August 12, 2010

A message from a Mormon to the Gay Community

In regards to Gay Marriage, I've been thinking about this a lot recently, considering the decision of the California judge to repeal Proposition 8, and I think it is only fair to express my opinions on the matter.

You see, I have more than one member of my family that is, in fact, directly affected by the outcome of the rulings that will inevitably be decided by the Supreme Court.As I am one of the only actively practicing members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in my family, I worry that my family and friends of our family may see me to be secretly intolerant at heart. Maybe I'm putting on a smile and being kind, but deep down I resent them and am very disappointed... well, if you think this of me, you are wrong.

I don't claim to speak for the LDS Church in any way, but I do claim that there are MANY other LDS people who share the same viewpoint that I do. What about all the angry bitter people? Well, they are just louder than we are.



Look at Proposition 8:

This is an issue that is tough to support for me. I'm torn between a belief in what I see to be morally correct and what I believe to be constitutionally and socially correct. I believe supporting Prop 8 to be morally correct based upon my beliefs, but wrong constitutionally and socially. I do not believe Homosexual relationships to be morally sound. I also don't believe sex outside of marriage to be morally sound or that alcohol to be safe thing to drink. The problem is, people have different beliefs on what is morally sound and what isn't. It is not my place to tell others what to believe. Most of the world has no hang ups with alcohol in moderation, and that's fine with me. I live by my beliefs and others live by theirs.

Some of my very best friends in this world drink, and it doesn't bother me a bit because that particular ideology (alcohol in moderation is ok) is not one we share. Back to relationships though, not many people, even with the best of intent, can maintain a chaste life for very long (which is probably why LDS people get married so young... ifyouknowwhatImean ... eh,eh? *wink* *wink* *nudge *nudge*).

So now I'm left in a quandary... Do I vote with my personal morals, or do I vote for what makes sense for the community? Depending on who you are, this decision is a no-brainer for either position. Some people will always vote morally, which is respectable and fine. Some people will always vote communally, also commendable. Either perspective is a valid reason to vote. But what should I do?

Now look at Alcohol:
Well, I'd like to appeal to the alcohol ban of the early 1900's as an example, since we can view that instance with less prejudice eyes and the motivation behind the vote mindset remains the same. Alcohol was considered, as Homer Simpson puts it, "The cause and solution to all life's problems!" Alcohol tore down the family structure, alcohol lead directly to promiscuity, violence, etc. etc... so the conservative mindset says. On the other hand, many people enjoy the taste, the friendship, and experiences that alcohol could bring to the table.

So we put it to a vote. Ideally, the ban of alcohol seemed like a good idea. The negative consequences of it were greater than the perceived benefit. We amended our Constitution, and away we went. Then the problems started... to put it briefly, the ban of alcohol turned out to be a pretty bad idea that led to many, many more new problems. So the ban was repealed, alcohol returned, and everything was hunky dory again.  Now, the idea to not drink has become a personal choice, based on one's own beliefs, and not hard coded into law. LDS folk know this and it doesn't bother us a bit.


I think that if I had lived back then, from my point of view, I'd have voted to repeal alcohol. I'm against it personally, I'm going to vote against it nationally. It was a lifestyle choice to drink, not one that I would support. That being said, knowing what I know now, and living in the much more diverse world of the 21st Century, I would never vote to repeal alcohol today.

Now back to Prop 8:
If I now apply this to Gay marriage, I see that banning gay marriage is a bad idea. Banning marriage will not stop people from loving each other. It will not stop people from having Homosexual relationships. Nothing will be different in people's actions. What banning Gay Marriage does do is force those couples to do other things that a good Mormon boy would only do when married (*wink* *wink* again... ok, fine, straight up balls-to-the-walls sex). By banning Gay Marriage, I feel like I'm restricting people to either be celibate or participate in other morally questionable acts.

I've chosen to live a lifestyle that doesn't involve sex outside of marriage. I've chosen a lifestyle that does not involve homosexual relationships. I see these things as wrong, I believe they are inherently not a good idea... like Polygamy. (SIDEBAR: It's interesting that the objections, laws, pros, and cons concerning Gay Marriage and Polygamy are so similar, yet LDS opinion is polar opposite on the two matters. Interesting how Mormons can defend polygamy as it was practiced in the early church, hands and teeth... yet...)

Sadly, Prop 8 is not Alcohol:
The problem here comes not from peoples views about morality, but from prejudice opinions on both sides of the aisle. There are large chunks of very bigoted and unloving LDS people that tend to get a lot of screen time in the media. Obviously the LDS church will support the advancement of traditional marriage, however the official public announcements and actions of the church entity, as opposed to individual members, remains very... well... here's a quote (bold added):

“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints regrets today’s decision.  California voters have twice been given the opportunity to vote on the definition of marriage in their state and both times have determined that marriage should be recognized as only between a man and a woman. We agree.  Marriage between a man and a woman is the bedrock of society.

“We recognize that this decision represents only the opening of a vigorous debate in the courts over the rights of the people to define and protect this most fundamental institution—marriage.

“There is no doubt that today’s ruling will add to the marriage debate in this country, and we urge people on all sides of this issue to act in a spirit of mutual respect and civility toward those with a different opinion.”
 The end of this statement is key. We don't agree on the moral issues. Obviously the church will support what it feels to be morally correct. It is not a political body, it is a religious one. It will promote its teachings above all else. But with that Everyone involved are still people, who love, care, and have families.


To my LDS friends and family:
To be quite honest, I don't see how the restriction of Gay Marriage will last in this country. Fight as hard as you might, it will fall. Think of this though... how does allowing Gay Marriage affect the world you live in? A morally wrong act is now legal. So what? We are a peculiar people. Most the stuff we are against morally is legal... pre-marital sex, alcohol, freaking TEA AND COFFEE! Will this change our beliefs? Will it change people's behavoirs? No and No. If you look at homosexuality as something that can be overcome like a drug addiction, and lets say for a minute that that is true, still know that many people don't WANT to give it up. You can't get somebody to quit cigarettes/drugs/alcohol/porn that doesn't want to quit. And news flash, these people don't want to give up the feelings they have. If you were told that the feelings you had for your husband or wife, the love of your life, was a dirty sin (and imagine in reality it was somehow) and could be fixed, you wouldn't accept it.You'd choose your loved one. That's what love is.

By banning Gay Marriage we are creating families that DON'T have legally bound parents. Gays will adopt, they will be parents, wouldn't you rather have these sexual relationships to be in the bounds of marriage, children to be raised in a legally binding family rather than just a makeshift one AND sexual sin combined? Can we continue to defend the Sanctity of Marriage when we are condemning these people to other acts that are just as damning, i.e. extra-marital relationships? It doesn't make sense to me. Stop discriminating against these people. They're here, they are Queer, get used to it.

To my Gay/Lesbian friends and family:
LDS folk vote with their morals. They don't vote on constitutional policy very well. They have a hard time looking past what is right and wrong in their views to see the possible outcomes of the vote. They have a hard time accepting others have different morals and that that is normal and OK. Don't demonize them for this. They are standing up for something they feel to be important and right every bit as much as you are. That being said. Fight Hard... Politically! You are going to win. Don't discriminate against those LDS who fight back politically, they have that right too. Ignore the bigots.

There seems to be a movement in the GLBT groups to demonize the LDS church. Please don't. We don't make propaganda videos, anti-gay videos, etc. We preach what we believe to be moral truth. You do the same. Please! Preach it from the rooftops, but don't demonize us.


I'm on a SoapBox.
I'm excited for the day when LDS people will see Gay people the same way they do as someone who drinks alcohol or freaking Coffee. We don't discriminate against them. They are good people. They just want the opportunity to have good families too. If we should protest anything vehemently it should be cheating on those we love, bad parenting, sexual promiscuity, pornography, "Open Relationships," arranged affairs... I think these are the major things that are destroying family values in our society.

Finally, if I've said something that may offend you... I'm sorry. I tried to keep things as... delicate(?) as possible. I'll gladly revise this post for misuse of language, offensiveness, etc. Thanks friends, Thanks family. I love you all.