I read with some interest the Deseret News’ Op-Ed “A mom and a dad” on April 6, 2014. There can be little doubt that family structure matters for children. But the steps taken by the State today cross a serious line - here’s an article describing how the State is attempting to block adoptions.
In one sense, I fit the definition of “traditional marriage” - I am married and have two wonderful children. But my father died when I was three, so I was raised by a single mother who worked tirelessly to give me countless opportunities. Whether intended or not, the Deseret News’ focus on only traditional marriage demeans her efforts and accomplishments - and the myriad ways in which parenting affects our children - which I find disappointing. As a matter of personal responsibility, I believe we should take care before making statements that unnecessarily undermine and berate countless families and their innumerable structures. We are a melting pot, not a nation where one size fits all.
My disappointment is heightened when a broader perspective is brought to bear on the arguments being advanced in support of Amendment 3. Supporters of Amendment 3 laud the State’s defense of traditional marriage. Lost in the dialogue is any discussion of what the State’s argument is actually attempting to secure: state control of marriage and our families (or as the State puts it “democratic control”).
The State’s interference with adoptions today highlights the danger of such a position. Fortunately for all of us, our Founding Fathers had the foresight to ensure that certain parts of our lives are secure from State interference. I celebrate this foresight, and enjoy knowing that my children will never be told by the State who they should or must marry, how many children they are permitted to have (or not have), or when they can make any of those decisions. Those decisions will be left to them and whoever they choose to invite into their decision-making process. But that process is intimate and personal, and the State has no business in it. Thankfully, our Founding Fathers made sure of that.*
They also made sure that anyone who disagrees has the freedom to advocate for alternatives, provided they do not cross the line of passing laws that violate fundamental freedoms. Utahns should step back and carefully consider the implications of “democratic control” of how we structure our families, lest the values we all hold dearly become subject to the whims of politicians.
It is time for an Attorney General who knows when lines are being crossed that infringe on fundamental freedoms guaranteed to all citizens by the U.S. Constitution. It is time for an Attorney General who will not waste taxpayer resources pushing a fight that delays the inevitable, benefits no one, and brings great harm to many families.
*A proper Constitutional analysis does provide for times when the State can step in if there is a real danger to society or our children (e.g., incest, child abuse), but we should all pause when the State is trying to take that too far, as it does with its arguments to support Amendment 3 and when it interferes with a family’s adoption.