Monday, August 11, 2008

Proposition 8: Into the Fire

I dislike this topic, mostly because I know that no matter what I say, people will be offended. There is really no way to talk about the topic of homosexuality without causing a fight. Luckily, I'm a very small blog in a very small corner, so I doubt there will be too much contention. All the same, I feel compelled to share some of my thoughts on the topic. My opinions here and anywhere on my blog in no way represent the stance of the Church or opinions of her leaders. They only reflect my own thoughts as I struggle to reconcile the points made.

Tax-free Status
The first thing I'd like to address is the argument that the Church has no place encouraging its members to support Proposition 8. From what I understand, based on IRS documentation (warning: this link opens a PDF), the Church is within its legal rights to conduct limited lobbying without losing its tax-free status. Also, I've heard a variation on this argument that claims a Church has no right to tell anyone how to behave, especially those who are not members of its organization. Obviously, under free speech, any organization can say anything so long as it's not threatening or damaging, with the exception of a tax-free organization not being allowed to tell people to vote for a specific candidate without losing status. Since Proposition 8 is non-partisan, it's a non-issue according to my understanding.

Polygamy
Another complaint I've heard is that the LDS Church is hypocritical when it opposes same-sex marriage because it practiced (and still practices in a sense) polygamy. (Since this argument really has little to do with homosexuality, it is only an attack on the character of the Church. Since it is often quoted, however, I will still discuss it.) These complaints generally misquote The Family: A Proclamation to the World by claiming the Church has stated that marriage is between one man and one woman. They say they contradict themselves in the doctrine of polygamy. There are two fallacies to this complaint.

First, the Proclamation says that marriage is between a man and a woman, not one man and one woman. The statement is misquoted to begin with.

Second, even if the statement did say what some claim it says, their interpretation shows a different understanding of polygamy than what I have understood. Although a man may marry multiple women, each of those marriages is complete and whole in and of itself. There is no eternal covenant between the women. Nothing that happens between the man and one wife affects the eternal marriage between him and another wife. It is not one large marriage, but a series of several marriages, each between one man and one woman.

Blacks & the Priesthood
This common comment states that because the Church was wrong about blacks holding the priesthood, they'll be wrong about same-gender marriage. Besides the obvious logical fallacy, it assumes that the Church was wrong. I don't believe they were, in the sense that the leaders should have behaved any way other than the way they did. I believe that God's purposes were fulfilled in the timing as well as the reality of the bestowal of the priesthood. Priesthood exclusivity has precedent in scripture. Not until modern days has it been extended to all worthy male members. (This is partially why it does not trouble me that women do not hold the priesthood.) Additionally, I believe that the perfect God I believe in can work with our imperfection. He knows our thoughts, and He knew the thoughts and intents of the hearts of the men who He called to lead His Church. He called them anyways. Therefore, I can only believe that for whatever reason, whether it be to teach and instruct or for some other reason, He wanted things to happen the way they happened. I trust that those leaders were doing the best they could to follow the Lord. That is why they were chosen and anointed to serve in His kingdom at the time and in the place they were.

Gays Were Born That Way
This argument claims that gays were born with homosexual urges. Because these desires are genetically influenced, they should be encouraged to act according to those desires. I cannot swallow this argument because I was born with genetically-demonstrated depression and anger. I have spent my entire life carving myself away from these tendencies, and allowing the Lord to prune them away. Not everything we are born with is good. Some are born with homicidal tendencies. Some are born with attraction to children, or other psychoses. I don't believe that this fact means that society has to allow them that behavior.

Paired with this argument is the nature argument, which says that Bonobos and other species demonstrate homosexuality in nature. Because it is natural, it should be allowed and even encouraged. Again, I fail to swallow this argument. There are many behaviors in the animal kingdom which I do not feel humans should emulate. (Warning: the two previous links may be disturbing to some.)

Agency
Also comes the argument that fighting against same-sex marriage violates the agency of those who wish to indulge in homosexuality. Obviously, no one's agency is being violated any more than it violates the agency of a mass murderer to be thrown in prison. This stems from a common desire to equate agency with lack of consequence.

Similar to this is the claim that fighting against same-sex marriage adds to suicide rates among LDS members with same-gender attraction. I happen to know by my own experience that suicide is a choice, and falls under the laws of agency. Fortunately, I don't have to judge how capable a person is to make the decision or how accountable they are. Although I do believe there are things that can be done to help someone contemplating suicide, in the end the act itself is only between the person and God.

Opposition is UnChristlike
Again, if a person truly believes that same-sex marriage is wrong, and that acting on same-sex attraction will harm the participants as well as those around them, they have a moral obligation to speak out against it. This obligation does not eradicate the obligation to love as Christ has loved. This is one of the delicate balances found so often in the Gospel. Those who have failed this have failed to be Christlike, indeed, but it is possible to love gays and oppose their behavior. I would imagine anyone with parents, siblings, or children who have hurt themselves by their own actions can understand this.

Reproduction (added from below conversation)
I have often heard the lack of homosexual reproduction compared to heterosexual couples who are infertile or too old to procreate. I feel that is also a logical fallacy. You cannot compare the rule of one instance to the exception of another. That infertile heterosexual couples exist is undeniable, but the general rule is that heterosexual couples can reproduce while homosexual ones cannot without going outside of the bonds of marriage (or resorting to sterile fertilization.) If a heterosexual couple cannot reproduce, it is because they are different from the norm. Any actions taken to help such a couple reproduce are attempts to align them with the common situation. The reasoning that homosexual couples are no different from heterosexual couples who do not or can not reproduce is therefore fallacious.

At any rate, these are the thoughts I have had so far. I would welcome courteous comments on them.

32 comments :

  1. The Church's position is restricted, at the moment, to opposing same sex marriage. Thus, it would not preclude a same sex couple from living together in a committed relationship, the Church's position would simply not define that committed relationship as a marriage under civil law.

    Some of the arguments in your post seem to go beyond the Church's position, or at least would equally support a more harsh position. For example, given your arguments, do you think society should prohibit homosexual behavior and prohibit homosexual cohabitation? If not, why not?

    DavidH

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  2. With regard to suicide and same-sex marriage issues, I would urge you to consider this story .

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  3. I certainly and absolutely understand the stance that one need enact laws which prevent damage, especially if such damage extends beyond oneself.

    I must ask, however, a couple of questions:

    1) What damage have you witnessed, yourself, that is caused by committed homosexual couples raising families?

    2) Have you ever spent more than a collective day's time with a committed homosexual couple and their children?

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  4. Considering that ProtectMarriage.com has decided NOT to appeal the ballot language, what chance do you really see for Prop 8 to pass? I just don’t see a majority of Californians voting YES on a proposition titled ELIMINATES RIGHT OF SAME-SEX COUPLES TO MARRY.

    Once the churches realize that Prop 8 is an almost guaranteed loser, are they going to do the right thing and let their members know?

    If not, what happens after Prop 8 loses 40-60 (or worse), and then the members find out that the churches were privy all along to internal polling that predicted a crushing defeat? Do the members get their money back?

    Or do they get stuck paying for ads that were run by a campaign that knew it was going to lose but ran them anyway!

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  5. DavidH—I freely admit that my thoughts (they really aren't opinions, yet) go beyond the Church's official stance. That is why I disclaimed any relation to the LDS leaders' stances. I believe your first paragraph is in error, however. The Church teaches chastity above and beyond homosexual marriage. Any unmarried couple living together, committed or not, is considered sinful.

    I do wonder how many other members have thought about how much will have to change, now that civil marriage between same-sex people is legal. There will probably be a change in the covenants made in the temple, as well as a change in wording throughout discussions of chastity.

    As for your question, I don't know. I haven't formed an opinion. I don't think I have enough information to make an opinion on that. My post wasn't intended to judge that point, but only to present my thoughts on the common arguments against the Church's current actions in regards to Prop. 8. I will say that many people who rail against telling homosexuals what they can't do are similarly eager to tell polygamists what they can't do. I don't think it is a question of whether or not society has a right to prohibit behavior, only whether or not homosexuality should be prohibited.

    LRC—Thank you for the link. I have read this and similar stories. I have felt the same way—that I was not welcome in the body of the Church—for other reasons, and have compassion for those who feel there is no other way. I still stand by what I said. Suicide is not the fault of the people surrounding the person. Any behavior, in the end, is between God and the person alone to judge. I believe we will not be able to excuse our behavior by pointing to the actions of others. That is a sword that cuts both ways. Althought I believe this to be true, I also believe it does not excuse us from trying our best to be compassionate and loving. I know it is not an easy balance to understand.

    Chedner—Your questions are valid ones, but not ones I wish to address here. As I said, I don't feel I have enough information yet to judge whether or not society ought to allow same-sex marriage. I have no way I know of to gain that information at this time. Therefore, I am willing to follow those whose judgement I have learned to trust until I have opportunity to find out for myself.

    Chino Blanco—I don't think it matters whether or not Proposition 8 passes. The point is in the fight. I don't claim to know the mind of God, but perhaps the Lord wishes the Church to fight this right now, despite knowing it will change nothing, to prove and purify His people. Eternally speaking, winning is not nearly as important as fighting.

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  6. Thanks for your response. Perhaps I should have made my first paragraph more clear. While the Church teaches that any sexual relationship outside of heterosexual one-spouse civil marriage is sin, its political/moral position that same sex marriage should not be recognized as a matter of civil law would not prevent, as a legal (distinct from moral) matter, a same sex couple from living together in a committed relationship. And I think that is true--that is, the Church is not advocating as a political/moral matter that civil law prohibit same sex couples from living together in a committed relationship. Do you think civil law should prohibit that (in the same way, in the 19th century, federal law prohibited "cohabitation" with more than one woman)?

    DavidH

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  7. I'm taking a deep breath and diving into this discussion.

    Chedner- You asked what damage is caused by a committed homosexual couple raising a family. I don't say this to be mean or mocking but in reality there cannot truly be a homosexual family. Procreation is not physically possible.

    As said in 'The Family, A Proclamation to the World': "Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother". In the little bit of psychology I've read studies have shown that children identify and model behavior from their same sex parent. If a child has no same sex parent to model they begin to wonder their worth, their place in the world and in the family. That is just the beginning of our knowledge about family dynamics. Only God truly knows all that is involved and He says homosexuals are not to be married or to raise a family.

    In the end I'm baffled by the members of the church that insist on homosexual approval from prophets of God that have unceasingly declared it to be unlawful. If you do not believe in the reality of the prophet speaking for God how do you believe in this church?

    Again I mean no disrespect or rudeness, just putting out my ideas and in turn reading yours.

    Rain I appreciated this: "Eternally speaking, winning is not nearly as important as fighting."

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  8. SilverRain, many thanks for posting this. It's given me a lot of food for thought.

    Jendoop, I think your point about child development and parent-child dynamics is really the crux of this whole issue and I'd love to see more research on the issue.

    I must confess, though, that I think your statement about same-sex couples being unable to procreate begs the question of why we allow marriages of couples who have no intention to ever have children, or couples where one partner or the other is known to be incurably infertile.

    The answer "well, they could still have kids after the resurrection, maybe" is satisfactory when explaining the church's refusal to solemnize gay marriages. But I don't know that we ought to be passing civil laws based on what we believe will happen in the resurrection.

    My own opinion is that, for Mormons, the civil-gay-marriage debate must boil down to child development issues and the foreseeable interaction between non-discrimination law (as it will apply to gays) and religious freedom. Frankly, any arguments arising out of the former consideration would have more moral force if we as a church had taken a stand back when states were passing legislation allowing single-parent adoptions. And arguments arising out of the latter will most likely be settled by the courts, not by the voters.

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  9. JimD—Thanks for bringing up a common point I missed. Many people claim (as JenDoop) that homosexual families cannot occur because two men or two women cannot reproduce naturally. I have often heard it compared to heterosexual couples who are infertile or too old to procreate. I feel that is also a logical fallacy. You cannot compare the rule of one instance to the exception of another. That infertile couples, etc, exist is undeniable, but the general rule is that heterosexual couples can reproduce while homosexual ones cannot without going outside of the bonds of marriage (or resorting to sterile fertilization.) If a heterosexual couple cannot reproduce, it is because they are different from the norm. Any actions taken to help such a couple reproduce are attempts to align them with the common situation.

    DavidH—I still don't know if civil law should prohibit homosexual cohabitation. I would tentatively say that as long as it involves only the consenting adults, there is little can be said. The waters are less clear where minors are concerned, but they aren't exactly clear with a decently large portion of heterosexual couples, either.

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  10. SilverRain - I think such is a valid position. However, I would hope you are actively seeking opportunities to find out -- if I may recommend, find a gay couple (specifically one raising at least one child) and just spend time with them.

    Jendoop - It's rather impossible to respond to what you said without throwing out the tired rhetoric that's been stagnating for several years.

    All I can really say is that, from what Psychology and research I've studied, the children of homosexual parents fair as equally as children of heterosexual parents.

    More importantly, though, from the families (I apologize if this offends you, but the 'units of people' I have seen are, indeed, families) I have met and spoken with, I have seen extremely upstanding and good people who are raising extraordinary children.

    I much prefer to judge what is good from what is evil according to Christ's instructions in Matthew 7. I believe such is much more fundamental than relying on a prophet of God (after all, how can we know if someone is a prophet of God -- or if words spoken by a prophet is from God or from the prophet as a man -- if we don't have an even more core means of determining goodness?).

    And, indeed, from what I have seen, gay couples are producing some very, very good fruits... uh... no pun intended... and as I have yet to see anything harmful triggered by such families, I cannot view them as anything but good, and therefore, from God.

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  11. SilverRain, thanks for sharing your thoughts on this topic.

    I have come to feel that no one on either side can 'prove' to anyone else that one way or the other is preferred, because frankly, there hasn't been enough time for the fruits of homosexual marriage to bear out. The effects, whether they will be negative or positive in their net effect, probably won't be known for a generation or two. And by then it will be too late to reverse what has been done.

    Personally, I feel that the burden lies with those who want to change the norm, but that means that we all end up being part of a huge social experiment. We know marriage works for society, but how does homosexual marriage benefit a society? Do we know that it won't hurt a society? If we don't know that it benefits society in some significant way, I'm not compelled to believe something this significant should be changed.

    I don't doubt that there are upstanding citizens who are homosexuals. But to me, that doesn't mean that the net effect on society of normalizing homosexuality in this way will be positive. In other words, my personal concerns go far beyond just whether a homosexual couple can be good parents. I'm sure they can be. But that still doesn't mean that homosexual marriage will be a good thing for society.

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  12. m&m - I think you make a very valid point, specifically in the realm of normalizing homosexuality in society.

    That is, to perhaps extend what you said: if it's not harming anyone right now specifically, that we can see, then sure, let them live however they choose -- but such does not give sufficient reasoning to validate homosexuality in society.

    But if it can be shown and proven that homosexual couples are improving and building up society, then it would probably be in the best interest to normalize such. And, as you said, the burden of proof is upon the homosexuals.

    So, I do have at least one proposition to be considered for proof: homosexual couples are opening up solid, stable homes to many, many children who would otherwise grow up without a home -- and if we are to look at perhaps some of the greatest social delinquents we will see that one of the greatest things they have in common is a lack of a good, stable home.

    Normalizing homosexuality would help open up even more stable homes -- and make it easier for these homes to retain their stability -- available to raise children, again, who otherwise would be without.

    (Of course not all homosexual couples adopt but create children through scientific means... still is added, however, responsible children who have the potential to grow up and aid those in need.)

    I really think accepting, sustaining, and supporting homosexual couples could truly benefit society... of course, I could be a little biased...

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  13. Also, as far as: The effects, whether they will be negative or positive in their net effect, probably won't be known for a generation or two.

    I'm definitely not holding my breath. I doubt my future family will be validated by society and the LDS church any time soon -- if ever, I don't know. All I can do is live the best life I can live and contribute my donation to society in the hopes that it is good, worthy, productive, and conducive to universal goodness.


    ... but as far as And by then it will be too late to reverse what has been done.

    There's always repentance and forgiveness -- whichever way it goes, one side will have some guilt they'll have to take care of.

    I guess I can't speak for everyone, but I know if, down the road, I see that homosexual coupling is hazardous or detrimental in any way, I will freely give up my stance and ask for forgiveness.

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  14. chedner,
    I guess my point, though, is that individual forgiveness won't be sufficient to turn around society's momentum.

    You, yourself, could very well make positive contributions to society as an individual. And it's clear that you want to. But we are making choices here that supercede any individual life. They will affect the course of society as a whole, for generations to come, perhaps in ways we cannot foresee. That is something very significant, and simply cannot be decided by only considering what some people might do in their individual lives. (Besides, your argument doesn't consider those who will make negative choices because of this, which will surely happen. And also, we simply cannot know if this will be positive or not without trying it, and by then, we will have engaged in a huge social experiment, which to me is not what legislators should be doing anyway.

    In my opinion, we should be considering the whole, the bigger picture, and whether marriage should even be touched. What effects could this have on ____________ ...lots of things? But how we answer or address that question, of course, depends on how we feel about homosexuality at the core. If someone feels it's not that big of a deal, then having it become normalized, or taught in school, or engaged in by children, is not a big deal. For those who believe homosexuality is wrong, then that's a different story altogether.

    BTW, I don't disagree that some children will find homes because of homosexual couples, but first of all, marriage is not necessary for that to happen. And I also tend to think there will be downsides for a whole lot of children on the flip side because of the impact I think it could have on development issues and sexual confusion (already so hard on kids anyway), on school environments and teachings (some which will violate many people's religious beliefs, which can end up being a sort of reverse religious discrimination (we can't talk about God, but we can talk about things that many believe to be truly and morally wrong). But again, these are my personal feelings, and not things I can convince anyone else about.

    I also have always had to go to what SilverRain has said. For me, when the prophets speak as emphatically and clearly on something as they have about the importance of marriage as defined in the Church (between a man and a woman), then I choose to trust them , even if there isn't a study to 'prove' that they are correct. I support and sustain them as prophets, seers and revelators. By definition to me, that means that they will see and understand things that I won't, and that none of us can anticipate. Their job is to teach and to warn, and I feel my responsibility is to follow them, because I have been told by God that that is right for me to do. So in the end, that is where I am. I have thought and pondered this issue carefully for many years. The more I consider all that is going on, the more I am convinced that protecting marriage is the right thing for me to do.

    I'm genuinely sorry that that position hurts people, but this is not an issue where either side can make choices without hurting someone somewhere. We have to each act according to our conscience, according to what we believe is right.

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  15. Chedner—I have considered your proposition previously, but find myself unable to proceed. How would I go about finding this dedicated homosexual couple raising children? It's rather disingenuous to try to strike up a friendship with the sole purpose of studying their social situation, as if their relationship is some sort of scientific test tube. Should I put a classified ad in the paper? Something tells me "Curious and Ignorant LDS Seeking Dedicated Homosexual Couple for Enlightenment" wouldn't get the sort of response I'm looking for. I certainly don't and wouldn't shun the friendship of a homosexual couple, should one present itself, but I really don't see a genteel way of looking for one.

    Furthermore, as M&M has indicated, it very likely wouldn't change my stance. It would probably increase my compassion further, but even a best case scenario couldn't prove that the long-term effects of homosexual marriage are benign.

    M&M—Thank you for your comments. You clarified my feelings very well.

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  16. Your comment on suicide is chilling. How easy it seems to simply refuse to take any measure of responsibility for creating an environment that leads good people to complete despair.

    The church (as a whole, both leaders and members) is completely two-faced about the need to accept gay people. On the one hand, the church recently published a booklet that states over and over how God loves gays and wants them to live in celibacy as members in good standing. Then an apostle publishes an article in the Ensign trying to help church members understand how they accept gays in church settings, as long as the gays stay celibate and live the church's list of commandments.

    On the other hand, members like you would be just as happy that all those gays kill themselves, reasoning that it's their problem, not yours. Mormons do not accept gays, even celibate gays, and do not give them support or love or anything other than lectures about how they are defective and thus need to accept their defect and be happy as second-class members of the church.

    You said: "Although I do believe there are things that can be done to help someone contemplating suicide, in the end the act itself is only between the person and God." I have to interpret that to mean that you are giving up any sense of responsibility for the suicides of your brothers and sisters. If that's true, your hands are clean, but somehow I can't imagine that's how God wants his children to treat each other.

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  17. On the other hand, members like you would be just as happy that all those gays kill themselves, reasoning that it's their problem, not yours.

    I know SilverRain very well, and I just have to say that you have completely misread her. She is speaking the truth about agency -- no one can make anyone do anything. But that recognition does not negate the need or importance of compassion, love, and doing our best to reach out.

    I don't disagree that our culture has a way to go to match the message from our leaders, but you are pointing fingers at the wrong person about this issue, because SilverRain is a deeply compassionate and wise person, who is sensitive to people's pain.

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  18. m&m - Perhaps apparently, I'm not quite so cynical of society. However, it sounds as though you understand that your stance is theory and not proven fact -- which I think is a very healthy attitude.

    SilverRain - Yeah, I see what you're saying concerning trying to find a gay couple to befriend. Also, what I said re m&m's attitude goes for you as well.

    no-man - I understand your feelings and emotions (I've been there), but getting angry and frustrated isn't going to help anything. The thing that tends to help me calm down is remembering that 'they' (I'm speaking generally) merely do not -- and simply cannot -- understand the agony many, if not most, homosexual Latter-day Saints experience.

    And instead of saying things accusatorily [sic], it is our duty to best explain what is happening as softly as we can.

    For example, what you said, "Mormons do not accept gays, even celibate gays, and do not give them support or love or anything other than lectures about how they are defective and thus need to accept their defect and be happy as second-class members of the church." is completely true (I've been there; I've spent most of my life there)... but there's got to be a better, softer, calmer way of putting -- I, personally, do not know how to phrase it as it's still too personal right now... so I choose not to say anything.

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  19. The thing that tends to help me calm down is remembering that 'they' (I'm speaking generally) merely do not -- and simply cannot -- understand the agony many, if not most, homosexual Latter-day Saints experience.

    There is no way we can understand fully, but for what it's worth, I know there are many of us who care a great deal about reaching out to gays.

    But, fwiw, personally, I prefer not going to an 'us' vs. 'them' mentality, (or 'me'/'us' vs. 'you') because that doesn't help any of us. This is a hard enough issue without drawing arbitrary lines and creating boxes that don't necessarily exist.

    Please try to give those who aren't homosexual and those who support the prophets' position on this the benefit of the doubt. Just because someone may take the position the prophets do on doctrine doesn't mean that person doesn't care about homosexuals as individuals or don't recognize the heartrending challenge that homosexuality brings , particularly to members of the Church. Such generalizations only add pain to the challenge, rather than understanding that there ARE people out there who DO care and actually try in their spheres to reach out when they can.

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  20. Perhaps apparently, I'm not quite so cynical of society. However, it sounds as though you understand that your stance is theory and not proven fact -- which I think is a very healthy attitude.

    I do recognize this, but I think it's important to recognize that there are facts that are real about this issue, such as the fact that the voice of the people has been ignored, that even the judges weren't all agreed upon this change in law, that there are propagandists who want to milk this issue and any legal support for all its worth, that there will be issues in the schools, which will affect children, parents, and religious rights, etc. This isn't just cynicism on my part, it's to me a reaction to what I think are some real issues.

    To put it another way, I think that just because there are mixed studies on children raised by gay couples (and I realize there are) doesn't mean that there aren't legitimate concerns that imo should be addressed, but rarely are.

    All of that said, I have appreciated your willingness to engage with courtesy here and your encouragement to others to not respond with anger or harmful generalizations.

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  21. I definitely didn't mean to use 'they' in any sort of segregtional inference. It was definitely poor word choice... perhaps 'others' would have worked better -- perhaps not, I don't know. But I wasn't implying anything beyond "If you haven't been through something (anything), you don't know exactly what it's like."

    I also don't mean to ignore, downplay, or disparage the efforts being made. Like I said, things are still a little personal for me, my wounds haven't completely healed... so there's probably still some bitterness in my voice when I refer to my experiences with good-intentioned members the LDS church. I apologize for such; I'm working on it.

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  22. Like I said, things are still a little personal for me, my wounds haven't completely healed... so there's probably still some bitterness in my voice when I refer to my experiences with good-intentioned members the LDS church. I apologize for such; I'm working on it.

    I am genuinely sorry that things have been hard for you. And I can sense that you are trying, as you say. We all have a long way to go in our culture to be able to learn to reach out to one another in our differences and different trials.

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  23. No-man—I anticipated that someone would try to make it sound like my "suicide is, in the end, between the person and God" as a "I don't care, let them kill themselves," which is why I put in the sentences of "there are some things that can be done to help" and "this in no way excuses us from being compassionate and loving." You cannot legitimately try to demonize me in this way. I have faced suicide and come to my understanding through multiple close, personal experiences in both myself and in others.

    Although it is true that many Mormons do not accept gays, it is because Mormons are human. They need to learn compassion and kindness as anyone else needs to learn it. Unfortunately, the hostilities between people of opposing opinions makes it very difficult to learn compassion. It's hard to come to understand someone if they are constantly telling you what a bigot you are. I'm fully aware the same is true vice versa: it is hard to come to understand someone's position if they are constantly telling you that you are evil. That is why I'm posting my thoughts here as compassionately but unequivocally as possible.

    M&M—Thank you for the endorsement. I am gratified that you feel that way about me. I feel I still have a long way to go, though.

    Chedner—I can tell that your soul is amazing. I apologize for those who cannot yet balance compassion with conviction. If more people on both sides were as willing as you are to have intelligent, thoughtful, kind discussion, there would be far fewer hurt feelings and far more love in this world. As M&M has said, not all who support Proposition 8 and like legislature are doing so out of an intent to harm or restrict others' rights. Many of us hurt with you, but still feel that the damage done by legalizing gay marriage would be far greater than even the pain many gays feel. I understand how this sounds; it is not a comfortable feeling. I, too, have been told in the past that my personal pain weighs less than the pain of others or the consequences of my actions. I can also testify that the more those in pain realize that their only constant comfort is the Savior, the more they learn to feel God's love for them and His sorrow for their sorrows, the more bearable that pain will be. It may even go away, but I can't promise that it will, only that it will be bearable.

    Unfortunately, I find that when I hurt, I naturally tend to withdraw from that source which could comfort me best.

    Know that you are loved, and that some weep with you, even if they don't agree with you. Thank you for your comments here.

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  24. Also, an absolutely intriguing essay was written almost three years ago by Jane Galt, and was recently pointed out to me by a good friend. She does not take sides on the issue, but her thoughts are compelling.

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  25. A California MormonAug 15, 2008, 9:49:00 AM

    "For me, when the prophets speak as emphatically and clearly on something as they have about the importance of marriage as defined in the Church (between a man and a woman), then I choose to trust them , even if there isn't a study to 'prove' that they are correct."

    M&M, I think your comment above summarizes both my support and my opposition to the Church and Prop 8.

    In the end, the only real argument the church has is a religious one, the prophetic voice of warning, and for a believing Latter Day Saint that religious argument is persuasive. That is why when I enter the voting booth in November my personal respose will be in favor of the proposition.

    But a religious argument only has power for a believer. Taking a religious argument and creating a campaign to convince the public to follow us is not only wrong it is dangerous. And that is why I refuse to participate in the church's organized program of asking for specific donations, putting up signs and canvassing neighborhoods.

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  26. Carol Lynn Pearson wrote an opinion piece which appeared in today's Salt Lake Tribune. It's about stopping gay suicide and changing history for LDS gays.

    http://www.sltrib.com/Opinion/ci_10223681

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  27. To all my Catholic, Mormon and Evangelical Christian friends,


    In the spirit of negotiation and out of the kindness of my heart, I am prepared to make an offer to all of you who so fervently and passionately, in the name of religion, are supporting proposition 8.

    This is MY proposition to you:

    I would like you to allow me to have a civil union, (presently called marriage license, but you can change the name if you wish), with my partner of nine years.
    I would like you to allow me to be by her bedside, in the event that she is ever in intensive care.
    I would like you to allow me to decide, where we shall be buried.
    I would like you to allow me to have a safe home, free from pillaging, in the event that one of us should die before the other.
    I would like you to allow us to take for granted, as many of you do, all the rights that are granted to “ALL PEOPLE” in the constitution of my wonderful state of California and hopefully someday of this great nation.

    Now at this point of my offer, you are all probably wondering what’s in it for you, so here goes my end of the deal.

    To the Catholics: I promise I will never make fun of your over priced churches. I will not assume that all priests are pedophiles. I also promise that I will continue to buy those candies that your kids sell me, for some fund raising event or another. I will go to all your festivals, eat and drink excessively, and give you plenty of my hard-earned homo money.

    To the Mormons: I promise that I will never make fun of you holy underwear “garments”. I also promise that I will never bring up those little racist secrets from your past, or the fact that DNA has disproved your book’s theories. I promise I’ll try really hard not to think that all of you have fifty wives. I also assure you that when you send your missionaries to my door, on their cute little bikes, I will continue to offer them something to drink, and I will never slam the door in their face.

    To the Evangelical Christians: I promise I will never speak an unkind word again, about Tammy Faye Baker’s makeup, or her hubbies little visit to our prison system. I also promise not to laugh at the TV shows where you slap someone on the head; they fall, and are miraculously cured of what ails them. I also give you my word that if any of your leaders have encounters with prostitutes. Get busted. And cry a river of tears on TV while they ask for forgiveness. I will forgive them.

    And to all of you, I would like to give you my word of honor that I will never step foot in your religious houses of worship, even though you are constantly inviting me to come in and join your gangs.

    I am also willing to wear some form of identification, so you can cross the street if you see me on the sidewalk, or your children want talk to me, or I spend my money in your businesses. I don’t know just yet what I should wear? Perhaps a little black triangle will do.


    As you can see, I am giving you much more in my offer than I am asking for in return.

    So what do you say? Deal or no Deal?


    With much love,


    Lourdes Rivas
    Los Angeles, California

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  28. Lourdes Rivas:

    I can be as cynical as the next stereotypical homosexual... but, c'est peut-être un peu trop lourd, le cynisme là, n'est-ce pas ?

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  29. Lourdes—Opposition to same-sex marriage is not the same as wishing to deny gays bedside presence in hospitals, etc. I used to think that was what it was about, as well. I have two thoughts on what you have said, although I realize this is a formula post (the sort of which I usually delete because it is obvious trolling). First, by promising not to mock the way you have, you have mocked. Secondly, opposing same-sex marriage is not really congruent with mocking others' beliefs. You can mock all you wish, just as I can vote according to my moral compass all I wish.

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  30. I think it's also important to note that gays already have rights under CA law.

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  31. So... as I understand it... you don't want to talk about it and don't have an opinion on it, but you decided to create a lengthy post discussing your thoughts?

    You seem to be under the impression that being gay only includes the sexual aspect of a relationship. It's very different when you look at a couple and know that they truly love each other despite the harassment and hatred certain people throw at them. It reminds me of certain similarities between homosexual relationships and the early persecution faced by the Church. Except in this case, homosexuals have faced the bigotry and murders instead of running away to Utah.

    How you can worship a god that opposes love is beyond me.

    There are children out there who don't even have one parent, and you would deny them a family with two loving parents? Are you also opposed to individuals adopting children? Or widows not remarrying for the sake of the children?

    And as for the Church considering all non-married couples living together to be living in sin, if a law prohibited heterosexuals from being married, I PROMISE you, the Church would change their definition of what it means to "live in sin".

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  32. Tank—This is an old post, and I don't normally respond to such old posts, but you bring up a newly developing common argument.

    Unfortunately, acting on homosexuality IS about sex. If you can tell me that a typical homosexual couple would be willing to engage only in courtly love—that is love without physical expression—then you might have a point. I love many members of my same sex without the sexual aspect. Same-sex attraction, however, is different than that sort of love.

    But I don't believe in helpless love at all, either between same-sex partners or heterosexual partners, so that argument is also unconvincing to me.

    Additionally, there are many cases where a person might have a sexual attraction to someone unsuitable, whether the other person is married, underage, a sibling or some other taboo. Simply saying "well, these people really love each other, so it's okay" doesn't present a convincing argument. If you were to apply that argument to sibling sexual attraction, for example, it does not hold water. Never mind that the reasons for sibling sexual relations no longer apply (genetic issues) because the consequences can be easily controlled through scientific methods.

    God is a God of love, yes, but that does not condone ALL love in ALL circumstances. Love is often a masquerade for other emotions, and even when it is genuine it may not be appropriate.

    "Except in this case, homosexuals have faced the bigotry and murders instead of running away to Utah."

    Trying to disparage the pioneers by indicating they were cowards is really a silly argument to make for many reasons. You only serve to discredit yourself.

    "There are children out there who don't even have one parent, and you would deny them a family with two loving parents? Are you also opposed to individuals adopting children? Or widows not remarrying for the sake of the children?

    Again, you are throwing up red herrings that really have nothing to do with the discussion at hand. As far as I know, there is nothing prohibiting homosexuals from adopting in general as things stand now. (Though certain private agencies may not wish to adopt to homosexuals, that should be their prerogative to choose whom they are willing to adopt to.) Homosexual marriage does not need to be legalized to allow any two people to live together to raise a child.

    "And as for the Church considering all non-married couples living together to be living in sin, if a law prohibited heterosexuals from being married, I PROMISE you, the Church would change their definition of what it means to "live in sin"."

    Huh? This makes less than no sense to what I've said here. What point are you trying to make, exactly? I begin to suspect you are trolling after reading this.

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