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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Brilliant Move

posted by on November 11 at 11:23 AM

In an attempt to mollify angry gay mobs, the leader of the Mormon church said that he—and his church—weren’t really anti-gay at all! They wanted to protect marriage, you see, but they don’t think gay couples should be discriminated against and the church “does not object to rights for same-sex couples regarding hospitalization and medical care, fair housing and employment rights, or probate rights,” and he added that the Mormon church does not oppose “civil unions or domestic partnerships.”

Equality Utah has called his bluff:

I take LDS Church leaders at their word that they are not anti-gay and that they sincerely understand that gay and transgender individuals and their families are in need of certain legal protections and basic benefits. I appreciate their statements that they do not oppose legal protections for gay people like those already enacted in California law that do not conflict with their genuinely held beliefs about marriage. This is our chance to come together and work to enact basic legal protections for gay Utahns. I am hopeful that the LDS Church will accept our invitation to heal our communities by bringing its considerable social and political influence to bear in support of laws that prevent discrimination and provide for the legitimate needs of all Utahns and their families.

More here.

RSS icon Comments


why can't they object to this bizarre insistence on calling a civil institution 'marriage,' if marriage is a sacred term? That would solve everyone's problem right there.

Posted by rococo | November 11, 2008 11:37 AM

Maybe a two-stage strategy that pursued "civil unions" followed by a Plessy vs Ferguson separate-but-equal case would bring about the goal of marriage equality faster in places like Utah. That would take the "defense of marriage" argument away from them by taking the word "marriage" out of it. Spin it like this: Only the Church can perform marriage. The State grants Civil Unions, which are essentially highly specialized legal contracts.

Hell, it could even be framed as "the Church takes back the word 'Marriage.' " They'd probably like that.

Posted by flamingbanjo | November 11, 2008 11:41 AM

They defeated the domestic partnership register in Salt Lake City, why should they be trusted?

Posted by AJ | November 11, 2008 11:45 AM

"hospitalization and medical care, fair housing and employment rights, or probate rights"

What the fuck else is marriage in the eyes of the government?

Posted by Mahtli69 | November 11, 2008 11:48 AM

I'd probably die of shock if gay marriage was legalized in Utah before it is in most other states.

Posted by Mike in Renton | November 11, 2008 11:51 AM


Keep in mind that black folks LOST in Plessy v. Ferguson.

Posted by Chris | November 11, 2008 11:53 AM

We need to understand that the Mormons and other religious groups do have vested interests in defeating marriage equality:

1) Seeing happily married gay couples forces their followers to consciously confront the sexual hysteria that’s a key component of their sects’ social control.

2) It also alleviates them of their self-proclaimed responsibility to improve people’s lives since they have no actual positive agenda.

3) And finally, gay bashing is all the Republicans and Religious Right has left in light of the fact that their social, domestic and economic policies are obscene failures.

If the churches are wrong about all of these issues, then what else could they be wrong about? In fact, these logical revelations could even cause some of their brighter followers to question why organized religion relevant to a personal relationship with God in the first place.

Posted by Original Andrew | November 11, 2008 11:54 AM

It's gotten to the point with me that I don't trust any branch of the Christian church any further than I could throw them. The Christian church (which includes Mormons) is an institution that is in the business of oppressing people, and has been for 2000 years. 2000 freakin' years!! To quote Max Von Sydow in Hannah and Her Sisters, "If Jesus came back and saw what was being done in His name, He wouldn't stop throwing up."

Posted by Chris | November 11, 2008 11:58 AM

I've just noticed that a lot of religious folks, when backed into a corner, will admit that these are basic human rights. Maybe focusing on the rights in question without using their trigger word is the way to do it.

I can pretty much guarantee that making this about gays vs minorities or gays vs religion is not going to win over a lot of Christians, which last time I checked represented a majority of voters.

Posted by flamingbanjo | November 11, 2008 12:03 PM

@7: Their social hysteria goes from group to group. If not the gays, next it'll be abortion and the unmarried. Then they'll move on to anti-americans and it'll keep going.

Posted by AJ | November 11, 2008 12:04 PM

I used to think that getting all the same legal rights was enough for same-sex couples, and I didn't care what we called it. This was back when I thought that being able to walk down the street without getting the shit beat out of me was some sort of gift.

No. "Marriage" needs to remain THE word for the civil and legal commitment, no matter who is involved. I don't want to have to explain to someone that I'm "civil-unionized" or "domestically-partnered" when the heteros can simply say "I'm married."

If members of a religious community want to smugly express, in addition, that THEIR marriage has been "sanctified" or "blessed" or "wanded" or what-the-fuck-ever, fine, but they would be no more MARRIED in the eyes of the law than I would be.

Posted by rob | November 11, 2008 12:43 PM

Proposal: When the initiative to legalize gay marriage goes on the ballot, it's worded as legalizing "civil marriage between same-sex couples, not spiritual marriage." Part 2 of the initiative will clarify that heterosexual marriages are also "civil, and not religious marriages." To me, this is already completely obvious, but it would get rid of the 2% who still can't make the distinction about "sacred" versus "legal."

Posted by lusk | November 11, 2008 12:50 PM

As a hetero-male, I'm all for calling non-church marriages "civil unions," whether they be between members of the same or opposite sex (I myself was "civil-unionized" in a courthouse ceremony). Doesn't mean you still can't use "wife" or "husband" (though I'm sure that those two words are next in the oncoming war of the words).

Ultimately, as I'm sure has been brought up here before, I feel that the term "marriage" should be stripped of any legal rights whatsoever, leaving it simply a ceremonial religious title. This would have the added encumbrance of forcing people who married to have two ceremonies, one for "marriage" and one for "civil unionization" to grant them legal rights. I'd love to know how many people would bother going through with the religious ceremony once the legal rights were stripped away from it.

Posted by j.lee | November 11, 2008 1:46 PM

@6, I had the same thought but I think what @2 had in mind for phase 2 was Brown v. BoE, not Plessy v. Ferguson.

Posted by quinapalus | November 11, 2008 4:20 PM

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