Friday, April 11, 2008

Gay marriage revisited

Vanson recently blogged about Stuart Matis and how the churches active support of proposition 22 in California, to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman, was a factor in his suicide. Vanson then went on to say that he doesn't understand why the church is so opposed to the notion, which generated some passionate comments on both sides of the argument. I was composing another comment, but it was getting so long that I decided to make it a blog post; although, this isn't the first time I've addressed this topic.

For what it's worth, I don't get it either. I'm married, I have children - even grandchildren. And, I do not feel threatened in the least by families like Scot (Utah Cog), John (Young Stranger) and others. In fact, I have a great deal of respect and admiration for these families who are able to make a loving home environment in a society that wishes they would go away.

I understand that we need to follow the prophet - and I do follow the prophet: I pay a full tithe, I hold a valid temple recommend, I serve faithfully in my calling. But when I hear our church leaders say that same sex marriage threatens the purposes and sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman, I can't help but have this nagging thought in the back of my mind, wondering if it is truly the will of the Lord for them to say such things, or are they are letting their own personal prejudices cloud their vision.

Heterosexual couples are doing plenty to destroy the sanctity of marriage with the high divorce rate, infidelity, spousal and child abuse, etc. How does a homosexual couple in a committed monogamous relationship and having gay sex in the privacy of their home threaten other marriages? Yes, church leaders preach against those topics as well - but not with the same fervor. We're not seeking legislative action to make divorce more difficult, to add legal consequences to infidelity, to increase the punishment for abuse. So, why is same sex marriage being singled out as a political cause for the church?

Just so I'm clear, I don't have any problem with the doctrine of a celestial marriage, between a man and a woman in the temple, being the only marriage that will be recognized beyond the grave - that all other marriages (same sex or opposite sex) are only for mortality. But, when the church steps in and actively opposes those who are simply trying to have their unions legally recognized and be granted the same legal rights and privileges as their heterosexual counterparts (as it has in California, Hawaii, and other places) then I believe the church has crossed a line. I'm not saying the church should recognize same sex marriage - I just think we need some separation of church and state, and a little more "Live, and Let Live" attitude.

I once got caught up in these things. While living in California back in the 80's, I heeded the calls of our local church leaders and went door to door seeking signatures for an earlier bill to oppose same sex marriage - something I am now deeply ashamed to admit. But, no more - I now let my heart govern my actions. Usually my heart agrees with the church, but when it doesn't then so be it. And, if other members of the church choose to consider me 'less than faithful' when I question the motives of church leaders then that's their prerogative - God knows what's in my heart. And, in the end, that's all that really matters.

8 comments:

A.J. said...

honestly I don't have a problem with same sex marriage either.

MohoInTx said...

thanks for posting this Abe.

I think the Church is literally trying to stop the inevitable, and I still don't understand why these legal unions can't exist other than things like "the Prophet said so."

I agree that these unions do not have to be recognized by the Church as well.

The whole tithing issue is still something I am trying to figure out, but I am thinking about it prayerfully... and prayer is always good :)

With these elections coming up, it seems inevitable that a democrat is going to be president, and both of them seem to have gay rights on their minds and may make a push for such changes in the future. I think we need to prepare ourselves for this push, and how the Church may respond. It's going to be a hard time.

Abelard Enigma said...

it seems inevitable that a democrat is going to be president

Different topic, but I don't think it is that inevitable. I think all of the snipping between Clinton and Obama is turning people off. Virtually all republicans will vote for McCain - and McCain is moderate enough to pull some democrats over to his side.

I agree that if a democrat does take the white house then the whole gay marriage thing could flare up again - even here in Texas where it's been relatively quiet. We may have some interesting times ahead of us - and for some of us, it's going to put our mettle to the test.

But, I digress ...

sheriinsaltlake said...

I recently purchased a home with my partner of 4 years, and though I'd been pro-gay-marriage prior to that, this new step has brought about all sorts of new complications that make me feel very adamantly pro-gay-marriage. There are so many things that limit us from really being able to provide for each other. We can fill out expensive legal paperwork, but still if one of us should die, there is no guarantee the other could keep our house, whether because the will is contested or through gift taxes levied because we are not legal spouses. It's raised my consciousness of the inequity of our situation, and makes me pretty angry sometimes.

As you said in your post, I'm not sure what it is about the idea that I can leave property to my partner or have the legal right to visit her in the hospital, that is so threatening to the church, and to the Christian right in general. How is my relationship devaluing anyone else's? I honestly don't get it.

Re the presidential elections, I too worry that the in-fighting among Demos is going to hand this thing to McCain. However, as much as some of McCain's policies worry me, I do take some comfort in knowing he is disliked by the religious extremists on the right. There's something to that, I think, at least from my point of view.

sheri

Abelard Enigma said...

what it is ... that is so threatening to the church, and to the Christian right in general

That is the $1,000,000.00 question. I don't buy the "homosexuality is a sin" argument. There are lots of sins in the world (by the Christian definition) that the radical right turns a blind eye towards. I don't like calling them the "Christian Right" because they are most decidedly unchristian IMOHO. If they would consistently condemn sin then I might have a bit more respect, even if I didn't agree. As it is - they have no credibility, other than just being mean spirited and ugly.

I too worry that the in-fighting among Demos is going to hand this thing to McCain.

If the democrats are going to take the white house then please let it be Obama - I don't think I could stomach another Clinton in the white house.

Uh Oh, did I just out myself as one of them flaming republicans :) Personally, I'm still mad at Giuliani for throwing in the towel so early (before we even got a chance to vote here in Texas).

Chedner said...

Just so I'm clear, I don't have any problem with the doctrine of a celestial marriage, between a man and a woman in the temple, being the only marriage that will be recognized beyond the grave - that all other marriages (same sex or opposite sex) are only for mortality.

Although I do not share this belief or the claim that such is core to the Plan of Salvation, I do not have a problem with the Church believing, teaching, preaching, holding onto such, myself.

It's the attempts to force this belief on those who do not share it that bothers me.

The attitude behind such actions seem to be, "If it cannot be eternal, then it cannot be temporal." But, then, why is this attitude not being applied to ALL things -- and why, especially, are temporal marriages being performed in the temple (if members are to focus solely on those things that can be eternal)?

I mean, even if this is just temporal, why can we not make the best of our lives, be they temporal? After all, straight people get to be temporally married (again, even in the temple) to sustain the best life... why can't we?

Brouge said...

First let me say I'm also one with qualms on the church's view of same-sex relationships. however, in light of that view, i think their stand on legislation concerning same-sex marriage makes sense. In the Book of Mormon, the Nephites' righteousness is measured by their choice of judges. Once the majority had fallen from the Church, they began picking unrighteous judges, and their downfall followed soon after that. Because we have a similar system of voting, we can also be measured by what sort of legislation we approve. It may be because of this that the Church is trying to keep us on the 'righteous' side of legislation. Also, the Church takes very seriously how it is viewed by outsiders. Utah is seen as the hub of Mormonism, and so they don't want legislation that disagrees directly with the tenets of the Church.

MohoInTx said...

My Dad doesn't want to his tax money to go towards same sex marriages...