I highly recommend this episode of Grit TV for insights on the recent defeat for same-sex marriage rights in California via the passage of Proposition 8. The election results have produced a lot of anger and heat, and the conversation here manages to bring some light to what is a much more complex issue than is shown in most media or activism.
It's one of those odd twists that leaders of the Mormon Church probably never saw coming. Whenever opponents of Proposition 8, the ballot measure that eliminates the right of gays and lesbians to legally marry in California, protest outside a Mormon temple, they effectively stop church members from getting married, according Levi Jackman Foster, an ex-Mormon who lives in West Hollywood.
"A temple is the only place (Mormons) can get married," Foster says, "if they want to get sealed to God."
A Mormon temple, in other words, plays a vital role in a religion that strongly promotes marriage among its members.
A: None, according to the U.S. Census
Why? A New York Times article on July 18 quotes Steven H. Murdock, director of the U. S. Census Bureau, who explains that because of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act marriages between people of the same sex cannot be recognized or counted even in the states where they are legal. Even by the Census.
Why does it matter? Gay rights activists argue that it matters because it renders married same-sex couples invisible. I agree. That absolutely matters. But it also matters because it is evidence of our government's blinding itself to reality. It is further evidence, as with interference in climate research and health research, that the government cannot be trusted to put science and reason ahead of ideology, religion and faith.
Why the Mormons (and other churches) are wrong about their support of the CA ballot initiative to restrictSubmitted by Elizabeth on 25 June 2008 - 4:20am
The Mormon church has asked its members to support the California ballot initiative that would amend the state's constitution to define marriage as a relationship between one man and one woman. Specifically, according to the Associated Press:
"We ask that you do all you can to support the proposed constitutional amendment by donating of your means and time to ensure that marriage in California is legally defined as being between a man and a woman," church leaders say in the letter. "Our best efforts are required to preserve the sacred institution of marriage."
They should rethink that strategy and their own writings explain why: The LDS church claims, in a letter signed by the LDS president, that:
With a one-vote majority, California's Supreme Court overturned a law banning same-sex marriage yesterday (PDF of decision). The case is a consolidation of appeals to the same court's ruling in 2004 that San Francisco had illegally granted marriage licenses to same sex couples. In that decision they had expressly stated that they were not ruling on the constitutionality of the law, but only one whether or not the law had been broken. In this case they examine the constitutionality of the law and find that the law violates basic constitutional rights: the right to form a legally recognized family with a partner one loves, and the right to equal protection under the law.
The CA decision refers back to a much earlier decision - Perez v. Sharp in 1948 - in which the court found that laws banning interracial marriage were unconstitutional. This was 19 years before Loving v. Virginia, the U. S. Supreme Court case that did the same thing nationwide. (Mildred Loving, whose marriage to Richard Loving was at the center of that case, died on May 2.)
Kenji Yoshino, a Yale Law professor writing for Slate today, points out that one strength of yesterday's decision is that it is based not only on liberty (the right to form marriages based on love and choice) but also on equality (the right to be treated equally by the law regardless of sexual orientation), and points out that because of that, this decision goes beyond the right to marry and makes it clear that any California law that discriminates against people based on sexual orientation is equally in trouble. That's the good news.
A few hours later, Judge Robert B. Hanson formally stayed yesterday's ruling that the law declaring that valid marriages were only between a man and a woman was unconstitutional, and that the state had no valid interest in arbitrarily discriminating against same-sex couples by denying them the right to marry.
(CNN) -- An Iowa district court ruled Thursday that same-sex couples can marry based on the state constitution's guarantee of equal treatment, court documents show.
The ruling was in response to a December 2005 lawsuit brought by six same-sex couples seeking to wed. They were denied marriage licenses and claimed such treatment violates equal-protection and due-process clauses in the Iowa constitution.
The court also struck down a state law declaring valid marriages are only between a man and woman.
Something new to be proud of during Pride Month!
The New York State Assembly voted to approve marriage equality legislation with bipartisan support. This is a first in the country. When MA legalized marriage for same-sex couples it did so through the courts (though the legislature recently protected that decision) and in CA where marriage equality legislation was passed and then vetoed by the governor, not a single Republican voted for the bill. 85 assembly members voted in favor of the legislation, including four Republicans, while 61 voted against. That's the good news.
The bad news, as noted in this article in The Advocate, is that common wisdom holds that the legislation, which would give same-sex couples the same access to marriage that opposite-sex couples have, will be impossible to pass in the Senate, where there is a very slim Republican majority.
Two sex-oriented op-ed pieces in one weekend!
On Saturday Atul Gawande wrote about how we as individualas and communities need to take greater "do it yourself" responsibility for creating an environment in which people can educate themselves about contraception , pregnancy, and talk openly about their own sexual practices. Click here to read my discussion of his piece.