Two Thoughts About Same-Sex Marriage

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My parents this past December. They have been married almost 34 years, have five children, and have blessed the lives of countless others. What great examples to me!

With the Supreme Court expected to make a ruling about same-sex marriage this summer, I have been thinking a lot about the issue lately. During 2008, I was (and still am) a strong supporter of Proposition 8. During my more recent musings on the matter, I have come to two different conclusions:

1. Supporters of traditional marriage are seeking to define marriage as being between one man and one woman.

The fact that it's about the definition of marriage is crucial. It can be hard to see through all the rhetoric about equal rights. Of course I believe in equal rights. Of course the churches believe in equal rights. Of course God believes in equal rights, for "God is no respecter of persons," (Acts 10:34), and "all are alike unto God" (2 Nephi 26:33). What supporters of traditional marriage want is not unequal protection under the law. What we want is for the definition of marriage to be between one man and one woman. Marriage between one man and one woman is available to all. If there is a partnership between two people of the same gender, it is not marriage. It is something else. Tax benefits or visitation rights can be afforded to same-sex couples, but not because they are members of the institution called marriage, because the definition of that is a union formed between one man and one woman. In this way, equal rights are not violated. Which brings me to point number two, which is dependent on point number one.

2. The major reason the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints opposes same-sex marriage is to protect its rights as a church.

I am not a spokesman for the church. However, from reading and listening to statements from the church and its Apostles, I believe the major reason the church opposes same-sex marriage is to protect its rights. I say this because I think people often feel the major reason the church or other denominations oppose same-sex marriage is to discourage sin. To be sure, discouraging sin is a chief role of the leaders and members of the church. However, if same-sex marriage is legalized, it will be impossible for churches and their members to maintain free exercise of conscience without stepping on the toes of gays and lesbians. Already pressure has been put on church-affiliated adoption agencies and wedding photographers, to name a couple off the top of my head,  to go against their consciences. Nationwide same-sex marriage legalization will only add fuel to this fire, and the rights of churches across the nation will suffer as they try to do what they believe is right.

I do not support mean or unfair treatment of any person based on their sexual orientation. However, I do support the rights of people and churches to free exercise of conscience with regards to matters of sex. If the definition of marriage is changed to include same-sex couples these rights will be compromised, as people will be forced to decide between treating people unequally with regards to the laws of the land and being disobedient to the laws of their Creator. This is what we want to avoid.

One of my favorite lectures on same-sex marriage was given in an address at BYU in 2008 by Robert George, the MP3 of which can be found here.

Posted April 13th, 2013 in Politics, Religion.

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