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Quotes in Context - Orson Scott Card on Gay Marriage


Claim: OSC wants states to keep sodomy and anti-homosexual laws on the books.

Quote in Context: The Supreme Court had declared in 1986 (Bowers vs. Hardwick) that a Georgia law prohibiting sodomy even in the privacy of one's own home was constitutional. OSC wrote an essay in 1990 (23 years ago) to a conservative Mormon audience that, at the time, would have felt no interest in decriminalizing homosexual acts. In that context, his call to "leave the laws on the books" was simply recognizing the law at the time. In the same article he called for them not to be enforced. Within that context this was the liberal and tolerant view - for which OSC was criticized in conservative Mormon circles as being "pro-gay." The law was not overturned by the Supreme Court until 2003. Now that the law has changed, OSC has no interest in criminalizing homosexual acts and would never call for such a thing, any more than he wanted such laws enforced back when they were still on the books.

Claim: OSC stated that gay marriage "marks the end of democracy in America."

Quote in Context: OSC did not say that gay marriage marked the end of democracy. The misquote is from The Mormon Times on July 24, 2008 and is titled "State job is not to redefine marriage." It concerns the process in which activist judges overturn the will of the voters. Gay marriage is used as the example. Here is the quote in context:

The first and greatest threat from court decisions in California and Massachusetts, giving legal recognition to "gay marriage," is that it marks the end of democracy in America.

These judges are making new law without any democratic process; in fact, their decisions are striking down laws enacted by majority vote.

The pretext is that state constitutions require it - but it is absurd to claim that these constitutions require marriage to be defined in ways that were unthinkable through all of human history until the past fifteen years. And it is offensive to expect us to believe this obvious fiction.

It is such an obvious overreach by judges, far beyond any rational definition of their authority that even those who support the outcome of the decisions should be horrified by the means.

Claim: OSC is calling for a heterosexual overthrow of the government.

Quote in Context: OSC, a long-time student of history, was warning what could happen when change is forced too quickly - a warning about how human society has always worked and will continue to work. OSC is more concerned about living in a society of the Puritan back-lash than in the society that agrees together, after much civil discussion, how to change their society.

The quote used is from the same article "State job is not to redefine marriage" from July 24, 2008. Notice that the "call for revolution" is put in the mouth of a fictional, future citizen - not OSC.

What these dictator-judges do not seem to understand is that their authority extends only as far as people choose to obey them.

How long before married people answer the dictators thus: Regardless of law, marriage has only one definition, and any government that attempts to change it is my mortal enemy. I will act to destroy that government and bring it down, so it can be replaced with a government that will respect and support marriage, and help me raise my children in a society where they will expect to marry in their turn.

Quote in Context: Here is a quote from the same 2008 time-period that seems to be overlooked. From a Mormon Times October 23, 2008 article entitled "Disagree but don't be unkind." Written to a conservative, Mormon audience.

We do not believe that homosexuals, by entering into a marriage, are personally hurting anybody. Where the law makes such a thing available, even temporarily, those who marry are not our enemies. We believe the law is wrong and the marriage is not, in any meaningful way, what we mean by marriage.

But my family and I are perfectly able to deal with such couples socially and keep them as friends, as long as they show the same respect and understanding for our customs and beliefs as we show for theirs.

Only when a gay friend demanded that I agree with his or her point of view or cease to be friends has the friendship ended. What is odd is that in every case they call me intolerant. They misunderstood the meaning of "tolerance."

Tolerance implies disagreement - it means that even though we don't agree with or approve of each other's beliefs or actions, we can still live together amicably. When we agree, we aren't being tolerant, we are being uniform.

It makes me sad when people are so intolerant that they cannot bear to be friends with anyone who disapproves of some action or opinion of theirs. But I believe that if we could only be friends with people who never disapprove of something we do, we will end up with "friends" who either don't know us very well, or don't care about us very much.


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