My short speech on marriage


Today I participated in a well-attended rally for marriage equality in Provo. There was a great spirit and energy throughout the event — we sang songs, listened to short speeches and poetry recitations, prayed together, and held a candlelight vigil.

I gave one of the speeches, and I’ve made it available for you to listen if you want! Or if you want a little calmer, more thorough version, you can read this post that I wrote last year on the subject. Enjoy!

I believe in marriage and I fully support its extension to gay couples.

More photos from the event:


Original comments:

  1. Ryan Farnessays:
  2. March 26, 2013 at 12:10 AMI’m a friend of a friend that saw your post on Facebook. I too spent a while trying to reason out the gay marriage issue and after so doing, I felt I came to a fairly firm conclusion. Legalizing gay marriage is a pandora’s box.If one supports same gender marriage, then, in principle, one supports same gender multi-partner marriage and mixed gender multi-partner marriage.By redefining marriage from one man and one woman, under what principled position can one define marriage to deny others seeking different marital variations?
    • Derrick Clementssays:
    • March 26, 2013 at 12:25 AMUnder that logic, the marriage definition that should never have changed was the one that existed before people chose marriage partners out of love. When marriages are arranged by families, you make sure no unpleasant organic variations will occur. What led to the current controversy is not deciding that marriage should be between two people of the same gender, but deciding that marriage should be between two adults who are in love. That is, unquestionably, the standard way Western (and other) people decide who to marry: by love. Gay marriage springs from that. Once you allow people to marry for love, gay people automatically need to be allowed to marry each other, because that is who they love, that is who they commit their lives with.There is a huge fallacy in the argument that you should prevent one CLEARLY positive thing (in this case, gay marriage, or marriage for love) so that some potential negative thing won’t happen down the line. If multi-partner marriages are not good for society, we can handle figuring that out case by case. Cutting off something as innocent, important, and sensical as gay marriage is absolutely not the right way to go.Do you think that gay marriage itself is problematic, or just what it might lead to? (I appreciate the conversation a lot!)
      • Ryan Farnessays:
      • March 26, 2013 at 8:37 AMSomething as fundamental as altering marriage law ought to have a sound basis in principle.Legalizing gay marriage because people love each other should then, by the same rationale, extend to many other types of relationships in which people love each other. If certain relationship arrangements are precluded, then equality can’t be the basis of the change, can it?Equality seems to be the basis of gay marriage advocates’ push for legalization, but you may be making a different one that advocates gay marriage as a positive force for society and for those involved in said marriages.Beyond consequential legalities, I view gay marriage legalization as problematic because it is the recognition and proactive acceptance of conduct that is immoral.
        • joJoannsays:
        • March 28, 2013 at 1:14 AMSo Ryan, I assume that you typically want to legislate your morality onto others? Do you stop at gay marriage or do you also want to pursue legislation that also limits anything else you personally find to be “immoral.”The thing is, this isn’t a moral issue at all in the first place. It is a constitutional rights issue. I don’t know if you’re among them Ryan, but why do you think it is that we hear so many from people proclaim that they are protectors of the constitution, that the constitution is being undermined more and more, that we must ardently affirm our right to free speech, to bear arms, to privacy etc., but then those same people want to simply forget all about the 14th amendment which guarantees equal protection under the law? Who’s cutting the threads that hold up the constitution now?Let me break this down just so I am clear. Pretend we have 3 people in front of us: Bob, Stacy, and Amanda. Bob can legally marry Stacy. Amanda cannot for the simple reason that she is a woman. It has been well established in this country that gender is a protected class, or in other words, the government cannot discriminate on the basis of gender without an overwhelmingly compelling cause–which, it should be noted, has not (because it cannot be) been established. All anti-equality people can point to is the bible and their own personal belief system, neither of which qualify as being relevant in legal matters.That’s all this boils down to. Whether or not it is within your own moral code to marry someone of your same sex is irrelevant.
          • Ryan Farnessays:
          • March 28, 2013 at 8:29 AMAre laws and legal matters not the representation of a society’s moral code? Self governance relies on a people to follow that which they deem moral.Under a constitutional rights argument, equal protection would extend, in principle, marriage rights to a number of arrangements beyond 2 persons of the same gender.
          • joJoannsays:
          • March 28, 2013 at 12:21 PM“Are laws and legal matters not the representation of a society’s moral code? Self governance relies on a people to follow that which they deem moral.”Uh…no. No, not at all.Laws are based on protecting rights. Legislating morality is a pretty disgusting thought actually. Most of the times people have attempted it, it fails miserably. The constitution makes it quite clear why we have a government and laws. Legislating morality is not among its reasons.“We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”Again, if it could be established that gay marriage endangered the general welfare, then perhaps the gov. might have a compelling reason to discriminate. But that has not been established. And it won’t ever be because it is simply not true.“Under a constitutional rights argument, equal protection would extend, in principle, marriage rights to a number of arrangements beyond 2 persons of the same gender.”Citation needed. I’ve heard alot of people claim this, but every legal analysis I have read on the matter throws it out as nearly being facetious because it just doesn’t hold water.
  3. Ryan Farnessays:
  4. March 28, 2013 at 2:44 PM@joJoannNo reply button was on the last comment, plus it was getting awfully skinny in there.My comment about morals meant to convey that the way we decide what laws to pass, or what laws mean, is a reflection of our morals in society. The support of gay marriage, in general, reflects a moral worldview that doesn’t view homosexuality and the consequences of gay marriage legalization as improper or problematic. So the assertion that “irrelevant moral belief” has no place in this doesn’t resonate with me. The reason this debate is being had right now is because the morality compass of the United States has changed on this very issue, mostly in favor of tolerance of homosexuality and its recognition as normal.As for the legal side of the debate, (and initial question I pose in my first comment) is the extension of rights to group marriage and beyond.Here is an article referencing some of the advocates of extending what marriage is: many may dismiss these as facetious hypotheticals, this article shows at least some sentiment regarding the next wave of progressive marriage reform.The current premise of advocating gay marriage is the principle of equal rights. If extended, how can one deny the right to marry to other arrangements beyond homosexual couples? There should be no problem to do so, unless one felt those relationship arrangements were taboo or immoral. But then, wouldn’t that be selectively “legislating morality?” We’d be back to square one with the problem most gay marriage advocates have with opponents.I appreciate the discussion. This is a huge far reaching issue and as I reason through stuff, its good to bounce ideas and thoughts off of people with opposing views.
  5. joJoannJoJoannsays:
  6. March 31, 2013 at 2:16 PMGood Idea on screwing the reply button. Wish web developers could figure out threaded comment sections–now there’s a REAL problem society needs to fix. -jk.I too appreciate the ability to have open and frank discussions on topics such as this. We can all learn.I see what you are saying about the relationship of morality and the legal system. The problem with that, for me, however, is that you can extend that to justify the villanization of anything you disagree with. Think porn is bad? We should make it illegal. People drink alcohol? *gasp* Society is decaying! We must prohibit it! And any books about witches and wizards too while we’re at it, because clearly, gun crime has gone up since the release of Harry Potter!The legal system should be set up to protect rights, not promote a persons–or even a society’s–moral preferences. When this has been ignored, it typically makes the situation much worse rather than promoting anything society thinks is good (I’m looking at you prohibition, drug war, etc.) If I punch your nose, or illegally manipulate the stock market, or crash into your car while I’m drunk, then you need an option to legally redress your grievances. But allowing a woman to make a legal contract with a male but not another female–simply because she is a female? That just doesn’t makes sense. And in fact, under the 14th amendment, it is quite unconstitutional.The slippery slope argument you refer to next is really a non-starter for me. We can’t give gay people equal protection under the law because then polyganous relationships might want it too? So that makes it ok to discriminate against gays… The problem with slippery slope arguments, however, is that if you take them one step backwards, you can typically see why they are fallacies. For example, we could make the same argument about interracial marriage. We shouldn’t have recognized as a society as it was 1. widely agreed to be immoral 2. widely agreed to be unnatural and 3. it was a non-traditional concept of marriage that would lead to redefining marriage and eventually gays wanting the same rights.Unless someone can make a compelling argument based on facts that the government has a very compelling interest to give gays different legal treatment that heterosexuals (which nobody has been able to do beyond bible thumping, fear mongering, and pointing to negative outcomes inspired by gay bigotry in the first place,) then the government can simply not discriminate on that basis. If and when the separate issue of polyamoury comes up, it should be addressed in the same manner.I’m still not convinced the government has any business in the marriage issue in the first place. Sometimes I just think they should let consenting adults be consenting adults.
    • Ryan Farnessays:
    • April 13, 2013 at 2:02 AMA couple days passed without anything and I wasn’t checking this page regularly….hence my delay in response.What I’m trying to accomplish with comparing the legalization of gay marriage to a pandora’s box is to relate to supporters of gay marriage that violating a traditional absolute under a pretense of equality must therefore allow anything that qualifies under that pretense. It is not simply my obstinate denial of gay “rights” because of what might follow, but instead a probing question that is meant to find out what the gay marriage advocate I’m engaging with thinks about things qualifying for the same equal protection under their argument. The goal being to have people that believe in equality recognize that it is normal and ethical to draw the line somewhere. Supporters of gay marriage often draw the line to include gay marriage, but exclude group marriage and all the other relationship arrangements. Yet these same gay marriage proponents decry the drawing of a line that excludes gay marriage. They denounce a moral absolute, yet establish one themselves. Unless they accept and support everything that would qualify under the argument of equality, in which case they acknowledge that the floodgates are open and to make a hole in the box to allow gay marriage out, a lot of other things fit through the same hole.As for equality so a “woman can marry a woman,” I think it’s relevant to address gender and how rights can vary based on it. Gender is a profound and obvious differentiating characteristic. A woman cannot walk around topless in public, while a man can. The 14th amendment is not going to guarantee women the right to go topless, or deny men the right to do so. Yet the absurdity of claiming that women ought to be able to go topless to guarantee equal protection is sort of how the gay marriage argument sounds to many opponents of it. Men and women are completely different and the burden is on those advocating altering this fundmental aspect of marriage to show why the joining of non-opposites in an institution defined as the joining of opposites is the right thing to do.
      • Derrick Clementssays:
      • April 13, 2013 at 10:52 AMRyan, not all gay rights supporters are non-believers in moral absolutes (for example, myself). I believe that gay marriage is right not because I believe ANYTHING is right, but in the limited spectrum of what IS right, gay marriage is included.You say, “Gender is a profound and obvious differentiating characteristic.” I strongly encourage you to check out this TED talk, which blew my mind when I saw it the first time, because when you really look into it, it turns out sex is much less of a profound difference than we first think, and certainly not an obvious one: