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The so-called destructiveness of gay marriage

November 11, 2009

In response to the LDS church’s seemingly monumental support of certain gay rights (“common sense” anti-discrimination measures — they haven’t said anything about civil unions and they are sticking to their guns against gay marriage), which others commented on elsewhere, there was a terrific post on Mormon Matters from a guest writer, John Gustav-Wrathall, about the Gay Rights Paradox.

In the Mormon Matters discussion, I saw the sharks swarm around John…see, I don’t have anything against the commenter Jared as a person, but he does seem to telegraph his strategies in advance. Now, his current hypothesis he is espousing is that he feels when people take “radical” positions, it is because they failed to consult the scriptures. If one consulted the scriptures, then they would have no problem following the Prophet and believing in the church’s position.

I wanted to warn John about this tactic…but John didn’t fall for the bait. He took the discussion offline (where, I guess the two may be emailing back and forth now.)

Well, I went to John’s short post linking to the Mormon Matters discussion from his blog. Despite the short post with no additional information added, there was a bit of a discussion going on here. And here I saw that Christopher Bigelow had commented.

Again, nothing against Chris as a person either, but his position is telegraphed. He takes a conservative, orthodox stance against gay marriage. So, when he presented his scenario, I kinda knew what to expect.

Here’s a question about gay marriage: Say gay marriage is accepted by society…Say you have a 14-year-old Mormon boy who feels a mixture of attractions to both males and females, at different times. Or maybe he feels more attracted to other boys, overall, but also feels at least SOME attraction for females. (Kinsey taught that, for many, sexual orientation is fluid and can be quite different at 40 than it was at 20, depending on a person’s influences, circumstances, behavior, etc.)

If society says that a gay marriage is equally valid to a hetero one, what’s to stop such a boy from choosing to go the gay route, when he also could have chosen the hetero route? There may even be other subconscious reasons affecting his decision to go with the gay thing: not wanting to rear children, not wanting a woman to control him or boss him around, not wanting a traditional Mormon suburban family lifestyle, etc.

In other words, equalizing gay marriage will really confuse forthcoming generations, in my opinion. It won’t hurt existing marriages, but it will decimate future marriages.

OK, so I just take this to say, “Why would a bisexual person marry a woman?”

My answer has to be harsh…given the scenario, I have to ask: why would ANYONE want this person to marry a woman?

The answer is that a bisexual person would marry a woman because he wants to. If he doesn’t want to, he should not.

The hypothetical individual does not want to rear children. He does not want “a woman to control him” (and the fact that he sees things like this is particularly telling). He does not want the “traditional Mormon suburban family lifestyle.” Let me be clear here: gay marriage didn’t cause ANY of this. This is the milieu. This is the setting, ante-bellum. This is the backdrop.

So, with this backdrop, why should this person marry a woman? He doesn’t want to, and his doing so will be disingenuous for all parties involved. (What damage would be caused to the woman who married this person, who must come to realize that he believes he is being controlled by her…that he resents her for it?) Again, this has nothing to do with gay marriage.

However, what gay marriage would allow is for this person to be in a committed, loving relationship, without the pretenses and expectations.

I mean, the implications here are kinda frightening. I should hope that people only marry because they want to. They marry because they don’t think the “woman will control him.” They marry because they may want a family (even if it’s down the road). They marry because they have aspirations.

I should most certainly hope that people aren’t marrying just because of pressures. Because of some ill-begotten duty. But Christopher’s example makes it seem like he does want people to marry because of these pressures. That, without gay marriage to ruin everything, the bisexual man in this situation would marry anyway — despite his many worries and dislikes — because that’s the way things should be.

Gay marriage will not confuse oncoming generations and it will not decimate future marriages. It will revalue (and appreciate) marriage. People will marry who they want to, because they want to. Instead of marrying out of duty to who society thinks they should marry.

~And of course, all of this is taken on an assumption of bisexuality. Would a heterosexual male ever have to debate, “Ooh, I dunno…man or woman?” When people say that “future generations would be confused,” I wonder if they think about themselves. Were they confused about who they liked? Did they need society to train them?

UPDATE: This is a comment from the Mormon Matters discussion. It may well be the worst comment I have read on the blogging internet.

I think you people need to read your scriptures. The Lord is very specific about what he says concerning “sexual sin” and politically correct or not, homosexuality is sexual sin. You can’t support the law that prevents a person from discriminating against homosexual’s without destroying the law that gives a property owner the right to use his property however he pleases. True every person should be able to support themselves and earn a living for their families, however, homosexuals don’t have families unless they indulge in heterosexual behavior, either themselves or a heterosexual who provides the service. I find it very interesting that homosexuals have been around since time immemorial and it has only been since they have sought to legitimize their behavior that any question of discrimination has been brought up. If you study history, which unfortunately most American’s avoid out of fear of being called intolerant, or uncultured, you will find that any nation which has “tolerated” homosexul behavior as a lifestyle has bit the dust. I also find it interesting that man is the only creation that practices this vice and I think its because he is the only creation with the power of “thought”. I have always found it curious that homosexuals and lesbians are never 2 women or 2 men, they are always one partner who adopts the role of the female and the other the role of the male. Doesn’t that say something to anyone with a brain. If Heavenly Father, as Johngw states, smiles on her union, and I take it from her blog that she is the female componet of the relationship, why would He not direct his leaders to sanction the relationship? Satan is having a field day, especially with Latter-day Saints. We have become so desirous of being accepted we are no longer a peculiar people. How I long for a Latter-day Saint leader like an Abinadi, a Moroni, a Teancum, or Samuel the Lamanite who has the cohona’s to stand up and be a man instead of the whimps that fill our pulpits, congressional seats, and homes.

 

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20 Comments
  1. I heard a great quote yesterday (from a friend, quoting her therapist):

    “Don’t should on yourself, and don’t should on me.” hehehe

    In my opinion, or at least in my experience, shoulds screw people up. I completely agree with your suggestion that allowing/supporting gay marriage will help revalue marriage. It is an institution that should encourage authenticity and mutual love, not just obligation/duty.

  2. On the other hand…this is really dangerous territory, Sarah.

    “Shoulds” are the foundation of ethics (e.g., what people should do.) To say, “Don’t should on yourself, and don’t should on me,” for example, *is* an IMPLICIT should statement. It is really stating, “You should not should on yourself, and you should not should on me.”

    Otherwise, it would be an ineffective statement. Or ethics would be meaningless.

    The real issue is: what things “should” be “shoulds”? I think ‘duty’ is not a good ‘should’ in many cases.

  3. That’s really funny. Hypothetical guy doesn’t want kids, doesn’t like women very much, and doesn’t want a traditional suburban lifestyle — sounds like gay marriage would be rescuing him, not hurting him (not to mention the poor woman he might have married).

  4. kuri,

    I know, right?! From this hypothetical description, the thing that came to my mind first is that really…gay marriage isn’t the issue AT ALL. It’s that I would not want this guy to be marrying any young woman if he had this attitude about her, children, etc.,

  5. Love it, Andrew! I read your comment at John’s blog, and read it all over again here, and will probably quote from it sometime in the future.

  6. It is dangerous territory isn’t it? I’m becoming quite relativistic. 🙂 You bring up a good point – the real issue is what things should be shoulds…I have no answer for that. Definitely more comfortable for now identifying what things shouldn’t be shoulds…yes, like mere duty.

    On another note, I don’t think there’s much evidence to support Chris’s hypothesis – that an aversion to the traditional family lifestyle and responsibilities that entails might push someone towards becoming gay. I think our society is becoming pretty accomodating to straight men who don’t want kids and controlling wives – whether they choose marriage or not, so I’m not sure that’s a valid concern about sexual preference.

    • Well, I take Chris’s hypothesis (although he could easily amend it) to be that the person in the situation was already bisexual. So, these aversions don’t push the person toward being gay…rather, the individual already is bisexual, but Chris doesn’t want them to act on the homosexual side.

      But I completely agree. Even if it were someone who was completely heterosexual, given the same set of aversions, I would think this person would be understood if, say, he didn’t have a family or didn’t get married. Gay marriage and sexual orientation have nothing to do with it.

  7. By the way the update comment makes me shudder. It’s hard to read that all the way through.

  8. Wow! That commenter managed to call liberals to repentance and speak evil of the Lord’s anointed at the same time. How impressively arrogant.

  9. FireTag permalink

    More about this topic and an “update” of my own later, but for now, the references of this guy to needing Book of Mormon prophets ON THIS ISSUE are hilarious.

    The BofM says nothing, nothing, nothing about homosexuality. Jacob, however, contains a very long sermon about the importance of the covenant to one’s wife and children and the great crime of trampling on their tender feelings.

  10. Also very funny is the way Bigelow’s hypothetical seems to hint at what maybe he really thinks about marriage, as you kind of noted in passing. I wonder if his wife reads his blog comments. lol

  11. Well said! I agree 100%.

    I should hope that people only marry because they want to. […] I should most certainly hope that people aren’t marrying just because of pressures. Because of some ill-begotten duty.

    That’s why atheists have such a low divorce rate.

    Also very funny is the way Bigelow’s hypothetical seems to hint at what maybe he really thinks about marriage, as you kind of noted in passing. I wonder if his wife reads his blog comments. lol

    This is what I’ve repeatedly pointed out when discussing Langford’s novel (which Chris Bigelow published). That book practically screams: “Marriage isn’t about love, joy, or mutual respect — marriage is a horrible, odious obligation that people wouldn’t take part in if they had any choice.” It’s shocking how starkly it show what the “defenders of marriage” really think of marriage.

  12. FireTag permalink

    Today the Catholic church warned the Washington DC city council that the proposed gay rights (including marriage) law about to be passed there has to be modified to allow exceptions for religious institutions, or the church will be forced to restrict cooperation with providing social services to the city’s poor.

    Another example of the ethical conflicts of the religious and the civil, so the LDS are not unique in this.

    What I think is unique about the LDS is the entanglement of a theological cosmology with the issue of human sexuality that goes back to the foundation decade of the church. The issue of skin-color is a side bar by comparison.

    If human gender is central to the structure and perpetuation of Godhead through eternity, and human gender is conceived as coming in two flavors only, you can’t just insert a new D&C section without reconfiguring the entire construction back to the 1830’s. (I can think of an easier way to save a doctrine of monogamy on earth and polygamy in heaven!) So I don’t see how any TBM can give on this issue without feeling that he/she is risking the eternal exaltation of themselves and their loved ones.

    In the CofChrist, we DON’T have these theological headaches, and the issue is still threatening to become schismatic for us as it has for the Anglicans. We. too, have a bulk membership of North American traditionalists that finance the church, young adult North Americans who are more likely to see gay rights as an issue of prophetic justice than their parents’ generation, and a growing body of third-world converts who seem to be the only future for the denomination and who live in cultures where the issues of gay marriage can not be discussed without bringing violent persecution on the HETEROSEXUAL membership and leaders.

    The presidency of the church has been accordingly trying to keep this discussion from happening publically for a number of years, but, through thematically emphasizing the need for the church to pursue justice above all else. has unleased the younger generation in a way they can not longer control.

    Many of the younger generation are not willing to remain in the paradox John describes in the post Andrew references. They are forcing the discussion into the open through legislative proposals that will come before the 2010 CofChrist World Conference, despite the clear preferences of the leading quorums that this not happen.

    Within the last two weeks, the leading quorums seemed to have recognized that they will have to choose, and I think they have shifted to damage control through the publication of two articles in the church’s official news magazine (Saint’s Herald) emphasizing the importance of keeping the church together no matter what is decided.

    Since it is supposedly the discussion alone, and not the decision, that will trigger the persecution of our people in the third world, the Prophet is in the position of deciding which of his flock does he badly hurt.

    If you want to read the legislation, go to my blog “thefirestillburning.wordpress.com” and click on “The Welcoming Community Network” on my blogroll.

    • This is actually a pretty interesting discussion…since it highlights the very different process that the CofChrist faces.

      I mean, as you said, the LDS church has theological ramifications that really prevent the ball from going to far, but in many discussions, people have raised the idea: “Well, what if the Prophet (or other General Authorities) wants to change the policy/doctrine/whatever, but the Lord has not deemed it time to give the revelation?”

      Well, of course, as LDS members, we can do little more than speculate…because all of the thinking goes on behind closed doors. Even when a new pronouncement comes, we don’t get to hear the deliberation that produced such a pronouncement.

      But…as you mention, the CofChrist leaders *do* have to weigh the decisions they make not only with the American membership, but also with membership outside of America. I don’t see why this shouldn’t also be true for the LDS church…so, could it be that the same factors are at play in the background…the same calculation? The only difference is that while it seems that CofChrist members can “force” issues to be covered at the World Conference (am I understanding that correctly? Is it really the case that the membership has such a powerful say?), LDS members cannot force the church leadership to say or do anything.

      • FireTag permalink

        Andrew:

        The parliamentary maneuvering can get really hairy in those RARE instances when the Prophet and a substantial bloc of the church are out of sync with the direction of the church proclaimed by the Prophet.

        After World War I the church almost split because of disputes between the Presidency, within the Twelve, and the Presiding Bishopric (the CFOs) over their relayive authorities to govern the church. The prophet quelled that by bringing a revelation to the church pointing to the importance of the quorums remaining unified for the sake of the work, and the great depression’s impact on the church shifted the balance among the quorums in a way neither side had probably anticipated.

        In the 60’s-80’s disputes arose over Sunday school curriculum (Scriptural inerrency, the RLDS as the “one and only true church” — sorry all you apostates in Utah 😀 ); the status of marriages in polygamous tribes we were beginning to convert in India; and, the big one: ordination of women. The Prophet gave revelations on all of these issues, but did not succeed in quelling the debate.

        A group of mostly conservative congregations and a lot of individual members, including a number in the quorums of Seventy, left over these issues, and formed their own “Restoration Branches” and a few other organizations, especially in the Independence area. (RLDS liberals who left always tended to do so quietly and as individuals.) These conservatives made their “last stand” at world conference by bringing up a resolution which would have “de-canonized” the revelation authorizing ordination of women. The presidency ruled the resolution out of order for ANY of 5 reasons; the ruling of the chair was appealed to the conference delagates as the final authority, and the Presidency was sustained in its ruling by about 80% of the vote. In the months that followed, the Presidency then began to assert that the vote in question meant that only the Prophet could initiate decanonization of any Scripture, even though the five reasons it had originally cited had never been voted on individually and may not have garnered a majority in that form. The assertion was not challenged, and now only a Prophet may move to decanonize the statements of a previously approved Prophet.

        The parliamentary dealings by which the Community of Christ adopted open communion were also hairy. The Presidency sponsored two separate pieces of legislation that would have DIRECTLY opened communion to Christians of other denominations. Both were defeated by a substantial margin. Then on the last legislative session of the week-long conference, which is traditionally a time for mop-up and “refer everything to committee” type motions, that many delegates with difficult flight schedules often skip, the Presidency brought up what appeared to be a general theological statement that most people were unaware had anything to do with open communion. THAT motion passed (without discussion related to open communion being noted in the minutes). Afterward, one of the 12 stood up and read a statement from the leading quorums stating that the First Presidency would interpret this final vote as authorizing open communion and would issue instruction for its practice. Voila! We had open communion.

        This time, it seems to be the young liberals who are — if you’ll pardon the term in association with a peace and justice church — firing a warning shot across the bow of the Presidency. I don’t see the Presidency choosing against the third world’s position without experiencing dramatic divine direction (even though I think that only a few among the 12 or presidency aren’t convinced already that monogamous gay marriage should be sacramentally accepted where civilly legal). So I think the legislation will be ruled out of order or laid on the table without discussion.

        Then the ball will be back in the liberals court, and I expect a number of the young ministers will at least give up active priesthood status in protest. (I know such discussions are widespread and that the Presidency has been trying to calm those discussions for some months.)

      • FireTag permalink

        Failed to answer one of your questions.

        Various leading quorums have the right to initiate legislation. The prophet may either initiate legislation, or bring forth revelation (action on which moves immediately to the top of the legislative agenda if the prophet so wishes). Issue-specific or standing world conference committees may initiate legislation. Any local conference can move up legislation through its supervising jurisdictions until it reaches world conference for action, but there are time constraints on that which effectively limit those sources to “stake” equivalents (Mission Centers) which have previously had an organized bloc preparing for the action.

      • Wow, that brief history just blows my mind…it’s like politics…in church. I can’t even fully grasp the dynamics of that even though I understand the gist of what you have written.

        It really just makes me realize how undemocratic the LDS church is. I mean, of course, I already knew…but I didn’t realize the extent of representation in other churches — even the CofChrist, which is practically a brother to the LDS church.

      • FireTag permalink

        There is a PR piece just put out by the church here that illustrates the huge gap among believers in North America and the third world. It conserns one of our pastors who is getting international media attention for his fight against the murder of people who are accused of witchcraft or of being victims of witchcraft.

  13. The person who wrote the comment about the bisexual man clearly has no concept of bisexuality or what it is to be bisexual.

  14. FireTag permalink

    Andrew:

    The Community of Christ is a theocratic democracy, but it is more theocratic as it needs to be in any situation to preserve the institution. And most of the time, members are quite comfortable with that. The history above really refers to only a handful of situations over a century, after all.

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