Saturday, May 17, 2008

CAL-EE-forn-ya!

Say it with me, will ya?! Just like Arnie does on his commercials urging us to visit his fine state, "CAL-EE-forn-ya!" And what a fine state it is. Recently, "The 4-3 opinion written by Chief Justice Ronald George said domestic partnerships that provide many of the rights and benefits of matrimony are not enough." The court legalized gay marriage and the weddings could begin in as little as 30 days when their decision becomes final. The court reversed CA Proposition 22 that passed with 61% of the vote strenthening the state's marriage law stating that marriage was between one man and one woman. So far you may not be able to tell if I am reporting, outraged or thrilled at the decision, and for that, I am sorry. It means that I have not expressed my opinions on this issue, an issue that I think is at the core of teaching tolerance and acceptance. I try to understand the opposition to gay marriage, and I love and respect my friends and family that are morally opposed to it. As for me, I'm all for it and here's why:

Homosexuals have the right to be just as happy (or miserable?) as everyone else. Especially if that means entering a binding, legal, contract with someone they love and commit to each other for the rest of their life here on earth. I don't think the government has any right to take that away from any human being. It could be a federal issue, but I'll be content with a state decision. Well, I guess it is just a court decision, but one that the state's governor said he would uphold. This is the same state's Supreme court that reversed a decision banning interracial marriage. That was a long time ago, but not THAT long ago. Maybe this is why the decision is so scary to conservatives, but gives hope to so many others.

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints call homosexual tendencies to be "Same Sex Attraction" or SSA. I guess that term covers all the bases and makes it a little clearer as to what we are talking about. It also makes it a little more real to those of us that are attracted to the opposite sex. Aren't we talking about the same thing here really? You are naturally draw to someone, or several someones, for whatever reason: because of how they look, act, react, think, write, perform, talk, or whatever. I would not begin to try to understand all the vast reasons as to why couples get together. It is fun to hear their stories, but will I ever understand the reasons that my friends stay with their quirky spouses? All I can say is that people are attracted to other people for various reasons and it is not possible for me to surmise all the reasons for their attraction, be it SSA or not.

So I applaud the California Supreme Court for their decision to legalize gay marriage especially in a state that already "recognizes that an individual's capacity to establish a loving and long-term committed relationship with another person and responsibly care for and raise children does not depend upon the individual's sexual orientation." I am even further impressed that this a Republican-dominated court! (FYI: that is intended as a compliment, not a slam!)

15 comments:

Rachel said...

This one has always been a hard one for me. I get that homosexuality is opposed to the Lord's plan for his children, what is harder for me is understanding how granting homosexuals the right to marriage is wrong.

An article entitled, "How the order of marriage has shaped us all, and what we will lose if we change it" by Terry Warner has been the only thing I've read that has helped put coherency behind the "Protect Marriage" movement.

It's stinkin driving me crazy that I don't know how to link in comments but here is the cut/paste link, if you read it (which you should, it kicks butt:) I'd love to hear your thoughts on it!

P.s. It is the second article listed on the page this link will bring up.

http://www.byub.org/familiesunder
fire/?selectedYear=2004

tempe turley said...

Rachel,

First of all, you should be able to link manually in blogs by typing the html in explicitly:

<a href = "http://ce.byu.edu/cw/fuf/archives/2004/Terry.Warner.pdf"> article </a>.

Here is the article.

I did read a portion of the article. It's long, but I'll definitely get to it.

I think the door has been opened that has led us to this position where courts are starting to liberalize the definition of marriage mainly because culturally we have already done so.

The over-sexualization of our culture, the fact that pornography has gone mainstream. The divorce rate, the social acceptance by many families not to have children because of lifestyle preference.

If our culture has already weakened the heterosexual family in practice, it becomes a tougher argument to prevent marriage from homosexual marriages.

Helena, as you know I just wrote a blog essay on a topic that kind of touches on this topic. I have to say that I would rather see marriage reserved for heterosexual relationships, although I would also support some sort of legal arrangement for other types of relationships.

I was going to get into my argument for this in my post, but I felt it was not exactly in-line with my primary point, so I cut it out, but maybe in another post down the road I'll get to it.

But I do think that tolerance is an often over-looked attribute in religious circles, and in my view compassion and tolerance for another point of view is essential.

I do think, though, that the religious point of view on this issue has been too quickly dismissed of late (by some people at least).

April said...

I don't understand why these are legal issues. I understand that they are religious and moral issues, so why then can the government tell us what is appropriate morally or religiously. It's not like we are under the reign of Henry VIII (now I wamt to sing the song). I think people will do what they want to do regardless of the law and it is not our place to judge. God and his workers will sort it out in the end. It's none of my business, however, I do want to protect my own family from being so accepting that they condone or agree with such practices. You know, teach them to love the sinner, not the sin. I don't think we need the gov't for that. That's what FHE is for right?

H said...

Thanks for all your comments! I'm not alone out here in the quandry of what's best for our family and society. I have to say that it doesn't matter what we think the government should be involved with or not, they are going to be involved because special interest groups are always going to be around pushing the govt. to be involved. I'm sorry that I don't have time right now to read the article, I WILL get to it when my laptop is back (Bill!) and my stomach is better...

And since Scott entered the discussion I will include a quote from his latest blog that I wanted to include in my own:
"Really, truly, what is the best way to deal with abortion or homosexual marriage. The answer is probably to error on the side of compassion and tolerance, not being afraid to compromise to get stuff done, to admit that we live in a wonderful country filled with incredible people having all sorts of religious, spiritual, and intellectual points of view and its our opportunity to understand one another in the spirit of friendship and humility."

I guess there is a big jump from tolerance to acceptance and I tend to go for acceptance. By giving homosexuals a legalized version of of an actual marriage aren't we segregating them none the less. Even if they do have all the rights and privledges of a state sanctioned marriage we are keeping the one thing that means we accept who they are. I can't be that person that says you aren't married even though you are committed to one person. Seriously, why to we give marriage status to the woman that has been through 5 husbands in one lifetime, but not to another woman that has had 2 relationships in her lifetime. Yes, I'm talking about real people here and I have to say that the second woman has made better choices in her life.

Really, I'll read the artice soon (hopefully Wednesday...)

tempe turley said...

Helena,

I agree that society has de-emphasized the traditional family in so many other ways, its almost become a mute point. Homosexual couples do act more responsible than many heterosexual couples.

I'm just saying that the traditional family unit, husband and wife staying together until the bitter, trying their hardest to love each other and their children, is by far the best environment within which to raise children. It's true, this is a religious statement, but I think there are enough studies to back me up. Children do better with both male and female role models, they do better if they are raised by caring parents, ideally their biological parents.

I think because of that, government has some sort of role to play to try to strengthen the traditional family. And, I would prefer that this configuration would have an enhanced status because its the best way really to bring children into this world.

H said...

Banning gay marriage would only be one obvious way to protect the family that society USED to know. Drugs, divorce, single-parents, alcoholism, and other addictive behaviors (to name just a few)are all issues that affect the family. Attacking homosexuals by forbidding them the right of marriage just seems hateful. How about a Proposition prohibiting drug users, alcoholics, or pedifiles from getting married? How about putting a max. on the number of times you can get married, thus encouraging people to make better choices, endure to the end? Are homosexuals just an easy target for hateful legislation?

Rachel, I've read half the article and have found several points to support my case (many pro-marriage points can be applied better to some gay married couples than to some heterosexual couples that I know). There was a good point made about men and women complimenting and completing each other. Yes, obviously, it takes a man and woman to create a child but I think science has changed that, and I think men and women have proven that that resultant child is not always wanted. What about a husband and wife that can't have children? And, just as Scott said, there is the influence of both a male and female that would benefit raising a child. I'm sure there are multiple studies that show how true this is...and I'm also sure that the studies come from broken homes where the husband and wife are no longer together for whatever reason. Has anyone done a study on gay couples raising children, how the children adjust, and the percentage of those couples that stay together? (I guess I'll have to look that one up) Abusive parents can't be good for children so maybe we should ban people with violent tendencies from getting married, or better yet stop them from having children altogether.

Maybe the biggest problem we all have is that we don't know what causes SSA. Maybe we think it is a choice. There are too many maybes for me to pass judgement and condemnation on a whole group of people. Maybe my hesitation is that outside of the Church, I know of more broken marriages than I do ones that stayed together.

Yes, I know what God intended! There was Adam and Eve. Yes, I will follow the Church's counsel. But until God tells the Prophet to tell me to pass what I consider hateful laws I will continue to vote my conscience. I'm sure if He does, then it will come with a clear and precise reason for why it is not hateful.

April said...

Just a quick note on what causes SSA. I personally believe that sexual abuse and single parenting (based ont he fact that only one sex is raiging them) are huge factors that can "create" SSA. Biologically, though, I do have to say that I believe in the theory of the feminization of human beings through environmental factors. There are freakin' hormones in the water we drink and in the bazilions of products that have soy in them. I know its a far shot, but I don't think you can count that out. I also think these environmental factors play a role in the womb while the mother is ingesting many hormone laced foods to build a strong healthy baby. The earlier the baby is subject to high levels of Estrogen, the earlier I suppose he or she could be showing SSA tendecies. Just thoughts that could be bogus, but wanted to share. I'm sure some scientist could explain what I'm trying to say a lot better than me, but too bad, I'm all you've got.

The Turley Times said...

I agree with a lot of what April said about environmental factors we don't even understand (what else can explain those transgendered 6 year olds?) And now I'm freaking out about all the soy based substitutes for protein and dairy products that I've been ingesting during this pregnancy. I hope it's a girl already so I don't end up with one of those!!!!!!! (only half kidding there :-)

Rachel said...

Wow! Look at all the great discussion I've been missing! Everyone has such insightful comments. H. you have very well thought out ideas. I want to think about this more.

H said...

Rachel, I think we need to have a long discussion and I'm not sure it will end with either of us in a happy place. I read the article from page 1 to page 14! I didn't realize who Terry Warner was until I was completely done with it. I know how much you respect him and his work, and now I understand why his article means so much to you. My heart dropped at the end of page 12 when he noted that the First Presidency had made this statement:

"Any other sexual relations, including those between persons of the same gender, undermine the divinely created institution of the family. The Church accordingly favors measures that define marriage as the union of a man and a woman and that do not confer legal status on any other sexual relationship." (20 Oct 2004)

Because of that statement my heart has dropped. All things that I know to be true and right are being questioned and dare I say that my faith is wavering? I always thought that The Church stayed out of politics and would never tell me how to vote. That statement tells me exactly what to do and that sincerely bothers me.

Do I dare compare this to the days when blacks were not allowed to hold the priesthood? What about the commandment to enter a polygamist marraige? Would I have questioned these revelations? Probably.

My position still stands firm because I believe that all men are created equal and everyone deserves all the same rights and privledges provided to them by law. I don't think the law should segregate people like it did with "seperate but equal".

My quandry now is not with my position on this issue, it is with the Church's instruction to it's members on this issue. Is a statement from the First Presidency considered revelation? I guess that is my big quesiton now.

Rachel said...

Oh don't be worried, H! I should have Davey do a post on what it takes to make something "revelation". You'll feel MUCH better then. Wish you were here so we could hash it out on the living room couch instead! XO

Rachel said...

ooops I meant "doctrine", not revelation. I know when that quote came out Davey (and mostly me too, I think) thought that was just bad judgment on the part of the church to dip their pinky in the political arena when they've been so stalwart about staying out of it. I don't feel bad saying that, they are just human beings when it comes down to it, and all men are entitled to some bad judgment. I'm surprised they don't have more of it, actually.

Or maybe they really do know something we don't. I'm going to keep pondering on it. But either way I think it'll work out.

And also, just for the record, I'm undecided in how I vote on the whole issue. That article gave coherency to my thoughts on why the heck it could be good to keep the label of M. for man and woman, but it did not solidify it for me. I'll keep you updated.

H said...

Rachel,
Thank you SOOOOOOOOO much! You have no idea how much better I feel now. I did pray about it the next day but felt just miserable for 24 hours. Bill said he was actually worried about me when he went to bed :( I'm looking forward to Davey's post...

Davey said...

I'm looking forward to his post too, maybe this weekend! I'm glad you feel better. Did you know Pres. Faust was a staunch democrat? That's what I've heard at least. I'd love to read his bio. But anyway, it's nice to know there's political diversity in the church leadership.

Davey said...

I posted some thoughts on my blog