Monday, October 13, 2008

Emily: A Threat To Whose Marriage?

Last week the Salt Lake Tribune published a letter to the editor that I wrote, quite a while ago actually, in response to Mr B's response to my mother.

It really does baffle me that people actually view gay marriage as a threat to the institution of marriage and the family. People are terrified of absolutely nothing. Heterosexuals have already run the institution of marriage into the ground. It has become a freaking joke! Those to whom it is not a joke, and those that take their marriages seriously and hold them sacred, are not affected in the least by the rest of the straight population that don't. They just go about their lives ignoring those that make a mockery of marriage saying, "That's not my problem it's theirs," or "That's too bad, but it has nothing to do with my marriage." It will be the same with gay marriage. Gay people will marry and it won't make any difference to straights. We will still go about our lives and relationships.

In fact, up front it will create a slew of couples that are celebrating the institution in a way we straights don't because we take it for granted. These couples, many of whom have been together for years, have been denied something that they desire with their whole hearts and souls and you better believe that they will take it seriously. Will there be divorces? Sure there will. But, there are divorces now and it doesn't affect the rest of the married population.

Will children have to learn that gays can marry? That homosexual marriage is an option? Yep. But, they learn about homosexuality anyway. Guess what Internetland? Homosexuality isn't going anywhere. They're here, they're queer - get used to it! It is every family's job to educate their own children and then the kids just have to use their own brains and hearts and figure things out for themselves. That is happening anyway - regardless of whether or not gay marriage is legalized. Which it will be. If not today, one day. Just like with women's rights, just like with civil rights - it will happen.

The only real threat lies in NOT allowing gays to marry one another. It lies in continuing to believe that homosexuality is something that can and should be healed. Because then there continue to be marriages like mine, like my parents, like the women in my Wildflowers Group, like far too many couples out there. Families continue to be torn apart by divorce - and the fall out for both the gay and the straight spouse and the children is horribly painful. Parents and siblings continue to disown gay family members and families continue to lose gay loves ones to suicide because they swallowed the poison they were fed about who they are and what they are worth. Those are the only threats to families that truly exist. I promise.

* * *

A letter from a Wildflower...

The LDS Church as failed, by and large, its homosexual community. By homosexual community I mean, those who are homosexual, openly or not, and the heterosexual spouses these homosexuals may have, and their children.

Homosexuality CANNOT be cured. It is not an illness. Can someone with brown eyes be cured? Does someone with brown eyes need to be cured? Sure you can put on different colored contacts, but it only attempts to cover up what’s already there, that which cannot be changed-much like homosexuals trying to fix themselves through reparative therapy and/or marrying someone of the opposite sex.

Where does the church come in for the mixed-orientation couples? Where does the church come in to help the homosexuals who are miserable because they cannot love the way they were made to? Where does the church come in for those who are ashamed of what they are because they believe devoutly in the church’s teachings? Where does the church come in for those who have attempted reparative therapy to no avail and feel like failures? Where does the church come in for those who are suicidal due to these issues? Where does the church come in for those who have had priesthood blessings because they want the attraction to go away but doesn’t? Where does the church come in for the heterosexual spouses when no LDS leader is permitted to condone divorce? Where does the church come in for these spouses who feel like there is something wrong with them because the homosexual spouse doesn’t find them attractive? And what about those straight spouses who are so miserable not being loved the way they should that they become suicidal? And what about the scripture from the Book of Mormon stating, “men are that they might have joy”?

At a very young, naïve age, I was told by my then boyfriend that he had ‘same sex attraction’. Being naïve to this issue and being a devout member of the LDS church, I believed that between myself and God, he could be cured of this ‘problem’. I WAS WRONG. More than a decade later, my husband continues to struggle (after therapy off and on for 10 years), continues to hate who he is, and I have deteriorated to the point where I have wanted to take my own life because of the complete lack of affection I have endured.

On to the children: What does this teach our children about what marriage is/should be? What example does this set for them? What ideas about relationships between a man and a woman will they formulate and have for the rest of their lives when they see one parent yearning to show and receive affection and the other not reciprocating or rejecting? Then there is the issue of the anger and/or depression of the heterosexual parent because of the rejection and that bleeds over into how the children are treated. Not to mention, of course, the obvious misery of the homosexual parent straining his/her relationship with the kids, as well.

When a mixed-orientation couple feels trapped in a marriage, either because of the kids or the church, no one in the family is happy. So how does that scripture apply to us? It doesn’t. Mixed-orientation couples ARE NOT that they might have joy.


Anonymous said...

Talk to the children. Talk to my children. Ask them how it feels to be the unwitting pawn in the game of Hide-and-Don't-Seek-in-the-LDS-Closet. Turns out the man who taught them to value truth above all else had been lying to them, to me for their entire lives.
Because The Brethren told him to.
Because he wanted to be straight.
Because he wanted to be "normal".

Given the horrific numbers of wives and children who have endured/now endure/will endure sexual abuse at the hands of str8 LDS fathers, uncles, brothers, friends, The Church has far too much dirty sexual laundry in its own Closet to be beating the drum and filling the political coffers of the Prop. 8 idiocy.

Bad behavior is bad behavior: gay or straight. Pedophiles and abusers, if men, are nearly always given a "pass", a slap on the hand, possible disfellowship, while the victim is victimized again by the very organization who should provide every possible protection.

The "threat to the family" in our home wasn't the fact that my former husband was and is gay. The "threat" was the power The Church had over someone who wanted help, wanted direction, wanted compassion, wanted acceptance. Instead, The Church sent him and tens of thousands of other gay men off to "marry and have children".
Thank you, Brethren. Thank you for the part you played in destroying so much of what we treasured as a family. Thank you for sacrificing me, my sisters in this Gospel Family, our children, at the altars of temples all over the globe.

I will take responsibility for the choices I've made in this life.
I hope that you are all prepared to be responsible for the pain your choices have caused, for no apparent reason other than ignorance.

Make no mistake. My faith is not now, nor ever was shaken by this. My belief in "inspired leaders" is no longer blind.

Ask a child.
Children listen.
Children are now asking and will continue to ask "where were you"?

You should be ashamed.
I believe that there are a few loving leaders who have tried and failed at teaching the rest the message of compassion; separating orientation from behavior. Thank you for your bravery.

Perhaps there is a David O. McKay amongst The Brethren. Perhaps he will eventually "ask" and The Answer will come forth.

Given the divorce rate in the straight world, even in the LDS Church, something is very much amiss.

If the allowance for two people, regardless of orientation, saves one family from the heartache we experienced, it is worth making the change.

Thank you to the San Diego Saints who decided to NOT put their $$$ where they were told.

Summer said...

"continuing to believe that homosexuality is something that can and should be healed."

I've never believed that homosexuality could be healed. The word itself is dichotomous, don't you think? Describes the person's feelings, and their behvior. The feelings may never be taken away- just like many people's burdens never are. But just like anyone living with burdens, "gay people" are also responsible for their actions- do you disagree?

I think the key to knowing where you stand on this issue is knowing where God stands on the issue of a man sleeping with another man. For me, that's an easy one.

Why do you think that acceptance of those actions which me, and most people believe are sinful, will have no affect on the community? Since when was a majority of people being forced to tolerate sinful acts ever good?

To "anonymous" up there, your husband- was he ex-communicated for his feelings or for his actions?