I have a personal definition of marriage. I don’t often share it vocally because it’s pretty obvious what it is, but I’ll share it here: “My marriage is between me and my husband.” That’s it. My marriage doesn’t affect anyone else, so I don’t apply my definition to anyone else. Some people have a different definition of what marriage is. And because their marriage does not affect me or my family, at least not in any way that has been explained or proven satisfactorily to me, I am happy to support them as long as it’s legal, between consenting adults, and no one is in danger, or being abused. This includes support for gay marriage.
I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The LDS church ALSO has a definition of marriage. Unlike me, they apply their definition to all humans, claiming that marriage is ordained of God, and they, like most religions, believe that God’s laws should be followed whether you believe in Him or not. I also support them in their choice to do so because as a religion they control the rites that they offer to their members and should have a choice in who participates in those rites. (I do not agree, however, that everyone is responsible for following God’s laws even if they don’t believe in Him. I don’t expect people outside my religion to follow the Word of Wisdom, follow LDS standards of modesty, or pay tithing to my church for example. (Actually, I don’t “expect” people within my religion to do those things…their actions are none of my business.))
Last week the Supreme Court handed down the decision to legalize gay marriage in all 50 states. Therefore, the government too has a definition of marriage. I support it because I believe in in the 11th Article of Faith. And the 12th Article of Faith. And Doctrine and Covenants 134:9. Religions get to control their rites, but governments should give its citizens equal RIGHTS. To put it succinctly, as I saw somewhere on the internet, “rites do not equal rights.” Nor should they.
Some would say, “Hey, it sounds like your support for gay marriage doesn’t match up to what your church preaches! How come you don’t (follow the prophet, leave the church, stop allowing Satan to drag you down)?” I like the church. It’s been MY history for almost 42 years. I like the community it offers. I like the doctrines. I like having a calling and giving talks. I like participating in its ordinances. I simply prefer to keep my personal, religious, and government definitions of marriage separate because the intended audience for each one is separate.
In the off chance that’s not good enough an (explanation, motive, excuse) I remind myself that once upon a time within the church polygamy and the priesthood ban were acceptable doctrines and now they are not. In fact, recently 2 apostles (Holland and Uchtdorf) have admitted that church leaders are imperfect and sometimes make mistakes. I am okay with being socially progressive in the chance that in 20 years we find out this stance was one of those mistakes.
To compare it to something that hits a little more close to home in the LDS religion, sometimes members struggle with the concept of polygamy (current practice is to allow men to be sealed to more than one woman in the cases of death or divorce. So technically “polygamy” is still being practiced within the temple.) A common answer is “Don’t worry about it. Put it on your shelf. It will all get worked out in the eternities.” I’m okay with saying the same thing about gay marriage.
I am an ally for the MOGAI community despite what my beloved church teaches about marriage because I don’t believe on judgment day Christ is going to approach me and say, “You know, you just supported my MOGAI children too much. You loved and accepted too much.”
I realize that this is a very simple blog post compared to some of the pieces out there. I consider myself a baby ally and I like to read better than talk/write. Since some of those discussions are great, I’ve linked to them here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. Listen, learn, and love. Just love. Homosexuality is talked about so few times in our scriptures. But love, love is the greatest of commandments. If I am in err, I choose to err on the side of love.