I think this was due, in part, because of the church's position on homosexuality separating attraction from behavior. While no one would probably admit it, I think there was a cautious respect for the LDS church within the global gay community. While there was certainly disagreement with the policies of the church, there was also a sense that the church had some level of compassion towards its gay members - something not seen in many other religions.
For example, back in 2007 I posted a link to an Ensign article titled Helping Those Who Struggle with Same-Gender Attraction to the Gay Christian Network which garnered comments such as
- I'm thrilled at the growing numbers of sensible voices and outreached arms heard, seen, and felt in our mainstream churches. Thanks so much for this encouraging thread!
- Wow....amazing stuff. If you had told me even ten years ago I'd be reading something like this from the LDS church I wouldn't have believed you. Amazing - thanks for sharing this!
Many in the church claim innocence with comments such as "Mormon's represent less than 3% of the California population" and "more Catholics (or blacks, or whatever) voted for proposition 8 than Mormons". But, they are ignoring the fact that Mormon's pumped in at least 50%, and possibly up to 75%, of the campaign donations towards proposition 8 - not to mention countless volunteer hours going door to door, distributing yard signs, etc. Given the very slim margin that proposition 8 passed with, it's not hard to imagine that it would have have been defeated without the involvement of the LDS church.
But, all of that is water under the bridge. My question now is: Was it worth it?
The LDS church claims it was standing up for morality and preservation of the family. But, at best, all it did was gain a 2 year, maybe 4 year, reprieve. It's only a matter of time before gay marriage becomes legal in California, as well as many other states. So we invested all of that time and money and what did we really gain? And at what cost?
- Protests at temples in Utah and across the nation
- Members, both gay and straight, leaving the church
- Some suggesting that missionary work is down
- Shaken faith for some of us who have chosen to stay in the church
Make no mistake, the next time gay marriage comes to a vote in California, the gay community will not get caught with their pants down (no pun intended). Before the LDS church got involved, the No on 8 campaign was leading by, I believe, 20 points; and, there was little doubt that proposition 8 would be defeated. By the time people started to notice that the Mormon's might just turn it around, efforts to counter the Yes on 8 momentum was too little and too late. But, they will not be caught again. Even now strategies are being developed to counter any arguments that can be made by the gay marriage opponents.
Becoming involved in this political battle has come with a price. Whatever modicum of respect we may have had in the global gay community is forever lost. Everything the LDS church says and does is carefully scrutinized and being cast in as negative light as possible. Anger against the LDS church has become a uniting force in the gay community. The next time the LDS church chooses to do battle against the gay community - they may find themselves up against a foe the likes of which they've never encountered.
So, again I ask, regardless of your personal views on gay marriage, was it worth it?