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  • ESKRIDGE.DOCX (DO NOT DELETE) 9/21/2016 2:15 PM

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    LATTER-DAY CONSTITUTIONALISM: SEXUALITY, GENDER, AND MORMONS

    William N. Eskridge, Jr.*

    The extensive involvement of the Church of Jesus Christ of Lat-ter-day Saints in the campaign that in 2008 overrode gay marriage in California brought sharp scrutiny to the interaction of Mormon the-ology and public constitutionalism. This Article explores Latter-day constitutionalism as an important normative phenomenon that illus-trates the deep and pervasive interaction among social norms, consti-tutional rights, and faith-based discourse.

    TABLE OF CONTENTS

    I. THE MORMON THEOLOGY OF THE FAMILY ............................... 1229 II. LATTER-DAY CONSTITUTIONAL ACTIVISM TO PRESERVE

    THE TRADITIONAL FAMILY ...................................................... 1233 A. LDS Opposition to the ERA .................................................. 1234 B. LDS and the Homosexual Agenda .................................... 1238

    1. Sex Crimes Distinctive to Homosexuals .......................... 1239 2. Anti-Discrimination Laws ................................................ 1240 3. Homosexual Marriages ................................................. 1242

    C. Latter-Day Constitutionalism and Marriage Ballot Initiatives .................................................................................. 1242

    III. LESSONS SUGGESTED BY LATTER-DAY CONSTITUTIONALISM FOR AMERICAN INDIVIDUAL- RIGHTS LAW .................................................................................... 1250

    A. Our Democratic-Pluralist Constitution ................................. 1251 1. Constitutional Law as a Deliberative Social Process ..... 1253

    * John A. Garver Professor of Jurisprudence, Yale Law School.

    I became interested in the constitutional theology of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) through discussions over many decades with Mormon faithful, including recent in-depth interviews with Eduardo Lopez-Reyes (in New York City) and David Baker (in Washington, D.C.). Theo Rostow (J.D. Candidate, 2017, Yale Law School) provided invaluable research assistance for this project. This Article benefitted enormously from comments received during the Symposium, Law, Religion, and the Family Unit After Hobby Lobby: A Tribute to Professor Harry Krause, con-vened by Professor Robin Fretwell Wilson and held at the University of Illinois School of Law in Sep-tember 2015, and from anonymous comments received from more than a dozen LDS readers.

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    1228 UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS LAW REVIEW [Vol. 2016

    2. The Irrelevance of Federal Constitutional Amendments: Constitutional Law from the Bottom Up .......................................................... 1256

    3. The Pluralism-Facilitating Role of the Supreme Court .. 1259 B. Constitutionalism and the Evolution of Faith ....................... 1261 C. Family and Constitutionalism................................................. 1280

    On March 12, 2015, Utah Governor Gary Herbert signed into law the Antidiscrimination and Religious Freedom Amendments to the state antidiscrimination code.1 The 2015 Amendments add sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of personal traits that cannot be the basis for employment discrimination,2 but with allowances for employers to require reasonable dress standards and sex-specific facilities,3 and for employees to engage in some religious expression within the workplace.4 The 2015 Amendments also prohibit such discrimination in housing,5 but with exemptions as well.

    Why would one of the nations most politically conservative, reli-giously strict, business-friendly states add new antidiscrimination protec-tions for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons? The emerging conventional wisdom is that the Church of Jesus Christ of Lat-ter-day Saints (LDS) is responding to the bad press it received from its sponsorship of Californias Proposition 8, which amended the state con-stitution to bar same-sex marriages. The story, however, is a broader one, with deep implications for appreciating what has been at stake in the marriage equality debate and for understanding the evolution of Ameri-can constitutional law.

    In this article, I shall explore the implications of the distinctive the-ology of the LDS Church for the Mormons engagement with public-law issueswhat I am calling Latter-day constitutionalism. To my surprise, and perhaps to yours as well, that engagement has been dynamic, espe-cially as to issues of sexual variation (such as homosexuality and same-sex marriage). In the short term, I suggest that the LDS Church has changed in response to its engagement in public law, just as public law has been influenced by Mormon engagement. In the long term, I specu-late that this mutual engagement will produce changes in fundamental norms or (at least) in the practical application of the LDS Churchs dis-tinctively gendered theology.

    1. S.B. 296, 60th Leg. 2015 Gen. Sess. (Utah 2015). 2. Id. 5 (amending UTAH CODE 34A-5-106). 3. Id. 78 (adding new UTAH CODE 34A-5-109 and 110). 4. Id. 10 (adding new UTAH CODE 34A-5-112). 5. Id. 14 (amending UTAH CODE 57-21-5).

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    No. 4] LATTER-DAY CONSTITUTIONALISM 1229

    I. THE MORMON THEOLOGY OF THE FAMILY

    The family is, theologically, more important to Mormon religious doctrine and practice than it is to almost any other faith tradition. Like the Roman Catholic Church and most Protestant traditions, the LDS Church holds that God created men and women as biological, sexual, and emotional complements: male and female reproductive organs fit to-gether in a way that procreates the next generation of the human race, and the children born of that sexual union are best reared in gendered households, where male and female traits complement one another and provide sexual as well as gender role modeling for their biological chil-dren. Like other faith traditions, the LDS Church holds that God-sanctioned marriage is the perfect wedding of those complementary fea-tures and is the only morally valid situs for sexual activities. What makes LDS doctrine stricter or more conservative (and less receptive to certain equality claims of women and LGBT persons) than that of other traditionalist faith communities is its intense metaphysical commitment to a deeply gendered family.

    As summarized in the important LDS church document, The Fami-ly: A Proclamation to the World, all human beings are created in the im-age of God, but deeply gendered. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.6 Thus, human beings have a premortal existence, as sons and daughters who worshipped God as their Eternal Father.7 At some point, these persons attain an earthly form (i.e., they are born) and are supposed to live their mortal lives in obedience to Gods plan for them. Gods central com-mandment is for His children to multiply and replenish the earth through the sacred powers of procreation . . . employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife.8 Hence, family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan.9 Indeed, Mormons believe that marriage on earth parallels the heavenly union between God the Father and God the Mother; the Mother in Heaven is a belief distinctive to LDS faith.10

    The eternal plan entails a gendered division of labor within the mar-ital family. By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in

    6. THE FIRST PRESIDENCY AND COUNCIL OF THE TWELVE APOSTLES OF THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS, The Family: A Proclamation to the World, LDS.ORG 2 (Sept. 23, 1995), available at https://www.lds.org/topics/family-proclamation?lang=eng&_r=1 [hereinafter Proclamation]. The Proclamation was read by President Gordon Hinckley to the Relief Society (the LDS womens society) meeting in Salt Lake City on September 23, 1995. A framed version of it hangs in the homes of many Mormon families. 7. Id. 3. 8. Id. 4. 9. Id. 7. 10. See Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Mother in Heaven, LDS.ORG (2015), availa-ble at https://www.lds.org/topics/mother-in-heaven?lang=eng (last visited Aug. 20, 2016); see also TERRYL L. GIVENS, WRESTLING THE ANGEL: THE FOUNDATIONS OF MORMON THOUGHT: COSMOS, GOD, HUMANITY 10612, 27479 (2014); David L. Paulsen & Martin Pulido, A Mother There: A Survey of Historical Teachings about Mother in Heaven, 50 BYU STUDIES 7097 (2011).

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    1230 UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS LAW REVIEW [Vol. 2016

    love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children.11 This admonition does not necessarily prohibit wives from working outside the home and husbands from help-ing raise the children, but certainly encourages wives to remain home nurturing the couples children, while the husband provides for the household through outside economic activities. Read literally, though, this admonition does seem to bar arrangements where the wife is the sole breadwinner, while the husband remains at home and assumes primary