Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Proposition #8

(Following is an e-mail that I sent out just a little bit ago. Indulge me for a bit...)

Hi Everybody!

It's not often that I send out mass mailings, but this is something that I feel very strongly about. Everybody has heard about proposition 8 in California. This proposition contains the same language that was approved by 61% of voters in 2000. Four San Francisco judges overruled the voice of the people and called the previous proposition unconstitutional. Proposition 8 simply reaffirms the previous vote and adds a constitutional amendment in order to force the judges to comply.

There are numerous reasons why this vote will set a precedent for better or worse for the whole United States. Other states have similar issues on the ballot, but no other state is pushing the envelope on moral issues like California. Religious organizations are not immune from the consequences that will ensue if proposition 8 fails. While the full ramifications are not fully known, the Church's ability to perform marriage ceremonies in the temple may be compromised (unless they forfeit their tax exempt status or perform same-sex marriages), clergy that preach against same-sex marriage can be sued for hate crimes and adoption services that will not place children in homes of same-sex couples will be ineligible for government benefits (and may face lawsuits).

Let me be clear that I actually support rights for civil unions (which may differ from many of you). I like the registry that Salt Lake City has created (which allows couples, same-sex or otherwise) to share benefits and legal rights. I find a system like this to be a good compromise.

I don't know too many people that live in California. Because of this, my opportunities to support proposition 8 are limited. I have, however, donated to www.protectmarriage.com (an interfaith coalition in support of proposition 8). I urge anybody with the resources, to also donate. An interfaith fast will also be taking place on November 3rd beginning at 10:00 AM for 24 hours. I will be fasting and hope that you will join me.

I take no issue with those that feel differently on this issue than me. I sincerely believe that this is a deeply personal issue and that decisions in support or opposition should come from the heart. If you are unsure how you feel about these issues, take the time to ponder, pray and connect with your spirit in order to make this decision.

Thanks for listening,


tysqui said...

I will publish e-mail comments anonymously.

Anonymous said...

Tyler, thank you for the information. I have been watching Prop 8, and like you felt that there was not much I could do. Also, I had no idea of the possible consequences to temple marriage, tax exemption etc. Thank you for the info. I will certainly be joining you in donation as well as the fast.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Tyler,
I thought that was a very well thought out take on the issue and I appreciate your concern. I was listening to a forum at BYU today from a Princeton professor and he talked about the adoption agencies and same-sex marriage specifically - it was disturbing. I also agree that it is a deeply personal matter and know that many people do not share our view. I hope it works out even so. Thanks again for the message and the info.

Clark said...

First a quibble: "Four San Francisco judges overruled the voice of the people . . . . amendment in order to force the judges to comply." This is a common sort of statement about this (and other issues) and in my opinion doesn't hold much water. 61% of the people of California can get together and vote to outlaw the use of the word "Turnip" and the judges would be justified (required one might even say) to overturn that and go "against the voice of the people". The issue at hand is whether or not the California State Constitution protects the right of same-sex marriage. They ruled that it does. I've never taken so much as a peek at their state constitution, so I can't of myself make an argument as to whether or not their decision was a correct one. Certainly others have written volumes on the topic. But any criticism of the judges decision should be based in legal language and precedents, not popular opinion.

On with the rest of the comment: But that's not really what your post is about, I don't think. This topic is, for me, a tricky one in which my opinions regularly change (almost depending on the day). I admit to being confused as to how the ramifications of the proposition failing are not known, as the failure to pass it would really result in no change from the present situation. Today in CA, same sex marriages are allowed in CA, no constitutional amendment forbids them, and none of the possible effects have occurred, AFAIK. To the extent that they could occur in the future, that would be Very Bad. While I may wobble around on my feelings on same-sex marriage, I strongly agree that limiting the Church's marriage rights, clergy's preaching rights and private adoption agencies rights is not right.

Finally, I'll just point out that there are countries* where the LDS Church can not preform marriage in the temple, only sealings. If that were to become the case in the US, it would be sad, it would be disappointing, it would make people angry, but no eternal harm would be done. (*To be honest, Brazil is the only country I know where this is the case, but I doubt that it's the only one.)

Sabrina said...

I have been thinking about doing a post on this recently myself. It's really good to hear others' opinion on the matter because, like Clark, my opinion is often changing. From a purely political perspective, I'd have to say I would probably be opposed to the measure. I can think of no way to legally explain why it should be supported. All I can say is that I believe in prophets and modern day revelation, and because the prophet has asked us for our support, I support it. That reason is good enough for me, but not good enough to explain to others who do not share my religious views.

I have to admit I do understand why it would cause problems with tax exemption, suing, etc. because really, religions are receiving a favor from the gov't - they are tax exempt. Because of this, the gov't has some sway in their procedures. If they go against something that is mandated by the state, the state has their tax exempt status to hang over their head. I wish this weren't the case, but unfortunately the gov't does have that kind of power.

Ideally, federal taxation wouldn't exist and marriage wouldn't even be defined by the gov't, only civil unions would exist for the purpose of filing taxes, having power of attorney, etc, and then religions and whatever other organizations interested would call these unions whatever they chose - marriage or anything else creative they could come up with.

Essentially, the gov't should have far less power to define people's relationships and coerce religious and other organizations to promote things in contrary to their core values - in a perfect world *sigh*. In the mean time, I suppose prop 8 is the best we've got so as of now, I'll be joining you on Nov 3rd.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Ty Squi! As part of the campaign out here in CA, it's been crazy! Almost every day I hold signs at intersections, call people, go door to door, display my bumper sticker, and try to teach my gay friends (I work with a lot) that we love them and that we're really not anti gay. It's rough! [Joe] got a bottle of bleach thrown at him and my boyfriend's intersection had a guy come try to start a fight at their intersection last night, among many other stories. I've received emails from friends bashing the church and myself. Our "yes" signs are stolen, normally within 2 hours of being put up, and our bumper stickers are being vandalized (I did catch one guy stealing a sign, and I happened to be at an intersection next to a cop, so I pointed the guy out to the cop, and, well, satisfying moment), false claims about the church are being written in newspapers, and of course, our temples are being protested. It's a battle field out here, and we could use all the prayers we can get! Thanks for your's!

Anonymous said...

This is a great post. Honestly, I am sad for members of the the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints who chose to not follow the Prophet's council.

Rummage said...

Just donated.

T.Irwin said...

I appreciate you posting this information. I've really struggled with this but haven't done a lot of my own research. I've read up on everything local, presidential and some of the national politics but I've kept pretty clear of this one.
Knowing your thoughts and the facts you've posted will help me do more reading on this topic to see the full implications of this decision.
Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for taking the time to share your views. [Joe] and I were having a conversation about this and your take on Proposition 8 was just what he and I needed to read. I am impressed with your ability to communicate your thoughts so effectively.

Tim said...

I never thought of the ramifications it could have on the church. That really FREAKS me out. Thanks for such an insightful post.

Cory said...

That's a great post Tyler. Thanks!

As far as legal reasoning for why these CA judges are in the wrong, see http://ldspolitics.blogspot.com/2008/06/as-california-goes-so-goes-nation-i.html

We have to realize that whatever the government of man does holds no sway in the eyes of God. His "purposes will go forth boldly nobly and independent [of any government action]." If Prop 8 goes through, and the Church is forced to choose between performing/sanctioning gay marriage and losing their tax empempt status, boy what an easy decision. (If that happens, the government is going to get a lot of taxes from the Church).

The other point is that I never took the time to find out what I could do to support it. Thanks for posting these links and I'll for sure be joining in the fast Tuesday night. The best thing to do to help is to vote on Tuesday, regardless of whether or not you live in CA. Voting is a fundamental right and gives us the power over our governments.