Stunning Obama Court Brief: No Morals In Order to Strike Down Prop 8

It is difficult to put into words, without blowing it out of complete proportion, to those who think contrary (although I seriously doubt that possible as sensitive an issue as this is on both sides), what I feel suggests the *moral rape of rape of morals from this country, by none other than the President of the United States and in a formal document, no less, to the U.S. Supreme Court Justices. The Obama Administration filed a last minute friends-of-the-court brief recommending that Prop 8 be struck down as unconstitutional, in favor of that which is strongly oppositional to many who hold faith-based values  -- morality the decided obstruction.

Granted, I get that we live in a pluralistic society of which that force currently, a democracy, wants little, if anything, to do with morality governing the rule of law. But there's something incredibly disconcerting when it comes up and smacks one in the face with such razor sharp precision, rendering it impossible to ignore the blatant realization of just how badly so many of those in the mainstream are wont to carnality -- even considering it fashionable.

Moments after the brief was made available I was determine to read its content. I was rather surprised at the simplicity in which it was written. It was much easier to read than some of the others, which made it obvious, I felt, that it was prepared quickly -- its arguments surely not long in the making and apparent in direct response to its opponent's. In general, it felt generic, almost boring...  up until the end when it finally revealed itself for what it's basically getting at throughout. And as harsh as it is in conclusion, I'm relieved that the brief comes right out and states it.

Perhaps in being so bold, some who may not have wanted to see it before, will have their eyes opened. And then again, others may just think it no big deal. I expect the latter will dominate most thought -- as usual.

Now, pay close attention here and listen up, because what the Obama Administration puts forth in their court brief, in this particular section in regard to "Protecting children from being taught about same-sex marriage",  is the exact same philosophy upon which the entire foundation for gay marriage is built -- beginning with the basis of why many ignore the possibility or reason to distinguish between same-sex marriage and traditional marriage, thus continue to insist and convince so many that this false equality, gay marriage, is an entitlement.

"Any such "educational" interest cannot sustain Proposition 8. Insofar as the asserted interest in insulating children from any lesson that same-sex marriage is "okay" is founded on a moral judgement, that interest is inadequate under this Court's precedents."
 ("[T]he fact that the governing majority in a State has traditionally viewed a particular practice as immoral is not sufficient reason for upholding a law prohibiting the practice.")

The brief went on to basically try and bully the Court, and suggest that it doesn't matter what the majority of voters in California have traditionally thought about marriage. (Or for that matter what society has traditionally, morally, accepted about marriage) The implication seems to imply that the Court is not allowed to rule on such things. In fact, in my opinion, the way it's worded one might feel that the administration is referring to the entire voting body that enacted Prop 8, as being one religious sect, having the same faith-based traditional view of marriage that should not then be considered valid to the Court because of the "fact" (as it is referred to as) it is based on a moral judgement. 

And if so, how could that ever possibly be determined by the Court to be such? This just seems a bit too presumptuous, to me, that millions of California voters are to be lumped into one composite idea in order to be used by the liberal agenda and completely disregarded as to the individual's right of freedom of conscience.

So, according to the Obama brief, if the Court has no "precedents", they, like society, must rule void of moral judgement. As if life were so clinical as this and we are to disregard whatever feelings we have that make us human and guide our thought as to what is right and wrong. We are to ignore such impressions that could possibly come from a higher power than self, which perhaps might indicate a Being or Creator that we are accountable to, Who makes laws and determines right and wrong -- which is why man does indeed have a conscience that tells him/her when to feel guilty about one's action.

Which proves my earlier point that: the conclusion in the Obama brief to remove morals from the argument is precisely what forms the basis of what is necessary in order to ignore a distinction between same-sex marriage and traditional marriage; and also works as the foundation for the overall false morality model in society used over and over again in one argument after another, whenever it is opposed by those having faith based opinions.

This also sets the stage for doing away with, in direct contrast, religious freedom and freedom of conscience --  which proponents of Prop 8 base their case firmly upon these principles.

In my momentary disappointment in finding out that Obama had caved and filed his court brief I had to quickly remind myself how foolish I had been to ever think that he would not. I mean really, how naive could I have been?  Seriously, to expect that President Obama would actually have stood behind his, what I had thought was, his principled position to determine the definition of marriage as a state's right (that being his most recent position which he actually stated and ran on during his 2012 presidential campaign) was apparently nothing more than a childish dream -- as a few friends so kindly tried to wake me from the morning of. Oh well.

I base this stunning realization upon my understanding of what I like to refer to as the "law of opposition". And since The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recently joined with a number of other faith-based religious organizations (of which I have to say I am so very proud of all of them for doing so) in standing up to reaffirm its position on Prop 8 and encouraged the Supreme Court to uphold it by filing their own brief only weeks ago, I should have naturally expected an equal force in direct opposition, according to that law. But as they say, "hindsight is 20/20".

Clearly the filing by Obama is exactly that: opposition -- otherwise known as the equal and opposing force to the only true and righteous definition of marriage -- being defended as only between a man and a woman. (ordained of God)

How unfortunate indeed, and yet in the scheme of things a perfectly fair move on the part of the Adversary, according to the rules of mortality as laid out in the great Plan of Salvation; featuring...  drum roll please....  the agency of man! Ta da!

I've already started working on a follow-up post, where I'll look at how society replaces no morals with a false morality -- because frankly, people need to believe they are still moral or this would never work.

Please note that the views expressed in this post are completely my own, and not in anyway intended to represent The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or its leaders. 

You are invited to leave comments, but they will be strongly moderated. Respectful disagreement is welcome, however this will not be an opportunity to be overly critical of individuals. Thank you.

Kathryn Skaggs


Prop 8: Many Surprised to See LDS Church Stand and Re-Affirm Position


*It was suggested, and I agree, that "moral rape" was not appropriately used in the context I intended and that "rape of morals" would be a better description.


  1. Honestly, nothing he does surprises me, but it does anger me. He really has no place in trying to dissuade the court from upholding what the voters voted for. This is purely a state issue, not Federal and for him to unfairly insert himself into this issue is totally wrong. But I am not surprised because he simply does not care what is right or not. He has no problem at all using undue influence in this case to get what he wants.

    It is maddening to me though because leaving it to a court to decide is tantamount to saying that what the voters want doesn't matter. So then what is the point in having a vote, if we don't actually have a vote?? It's like saying what the people as a whole voted for doesn't matter because the court knows better, or worse, Obama knows better. Maddening & infuriating, but we seem fairly helpless to fix it. :(

    1. Ummm, the elected president of the United States has standing before the court, it is his place to advise the court. Read the Constitution.

      Your states rights argument has been reviewed by the Supreme Court many times and you are wrong. That has been a settled legal matter since the Civil War.

      I would caution you against judging what someone cares for until he tells you that.

      Your last paragraph shows you don't understand how this nation is governed: it is a representative republic not a democracy (what you think it is). The vote of the people can and often is overturned by the court, the executive and the legislative branches of our government. That happens both on the federal and state government levels. The Founding Fathers often refered to democracy as "rule of the mob" and they put up a lot of blocks to it occuring. The sole purpose of your vote is to select who represents you. You voted for president, senator and representative. If you don't like what the winners then did, you have no one to blame but yourself.

  2. You are correct that this is an issue of freedom of conscience. What I think you fail to realize is that it is not the Obama Administration which is trying to infringe upon that freedom, but Prop 8 and its supporters. You would deny other individuals, organizations and faiths the freedom to embrace homosexual marriage as their consciences dictate. It does not matter that it was a plethora of faiths and a majority of the populace which supported Prop 8. It is an important principle of America that we protect the right of the minority from the tyranny of the majority. It is why we do not have a direct democracy. It is why we have the Bill of Rights, especially the first few. We believe that if even *one* person were to hold a belief, we should protect their right to hold and act on that belief, so long as those actions do not cause material harm to others. Would you feel it Constitutionally valid and morally agreeable for the majority of Californians to outlaw temple sealings? The majority of Californians are not Mormon. Many believe Mormonism and it’s ordinances to be ungodly, immoral. What is to stop them from doing so? Only the protection of freedom of conscience against the tyranny of the majority. We should not be so willing to betray that principle against others if we wish it to be applied to ourselves.

    There are individuals, groups, and faiths which believe sincerely that celebrating and solemnizing the love between two people of the same sex is morally just and pleasing to their God. It is not that they are immoral or seeking to eliminate morals from society, but that they have a different perspective on the world than you, and have slightly priorities in their moral agenda. They are pursuing what they truly believe to be right against wrong. We should respect that belief, not attempt to use law to force them to abide by *our* beliefs on the matter. If we believe they are wrong, we should use the only just principles as outlined in the D&C: persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned. To use coercion of law is immoral.

    I am a bit disappointed at the characterization of The Obama administration as being amoral or unprincipled in the OP and the comments. Obama is right to insist that morality based strictly on religious belief should not be part the decision making in law. That doesn’t make him corrupt or evil. Isn’t that what you claim this post is not about, being overly critical of individuals? How is that not overly critical?

    1. In an interview specifically on this issue, Elder Dallin H. Oaks (great legal mind, former Supreme Court Justice) answers this:

      PUBLIC AFFAIRS: What of those who might say, “Okay. Latter-day Saints are entitled to believe whatever they like. If you don’t believe in same-gender marriages, then it’s fine for you. But why try to regulate the behavior of other people who have nothing to do with your faith, especially when some nations in Europe have legally sanctioned that kind of marriage? Why not just say, ‘We don’t agree with it doctrinally for our own people’ and leave it at that. Why fight to get a Constitutional amendment [in the United States], for example?

      ELDER WICKMAN: We’re not trying to regulate people, but this notion that ‘what happens in your house doesn’t affect what happens in my house’ on the subject of the institution of marriage may be the ultimate sophistry of those advocating same-gender marriage.

      Some people promote the idea that there can be two marriages, co-existing side by side, one heterosexual and one homosexual, without any adverse consequences. The hard reality is that, as an institution, marriage like all other institutions can only have one definition without changing the very character of the institution. Hence there can be no coexistence of two marriages. Either there is marriage as it is now defined and as defined by the Lord, or there is what could thus be described as genderless marriage. The latter is abhorrent to God, who, as we’ve been discussing, Himself described what marriage is — between a man and a woman.

      A redefinition of that institution, therefore, redefines it for everyone — not just those who are seeking to have a so-called same gender marriage. It also ignores the definition that the Lord Himself has given.

      ELDER OAKS: There’s another point that can be made on this. Let’s not forget that for thousands of years the institution of marriage has been between a man and a woman. Until quite recently, in a limited number of countries, there has been no such thing as a marriage between persons of the same gender. Suddenly we are faced with the claim that thousands of years of human experience should be set aside because we should not discriminate in relation to the institution of marriage. When that claim is made, the burden of proving that this step will not undo the wisdom and stability of millennia of experience lies on those who would make the change. Yet the question is asked and the matter is put forward as if those who believe in marriage between a man and a woman have the burden of proving that it should not be extended to some other set of conditions.

    2. Your response seems to duck all my points entirely. Do you believe in freedom of conscience, or do you believe that the majority can dictate to a minority, including to Mormons, if the majority so chooses? Should we be able to pursue our faith according to the dictates of our conscience and God, or should we allow government to tell us what we can or cannot pursue? If we claim it was wrong for the government to restrict the freedom of Mormons to pursue an alternative redefinition of marriage (plural marriage), why should we think it is acceptable to restrict the freedom of others?

      I don’t think government overturning Prop 8 and allowing same-sex marriage is anything like “redefining” marriage. It is getting government out of the marriage business, where it has no legitimate place, and allows people to preserve or redefine the definition of “marriage” as they choose. As to the claim that it ignores the definition that the Lord himself has given, that is true—and absolutely appropriate. We are not a theocracy. James Madison, primary drafter of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, said government should be “incognizant” of religion. In other words, it should be entirely blind towards religion. What God says about marriage is entirely irrelevant in determining government legislation.

      Nor is the history of marriage relevant. The institution of slavery was accepted as legitimate for thousands of years. Society grew and changed its opinion about this. Marriage has changed considerably over the past couple of hundred years, mostly in ways that are positive to women who are no longer treated as property. Change can be very good. Our nation was founded on change from historical norms of governance. We would be wrong to claim that in this one area, we should maintain the restriction of freedom simply because it has always been so restricted in the past.

      Yes, what people do in their own homes does impact those around them. We allow people to do all sorts of things in their personal lives which may have indirect impacts on those around them, all in the name of freedom. We should allow those who believe allowing the solemnization of committed love among those who are homosexual to likewise have their freedom. If the Gospel is true, it will withstand whatever impacts you think homosexual marriage will have.

      To clarify your introduction, Elder Oaks was a Supreme Court Justice for the Utah Supreme Court, not the SCotUS, as some assume the general term to mean. I think Elder Oaks is letting his desire to protect the actions of the Church and traditional marriage (as he sees it) is clouding his legal judgment on this issue.

    3. @ derekstaff: Just wondering.. what is your perspective on polygamy and those who want to practice it?

    4. I am not a scholar, historian or a theologian but I want to add some common sense thoughts here. Question, when did governments first become involved in the union of marriage? Isn't marriage a sacrament of the church? A covenant between two people and God? Many governments allow civil unions which provide rights to couples of the same gender. Why is that not enough? Why does someone want to take away my religious rites and beliefs that the sacrament of marriage is between a man and a woman? Am I just wrong in the thinking that the government claims separation of Church and State on one hand and disregards it on the other?

      I am not judgmental in any way because someone lives their life differently than I do or has different set of morals unless those differences take away my rights. I am all for equality but you can't have your cake and then take mine.

  3. This is unbelievable. Thank you for posting this Kathryn. Keep on keeping on:)

  4. As in the days of Nehor and Korihor, we live in a time not long before the advent of Jesus Christ—in our case, the time of preparation for His Second Coming. And similarly, the message of repentance is often not welcomed. Some profess that if there is a God, He makes no real demands upon us (see Alma 18:5). Others maintain that a loving God forgives all sin based on simple confession, or if there actually is a punishment for sin, “God will beat us with a few stripes, and at last we shall be saved in the kingdom of God” (2 Nephi 28:8). Others, with Korihor, deny the very existence of Christ and any such thing as sin. Their doctrine is that values, standards, and even truth are all relative. Thus, whatever one feels is right for him or her cannot be judged by others to be wrong or sinful. - D. Todd Christofferson "The Divine Gift of Repentance"

  5. Let's change this to something else most would consider immoral and apply it to murder. Obviously, that would leave many more people reeling than this does and people would be upset and angry. However, I wouldn't be surprised if not too long down the road, people who support something like this will also support murder. That is the slope this relative morality leads to.

    1. I would say that we are already having the murder debate in some sense, it is just worded in other ways: euthanasia and abortion. But, I agree, it will get worse.

    2. Supporting gay marriage will lead to supporting murder? I think that's quite a stretch.

    3. There is a positive social benefit in a secular society in making murder illegal. It is not necessary to make a religious or moral case for laws preventing murder of citizens. The matter was settled in Locke's Social Contract over 200 years ago.

      There is no secular case for granting marriage to one couple and refusing it to another based on their sexual conduct.

      In 1789, we agreed that our government should not control our moral or religious behavior and thoughts. Neither should our religions control the civil conduct of citizens without their consent, even if it was the majority religion. Therefore our legal, governmental and civic life and law is based on secular needs and benefits. The LDS church endorsed this: it is canonized as section 134.

      Have you failed to note that your arguments to base civil law on religious tenets applies equally to LDS, Catholic, Muslim and Buddhist tenets? Would you agree to have your marital conduct controlled by Sharia law? If you believe in your morality based law argument you must agree that that is an acceptible outcome. Do you?

    4. CuriousCity, I received your latest comment. Would you please resubmit, with sufficient links to support the history included. If that is agreeable I will be happy to approve your comment.

    5. I did not keep a draft copy but I will do my best. The order may not be identical to the original and I may forget a point or two. If it seems to be missing a footnote, ask.
      This blog does not support a format that makes footnoting easy, so I will apologize for the poor readability in advance.

      Ancient marriage customs:
      Marriage usually a contract between families with no state or church involvement
      If a contract could not be negotiated, capture, kidnap or rape were common ways of creating a marriage
      The focus in ancient marriage was inheritance and property, essentially a business transaction
      Athenian law had two forms of marriage: informal which we would call common-law marriage in which the wife was rented from her family for the life of the groom, and solemn, which the wife was essentially sold to the groom. Roman law marriage was closer to the Athenian solemn marriage. In both cases the registration of the marriage was the prime state interest not who the parties were until Roman Imperial times in which the state interest was the transfer of priveledges of citizenship. religious involvement was limited to a post-facto blessing of the union, akin to blessing of fishing boats, flocks or homes today.

      Source: MARRIAGE LAW AND FAMILY ORGANIZATION IN ANCIENT ATHENS: A Study on the Interrelation of Public and Private Law in the Greek City; HANS JULIUS WOLFF; Traditio; Vol. 2, (1944)

      Broad summary of western European marriage custom
      Source: Michael Troy, JD;; accessed 3/3/2013

      The church involvement in a marriage ceremony was minimal until the twelveth century, which marks the beginning of religious marriage

      In their attempt to get the monarchy and church out of government the Puritans began a legally valid civil marriage under Cromwell. The law was invalidated after the Glorious Restoration but the Puritan who had emigrated to America brought the custom and law with them, eventually it became customary outside of the Puritan settlements as well

      The pattern is one of first civic regulation of marriage, followed by religious regulation. From the sixteenth century onward church involvement in marriage has been increased at the expense of civic and familial marriage.

      Source: History of Marriage in Western Civilization, Magnus Hirschfeld Archive for Sexology;; accessed 3/3/2013

      The modern notion of marriage inspired by love and romance with strong involvement of mother and father in family life dates from the beginnings of church involvement in marriage but culminated in the nineteenth century with the formation of the "traditional family", which doesn't have that much tradition behind it.

      source: C. S. Lewis, The Allegory of Love: A Study in Medieval Tradition

      None of the above directly address the gay marriage issue but it does cast some light on the specious arguments based on religious or cultural tradition. Involvement of the state in marriage predates church involveemnt. Marriage has traditionally been regulated by families for financial reasons not moral or civic reasons. The traditional marriage in fact is rare in the US today and is generally considered uncultered. The "traditional marriage" used in arguments only has a history of about two centuries.

      More to the point of your blog, the interest in removing control of marriage from the church dates back about four centuries to the Puritans who did it for the sake of their religious freedoms. This makes the argument equating freedom of religious expression and church regulation of marriage somewhat humorous: the Puritan would have used exactly the same causes to argue the opposite.

  6. I find it interesting that the "marriage progressives" argue that sexual attraction is unchangeable and is part of a person's genetic make-up, yet at the same time push to teach as much about homosexual practices in schools as they can get through. Joseph Stalin said, "Give me your children and I will give you 200 years". In essence, the Obama administration is saying the same.

    1. Stalin didn't say that. The closest quotation to that is Lenin's "Give me four years to teach the children and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted". He had eight years and that seed was uprooted 67 years later. So much for Lenin on indoctrination.

      Who is this marriage progressive? Why does he urge such contradictory and contra-factual ideas? I don't think there is such a person, certainly not in the current administration. In fact, they are struggling just to get science, technology, engineering and math taught in the schools. I seriously doubt they could manage to get a program together to teach any sort of sexuality in schools. At any rate, Prop 8 wouldn't effect that anyway. Actually the amicus brief didn't advocate that, it pointed out that those arguing to uphold Prop 8 based on an educational basis have dropped that argument. When the side arguing based on educational purposes stops arguing, it is a plain indication that they don't think the argument will hold up. It is evidently not the Obama administration that plans an educational agenda stemming from Prop 8 but its proponents.

      Can we discuss the case on it's actual arguments and merits, please?

  7. Last week Kathryn, I was privileged to attend a meeting with Elder Jeffery R Holland at the Hyde Park chapel London for the J Reuben Clark Law Society, where he reaffirmed many of the elements from the talk he’d delivered at the 25th Anniversary of the RJCLS in Washington DC. (

    Once again here in London Elder Holland talked about Religious Freedom and Expression, Family and the erosion of such by Governments re-defining Marriage etc. These are surely the last days!

    Keep writing and sounding that warning trump.

  8. Not surpirsed, but I am deeply sad about this. As if our current moral decline wasn't enough, now this. There are consequences to our ahearance to morals or lack there of. But in the end, this is what is wrong with relying on precedent instead of natural law. Our founders wrote our laws based on the concept of natural, god given law. We've abandoned that, and now are left to the whims of men. I won't even say, heaven help us at this point, because we've rejected heaven so much it would be a prayer in vain.

  9. For an alternative viewpoint, perhaps now is the time when we as individuals can begin supporting the righteous desires of our lesbian and straight brothers and sisters to be sustained in their committed relationships and families by supporting changes to the civil code. If not, then please explain how we can provide a place for these souls within our society, rather than rejecting them and relegating them forever to the "kids table?" We have told ourselves across the decades that faith and hope, fasting and prayer will normalize these people into our straight world. Perhaps it is time to humbly receive the answer that is before us, that we are wrong to reject them, the fault is ours, and it is us (the straight society) that must repent and change our stubborn selfish unloving hearts and welcome these people into our society as full citizens. While we might not be able to do that just yet in our congregations, should we not support this reasonable and generous change of perspective for our civil society?

    1. It's a nice viewpoint, and couched in such terms as you make it rhetorically possible for someone to disagree with you without you logically viewing them as a bigot.

      If that's the case, perhaps it's you who needs a little charity in humbly recognizing the value in others.

      A person can do what a person wants to do, for the most part. A person can not claim that homosexuality is the natural order of things for a family, and they can't claim it's what God wants unless they are in united by the First Presidency of the church in making such a statement.

      The conterfactual to the rhetorical world you've created is a world where suffering and sorrow persists because we continue to try to make the world in our own image, rather than patterning it after the revealed word. Permitting people to engage in sin under the auspices of legal endorsement does not remove the spiritual consequences for our actions. And spiritual consequences necessarily affect the physical state of ourselves and the world.

  10. This is so scary. However it is another sign of the times. Moral decline in the Book of Mormon is just being repeated here in our Nation. Sad!

  11. Not so scary.

    Remember the moral decline of Book of Mormon was a cycle: it went down, but it also went up. The cycle was attributed to the core of the church losing their connection to God in order to pursue wealth, vanity and unrighteous dominion when they were most blessed.

    Captain Moroni urged patience and tolerance as preferable to domination. People will engage in homosexuality whether or not their relationship is legally recognized. What Prop 8 did was just add a measure of injustice to the intolerance. If Prop 8 is affirmed in the court, there will not be a rush of former gays to join the church. At the moment there is a small number leaving the church over the issue. The court's decision will not change that trend, the members' actions and compassion will.

  12. @bot

    This is your comment that I mistakenly hit delete from the backend. If you'd like to resubmit, I'll be happy to delete this and post it as 'you' once again. Fortunately I had not deleted it from my inbox. My apologies. I hope you see this comment.

    "Marriage reflects the natural moral and social law evidenced the world over. As the late British social anthropologist Joseph Daniel Unwin noted in his study of world civilizations, any society that devalued the nuclear family soon lost what he called "expansive energy," which might best be summarized as society's will to make things better for the next generation. In fact, no society that has loosened sexual morality outside of man-woman marriage has survived.

    Analyzing studies of cultures spanning several thousands of years on several continents, Chairman of Harvard University’s sociology department, Pitirim Sorokin. found that virtually all political revolutions that brought about societal collapse were preceded by a sexual revolution in which marriage and family were devalued by the culture’s acceptance of homosexuality.

    When marriage loses its unique status, women and children most frequently are the direct victims.

    Did George Washington and Thomas Jefferson understand this? He had homosexuals drummed out of service … ….

    …. and Jefferson wrote legislation to punish homosexual acts by castration. "

  13. The nation is broadly divided on a number of issues. Proposition 8 passed in California and it defined marriage as it has been defined by precedent since it was first defined. The Homosexual lobby believed that the proposition was doomed to failure and reacted poorly when it was affirmed by the voters - and have been working diligently to change the way the nation defines a marriage relationship.

    To one group, Sodomy is an affront to God and to the proper order. To others, it's a respectable choice that they want taught to children as normal and acceptable behavior.

    The people elected Barack Obama - twice. Elections have consequences.


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