gay marriage, prop 8, and eHarmony

One of my favorite Book of Mormon scriptures comes from Alma 30:

7 Now there was no law against a man’s belief; for it was strictly contrary to the commands of God that there should be a law which should bring men on to unequal grounds.

I've mused on it many times, as I'm quite fond of the story of Korirhor as detailed in the same chapter. It's not because I see a drama where an atheist gets punished and the righteous triumph. It's mainly because when I first read this, I found Korirhor's arguments compelling. But that's neither here nor there for what's been on my mind lately. The scripture as it pertains to the current events surround gay marriage, proposition 8 in California, and eHarmony paints the picture of how I feel on the matter.

Not a short time ago I posited aloud in Gospel Doctrine (Sunday School) that this verse gave me grounds for not being against gay marriage. It was not that I was pro gay marriage, or that I condoned it, not the case at all. It was a matter of unequal grounds. I have a hard time telling gay people they can't be married. Specifically, I have a hard time telling gay people they don't deserve the rights and benefits of legally sanctioned union. As you can imagine, the class didn't agree with me. When several of the class members approached me later, quite civilly I might add, I maintained my position that I had great fear of setting a precedent of dipping into morality to support legislation. What happens when it's not my morality that's being supported for legislation? There are a great many Evangelical Christian churches who feel that the Book of Mormon is nothing more than Satan's gift to mankind to blind and deceive. How would I react if a law was passed outlawing the Book of Mormon? Not entirely analogous to gay marriage, but insofar as I can tell, you would have two majorities supporting something that isn't lawful based on their views of morality. Gay marriage isn't legal and isn't illegal because we're still trying to define it.

At any rate, whether or not I was right or wrong in my fears is debatable. I supported the Church's decision to be against it, trusting that (thanks Chance for putting this so well) I raised my arm to the square and sustained President Monson not only as a prophet and revelator, but a seer. Prior to my decision to trust the Church was my coming across their statement concerning the official stance. In short, the Church is not against the offering of all the rights and benefits of marriage, but definitely against defining marriage as anything other than a man and a woman. This relieved me quite a bit. Civil unions never sounded so horrible to me. The reasoning outlined in the official statement explained that if the word "marriage" was to be officially defined as anything other than a man and a woman, then there would be considerable risk to the Church's sovereignty concerning marriage rites and ceremony. Mormons consider marriage in the Temple (not just a church meetinghouse but a Temple to the Most High) a most sacred endowment and a sealing by the power of God that lasts through eternity. Only the worthy from our own ranks are permitted to participate. The Church's right to say "no" to unworthy couples, including gays, would most assuredly be challenged.

Enter eHarmony. According to the LA Times, a homosexual man was upset that eHarmony did not cater to homosexuals and successfully sued the company over it. A New Jersey court ruled that a private business that does not offer essential services must change the way they do business and now allow gay people to search for their matches. The Church's statement seems prescient. I believe this is among the first steps of a -- dare I say it -- scary trend.

Speaking with another friend of mine whose knowledge prowess usually tips in favor of technical knowledge had a not-so-rare moment of logical clarity that so often accompanies a burst of knowledge - when your mind lights up and you say "Yes. This is true. This makes sense. This tastes good to my soul." Defining marriage as between a man and a woman does not deny rights. It simply secures the definition and protects businesses and Churches from conducting their affairs the way they see fit. Allowing legal, probate, housing, insurance, hospital visitation, and other rights to be conferred through the vehicle of a civil union should quell any fears or concerns of same-sex couples.

But it won't.

To top it off, I saw Affirmation - a group of self-declared GLBT Mormons - go on a local news network and claim they would not rest until the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recognized them and their lifestyle as in harmony with the Gospel and teachings of the Savior.

In light of all this, I am permanently against defining marriage as anything other than a man and a woman.


Jaime said...

Okay, let's see if I can type what I'm thinking. :-)

You said, "What happens when it's not my morality that's being supported for legislation?" That would be 80% of legislation passed right now in my opinion. Wouldn't you agree? We have to take a stand, even if someone else out there might not agree with it.

Whether or not you want to say that two people of the same sex should/shouldn't love each other doesn't change the fact that God said they shouldn't. Just because I might be attracted to someone other than my husband doesn't make it okay to leave him for them, does it? Having feelings even for someone of the same sex isn't a sin, just as being attracted to someone that isn't your spouse isn't a sin. It's what you do with that feeling that becomes sin. Sometimes you can't help the feelings that arise when you are around someone that you find yourself attracted to. However, you can control what you do. I believe it's the same with someone that feels that they were born gay. I've heard people argue that they were born with the desire to have multiple partners. Would we say that it's okay if it's how they were born and they can't control it? No.

God has defined marriage as being between a man and a woman and I think that only a man and a woman should get the benefits of marriage (even in health insurance, etc) because there should be consequences to sin. Living with someone you're not married to is a sin. I'm talking a man and a woman. I don't think that "partners" should get the same benefits as a married couple. Why even have marriage if anyone and everyone can get/do whatever they want without getting married. God blessed marriage and so should we. However, I can see your reasoning about what defining marriage as between a man and a woman means vs. allowing housing, insurance, etc for gay couples. I don't know if I completely agree, as I stated above, but I'm more concerned with how marriage is defined, as you said.

I don't know if I maybe fully followed your line of reasoning, so maybe my arguments are a little off. And, I don't disagree with everything you said, I promise. :-) Just your comment about not wanting to deny anyone the right to be married, although you were more talking about whether or not we should deny them the same rights as a legally sanctioned marriage. So, anyway, I guess I've talked myself in a circle. :-) If it hadn't taken me so long to talk myself into this circle, I would delete this comment. :-)

sixline said...

I agree with many of your comments.

However, the reason I'm pro civil unions is because not everyone subscribes to the truth that we subscribe to; that is, that God ordained marriage and that He desires that it be between a man and a woman. Secular law should be separate from religious law. Just like I wrote: How would I feel if a majority felt that the Book of Mormon should be outlawed because it's not God's law? I can't in good conscience accept a law on the grounds that it's what God ordains. You can't even take a Bible into Saudi Arabia because of Sharia law. Perhaps that's a bit of fearmongering on my part, but it's how I feel.

And we do agree that it definitely should not be called marriage.