The institution of marriage vs. housing/employment discrimination and hate crime legislation
From the category of headlines the Drive-by media has conditioned us to deem unfathomable comes this from the AP:
Mormons back gay rights in Salt Lake City
It looked like a stunning reversal: the same church that helped defeat gay marriage in California standing with gay-rights activists on an anti-discrimination law in its own backyard.
On Tuesday night, after a series of clandestine meetings between local gay-rights backers and Mormons in Salt Lake City, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced it would support proposed city laws that would prohibit discrimination against gays in housing and employment.
The ordinances passed and history was made: It marked the first time the Salt Lake City-based church had supported gay-rights legislation.
The Mormon church — which continues to suffer a backlash over its support last year of Proposition 8, the measure banning gay marriage in California — emphasized that its latest position in no way contradicts its teachings on homosexuality…
It is not a reversal, even if it is a bit stunning.
There is absolutely no contradiction between protecting individuals from housing and employment discrimination as opposed to maintaining the 5000 year old definition of the, civilization creating and preserving, institution of marriage. [Although, I do think that Maine’s recent referenda that vetoed an act of the legislature legalizing same-sex marriage did violate small “r” republican principles.]
I and most conservatives (especially including social conservatives) do not favor any government imprimatur of approval for any sexual behavior outside traditional marriage. Moreover, conservatives generally favor that rights protected by the constitution be of the individual variety, rather than group rights, especially those of a “mutable” variety such as what one Delores one’s particular “orientations” to be, as opposed to the immutable characteristics of race and gender/sex.
But, we do favor prohibitions of discrimination based on religion/free speech, so in that sense people of faith could justify the Salt Lake City ordinance as prohibiting mind control. One can believe anything one wishes and still expect to be able to rent property and get a job one is otherwise qualified for. Of course, if the particular beliefs and/or speech rise to the level of advocacy that interferes with the workplace environment and/or property owners’ maintenance of a habitable environment for families, then one could distinguish.
We particularly like to avoid such group distinctions when one would seek to mete out civil penalties and criminal punishments for free speech against certain behaviors or seek to diminish the value of the lives of certain groups by making it a more serious crime to harm people in other groups, especially when accompanied by a requirement to determine an “intent to hate”.
The criminal law has functioned quite nicely for 500+ years as passed down from the Common Law of England with the only intent being that of the men rea, criminal intent to harm, no matter the particular reason.
DeVine Law (pictured) is not sure he favors the particular discrimination law passed in Salt Lake City. We are sure that Mormons are not contradictory in opposing same-sex marriage and that their is nothing “intolerant” about such opposition. We find the most intolerance on the left, many of whom seek to make it a crime, via hate crime laws, discrimination and marriage laws, to make it a crime to advocate the traditional values of chastity, etc found in the Bible.
We also think discrimination laws are better tailored to behaviors and not orientations, and so would not deem it “intolerant” to oppose the Salt Lake City law. But we haven’t made our judgment yet on whether we favor it.
Still thinking and more later…
Mike DeVine’s Charlotte Observer and Minority Report columns
“One man with courage makes a majority.” – Andrew Jackson
Originally published @ Examiner.com, where all verification links may be accessed.