Sometimes we don't have black and white answers. Life usually becomes a mixed up mess between how we feel and how we act. It doesn't get easier for anyone and it affects all of us regardless of our life situation. Yesterday I received an email response about our proposal. Without wanting to hurt or offend I feel obligated to respond. I am sure many of you out there have the same questions and confusions as this dear friend of mine has expressed. Needless to say coming out has been both relieving and has caused immense rifts between old deep friendships. In this letter was a lot of love mixed with hurtful comments.
First off I want to express gratitude for being open and honest, I have become that way and it has lead to more happiness than I have ever known. I hope you know how much I truly love you. With out your consent I will post some parts of the letter, hoping to assuage my conscience the content will not be person specific and be rendered in complete anonymity.
In this letter this individual stated a concern about how even attending this wedding would be an affront to her deeply held religious views, and would be showing support for something she doesn't believe in, a marriage between two men. I would like to point out a few things as I know most of the attendees to this wedding are deeply religious and we respect their views completely. I have my own religious views and hope to give everyone room to dissent to how I feel as dissent causes deep reflection and hopefully a broader paradigm for all of us.
Ok before I get lost on a tangent, which happens a lot... I will talk about this tricky situation between showing love for a friend and holding to your religious dogma. We, as Latter-Day Saints, and those with a background in it, respect other cultures and different points of view as we know Christ did in his earthly ministry. He did not hang out with the religiously pious or devout holy men of his time, though we know those that flocked to him were in ways deeply spiritual or in need of spiritual healing. He led a impeccable life among the prostitutes and tax men, serving those that needed him the most. Being with them he did not condone their actions or need to justify his association with them, it just was. I feel he would want those that feel we are immoral to come and express love as he gave love to ALL around him. With that in mind let's examine two scenarios that explain my views in regard to the sanctity of marriage:
1) A completely committed loving homosexual couple living together leading the best life they feel they can.
2) A heterosexual drunken marriage in Vegas for the sole purpose of "intercourse." Which they hope to get annulled after the fact.
The doctrine this woman is describing says that marriage 2 is looked more favorably upon by God, just because they happen to have different genitalia (though not for the alcohol), while marriage 1 is an abomination deserving the hell-fire described by Jonathan Edwards. I firmly disagree with this notion. I feel what honors any sort of familiar unit that edifies society and strengthens one's commitment to live a good life is inherently better than any bond that promotes self gratification above love or longevity. If any organization wants to argue on moral or ethical ground, that is their right.
I am sure we can understand where this woman is coming from. We assume that association means you fully support and condone. If you associate with a political party, it is assumed you support every stance of that political party. We also realize this is broad-based misinformation, for most political people disagree with their party on at least one issue. I hold the same to be true about association with our wedding, by coming doesn't mean you condone or accept our marriage as valid, but that you love us and want us happy.
Also I would like to give you one more example that may hit close to home. Latter-Day Saints hold that any marriage outside of the Temple falls short in the eyes of God and is not acceptable, regardless of whomever it is. This is why the Church urges all who are worthy to enter those walls and make solemn covenants with your significant other. However when a Son or Daughter of God marries outside of the covenant it doesn't stop the LDS community from showing support. My sister had her reception held inside a chapel even though her marriage was viewed as somewhat less-than in LDS eyes. This same woman who sent me this email married outside the covenant and people still came. If you apply the same rationale as to why you aren't going to my wedding, you are saying no one should go to ANY wedding outside the Temple. It is not a sign of support for my lifestyle or choices. It showing support for me, personally.
I accept your decision to not come and hope you know it will not affect our friendship. I also hope you change your mind on whether or not to come. If someone would not want me in a stable loving relationship as opposed to leading what is viewed as a stereotypical gay lifestyle they seriously should reexamine their views. It is immensely better for us to commit and live the most Christ-like life we can than live a life like the many men like Ted Haggard and Larry Craig, ruining so many lives, because we all realize the truth shall set us free. Come and lets let God sort out the details.