01 March 2011

Not just about 'marriage'

I often hear church members say they support civil unions and giving same-sex couples the same rights as mixed-sex couples (many stop short of adoption rights), just not allowing same-sex couples to use the word 'marriage', and some even say the church has said as much.

It hasn't.

It has come out in support of certain rights for same-sex couples:
The Church does not object to rights (already established in California) 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 family or the constitutional rights of churches and their adherents to administer and practice their religion free from government interference. - The Divine Institution of Marriage

That's great, but it comes with the "so long as" qualifier (part of which [infringement of constitutional rights of churches and adherents] is totally understandable and probably necessary, the other part of which [infringing on the 'integrity of the family'] is completely subjective and allows for plenty of wiggle room should the church need it) and says nothing of civil unions, adoption rights, taxation, insurance, guardianship...

It has also clearly and officially implied it does not support giving same-sex couples all of the same rights and responsibilities as mixed-sex couples:
Legalizing same-sex marriage will affect a wide spectrum of government activities and policies. Once a state government declares that same-sex unions are a civil right, those governments almost certainly will enforce a wide variety of other policies intended to ensure that there is no discrimination against same-sex couples. This may well place "church and state on a collision course." - The Divine Institution of Marriage (emphasis added)

Classic "us or them". Of course, they expound on other reasons to bolster their opposition to same-sex marriage, reasons I believe are completely debatable if not debunkable. But my point here is that, to the church, this apparently isn't just about the word 'marriage', folks. So at the risk of spurring some of you to change your minds in a direction I disagree with, I say to my LDS-faithful friends and family: be careful about where you draw your lines, or you may find yourself unexpectedly at odds with 'the brethren' in your attempts to be 'tolerant'.


The Impossible K said...

... and let the flame war begin...

Of course it's not semantics. At first I thought that's all it boiled down to, but as you've demonstrated, it does go beyond that. When you analyze statements made in The Divine Institution of Marriage, some of the reasoning the church makes is subjective, and an easy target for opposing viewpoints to feed off... Fair enough.

The topic of gay marriage is most definitely a controversial one, something especially sensitive to those who are personally affected by the implications.

I have analyzed this issue plenty of times in the past, and I don't think it's fair to caution faithful members... As you well know, where you "draw the line" changes. Our understanding of issues, of ourselves, of the world, is constantly evolving. No one should be faulted or feel like they're in danger of being "at odds" for critically thinking about these issues. What really matters is the spirit at which you approach this - are we trying to seek an understanding or just looking for ways to gratify our existing bias?

I second guess myself even, thinking about topics like this. I wonder how much of what I believe is selfish and to what degree I can actually claim is rational. Or if that even matters...

Original Mohomie said...

Ha, looks like it was a one-person flame-war. How disappointing. ;-)