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Prince Research Excerpts on Gay Rights & Mormonism – “31 – It’s Only About Marriage”

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31 – “It’s Only About Marriage” – Except When It Isn’t


“What would be the impact of the ERA on homosexual marriages?

In hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Paul A. Freund of Harvard Law School testified: ‘Indeed if the law must be as undiscriminating concerning sex as it is toward race, it would follow that laws outlawing wedlock between members of the same sex would be as invalid as laws forbidding miscegenation [interracial marriages]’ (Senate Report 92–689, p. 47).

Passage of the ERA would carry with it the risk of extending constitutional protection to immoral same-sex—lesbian and homosexual—marriages. The argument of a homosexual male, for example, would be: ‘If a woman can legally marry a man, then equal treatment demands that I be allowed to do the same.’ Under the ERA, states could be forced to legally recognize and protect such marriages. A result would be that any children brought to such a marriage by either partner or adopted by the couple could legally be raised in a homosexual home. While it cannot be stated with certainty whether this or any other consequence will result from the vague language of the amendment, the possibility cannot be avoided.…” (“The Church and the Proposed Equal Rights Amendment: A Moral Issue,” Ensign insert, February 1980)


“A few of Elder Oaks’s comments were included in a January 11 segment of Sunday morning with Charles Kuralt. However, the omission by CBS of some of his more pertinent comments during the interview, coupled with the overall tone of the program, may have resulted in some viewers receiving an incomplete perception of the churches concerns on this important issue. The entire CBS interview, portions of which are quoted below, was conducted December 30.

‘The Church’s position based on scriptural commandments is that men and women should refrain from any sexual relations outside the bonds of marriage,’ Elder Oaks affirmed. ‘That is the same doctrine for sexual relations between the sexes and among the sexes.’ The church, he emphasized, does not ‘recognize homosexual marriages’ because there is no … scriptural warrant for homosexual marriages.’”

(“Apostle Reaffirms Church’s position on homosexuality,” Church News, February 14, 1987, p. 10)


“There are those who would have us believe in the validity of what they choose to call same-sex marriage. Our hearts reach out to those who struggle with feelings of affinity for the same gender. We remember you before the Lord, we sympathize with you, we regard you as our brothers and our sisters. However, we cannot condone immoral practices on your part any more than we can condone immoral practices on the part of others.…” (Gordon B. Hinckley, “Stand Strong against the Wiles of the World,” address in Relief Society General Conference, September 23, 1995; in Ensign, November 1995, pp. 98-101)



[159] Same-Gender Marriages

The Church opposes same-gender marriages and any efforts to legalize such marriages. Church members are encouraged ‘to appeal to legislators, judges, and other government officials to preserve the purposes and sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman, and to reject all efforts to give legal authorization or other official approval or support to marriages between persons of the same gender.’ (First Presidency letter, 1 Feb., 1994)”

(Church Handbook of Instructions. Book 1. Stake Presidencies and Bishoprics, 1998)


“[p. 187] Same-Gender Marriages

Marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God.  The Church accordingly opposes same-gender marriages and any efforts to legalize such marriages. Church members are encouraged ‘to appeal to legislators, judges, and other government officials to preserve the purposes and sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman, and to reject all efforts to give legal authorization or other official approval or support to marriages between persons of the same gender.’

As a doctrinal principle, based on the scriptures, the Church affirms that marriage between a man and a woman is essential to God’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children. The powers of procreation [p. 188] are to be exercised only between a man and a woman who are lawfully wedded as husband and wife.

Any other sexual relations, including those between persons of the same gender, undermine the divinely created institution of the family. The Church accordingly favors measures that define marriage as the union of a man and a woman and that do not confer legal status on any other sexual relationship.

While opposing same-gender marriage, the Church reaches out with understanding and respect to individuals who are attracted to those of the same gender.” (Church Handbook of Instructions. Book 1. Stake Presidencies and Bishoprics, 2006)


“[p. 1370] Legalizing same-sex marriage æ weakens the message connecting marriage with spousal and parental responsibility, and guarantees that children will be deprived of an extremely valuable and protective relationship with their father or their mother.…

[p. 1372] Those who advocate legalizing same-sex marriage argue that ‘the sky did not fall’ in the Netherlands, Canada, or Massachusetts when they legalized same-sex marriage a few years ago. This is an attempt to switch [p. 1373] the burden of proof about harm to those who defend marriage rather than those who are proposing a radical change. This argument diverts attention; the enduring harms of same-sex marriage become evident over decades, not overnight.…

[p. 1377] When same-sex marriage is legalized, the moral qualities and characteristics of homosexual relations and lifestyles will become part of the institution of marriage, and will have some transformative effect upon the qualities and characteristics of the institution of conjugal marriage. Modification of marriage to make it more like gay-relations will cause serious harm to society, families, and individuals. Thus, redefining marriage to include gay and lesbian couples will have a profound impact upon sexual morality and public health in society. Sexual standards in marriage will change as homosexual relations will be instantly normalized and equated with marital relations.…

Legalizing same-sex marriage will instantly transform the meaning of marriage, spouse, husband, wife, parent, child and by that redefinition will profoundly influence the meaning of public education, school curriculum, civil rights, family, inheritance, intimacy, relations, public behavior, privacy, disclosures, security, accommodation, filings, custody, guardianship, visitation, reasonable conduct, medical treatment, preferences, privileges, rights, duties, etc., because so many laws that regulate these matters include and reference ‘marriage.’…

[p. 1378] Legalizing same-sex marriage will undermine the civil rights of those who oppose same-sex marriage.  Gay marriage supporters argue that it is a basic right or matter of equality, and that those who oppose same-sex marriage, like those who oppose inter-racial marriage, are simply bigots. If same-sex marriage becomes law, that principle becomes the law. Opposition to same-sex marriage may be deemed ‘invidious discrimination’ and punished.… [So what about racism in the same light?]

[p. 1379] Religious organizations may be compelled to provide support for and service for same-sex married couples or be punished for not doing so.…” (Lynn D. Wardle, “The Attack on Marriage as the Union of a Man and a Woman,” North Dakota Law Review, 83:1365-92, 2007)


“The Mormon Church, via its wholly-owned Salt Lake City-based newspaper business, the Deseret News, was the first to announce and publicly applaud an anti-gay and — in our opinion — methodologically-challenged, soon-to-be-published paper, titled, ‘How Different are the Adult Children of Parents Who Have Same-Sex Relationships?,’ that claims children of gay parents are not as emotionally and physically healthy or successful as their peers raised in intact biological (read: heterosexual) families. Robert P. George, co-founder and chairman emeritus of NOM, the National Organization For Marriage, is on the editorial advisory board of the Deseret News.

Leave it to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints — the people who funded California’s same-sex marriage-banning Prop 8 — to not only be the first to publish an article on the anti-gay paper, but to even publish a companion editorial, exactly just two minutes after they published the ‘news’ article.…

At issue is a new ‘study,’ funded by private conservative think tanks to the tune of more than three-quarters of a million dollars, and written by Mark Regnerus, associate professor of sociology at University of Texas Austin’s Population Research Center.…

We’ll examine the study itself later in a separate piece. For now suffice it to say, in our opinion, the Regnerus’ work is flawed, the methodology itself questionable, and the data presentation is irresponsible.…” (“NOM founder and Mormon Church tied to first report of new anti-gay parenting paper,” TheNewCivilRightsMovement.com)


“We got to talking about what some of the general authorities have said or done, and the name of Jeffrey Holland came up.  Kendall [Wilcox] said that he had personally spoken to two young men who are gay, each of whom individually told him that they had spoken to Elder Holland, who had told them, ‘Do what brings you peace and joy in this life.  I hope you can find that in the church, but the church is not for everyone.’  He also said that he could foresee a time when the church could allow ‘marriage for time’ between a gay couple.  He said that one of these two young men was the grandson of a general authority who had passed away, that before his death he asked Elder Holland to serve as grandfather and special friend to his grandson.  I asked if he could tell me who that general authority was, and he said yes, it was Neal Maxwell.  I then recalled that only a couple of weeks ago my cousin Kim Bateman’s boy Adam had emailed me to ask if I knew of the YouTube videos (on mormonsformarriage) made by his friend Kimball Sanders, who is a grandson to Neal Maxwell.” (Carol Lynn Pearson diary, December 7, 2008)


[p. 166] Same-Gender Marriages

As a doctrinal principle, based on the scriptures, the Church affirms that marriage between a man and a woman is essential to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.

Sexual relations are proper only between a man and a woman who are legally and lawfully wedded as husband and wife. Any other sexual relations, including those between persons of the same gender, are sinful and undermine the divinely created institution of the family. The Church accordingly affirms defining marriage as the legal and lawful union between a man and a woman.…”

(Church Handbook of Instructions. Handbook 1: Stake Presidents and Bishops, 2010. Note that the new policy on LGBT was released on November 12, 2010.)


“LDS apostle Dallin H. Oaks urged Mormons and non-Mormons alike Saturday to protect children, decrying abortion, divorce, abuse, cohabitation and single and same-sex parenthood as harmful to their welfare.…

He also cautioned that it should be assumed that kids raised by same-sex couples or unwed mothers will be at a disadvantage.…” (Lisa Schencker, “Mormon leader decries divorce, abortion, same-sex parents,” Salt Lake Tribune, October 6, 2012)


“Is Oaks really suggesting that same-sex couples should not have families?

As the proud grandfather of a 5-month-old grandson provided through the miracle of in-vitro fertilization, I state unequivocally that ‘selfish adult interest’ couldn’t be further from the truth. Our son knew that his decision to have a child would require tremendous sacrifice. ‘Unselfish interest’ would be the more appropriate label.…” (Gary M. Watts, “LDS and gays,” Letter to the Editor, Salt Lake Tribune, October 12, 2012)


“Elder Dallin H. Oaks, an apostle of the church, spoke about family, the value of life, and the importance of loving everyone — all worthy subjects. He also spoke about bullying and the ‘permanent’ psychological damage that bullying can cause children by making them feel ‘worthless, unloved, or unwanted.’

Then, in what seemed an about-face, Oaks changed themes. After describing a long list of supposed social ills, he said that church members should ‘assume’ that ‘children raised by parents of the same gender’ are ‘disadvantaged’ and ‘victimized’ by this circumstance. He did not bother to properly support his claim, apart from vague references to an unnamed ‘scholar’ or a supposed ‘New York Times article.’

The obvious reason for his reticence about sourcing, of course, is that there is no reputable research supporting such an assertion. Across the board, peer-reviewed studies on same-sex parents show that such couples raise happy, well-adjusted children (according to such unassailable sources as the Child Welfare League of America, the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute and the American Academy of Pediatrics).

Oaks is right that children of same-sex couples are disadvantaged in at least one crucial respect — they have to live in a society with people like Oaks, whose attitude, statements, and actions devalue and denigrate their families.

These children cannot escape hearing others routinely belittle and condemn the people they love and depend upon most. Imagine the harm being done to children with same-sex parents by people who do not approve of their families. Can you imagine carrying around that burden as a child? (Ironically, the one recent study that suggests children of same-sex couples may suffer shortcomings — the deeply flawed Regernus Study — also traces the source of those problems to intolerant community reaction to their families.)…” (Weston Clark, “Bullying from the pulpit,” Salt Lake Tribune, October 13, 2012)


“Right now, it may be too much to ask that the faith reconsider its opposition to gay marriage. But maybe LDS leaders—not today, but someday—will come to the conclusion that the law of chastity could accommodate married gay couples who share what the church describes as ‘the boundaries of commitment and responsibility.’” (Peg McEntee, “Website another sign of Mormon evolution on gay issues,” Salt Lake Tribune, December 12, 2012)


“The Witherspoon Institute recruited a professor from a major university to carry out a study that was designed to manipulate public policy.…

In a study slammed for its methodology, funding, and academic integrity, University of Texas associate sociology professor Mark Regnerus found that children who grew up in households where one parent had a same-sex relationship (regardless of whether the children lived with that parent or that parent’s supposed same-sex partner) were more likely to experience negative social, psychological, and economic outcomes than children raised by a married heterosexual couple.

Records show that an academic consultant hired by UT to conduct data analysis for the project was a longtime fellow of the Witherspoon Institute, which shelled out about $700,000 for the research. Documentation about University of Virginia associate sociology professor W. Bradford Wilcox’s dual roles contradict Regnerus’ assertions that the think tank wasn’t involved with how the study was designed or carried out.…

But the term ‘same-sex households’ is misleading. The study effectively compared families with two always-married straight parents to some families who only had one parent but were characterized as households headed by gay fathers or lesbian mothers.…

Regnerus’ own professional organization, the American Sociological Association, recently filed an amicus brief in Hollingsworth v. Perry, arguing that his study ‘provides no support for the conclusions that same-sex parents are inferior parents or that the children of same-sex parents experience worse outcomes.’…

Many critics of the New Family Structures Study have raised questions about the speed with which Regnerus’ paper’ was published in Social Science Research.

The study was submitted for publication in early February 2012, before Regnerus’ team had finished collecting all of the data. The paper was accepted for publication about six weeks later, in mid-March. By contrast, some of the other articles published in the same issue of Social Science Research took a year between submission and acceptance.…” (Sofia Resnick, “New Family Structures Study Intended To Sway Supreme Court On Gay Marriage, Documents Show,” HuffPost Politics, March 10, 2013)


“The study [Regnerus] that Oaks calls in a footnote of his general conference speech ‘the latest and most thorough study (on the issue)’ (Ensign, Nov. 2012, 46) and that the church referred to in their January 29 amicus brief continues to be a source of embarrassment and scandal, as it was just revealed that the study was commissioned ad hoc to influence the Supreme Court on their decisions about marriage equality.…” (Hugo Salinas to Joanna Brooks, March 12, 2013)


“Children of same-sex parents are doing as well or better than the rest of the population on a number of key health indicators.

That is the initial finding from the world’s largest study on the children of same-sex parents, under way at Melbourne University.

The Australian Study of Child Health in Same-Sex Families collected data on 500 children nationwide, up to the age of 17.…

An interim report found there was no statistical difference between children of same-sex couples and the rest of the population on indicators including self-esteem, emotional behaviour and the amount of time spent with parents.

However, children of same-sex couples scored higher than the national average for overall health and family cohesion, measuring how well the family members get along.…” (Vince Chadwick, “Tick for same-sex families,” TheAge.com.au, June 5, 2013)


“Here’s an answer to claims that allowing gays to marry will destroy the institution for everyone: the divorce rate in the states that allow gay marriage is 20 percent lower than in states that prohibit it. The state with the lowest divorce rate, Massachusetts, was also the first state to legalize same-sex marriage, in 2004. (Massachusetts’s divorce rate has actually declined since then.) Of the 15 states with the highest divorce rates, all ban gays and lesbians from marrying.…” (Edward McClelland, “States That Allow Same-Sex Marriage Have Lower Divorce Rates,” www.nbcchicago.com, June 27, 2013)


“Memo to LDS bishops: The LDS Church this month sent to its bishops in Utah —who legally may officiate at weddings —a statement after the same-sex ruling reminding them about its position on such marriages.

‘The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution does not require ministers to perform marriages that are contrary to their faith,’ it said. ‘The doctrine of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints holds that marriage is between a man and a woman. Consistent with that fundamental belief, the church does not perform marriages between two people of the same sex.’

It adds, 

‘Church policy also precludes the use of church meetinghouses or properties for ceremonies, receptions, or other events associated with same-sex marriage. God loves all of his children and the church respects those with different opinions but its position on marriage is clear and unchanging.’”

(Lee Davidson, “Another Utah amendment on marriage coming,” Salt Lake Tribune, December 31, 2013)


“The Church’s opposition to same-sex marriage derives from its doctrine and teachings, as well as from its concern about the consequences of same-sex marriage on religious freedom, society, families, and children.…

It is true that some couples who marry will not have children, either by choice or because of infertility. The special status granted marriage is nevertheless closely linked to the inherent powers and responsibilities of procreation and to the innate differences between the genders. By contrast, same-sex marriage is an institution no longer linked to gender—to the biological realities and complementary natures of male and female. Its effect is to decouple marriage from its central role in creating life, nurturing time-honored values, and fostering family bonds across generations.…

Extensive studies have shown, however, that a husband and wife who are united in a loving, committed marriage generally provide the ideal environment for protecting, nurturing, and raising children.…

Our modern era has seen traditional marriage and family—defined as a husband and wife with children in an intact marriage—come increasingly under assault, with deleterious consequences. In 2012, 40% of all births in the United States were to unwed mothers. More than 50% of births to mothers under age 30 were out of wedlock. Further, the marriage rate has been declining since the 1980s. These trends do not bode well for the development of the rising generation.

A wide range of social ills has contributed to this weakening of marriage and family. These include divorce, cohabitation, non-marital childbearing, pornography, the erosion of fidelity in marriage, abortion, the strains of unemployment and poverty, and many other social phenomena. The Church has a long history of speaking out on these issues and seeking to minister to our members with regard to them. The focus of this document on same-sex marriage is not intended to minimize these long-standing issues.…

Because the issue of same-sex marriage strikes at the very heart of the family and has the potential for great impact upon the welfare of children, the Church unequivocally affirms that marriage should remain the lawful union of a man and a woman.…

As governments have legalized same-sex marriage as a civil right, they have also enforced a wide variety of other policies to ensure there is no discrimination against same-sex couples. These policies have placed serious burdens on individual conscience and on religious organizations.

Same-sex marriage and anti-discrimination laws have already spawned legal collisions with the rights of free speech and of action based on religious beliefs. For example, advocates and government officials in certain states have challenged the long-held right of religious adoption agencies to follow their religious beliefs and place children only in homes with both a mother and a father. As a result, Catholic Charities in several states was forced to give up its adoption services rather than be forced to place children with same-sex couples.

In the United States, the First Amendment right of free exercise of religion is coming under pressure from proponents of same-sex marriage. Some of these proponents advocate that tax exemptions and benefits should be withdrawn from any religious organization that does not accept such marriages. The First Amendment may protect clergy from being forced to perform same-sex marriages, but other people of faith have faced and likely will continue to face legal pressures and sanctions. The same will happen with religiously affiliated institutions and educational systems. For example, a Georgia counselor contracted by the Centers for Disease Control was fired after an investigation into her decision to refer someone in a same-sex relationship to another counselor. In New Jersey, a ministry lost its tax-exempt status for denying a lesbian couple the use of its pavilion for their wedding. New Mexico’s Human Rights Commission prosecuted a commercial photographer for refusing to photograph a same-sex commitment ceremony. When public schools in Massachusetts began teaching students about same-sex civil marriage, a Court of Appeals ruled that parents had no right to exempt their students.

Similar limitations on religious freedom have already become the social and legal reality in several European nations, and the European Parliament has recommended that laws protecting the status of same-sex couples be made uniform across the European Union. Where same-sex marriage becomes a recognized civil right, it inevitably conflicts with the rights of believers, and religious freedom is diminished.…

While it may be true that allowing same-sex marriage will not immediately and directly affect existing marriages, the real question is how it will affect society as a whole over time, including the rising generation and future generations.

In addition to undermining and diluting the sacred nature of marriage, legalizing same-sex marriage brings many practical implications in the sphere of public policy that will be of concern to parents and society. When a government legalizes same-sex marriage as a civil right, it will almost certainly include a wide variety of other policies to enforce this. The implications of these policies are critical to understanding the seriousness of condoning same-sex marriage.

The all-important question of public policy must be: what environment is best for the child and for the rising generation? While some same-sex couples will obtain guardianship over children, traditional marriage provides the most solid and well-established social identity for children. It increases the likelihood that they will be able to form a clear gender identity, with sexuality closely linked to both love and procreation. By contrast, the legal recognition of same-sex marriage may, over time, erode the social identity, gender development, and moral character of children. No dialogue on this issue can be complete without taking into account the long-term consequences for children.…

This document is a revised and updated version of ‘The Divine Institution of Marriage,’ first published by the Church in 2008.” (“The Divine Institution of Marriage,” LDS Newsroom, 2013)


“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ stance on homosexuality has softened in recent years, but this marks the second consecutive conference in which leaders took time to emphasize the faith’s insistence that marriage should be limited to unions between a man and a woman, as God created.

‘While many governments and well-meaning individuals have redefined marriage, the Lord has not,’ said Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve. ‘He designated the purpose of marriage to go far beyond the personal satisfaction and fulfillment of adults, to more importantly, advancing the ideal setting for children to be born, reared and nurtured.’…

Andersen said Saturday. ‘As the world slips away from the Lord’s law of chastity, we do not,’ he said.…” (“Mormon leader outlines opposition to gay marriage,” Associated Press, April 5, 2014)


“Wherever we go, you and I as disciples of the Lord bear a solemn responsibility to proclaim the will of God to all people. And one of the more demanding opportunities of our time is to stand up for the truth regarding the sacred nature of marriage.…

Marriage was not created by human judges or legislators. It was not created by think tanks or by popular vote or by oft-quoted bloggers or by pundits. It was not created by lobbyists. Marriage was created by God!…

Social and political pressures to change marriage laws are resulting in practices contrary to God’s will regarding the eternal nature and purposes of marriage. Man simply cannot make moral what God has declared to be immoral. Sin, even if legalized by man, is still sin in the eyes of God.…

We cannot condone efforts to change divine doctrine. It is not for man to change.…” (Russell M. Nelson, “Disciples of Jesus Christ – Defenders of Marriage,” BYU Commencement Address, August 14, 2014, speeches.byu.edu)


“In 2005, M. Russell Nelson’s office was calling all sorts of ‘gay’ material from the stacks in the archives. A lot of stuff like old Advocate magazines they have archived that mentioned Mormons or BYU speeches which focused on the issue.  It was fast and a flurry of material in 2005. I only mention that cause I would assume the SGM committee was still in full swing or other higher GAs were working on this issue by tinkering with establishing a SSM opposition front group.…” (Joe Jay to GAP, August 16, 2014)


“Recently, the University of Melbourne released the first official results from its Australian Study of Child Health In Same-Sex Families. The results made news around the world because they showed that kids of same-gender parents not only do as well as their peers with straight parents but in some areas they actually fare better.

According to the study, in the areas of mood, behavior, temperament and mental health there is no statistical differences between kids with lesbian or gay parents and those with straight parents. However, when measuring general health and family cohesion, the kids of lesbian and gay parents scored nearly 6 percent higher than the general population.

Now, I’m cynical enough to believe you can make a study say whatever you want. Groups opposed to marriage equality have been using research by University of Texas at Austin’s associate professor of sociology Mark Regnerus as proof of their argument. Never mind it was commissioned by a conservative think tank with close ties to the National Organization for Marriage, and only two of his test subjects were raised by same-gender parents from birth. Oh, and they’re doing great—oops!

So I asked some experts familiar with the study exactly what it means.

According to Colleen R. Logan, Ph.D., a member and past president of the American Counseling Association, and program manager of the Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling master’s program at Walden University, the Australian research is just the latest in a long line of well-documented research pointing to the same results.…

What I found interesting were Davidson’s thoughts on why the study produced these findings: “Because same-sex marriages are more equitable and not based on outdated stereotypes, the byproducts are children, who are happier and reap the rewards of happily married parents.”

The fact that gay and lesbian couples are more likely to share the everyday tasks related to raising their kids, as well as more equitably divide household responsibilities based on skill sets rather than gender seems to help provide more stable, happy homes for kids.…” (Christopher Katis, “Gay parents make kids happy,” Q Salt Lake, August 22, 2014)


“The state’s lead counsel on the case, Gene C. Schaerr, was greeted Thursday evening with a standing ovation.

He discussed briefly the state’s argument in the case — that adopting a “genderless definition of marriage” that would enable men to marry men and women to marry women would ultimately hurt children — and reiterated his belief in states’ rights to define marriage as they deem appropriate.…

Salt Lake City has one of the highest percentages of same-sex couples with children, according to the Williams Institute at the University of California-Los Angeles. As of last year, about 26 percent of all gay and lesbian couples in the metro area were raising children.…

The American Sociological Society has found that children raised in a two-parent home tend to do well—regardless of their parents’ gender.…” (Marissa Lang, “Same-sex marriage would hurt children, say Utah demonstrators,” Salt Lake Tribune, September 18, 2014)


“Mary Coppola is 35 and single.…

‘It wasn’t until two years ago, when I’d finally gotten to the point in my career where I was very happy that I turned my attention and energies to getting into the right, healthy relationship that would lead to marriage.’

Her sister is a different story.

Melissa Coppola is 34 and single. She never plans to marry. Or have children. She, like her sister, is in a committed relationship.… ‘My boyfriend and I are committed to each other. We just don’t feel the need to get married.’…

A report being released today analyzing recent Census Bureau data shows just how much marriage may, indeed, be becoming just another ‘old tradition.’ The Pew Research Center found that the share of never-married Americans has never been higher. Fully one in five people over the age of 25 have never been married, up from one in 10 in 1960.

And, if current trends continue, the report authors project that a rising share of Americans, like Melissa Coppola, will never marry at all. When today’s young adults reach their mid-40s to mid-50s, the report notes, a record high share, 25 percent, will never have been married, compared to 12 percent in 1960. The trend is most stark among African Americans: The share of never-married white and Hispanic Americans has doubled from 1960 — to 16 percent for whites and 26 percent for Hispanics. The share of never-married African Americans has jumped from 9 percent in 1960 to 36 percent.

‘The projections really suggest that there’s more than just a delay going on here. People are more likely to be never married and stay never married as they reach middle age,’ said Kim Parker, director of social trends research at the Pew Research Center, and one of the report’s authors. ‘That’s a significant change.’

A host of complex factors – economic change, demographics, more women in the labor force and shifting attitudes about the value of marriage – have contributed to what Parker called a ‘mismatch in the marriage market’ and made finding a partner and getting married more complicated.…

Brad Wilcox, a proponent of marriage and director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, said that if the report’s findings hold up, they imply that a seismic shift may be underway in how Americans live, love and raise children. ‘The report does suggest that we are continuing to travel down the road to a less-married America,’ he said. ‘But I’m particularly worried about working class and poor Americans who feel that a decent marriage is out of reach for them.’…” (Brigid Schulte, “I do? No thanks. The economics behind America’s marriage decline,” Washington Post, September 24, 2014)


“A high-ranking Mormon leader reiterated the church’s opposition to same-sex marriage Saturday, but he urged members to be gracious toward those who have different beliefs.

The church leader, Dallin H. Oaks of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, said during the faith’s biannual conference that the strong tide of legalizing same-sex marriage is among current world values that challenge Mormon beliefs.

But Elder Oaks spent considerable time in his speech preaching the value in being kind and understanding of others with different views.

‘Though we disagree, we should not be disagreeable,’ Elder Oaks said. ‘Our stands and communications on controversial topics should not be contentious.’

The church’s stance on homosexuality has softened in recent years, but this is third consecutive conference in which leaders have said marriage should be limited to a man and a woman, as God created.…” (“Resist Call of Marriage for Gays, Mormon Leader Says,” New York Times, October 4, 2014)


“The face-off on ‘Fox News Sunday‘ between Tony Perkins, the leader of the Family Research Council, and former solicitor general Ted Olson on gay marriage was illuminating. One could see precisely why gay marriage opponents are losing the national debate.

Perkins was asked how he would draw the line between a ban on  interracial marriage and one on same-sex marriage. He came up with two answers: Marriage is about children and gays cannot procreate, and gay marriage will lead to polygamy. (‘First off, marriage is not to affirm adults. It’s for the protection of children. And if love is the only factor, where you do you draw the boundary?’) Olson demolished both arguments:

The purpose of marriage is what the Supreme Court has said 14 times. It’s a fundamental right that involves privacy, association, liberty, and being with the person you love and forming a part of the community and being treated equally with the rest of society. . . . What court after court after court has said, that allowing people of the same sex to marry the person that they love, to be part of the community and to be treated equally, does no damage to heterosexual marriage.

Then Perkins tried: ‘They can’t — there’s nothing in nature to say that’s normal.’ And that is what it boils down to. The religious right as an article of faith believes homosexual unions are not ‘normal,’ and it therefore wants the state to enforce that belief. But that, of course, is imposing religious creed by state action. As much as the religious right might believe it is not ‘normal,’ that belief is a function of religious faith; it is not an argument that is going to find resonance with a court applying secular constitutional standards.…

In sum, gay marriage opponents have lost the argument with the public and the courts because what was once a matter of defending social consensus has evolved into a plea for enforcement of one set of religious norms in a diverse society. Without evidence of harm to others, there is no constitutionally acceptable reason to preserve the distinction.…

Believers have every right to set parameters on their own religious ceremonies and conceptions of marriage; but they cannot impose them on others — absent any evidence that they are being harmed by others’ marriage practices. In short, it is the essence of tolerance in our society that people of faith can abide by their own religious definition of marriage while tolerating others’ practices with which they strongly disagree. Whether they agree with that or not, that is the legal reality going forward. They will need to come to terms with it.” (Jennifer Rubin, “Why gay marriage opponents have lost,” Washington Post, October 13, 2014)


“Unlike conservatives, who see marriage as sacred and the key to a society based on traditional values, [Isabel] Sawhill based her argument simply on the data, which shows that marriage promotion programs haven’t worked and that children born to married parents tend to fare far better in life than do children in other family arrangements.…

In ‘Generation Unbound,’ a book released this past fall that has opened a new front in the culture wars, Sawhill, who works at the Brookings Institution, argues that it is high time we stopped trying to revive marriage. Instead, she says, we need to figure out what will replace it if we are to stem the rise in single-parenting that has done more in the past few decades to increase child poverty than some of the biggest social programs, such as food stamps, have done to decrease it.…

Half of all births to young women are now outside marriage, and 60 percent are unplanned.…

But as women have gained economic independence, marriage does neither of those things anymore. Even so, it’s not as if people don’t want to marry. Surveys show that the vast majority want to — eventually. They just aren’t marrying right now, often for financial reasons.…

With the rapid and unprecedented rise in births to single mothers, one-third of American children are living in single-parent families, where child poverty rates are four times as high as in two-parent families.…

Kathryn Edin, a sociologist who studies fragile, low-income families, said the fact that Sawhill is saying it’s time to move on from marriage might actually lead to a thaw between warring factions. ‘Maybe now we can all actually engage in a more productive dialogue,’ Edin said.…” (Brigid Schulte, “A longtime proponent of marriage wants to reassess the institution’s future,” Washington Post, January 3, 2015)


“An LDS apostle reaffirmed recently that Mormons who support gay marriage are not in danger of losing their temple privileges or church memberships — even though the Utah-based faith opposes the practice.

In an interview Friday with KUTV in Salt Lake City, Elder D. Todd Christofferson said that individuals in the 15 million-member Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints would be in trouble only for ‘supporting organizations that promote opposition or positions in opposition to the church’s.’…

In the KUTV interview, Christofferson further acknowledged that LDS leaders have evolved in their thinking about homosexuality, while maintaining that marriage should be between a man and a woman.

‘This is not a doctrinal evolution or change, as far as the church is concerned,’ the apostle said. ‘It’s how things are approached.’…

Could there be a time when the LDS Church would change its position on gay marriage?

The apostle was unequivocal.

Nope, he said.” (Peggy Fletcher Stack, “Mormons free to back gay marriage on social media, LDS apostle reiterates,” Salt Lake Tribune, March 17, 2015)


“I remember when I first I opened my mission call to the Netherlands, Amsterdam mission. Instantly everyone seemed to say, ‘oh, that place is Sodom and Gomorrah, it’s Sin City, it’s one of the most wicked (and Liberal! So….double wicked!) places on earth! You are going to have your work cut out for you, you brave missionary!’…

Now there may be some things you remember about the reputation of the Dutch. In the Netherlands, weed is legal, so is prostitution. And gay marriage has been legal in the land of the tulips since 2001, being the first country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage. And yet, those are the headlines, the attention getters, each with their own nuances and pros and cons, much like any policy in any government would.

But what goes on day in and day out in the Netherlands? I’ll tell you in one word: Family. Families who bike together, vacation together, eat together, and raise kids to be decent individuals who understand the value of living in a society where you care for people both in as well as beyond your own family. It’s a familial society where folks have the radical notion to live according to the dictates of their conscience, and afford other people the same luxury, even if it differs.

Since I was exposed to this kind of culture at such a young and impressionable age while a missionary, it’s stayed with me. And I ask: In such a society as supposedly devilishly foot loose and fancy free as the Netherlands, how, exactly, is ‘The Family’ ‘Under Attack?’ — Whose family? What kind of family? Under attack by whom? Really, I am wondering this sincerely, because I am not sure I’ve ever known what is meant by this popular euphemism, especially as espoused by my specific religious culture, and by the American Christian religious culture at large.…” (Joseph Peterson, “How is the family under attack?” ApproachingJustice.net, March 30, 2015)


“The alarmist language that the family is ‘under attack’—one of the strongest statements on that theme coming from Bonnie Oscarson, Young Women’s general president—was frustrating since it (and other talks making the same claim) never got specific about who—besides Satan—was attacking the family and what, exactly it was attacking the family with. Participants quickly suggested a list of true attacks on the family: an economy that prevented parents from earning a living wage, the lack of quality daycare, lack of access to medical insurance/care, unwed pregnancies with resulting fatherless families, sexual abuse, pornography, restrictions on education, and the lack of immigration reform.…” (“Conference Critique,By Common Consent newsletter, Vol. 22 No. 3, April 2015)


“On Saturday, Mormon apostle L. Tom Perry, 92, defended ‘traditional families’ — a legally married mother and father, who rear their children together — and warned against the dangers of ‘counterfeit and alternative lifestyles.’

On Wednesday, the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil-rights organization, expressed ‘deep disappointment’ in Perry’s comments, which it believes ‘disparag[ed] LGBT families and children as ‘counterfeit.’ ‘

Perry’s comments were ‘disheartening and wrong, and remind us yet again that the journey to full inclusion for LGBT people — including our families and children — is not done,’ Jeff Krehely, vice president and chief foundation officer at HRC, said in a news release. The apostle ‘needs to understand how damaging his words are to LGBT youth struggling for acceptance in the church, and in their own Mormon families.’

Such families ‘are not counterfeit — they are real and beautiful,’ Krehely said in the release. ‘We encourage Mr. Perry and his fellow apostles to embrace the diversity that already exists within their own church, and reject the language and practice of intolerance.’” (Peggy Fletcher Stack, “Group scolds Mormon apostle for ‘disparaging’ LGBT families,” Salt Lake Tribune, April 10, 2015)


“But opponents of gay rights, through trial and error, did pretty well in the past year, and even within the past months. No matter what happens at the court, they’ll continue, recalibrating, hoping to get it just right.

Even if marriage equality comes to all 50 states in June, after all, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people still won’t be protected against discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations under the 1964 Civil Rights Act, nor under any federal statute, a sad reality that often surprises people. There are no statewide protections in 29 states. Which means that in some states, gay and lesbian individuals have exercised the right to marry one day, only to be fired from their jobs the next after their employers learned about it. Opponents of LGBT rights have been working to keep anti-discrimination laws from being passed as well as exempt themselves from any such laws that do pass.…

At a panel discussion at the Values Voter Summit last September, conservative political strategist Frank Schubert, the mastermind behind many gay marriage bans in the states, including California’s Proposition 8 (which was ruled unconstitutional in 2010 by a federal judge), and Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, the primary group battling same-sex marriage, pondered what opponents would do if the Supreme Court rules in favor of marriage equality.…

Later, [Schubert] told me in an interview that if the Supreme Court rules for marriage equality, opponents’ strategy, ‘in a broad sense [will be] be similar to the pro-life movement after Roe v. Wade – regrouping, looking at trying to change the culture…and of course religious liberty issues will be very much in the crosshairs.’ An example of the gay marriage version of a phrase like ‘partial birth’ abortion, he said, would be ‘protecting the right of a believer in traditional marriage from being punished from the government,’ and another example would be ‘conscience protections,’ which are policies that allow religious believers to opt-out of certain duties of their jobs that violate their beliefs.

Opponents of gay rights often rely upon rebranding and re-wording laws after they fail in order to get them passed. Saying bills to allow discrimination are really about ‘restoration’ of religious ‘freedom’ reframes the argument as that of a struggle to bring back something that has been lost.…

When Arizona legislators passed a ‘religious freedom’ bill last year, for example, the national media descended on the state, as local corporations spoke out against the idea and the National Football League hinted at pulling the Super Bowl out of Phoenix. Gov. Jan Brewer (R) vetoed the legislation. But weeks later, with less attention in the national press, a more carefully worded Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) was passed in Mississippi, which the American Civil Liberties Union warned could allow businesses to turn away gays. Mississippi’s governor signed it. The Family Research Council’s president, Tony Perkins, praised it, saying a ‘wedding vendor whose orthodox Christian faith will not allow her to affirm same-sex marriage’ would have the right not to serve gay or lesbian couples under the new law.

This year, in late February, just a few weeks before RFRA bills in Indiana and Arkansas drew widespread criticism, Arkansas’ legislature had also passed a much more draconian statute that essentially banned any local gay rights ordinances from being passed anywhere in the state. The law says only groups that have statewide protections from discrimination — and gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people do not — may be protected under local ordinances. Because it doesn’t name gays as a group, some legal experts believe it could withstand court scrutiny.…

Lately, the battle has shifted to the Louisiana legislature, which was debating the Marriage Conscience Act, which, if passed and signed by Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) — who has exuberantly expressed support — would protect businesses that deny service ‘in accordance with a religious belief or moral conviction’ about marriage.…” (Michelangelo Signorile, “The Supreme Court might legalize gay marriage. But that won’t stop opponents from pushing anti-gay laws. How the religious right will regroup no matter what the court does,” Washington Post, May 7, 2015)


“Census data shows that less than half (46%) of U.S. kids younger than 18 years of age are living in a home with two married heterosexual parents in their first marriage. About 5% of the population is gay. Only about a quarter of gay couples are raising children. Since there are two gay people in a couple, that makes about 0.6% of the population that are gay parents.  Not 6%, 0.6%.  These gay parents account for 0.6% of the parents of the 54% of children not being raised in what these people call ‘ideal’ or ‘moral’ or ‘natural’ or ‘God-approved’ circumstances.  So, if this is really about the children, why is this concern they have for this fraction of 1% not matched in addressing all those other issues?” (Jonathan Adamson, “What the Opposition is Really About,” www.facebook.com/notes/jonathan-adamson, July 1, 2015)


From an Internet meme: “There are less than 250,000 gay marriages in the U.S. There were over 40,000,000 accounts leaked from the Ashley Madison website. The attack on ‘Traditional Marriage’ appears to be an inside job.” (Accessed August 27, 2015)


“Last year there was a widely publicized meeting in one of our wards, Washington Park Ward, the proceedings of which found their way onto Jana Reiss’s blog, where the stake was applauded for their efforts in actively opening the doors of the church to LGBT members.

Well yesterday, two women in our ward met with him to inform him that they plan to marry in the near future and wanted to discuss their prospects relative to their membership in the church.  His response – they have three options.

  1. Become inactive.  No disciplinary action would be sought.
  1. Participate in a disciplinary council, in which case the result would, almost certainly,  be excommunication.

3.  Remove their names from the records of the church – which was his recommended course of action.

He also stated that although there has been no pressure or instruction of what stake presidents or bishops are required to do if gay members marry, he has decided firmly his stance in his stake.  He tried to sell them on the idea of removing their names from the church and going away quietly. And then, if they did not and made them go through the church discipline process, he would consider it an attack on the church. (This is an abbreviated recollection of the conversation by the two people concerned.)

While I’m not surprised, I am deeply troubled by his stance, especially in light of the tone of the preceding rhetoric and , frankly, find his course of action duplicitous. As I have followed his statements over the past three years, I have wondered how this situation would eventually ‘play out.’  Well, now we know.…” 

From Mitch Mayne:

“I have thoughts here…I worked directly with President Fairbanks on the Seattle work. I am hesitant to put too much into writing here but suffice to say this is very likely not his personal viewpoint and opinion.

We are seeing an uptick of legally married LGBT individuals who are being excommunicated across the country, not just in WA. Some SPs have indicated to me that the brethren are grumbling that those who choose to be legally wedded are committing a more egregious sin than those who are simply ‘living in sin,’ and that grumbling is making its way into the stakes through the 70s. Yes, I know, I can’t seem to wrap my head around it either.

So this isn’t an isolated incident. What does make it more complicated, however, is the outreach to LGBT members to ‘come as you are’ when it will very much be seen as bait and switch–which I know was not the intent of Pres. Fairbanks.” (Stan Hall to Bob Rees, August 24, 2015)


“Last year, Utah couple Beckie Peirce and April Hoagland decided to get married. Last summer, in a decision legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide, the Supreme Court confirmed that this was okay. Then, Peirce and Hoagland wanted to take in a foster child. So, because the Supreme Court had signed off on gay marriage, Utah child services officials licensed the couple earlier this year. And, in August, Peirce and Hoagland welcomed a 1-year-old girl into their home, where she joined the couple’s two biological children. Plans for adoption, approved by the baby’s biological mother, were in place — soon, this would be a family of five. 

But on Wednesday, a Utah judge decided to end this plan, ordering the girl removed from her foster home because he said she would be better off with heterosexual parents.

Hoagland said the decision was ‘heartbreaking.’… 

A copy of the court order by Judge Scott Johansen, a juvenile court judge in Utah’s Seventh District, was not immediately available, but the Salt Lake Tribune confirmed its contents. Hoagland told KUTV that Johansen said that ‘through his research he had found out that kids in homosexual homes don’t do as well as they do in heterosexual homes.’… 

Hoagland told KUTV that when the judge was asked to show his research, he wouldn’t.

I believe it’s a religious belief,’ Peirce said. But this was strictly Peirce’s opinion, and what role judge’s religious beliefs may or may not have played on his decision is unclear.

Johansen did receive his law degree from the Mormon Church’s Brigham Young University, and the region is heavily Mormon.…”


“Under fire from critics including gay rights activitists and the state’s Republican governor, a judge in Utah on Friday reversed, at least temporarily, his order that a foster child be taken away from a lesbian couple because it was ‘not in the best interest of children to be raised by same-sex couples.’”… (Richard Pérez-Peña, “Utah Judge Drops Order on Lesbians’ Foster Child,” New York Times, November 13, 2015)


Rich: Then, there was a conversation about gay marriage.  Dallin said, “It’s so critical that we, as a church, have to own the definition of marriage.  Marriage means something.  It has come down from centuries and centuries.  This is one place we have to take a stand.”  I guess he was sort of saying that religion and this country have to own the definition of marriage, and the definition of marriage is between a man and a woman.…

All I am saying is that, to me, was kind of an endpoint.  When you ask me can he go further, what I have yet to try to really understand, because I’ve never had the conversation with him about this thing, is how he can be so consumed by the concept of marriage being owned by the Church, and allow so many other things to continue to be divisive.  Here is Packer saying, “I am a watchman on the tower,” and Dallin is saying, “Number one, I have to defend religious liberty.  That’s why I am here.  Number two, in order for us to truly be the religion that we espouse in the Proclamation on the Family, we have to own the definition of marriage.  It cannot be simply a civil definition.  They can have civil liberties, but they can’t have marriage.  That is a religious and historical view and we have to own its definition.  Once we turn that definition over to a civil system, it’s like prayer in schools, and we’re out.”

(Richard Ferré, March 29, 2015)

Gedicks: In the United States and Canada, we are used to the idea that the state can delegate its authority to perform marriages to clerics.  We are really lax about it in the United States, compared to Europe.  Almost anyone can solemnize a marriage.  Almost anyone can get a marriage license.  In fact, one of my friends at the University of Utah, during that brief period in which same-sex marriage was legal in Utah, just got on the Internet and got some sort of ministerial license and performed a bunch of same-sex marriages.

So I think that that is unlikely, but I think there is a non-trivial possibility that an especially liberal state, or a state in which the LGBT political lobby is especially strong, could convince the legislature to amend its solemnization statute to prohibit the solemnization of a marriage by any person who refuses to perform same-sex marriages or discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation.

Prince: Right.  But that’s a mirror image of the non-existent threat that you would be compelled to perform such a marriage.

Gedicks: That’s right.  You would not be compelled to perform it.  What our church would do is what they do, as you say, everywhere else.  They would say, “Find someone who can legally perform a marriage.”  Probably a list of suggestions.  My guess is that active LDS judges and lawyers would be in high demand, because they could legally perform same-sex marriages, I would guess.  And then, you just go to the temple.

(Fred Gedicks, September 11, 2014)

Jones: I think any denomination has the right to decide its own rules for membership, for marriage, for all the rest of it.  Then, folks who are uncomfortable can either stay within the church and fight within the church, or they can find a different church.  One of the things that has been frustrating for us is that there is a widespread perception and belief that we are, in fact, attempting to force churches to perform marriages that they don’t believe in.  And we are absolutely not attempting to do that.

Prince: It goes beyond that.  I saw some literature that reminded me of the hyperbole during the Equal Rights Amendment debate, which said “you will be forced by law to do this.”  That is patently absurd.

Jones: We’ve had pastors and other clergy in this state who, from the pulpit, have said that they would be required by law to perform these marriages, and that they could go to jail and the church’s assets seized if they refused.  It’s all nonsense.  Nobody is going to force a rabbi to marry a Catholic and a Protestant.  Nobody is going to force a Muslim imam to marry a Christian and a Jew.  It’s just ridiculous.  But unfortunately, that is a widespread belief, and the exit polling confirmed in many places—not just in California but also in Maine—that this really was an issue that many, many voters believed in, and made their decision based on that.  If we could dispel that, that would be good for both sides.

(Cleve Jones, in Richard Jacobs interview, June 22, 2010)

Prince: Go back to something.  This has never made sense to me, the whole argument from the anti-LGBT wing that says, “Gay marriage is a threat to the institution of marriage.”  Can you give me any enlightenment on how that argument got started and how it has continued to have life in the face of zero evidence to support it?

Knox: I have two pieces of conjecture that are informed conjectures.  On part of that is that the Right Wing knew from focus groups that the thing that they had in their favor when the talked about gay marriage—as opposed to how I talk about it as marriage equality—was what we call the “ick factor”: mostly, heterosexual men, but also a lot of heterosexual women, going immediately in their mind, as most people do—that piece of our brain fires before the thinking piece of our brain does—and when somebody says “gay marriage,” the first thing that comes to most straight peoples’ mind is two men in the bed together, or two women in the bed together.  The “ick factor” of, “Uh, I just can’t imagine, from my own experience, why anybody would do that!” would kick in.  What a politician knows is that if you can make that visceral reaction happen, you gain fifteen or twenty seconds in the debate, in which that person is no longer listening.  If where you want them to be is right where they already are, that they are against marriage equality, you want them not to listen as much as possible.  Does that make sense?

Prince: Yes, it does.

Knox: So for that moment in time, they literally are closing down the conversation.  And for a good many of those people, the “ick factor” causes them to just tune out completely.  So for a lot of the people who were their auditors, those people just stopped listening at that point.  It was like, “Oh, we don’t talk about those things at our house.”  I have relatives that I can think of that would literally say that.  “Oh, turn that off!” if it was on TV.  “Turn that off.  The children are listening.”  And a lot of people turned it off, tuned it out.

So they talked about it being a threat to marriage because they knew that it felt like a threat.  Anything that was that disturbing, if you tied the word “threat” to it, most people who already agreed with you—and what they were trying to do in those days, if you remember, was just to round up the people who already agreed with them.  Two-thirds of the people in the country were anti-marriage equality in polls.  So from their point of view, all they really needed to do was get 51% of the people lined up and delivered on Election Day, or on any given media day, and they had won.  What they were getting was two-thirds.

So in the early days, their primary purpose was to mobilize the people that already agreed with them.  They didn’t have the task of changing peoples’ minds.  So that was a part of it.

The other half was all of those people who we now know, on sexuality continuums, are not really Kinsey 1’s or Kinsey 6’s, but are 3’s and 4’s, in the middle.  Most people experience sexuality on a continuum.  Whereas they aren’t really in the middle—I’m happy to be married to the one, true bisexual man in the world.  He really is.  On any given day if he could throw away his morals, he could sleep with either gender and be perfectly happy.  But that’s not very many people.  Most people fall on one side or the other of the middle, but they follow closer to the middle than they do to the ends.  Sexuality is more a bell-curve than it is two polarities with a few people in the middle.

So what that means is that there are an awful lot of heterosexual men, in particular, who literally did make a choice to be married to a woman.  In my heart and in my life, I did not have that choice, and don’t have that choice.  I dated the most fabulous and smart and beautiful women in the State of Georgia, and just could not make it go.  Literally it was not in my nature to marry someone of the other gender.  I am as married to Mike Bozeman as any two people on the face of the earth, and it is as natural and right for me as anything in the world.  So I know I’m on that 6-end of the scale.  But I’m unusual in that regard.  I’m in the great minority.

So when a politician said, “This is a threat to marriage,” he or she was appealing to those people out there in the world, and there are many of them, who at one time or another had said, “Gee, I really am in love with this other person.  I wish there were a way that I could be married to them, but that’s not who I am.  I want to be this and I want to live in this community.  I’m a good Mormon, or I’m a good something else,” and they decided, because they could make the decision, they had the luxury of deciding that they would live a heterosexual lifestyle—to use a word I don’t like to use.  That was a powerful set of code that the Right Wing used very, very well for a long, long time.  As long as we were arguing back that this is not a choice for us, the people in the movable middle for whom it was a choice simply didn’t believe us, because for them it had been.  They thought, “Well yes, it is.  I made that choice, and I decided to be a Christian and to marry a woman, or to marry someone of the opposite gender.”  Or, “I decided, because I wanted to be in politics, or because I wanted to have children”—any of a number of really good reasons.  They made that choice, and those people did not hear us.

When we began to talk the language of compassion and care for the neighbor and mutual respect, then we began to move the middle, and a lot of that came out of faith language.  Loving your neighbor as you love yourself is the most powerful teaching tool ever in history.  That’s why every religion says it.  When we got there, then people began to say, “Oh, I’ve got to take another look at this.  I see there are people that aren’t like me.”

(Harry Knox, October 27, 2015)

Miller: It has changed the handbook so that it’s not a sin to be a homosexual.  But the thing that bothers me is that they work against that position in ways that most church members don’t know.  I’ve seen documents—I don’t know if I could even find them, they are in my files somewhere—that they have a committee for years and years that I believe consists of a professor from the law school at BYU, and General Authorities, where they have lobbied for many years, ten or fifteen years, in almost every state and in some cities, against rights for homosexuals.

They may not be involved in elections like they were in California, but they have taken positions in Hawaii and other states with letters they sent to stake presidents.  And then continue, in most all of these legal cases, to file amicus briefs and take pretty strong positions on same-sex marriage.  I kind of feel like on the one hand they are saying one thing, and on the other they are saying something else.

(Douglas Miller, September 4, 2014)

Wendy: I remember at the Affirmation conference we were sitting around in a breakout group.  We were in the group that included parents and siblings of gay people.  One of the questions one of the parents raised was, “What should we tell our kids to do when they’re called in for birthday interviews or worthiness interviews?  What if they have a boyfriend, and maybe they haven’t had sex but they have made out?  To we tell them to tell the bishops that?”  I asked our stake president, “At what point is a gay person breaking the Law of Chastity?  We know where the line is for a straight couple, but where is the line for a gay couple?  Is it the same?”  He said, “No.  Anything they do to awaken those feelings is a sin.”  I said, “Those feelings are awake.  So holding hands?”  He said, “Off the table.”  They can’t even hold hands. 

(Wendy Montgomery, March 14, 2015)

Solomon: I think I would say that in coming to an appreciation of the Mormon Church, one of the things that has been most compelling to me is the understanding of family; that it is not simply the general injunction to be fruitful and multiply, but the permanence of love relationships on into eternity, and the profound sanctity of having children and of reproducing.

If I understand correctly, part of the objection to homosexuality used to have to do with the lack of reproducing and having children.  Part of it seems to have to do, as a lot of Christian resistance to gayness does, with a sense of sex that is not procreative, and that is in some sense lascivious.  I feel as though part of the position of the Church responds to a set of realities that are no longer current; and that those realities remain much more current, in some ways perhaps, in Utah and in other conservative communities precisely because of the positions of the Church.  People who believe that they are going to be excommunicated and shamed, or whatever other dark things may happen to them, are much less likely to enter open, loving relationships.  And they are also much less likely to have the self-esteem that is required to be monogamous and loving, and create a family.  So I think the Church is exacerbating the very problem that it seeks to control.

(Andrew Solomon, March 28, 2011)

Williams: Let’s talk about this.  I’m sure this book will be published long after I have left Equality Utah.  What are they scared of?  Are you ready?  I’ll give this to you speaking as Troy, and not as the head of Equality Utah.  When they speak of traditional marriage, whether it is Christian or Mormon or whatever, what they really are speaking of is patriarchal marriage, which establishes the template of the father in charge.  I didn’t get this until I read Riane Eisler’s work.  She wrote this really amazing book called The Chalice and the Blade.  Brandie and I used to obsess over this book.  She really talked about how there are partnership societies and there are dominator societies, and that the kind of template that we are under now is a dominator system that ranks people.  There is the male over the female.  There is white over black.  There is straight over gay.  There is rich over poor.  This ranking is how you stratify a society.  The actual template for that ranking system is in the intimate family, the kinship model.  It’s there where it all gets established.  The man “presides.”  That template gets projected onto the church structure, government structure, corporate structure, whatever.  This is how the system is ranked.  You look at Utah and you have the largest gender wage gap in the nation.  You have high rates of domestic abuse.  Women are in the teens in terms of their representation in the state legislature.  Women are now empowered.

Prince: Consumption of prescription drugs to combat depression.

Williams: Off the charts!  A gay union challenges that patriarchal template.  They will use the term “genderless marriage,” and they are onto it.  This is exactly what they are on to.  In a gay couple, gender roles and household duties are not established in the relationship.

Prince: It’s all negotiated.

Williams: It’s all negotiated.  If you are good at finances, or if you are good at cooking, it’s based on your own tastes.  It’s not because of your gender that you have to do these things.  What would happen if that went out the window?  What if straight relationships—and there already are tons of straight relationships that work this way—

Prince: I do all of the cooking, and I have done so for a decade.

Williams: And I’m sure your household isn’t you “presiding.”  I’m sure there is more of a partnership model.  This is what feminism brought to the table, and this is why the Church freaked out about feminism, and that feminism would be a slippery slope to gay marriage, the Equal Rights Amendment, etc.  They don’t want to lose this “Father Knows Best” template.  For some reason, this is what they are holding onto so fiercely.  That’s why Kate Kelly is a threat to the Church, and Ordain Women is a threat.  The three great threats of the Church: feminists, homosexuals, and “so-called intellectuals.”

There is a line in the movie “Lincoln” that Tony Kushner wrote, and it’s something to the effect of, “What liberties might we discover when we give up the freedom to oppress?”  He was speaking in the context of abolition.  What will Mormonism gain when it gives up its religious liberty, its deeply held religious beliefs to discriminate against people—women, gays, etc.?  What will they gain?  So much!

(Troy Williams, March 30, 2015)

Young: In that letter to Marlin Jensen, I mentioned that the bishop of the singles ward had told his Relief Society—how he said it, and I don’t know why I didn’t word it like that to Marlin—what he said exactly was, “Children raised by gay parents have lower IQ’s.”  That bishop is now my stake president.  I had a stack of articles to give him on how children raised by gay parents not only do well, but do exceptionally.  Their IQ’s are higher than most, which helps them in all areas of their lives.  So I’ve been waiting for the right moment.

(Barbara Young, April 24, 2015)