On the Supreme Court’s decision to hear arguments regarding Prop 8 and DOMA

Dear Mormon Friends,

In the wake of the Supreme Court’s announcement that they will be hearing arguments over Prop 8 and DOMA, I would like to say a few things preemptively.

If the Supreme Court legalizes the right of gays and lesbians to be married, that does not mean that the church will be forced to marry them in the temple. Straight people can’t force the Mormon church to marry them in the temple. Gays won’t be able to either. The legalization of gay marriage means they have a right to be married by the state. It doesn’t mean anything for their right to force a religious organization to have to marry them.

Many people worry because of a case that was fought back on the East Coast where a gay couple sued a church about excluding them from being able to use a hall that the church owned for their wedding. There are some key differences here. First, the hall they were seeking access to was one that the church rented to people not affiliated with the church. At that point, the question is can you refuse to rent a space to people because they are gay that you do rent to straight people- basically a business contract question. Secondly, they were not asking the church/reverend/pastor/bishop/priest to marry them, just for access to a space they allowed other members of the public to access for a fee. The LDS church doesn’t even allow all members of the religion access to the temple, much less members of the community.I’m not telling you that you have to/should be in favor of gay marriage, but if you are going to have this discussion, please do not use faulty argumentation to support your case.

Also, if you are wondering where in the Constitution it even talks about gay marriage and why the Supreme Court should be hearing this at all, look at the 14th amendment, equal protection, and then the full faith and credit clause in Article V. Because my brother and his husband have different federal rights depending on what state they live in currently, the Supreme Court has to decide if Article V applies to marriage licenses. Also, they have to decide if DOMA was Congressional overreach and see where in Article 1 section 8 they are basing the right to define marriage.

Sister Arnell

P.S. My brother Jon just got word that the surgery his husband has undergone today went well and that he should be able to see him in about an hour. Todd’s been in surgery for around five to six hours, and will be undergoing another similar surgery on his spine on Tuesday. Even though Jon and Todd were married during the brief months when it was legal in California, they have to have medical power of attorney agreements in place so they are able to make decisions for each other and have the right to see each other. They have been together over a decade. Please, let us remember when discussing gay rights and marriage that “the gays” are a diverse group of people, and that they are people with histories and loves and dreams of their own. Please, let’s not treat them as a bogeyman out to get you and your and my religion. Jesus said love everyone. EVERYONE.