Why I Still Don’t Support Gay Marriage

Of all the entries I’ve done on this site, I think none have evoked such differing opinions as Why I Do Not Support Gay Marriage. I wasn’t surprised, especially since I posted it in the middle of the whole prop 8 campaign. New comments pop up every once in a while, and the most recent came up this morning. Actually, the commenter posted three comments. You’ll have to view the original post to see his comments, since they’re too long to post on this entry, but they can be read at http://blog.chashathaway.com/why-i-do-not-support-gay-marriage/

Anyway, I thought I’d blog my response to his comments. I’m glad conversation is taking place on the subject. It needs to be addressed.

Sven,

I understand what you are saying, and I don’t expect you to simply believe what I’ve said. I’m not making a political argument, though the gay marriage issue has become quite political. I am making a spiritual statement – sharing what I believe, and why I believe it. I do not believe gay marriage is right, and I believe that those who engage in homosexual behavior will one day come to regret it, whether in this life or the next. I don’t say this to convince you, but simply to tell you why I feel the way I do.

I also understand why you would say that I can believe what I want and that I should let others believe as they want. That makes sense. But from my point of view, watching a person take a glass of water which I know to be poisoned will still prompt me to act, even if the person doesn’t know me and believes they are acting in complete safety. Nor do I expect the person to automatically believe me that there really is poison in the water – especially if they are terribly thirsty.

If I were to believe what I do, and not speak out, I would be a hypocrite. Incidentally, I am just as concerned about the problems in straight marriages. The divorce rates reflect a great deal of trouble in the world. I am not one who would want divorce to be unavailable, but some of the problems that are leading to divorce are serious, and can’t be lightly ignored. Adultery, abuse, pornography, and cruelty are all major problems, and will lead to regret just as surely as homosexuality.

You are right in saying that living the law of Moses is no longer expected of us. Jesus Christ fulfilled the law and gave us a higher law. But even with the few verses in the New Testament that speak out against homosexuality, the real source of what God wants of us today comes through modern revelation, given to living prophets, and confirmed in the hearts of individuals world-wide. Again, I don’t expect everyone who reads this to automatically believe what I’m saying, but I know that God speaks to living prophets, and the prophets have made it unmistakeably clear that homosexuality is wrong, and that marriage can only be right if it is between a man and a woman.

The prophets are not putting words in Gods mouth. God has commanded His living prophets to teach these things. I am sharing what the prophets have said, and what I know to be true. I realize that many people will be offended by what I say. That’s okay. But I can’t let it go unsaid. I can’t stop people from drinking poison, but I’ll do all I can to warn them. I will also vote to keep the poison illegal, but ultimately people have their own choices.

It’s okay that we disagree on the issue. I understand your point of view, and I hope you can understand mine.

– Chas

21 Replies to “Why I Still Don’t Support Gay Marriage”

  1. Lots of holes in your reasoning. I am a very active Mormon, straight, married, temple recommend holder who has no problem with gay marriage. I also believe that God speaks to our living prophets, but I will follow the Holy Ghost before any prophet. Personal revelation wins everytime. That being said, I think you are too simplistic in your approach. Many gays are happy, living their lives in an open relationship with their partner. I can’t say the same for any alcoholic, pediphile, sex addict, drug user, or pimp.

    If prop 8 was so clean, as you imply, why did it have so much darkness to it? The church that was mentioned in the Six Points was from New Jersey (still to this day does not allow gay marriage), and the gazebo was on public land, not private. Why the Mormon money to the Catholic face? Why were some allowed in church to express their political views while others told to stay quiet? What about all the relevant studies that show straight kids growing up with gay parents are just as normal as kids raised by straight parents?

    Again, this issue was so one-sided when it was brought into our sacrament meeting. Let’s not even go on the topic of inter-racial marriage views when my parents were growing up in the church in the 50s! Again, we all must be objective when speaking about the gay community instead of subjective. Your post is very subjective. My water is just fine!

  2. I have not found any argument that will convince supporters of same sex marriage that they are wrong. First you have to convince them that it is a sin. Then if you do that, you have to convince them that it should not be recognized as legitimate by the state. When someone thinks that they are simply a happy couple in love, they see you as trying… See More to force your own religious beliefs on them, and they resent that and hate your religion for blocking their happiness. I have wondered what the Church would do if same sex marriage were legal, and a legally married lesbian couple with children read the Book of Mormon and wanted to join the LDS Church. Would they have to get a divorce first? What about their kids? I don’t know the answers to all this. A few times on my mission we would find someone really excited about the Gospel. When we taught them the law of chastity it was like a moment of decision. If they rejected the law of chastity it was like the Spirit departed from them. Their mood darkened and they were no longer interested in seeing us. How does a legally married same sex couple that wants to become LDS, repent? Do they get a divorce? It would be very hard.

  3. Alan, very valid questions to ask on this issue. Are you old enough to remember when blacks could not be sealed in the temple? What did black couples do during that time? They had happy, healthy relationships. Did they have to repent? No. Did they have to wait until new revelation came for them to be happy? No.

    Some will say, “Wait a minute! Black couples are not the same as gay couples.” Well, yes, that is true, but the same logic can be applied. Why were black people treated so differently in the first place. Fear and ignorance. Why are gay people being treated so differently? Fear and ignorance.

    I don’t worry if the church accepts gay couples or not. I am content if our government accepts gay marriage. Let each church decide for itself where it stands. Most gay couples will go to those churches who are more compassionate.

  4. Words are just words but truth is and will always be. The light of Christ that is within us speaks that truth to our hearts. If we silence all of the distracting voices of the world we will know what’s right.

  5. Your analogy of drinking poisoned water applies to your faith as well. Drink not from the well of poisoned beliefs. Study your beliefs carefully and do not poison yourself willfully.

  6. Great discussion, you guys. I’m glad we are able to discuss such a sensitive topic without flaring tempers. As I said before, I don’t expect people to believe me based on what I say. My feelings on the issue do not come from debate or political reasoning. They come from the most basic, fundamental doctrines of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Those most basic doctrines include such things as the eternal nature of our spirits, and the eternal potential of the family.

    If you don’t believe The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to be the Lord’s kingdom on earth, led by Him, then you won’t believe any of the things I say. That’s okay. That’s your choice. But I know that the Lord has sent prophets to teach us God’s word, and though many are offended by the church’s teachings, I cannot modify what the Lord has said through his prophets in order to satisfy society.

    The most basic doctrines of the gospel, which are at the very core of eternal progression, maintain that only a man and a woman can make a marriage. To suggest that two people of the same gender can marry is to completely redefine marriage. Doing so turns marriage into a much broader, less sacred union that is no longer ordained of God.

    Whether you believe me or not, God is the one who gave us our definition of marriage, and He set the bounds for what we can and can’t do within a marriage. Who are we to change that?

    The prophets, both ancient and modern, have taught that all forms of homosexual behavior are wrong. You can be offended by that, you can choose not to believe what the prophets say, but there are far too many statements by living prophets to deny it.

    I realize that fact scares some people away from activity in the church. I am saddened by that. There are many doctrines of the church that scare people away, such as tithing and the word of wisdom. Many are offended by the law of chastity. In face, there are far more who shy from activity in the church because of other aspects of the law of chastity than those who are offended by its prohibition of homosexual behavior.

    In South Africa, where I served my mission, we often ran into a big challenge with people living together without being married. Labola, a form of dowry, was often required of the man by the parents of his potential bride. If the man was not able to pay the $2000 (or whatever amount they required) that the parents asked for, he could not marry the girl. So they would choose cohabitation instead, which required no cost, and the law had no problem with it. With time, the couple would have children, and when we came and taught them the gospel, they would rejoice in it and accept it. But in order for them to get baptized, they had to either separate (breaking up the kids), or marry, which they could not possibly afford.

    This was always a heartbreaking situation, and no doubt the Lord knew their hearts. But that’s what sin does, it traps us. The devil would love to corner us into having to choose between two evils. That’s one of his major tactics, and the only way to avoid his chains is to avoid the sins that could enslave us. But the Lord always provides a way out, and the process can be heart-wrenching. But the Lord wants our whole selves, not just the part that would be most convenient to give up. Jesus spoke of this when he talked about turning children against their parents, and spouses against each other. He does not want our families torn to pieces, but he wants our hearts – completely, entirely, and if the only way we can do that is by severing treasured relationships, then so be it.

    He weeps with our suffering, and He is there to pick us up when we, out of devotion to Him, break ourselves from the things that we most desired. In such an instance, we may see our own suffering as unbearable, but He sees it as the first step to becoming something much greater than we could have imagined.

    Chas

  7. Again, you oversimplify things. Abraham, who the covenant is named after, had his firstborn son from a handmaid. That is not the normal “marriage” we believe in today. Jacob, later called Israel, had children through two sisters and their handmaids. Again, I don’t think your wife would like that very much today sharing her sister and the family maid. Rember that Joseph Smith brought back polygamy by marrying some very young girls.

    As far as the scriptures condemning gay people there is no mentioned in the Book of Mormon of gays being bad. Heck, Jesus Christ said a lot of things to the Nephites at the Bountiful Temple but ntohing on same-sex marriage. I wonder why?

    Last of all, it is true that marriage is ordained of God and the celestial marriage is only between a man and woman. Does that justify the past teaching from an apostle that black people would be servants in the Celestial Kingdom? I don’t think so. Again, there are some holes in your view.

  8. Good point. The gospel does make things very simple, and I stand by that. Elder Oaks was asked a similar question in an interview. I’ll just paste his response, since he words it much better than I would.

    INTERVIEWER: The emphasis that has been placed in this conversation on traditional marriage between a man and a woman has been consistent throughout. Do you see any irony in the fact that the Church is so publicly outspoken on this issue, when in the minds of so many people in the United States and around the world the Church is known for once supporting a very untraditional marriage arrangement — that is, polygamy?

    ELDER OAKS: I see irony in that if one views it without the belief that we affirm in divine revelation. The 19th century Mormons, including some of my ancestors, were not eager to practice plural marriage. They followed the example of Brigham Young, who expressed his profound negative feelings when he first had this principle revealed to him. The Mormons of the 19th century who practiced plural marriage, male and female, did so because they felt it was a duty put upon them by God.

    When that duty was lifted, they were directed to conform to the law of the land, which forbad polygamy and which had been held constitutional. When they were told to refrain from plural marriage, there were probably some who were unhappy, but I think the majority were greatly relieved and glad to get back into the mainstream of western civilization, which had been marriage between a man and a woman. In short, if you start with the assumption of continuing revelation, on which this Church is founded, then you can understand that there is no irony in this. But if you don’t start with that assumption, you see a profound irony.

  9. The problem with Elder Oak’s statement is that the Mormon church still believes in polygamy as an eternal nature. In fact, he currently is sealed to two women. Elder Oaks is a polygamist by definition so I can’t buy into his argument that Mormons did not “like” polygamy.

    While there are some very simple things in the gospel it is very ignorant to say that our church history is simple. My family line goes to the Mormon polygamist in Mexico. They were very happy living in that community and would not support Elder Oaks comments from your post. You need to remember that it was John Taylor who said that monogamy is the golden calf in the Mormon church.

  10. “The most basic doctrines of the gospel, which are at the very core of eternal progression, maintain that only a man and a woman can make a marriage.”

    No, the basic doctrines of LDS thinking on eternal progression maintain that people are exalted, not as individuals, but as families. The focus on “only a man and a woman” is simply a talking point in the culture war, intended to direct attention from the deeper issue of how society should treat gay people.

    “To suggest that two people of the same gender can marry is to completely redefine marriage. Doing so turns marriage into a much broader, less sacred union that is no longer ordained of God.”

    Again, you are focused on the “definition” of marriage and how broadly marriage can function in society and in religion. You suggest that because marriage would include gays and lesbians that it would be “much broader,” which broadness would make the union “less sacred.” But it does not follow that an inclusive institution must necessarily be less sacred or that God would no longer bless any marriages simply because the institution is more broadly inclusive.

    “Whether you believe me or not, God is the one who gave us our definition of marriage, and He set the bounds for what we can and can’t do within a marriage. Who are we to change that?”

    Who are we? We are caring, thinking, rational human beings, who as a society must come to terms with the place of gays and lesbians in this world. It is not enough to merely condemn them and hope that they will go back into the closet.

    Our understanding of human sexuality has developed recently to a depth that was unheard of during all those centuries of homo-condemnation. Today we are faced as a society with the question of just what we should do with the homosexual? Gays and lesbians are not going back into the closet. And why should they? Social and medical science more and more confirms what the gays have been saying all along, that their sexual orientation is a natural innate variation of human sexuality.

    So how do we as a society respond? Do we encourage gays and lesbians to enter stable relationships or to hide in the shadows and engage in furtive, promiscuous and self-destructive behavior? Do we support their families or force them to live in the fringes of society? What would Jesus do?

  11. I think something that gets so messed up in these types of discussions is that the gov’t must necessarily either sanction something or prohibit it. Why can’t you believe something is poison without desiring for the poison to be illegal? Why do people who don’t think it’s poisonous think they should recieve some sort of gov’t subsidy for their “water”?

    I think there are very good theological grounds for believing that gay marriage is, in fact, wrong. However, would I be shocked if future revelation were to indicate otherwise? No. However, given the current state of things, I see no reason why gay marriage should be “legal” in the sense of gov’t sanctioned. Government getting involved in marriage is simply a function of people seeing that society has something to gain by encouraging marriage (of the traditional type)… but if gays want similar sanctioning for homosexual relationships, they’re going to need to provide a compelling interest to society… why should we “sanction” or “approve” such relationships? What good comes to society from it? (I’m not saying there is no good that might come from them… I’m saying ‘THAT’ is the argument I should be hearing, not we should have a right to marry who we want.)

  12. Cori, if I am hearing from you correctly, you are saying that the government should be allowed to take away your marriage since it is not a compelling interest to our society. Do you even take the time to reason out what your are saying? It’s silly to say that gay marriage won’t add to our society. The real question we all should be asking is why keep a minority of our society from having the basic rights the majority enjoy. We are not talking about a 40 year-old man wanting to marry his car. Again, it’s just so silly.

  13. Mitch, what I’m saying is that I have no “basic right” to have the government endorse my relationship with my wife. Marriage is a religious institution. Government has stuck its head in the middle of it, because of claims that society stands to benefit from encouraging it. For example, we decided we wanted to give inheritance rights to the children of married to couples, to encourage marriage and discourage illegitimate offspring. We decided it was in the best interest of society not to have first cousins marry each other, to prevent the birth of offspring with recessive genetic disorders.
    While I’m with you to the point that you should have the right to have whatever partner you want, whether that’s a man, woman, or Cadillac, that doesn’t mean that you have a right to have the government come in and wave its wand of approval.
    For what it’s worth, I’d be all for getting rid of any financial incentives government offers to married people, as I don’t think it’s fair to people who are single for whatever reason.
    But I see very little that I, as a member of society, or that society as a whole stands to gain from promoting gay marriage. Again, I’m not saying there is nothing, but I don’t think the movement has articulated good reasons for it. Rather, people rely on this being some fundamental human right. If the gov’t were still enacting/enforcing anti-cohabitation laws and anti-sodomy laws, then maybe that’d fly with me, but that’s not what is going on in today’s world. They can marry whoever they want… but you have to convince the public they have an interest in supporting you in that.

  14. Cori, it is the government that makes marriage legal, not the church. What does that mean? It means one does not have to marry in a church to have a legal responsibility to another. It means that a Mormon temple wedding is not legal unless the government says so. Your argument is without foundation because you enjoy a legal union with your spouse, but the same cannot be said for most gays.

    It’s silly to say that gays should not marry because the government is not enforcing certain laws. That’s like saying teachers should be allowed to carry a gun on their belt in the classroom since most gun laws have loopholes. Very silly.

  15. MITCH: Here is what the Church says* about why they oppose any marriage arrangement other than that between a man and a woman. I find this argument very compelling. Please read it closely and carefully. Don’t just say, “Well I don’t believe in your Church!”, or “Your Church has no business telling the government what to do!” The Church is not telling the government what to do any more than John the Baptist was telling Herod what to do. Think about what is said. If you still disagree, fine, we can still be friends and tolerate one another and work together on other issues on which we agree.

    “Strong, stable families, headed by a father and mother, are the anchor of civilized society. When marriage is undermined by gender confusion and by distortions of its God-given meaning, the rising generation of children and youth will find it increasingly difficult to develop their natural identity as a man or a woman. Some will find it more difficult to engage in wholesome courtships, form stable marriages, and raise yet another generation imbued with moral strength and purpose.

    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has chosen to become involved, along with many other churches, organizations, and individuals, in defending the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman because it is a compelling moral issue of profound importance to our religion and to the future of our society.

    The final line in the Proclamation on the Family is an admonition to the world from the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve: “We call upon responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.” This is the course charted by Church leaders, and it is the only course of safety for the Church and for the nation. ”

    Do same sex marriages give us “strong and stable families” headed by a father and a mother?

    Will society be better off by having yet more and more children raised in families that are not strong and stable?

    If you value a society with strong and stable families more than you value the right for a man to marry another man if he wants to, then you agree with Chas, Cori, and me. If not, you won’t agree with us, and no argument will sway you otherwise. I respect your right to decide which of these competing values is more important to you.

    Like you, I have my ideas on what our government should do, on this issue and many others. We will agree on some and disagree on some.

    CHAS and CORI, I agree with your sentiments. I have found that it is best to quote what the Church actually says on issues such as this, rather than what we think it says. It is much easier that way. The official Church pronouncements are well-reasoned and stated better than I could do.

    Back to MITCH, I do remember when blacks couldn’t hold the priesthood. I was a teenager and a new convert. I didn’t understand the reason for the policy and still don’t and didn’t like it, but I put it on the “shelf”. I knew the Book of Mormon was true and that my Heavenly Father wanted me to be baptized in His Church. I rejoiced when in 1978, the ban was lifted. I don’t feel qualified to explain why the ban existed in the first place.

    *Here is the link to the whole article.

  16. Alan, now that you have posted the official church statement I need to ask you if two gay people in a legal marriage can have a strong and stable family. I would answer yes. I don’t see how gay marriage will hurt families since it encourages gay people to make the same vows as straight couples. I understand how someone strong in the church can be confused about the gay community. I never had a reason to think about why gays could be normal until my brother came out to the family back in ’93. We look at this as a blessing to not be in the dark about homosexuals.

  17. Mitch,

    My primary concern is not for those effected by gay couples, but for the gay/lesbian couples themselves. Whether or not you believe the church’s teachings about it is up to you, but the church’s stand is clear on the issue.

    “Same-gender attraction did not exist in the pre-earth life and neither will it exist in the next life. It is a circumstance that for whatever reason or reasons seems to apply right now in mortality, in this nano-second of our eternal existence.”
    -Elder Lance B. Wickman of the 70
    http://newsroom.lds.org/ldsnewsroom/eng/public-issues/same-gender-attraction

    I hate to think of a gay couple getting married, having a family, and going on to the next life, only to realize that their marriage cannot under any circumstances be eternal. It sounds cruel, but that’s the eternal nature of life. God Himself won’t change those rules, and that’s why He is the one directing His children to avoid that course.

    Same gender attraction is a great mortal challenge, but it is a challenge that will only be present during our earthly experience.

    Those who keep the commandments of God, including the law of chastity (which includes no homosexual behavior of any kind for any reason), will have all the opportunities for all the blessings God has available to His children. That is a promise He has given us.

  18. Chas, I know you see all of this in black and white becaue I as once just like you. I don’t have an answer about what happens to gay people after our earthly experience but I do have a strong testimony that they should live happy lives as homosexuals. Satan doesn’t have any say in how I feel about this. This has been a long journey of 16 years. I can face God today with a clear mind about gay marriage since I can share with Him how the Holy Ghost confirmed to me the right choice I made when I voted no on Prop 8. I will let God make the final decision about this issue but I must live my life with integrity and honor.

  19. Mitch, I have no quarrel with you. Perhaps if I had had the experiences you have had, I would feel the same way. I think one can be a good latter-day saint and vote however one’s conscience directs.

    I have a “gay” sibling as well. She and her partner are otherwise normal people and have a son (artificial insemination). I think it is wrong to do that but I will leave judgment to God. They try to raise the boy (age 4 now) as best they can. This is the world we live in and we will have to get used to it.

    All that being said, I still voted “yes” in my state (where our “Prop 8” passed easily, 70-30). Why? Because I value traditional marriage. I take the Church’s position seriously. I really think it is very important.

    How to you reconcile the teachings of the Church regarding the law of chastity with your acceptance of your brother’s behavior? That has got to be difficult! Do you believe that homosexual acts are not “sins” if done only with one “faithful” partner that one is “married” to? Is the Church “wrong” to teach that homosexual acts are sinful? You must have had quite a struggle. Or did you just decide to love your brother as he is and let God handle the judgment business? That is more or less what I do. I know this is off the “same sex marriage Prop 8” topic but I am curious.

  20. Whether people believe or not in God the Father, Jesus the Son, we will all be judged for our misdeeds (sins) in the Rapture. I myself don’t believe God created us to be with those of the same sex that does not allow for procreation. Sodom and Gomorrah was warning by God. God created us to worship Him.

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