Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Sutherland: LDS Church is Wrong

OK, so they didn't come right out and say that, but let's connect the dots for two seconds.

On November 5, 2008, Elder L Whitney Clayton, who headed the Church's involvement in California's Proposition 8, told the Deseret News that the church "does not oppose civil unions or domestic partnerships," that involve benefits like health insurance and property rights. That stand was outlined in a statement the church posted on its Web site earlier in the campaign. Three months later, the Church has not refuted these claims.

In fact, on January 21, 2009, LDS Church leaders met with Republican Legislative Leaders. When pressed for a position on the "Common Ground" bills, the legislators were referred to prior statements issued by the Church. This version of events has not been refuted by either the Church nor by Legislative leaders.

On February 9, 2009, Governor Jon Huntsman came out in support of the Common Ground Initiative, including civil unions.

So, you would think that groups that consist primarily of members of the LDS Church that use religious arguments to defend their positions would applaud the Governor for siding with the Church, right?

As if.

Reference this message I received via Facebook tonight from Jeff Reynolds of the Sutherland Institute:

On Monday, February 9, 2009, the Salt Lake Tribune reported that Governor Huntsman, through his spokesperson, had expressed his support for the "Common Ground Initiative" and said he was in favor of civil unions for same-sex couples.

In response, Sutherland Institute issued the following statement: "We're not surprised. Public relations, not policy, is his strong suit. He had to be dragged to the altar of Amendment 3, and everyone has known, since then, that Governor Huntsman would rather be nice than right."

Responsible citizens wishing to express their disappointment to the Governor's position on this issue may contact his office at 801-538-1000 or you can simply leave a comment for him at http://governor.utah.gov/goca/form_comment.html.

The Governor needs to know it's important to be right on this issue, not nice.

Click here
, and send the Governor a message thanking him for showing courage and standing up for what's right.


Sean W. said...

"The Governor needs to know it's important to be right on this issue, not nice."

Now there's a telling statement. Heaven forbid we at least try to be right AND nice. Apparently for Mr. Reynolds and the Sutherland Institute, these are mutually exclusive.

Ben said...

Are you surprised? The last event I attended of theirs I was surrounded by cranky sweaty white men in suits. Total sausage fest at the Institute. No wonder they hate Teh Gays.

Anonymous said...


I agree with you that Sutherland is among those who are out there trying to "out-church the church" on this issue. They are not helping themselves by drawing the line too far to the right and denying some legitimate individual rights.

I do think that one thing you said needs correction though:

"On February 9, 2009, Governor Jon Huntsman came out in support of the Common Ground Initiative, including civil unions."

Civil unions are not part of the common ground initiative and so the statement should have read:

"On February 9, 2009, Governor Jon Huntsman came out in support of the Common Ground Initiative, as well as civil unions."

It does make a difference because I am generally supportive of the Common Ground Initiative (I'll be more supportive when I have read all of the actual bills) but I would oppose Common Ground if it included civil unions.

JHP said...


One of the CGI bills aims to eliminate the part of Amendment 3 that makes civil unions impossible. That bill, which was pulled last week, is the first step in the CGI to bring about civil unions.


This statement comes from the LDS Newsroom:

PUBLIC AFFAIRS: Would you extend the same argument against same-gender marriage to civil unions or some kind of benefits short of marriage?

ELDER WICKMAN: One way to think of marriage is as a bundle of rights associated with what it means for two people to be married. What the First Presidency has done is express its support of marriage and for that bundle of rights belonging to a man and a woman. The First Presidency hasn’t expressed itself concerning any specific right. It really doesn’t matter what you call it. If you have some legally sanctioned relationship with the bundle of legal rights traditionally belonging to marriage and governing authority has slapped a label on it, whether it is civil union or domestic partnership or whatever label it’s given, it is nonetheless tantamount to marriage. That is something to which our doctrine simply requires us to speak out and say, “That is not right. That’s not appropriate.”


JHP said...

This is interesting to me. If Elder Clayton really said that it doesn't align with that "official" statement on the Web site. Maybe they'll make a statement based on the Gov's statement.

Until then, it's important to remember that Sutherland is independent and therefore does not speak for the Church, just like CGI doesn't speak for the Church.

Good to see you yesterday, by the way.

Bob said...

Actually, civil unions has been pulled from Common Ground for this year.

Yes, Sutherland in Independent. However, 90% of the time they (you) seem to try and infer that what you do is "right" according to principles of the Church.

Jesse Harris said...

You're taking a bit of a leap with your title, Bob. A lack of opposition does not translate into tacit support. They are different. Saying that the governor sides with the Church infers that they are not different. That's the same logical mistake that Equality Utah made when it tried to get Church endorsement for its legislation (and has thus far failed to do so).

Bob said...

If A=B, and B is the opposite of C, then A and C are opposites.

And, yes, I was making a bit of a leap. However, it's not near the leap that Sutherland and other groups are making.

Bob said...

Besides, to get the Church to come right out and endorse anything like common ground is unheard of. They wouldn't even come out and endorse what is now Article I Section 29 of the Utah Constitution when it was being voted on in 2004.