November 17, 2008
I understand why supporters of gay marriage are upset at LDS support of prop 8: it appears that Mormons are trying to deny rights to gay people. Gay marriage proponents rightly ask “what impact would gays marrying each other have on heterosexual Mormons?” With little information to go on, they accept the most obvious answer: that Mormons must bear prejudice towards gays.
Fortunately, this is not the case. Mormons are not concerned with restricting gays from living a homosexual lifestyle, they are concerned about the impact that redefining marriage to exclude gender would have on the meaning of heterosexual marriage, especially for future generations.
As it stands, legalized marriage is a means by which civilizations manage and support their health and perpetuation. A man and a woman who marry do more than express love to each other or obtain rights, they legally contract, for the benefit of not only each other but also of the civilization, to create a stable unit through which children can come into the world and develop in the safest, healthiest manner possible. If parents divorce, government holds both parties accountable for the continued support of the children. Marriage does more than allow two people to express love and obtain rights, it holds them accountable for the contribution they are making to society.
I realize that homosexuals can adopt and that lesbians can become pregnant through medical or other means, but the fact is, heterosexual marriage plays a vital role in the health of our civilization that homosexual marriage cannot replace. This is not to say that if gay marriage were legalized, all would become gay; rather, I am saying that to redefine marriage in exclusion of gender would be to ignore the reasons for marriage being a legal issue in the first place. Mormons are concerned that future generations, growing up believing that marriage is only about love and rights will see marriage more as a thing of personal convenience than of real importance to them and to others and will marry less and stay married less. This would not be good for them, their spouses, or their children.
This is why Mormons supported prop 8, not because they hate gays or wish to control them. I stand with Mormons and non-mormons in advocating respect for all, regardless of sexual orientation. I hope gay marriage proponents will understand that Mormons are protecting something that they hold sacred and which they believe to be critical to the well-being of all.