Friday, August 29, 2008

Liberty, the Family, and Morality

I recently read The Divine Institution of Marriage and one of the most insightful paragraphs reads as follows:
Finally, throughout history the family has served as an essential bulwark of individual liberty. The walls of a home provide a defense against detrimental social influences and the sometimes overreaching powers of government. In the absence of abuse or neglect, government does not have the right to intervene in the rearing and moral education of children in the home. Strong families are thus vital for political freedom. But when governments presume to redefine the nature of marriage, issuing regulations to ensure public acceptance of non-traditional unions, they have moved a step closer to intervening in the sacred sphere of domestic life. The consequences of crossing this line are many and unpredictable, but likely would include an increase in the power and reach of the state toward whatever ends it seeks to pursue.

I then recalled something that John Adams said regarding the necessity of morality to ensure liberty:
Statesmen, my dear Sir, may plan and speculate for liberty, but it is religion and morality alone, which can establish the principles upon which freedom can securely stand. The only foundation of a free Constitution is pure virtue, and if this cannot be inspired into our People in a greater Measure than they have it now, they may change their rulers and the forms of government, but they will not obtain a lasting liberty.

By supporting Proposition 8 we defend traditional marriage and morality, both of which are necessary to secure liberty.

Interesting Article

Same-Sex ‘Marriage’ and the Persecution of Civil Society


Advocates of same-sex “marriage” present the idea as a step forward for tolerance and respect. But recent developments place that interpretation very much in doubt.

Legalizing same-sex “marriage” is not a stand-alone policy, independent of all the other activities of the state. Once governments assert that same-sex unions are the equivalent of marriage, those governments must defend and enforce a whole host of other social changes.

Read the rest here.

PG&E, Heinz...and now Hallmark

Hallmark Adds Same-Sex Marriage Cards

Thursday, August 21, 2008

By Sarah Skidmore, Associated Press

Photo provided by Hallmark shows a same-sex wedding greeting card. Hallmark added the cards after California joined Massachusetts as the only U.S. states with legal gay marriage. (AP Photo/Hallmark)

Portland, Ore. (AP)
- Most states don't recognize gay marriage - but now Hallmark does.

The nation's largest greeting card company is rolling out same-sex wedding cards - featuring two tuxedos, overlapping hearts or intertwined flowers, with best wishes inside. "Two hearts. One promise," one says.

Read the rest here.

Democratic Party Opposed to Prop 8?

Take what you will from the article below. The 2008 Democratic Party Platform states "We oppose the Defense of Marriage Act and all attempts to use this issue to divide us." I don't know if this means that the Democratic Party's official position is to support SSM, but it certainly is a step in the wrong direction.

Jim Brown - OneNewsNow - 7/21/2008 10:25:00 AM

The Democratic National Committee is actively working to foil the campaign to ban same-sex "marriage" in California.

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) contributed $25,000 on February 28 to Equality for All for the purpose of opposing the proposed California marriage protection amendment known as Proposition 8. Equality for All is a homosexual group that pledges to defeat Prop 8 "one voter at a time." According to the group, "a loss in November will dramatically slow, if not halt, progress toward full equality for LGBT Americans."

Read the rest here.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Taking it to the Streets

Canvassing (i.e., soliciting votes by going door to door) is one of the most effective ways to get a proposition passed. Proposition 8 supporters are already taking it to the streets. Let's make sure that we each set aside at least a couple of days where we can canvass our precincts and educate people regarding Proposition 8.

Heinz - Corporate Sponsor of Same Sex Marriage

Add Heinz to the list of large corporations that have (at least indirectly) taken the side against Proposition 8.

Proposition 8 Video

The American Family Association has put together this informative video on Proposition 8.

'Left Coast' putting traditional marriage at risk


James L. Lambert - Guest Columnist - 8/20/2008 11:00:00 AM

The institution of marriage has long been considered the bedrock of societies, cultures, and religions throughout history. Traditionally defined as between one man and one woman, marriage is known as the foundation of families throughout the world. But today, the traditional definition of marriage is under attack in the State of California.

Earlier this year, four California State Supreme Court justices "created" a new definition of marriage. That court's decision on May 15 overturned the will of 4.5 million California citizens (61 percent of the total vote) who had expressed their preference by approving Proposition 22 in March 2000.

Read the rest here

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

LA Times Article

This effort is bringing together all different faiths. We should all reach out to others who share our same values on this issue and work together.

California churches plan a big push against same-sex marriage

Organizers hope to get 1 million Catholics, Mormons, Jews, Muslims, evangelical Christians, Sikhs and Hindus to post lawn signs supporting Prop. 8 in unison next month.
By Jessica Garrison, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
August 24, 2008
Early on a late September morning, if all goes according to plan, 1 million Mormons, Catholics, Jews, Muslims, evangelical Christians, Sikhs and Hindus will open their doors, march down their front walks and plant "Yes on Proposition 8" signs in their yards to show they support repealing same-sex marriage in California.

It is a bold idea, one that may be difficult to pull off. But whether or not 1 million lawn signs are planted in unison, the plan underscores what some observers say is one of the most ambitious interfaith political organizing efforts ever attempted in the state. Moreover, political analysts say, the alliances across religious boundaries could herald new ways of building coalitions around political issues in California.

[Read the rest here.]

A Flavor of Proposition 8 Opponents

I recently received the following solicitation. It gives a flavor of how opponents of Proposition 8 view proponents. It also gives a sense of how the opposition is organizing their efforts. The opposition is organized, we better be too.

Young Professionals Fundraiser to Defeat Proposition 8!

Host Committee


Join our Host Committee, along with the Bar Association of San Francisco Marriage Fairness Task Force, the Barristers Club, and the Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom [ and others TBA], for a fundraising party to support the fight for equality and against the anti-gay marriage initiative (Proposition 8).

Prop 8 will amend the California Constitution to eliminate the rights of gay men and lesbians to marry. The expected fiscal impact will be tens of millions of dollars in lost revenue to state and local governments. The emotional impact to people stripped of the opportunity and privilege to marry will be incalculable. To invoke the constitutional-amendment process to strip people of rights is a drastic and rare step. Yet in California, it can be done with a simple majority vote.

The stakes in the Prop 8 battle are enormous, and the other side is well financed. At present, the proponents of Proposition 8 have raised exponentially more than the amount raised in defense of these fundamental civil rights. They have attacked the California Supreme Court as extremist and targeted one community for hate. There is no turning back now. We can either be on the right side of history or not. As young leaders in our profession, we are called to take action to ensure this does not happen on our watch.

Please join us on September 24 as we stand in solidarity against the proponents of hate and in favor of fundamental fairness and equality.

When: Wednesday, September 24, 2008. 6-9 pm

Where: The Ambassador, 673 Geary St, San Francisco 94102

What: A party! Drink specials and light refreshments. Prominent leaders in the fight to defeat Proposition 8 will speak and a popular DJ will spin tunes!

Tickets: $250 requested donation.

Donations Urgently Needed to Fight Big Donors

In my conversations with various Proposition 8 leaders I have discovered that the number one thing the Yes! Proposition 8 movement needs at this time is donations. Please make your most generous donation here

The need for donations becomes even more clear when we see companies such as PG&E donating hundreds of thousands of dollars to defeat Proposition 8. Read about it here.

One Man's Thoughts On Gay Marriage

This morning I received the following post. Anyone who wishes to post their thoughts on Proposition 8 or to notify others of ways in which they can help the cause, please email me at and I will make sure to post it here. Thanks.

How you define marriage has a lot to do with where the misunderstanding on this issue originates. Is it simply a legal contract between two people or does the state recognize it as a simple means of defining allowable joint ownerships, deductions, liability, ad infinitum?

I propose that marriage was not originally intended simply as a legal contract. It has been around longer than law itself, regardless of which culture you take as an example. The reasons we have for wanting to protect it for what it truly was intended as go much deeper than a simple civil rights discussion. Modern ideas and political pressures should not be used to trample under a religious rite, which, to many, represents far more than a method of obtaining civil rights. It is a covenant. A sacred three-way covenant in which only a man, woman and God can enter into. That the state additionally recognizes it as contract between two people is complimentary but not all-encompassing.

I have and have had many gay friends who seek equal rights and recognition of their unions. I fully sympathize with their predicament - many things are unreasonably difficult and unfair as the law currently stands. I honor and support their rights and endeavors to obtain equal rights and will continue to support them in that cause. Though I fundamentally disagree on a religious level with those practices I personally believe they should be afforded every right and privilege the law currently provides me and my wife as a married couple. I do not, however, believe that marriage is the applicable method for obtaining that recognition. That it is a recognized method is true, but it should be reserved for religious rites between a man and a woman. Alternatives should be provided in the form of civil unions, be they of whatever sexual persuasion they may be.

Again, as I have told some of my closest gay friends: While I may not agree with their personal decisions in this regard, I want only the best for them in their homes as I have been afforded in mine. Legal recognition of gay marriage is not the answer, however. Marriage is a religious covenant between man, woman, and God which happens to be recognized by the state. It does not have to be the only such union recognized by the state. Compromise is the answer here, not changing the definition of a religious institution.

If true equality without the fear of segregation is required, call everything recognized under the state "civil union" or some other such PC term. Marriage would then be a secondary, religious bond. As an LDS member, I already see it as such. I was married and then I signed a contract recognized by the state. The marriage would have, in my opinion, been valid with or without the state's blessing.

Monday, August 25, 2008

When Gay Rights and Religious Liberties Clash, June 13, 2008 · In recent years, some states have passed laws giving residents the right to same-sex unions in various forms. Gay couples may marry in Massachusetts and California. There are civil unions and domestic partnerships in Vermont, New Jersey, Connecticut, New Hampshire and Oregon. Other states give more limited rights.

Armed with those legal protections, same-sex couples are beginning to challenge policies of religious organizations that exclude them, claiming that a religious group's view that homosexual marriage is a sin cannot be used to violate their right to equal treatment. Now parochial schools, "parachurch" organizations such as Catholic Charities and businesses that refuse to serve gay couples are being sued — and so far, the religious groups are losing. Here are a few cases:

Adoption services: Catholic Charities in Massachusetts refused to place children with same-sex couples as required by Massachusetts law. After a legislative struggle — during which the Senate president said he could not support a bill "condoning discrimination" — Catholic Charities pulled out of the adoption business in 2006.

Read the rest here.

The Divine Institution of Marriage

From the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints ---


The California Supreme Court recently ruled that same-sex marriage was legal in California. Recognizing the importance of marriage to society, the Church accepted an invitation to participate in ProtectMarriage, a coalition of churches, organizations, and individuals sponsoring a November ballot measure, Proposition 8, that would amend the California state constitution to ensure that only a marriage between a man and a woman would be legally recognized. (Information about the coalition can be found at

On June 20, 2008, the First Presidency of the Church distributed a letter about “Preserving Traditional Marriage and Strengthening Families,” announcing the Church’s participation with the coalition. The letter, which was read in Latter-day Saints’ church services in California, asked that Church members “do all [they] can to support the proposed constitutional amendment.”

Read the rest here.

Foes of same-sex marriage mobilize

By Racie Cone and Lisa Leff
Associated Press
Published: August 25, 2008

FRESNO, Calif. — Michael Bumgarner says he's never campaigned for a political cause before, but his strong opposition to same-sex marriage has prompted him to join thousands of volunteers going door-to-door in support of a ballot initiative that would ban gay nuptials here.

"I've never stumped before, but I want to be a part of this," Bumgarner said. The retired insurance executive and devout member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said his late mother would "turn over in her grave" if she knew that gays and lesbians could marry.

With less than 11 weeks until Election Day, supporters of Proposition 8 are ramping up their field organization and refining their message as they seek to persuade California voters to shut the door on same-sex marriage. It's the first time voters will be asked to weigh in on the issue in either California or Massachusetts — the states where gays have won the right to wed.

An estimated 15,000 backers of the measure, most of them members of the LDS, Catholic and evangelical Christian churches, knocked on doors and distributed campaign literature to registered voters throughout the state this weekend and last, according to Jennifer Kerns, spokeswoman for the Yes on 8 campaign.

The initiative is a constitutional amendment, similar to ones already enacted in 26 other states, that would overturn the California Supreme Court decision that legalized same-sex marriage. It needs a simple majority of votes to pass.

Ron Prentice, director of the coalition of religious and social conservative groups that qualified the amendment for the November ballot, said the group has ordered 1 million yard signs and 1 million bumper stickers.

"Unless the people are angry, nothing will happen," Prentice said. "We are going to change the Constitution and say on Nov. 4, 'Judges, you can't touch this."'

For now, the campaign's goal is to identify supporters and voters who are unaware or haven't made up their minds about the measure, said Al Almendariz, a retired air traffic controller and a Mormon.

Almendariz led a team of five people canvassing a suburban neighborhood southeast of Sacramento on Saturday, and their script was concise. The volunteers told people who answered their doors they were with the Proposition 8 campaign, an effort that would define marriage as being between a man and a woman. They didn't mention same-sex marriage unless a resident brought it up.

"We're just polling — yes or no, not trying to find converts or change people's minds," said Christina Hirst, 28, a photographer with three young children. Hirst and her husband, Justin, 33, a high-school Spanish teacher, said they joined the door-knocking Saturday because they don't want their children hearing about gay relationships at school.

The literature that volunteers distributed was intended to reinforce the campaign's message that the amendment is "pro-marriage and children" instead of anti-gay.

"California should do more to encourage families to stay together," reads the pamphlets illustrated with close-ups of heterosexual couples posed cheek-to-cheek.

Frank Schubert, who is co-managing the Yes on 8 campaign, said the outreach effort is designed to counter the principle message of gay rights advocates, who are portraying the upcoming vote as a matter of fairness and equality.

"They want people to feel like you are a bad person if you support what has been the definition of marriage since the dawn of time," Schubert said. By having face-to-face conversations about why the amendment is necessary, organizers hope to reach potential supporters who may worry that voting for the measure would get them labeled as "bigots or homophobes," he said.

Bumgarner distributed handouts listing "Six Consequences if Proposition 8 Fails" that volunteers were encouraged to use as talking points. They included warnings that ministers who preach against same-sex marriage could be sued for hate speech, churches would be sued for refusing to host wedding ceremonies for gays, and that "children in schools will be taught that same-sex marriage is OK."

The amendment's opponents dispute those claims, saying that the Supreme Court specifically exempted churches from having to participate in same-sex weddings and that nothing in state law requires teachers to discuss marriage — straight or gay — with students.

Recent polls suggest the election could be close. A Field Poll taken last month found that 51 percent of likely voters said they would vote against Proposition 8, while 42 percent said they would vote for it.

Law Professor Explains Negative Consequences of Gay Marragie

Published: Saturday, Aug. 23, 2008 12:34 a.m. MDT

PROVO — Legalizing same-sex marriage will have significant, long-term societal, fiscal and legal consequences just as smoking and divorce do, even among those who don't personally participate.

That's the assessment from Lynn Wardle, a professor of law at Brigham Young University, who encouraged an audience of attorneys at the school's annual Education Week on Thursday to speak out in opposition to same-sex marriage, rather than being silenced by fear.

"Legalizing same-sex marriage or civil unions endangers not only marriage as an institution but will endanger the civil rights" of those who don't approve of it, Wardle said. "It's about the right to express opposition, and those who do so already suffer harassment and hostility."

As one of very few law professors who speak publicly against it, Wardle said he's been screamed at during the proceedings of large and respected organizations. "I've been called homophobic by a state senator."

"Hate-filled, homophobic, narrow-minded and bigoted — those are the labels you'll get. Those of you who live in California, put on your armor," he said, referring to an upcoming ballot measure that would strike down a recent Supreme Court ruling there legalizing gay marriage.

"Those attacks are purely an effort to silence, harass and drive out of the public square those who oppose them," he said.

"That's the greatest concern I have, the effort to intimidate and silence those who have different views. I've had professors I greatly respect come up to me in dark hallways and tell me they agree with me, but they won't stand up in a meeting and say so. They're afraid of the criticism they'll endure."

Changing the core definition of marriage will lead to clashes between those who have religious views about marriage and those who don't. "Those who want to promote conjugal marriage will be targeted," and many already have been, he said.

Most people who hear much from same-sex marriage proponents but little from the opposition wonder what the harm is, Wardle said. "It's not like a bone sticking out of a limb or blood spurting out of a wound. ... It will be at least a full generation before all the consequences are known. Like smoking, it will take years and decades to see the result."

He likened the consequences to the effect of divorce on children, recalling debates on the subject when he was a law school student. The notion of harm to children "was resoundingly rejected ... everybody said it's tough initially but it will be OK and there will be no lasting effects."

Yet, within a decade social scientists began documenting very distinct harm to children, he said. "There is now a large body of irrefutable evidence of the serious, harmful effects for children of divorce that have been documented."

While the impact is "temporary for two-thirds, it is lifelong for about one-third," he said. Making same-sex marriage legal "will harm you and your family the same way polygamous marriage to 14 year olds will harm you. ... It will transform the meaning, expectations and practices of marriage as a social institution and affects everyone who has a stake in marriage."

Legalizing such relationships would affect the functioning of the entire legal system, he said, "from taxes to torts, from wills to medical treatment. The laws will change, and we'll reconceptualize our understanding that the union of two men or two women is equally important."

In doing so, taxpayers will incur "huge social costs," just as they do now when marriages fail. He cited a recent study by a business professor at the Institute of American Values putting taxpayer cost of marital breakdown and nonmarital childbearing at $112 billion per year.

"That's $70 billion in federal costs, $42 billion in state costs, and it amounts to over $1 trillion per decade. If you think fighting the war in Iraq is expensive, we've been paying those costs in this country for the past 30 years."

Estimates show those figures translate into about $4,500 per year, per family, in taxpayer dollars. "If your tax burden is high now, wait until those (same-sex) marriages fall apart and the state has to care for" divorced spouses and children of those broken unions, he said.

Traditional marriage "contributes much more to society than any other form of adult intimate relationship," and is the bedrock of "society's cultural infrastructure." It is the "instrument of the most important moral transformation of individuals," who enjoy the "most healthy, satisfying and socially beneficial sexual relations."

"Gay sex differs in critical ways," from that between husband and wife, he said, beyond the lack of offspring. "The major transmission method for the AIDS virus is through sex between men in every area of the world other than sub-Saharan Africa."

Wardle blasted the California Supreme Court's decision earlier this year legalizing gay marriage as "judicial legislation" that "weakened the most basic institution of society." The ruling was "based on assumptions that same-sex marriage contributes as much to society as gay marriage," and that notion is "not without consequences. They simply assumed the absence of harm and closed their eyes to contrary evidence. In fact, they refused to even examine it."

The ruling was a "bold and bad political act that lacked judicial care and caution, but rather opted to exercise political influence." It was an "act of arrogance seldom matched in American legal history" that virtually "guaranteed litigation will occur in other states."

He said the only real solution to continued legal wrangling over how individual states will interpret and adapt to same-sex marriage is amending the U.S. Constitution to define marriage nationwide. While advocates for same-sex marriage have made swift headway in the past 15 years, there has been measurable "push-back," he said.

"Those of you who are summer soldiers or weekend warriors" in speaking out on public policy, "please re-adjust your thinking. These issues are generational and we'll have to work at it for a generation or two. If we do, our grandchildren will reap the benefits of what we're trying to do."