Saturday, December 21, 2013

On Gay Marriage

Today I was walking through Kohl's doing some shopping happily humming along to the Christmas music piped in from the speakers overhead when I decided to check Twitter just to see what was going on.  Twitter had metaphorically blown up with the news that a US District Court Judge had ruled on a portion of the Utah State Constitution which declared that marriage was only between a man and a woman; the judge had decided that this is unconstitutional. As I read on I found that all but four counties had started issuing marriage licenses to gay couples and Salt Lake Mayor Becker had married one or two couples.  There were cries that those four counties were backwards, hateful, too Mormon-y, etc.

Here are my two thoughts that occurred in rapid succession:  1. Complete and utter sadness and 2. it's not a law nor legal yet and only one judge had ruled on it so those counties who HAD issued marriage licenses were soon going to be faced with some very angry gay couples.

I am going to address the first thought in this blog post.  I will be turning off the comments.  I will delete comments on Facebook.  I will not address comments on Twitter.  I won't respond to text messages.  I don't care what you think of me or my blog post.  Stop following me, unfriend me, slam your door in my face--I don't give a shit. Because as part of the silent majority I will be heard on MY terms.

About 6 or 7 months ago I was pondering gay marriage.  I was listening to all sides of the coin--it should be legalized, it should be banned; it's constitutional, it's unconstitutional; it's against the commandments, God loves all of His children and wants them to be happy (which I really, truly believe); etcetera.  I was hearing what those in the gay community had to say.  I was listening to our Church leaders.  I was listening to the Pope.  I was listening to the government, friends, relatives, etc.

The reason I was pondering this position at that time was a because of an old friend of ours who lives in Illinois.  My husband went to grad school with him in Marriage and Family Therapy.  After we had left the area he and his wife stayed there and made their home.  After awhile he was made the Bishop of the ward--for those who are not LDS a bishop is the non-paid ecclesiastical  leader of geographical area in which LDS people live.  I'm not quite sure of the entire story but over his lifetime he must have had some experiences with gay couples whether as a bishop or as a therapist that made him become active in the fight to make gay marriage legal in the State of Illinois.  In the LDS Church we believe in eternal marriage and only a man and a woman can take part in eternal marriage, which is called a sealing and takes place in our temples, and was ordained from the beginning and modeled to us by our Heavenly Father.  I asked him how he separated eternal marriage from this and if he believed if a gay couple can take part in eternal marriage and he told me no and that for a gay couple to be married it wouldn't be eternal only something they could have here in this lifetime.  Seemed like a good answer to me.  Plausible.  I was pretty much sold.

I have gay family members whom I love.  I have gay friends and acquaintances whom I love.
There was an elder I became friends with on my mission (clearly gay and dramatic but it didn't even occur to me then :-)) who came home and came out and found a nice partner.  A year ago they adopted a darling little boy whom they love and parent so cutely.  They seem like great parents.  That is the cutest kid. I have another friend whom I grew up with who served a mission, came home and came out.  He is with a nice man and has raised to adulthood a child that is now off to college.  They have another child (whom I'm not clear about whether he has been adopted yet or is a foster child) that they are now raising.  My friend puts the cutest conversations he has with this child has on Facebook.  I am so glad that these children who could be in precarious positions have these wonderful men to raise them in a loving family environment.

I had these examples placed before me.  Why shouldn't they have what the rest of us have? Why can't they have every equality afforded them?  I don't have these answers.

But I do have this experience:

Some of you know I work for the LDS Church.  I clean the Mt Timpanogos Temple at night after the patrons and the temple workers go home.  There are 19 of us on the crew wherein 10 of us are there to clean the 10 different "areas" divided up for us on any given night.  We are alone for the most part in our areas for 3 hours or so while we madly rush to make it all look perfect again and ready for the work that will be done the next day.  I love this job.  I think it was heaven sent at just the right time (I started working a week after we buried my mother) for me.  It is hard work.  We don't walk around with feather dusters, the temple doesn't magically clean itself.  It gets dusted, vacuumed thoroughly, and each restroom cleaned from top to bottom every single night. It is hard work and I finish every night in a sweat.

Back to 6 or 7 months ago......I was pondering, really pondering and praying one night about what to settle on when it came to gay marriage.  I was vacuuming (which is a really great time to ponder as vacuuming is very monotonous) and thinking and praying when the answer, very simple, came:  Follow the Brethren.

In the LDS Church to Follow the Brethren means to follow the Prophet and the Apostles. The Brethren have asked us to love those in gay relationships, that they should be afforded all the legal commonalities as those in straight relationships--meaning receiving insurance, being entitled to their dead partners belongings, sharing custody of children,etc.  But not marriage.

I mean, it all seems logical to me, it really does. But the Lord has told me that it is not to be and I am to "Look to the Brethren."  I learned a long time ago that when the Lord tells me these things, and I simply just obey, say okay, then I will be at peace.  And, really, that's all I need.  I don't need to make you feel good.  I don't need to make my gay family members feel good.  I don't need to make my gay friends and acquaintances feel good.  I need to feel good and at peace with me and with God.

And that is all I have to say about that.