Origins of the Family Proclamation
Was the proclamation on the family written by attorneys to support the fight against gay marriage in Hawaii?
Sort of, but sort of not. As far back as 1831, the Church had articulated key principles found in the proclamation, before gay marriage became a legal question. However, the legal issue may have prompted the need to articulate these principles in one place.
In 1993, the Hawaii Supreme Court began hearing a case on gay marriage, known as Baehr v. Lewin (later Miike). In 1994 the brethren begin the process of writing the proclamation in a "revelatory process" with members of the Quorum of the Twelve.
But wasn't the proclamation on the family written by a BYU law professor?
No. Lynn Wardle,[BIO] a BYU law professor known for his opposition to gay marriage, consulted on the Church filing in Hawaii's Baehr v. Miike case. He may have also consulted with drafting the family proclamation, but there is no known evidence to support this.
Was it used directly in the Hawaii gay marriage case?
Yes. The family proclamation was included as an appendix to the amicus curiae brief filed in Baehr v. Miike in 1997.
Was the proclamation on the family really inspired if it was written up to fight gay marriage in court?
Yes, probably. Revelation is often catalyzed by pressing questions or issues. Elder Dallin H. Oaks[BIO] specifically described the process of developing the family proclamation as revelatory and inspired.
Does the proclamation have any new ideas or doctrines in it?
Not really. It's more of a compilation of teachings that have been taught for many years within the Church.
Is the proclamation on the family official doctrine?
Yes, probably. Since its publication, it has been widely cited, widely taught, and consistently emphasized. It's also a formal statement signed by the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and First Presidency. However, the proclamation on the family has not been submitted for the sustaining vote of the Church as canon.
Is the proclamation on the family sexist?
Arguably. It defines men's and women's roles within the family, with men "presiding, providing, and protecting" while women are "primarily responsible for the nurture of their children."
However, Church leaders have consistently maintained that men and women are "equal partners" in raising families. Additionally, the family proclamation allows for "individual adaptations" as circumstances require.
Is the proclamation on the family only about same-sex marriage and gender roles?
No, it is intended to address a broad range of issues related to the family. When introducing the proclamation, President Hinckley also addressed various social issues related to families, including out-of-wedlock births, welfare dependency, violence in the media, adherence to civil laws, and marital fidelity.
Have any of the "calamities" that are mentioned in the proclamation happened?
Maybe? Ancient and modern prophets have foretold all sorts of calamities, and they are often vague or symbolic in nature. On an individual basis, Church leaders have occasionally drawn links between the family proclamation and calamities. Institutionally, the Church generally avoids assigning causes to specific disasters.