Recently there has been a lot of postmortem on the two sides of the proposition 8 issue. Most of it has been because of the reactions of the pro Same Sex Marriage (SSM) side. I hate wading into this but yet I feel like I have to because I have heard many of these arguments before.
While I may be less sure of my position now then I was a few years ago let me make some basic observations.
On balance gay marriage, regardless of the novelty, is still something done by a very few, according to stats Canada since the allowance of SSM in 2005 only 16% of Gays and Lesbians are married.
Now, I accept that there are varying points of view in the church for or against SSM as well as the most likely, the “not really care” category. However, the church could not be more clear where it stands.
For some this maybe similar to what Eugene England called the Burden of the Cross, like blacks and the priesthood prior to 1978, which the church is asked to bear something socially out of line with the public (like polygamy). But the relationship between Blacks and the Priesthood and SSM is very different. To my knowledge the act of homosexual sex is still considered a sin by the church, as it was pretty much from Leviticus to now. Just as adultery and pre-marital sex are considered sinful.
If that is the case then there is little grounds for acknowledging the need for the Church to accept SSM. Any more than the church accepts unmarried people living together. At the end of the day the church leadership see this backed up by thousands of years of position, add to that is the Proclamation of the Family which while not canon certainly has a canonical feel to it.
So then the church feels obligated to fight it as they did fight for prohibition, against the equal rights amendment, and against gambling in various locations. If you disagree, that is your choice, but the church has given enough reasons why it stands for this specific position. In my opinion that is not political advocacy but rather a choice to get involved in political process. It is my feeling that the church would never get this hard core without a consensus among the brethren. I would also expect that a lot of prayer when into this.
Therefore, whether I think Gays and Lesbians want to get married in our temples (some may, most won’t), or that they would not even care is no longer the point. What is important to me is this is what our leaders see as important enough to make an unpopular stand. If they are willing to do this I am willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. Then I am obligated to pray about it.
If I still feel strongly against their position then that is fine, fight the proposition on its merits. I feel strongly that the post vote protests are nothing more then a sense of people who cannot live with the results. In Canada our leaders voted for SSM and put the legislation in place to place it along side other “rights” in our understanding of what makes marriage. I felt it was a mistake, which inevitably must lead to the recognition of other forms of marriage, like polygamy, but what is so exclusive in the legislation now?
However, I have not been a sore loser about it. I have accepted that I am not in step with the majority and I have left it there. If it becomes an issue in the courts, such as a conflict between religious freedom and SSM I might get more concerned again. We lost, they won, most got over it. And more to the point I am just as convinced our rights were as important as theirs.
I have noticed that the left side of the spectrum do not “get over it.” Bush’s election in 2000 was a fine example of that. The whining about this went on for what 8 years now? Keep in mind it was those on the left who got excited about red states verses blue, who can forget Jesusland? Or how about the general droning on and on about the Iraq war or Afghanistan.
Now with Obama’s election many on the left are asking for conservatives to accept the truth of the “shift” of the country to the left, and we want to all be friends again. Unity on their terms. I have seen this in Britain and Canada, so it is not an American phenomenon by any means.
Anyways, sorry for my droning on. I just find that neither side on this discussion is realistic, it was always a cataclysm always the end of the world, or conversely always being a right being infringed on. In order for rights to be made enforceable it needs an active support from the will of the people. I think most would recognize that the treatment of Mormons, Catholics, and Jews in the 1800s in the USA was against the rights given to them under freedom of religion.
Those against prop 8 need to realize that the time to come up with a new strategy is now. Not throw a wobbly about the result and go on a Michael Moore rampage. Demonizing your opponent may make great theatre and politics but is no way to really achieve the consensus they are going to need. In that I agree with the church press releases.
I also think it is now an opportunity for the Church to meet with those groups they promised to meet this past summer.