I wasn't as devastated as some LGBT people were about the passing of prop 8 in California. As I have said a million times, I truly don't know what in the world the YES on 8 side is trying to accomplish when gay marriage is already legal in MA and now CT. Particularly from the mormon standpoint. The LDS church is worldwide church! Why fight so hard in California when 2 other states already allow gay marriage, not to mention Canada, several countries in Europe etc. Are the souls of the people living in those states and countries not worth protecting against the evil that gay marriage will bring upon them? Why fight in California and not elsewhere? Or, as Elle Woods would say.. "Why now? Why this sperm?"
I suppose I wasn't devastated because I feel that marriage equality is inevitable. I have heard many people say that history is on our side, and as someone's T-shirt read at a rally I recently attended:
Today I read this press release:
(San Francisco, CA, January 15, 2009)—Today, hundreds of religious organizations, civil rights groups, and labor unions, along with numerous California municipal governments, bar associations, and leading legal scholars collectively urged the California Supreme Court to strike down Proposition 8.
In a brief filed on January 14, 2009, the California Council of Churches and other religious leaders and faith organizations representing millions of members discussed the harm Proposition 8 poses to religious minorities.
“Proposition 8 poses a grave threat to religious freedom,” said Rev. Rick Schlosser, Executive Director of the California Council of Churches. “If the Court permits same-sex couples to be deprived of equal protection by a simple majority vote, religious minorities could be denied equal protection as well—a terrible injustice in a nation founded by people who emigrated to escape religious persecution. If the Court permits Proposition 8 to take effect, religious discrimination similarly could be written into California's Constitution.”
I found this to be extremely ironic. One of the things I heard most frequently from members of the LDS church regarding the legality of gay marriage was that marriage equality would eventually diminish the rights of certain religious groups. Particularly those religions who refused to perform gay marriages in their temples and churches. In fact, this was one of the main highlights on the official church video featuring Elder Bednar about prop 8 and why mormons should fall in line and be FOR prop 8. Whether purposeful or not, this was not true. The May overturn of the previously existing gay marriage ban in California clearly stated that no religious organization would be forced to perform gay marriages. The overturn protected the first amendment rights of religions as well as those of queer people wishing to wed their beloved partners of choice. To lead religious people to believe that their rights were in jeopardy was effective, but blatantly dishonest. It is particularly sad to think that this information was available to anyone who wanted to find it. It was not hidden in piles of rhetoric or lawyer-ese. It was clearly stated in the court report.
What is again ironic is that by using a majority vote in California, certain groups were able to remove the rights of a minority group. That is what happened. Um, doesn't that scare churches more than gay marriage??! A mere 51% can take away your right to whatever they choose to take away. Isn't that scary? Particularly the LDS church that has been often so repressed and persecuted. How could they willingly stifle another minority group? How could they forget what it is like to be told that what they believe to be the truth is something abhorrent to a more powerful group of people? Is this what the church wants to do with their growing reputation in America that they have worked so hard to build up? And again.. WHAT DOES IT GIVE THEM? The nebulous but ever-ubiquitous "destruction of the traditional family" has been warded off I suppose. But again I have to wonder, is the world falling apart in Massachusetts? Is it falling apart in Canada? Is the Netherlands a present day inferno; devoid of righteousness?
I have a very good friend who is a convert to the church who called me to ask for my advice. She said to me that all her coworkers were giving her a very hard time about her faith, as well as her stance on proposition 8. She said, "I am actually not opposed to gay marriage, but I just can't stand by and let my religious freedoms become jeopardized." I was like, HUH? Is that what people have been telling you is going to happen if prop 8 doesn't pass? I felt bad for her as a convert especially being put in that position. She was told things that were not true and that made no logical sense, yet made to feel that she had to either support them or go against a loving Heavenly Father. One of my brothers was placed in a similar situation. He felt he had to choose to either support me or support God. God won. But did he? DID HE? (S.D. that's for you)
I don't know how this particular situation will play out. I do believe, however, in that principle called KARMA, or in mormon-ese, the law of the harvest. I'd be more afraid of that than the disintegration of the fiber of society, especially if you are sowing seeds of intolerance and using less than the truth to become more powerful in the world. I can't judge the church leaders who made these decisions, because I don't understand their motives in the least. I do feel though that no one can stop the tide of love and acceptance that is washing over this earth. Not even a "hallowed hand" can. This is our fate as human beings-- to learn all the lessons that will help us to realize the truth: we are all one. We are all connected.