Friday, May 16, 2008

Gay Marriage in CA - Thing heat up fast

It will be an interesting next couple months. I predict a few things will come of this. Some very positive and yes some very negative.

I don't know yet how the Church will respond, but I do recall one positive of Prop 22. For years Latter-day Saints, Catholics, Evangelical Christians, Baptists etc were all divided among denominational lines. For the first time that I could recall these churches stood together for one moral cause. They were working together and not just spending time telling the other that they aren't Christian. Later this helped foster members of the these church working together informally on other community issues. Ministers met with bishops, joint service projects were planned and activities held.

In northern California, the part above Sacramento, this feeling of unity has continued. In fact while in the rest of the country when Mitt Romney was running for president and everyone was saying how it will be the evangelicals in the south that bring him down, a lot of his volunteers in NorCal, were evangelical Christians. One of them who was head of the NorCal campaign was someone I had worked with during Prop 22 who was a member of the largest Evangelical Christian Church in the area. We had met during Prop 22 and have worked on common causes in the political realm ever since. He serves as chief of staff to our assemblyman and has told me on numerous occasions that Mormons make the best volunteers.

Of course on the negative side, those inside the church who would argue that we not get involved would argue that the church shouldn't get involved in political issues, forgetting that this is a moral issue and we have a mandate not only scriptural but also from our prophet to fight for moral causes. Outside the church I'm sure that if the church gets involved again we will be painted anti-gay and homophobic. The church will again be blamed for unhappiness and hatred. No one will take the time to try to understand why the church stands for protecting families and such and we will be lumped together with groups that advocate things that are unchristlike and hateful.

This is a very poloraizing issue. One that does make those who struggle uncomfortable. Its one that does tend to draw people off the fences and pull them to one side or the other. I think that in someways its time for those of us who struggle but who have chosen to follow the path that God has set for us to stand up and show that the sin is in acting on the urges and not just having them. That you can have feelings of SGA and be faithful. In someways this could be a chance for fostering understanding. But we may need to take the lead.

I only hope that those on both sides, who are fighting for what they believe in their heart to be right will remember Pres Hinckley's statement that we can disagree without being disagreeable. I also hope that those within the church will remember that the Prophet wouldn't ask us to do something as the Prophet if it didn't come from God and he is only asking us, he isn't commanding us. We were never commanded to vote a certain way, we were asked, we were urged. Our agency was never taken from us.

Honestly if I could choose, I would like to see people be able to be happy. I don't think we should take away peoples agency and I don't know if doing things that prevent people from living in a way that is socially moral is helping. Do I think a majority of gay couples who want to marry are bad people. No I don't. This is a hard one because I do have friends who fit into this category, friends I do love and cherish.

But on the other hand I know what the First Presidency's has said and I see this as one of those, "Well God has commanded me to leave the city, I don't want to leave the city, I like it here, but its what God has asked me to do" type things. Do I have the faith to "leave the city" or do I stay and take my chances with whatever happens to the city ignoring his warning to leave. Do I follow Lehi and his family? Or do I stay and enjoy the last few days before the city is destroyed knowing that it will happen. Or do I decide that because I like the city that the warning was a false warning, then act surprised when the city is destroyed?

An interesting side note, the court not only overturned Prop 22, but it also overturned the 1978 "one man one wife" amendment. Given what is happening with the FLDS church in Texas, I wonder how this will play out here now that all forms of marriage is protected in California.


playasinmar said...

The First Presidency isn't in charge of California (or any other state for that matter).

Atheist homosexuals raising families have so little to do with you and Mormonism you should wonder why you even care to regulate their lives.

The proposed amendment is the Tyranny of the Majority plain and simple.

Superstar said...

Now imagine if riled-up church members, Baptists, and multi-denominational groups came together with as much time, effort, sign-printing, and camaraderie to just for one day work toward finding homes for all of the homeless in just one city in northern California.

In this case, the fight seems intensely personal, because the church hasn't taken such a huge role in the political process of stopping anything else that has been legalized along the way in U.S. history citing the requirement that we "take moral stands."

Gay marriage already exists in California among LDS Church members. Yet the church spends millions working to undo access to a secular--not spiritual--amalgamation of laws that provides benefits granting everything from lower auto insurance rates to immunity from testifying in a criminal case against one's significant other.

I'll say it again: GAY MARRIAGE EXISTS IN CALIFORNIA ALREADY! It's just that the gay guys are marrying women, and the lesbians are marrying men. Many of them are cheating. Many hold church callings. Some give spouses diseases. Almost all create heartache. All affect the children they have. The church does little to nothing about this. Yet it spearheads multi-million-dollar, multi-denominational activist groups fighting against homosexuals--a group of people whose interests are already mutually exclusive to the church's.

This decision might only do one thing: It might make some of the gay dads in your area think twice about getting married to a woman he'll make miserable for eternity.

When the church begins focusing on working against laws that limit family size in other countries (ones with LDS Church members), divorce laws, extramarital sex laws, child support laws, lewd acts laws (for the Larry Craigs of LDS land and beyond), I'll take them seriously when they say their priority is protecting their standards, beliefs and the LDS family.

"...we have a mandate not only scriptural but also from our prophet to fight for moral causes."

Please answer this: Why does the church ignore all these other moral causes that more directly affect real LDS families, yet fight so vigorously against gay marriage?

If a church member likes men, he likes men. You know this yourself better than anyone. The church blocking this ruling isn't suddenly going to make those feelings go away.

And since church leaders admit they believe the SGA problem to affect only a very small percentage of LDS members, why do they so visibly fight against something that has the potential to affect only a small percentage of a small percentage of the broader church population? I'd want to get the most bang for my buck if I were them, so to speak.

Here's something to nibble on: Instead of repealing gay marriage, we need to repeal divorce. That's the only way to protect the LDS belief in family.

[kɹeɪ̯g̊] said...

protecting families

That is just scare tactics, pure and simple. Opposing gay marriage never will and never has had anything to do with "protecting families". Families are in no way threatened or under attack from anything gays want or do.

The church is lying to itself and to you.

robert said...

"Honestly if I could choose, I would like to see people be able to be happy."

You CAN choose why don't you.

Trent S. said...

The First Presidency isn't in charge of California, but God is in charge of the WORLD and tells the First Presidency what to say. So if God tells us (through the FP) to do something we had better well do it, and not sugar coat it because some people will be unhappy that they are being called to repentance. Also, anyone who says otherwise or calls the FP liars needs to repent because they are not following God's Prophet, which is a sin no matter what the justification.

Superstar said...

Also, anyone who says otherwise or calls the [pharisees] liars needs to repent because they are not following God's Prophet, which is a sin no matter what the justification.

Oh ... sorry, Trent. I was just imaging your same quotes if they'd been said in the time of Jesus, who was truly radical and against the first presidency of the time.

The Impossible K said...

The post itself was insightful. The comments, I'm sorry- but I'm more than a bit chagrined at the statements being thrown out here. I have tried to see both sides of this issue clearly and I still struggle to reconcile what I feel morally and what I think rationally- one of the challenges of identifying as a liberal latter-day saint- but deep down, my testimony of this church can't take a back seat to what seems logical by the world's standards.
I don't identify as SSA, but I don't identify as straight, technically, either. I don't experience sexual attraction at all, so in a way, I feel like it would be living a lie to pretend to be "normal" and follow the pattern of courtship and marriage like we're counseled to. I think we all struggle, to some extent. I don't know how or if it compares to SSA, but I want to understand.
Living as a member of the church in this stage of the world's history is a HUGE blessing and a challenge. I understand how precious our free agency is, so I don't feel compelled to push my principles on others. But marriage is not merely an expression of sentiment. It's an eternal principle. One that's been clearly defined, by God, as exclusively between a man and woman. That's tough to accept when you don't have the "natural" inclination to follow that pattern, but we were counseled to cast off the natural man, right? Even though we can't flip a magic switch and suddenly feel attraction towards the opposite sex, we have our agency. We can choose to follow God's commandments, at least, as much as possible. What we can't do, Christ will make up for us. So in that sense, we can know for sure that the Atonement is real.
Oh, and for the record, California law already afforded gays all the legal rights associated with marriage. This current issue was all about semantics, IMO. And it overturned the voice of the voters, which I find a bit distressing.

Anonymous said...

Actually, allowing gay marriage does affect the families of everyone. But not in the way you think. The Church has a decidedly pro-family stance. Once you allow gay marriage, gay men and women can adopt children. And by definition they will be a family. At that point the Church has two options, either repeal their pro-family stance, or add an addendum to it: We are pro-family so long as it is a traditional family. That traditional family exists less and less these days. Basically the Church would lose its strong stance and become a "if and but" wishy-washy stance.

I believe a family is created by the people who participate in it and build it. The Church, the government and even your neighbors should stay out of it.

draco said...

Yes- Baptists, Catholics, Evangelicals, and Mormons all getting together to discriminate against a group with opposing beliefs- yes, that's just lovely. Let's all hold hands and hate together.

Peter said...

"Once you allow gay marriage, gay men and women can adopt children."

Gay couples already can adopt children, and have been able to for a very long time. Same gendered couples already exist, and they already have children. This is not going to increase the amount of gay couples, nor is it going to increase drastically the amount of children being raised by same sex couples. All that this will do is provide legal protections for those children and provide societal stability to help the gay couples that already exist stay together. The lives of straight families are not going to change. This isn't about forming something new, it's about protecting what already exists.