Sunday, May 31, 2009

Some Inspired Words Concerning Prop 8

Concerning Prop. 8 in California, here are a few quotes from church leaders.

First Presidency Letter read to all congregations in California on 29 June 2008 reads in part:

"The Church’s teachings and position on this moral issue are unequivocal. Marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God, and the formation of families is central to the Creator’s plan for His children. Children are entitled to be born within this bond of marriage.

"We ask that you do all you can to support the proposed constitutional amendment by donating of your means and time to assure that marriage in California is legally defined as being between a man and a woman. Our best efforts are required to preserve the sacred institution of marriage."

Elder Neal A. Maxwell speaking before an audience at Brigham Young University said:

"Discipleship includes good citizenship; and in this connection, if you are careful students of the statements of the modern prophets, you will have noticed that with rare exceptions–especially when the First Presidency has spoken out–the concerns expressed have been over moral issues, not issues between political parties. The declarations are about principles, not people, and causes, not candidates.

"But make no mistake about it, brothers and sisters; in the months and years ahead, events will require of each member that he or she decide whether or not he or she will follow the First Presidency. Members will find it more difficult to halt longer between two opinions (see 1 Kings 18:21)

"President Marion G. Romney said, many years ago, that he had “never hesitated to follow the counsel of the Authorities of the Church even though it crossed my social, professional, or political life” (CR, April 1941, p. 123). This is a hard doctrine, but it is a particularly vital doctrine in a society which is becoming more wicked. In short, brothers and sisters, not being ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ includes not being ashamed of the prophets of Jesus Christ.

"We are now entering a period of incredible ironies. Let us cite but one of these ironies which is yet in its subtle stages: we shall see in our time a maximum if indirect effort made to establish irreligion as the state religion. It is actually a new form of paganism that uses the carefully preserved and cultivated freedoms of Western civilization to shrink freedom even as it rejects the value essence of our rich Judeo-Christian heritage.

"This new irreligious imperialism seeks to disallow certain of people’s opinions simply because those opinions grow out of religious convictions. Resistance to abortion will soon be seen as primitive. Concern over the institution of the family will be viewed as untrendy and unenlightened."

President Gordon B. Hinckley said in his conference talk “Loyalty:”

“Now may I say a word concerning loyalty to the Church. We see much indifference. There are those who say, ‘The Church won’t dictate to me how to think about this, that, or the other, or how to live my life.’

"No, I reply, the Church will not dictate to any man how he should think or what he should do. The Church will point out the way and invite every member to live the gospel and enjoy the blessings that come of such living. The Church will not dictate to any man, but it will counsel, it will persuade, it will urge, and it will expect loyalty from those who profess membership therein.

"When I was a university student, I said to my father on one occasion that I felt the General Authorities had overstepped their prerogatives when they advocated a certain thing. He was a very wise and good man. He said, ‘The President of the Church has instructed us, and I sustain him as prophet, seer, and revelator and intend to follow his counsel.’

"I have now served in the general councils of this Church for 45 years. I have served as an Assistant to the Twelve, as a member of the Twelve, as a Counselor in the First Presidency, and now for eight years as President. I want to give you my testimony that although I have sat in literally thousands of meetings where Church policies and programs have been discussed, I have never been in one where the guidance of the Lord was not sought nor where there was any desire on the part of anyone present to advocate or do anything which would be injurious or coercive to anyone.

"The book of Revelation declares: ‘I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. ‘So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth’ (Rev. 3:15–16).

“I make you a promise, my dear brethren, that while I am serving in my present responsibility I will never consent to nor advocate any policy, any program, any doctrine which will be otherwise than beneficial to the membership of this, the Lord’s Church.

“This is His work. He established it. He has revealed its doctrine. He has outlined its practices. He created its government. It is His work and His kingdom, and He has said, ‘They who are not for me are against me’ (2 Ne. 10:16).

“In 1933 there was a movement in the United States to overturn the law which prohibited commerce in alcoholic beverages. When it came to a vote, Utah was the deciding state.

“I was on a mission, working in London, England, when I read the newspaper headlines that screamed, “Utah Kills Prohibition. President Heber J. Grant, then President of this Church, had pleaded with our people against voting to nullify Prohibition. It broke his heart when so many members of the Church in this state disregarded his counsel.

"On this occasion I am going to talk of uncompromising loyalty to the Church. Each of us has to face the matter—either the Church is true, or it is a fraud. There is no middle ground. It is the Church and kingdom of God, or it is nothing."


The Proposition 8 Ruling: What It Means

What did the court decide?
The court ruled against opponents of Proposition 8 and upheld traditional marriage. The key issue before the court was whether Proposition 8 was an amendment or a revision to the state constitution.

A revision is a fundamental alteration of California's governmental structure. A revision requires a 2/3 approval by the legislature before heading to voters. The court agreed with Proposition 8 supporters that the ballot measure was a valid amendment, not a revision. The simple 14-word insertion of the traditional decision of marriage does not fundamentally change the structure of government.

This ruling was a victory for the democratic process and the people's ability to change our governing documents. While Proposition 8 was upheld, it was also subverted by the ruling. In recognizing the 18,000 same-sex unions performed last year, the court undercut the constitution, which clearly states that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.

What about the same-sex marriages performed last summer?

Last May the California Supreme Court overturned Proposition 22, declaring it unconstitutional. Since Proposition 22 was not placed in the constitution, but simply in state law, the court contended that it violated the state's ultimate law, the constitution. Six months later, voters approved Proposition 8, which placed the true definition of marriage in the state constitution, thus superseding the court's ruling. In that six month window, an estimated 18,000 same-sex unions were performed in the state.

The court placed itself in the untenable position of upholding the people's ability to defend traditional marriage and extending marriage rights to same-sex couples. In the end, the court reluctantly agreed Proposition 8 was a valid constitutional amendment, but it held to its social engineering by validating the marriages performed last summer.

The court ruled that Proposition 8 did not contain a "retroactivity provision" and therefore any marriages performed before it took effect were valid. The ruling held that voters did not intend to invalidate existing same-sex marriages, and neither Proposition 8's language nor any voter guide information would lead voters to believe that existing same-sex marriages would be invalidated should Proposition 8 pass. This is an attempt by the court to find a legal loophole in order to placate those they wronged last year by impatiently and imprudently declaring same-sex marriage legal before voters had their say on Proposition 8.

Will same-sex marriages outside of California be recognized?

In the last footnote of the majority opinion, the court indicates it is open to hearing a case on whether same-sex marriages performed outside the state during the six-month window last summer may also be recognized in California. It is doubtful that such marriages would be recognized, especially not until such a legal challenge is brought forward. However, the court does seem to invite such a challenge, and based on their illogical justification for recognizing the 18,000 existing same-sex unions, justices seem amenable to the idea of recognizing out-of-state unions.

Does this mean the fight over marriage is over?
Not at all. Even before the ruling was handed by the court, homosexual activists were organizing and planning their next steps. Already, there is a movement to place a repeal of Proposition 8 on the ballot in 2010. Rallies, protests and demonstrations are scheduled all across the state as opponents of Proposition 8 express their anger.
The day after the ruling was handed down, two lawyers announced they had filed a federal challenge to Proposition 8. Former Solicitor General (under President George W. Bush) Ted Olson and David Boies, who were opponents in the historic Bush v. Gore case of 2000, jointly filed the lawsuit. The suit alleges Proposition 8 violates the United States Constitution's Fourteenth Amendment guarantees of equal protection and due process. On behalf of an Alameda lesbian couple and Los Angeles gay couple, the suit requests an immediate injunction to stop the enforcement of Proposition 8.

There does seem to be some division amongst homosexual groups, as several have denounced the lawsuit, preferring instead to try the issue at the ballot box again. Homosexual advocacy organization Equality California is already laying the groundwork for a statewide ballot initiative to make same-sex marriage legal. If it qualifies, such a measure could appear on the 2010 or 2012 ballot.

We must remain vigilant because the battle for marriage has just begun.

Capital Resource Institute 2009

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

LDS Church Response to CA Supreme Court Decision on Prop. 8

SALT LAKE CITY - 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.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recognizes the deeply held feelings on both sides, but strongly affirms its belief that marriage should be between a man and a woman. 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.

Accordingly, the Church stands firmly for what it believes is right for the health and well-being of society as a whole. In doing so, it 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.