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COLUMN: Same-sex debate is waste of Utah's $2M

The Book of Paul


Published: Saturday, January 11, 2014

Updated: Saturday, January 11, 2014 17:01

Earlier this week —  in response to District Judge Robert J. Shelby's decision that Amendment 3 of Utah's state constitution violated individuals' inalienable rights to due process and equal protection under the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution — the U.S. Supreme Court stayed any further same-sex marriages from taking place within the state while the Utah government spends upward of $2 million in an appeals process to overturn Shelby's decision.

Let me break this down for you, my fellow Aggies: the Utah government is going to spend your tax dollars to combat a decision based on the idea — one that isn't supported by any medical, psychological or scientific evidence — that homosexuality will corrupt children and violate the sanctity of traditional marriages, defined as those between one man and one woman.

Organizations like the politically conservative Sutherland Institute, which has built itself up on the idea that less government is best, called for Utahns to donate what they could to promote the "natural family" as the cornerstone of a strong society and fight against Shelby's "dubious decision."

Am I the only one who hasn't forgotten that Utah was founded by those who once believed polygamy — essentially, one man with many wives and an exorbitant number of mouths to feed — was what society should be founded on? Am I the only person who recognizes the irony in the Sutherland Institute's belief that less government — unless said government is needed to keep those seeking marriage equality from getting it — is essential to keep Utah society strong?

At this point in my argument, I feel it is important to tell you a bit about my personal history. Please don't confuse my statements to be those made my someone who knows little about Utah's history or those saints who made their way west to find a place free of religious persecution. I was raised as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. For nearly 25 years I paid my 10-percent tithe, took the sacrament every Sunday morning, attended Sunday school and seminary and met with the my bishop regularly.


That being said, let's examine the issue as it relates to the dominant religion throughout the state.


Even the LDS church — an outspoken and steadfast contributor to California's Proposition 8, the infamous and short-lived ban on same-sex marriage that was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court in June last year — has distanced itself from Utah's current debacle, with church officials stating they are hopeful the decision will make its way through the proper judicial channels and give validation to the belief that marriage should be between a man and a woman. But it's hard for the church to be removed from the argument altogether because its members make up nearly two-thirds of the state's 2.8 million residents, and Mormons control many of the state's political and legal circles.

But isn't the belief in the agency of individuals one of the key fundamentals of Mormonism? According to the teachings of the religion, God put us on this planet to gain a body and make a set of decisions throughout our lives that would in turn lead us back to be with him once again in Heaven. Even if you are a firm believer in the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman, aren't you taking away the agency of others who might choose to live their lives differently?

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