Monday, April 15, 2013
My thoughts on marriage: Straight, Gay and Plural
I usually just ignore this topic. I'm not eloquent in expressing my political views or religious views, especially when others disagree and I find myself on the defensive. But it keeps coming up on facebook and on the blogs I read and the best way for me to really nail down my own opinion is to write it out. And hey! I can publish this any time I want, so I have plenty of time to construct a well thought out opinion.
Gay marriage is hard for me. I see both sides of the issue. In the end, I have to follow the man I believe to be a modern day prophet. Yes, it is my responsibility to pray and get an answer for myself and maybe I haven't tried hard enough because this isn't an issue that affects me very deeply. So, there you have it.
But I do have a solution. I told it to someone (my husband? I should remember, I know, but mom brain) and they pretty much told me it was dumb. Don't feel bad for me, it is dumb. Dumb as in, it will never happen, it will never work. But I think my solution expresses my feelings towards marriage. Not just gay marriage, but straight and plural and any other kind of marriage at all!
Baptism. Were you baptized? I was. When I was 8 I was baptized by my father into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I tried to be Catholic, and showed them my baptismal record, but they told me Mormon baptisms don't fly in the Catholic church.* Rude, right? Wrong. Baptism is a religious covenant and every religion has the right to dictate what constitutes baptism according to them.
To me, and many others, marriage is a religious experience, a religious covenant. And just like baptism I think each religion has the right to dictate what constitutes marriage in their church. The government should stay out if it. But they didn't. They started using marriage as a tool to help with taxes, estates and familial rights. Its worked out fine until recently.
But now we're all up in a tizzy upset about what government is telling us about marriage. I think the main problem stems from so many of us viewing this as a religious ceremony and we're used to a separation of church and state. So let's do that! Let's separate church and state. Instead of civil marriages (non religious based marriages) let's all have civil unions. I want to be married for time and all eternity in the LDS Temple, but I also want my union recognized by the state, so instead of picking up my marriage license at the super creepy court house, we file for civil union instead. And if we were non-religious people we're stop there and live a happy life with all the rights and privileges that we desire. But we're not, we're Mormon, so we continue on and get married according to our church's standards and we still live a happy life with all the rights and privledges we desire. Later if we convert to another religion we may want to be married according to our new beliefs, just as we may want to be baptized again according to our new beliefs.
Polygamists have been doing this for years. Men are only legally married to their first wife and only their religion recognizes any other marriages that occur after that. (But there are fewer polygamists and they are less vocal about their life lifestyle so we aren't arguing for them.) So there. Gay people can get a civil union just like me, and then if a church down the street wants to marry them that is up to them and government (and every other religion and person) can't say squat about it.
Its never going to happen, its never going to work. It would take a major overhaul of the government, but that's my opinion. I just think government should stay out of all marriages and then we wouldn't even be having this debate.
And of course we should be kind. I am not arguing that with you (name the movie?). One of my gay friend's in high school wrote in my year book "In a world where people can be cruel, its refreshing to find someone as genuinely kind as you." (I have no idea where that year book is, and so I'm kind of giving you the gist of it) And let me tell you, I was not so open minded about homosexuality back then as I am now, but I still managed to express myself in a respectful way.
*This is a dramatization. I never tried to be Catholic :)