Sunday, October 10, 2010 article by Andrew O’Hehir (Polygamy vs. Gay Marriage) – (written June 2010)

Re: article “Polygamy vs. Gay Marriage” by Andrew O’Hehir

I don’t even know where to start.  This article is so obviously one-sided.  Of course the two filmmakers would bring an intimacy to the project if they both identify as gay.

Prop 22 (the California Defense of Marriage Act) was passed by California voters in 2000.  This proposition prohibited the state from recognizing same-sex marriage.

However, the California Supreme Court disregarded the voters and ruled that banning same-sex marriage was discriminatory.  When Proposition 8 passed, it was a re-assertion of the passage of Proposition 22, which had already been passed by California voters.

The LDS (Mormon) church used to practice polygamy.  In order to get statehood, the church had to abandon this practice, and in 1890 the Manifesto was issued, which abolished polygamy.

The irony is that the Mormon church did what it had to do for Utah to become a state, but those in favor of same-sex marriage want the state to bend to them.  Joining the protection of society often involves giving up some of one’s individual rights.  You can choose to play music at loud decibels all night long, but your neighbors have the right to call police on you for disturbing the peace.  You may want to stand out in front of a store at all hours, but the store-owner has the right to demand “no loitering” in front of his store.

The early leaders of the Mormon church fervently believed that plural marriage was ordained of God, yet they recognized the rule of state law and gave up this practice.  Those who want to marry someone of the same gender are putting their own individual desires above those of society’s.  California society spoke in passing Prop 22, and it spoke again in passing Prop 8.  No states where same-sex marriage is legal arrived at this through popular vote.  Only through the courts.

Now, I have been engaged to another woman, who is the person I have loved more than I have ever loved anyone else.  But had we married, I wouldn’t want to impose our marriage on churches, nor would I want to force churches to recognize our marriage or even to marry us in the first place.

Also, I understand that the definition of marriage would have to change to allow same-sex marriage. Throughout history, marriage has never included same sexes marrying each other.  If same-sex marriage becomes legal, there is nothing wrong with acknowledging that the definition of marriage has changed.  This isn’t a values statement, rather a statement of fact.

Logically, I think it is easier for people to be contributing members of society when they are in a marriage, union, partnership, or any arrangement that offers some sort of commitment, be it same-sex, opposite sex, and/or plural.  So it is in society’s best interest to encourage such commitments. And eventually, I think most people will realize that and would vote for same-sex marriage to be legal (much farther down the line do I see people ever voting for legalization of plural marriages, but I hope it happens soon).

And to go off on a bit of a tangent, I certainly believe that same-sex couples should be allowed to adopt children.  There are children who need good homes – my main concern is that all children are loved and supported.

I grew up in a supposedly ideal Mormon household, with a father who had a good job and was even Bishop of our ward, and a mother who stayed home to raise us.  However, I never felt love from my parents, nor did I ever feel support from them.  In fact, the emotional abuse I suffered from my parents damaged me and greatly depressed me and I don’t wish that on anyone.   I understand that the ideal is to be raised by a mother and father, as I know the sexes are different and offer unique qualities, but what does it matter if they don’t love you? If I had a choice, I would definitely choose to be raised by a same-sex couple or by a single parent or by a polyamorous household, or even in an orphanage, instead of being raised by my parents, as long as I would be loved in any of these scenarios.

End of tangent.

Regardless, I feel if we do allow same-sex marriage, we should allow plural marriage as well.  Either we have one standard of marriage, or we expand what marriage is and can be.  I am fine with both – but let’s be consistent. 

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