Bride and GroomAfter vigorous debate and much public outcry, the United States Senate has finally found a solution to the hot topic of illegal immigration. Ban gay marriage and flag burning.

Maybe its my genetic memory calling, but governmental involvement in marriage doesn’t rest easy with me. Imagine by some miracle this grandstanding on gay marriage actually takes hold and it becomes the 28th amendment to the constitution. Then what will stop government from going further in defining marriage? Say for example, that in order to stop all marriages of convenience, or marriages for citizenship, the government must now be allowed to verify the ceremony with a representative. In Utah, where LDS marriages are performed in temples where only active members are permitted, this legislation would go over like a lead balloon. Yet a similar stomping of the minority is being advocated by the LDS church and other religions in conjunction with an expanding and intrusive government. I do not agree with their advocacy. I doubt the persecuted and hunted LDS church of the 19th century would look favorably upon an amendment restricting their religious freedom either.

There are Christian religions that sanction gay marriage. With Republicans attempting to define (yet again) marriage through a constitutional amendment, it is a clear violation of the establishment clause in prohibiting the free exercise of religion. Now according to Mitt Romney, all manner of evils have spewn forth from Massachusetts legalization of gay marriage. He claims that homosexual lifestyles are now being promoted in public schools. Why Mitt needs the help of a constitutional amendment to deal with issues inside his state would be my question. He is free to do as Utah has done and make gay marriage illegal three times over.

The government needs to get out of the business of marriage. Anyone who stands for “limited, small government” and approves of this type of expansion needs to explain their position to me. I see no reconciliation between the two ideas. In a free country, everyone should also be able to decide who their insurance benefits. Recently, I had a long conversation with an unmarried man who was taking care of his disabled sister, who was too young for medicare. When government limits his ability to extend his insurance benefits, who exactly is being protected? In my opinion, it’s the insurance companies and not the American citizen.

This is a prime example of attempting to divert public attention from problems that we are all dealing with on a daily basis.

(See also the Press Release on this topic.)

19 thoughts on “Marriage

  1. Pete Ashdown should be ashamed to suggest that debating a marriage amendment is in any way an attempt to divert Congress from “more important” issues. That argument falls on its own weight. Such an argument can always be used for any issue when it is not one of the top 1 or 2 current issues.

    Mr. Ashdown, if you want to be a senator, consider the core values of our nation and our families. Don’t simply push aside something as important to our society as marriage. Where would you be today if not for your parents and family?

  2. I’m not ashamed to say my parents didn’t need the government’s help in protecting their marriage and neither do I.

    Ten problems more important than the marriage amendment:

    1) Mideast Oil Dependency
    2) War in Iraq
    3) Cost of Energy
    4) Health Care Insurance
    5) Wholesale Government Spying
    6) Torture
    7) Illegal Immigration and Border Security
    8) Failing Schools
    9) Failing Roads and Transportation
    10) China, India, and Europe’s Economy vs America

  3. BRAVO Pete!

    The government has no business in the marriage business. Marriage is a church issue, not a government one. I would prefer to see the government in charge of civil unions for all, and leave the marriage business in the hands of the churches.

    I think you are completely right that this is a diversion. The wedge issue of illegal immigration blew up in their faces so they went to an old stand-by, but that is now also blowing up in their faces.

  4. It is important not to confuse the “Marriage Amendment” with marriage. Mike is correct in stating that marriage is very important to our society. Strong marriages and families make for a strong country. I am very thankful for familial support and also for the support and strength my marriage gives me and our 3 children.

    I think all of us agree that strong families benefit every aspect of society. Where we disagree is on HOW to strengthen the family unit. Families who have economic stability, whose children are adaquately educated, whose health care needs are met, who are free to worship as they see fit, and who have hope for the future are vastly better off than those who do not have such opportunities. The “Marriage Amendment” does nothing to strengthen families in a real way, instead it was created as a smoke screen to divert good people who believe in strong families from focusing on how we, as a society, can truly support the family unit. Meanwhile corporate chronies of legislators continue to enrich themselves while the rest of us are distracted in a fight over gay marriage.

    “Limited, small government” to me means that the government stays out of my personal life, allowing me my free agency. Instead of Congress wasting time and resources debating what a marriage certificate should look like, I would like them to work on strengthning the country in real ways, promoting health, economic stability, and protection to our families.

    I am lucky, my husband’s company has been successful and has given our little family the financial resources to buy a house, put food on the table each day, and pay for our health care (including dental). Some of my brothers, sisters, friends, and neighbors have not been so lucky. In fact,our neighborhood school, two blocks from our house, has one of the highest homeless rates in the state. The “Marriage Amendment” would do nothing to move these children and their families out of poverty and on the road to stability. My husband, Pete Ashdown, is pro-family and when people realize that he puts the interests and well-being of families before that of mega-corporations, they will elect him as Utah’s next Senator. That’s when they will have true protection for their families.

  5. The sponsor of this resolution claims that it is necessary in order to keep the supreme court from declaring state laws as unconstitutional even when the public wants the laws passed. If this were really his intent, wouldn’t he be trying to ammend the constitution so that states’ laws could override the constitutional provisions? But that is not really what he wants, since some states have said that they do want same-sex unions to be recognized. In any case, the constitution is not there to restrict rights based on the current desires of the majority. It is there to ensure all people’s rights despite the current views of any majority.

    I fully agree that is a ploy on the part of the sponsor and co-sponsors of this resolution, who are aware that it cannot pass at this time, to fire up a certain population under the guise of ‘protecting marriage’. I could go on about my beliefs on this, but I think what everyone should recognize is that if this resolution did pass, states’ rights would be further restricted and it would be a historical event in that, for the first time in U.S. history, the constitution was ammended to restrict the rights of a group rather than ensure rights for all.

  6. “Robin (Pete’s wife) Says:
    June 6th, 2006 at 1:17 pm
    It is important not to confuse the “Marriage Amendment” with marriage. Mike is correct in stating that marriage is very important to our society. Strong marriages and families make for a strong country. I am very thankful for familial support and also for the support and strength my marriage gives me and our 3 children.

    I think all of us agree that strong families benefit every aspect of society…”

    I wish two things:

    1. People would grow more accustomed to using the terminology “committed relationship” as opposed to “marriage”. Many people are is long-term, stable, committed, healthy relationships and they are, in fact, NOT MARRIED. Yes, there are often positive benefits to marriage such as tax incentives(?), protection of children, inheritance, etc…, but there are also downsides to marriage…tax burdens, protection from bad parenting, community property, etc…

    2. Single people are people too. We get ignored when the focus is on “the family”. The focus should be on the well-being of ALL citizens regardless of marital status…funny, I thought there was a law about involving race, religion, marital status, etc… in decision-making. It’s a shame that many people back that law without truly thinking about what the intent IS. The point is be inclusive of ALL people, not determine which group might be more worthy of attention.

    Having said the above, it’s quite clear to me that any Democrat deserves my vote over Republicans who would divide to conquer in an election and then not even have the decency to follow through on their promises after.

  7. I don’t think that marriage should be controlled by the government period. I can see marriage licenses so that they have proof you’re married but that’s where I draw the line, PERIOD! I think if homosexuals are in love with eachother then they should be granted the same rights that a heterosexual has to get married. People are people. The reasoning behind my last statement is that humans are humans and should all be treated equally. Also I wish that the amendment that passed in Utah gets repealled because the only good that came of it was the removal of common-law marriage. Most people didn’t realized that all their benefits of being life-partners were void in UT after that passed. Drives me nuts sometimes.

  8. Social policy and government makes for odd partners. To think that a “moral” is a truth enough to push it on all the constituents of a land is a hard pill to swallow, let alone doing it on a federal level.

    There’s a muddy yet fine distinction between something which immoral and something which is harmful. The later is usually very objective the former subjective. Gay marriage is a moral debate, its hard for anyone to objectively say it harms anyone.

    Government should stay out of subjective moral decisions, its something that should be left up to communities and individuals.

  9. I think the most logical solution(which would by extension never happen ) is that governmental bodies should be recognizing “legal unions” whether straight or gay and let religion use the term “marriage” exclusively. Religious persons see the words “gay marriage” and they feel that the religious significance of “marriage” is reduced. Let “marriage” have a religious conotation but don’t make the relgious significance also be the legal significance.

    The funny thing about this whole debate is that I’m not too sure that the actual issue of gay marriage is all that important to gays per se. It’s more a question of being treated equally rather than the specific right to get married.

  10. Thank you, Pete! I keep asking myself how many of these politicians (and rehular folks) would have advocated a constitutional amendment 50 years ago to restrict marriage to being between “one mand and one woman of the same race.” There were plenty of arguments then that interracial marriage was immoral, and contrary to God’s law, and “unnatural.” Yet now, for the vast majority of Americans, that would be unthinkable.

    I applaud your stance in favor of liberty and the right to choose, and keeping people free from subjugation to the religious beliefs of others.



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  12. I am perfectly happy to allow the decision of gay marraige be decided on a state by state basis, since I believe that the whole purpose of marraige is for a couple to make a public announcement of their union and reciprocally for society to accept or reject that union. (if this were not the case there would be no need for witnesses and a couple could go into the woods, declare themselves married and be done with it.)
    However, when the majority of people reject the morality of the union they should not be forced by the minority to recognize it. This is not fair or right. Calling all marraiges “civil unions” does not solve the problem because a “civil union” would still give recognition by the “state”, which is essentially society’s way of acknowledging that union.
    The reason the ammendment to ban gay marraige was proposed was because the proponents of gay marraige have shown that they are not willing to play by the rules of democracy. California legislators attempted to overturn a propostion banning gay marraige that had been democratically determined by the people. Fortunately Arnold Swazzeneger vetoed their attempts. But other such attempts have been successful in Nebraska and Georgia. Voters there decided by more than 70% to restrict marraige to a man and a woman, yet those decisions were overturned by a few judges.
    And as to Mitt Romney’s complaints, well I think he is justified. A grand total of four judges decided to recognize gay marraige in his state. It wasn’t even allowed to go to the people.
    However, while I personally oppose gay marraige I am skeptical as to whether a constitutional ammendment banning it is the right way to fight it. Charles Krauthammer wrote an interesting article about this called “Federalism, sovereignty and gay marraige”. He says “judicial arrogance is to be fought democratically with the means still available” (you can read the article for more info)
    So while it is tempting for me to say “if the other side is not going to play by the rules, then I’m not going to either”, I will choose to do otherwise.

  13. And another thing,

    Pete, if you feel that the ten other things you listed are more important than the question of gay marraige, then that’s fine. I guess that’s your opinion. But I disagree. Even though I voted for John Kerry, knowing that although he wouldn’t say it he probably favored the idea of gay civil unions. That positiion bothered me, but I felt that it could be fought at the state level. On the other hand I couldn’t do anything about an unjust war that we should never have started, except to send a message to the man that started it that it was unacceptable and I wanted him OUT.

    It’s true, like your wife says that economic stability is important for the family, but there are plenty of rich families out there that are morally bankrupt and as a resuslt have numerous problems. Without an accompanying morality our economic prosperity will mean nothing because ultimately our society will fail in other ways. We may not see the affect immediately, but the affects of the sexual revolution of the 60’s are clearly visible to those who have eyes to see.
    It’s sad if you can’t see the importance of this issue, because I am moving to Utah this summer and I would like to vote for someone other that Orrin Hatch.

    So I would like to know, Pete, what is your position on gay marraige ? Or have you taken another NON-position like the one on abortion ?

  14. Elaine, both of these topics are still under debate in the Wiki. I welcome your input both here and there. Abortion and Sexual Orientation.

    My personal belief is that both issues are constitutionally protected. My opponent exclaims that it is rogue judges making these decisions, yet these judges base their decisions on reading the constitution and the law. If you believe these judges are not playing by constitutional rules, please indicate what part of the constitution they are not upholding. If these rights are not constitutionally protected, then there is no need for a constitutional amendment to eliminate them.

    Are you ready to amend the constitution to define a religious ceremony? Do the Unitarians, the Metropolitan Christians, and some Jewish sects that sanction gay marriage not deserve equal protection under the constitution? Should our government promote one religious view over all others, and if that view is Christian as many demand, which Christian view should the government promote?

    Freedom in America is not defined by our own personal liberty but by the liberty of others who we disagree with.

  15. Does the constitution protect the right to a gay marraige ?

    Ammendment 10 is used to justify this interpretation, but all ammendment 10 says is that “powers not delegated to the US by the constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states are reserved to the states respectively or to the people”
    I believe the interpretation which you are referring to says that states are free to protect a right when the constitution does not, which would therefore protect one’s right to same-sex marraige. But the fact that something isn’t in the constitution doesn’t automatically make it a right.
    Does the constitution say anything about polygamists marrying 12 year olds?
    What if they claimed that right ? Well obviously judges would never allow it because most people would find it immoral. But there is a precedence for it and there could be those that could attempt to justify it. Like the issue of gay marraige, this is a moral question that needs to be decided by popular sovereignty. Proposition 22 in California allowed the people to decide on this issue democratically.
    But let’s assume that we do have the right to marry. WHO do we have the right to marry ? Who gets to decide? Why should judges define (or redifine) marraige and not the very people that are being asked to recognize it?

    For better or worse the constitution should not be used to resolve this dispute, which is what I meant to suggest in earlier posts, however, I understand what has led the proponents of the ammendment to push for it.
    If the constitution is not used to protect this right then no, the unitarians, Jewish sects and so on do not deserve a protection which does not exist. They would have to do as the polygamists do, have their own marraige ceremonies, but not expect recognition by a society which does not accept it. And at least they won’t be thrown in jail for it, like polygamists.

    To me this is far more tolerant than expecting the majority to accept something which they don’t.

    And finally I agree that freedom in America is defined by the liberty of others who we disagree with. But the liberty of others we disagree with should not be allowed to infringe on my freedom. If the majority of people are forced to accept something which they find immoral, then their freedom is being imposed upon.

  16. Actually, I was referencing Amendment 1. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” It is difficult to find two religions who agree on how marriage should be performed or what it entails. Having the government define it for all religions flies in the face of Amendment 1. Do religions have the right to dictate their own doctrine? I believe that is what Amendment 1 protects.

    Please understand that I am not asking you to accept gay marriage. I am not saying that heterosexuals should be rounded up and forced into homosexual relationships. Nor am I saying that religions who refuse same-sex marriage need to change their doctrine. I do not think the government or the constitution should be used to ban or affirm any form of marriage. Marriage is a religious construct and should remain so. When it comes to benefits, visitation, and inheritance, I think that this is a decision best made by the individual instead of lawmakers in partnership with the insurance companies.

    Regarding the protection of minors by the state. There are already laws that do this and nobody is trying to challenge them on a constitutional basis. These laws were not crafted out of moral duty, but for the protection of individuals who have not reached a point where they are able to fully defend or think for themselves.

  17. OK thank you for clearing that up for me. So if a Jewish sect chooses to sanction gay marraige then the constitution should not prohibit them from doing so, because that is their religous preference. Fine, I have no problem with that. Is anyone involved in these marraiges going to jail? No, but if the state recognizes these marraiges then they are giving preference to one religion over others and in some cases the majority of others.

    I’ve heard it proposed that the state should not recognize any marraige, only civil unions and then let individual religions decide how to define marraige. I don’t think that solves the problem because a civil union has always had the same implications as a marraige, so it’s the same thing you’re just calling it by another name.

    We could probably go round and round on this one. We went down this same path on the issue of abortion more than thirty years ago; trying to resolve it through the constitution and here we are, the issue is still unsettled and terribly divisive. The conclusion is that it is a popular sovereignty problem which should be resolved by the people.

    And if you want the state to recognize gay marraige or civil unions then you ARE asking me to accept it. I am a citizen of the state. I will tolerate it by allowing them their free will to have their ceremony as they wish, but if the state recognizes their marraige then you are asking me to accept it. But it doesn’t seem that we will agree on that, so I will let it go.

    In closing, you really didn’t need to insult me with the implication that I thought I would be rounded up and forced into a homosexual relationship.

    Anyway, good luck with your campaign.

  18. sorry, one more thing.

    I realize that no one is trying to challenge laws meant to protect minors, but if they did try to challenge them on a constitutional basis no judge would consent to it. Why ? Out of moral duty.

    Follow this logic.
    Having sex with a minor is against the law. It is against the law because, as you say, it “protects individuals who have not reached a point where they are able to fully defend or think for themselves”
    Since they are not able to fully defend or think for themselves it is wrong to have sex with them.
    If it is wrong to have sex with them, then that means it is immoral.

  19. A few thoughts:

    Marriage is always and unquestionably linked to government. There is no “taking the government out of marriage” because of all the of legal factors associated with marriage. High-blown language about separating church and state doesn’t change that.

    Is polygamous marriage constitutionally protected, Pete? If not, then where does it violate the constitution? What about bestiality? What about incest?

    I haven’t seen a court yet overturn restrictions on polygamy (or bigamy); why is that?

    Government is filled with morality. It is unavoidable. The big question is what is the best way to handle this morality. In my personal views, it should be communities deciding this, not judges. And yet liberal judges are making it their prerogative to overturn laws established by the people governing marriage. In several states, this has already lead to constitutional amendments as the local populations are reacting to “judicial arrogance.”

    I’m not in favour of a constitutional amendment regarding marriage—I don’t think one should be necessary. The frightening thing is that the decisions of judges are making it necessary for US citizens to resort to constitutional amendments to impliment the laws they desire.

    I respect you and your views in many ways, Pete, but don’t let me ever hear you suggest again that morality isn’t a significant part of government. We have porn laws, indecency laws, marriage laws, gambling laws, drug laws, fraud laws, etc., many of which boil down to, ultimately, “morality”.

    Even the separation of church and state is very much a moral issue.

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