What about Gay Marriage?
Sometimes you will find yourself in social circumstances where people are discussing the issues of homosexuality and gay marriage. You might know and feel that you disagree with what they are saying, but find it difficult to state your belief or find fault because of the ‘way’ they are phrasing things. The following may help.
What do words mean? The way we talk about things is important. Sometimes very sinful behavior is renamed to be polite. The new terms then make the behavior more acceptable. Other times, sacred behaviors are given slang terms, demeaning the behavior and making it seem common and base. Here are some definitions that will help you know what you’re talking about.
Marriage: the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law. (“Consensual” means both people agree.)
Same-sex marriage: the state of being united to a person of the same sex in a relationship like that of a traditional marriage.
Discrimination: prejudiced or prejudicial outlook, action, or treatment.
Tolerance: sympathy or indulgence for beliefs or practices differing from or conflicting with one’s own.
Prejudice: an irrational attitude of hostility directed against an individual, a group, a race, or their supposed characteristics.
Bigot: one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance.
Homosexual: of, relating to, or characterized by a tendency to direct sexual desire toward another of the same sex; of, relating to, or involving sexual intercourse between persons of the same sex.
Heterosexual: of, relating to, or characterized by a tendency to direct sexual desire toward another of the opposite sex.
Transsexual: a person who strongly identifies with the opposite sex and may seek to live as a member of this sex especially by undergoing surgery and hormone therapy to obtain the necessary physical appearance (as by changing the external sex organs).
Promiscuous: not restricted to one sexual partner.
Why do gays mock the idea of “traditional marriage”?
Gay rights activists like to mock people who try to uphold “traditional marriage,” which most see as a family with a mom and a dad who love each other, and wherein the dad provides and the mom is mostly responsible for nurturing the children. They find this laughable, because this type of traditional family has existed for only decades, mostly in Europe and the U.S. When you bring up the term “traditional marriage,” they might laugh and say, “Which tradition”?
In the past, polygamy was very common in many societies (and still continues in many locations). In other societies through history, marriages were arranged, and love was not as important as being able to work together. However, more than 99% of the time, in more than 99% of societies throughout history, marriages have always been between heterosexuals. No society can exist more than one generation without traditional marriage. Some societies indulged in homosexuality (some of which God destroyed), but it’s really difficult to find an instance in history where homosexuals married legally.
What are gay rights?
The fight for gay rights has evolved over the years. There used to be laws in all U.S. states against homosexual activity, so the first goal of gay rights activists was to get those laws off the books. “Between consenting adults” became the reason to allow any sort of sexual activity, whether between straight people or gay people. The idea is that it shouldn’t matter what you do sexually, as long as the participants are adults and they agree to do it.
The next goal was to protect gays from discrimination at work and in social life. You shouldn’t refuse to hire a person just because he or she is gay; you shouldn’t refuse to rent a house to a person just because he or she is gay. Then homosexual couples wanted rights that straight husbands and wives enjoy – being able to visit and make decisions when a partner is in the hospital, for instance, or making the partner an insurance beneficiary.
These rights have been guaranteed in many states that label these partnerships “civil unions.” Civil unions in California afford gay couples all the rights of married people except the label, “marriage.” The Mormon Church has officially said it upholds gay rights in civil unions but not marriage. Finally, gays want to remake the classic definition of marriage, so they can be married and adopt children.
Why do gays say gay rights are like racial rights? Why do they say we discriminate against them?
The basis for the gay-rights movement is that homosexuality is “inborn” and cannot be changed. If homosexuality is totally inborn, then they can equate it to race. You can’t change the color of your skin or your ethnic heritage, so it’s against the law everywhere in the United States to discriminate against people because of their race. It’s also illegal to discriminate against someone because of their gender or age, because these are things that are impossible to change. Homosexuality is not like race; it is not totally inborn.
Scientists have tried very hard to find a genetic basis for homosexuality, and have found none. Sometimes a tendency is inborn, but it is highly influenced by experience and behavior. Many homosexuals suffered abuse as children. Many became sexually confused as they entered puberty. Many homosexuals are able to change their lifestyle with counseling. Sometimes a physical problem can cause trans-sexuality, wherein both male and female physical characteristics exist in one person. This condition causes a lot of suffering and mental confusion. The causes are not genetic, however, but have more to do with the hormonal environment in the womb. Medical intervention, hormone treatments, and even surgery can help.
Do gays have the right to marry under the Constitution? Are we trying to deny them their rights?
Sometimes a court will decide that it is discriminatory to deny gays the right to marry; the court will say it’s unconstitutional, because the constitution guarantees rights for all. But this is not a case of equal rights under the law. Gays have every right to enter into a traditional marriage with members of the opposite sex, just like straights do. They are trying to remake the institution of marriage according to their own desires.
In California, gays had every right that other people do in their partnerships, but these partnerships were called “civil unions,” not marriage. Still, gays have pushed for the title “marriage” to validate their relationships. Marriage between a man and a woman has been the basis of every society since the beginning of time, and gay marriage has hardly ever existed. Traditional marriage should be above the law as a universal cultural standard. 
Is our church trying to take away the civil rights of gays?
Traditional marriage was not created to demean gays; it was not created to discriminate against them; it was not created to be mean. It was God-ordained as the righteous and sacred unit to exalt men and women and to bring forth children in love and security. Children should have the right to have a mother and father (the ones who bore them), and to have them in a loving relationship over time. This is the natural order of things. The increase in divorce has already made this difficult. Now this is being confused even more. What gays want is not the right to marry, but to remake the institution of marriage to suit their desires. 
Don’t most states and countries forbid gay marriage?
Gay activists are pushing for gay marriage all over the world, usually through the courts and not by the voice of the people. In America, as of 2010, none of the few states that now allow gay marriage did so through a vote of the people. The decisions were all made in the courts or in the legislatures. Most U.S. states have passed laws that protect “traditional marriage” as between a man and a woman, and most of these states have done so through the choice of the people.
Now that the question is proceeding through the federal courts, it may be that the federal government will decide the issue. If the federal court decides in favor of gay marriage, it will wipe out the popular vote of most states to preserve traditional marriage. Thus, the gay activists will have triumphed by stamping out the rights of the majority of Americans who uphold traditional marriage. Only a few countries worldwide have legalized gay marriage. In some of these countries this has caused persecution of churches.
Why are gays calling us “haters”?
The prophet has counseled us to be loving and respectful toward those who suffer from same-sex attraction. The law of chastity was not created out of spite for others, but to make us holy and to qualify us for God’s blessings.
Our prophet and apostles have foreseen that these are threats to our religious liberties. If gays can establish their identity so strongly as to label religious people as bigots, then they can remove churches and religious ideals from the public debate, since most churches uphold traditional marriage. Gays can sue churches that call homosexual activity a sin, or who refuse marriage ceremonies or adoption services to homosexual couples. They can force churches to pay taxes (because the churches are “discriminatory”), where churches are now tax-exempt. Many churches would not survive these events, and other churches would be crippled, especially financially.
It is difficult for us when gays tell us we’re not tolerant. But “tolerance as a gospel principle means love and forgiveness of one another, not ‘tolerating’ transgression.” The word “tolerance has come to mean condone – acceptance of wrongful behavior as the price of friendship. Jesus taught that we love and care for one another without condoning transgression. But today’s politically palatable definition insists that unless one accepts the sin he does not tolerate the sinner. … But tolerance does not require abandoning one’s standards …. We can express genuine love and friendship for the homosexual family member or friend without accepting the practice of homosexuality or any re-definition of marriage” (Dallin H. Oaks, The Divine Institution of Marriage).
Why do gays seem to think that sex is the center of the universe?
There is a God, and He has given us commandments as guidelines for our own protection and happiness. God says that all sexual activity outside of marriage is sinful, whether heterosexual or homosexual. For homosexuals, this is tougher, because marriage to someone of the opposite sex may not appeal to them. Part of this view is the result of elevating sexual pleasure and fulfillment to a position higher than it should be.
Millions of married couples throughout time have had satisfying marriages without a stellar sexual relationship. Also, millions of heterosexual people have lived and do live singly – either never having the opportunity to marry, or having lost a partner to death or divorce, and then dwelling singly ever after. Those who are dedicated to living the Lord’s commandments have nevertheless kept the law of chastity. There are also many handicapped people who have no hope of marriage. If they can live chastely even with their heterosexual temptations, then homosexuals can live chastely with their homosexual temptations.
The marriage covenant was (since the beginning of time) meant to be bigger than the individuals who enter into the marriage. It is the covenant that is important, and husband and wife serve the covenant together, bearing children, and creating a family that will strengthen society. This covenant was meant to be permanent. This takes love, charity, and perseverance. It doesn’t take the perfect soul-mate, nor the perfect sexual partner. The world is losing sight of this, unfortunately.
What is the truth about the homosexual lifestyle?
Homosexuals would like you to think that their lifestyle is as upstanding and respectful as that of heterosexuals. Morality has declined so much among heterosexuals that marriage (and living chastely outside of marriage) have lost their importance. Promiscuity and infidelity have become common, threatening the sacred nature of marriage and the stability of families. However, the homosexual lifestyle is even more promiscuous, and this promiscuity usually continues even after marriage or civil union, with some gays having hundreds of partners in a lifetime. Homosexual activity is dangerous, causing injury and spreading disease. As it says in the Bible, it is against the “natural use.” 
What if I want gays to be able to marry, if they will just leave everyone else alone?
The reality of gay marriage is already beginning to change what is taught to very small children in school. Children are taught that marriage is the legal union between any two adults, and that there is no moral value in any sort of marriage. Sex education begins to contain information on homosexual sex. The morality at home might be different. Some states will give permission for parents to “opt out” of sex education classes, but that stamps the child and his parents as intolerant. Textbooks and storybooks begin to reflect the new kind of family, influencing the moral and social development of children.
Why do gay activists attack people’s religion?
When gay rights activists in California challenged Proposition 8 (the popular vote that upheld traditional marriage), much of their time in court was spent in trying to get religion out of the discussion. As far as political or social decisions are concerned, they want your religious beliefs to have no influence at all.
Some gays do not realize that religions and churches are endangered when gay marriage is allowed. They think recognizing gay marriage will not change anything for anyone else. Gay marriage is now legal in the state of Massachusetts. To protect gay rights, all adoption agencies must allow adoptions to married gay couples. The Catholic Church does not want to adopt out children to gay couples, because church doctrine says homosexual behavior is a sin. Because of the demands of the law, the Catholic Church has been forced to close its adoption agency in Boston, thereby taking away the benefit to other practicing Catholics, just because gays want equal rights.
Why do gays say people can’t vote according to their beliefs?
Gay rights activists say that churches should not be involved in public issues. But beginning with the Constitution of the United States, the clergy has been involved in public issues in America. The Founding Fathers expected and planned for this. Separation of church and state means simply that the state can’t impose a state religion on its citizens. Churches try to uphold the laws of God in society, and they always have done this. You should be able to vote according to your moral standards, too. That is your right.
Why is the Church trying so hard to preserve traditional marriage?
Here is what The Family: A Proclamation to the World says…
“All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose….
“We warn that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities, will one day stand accountable before God. Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.” 
It is our love for all of God’s children that moves us to urge them to live the law of chastity and to uphold traditional marriage. This does not make us “haters.” We want all of God’s children to achieve true joy and to be exalted in His kingdom. We want them to be safe; we don’t want anyone to suffer the calamities foretold by the prophets. Ours is a message of love, not hate. Societies are healthy when families are healthy. Children need a clear picture of the family as a sacred sanctuary. Upholding traditional marriage is the only course of safety for the Church and for the nation.
The Simple Answer
Linda and Richard Eyre are best-selling authors, giving advice on family matters. They do a lot of lecturing, and because people know they are Mormons, people ask about the Church’s stand on gay marriage. The Eyres have found that bringing up the history of marriage or discussing marriage traditions, politics, or social ideas does not work, but instead incites debate. However, if they explain their spiritual point of view, people can agree or not, but since the view is spiritual, there is no argument:
“Mormons have a highly family-centric theology, believing that God is literally our Spiritual Father and that we lived as spirit persons with our heavenly parents before coming to this earth. Marriage and procreation provide the physical bodies that allow additional spiritual siblings to come from the spiritual pre-life into mortality. And we believe that families can continue to be together in the hereafter.
“In this context, marriage between a man and a woman, and having children together, lies at the center of God’s plan and is a core purpose and reason for this earth and our life on it. Hopefully, understanding that Mormons have these beliefs makes it easier for you to see why we want to protect the institution of marriage as the union of a man and a woman, and for you to understand that our church is not anti-gay but pro-marriage.
“We always try to mention that we view all people as our brothers and sisters and we add our personal belief that we favor full-rights-giving civil unions, and that it is the divine and eternally purposed concept of marriage that we are trying to protect.” (Read more…)