Monday, August 18, 2008

Marriage

We in the state of California are embarking on a very heated debate this fall. On the ballot, a proposition will appear to amend the state constitution to read: "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid and recognized in California."

Many Californians are confused--didn't we do this recently? Only 8 years ago, an overwhelming majority of Californians voted that very statement into law. But since then, the California Supreme Court has ruled that the law is not in harmony with the state's constitution and is thus invalid. Only a constitutional amendment will allow the state to enforce this law.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, to which I belong, has joined a coalition of other faiths (including evangelical Christians and Catholics) and concerned citizens to support the passage of Proposition 8. We have been asked to give as much as we can of our time, talents, and financial resources to help this amendment pass with the required majority vote.

This is not meant to be a personal affront on those who choose the gay and lesbian lifestyle. I am not interested in calling names or being offensive. I respect their right to live as they choose but do not agree that they have the right to the God-given heterosexual institution of marriage, which is fundamental to our society and to God's plan for His children. The Family: A Proclamation to the World states unequivocally:

"The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. . .

Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.

We call upon responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society."


Now, if you do not live in the state of California, do not turn away thinking that this does not apply to you. California generally leads the way in many such laws. Those who support the right of gays and lesbians to marry are aware that the outcome of this proposition will have a tremendous impact on similar laws in other states. And they are raising a great deal of money to shut down this proposition. Already the Attorney General has changed to wording introducing the amendment on the ballot to be highly misleading and prejudicial, including saying that this amendment would result in a potential loss of state sales tax revenues. (Can someone tell me how this would negatively affect sales taxes?) There are many powerful people who are anxious to see Prop 8 fail. There is a commercial that is airing all over California right now, which asks, "What if you couldn't marry the person you love?" (Incidentally, because it does not mention Prop 8, it has been able to use tax deductible donations and non-profit status to push the gay marriage agenda.)

This is not a partisan issue. There are Democrats (not congresspeople) and Republicans on both sides of the vote. This is a moral issue. Voting Yes on Prop 8 means protecting marriage and legally defining it the way that it has been since Adam and Eve were married by God himself. Many have argued that this can be seen as a freedom of religion issue as well, since there are instances in other countries (which have legalized gay marriage) of people being prosecuted for acting on their beliefs that the homosexual lifestyle is a sin (and I don't mean by "acting" that they were physically hurting anyone. Take these instances, which I found on this blog:

  • A Swedish pastor was sentenced to jail for one month after speaking out against homosexual lifestyles from the pulpit. The Gota Court of Appeals subsequently overturned this decision. (link)
  • An Anglican Church in the UK was found guilty of discrimination against homosexuals for requiring a lay Diocesan Youth Director to be celibate if he was not married. It is now against the law for a Christian organization to require its employees to abide by Christian teaching. (link)
  • A British Employment Appeals Tribunal upheld a decision rendered last March rejecting a discrimination claim by a Justice of the Peace. The Justice sat on the court’s Family Panel and had requested to be excused from hearing cases involving same-sex couples based on his Christian religious beliefs. His request was denied and he filed a discrimination claim. The EAT concluded that magistrates must apply the law as their oath requires, and cannot opt out of cases on moral grounds. (link)
  • A Calgary Bishop was forced to remove a diocesan letter from his website because it urged Catholic Christians to support traditional marriage and oppose same-sex marriage. (link)
  • A professional printer refused to print material for the Canadian Gay and Lesbian Archives because he felt doing so would violate his religious beliefs. He was fined and ordered to print the material anyway. He took his case to the Ontario Supreme Court and then to the Ontario Court of Appeal and lost both times. His total legal bills exceed $170,000. (link)
  • Catholic Charities is forced out of the adoption business for the first time in 100 years because it will not place children with homosexual couples. (link)


Thus, anyone who thinks that this is just about a little word like marriage and that it will have little effect on the average citizen's life, had better reconsider. There is much more riding on this than whether we call it a "marriage" or a "civil union".

The LDS.org newsroom has posted an interview with Elder Dallin H. Oaks (a former Utah Supreme Court Justice) and Elder Lance B. Wickman on same gender attraction and the support of the Church for a constitutional amendment to define marriage as between a man and a woman. It is worth reading, but as it is very long and many of you may get distracted before you get to this point, I wanted to share a couple of quotes.
"Marriage is neither a matter of politics, nor is it a matter of social policy. Marriage is defined by the Lord Himself. It’s the one institution that is ceremoniously performed by priesthood authority in the temple [and] transcends this world. It is of such profound importance… such a core doctrine of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, of the very purpose of the creation of this earth. One hardly can get past the first page of Genesis without seeing that very clearly. It is not an institution to be tampered with by mankind. . ."--Lance B. Wickman

"God loves all of His children. He has provided a plan for His children to enjoy the choicest blessings that He has to offer in eternity. Those choicest blessings are associated with marriage between a man and a woman by appropriate priesthood authority to bring together a family unit for creation and happiness in this life and in the life to come.
We urge persons with same-gender attractions to control those and to refrain from acting upon them, which is a sin, just as we urge persons with heterosexual attractions to refrain from acting upon them until they have the opportunity for a marriage recognized by God as well as by the law of the land. That is the way to happiness and eternal life. God has given us no commandment that He will not give us the strength and power to observe."--Dallin H. Oaks

So, whether you live in California or elsewhere, hear my rallying cry. We need you. We need you to help in any way you can. If you live in California, talk to your neighbors and friends. Encourage others who support Prop 8 to get out and vote on election day. If you aren't registered to vote, get registered. If you are a student out of state or living away for some other reason, be sure to get an absentee ballot. Regardless of where you live, you can make a donation to Protectmarriage.com to help fund the efforts to pass Prop 8. You can talk about it on your blog or email your friends about it.

Jared & I have decided that this is important enough to us that we are willing to make sacrifices to support Prop 8. I do not tell this in order to boast--our contribution will still not be enormous. Since we are not in a position with a lot of discretionary money, we've decided to forgo our upcoming anniversary get-away and donate the money that we would have spent on hotel and gas (instead, we'll try to do something local to celebrate and hope that we can still unload our kids for the weekend on grandparents!:) IN addition, we will be canvassing neighborhoods to encourage citizens to get out and vote. My in-laws have given up their favorite entertainment of dinner and a movie for the next three months in order to support the cause. I only share this because I hope to inspire those who think, "I would donate if I could, but times are tough right now . . . " Almost all of us has something that is a luxury that we could give up for a time in order to support and protect something so fundamentally important to our society and belief system. So think about it again before you dismiss the idea of donating to the cause, and dig a little deeper. Our society needs the sanctity of marriage to be preserved.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank your for all your research and thoughtful sharing. I hope all your online friend will recognize the kindly spirit with which you have given this information.

It is truly the "protection" of marriage that we are interested in.

I am pleased to add my amen to all you have said so well.

MyrnaMom

Anonymous said...

I echo what MyrnaMom said.

Love,
Papa

Nana said...

Well said. I copied this onto Microsoft Word so I can share it with those I might not want to send to your blog.

Sea Star said...

What a Great Post. Well written!

My husband and I are working with protectmarriage.com in our bit of the state, trying to do our part.

Christine said...

wow- great post! CHEERS for prop 8!!!

Melissa said...

Wonderful post! Thank you for all of your reaseach and for making the rallying call!

mommyofthree said...

Great post!!

Sonja said...

Fantastic Michal!! You are absolutely right. The time for sitting idle is past.

You are an inspiration. We will be looking for ways we can support this effort too.

Tamlynn said...

I like the logo. I'm going to copy that onto my blog too. Thanks!

Rachel C. said...

You express your feelings and beliefs about this topic like I wish I could!

An Ordinary Mom said...

Thanks for all the information. My husband and I both have absentee ballots coming our way from CA.

Prudy said...

Thanks for writing it in such a respectful manner and for putting your money where your heart is.
How is home schooling going?

Angela said...

You go girl! I testified on the same topic in front of the NH senate. This is a very important issue! I am so proud of you!

D-D mom (no that's NOT my bra size) said...

This is such an important topic. Thanks for bringing it to conversation; I echo your sentiments and pledge to do what I can to protect marriage as God defined it.

mindyluwho said...

Beautifully said Michal. I like the ideas you had such as sacrificing dates and other pleasures to be able to give money to the cause. I'm going to talk to my family about that.

Chino Blanco said...

Just a heads up: Mike Huckabee recently gave an interview in which he holds Mitt Romney responsible for implementing gay marriage in Massachusetts.

Video

Welcome to the ProtectMarriage.com coalition.

I wish that more rank and file members of the LDS (Mormon) church would realize: the anti-gay coalition they've joined in California is one that includes folks who - given the chance - would vote their church out of existence.

Folks like Mike Huckabee and his Evangelical buddies.

Michal said...

chino,
i understand your chagrin at huckabee's comments. he has definitely shown himself to be anti-mormon. he is obviously making these statements for political reasons because he is threatened by romney. although there are surely many evangelicals who feel the same way about the lds church, he is not the official spokesperson of the movement.

with that being said, joining with the evangelicals and other people who believe in marriage (of any faith) will help to narrow the divide between us. most evangelicals that i know have some strange notions of mormons until they get to know a few of us and find out that we are not very different from them.

we need to stand shoulder to shoulder with those who will stand up for the family, rather than playing the junior high game of namecalling.

besides, this issue is critical and we can't pass prop 8 without them (nor they, without us.)

and they aren't going to get the chance to "vote us out of existence", as much as they may want to.

by the way, protectmarriage.com is not anti-gay. it is pro marriage according to the definitions of the lord. is it anti-male to say that men can not be called mothers? is it anti-apple to say that you cannot call apple "oranges"? we are not trying to put anyone down, just to secure the proper definition and place for the sacred institution of marriage.

Smith Family said...

I don't know if you will ever see this comment since I am commenting so long after you wrote this post. I read this a while ago (but didn't get a chance to comment) and I wanted to let you know that I loved your post and I think that it is awesome that you are getting involved and contributing! You have inspired me to too. Thanks!