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Feb. 17th, 2012 at 12:06 pm
I took a young gay friend to lunch last spring—had such a good time. He’s smart and kind and funny. His mother is a best friend and has had a hard time accepting her son’s sexual orientation. I felt sort of cool because I do accept it–disloyal to my friend at the same time.
I love this young man. I’ve literally known him since he was born and changed more than one of his diapers. I didn’t notice anything different about him as he grew up, one of my daughter’s closest friends. They became engaged in first grade–she dumped him for another guy and regretted it, but he was in love by then with another first grader. He took her to Sweetheart’s. His mother and I seeing these two beautiful kids and wondering if they were meant to be.
Our lunch hit a sour note when I said I didn’t support gay marriage. I didn’t say I opposed it, but that I couldn’t support it, which to me is different. I expressed my confusion and my generational feeling that marriage is meant to be between a man and a woman. What about the gospel—-the temple? I can’t make sense of same sex marriage in the face of my testimony, fractured as it is.
It hurt him. Tears filled his eyes. I can accept his friends, I’ve encouraged my gay nephew and his partner to adopt–they would be wonderful parents. But I could not go there–to saying “yes, there should be marriage.” I asked, “why can’t there just be legal equity without actual marriage?” His reply, “how is that not marriage?”
I’ve become more and more conflicted as time has passed; I don’t know what I believe anymore about this issue. Just yesterday, I was wondering what the church would do if gay marriage becomes national law. The temple? Would they then hold all marriages outside the temple and only allow sealings after the civil marriage?
I have the most marvelous therapist; he’s devoted to the gospel, he’s kind and Christ-like, and he “gets it.” No preaching from this guy. I was talking to him about a couple things that bother me about the church and some people who get so bent out of shape if one discusses things like racism. He said a couple of very profound things: “Many are converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ without being converted to Jesus Christ” and “in my years of counseling, the most anguished individuals I’ve met—and I’ve counseled many—are gay Mormons. Because they’re condemned to a life of celibacy or a life outside the church.” He didn’t offer any answers or even opinions, just his personal sorrow for those in this circumstance.
I’ve come a long way, baby. From shunning “queers” while feeling embarrassed for them with a bit of empathy, being shunned myself much of my childhood to those years of AIDS coming to the forefront of our consciousness (for the record, I never feared AIDS, thought it was just overkill, all the hysteria). Scolding my kids for calling others “AIDS victim” as an insult. Fag. Struggling with a dear friend’s revelation that she was gay. Crying with her. Arguing with her. Loving her.
I never thought that when I decided my love for my friend was more important that whatever she was doing with her life that my life would be filled with gay loved ones.
I know a few things: I would not financially support a proposition like was in California; I’m not going to sign a petition, either way; I’m not going to exclude or alienate anyone. I’m going to abstain from this vote. I’m going to watch and wait and in the long run, I’m going to keep my own counsel. What that is, I have no clue.