Articles/Essays – Volume 42, No. 4

Six Voices on Proposition 8: A Roundtable

Introductory note by Russell Arben Fox: In November of 2008, I posted some reflections on my blog about California’s Proposition 8. It started a long conversation with many other individuals, some Mormon and some not, some California residents and some not, some straight and some gay, some married and some single, some scholars of philosophy, religion, government, and law, others just passionate and informed observers of the whole controversy.

It occurred to several of us that it would be valuable to put together, in a somewhat formal way, a sampling of our conversation, as well as to enlist some additional views from others who hadn’t participated directly but who had something worth hearing nonetheless. The result is the following roundtable, a symposium of voices, all speaking briefly one way or another, and from a variety of ideological, religious, and intellectual perspectives, about Proposition 8, same-sex marriage, homosexuality, Christian doctrine, Mormonism and Mormon political activism, the nature and symbolic significance of marriage, the politics and constitutionality of marriage laws, and the personal, professional, and spiritual conflicts which this particular debate-certainly far from the last our nation will see-gave rise to.

The contributors are, in alphabetical order: Lindsey Chambers, a Ph.D. candidate in philosophy at the University of California-Los Angeles; Russell Arben Fox, an associate professor and director of the political science program at Friends University in Wichita, Kansas; Mary Ellen Robertson, director of Symposia and Outreach for the Sunstone Education Foundation, who lives in Ogden, Utah; Robert K. Vischer, an associate professor at the University of St. Thomas Law School in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and author of Conscience and the Common Good: Reclaiming the Space between Person and State (Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 2009); David Watkins, a lecturer in political science at Seattle University; and Kaimipono Wenger, an assistant professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego, California.

Two Modes of Political Engagement

The Church’s Use of Secular Arguments

How We Talk about Marriage (and Why It Matters)

An Evangelical Perspective

The Political Is Personal

Four Reasons for Voting Yes