In response to the recent United States Supreme Court ruling overturning Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and California’s Proposition 8 the LDS Church issued a press release. Before we dive into that I want to highlight a few of the following themes in church statements following significant events in the Prop 8 trial.
* Belief in democratic and judicial processes
“Even though the democratic process can be demanding and difficult, Latter-day Saints are profoundly grateful for and respect the ideals of a true democracy.”
“Today’s decision by the California Supreme Court is welcome. The issue the court decided was whether California citizens validly exercised their right to amend their own constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman. The court has overwhelmingly affirmed their action.”
* Vigorous debate
“We recognize that this decision represents only the opening of a vigorous debate in the courts over the rights of the people to define and protect this most fundamental institution—marriage.
There is no doubt that today’s ruling will add to the marriage debate in this country…”
“We recognize that this decision represents a continuation of what has been a vigorous public debate over the rights of the people to define and protect the fundamental institution of marriage. There is no doubt that today’s ruling will intensify the debate in this country”
* Mutual respect
“We hope that now and in the future all parties involved in this issue will be well informed and act in a spirit of mutual respect and civility toward those with a different position. No one on any side of the question should be vilified, intimidated, harassed or subject to erroneous information.”
“[The Church] once again affirms that all of us are children of God, and all deserve to be treated with respect. The Church believes that serious discussion of these issues is not helped when extreme elements on both sides of the debate demonize the other.”
“There is no doubt that today’s ruling will add to the marriage debate in this country and we urge people on all sides of this issue to act in a spirit of mutual respect and civility toward those with a different opinion.”
“We urge people on all sides of this issue to act in a spirit of mutual respect and civility toward those with a different opinion.”
“The bedrock institution of marriage between a man and a woman has profound implications for our society. These implications range from what our children are taught in schools to individual and collective freedom of religious expression and practice.”
“Marriage between a man and woman is the bedrock of society.”
Contrast these themes with the current press release:
“By ruling that supporters of Proposition 8 lacked standing to bring this case to court, the Supreme Court has highlighted troubling questions about how our democratic and judicial system operates. Many Californians will wonder if there is something fundamentally wrong when their government will not defend or protect a popular vote that reflects the views of a majority of their citizens.“In addition, the effect of the ruling is to raise further complex jurisdictional issues that will need to be resolved.”Regardless of the court decision, the Church remains irrevocably committed to strengthening traditional marriage between a man and a woman, which for thousands of years has proven to be the best environment for nurturing children. Notably, the court decision does not change the definition of marriage in nearly three-fourths of the states.”
What we have is an abandonment of the belief in democratic and judicial process, no mention of vigorous additional debate, nothing about mutual respect and not a bedrock in sight.
Instead we are left with complaints about process (note: if you’re whining about process in a debate you’re losing), sour graping about the court’s decision and a rear guard salvo about how almost three fourths of the states are as behind the times as we are.
In twenty years when Oklahoma is the only state to not recognize gay marriage and President Tagg Romney has to order the 101st Airborne to the Oklahoma City Clerk’s office in order to allow gay couples to receive marriage licenses I’m sure the press releases will look different.
And the bedrock mentioned will be one of equality.