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. . .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.)
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."
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. WickmanSo, 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.
"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
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.