This article is from Volume 3 (October 2004), which can be downloaded here.
There is presently a great deal of turmoil throughout our nation over the issue of same gender unions. However, the reason for so much turmoil is not always clear. Some say that the issue is on the order of inalienable human rights, while others argue that it is simply a matter of personal preference. Regardless of where each individual stands there are tender feelings in the hearts of many over the outcome of this momentous decision. Who has the right to decide and on what grounds should the decision be made? To be clear, the decision affects the legally enforceable privileges extended to persons of the same gender that seek a publicly acknowledged union. This decision is one of morality and must be approved by the people and executed by the government of the land. I appeal to the arguments of the article Morality and Religion DO have a place in Politics and Government to show that government, by the voice of the people, must be responsible for ensuring a solid foundation of public morality.
There has been much scientific debate over whether same gender attraction is some verifiable condition of human physiology and thus those subject to it are incapable of choosing otherwise. Regardless of the varied findings, the issue of same gender attraction is one of preference. Despite contentions to the contrary, “sexual orientation” is not comparable to race, religion and ethnicity [ref 2]. The decision is one of morality, and ought to be addressed as such.
Similarly, the argument that to grant or deny same gender unions is a matter of human rights is not correct. The Declaration of Independence establishes the first formal position of this government on the issue of Human Rights: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights…” It is important to note that if Human Rights are given from God, and not man, that God cannot be separated from those Rights. It should also be understood that persons that subscribe to such a preference are not excluded from receiving basic Human Rights protection under the law. The question then is whether or not Marriage is included in the scope of Human Rights. I answer this question with a question, if someone is not allowed to enter into a publicly acknowledged union of his/her preference is he/she robbed of Life, Liberty, or the pursuit of Happiness? I suppose that the pursuit of Happiness will be the most argued, to which I would ask, How does public acknowledgment of his/her preferred union make him/her more able to pursue happiness?
Perhaps there is some merit in reviewing the history of marriage. The first recorded definition of marriage is found in the Bible, carefully set in what believers in the Bible call the Creation. The record of the Creation not only records the first marriage, but defines one of its primary purposes to be procreation. For all people, believers and non-believers alike, there is merit in this association of the marriage union and procreation. They are intertwined and inseparable. Procreation cannot occur without the physical union of a man and a woman. This notion of marriage and its purpose of procreation dates back to biblical times, during which history there have been few societies that have questioned its truth or application.
Being a moral decision, the voice of the people must make the choice. Government will then be empowered to execute the law and the judicial process will be guided in its interpretation of the constitutional decree. The concept of government by the voice of the people has long been accepted in our nation. One of the most disturbing comments I have heard on this topic was from a university student. He said that the people at large would be subjected to a “tyrannical majority”. The idea that a minority voice should overrule the voice of the people, for any reason whatsoever, is not and can never become a tenet of our political process. It is the voice of the people that moves this nation. Since it is by our voice that the laws are made and representatives elected, we find ourselves compelled to adhere to the standards set forth by them. Without that assurance that the voice of the people will rule, our nation will crumble out from underneath us.
How to decide on the issue of same gender unions must be guided by moral principle. Similarly it is inappropriate to consider it a matter of Human Rights, or to let such considerations determine its outcome. Marriage is defined by religion and God to be set forth for a particular purpose and historically has enjoyed special legal protections. These religious principles are supported by nearly 90% of Americans today [ref 1]. Many of the legal protections afforded to marriage have their historical and practical base in one of the primary purposes of marriage, namely the process of rearing families. This historical perspective must not be abandoned to a supposed new enlightenment, but rather must guide us as a sustainable model for protecting family in our society.
Regardless of the outcome, some will take offense. To the degree possible we as a society must use great care in securing Human Rights, while at the same time securing Family Rights. We owe it to our families and our God to vote in favor of morality; in favor of Family; in favor of measures calculated to define marriage as a union between a Man and a Woman.
- February and March Pew Research Council survey of 2,002 adults found that 89% of Americans believed in God.
- Given in a rebuttal to an argument against Utah Constitutional Amendment number 3 by Lavar Christensen, D. Chris Buttars and Margaret Dayton, and published in the 2004 Utah Voter Information Pamphlet.