Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Great Debate


This is going to be harsh. Just warning you. I’m about to get all political and controversial up in here. But it’s my blog and this is something that has been bothering me for a while now and I want to share my opinion. I realize I may offend some people or infuriate people but I’ve been offended and infuriated myself about it so whatev.

Anyway….gay marriage. Yikes. A hot topic for sure, especially these days.

Here is what I believe in a nutshell: Marriage is between a man and a woman. Period. Acting on homosexual feelings is wrong (as is acting on heterosexual feelings before marriage).

I have an unwavering testimony of the gospel and I 100% support my church and their stance on this topic. I do not pick and choose the things about my religion that I want to support. I believe it’s all or nothing. Obviously I have a lot of faults and things to work on, but I fully support my church and every single thing that my leaders (speaking on behalf of God) stand for. This is not to assume that all leaders are perfect and I realize that there are many in the church who make mistakes. That is not what I’m talking about here. You cannot be a faithful member of this church and choose which parts you like and which parts you don’t. It doesn’t work that way. We are a church that requires commitment and dedication and we believe that the Lord will bless us immensely for following Him and dedicating ourselves to His work.

Now here is the kicker: I think that members of the church who do not support the church’s stance on gay marriage should not be able to hold a temple recommend. During the recommend interview, we are explicitly asked if we support and sustain the leaders of our church. Luckily it is not my decision to make that judgment and the church leaders and the Lord will make the ultimate decision, not me. But the fact that people are actively going against the church is preposterous and outrageous and it breaks my heart. It shocks me to my core that these same people continue to go to church, bear their testimony, etc., but then they publicly support gay marriage and blatantly state that the church is wrong! That is total and complete hypocrisy.

My very dearest and best friend throughout my entire childhood is gay. He was basically family and we spent every waking moment together. We had so much fun growing up and we stayed close throughout high school as well. I never doubted that something was different about him. I always knew he was different but didn’t understand how until later in high school. I was absolutely not surprised when he told me he was gay. He was still the same sweetheart boy that I knew and grew up with. He wasn’t any different than he had always been and he is still a wonderful person that I love being around. I still see him whenever I can and although he knows exactly where I stand, he also knows that I love him and care about him.

Many gay people that I have met and interacted with are great and some are so flamboyant and hysterical and I absolutely love it. I still disagree with their lifestyle but I have nothing against them and enjoying their company. It’s no different than being friends with people who drink, sleep around or don’t believe in God. I can still enjoy their company and respect our differences. I love that people are different and we can all learn from each other. I don’t want to live a life where everyone is exactly like me because how boring is that? And how would I really appreciate the things that I believe are important? They would be meaningless if everyone agreed with me right? So I appreciate the differences in the world and it’s something I have always wanted to experience.

When I lived in Holland, I became much more open to a lot of things. I was forced to question things that I had never questioned before-why don’t I drink or have sex or do drugs? Why do I go to church every week and read my scriptures? What do I think about abortion and homosexuality? Why do I think that? Holland is an extremely open minded place. The Netherlands (aka Holland) was the first country in the world to legalize gay marriage. They have also legalized prostitution and soft drugs (like marijuana). It all sounds so awful and crazy but that place was amazing. It was beautiful and the people were wonderful and kind and welcoming to everyone. I loved my time there and it is something I will forever hold dear. I talked to people who had drastically different ideas and beliefs than me and we shared our opinions over coffee (hot chocolate for me) almost every day! That experience changed me for the better but also cemented in me the truths and values that I have. I don’t think I would feel as strongly as I do if I hadn’t spent time living in the Netherlands and traveling around Europe.

I hope that in writing this, people will have no doubt where I stand and what I believe. I also hope they know that even if I disagree with them on this, I don’t hate or dislike them. Not at all! I definitely have lost a lot of respect for the “faithful” members of the church who are blatantly and purposefully going against what the church teaches. With that said, I am not going to treat people differently just because I feel that way. If you know me at all, you know I love a good discussion and I don’t get upset or offended easily, but I also don’t back down and don’t hesitate to say exactly what I think. I just wish the rest of the country could agree to disagree instead of attacking and harassing the other side. It is unfortunate that it is happening. And as a side note, I don't understand how this managed to be at the forefront of the political scene. What about the state of the economy? Our disgusting national debt? The fact that Congress has not passed a budget since 2009? What about the housing and job markets? And gay marriage has managed to be the only thing people are talking about. Tragic.

But I feel a lot better getting that off my chest. I feel like the other side of the debate gets so much publicity and they make those of us who disagree with them out to be hateful and backwards. It doesn’t make sense to me how they cannot understand that I feel just as strongly as they do about this issue. We simply disagree and that will not change. I am not trying to hurt anyone or cause pain, but my feelings will never change. I believe God has spoken on this issue and I have no questions or doubts in my mind about it. Now I can rest easy knowing that at least those who read this know exactly where I stand.


Anonymous said...

I think you said what you had to say really well but I just HAD to comment about the "agree to disagree thing." I think it's pretty easy for you to say that becuase you are NOT the one that is having your life affected and your dreams taken away from you based on lifestyle choices that you cannot choose. I'm pretty sure if you weren't allowed to be married to person you were in love with you wouldn't just want to just let it be either. The playing fields are uneven here and until there is more progress in equality it's not fair to have this debate be less of a political issue.

Haley Hill said...

Love the mature comment but disappointed it was anonymous. Hopefully people can all be respectful like you. I definitely see your point but my opinion here doesn't change.

Anonymous said...

My issue is... just because you think something is wrong, does that mean it should be ILLEGAL? For example, do you want sex before marriage to be illegal? Or atheism? Judaism? I agree that everyone has the right to his or her beliefs as to what is right or wrong, but that the laws of the country should not be based on those personal beliefs.

Nicole S. said...

HALEY! Thank you for posting this!!!!! I don't think anyone should ever have to apologize for stating their opinion.

The last couple of weeks this has really weighed on my mind heavily.
I'll be honest, in the past I've been of the mindset that gay marriage isn't going to effect me so why do I care.

More recently I have really been pondering it and really it is black or white! There is no in between.

Mallory and Aj said...

Well said, Haley, well said. I completely agree with everything you said.

Pam said...

I wrote the first anonymous post, but not the second, but I love what the 2nd one states. This is a matter of personal opinion as you've said, and you are entitled to that, but I truly do not understand what affect it would have on your life and why you would blatantly opose the option to make someone else's life better?

Haley Hill said...

It would affect my life because I feel that it would harm the country to allow gay marriage. I believe that God has spoken and what He says is not something to change.

Also, no matter what way you look at it, as it pertains to this issue, the laws of the country will ALWAYS be based on personal beliefs, regardless of what way this ends up. One side will get what they believe and want and the other side will not. There is no simple solution.

Bekah said...


I agree! I'm glad that others feel the same as well. I too have a dear friend that has a partner, we are able to have a friendship and I love and care about her.

You are great!

Nicole S. said...

I just had to tell you that I've used your blog post several times since you posted it. I've had friends and family read it while we've had discussions regarding the issue. It was so well written and I really feel like you brought up so many valid points that people don't even think about. Just thought you might like to know that it is having a positive influence on people.

Anonymous said...

"It would affect my life because I feel that it would harm the country to allow gay marriage."
How could you be so ignorant to think that people marrying the same sex would harm our country? How does this statement make any sense? If I were your friend and you said you loved me and I was like family to you, but then you went on to say you didn't believe that I should be able to love legally I most definitely would end that friendship. You might still be friends with him but you have definitely hurt his feelings. What if someone was telling you that they didn't believe in Mormonism and it should be illegal? The Mormons came to Utah to escape those forcing their opinions on them. They just wanted to live in peace and practice their beliefs without being bothered. It seems the tables have turned, am I wrong?

Haley Hill said...

Why don't you just post as yourself instead of hiding behind anonymous? Just because I don't agree with you does not qualify me as being ignorant. I could say the same about you because I do feel that allowing gay marriage WILL harm our country. It is something God has said is wrong and I will not dispute that.

It's fine for you to choose to end a friendship over a disagreement, however big, but my friend and i are a bit more mature than that. We are able to continue our friendship despite differences. And I did my best not to hurt his feelings, but I will not pretend to agree with something that is wrong just to avoid hurt feelings.

As I said before, with this issue, it will always be based on personal opinion regardless of which side prevails. I feel just as strongly about this issue as you do. And as a side note, 30 states oppose gay marriage so it seems my feelings are a common sentiment despite the attacks of those supporting it.

Anonymous said...

God also said that blacks should not be allowed to have the priesthood. That changed. Maybe God will speak again....?

Also, how does me writing my name change anything in this debate?

Amanda said...

Amen. (To this post, not the discussion going on here.) Love your boldness and courage. It is not popular at all to stand up for what you believe in these days.

And to anonymous - All we have to do is look at the past to see how this country would be affected by legalized gay marriage. Do some reading on Soddom and Gomorrah. God will not allow legalization of moral wrongs.

Pam said...

How does the past show us how the country would be affected by the legalization of gay marriage? It's never happened YET! It will though, because a person is a person is a person and we all have a right to choose what is right for our own lives. Oh and by the way, God doesn't pass laws.

Amy said...

Haley I back you up 100%.

Pam you are right that God doesn't pass laws, people do. God has given us the right to make choices however the consequences to those choices are set by God. God has warned us in the bible about Sodomy. He destroys people and civilizations that practice homosexuality.

The laws we pass are a major indicator of our desire or lack of desire to obey God's laws. If we as a country, a country that was founded under God, blatantly choose to disregard his laws and warnings we will be left on our own and will be destroyed too. So, yes, this effects everyone.

Haley, I am totally with you on the economy stuff too. How is it that the national debt and lack of budgeting have become nearly non issues? They are a big deal to me!

Brandon said...

I'd like to echo a few of the sentiments expressed above. I believe in the sanctity of the traditional family. I believe that men and women are each given (by God, not granted by man) distinct and important roles. Our deviation from those roles, or our desire to redefine/blur does not change their divine nature.
I see two disagreements here that are desperately trying to bind themselves together. 1) Do you support a living prophet? Do you believe that he speaks for God or do you not? 2) Legalization of marriage as defined as something other than between a man and a woman.
To members of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints - if you accept the prophet, don't attempt to 'change' his mind. If you want to throw out polygamy and the restoration of the priesthood as examples that you think support your hedonistic claim that the church will "come around" you don't understand the history nor the doctrine behind either.
To those who believe that those of us who disagree with you are imposing our beliefs on you, would you prefer your beliefs imposed on us? It is important to distinguish the difference between a civil union and marriage. If you want legal benefits and hospital visitation rights - I concede. If you want our country, which God has upheld and protected, to legally recognize your union - I won't stand in your way. I don't agree with the morality, but I don't believe it is the government's role to impose a moral code on it's constituents (which ironically is both your petition and complaint). Which leads me to my final point, if you force God-fearing people to recognize a homosexual union as a marriage - you FORCE our churches to perform them and make a mockery of what we hold sacred. How could you possibly think that doesn't infringe on what we love?
Your argument of personal liberty vs. infringement on the rights of others doesn't hold water. Utilitarianism is vague at best, and your attempts at defining the majority doesn't further your cause.
Regardless of the opposition, I will defend the family. I stand with Haley.

Anonymous said...

Do you all realize that young people are committing suicide because of your opinions against gay people. You should be ashamed.

Anonymous said...

Brandon: how would the US legalizing gay marriage force the LDS church or any church to perform these marriages?

Anonymous said...

Good point - a lot of people don't want to be married in a church at all.

Unknown said...

Thought you might find this exerpt interesting. Seems to me that an opinion either way wouldn't be wrong in the Church's eyes.

"Regarding another question about whether church members could disagree with the faith's opposition to legalizing same-sex unions and still remain in good standing, he (President Monson) said the answer "depends on what the disagreement is."

"If it's an apostasy situation, that would not be appropriate. If it's something political, there is room for opinion here and there on either side." -- Thomas S. Monson

Haley Hill said...

That is a very interesting comment and I'm glad you shared it. It doesn't change how I feel though-that it's wrong for members of the church to actively oppose the church leaders. I'm sure President Monson is open to different opinions, but blatantly opposing what the church (and God) has said is not right.

I completely appreciate the support from so many people about this, it means a lot.

And as far as young people committing suicide because of my opinions, that is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard and I refuse to even argue with it because it is so absurd.

Finally, I believe what Brandon meant about forcing us to perform these marriages in our temples is that if it became a federal mandate for gay marriage, we could not refuse to marry gay couples. I believe we would have to get legally married in a courthouse, then sealed in our temples if we didn't want to allow gay marriages in our temples (which would never happen). That is what they do in Holland and maybe other places. So it could be avoided but it would have a huge affect on us as members.

Kristin said...

This is a very good debate. Everyone is entitled to their opinions and just like everything else.. opinions can change.
I am not Mormon so a lot of the Mormon related information is a bit confusing to me... especially the "temple recommend". That whole concept boggles my mind that you would prevent people from entering your temple. The word "catholic" means "open to all" - our doors are open to all who wish to enter, just like I imagine Christ's arms are open to all those who wish to enter.
On the topic of gay marriage... I do like your point on why in the world this is at the forefront of politics. Our country has so much more going on that needs our immediate attention.
Regarding your close friend that is gay... you stated that you knew early on that something was different with him. Do you believe that he was choosing a gay lifestyle as a child or is it just the way he was born? Honestly, and without judgement I would like to know. Because if you believe that he was different from a very early age... it leads me to the assumption that he is the way he is because he was born that way. Born, whole and perfect, a gift from God, and gay. And if this is true... why would our God want him to be something that he was not created to be?
If you are a believer that everyone is created equal and deserves to be treated as such, then why should gay people be denied marriage? This is the same song and dance that our country has had several times throughout our history.
Women were inferior to men at one point in time. Not allowed to drive, to vote, to own property and all of that thinking was based on the biblical beliefs of the people of that time.
Blacks were inferior to whites at one time. So inferior that they were treated as PROPERTY, then they were treated as second class citizens, not allowed to vote, to MARY, to share public restrooms, to shop at the same places...again... all of this was based on the biblical beliefs of the people of the time.
So why are we doing it again to another sector of our population? Why are we, again, discriminating? Why are we withholding the rights of others just because we believe what they do in their bedroom is wrong?
And as for your comment about loving people's differences and being friends with gay people being no different than being friends with people that sleep around, do drugs, drink, etc... Well I think that if you held yourself to the moral high ground that you claim you would not be friends with people that did those things. You would surround yourself with those that hold themselves in the same esteem that you hold yourself to. And comparing gay people to people that sleep around, drink or do drugs is pretty offensive.
And also, to respond to the comment about people committing suicide because of opinions like yours... its so true. Young people are so scared to be scrutinized and ostracized by people who hold opinions as yours. They often feel that being dead would be better off than either a) living a heterosexual life that is a lie or b) living a gay life and being punished by society for it. I'm not at ALL condoning suicide, but this is what goes thru the minds of young people and they often feel like they have no other options because a majority of society just can not find the compassion to just accept people as they are and let God be the final judge.

Pam said...

Thank you Kristin! I love everything you said and agree 100%. This is what needs to be said! I felt the same on the suicide comment but didn't have the words to explain myself properly.