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Monday, October 4, 2010

An LDS Social Worker's View on Gay Marriage

I'm going to be changing gears a bit for this next post. I don't usually like to get involved in heated political debates, but I feel like I should say something.

I have several friends who have lost their faith because of the issue of Gay Marriage. It has been something I've struggled with myself. I have several friends and acquaintances who consider themselves to be gay/lesbian/bisexual, etc.

I am also working on my BSW (Bachelor of Social Work). There is kind of an unspoken expectation for social workers to support gay marriage and gay rights.

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The LDS church has spoken out against gay marriage countless times.

What's a girl to do?

The following statements and analysis are purely my observations and feelings. I do not officially speak for  Social Workers or the LDS church. I do not mean to come off hateful or ignorant. I am not going to pretend that I don't understand the LDS church's stance a million times better than the GLBT community's. I am merely trying to share the information I have gathered and help others understand my position.

Please don't respond to this post hatefully. I welcome any comments that will help others understand the issues at hand, but any hateful comments will be deleted.

The first thing I want to address is Civil Unions. Below are snippets from several articles:

"Advocates for full marriage equality in Utah say they will focus on the fight for civil unions in the Mormon Church's home state of Utah, as they continue to press for full marital rights. The Mormon Church has said it won't block civil unions in Utah" (article)

" [The Church] does not object to rights for same-sex couples regarding hospitalization and medical care, fair housing and employment rights or probate rights, so long as these do not infringe on the integrity of the traditional family or the constitutional rights of churches."(article)
 
"The Church opposes gay marriage but has said it does not oppose civil unions or non-marriage legal rights for same sex couples." (article)
 
 "LDS church leaders, however do not oppose civil unions or other limited rights for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, as long as those rights don't infringe on religious liberties. In the fall, the church backed a Salt Lake City ordinance that made it illegal to discriminate against LGBT individuals in housing and employment matters." (article)
 
Now, I know what everyone is thinking, "Separate by Equal" doesn't work and proved to be unequal during the civil rights struggles. 

BUT, I think it's important to understand why the LDS Church insists that Marriage is between a man and a woman. 

Let's say that Gay Marriage was universally passed as being legal. At first that would probably be enough.  But, say 10 or 20 years had passed and gay marriage was generally accepted as normal in a secular sense. Churches that did not offer Gay Marriage would be next to be addressed. 

If you don't think it will go that far, check out these articles:
 
"The Church of England warned last night that it is under pressure to accept gay marriage" (article)
 
 
 Gay Marriage was made legal in the UK in 2005 (source) and 5 years later churches are being targeted that don't allow gay marriages. 

Unfortunately, it doesn't stop at "being pressured."
 
"Church of England clergy will be sued for discrimination if they refuse to “marry” homosexuals under a proposed law, a bishop has warned. Other religious leaders fear that churches that refuse to bless civil partnerships might be forced to close." (article
 
Imagine if that happened in America; churches who don't conform to the morals voted on by the public being closed down. America is a country founded on the belief that churches should have freedom to operate.
If you go back and look at the statements above from the LDS church regarding civil unions, they usually include something like "as those rights don't infringe on religious liberties" or "so long as these do not infringe on the integrity of the traditional family or the constitutional rights of churches."
 
In my opinion, that is one of the big reasons the church is fighting so hard against Gay Marriage. 
In my opinion, (and again this isn't endorsed by anyone of authority from the LDS church), the solution would be to do away with "marriage" entirely as far as secular organizations are concerned.  From what I know about the history of "marriage," marriage has only become a secular concern fairly recently. It used to be a concern of churches. 
 
In my opinion, that's the best solution. Let the government give everyone a civil union individual churches give marriages based on their beliefs. That gives the GLBT community equal rights with straight people are far as the government is concerned and places a distinction for marriage to be religious sanction. 

I could go on about the churches stance on Homosexuality as a sin, but this post is very long as it is and I'll save that for another time.



3 comments:

Kayla and Greg said...

I think this is a very well written post. I loved reading it and agree with your solution. I know there are many angry feelings and hurt on this issue but I always believe in a peacful solution for everyone. There is always a way! :)

Jessica said...

(reposted comment from facebook) I'm glad you are talking about this, but just a couple things:

1. Separation of church and state: Churches have the right to marry or not marry who they want. That will not change when gay marriage is legalized. Churches have the right to perform (or not perform) marriages. It is not a requirement. It will not become a requirement when gays can legally marry. "America is a country founded on the belief that churches should have freedom to operate." Yes, in fact, the US is founded on the LAW that churches have freedom to operate. We all need to understand that and cut that "argument," if you will, from this discussion.

2. "I know what everyone is thinking, "Separate but Equal" doesn't work and proved to be unequal during the civil rights struggles. BUT, I think it's important to understand why the LDS Church insists that Marriage is between a man and a woman." That thought that the church will be forced against their will to marry gays and will close down if they don't is not founded on anything but fear. It will not happen in the US. So now we need to go back to Separate but Equal. Separate but equal, us them, "good and evil," these are all things that tear people apart and create misunderstanding. No bueno.

3. I don't have any conclusions, except to love everyone. And love means love, no exceptions. Remember church and state. Religions have been given the right (by our constitution) to practice what they want, when they want, where they want. Why then, can't homosexuals do the same, legally? They will be able to, probably within the next five years, across the US, because it is constitutional and our country is built on freedom.

Tracee Jo said...

i appreciate this! and agree!