Utahns react to Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage ruling

SALT LAKE CITY – With the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark 5-4 decision declaring same-sex marriage a constitutional right Friday, politicians, institutions and others across Utah have been quick to issue statements regarding their stance on the issue.

Though the Supreme Court’s ruling now makes same-sex marriage legal across the nation, it has been legal in Utah without interruption since October 2014.

At the time the Supreme Court declined to hear Utah’s appeal concerning Amendment 3, the state’s own same-sex marriage ban. Amendment 3 had been struck down as unconstitutional by U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby in December 2013 and the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals subsequently upheld Shelby’s ruling.

Over 1,300 same-sex couples were married across Utah between Dec. 20, 2013 and Jan. 6, 2014, following Shelby’s ruling.

The Supreme Court approved a stay on Shelby’s ruling Jan. 6, 2014, putting future same-sex marriages in Utah on hold until the high court ultimately decided not to hear the issue last October.

Gov. Gary Herbert

Marriage, as defined by the people of Utah, has been redefined, first by the federal courts and today the outcome of that decision has been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. I am disappointed with the decision by the court to usurp state authority and overrule the voice of the people of Utah as demonstrated by legislation with regard to marriage. I am also very concerned with the overwhelming trend to diminish state autonomy. I believe states should have the right to determine their own laws regarding marriage. Clearly, the majority of the justices disagree and their decision provides finality with respect to the law.

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah

The issue of same-sex marriage involves deeply held convictions on all sides of the debate. While I oppose discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, I do not support redefining the fundamental nature of marriage as between a man and a woman. But now that the Supreme Court has spoken, I will do everything in my power to ensure that this decision does not infringe on important concerns such as our fundamental right to the free exercise of religion.

Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah

In light of today’s ruling by the Supreme Court to legalize same-sex marriage, we must remember to treat each other with kindness and love.

I personally believe that marriage is best defined between one man and one woman and I wish that the courts would have deferred to the states on this divisive issue. Moving forward, we must now work to protect the rights guaranteed in the First Amendment respecting the establishment of religion and allowing the free exercise thereof.

Utah House Democratic Leader Brian King

Today’s Supreme Court ruling is a great thing. It is the culmination of the work of many U.S. federal district and circuit court judges over many years. These judges have struggled to reconcile the difficult legal and Constitutional issues same sex marriage presents to our country.

We know this has been a divisive issue. And we recognize that each individual has the right to their own moral and religious beliefs regarding same sex marriage. But we welcome this ruling because it makes clear that discrimination based on sexual orientation is not acceptable under the Constitution and that families of all types are entitled to protection under the law. All people are created equal in this country and they deserve equal rights. As such, today’s ruling is a tremendous legal victory for not just the LGBTQ community but for all of us. The finality this ruling brings to this legal issue will help us move forward as a more united society.

Sen. James Dabakis, D-Salt Lake City

Dr. Martin Luther King said the, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”

This momentous day of equality has been a long time coming for Utah but it’s here. The system works. Justice prevailed.

I want to reassure my fellow Utahns who sincerely disagree with the Supreme Court decision today–that as a Democrat and as a gay man Utahn–that I am used to losing–and I understand your pain. But I am hopeful that over the coming months and years we can all come together with civility and respect for all in our community. Especially with those with whom we have serious differences. That ability to disagree yet live together in the same community, with civility and respect is the foundation of our democracy.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints acknowledges that following today’s ruling by the Supreme Court, same-sex marriages are now legal in the United States. The Court’s decision does not alter the Lord’s doctrine that marriage is a union between a man and a woman ordained by God. While showing respect for those who think differently, the Church will continue to teach and promote marriage between a man and a woman as a central part of our doctrine and practice.

The Church has outlined its doctrine and position on marriage in the document The Divine Institution of Marriage.

Spencer W. Clark, executive director of Mormons for Equality

This is a beautiful day for so many families and we applaud the Court’s ruling. But our work is not done. Alongside changing the laws, we must continue to change hearts. For over two decades Mormons have feared – and fought – civil marriage equality. It will take time to overcome and repent of our past, but as we’ve seen already, the more that we come to know same-sex couples and their children, the more we discover that our fears were misplaced. Mormons believe in the importance of families, and for increasing numbers of Mormons, that means all families.

Utah Pride Center

The Utah Pride Center is thrilled with the Supreme Court decision granting full marriage equality across the United States. Strong families are a hallmark value of our state, and this ruling provides constitutional clarity that the rights of individuals and of LGBTQ families are protected by the same ideals for which our country’s founders fought.

While Utah LGBTQ couples have had full equal rights within the state, they can now travel or move across the entirety of their country knowing their status doesn’t change by crossing a border, that they are equal everywhere they go. Today we stand with all the current families, and future families, throughout the United States who are now equal in the eyes of the law of their country.

Connor Boyack, president of the Libertas Institute

Our LGBT friends have good reason to be happy today, but those concerned about our laws and legal structure have great cause for alarm. As Chief Justice Roberts said in his dissent, ‘The majority’s decision is an act of will, not legal judgment. The right it announces has no basis in the Constitution or this Court’s precedent… Just who do we think we are?”

Today’s opinion—and let’s be clear, that’s all it is—provides an opportunity for lawmakers to reconsider their long-standing support for government intervention in such an important societal relationship. In the coming months, we will be encouraging elected officials to consider a proposal to repeal government licensure of marriage, allowing churches, notaries public, and others to privately officiate and sanction these unions.

Despite what some lawyers think, there is no ‘fundamental right’ to a government permission slip. The long-standing violation of the sacred union of marriage — encouraged by those looking to shape society to match their vision — needs to be fixed.

The Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City

Today the Supreme Court of the United States decided state marriage bans are unconstitutional, meaning all states will perform and recognize same-sex marriage. This decision, though significant, does not conclude debate over the definition of marriage. As the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City responded when U.S. District Court Judge Robert J. Shelby struck down Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage, so we again affirm our pastoral response.

As Catholics, we seek to uphold our traditional belief in marriage as a sacrament, a well established and divinely revealed covenant between one man and one woman, a permanent and exclusive bond meant to provide a nurturing environment for children and the fundamental building block to a just society.

At the same time, we respect the dignity of all persons, not wishing to undermine their pursuit of happiness but only to preserve and defend the gift of marriage as divinely revealed in scripture and in natural law. Although we respectfully disagree with those who would define marriage otherwise, we firmly hold that all persons are loved by our compassionate God and deserve the respect and dignity that is inherently theirs as human beings.

We acknowledge the right of our nation’s highest court to provide for a well ordered society by establishing laws that protect the common good and safeguard the civil and contractual rights and privileges of its citizens. At the same time, we urge our lawmakers and judges to respect those institutions that are beyond state and federal jurisdiction, institutions such as sacramental marriage that transcend civil law and whose origins precede the existence of the state and go beyond its competence.

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Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2015, all rights reserved.

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53 Comments

  • Forsooth June 26, 2015 at 3:04 pm

    The Left: “Huzzah! Same-sex marriage is legal!”
    The Right: “Oh Noes! Same sex marriage is legal!”
    The Thinking: “By what authority does the court allow or forbid any consensual contract?”

  • 42214 June 26, 2015 at 5:05 pm

    I wonder what the LDS Church is going to do with the millions they’ll save not fighting same sex marriage. I hope they put the money to better use.

    • AnotherReader June 26, 2015 at 6:00 pm

      I’m sure they’ll put it to other good uses trying to protect the morality of this nation and defend religious freedoms. I guess if it ain’t your money then it’s none of your business.

      • Simone June 26, 2015 at 8:15 pm

        Exactly how does gay marriage infringe on your freedom to worship the word of Herr Monson? Last I heard no one was forcing any religion to perform marriages of any kind. Any amount of research will prove that there’s a difference between facts and the religious hogwash.

        • AnotherReader June 26, 2015 at 10:22 pm

          Fraulein Simone, people are already being run out of business because, based on their religious beliefs, they refuse to cater to these counterfeit wedding ceremonies. So it is already happening. Churches will soon be forced to comply as well. If you think that is not the next fight then your head must be so high in the rainbow clouds that you can’t see clearly.

          • Simone June 26, 2015 at 11:55 pm

            Gay marriage has been legal in at least one state for, give or take, 20 years. If memory serves Massachusetts legalized gay marriage in ’94 or ’95. I cannot think of a single case in which a American gay couple from any state sued a church or religious celebrant (pastor, bishop, etc) during that entire time because they refused to perform the marriage even though it was legal in their state. Until yesterday 37 states allowed gay marriage. My point is this, if gay people were suing BAKERS for refusing to bake their wedding cakes don’t you think they would have sued a church for refusing to perform their marriage already? I can’t find a single case. If you can, link it here because I would love to read about it. 🙂

          • Roy J June 27, 2015 at 9:42 am

            Hi SIMONE<,
            Ask and you shall receive. This baker was successfully sued, forced to bake, and undergo sensitivity training. http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2014/06/03/baker-forced-to-make-gay-wedding-cakes-undergo-sensitivity-training-after.html

          • Roy J June 27, 2015 at 10:30 am

            ANYBODY, the British article is about that specifically. If you delve into the situation in Denmark for yourself, you can draw your own conclusions as to the legal ramifications. The case in Britain is sufficient to establish the fact that some people are perfectly ready, willing and capable to inflict their views on others through legal channels. As for suing in Denmark, I am okay with just leaving at fines, imprisonment, civil defrocking, etc., if you are so concerned about suing. But really, I am reasonably sure that suing a non–compliant church in Denmark is on the table.

          • anybody home June 27, 2015 at 3:30 pm

            Roy, I’m not the one interested in suing. You’re the one who brought it up. But I do think it’s important to keep the words and actualities clear. I also think it’s important to note that British law and American law are different, a point clearly made in the article you cited. Finally, just because someone sues doesn’t mean they’ll win. People sue about things every day. Remember, Roy, Chicken Little was wrong. Have a good Saturday and a peaceful Sunday.

          • GrandmaB June 27, 2015 at 5:16 pm

            Well, I guess if you open a business, that is considered public, you have a business license handed out by a local government, it really is not OK to discriminate. If your religious sensibilities are going to be tromped on by people who do not believe the way you do, time to get out of business, at least a public one. It is as much a sin in the bible to get divorced, mouth off to your parents, eat shell fish, etc., etc., as it is to (I guess, I’ve never actually seen a passage describing a loving, homosexual relationship, just a bunch of foo forah about a son seeing his father naked) engage in man-on-man sex. They all call for the death penalty. Nothing about women. Let alone anything about fetuses. A whole lot of stuff that seems to me people are just making up about what THEY don’t want to see.

          • Roy J June 27, 2015 at 5:38 pm

            Actually ANYBODY it was SIMONE that brought up the question of lawsuit. Also, I don’t think many people could be unaware of that British and American laws are different. Additionally I don’t think it is too unreasonable to suggest that laws may develop similarly in countries that are developing similar cultural ideas; though I agree it is not enough alone to make a judgement. Given the article on the baker, however, it seems reasonable to me to conclude provisionally that similar laws to those in Denmark and Britain are in our near future, with all the attendant cases. I hope you have an awesome Saturday and Sunday, as well.

        • Roy J June 27, 2015 at 9:49 am

          Ah, my mistake. You meant the celebrant. Here is at least one
          British couple that has done so: http://www.wnd.com/2013/08/gays-to-sue-church-to-perform-marriage-ceremonies/
          Here is another from Denmark:
          http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/denmark/9317447/Gay-Danish-couples-win-right-to-marry-in-church.html
          I haven’t found an American example yet either, but I think that it is reasonable to conclude from the above actions that the US will not be far behind. There have been explicit challenges and attacks on the Catholic Church in Spain as well. Give it a few years.

          • anybody home June 27, 2015 at 10:02 am

            Roy, I’ve read the article about Denmark (I’m Danish but not gay) twice and cannot find any language that says a gay couple sued any church. I do see that a law was passed and that priests can opt out of performing the ceremony. Please cite the words in the article that claim a church has been sued for not performing a ceremony. Thank you.

          • Simone June 27, 2015 at 5:42 pm

            Roy, Thank you for you’re submission. There are a couple of differences though. The British government, according to the article, officially recognizes the church of England. “As the officially recognized church, the Church of England is obligated to marry anyone in the local parish”. That means that a law had already been passed forcing the church to marry anyone in their parish. There is no such law in America In fact SCOTUS has time and again held that there is a inherent “separation of church and state” written into the constitution even though such a idea is not expressed in writing. In fact SCOTUS just recently ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby’s challenge to The Affordable Care Act’s provision requiring all employers to offer free birth control on religious grounds. You can find that opinionhere. I cannot find a single instance in which a church IN THE UNITED STATES has EVER been forced to marry somebody by any court. In fact, in Obergefell vs. Hodges Justice Samuel Alito, who delivered the majority opinion said this,“Finally, it must be emphasized that religions, and those who adhere to religious doctrines, may continue to advocate with utmost, sincere conviction that, by divine precepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned. The First Amendment ensures that religious organizations and persons are given proper protection as they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives and faiths, and to their own deep aspirations to continue the family structure they have long revered. The same is true of those who oppose same-sex marriage for other reasons. In turn, those who believe allowing same sex marriage is proper or indeed essential, whether as a matter of religious conviction or secular belief, may engage those who disagree with their view in an open and searching debate. The Constitution, however, does not permit the State to bar same-sex couples from marriage on the same terms as accorded to couples of the opposite sex”.

            As you can clearly see, a preponderance of the evidence clearly suggests that if someone did take a church to court on the marriage issue, they would most likely lose their case if by some miracle it made it to SCOTUS. 🙂

          • Roy J June 27, 2015 at 6:10 pm

            Hi SIMONE,
            That’s a good point you are bringing up about the Church of England, however, it does not apply to the case of Denmark. But I am not trying to mix and match; I certainly agree with both you and ANYBODY that how this will affect our own country remains to be seen, and to be honest, I hope that the civil marriage can coexist harmoniously and without friction with religious marriage. So far as I can see, a civil marriage, like the Church of England, is in a sense a government entity, and subject to them as an ultimate authority. But, to contrast Alito’s opinion with those of the dissenting judges, it seems very clear that, in the first case this may very well have been an example of judicial legislation (it would not be the first time). Also, Scalia and Thomas both have made very clear their deep concerns, and have been blunt about what they see is an inevitable collision between some religious bodies and the United States government on the question of what really is religious freedom. Also regarding the separation of church and state, that division has had a historical record of diminishing the church to the private interior of one’s own mind (in the Soviet Union under Bolshevism, for example.) I appreciate your comment and your candor.

      • mesaman June 26, 2015 at 8:51 pm

        Beautiful retort, Anotherreader. I compliment you.

        • 42214 June 27, 2015 at 11:27 am

          Such a cheerleader, I bet you look precious in a short skirt and pom poms

          • mesaman June 27, 2015 at 2:05 pm

            Such a maroon. I’ll bet you look adorable in your mommie’s underwear.

          • 42214 June 27, 2015 at 2:23 pm

            My mother just died of cancer 4 months ago, thanks for your thoughts.

          • anybody home June 27, 2015 at 2:41 pm

            A maroon? I’ve heard of Reds and pinkos but never a maroon.

          • GrandmaB June 27, 2015 at 5:25 pm

            It is sad about your mom. It is even sadder that you would respond they way you did and get your panties in a wad when you got back “in kind.”

          • 42214 June 27, 2015 at 8:09 pm

            Panties in a wad? All I said was that my mom had died. How do you read so much into a statement like that. I didn’t say a thing about anyone’s mother. You really presume alot, granny.

      • 42214 June 26, 2015 at 10:55 pm

        To quote a wise and mature response from the cum laude of BYU, “Troll troll troll, blah blah blah”

      • 42214 June 26, 2015 at 11:09 pm

        On a serious note, you use your vast wealth to try and influence elections and impose your own narrow morality on others who want nothing to do with it. It is my business when you do that. Well, all you money and organized efforts just got shoved where the sun don’t shine so I understand you might be a little cranky. Maybe now you can go back to trying to prove the Indians were responsible for Mountain Meadows.

        • AnotherReader June 27, 2015 at 7:40 am

          That’s your serious note? You have equal opportunity to use your own vast wealth and influence to share your views and beliefs, that is what religious freedom and freedom in general is about. I am sorry you want nothing to do with morality. But yes, that too is your choice.

          • 42214 June 27, 2015 at 9:07 am

            Yes, that is a serious note. I don’t chose to use my wealth to force my beliefs on others. Morality isn’t what you say it is unless you’re a self-righteous, arrogant, pompous a** that knows better than others. Oops, I might have hit a nerve here. In 1978 the Grand Poo-Pah got a divine telegram from the Man saying we can’t recially discriminate anymore because it’s going to cost us. I’m sure the current Poo-Pah will get another message soon. Don’t hide behind “religious freedom” as a way to discriminate, it might cost us tax status.

          • mesaman June 27, 2015 at 2:06 pm

            42213. look in the mirror, you will see a hypocrite.

          • AnotherReader June 27, 2015 at 5:32 pm

            @4422123, I knew you wouldn’t spend a dime of your own money on anything of public value. All you’ll do is spout your own brand of hate and lies on these comment forums. ‘The further a society drifts from truth the more it will hate those who speak it.’ (George Orwell). Hate away digit man.

          • 42214 June 27, 2015 at 6:28 pm

            What are you babbling about? I don’t understand incoherent ramblings.

          • 42214 June 27, 2015 at 6:35 pm

            Anotherreader, you need to take a valium or oxycodine or something to calm down. I hear prescription drug abuse is quite popular in “your” world. And you don’t have a clue what I contribute to charitable organizations, I just don’t give to cults.

          • 42214 June 27, 2015 at 6:44 pm

            Digit Man, I love it, Thanks for the nickname. Just know that digit man always has a place fopr you to sit.

      • GrandmaB June 27, 2015 at 5:08 pm

        Why is it freedom only applies to religion? Big new flash – human morality existed way before Judeo/Christian theology. Note Code of Hammurabi (as only one example). And it is really nice to know that people are FREE of religious abuse, in other words free to live their lives according to their own conscience. The states do not have the right to deny people their civil liberties as guaranteed by the Constitution. Especially not for religious reasons. It is my business when a church gets involved in political movements, like Prop. 8 in California – the Mormon church spent a lot of money there. Bout time they lost their tax exempt status.

    • fun bag June 26, 2015 at 8:43 pm

      Probly they’ll just build more cookie cutter churches and temples and keep hounding the members for more $$$… never rly ends…

      • AnotherReader June 26, 2015 at 10:26 pm

        As opposed to you who gives nothing, yet bloviates with snarky comments ad nauseum. Blah, blah blah…………………

        • 42214 June 26, 2015 at 11:46 pm

          I heard private religous colleges (BYU) could lose their tax exempt status if they continue to discriminate against “protected classes”. If that happens BYU will open a LGBT Studies curriculum faster than you can say we love our LGBT brothers and sisters.

    • xbcmc059 June 27, 2015 at 12:35 pm

      I would hope that the funds saved in fighting the Same Sex Marriage issue can be used in a more positive manner such as forming a Statewide Gay Pride Celebration Day. On a local level, the City of St. George should organize a Gay Pride Parade, to welcome the Gay Community as now “1st Class Citizens.”
      After moving here eight years ago from West Hollywood, CA, I was shocked to learn that the City of St. George does not celebrate Gay Pride Day with a festival and parade, but even more outrageous to me is the fact that Martin Luther King Day is overlooked in the same manner. An MLK Ceremony and Parade is well overdue for this American Civil Rights icon here in St. George.

      • izzymuse June 27, 2015 at 1:04 pm

        XBC… I hear ya, BUT first: A lot of people here need to stop being homophobes and racists in order to do that!

      • 42214 June 27, 2015 at 2:28 pm

        Welcome to “MO Town” and I don’t mean the motor city.

      • Simone June 27, 2015 at 5:46 pm

        Racism still holds deep roots in Mormonville.

  • izzymuse June 27, 2015 at 8:18 am

    Gov. Gary Herbert’s statement reflects the misunderstanding that is common among conservative thinkers: state sovereignty gives states the power to determine which citizens will have access to enjoying their human rights. You are wrong Gov. Herbert, the states do NOT have the right to rob any humans of their human rights. That’s the message from the Supreme Court: these are civil rights beyond any local or federal or global government. The major reason the civil war was fought: Southern states thought they could determine who would enjoy their human rights (EVERY human has the right not to be a slave), but the federal government as acknowledged by her Northern states, led by Abraham Lincoln, understood the distinction. States do not have the authority to deny any person the rights of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

    • mesaman June 27, 2015 at 2:08 pm

      But issymouse, you are trying to influence us to accept your abysmal point of view. Why not send your whine-a-gram to Governor Herbert who must lack your wisdom and uderstanding.

      • GrandmaB June 27, 2015 at 5:31 pm

        Well, Izzy had any opinion and was willing to share, in a civil way. Reading your post, I can kind of feel your pain. It was painful coming up with such a tortured response. “Whine-a-gram,” “abysmal point of view.” Not a debater are you? To be a good debater there has to be some acceptance that the other persons point of view is valid from their perspective. You don’t seen to have any perspective at all except to be insulting. If you think that makes you clever and right, boy are you in for a surprise. But then, I would imagine you are one of the St. George elite who walk around looking a little shell shocked that not everyone in the world agrees with you. If you can’t prove something, don’t try to force it on rational people.

  • radioviking June 27, 2015 at 8:50 am

    The Mormon leaders, and the political leaders who are Mormon, keep declaring that marriage is “between a man and a woman.”? Really? Not one man and plural women? The first two prophets taught that a man is required to be married to more than one woman to reach the “highest” heaven (see their scripture: the Doctrine and Covenants, section 132 revealed by their first prophet, Joseph Smith AND clear teachings of Joseph Smith’s successor, Brigham Young >>> Journal of Discourses volume 3, page 266 and volume 11, page 269). Inconsistent isn’t it? God changed His mind because of social morals of the day? Hmmm.

    • ladybugavenger June 27, 2015 at 2:09 pm

      Mormon religion is a cult so no need to compare anything to mormon beliefs.

    • anybody home June 27, 2015 at 2:45 pm

      Well, an angel came down and gave Joe a revelation. Joe and his angel were tight, you know.

      • 42214 June 27, 2015 at 3:39 pm

        The revelation was get outa town Joe, the people are on to your scam.

    • GrandmaB June 27, 2015 at 5:35 pm

      Kind of the same way He changed his mind about black men and the priesthood. I guess they had to be “free” a certain amount of time before they were considered fully human. It isn’t just Mormons. I swear, the Catholic god had no idea that the world was round. For a really long time. The burned people for saying the world was not flat. There are some folks today, you know, the ones who walk with dinosaurs, the ones who think all this hot weather is just “normal,” who still believe it is flat.

      • 42214 June 27, 2015 at 6:15 pm

        So blacks had to be free for 100 yrs or so before “He” changed his mind? And, LDS isn’t the only “conflicted” religion? Boy Grandma, you are a master of the obvious.

  • ladybugavenger June 27, 2015 at 3:41 pm

    To be fair, non gay people need a flag.

    • 42214 June 27, 2015 at 5:07 pm

      Maybe the white flag would be appropriate.

  • GrandmaB June 27, 2015 at 5:40 pm

    I am glad of one this this last week. Finally getting to the point of admitting that fighting for slavery is not “honorable.” The “freedom” the southerners were fighting for was the freedom to continue having slaves. It was not a just war, it was not an honorable war. I never have, and will continue, to not respect the south for fighting that war. They muddied my national flag, they murdered my ancestors, and they were fighting for the right to “OWN” other human beings. Like animals. It was disgusting, horrifying and continued to be mind numbing through Jim Crow. We are just now, most of us, getting brave enough to look at symbols like that freaking flag and scream “take it down!” We should have done it years ago.

  • 42214 June 27, 2015 at 7:38 pm

    Anotherreader, would you like me to explain to you what I meant by a place to sit? I’m not sure you grasp subtle nuances.

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