Have you heard a loud, shrill noise coming from the West? No, it’s not KU’s crappy football program. Further. It’s coming from the great state of Utah. It’s the sound of an entire state falling into chaos because the law banning same-sex marriage was overturned.
Now, some of you may confused why they are so butthurt about it. Well, let me toss in my two cents and tell you my theory.
A year ago, the church launched a new website, in which they seemed to reverse their stance on homosexuality. Instead of being a “lifestyle choice”, they conceded that being gay was just something that went deeper than a personal choice, even biological. This was a HUGE deal, as the church had previous spearheaded the Prop 8 effort in California. Their involvement lost them a lot of members. Some left the church outright. Some of those members who were struggling with their own sexuality, took their own lives because they couldn’t reconcile the views of the church and their own personal feelings. That was particularly horrifying.
It left the church looking like big, intolerant, assholes. Hate the sin but love the sinner and all that bullshit. So, when the church seemingly reversed their stance (somewhat), it looked like winds of change were finally blowing in Salt Lake City, and those winds were pretty fabulous.
But what does this have to do with marriage? And why make a big deal out of it? Well, this is where it gets exciting.
You see, a person could be gay in the Mormon faith. They could serve callings, hold the priesthood, visit the temple and all the trimmings as long as they didn’t act on those urges (i.e. have teh gay sex). Church doctrine (as it stands) forbids any sexual contact outside of marriage, and before shit hit the fan last month, was only legal between a man and a woman in the state of Utah. It didn’t matter if you were a straight member or a gay one, if you have sexual relations to someone you were not married to, you could be punished equally under the rules of the church, and no one could ever accuse the church of being discriminatory. The laws of chastity were already in place in the infancy of the church, so having openly gay, but chaste, members would change nothing. As long as gays were not legally allowed to marry, they would never be allowed intimacy with a partner, and have it sanctioned in the eyes of the church. Instead, they could all sit in their meeting houses and feel magnanimous that they are so tolerant of teh gays, without the guilt of oppression. After all, state law is state law and beyond the powers of the church to change (even though the church has a very powerful influence in state government there).
It’s sort of like neutering a cat.
Still with me?
The Mormon church has what is called the Articles of Faith. Basically, it just outlines the basic church principles without getting too deep into scripture. Take a look at Number 12.
We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.
So, if the law banning same-sex marriage is struck down, and gays are allowed the freedom to marry the people they love, the Mormon church has to recognize it, much as they recognize any other garden-variety marriage.
Oh sure, they could deny gays the opportunity to be sealed in the temple, citing whatever doctrine they wanted to. They are, after all, a church, and can practice any way they wanted. Churches are given the freedom to worship in any way they deem fit, so I am not interested in challenging the laws to change that. If people don’t like how a church runs their own show, go worship at a different one. It’s as simple as that. Quite frankly, I am surprised that a church that has a strong history of polygamy would be so against same-sex marriage. It could be seen as a segue to bring polygamy back legally into the mainstream, and who didn’t like Big Love?
On the whole, Utah is a pretty intolerant state, no matter what they may try to tell you. I still hear stories of non-Mormons being shunned by the Mormons there. So, it’s not surprising that they are fighting the ban overturn with the fire of a thousand hot suns. Here’s hoping that the Supreme Court tells them to suck it up because there’s plenty of room for everyone, gay or straight, to be happy and be with the ones you love.