by Pete Codella:
Note: This post has been mulling around in my head for a while now. I’ll share the two separate concurrent Sunday conversations that motivated me to finally write it, then provide a few thoughts.
Heard in Relief Society, as retold to me by my wife last Sunday afternoon ...
Question posed by the teacher: What threats do our families face in this day and age?
One woman's answer: The gays.
A thought I shared in Elders Quorum that same Sunday during a lesson on the divine nature of the family ...
What the LDS community has is an opportunity to live with love and charity towards all; to be accepting of everyone even when their values don’t align with ours. There are plenty of laws in the U.S. and other countries that are contrary to the laws of the gospel.
Even when homosexual marriage becomes a federal civil right (which I believe will happen during President Obama’s second term) we can still honor and support marriage and the family as described by living prophets:
“The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity.” — The Family, A Proclamation to the WorldThis approach is no different than keeping the Word of Wisdom when others choose to smoke, do drugs or drink alcohol.
Some Additional Thoughts
I was amazed by the bigoted comment shared in the women’s Sunday meeting. Can you imagine how a comment like that would be received if it were focused on people of a certain race or religion?
There’s certainly a philosophical debate to be had for the civil right to marry whoever you’d like. I wonder when the definition of marriage is extended, though, just how far it will go: polygamy, polygany, marriage to things or places … Who knows?
A friend of ours suggested that we create a new word for gay marriage so everyone would know exactly the type of relationship. She suggested, partially in jest, garriage instead of marriage when referring to a homosexual marriage. It would sure make things simpler. Don’t you think? But society has let the word gay be adopted and redefined. So perhaps history shows the word marriage will endure, just with a different meaning.
I’ve written about this before and still believe gay marriage is a moral issue, not a civil issue, because of what the word marriage means to me.
I also think two consenting adults should have the option to share every aspect of their lives, including their finances and end-of-life decisions. Once you involve tax law and surviving benefits, things get complicated. That’s because our society is transitioning from a traditional view of marriage, to a more liberal view. A transition that’s mirrored by many other secular shifts and what Apostle David Bednar called the tyranny of tolerance.
I have friends and acquaintances who are in homosexual relationships, many rearing children. I admire and respect them.
I agree that God intended for man and woman to be together (Genesis 2:24 — “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”). The physiology and perpetuation of the human species informs my belief that it’s natural for man and woman to be together.
I have observed difficult heterosexual family situations and children without a family.
I believe a loving, supportive home environment is essential to thriving communities. It just may be, that for some children, that environment is delivered by parents of the same gender.
In a December 2013 statement, the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles reiterated the LDS Church’s position on same-sex marriage and continued discussing how the Church would function in a world where same-sex marriage is legal (see: Church instructs leaders on same-sex marriage).
I will always support the president and prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. That is my personal conviction, my faith and my duty to God.
I will also do my best to exhibit the love of Christ towards all and regardless of their race, religion or personal preferences.
I reiterate: Members of the LDS community have an opportunity to live with charity towards all, to be accepting of others even when their values are different.
Pete Codella: I've lived in New York, Texas, Nevada, Idaho, Wyoming and Utah. I've traveled to four continents, shopped in Fez, parasailed in Tunisia, eaten caviar in Moscow and would love to visit my namesake and great-grandfather's stomping grounds in Italy. I was married in the Salt Lake LDS Temple four years after graduating from BYU, so you could argue at one point I was a ‘menace to the community.’ I'm a former singing gondolier at The Venetian in Las Vegas and BYU Young Ambassador. I work in digital public relations and travel to consult and speak about corporate communications and social media. I graduated in 2013 from the University of Utah's Executive MBA program. My awesome wife and I have two great kids, currently twelve and eight and full of life. Twitter: @codella.
Image credit: Vincent Montibus (used with permission).