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This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Discussion in Utah about gays and gay marriage is frustrating because the opponents don't have a common conversational ground. One side argues equal rights; the other, "because God said so in the Bible," which closes conversation with non-believers and believers in a different God.

In his message for the annual World Day of Peace, Pope Benedict XVI transcended that impasse. He stated that the principles underling his anti-gay-marriage advocacy are "not truths of faith. …

"They are inscribed in human nature itself, accessible to reason and thus common to all humanity. The Church's efforts to promote them are not therefore confessional in character, but addressed to all people, whatever their religious affiliation."

Now, we can have a logical conversation. And the pope's argument? Attempts to make "the natural structure of marriage as the union of a man and a woman … juridically equivalent to radically different types of union … harm and help to destabilize marriage, obscuring its specific nature and its indispensable role in society."

I'm not sure where a conversation about "human nature itself" and "the natural structure of marriage" will take us, but it's a common ground of "reason" that everyone can be part of. That's a start.

David Lee Anderson

Salt Lake City

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