It is well known that the Mormon church has pulled out all the stops in support of Proposition 22. It has repeatedly told its members in the most dramatic terms that the future of marriage and the family hangs on passage of this measure. However, some of us within the Mormon church would like to share with the public why we are not convinced by this official Mormon campaign.
Mormonism has never spoken with one voice on marriage. An official newspaper of the church instructed Mormons that "[t]he one-wife system not only degenerates the human family, both physically and intellectually, but it is entirely incompatible with philosophical notions of immortality; it is a lure to temptation, and has always proved a curse to a people." The Millennial Star, vol. 15, p. 227. We note too that while the civil practice of polygamy has been suspended, the church still allows males who are already sealed (i.e., married) to one wife for eternity to be sealed to another wife for eternity after the first wife's death, thus ensuring that the husband has two wives in heaven. Polygamy at the civil level has only been suspended, not abolished.
It was the Mormon practice of polygamy that earned it the scorn and persecution of America in the 1800's, forcing it to flee the United States to present-day Utah. But learning nothing from the suffering it underwent for the sake of its own views on marriage, the church now leads the attack against those whose views on marriage differ from its own. We believe that the church should be free to adopt any beliefs on marriage it chooses. We reject, however, the idea that having chosen those beliefs, it should seek to impose them on the general public.
This campaign is not about protecting religious and family values. If this were so, why isn't the Mormon church committing similar amounts of time and money to real issues such as divorce, spousal and child abuse, gambling, drug and alcohol abuse, and affordable health care? Instead, it mistakenly focuses inordinate attention on a small, disfavored minority in society. Despite protestations of goodwill, only ignorance and hostility could lead it to "strain at gnats and swallow a camel."
Another story we won't hear from the church is how many families and lives are ruined because of the climate of hostility its anti-gay messages create. We read with anguish the tragic story of Stuart Matis, the young gay Mormon who committed suicide on February 25 at his church building in Los Altos. His own words written before his death describe this best: "Ironically, the Church's positions on homosexuality have actually been anti-family. Several decades ago it was church policy to advocate marriage as a cure for one's homosexuality. This inevitably resulted in many broken marriages and families. The Church also postulated that men became gay because of a doting mother and an absent father. This inevitably cast blame on the grieving parents. The Church's positions and outspoken frankness on this issue has nurtured a climate that is hostile for young gay Mormons. Kids have been thrown out of homes under the guise of Christian love ... Unfortunately, the promotion of [Proposition 22] will only worsen an already polluted environment. Homophobia is a disease that destroys families. Unfortunately, the Church's rhetoric and actions will only continue to nurture this disease."
We urge Californians to remember that same-sex marriage is already illegal in California and will remain so with or without Proposition 22. Proposition 22 does nothing to protect heterosexual marriage; men and women will continue to fall in love and get married (and divorced). What Proposition 22 will do is deny same-sex couples who may someday be legally married elsewhere recognition of their legal status when they visit or move to California. Such recognition could not possibly harm anyone's heterosexual marriage, but it will severely harm married same-sex couples who suddenly find themselves strangers before the law. This is nothing but a form of persecution and intolerance, no less reprehensible than when committed against Mormons or any other minority group. We regret that our church has failed to learn this lesson. We hope that Californians will not forget this lesson at the polls.
Public Relations Director
Affirmation: Gay & Lesbian Mormons
S U M M A R Y|
Homophobia is a disease that destroys families.