Here’s an experience from a former (gay) Mormon and his efforts to help Minnesotans United for All Families ban a proposed constitutional amendment (similar to Prop. 8 in California) in his state. A commenter asked how he feels about opposing his church’s (the LDS Church) efforts to ban same-sex marriage–or rather how he can “feel so warmly” towards a church that treats him and his husband like second-class citizens.
Considering the question for myself makes me a little emotional. It reminds me of how I felt when I really examined questions about blacks in the early church. I felt like I had been lied to by a trusted friend, like I had been deceived. There I was in church hearing one side of the story while others documented their side of the story, which is far more compelling. My answers to the questions above tend to be pretty negative, but here’s what the blogger had to say:
I love and want to be a part of the LDS Church for the same reason that I want to be married: because I have faith in our ability to grow and become better, more loving people through the commitments we make to each other. Both forms of commitment are an expression of my faith in and love for God.
I guess that’s a pretty fair statement. Through our commitment, Dan and I have become better people. We’ve grown closer and more committed. To those who want to become better people through their commitment to their respective churches, I salute and support you. As you commit to your church, please consider how your faith might impact the extent to which gay couples can commit.
Just like members of the LDS Church in California were urged to vote Yes on 8, members in Minnesota are being urged to vote in favor of a constitutional amendment that affirms one-man, one-woman marriages are the only marriages to be recognized in Minnesota. A blogger in Minnesota shared her experience when the letter was read over the pulpit:
“I have a letter to read from the stake presidency”. Those words rarely precede anything good in my experience. Such was the case last Sunday. Typically, edicts come down from the LDS first presidency (the head honchos in SLC). So whatever came next was going to be Minnesota related. That could only mean one thing. dun dun DUUUUN… WE CAN’T LET THE GAYS DESTROY THE FAMILY!
I could feel my blood pressure rising as I braced myself for whatever rhetoric was about to be unleashed. The gist of the letter was an explanation of the ballot initiative next November – if it passes, the state constitution would amend article XIII to read, “Only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Minnesota.” The letter did not come out and say which way to vote but the underlying message was clear. We were advised to remember the family is a fundamental unit of society and to read the Proclamation on the Family and prayerfully consider how to get involved. It concluded with a reminder that church buildings and directories are not to be used for political purposes – with this caveat – unless otherwise directed.
She also recalled that church members were encouraged to support DOMA, which I didn’t know. So, to my knowledge, the LDS Church has encouraged its members to vote against gay marriage in Hawaii, California, Minnesota, and it sounds like everywhere else when DOMA was up for debate.
It is important to be informed on issues that take away rights from others. If you’re LDS/Mormon, again, consider how your votes will impact other peoples’ lives and relationships.