Dear Writers of the 100 Hour Board,
What are your thoughts on gay marriage? How did you feel about the new Supreme Court ruling? As many opinions as possible would be appreciated :) I'm a huge fan of equality, and believe every person deserves to be treated with fairness and respect, not just by individuals, but also by institutions and the government. But I also believe that prophets throughout all time have warned of the consequences of institutionalizing sin (I don't think being LGBTQ is a sin, by the way, but breaking the law of chastity sure is), and they've stressed the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman, so I guess I'm trying to see both sides of the issue more clearly to figure out where exactly I stand. Thanks!
Dear Fence Sitter,
If you are fence sitter, I guess my place in the fence analogy (when it comes to gay rights) would be this:
I tear down my part of the fence and use the wood to build a treehouse where I sit comfortably, sipping on some lemonade, watching the two sides fight with each other below. Then I get bored and start trying to find shapes in the clouds.
The one thing I do have in my treehouse of political indifference is a solid belief in The Family: A Proclamation to the World. Marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God. I believe that with my whole heart and I worry about the direction in which our nation is headed. But I also understand that not everybody shares my views, and that's where it gets complicated. Hence the treehouse.
Dear Fence Sitter,
I am dismantling my part of the fence and using it to add to the treehouse of indifference. Soon, the masses will see how wonderful it is and join us, tearing down all the fences in the world and creating the ultimate treehouse utopia. We'll spend our days drinking lemonade and reading literature in hammocks and discussing said literature over dinner and roasting marshmallows at night while we tell Greek myths while looking at the constellations and everything will be amazing.
Or the masses will keep doing what they're doing and it'll just be a few of us. What with it being the treehouse of indifference, we don't really mind either way.
I do believe that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God, but based on my understanding of current events and attitudes, I was pretty sure the motion was going to pass. Frankly, I think the only consequence of legalizing gay marriage is that gay people are going to get married, but I'm no political scientist.
I heard the announcement on the radio while I was driving to work. To my surprise, I actually teared up. I consider this a landmark moment in the history of civil rights in America. My only regret is that I have been too afraid of my family and my peers at BYU to take a stronger stand for what I sincerely believe is right.
My relationship with this issue is complicated. On one hand, I find it hard to personally condemn homosexuality the way the Church does. I don't get it. I think that logical arguments in defense of traditional marriage fall well short of a justification for enshrining it in law. That part of me wants to celebrate the triumph of equality and love along with much of the rest of the world.
On the other hand, I aspire to the kind of faith that Haleakalā has, the kind that would allow me to say, "The logic is unappealing and I don't understand why, but I'll follow the prophet because I trust that Heavenly Father knows what he's doing." If God says that acting on same-gender attraction is a sin, I want to be able to be on His side. That part of me wants to be sad over further evidence that society is increasingly distancing itself from the commandments.
So I'm a bundle of contradictions.
Even if brought myself to fully embrace the Church's doctrine on homosexuality, however, I've never believed that government should have the power to deny same-sex couples the right to marry. This stems partly from my religious beliefs and partly from my perception of the role of government: knowing that agency is so vital to the plan of salvation makes me extremely wary of denying people the ability to choose, and believing that government is supposed to treat all people equally and guarantee freedom of (or from) religion makes me wary of trying to impose my standards on others. I don't think this is a war that can be fought on a legal front, and I think the Supreme Court ruling is a victory for agency and freedom.
I actually agree with Tally M. that the government should concern itself only with "unions" and leave "marriages" to the churches. Like Haleakalā, I am also concerned with how the gay rights movement has in general had little tolerance for the religious beliefs of those who oppose it.
Dear Amy and Rory,
It's a debate of semantics.
I believe "marriage" is between a man and a woman.
However, I also believe that there should be no legal reason that two people who have decided to enter into a union should not receive the benefits of such a union, especially when not everyone believes the same way I do.
So, on one hand, it's a good thing. But I would've preferred for a complete revamp of the system that would separate marriage and unions, leaving the former to churches and the latter to the government.
Dear Fence Sitter,
I'm basically where you are. Personally, I've found that the purely logical part of my brain finds little rational basis to deny gay couples the right to marry. It also finds the Church's logic unappealing. If the issue really is having children raised by heterosexual couples, there are so many more issues for the Church to worry about first. For example, nearly one third of young couples have some kind of issue with infertility. One third! Shouldn't we have people compare their medical histories before getting married?
That having been said, I take on faith what I don't yet understand, so I still believe (and vote as if) gay couples should not have the right to marry. I think your analysis is correct; the Prophet has been very clear that the Church opposes legal recognition of same-sex couples, so I'm confused by those who say they follow the prophet by believing homosexuality is wrong, but support gay marriage. Are they just unaware of what the Church has actually said?
Anyway, for these reasons the changing definition of marriage itself has never been a huge motivator for me. I'll vote against, but honestly don't really care that much about, the expanded definition of marriage. What does bother me with this political movement is the process by which gay marriage has become legal and the implications for religious liberty.