A Mormon’s Individual View of California’s Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act in the Supreme Court
To preface this, I lived in Oregon as a single woman for 13 years where I worked amongst gays and lesbians, uncaring what their sexual orientation was. I still do not care what their orientation is. The truth is, I don’t want it shouted in my face any more than I would reciprocate with “I am a proud heterosexual” in their’s. Over time, I have learned to pick my battles and this really isn’t one of them. I do agree that the term “Marriage” should be reserved for a legal union between a man and woman. Pick another term for the LGBT unions – Civil Unions, Civil Fusion, Civil Blend, Amalgamation of Domesticity – I really do not care. If people choose to have relations with the same sex, fall in love and wish to commit the rest of their lives to it, I believe they should have the same legal rights as partners.
In Oregon, I worked for a Regional Government agency who recognized both same-sex and domestic partnerships the same way. If they had been together a year or more, they could be placed on the working partner’s insurance and were allowed the same benefits as those within the marriage covenant. It seems a beneficial understanding. In calling them same sex marriages, it may be a case of the dominoes falling; what of polygamy? Haven’t many of them entered into a consensual relationship? What of Bigamy? And where will it leave those congregants and churches who refuse to perform same-sex marriages? Erick Erickson’s message over at RedState is:
Once the world decides that real marriage is something other than natural or Godly, those who would point it out must be silenced and, if not, punished. The state must be used to do this. Consequently, the libertarian pipe dream of getting government out of marriage can never ever be possible.
Within a year or two we will see Christian schools attacked for refusing to admit students whose parents are gay. We will see churches suffer the loss of their tax exempt status for refusing to hold gay weddings. We will see private businesses shut down because they refuse to treat as legitimate that which perverts God’s own established plan. In some places this is already happening.
Christians should, starting yesterday, work on a new front. While we should not stop the fight to preserve marriage, and we may be willing to compromise on civil unions, we must start fighting now for protections for religious objectors to gay marriage.
Churches, businesses, and individuals who refuse to accept gay marriage as a legitimate institution must be protected as best we can. Those protections will eventually crumble as the secular world increasingly fights the world of God, but we should institute those protections now and pray they last as long as possible.
There are many in the gay community who are simply wanting to live as they wish. Just like us. However, there are those within said community who seek to push an agenda which will not be accepted under any circumstance by those religiously wanting to live the way THEY want to. Yes, the Supreme Court may say same-sex unions are valid and should be confirmed by a sweeping decree. Once the LGBT community gets that, what will they want next? Because if they begin coming after churches and my church in particular, they will encounter a fight. I am not their enemy. But I could be if they wish to impose their rights on me. As Troy Senik writes,
I want a “leave me alone” society — one where Christian schools can turn people away for rejecting their doctrine, just as gay rights groups can reject those who don’t share their beliefs. I don’t want us all to get along — not because I’m misanthropic (well, not just because I’m misanthropic), but because I know that “consensus” is usually a fancy word for muting minority viewpoints. I want us all to be free to be annoyed with each other from our separate corners. Is that too much to ask?
On the core point, Erickson is right. The coming fight is preserving what’s left of the rights of free association and conscience. That fight, in my judgment, has much more to do with the preservation of basic American liberties than the one playing out in the Supreme Court this week.
Michael Otterton, LDS Church Spokesman makes clear the views of our religion:
While we disagree with the Human Rights Campaign on many fundamentals, we also share some common ground. This past week we have all witnessed tragic deaths across the country as a result of bullying or intimidation of gay young men. We join our voice with others in unreserved condemnation of acts of cruelty or attempts to belittle or mock any group or individual that is different – whether those differences arise from race, religion, mental challenges, social status, sexual orientation or for any other reason. Such actions simply have no place in our society.
This Church has felt the bitter sting of persecution and marginalization early in our history, when we were too few in numbers to adequately protect ourselves and when society’s leaders often seemed disinclined to help. Our parents, young adults, teens and children should therefore, of all people, be especially sensitive to the vulnerable in society and be willing to speak out against bullying or intimidation whenever it occurs, including unkindness toward those who are attracted to others of the same sex. This is particularly so in our own Latter-day Saint congregations. Each Latter-day Saint family and individual should carefully consider whether their attitudes and actions toward others properly reflect Jesus Christ’s second great commandment – to love one another.
As a church, our doctrinal position is clear: any sexual activity outside of marriage is wrong, and we define marriage as between a man and a woman. However, that should never, ever be used as justification for unkindness. Jesus Christ, whom we follow, was clear in His condemnation of sexual immorality, but never cruel. His interest was always to lift the individual, never to tear down.
Further, while the Church is strongly on the record as opposing same-sex marriage, it has openly supported other rights for gays and lesbians such as protections in housing or employment.
We love you, we are sensitive to your plight of being intimidated for your beliefs. We strive to love all people, and we do openly support employment and housing rights for those of the LGBT community. We condemn acts of cruelty. But we do not, nor will we ever agree to passively approve same-sex marriages. It is my right as a member of the LDS church, an American and a woman of faith. Don’t force your agenda on me and I won’t shove my heterosexuality on you. Brother Otterton’s concluding remarks echo my own, “We hope and firmly believe that within this community, and in others, kindness, persuasion and goodwill can prevail.”