I write in response to Lawn Griffiths’ blog posting, "Mormon activist against gay marriage ban stirs things up, (Spiritual Life blog, Sept. 30).” Instead of discussing the doctrinal issues associated with marriage, Griffiths has chosen to criticize the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by attempting to legitimize the virulent attacks of one apostate member of that church. A church’s decisions with regard to membership qualifications and discipline of its members is that church’s business alone, not Griffiths’.
Blog offends Mormon reader
I write in response to Lawn Griffiths’ blog posting, “Mormon activist against gay marriage ban stirs things up, (Spiritual Life blog, Sept. 30).” Instead of discussing the doctrinal issues associated with marriage, Griffiths has chosen to criticize the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by attempting to legitimize the virulent attacks of one apostate member of that church. A church’s decisions with regard to membership qualifications and discipline of its members is that church’s business alone, not Griffiths’.
He wrongly alleges that the LDS Church is “on the wrong side of history and humanity on the issues of homosexuality as well as government trying to define what marriage is and isn’t.” But Griffiths would do well to remember that there would be no humanity if men and women did not marry and procreate, and that governments have always defined marriage as the union of a man and a woman. It is Griffiths, not the LDS Church, that is on the wrong side of both humanity and history.
DAVID M. ANDERSEN
State shouldn’t impose religious belief
I have been following the back and forth on the “marriage” amendment to our constitution all the while wondering how this can possibly pass the “separation of church and state” principle. Marriage has become a term associated with both religious and secular purposes. Most religions view marriage as a sacrament and either refuse to recognize civil marriages or frown on them vs. getting married in church.
Governments have used marriage as a convenient way to establish rights such as access to loved ones in medical facilities; property rights between “married” people; child and spousal support rules, and so on. Governments also offer benefits to married couples in the form of tax breaks and other programs.
The definition of marriage as solely between a man and a woman is a religious matter and should be left to the various religions to manage. No one has ever been able to “force” a church to perform a marriage outside their value system and there is no current or foreseeable prospect of this changing. And society dictates that contracts between animals and humans, underage children and adults, etc., are unenforceable. So these distasteful scenarios are just distractions tossed into the argument.
It seems to me that it is time to recognize that the term “marriage” has taken on meanings, rights and obligations beyond those embraced by religion. And as such it is time to allow any couple to get “married” and gain the benefits and obligations which the government has attached to the term. Let the individual religions or churches determine who is qualified to receive the “sacrament of marriage” within their faith.
And before you speculate further, I am a happily married man who has four children and four grandchildren (so far). I am a Presbyterian elder and have held office in two churches. If a sinner like me isn’t threatened by homosexual marriage, I can’t imagine why anyone else should be.
BILL VAN AMBURG
Gay marriage empowers states to trample religion
I would like to add my voice to those who are in support of Proposition 102. Those who oppose this law would have you think that if you vote for this measure you are intolerant, discriminatory or a “hater” of other’s choices. But that is not what this is about. This is about not letting special interest groups or a select few make laws and policies that affect the rest of us and our children.
After same-sex marriage was legalized in Massachusetts, Catholic Charities dropped its adoption program because it knew it would be required by law to facilitate adoption of children to same-sex couples and did not want to face lawsuits. A photographer in New Mexico was fined $6,637 for declining to photograph a “commitment ceremony” of two lesbians because same-sex relationships violated her religious beliefs.
A doctor was sued in California for declining to artificially inseminate a lesbian woman because it was against his religious beliefs. The court ruled that the doctor discriminated against the lesbian and ordered him to pay damages.
These are just a few of the repercussions of legalizing same-sex marriage, and if we do not have an amendment to the constitution in our state, this could happen to us just as it did in three other states (Massachusetts, California and Connecticut). I don’t want judges telling me what constitutes a marriage. I know what marriage is!
Let’s keep families intact; let’s keep families defined as they should be; say “yes” to marriage, say “yes” to Proposition 102.
Stop hijacking of marriage
While we fret over the economy, schools, health care and the war, there are looters in our homes. They are attempting to rewrite history by redefining marriage. Many say that our present laws suffice to secure the definition of marriage. In California and Connecticut, where such laws existed and were challenged, the state supreme courts ruled 4–3 to overturn the laws and open the doors for “marriage” to include same sex unions.
Only a constitutional amendment, which is exempt from such arbitrary decisions, would safeguard the definition of marriage here in Arizona. This is not just an issue for “the religious right.” It is an issue of justice and truth for all. If we begin to allow human beings to start redefining cultural entities such as “marriage,” what will be next? Will “man” and “woman” and “child” be open to discussion and reconstruction? Will “democracy,” “parent,” “president,” be next?
Please support the Proposition 102. Don’t let others hijack and abuse the institution of marriage for their own purposes.
Fend off big spenders
Most Arizona residents are focused on things that matter like the tanking economy, unemployment, rising health care costs and immigration. Yet, the Yes on Marriage committee is spending $7 million to “define” marriage, something the voters already said “no” to in 2006.
Let me remind you how Proposition 102 made the ballot. In the 12th hour of the legislative session, Sen. Jack Harper, R-Surprise, broke long-standing Senate rules and even turned off fellow senators’ microphones to get what Center for Arizona Policy wanted. A formal ethics complaint could not undo the damage, so Prop. 102 was allowed to reach the ballot with just 16 votes.
If Prop. 102 passes, you will see Center for Arizona Policy file lawsuits to stop cities, counties, universities and the state from providing any of the few benefits available to domestic partners. Voting “yes” on Prop. 102 will directly affect your gay friend, co-worker, brother, sister, nephew, daughter or son. Mormon families have been given a directive from Salt Lake City to contribute time and money to pass Prop. 102.
Families are giving $10,000 at a time. The Diocese of Phoenix has produced a Web video encouraging Catholics to support Prop. 102. Doesn’t the diocese have enough to worry about? What happened to separation of church and state? It is time to send a message that churches and big money don’t control our government — the people do.
We cannot let a minority of people with $7 million dollars hijack the state constitution.
They have already hijacked the Legislature. Please vote “no” on Prop. 102.
Half-truths drive campaign
Tom Wilkinson’s commentary on gay marriage (“Church stance on gay marriage proper,” Opinion July 7) is derisory. While I don’t understand his arrogance in proclaiming himself and 13 million others to have some advantage over about 7 billion of the rest of us, I will respect his right to believe in any manner he sees fit.
That is what our Constitution allows, so long as beliefs don’t infringe upon the rights of another. Proposition 102 attempts to legislate based on hate and bigotry. It is also in direct defiance to the purpose of our Constitution, wherein we are assured life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Wilkinson claims that legalizing gay marriage opens a floodgate leading to legalization of half-bestial marriages. This is a spurious similarity to draw a false conclusion. Similarities exist between heterosexual marriage and half-bestial marriage. By Wilkinson’s logic, that would mean that heterosexual marriage would lead to half-bestial marriage.
Unless Prop. 102 bans these types of marriage, then it cannot prevent them. Likewise, legalizing gay marriage cannot lead to them. Wilkinson claims that legalizing homosexual marriage harms families. What is his definition of “family”? The U.S. Census Bureau defines family as “two or more persons related by birth, marriage, or adoption, who reside together.”
Family is more complex than Wilkinson claims. A basic cultural anthropology course will show that forms of families are as diverse as families themselves.
In the U.S., there is no one family type that represents a majority. There are blood ties as well as symbolic ties that bind people together in a familial unit. Families are complex. That the complexities of heterosexual families differ from homosexual families does not make one type superior. Wilkinson bases his definition on religious beliefs. But no one else is obligated to conform to those beliefs. Prop. 102 is a secular issue and must be decided as such.
JAMIE E. WILKINSON
Keep courts from issue
During the eight years I had the honor of serving as chairman of the Judiciary Committee in the Arizona House of Representatives, I was involved in a number of changes to the Arizona Constitution but few were as important as the change we voters must make this election by voting yes on Proposition 102. The measure will define marriage in our state constitution.
There are those who wrongly suggest that a statute alone is sufficient but the facts belie that contention. Already the supreme courts of three states (California, Massachusetts and Connecticut) have ignored the will of the voters of those states and arbitrarily, without any public input, changed the traditional definition of marriage.
We can’t let that happen here in Arizona and it won’t if we all vote in favor of the passage of Proposition 102. Its passage is vital.
Jesus had nothing to say
Celebrating the diversity of humanity challenges us all to think, to pray, and to use words that are inclusive. It stretches us to open our hearts and see how Christ sees. It forces us to not accept trite, simple answers to complex issues. And yes, celebrating human diversity means welcoming people who are gay into our society.
Unfortunately, we have let political strategists with built-in agendas drive this discussion. It is important for us to recognize that there is no record in the New Testament of Jesus saying anything about homosexuality. Strange, isn’t it, that Jesus is quite specific about condemning divorce and the remarriage of divorced persons but says nothing about gays getting married. Isn’t it hypocritical for us to accept persons who have been divorced and remarried, but turn around and forbid gay marriage? We should not have a litmus test to check our worthiness. It is only by the grace of God that any and all of us are welcomed by God.
It is absurd to believe that gay and lesbian civil unions would weaken the institution of marriage. It’s true that the institution of marriage is in serious jeopardy today, but that’s not because gays and lesbians want their unions recognized. The reality is that divorce is destroying the American family. It’s heterosexuals who are getting divorced; gays want to be married.
You and I are not the judge. Let God be God. And let us provide a welcome place for God’s diverse humanity. Because Christ welcomed all at his table fellowship, including Judas, I know that I am welcomed by God. So are gays and those who join me in voting no on Prop 102.
REV. PAUL A. WHITLOCK
PASTOR, DESERT HERITAGE CHURCH, Mesa