Is Caesar's Marriage Idolatrous?
"Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following
pages, are not yet sufficiently fashionable to procure
them general favor; a long habit of not thinking a thing
wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right,
and raises at first a formidable outcry in defence of
custom. But the tumult soon subsides. Time makes more
converts than reason." Thomas Paine, Common Sense
Foreword: Accountability Utah vehemently opposes
Constitutional Amendment 3 dealing with the question of
marriage and the rights of couples. Accountability Utah
members are divided, however, on the particular reasons
for their opposition. Accountability Utah wishes to provide
two different perspectives for readers to consider. Topics 1-7 provide
the view of several team members. Topic 8 outlines where other
team members part company and view things differently.
Summary of Topics 1-7: We oppose both sentences of
Constitutional Amendment 3. Government proponents feverishly
sell this amendment as a way to protect the traditional
family. This is a farce and a smoke screen. This amendment represents
unjust government force, the suppression of "unsanctioned"
citizens polygamists, fornicators, and especially
homosexuals who are deemed to be "undesirable," and the
effort to increase the size of government in the name of God.
To combat this deception, we also discuss homosexuality in
context with society.
Summary of Topic 8: We disagree with the notion
implied by our colleagues that homosexuality is any less
criminal or destructive to society than are crimes such as
theft and adultery. While we do not advocate government
peeking into bedrooms to monitor sexual behavior, we do not
believe that homosexuals are entitled to any right to publicly
promote their lifestyle. We also believe that we are morally
justified in prohibiting homosexuals from adopting children
1. Amendment 3
is a Rights Nightmare
2. Who is God in
Caesar's Image to the Quagmire
4. Caesar's Role
in Breaches of Contract
Immoralities Do Not Make Morality
6. The Question
The Real Enemy is Caesar
8. Where We Part
1. Amendment 3 is a Rights Nightmare
We will discuss the merits of
government marriage powers later. But first, we should discuss
the practical impact of the proposed
Constitutional Amendment 3 to be voted on this November.
The amendment states the following:
"Marriage consists only of the
legal union between a man and a woman. No other domestic
union, however denominated, may be recognized as a marriage
or given the same or substantially equivalent effect."
The word "legal" means that a
marriage would be valid only if the government sanctioned it.
According to state statute passed in the 2004 general session,
a marriage is valid if the heterosexual couple obtains a
marriage "license," or if a court of administrative order
declares the relationship a "marriage" in the case, for
example, of heterosexual adults who have "cohabited" (a period
of time is not specified), who "mutually assume marital
rights, duties, and obligations," or "who hold themselves out
as husband and wife".
Senate Bill 24 in the 2004 session.)
The phrase "no other domestic
union, however denominated" would exclude homosexual couples,
polygamist relationships, and any heterosexual couple that
failed to receive official government sanction. The second
sentence of the amendment is particularly broad reaching
because it would nullify recognition of any Utah State
statute, statute from another state, or common law, that
attempted to "give the same or substantially equivalent
effect," to any couple or relationship that is not recognized as
legally married by the State of Utah.
Last session, for instance, the
legislature amended state statute to recognize marriage
between a man and a woman only:
(1) (a) It is the policy of
this state to recognize as marriage only the legal union of
a man and a woman as provided in this chapter.
(b) Except for the relationship of marriage between a man
and a woman recognized pursuant to this chapter, this state
will not recognize, enforce, or give legal effect to any law
creating any legal status, rights, benefits, or duties that
are substantially equivalent to those provided under Utah
law to a man and a woman because they are married.
(2) Nothing in Subsection (1) impairs any contract or other
rights, benefits, or duties that are enforceable
independently of this section.
Senate Bill 24 in the 2004 session.)
If Amendment 3 passes, section 2
of this newly enacted statute would likely be nullified
because it attempts to guarantee and apply "rights,"
"benefits," and "duties" throughout Utah state statute for
couples who are not licensed or sanctioned by the State of
Utah. What does this mean? Consider the following potential
Current common law marriage
protections, and documents such as trusts, wills, and powers
of attorney, would likely be ineffectual for unsanctioned
couples who have relied on them in the past to have some
emergency plan for children and property in the event of
death or incapacitation. It is questionable whether an
unsanctioned partner could even serve as the guardian or
conservator for that couple's children and property.
State statute contains many
references to terms such as "family," "spouse", and "child."
These terms would not apply to relationships unsanctioned by
the government. This is particularly troublesome with regard
to "child welfare" statutes. Will children currently cared
for by unsanctioned couples be easier targets for seizure by
the Utah Department of Child and Family Services?
Private employers who may
decide, in the future, to spend their own money giving
special benefits to an unsanctioned couple, could be
prohibited from doing so. Again, Amendment 3 states, "No
other domestic union, however denominated, MAY be
recognized as a marriage or given the same or substantially
equivalent effect. [emphasis added]" "May be recognized" by whom? The
specific actor is not mentioned. Courts could interpret this
nebulous language to mean that private employers who give
any benefits to an unsanctioned couple that might be
"substantially equivalent" to a sanctioned couple are
violating the Utah Constitution.
Any loss of rights is
particularly egregious because it may be applied to current
couples not recognized by the State of Utah who are already
raising children and sharing property, and who have lived
and operated under the guarantee that they are protected by
certain rights, benefits, and duties. Whether we like it or
not, these people have operated under certain assumptions
that we have tolerated for years, and we may now pull the
rug out from under them in an instant.
We simply do not know all of the
ramifications of this amendment. But we do know this: If the
amendment goes too far in restricting rights or in
discriminating against unsanctioned couples, the
legislature can do little or nothing in state statute to
correct it. Again, according to the second sentence of
Amendment 3, no law will have any force or effect that gives
any "recognition" [i.e. right or benefit] to an unsanctioned
couple that is the "same or substantially equivalent" to what
we guarantee couples that are sanctioned by government.
In other words, if there are any
additional, unintended injustices that come about by the
enactment of Amendment 3, those injustices may continue until
another constitutional amendment is enacted.
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2. Who is God in Our Society?
Consider the following statement
from the New Testament:
"Wherefore they are no more
twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined
together, let not man put asunder." Matthew 19:6
The above scripture, if taken
literally, implies that the Creator of the Universe is the
force that joins and binds two individuals together. Based
upon this scripture and belief system, it would stand to
reason that man is not rightfully permitted to separate what
the Creator has joined together.
The questions then are these:
Why are we attempting to empower the state to recognize and
validate this joining or separation of two individuals? What
right do we have to do so?
Under the same Christian belief
system, men are also admonished to, "Render therefore unto
Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things
that are God's." (Matthew 22:21) Is it natural and consistent
to attempt to grant such powers of recognition to Caesar?
If the Creator is solely capable
of joining or putting asunder, what is the legitimate role of
government? Does government have the same power? Does
government have lesser power or none at all?
Unless the state is God, it
stands to reason that the state's only legitimate role is to
recognize contractual arrangements for the purposes of
litigation when conflicts or disputes occur.
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3. Adding Caesar's Image to the Quagmire
In modern times, we have added
the specter of tax breaks or the image of Caesar to
compound the problem. Today, when we debate the validity and
power of Caesar's marriage arrangement, we speak not only of a
largely undefined contract, but the financial incentives Caesar adds to
this special status. Marriage bound by financial incentives does not
appear consistent with rendering separate due to God and to
Caesar, but rather that Caesar must throw in some perks in
order to sufficiently bind the individual to his Creator.
Does the sanctity of marriage
hinge on whether Caesar recognizes, condones, and rewards the
union of a man and woman? If it does, then why do we need our
Creator at all? After all, Utah government does not require
God's permission to make marriage "legal." Let's cut out the
middleman and rely solely upon the state. Or let Christians
practice what they preach, demand that the state enforce
contractual arrangements, and leave the question of marriage
to God and to private individuals and/or structures.
But to claim as many do that
marriage stands or falls based upon Caesar's arm is to admit
that God and Caesar cannot be separated. More pathetically, it
supposes that the Christian God is weak and incapable without
the aid of Caesar.
Individuals who have their
marriages performed by a religious organization and then apply
for a government marriage license relay the same message. They
are supplicating, and therefore empowering, Caesar to
acknowledge and approve of their commitment to their partner
and to their Creator again giving the final say to Caesar.
One popular argument is that
without the constitutional amendment in question, Utah would
be forced to recognize marriages from other states.
Ironically, the counter-question rarely posed is whether this
concern would vanish if government spending were brought under
control, and our tax burdens were sufficiently reduced to do
away with tax perks currently granted to couples. If
Caesar's budget were small, and we no longer fought each other
over our entitlement to our own money, who would care?
On the flip-side, one popular
argument for expanding government marriage to
include homosexuals is so that employers can be
allowed (or forced) to extend financial benefits to homosexual
partnerships. This inevitably includes government
"benefits" (and force against private employers who may not want
to use their money to financially reward homosexual couples).
Again, take away the financial perks and the commotion is
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4. Caesar's Role in Breaches of Contract
So, what is the proper role of
government in this matter? Consider how government treats
other contractual arrangements. If two homosexual men were to
enter into any business arrangement and one cheated the other
financially, does the fact that they are homosexuals
disqualify them from the benefits of appropriate litigation to
enforce the contract? Of course not.
Therefore, perform marriages
privately, and only permit Caesar to step in when litigation
is unavoidable. Deference should, of course, be given to the
true natural birth mother or natural father in cases of
homosexual contracts, as they participated in the process of
creation and therefore have some claim as to the results of
that process. But otherwise, let the dispute be generally
treated and resolved as would any contractual arrangement
between two individuals.
In order for private contracts
to be truly meaningful, however, citizens must reform our
judicial system, purge the many corrupt judges who tyrannize
our courts, and restore basic due process such as a
trial by a jury
of one's peers. It would not be enough to simply
amend statute and hope the problems went away. Citizens
would be required put forth real and consistent effort to hold
both the judiciary and their legislators accountable for what
goes on inside the courtroom.
Constitutional Amendment 3 is a
farce in part because it does nothing tangible to reform a
runaway, activist judiciary that consistently twists and
reinterprets constitutional law, statute, and common
sense. It also does nothing to hold legislators
accountable for failing to protect due process or impeach
Note: It is not the
purpose of this article to outline every detail of how
contractual arrangements should be handled in every situation.
But judges consistently make arbitrary and
troublesome decisions regarding their interpretation of the
"marriage" contract. One judge may view adultery as
irrelevant, another judge may think too lightly of the role
of men or women in nurturing children, etc. Reliance upon
private contracts could minimize the role of government.
Individuals desiring to enter into a contractual arrangement
involving property and children could be strongly encouraged
to include a plan, or written contract (similar to a
prenuptial agreement, will, or trust), for the worst case
scenario of irreconcilable separation. For example, what
happens to the children and property if one party has an
affair that leads to an irreconcilable loss of trust and
separation? Private contracts can spell out these scenarios in
a way that government can not and should not do. The mere
preparation of such an exit plan might, of itself, be a
deterrent to whimsical and irresponsible couplings, and could
help to alleviate the current, extreme stress of divorce on
our court system.
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5. Different Immoralities Do Not Make Morality
The argument is often made that
consenting adult homosexuals harm the community by their very
influence and existence, and therefore heterosexuals and
Christians must band together to curtail their rights. The
hypocrisy of this view is staggering. Immoral homosexuals (and
all other relationships not sanctioned by government) are somehow legitimate enough to be forcibly taxed so
that so-called moral heterosexuals can prop up immoral
infrastructures (such as government schools and corrupt courts
bereft of juries) and immoral powers that our government has
assumed (such as the power to "marry", when the proper role of
government is simply to enforce civil contracts). What it all
boils down to is that these same homosexuals are not
legitimate enough to express their version of immorality
within the confines of our own immorality.
If both heterosexuals and
homosexuals can be so immoral, what argument justifies us to
recognize contractual arrangements for one party and not the
other? Are we simply repulsed at how homosexuals engage in
sexual activities? Or do we believe that God hates the
behavior of homosexuality so much more than theft, financial
enslavement, and abusing His name to excuse immoral ends?
These are not sufficient justifications to grant God-like
powers to Caesar and to only selectively recognize and
enforce contracts which is precisely what Amendment 3
We do not lose sleep over an
individual's sexual preferences. This is the bottom line: We
have an easier time tolerating homosexuals who respect our
rights, than we do heterosexuals who claim to worship God, yet
continually rob of us of our rights and property. We should be able to get
along all right with those homosexuals who mind their own
business and respect our right to find their behavior perverse
and lamentable and visa versa. We may pity them for what we perceive to be
self-destructive behavior, and we can tolerate their same
opinion of our lifestyle.
But opinions, thoughts, and
debate are not crimes. Using government to obtain unjust
supremacy is the crime. And this is precisely the
weakness of many who refer to themselves as Christians and
other persuasions for that matter. The result of their
carelessness is an ever-burgeoning, uncivil Caesar.
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6. The Question of Adoption
If amendment proponents'
greatest fears are the scenario of homosexuals who may adopt
children, then this amendment is still ineffectual and
unworthy of support. Singles are currently adopting children.
Will we require them to take periodic polygraph tests to
ensure that they are not engaging in homosexual activities (or
fornication and adultery for that matter)? What of homosexual
couples who do not publicize their sexual relationship? How
will they be "controlled"?
Before citizens act on their
fears, they must first openly admit that they feel justified
government force to prevent a homosexual from adopting a
child. Without any degree of hesitation or uncertainty, they
must tell each and every homosexual that he or she is so
despicably disgusting and horrid below all other forms of
immorality that society tolerates that they will prevent him
or her from adopting children. They must publicly admit that
children who are raised in an immoral atmosphere of
homosexuality are at greater risk than, say, children who are
raised by thieves, destroyers of fundamental rights,
adulterers, or a revolving door of foster care placements.
And, perhaps more bold than
these proclamations, they must also admit that they will
continue to force unsanctioned couples and individuals,
including homosexuals, to pay for all the government projects
that heterosexual couples exclusively enjoy. For instance,
unsanctioned couples and individuals will continue to pay for
an adoptive "child welfare" system that they are not entitled
to participate in. And if any children are not adopted by the
heterosexual-only program, unsanctioned couples and
individuals will continue to pay for services necessary to
provide for those children regardless of their willingness
to step in and provide for them directly. They would not enjoy
an equal say in the sexual education curriculum provided by
the government schools they fund, and such an amendment would
only reinforce their place as second class citizens. We are
not prepared to defend these assumptions, particularly with
the force of law.
example reflects current societal practices and does not imply
that sexual education, or government schools for that matter,
should be considered a legitimate role for government.)
This potential amendment would
still fail to address the financial tax penalties unsanctioned
couples and individuals are subjected to even if they are
raising children on their own (obtained through means other
than state adoption programs). These tax penalties are nothing
short of theft. If we allow unsanctioned couples and
individuals to provide care for children, then it is immoral
to take from them the financial means to do so.
And if the majority determines that
it does not want unsanctioned couples and individuals near any
children, regardless of how those children are obtained, then
it must absolve them from paying taxes in a society they are
denied full participation in. To fail to do so is not only
cowardly, but hypocritical as well.
Back to Topics
7. Conclusion: The Real Enemy is Caesar
It is one thing to discuss and
debate the ramifications of homosexuality, polygamy, or
fornication, and to hypothesize on the impact to children
raised in those homes. But are we willing to back up our
philosophy with the force of government at gunpoint if
The wiser, rational, and more
practical course is to leave people to the purview and
influence of our Creator, so long as they homosexual and
heterosexual alike do not violate others through acts such
as theft, rape/incest, and public indecency.
Our desire to use Caesar to
control "marriage" is evidence that we are in moral rebellion
against our Creator more interested in using Caesar to
violate our proper bounds in order to control homosexual
behavior. Rather than demonstrating strict vigilance in
minimizing Caesar's role, we empower Caesar to use blind,
brute force to end the debate on homosexual marriage. What we
ignore is that we are simultaneously empowering Caesar to use
blind, brute force to end many more debates tomorrow perhaps
with decrees not so popular in the heterosexual, Christian
We urge citizens to observe the
patterns of behavior of government officials who are
proponents and opponents of this amendment. There is a reason
why an official promotes Caesar's heterosexual-only "marriage"
while simultaneously pushing Caesar to destroy the God-granted
right of man to own property and to receive due process
(example: Senate Bill 175 in the 2004 session), or to use
taxpayer dollars to teach children subjects they should learn
in the sanctity of their homes (example: sexuality education).
There is also a reason why an official opposes the amendment
(or a portion of it) while simultaneously lobbying government
to indoctrinate our children (example: "Gay Pride Day" in
schools), or to obtain special rights (example: thought crimes
legislation that would effectively place one victim above
another based upon what "group" he may, or may not, affiliate
Officials like these are
incapable of reducing Caesar's power. Their pretended
solutions on hot issues give the appearance of having concern
for rights and citizens. But study of their voting records
prove them to be competent at only one thing: consistently
growing government and reducing freedom. Unfortunately, these
officials are not without citizen
It is our hope that all who
participate in this contest of power will recognize the
callous devastation we call down upon each other and
eventually ourselves by begging Caesar to settle our
philosophical disputes with the iron fist of his decrees. We
must develop a greater appreciation for freedom, justice, and
equality than what has been demonstrated by our officials.
For, when all is said and done,
Constitutional Amendment 3 has little to do with "marriage" or
the defense of family. It is about empowering Caesar to at
gun point justify high taxation, decimate the Rights of Man,
and usurp the role of our Creator.
Accountability Utah team
Back to Topics
8. Where We Part Company
We disagree with the notion
implied by our colleagues above that homosexuality is any less
criminal or destructive to society than are crimes such as
theft and adultery. As such, while we do not advocate
government peeking into bedrooms to monitor sexual behavior,
we do not believe that homosexuals are entitled to any right
to publicly promote their lifestyle.
America was originally founded
on the Judeo-Christian ethic. The people of Israel, from whom
we derive much of our political heritage, claimed to have
received their laws from Jehovah, or God. Their laws
recognized married couples as solemnized relationships between
men and women only. According to the Exodus 20:13, God also
told Moses that the penalty for homosexual relations was
"If a man also lie with
mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have
committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death;
their blood shall be upon them."
The typical punishment for
stolen property, however, was to compensate the victim for the
theft often more than the actual worth of the stolen item
(Exodus 22:1-14). Even in the case of the rape of an
unbetrothed virgin, the maximum penalty was not death
Some Christians argue that
Jesus, and therefore Christianity, ended harsh punishments and
instituted leniency for crimes such as adultery. We do not
know whether that extended to homosexuality. In today's
political climate, outlawing homosexuality is impractical,
particularly since too many citizens cannot live even the most
basic of God's commandments (such as "Thou shalt not steal
from thy neighbor via the ballot box"). Since almost all
people are more than willing to steal from their neighbor via
government programs or entitlements, how would we ever expect
them to live God's higher laws, such as those dealing with
Like the Jews of Jesus' time,
much of our society and government have strayed too far from
God and basic ethics and morality to be anything other than
hypocritical in seeking Caesar's arm to rectify our sad state
Because we believe that
homosexuality is a predatory crime of a very serious nature,
we do not agree with our colleagues that we are morally
unjustified in prohibiting homosexuals from adopting children
and entering into marriage. If we relax our code of sexual
morality, we will instigate a cultural decline, the same as
happened in the later stages of the Babylonian, Persian,
Macedonian, Mongol, Greek, and Roman civilizations. At the
same time, however, we believe that no individual should be
denied certain basic human rights, e.g. hospital visitation
rights. We would advocate the restraint of the harmful aspects
of this predatory lifestyle only to the extent permitted
within the framework of the Constitution in order to protect
the God-ordained family unit.
We believe prenuptial agreements
to be extremely destructive in that they begin a marriage with
a presumption that the marriage is going to fail. Marriages
are an agreement between the couple and God. Proper limited
government is an extension of God. Government exists only to
adjudicate failed contracts and to uphold inalienable rights.
Unfortunately, judges are currently so corrupt that their
adjudication of marriage contracts often further destroys,
rather than helps, the family. Most are also guilty of
incessantly attacking our rights.
We question whether even
contracts are an adequate solution to the problem of the
corrupt judiciary. Contracts are merely a band aid, and, in
time, our corrupt judiciary will not uphold rights under these
contracts any better than it upholds rights under the current
government-mandated marriage laws. The only real solution is
for people to renounce and stop the spread of the predatory
and destructive immorality, to stop using government to steal
from their neighbor, and to demand that our elected officials
restore our inalienable rights and replace corrupt,
self-serving officials with true statesmen. If we fail to do
this, then history will repeat itself, and our cultural
decline will no doubt mirror the fallen civilizations that
have preceded ours.
With these differences
delineated, we agree with our colleagues that, as currently
written, the language of Constitutional Amendment 3 is flawed
and dangerous to the rights of Utah citizens, including those
who have common law marriages, single parents, divorcees, and
Accountability Utah team
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