In the short time leading up to historic votes in Arizona, California and Florida, I find myself pondering the issue of same-gender marriage and the counsel from the Brethren to “maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.”
Here in Arizona, the radio and television commercials in support of Prop 102 proclaim simply, “One Man. One woman. That’s marriage.”
The proposed change to the Arizona state constitution reads, “Only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as marriage in this state.”
Based on the language of Prop 102, I fail to see any attempt to legislate morality or prohibit the personal conduct of any consenting adult in the privacy of their own home. Rather, I see it as a measure to strengthen the family as the basic and fundamental unit of society, and not as a measure to outlaw personal behavior.
While browsing the internet the other day, I noticed an op/ed piece submitted by someone who I believe is a member of the Church, calling for tolerance and acceptance of same gender marriage. The argument centered on the abandoned practice of polygamy and how Mormons of all people should be understanding of non-traditional relationships.
In a talk given by Joseph Fielding McConkine in 2005 at a Joseph Smith Symposium, he had this to say concerning tolerance:
“When I was a young man, tolerance meant that we treated those with whom we disagreed with civility. It did not mean that we were obligated to accept their point of view. To many of the young people in my classes today, it means that we are to be non-judgmental, holding all men and all ideas to be equal and that it is morally wrong to say that something is morally wrong. It is not an unusual thing to have students cover willful disobedience in the blanket of God’s love and to advance the idea of a universal salvation that sounds dangerously like that advocated by Lucifer in the councils of heaven.”
I have previously noted my desire for tolerance, love and understanding of those who support same-gender marriage. While I respect and uphold their right to promote their cause, I cherish with equal fervency my right to oppose same-gender marriage and advocate for marriage to be defined as the union of one man and one woman.
Sadly, for some, tolerance is a virtue to be enforced only on those who oppose same-gender marriage as evidenced by defaced and destroyed “Yes on Prop 102” lawn signs in my neighborhood and others throughout Arizona. Disagreements ought to be handled with civilty and tolerance, not with spray paint and destroyed signs. Tolerance ought to be a two-way straight of understanding where a free-flow of ideas from both sides is permitted and encouraged. I do not mean to imply that all opponents of Prop 102 feel this way, just the people who have shown their dissent through an intolerant demonstration of destruction.
I bear no malice or hatred for those who advocate for same-gender marriage. My opposition to same-gender marriage is rooted in my personal, religious beliefs. I sustain President Monson, his counselors in the First Presidency and the members of the Quorum of the Twelve as Prophets, Seers and Revelators. Accordingly, I am compelled to act after receiving a personal witness of their prophetic call to support efforts to defend traditional marriage.
For my friend who dreams of the day when he will be free to marry the person of his choosing, regardless of gender, I wish him well in his quest. And for those who share my friend’s position on Prop 102, I encourage you to make your voices heard on election day.
For those who believe as I do, I also encourage you to exercise your right to vote on election day and speak out in favor of traditional marriage by voting yes on Prop 102.
Whatever the outcome of Tuesday’s vote, I hope and pray that love, tolerance and understanding will remain in place.