Years ago I participated in an online discussion forum for members of the LDS Church who “struggle” with “same-sex” or “same-gender attraction”. A member of the discussion forum shared an epiphany with the group that went something like this (not an exact quote):
I finally understand. The reason God has asked his prophets [leaders of the LDS Church] to speak out against same-sex marriage is because if same-sex marriage is allowed then God’s children will have fewer families to be born into.
To set the stage a little, not all faithful members of the LDS Church agree with the movement to stop same-sex marriage from becoming legal, and this is particularly true among faithful members of the Church who identify as gay, lesbian, and same-sex or same-gender attracted. I was met with some hostility when I pointed out the epiphany wasn’t logical. I think I was accused of being apostate because I didn’t agree with the logic.
I understand the author was likely speaking of the possibility that if gay marriage becomes legal, then quite possibly some men (gay) and women (lesbian) who would otherwise pursue opposite-sex marriages might pursue same-sex marriages instead. But the argument isn’t really logical because whether or not same-sex marriage is legal, straight couples (at least the ones who can and choose to along with the few accidentals) will continue to have children. In other words, the number of existing straight relationships will probably not increase of decrease when already existing gay relationships are legally recognized. Maybe there’s something I’m not understanding, so please comment if you would like to add to the discussion.
While discussing this on Facebook, someone pointed out the same argument (quoted above). I really like the response a friend made to this argument (minus Katy Perry being spoken of in bad light):
[Kim Kardashian, Sinead O’Connor, and Katy Perry] each publicly married and then publicly divorced in really short time (72 days, 18ish days, and a year or something like that). Those people threaten and destroy the sanctity of marriage and the sanctity of families. I’m not sure how you and Dan’s committed relationship affect my relationship with my spouse or theoretical children or the sanctity of my marriage.
Why is this discussion relevant? Dan talked about this in a beautiful post about my family and how relationships are often challenged because of the teaching of principle of tough love. Perhaps “tough love” is destroying families more than my relationship to Dan is destroying families. An anonymous blogger shared his fear that as the Church continues to argue that gay relationships are destroying families, families with a gay member will continue to be destroyed. Perhaps lobbying against certain kinds of families is destroying families. Years ago I participated in a discussion with a family who lost a family member to suicide. The note the family member left suggested he committed suicide due to the Church’s participation in the political process and ensuing discussions that took place within the walls LDS chapels. They were brought to tears when they talked about what it was like when they learned the Church was advocating for Prop. 8 and encouraging members of the Church to get involved. They worried that more gay Mormons would commit suicide. They were also deeply conflicted: they support the leaders of the LDS Church as their spiritual leaders but they also lost a child because of the Church’s involvement.
This discussion is also relevant because Republican presidential candidates are making similar arguments. Freedom to Marry asserted that Perry, Romney, and Gingrich (respectively) “declared that committed couples wanting to marry are part of a war against religion”, adoption agencies would be shut down if they don’t adopt out to same-sex couples, and that it is not possible to comprehend gay families as families so “we want to make it possible to have those things that are most intimately human between friends”. Rick Santorum is the poster child for the Republican party claiming he will forcibly divorce gay married couples.
Maybe the real threats to religious freedom, family, and child birth are not gay couples, but the people fighting against gay couples. In other words, maybe fighting against my freedoms decreases your freedoms: you can still have babies and go to church while Dan and I go to school, pay our bills, and file our (separate-but-equal) tax returns.
Finally, this discussion is relevant because, let’s be honest, the arguments against same-sex marriage aren’t really about adoption rights, the first amendment, or even tradition, as Cary Crall posited in BYU’s Daily Universe (which, of course, was later pulled from the paper). Crall asked what it’s all about and asserted:
The real reason is that a man who most of us believe is a prophet of God told us to support the amendment. We must accept this explanation, along with all its consequences for good or ill on our own relationship with God and his children here on earth. Maybe then we will stop thoughtlessly spouting reasons that are offensive to gays and lesbians and indefensible to those not of our faith.
If it is your belief that God doesn’t want same-sex marriage, come out of the closet and say so. I’m okay with that. You must also realize that even if that is your belief, we live in a pluralistic society; not everyone shares your beliefs and it is not okay to require that everyone uphold your beliefs. If same-sex marriage becomes legal, you can still have babies and go to church.