Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Religious Freedom and Fairness

                The Supreme Court of the United States will hear oral arguments on whether States can ban gay marriage.  The decision will be one of the most crucial rulings of 2015.  The Court will hear arguments concerning same-sex marriage bans in Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, and Tennessee for 150 minutes on April 28, 2015 with a ruling due by the end of June.  The purpose of the hearing is whether or not the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection covers same-sex marriage.

                Lower courts have forced gay marriage on most of the 37 states where it is now considered legal, but a legal battle in Alabama has been put on hold for the present time.

                The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints opposes same-sex marriage; the Church has joined a “diverse coalition of faith communities” in filing an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in order to be part of the cases before the Court.

                In spite of opposing gay marriage, Church leaders gave their support for two bills passed by the Utah Legislature simultaneously.  One bill protected religious freedom, and the other bill banned “discrimination against LGBT people in the areas of housing and employment.”  The two sides came together under a compromise of “Fairness for all.”  “The Utah Legislature demonstrated that the tension between religious freedom and gay rights does not have to be a battle in which the victor takes all and the defeated get nothing.  Instead, we can live together with our deepest differences.”

                The Church supports LGBT rights in housing and employment in fairness but still opposes same-sex marriage for several reasons. 
(1) The Church does not force people to behave in a certain way.  It teaches correct principles and shares values, and then allows people to make their own choices.  (2) Leaders of the Church believe that legalizing nation-wide same-sex marriage will redefine marriage and “impede the ability of religious people to participate fully as equal citizens in American civic life.”  (3) Church leaders believe that “religious believers could find their speech, association, and free-exercise rights diminished or denied in a variety of context, such as public education, employment, public accommodations, and professional certification.”  (4) If sexual orientation receives special status, it could “suppress and marginalize traditional religious views on sexuality and those who hold them, generating legal, bureaucratic, and social conflicts with a wide and unpredictable range of religious interests.”  (5) Church leaders believe the matter should be decided by the people of each state rather than by either lower courts or the Supreme Court.

                I hope you will join me in praying for the Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court.  They have before them one of the greatest decisions to ever come before the Court.  We need the blessings of heaven to be poured out upon our nation and help us heal the deep divisions.  The Supreme Court will either support religious freedom or destroy it.  May God bless America!

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