The same-sex marriage debate has been going on since I was a kid and ever since Prop 8 it has been in the forefront of the political sphere.
I would ask that you please read my entire article before you draw any conclusions about whether or not I fall into the category of people you disagree with. This blog is read by both liberals and conservatives and as I am not a cookie-cutter anything I imagine that all of you will, at some point, both agree and disagree with me.
I am a faithful member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I am not a spokesman for the church and I do not speak officially for it. I am only a woman with a testimony of the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. You can read the church’s official position on same-sex marriage here. The official website states:
Few topics are as emotionally charged or require more sensitivity than same-sex attraction. This complex matter touches on the things we care about most: our basic humanity, our relationship to family, our identity and potential as children of God, how we treat each other, and what it means to be disciples of Christ.
Where the Church stands:
The experience of same-sex attraction is a complex reality for many people. The attraction itself is not a sin, but acting on it is. Even though individuals do not choose to have such attractions, they do choose how to respond to them. With love and understanding, the Church reaches out to all God’s children, including our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters.
In an effort to help explain this position, I would like to share a portion of The Proclamation to the World that was given to us in 1995 by our Prophet Gordon B. Hinkley.
ALL HUMAN BEINGS—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.
… THE FAMILY is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities.
A few years ago there was a petition that was brought to the leadership of the church requesting that it we recognize and accept same-sex unions and relationships. In response to the petition the church issued this statement:
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.
The Church’s doctrine is based on love. We believe that our purpose in life is to learn, grow and develop, and that God’s unreserved love enables each of us to reach our potential. None of us is limited by our feelings or inclinations. Ultimately, we are free to act for ourselves.
The Church recognizes that those of its members who are attracted to others of the same sex experience deep emotional, social and physical feelings. The Church distinguishes between feelings or inclinations on the one hand and behavior on the other. It’s not a sin to have feelings, only in yielding to temptation.
There is no question that this is difficult, but Church leaders and members are available to help lift, support and encourage fellow members who wish to follow Church doctrine. Their struggle is our struggle. Those in the Church who are attracted to someone of the same sex but stay faithful to the Church’s teachings can be happy during this life and perform meaningful service in the Church. They can enjoy full fellowship with other Church members, including attending and serving in temples, and ultimately receive all the blessings afforded to those who live the commandments of God.
Obviously, some will disagree with us. We hope that any disagreement will be based on a full understanding of our position and not on distortion or selective interpretation. The Church will continue to speak out to ensure its position is accurately understood.
You can listen to the entire statement here:
I do believe that all human beings – male and female – are children of God and each and every one of us are endowed with gifts and talents. I believe that gender is an essential characteristic and as such, I am greatly troubled by the continued push by radical feminists to emasculate men and I am equally bothered by the push to put women in situations where they are in far greater danger than men would be, in all in the name of “equality”.
I also believe that the family is the most important social group in the world and the impact that the family dynamic has on the world is far greater than any other organization or group and as such, must be defended. I do believe that children have a right to be born to a family with a mother and a father and that successful marriages rely on far more than sex.
Due to the physical, psychological, and societal effects; and the wondrous life-giving power that it has; I believe that any sexual activity outside of marriage is wrong. Within the bounds of matrimony, sex is a wonderful way to strengthen your relationship, express love, devotion, and support for your spouse; not to mention the reproductive power that comes with it.
I believe that each person is a son or daughter of God with gifts and talents to share. Each of us has something to offer society and each of us has our own personal struggles.
Someone’s sexual identity is just a very small part of their human identity! No one should be judged on it and I find the idea that sexuality must be a defining characteristic offensive. I have known several homosexual and bisexual people in my life. I have really liked some of them and I have really not liked some of them. Whether or not I respect and admire someone or whether or not I enjoy someone’s company has absolutely nothing to do with their sexuality and everything to do with their personality.
As a mother of five and a homeschooler living in New Jersey, I live a very different lifestyle than my peers. When people see my family and hear about our life I have met everything from smiles and vague support to open hostility. Yes, I live in a world where people are offended that I have as many kids as I do, that I homeschool and **gasp** that I DON’T have a nanny (shocking, I know). Do I care? Nope. I don’t need their permission or approval to live the lifestyle that my family has chosen and that we are compelled to lead. All I ask is that you respect that we are entitled to make our own decisions and leave my family be.
Similarly, my belief that marriage should be between a man and a woman shouldn’t offend you because you don’t need my permission or approval to live your life. We can disagree on this subject and still be friends. You are free to act for yourself. I am not trying to criminalize anything (in spite of what is making the rounds on Facebook, that was NEVER the on the table). You are free to enter into whatever agreements and contracts you want, and call yourself by whatever title you want… why does it need to be ok for ME for it to be ok with YOU?
I know that my religious beliefs will have almost zero influence on someone who doesn’t share them but there ARE some logical, common sense questions that need to be addressed. As I mentioned in a recent post, “It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are 20 gods, or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.” Basically, I don’t really care what you do as long as it doesn’t infringe on my rights.
So here is where it gets sticky. This is where I would like to throw my hands up and say “It’s NOT that easy!”. I want to ask supporters of same-sex marriage a few questions.
- Will the leaders and bishops of my church be forced to perform same-sex marriages under threat of revoking the legal authority to perform marriages at all? How do you intend to prevent that from happening? As it is we are already under fire for merely having a different opinion.
- Would same-sex couples fall under the umbrella of affirmative action which would then make it much more difficult for heterosexual couples to adopt children or become foster parents? All things being equal should a child go to the loving and financially stable heterosexual couple or the loving and financially stable homosexual couple? People will give you anecdotal evidence of a tiny orphan who is forced to live with an abusive heterosexual couple instead of in a loving and stable homosexual couple’s home. That is not what I’m talking about. Of course any loving home is better than no home. What will be the result when the only difference between the couples is that one is same-sex and one is traditional? If the child ends up going to to traditional couple then there WOULD be discrimination even though there is more than enough evidence show children need both a mother and a father. How do you plan on handling this legal nightmare?
- Will private, religious universities with married student housing be forced to allow same-sex couples to live in their married housing even though they are not living in accordance with the faith?
- Will the insurance providers be forced to pay for surrogacy and/or sperm and egg donations in order for same sex couples to have their own children?
- Would the businesses and service providers be protected from litigation for not wanting to use their services for same-sex weddings (I can give you the answer to this one, nope. Photographers, cake decorators and wedding planners are already being sued for this very thing.)
- How do you intend to hand custody battles between biological and non-biological relatives in the case of death or divorce? A Florida judge just approved the listing of THREE parents on a child’s birth certificate. The more people you need to create a family the more complex things get when/if things go south. As the estimated 50% divorce rate among heterosexual couples will show, people stop loving each other all the time. What sounds warm and fuzzy right now will be a nightmare later for the child when he has three or more parents, grandparent and other guardians pulling him in opposite directions.
- Is polygamy now on the table as well? If not, why not?
I realize that some of these questions might seem offensive or you may think I am naive for asking them, but I am long past the time in my life when I can look only at the immediate consequences of an action. I am perfectly willing to admit that if same-sex marriage were legalized under the federal government that it wouldn’t drastically change my personal life right now. But what happens 15 years from now when the full effects are coming to light? Can you promise me that it will neither pick my pocket nor break my leg? From where I am sitting I don’t see how that is possible. Those with an agenda will not stop at with the Supreme Court’s ruling. They will not stop until every single church and organization embraces same-sex marriage and therefore thoroughly stomping out my right to the free exercise of my religion and that is why I will continue to defend traditional marriage.
You see this isn’t about bullying or denying people’s right to love each other. No one is saying you can’t love whomever you want to and you do have the right to act for yourself. I think we can all agree that there is absolutely no justification for hatred and abuse. It’s about protecting the rights of EVERYONE, not just those who agree with you.
As always, keep your comments respectful of other people’s views :) Hostile comments will be deleted.