Last night, the LDS church took a rare and striking step. Two apostles and a member of the quorum of the seventy addressed members across the state of California and at university and college campuses around the country in a satellite broadcast in support of a proposed amendment to the California state constitution.
Eight years ago, the voters of California [61%] defeated a bill that would have legalized same-sex marriage in the state. Last year, the California Supreme Court overturned that vote. Proposition 8 is an effort by an inter-faith coalition to reinstate the voice of the people and define “marriage” in California as between one man and one woman.
Obviously, this is a sensitive and potentially divisive issue, and I have struggled to understand my church’s strong stance. I have many friends who are gay—and many of them have loving, supportive, respectful relationships. I have learned much from their examples of selflessness, their commitment to communication and the quiet service they render. I love them and have been blessed by their goodness.
I don’t know what would happen if the definition of marriage was left open to the vicissitudes of pop culture and popular opinion. I know some of the things that could happen, and I don’t want to live under what some have termed a “tyranny of tolerance”—the kind of tolerance that continually expands to include more and more divergent beliefs and perspectives [as it should] but only in one direction. Where values I hold dear are called close-mindedness and bigotry and tolerance of one view necessitates intolerance of another.
Last night, Elder Quentin Cook called on members of the church to “protect Heavenly Father’s Plan” referring to the centrality of marriage and family in the doctrine of the LDS church. This struck me as odd—If the plan really is God’s [as I believe it is] why would it need protection!? Nothing can break it, harm it, stop it, or even slow it down. No, God doesn’t need me to protect His plan.
As always, as with everything in that plan, this is about me. The fight over the definition of marriage in California is about me. It’s about me taking a stand for the things I believe in. It’s about making an unpopular decision and bearing the consequences. It’s about my priorities, my integrity, my influence and how I use it.
And, as a good friend pointed out this afternoon, it’s something I have done before. Something we’ve all done before.
So, I am in favor of Proposition 8.