Sutherland Newsletter – September 25, 2008

1.Marriage Law Forum

Bill Duncan, director of Sutherland’s Center for Family & Society and nationally-recognized specialist in marriage and family law, and LaVar Christensen, Sutherland trustee and primary author of Utah’s constitutional amendment defining marriage, spoke to the 230 interested citizens in attendance about legal and religious reasons why California matters when it comes to the definition of marriage.


“California’s Proposition 8 matters to Utah because what happens in California won’t stay in California,” Duncan said.  “When I started law school in 1995, this seemed like a joke.  Now it’s something we’re all dealing with.”


During his presentation, Duncan outlined specific reasons why California matters to Utahns:

    1. Letting a handful of California judges get away with redefining marriage sets a bad precedent for other states.


    1. The cultural impact of a redefinition of marriage cannot be confined to one state.


    1. Same-sex couples who marry in California can go to other states and have standing to challenge other states’ marriage laws in federal court.


  1. All Americans should be concerned that our most populous state might endorse the idea that children don’t need a mother and father and that those who believe they do should be treated as bigots.


LaVar Christensen discussed a number of important issues dealing with the religious, social, moral, and legal implications of California’s marriage law.  He said it is the birthright of every boy and girl to be welcomed into the world by a mother and a father.  Christensen also spoke critically of the California State Supreme Court that created “out of thin air” the right for same-sex couples to legally marry and overturned the will of 4.6 million voters because they felt the shifting demands of society warranted the change.


“‘The rights of man’ that are being discussed and debated ‘come not from generosity of the state,'” Christensen said, quoting John F. Kennedy, “‘but from the hand of God.'”


Transcripts from Tuesday’s Marriage Law Forum will be available next week on the Sutherland Institute website.  Video clips from the event will be also available on the Institute’s YouTube site, in the next several days.


DVD copies of the event are also available for only $10 (price includes shipping).  Please contact the Sutherland office to order your copy, 801-355-1272, or


2.Sutherland Hosts Utah Health Care Forum for Legislators

On Monday, October 13, 2008, Sutherland conducted the Utah Health Care Forum for members of the Health System Reform Task Force of the Legislature, other interested legislators, health care advisors to Governor Huntsman, and legislative staff.  The Forum, originally scheduled for September 25, was rescheduled to accommodate the special budget session called by the Governor last month.


Working in collaboration with Representative Dave Clark and Senator Sheldon Killpack, co-chairs of the Task Force, the Institute hosted presentations by and discussion with three national experts in market-driven health care policy.  Beverly Gossage of the Show-Me Institute in Missouri, John Graham with the Pacific Research Institute in California, and Ed Haislmaier from the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C., presented specific recommendations for Utah and responded to questions from the assembled legislative and executive healthcare policy makers and advisors.