Sunday, June 28, 2015

#LoveWins doesn't mean I hate you

Friday was interesting.

June 26, 2015, marks what will probably be viewed as a significant day in US history. The Supreme Court ruled, after much deliberation, that marriage can be between two people, regardless of whatever gender either one is. The official statement from the Court can be seen here, though it is quite lengthy.

The last time I wrote about a topic like this happens to be exactly two years ago, when Proposition 8 was overturned in California. And when I posted the link to that post on Facebook, it was met with a lot of negative feedback from some of my old high school friends. I don't know if the algorithms that Facebook uses today will cause them to see this post as well, since even before I shared that post we were no longer "friends" on Facebook, so we'll just have to see what happens.

This picture pretty much sums up what it's been like to get online in the last two days:
And yes, I know this has been shared by George Takei, who is openly gay.
One of the things that I've seen amongst all the posts saying that people are so happy for this decision, all the newly rainbow-fied profile pictures, etc., is this: #LoveWins. It's been used all over, from companies who previously had never expressed any political statements whatsoever to the White House Twitter showing the building being lit up in rainbow colors. And that hashtag has been included pretty much everywhere.

So if this was a win for "love", then that has to mean that someone lost, right? Well, what's the opposite of love? Hate? And if I'm against gay marriage, then that means I'm on the losing side – the side of hate – right? Correct me if I'm wrong or going too fast down a slippery slope here.
In my last post about this, I felt like I was pretty clear about what I believed a marriage should be: a privilege, not a right, between a man and a woman. And my belief that it should be between a man and woman is religiously based. When I shared that previous post on Facebook, while most of the comments were respectful, it did hurt to be told "shame on you" or that I could "move to another planet". It felt like many of those who were slamming me didn't read through all of what I wrote, but rather just picked and chose what to criticize.

Just like when Prop 8 was overturned, this vote among the Supreme Court Justices wasn't unanimous (both were a 5-4 split), and I feel like many of those who are rejoicing over the decision are either forgetting that fact or just don't acknowledge it. Here are some excerpts from the justices who dissented from the decision, and as an example here's a quote from Chief Justice John Roberts:
If you are one of the many people Americans – of whatever sexual orientation – who favor expanding same-sex marriage, by all means celebrate today's decision. Celebrate the achievement of a desired goal. Celebrate the opportunity for a new expression of commitment to a partner. Celebrate the availability of new benefits. But do not celebrate the Constitution. It had nothing to do with it.
The Constitution doesn't explicitly state anything about marriage. But it is the duty of the judicial branch of our government to interpret the law. Apparently the majority of the current Supreme Court feels that they have the need to add their own definition in of what marriage is.
Some friends of mine have already pointed out that since this ruling has happened, it could quite easily lead to other forms of marriage. I mean, since we're redefining what marriage is and has been for centuries (really millennia), why stop at just making it legal for two men or two women to get married? Why not shake things up a bit and make it so that a man and two women could all be married? Let's bring polygamy back into the picture! Or maybe three men, three women, two kids, and their dog could all be married together? It sounds outrageous now, but so did gay marriage to many, many people just a few decades ago.
My honest opinion on it? It's probably going to happen. Maybe not soon, but if we live in a world where 1) it's acceptable by many to change your gender or even race to whatever you want it to be simply because that's what you "identify as" (referring to Bruce, now Caitlyn, Jenner, and Rachel Dolezal, respectively) and 2) it's already legal to marry inanimate objects... well, it just doesn't seem too far off. A friend of mine posted that "if hearing 'I love you' were enough we would all buy a parrot and get it over and done with." Funny now, but one day it might actually be someone's solution to singleness.

I don't hate gay people. I don't hate that gay marriage is legal throughout the country. And it's not that I hate the fact that homosexuality is even a thing. What pains me is that it's something I don't believe to be right, and yet people who I care about can't fully receive blessings from God if they're not keeping His commandments. Is it easy to tell someone who deals with same-sex attraction to just not act on those feelings? Yeah, it's easy for me to say that, but certainly not easy for someone to hear it or follow it, especially if many of them don't know or believe there's a reason for them not to act on those feelings. I'll freely admit, I really don't know all that many people who identify as anything but straight. So I haven't yet had the chance to really empathize for those who struggle with this. But many of those who I do know and have talked to who are gay, bi, queer, pan, etc. – many of them don't believe in any kind of God in the traditional Christian sense: that He is our creator, that Jesus Christ is His son, etc. Someone from that Facebook thread flatly said "I don't believe in any higher power." That's frustrating for me to hear (in this case, read) when I know that God exists, I know I've been blessed by Him in my life. From another one of the dissenting Justices, Clarence Thomas:
When the Framers proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence that "all men are created equal" and "endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights," they referred to a vision of mankind in which all humans are created in the image of God and therefore of inherent worth. That vision is the foundation upon which this nation was built.
Religion is what helped found this country. Even if you don't believe in the same things I do, or don't believe in anything, that fact is undeniable. And while this may be the new trend that's been set, it's strayed far from what We the People originally believed. From George Washington himself:
It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor. (source)
Just because it's what five out of nine people believe and have voted on, that doesn't necessarily make it right. Just because there are millions of people screaming that things should be a certain way doesn't mean that it really should be. Just because you don't believe the same things I do doesn't immediately mean either one of us is wrong. And just because I want to try to love you like a friend, like a brother or sister, that doesn't mean that I accept everything that you ever do.
Now please, please don't immediately interpret that as me hating you. Because that's not my intent at all. I don't mean to step on your happiness just as I'm sure you don't mean to step on mine. If it's something that truly does bring you joy, then there isn't much I can do about it, is there? But understand this: I have my beliefs, and I will not hesitate to share them, and share why I hold them.

I'd like to reemphasize what I wrote at the end of my other post about all this. I don't mean to come across as hating anyone for any reason, and I really don't feel like that I did in any part of this post. I apologize if previous words of mine have offended you, and yet I do hope that you can understand where I'm coming from. If you'd like to understand more of why I believe what I believe, I'm happy to point out places you can go.
  • and are the two main sites to learn about the doctrine of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who are often referred to as Mormons. is another site from the Mormon church that specifically details what our intent is with those who deal with same-sex attraction and how we should interact with each other as part of the human family.
  • A document called "The Family: A Proclamation to the World", which has been a long-standing resource for Mormons that explains why we value the traditional family so much. An article called "The Divine Institution of Marriage" explores that document in depth and relates it to many of the issues at hand, citing various sources (not just scriptures).
  • A short video with transcript from Michael Otterson, a spokesman for the Mormon church, who stated that while we may not agree with everything that groups such as the Human Rights Campaign lobby for, we do believe and support their equal protections – "We join our voice with others in unreserved condemnation of acts of cruelty or attempts to belittle or mock any group or individual that is different – whether those differences arise from race, religion, mental challenges, social status, sexual orientation or for any other reason."
  • A couple speeches from men who I sustain as living apostles. Every six months they, along with many other leaders of the Church, hold a conference available for everyone around the world to watch, hear, or read, and though these aren't the only opportunities to hear them speak, quite often they are the times where they talk about the most pressing topics that the world is dealing with. These two speeches that I've linked to talk a bit about why I feel it's important for me to stay firm to what I believe in, and they express it much better than I usually can.
  • A few other perspectives on the whole debate.
I'm not going to rainbow-tint my profile picture on social media. I'm not going to try to tell my bishop to hold a wedding for some gay friends of mine, or write a letter to the leaders of the Church saying that the doctrine should change since that's what's legal in the country. (It's very clear that it won't change because of that.) But that doesn't mean I'll try to degrade or protest outside of a chapel where two men will be getting married, or that I'll insult you through the shield of the internet because I feel that you're wrong. I would much rather talk with you and maintain a friendship instead of spit venomous words at each other.

I don't support everything you do. But I am far, far from hating you.

No comments:

Post a Comment