Jul 09 2008
We realize there are many people who disagree with us on marriage freedom and political independence. That’s fine, and we encourage those people to follow the First Presidency’s advice to contact your “local Church leaders [who] will provide information about how you may become involved …”
However, we’ve summarized some of the arguments we’ve heard from people who disagree with us, and you’ll see our response to each of these arguments below. We encourage everyone to understand both sides of this debate and make up their own mind about the issue of marriage freedom.
Here are some of the arguments that don’t persuade us. (If you’ve got an argument we didn’t include, e-mail it to firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Studies show traditional families with a mother and a father have better social outcomes for their children.
This is simply not true. Studies conducted by mainstream psychology (American Psychological Association) indicate that children raised by gay and lesbian parents are as well adjusted as heterosexual families. Further, we fail to see how marriage freedom will reduce the number of traditional families. On the contrary, we see no downside to allowing stable, loving, long-term, same-sex relationships, which could result in better outcomes for adopted children than if they remained in custody of the state.
Those interested in reading further on this might want to look at the following:
Research shows that families headed by gay and lesbian parents are as healthy as traditional families, but misperceptions linger.
Summary Of Research Findings
Thomas S. Monson is a prophet of God. We should follow what the prophet says.
Thomas S. Monson is also a human. Humans will always make mistakes — as ancient and modern history has shown (remember why Jonah got swallowed by the fish?) God also endowed us with a conscience, and we don’t believe he intends for us to ignore our deepest, innermost feelings once a prophet speaks. Indeed, we as Mormons have always been counseled to get our own, personal confirmation regarding inspiration. We’ve done that, and our conscience won’t let us remain silent.
California voters already decided on this issue. Democracy is all about majority rule, and the majority has spoken.
If you follow this same logic, Jim Crow laws would still be present in the South. Thankfully, America’s version of democracy is actually a democratic republic — not a true democracy — with special protections in place to keep the majority from taking away the rights of minorities. Our founding fathers had the foresight to protect against the “tyrannical majority” who would occasionally stomp on the rights of the minority, which is what the California Supreme Court ruled was happening with the marriage issue.
Same-sex “marriage” goes too far. The law already provides the same protection for same-sex partners as it does traditional marriage partners.
We all know “separate but equal” really means “separate and unequal.” It was the same with segregated schools in the 1960s. The principles of equality on which our nation was founded demand we treat homosexuals with the same respect as heterosexuals, not classifying their legal relationships in a different, lesser category.
This might affect our First Amendment rights, including the right to worship as we believe. For example, Catholics had to close their adoption agencies in Massachusetts because they legally couldn’t adopt babies to only heterosexual couples.
All churches would still be free to set their own marriage rules, as is guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution. We don’t see how adding marriage freedom could possibly pose any danger to other freedoms. However, we do see how churches directly lobbying for civil laws could pose a grave danger to the First Amendment by trying to make one religion’s beliefs the law of the land. This is un-American.
Regarding the adoption issue, we believe adoption agencies should follow the law. Adoption agencies are not churches — even if they’re owned by a church — and as such don’t deserve religious protection. Just like Mormons might choose not to open a chain of tobacco shops, they will have to make the choice whether or not to enter the adoption business based on current laws and their own sense of ethics. There will be plenty of other adoption agencies willing to take their place.
Traditional marriage contributes to societal well-being. This argument is about children and society, not the relationship of two adults.
Once again, we fail to see how marriage freedom harms traditional marriage. We agree that traditional marriage produces better social outcomes compared with children raised in broken homes. We believe this is because of the stable, loving home environment, not the genitalia of the parents.
Several European nations legalized same-sex marriage only to see their total number of marriages drop and the number of illegitimate children increase.
There is no cause-and-effect relationship here. Marriage rates have been dropping in parts of the industrialized world for many years, and out-of-wedlock births have been on the rise. There are many other factors that contribute to these statistics — not the least of which is the secularization of Europe — but the legalization of same-sex marriage isn’t one of them. It’s downright silly to think heterosexual couples base their marriage decisions on whether other people have that same right.
Legalizing homosexual marriage would open the door to polygamy.
Perhaps you’re right. But again, we don’t see how allowing non-traditional marriage has any impact whatsoever on the number or quality of traditional marriages. Besides, as Mormons, our church was founded by polygamists and still has polygamy-based teachings enshrined in the Doctrine and Covenants. Don’t you think this argument is a bit hypocritical?
If marriage freedom is approved, California’s school curriculum will be changed to mandate acceptance of homosexuality. Public school curriculum will actively discriminate against the values of its community’s families.
If the school’s curriculum is changed in a way that truly discriminates against your religious beliefs, you’ll have ample grounds for a lawsuit. Hire a lawyer. Otherwise, we see nothing wrong with schools teaching children not to look down on their peers for their largely uncontrollable personal attributes.
If same-sex marriage is legalized, the government might erode religious freedom by forcing churches to accept homosexuality through employment law, education or other government mandates.
The government cannot and will not tell churches what to preach. The government may provide financial incentives to charities that meet the needs of the nation — including religious schools and other organizations — but this has no bearing on religious freedom. Churches are free to turn down these financial incentives if they conflict with church values. Also, employment law has a long, well-established history of allowing churches to include moral or religious beliefs in their hiring decisions. There is nothing to indicate this will change, and we would oppose any effort to reduce religious freedom in America.