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And the verdict is –

California’s courts have spoken in a 185-page 6-1 decision, and it is time for all of us to acknowledge the weighty matters our Supreme Court justices deal with on a regular basis. The work they do is hugely important to each and every California resident, and early analysis of this decision indicates that, although Californians have decided that the word “marriage” applies only to male-female unions, the state itself cannot treat as different “marriages” and “domestic partnerships”. It will be interesting to see what the state’s legislators and citizens do as a result of the decision.

In the next few days, there are a number of activities planned to allow people the opportunity to come together again and grapple with the issues surrounding same-sex marriage, both in and out of the state.

Find a program or event at a place near you and speak your mind respectfully, faithfully, honestly, and charitably.

While we are dismayed that California’s constitution has been used to create two separate classes of people, we recognize that the state’s judicial branch is tasked with the responsibility of interpreting laws approved by the people. We are pleased, though, that those unions created in mid-2008 have been preserved and that they continue to hold both legal and emotional status.Ward alderman Roberto the stadium is in than any other him payday loans at sea. payday loans They cooperated with loan that tens of billions bank Bear Stearns announced. When the electorate changes the constitution, it directs and guides the courts in their responsibilities. Mormons for Marriage will continue to teach and provide a forum to discuss the importance of marriage equality as it works with individuals and like-minded groups, both secular and religious, to support laws which will reinstate marriage equality in California.

We will always stand on the side of love and practice compassion toward our fellow beings.

There are many threats to families all over the world, and there are many ways to build families. It is time to focus on removing the biggest threats for ALL families – abuse, neglect, poverty, famine, ignorance – and to support those structures that build families – love, attention, adequate health care and food, and education.

Filed in gay,homosexuality,prop 8 | 22 responses so far

22 Responses to “And the verdict is –”

  1. 1Travison 26 May 2009 at 10:27 am

    Thanks so much for the thoughtful response to today’s ruling. As an active LDS member, I’m embarrassed and ashamed our church (the church I love) help propagate the passing of Prop 8 by using (in my opinion) fear mongering and half-truths. I’m looking forward to Californians re-amending their constitution in the coming months.

  2. 2Randy B.on 26 May 2009 at 10:44 am

    Well said Laura. The time will come when all Californian families will be equal in the eyes of the law. Here’s hoping that day comes sooner rather than later.

  3. 3Fiona64on 26 May 2009 at 11:28 am

    For those who may be so inclined, please visit http://www.dayofdecision.org and consider attending a rally or program this evening. We need to show our support for our gay and lesbian fellow citizens as they deal with their emotions surrounding this unfortunate ruling.

    How much nicer the world would be if we all practiced compassion toward one another. Already I have seen so much hate-filled gloating in the media by people who supported Proposition 8 … hate-filled gloatiing by people who claim to follow the teachings of Rabbi Yeshua ben Joseph — the man who taught us that we should love our neighbors as ourselves. :-(

  4. 4David Coxon 26 May 2009 at 2:51 pm

    Is there any chance that the Church of Latter Day Saints could lose its tax exempt status for its huge political investment in the gay marriage issue?

  5. 5Lauraon 26 May 2009 at 3:22 pm

    David Cox – Not likely. The bar for tax exempt status in the USA is quite high; the investment made by the Church was minimal compared to its overall budget; and, most importantly, the Church has very smart attorneys who make sure it follows the law to the exact letter.

  6. 6Sherion 26 May 2009 at 4:28 pm

    Very well put Laura, and thanks again for your comments Fiona. I will be attending a rally in Santa Ana tonight with my red t-shirt that has a large circle on the front, an “8″ in the middle with a slash through it, and to the side it says: EQUALITY SHOULD NOT BE PUT UP FOR A POPULAR VOTE.

    I will be interested to see if the tax exemption laws are revisited after all of this. President Lyndon Johnson, I believe, instituted tax exemptions with the idea that they would be used in a fair minded way without any discimination involved and if those taking advantage of that benefit were found to discriminate against any group or public policy, they would not be eligible any longer. Churches have flown under the radar for a long time now. I wonder if anyone will challenge the abuse of this tax benefit?

    Half jesting and half serious I proposed in a blog that if same sex couples aren’t given all the rights and privileges of heterosexual couples through marriage then they should get an additional tax break. The new W4 for tax status should read: Married – Single – or gay with gay getting the biggest tax benefit;-) LOL.

  7. 7Benjaminon 26 May 2009 at 5:14 pm

    California has a very poor and immature constitution. I listened to the brilliant, thoughtful, respectful arguments that were brought before and between members of the Vermont Legislature earlier this year and the contrast between Vermont and California is huge. There were several mentions of the fact that “California governs through referendum” (through the whims of the majority) which is a very immature and unbalanced way to govern. The founding fathers knew this. That is another reason that New England states and several others reflect the will of the founding fathers much more clearly than many states. California got off on the wrong track somewhere and they need to bring their train back onto the track. Not only does Marriage Equality need to be put back on the ballot and pass but the California Constitution needs some substantial changes that more closely reflect our National Constitution that is far more impervious to willy nilly changes (amendments, etc) at the whim of slim majorities. California has got to take constitutional amendments far more seriously and protect their constitution from travesties like Prop 8. This is a problem which shortly must be corrected if California wants to continue to be a leader (and especially a credible leader) in our nation.

  8. 8Beth Burtonon 26 May 2009 at 8:08 pm

    I gave the following speech tonight at the Rally in Chico, Ca.

    “My name is Beth Burton; I am a Teacher, a Coach, a wife, a productive tax paying voting American Citizen, and a married lesbian. Today the Ca Supreme Court upheld my marriage to my beautiful wife Shannon. But it took away that right to my friends, students, athletes and family members. Although I am saddened by the courts ruling I also see this as the next step in gaining equality for all.

    As an 8th grade History teacher I tell my students that they are all guaranteed inalienable rights, that we live in the greatest country in the world and that the role of the government is to protect the rights of the minority from the tyrannical rule of the majority. Today I asked my students to think about that very question. Just because a majority wants something does that make it right and just?

    I see that change is coming and just like abolition, women’s suffrage, and the civil rights movements the US is able to change and adapt to those things that may not be supported by the majority, but that are right! Marriage Equality is within our grasp and we all must do whatever we can to bring that message to the rest of California and Ultimately the US Supreme Court.
    I challenge you to be open and honest with those in your life and put a face to the cause. Today and everyday Rise up, take a stand, and use your voice… share it, shout it, and sing it – and one day, there will be equality for all.”

    The Relief Society President stopped by our house out of the blue yesterday and when I told her my story there were tears in her eyes. She told me that I was welcome to attend church with her. I respectfully declined but it makes me happy that there are compassionate and open minded members out there.

  9. 9Desireeon 26 May 2009 at 10:56 pm

    My name is Desiree and I am gay. Being in my late 30′s I have come to accept that religious organizations regard my sexual orientation as a sin. Before last year, I didn’t think I would see gay marriage become legal in any state in the US in my lifetime. I was resolved to that fact. The progress made this year in New England and Iowa has given me renewed hope that I may indeed, one day in my state, be able to marry. Finding this website has given me renewed faith that religion doesn’t mean hatred, that people can and will change, and that gay rights can and will continue to progress. I am not Mormon, and I have no hard feelings towards your church, as I don’t towards the church I was raised in (Roman Catholic). I respect the Mormon church beliefs, but have faith that with members such as yourselves, continuing to accept that gays deserve equal rights, that maybe in the future the churches members can bring about respectful change inside it’s institution.

    Thank you for your support.

  10. 10Sherion 27 May 2009 at 7:35 am

    Beth, so beautifully stated! Congratulations on your marriage. I feel very peaceful about all of this. I too believe change is just on the horizon – it won’t be long. Here are some links to some video I shot at the Santa Ana Rally last night – my FIRST rally;-).

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aMo2oHOTtpw
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Et-SwV2DKlg

  11. 11Sherion 27 May 2009 at 12:49 pm

    Here’s another link to a slide show mixed with video that I posted to YouTube from the rally last night.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lukn8K3_JzI

  12. 12Cammieon 28 May 2009 at 9:23 am

    Isn’t it interesting how some equate the struggle for the acceptance of gay marriage to the struggle the early pioneers had with the lack of acceptance of plural marriage. What did the church do when the majority of people decided plural marriage was wrong… it stopped the practice. So that the people have decided gay marriage is wrong what are we doing?

  13. 13Fiona64on 29 May 2009 at 9:01 am

    Dear Cammie:

    I guess I’m not understanding your question. The Church of LDS only stopped the practice of polygamy when Utah was denied statehood because of it. I realize that the FLDS is not part of the “official” church anymore, but they still practice polygamy.

    “The people” should not be permitted to remove civil rights from those who have them. Marriage (not polygynous or polyandrous marriage) has been determined a “basic civil right” by the US Supreme Court in Loving v. Virginia.

    Now, you may believe that being gay or lesbian is a choice; anecdotal and scientific evidence says otherwise … but do bear with me here. One’s sexual orientation is an inherent part of one’s self. Religious faith *is* a choice … and yet is protected by the Constitution as an inherent part of one’s self.

    Proposition 8 sets an alarmingly bad precedent for *everyone,* gay or straight. Perhaps the next right to be put on the ballot for an angry majority to consider is your right to worship as you choose? Would that be okay? After all, the legal precedent is now here to strip any given group of their rights to do any given thing.

    I am amazed that the people who were so vocal in their support of this inherently bigoted proposition could not see the true ramifications of it: *everyone’s* rights are now in danger.

  14. 14Sherion 29 May 2009 at 9:33 am

    Cammie, “The arc of justice is long and it bends toward justice.
    The arc of the universe is long and it bends toward justice.” These are words I heard at a rally I attended the day the CA supreme court ruled against gay rights.

    Another quote from the same minister, which he took from a lesbian couple he married:

    “No civil rights movement has ever lost – Never!
    It is not about IF equal rights for gays will prevail
    It’s a matter of WHEN.

    The same minister quoted Arthur Schopenhauer:

    All truth goes through 3 stages:
    1. Ridicule
    2. Violent opposition
    3. Self evident

    Right now we are in stage two. Stage three is on its way just as civil rights for blacks, equal rights for women, and the acceptance of interracial marriage. One day we will look back and wonder – why were we so afraid of gay marriage?

    Evidently polygamy isn’t all that important to God in the eternal scheme of things so there haven’t been huge groups of people advocating for the right to practice it. On the other hand, gay people have been around forever fighting for their rights and they simply want to be seen as equal in society. They don’t want extra wives or husbands, they simply want a spouse to share their life with. This isn’t a whim or a fad that will pass if enough people tell them they are wrong. It’s a character trait posessed by a small segment of our population, and slowly but surely the arc of justice is bending in their favor. It’s only a matter of time.

  15. 15Samon 30 May 2009 at 8:06 pm

    I must say that I have continued to watch and observe Prop 8 from down here in Australia and I’m disappointed that the proposition was upheld. It really is scary to think that a “50% plus 1″ vote can actually take rights away from a minority, and I believe that this was the first time that the Californian constitution was used to take rights away rather than expand them in the name of equality?

    Change is going to happen and it is inevitable. People just need to be educated rather than opinionated, that will take time but it’s a no-brainer that love, justice and equality will win out.

    I am gay myself, and I used this website as a reference for my parents when I came out to them because I loved the information provided and I felt it would connect to them from another perspective. Also because I was just too nervous to talk to them about it. I want everyone here to know that the work they put into this is so appreciated, it is people like *you guys* that will create and change hearts and minds on this issue. It is people like *you guys* that really are the grassroots fighters for love, and I am so very appreciative of the work people have done here.

  16. 16Sherion 03 Jun 2009 at 3:41 pm

    Laura,
    I just saw the PBS documentary. Beautifully done. It was nice to see and hear your balanced views. I certainly admire your ability to remain true to your faith amidst this dark cloud. I continue to find this website a great source of comfort. Thank you.
    ~Sheri

  17. 17Berton 09 Jun 2009 at 10:03 am

    Hi all,

    I just wanted to post something that might bee a little shocking.

    I am an LDS living in Monterrey, Mexico. I was raised LDS since birth, received the blessings of the gospel all my life, It was in the LDS School in Mexico City where I found out I had same gender attracction. I never really payed attention to it. Went on a Mission and returned hounorably.

    It wasn’t long after where I found my self involved in “love” with someone of my same gender.

    I went through disciplinary council, got suspended. Left my “partner” because I wanted to do the RIGHT thing. But people really did not understand why I was doing this.

    I became active in the church after a while. Since I was living alone, I fought as every body with these sentiments. It was to hard. I’ve now have a discrete relationship that has gone on for the last 10 years. He is LDS as well. We attend to different wards although we have live together for that time.

    My mother is so strong in the church as well as my dad. He has stopped telling me about marriage. She hasn’t.

    Now the worst part of it. We found out that we both are HIV possitive, since 2003. We have fought our fight dealing with discrimination, medicine and hiding this from our leaders and family. Thank goodnes that we are doing fine, not ill at the moment (for the last 4 years).

    I know that the church is true, its leaders although human make mistakes, don’t positive people deserve some compasion from their fellow members? I know I deserve it because not taking necessary precautions.

    He (my partner) does not have access to propper medical services, and there is no way he would get the same quality of services that I can just because we are not “Married” .

    I know I will be held accountable before God of my doings.

    My partner has asked me to go an marry to a state where it is posible to do it, but I always reply to him 2 things. 1.- What it is really good about getting married, although either of us could benefit from it (not adopt, Health services, etc.) and 2.- I do not wan to sin more. It is enough for me to know that I am accountable of my desicions taken on earth, what would I tell our Father in Heaven?

    Married or not I love my partner we have been through so much pain already. We would’ve like some one visiting us while sick. There is no site or church statemen on fellowshiping LDS people (Heterosexual or not) that are HIV +

    I belive, it is one of those things where God leave us with our free will and do good to anyone.

    I found a great support group where people is not LDS, giving fellow ship on medical treatment. They make sure on our t cell count, and viral load. They ask us to go to camping, getting educated on our disease, etc. But they are not LDS people. They meet on sundays for recreation purposes (Swiming, lunch, etc.) but not share our believes.

    We worship every sunday. I personally do not partake of the sacrament. I have not renewed my temple recomend. Although I could go and lie to the Bishop. But I try to held to my convenants. I pay my thithings, My parents belive that I do not have a temple recomend because I do not pay my thithes (because that’s what I have told them) The only thing I belive I sin is my love for some one of the same gender.

    This is just a Thoght. Keep up the good work. but over all “Love thy neigbour…”

  18. 18Fiona64on 15 Jun 2009 at 2:00 pm

    Dear Bert:

    My heart goes out to you. I am so sorry that the church continues to wound you and your loved one.

    The church cannot make a statement about fellowship and worship with people who are HIV+; to make decisions based on someone’s health status and publish a statement about it would violate numerous federal laws (including HIPAA). Should someone ever inform you that the church says you are not welcome due to your illness, I would just suggest that you refer them to the numerous scriptures in which Rabbi Yeshua ben Joseph heals the sick and fellowships with them.

    My thoughts are with you.

  19. 19Lauraon 15 Jun 2009 at 3:08 pm

    Here’s what the current Church Handbook says about people with HIV/AIDS:

    “Members who are infected with HIV or who have AIDS should be treated with dignity and compassion. If infection has resulted from transgression of God’s laws, the Church advocates the example of the Lord, who condemned the sin yet loved the sinner and encouraged repentance. Members should reach out with kindness and comfort to the afflictied, ministering to their needs and helping them find solutions to their problems.

    “Although HIV and AIDS can afflict innocent victims, the principal safeguards are chastity before marriage, total fidelity in marriage, abstinence from any homosexual relations, avoidance of illegeal drugs, and reverence and care fore the body.

    “Attendance of people with HIV infection or AIDS at Church meetings does not pose a serious health problem. Public health authorities affirm that HIV has not been transmitted through casual contact in homes, schools, churches or places of work.

    “Those who occasionally may need to clean up blood or render first aid should learn and follow the recommendations of the local health department.

    “For information about performing ordinances for people who are infected with HIV or who have AIDS, see page 34. (p. 184)”

    “Persons with HIV infection or AIDS are treated as anyone else who expresses faith in God, repents, requests baptism and is living the gospel of Jesus Christ.” (p. 34)

    Members who are HIV positive are not eligible to serve full-time missions (p. 92)

  20. 20Fiona64on 15 Jun 2009 at 3:51 pm

    Hi, Laura. Thank you for sharing the information from the handbook. It sounds to me, and please correct me if I am wrong, that the church expects people to reveal their private health status to non-medical personnel?? As someone who has been part of the health care industry (including in hospital settings) since 1998, I guess I find that a little disturbing. :-(

  21. 21Lauraon 15 Jun 2009 at 4:14 pm

    Of course, I don’t know. I could see a situation where a member might say something to a local leader voluntarily (some Mormons confess LOTS of stuff to leaders). I could also see a situation where someone might come in to confess drug use or sex-outside-of-marriage where a bishop might ask if the individual was tested for STD’s/HIV and the individual could say one way or another. I could also see this coming up in a baptismal interview, but I suspect that interviewers would be counseled not to ask questions about HIV/AIDS status (at least in the USA) as it is irrelevant to almost everything involved with LDS worship. The lone exception being missionary service.

    I know potential missionaries have to fill out mounds of paperwork prior to receiving a mission call, and I’m sure the paperwork asks about health history. Since being HIV+ (among other health-related matters) is going to prevent a person from serving a mission, that question about HIV status must be on the form. I suppose anyone filling out the paperwork to serve a mission could decline to provide general health history information, but I’m guessing that would affect such person’s ability to be called as a full-time proselyting missionary.

    But, as a matter of general, every-week-in-the-pews attendance and service, it’s not something leaders ask about when you move into a ward, in my experience. Heck, they don’t even run background checks on people called to serve as youth leaders, so any knowledge about health histories is probably always going to have to be the kind someone volunteers herself/himself. (Or the kind of knowledge the ward gossips get up in arms about.)

  22. 22Sharky84043on 15 Jul 2009 at 3:27 pm

    FIRST:
    The guidelines written within the Church handbook of Instruction should be applied.
    It is those guidelines that help to ensure the same treatment is extended to all applicable members.
    When exceptions are made or unequal treatment is provided and arbitrary decisions made based on a medical diagnosis, then legal and liability issues arise.
    Unfortunately, when courts enter into the picture, Rules and Policies have to be applied equally and with justification.

    SECOND:
    HIPAA:
    Not to muddle the topic here, but Fionna64 in post #18 references the violation of HIPAA if the Church commented about HIV+ members.

    Having dealt extensively with the legalities of HIPAA Issues, I would be inclined to disagree.

    HIPAA applies only to “qualified organizations” and “qualified information”. In most cases, religious organizations including the LDS Church would not be bound by HIPAA. (LDS Social Services of course would be bound, though most activities within the Church are not bound by HIPAA).

    HOWEVER, the church could be held liable for damages (current and projected future) that a member or non-member affiliate may incur or suffer as a result of the Church releasing “personal information”.
    Libel, Slander, and other damages claims would likley be a greater risk then HIPAA!

    If HIPAA attaches to medical information the church obtains through normal regular activities, then HIPAA also attaches to the members names themselves.
    A Doctor can not distribute a list of his clients…. Similarly, if HIPAA applies to the church, the Ward and Stake lists and directories would be a direct and serious violation of HIPAA.
    Additionally, home teachers and visiting teaches who learn of medical issues while visiting thier familiess, under HIPAA could NOT report that information to anyone else including quorum or ward leaders.

    –So lets be careful before blaming HIPAA, HIPAA can not be applied half-way … it either applies 100% or it doesn’t and if it does apply the church and it’s members have been in serious violation since day one!

    Again, in most cases, HIPAA would not attach to such information the Church may have; however, there would be other privacy and liability issues.

    PRIVACY OF MEMBER INFORMATION:
    Back to the Church Handbook of Instruction …. ALL information obtained through the functions and activities of the Church (including member names and contact info) is deemed to strictly confidential and can be used only for APPROVED purposes.
    Commenting about a specific member might well violate Church Policy and thereby open the Church up to serious legal suits.