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November 2008

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Gay Marriage

So my mom sent me this forward the other day from this LDS woman in California who had had a frightening encounter with a bunch of Proposition 8 protesters. I read the forward and it just didn't sit quite right with me. It wasn't that the woman was unkind or malicious in her intent, it was just a rather narrow minded view. So I took it upon myself to pen a lengthy response.

 We received this e mail from a temple worker and thought that we would
> pass it on to let you know how ugly Prop 8, against gay marriages, is
> getting to be in California.
> Dear family and friends,
> I had a very disturbing experience yesterday that I would like to
> share
> with those of you that live outside of California (or outside of the
> San
> Francisco Bay Area).
> This weekend we have stake conference. Our stake conference always
> begins with a stake temple session on Friday or Thursday night.
> Early
> Friday morning I received a call from the second counselor in our
> bishopric to let me know that there would be numerous protesters
> outside
> the temple, and to remind everyone to stay calm and to drive
> carefully.
> The beautiful Oakland Temple is located right across the bay from San
> Francisco, very close to the city of Berkeley. Apparently the
> opposition to proposition 8, the amendment that seeks to make marriage
> in CA between a man and a woman again, has realized the deep
> involvement of the church and begun to protest right outside of the
> temple and harass temple patrons. The
> fastest way to get to the temple from our house is to take the 680
> freeway, but the exit is a bit tricky. The off ramp is extremely
> short
> and straight uphill. You then make an almost blind left turn, an
> immediate right and another left into the parking lot. As we
> approached the off ramp, I realized there would be trouble. There
> was
> a backup onto the freeway from cars stalled on the off ramp. As we
> moved forward inches at a time, we realized this was due to a large
> group of loud protesters who were standing on both sides of the
> street,
> yelling, screaming and waving signs. When we got to the top of the
> off
> ramp, ready to make our turn, one protester jumped out right in front
> of
> our car. It took my husband all his self control to carefully
> maneuver
> around him to the left and proceed to the temple. I tried not to
> listen to all they were shouting at us, but I was shaking as I got to
> the temple front door.
> Several of the sisters, especially the ones driving on their own, were
> crying (which made me snap out of it and go into RS President mode to
> comfort them). Later, as I was sitting in the perfect quiet of the
> chapel, I couldn't help but think of Lehi's dream, and the people who
> mocked the Saints from the big spacious building but 'we heeded them
> not.' It was a truly surreal experience, I'd never thought that I
> would have to go through an angry crowd to get to the temple. As we
> left late at night, the protesters had dispersed, temple
> security (who all looked very large and Tongan) stood by the gates.
> I
> never saw a single police man. Please pray for those of us in
> California
> fighting for prop 8--it's getting kind of scary out here!
> Susanne.

It does bother me when protests are held in front of the temple because I don't believe anyone has the right to violate the peace of someone else's sacred sanctuary. I mean after all, it's not like Mormons are holding protests in front of Cher concerts or on Broadway or some place equally holy.
That being said I am very much against Proposition 8 and I'm rather displeased that the church has taken the politically active stance that it has on this matter.
Of course Proposition 8 is going to be ugly. When politics and religion mix it always is. Which is the biggest reason why I think the church should take their usual route and encourage members to vote while open to the promptings of the spirit or whatever the usual spiel from the podium is and keep mum on the issues. There is already enough religious conflict.
I have to wonder if the woman who originated this message has ever imagined what it might be like to be faced with the dilemma of whether or not to tell her religious parents that she's attracted to people of her gender, or even harder to explain that she's fallen in love with another woman because of how they might react? Has she thought about what it might be like to be in a committed, loving relationship with someone but because of legal issues she would not be permitted to visit that person in a hospital or if they died would not be able to receive insurance to cover funeral costs or family needs, or be able to have custody of children they might have raised together? She speaks of being scared as they navigated this dangerous and crowded street but has she thought about what it might be like to be afraid for people to know her orientation because of the violent hate crimes committed against gays in the name of God? Or to a lesser extent how that knowledge might affect her environment at work, at home, at school -for her children? 
It seems to me that there are many good, religious people who oppose the idea of gay marriage without considering that maybe there's more to the issue than just the simple fact that the Bible says homosexuality is wrong. And I suspect that if people took a minute to really think about the people who's lives they are affecting so adamantly that they would certainly hesitate to pass this law, if not decline to do so altogether.
Now maybe I'm playing the Devil's advocate here, and maybe I'm going straight to Hell for feeling this way but really does legalizing gay marriage actually affect the church that much? We supposedly support those members who are dealing with same gender attraction and the official stance is that this can be dealt with and is just a temptation that should be resisted. Legalizing gay marriage would not mean that religious leaders would have to perform said marriages, nor that temple ordinances should be available to these couples. But it would provide some stability and security, and would be a step in the direction of acceptance and love for everyone involved -Which is something the church should be promoting anyway.

It kinda baffles me that the LDS church is spending money on a defensive add campaign when there are so many more worthy causes. Starting with helping gay teens who have come out only to be disowned by their families perhaps?

Just some thoughts.



p.s. for your information it is the members of the church not the Lds. church itself.
The report that was on the news on channel 4 the other night said it was the church, that's what I'm going by. That said, it would make more sense if it were church members -but it's money still better spent else where.