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Issue in Focus:
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 team 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 and marrying.


1. Amendment 3 is a Rights Nightmare

2. Who is God in Our Society?

3. Adding Caesar's Image to the Quagmire

4. Caesar's Role in Breaches of Contract

5. Different Immoralities Do Not Make Morality

6. The Question of Adoption

7. Conclusion: The Real Enemy is Caesar

8. Where We Part Company


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".
(Source: 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.
(Source: 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 ramifications:

  • 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 dramatically reduced.

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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 corrupt judges.
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 accomplishes.

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 in using 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.
(Note: This 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.

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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 necessary?

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 community.

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 with).

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 accomplices and enablers.

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 members:
  Martin King
  Daniel Newby
  Terry Trease

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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 death:

"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 (Deuteronomy 22:28-29).

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 morality?

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 of affairs.

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 polygamists.

Accountability Utah team members:
  David Hansen
  Blaine Odenwalder
  Brent Odenwalder

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Permission to reprint this article in whole or in part is hereby granted provided that Accountability Utah is cited.  Citizens are encouraged to share this information with others.

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