Paul Mero, Gayle Ruzicka, Chris Buttars, have you no decency?

Chris Buttars, a man who has already made up his mind.

Chris Buttars, a man who has already made up his mind.

They’ve teamed up and vowed to defeat the full set of bills in the Common Ground Intiatives–bills designed to provide same sex partners with basic legal rights, not marriage, but property and other rights. Indeed, Sen. Chris Buttars committee today in a 4 to 2 vote prevented the first of the four bills from even getting out of committee.

And why are Mero/Ruzicka/Buttars so terrified that gays may get some legal rights? It’s because they believe it’s one step toward legalizing gay marriage. Never mind that Utah already has a law defining marriage as between a man and a woman. They won’t bend even a little, and let these citizens, our own friends, neighbors, and family enjoy the legal protections they need when faced with the crises life doles out to us all.

They have no heart. They have no soul. They have no human decency.

In my humble opinion.

SLTrib.com:

Rather than “common ground,” Gayle Ruzicka and the Constitutional Defense of Marriage Alliance are touting “common sense.” And a Salt Lake City-based conservative think tank, The Sutherland Institute, wants Utahns to stand on “sacred ground” instead.

“The family is the central unit of society, and so our efforts in this regard are ultimately to protect the traditional family and protect marriage,” said Sutherland spokesman Jeff Reynolds. . . Next week, his group will kick off its Sacred Ground Initiative, a counteroffensive aimed at defeating the five gay-rights bills. . .

Ruzicka, president of the Utah Eagle Forum, and Reynolds both argue that granting any legal standing to same-sex couples — or even recognizing sexual orientations as classes protected against discrimination — could precipitate a court battle to legalize gay marriage.

That’s what happened in California, Ruzicka said, when the state’s Supreme Court decided gay couples were entitled to wed because they already had many of the same rights as married, straight couples. Last fall, the court’s decision to allow same-sex marriage was overturned when voters approved Prop 8. . .

[Ruzicka]– along with Republican Sen. Chris Buttars of West Jordan and former GOP Rep. LaVar Christensen of Draper — formed the Constitutional Defense of Marriage Alliance, a political-issues committee, to help pass Utah’s Amendment 3, which defined marriage in 2004 as solely between a man and a woman.

This alliance now is drafting a “common sense” rebuttal to the Common Ground campaign, Ruzicka said.

The fact that the Utah Constitution already prevents gay marriage makes California a false comparison, notes Carlson, who insists Equality Utah’s initiative is not an end run to sue for gay marriage.

Photo credit: Francisco Kjolseth / The Salt Lake Tribune
Cross-posted with slight revisions at Utah Legislature Watch

  1. #1 by Richard Warnick on January 27, 2009 - 9:40 pm

    My guess is that the Common Ground Initiative is intended to highlight the fact that the Mormon Church was lying during the Prop 8 campaign in California, when they claimed to be all in favor of equal rights for everybody. Ruzicka and Sutherland apparently do not get this, or don’t care that they’re helping to put the spotlight on Mormon hypocrisy.

    Suggested motto for the Sacred Ground Initiative: “You bet Mormons stole your rights in California, and if you had any in Utah we’d steal those too!”

  2. #2 by Becky on January 27, 2009 - 9:45 pm

    I think you’re exactly right, Richard. I’m waiting for the Mormon Church to take an official stand on the Common Ground Initiative — they did, after all, come out on the alcohol sales changes. Any bets there will be an official announcement forthcoming?

  3. #3 by jasonthe on January 28, 2009 - 1:13 am

    Eh, they could only get Lavarr Christensen to sign on with them. That alone makes it hard to take this effort serirous. :) That man is looney.

  4. #4 by Shane Smith on January 28, 2009 - 8:02 am

    I am also wondering about a press release from the mormons. They really only have two choices.

    1) We support equal rights and these people are not good mormons or decent human beings.

    2) We are lying hypocritical bigots and homophobes.

    I wonder which it will be?

  5. #5 by Paul Mero on January 28, 2009 - 9:55 am

    Oh, my friends, there is at least a third option…Equality Utah’s “Common Ground Initiative” is a disingenuous extortion-ploy to twist the words of a Church representative to their advantage.

    Either you guys, and EU, have not read the full comment thoroughly or have chosen to ignore the complete statement. The Church’s Elder Clayton was referring to California law and politics…and said, “…as long as….”

    And, Becky, come on…if you are my FB “friend,” is your reference in good form? To paraphrase, friends don’t shake hands, friends hug.

  6. #6 by Richard Warnick on January 28, 2009 - 10:06 am

    Paul– So your argument is that the Mormon Church is actually opposed to equal rights? If so, I agree with you about the real position of the Church. And I thank you for speaking the truth!

  7. #7 by Kevin Owens on January 28, 2009 - 11:21 am

    Setting up same sex couples as a protected class does open up some doors for future abuse, as has happened in other states around the country.

    Is there a good way to write the bill so that it can give same-sex couples these basic privileges without opening that door?

  8. #8 by Becky on January 28, 2009 - 12:02 pm

    Paul, you’re right about the FB reference; I’m editing it out. On FB and in real life if I ever meet you, I promise it will be with a nice hug. Here at OneUtah, I may sometimes be more adversarial, but I’ll try to remain polite.

    I am curious about your comment. It sounds as if you’re saying the church only made the statement about equal rights for gays to apply to gays in California. Why are the circumstances different in Utah?

    Seriously, Paul, you are dealing with real people and real lives. These are people who are getting hurt and discriminated against. Should not committed couples of all sorts be allowed the privileges offered in these bills?

    Kevin, another protected class might be Mormons. I’m sure you would see that as acceptable.

    Paul and Kevin, it isn’t fair to jump to the next conclusion that this ‘opens the door’ to same-sex marriage. How about fighting that battle when it arises, and deal with what’s on the table now based on its own merits.

  9. #9 by Paul Mero on January 28, 2009 - 12:58 pm

    Thanks for being a good sport, Becky. The answer…my answer anyway…to your question is that CA laws and UT laws are different. CA has the raft of “benefits” bills in place. UT does not. If you read the “Church” statement carefully, you will notice what I’m talking about…i.e. “we care only about marriage…we are not intending to undo any other benefits laws on the books.” UT doesn’t have those laws on the books.

  10. #10 by Becky on January 28, 2009 - 1:05 pm

    Ok Paul, you forced me to do my homework. I looked up the statement. Here’s the excerpt to which I think you refer:

    Even more, the Church does not object to rights for same-sex couples 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 traditional family or the constitutional rights of churches.

    I don’t see anything at all that sounds as if this should apply only to California nor about undoing existing laws. It is a very general statement with an equally vague qualification.

    I fail to see how the set of bills before the Utah Legislature at this time infringe on the integrity of the traditional family or the constitutional rights of churches. Can you clearly draw that connection for us?

    I would hope to hear the Mormon Church reiterate its statement now at this critical time.

    Or did the church not really mean what it said in that statement?

  11. #11 by Shane Smith on January 28, 2009 - 1:36 pm

    “CA has the raft of “benefits” bills in place. UT does not.”

    In short, on this issue, CA has ethical laws, UT does not.

    I fail to see why that means we should be even less ethical going forward.

  12. #12 by Shane Smith on January 28, 2009 - 2:29 pm

    “Or did the church not really mean what it said in that statement?”

    The churches word, final, infallible, forever.

  13. #13 by Richard Warnick on January 28, 2009 - 3:36 pm

    I’m going to wander a little OT from religious politics to partisan politics, and call attention to the news that there are just five Republican states left, collectively containing about 2 percent of the U.S. population: the “Mormon Belt” states of Utah, Idaho and Wyoming, plus Nebraska, plus Alaska. That’s it.

    Go to DailyKos and vote for the reddest state. Utah is leading, with 260 votes so far.

  14. #14 by Obama the Paul [merLot] on January 28, 2009 - 3:42 pm

    the day will come where these beholders of all things satan will be banished from the land. they are just running scared at this point, trying, pathetically, to hold on to what they have.

  15. #15 by Becky on January 28, 2009 - 4:09 pm

    Rich, I voted. Not only is Utah ahead, our total is greater than the rest of the other states combined. So far more than half the people voting think Utah is reddest.

    Paul Mero, I’d still like to know specifically how the set of bills before the Utah Legislature at this time infringe on the integrity of the traditional family or the constitutional rights of churches (see my previous comment).

  16. #16 by Tyler on January 28, 2009 - 5:14 pm

    “They have no heart. They have no soul. They have no human decency.”

    If I said this about your position on an issue like abortion, you would rightly say I was using a divisive social issue inappropriately. How can you guys justify voting for Obama in the name of unity and then publishing this?

    Moreover, didn’t you complain incessantly about Bush “challenging your patriotism” over the War in Iraq. Yet you are ok with this?

    If you really want change, start with yourself.

  17. #17 by cav on January 28, 2009 - 5:48 pm

    Portland is whiter than Salt Lake City!

  18. #18 by Becky on January 28, 2009 - 6:40 pm

    Tyler,

    The very nature of a divisive social issue is that it is, well, divisive. Such is the debate. Can’t be helped. My hyperbole aside. Come on, Tyler, I invite you to talk about the issue.

  19. #19 by Becky on January 28, 2009 - 6:44 pm

    Cav, I didn’t think it possible.

  20. #20 by Paul Mero on January 28, 2009 - 10:41 pm

    Becky…California being the example…benefits establish de facto support for legitimizing same-sex relationships…legitimization allows a court to rule “gay marriage” consistent with state support for same-sex relationships.

    Now then (keep up), if it were allowed to roll forth…”gay marriage” redefines marriage…redefining marriage disintegrates the state interest in marriage…disintegrating the state interest in marriage diminishes the family as the basis of society…diminishing the basis of society evaporates the key to civil society (the intermediate layer of society that safely buffers the individual from the state)…evaporating the key to civil society places the state as master over the individual…and, as master over the individual, liberty is destroyed.

  21. #21 by Tyler on January 28, 2009 - 11:12 pm

    Becky,
    I take particular issue with “clarifying” amendment 3. Specifically, it would repeal the prohibition on giving all the benefits of marriage. The California Supreme Court said this sounded exactly like segregated water fountains. In their decision, they noted that they would have sided with the people of California had the legislature not provided all the benefits of marriage under the civil unions law. This seems like a setup to require conservatives to argue “separate but equal is inherently equal” in the courts.

    Gay rights activists have said as much. I was a huge proponent of repealing don’t ask don’t tell, until I began reading the academic literature on the subject. I found immediately that activists said they only saw this as a step to force marriage. The same was true of civil unions and other institutions.

    Let me explain my objection to your rhetoric. The fundamental problem with this situation is the rhetoric and the underlying implication in the discussion. If you really believe the “Jim Crow laws”, “bigotry” rhetoric, then it logically follows that religions should lose their tax exempt status and even be fined or forced to close. New Mexico and New Jersey have already started doing this to businesses. Religions, particularly the LDS church which has previously dealt with this kind of government tyranny, are concerned with good cause.

    I suspect many conservatives would be fine with giving homosexuals many of the privileges the common ground initiative offers; however, we are skeptical of the initiative because we have been name-called and lied to at every step of this process.

  22. #22 by cav on January 29, 2009 - 7:34 am

    RO, when the state precludes any two people from their persuit of happiness, isn’t their liberty somewhat shreaded?

    I also think the ‘the state’, much as ‘the corporation’, seems to have taken on personhood in a rather dastardly way, all with the support of individuals who do not themselves value liberty. Natural, but lamentable.

  23. #23 by Becky on January 29, 2009 - 7:36 am

    (“Keep Up”, Paul? Just as I started being nice, you condescend to me?)

    I don’t agree with your Domino Theory, Paul. It makes a good theory, but I don’t see any proof of what you say. Granting rights to individuals in one arena does not necessarily ensure they might assume the big leap of marriage. That is, as you know, the huge stumbling block when it comes to same-sex relationships.

    Have some compassion, Paul. Seriously. There are families and couples who need and deserve the security offered by these laws. This is not marriage. That’s a whole other subject.

  24. #24 by Becky on January 29, 2009 - 7:40 am

    Tyler, from what you’ve written so far, I doubt you were ever a “huge proponent” of anything supporting gay rights. Could you point me to some of the ‘”academic literature” (and authors) to which you refer?

    It amazes me how conservatives manage to make themselves out to be victims when another group is denied rights. You could call it ironic.

  25. #25 by Anonymous on January 29, 2009 - 9:23 am

    Paul:

    You would laugh hysterically if I were to apply similar domino reasoning to global warming and CO2 – science aside, it could be done very easily using the same conclusive rhetoric you chose for your case. Why, then, is it ok by you to play dominoes with gay marriage but not GW?

    PS. It saddens me to realize that Utahns – rural Utahns in particular – are so freeping susceptible they believe the crock of crap you just dished up. Be ashamed!

  26. #26 by Richard Warnick on January 29, 2009 - 9:31 am

    This morning, the Salt Lake Tribune editorial page demolished Paul Mero’s slippery-slope argument:

    Conservative activists carried the day before Buttars’ Judiciary Committee, arguing that the probate bill would chip away at the legal framework that upholds the traditional family and male-female marriage. They compared the Common Ground bills to a “slippery slope” that could lead to court rulings legalizing same-sex marriage.

    It’s not an apt comparison. That alleged “slippery slope” is protected by an impenetrable guard rail — Amendment 3 of the Utah Constitution, which defines marriage as solely between a man and a woman. What Common Ground supporters seek are basic legal rights and protections, not marriage licenses. Lawmakers should set their paranoia aside, and listen to common sense instead of the radical right.

    Let’s try to keep up, indeed.

    In 1920, women received the right to vote in this country.
    In 1954, racial segregation in schools was ruled unconstitutional.
    In 1962, homosexual activity between consenting adults in private was decriminalized in Illinois.
    In 1964, poll taxes, used to keep African-Americans from voting (particularly in southern states) became illegal.
    In 1964, most forms of racial segregation were outlawed, with the Civil Rights Act of that year.
    In 1967, states could no longer ban interracial marriage.
    In 1970, women’s credit ratings were no longer dependent on their husbands.
    In 1973, states could no longer ban abortion.
    In 1993, military recruits no longer had to declare their sexual orientation as a condition of enlistment.
    In 2000, same-sex civil unions were conducted in Vermont.
    In 2003, states could no longer enact or enforce sodomy laws.
    In 2004, same-sex marriages were legal in Massachusetts.

    Can you spot a trend? America is making slow but steady progress toward equal rights for everyone. The state-level bans on same-sex marriage are just as un-American as the one-time bans on interracial marriage. But Utah has an “impenetrable guard rail” that will probably stand until Congress tears it down.

  27. #27 by Shane Smith on January 29, 2009 - 12:56 pm

    Which basically makes Utah the KKK run southern state of gay rights.

    Something to proudly tell your children.

    Who would that make you Paul?

  28. #28 by Tyler on January 29, 2009 - 1:19 pm

    Becky,
    I wrote a paper on it a few years ago. It will take me a few days to find it. In the meantime, I would ask you if you, or anyone on this site, can sincerely say they don’t see the “common ground” initiative as a step toward gay marriage. Let’s quit pretending you all believe that isn’t the ultimate solution/goal. Til now you have resorted to the Rush Limbaugh model of ad hominem attacks and red herrings.

    By the way, while we are challenging each others intentions (I am personally sitting here sticking pins in a Rosie O’Donnell doll), where were you when prosecutors in Dallas raided homes, separated families, and deliberately lied about the age of many “minors” who were being “abused”, all because they used the word “married”?

  29. #29 by Tyler on January 29, 2009 - 1:20 pm

    I meant Texas, not Dallas specifically. Sorry.

  30. #30 by Shane Smith on January 29, 2009 - 1:31 pm

    “I would ask you if you, or anyone on this site, can sincerely say they don’t see the “common ground” initiative as a step toward gay marriage.”

    Yeah, a fair and equal rights system including marriage is kinda a good idea, unless you are a bigot. You got me there, I believe grown ups should be treated equally. All the bigots who feel otherwise don’t really interest me.

    As for your Texas comment, so what you are saying is multiple wives is just fine, but “teh gay, my imaginary friend in teh sky sayes it is teh bad!” Stop using Jesus as an excuse to be a narrow minded jerk. They are grown adults, and they love each other, and your only argument is “redefining marriage.”

    Well we have been there before. It was redefined to allow interracial marriages despite bigots. It was redefined to be open to commoners despite class bigots, and it will one day be redefined to allow gay marriage despite homophobic bigots. You are on the wrong side of history. But your great grand children will still be ashamed of you. Congratulations on that.

  31. #31 by jasonthe on January 29, 2009 - 2:00 pm

    Shane, your reaction to Tyler’s comment is a bit over the top. I’m a firm supporter of the redefinition of marriage, and I agree with him. Pretending the “Common Ground” initiative isn’t headed towards a redefinition is intellectual slight of hand. It is.

    That doesn’t justify the pettiness of Sutherland’s “anti” efforts, but as I’ve said before (and something I think matters), Paul and his crew (no disrespect meant Paul) are aligning themselves with the likes of Lavar Christensen to make their case. I would argue that this does more to further an agenda of equality than stopping them from speaking could ever do. Lavar is a wing nut on his last leg of relevancy in a word of actual adults discussing actual issues.

    Each time a group like Sutherland “steps up” to defend their morality, this issue inches closer to a federal mandate that will legalize gay marriage more quickly than comments like Shane’s could ever hope to do.

    But we’ve got to call it what it is. “Common Ground” sounds nice, but it’s no more reflective of the real agenda than Sutherland’s own “Earth Day” was. We can defend it without pretending it’s something other than what it is. And we should, or we reduce ourselves to their same level.

  32. #32 by Becky on January 29, 2009 - 5:13 pm

    Tyler at 1:19,

    Where was I? I was here, and here defending the innocent kids.

    As to your statement, “Til now you have resorted to the Rush Limbaugh model of ad hominem attacks and red herrings.”, if that’s all you’ve read here, Tyler, you’re not paying attention.

    I in no way think granting same sex couples these certain legal rights will lead to legalizing same sex marriage here in Utah. The opposition to that is far too great here and would never change unless the Mormon church changed it’s position on gay marriage.

  33. #33 by Tyler on January 29, 2009 - 5:56 pm

    Becky,
    My mistake. I made an unfair assumption.

  34. #34 by Paul Mero on February 2, 2009 - 12:23 am

    Richard…demolished my “slippery slope” argument? Seriously?

    Tell that to the gays who immediately filed suit after passage of Prop 8. Purpose? To say that it (what is now constitutional) is not constitutional…that nothing is constitutional if it violates fundamental human rights.

    No amount of legal hubris is beyond the gays.

    And the Trib is just too stupid, or blind with ideology (like you guys), to see it.

  35. #35 by Becky on February 2, 2009 - 6:07 am

    Paul, your slippery slope arguments have no real cause and effect connection. You might as well take them to the next logical conclusion that the sun won’t rise the next morning. The sad thing to me is that you have enough of a following that you can string together a bunch of words and just because you said it, certain people here in Utah think that’s logical and true. A person in your position, Paul, has a moral obligation to speak the truth and nothing but the truth.

    And please explain why gays should not have access to challenge Prop 8 in court. Are you suggesting that in addition to other rights, they should not have the legal remedies any other citizen has?

    And finally, let’s ponder the concept you criticize, “nothing is constitutional if it violates fundamental human rights.” You really have a problem with that, Paul?

  36. #36 by Leo Brown on February 2, 2009 - 8:45 am

    This link suggests an alternate scenario to what the left envisions on social issues.

  37. #37 by Paul Mero on February 2, 2009 - 10:05 am

    Becky, you criticize but do not make an argument. And that’s okay because, right now, I don’t have much time to keep going back and forth.

    I don’t begrudge anyone their legal remedies. My point is that there is this charade going around that, somehow, the Common Ground Initiative is only about basic rights of “benefits.” That’s nonsense. It is, and always has been, about complete acceptance…which means marriage. The CA after-shock legalities is just one more proof of that…that even a constitutional amendment isn’t safe around the gays.

  38. #38 by Cliff on February 3, 2009 - 12:12 pm

    LOL Paul,

    even a constitutional amendment isn’t safe around the gays

    Ha ha ha. I get it. Kinda like be careful picking up the soap in the YMCA shower.

    You are sooo funny. But your homophobia is showing.

    You WILL be forced to accept FULL GAY MARRIAGE in the near future. And you will LIKE IT!

    I realize it threatens your marriage. For that I am sorry. Certainly, this will test the strength of your marriage and you will know once and for all…

  39. #39 by Becky on February 3, 2009 - 12:32 pm

    Thanks for responding, Cliff. I have a thought to add about homophobes. My friend said recently: A man hates that which he is.

    Paul, I don’t think you really care what the initiative is about. I think your homophobia makes it impossible for you to listen reason.

  40. #40 by Marilyn on February 11, 2009 - 4:07 pm

    I am absolutely stunned by the refusal of Mr. Mero to think clearly and respond rationally.

  41. #41 by Frank on February 18, 2009 - 2:39 pm

    Fucking nazis. May they all die of cancer.

  42. #42 by Uncle Rico on February 18, 2009 - 8:55 pm

  43. #43 by Melinda Wallace on July 28, 2009 - 7:44 am

    Dear Friends,

    I am an LDS member and returned missionary. I have always embraced the “Quaker model of conflict resolution” which usually begins with finding common ground within a conflict. Once two parties find something they CAN agree on, we have a starting point for conflict resolution. Without common ground, we agree on nothing and the conflict tends to escalate.

    The Prophet Joseph Smith excelled in conflict resolution. An example was his involvement in trying to end slavery in America. Smith drafted a proposal that American slaves would be freed by
    paying their “owners” for the slave. He said if the conflict was not resolved, a civil war would result.

    Now, Senator Chris Buttars and Gayle Ruzicka have declared, “We have NO common ground”. A cultural was has commenced within our community and our church. Thousands of active LDS people have left the church. Some have started their own church known as the “Restoration” LDS church. Violence and hate crime in Utah have increased dramatically. Violence against the small pets of homosexual persons is used to frighten. If animals are being harmed, what is next?

    The issue I hate most is that Ruzicka and Buttars have tried to interfere with my freedom of religion by using the name of my Savior and my Church in their “Common Sense” initiative. My Savior’s name is sacred to me. My faith is sacred. How dare they use these names to promote their own political cause. They even use my name in the Common sense. My name appears on the rolls of the LDS Church, Buttars and Ruzicka refer to “Members of the LDS Church”. That is using my name, taking MY faith and using it to promote their political agenda. I want to SUE them. I want to take them to Federal Court for defaming me by forcing my name to be used for their agenda.

  44. #44 by Mike on March 6, 2010 - 7:11 am

    Hear ye, hear ye. I’ve got a secret to tell. Mero, Ruzicka, and Buttars are obviously terrified of their own homosexual tendencies, and what better way to cover for them than to lash out against gay people. It’s the perfect (but obvious) cover. Who would know better?

  45. #45 by Cliff Lyon on March 6, 2010 - 8:45 am

    Lets be clear. Paul Mero runs The Sutherland Institute which simply an extension of the Church. He advises the LDS Church at the very highest level. His livelihood is one hundred percent dependent on church funding.

    His only argument is the “State’s interest” one. More babies = more taxpayers. It is absurd, incredulous and utterly without basis in mainstream political thought, but rather an attempt to craft a secular basis for the doctrine of multiplying (children).

    Personally, I love seeing his cynicism leak through when challenged. Who can blame him? He makes a comfortable living serving the church’s agenda for the minimal sacrifice of his free agency.

  46. #46 by James Farmer on March 6, 2010 - 9:26 am

    Another one bites the dust, here.

  47. #47 by Mike on March 6, 2010 - 10:13 pm

    The Sutherland Institute is a great place for closeted homosexual Conservatives to hide. Just carefully look around you, S.I.

  48. #48 by Dwight Sheldon Adams on March 8, 2010 - 12:45 pm

    Warning: LOOOOONG!!!

    A recap of Paul Mero’s slippery slope argument:

    If [the Common Grounds Initiative bills] were allowed to roll forth
    1) “gay marriage” redefines marriage
    2) redefining marriage disintegrates the state interest in marriage
    3) disintegrating the state interest in marriage diminishes the family as the basis of society
    4) diminishing the basis of society evaporates the key to civil society (the intermediate layer of society that safely buffers the individual from the state)
    5) evaporating the key to civil society places the state as master over the individual
    6) and, as master over the individual, liberty is destroyed.

    So, the liberty of all Americans must be given up if we are to have gay marriage, quid pro quo.

    That is probably the most ambitious slippery slope argument I have ever encountered. I need to get involved with the Sutherland Institute. I can quickly feel very important if every issue I fight has this kind of import!

    Seriously, though, the slippery slope relies on the argument that all change occurs by crossing certain thresholds which, post-crossing, we can’t cross back over. Utilizing that standard for events, let me lay out my own slippery slope:

    If the Common Grounds Initiative bills were prohibited from rolling forth
    1) Marriage is defined as between a man and a woman for reproductive purposes only.
    2) Defining marriage in such a way necessitates a state interest in marriage.
    3) Necessitating a state interest in marriage diminishes the value of choosing marriage for social and religious reasons.
    4) Diminishing the status of marriage as an option evaporates the motivation to marry.
    5) People being demotivated to marry, the state is required to dictate marriage and reproduction patterns.
    6) And, as master over the individual, liberty is destroyed.
    So, the liberty of all Americans must be given up if we don’t allow gay marriage, quid pro quo!

    Does that slippery slope seem silly to anyone but me? How about the first one? Each one takes so many leaps, relies on so many assumptions at each step, that neither can be used credibly to lay out a pattern for social evolution. Furthermore, each relies on the assumption that once we cross a line, we can’t come back—in fact, that we are destined to continue down a predefined path if we take one step down it.

    Now, I happen to believe that allowing gay marriage may result in some of the concerns of the Eagle Forum, S.I., and others. I think that socialization should be left to social groups and parents, not governments—unless government follows that rule, there’s a real concern for some parents that their children will be educated to tolerate groups their parents consider to be intolerable. I happen to stand on the side of parents who believe that they have a right to raise their children to be racist, sexist, etc.; but I also stand on the side of society in deciding how well those children raised to be racist and sexist will be able to integrate with everyone else. I have every right to be intolerant of intolerance, as well as they have to be intolerant in the first place. But within a social context, we all have to get along, to a certain degree.

    That social context is the challenge here. As long as marriage is defined and codified by government (and I’ve argued it shouldn’t be, but parenthood should), its legal definition becomes a form of socialization. You can bet that kids will grow up differently if John and Jack next door get to marry each other—but you can bet they’ll grow up another way which is perhaps equally undesirable if John and Jack get hauled away one night and prosecuted for sodomy.

    Everyone wants to be accepted, gays included. Should we as a society be required to accept them? We have the right to segregate ourselves, by choice and by our own effort, but we don’t have the right to require segregation, discrimination, and so on simply because we possess the social power of a cultural majority, and especially not by government fiat. Sorry, folks, but that’s the responsibility and the sacrifice that we Mormons make in Utah: whether we like it or not, we have to be more tolerant of less represented classes than they are of us, because we’re the ones—not them—with the power to be social dictators. We’re the ones who most have to exercise restraint.

    This is a tough bit to chew, for sure. But we’re the ones who wanted to control which way the cart went, and how fast. For the Mormons out there who don’t appreciate the rigors of social power and leadership, I say give it up; give up the power you have as a social body and rely on small groups and individuals, rather than your voting bloc. Either that, or learn to be gracious, patient rulers.

    Now, that doesn’t mean that we need to give in to the minority’s demands. It does mean that we need to be more thoughtful about what we say and do and why. On the national scale, as a minority, moral conservatives can fight and claw and bite if we want, but in our own state, what do we do? Do we really believe in the slippery slope as a pattern for change? How will that affect all of our other votes and laws? When it comes to the future, do we fight, and grow from the conflict? Or do we merely fly away into easy explanations and easy rejections of the will of those we disagree with?

    Time progresses, and societies go along with it. The thresholds of the slippery slopes of decades ago have already been crossed, yet we are still struggling to not slide down any farther. Tell me, Paul: if you actually believe in this slippery slope concept, what’s the point of blocking the legislation? It will pass, inevitably, or else the helplessness of the slippery slope is questionable at best. Do you recognize the paradox? By some measures, we’re already sliding, and there’s nothing we can do. Stop whining and accept our fate.

    Dwight Sheldon Adams

  49. #49 by james farmer on March 8, 2010 - 2:33 pm

    And speaking of closeted homosexuals, Calif. state senator and fierce opponent of gay rights Roy Ashburn finally admits he is gay.

  50. #50 by cav on March 8, 2010 - 10:11 pm

    According to the latest string and quantum theorist, there are an infinite number of universes – surely on on of these innumarable possible universes, there is a slippery slope exactly like the one Mr. M. describes.

    It’s statistically impossible for it to not be so.

    Another one I particularly like is the ‘closed slipery-slope- loop’, wherein A > B > C >…Z > A > etcetera.

  51. #51 by Dwight Sheldon Adams on March 9, 2010 - 8:38 am

    Cav–

    Considering the slippery-slope in combination with either the second coming of Christ or the loop, Mero and others should be excited that gay marriage is being proposed. After all, passing it into legislation is inevitable, according to the fatalistic slippery-slopists, and will either hasten the coming of Christ (and the destruction of the wicked) or will hasten a rejuvenation of our culture (back to point A on the loop!). Either result is inevitable, by slippery slope logic, as we’ve already passed innumerable thresholds of no return, so we might as well make it happen as quickly as possible so that all will be well again.

    –Dwight

  52. #52 by Mike on March 12, 2010 - 11:55 pm

    Hey, Paul,

    The slippery-slope argument applies to EVERY single policy adopted. It seems very convenient to use it whenever you have a paraniod prejudice that needs support.

    Anyway, where did you get the idea that gay people are anti-family? If you bothered to get to know them, like I have, you would discover they are very family-oriented. Maybe their families look different compared to your family, but they are families just the same. They have virtues and challenges just like your family. And, they have value. Each family thrives and falls on its own merits, just like yours.

    This is just the latest chapter in conservative paranoia. We have inter-racial marriage and the world didn’t end. GAY MARRIAGE WILL NOT BRING DOWN CIVILIZATION! The trouble you have with it is all imaginary. Your family will go on untouched. Gay marriage merely grants gay people the same family experience you enjoy; that’s all.

    As for “slippery-slope;” what gay marriage leads to is up to a future generation, not this one. I trust they’ll do the right thing.

(will not be published)


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