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.”Official LDS church press release, 13 August 2008:
The Church does not object to rights (already established in California) regarding hospitalization and medical care, fair housing and employment rights, or probate rights, so long as these do not infringe on the integrity of the family or the constitutional rights of churches and their adherents to administer and practice their religion free from government interference.Salt Lake Tribune, 17 November 2008:
In a written statement to The Salt Lake Tribune late Monday, church spokeswoman Kim Farah said, "The Church is not planning on commenting on civil unions for the time being."
But spokesman Michael Otterson suggested a few days ago to a Washington Post reporter that the church's post-election remarks were "based on civil unions in California and that no decision has been made regarding similar rights in Utah," the paper said. "I don't want to give the impression that the church is saying civil unions in all cases are OK," Otterson was quoted as saying.
So now I'm confused. Are civil unions okay or not? Why would you say one thing in one context but something completely different in another context? Perhaps this explains it:
Leaked internal memo, LDS church, 4 March 1997:
Elder Oaks was the first to recognize that in the political process that in order to win this battle, there may have to be certain legal rights recognized for unmarried people such as hospital visitation so opponents in the legislature will come away with something. This is proving to be the case [in Hawaii and California].In other words, in liberal states like California and Hawaii, the church is willing to allow gay couples little perks like hospital visitation rights in order to get them to shut up, but in ultra-conservative Utah no such concessions are necessary. When passing Prop 8 was all that mattered it was important to make it clear that they're pro-marriage, not anti-gay; now that they've won it's not so important.
It's one thing to see politicians put words together creatively and even lie in order to get what they want, but it's downright depressing to see religious leaders, who you'd expect to be concerned with truth above all else, so skilled at the dirty game of politics. I was angry this morning but tonight I'm just sad.