Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Done and Done

Despite the fact that I am quite adamantly agnostic, I have always held a soft spot in my heart for the Mormon church. They were there for us when we were kids, providing food and support when we needed it. They met us at the airport in Hawaii and made things as smooth as they could for Mom. I know this. I appreciate it.

For a long time now, I have had some issues with the politics of the church, including their discriminatory practices, but I stop people badmouthing them, I point out good things.

No more. I am done. Seeing this article ends it for me. When a church takes it upon themselves to enter into a legal battle, from the very head of the church on down, that is totally inappropriate. And when they decide to try to use their power and their numbers in such a hurtful way, it is just plain wrong. Now, I know that many other churches have similar teachings, etc, etc, etc, but there is not generally a proclamation coming from the very top of the church telling people to go out and fight to ban gay marriages.

And in case my views are not crystal clear, I am a wholehearted proponent of gay marriage. Allowing two people in a committed relationship to strengthen their bond to each other is a great thing. This country NEEDS people in committed relationships, working together, being in our community. The heterosexual divorce rate is over 50%. How could allowing same sex marriages POSSIBLY destroy the sanctity of marriage??? It is quite possible that you could learn something from a committed heterosexual couple. I work with many people who are in committed relationships, some very long term, here in Seattle. I don't know what they would choose to do should marriage become a legal availability here for them, but I do know that I would support them.

Keep your nose out of the business of others, and be happy for people who are just trying to be happy in their own lives.

Mormon church enters Calif. gay marriage fight

SALT LAKE CITY -- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is asking California members to join the effort to amend that state's constitution to define marriage as being between a man and a woman.

A letter sent to Mormon bishops and signed by church president Thomas S. Monson and his two top counselors calls on Mormons to donate "means and time" to the ballot measure. A note on the letter dated June 20 says it should be read during church services on June 29, but the letter was published Saturday on several Web sites.

Church spokesman Scott Trotter said Monday that the letter was authentic. He declined further comment, saying the letter explains the church's reasons for getting involved.

The LDS church will work with a coalition of churches and other conservative groups that put the California Marriage Protection Act on the Nov. 4 ballot to assure its passage, the letter states.

In May, California's Supreme Court overturned a voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage, saying gays could not be denied marriage licenses.

"The church's teachings and position on this moral issue are unequivocal. Marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and the formation of families is central to the Creator's plan for His children," the four-paragraph letter states.

"We ask that you do all you can to support the proposed constitutional amendment by donating of your means and time to ensure that marriage in California is legally defined as being between a man and a woman," church leaders say in the letter. "Our best efforts are required to preserve the sacred institution of marriage."

California Mormons - there are more than 750,000, according to a church almanac - have heard and heeded similar calls from their leaders before.

In 2000, a letter from the pulpit asked members to give time and money in support of Proposition 22, a ballot measure prohibiting California from legally recognizing gay marriages performed outside the state. It passed but was later struck down by the courts.

The LDS church also fought same-sex marriage legislation in other states during the 1990s. As recently as 2006, it signed a letter to Congress seeking an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would define marriage as being between a man and a woman.

The latest letter is a disappointment to members of Affirmation, an international support group for gay, lesbian and transgender Mormons. Last month, Affirmation called on the church not to meddle in California politics.

"This initiative will hurt so many people," executive director W. Olin Thomas said in a statement Monday. "The California law affects civil marriage; it has no effect on any religious institution or official."

Affirmation leaders are scheduled to meet with the head of LDS Family Services, a church social services agency, in August to begin a conversation meant to bridge the divide between Mormonism and gay members hurt by church teachings that homosexuality is a sin.

It will be the first meeting between any arm of the church and Affirmation, which was formed in secret in the 1970s by students at the church-owned Brigham Young University in Provo.

"We're not going to let this stand in the way," Affirmation spokesman David Melson said. "The church has said they are open to finding new avenues and new solutions to minister to gay members, and we are taking them at their word."


Mama-Beans said...

I have been very active over here in my little corner of the world fighting this very issue and sadly, MANY church groups have done the exact same thing, it's not just the Mormons.
This issue is so close to my heart that it turned this wishy-washy Republican into a Democrat. And a voting one, at that. I think all we can do is use our voices and our pens to make as much difference as we can. It scares me, thinking of my children growing up in a world based on so much hate and unacceptance. If you are interested, I have several newsletters, etc that I regularly recieve that have some great activist groups working with them to make a difference. An electronic signature, a letter mailed here or there, heck just getting word out that YOU SUPPORT will eventually make the difference. I just hope it happens sooner rather then later, because I can't shield my children forever.

Mama-Beans said...

And another thing that really bothers me? How completely uneducatd the "opposition" is to this. Do they REALLY think it's just about the dress and walking down the aisle? Do they not see how this plays into every aspect of their lives? I know of one woman who was not allowed at the DEATH BED of her partner of 15 years after a car accident because the hospital had a strict "family only" policy. Can you imagine? An (elderly) man had to pay almost $40K in inheritance taxes when his parner of 30 years died, leaving his estate to him ( which, BTW, was way more then the liquid assets provided, necessating the sale of their home as the other assets couldn't be liquified). Married people don't have to pay inheritance tax on a spouces assets. Or a woman who was not the biological mother of a baby, whose partner died having that baby, and that baby was awarded to the biological mothers family. The woman who lived, the partner, was never able to see that child as the bio mothers family were homophobic and refused to grant any kind of visitation. Can you imagine that??!! Losing the love of your life AND your baby in the same day?
What has been done to the gay population is horrifying. We should all be ashamed that it has gone this far. Unfortunately, so many people are just.. uneducated... about this issue and vote blindly, not fully realizing that they are RUINING LIVES with that vote.