Sunday, January 12, 2014

What's wrong with the LDS Church's statement on same-sex marriage?

Hello again Blogosphere. I've had some time off to work on school and personal issues. I am excited to make a new post for the new year.

Plus, same-sex marriage in Utah? How can I keep away?

The LDS Church came out with a statement in response to the recent events. The most relevant portion, I think is this:

 " As we face this and other issues of our time, we encourage all to bear in mind our Heavenly Father’s purposes in creating the earth and providing for our mortal birth and experience here as His children. “God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth” (Genesis 1:27–28). “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). Marriage between a man and a woman was instituted by God and is central to His plan for His children and for the well-being of society. Strong families, guided by a loving mother and father, serve as the fundamental institution for nurturing children, instilling faith, and transmitting to future generations the moral strengths and values that are important to civilization and crucial to eternal salvation.

There are immediately problems, however, with using these scriptures as justification for the church's position on gay marriage. If you are against gay marriage because we are commanded to "multiply and replenish the earth," what about those who can't have children? Are they suddenly unable to keep one of God's commandments? Is their union any less valid? Any Mormon would say, of course not. There's no sin in that. In fact, marriage between two people who can't have children is a good thing for many other reasons.

So how then is it any different for gay couples? Shouldn't they have the same right to marriage as everyone else who can or can't have children? Not to mention the fact that gay couples can and do have children, whether through adoption, surrogacy, or other means.

The second scripture is even more problematic. It's a command for a man to "cleave unto his wife, and none else." In order to keep this commandment, everyone must marry and that marriage should be between a man and a woman? So a gay Man is supposed to marry a woman? This contradicts the church's position that marriage should not be used as a therapeutic step for homosexuality. And, from personal experience, I can tell you that marriage with a woman does not lead to long term happiness. Am I breaking God's commandments by being unable to fulfill them? What happened to God not giving us a commandment that we are unable to keep?

It seems much more likely to me, that a loving God, would ask us to adapt the commandments to individual circumstances, such as sexual orientation. What this means for individuals will differ.

The problem is assuming that we are all the same. We aren't. There is diversity, and that's ok. It's ok that humans have different sexual orientations. For those of you who don't understand what that is, I recommend this link.  And it's ok that some of us have green eyes, and some have blue eyes, that we have different colors of skin. It's not ok to say that one way of being is higher or better than another. Unfortunately, people who are gay or bisexual have frequently been thought of as lesser. It's the same as racism. And it isn't ok. It's time for the LDS Church to embrace difference instead of running from it. That means confronting past and present homophobia. And it means that rather than making a contradictory statement that on the one hand asks us to all live according to one set of commandments while proscribing special commandments (such as celibacy) for gay members, the LDS Church should make policies and statements that reflect that diversity.