In the wake of Dobbs, Justice Thomas expressed his interest in overturning other rights of Americans, including gay marriage and access to contraception. While all reproductive rights for women were dead on arrival due to near total opposition by Republicans, including Mormon legislators, a surprising number of Republican legislators supported codifying gay marriage rights by voting yes on the Respect for Marriage Act. This includes all four Utahn congressional representatives, and one from (mostly crazy) Idaho. (Andy Biggs of Arizona who is a QAnon nut job and unfit for dog catcher, let alone Congress, voted against). Given the Church’s “official” stance on gay marriage, this surprised me slightly. It was also a pleasant surprise on ex-Mormon Reddit.
This makes Mormon legislators a real outlier in the the GOP. Only 23% of Congressional Republicans voted yes. That’s 1 in 5, vs. the 5 in 6 Mormons I just listed who voted yes. In terms of 80/20 principle, that’s saying only 20% of Republicans support protections for gay marriage whereas 80% of Mormon Republicans do. Big difference. Huge.
Some Redditors speculated that this support for the act must have been at the behest of Church leaders. I consider that quite unlikely. It’s more likely that the Church didn’t weigh in on this one, instead leaving it up to individual legislators (not that the Church doesn’t sometimes weigh in). It’s also going to be a squeaker when the act hits the Senate since there are only 4 Republicans on board to approve it; neither Romney or Lee are considered shoo-ins, although Romney is certainly more persuadable than insurrectionist Lee who is less crazy than Andy Biggs, but still plenty terrible.
What is the basis for higher support? Here are a few possible theories:
- Voters. There is a very vocal LGBTQ voting base in Utah. There are also higher levels of LGBTQ support among Mormons in general. Mormons on the whole are more educated than Evangelicals. The Utah voting base is more white suburban due to population distribution (a group in which support for gay marriage is a majoritarian perspective), and less reliant on rural votes than other states.
- Wisdom. If we want to be optimistic, perhaps there’s a higher degree of earnestness (desire to govern wisely) among Mormons. If so, they must have a higher awareness of the utter legislative chaos that would ensue if states don’t have to respect the rights of gay married couples. This is another “dog that caught the car” scenario. It may sound great to some really awful people like Clarence Thomas to undo people’s marriages, but how do you really do that in practice?
- Scope. Unlike the efforts to protect reproductive rights, this act was only 4 pages long. Its simplicity improves the ability to support it. The act is limited in scope and doesn’t require states to perform gay marriages, just to recognize them legally. This lowers the risk of supporting the measure.
- A Mormon Angle. This would allow the state to recognize polygamous marriages (theorized by a Redditor) It also provides protection for miscegenation, which is not that common in Mormon marriages, but also lets legislators off the hook for looking like racists despite belonging to a Church with a pretty racist past.
- Personal Conscience. It’s entirely possible that these legislators, like the majority of their constituents, simply support the measure and felt no pressure to vote against their conscience. (Likewise, Republican legislators from other faiths may want to overturn gay marriage; support for non-discrimination of LGBTQ people is higher among Mormons by 5% than it is nationwide).
Mormon support for gay marriage still lags nationwide support, but has increased dramatically from 2011 to 2021, from 23% to 46%. Nationwide support during that same time period shifted from 51% to 68%. In short, Mormons are supportive of LGBTQ rights in roughly this order:
- Protections against discrimination in housing & employment (84%). Only 61% of white Evangelicals support anti-discrimation protections for LGBTQ people.
- Gay marriage, the right to marry whom you choose (46%); this tracks closest to Republicans in general (50%). Evangelicals are far less supportive of gay marriage (only 34% in 2020).
- Equal access to public services (44%); during this same time frame, Evangelical opposition to equal access to public goods and services remained at only 38% support. (This is the cake baking question).
In general, these results  are fairly consistent with Church leaders’ statements about public policy, even though the private institutions they own may behave differently . While some have theorized that Mormon support for things like gay marriage are driven by so many having gay family members, this is not a uniquely Mormon phenomenon and has failed to move politcal bedfellows in the Republican party in similar ways. To me, it feels more like Mormon legislators and voters following a combination of dog whistles from the Church Office Building, and feeling a sense of relief when they can follow their own conscience and live the Golden Rule without fearing they are apostatizing in the process.
- Why do you think so many Mormon legislators supported the Respect for Marriage Act?
- Do you expect this to pass the Senate? Do you think Mormon Senators will vote yes? Which ones?
- Why is there such a split between Mormons and Evangelicals on this issue? Is it due to Mormons being more moderate, college educated, suburban, or some other factor?
- What role do you see the Church’s stances on these issues taking in how Mormons legislate?
 Including insufficient support for access to contraception. They do literally want to make it impossible for women to escape forced pregnancy and birth.
 Yes, I am saying that being homophobic in 2022 is linked to lower levels of college education. Conservatives might consider this due to “liberal brainwashing” at higher institutions, but IMO, it’s also indicative of a higher likelihood to understand and accept scientific explanations.
 I consider this one in the ridiculous pile. The Church can’t distance itself enough from the branches of Mormonism still practicing polygamy (even though top leaders doubtless expect to have multiple wives in the eternities and do absolutely nothing to doctrinally disavow it or to equalize multiple sealings for widows).
 79% of Americans support anti-discrimation protections for LGBTQ people; 84% of Mormons do. This likely reflects the effect of the “Utah Compromise” of 2015 and LDS leaders’ attempts in the last several years to publicly support nondiscrimination laws while also continuing to teach that homosexual behavior is wrong. Mormons in the U.S. appear to have received the message that the church wants to ban employers and landlords from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. (source).
 As a private institution, BYU does engage in active discrimination against LGBTQ students, professors and allies on doctrinal grounds. Their right to do so is protected legally as a private religious institution.
I was completely and pleasantly surprised by the passage of this bill in the house and the support it received from the Utah delegation and I have no explanation for it. In fact, from what I understand most of the congressional Dems were surprised as well.
In the years preceding prop 8 we used to hear letters over the pulpit from church leadership that were unambiguous in their instruction to vote for politicians that didn’t support get marriage. So no, I don’t think that church leaders turned around and told the Mormon legislators to vote for this bill.
My theory is many of those legislators have gay friends or family members that are married, which may have given them pause to reflect.
I too was very surprised. I do have two main questions:
1. If the vote count was a close one and it came down to these four members of Congress, would their votes be different? It’s easy to vote with the majority when your vote doesn’t tip the balance.
2. Is the Church still actively and vocally against gay marriage? I know Oaks and Bednar are privately and probably the great majority of the Q15 as well. But is the corporation still taking that stand actively? If 46% of the membership is in favor of gay marriage, we are very close to a majority and it’s trending in the right direction. The Church is not a democracy but when half your membership disagrees with your official position on an issue, you notice.
I was not surprised. I can’t recall his exact words, but did not President Oaks call gay marriage a settled question in the political sphere? That, combined with other moves on the part of the church have clearly signaled that political opposition to LGBTQ basic rights is no longer desired and even contrary to church policy. However, I believe other culture war issues, including discussions of LGBTQ perspectives remain unsettled.
I too was pleasantly surprised at how the Utah delegation voted. One factor that I think that may have played a role is how young the population in Utah is (youngest in the US on average). Young people overwhelmingly support gay marriage, and voting against gay marriage is liable to be career ending for a politician that needs to get young people to vote for them
Another note: I have perceived that active, educated LDS young adults simply don’t like it when church members work against basic rights of LGBTQ persons or disparage LGBTQ individuals. It is a political liability to not support basic rights and respect the human dignity of LGBTQ persons. Any politician with a brain has to know this. It is one thing to advocate against lesbian or gay relationships in church for members, and quite another to not protect the jobs, housing, etc. within a civil society Especially when the church has advocated for such protections.
I was glad. I was not surprised. The question of gay marriage directly impacts the rights of adult men, who as a group, are to certain people’s thinking, the only indispensable class.
I was glad. I was not surprised. Marriage equality affects the rights of adult men. As a group, adult men are, to certain people’s thinking, the only indispensable class.
The time is long past that gay people in this country are seen by the majority as less than human. Paint me cynical, but when what’s being protected is, in part, the right of white men to do what they want, I’m not going to be surprised by Republican support, Mormon or otherwise.
Still really, really glad though.
I was very surprised by this news. My guess is that many Republicans see the recent ruling undoing Roe as a mostly hurting and dividing their own party. For on the one hand you have Ron Desantis claiming to be pro-life all while signing into Florida law a ban on abortions after 15 weeks. And on the other hand you have governor Christy Noem of South Dakota claiming that we shouldn’t try to right the wrong of impregnating a 10-year-old with another “wrong” of performing an abortion for that 10-year-old rape victim. It’s hard enough for many Republicans to pretend to be “pro-life” when so many in their base are saying it’s evil for rape and incest victims to have an abortion. To add same-sex marriage to that and make it a states’ rights issue would push the Republican Party to a breaking edge. For now that we’ve had same-sex marriage legalized for seven years throughout the whole US, the old argument that anti-gay Republicans used to make that allowing same-sex partners to wed would damage “traditional marriage” carries zero water. Plus many Republican voters are very strongly in support of legalized same-sex marriage. I interpret this as a survivalist political gambit on the part of many Republican politicians ahead of the midterms. House members have to run every two years. They don’t want another drama unfolding just before the elections. The Senate Republicans seem less willing to sign this into law. And that may have to do with the fact that many of them aren’t up for re-election this year.
Nor sure if this is actually the case, but it is the best way I can explain it.
Let’s face it. In 2022, you’ve got to be pretty willfully ignorant to not see gay marriage as a very positive thing for society and individuals. Even if you have religious/doctrinal hangups about it, the odds are ever-increasing that you know at least one happily-married gay couple and you’d have to be a real a**hole to want to break up families like that.
Are GOP legislators willfully ignorant about a lot of things (climate change, abortion, etc)? For sure. But this issue is quickly arriving at the status of interracial marriage. Basically only unabashed bigots would publicly oppose interracial marriage and be very much canceled in the process—not just by the left but by the center-right as well. And if we’re not quite there with gay marriage yet, we will be soon.
The most interesting thing I found, just to reiterate, is the huge divide between Mormons and Evangelicals on LGBTQ issues. Mormons are 23% more in favor of anti-discrimination protections than Evangelicals (and 5% more in favor of these than Americans at large). That’s really big. Mormons are 12% more in favor of gay marriage than Evangelicals (although they are 22% less in favor of it than the US at large, so there’s still a big split). And they are even 6% more in favor of ensuring equal access to public goods and services than Evangelicals are. Again, these are some really big differences between Mormon views and the Evangelicals who really run the GOP.
I was surprised, and it was nice to hear some good news for a change.
I DO NOT think the church told them what to do, and I DO NOT think their vote represents (or doesn’t represent) their constituency. My sad experience is that politicians vote the way THEY want to and find ways to justify doing so. The fact they voted this way is because they chose to do so, for reasons of their own.
I DO think Mormons are more likely to support the queer community than Evangelicals. I read a study that discussed how it is far more likely for the second or third son (particularly the third son) to be gay than the older sons. Given that Mormons have bigger families than Evangelicals (and other groups save perhaps the Catholics), Mormons on the whole will personally have more touchpoints with the queer community than other groups. And if travel is fatal to prejudice, having a gay child is fatal to homophobia for most modern families.
I DO think Romney will vote yes. I DO NOT think Lee will.
I think most members, whether orthodox or progressive, have really seen firsthand that our leaders don’t have a clue what they are doing with respect to the queer community. The Nov 2015 policy and its subsequent reversal is one of many damning exhibits. I also think modification of the temple recommend question about affiliating with groups changed as a direct result of member pushback. So I think most members are just following their own path on this one.
I will only note one personal note that made me pleased. One of the 4 Utah reps who voted yes used to be my queer child’s advisor over ten years ago. My child was not yet out at the time (and honestly, does not even remember this individual), but as a parent, I was glad to see this person who has broken bread with us and seemed like a good person did not vote against my child. Unfortunately, I can think of two other leaders that my child remembers very well who made incredibly hurtful homophobic remarks that left a mark: one who equated being gay with pedophilia many times, and another who dismissed trans and intersex identities. Both of those individuals, aside from some other good qualities they had, completely soured my child on the Church.
I was surprised the R house members backed the bill, and I should not have been. Politicians not named Romney (i.e., those who actually depend on the job for income) are very aware of what they can and cannot vote for without paying a price. The ground has shifted, as many have said already, and there is a price to be paid for openly discriminating against LGBTQ people. I should say there is POTENTIALLY a price to be paid as younger citizens cannot be coerced into voting, hence Trump.
I think the church has basically ceded the battle at this point. They actively tried to prevent gay marriage. They lost. Public perceptions shifted rapidly and dramatically. They are left will little room to maneuver. What they CAN still do, however, and the so-called Utah Compromise legislation is a clear example of this, is carve out legislative protections for institutions and individuals to still act in discriminatory ways. That’s what they are now concerned about protecting. The church abandoning an old strategy and embracing a new one that doesn’t include opposition to gay marriage provides cover for the Utah members of the House.
But birth control is still up in the air? Women are always at the bottom of the poo pile.
I think the split between evangelicals and Mormons is due in part to the sole reliance on the Bible vs the larger canon that Mormons have. The popular [debunked] “clobber passages” Evangelicals love to use against LGBTQ can be explained away by Mormons using the “translated correctly” argument or the “lesser law of Moses” argument.
Also, just wanted to point out that this act is limited in its scope. According to the ACLU, “The federal government would still be required to respect same-sex couples’ already-existing marriages, as would other states in many circumstances. But a state that wanted to get out of the business of issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples would not violate the Respect for Marriage Act.”
My guess? There’s a “Mormon Angle” going on here. The Respect for Marriage Act provides protections for ALL marriages, which ultimately strengthens LDS-sanctioned heterosexual marriages. The language of the proposed legislation is short and succinct: https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-bill/8404
Also, I understand the tendency to look at the data posted in hawkgrrrl’s post and conclude, like Josh H’s comment, that “ . . . If 46% of the membership is in favor of gay marriage, we are very close to a majority and it’s trending in the right direction. The Church is not a democracy but when half your membership disagrees with your official position on an issue, you notice.” I’m fairly certain (correct me if I’m wrong, hawkgrrrl) that the data used in the post represents the U.S. population, not the world population. So, 46% of U.S. MEMBERSHIP supports gay marriage. I’m sure that number is much lower if the representative sample were to represent total world membership. Remember, there are more LDS members OUTSIDE of the U.S. than inside. And much of that membership is in Central/South America, Africa, and Oceania. Views of gay marriage in many of those parts of the world comport with official LDS support for “traditional, heterosexual marriage.” So, although we members in the U.S. and other western northern hemisphere countries see increased acceptance and support of gay marriage, that is not the case in areas where the LDS church is growing the fastest.
I know it’s easy to think of U.S. church membership views as indicative of the church at large, but I’m afraid that’s not the case. Support for gay marriage among LDS is likely much lower than 46% in a world-wide representative sample.
*insert sad face here* 😢
I’m not that surprised because my perception is that the tide of public opinion w/r/t legally recognizing gay marriage has turned in Utah. A lot of Mormons are willing to take the “if you don’t like gay marriage don’t get gay married” approach but are not comfortable telling other people what to do. (This is of course distinct from abortion because they view abortion as murdering babies.)
I am curious about the differences from evangelicals. I don’t know enough about evangelicals to have an educated guess as to why. Maybe it is education levels. Maybe it is the fact that the LDS Church kinda forced people to think about and grapple with this over Prop 8, and it has backfired.
I agree with some of the comments above that personal exposure in families and friends may be a factor as well.
Prop 8 severely damaged the California church, and most of this was internal, Mormon against Mormon, often within families – the very definition of Pyrrhic victory. It has not recovered yet, and the Brethren’s best efforts can’t put Humpty Dumpty back together. On the one hand and to their credit, they have learned; on the other, one now wonders about the role of revelation in their decisions. Have they suddenly become realists?
Only one of the Utah representatives is in a district that is competitive along party lines. The other three can only be realistically challenged in a Republican caucus or primary. And with R’s the way they are, and primaries the the way they work, I doing think any of them would have faced any real political backlash for voting against this bill. I have to think they voted for it because they actually wanted to.
But Laura’s from the ACLU about the scope of the bill probably explains a bit. It sounds like the bill only protects existing marriages, so perhaps the right for gay couples to get a marriage license will still be up to the states.
Rockwell & Laura are correct that this bill is limited in scope in that it doesn’t compel states to issue marriage licenses for same sex marriages, but it still is critical in protecting marriages federally. So a gay couple might have to go to another state to marry (destination weddings!), but at least their state is compelled to recognize their legal rights as a married couple: things like insurance benefits and parental rights. That’s the most important thing, especially when we currently live in a time when half the states are trying to hold their citizens hostage and create their own mini-countries in which gay people don’t exist, trans people are persecuted, women have no bodily autonomy, and religion (so long as it’s conservative white Christianity) can invade and control every aspect of citizens’ lives.
Help me understand something. Is it true that most/all people who support gay marriage also support any other type of marriage? If three (or more) willing people want to form a marriage relationship, and be recognized under the law as being married, do those in favor of gay marriage also support something like this? And if not, why not? Is there a definition out there somewhere defining the acceptable conditions of marriage?
The church’s is something like, “Marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God”.
I have also heard of some strange requests of people wanting to get married to an animal, maybe a pet they have and that they love. Regardless of whether you think this is silly, or an attention-grabbing action, do those in favor of gay marriage also support requests like this? And if not, why not?
bwbarnett: No. Arguments like yours are usually employed to trivialize the fact that homosexuality is normal (as normal and unremarkable as being left-handed) and that gay marriage is between two consenting adults. Animals are not consenting adults. Your question is homophobic and insulting. As to recognition of polyamorous unions, those supporting gay marriage doubtless have different opinions about this. My own is that polygamy is exploitive and these marriages are not equal. Some people disagree. The US has never recognized these marriages, and most of the countries that do also have laws that oppress women and keep their rights (e.g. to property and freedom) limited. They also needlessly complicate parental relationships, although this is a byproduct of the fact that these relationships are not legally recognized and often require secrecy.
When these types of “analogies” are used, I hope that you will educate the people making these false equivalencies in future. It’s exactly like the sneering mockery men used to use to respond to the idea that women should have the vote. I’m starting to wonder why it’s fair for the US to require that women and LGBTQ people pay taxes if we are treated with such contempt in the country we are paying to run. Why should I have to pay the salary of legislators, including the unelected SCOTUS, who want to strip away my rights and who don’t recognize my non-binary child’s right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? As you can also work out for yourself, pets aren’t citizens and don’t pay taxes.
Volition, BWB. It’s assumed that two grown adults of the same gender can make their own decisions about who they marry, or that they should at least have that right. Adults of opposite genders are assumed to also be able to make decisions about living in polygamous relationship, but the details here are tricky. Polygamy is rife with inequity, physical and emotional abuse, sexual abuse of minors, and ridiculous stories about angels with flaming swords, so the state has often made it illegal. No, no one who supports adults getting married to someone they love of the same gender also supports humans marrying animals because it’s silly, the animal does not have any say in the matter, and there is an assumption of mental instability on the part of any human who might seriously seek such a thing.
BTW, you asking why gay marriage and bestiality are not comparable is the most vivid demonstration of your ignorance I’ve seen you post yet, but maybe I haven’t been privy to all your thoughts.
bwbarnett, Angela and jaredsbrother have excellent responses. I just wanted to add to Angela’s point that this type of analogizing is just straight up smearing. What if we turned it around? So you support the marriage of a man and a woman. Does that actually mean a man and a teen girl? It’s a fair question given our religion’s history. Are you concerned with whether either of the two are already married, because again, our religion’s history. So would you support a man marrying 20 women, each of whom was married to 19 other men, and each of the men were married to a bunch of other women, and so forth? How about marriage by coercion, where there’s a big age difference and the one with more power promises eternal salvation if the partner-to-be agrees and damnation if they don’t? Why or why not?
The slippery slope smear questions can go both ways.
bwbarnett’s ridiculous question reminds of the bad faith arguments against same-sex marriage in the early 2000s, back when I used to be homophobic. I remember disgraced former Faux News personality Bill O’ Reilly fearmongering about how the legalization of same-sex marriage could lead people marrying a duck (oh the horror!). Surprise, surprise that Bill O’Reilly turned out to be a sexual deviant and got rightfully downed by the #MeToo movement. I remember failed Mormon apologist Dan Peterson remarking how legalization of same-sex marriage would usher in the legalization of marriages between adults and minors. Of course, nothing of the sort has even remotely come to pass. It was the absurdity of these kinds of arguments that actually helped me see the light that same-sex marriage legalization was not only harmless, but necessary in any truly free society.
So yeah, bwbarnett, 2005 called. It wants it dumb anti-gay marriage argument back.
So based on the responses, it looks like conditions for marriage from a gay-marriage-supporting person could be:
1. TWO consenting human adults (18 years old in the US).
2. Angela hinted at being a citizen and paying taxes.
I agree that polygamy can be quite unequitable, just based on stories I’ve heard, but my question was not specifically about 1 man, multiple women. It could be any combination of either sex. Maybe 3 consenting adult men want to get married. Maybe 6 consenting adult men want to get married. Why would this not be okay with those who support gay marriage? Is it just because marriage has always been defined as between two people?
jaredsbrother: I know legalized bestiality sounds ludicrous, but I do know of one instance here in Utah, I believe a school district policy, maybe a Utah state board of education policy??, where the language was so broad in its scope that it made it illegal, or against policy, to say anything negative, or treat anyone differently based on ANY sexual preference they may choose.
And does that confuse or offend you bwbarnett? Why such terror? Why such fear? Why such insecurity? Really, these are sincere questions. Do you know very much about power structures and bullying in schools ? (That last question isn’t, of course, sincere, because as a conservative, school power is like one your trigger points!) So, what, exactly, are you so worried about that these Republican officials of mention aren’t? Does honoring and respecting someone else’s wishes about how they are identified really trouble you that much? Are you sure you aren’t simply participating in manufactured outrage? Manufactured homophobia?
You understand, right, that it’s very easy to argue that you aren’t really being pro-family, you’re being pro-your-defintion-of-family–a definition that is a fairly modern and recent construct? I mean, you have to really stretch to even make that definition Biblical. That book is all over the place on ‘families.’ Have you read much on what Jesus said about families and how he defined. I mean, people close to him he called family. Mormons believe in all sorts of crazy stuff about bloodlines and adoption and families. As others have said: time to get over yourself and let people different from you have companionship and safety. This isn’t a zero-sum game. You lose nothing by someone else gaining. And yet, here we are. Sigh.
I guess the thing that I bothers me about this particular thing, Brian, is that as a Christian, I don’t like my children being taught at school, either directly or indirectly, that Jimmy enjoys bestiality and that’s okay, it’s his thing and it’s totally normal. I’m not necessarily opposed to people doing whatever they choose to do behind the wall of their own homes, within the law of course, I mean yeah, go for it. It’s your life and if you want to have sex with multiple partners of either sex simultaneously it’s up to you. Just don’t teach my kids that it is normal.
That’s the thing, isn’t it bwbarnett. Hit the nail on the head. All those libs teaching our kids at school it’s okay to have sex with animals. Happens all the time. And, as we all know, the inverse never happens. The old policy would never imply, for instance, that someone same-sex parents are immoral, or that their interracial parents are to be shunned, or thatan LGBT+ child is an aberration, blah, blah blah.
Obviously, you have another concern here. You’re worried about power structures in school, as I rightly pointed out. But not when the power structures side with you. Parental rights, like LGBT+ rights, only apply to parents like you, with values like you.
Look, if you can’t trust that your own teaching of your kids isn’t sufficient to allow them to navigate the world out there, that’s fine. Take them out of school and indoctrinate them yourself. You have that right. But mischaracterizing LGBT+ people, their allies, and education is absurd, shameful, and wrong. But, you also have that right. Just don’t be surprised when the hate you give in return paints you poorly to everyone else.
Also, we all notice that you don’t actually address any points that anyone else is making. You want to use the comments as a soapbox for your own views instead of addressing valid content and an interesting point. You have the right, of course, to hijack this thread. But I’m done helping you do it.
For hundreds (maybe thousands) of years, marriage was defined as between one man and one woman. In 2015, the Supreme Court in the US changed that definition to allow for two men or two women to be licensed in marriage and recognized in all states as being married. This change in definition or course was the result of many peoples’ efforts to have their voices heard and their desire for changes to be made.
Now, if a group of people who want to express their commitment and love in unions of 3 or more people (and want legal recognition and benefits for it) follow this same pattern of making their voices and desires heard, bringing lawsuits against states, etc., to the point that it reaches the Supreme Court, on what grounds could a gay-marriage supporter oppose this?
Brian, yes frustrating when questions don’t receive answers yet ridicule, disgust, absurd, shameful, wrong comments are spewed. My questions were not hijacking. They are on-topic, which is mormons and marriage.
These questions are all about marriage.
1. What is your definition of marriage?
2. Why would this (3-man marriage) not be okay with those who support gay marriage? Is it just because marriage has always been defined as between two people?
3. On what grounds could a gay-marriage supporter oppose this (see last post for context)?
“For hundreds (maybe thousands) of years, marriage was defined as between one man and one woman.”
bwbarnett, I’m not even a historian, but this is hilariously stupidly wrong. I understand it might be a popular talking point in the media you consume, but that doesn’t make it true.
Ziff, why use the words “hilariously stupidly”? Why can’t you just say, “I think you’re wrong” and then provide some reasons why you think I’m wrong? There was another recent thread about mormons not obeying their leaders with regards to civil discourse and many here jumped all over mormons for that. Do you consider “hilariously stupidly wrong” civil discourse?
Ziff, I’m no historian either, but I did a quick search on Anglo Saxon Law from 600 AD to about 1066 AD. There are references to marriage and all of the ones I found are understood to mean a husband (man) and a wife (woman). Anglo Saxon Law paved the way for English Common Law which paved the way for the US Founders draft of our laws. At least that’s my understanding. I’m happy to read any references you have that indicate that marriage defined as one man and one woman is not hundreds (or thousands) of years old.
It’s hard to take any of your questions seriously when you started off with bestiality in your first comment. Bad form.
WRT “For hundreds (maybe thousands) of years, marriage was defined as between one man and one woman”
I think it would be more accurate to say that historically marriage was defined quite commonly as one man gaining a woman as property.
That might be all I say because I’m trying to avoid piling on. In the meantime you might want to reduce your consumption of fearmongering media.
Rockwell, I accept your “bad form” critique. Bestiality was bad form. It wasn’t meant as a comparison to homosexuality though. I expressed my thoughts better as the comments continued. My point was that if a group of people followed the same pattern — speak out making desires known, create a movement, lawsuits against states, gain attention of Supreme Court –to redefine marriage or for that matter to redefine what is considered lawful or not, how could anyone in favor of gay-marriage oppose that? A different group of people with different values want something and follow the same pattern to get it accomplished. They eventually get it accomplished. On what grounds can you oppose it?
I was pleasantly surprised to hear that all 4 congressmen from Utah voted in favor of protecting marriage. Maybe it is a sign that the GOP isn’t entirely controlled by the Evangelicals on every issue. And, as hawkgrrl noted, it avoids the legal chaos of suddenly annulling a whole bunch of marriages. The fact that a state can’t be compelled to perform a gay marriage probably helped with the Utah reps’ votes too.
bwb – I doubt this will come as a surprise to you (since we pretty much disagree on everything and I appreciate that we can do it respectfully), but I don’t think a polycule is really that degenerate and ridiculous. I’m thinking about a secular queer polycule in which every member is there freely and they’re all equals. Religious polygamy is oppressive and is rightly banned. Having a small group of adults commit to each other is fine. In fact – if you’ll pardon some personal comments, I would love to join a polycule. I need a “next of kin” who won’t show up if I’m in a coma and yank the plug out of the wall, the way my biological next of kin would do. The best way to get a next of kin (until my teenage son is old enough to take on that responsibility) would be to marry someone. Since I’m asexual, unless I find another asexual, my best bet would be to find another queer who also needs the legal protections of marriage and then I’d just be good friends with my spouse’s romantic partner. We wouldn’t even need to live together; I just want a spouse as a buffer between myself and the family that hates me.
Queer relationships are not an unending orgy of sex. You understand that? Sex drive is individual – queer people can have high or low sex drives, the same way straight people can have high or low sex drives. Even promiscuity or monogamy is individual – some gays want to find a one and only; some would rather sow their wild oats. Some straight people are monogamous; some cheat on their spouses.
And, just like straight people, queer relationships are about committing to stick with someone because you love them and want to help/protect/respect them. Queerplatonic relationships are quite popular – no sex involved. You just live together and have the legal protections of marriage, and no one is having queer sex even. What’s so terrible about picking out a couple people who would have hospital visitation rights? And inheritance rights?
There is a LOT more to marriage than just raising kids. People can love each other and get married even without kids involved. I wish we had some sort of adult adoption – like what I really want is a sibling relationship again. If the state would allow me to designate another couple adults as my siblings, in place of my DNA siblings, that would be fine.
We’re just people, bwb. Why would it be so terrible if a few queer consenting adults decided to form a found family to replace the one that hates them? I’m happy for you – that you have a marriage to one person, plus you probably have siblings, parents, aunts, uncles and cousins that you have a family connection with, even though you could only marry one person. I’ve been completely estranged from everyone I’m related to for years, and yeah, if I could form a family relationship with more than one person, I’d do it in a heartbeat. Despite all the gains in LGTBQ rights over the years, there’s still a sizable portion of us who don’t have relationships with our DNA families anymore.
I don’t see it happening though. Marriage will remain at two people. This should be a relief to you, bwb, but even among my queer community, I haven’t heard anyone wanting to legalize polycule marriages.
I don’t understand the fear and disgust. I’m not a creepy awful person. I’m not out to corrupt children. But good grief, would it really be so terrible if teenagers found out that they don’t have to spend their lives alone, wallowing in self-rejection, because they don’t like the sacred procreative process? I wish, I WISH, with all my heart and soul, that someone had told me that there are other ways to be happy than to just be in a straight marriage raising kids. Not everyone gets the ideal. The rest of us deserve the right to pursue relationships and happiness too. That’s not degenerate or disgusting. That’s human.
THANKS JANEY!! Thank you for your wonderful, civil response!! I like you 🙂 You have helped me understand a few things better. I also learned what a polycule is after looking it up. I sincerely hope that you find happiness, whatever it looks like for you and wherever you can find it.
“Queer relationships are not an unending orgy of sex. You understand that?” Yes I understand this, but I can see how some here might assume that I don’t.
“What’s so terrible about picking out a couple people who would have hospital visitation rights? And inheritance rights?” Nothing at all. For my part, I wish that rather than legalizing same-sex marriages to accomplish this, we had just changed rules like this to allow for your suggestion –> picking out a couple people for hospital visitation and inheritance rights, etc.
“Why would it be so terrible if a few queer consenting adults decided to form a family to replace the one that hates them?” This is a tough one for me, and some other God-fearing people, who believe sexual relationships outside of marriage are not in harmony with God’s will. Nothing terrible about forming a family to replace one that hates you if there aren’t any sexual relations though IMO. I think you kind of hinted at this in a few spots — not all relationships involve sex. BTW, I am a sinner. I sin every day and fall short of God’s will. Sometimes comments like this one come off as self-righteous, so I wanted to make that clear.
“would it really be so terrible if teenagers found out that they don’t have to spend their lives alone, wallowing in self-rejection, because they don’t like the sacred procreative process? ” – Asexual lifestyle seems fine to me.
“A different group of people with different values want something and follow the same pattern to get it accomplished. They eventually get it accomplished. On what grounds can you oppose it?”
I think we can oppose it by having a discussion of values; preferably a respectful discussion, where hopefully the best ideas will rise to the top.
I’m still not going to respond directly to your questions about polygamy. I feel like that would be tangential to the discussion here.
In my mind there are religious and social reasons to get married and legal reasons to get married and encourage married families. Social reasons include the general celebration of the marriage, the assumption that children born to the mother are children of the father. Religious reasons are many; I hardly need to list them here.
Legal reasons may deal more with a legal framework for sharing of assets, insurance, estate planning, managing child custody in the event of divorce, etc.
So I think it’s easy to show that societal needs and desires for managing the legal framework for marriage have changed quite a bit. Or perhaps we are just more aware of a certain segment of society. But I really think that gay people should have the same ability to manage their families that straight people have. Gay people have children. They adopt. They have estates to manage and taxes to pay. I don’t think that the societal benefits and protections of marriage should only be afforded to straight couples. The children of a couple may also benefit from the marriage regardless of the parents’ orientation.
You or anyone can disagree and fight for the dissolution of gay marriages by legislation or court ruling. And we can discuss the merits and values of that position, because that is what we do in a free-speech democracy.
Let’s assume that the earth is not 6,000 years old and that people have been walking around in tribes and groups for at least the last 200,000 years. Everything in the secular world points to that. How long has monogamy been the standard? I remember reading Sapiens and reading him opine that women would have multiple sex partners to insure protection among the tribe. It was also thought that sex with multiple partners would mean a healthier and stronger baby because they did not understand conception until fairly recently. I am in favor of monogamy and see it as the ideal, but I think using the “slippery slope” argument as though monogamy has been the gold standard since the beginning of time is a little short sighted. It is especially a bad argument coming from a church that built it’s whole theology around polygamy.
I have read some hilarious quotes of early church leaders making fun of monogamists. My how times have changed.
bwb: “My point was that if a group of people followed the same pattern — speak out making desires known, create a movement, lawsuits against states, gain attention of Supreme Court –to redefine marriage or for that matter to redefine what is considered lawful or not, how could anyone in favor of gay-marriage oppose that?” Yes, and you used marriage of a human to another species as an example. I know you’ve already said that was ‘bad form,’ but it was more than that. It was a disingenuous use of the most extreme example you can think of, which you cannot provide any evidence for other than a fourth-hand reference to “maybe a Utah state board of education policy”, to support an absurd slippery slope argument. That a society may allow consenting adults to choose the kinds of relationships in which they engage does not mean that it will accept anything. The concept of consent is central here, which I feel like you keep ignoring. Animals and children can’t consent, fully or at all. Believe it or not, it is possible for people to establish an ethical system completely separate from the dictated by a dogmatic religion.
As for the history of marriage, consider this: If it’s true that the moral path has long been monogamy (it hasn’t), one man and one woman as God intended, then God’s morals are extremely squishy and have no problem ignoring some pretty nasty behaviors. Nice God you’ve got there. It wasn’t until the mid-twentieth century that we decided women could capably own property and get credit cards without a man’s approval. Not until the nineteenth century did the idea of love even enter into marriage, without which it was a financial arrangement subject to all the vagaries that attach to financial arrangements.
Here’s a book if you’re really interested: https://www.amazon.com/Marriage-History-How-Love-Conquered/dp/014303667X
bwb – thanks for your response, and I’m glad it helped you understand another point of view a bit better. I’d like to address a couple of your comments, just to make it clear that there’s more to being asexual than just living like a nun (I don’t).
//For my part, I wish that rather than legalizing same-sex marriages to accomplish this, we had just changed rules like this to allow for your suggestion –> picking out a couple people for hospital visitation and inheritance rights, etc.//
It shouldn’t be a surprise to you that I very much disagree with this. Same sex marriage should be legal. All the rights that accrue to a straight married couple should accrue to a queer married couple. Romantic love between queer people is not somehow lesser than straight romantic love and it shouldn’t be second-class under the law. I apologize for my previous unclear wording – I was trying to give examples of spousal rights, not suggest that that’s all we need.
//This is a tough one for me, and some other God-fearing people, who believe sexual relationships outside of marriage are not in harmony with God’s will. Nothing terrible about forming a family to replace one that hates you if there aren’t any sexual relations though IMO.//
The wording here builds on your prior paragraph, where you suggested a lesser status than marriage. Gay marriage should be legal. It’s your religious beliefs that stand in the way of this. I know some people hold those religious beliefs, but I don’t, and I don’t believe those religious beliefs should be used to restrict rights and relationships of people who don’t share your religious beliefs. We live in a secular society – that’s the only way to allow for multiple religions plus secular beliefs and morals.
Story: I was raised very LDS and was very faithful, etc. I toed the church line about my opinion on gay sex well into adulthood. Then life happened. I finally prayed about “the gay question” with an open mind — you know, not just asking God to confirm if my faithful Church opinions about homosexuality were correct, but mind wide open and asking God “what do you think about gay sexual relationships?” My own personal answer was a strong prompting that what matters to God is that a person treats their sexual partner with respect and honesty. It took me a few weeks to absorb that, since I’d previously been so orthodox. But since then, I’ve quit thinking that God cares about restricting sex to straight marriages. I believe that the conservative Christian teachings on this topic are a case of straight men “creating God in their own image.” (see D&C 1:16). Straight men prioritize their own desires and want to believe that God wants them to do exactly what they want to do. I’m a bit skeptical of that. I mean, if God was so concerned about sex being used primarily for procreation, then why is there so much sexual pleasure that isn’t procreative at all? And why can women get pregnant through something as horrible as rape? I’ll make up a statistic and guess that 99% of peoples’ sexual pleasure and experiences, measured over their whole life, doesn’t actually make a baby.
//Asexual lifestyle seems fine to me.//
Well…. There are actually a fair number of asexuals who like porn (written or visual) and masturbation. Not wanting to have sex with a person doesn’t mean we don’t have any sexual feelings. I’m on the more extreme end of the asexual spectrum because I don’t; many asexuals do and I don’t think they’re doing anything wrong or sinful.
Also, I’ve taught my sons to get to know their bodies. Find out what they like. We’ve talked about respect and consent. I’m fine if they have premarital sex just to find out who they are and what they enjoy. I wish I’d been granted that permission – it would have saved me and my XH a whole lot of heartache.
I’m going to finish up by quoting jaredsbrother’s excellent observation: “Believe it or not, it is possible for people to establish an ethical system completely separate from the dictated by a dogmatic religion.”
Sexual ethics don’t have to be religious. I firmly believe that queer people can add a lot to the conversation about sexual ethics just because we’ve had to think about desire and consent and relationships and procreating in ways that straight people don’t have to think about these issues, and our thoughtfulness on these topics is valuable input.
I would also add that, even if the world is 6,000 years old, monogamy was not the gold standard as per both the Old Testament and the new celestial law of marriage. God definitely endorsed alternatives to traditional marriage
Sorry for TMI
bwbarnett: Just to expound on one of Janey’s most salient points in this discussion, religious views are not and should never be the basis for legislation in a pluralistic society (or a secular one). In a pluralistic society, there are many different religious views (and non-religious views). Your religious views have moral force in YOUR life. They should inform your personal choices. Once you start using that to alter the life choices of others, particularly when you constrain the basic freedoms of others (e.g. privacy, bodily autonomy, life, liberty and pursuit of happiness–so long as none of these impinge on the rights of others) your actions are no longer ethical for a pluralistic society that respects various religious views. Most of the problems we are having right now, IMO, are due to the failure of religious individuals to see that others’ views and values are also worth respecting.
Thank you all for giving me some things to think about. While none of it really changes my core beliefs, it is definitely helpful to understand different viewpoints. I don’t want to sound like I just dismissed it all, because I haven’t, or that I’m not grateful, because I am. I agree that coming to understand these different lifestyles and viewpoints are worthwhile. I’d like to say more, but it’s been a crazy day. I’ll need to revisit this tomorrow…
As I have thought about the comments from all of you over the past day or two, I keep thinking about this question:
Where do your and my values come from? What are our values based or founded on?
I worry about people who base their values on the ever-shifting and changing values of the world or the even scarier “My Truth” wave that is gaining more and popularity in our society. I try to base my values in what God has said. I’m not always successful because sometimes I don’t know His will, but that’s my goal. One example is what this OP is about – Marriage. God defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman. And there have been documented times when that definition included a union between a man and more than one woman. I’m not aware of a time when God included in the definition a union between a man and a man, or a woman and a woman. So those of us who have tried to base our values on what God has said have trouble accepting gay marriage. And those that have not based their values on what God has said, but rather on what the world is saying or what “their truth” is, don’t have trouble accepting gay marriage. It’s not that I hate gay people, or hate gay marriage – not at all. If God let us know that gay marriage was approved, I’d be 100% onboard with it.
Janey shared a personal example of parental counsel. She mentioned how she encourages her sons to be sexually active outside of marriage and from the tone of her comment, it sounded to me like she, as the parent, was glad to be able to offer them that counsel. As a parent myself, I respect Janey’s right to counsel her children however she chooses and however she thinks best for them. I hope that this respect for parental counsel is reciprocated, and I think it is.
In that same line of thinking, I believe, like many of you, that we have heavenly parents, and it is their right to provide counsel to us, their children. Of course, we don’t have to follow their counsel. We can do whatever we want. It is my desire, however, to do my best to come to know and then to follow the counsel of my heavenly parents. Occasionally I share what I have come to know/believe with others, like people here on W&T. I believe that’s what we’re all doing to some extent here right?
My positions and opinions on issues that we discuss here are founded in Christ and His revealed word, at least that’s my intent. I feel confident in this mooring, this foundation, because it is truth and truth doesn’t change. I have plenty of questions that I would love God Himself to answer, but for now, I’m going to trust Him and trust what I know. And I don’t consider myself any better than any of you. I respect that we all have our own life experiences that have led us to where we are and what we believe.
@bwb, where did God “say” that marriage was only between a man and a woman? I know that Dallin Oaks has said that a bunch, but last I checked he wasn’t God.
And what about the many people I know who feel that God has blessed their same-sex union?
That’s a lot of confidence about what God did or didn’t say, which is problematic when getting it wrong means discriminating against a ton of people. And I don’t think it’s at all clear that God “said” anything about gay marriage. Terrific article here about the issue: https://mormonlgbtquestions.com/2017/03/17/what-do-we-know-of-gods-will-for-his-lgbt-children-an-examination-of-the-lds-churchs-position-on-homosexuality/
And to Angela’s point, legislating what some Christians think God has said is very problematic.
There are plenty of sources of values for rules, primarily values about not harming people, that don’t rely on purity rules. And there is no evidence that letting gay people get married harms anyone. The Church has spent a lot of money and resources over decades trying to drum up that kind of evidence and hasn’t been able to.
bwb is not to blame for thinking that God comes down and tells prophets what is ok and what is not ok. He has been taught this time and time again. RMN just recently said that prophets aren’t always popular, but they always tell the truth. God would also never allow any of them to lead us astray and none of them have ever dropped dead mid sentence spewing this hatred, so it must be true. Personally, I can’t understand how people still think that this is how God works. There are so many examples of them changing their opinion that it makes God the worst communicator or the most inept God in the universe. IMO a better view of God communicating with people is very less direct and has plenty of room for human bias. It is the only way it works for me, but we are all different. It has not been too long ago that the church was teaching that homosexuality is a perversion, that it is a choice and that it can be cured. Did God tell them that? If so, why are they changing their tune on that ?
BWB, I was certain that homosexuals were evil and that Satan was using the issue to break down the family. I was certain that the Mormon God wasn’t being hateful, he was just trying to explain that in order to reach exaltation it took a man and a woman. I was certain that exaltation would be me creating spirit babies with my wife and that it took man parts and woman parts to get this done. I was certain that homosexuality was a choice. I truly understand where you are coming from. Once that certainty left, I felt a huge despair. It took me fifteen years to change my mind on this issue. I still think monogamy is the best option among homosexuals and heterosexuals. I still feel that fidelity in marriage is of utmost importance. I still feel that chastity and virtue before and after marriage lead to physical, emotional, and mental safety and well being. In other words, I can still be very pro family, hold my same values and not be a homophobic ass that I used to be.
Elisa, I just finished reading that 62-page article you linked. Wow, it was REALLY good! Thank you for pointing me in that direction. It covered so much material, I don’t want to comment here on much of it, but it does make a very good case for “we really don’t know much about God’s will concerning his gay children”. I’ll also admit that I got a bit emotional reading through all the first-hand stories shared by gay mormons and the depression, heartache, worthless feelings they experience. Again, thank you!
@bwb, thanks for reading it (and of course thanks to @Bryce Cook for writing it). I think it’s the best article on the topic I’ve read.
Nicholas Kristof (former NYT columnist) has highlighted the lack of laws in states regarding children marrying.
Often, there is no downward age limit. At all.
Even in the USA, families may push for a girl who is pregnant to marry the man who impregnated her, in order to preserve what they consider their family honor. In practice, the girl is forced to marry the rapist who impregnated her.
There are only 6 states that don’t allow a child to marry under any circumstances.
That is a deeply wrong perversion of ethics.
Enter into search bar, “Nicholas Kristof underage child brides marriage”
He documents laws, specific examples.