Some habits are hard to break

Wait, what?

Wait, what do I need to understand?

The Salt Lake Tribune reported recently on the legal answer filed in the federal lawsuit challenging Utah’s marriage laws. It seems that in response to the filing, an activist group brought a copy of the Constitution to the attorney general’s office to draw attention to their belief that the venerable document requires Utah to change its marriage laws.

A passage in the story is, inadvertently, amusing:

Valerie Larabee, executive director, and Nikki Boyer, board president, said they were following one of the rules from Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Seek to understand.

“We don’t understand and hope to,” Larabee said. “Our intention is on having the [lesgian, gay, bisexual and transgender, or LGBT] community voice heard.”

Those who’ve read the book will remember that the habit (No. 5) is actually: “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” The sequence, of course, is the point.

The marriage critics have adopted a habit that’s much easier to follow: first get your voice heard and “hope” to understand the other position.

This actually seems emblematic of the redefinition effort. Those who freely charge that marriage laws can only be explained by atavistic hatred appear to have spent little or no time trying to understand why the male-female understanding is virtually a human universal (though even a cursory examination of history would give some clues).

It’s too bad someone in the office Tuesday didn’t hand the copy of the Constitution back and ask the protesters to underline the part that allows the federal courts to tell the state how to define marriage.