Here is my latest correspondence with the creator of the www.lds4gaymarriage.com website:
Discussing this issue with you has finally helped me reconcile the same inability you have had with scripture and the perceived attempt of the Church to force its views upon other people. It is now clear to me that I have been looking for the reconciliation from a fallacious starting point. In reading your response I actually believe you will agree with me if you look at the issue from a different starting point.
I agree with you 100% that I do not have the right to impose my religious beliefs upon other people through the use of government force. Such action goes against the free agency given to man by God himself.
Your response did not indicate any dispute with my assertion that marriage is by fact or historical association a religious act. I will therefore assume that you are in agreement with that assertion.
If marriage is a religious institution, then any government intervention into that institution is unconstitutional per the first amendment. D&C 134:4 also affirms the same. The government simply has no business in involving itself with marriage. The legal contract that is formed as a consequence of marriage is an entirely different issue.
When the United States of America was founded, the commonly held definition of marriage was as follows:
Marriage: The act of uniting a man and woman for life; wedlock; the legal union of a man and woman for life. Marriage is a contract both civil and religious, by which the parties engage to live together in mutual affection and fidelity, till death shall separate them. Marriage was instituted by God himself for the purpose of preventing the promiscuous intercourse of the sexes, for promoting domestic felicity,and for securing the maintenance and education of children.
The culture at the time of our nations founding was much less diverse in terms of religious views. Because of this and out of convenience, there was no perceived problem of the governments intervention through the civil contract component into the religious institution of marriage. Marriage was God's, civil contract's were Caesar's. Because of the diverse beliefs people have in our current society, the two components, religious and civil, should be separated. Since marriage is by definition, by fact, and by historical association a religious institution, the government must now remove all references and uses of that word. The government is should only be involved in who can make contracts with one another.
By separating the two components, the government is no longer meddling with religion. Marriage is performed and regulated at church, civil contracts are performed, regulated and enforced by the government. Any attempt by the government to define what marriage is oversteps its bounds. The government can only determine what contracts it will consider valid.
Under this system, the following scenario would occur. A man and a woman go to a church, and are married according to the methods of worship they subscribe to. They will then go to the government and announce they intend to enter into one of several types of contracts with one another. A church could require their members to enter into this contract before they will be allowed to be married. It is the religious organization's choice to determine the rules and definitions of marriage.
If a man and a man want join a church that performs same gender "marriage", such a church would have the right to do so, per their definition of marriage. The two men will then go to the government and announce they intend to enter into one of several types of contracts with one another.
Consider this brief example of the type of contract two people can enter into. Two men go to the government and announce they intend to form a partnership, very similar to current partnership laws which govern business. The contract can specify the assumption of the other partner's pension, inheritance, lease transfers, burial rights, etc. Current partners under certain partnership laws will automatically be liable for the debts or obligations of another, similar to what happens in current marriage law. Basically, two people can contract with one another to form a business entity. It is not marriage by definition, and by the fact the government cannot intervene in the religious institution. It is a contract formed by two people.
By definition, atheists cannot marry, but they can form a contract. An atheist could go to a church and get married, but they would then have to go to the government and announce their intent to form a binding contract. The atheist could simply avoid the church and bypass a meaningless ceremony (from their point of view) and go straight to the contract ratification. Government stays out of marriage. If the atheist couple decides to have children, the contract relationship formed would dictate the state's involvement.
The issue with Proposition 8 is governments intervention into the Judeo-Christian perception of marriage. As I have pointed out, the government must separate itself from marriage and only recognize contracts, not religious ceremonies. The majority of the people in this country associate marriage with religion. Attempts by the government to redefine marriage are seen as an attempt to redefine their religious beliefs. Proposition 8 is the will of the people telling the government to stop interfering in religious matters. The state must acquiesce and separate itself from dictating religious definitions. All of the rights and privileges associated with marriage can be solved through contract law, and defined as contract law and not marriage.
For this reason I support Proposition 8. For this reason the admonition by the leaders of the church to stop government intervention in marriage is in complete harmony with all scripture. The government must leave God's realm and go back to Caesar's. Caesar's place is enforcing contract law. Of course, the LORD will be the final enforcer of how Caesar enforced his laws.
I believe this scenario satisfies all of the examples you provided in your response. Marriage is religious, contract law is government. Yes on Prop 8 denies government intervention into the definition of marriage. Marriage is between a man and a woman, and the government does not have the right to tell me otherwise. Opponents of Prop 8 should stop trying to mix government and religion and focus on contract rights.
The opponents of traditional marriage have not been tolerant nor open minded regarding the religious nature marriage has for the majority. Instead of seeking equal protection under the law they have sought to force their views upon everyone using government force. Instead of promoting legislation in congress where open debate and discourse can occur, they have used the judicial system much like a tyrant.
The Book of Mormon warned of the tyrannical use of the judicial system: "the foundation of the destruction of this people is beginning to be laid by the unrighteousness of your lawyers and your judges." Alma 10:27
Our system of government must be done with open discourse, debate, and the free exchange of ideas. Under the Constitution, judges are not to legislate or make laws, they are to judge based on the laws the people have chosen. The people choose representatives whose sole purpose is to makes laws according to the will of the people, and judges are to judge based on those laws, and NOT create their own.
The Book of Mormon again asserts this principle: "If you higher judges do not judge righteous judgments, ye shall cause that a small number of your lower judges should be gathered together, and they shall judge your higher judges, ACCORDING TO THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE." Mosiah 29:29.
These principles are found in our Constitution. The will of the people as expressed in their laws has been overturned in a process that is not Constitutional. As a method of last resort against a tyrannical government, the Founders placed in the Constitution the means that the people could have the final say in their government, and that is through the amendment process.
Instead of promoting their ideas through peaceful means, instead of promoting legislation for their cause, instead of discussing the injustice they felt they have incurred, opponents of traditional marriage have sought tyrannical means to overthrow the will of the people. This will only cause further strife and contention in our society. The means sought to enact laws by opponents of traditional marriage is beginning to lay the foundation of the destruction of our Republic.
I am voting Yes on Proposition 8 because the government has sought intrusion into religious institutions. I am voting Yes on Prop 8 because my right to open discourse and debate on this issue has been taken away from me through unconstitutional means. I am voting Yes on Proposition 8 because a Prophet of God has admonished me to preserve a sacred and religious ordinance from the clutches of a tyrannical judicial system. I am voting Yes on 8 because it is the only resort left that I have to tell my government they cannot interfere with my religious beliefs.