Many of you know that I’m a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We have eight children and for years I’ve been going back and forth with one of my sons over gay marriage. We’ve never actually argued about it, but there have been some spirited discussions for sure. I guess our circumstances are unusual. I’m a bit of a Jill (Jack) Mormon. A ‘Jack Mormon’ is someone who is a member of the Church that believes in and supports the Church, but for whatever reason, doesn’t attend very much (or at all). I have health issues that make it difficult for me to go. My son, Mark, is 23-years-old, has a mild form of autism called Asperger’s Syndrome, he’s a member of the Church and he’s gay. Our talks would involve me defending gay marriage and Mark disagreeing with it, and that’s shocked more than a few people. My son’s reasoning has changed, but his current issue with gay marriage is the government. He says, “It’s not that homosexuals shouldn’t be allowed to be together, it’s the government having anything to do with the very definition of marriage.”
Recently, I read a story about a family in Iowa who might have to close their wedding venue after refusing to hold a gay wedding at their establishment. After telling the couple that they couldn’t agree to the wedding because of their religious beliefs, all hell broke loose. The couple started getting vicious hate mail and threatening phone calls, some promising it wouldn’t stop until they shutdown. Here in Oregon, a bakery refused to provide a cake for a same-sex wedding. They will sell to anyone, but draw the line at providing wedding cakes for same-sex weddings. The community was outraged. Portland/Gresham is a liberal, pro-gay town and they weren’t having it. It caused such a ruckus that the Oregon Attorney General opened an investigation. There’s also the Chick-fil-A story from last year that got so much media attention and several more similar cases.
My husband and I started having conversations about the implications of gay marriage. He had the same belief as I did up until about two years ago when he started worrying about what would happen to churches. I didn’t even want to hear it. One of my best friends growing up is a lesbian, I had a gay brother-in-law who I adored and of course, my own son…these are not ‘second-class citizens’ to me. I thought that perhaps civil unions or domestic partnerships would be the way to go, but most gay right’s activists reject that. I’m not ashamed to say that I don’t worry about most of the stereotypical arguments against gay marriage; the one man, one woman fight, can’t produce children together, weakens traditional marriage or that kids need a mom and dad, not two moms or two dads. The one I do worry about is that now infamous ‘slippery slope’.
The slippery slope argument is often used out of fear, they say, of polygamy. I’m not concerned about that (must be the Mormon in me). Two people vs. three or more is much like trying to legalize heroin because alcohol is legal, and I really just don’t think it will fly. The other part of that, claiming bestiality could be next is just silly to me, unless your…uh…’partner’ is Mr. Ed-ish and can consent… As for my Christianity, that’s different. I know what I believe from the Bible and that we have an obligation to share the Word of God. I also believe our Heavenly Father will judge each of us. He has not granted me special rights to judge and try each person.
A good example of an explosive situation just waiting to happen is with my Church. You may already know from my previous articles that the only way LDS doctrine can be change is through Divine prophecy. What will happen when a gay couple demands to be married in the temple? Will the Church be sued? Attacked? Closed down? Run out of the country? In New Mexico, a photographer had to pay a $7000 fine for refusing to shoot homosexual commitment ceremonies because she violated the state’s sexual orientation discrimination law. If gay marriage becomes legal and a Catholic school teaches that homosexuality is wrong according to the Bible, will it be a hate-crime? Maybe it sounds melodramatic, but undeniably the caveat is there. If it is happening now, why would it stop? It won’t.
A few days ago, the Oregon bakery that was involved in the case above has decided to operate from home. The emails, messages, phone calls and threats are so bad they can’t take it. Remember, they’re still the focus of an investigation by the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries into possible violation of the states discrimination laws. There’s no reassurance for churches, etc. if businesses are already being forced to participate in ceremonies that they are morally opposed to or face fines, attacks and shutdown. Just in my own personal life, I know many conservatives who have no problem with gay marriage itself, it’s just that supposedly non-existent slippery slope that rears that its ugly head time and time again. I can’t help but look into the future when I see things like bakeries getting investigated and terrorized.
Also in the news recently, the New York Times asked Glenn Beck what his fans thought about him supporting gay marriage. Beck answered, “I don’t care. The point is that government shouldn’t be involved in marriage.” Oh, how I wish it were that easy! My son Mark’s opinion evolved from believing that marriage was a sacred, holy union between a man and a woman, to where he is today. Just like Beck and as I mentioned above, he feels the government should have no say regarding marriage. While that might be ideal, it’s not going to happen. I’ve hesitated to publish this for obvious reasons. Being the person I am yet feeling the way I do is frustrating…even maddening. I feel like I am committing a huge betrayal. Being unable to come to a resolution, even just in my own mind, is uncomfortable at best. If there is a solution, I can’t seem to find it.
It’s with ease we allow the government into our lives; getting them back out takes great struggle.