. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say it's just not going to happen.

    I do see the vast majority of the younger generation rejecting conservative religious views of homosexuality. Religions that continue to treat their LGBT members differently from their straight members will lose moral authority and standing in their eyes... Already are losing moral authority and standing.

  2. I think the LDS church is going in that European direction -- having individuals who wanted the legal benefits of marriage married by government authorities, allowing for a religious ceremony (temple sealing) afterwards. The church would pull the usual year wait between a civil ceremony and a temple sealing. Just a note, I am honored that you commented. I have always admired you.

  3. Hey Cal. Me again. Thank you so much for your support of me and my right to be in a same-sex marriage. And I certainly support your right to be in a mixed orientation marriage. My marriage takes nothing away from yours. Yours takes nothing away from mine. We should all be able to live as we each see fit. I agree with John that no one will be forcing the LDS Church to marry gay couples in its temples. Same as no one has forced the Catholics to marry divorced people in their churches. If anything, on the whole LGBTQ people still face a lot more prejudice and bigotry than Mormons ever face in the U.S. What is the evidence for that? Not a month passes that I do not read of an LGBTQ person somewhere in the U.S. who has been beat up (or even killed) just because of who they are. In fact, just this past weekend - in the midst of all the pride parades around the country - I read of three folks who were beat up just because they were gay or trans. I never see any news about Mormons in the U.S. being beat up by people who do not like Mormons. So when it comes to the hand wringing I have seen among some LDS about their religious rights, it is hard for me to have too much sympathy. They can still gather in their wards and temples with no fear that someone might come up behind them and bash them in the head because they are Mormon. But whenever I walk down the street holding the hand of my husband, I always have to be very aware of my surroundings and who is nearby because someone just might come up and bash me in the head because they don’t like gay men.

  4. It's true. For better record keeping we should have the perp leave a note as to why he beat a person up. "Please check if you smacked this man because he was a: _Mormon _Gay _Ute fan _Vegan _ Star Trek lover _ Canadian."