It would be nice to think that simply by listening to the audio from the Proposition 8 trial that went before the U.S. Supreme Court, it would become clear to the majority of Americans that re-defining marriage is not a good idea --  or certainly not without thinking it through.

It was interesting, at least to me, that one of the first arguments that I heard picked up by the media, as soon as information started to come out of the hearing was the reported 38 thousand, I think, or was it 40.... ? children currently living with same-gender couples in California bought up during the trial who are in need of the Court's concern when making a ruling in the case.

Children, as most here are aware, stand at the forefront of the battle to preserve traditional marriage and in the case to uphold Prop 8.  And who claim the legitimate right, of which so many, having faith-based values, desire to maintain.

Very late, the night before the hearing, I was dumbfounded that I was just hearing about a courageous 11-year-old girl, who had stood up in court, for her birthright to have both a mother and a father.  In fact, Angela Fallentine, whose own valiant story I recently shared here on WBWM, let me know about Grace; and since then, I can't stop thinking about her.

And yes, I am deeply concerned about the children mentioned in California, currently struggling with their family circumstances. However, when I think of the generations of children, yet to be born, that will be affected if America continues down the road to un-define marriage, 40 thousand children now, as sad as that is, will seem a very small number in comparison, to the exponential increase of suffering children, due to the choices of adults who refuse to acknowledge their birthright  -- and a society at large who will not do right by its children!

""Minnesota state legislators considering a same-sex marriage bill for the state did not have an answer to an 11-year-old girl’s question on which parent is not needed.
“Since every child needs a mom and a dad to be born, I don’t think we can change that children need a mom and a dad. I believe God made it that way,” Grace Evans, 11, said before the Minnesota House Committee on Civil Law last week. “I know some disagree, but I want to ask you this question: Which parent do I not need – my mom or my dad?”

She paused for eight seconds as the legislators on the committee sat silent.

Evans then said, “I’ll ask again, which parent do I not need – my mom or my dad?” She paused again, this time for 13 seconds of silence from state lawmakers.

Evans concluded, saying, “I hope that you can see that every child needs a mom and a dad. Please don’t change your law on marriage to say otherwise.”

Nevertheless, the House committee voted in favor of the gay marriage bill and sent it to the full House. A similar bill is also before the state Senate.
Evans told legislators that her mom and dad each provide something unique to her life.
“Even though I’m only 11 years old, I know that everyone deserves to have a mom and a dad,” Evans said. “If you change the law to say two moms and two dads can get married, it would take away something very important for children like me across the state."" 
Fred Lucas ( 
Video: Which Parent Do I Not Need: Mom or Dad?

For those of us, in California, who have stood in defense of marriage, as declared in the THE FAMILY: A PROCLAMATION TO THE WORLD, we have done so on a firm foundation of truth. In some respects, it is good to finally get to this point -though some are surely feeling that we have been here before. Yet with the stunning realization, and near disbelief that in a relatively short space of time immorality has declined even further and will not be making a return trip.
"Also evolving at a rapid rate has been the moral compass of society. Behaviors which once were considered inappropriate and immoral are now not only tolerated but also viewed by ever so many as acceptable." ~ Thomas S. Monson

Nevertheless, one thing is certain, for those of us who have stood in defense of marriage as declared in the THE FAMILY A PROCLAMATION TO THE WORLD, we have done so on a firm foundation of truth. As I listened to the court hearing there was a clarity as I heard truth argued throughout the case -- in that when questions were asked and a response was given: truth rang clear when spoken.

In 2008 California briefly legalized same-sex marriage, and citizens who opposed it, and who previously had passed an initiative to protect traditional marriage, were now ready to recommit their efforts to pass Proposition 8 -- this time a constitutional amendment.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, at that time, released on the Mormon Newsroom important information, that directly addressed these issues, in support, and also introduced the relevant commentary: The Divine Institution of Marriage.

"Marriage is not primarily a contract between individuals to ratify their affections and provide for mutual obligations. Rather, marriage and family are vital instruments for rearing children and teaching them to become responsible adults. While governments did not invent marriage, throughout the ages governments of all types have recognized and affirmed marriage as an essential institution in preserving social stability and perpetuating life itself. Hence, regardless of whether marriages were performed as a religious rite or a civil ceremony, married couples in almost every culture have been granted special benefits aimed primarily at sustaining their relationship and promoting the environment in which children are reared. A husband and a wife do not receive these benefits to elevate them above any other two people who may share a residence or social tie, but rather in order to preserve, protect, and defend the all-important institutions of marriage and family."

In rereading this essay, and now having read the very important book, "What is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense" (which I highly recommend) many of the core concepts are found in LDS Church teachings.

Ryan T. Andersen, author of WIM, has written an excellent explainer  entitled: Redefining Marriage Has Consequences, that should help you with your post-hearing discussions.

"We’re having a robust national debate over whether marriage should be redefined to include same-sex relationships. It’s an important debate. And in many ways — despite what some activists say — it’s only beginning."

I happen to agree with Andersen, and that's why I've collected a few resources here to help you get started having those important conversations about marriage -- with family and friends. Today, especially, and throughout this last week, for the first time, I saw those whom I'd never noticed before, share their thoughts and feelings about marriage; I was moved to tears. I saw many online conversations happening, and not all were easy -- but most came through with generally positive experiences, from what I was able to observe.

What ultimately brought Prop 8 all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court was a final verdict at the state level of it being declared unconstitutional. The LDS Church issued then another statement, again, affirming its position on marriage between a man and a women.(excerpt)

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints regrets today’s decision. California voters have twice determined in a general election that marriage should be recognized as only between a man and a woman. We have always had that view. Courts should not alter that definition, especially when the people of California have spoken so clearly on the subject.

I pulled out a few excerpts to share from the court transcripts, and would recommend that you take the time to either read or listen when you have time. One in particular, I found both sad and humorous at the same time -- almost Dr. Seuss-like.  Therefore I have left it in transcript form.

In Justice Scalia's attempt to establish exactly when it was determined that it is unconstitutional to exclude homosexuals from marriage in the state of California, seeing as this is critical to Mr. Olson's argument, Mr. Olson is not cooperating with the Justice and they both end up giving Dr. Seuss new material.

(also, please note how our culture changes by assumption... the sad part... the reality of the world we are living in...)

JUSTICE SCALIA: When do you think it became
20 unconstitutional? Has it always been unconstitutional?

21 MR. OLSON: When the -- when the California
22 Supreme Court faced the decision, which it had never
23 faced before, is -- does excluding gay and lesbian
24 citizens, who are a class based upon their status as
25 homosexuals -- is it -- is it constitutional 

1 JUSTICE SCALIA: That -- that's not when it
2 became unconstitutional. That's when they acted in an
3 unconstitutional matter -- in an unconstitutional
4 matter. When did it become unconstitutional to prohibit
5 gays from marrying?

6 MR. OLSON: That -- they did not assign a
7 date to it, Justice Scalia, as you know. What the court
8 decided was the case that came before it --

9 JUSTICE SCALIA: I'm not talking about the
10 California Supreme Court. I'm talking about your
11 argument. You say it is now unconstitutional.

12 MR. OLSON: Yes.

13 JUSTICE SCALIA: Was it always
14 unconstitutional?

15 MR. OLSON: It was constitutional when we --
16 as a culture determined that sexual orientation is a
17 characteristic of individuals that they cannot control,
18 and that that --

19 JUSTICE SCALIA: I see. When did that
20 happen? When did that happen?

21 MR. OLSON: There's no specific date in
22 time. This is an evolutionary cycle.

23 JUSTICE SCALIA: Well, how am I supposed to
24 know how to decide a case, then --

25 MR. OLSON: Because the case that's before
1 you --

2 JUSTICE SCALIA: -- if you can't give me a
3 date when the Constitution changes?

4 MR. OLSON: -- in -- the case that's before
5 you today, California decided -- the citizens of
6 California decided, after the California Supreme Court
7 decided that individuals had a right to get married
8 irrespective of their sexual orientation in California,
9 and then the Californians decided in Proposition 8, wait
10 a minute, we don't want those people to be able to get
11 married.

13 case -- your case would be different if Proposition 8
14 was enacted into law prior to the California Supreme
15 Court decision?

16 MR. OLSON: I would make -- I would make
17 the -- also would make the -- that distinguishes it in
18 one respect. But also -- also -- I would also make the
19 argument, Mr. Chief Justice, that we are -- this --
20 marriage is a fundamental right and we are making a
21 classification based upon a status of individuals, which
22 this Court has repeatedly decided that gays and lesbians
23 are defined by their status. There is no question about
24 that.

25 JUSTICE SCALIA: So it would be
1 unconstitutional even in States that did not allow
2 civil unions?

3 MR. OLSON: We do, we submit that. You
4 could write a narrower decision.

5 JUSTICE SCALIA: Okay. So I want to know
6 how long it has been unconstitutional in those --

7 MR. OLSON: I don't -- when -- it seems to
8 me, Justice Scalia, that --

9 JUSTICE SCALIA: It seems to me you ought to
10 be able to tell me when. Otherwise, I don't know how to
11 decide the case.

12 MR. OLSON: I -- I submit you've never
13 required that before. When you decided that -- that
14 individuals -- after having decided that separate but
15 equal schools were permissible, a decision by this
16 Court, when you decided that that was unconstitutional,
17 when did that become unconstitutional?

18 JUSTICE SCALIA: 50 years ago, it was okay?

19 MR. OLSON: I -- I can't answer that
20 question, and I don't think this Court has ever phrased
21 the question in that way.

22 JUSTICE SCALIA: I can't either. That's the
23 problem. That's exactly the problem.


"When did that happen?" 

"When did that happen?" .

 "There is no specific date in time. It's an evolutionary cycle." 

"That's the problem." 

"That's exactly the problem." 

This is as disturbing to me, as it is humorous -- and yet it shouldn't be. 

One of the most compelling periods during the trial, was when Justice Alito presented a series of sobering questions, in the form of a paragraph, regarding the potential effects of Proposition 8 if not upheld to, this time, General Verrilli, representing the United States. 

I'll be honest, as clearly I was not impressed by the arguments of the opponents to Prop 8, but I was very happy to see some of these very clear questions from the Justices' which will create in the public excellent questions for discussions. These two, which I've presented, as examples.

You want us to assess the effects of same-sex marriage, the potential effects on -- of same-sex marriage, the potential -- the effects of Proposition 8. But what is your response to the argument, which has already been mentioned about the need to be cautious in light of the newness of the – the concept of -- of same-sex marriage. The one thing that the parties in this case seem to agree on is that marriage is very important. 
It's thought to be a fundamental building block of society and its preservation essential for the preservation of society. Traditional marriage has been around for thousands of years. Same-sex marriage is very new. I think it was first adopted in the Netherlands in 2000. So there isn't a lot of data about its effect. And it may turn out to be a -- a good thing; it may turn out not to be a good thing, as the supporters of Proposition 8 apparently believe.

But you want us to step in and render a decision based on an assessment of the effects of this institution, which is newer than cell phones or the Internet? I mean we -- we are not -- we do not have the ability to see the future.
On a question like that, of such fundamental importance, why should it not be left for the people, either acting through initiatives and referendums or through their elected public officials?

The Court is not expected to rule until June. Until then, America is wide-open for discussion and regardless of the outcome, this is an excellent time to build bridges with those you have differences with on this issue. 

Standing up for what you believe doesn't always mean getting exactly what you want. It can often mean gaining respect, in order to live with mutual respect among those you have differences. One way that can be achieved, is by speaking your truth with confidence and honesty, and allowing others to do the same, without the need to defend or be offended when it is done in a respectful manner.  

My favorite part of the day, now late into the night for me -- my perfect ending to this chapter -- for me, was as I was finishing up this post I went over to grab one more link on the Mormon Newsroom, and noticed that the Church had posted a statement in response to the Prop 8 hearings to reaffirm their position on marriage. Just as I had said, marriage is a firm doctrine that we stand on and defend and build our lives and families upon. It is at the center of God's plan for our eternal progression.

In response to media requests, the following statement was issued today by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

Today the Supreme Court of the United States heard arguments regarding the definition of marriage in this country.
We firmly support the divinely appointed definition of marriage as the union between a man and a woman because it is the single most important institution for strengthening children, families, and society. 
We hope the court will agree, and we look forward to the decision on this important matter
My last thought, is that marriage, as God has ordained, I firmly believe, more than I've ever believed it, is not changing. The Lord's prophets are clearly fixed and immovable on this matter. They have been consistent in reaffirming their position that marriage is only between a man and a woman, over and over again -- and done so in the most turbulent of political climates. They have invited members of the Church to exercise their individual agency, and if they choose to do so, to also stand with them on this matter, and as disciples have done in ages past, pick up the cross and follow...

Kathryn Skaggs

Scroll down for marriage resource links and videos:

Video: Marriage Goes to the Supreme Court - Ryan T. Andersen Reporting

Video: Recap March for Marriage Washington D.C.
March 26, 2013

March for Marriage

Mormon Newsroom:

 Truth and Tolerance: Dallin H. Oaks

Amicus Brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints -
along with other faith-based organizations, recommending that Prop 8 be upheld as Constitutional

God Loveth His Children

"You are a son or daughter of God, and our hearts reach out to you in warmth and affection. Notwithstanding your present same-gender attractions, you can be happy during this life, lead a morally clean life, perform meaningful service in the Church, enjoy full fellowship with your fellow Saints, and ultimately receive all the blessings of eternal life."

Political Neutrality: LDS Church Position

Understanding the Case: Marriage and the Supreme Court

Gay Marriage, Social Experimentation, and Legal Precedent By Laura Hollis

The Family in America: The Judicial Assault on the Family By Allan P. Carlson Ph.D

Public Discourse: I'm Gay and I Oppose Same-Sex Marriage

Photo Credits:

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