Sunday, October 19, 2008

Poor horse.

Page 117-118 of the official text in regards to the May 15, 2008 California Supreme Court decision on gay marriage (emphasis added):

“Further, permitting same-sex couples access to the designation of marriage will not alter the substantive nature of the legal institution of marriage; same-sex couples who choose to enter into the relationship with that designation will be subject to the same duties and obligations to each other, to their children, and to third parties that the law currently imposes upon opposite-sex couples who marry. Finally, affording same-sex couples the opportunity to obtain the designation of marriage will not impinge upon the religious freedom of any religious organization, official, or any other person; no religion will be required to change its religious policies or practices with regard to same-sex couples, and no religious officiant will be required to solemnize a marriage in contravention of his or her religious beliefs (Cal. Const., art I, sec. 4)

“While retention of the limitation of marriage to opposite-sex couples is not needed to preserve the rights and benefits of opposite-sex couples, the exclusion of same-sex couples from the designation of marriage works a real and appreciable harm upon same-sex couples and their children. As discussed above, because of the long and celebrated history of the term “marriage” and the widespread understanding that this word describes a family relationship unreservedly sanctioned by the community, the statutory provisions that continue to limit access to this designation exclusively to opposite-sex couples – while providing only a novel, alternative institution for same-sex couples – likely will be viewed as an official statement that the family relationship is not of comparable stature or equal dignity to the family relationship of opposite-sex couples. Furthermore, because of the historic disparagement of gay persons, the retention of a distinction in nomenclature by which the term “marriage” is withheld only from the family relationship of same-sex couples is all the more likely to cause the new parallel institution that has been established for same-sex couples to be considered a mark of second-class citizenship…”

Agree with that last part or not – I am positive some of you will not – the fact is that the Court found that it was unconstitutional to restrict the definition of “marriage” to a man and a woman.

Consider that a moment. There have been other times in the past where the people “spoke” and the Courts found the people’s voice unconstitutional.

Interracial marriage.

Slavery.

Among others, I’m sure.

You may say, as one reader has, that non-members may look at this blog and wonder “what the hell is she doing in that church if she doesn’t agree with them, anyway?” But I don’t think that will happen so much.

You see, those in other churches don’t always agree with their church’s stance on political issues. And it’s okay. Really, it’s generally okay in our church as well. Right now it is not, though, and that bothers me. I think I am allowed to disagree, but I am still expected to do as told.

But it's not as if the Prophet is suddenly saying "Gay marriage is good! God wants us to solemnize gay marriage. He wants us all to become gay!"

Nooooooo. I tend to think, right now, that's it's more the Church taking a strong stand on the issue, saying "We refuse to go the way of the world, the way of so many other churches. Our doctrine is consistent and will not waver on this issue - gay marriage goes against God's central plan and the family." Just like so many other things the Church stands against.

I worry that so many members aren't considering what exactly it is they’re saying in defense of their beliefs and/or actions.

For some of us, we’re being asked to do something we’ve never been asked to do before. Up until now, I’ve been told to vote according to my conscience and my personal prayers. Now those two things don’t matter? My prayers have been said for me? What?

I joined the church in the year 2000. I was 19 years old by the time November came around. It was my first year voting, and I remember most of the flurry surrounding Prop 22 (the proposition that has brought us to 8). I don’t remember quite this much activity surrounding the church other than it supported a “yes” vote. It didn't matter, though. I felt gay marriage was wrong and voted yes.

When Proposition 8 began hitting the airwaves, I was just as angry as the rest of you were. “The liberal California Courts are at it again, overruling the voice of 61% of the people! How dare they!”

Then I was told that wasn’t exactly what was going on.

That’s when I realized the argument “Those in ‘Domestic Partnerships’ are afforded the same rights as those in marriages” was wrong. They are not afforded all of the same rights. Some aren’t even able to get health insurance if one of them works for the feds.

That’s when I began to sit in Sunday School listening to my teachers and leaders read off of a list of reasons why same-sex marriage was just plain wrong…and my instincts kicked in for the first time in years and I realized every single one of those arguments was wrong in some way.

I went home and did my research, and sure enough I was right. I didn’t take that debate and those critical thinking classes for nothing, apparently.

I started wondering why those in the Church would perpetuate deceptive statements in order to further a cause, why it was allowed to happen.

I wanted to scream every Sunday.

It’s one thing to tell the congregants “I know some of you may not understand why, but the Prophet feels strongly, has received direction from God, that it is within our best interests to vote ‘yes’ on Proposition 8” and then leave it at that.

But that’s not what’s been happening. “Vote yes on 8 not just because the Prophet said so, but because gay couples are selfish and can’t procreate and the family unit as we know it will crumble around us. There are also these other reasons (that hold no merit).”

That bothers me and brings me pause.

We’re being told to make something deemed unconstitutional, constitutional.

I’m not saying the Courts are always right and we’re always wrong, but we need to listen when they speak and stop learning to brush them off because they’re known to be a – gasp – liberal court. Liberal views do not always equate sinful views. As a general people, we’ve been wrong before and the Courts have been right. Just because we’re uncomfortable with something doesn’t mean it’s wrong and we’re right.

That said: I may be wrong on this.

I’m just tired of people using irrationality to back up their feelings on the matter. It really doesn’t cast a good hue on us.

I know personally some people who are not comfortable with a “yes” vote, but they’re voting yes because the Prophet asked them to.

Cool.

I just know too many other people who are allowing this to mask their homophobia, and that’s wrong.

I know too many people who think this will be the beginning of a slew of reverse-hate-crimes against those who are against gay marriage. This is not the gateway to that, though. It could happen now. It would be happening now. It’s not.

If the Church is true, it is true. It will always be true, gay marriage or not. Nobody is forcing us to condone it, and by taking an official “yes” stance, the Church is in fact saying they will not condone it – and I’m okay with that.

As much as I like a good debate, I’m beginning to see the impracticality of this particular one. No matter who we are or where we stand, we can always find someone to agree with us. I appreciate support immensely and find great comfort in it, but in the end I have to be confident in my decisions alone.

I will not vote or believe something because of peer pressure. I will do because I feel it is right, not because other people are questioning my membership or my testimony. That really isn’t within my fellow members’ realm of authority anyway.

I’ve been called upon a few times to “say something good about the Church,” but I didn’t start this blog to cater to other people. I started this blog to express views I haven’t been able to, and the less I am able to speak and write about something, the weaker and more frustrated I become.

I have to be careful to not do things simply because others want me to. I respect my friends and those with good intentions very much, but I’ve spent my whole life working to please the masses. I want to be true to myself here and say what I hope others are thinking but are afraid to say.

Questioning should be okay. I would like to think even the Church leaders would agree with that. Ten years ago that’s exactly what I was told. I was told to study the matter out and then pray. Why is that suddenly not the thing to do?

Ideally, if I’m going to vote yes on this, it will be because the Prophet asked me to. It will also be because I’ve done the research myself and have not allowed myself to believe deceptive arguments. It will be because I feel it is right. Because I've studied the matter out.

But honestly, it will also be because I'm at least a little afraid to "go against the Church."

Explain the merit in that.


On a final unrelated note: General Colin Powell has endorsed Obama! Yay!

13 comments:

Tom said...

"If I’m going to vote yes on this, it will be because the Prophet asked me to."

But if you do, it seems to me you will be interfering with secular, civil life in a way you have persuasively argued is wrong.

Lisa said...

And that, Tom, is my dilemma.

Tom said...

I sincerely hope you will render unto Caesar what is Caesar's.

Lisa said...

Tom, please. I know. Trust me, I know. If you know the LDS church as well as you say you do, you'll understand and appreciate my position here.

Lisa said...

Fabulous point, though.

Tom said...

I know, I didn't mean to be a nag. It's just that EVERY vote is going to be so important on this issue. You're doing such an important thing right now by raising these issues in such a thoughtful, rational way.

You mention debate in this post -- were you a debater in high school or college?

Lisa said...

Honestly? I took one argumentation class in college. It was a fantastic class that only complemented the many, many, many English classes I've taken.

They've taught me much, and I've never seen the things I learned there serve me as well as they are right now. It's exciting, really.

I just went back to edit for clarity in that matter :)

Noe said...

Write something nice about the LDS church? I was unaware that you were saying bad things about them... *shrug* Wait! I'm biased because I'm an agnostic who married a Jew-ignore me as my overtly liberal views will just get you into trouble. lol

Quick solution... if you see yourself voting "yes" for no reason other than the prophet told you to, and the only reason you don't vote "no" is because you don't wish to go against the prophets words-despite your own misgivings... Just leave it blank and exit that booth with a clean conscious. Not a thing wrong with that at all.

Proud Mommy said...

Lisa-I hope I have not offended you, that was not my intention at all. You are an extremely smart woman and I can hear your struggle with wanting to be your own person, make your own decision and being obedient to the prophet. I can hear your struggle to do what you think is right, and you are correct...we do need to pray and if we do with true intent we will receive our answer whatever that might be.
This is also your personal blog and you have every right to put out your feelings, I guess since I am so pro these props and really believe that if I follow the counsel of the prophet I will not be led astray, I do not want to push that on you either. And you should not fear, God does not want us to fear.
Questioning should be ok. That is why we search the scriptures and other church doctrine. Then we pray with true intent. I hope you are not afraid of the church, the gospel is not a bully. I agree there are plenty of self righteous people who will make you feel guilty, but they themselves are missing the true message of our loving savior. Ultimately our goal is the same, to return to him and live with our families forever.
So with this voting season I will feel right in my vote... I do not feel pressured in my decision.
Your greatest supporters here on your blog are NO voters
Tom-you were married in the temple at 22 so at one time you did have a testimony of the church, right?
So lets let lisa make her decision,
Lisa-I will not pressure you or try to push you to a yes vote. Through this "debate" I feel I have made a friend who does not fully agree with what I fully agree...and thats ok.

Lisa said...

Cool :)

I also wanted to say that it's not just those who agree with me who I want here. I think its important to hear both sides, and I'm glad when people challenge.

I don't feel Tom is pushing me. He feels strongly about something. I'll make my decision on my own. I wouldn't have started my blog if I didn't feel I could do that.

I really do just enjoy talking and writing. It's the best way I know how to figure things out.

Thank you.

Proud Mommy said...

oh i didn't mean just tom, I included myself in that... I know you will make your own decision.

I know the more I read on the subject the stronger my desire to vote yes...Im reading both sides too, not just yes supporter views.

Natalie said...

Thank you for bringing up the actual text of the court decision! That is something that most conversations on the topic ignore. I should also point out that the court was not even a "liberal" court. I could track down the specific statistics if interested, but I think that all but one of the judges on the court were appointed by Republican governors.

I also really appreciate your journey to self-expression. :) Growing up, I definitely felt the pressure to agree with everyone around me, especially those older than me. I remember telling people, "Al Gore is evil. He's just evil." In reality, I knew virtually nothing about him! It's just what I'd heard people saying.

A few startling revelations later, I've come to get some sort of perverse pleasure out of seeing the other side. When I realized that some of the basic "truths" I'd taken for granted were wrong, I realized I needed to examine all by assumptions.

It's a brutal and incomplete process, but I think I'm better for it.

I guess my point is.... your posts make it clear that you are not a blind follower acting for stupid reasons. Obviously, whatever you do, your actions will be carefully considered and well-intentioned. In that case, I doubt that either decision will displease the Lord.

Amanda said...

My mom always felt conflicting pressure with regards to voting - her family, which she's very close to, were staunchly republican, whereas my dad was staunchly democrat. I think it pulled her in two different directions, because part of her wanted to do one thing, while another part of her wanted to do something else. Ever since I was a kid, my mom has been very vocal about her way of dealing with this: "I never tell anyone how I vote."

Whether you vote yes or no, this might be at least a solution to the judgement from peers that might be passed onto you otherwise.

But maybe not. I suppose I'm not one to talk - I was an LDS convert but left the church after 2 years primarily because I couldn't deal with their stance on this issue. That wasn't the only reason, but it played a major catalyst role in my decision to leave. I couldn't maintain a testimony when this issue became involved. I admire you for being able to.