Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Link of the Week: The Divine Institution of Marriage

In the face of the continuing animosity towards the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for the victory of California's Proposition 8 which defines marriage as between one man and one woman, the issue has been discussed endlessly both between the members of the Church, as well as among those outside it. In the heat of debate, we Mormons, as individual members of the Church, may have floundered in our attempts to completely and/or clearly explain or define our own motivations, or the motivation of the Church to publicly endorse Proposition 8. We find that the volatile issue has increasingly greater impact on ourselves as we watch our most sacred places of worship vandalized and assaulted, as our members are denied their constitutional right to worship by militant members of the opposition, and the protests grow increasingly violent.

Or, perhaps, as a person sincerely wishing to understand a point of view which has unjustly been painted by the opposition as bigoted, hate-mongering and homophobic, the reader may have found their way here in their quest for answers.

In an attempt to provide the clarity that so many of us lack, I am posting here the official Church position on the divinity of marriage and why we as members feel so strongly about protecting it, which was released on August 13, 2008. The article is rather long but well-worth the read. I highly recommend it to both member and non-member alike.

Following is the introduction to the article:

The California Supreme Court recently ruled that same-sex marriage was legal in California. Recognizing the importance of marriage to society, the Church accepted an invitation to participate in ProtectMarriage, a coalition of churches, organizations, and individuals sponsoring a November ballot measure, Proposition 8, that would amend the California state constitution to ensure that only a marriage between a man and a woman would be legally recognized. (Information about the coalition can be found at

On June 20, 2008, the First Presidency of the Church distributed a letter about “Preserving Traditional Marriage and Strengthening Families,” announcing the Church’s participation with the coalition. The letter, which was read in Latter-day Saints’ church services in California, asked that Church members “do all [they] can to support the proposed constitutional amendment.”

Members of the Church in Arizona and Florida will also be voting on constitutional amendments regarding marriage in their states, where coalitions similar to California’s are now being formed.

The focus of the Church’s involvement is specifically same-sex marriage and its consequences. The Church does not object to rights (already established in California) regarding hospitalization and medical care, fair housing and employment rights, or probate rights, so long as these do not infringe on the integrity of the family or the constitutional rights of churches and their adherents to administer and practice their religion free from government interference.

The Church has a single, undeviating standard of sexual morality: intimate relations are proper only between a husband and a wife united in the bonds of matrimony.

The Church’s opposition to same-sex marriage neither constitutes nor condones any kind of hostility towards homosexual men and women. Protecting marriage between a man and a woman does not affect Church members’ Christian obligations of love, kindness and humanity toward all people.

As Church members decide their own appropriate level of involvement in protecting marriage between a man and a woman, they should approach this issue with respect for others, understanding, honesty, and civility.

Intending to reduce misunderstanding and ill will, the Church has produced the following document, “The Divine Institution of Marriage,” and provided the accompanying links to other materials, to explain its reasons for defending marriage between a man and a woman as an issue of moral imperative.

Again, I encourage all to read it, and thanks to Karen Parker for directing us to it in Relief Society.

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