I've been meaning to write my feelings about California's Proposition 8 which is trying to ban same-sex marriage in that state. The LDS Church, of which I am still a member, has put a lot of money and manpower into trying to get Californians to pass the bill.
Jonah and I have set a date to get married on December 31 in Orange County, so obviously I am hoping the proposition is defeated. I am sad that my church has put so much time, money, and blatant political effort into passing a bill that I disagree with. I am not surprised, though. The LDS Church is very focused on marriage between man and a woman being an eternal and moral principle, and they do not believe that man has the right to to try and monkey around with an eternal law.
My position is that even if same-sex marriage is wrong in the eyes of God, a man-made law isn't going to alter that nor will it force the LDS Church to have to abide by it. I just want to be married to the person I love and have the same rights and privileges that come with that. I know my religion doesn't see it that way, and I can respect that.
I refuse to get on the LDS Church-bashing train, though. Many of my gay friends see it as a personal attack on them, and perhaps they are right to feel that way. Regardless of the fact that my religious leaders and some of my fellow members are trying to pass a law that I disagree with, I do respect their right to fight for what they believe in just as I am trying to fight for what I believe in.
In spite of differences of opinion, I do love my religion and all it has taught and given me throughout my life. I still enjoy being a part of it. I hold no malice towards it. But it is true that I do not always agree with the way things are handled, and this is one of those times.
I do not claim to know with absolute certainty God's mind or his will concerning me. I do know with absolute certainty that since I found Jonah and since I came out of the closet, I am far happier than I was when I was trying so hard to live in the "Mormon box," as I call it. How that will affect me in the afterlife remains to be seen. But right now my life is very good, and I do not regret the decisions I've made regarding my relationship with Jonah and my coming out. I am trying my best to live as good a life as I can, and I am trying to live according to what I believe is true and good the best way I know how. I would like marriage with my partner to be a part of that. I hope I can marry Jonah legally in California, and I hope one day that right will be allowed to all gay couples in all states. If Proposition 8 passes, Jonah and I will have a commitment ceremony here in Utah. No matter what, it will not diminish the love or devotion we already have to one another.
So many people are scared of giving gays and lesbians the right to marry. We're truly no different than our heterosexual counterparts. We just want to live, love, and grow old together like everyone else.
I found an interesting quote from a talk Thomas S. Monson gave at the April, 2005 conference. The entire talk can be found here, but here's the quote:
"Several years ago we had a young paperboy who didn't always deliver the paper in the manner intended. Instead of getting the paper on the porch, he sometimes accidentally threw it into the bushes or even close to the street. Some on his paper route decided to start a petition of complaint. One day a delegation came to our home and asked my wife, Frances, to sign the petition. She declined, saying, "Why, he's just a little boy, and the papers are so heavy for him. I would never be critical of him, for he tries his best." The petition, however, was signed by many of the others on the paper route and sent to the boy's supervisors.
"Not many days afterward, I came home from work and found Frances in tears. When she was finally able to talk, she told me that she had just learned that the body of the little paperboy had been found in his garage, where he had taken his own life. Apparently the criticism heaped upon him had been too much for him to bear. How grateful we were that we had not joined in that criticism. What a vivid lesson this has always been regarding the importance of being nonjudgmental and treating everyone with kindness."
Some of us in this world are "little paperboys" who have tried our whole lives to get that damn "paper on the porch," but we just can't do it. The "papers are so heavy" for us, and even though some people wish we could get it on the porch, sometimes the "bushes" or the "street" are all we can manage. Please don't sign a "petition" that will diminish us further.
How's that for metaphorical overload? ;-)