The day after the Supreme Court’s decision, best friends in the neighborhood (and the mothers of G’s best friend, Iori) asked if they might take Gideon off our hands while we packed.
"Of course! We’d love it!” was our reply.
“What if he’s with all of the gays?” she queried. They were not going swimming as previously planned, but down to Soho.
I thought she might be referring to herself and her partner and the mothers of another of Gideon’s friends from the neighborhood, with whom he often played.
It wasn’t till after the fact that I realized she meant *all* the gays--in London. :-) She was asking to take Gideon to gay family pride day in Soho, where he got all of the stickers, pictured above. I’m pretty sure my friend pointed out that the little Mormon boy was with her. I chuckled at this once I understood her meaning and the little Mormon boy amidst all the gays.
On the other hand, my church has issued this statement upholding heterosexual marriage.
So where do I stand? Can I be close friends with “all the gays” in my neighborhood and support my faith’s position on marriage?
But how is this possible? Although now a moot point, my faith supports all legal rights for gay couples, short of marriage. I fully support this position.
I also believe it is not my place to judge, but to love. My friends who together mother Iori are some of the most Christ-like people I know, as is my friend from Oxford at whose civil marriage I spoke. I have much to learn from them.
I also believe (this is *not* LDS doctrine, but a personal belief) that the Apostle Paul was gay: he had a thorn in his side that would not be removed, he remained single where other apostles married, and had weird ideas about women (not having regular, close interaction with them). He sets a standard I hope my faith can follow - of having righteous gay men and women in positions of trust and power - so long as they follow the standards of God. A particularly ugly cross to bear to believe in something that doesn’t allow you sexual satisfaction or marital happiness —even children—but one of many ugly crosses this world invariably gives to those who accept the fellowship of Christ. In saying this, I don't belittle the grief and hardship of those who follow my faith (or who want to follow it) and have gay or non-traditional feelings. I can't imagine what that must be like. I do know what other, life-crushing and altering challenges are like, and because I do, I don't judge others for choices they make regarding challenges I don't have.
While I don't judge, I *do* believe that, no matter how hard those challenges might be, marriage is a religious sacrament designed by God between a man and a woman. Because it is something He designed, He should thus make the rules by which it is governed. Marriage is difficult, in part because of the differences between men and women. But through those difficulties it can also be sanctifying.
As a legal matter, maintaining marriage as a religious sacrament that optimizes gender mixity does not work unless a majority of the people (or, in most countries, a majority of the judges on a court) believe this to be true. And I don’t think there is anything particularly special about using shared religion as a basis for the morality that underpins law. It is a practice found in Antiquity through modernity. We have now come to a point where the majority of our judges either don’t share this religious outlook or don’t believe the religious outlook should create a basis for law. It will be interesting to see whether the people agree and let this pass.
The biggest legal hangup I have with the current state of the law is that it seems from jurisdictions that have legalized gay marriage is that Fourteenth Amendment rights have begun to trump First Amendment rights in instances where private parties are operating a 501(c)(3) or receive public monies (Medicade, for instance) to perform bodily procedures, manage adoptions, or rent accommodation. I wonder if the tax status of my church will maintain, for instance, in the face of this decision. I don't think this right. While I am defensive of others' rights to choose, I believe religious freedoms are fundamental to a free society and should be our first freedoms, not last. I know others will differ with me, even those very close to me, and I respect that - even seek out their friendship.