Tuesday, October 14, 2008

homophobic?

watch this video that was forwarded on to me by pablo escobar. today another friend sent it along to me.



i have a few things i would like to say. first, i consider this video, and the main guy depicted in it, extremely homophobic. second, i think it is naive to think that young students should not be taught about homosexuality. obviously you don't have to explain to the kids the technicalities of gay sex; however, explaining that sometimes two men or two women can find happiness together...? what's wrong with that.

an example. i taught second grade. i had to teach about homosexuality for two different reasons. first, two different students approached me to tell me their moms were lesbians. they wanted to keep it a secret because they felt they would be mocked. i sat the kids down with prepared lessons about homosexuality. i did explain that sometimes two women or two men found that they could fall in love with each other and even be happier that way. i don't see anything wrong with that. i also said that if your parents were like that, then there is nothing wrong with you. i also said that it was wrong to make fun of anyone who happens to be gay.

second, my students regularly employed homophobic slurs: gay, fag, lesbo, etc, etc. sometimes the terms were even applied to me (except for the lesbo one). at that point, you must sit down with the students and tell them why it is wrong to use those kinds of slurs. its not like you're telling the kids about something they don't know when you talk about homosexuality. they are all aware. being able to talk about it in a respectful way that protects the feelings and beliefs of all involved is a mark of a good teacher.

this video, then, i feel is extremely hurtful. if just for the fact that we can work to change some of these attitudes, i hope prop 8 does not pass in california. what is wrong with legalizing gay marriage and thereby removing some of the stigma gays experience? no one is saying that teachers have to teach it is 'moral.' however, they are saying teachers must teach it is legal. drinking is legal, but mormons still believe it is immoral. teachers in the public school system definitely teach that, when you are of age, there is nothing wrong with drinking in moderation. however, we are still able to believe however we want. why are we so threatened by the fact that gay marriage will be taught as legally acceptable in school? do we really believe our children's attitudes are shaped that strongly by our teachers? surely we can teach them what we feel is right at home, and they can be exposed to different ideas at school. how is that any different than what we believe currently about premarital sex, the word of wisdom, etc.?

in ten years, when we look back at this video, i really think most of us will be appalled at the prejudiced attitudes taken by many of its views. what do you think?

lastly, one other thing that is bothering me is the media that is coming out of protectmarriage.com, the website run by a coalition of christian churches. the mormons are one of the chief contributors to this site. i'm afraid it takes quite a partisan look at gay marriage and its advertising borders on fear mongering and misinformation. what do you think? do you agree? disagree?

oh, and one other thing. tomorrow is peter's birthday. we are getting together for a debate watching party, so i'm not sure we will be live blogging. but maybe. stay tuned....

60 comments:

petey hussein said...

hmmm. no comments yet a day later.

this is fire.
i'd rather not get burned.

but i respect stephen's willingness to put it out there.

Mikey and Anna said...

what does homophobic really mean anyways? I don't see this guy or the people on the video as homophobic, just maybe a little naive. But, that doesn't change the fact that I disagree with you Stevey. I see something wrong with gay relationships. God did not intend that type of relationship when he created us. Even though I admit that there could be and possibly is some type of innate neuronal connection or structure that gives people gay tendencies, that doesn't change the fact that they have control over their actions. We all have natural sexual tendencies that we need to learn to control. We should still love and care for those that have difficulty in controlling them, but we should not approve of those actions. And when you talk about happiness, what kind of happiness are you talking about? Certainly not eternal, because that is against God's laws. In saying that gay marriage is equivilent to heterosexual marriage is condoning those types of actions and essentially approving of them and saying they are okay. As a God-fearing person, I say gay marriage undermines the sanctity of marriage and the true eternal principles of family relationships.

petey hussein said...

mikey.
it's hard to argue your point when if you are a God-fearing homosexual, 95% chance you think God made you that way.

how then do you sort through His intentions?

Kendall said...

I guess there are two schools of thought on this, really:

1. Give 'em an inch and the whole world will go to hell in a handbasket

2. Legitimizing these relationships may actually reduce pain and anguish

I personally take more of a live and let live approach to most social issues. Whether you legitimize these relationships or not, they still exist. Is there really any benefit from forcing them underground and taking away benefits?

If I were a proponent of Prop 8, and realizing that it looks iffy on whether or not it will pass because most people don't really want to tell other consenting adults what they should and shouldn't be able to do, I would devise a strategy to bring the fight into the homes of those people by telling them that their kids will be subjected to large doses of propaganda if they don't pass this legislation. Hmm... sneaky idea, eh?

Jonny, Mel, Aaron said...

Happy Birthday Peter!

Stevie, I think Jonny is wondering why I'm still at the computer after too much time reading, writing and thinking all of this through. Truth is, this is a difficult issue for me. I may get burned, but I want to try to sort it out in my own mind. I am glad you put it out there.

Perhaps this family is homophobic, I really don't know. What I do know is that they feel one of their core values is at stake--something a lot of people feel. Why? Why would the happiness of two consenting people threaten the values of others? Does their sexuality threaten me--enough that I would vote to inhibit their ability to obtain the same civil privileges and legitimacy that I enjoy in my marriage? When I put these questions on paper my immediate, logical response is-no, I'm not threatened, I want these individuals to be happy, I want to eliminate the cutting slurs used by children, why should sexual orientation dictate policy...etc.

All these things make sense to me, but (call me homophobic), voting "in favor" of gay marriage doesn't feel right. I believe homosexual behavior is immoral. I believe society should support the rights of children to have a mother and a father--idealistic as it may be. The family unit, with husband and wife at the helm, is at the core of my belief system. Anything that could have a negative effect on that structure is something I do not want to support. And how am I supposed to know what will or won't have a negative effect upon the family unit in the future? It may be naive to think that a public school discussion about homosexuality will harm my family, but it is equally naive to believe that redefining marriage will have no effect on my family and the society we live in.

I can't see what "could" happen if the definition of marriage were changed from traditional to genderless, so I look to the Prophet, a seer for our time, and the Apostles. Although it's not hard to guess which side of the issue they lean toward, it was really interesting for me to read this:

http://newsroom.lds.org/ldsnewsroom/eng/public-issues/same-gender-attraction

Sorry, I don't know how to do the cool links.

All in all, I don't agree with some of the tactics protectmarriage.com may be using to sway voters in California one way or the other. I think you are right that fear is being employed to get people to vote for proposition 8. People shouldn't vote for proposition 8 because they are afraid. If it passes, which it probably will, I'm not necessarily afraid of the consequences. Although it might change the society we live in it won't change the way I teach my children or raise my family.

That said, if I were voting in California, should I vote in favor of what makes sense or what feels right? I usually side with my heart because it's the wiser of the two.

Jonny, Mel, Aaron said...

Last post by Mel, if you couldn't tell. :)

libby said...

Stevie,

I have thought a lot about this issue. I, like most of us, have many gay and lesbian friends. I have grown to love and respect them, and I respect their choice to live the lifestyle they have chosen. I have a hard time even considering that the government could restrict their rights by not making their lifestyle 'legal.' On the other hand, the church usually does not take such a strong stand on issues, and they have chosen to take a stand on this. That tells me that this is vitally important, and the perhaps only the prophet and Heavenly Father know the far reaching effects of this decision. This, and this alone, is what sways me to agree with proposition 8. I trust that the church would not lead us astray.

Anonymous said...

most of these comments read "even though it doesn't make sense to me, the Church says it's true so I better do it"

jonny said...

anonymous: your comments carry no weight when hiding behind anonymity.

melinda said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
melinda said...

Anonymous- that's fine, you don't have to show your identity, but I must disagree. Yes, I said that logically, I understand the arguments "for" gay marriage. They do make sense. However, morally, I cannot justify voting in favor of an amendment that could negatively influence my family. That also "makes sense," both logically and morally. My personal, moral convictions have greater influence upon my decision. Yes, the church does help inform my moral decisions, but please don't assume that I simply come to the conclusion "yes, I better do it because the church says so."
This is a very difficult issue for me and I have made it a very personal matter--studying it out in my mind and my heart--to come to my own conclusion about which way I would vote.

Stephen Hussein Frandsen said...

jonny: i disagree. anonymous has a point. however, anonymous, i think we are all open minded enough to carry on a serious conversation. we invite you to reveal yourself.

i will address the comments posted sometime today, hopefully.

Susan said...

Excuse me this coming from an oldtimer, and uninvited old neighbor. I have been a member of the church all of my life. I was sad, upset that the church decided to make a statement and ask the members in CA to raise money and fight prop 8.
First because homosexual unions in the church will never happen, and they shouldn't. To be a member of the church you need to follow certain values, and commandments. Marriage between a man and a woman being the most important. If you don't you will get your church membership termanated and you should. Because I feel that way doesn't mean that everyone feels that way. I feel that for the most part a homosexual is born that way. Even though I hear quiet often that God doesn't make mistakes. Those who call it an addiction shame on you. How lucky are you to just have an addiction to alcohol, drugs or food. If anyone tells me that they would feel alright if their son or daughter married a recovering homosexual I would believe that they believed it was only an addiction. I will always try and be an example to others and live the gospel to the best of my abilities. Would it be better having it talked about in schools or home? Probably home but that isn't going to happen in to many "christian" households. Unless you have a gay uncle like I do. There will probably come a time when you do have to explain it and not when you are ready. The loss of innocence to our young is sad but we have to be prepared to answer those tough questions before they come. With that being said when I go in for the renewal of my temple recommend do I need to say that I sympathize with groups that are against our beliefs? I worry about that because in all honesty I do!

Stephen Hussein Frandsen said...

susan!!!!! welcome to the web log. my mom told me that you have been reading. glad to have you commenting. i have contributed money to the human rights campaign, an organization that works to legalize gay marriage. in my last temple recommend interview i asked the counselor in my stake presidency what exactly it meant to sympathize with groups that are against our beliefs. he said it was focused on rooting out polygamy. he said it did not have to do with voting for same sex unions. he said the most important thing is to believe that the prophets are the prophets. so there you go.

that being said, i share your disappointment that the church is so heavily involved in the prop 8 fight. i kind of feel that in 20 years we will look back on this period and realize we were perhaps on the wrong side of yet another social issue. but i guess time will tell. am i way off here?

libby, mel, and mikey: i'm still thinking about what you said. i'll get back to you later.

Mikey and Anna said...

This is Anna:
I had a few friends growing up that their parents were homosexuals. Some of my friends came out to say they are homosexuals in High School and a few after. Homosexual slurs were dished out from the time I was in the second grade myself. This problem of demining homosexuals is not a new one for me and neither is the idea of gay/lesbian marriage.
I have heard a lot of points for a lot a different sources over the years:
A marriage in the LDS Temple is so different then that of a civil marriage anyway what difference would it make to legalize gay married federally; the church would never allow a homosexual marriage to take place in the Temple so gay marriage isn’t hurting “our beliefs” really.
Straight people these days don’t want to be married, they just want to live together; someone in the country should by reaping the benefits of being married.
I know there are those out there that have homosexual feelings, it is a reality. I don’t think someone how has these feelings should feel isolated and lonely for the rest of their lives because of these feelings. Everyone deserves a companion! But I do not condom sexual activate outside of the slandered the Lord has set.
I very much agree with Melinda. Logically I would agree with gay marriage. But emotionally, in my heart, what I feel is that gay marriage should not be legalized. One of my core beliefs are “The sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife (The Family A proclamation to the World). “ Giving homosexuals the right to marriage goes against 2 of these beliefs.
Why are people’s feelings and beliefs such a bad argument Anonymous? Isn’t that the argument of homosexual relationships? Logically and biology man and a woman should go together. But those how are homosexual FEEL a strong desire to go against that “logic”? Why is that such a bad argument?
I personally see nothing wrong with teaching children just as Steven put it “in a respectful way that protects the feelings and beliefs of all involved.” I don’t think it should be a single out thing, where whole lessons are taught on homosexually relationships more in a manner of “some families have a mom and a dad, some have two mommies, some two daddies, some have only a mom, some only a dad est.” More as a showing the differences and not excluding one group from another.

Carolina said...

Feelings are an important part of any decision, but they have often led to tyrannical rule by the majority and have led to paranoia.

A lot of people thought (and deeply felt) that racial integration would lead society to collapse. I'd say that turned out to be wrong. Biracial marriages were illegal in many states until 1967, when Loving v. Virginia rendered such laws unconstitutional, and it took a few states until 1998 and 2000 (because they felt very strongly about the issue) to remove these laws from the books (and constitutions). I am the product of an interracial marriage, and I tend to think that society has not collapsed and that I turned out okay.

During the ERA debate, many argued that constitutionally protecting equality between the sexes would eliminate any distinction between the sexes and ruin our society. These opponents won the day (with a great deal of help from the Church), but the principles of the ERA have largely flourished on their own. I don't think society has collapsed.

There are many other issues like this, many of them related to sex (contraception, fertility treatment, etc.), over which people have understandably strong feelings (which have changed over time). But feelings, alone, have a less-than-award-winning political history. And to put it in Mormon terms, we all have a right to know in our own heart and mind. In fact, I would argue that it is our duty to champion only those causes that appeal to both our heart and mind.

Anonymous said...

i'm still hiding under the cloak of anonymity, and that really is the problem, isn't it? i'm not comfortable detailing my point of view publicly. my anonymity highlights the tension that Church members feel about this issue. i don't like my tithing dollars supporting a position i don't agree with. but i still consider myself a mormon. i'm conflicted.

petey hussein said...

i wish that i were really "anonymous" and then could spring it on all of you in a grand unveiling.

alas. i am petey hussein.

jonny. i disagree that anonymity discredits arguments. speak on oh cloaked one.

and to you true anonymous, i feel your conflict.
that's all.

Mikey and Anna said...

Mike again...
As a response to your first response to me Pete, about God-fearing homosexuals. God's intentions seem to have been clearly stated well enough for us to understand that "the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between a man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife." Those that feel that God created them as a homosexual can still understand that. I would also like to hear what you would say to them Pete.
For all the other LDS people here, I leave you with this.

"We call upon responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintan and strengthen the family as the fundemental unit of society."
-First Presidency and Council of the Twelve Apostles

Thoughts, anyone?

Carolina said...

Mike, what type of thoughts are you looking for, exactly? I'm pretty sure most everyone that has commented so far is well aware of the First Presidency's call to action and makes their comments against that background.

In fact, I would argue that's exactly what all these comments are about . . .

Amber said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
petey hussein said...

mikey.

if homosexuality was so important why didn't jesus christ mention it once during his lifetime or in his visit to the americas?

much of what has been the dogmatic tradition of christianity has stemmed from the words of paul in the new testament. and one occurrence when a man was gang raped in the old testament. that is the basis of the anti-gay sentiments that linger all to close the surface in much of modern christianity, mormons included.

paul said much harder things against divorce than he ever did against homosexuality. if we wanted to be strict in our defenses. we should try to pass constitutional amendments against divorce since as have too oft been quoted in this thread: marriage is between a man and a women. god himself said it is not good for man to be alone.

but clearly, i am not advocating that position. i just want to structure the debate away from quoting scripture and acting like that is all that needs to be said; end of discussion. there are plenty of scriptures to back whatever opinion you want to hold.

this is all i'm saying.

let's be honest. alcohol and porn are far far far greater threats to the family unit and the future of the modern family. but we don't line up in droves and give "all our means and time" for prohibition nor anti-porn measures.

this is just one of the reasons i am very conflicted about the counsel regarding prop 8 and cowardly glad that i don't live in california and have to cast/not cast a vote.

Skinny said...

hmmm, very interesting.

for my money, i'm not sure there's anything wrong with the thinking "even though it doesn't make sense to me, the Church says it's true so I better do it"

for me, that's one of the things i like most about the church. i'm a pretty stupid fellow most of the time so to have a prophet along side of me directing me is very comforting.

actually, i don't know what i think about this subject (gay marriage/union, etc). if it weren't for the church, i would probably be opposed to proposition eight. but i've made promises to support these men (even understanding that they are men and DO make mistakes) so that's what i'm going to do.

course, that brings up the question of whether you can disagree with them (meaning the leaders of the church) and sustain them too. good question, i don't think you can, but i could be (and probably am) wrong about that too.

anyway, those are some of my thoughts. hope that didn't sound too preachy. it wasn't meant to be. nor was it meant to say how people should be. i was just saying how i am.

p.s. petey, there is an interesting scripture in moses 5:51. give it a looksey.

Willy Purple said...

Two logical answers spring to mind:
The first is that people born gay are being punished for their sins in the premortal life. As Joseph Fielding Smith taught, "There were no neutrals in the war in heaven. All took sides either with Christ or with Satan. Every man had his agency there, and men receive rewards here based upon their actions there, just as they will receive rewards hereafter for deeds done in the body. The Negro, evidently, is receiving the reward he merits."
Another possibility is that church leaders have historically allowed cultural rather than religious feelings to dictate their attitudes about the degree of respect people different from themselves deserve.

It hurts me to say something so callous about the cause so many of my ancestors devoted their whole lives to, but then I think about how the hardest decision a number of them ever had to face must have been whether to obey the church when it asked them to participate in flagrantly non-traditional marriages. Political instruments chillingly similar to Proposition 8 were drafted a little more than a century ago to put my great-great-great grandpa in jail for following the prophet by attempting a legal sexual relationship not between one man and one woman.

Lastly, I guess it's easy enough to feel sorry for a boy who can't ever get married because he likes boys and not girls (or vice-versa), but it's a lot harder when you're the one who actually has to make the decision whether to be righteous or to be honest. It makes it seem like maybe the True Church isn't quite as true for you as it is for everybody else. It makes you feel like a cat in a world full of dogs. But then I guess the Kingdom of God is not a church, it's like leaven, or a mustard seed.

melinda said...

This discussion found on the church's "official resource for news media, opinion leaders, and the public" was food for my thought:

http://newsroom.lds.org/ldsnewsroom/eng/public-issues/
same-gender-attraction

It's a discussion between public affairs, Elder Oaks and Elder Wickman about a lot of the issues surrounding this discussion: the irony of the Church's history with non traditional marriages, the pain of living a celibate life, the origin of gay tendencies, etc. They discuss these issues and give the Church's stance on doctrine and principle.

Maybe most of you read this a long time ago and I'm slow in just realizing that discussions like this were even printed among Church materials. If you haven't, it is worth the read, even if you disagree with what is said. I really appreciated reading the Church's responses to many of the questions I have.

I think that scriptures and quotes from the Church leaders are an important element in this discussion, but they should not be the "end all be all" with how you reason with this issue.

petey hussein said...

skinny.

thanks for the vague scriptural reference to support my point that homosexuality has been around since the beginning of time --> i.e. it is not a something that just popped up in modern days and is getting out of control and needs to be tempered before the gays take over.

clearly, people are born this way. or God made them this way. i think both are accurate. and moses 5:51 shows that beautifully.

but that not necessarily the point. the point is that the church teachings (or lack thereof in the case of jesus speaking about it) can be used to support either side.

Mikey said...

I think the link posted by Mel is great. To me, either it's okay to have homosexual relations, or it's not. I would think that the answer is obvious to any LDS person. It's not about whether it's okay to be tempted. Everyone is tempted, even Christ was. But, as has been said we have control over our actions and we are not tempted above what we can handle. Supporting the effort to recognize gay marriage as legitimate seems to not be about discrimination and reducing harsh words but about whether we see those relationships as acceptable. That's how I see it.

petey hussein said...

mikey:

is fornication acceptable?
is alcohol acceptable?
is tobacco acceptable?
is divorce acceptable?
is cohabitating acceptable?
is adultery acceptable?

all of these things are things the general mormon population would agree are unacceptable as compared to the family proc.

how many of those things have you drafted or supported drafts of constitutional amendments?

i'm going to go out on a limb and say zero. correct me if i'm wrong.

this is the point in discussing prop 8.

at the core of prop 8 is how we as a pluralistic society allow everyone the right to worship/belief in ways consistent with their conscience. with may not be in concert with our own. jewish people don't force the rest of us to be kosher. muslims don't make the rest of pray five times a day facing mecca.

those of us as mormons should a clear understanding of the frustration of government acting against what we deem as our beliefs from our history in the midwest as well as the anti-polygamy efforts at the end of the 19th century.

so it is in a purview as christians to force our beliefs about homosexuality upon those that don't share this view?

this is the core issue surrounding prop 8. it is not whether such a belief is "Acceptable," but rather how do we recognize many conflicting beliefs in a pluralistic society.

Anonymous said...

petey-

true, no Church members are drafting amendments to oppose alcohol or fornication (although i don't see you drafting any amendments on any issues you deem important either- that doesn't mean you don't believe in them).

perhaps we would vote on something opposing adultery or cohabitation, if it were presented. perhaps, even if a pluralistic society is inevitably moving in the opposing direction, we would always vote in against something that we do not believe is right.

or, perhaps we would not vote against such a thing, and then we should not vote against this either. therein lies the question.

Anna said...

petey

I just want to ask you this, you say that "alcohol and porn are far far far greater threats to the family unit and the future of the modern family". What about drug addiction? What about blowing up buildings? Where in Christ ministy does he address these issues directly? I don't think the argument of Christ not addressing homosexuality is a very good one.

I agree with Skinny. We are given modern day scripture for our day, from a living prophets for a reason. And they have called upon us to not support this issue. Why is that any different then Christ saying it himself?

petey hussein said...

anna.

you make good point about christ's silence on topics that were not present during his life: modern day alcoholism and modern day pornagraphy. but by doing so you support the exact points i'm trying to make.

and this is it.

point one: my assertion that there are elements in our society that are far more excessively corrosive than two consenting adults behaving in ways that are perfectly natural and normal to them (since this is the way they were made) is my own opinion. i did not quote scripture or reference a general authority to press that point. as i said previously, there are plenty of passages from christ and others to support either argument. so let's not reduce the conservation to who said what and expect the discussion to end there.

we do not and have not ever considered our prophets infallible. (in word, anyway. in deed, i think we inadvertently do, quite often) during late-early years of the church and up into the recent-modern day church we now know, the idea of the mark of cain and other racist sentiments was preached, by the brethren, 1) from the pulpit, 2) as doctrine. (as was referenced mr willy purple earlier). it was only later that it was refined as policy not doctrine, when at distinct periods it was considered doctrine.

this is not to say that one day, the church will reverse its teaching on homosexuality. but they could. and reword the way we talk about it now.

clearly, the men we sustain as leaders of this worldwide church are influenced by the world/culture in which they have lived and are living. and the suggest that they do not have their own biases, also suggests that they either don't have their own thoughts (false) or have perfected thoughts (false). they are not perfect and we as a church celebrate that (in word) quite often.

all that being said.

point 2 is the more important issue.
how do we in a pluralistic society balance the conflicting minds/beliefs of others in a way that protects the constitutional rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?

do our opinions matter more than theirs? theirs more than ours? is there a way to allow constitutional rights to all? i suspect their is. this is the quandary of prop 8, especially given the nature of the church getting involved in politics (as per point 1).

sorry that was long winded and not very succinct.

petey hussein said...

one more thing.

anonymous.

the fact that you WOULD possibly vote for criminalizing cohabitation also furthers my point that in a pluralistic society the majority has the undue privilege of dictating their own beliefs on the minority. to me, this is not right.

this is exactly what allowed segregation and women's suffrage to lie unresolved for so many years.

embily said...

there are several points from many of your comments that I agree with. however, I am going to have to go with peter on the fact that this isn't a dispute about how we as a church feel about homosexuality. this is a debate about protecting the rights of all US citizens accordng to the constitution-regardless of their sexual practices. that being said, I am very unsettled on the topic. maybe I have a hard time seeing the bigger picture, but I do not see how gay marriage is going to be a detriment to our society. this is not a chance for us to bash or punish homosexuals. homosexuality is not going to be eradicated with the passing of prop 8. in schools our children will have parents in same sex relationships, regardless of whether they are allowed to legally marry. our children are going to need to know about and be taught to love and respect such children as they would anyone else. I feel that MOST importantly is how we raise our families. again though, on the contrary, I feel that the prophet speaks for God. therefore, I feel that (even though I don't understand why) I
would heed his counsel--but only because I recognize that
I don't see the big picture with faith that I am doing what
God would have me do. does this make me a blind
believer/follower? perhaps. so call me a hypocrite or someone who doesn't stand up for my beliefs. I told you I was unsettled on this topic. I just don't understand.

Mikey and Anna said...

Everyone,
This was a very enlightening disussion for us. I feel I learned something important, as does Anna. Thank you for all of your comments. I hope we have all gained at least something from this. We feel that we don't have anything else to say, though.

Pete, congrats by the way on getting married, I never told ya. We just got your invite in the mail. Sorry we can't be there. We should still get together some time seeing how we are all east-coasters now. Emily, welcome to the family. Love ya.

The Frandsen's said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Frandsen's said...

PS
Reynolds V United States (1878)
found Plural Marriage was not upheld by the first amendment, while many think this ruling is out of date, many do not, should the same apply to gay marriage?

Willy Purple said...

I think John Taylor is turning in his grave.

The Frandsen's said...

what should we do when someone wants to marry their goat?

Should their be limits on anything?

(Darin is gone tonight, but he says this all the time)

Carolina said...

I just have to chime in on the goat comment (and then I think I'll stop commenting), which I've heard several times now. I'm not sure if the argument is intended to be a joke or not.

Goats are not persons, nor are they competent to enter into contracts. Marriage is a type of contract and therefore must be between competent, consenting persons. There is no such thing as a contract (of any kind) between animals or between a person and an animal.

I think a better illustration of the intended point would be polygamy, although I think there are legitimate distinctions between same-sex and polygamist marriages.

As a very long side note, equating (or comparing) a person's desire to marry an individual of the same sex with a desire to marry an animal suggests an underlying belief that homosexual love is not genuine, easily dismissed, and the product of sexual depravity. That's why I think the argument came into existence--not to highlight a supposed legal slippery slope (although it is couched in those terms), but to buttress the argument that homosexuality is immoral.

The Frandsen's said...

the comment was meant to be a joke, as is most of what I say actually. Although I know some people who do have pretty loving relationships with their animals....
I don't think beastiality is borne simply out of sexual depravity.....and of course I don't think that of homosexuals at all
I also think I probably should leave these arguments on this blog to Darin from now on, I get too bored when he is gone

Stephen Hussein Frandsen said...

for all those who have commented, i want to say thanks. it's a touchy issue and i appreciate everyone's thoughts. I want to say a few things as way of providing background form my thoughts.

first, i think one of the greatest things about mormonism is its insistence that its members do not blindly obey. d&c 9:8 (although it is speaking about the translation process, but i think it applies to this situation) insists that we first study out the issues in our mind. then, when we feel it is right, we ask. likewise, section 8 tells us that the holy ghost speaks to both our minds and our hearts.

when it comes to the issue of proposition 8, gay marriage, and homosexuality, there is room, i think, for dissent from the party line. the prophets, indeed, have said many things about homosexuality and gay marriage. it is up to us, then, to study what they have said. we then take our conclusions to the lord. often times, in a previous life, i found myself simply accepting whatever came from church leadership without really studying out the issues for myself first. i think doing this, for me, was a weaker way to practice my religion. the history of our church implies that we should always use our intellect and knowledge to flush out the issues, and then take our conclusions to the lord for confirmation.

that being said, do i think that people who oppose gay marriage are guilty of blind obedience? absolutely not. this is a very personal issue, and I respect anyone's take on it, as long as they have studied it out in their minds and then have come to a conclusion that incorporates faith and reason. so, emily, when you say you are acting on faith, i have nothing but respect for that. i do not think it is blind obedience, as I think you have studied out the issue in a very deliberate, sympathetic manner.

now, please let me give you my reasons and justifications for supporting gay marriage, and (by implication) opposing prop 8.

first, no church authority has told any member outside of california what to believe or how to act in regards to prop 8. i am not voting in california. letters were not read in my sacrament meeting. i have not been asked to support the measure with time and money. i do not think the prophets have spoken to the entire country or, for that matter the world, with final authority on this matter.

second, if i lived in california, i would still not vote for prop 8. why? is this outright disobedience to the prophet? as i've studied the issue of gay marriage, i long ago decided that there was no way i could actively work against the happiness of my gay friends on such a level. i truly believe that marriage will bring many gay and lesbian people some measure of lasting happiness, and not just because of added rights and privileges that marriage brings. domestic partnerships, while working to solve the problem, do not address the root problem. by actively working against gay marriage, i would feel like i was actively working against the happiness of my gay friends. i could not, in good conscience, interact with my friends while knowing that i was actively supporting something that would cause them great pain.

third, (peter has touched on this) i feel the fight over gay rights is very similar to the civil rights fight. of course, it is not exactly the same, but i struggle to find major differences. over the past couple of years, the church has changed its stance on homosexuality. it now holds that people who have same sex attraction 'challenges' did not choose these challenges. while the church does not say they were necessarily born that way, they do hold that most likely there is nothing you can do about it. the feelings will most likely not go away. they ask gay and lesbian members to lead celibate lives and stay faithful. the most striking thing i find here is that the church now holds that homosexuality is now a characteristic that is a part of certain people through no choice of their own. i see this as a positive thing, and I'm glad the church has come this far.

so now, how do we say there are certain people in the country that have something that is an essential characteristic, something that they can't change, and yet we are going to withhold the privilege to marry because they are born with that certain characteristic. as has been mentioned on this thread, this is very similar to interracial marriage, which the church opposed for a long time. however, we changed our stance on that. we changed our stance on blacks and the priesthood. we changed our stance on polygamy. we altered the definition of the word of wisdom from originally allowing beer to outlawing it by the end of the 19th century (coinciding nicely with a national temperance movement). obviously, some of the stances the church takes are influenced by the society and culture we live in. does that mean the prophets are not prophets? no. it means that the prophets do not think to ask for revelation about certain things until their minds tell them to do so. thus, the church was late in accepting the civil rights movement and extending the priesthood to all worthy males. we are a church slow to accept change and I think that's okay. in order to make major decisions, unanimity is required in church leadership. the church leadership is older and more conservative. this helps the church stay steady and not swayed by the latest fads. it also makes the church slow to accept change, even if it is for the better. because of this, I do believe (or at least hope) that at some point in the future, practicing homosexuals will be allowed to be full-fledged members of the church. i don't really think they will ever be allowed to be married in the temple (and perhaps not attend the temple) but I do think they should be allowed to fully participate and receive the blessings of full church membership.

and now i've already written too much. peter and i are going to see a manly man's night movie, in order to prove to you all that, even though we do support gay marriage (at least I do, not sure about peter), we are extremely manly and heterosexual. okay mom? you don't have to worry.

petey hussein said...

stevey. looks like you killed the discussion.

i was kinda hoping to hear paul's $0.02.

patty said...

What movie Stephen?

patty said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
paul said...

sorry i joined the conversation so late. i saw stephen's original post and felt conflicted enough to shy away. i didn't realize this discussion was raging away.

i don't have much time right now, so i'll give a cop-out answer and say that i'm glad susan joined the conversation and i enjoyed her comments very much.

willy purple has some hard-hitting and important points about how church 'doctrine' and 'policy' evolve.

i agree more with kendall and carolina on this issue--framing the issue legally, logically and morally.

thank you melinda for your heartfelt comments on making this decision.

stevie: i agree with most of what you said. it is difficult to say that the prophets 'simply didn't ask'. i suppose you're giving them a convenient out there, but it's pretty clear that david o mckay felt that blacks and the priesthood was a policy from '54 on. however, he went to the lord on several occasions (mentioned in the historical record) and his answer was no. i tend to believe this had to do with creating unity on the council, but it could very well have been some part of a more grand design.

this is a difficult issue. being the only member of the thread who can't say, "i'm glad i don't live in california" i have to say my decision on how to vote has gone from 'against' to 'for' to 'blank' (don't vote either way) and back again. my mind has changed daily to weekly. i don't know what to do. my absentee ballot sits in the desk here with barack's vote on it...but unsent because of my ambivalence on this issue...

Stephen Hussein Frandsen said...

“When churches or church leaders choose to enter the public sector to engage in debate on a matter of public policy, they should be admitted to the debate and they should expect to participate in it on the same basis as all other participants. In other words, if churches or church leaders choose to oppose or favor a particular piece of legislation, their opinions should be received on the same basis as the opinions offered by other knowledgeable organizations or persons, and they should be considered on their merits. By the same token, churches and church leaders should expect the same broad latitude of discussion of their views that conventionally applies to everyone else’s participation in public policy debates. A church can claim access to higher authority on moral questions, but its opinions on the application of those moral questions to specific legislation will inevitably be challenged by and measured against secular-based legislative or political judgments.” Dallin H. Oaks, “Religious Values and Public Policy,” Ensign, Oct 1992, 60 [1]

paul said...

i should also add that my local leadership has been very specific that church membership/worthiness is not contingent upon supporting prop 8. they have asked that support for the proposition not be asked for nor vocalized during the block meetings.

i wasn't here for prop 22, but this seems to be a shift...and a very appreciated one.

Carolina said...

The excerpt from Dallin Oaks is right on point--a good find.

Mikey and Anna said...

I just found one thing that I wanted to ask. If Proposition 8 were to pass, it does not take away any rights that gays don't already have, it just defines marriage as between a man and woman. Is that right? If it doesn't pass, what does that mean for gays then? California law already says "domestic partners shall have the same rights, protections and benefits” as married spouses. (Family Code §297.5.)

Stephen Hussein Frandsen said...

mikey, two points: first, there are already many gay people that are married in california. what happens to them if prop 8 passes? second, if it doesn't pass, the status quo stands, which allows gay people to get married. right?

Amy F said...

Whoa... look what's been happening here while I've been on vacation! It just took me 1.5 hours to get through all of this, and I have two pages of notes on my thoughts and feelings. My dishes are still undone. I realize the discussion has pretty much happened. I'll spare you all of my conflicted thoughts, but I will say this.

There is a long history of prophets guiding people to do things that didn't "make sense." Hindsight leaves us with a lot of questions about past guidance. Paul (my husband, not the apostle) mentions something about the possibility a broader "grand design."

The prophets are given to us as watchmen on the tower... a tower much higher than the ground I am standing on. And no matter how hard I strain my eyes to see, I won’t see as far as they can because I don’t have the same position/responsibility as they do. In the end, the sins of this generation is upon them if they fail to warn and call repentance.

I have no doubt they have prayed about this one before they issued any letters or made any suggestions or held any broadcasts. They obviously didn't get a "no" answer.

And I feel like I would be sacrificing more personally by not following them than I would by following them.

Is that selfish of me?

Amy F said...

And just FYI...

Many have asked about what the church’s involvement in the Prop 8 issue is really like in CA right now. Truthfully... very little has been said over our pulpits aside from the letters read and the normal announcements about our responsibility to vote in the upcoming elections. In fact, leaders are very pointed about NOT making this a “pulpit” issue so as not to confuse it (thankfully) with doctrine or temple worthiness, etc. Any actions taken are strictly voluntary and outside of official church activities. Voter registration papers are being passed around in Relief Society and Priesthood meetings to be sure that everyone who wants to is registered to vote, but we are not being told how to vote.

There is a very organized volunteer effort that we are encouraged to be a part of. Each ward has someone assigned (not called) to be a representative/organizer for all volunteer activities in the ward. They do call and make contact asking members if they want to volunteer in different ways.

Those who have volunteered have walked precincts (knocking doors) and made telephone calls to ask people how they are planning to vote. Yes, probably yes, no, probably no, or maybe. I’ve been told that this was mostly get a “soft count.” Those who said yes (supporting traditional marriage) were asked if they would like to volunteer or if they would like a sign for their yard. Those who said maybe will be sent literature about the proposition. Those who say no are left alone.

During election week, those who have said yes will receive pamphlets and doorhangers reminding them to vote. And on the evening of election day, callers will be calling the “yeses” who haven’t yet voted to remind them to go vote.

We have been challenged to dedicate 4 hours a week to promoting and supporting Prop 8 by assembling and passing out materials, making calls, etc.

Just thought those of you who aren’t fortunate enough to live in California right now would want to know...

Mikey said...

If prop 8 passes, then those gays already married will still receive the same benefits as married couples, except it would be called a "domestic partnership" and not a "marriage". Is that way off?

Carolina said...

I don't know what I'm doing posting here again (call me an addict).

I imagine current same-sex marriages in CA will remain marriages if Prop 8 passes. After all, they were legally created marriages.

This is already routinely done in other contexts. States recognize marriages that never were or are now illegal in their own states under the Full Faith and Credit clause of the U.S. Constitution--states must recognize and enforce contracts, etc., that were legally entered into in any other state of the Union. Also, as a matter of comity, states usually observe marriages that were legally entered into in other countries.

What Prop 8 would do is remove marriage as an option for same-sex couples going forward. I imagine any other partnership arrangements available currently would probably remain options (unless someone successfully argues all the way to the California Supreme Court that alternative partnerships are de-facto marriages prohibited by the California Constitution).

So I suppose a Prop 8 supporter could argue that prohibiting same-sex marriages doesn't really affect gay rights--they can still enjoy all of the same benefits by entering into domestic partnerships. But that very argument weakens the argument in favor of Prop 8. If Prop 8 does nothing to affect substantive rights, why does California need to pass it? Is California just trying to make a statement about homosexuals? Is this just all about the definition of a word? If it is, then what distinguishes, legally, a marriage from a domestic partnership? Does the difference just boil down to whose God sanctions what? Is a "domestic partnership" an agreement among two adults and the state and a "marriage" an agreement among two adults, the state, and God? And if that's the case, isn't defining marriage in a state constitution a problematic melding of Church and state? Wouldn't a better solution be to remove the word "marriage" from the law? What if we all just entered into domestic partnerships and then got "married" in our own churches according to the dictates of the God we know? It wouldn't take any of our substantive rights away, so it wouldn't be a big deal, right?

I'm sorry for the long post, especially after I promised to stop commenting.

Stephen Hussein Frandsen said...

mikey. that's correct. and that happening, in my view, is unfair. can you imagine us approaching a racially mixed married couple and telling them that their marriage can no longer be called a marriage? or even approaching a racially mixed couple (peter and emily for example) and telling them that they can receive all the benefits of marriage, but because they are different, they cannot call what they have a marriage? it just doesn't make any sense to me. to think that that couple would be okay with all the legal benefits only implies that the couple is fine with discrimination and prejudice.

Stephen Hussein Frandsen said...

i stand corrected by carolina, whose views and knowledge of the subject are much deeper than mine. i agree with everything she has said or will ever say (probably).

Carolina said...

Actually, I may have to correct my previous comment. I didn't take into account the Federal Defense of Marriage Act, passed in 1996, which (if Constitutional) might allow California to decline recognition of same-sex marriages at all:

" 1. No state (or other political subdivision within the United States) need treat a relationship between persons of the same sex as a marriage, even if the relationship is considered a marriage in another state.
2. The Federal Government may not treat same-sex relationships as marriages for any purpose, even if concluded or recognized by one of the states."

It looks like Congress was specifically trying to take same-sex marriages out of the realm of the Full Faith and Credit Clause. I think there is a good argument that this Act is unconstitutional (even Scalia suggested in Lawrence--post-1996-- that the Full Faith and Credit Clause would require recognition of same-sex marriages). I understand Obama has indicated a desire to push for a repeal of this provision.

Either way, the same point remains--what is the distinction between marriage and domestic partnership? If there isn't any, then we should all be satisfied with domestic partnerships.

Stephen Hussein Frandsen said...

look at this. i am again agreeing with her. oh, and one other thing, governor patterson here in new york has started recognizing same-sex marriages from other states. so, although new york does not currently allow same-sex marriages, it will recognize those that are conducted in either massachusetts or connecticut. cute, right? way to go gov. he should know something about discrimination, being new york's first legally blind governor. ta da....

Kendall said...

In a nutshell, I think that the solution Carolina mentioned is a good approach--give everyone the opportunity to have a domestic partnership (with all of the tax benefits, visitation rights, etc.), but don't call it marriage. Limit marriage to be a religious ceremony performed in no way by the government. This would allow two widow sisters, as an example, to share benefits as domestic partners but not be "married".

I think this makes sense because I believe that the purpose of "marriage" from the government's perspective is to promote social stability. If one person loses a job, the other can work. If one is injured, the other can care for them. etc. etc.

paul said...

in keeping with my daily swing on how to vote, mikey's question had me thinking again.

what's the difference? the only change is that the government gives an extra 'star' to same-sex couples. because otherwise the rights of same-sex couples all already exist in california.

sure, that extra 'star' may afford more anti-discrimination rights to same-gender-attracted couples in the grand scheme, but what is the difference.

carolina and kendall come through once again with an important argument i've seen elsewhere too. if this is just about a moral judgement, then the government should perhaps not be involved in this arena. perhaps, allowing all couples who want to band together will lend more stability to our society and that should be the business of government. then different religions can attach their brand of importance to marriage and define it however they please.

maybe it should be held that condemning certain types of partnerships in schools is cruel and should be disallowed. perhaps teaching about these types of couples to our youth will allow for more tolerance when they encounter friends' parents in these situations...