Ron Scott wrote:

> >From: Sander J. Rabinowitz [mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED]

> >Ron Scott wrote:
> >
> >> I understand that opponents of gay marriage are turning the
> >> battle for a proposed Constitutional Amendment into a
> >referendum
> >> on sexual practices. This is precisely why I think
> >the initiative
> >> will fail and probably fail convincingly.  The problem is that
> >> long ago statutes prohibiting various sexual acts
> >were repealed.
> >
> >I don't know for myself that opponents are taking exclusively
> >that approach, although I have no doubt that a sizeable number
> >might.  Similarly, I would imagine that many others have
> >taken a purely religious approach, in the context of SSM being
> >against the laws of God. <
> 
> I understand.  However, I think the homosexual acts are 
> [against] the laws of God, not SS unions.  I realize I'm 
> splitting hairs. But, in order to be consistent I think we need 
> to begin at the beginning: how should government regard 
> homosexual acts? Resolve that one and, I think, it takes care 
> of the other.  If the laws remain as they are, I'm afraid 
> that opposition to SS unions don't have a legal leg to stand 
> on.

But I still think are a couple different angles to look at this.
One points solely to the biological element, as you have, while 
the other points to marriages in a general sense, regardless of 
the biological element.  

For example, it often occurs that one party, typically a female,
will come to the U.S. to marry an American male for the sole 
purpose of obtaining legal immigration status.  Assuming they 
are able to get past USCIS (formerly INS) scrutiny, nothing 
more happens in the relationship, and the parties may even 
live separately.  The key elements: 1) The relationship is not 
SSM.  2) Nothing happens biologically.  3) Yet Congress, as a 
matter of policy, has empowered USCIS to determine whether a 
given marriage is "bona fide/in good faith" for immigration
purposes, and to deport someone whose marriage doesn't meet 
the statutory criteria, even if it was otherwise legal and 
binding.  

Second example: A marries B for companionship alone, or perhaps
only so that B can have access to A's benefits.  Here, so 
long as the marriage is solumnized correctly, the law doesn't
look into why the marriage took place.  You actually pointed
to an SSM version of this in one of earlier posts.  In either 
event, there is not a biological element.  

Third example: In a plural marriage, A marries B for traditional
reasons, then marries C because she was widowed and would 
otherwise live on her own. Again, no biological element as to
C, and in fact, it may even be compatible with D&C 132 (at least
prior to Official Declaration #1).  Yet the marriage to B is 
legal and the marriage to C is not...in fact, polygamy is 
singled out in the immigration laws as grounds for
denying someone citizenship or permanent residency, and perhaps
may even be grounds for deportation.  

But besides all this, if SS unions were themselves compatible
with the laws of God, the question to ask is: Would a Bishop be
allowed to solumnize an SSM, provided the parties vowed to
refrain from the biological element, in addition to all other
vows?  I think the answer here would be no.  First, D&C 132 
expressly defines marriage between a man and a woman (and 
temple marriage as being between a man and one or more women).
Second, a similar definition can be found in Genesis 2:21-24.

So for all of these reasons, it would be impossible to evaluate
the validity of a given marriage solely on the basis of whether
a biological act occurs, or is reasonably capable of occurring.

> >But to me it all comes back to a point I made a while back,
> >and if I sound like a broken record, I apologize.  To me,
> >we're not talking about merely a legal or a social
> >privilege, or whether a given relationship is compatible
> >with nature, although undoubtedly there will continue to be
> >those discussions.  Rather, we're talking about a core value
> >that was supposed to transcend individual, religious,
> >and ethnic views, and gets to the root of our identity as
> >a nation and a society.<
> 
> I've heard that argument and I think we all did make similar
> assumptions.  The problem is we didn't articulate it quite this
> way when the Constitution was written, and, in essence we haven't
> done so for 200 plus years.

I may cede that point.  The Founding Fathers operated by the
best light that they had...they didn't necessarily have the
light Joseph Smith had, and they certainly did not have the
Priesthood.  The same could be said for most leaders and
citizens to the present day.  

But the trend appears to be for society to be heading away from
the light than it had previously, and in that sense, we have 
to figure out, through legal and Constitutional means, how to 
get closer to the ideal, or at least return to where we had 
started.  

> However, we did clearly define that
> citizens are guaranteed equal protection under the law.  And, we
> established a process by which such interpretive matters may be
> addressed. The process is judicial review. To prevail, the case
> must pass basic constitutional tests.

But I would submit that what is happening in San Francisco, 
Seattle, and elsewhere, involves anything BUT judicial review.  
Arguably, the situation in Massachusetts does involve 
judicial review.  But that cannot be the final word on the 
matter, even there, since states are now being asked to 
ratify marriages its citizens vehimently disapprove of.  
All it indicates is that the law has suddenly become very
unsettled at a national level...which is precisely the 
impetus for the SSM debate in the first place.  

> You mean our the "basic presumed definition" of marriage.  The
> "presumed definition" regards qualifications to vote, own
> property etc. have been expanded as the "presumed definitions"
> failed to meet various constitutional tests.  Strip out the
> religious controversies and the current situation here is roughly
> similar, so far as I can tell.

I'm not sure about that, mostly for the reasons and examples 
noted above.

> >Stated from as secular of a point of view as I can muster:
> >When a society seeks to tinker with basic foundational values
> >without seeking even a minimum of consensus within that
> >society, let alone any soul searching to know if what it
> >is doing is right, it is playing with fire.  And as the
> >saying goes, you can't play with fire and not get burned.<
> 
> I agree.  But I'm not sure an amendment is the right way to go
> here. It seems to be both "parties" could get burned. I'm not
> sure what purpose will be served.

Obviously the amendment would be at variance with the views of 
SSM advocates, but how would this burn the opposite camp?  I 
would be curious on that point.  Apologies in advance if I'm
asking you to repeat yourself, as I've not had a chance to
read many of your earlier exchanges.  

> >> In many states, same sex couples have been allowed to adopt
> >> children and, of course, by way of artificial insemination or
> >> with the aid of a willing male SSA women have been
> >able to bear
> >> natural children.
> >
> >But again, to me, whether SSM marriages can have children,
> >or whether traditional marriages do not is besides the
> >point.  In fact, the way I think of it is this:  If children
> >are born to an SSM or domestic partner relationship, and an
> >increasing minority or plurality ratify the move as legitimate,
> >we are chipping away at a basic value.  When children are born
> >outside of marriage, and it is similarly ratified as being
> >legitimate, we are chipping away at a basic value. <
> 
> You're absolutely right. On the other hand we have not made much
> effort to other "non-traditional" births and family
> configurations, some that were arguably more "unstable" on the
> face of them than SSA marriages would be.  There is something to
> be said for consistency. Otherwise, we end up in a position of
> singling out one group for especially harsh treatment.

In fact, I am reminded of a political cartoon I saw last week
in USA today, where if I remember correctly, a couple was
criticizing SSM even as they were serving themselves with 
divorce papers.  There are also many relationships of a number
of flavors, legal or otherwise, that have ended very badly, 
with children abused, and so on.  But the wrongs of the past
and present (as regards non-SSM issues) don't justify adding
to the pile a new set of wrongs.  If anything, it means all 
of the earlier issues need to be re-examined anew.  Of course,
I'm not sure that will ever happen because the most vocal
debaters in these other issues have varied and conflicting
agendas.  But we do what we can.  

> >When we seek to terminate the lives of unborn
> >children _without cause_ save it were the convenience of the
> >biological participants (I dare not use the term mother and
> >father in that instance), we chip away at yet another core
> >value.
>
> I'm not going to comment on the above statement, simply because
> I don't want to mix the two issues. I'm not copping out, however.
> Abortion is a very tough issue for me...but it deserved a
> separate discussion.

Understood.  My intent wasn't to expand the scope of the
discussion, except to point out instances where it appears 
that core values are being questioned.  It's not simply SSM,
it's a series of continuing and varied issues that have 
all led to this.  

/Sandy/ 

--
The Rabinowitz Family -- http://www.firstnephi.com
Spring Hill, Tennessee

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