Posted by: randommisfires | November 3, 2008

A Word -or 3000- About Gay Marriage.

I am no on prop 8.  Let the exile begin.

Yes, this is a rant.  You may read this and choose to believe that I am bordering on hysterical, but that would be untrue.  I am calm and collected, but extremely saddened by the levels of hypocrisy, homophobia, and fear mongering that have happened in the past few weeks. And no, it is not my goal to sway any opinions, simply my intent to share our experience.  Whatever you choose to do with that is up to you.

I have tried and tried to keep my family out of the line of fire in the prop 8 battle.  It was difficult for me, being that I am fine with gay marriage and outspoken and sensitive to social issues. I wanted to jump into the fray and lobby against the lies being perpetuated by the yes on 8 crowd.  I wanted to display the many resources available for anyone to look at which detail both sides of the issue and the attending arguments.  I wanted to expose the biases on both sides and be able to openly discuss the issue with respect for each other.

Of course, in the long run, that type of interaction really isn’t possible and I have contented myself with staying quiet- much to the dismay of my inner turmoil- to prevent my kids from facing the shunning and ridicule that accompanies a dissenting vote in our area.  But now I can speak out, because their friends found out they also disagree with prop 8 and are judging them anyway.

*This portion ahs been edited temporarily as I unwittingly defamed someone who is not the cause of the problem.  I will attempt to reword it for content while not actually identifying specific people*

Rather than making a big deal or trying to tell her friends that she thought they were wrong, R just chose to stay out of it.  Surprisingly, as a 14 year old girl, it was important to her that she keep her friendships no matter what her beliefs on prop 8 were. I supported her in that, knowing already how much crap she has gotten for going to college and how much crap E has gotten for having longer hair.

For my part, I have ignored arguments from people that say things like placing a boy child with 2 married gay men would be a travesty, implying that all gay men are also pedophiles.  Repulsive.  Does that make all men dangerous to children?  If we judge someone’s ability to defile a child on the basis of his sexual orientation and practices, than only celibate priests are free from the dangers of pedophilia.  Oh.  Wait.

Just because Catholic Charities chose to stop accepting state funds over placing children in homosexual homes, that does not in any way mean that those homes are unsafe for the children in question.  My cousin is gay and has been in a committed relationship for years.  At one point, quite a while ago, she realized that she had love to offer children.  Being an upstanding citizen and a kind hearted human being, she chose to become certified as a foster parent.  The last time I spoke to her, she was raising four children  who had been abused by their natural mother and removed from that home.  She and her partner offered them love, stability and a safe environment to grow up in.  These children are good people.  They didn’t have to bounce around foster homes and get addicted to drugs and alcohol and go to prison or have deep seated emotional issues as a result of the abuse their mother rained on them. Why ever in the world would we want to prevent two loving adults from giving that love to children when there are so many idiotic adults who abuse, defile, and torture their flesh and blood?

Another popular argument I keep hearing is that “being gay is a choice”.  Is it a choice for some people?  Maybe.  I, for one, refuse to judge that.  However, I have seen some recent research which would support that  homosexuality is not a choice, but a function of brain structure. And because my biases are a result of my experiences, let me relate another one.  I have a friend I have known since junior high.  We hung out together a lot for many years, until the gang separated for college and lives beyond.  We lost touch.  Thanks to social networking, we are back in touch again and one of the first things I noticed about him is that he is openly gay.  Frankly, it shocked me. Because he hid every inclination for a very long time.

“Dan” was raised in a community that was 85% Mormon.  Homosexuality was preached as a sin.  When I lived there in the late 80’s, early 90’s, it was perfectly acceptable to revile gay people.  They were whispered about, ridiculed, avoided.  “You’re such a fag” was an insult that would often be met with fighting and, “I am not!  Take it back!”.  It was socially acceptable to say mean things to and about homosexuality.  Violence towards gay people was overlooked and wasn’t prosecuted.  Why would someone make the choice to “be gay” knowing that it would lead to intense persecution and in addition, being cast out from the religion that was so integral to that community?

So, Dan never said a word.  I suspect he spent a lot of time wrestling with himself.  I would guess he prayed harder than most of us for answers and/or healing and understanding.  He did not act on his impulses, just as most of my friends were celibate until marriage.  He served an honorable mission for our church, and attended BYU, adhering to the strict moral guidelines required by that college.  He never gave any indication of the pain he felt at knowing he was different and would be reviled, possibly by friends and family.

This is not a person that woke up one day and “chose” to be different.  He tried and tried to be what his religion told him he should be.  And what were his options?  To marry someone he had no attraction for?  To spend the majority of his life ignoring a fundamental aspect of his personality?  To spend a life alone? I can’t imagine how depressing it would be. I knew from when I was little that I would have a fairytale wedding and a perfect married life.  As if that exists in the heterosexual world. I won’t even get started on the flaws in the argument that denying someone to marry protects marriage. Or on how many ways heterosexuals have made a mess out of their own marriages and left the detritus in their wake, multiple times. Like other heterosexual people, I was always allowed to be who I am in regards to whom I loved. I never faced the prospect of a life alone or on the fringe of society.

In the few minutes it took me to catch up with Dan online, I was consumed by a multitude of feelings, totally broadsided by how difficult his road must have been.  How much he endured, listening to his friends- I’m ashamed to say, myself included- make hateful jokes about gay people.  How much agony he must have been in when he finally had to admit that he could no longer conform to the standards of the religion he embraced, a religion he believed in enough to try to convert others.  What person on Earth would choose that? But now, he is happy.  He is at peace and has a fulfilling life. Who am I to tell him that’s not OK?  How would I feel if the majority voted that my temple marriage was unacceptable and would no longer be recognized or available to my children should they choose that?

I realize I am long winded on this topic.  But, tonight, my kids were “outed” in their own right.  Not for being gay, but for supporting the CIVIL rights which allow specific legal rights afforded to everyone else to also be afforded to gay people.  To be able to receive death benefits, next of kin notifications, and any of the other rights that are separate but not equal without having to broadcast to the world that they are gay, if they choose not to.  We’ve had gay marriage for months now and nothing changed. But, as the religious right, we feel it is our duty to impose our morals on an entire state.  I can’t get behind that.  I want to be free to embrace my beliefs.  If this passes, does that mean that a majority of men could decide that the real problem with America stems from the ability for women to vote and hold office?  Could they mobilize and raise funds and campaign under the belief that traditionally in this country, voters were male so we should return to that?

For being compassionate, for being diligent enough to research both sides of the issue and form an opinion based on both religion and rhetoric from both sides, my children are now being shunned by the church kids they hang out with.  And not even for being gay.  They are being ostracized for having an opinion that differs from the majority.  They are being shunned for choosing not to participate in heated debates which spread fear and hate to another generation.  They are judged for their compassion, the same compassion they learned in their church classes.  And then, upon being outed, were told that if they know they don’t have the same opinion as everyone else, they should keep their mouths shut.  As if they had been discussing this with anyone besides one or two close friends.  Who betrayed that trust.  If you disagree, just shut up.  A lovely lesson to learn at 14 and 12.

So apparently, Jesus said love everyone.  Except gay people.  And, don’t bother loving those who disagree with prop 8- even if they’re too young to vote- because they are probably gay anyway.  They might even be left handed.  Or witches.  Or followers of Satan.

Let me say again, I am not asking anyone to change their opinion.  I am mostly throwing up my feelings into a very disjointed blog post because I can without additional damage to my kids. However, I stand by my point of view.  I see nothing wrong with allowing gay marriage.  I think our economic problems are going to lead to the destruction of our Empire far sooner than any sexual practices, and that financial hedonism is far more dangerous than sanctioning a legal marriage between any two consenting adults.  Unless they are stupid.  But that’s a whole different blog post.

I will delete comments that show hate or attempt to inflame the issue.  There have been enough casualties in this battle already.

Also, I’ve already been told I openly oppose God, that I am on the side of Satan, that I deserve to be excommunicated, and that I will certainly lose my temple recommend.  So there’s no need to go there either. And that was when I was keeping my mouth shut!

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Responses

  1. I am also voting no on 8. I personally know of maybe two other people, besides you, who are voting this way and will say so.

    The hate that surrounds this issue is surprising. But I am absolutely shocked and disgusted that this is affecting your kids. That’s a whole new level of infuriating.

  2. First let me say that I am very sorry for the offensive behavior that you described in your post. I do have a question, though. I assume that you are LDS and active in the church (since you send your kids to seminary), so what do you think about the prophet’s letter counseling all members to support Proposition 8? I’m not trying to accuse you of anything or judge you (trust me, I’m not a perfect member of the church), I’m just curious to hear your thoughts because I don’t personally know any members that are opposed to Prop 8.

  3. In the letter read from the pulpit, the specific words are:

    “We ask that you do all you can to support the proposed constitutional amendment by donating of your means and time to assure that marriage in California is legally defined as being between a man and a woman. ”

    It turns out that “all I can do” is nothing. I, as a human being who has always been compassionate for others cannot support a measure that makes no sense to me. I am at peace with that, especially when President Monson stated in a press conference that he recognizes there will be members who disagree and the church bears them no ill will. Also, there is this statement:

    “Latter-day Saints are free to disagree with their church on the issue without facing any sanction”, said L. Whitney Clayton of the LDS Quorum of the Seventy. “We love them and bear them no ill will.”

    I suspect that I have read more documents on both sides of the issue than most members and feel at peace with my decision.

    I don’t believe that the Prophet’s call to action was intended as fuel for the anti-gay rhetoric it has turned into in our area- and probably state wide.

    I have also not contributed or actively campaigned for the no side. Considering how strongly I feel about it, I figure that has to earn me points somewhere too. 🙂

  4. I feel split on the issue; I agree with you on most points, but disagree on some points. However, I congratulate you for standing your ground amid the persecutions. THEY may feel that they are in the right for taking their stance, but they are WRONG in the way they have treated you and your family for your stance.

    There’s the old Primary song: Jesus said love everyone, treat them kindly too./ When your heart is filled with love others will love you.

    Maybe that only applies to certain people…

  5. But Prop. 8 really isn’t about homosexuality. It’s about what marriage is, and what it isn’t. People who choose to live a homosexual lifestyle are free to do so. I personally haven’t witnessed the hate that some of you refer to, but I don’t doubt that in some cases it may be felt by people on both sides of this issue, even though that shouldn’t be.

  6. No matter what prop 8 was intended to be about, it most certainly has become anti-gay in our area. Everyone vocally supporting the yes side that we have heard speak speaks with a disdain for gay people and their lifestyle that has nothing to do with the agenda on the ballot.

    I have been in the room when teenagers said something unkind about homosexuality and none of the local leaders said anything about it’s inappropriateness. I said nothing because I expected the parent of the child to. I have no idea why.

    I have heard too many references to “the gay agenda” and the rapid decline of our society if homosexuality is sanctioned, from people who live in a state where it already is acceptable based on the domestic partnership laws and the discrimination laws.

    Maybe it’s supposed to be about marriage, but the Yes side has no stuck to that in their discussions and postings around the web. I’m not saying the No side has, and I’m not defending their rhetoric and behavior either. I’m simply saying that I don’t see a huge conflict, even down the road, and I don’t appreciate feeling like as a family, we are being attacked for an opposing view. Especially when much of the attacking comes from teenagers who are being fed political misinformation in their religious classes.

  7. M. The pure love of Christ transcends voting preferences…you are loved, my sweet friend….always and forever…

  8. Interesting insight … someone forgot to teach those kids that you love people … when you don’t you miss out on fantastic friendships and oppertinities. Sorry you kids are paying the price for looking at the whole situation and then choosing to follow what Christ taught and love the person. Everyone needs to learn that sometimes you love the person first … even when you don’t agree with their actions. WHAT EVER those actions might be

  9. prop 8 is no more about protecting marriage than the phrase “gay lifestyle” is about any kind of substantive identifier of homosexuals; they’re both about homophobia. there is no possible ramification of “gay marriage” that could harm any other marriage or children or the practice of religion. only intolerance and discrimination can do those things. and of the two possible positions on this issue, only those who are voting yes are voting for intolerance and discrimination no matter how much they try to spin it to make it look like a “no” vote is a vote for those things.

    and for what it’s worth, i’m an active member of the LDS church in good standing. at my last temple recommend interview i told my stake president that i disagreed with the church on this issue and he had no problem signing a recommend for me. my bishop has been enormously compassionate and understanding. but beyond a handful of members who have been kind and loving, i have been told that i am sinful, influenced by satan, should leave the church, have been deceived, etc., etc. by everyone from perfect strangers to family members. and for what? because i disagree with the church.

  10. Even if the original intent behind Prop 8 was to preserve the traditional definition of marriage, the message has become largely anti-homosexual. As M has pointed out, many individuals supporting Prop 8 have demonstrated bigotry and homophobia, whether they realize it or not. But beyond that, the Yes on 8 campaign itself has promoted several talking points that go beyond just protecting the traditional definition of marriage.

    I fully support the Church wanting to protect families, and have no problem with them taking a stance against gay marriage. But unfortunately there has been a huge disconnect between the original intentions and the actual message that’s being delivered at the grassroots level. It’s also unfortunate that as members, we’ve become the largest contributors to a campaign that has released intentionally misleading and exploitative ads, and whose other supporters include hate groups whose previous (and presumably future) targets include, among others, *us*.

    That’s all bad enough. But now, I’m absolutely sickened by the fact that my sweet, gifted, loving, *amazing* daughter, who has always struggled to fit in, and who only wants to be accepted for who she is by her peers, and who is *not gay*, has felt like she couldn’t attend seminary or church, has felt like she couldn’t even talk about this outside her family, and who, after having an indiscreet friend share her feelings with others, was told that since she’s not “with them”, she should just shut up.

    Apparently members are fine with selectively listening to the prophet: “Church members […] should approach this issue with respect for others, understanding, honesty, and civility.”

  11. You are not alone in your views. According to the news items I have seen, Steve Young’s wife is against Prop 8 and is speaking out.

  12. There are also plenty of attacks coming from the “No on 8” side, which are completely unfounded. For example, simply taking the position that homosexual practices are not morally right isn’t to be homophobic, bigoted, hateful, unloving, or discriminatory. We can love people, even though our views are different than theirs. I believe that Christ loves us all, but at the same time, He Himself says that He “cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance.” By believing that, we aren’t forcing our religious views on other people; we are simply choosing to stand for what we believe is right. But there is an effort by the same- sex marriage proponents to prevent people from exercising their right to stand for what they believe, by calling it disriminatory. That simply isn’t a just accusation, but we’ll no doubt see a lot more of that (in the form of litigation) if Prop 8 does not pass.

  13. Random Misfires,

    Thank you for responding to my question. I wasn’t aware of the statements that you referred to and what you said does make sense. I do hope that you are mistaken about the anti-gay sentiment that you have experienced being statewide. I personally haven’t seen much of that, but I do live in a fairly “liberal” area. One good thing that has come out of the debate over Prop 8 is that I have come to know some new gay friends (even if they are just “online friends”) and have been able to see their perspective more clearly. I think loving someone means that you can still be friends, even when you disagree about something that is important to both of you. Thanks again for sharing your thoughts.


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