Thoughts about Prop. 8
Re “Five on Eight,” Opinion, Nov. 1
The Times’ Op-Ed page featuring opposing views on Proposition 8 was thought-provoking and interesting. As a Mormon, however, I thought two of the articles could be clarified.
First, Lola Van Wagenen asserts that Mormons should be sympathetic to same-gender marriage because Mormons once practiced polygamy. Van Wagenen knows that Mormons do not equate polygamy with same-gender marriage because Mormon doctrine makes it clear that the endorsement of polygamy was to encourage righteous offspring -- something that cannot occur in same-gender relationships.
Second, Alexandra Cole, in her article on children’s perceptions of the proposition, may actually have believed her neighbors’ child, Amy, when she said her parents would “have to leave the church” if they voted no. Cole may also believe that Mormons are not allowed to vote as they want, regardless of the urging of their leaders.
Both notions are not true. There is a long and well-documented history of Mormons voting against their leaders’ advice without repercussion, and even on Proposition 8, Mormons are free to vote however they choose.
For a law professor, Richard Peterson has a surprising lack of understanding about the function of our courts and Constitution.
The job of the Supreme Court is to interpret our laws to ensure they conform to basic constitutional principles even -- in fact especially -- if they challenge the “people’s will.” In its decision overturning Proposition 22, the court did just that in declaring the statute violated the Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection for all citizens.
The court did the same thing in 1948 when it overturned California’s law against interracial marriage by the same 4-3 margin. Then, as now, the recourse available to opponents of marriage equality was to amend the Constitution to exempt minority citizens from protections granted to the majority.
Fortunately for future generations, Californians chose to respect the court’s decision. Let’s hope our children look back in 60 years with the same sort of admiration for our wisdom in respecting the court.
Understanding that biblical arguments in favor of Proposition 8 hold no water for many voters, please allow me to offer the best sociological reason to uphold traditional marriage. In 2004, Stanley Kurtz, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, wrote that countries with legalized gay marriage had experienced a dramatic increase in out-of-wedlock birthrates.
The family is the basic building block on which strong societies rest. More out-of-wedlock births can lead to welfare states, higher taxes, increased poverty and increased crime.
To experiment with redefining marriage is a dangerous prospect. As Kurtz suggests, the experiment has already been run for us, and the results are in.
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