My Story

I am deeply interested in religion, politics, current events, history, musical theater and books! I left the LDS church a couple years ago and have spent a lot of time since then thinking and considering various religious influences in my life and in the lives of those around me. For more information on why I left the LDS church, look here. I also love to sing, act, dance (tap preferably) and perform on stage whenever possible.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Trouble in River City

Since I don't have anytime at the moment to write anything meaningful, I pulled in a cool piece I read on a friends blog. This is a topic I have wanted to write about for some time, but honestly I'm not sure I could have said it any better than my friend does in his piece. Also, since I am a musical theater junkie, he won me over with his Music Man, so fitting...

I remember the first time I heard someone politically engage the issue of gay marriage from the pulpit in church. It caught my attention and woke me up because it wasn’t the typical grace vs. works, or love thy neighbor kind of rhetoric that I was used to napping through. I won’t name names (because I couldn’t if I wanted to), but he was sort of a high-up bigwig, a 70 if you know what I mean. The short-of-the-long was that he asked us to go home and write our senators and state representatives to support the Federal Marriage Amendment of 2006, which in a sweeping motion would forever etch the status of marriage in the law books as a [sacred] union between one man and one woman. He read an official letter that a lot of you probably heard as well, but this gentleman went off the cuff with a slippery-slope argument about how we don’t want America to become like Canada, where school children are required to learn about gay couples in Kindergarten using scandalous books such as One Dad Two Dads, Brown Dad Blue Dads (which is listed on Amazon, used, with a going price of $253.94 as a result of the ordeal in Canada surrounding it). He really stirred the congregation up; there was trouble in River City on that day. I could almost hear the mantra of “trouble… trouble… trouble…” as the postlude was played and the folks shuffled out the chapel doors.

I remember our apartment managers posted the address of our Senators on the cork-board by the elevator in our building as a friendly reminder for all of us to do our homework and put our letters in the mail. They really drew a line in the sand, one which I was compelled to cross and stand on the unpopular side. Honestly, I felt pretty bothered by the whole thing, partially because I had a lot of friends, family and coworkers who are… well… gay! I did write my senator (if only for my sake, because I’m sure it fell on deaf ears) and I argued that ratifying a lock-out amendment on marriage wouldn’t make gay people or gay couples disappear. You can’t wear blinders, stick your fingers in your ears and go “La la la!” forever to ignore them or pretend that they don’t exist- or worse- that they shouldn’t exist. I argued on empirical grounds that most of them are functional, contributing, and respectable members of society, and that I believe they are entitled to some or all of the civil benefits, protection and recognition that other marriages and families enjoy.

There are aspects of a civil partnership that don’t necessarily have anything to do with God, religion, right or wrong, or sex, but have everything to do with relationship and commitment as it is legally recognized by the government. Consider this: the Oregon Family Fairness Act accords civil partnerships the same status as marriage concerning their ability to file jointly on insurance forms, their hospital visitation rights, and their rights concerning a deceased partner, among other things. If two consenting adults have a serious close relationship of any sort, and wish to share their entire lives, I see granting them a legal status to honor that relationship as a pragmatic courtesy. One may argue that they merely attain a second-class status in a civil partnership, which is exactly why California decided to go all the way with gay marriage, but my point is that it is at least a progressive improvement from the past. It is like going from slavery to segregation in the eyes of some, not an ideal state, but a step up from the status quo nonetheless.

Personally, sexual orientation has always been a non-issue for me, at least since I have actually talked with friends who are gay about how they feel about it and observed their relationships. I’m ok, and they’re ok. Their liberty and future is at stake in this matter, not mine. As long as the State where I reside is willing to recognize my marriage as legitimate, I don’t really have a problem with same gender marriage. I don’t want my marriage to be gay, so I support “the family” in that aspect, and I’m 99.9% positive that issue is settled since I feel that way and I made that choice to begin with, but I wouldn’t infringe my personal choice or preference on anyone else who isn't infringing on another's liberty. I can’t vouch for the future or sanctity of the nuclear family (which is relatively new), but I hope that people will continue to form familial bonds and children will be reared with loving care however we choose to form our family groups. I have faith that heterosexuals would continue to marry, thrive, and- god willing- coexist in a future world where same-sex couples are free to do the same. We should all hope so, because it is the only hope for those who would seek to quash the prospective rights and liberties of the gay community. Turnabout is fair play; if the majority were to vote my rights out of circulation, I could only pray that their vote would be overturned on constitutional grounds by conscientious judges committed to upholding liberty by not discriminating by gender, sexual orientation, religion, or any other currently protected status.

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