And as we saw this week, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor recused herself from issuing a stay and pushed it up to the United States Supreme Court, which did in fact issue the stay until the 10th Circuit Court can issue its ruling on the appeal. They have promised to fast-track that.
Meanwhile, Utah Governor Gary Herbert issued a decree that no marriages performed during the 17 days when they were legal in the state would be honored, provoking a huge backlash and protests in the state capitol building.
United States Attorney General Eric Holder issued his own decree two days later that the federal government would recognize those 1,300 marriages performed in Utah at legitimate for all federal benefits.
Then the LDS church had to issue its own statement which included this:
Consistent with our fundamental beliefs, Church officers will not employ their ecclesiastical authority to perform marriages between two people of the same sex, and the Church does not permit its meetinghouses or other properties to be used for ceremonies, receptions, or other activities associated with same-sex marriages. Nevertheless, all visitors are welcome to our chapels and premises so long as they respect our standards of conduct while there.
Salt Lake Tribune cartoonist wrote Pat Bagley wrote this in an op-ed piece today:
It’s fitting that Utah is ground zero in the national firestorm over the definition of what is, and what isn’t, marriage.
In the 1800s, Mormons in Utah ferociously clung to a radical new view of marriage. Not only was traditional marriage of “one man to one woman only” mocked in the pages of the Deseret News as being an ”impracticable standard,” but in Mormon doctrine “til death do us part” became “for time and all eternity.”
America in the 1800s, on the other hand, wasn’t into diversity.
The reason Brigham Young chose the Utah desert, instead of the much more attractive California, was to allow Mormons a chance to practice their peculiar religion “unmolested.” Foremost in his thoughts was plural marriage. Rumors of Joseph Smith’s “secret wifery” had been the primary reasons behind Smith’s assassination and Mormons being chased across half a continent from their Nauvoo, Ill., homes.
Today, the over-the-top rhetoric about gay marriage ushering in the demise of American morals recalls this earlier era. Witness this purple prose decrying gay marriage which recently appeared in an opinion column submitted to The Salt Lake Tribune, “[Judicial activism is] in effect massacring the institution of traditional marriage and morality.”
The danger with gay marriage, apparently, is that the corpses of brides and grooms will litter reception halls from Tremonton to St. George.
It was not so long ago that, to most Americans, nonconformist Mormons with their unusual ideas of marriage spelled impending doom to the nation’s moral fabric. Maybe it’s time to take a deep breath and realize that ours is a big country. America will still be around even after they’ve swept up the rice from these latest Utah weddings.
This is getting fun.