I’m guessing I’m not the only one who has felt more than a little tension this week surrounding the issue of marriage equality. There are a lot of feelings, deep and sincere, on both sides of the ongoing debate. As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, it can be hard to understand how to reconcile the opinions widely held among Church membership with my own ever-changing views about what it means to be a good citizen and a good Christian. But for those of you struggling to understand how to relate to those in favor of marriage equality, I would ask you to read this beautiful piece written by my dear friend Terry, who has been like a brother to me for almost as long as I can remember.
To my friends and family that believe that ‘marriage’ is between one man and one woman. To you, I say, I can get on board with that. I have no need for the word and I personally do not want to infringe on your perceived or believed sanctity of the institution. I can support you in this.
To my friends and family that believe that government should leave churches alone and pass no law which infringes upon their rights, I say, I can get on board with that. I would personally never want anyone telling a church who they have to marry, who they have to allow to worship among them, who they have to administer to, or what they should believe or teach. This is your belief, your church, your relationship with God and your right. I can support you in this.
To my friends and family who believe that I will go to hell and be denied eternal life and salvation, I say, I can get on board with that. It is your right to believe this and I personally would never question the depth of your conviction or expect that it should ever be changed. I know that your beliefs are based in God and love and when you say this it comes from a need to save this soul and I would expect nothing less. I ask only that you not condemn me in your hearts on this earth and I can support you in this.
To my government that passed a defense of marriage act (DOMA) defining ‘marriage’ as between one man and one woman, knowing full well that all federal laws related to relationship oriented financial benefits and protections use the term ‘marriage’ to bestow these benefits, I say, I am a highly taxed, fully contributing, law-abiding citizen of the United States of America and I demand equal treatment under the law.
When my mother passed, my father had the right to claim on her social security earnings when he needed them. I demand that right and I will have it, now or later.
When my mother passed, her retirement savings were passed to my father under a tax protected status. I demand that right and I will have it, now or later.
When my mother was dying in the hospital, my father had the legal right to make decisions on her behalf if needed. He had the legal right to be at her bedside and support her, to hold her hand and say goodbye as she passed on. I demand that legally protected right and I will have it, now or later.
These are but a few of the rights being denied me and many of your citizens.
Please government, feel free to amend every law ever written and replace references to ‘marriage’ to ‘lawful union.’ In this way, the rights that I demand, deserve and am entitled to under the constitution as a law abiding, tax paying citizen of these United States will no longer hinge upon the definition of the word ‘marriage’ and the word ‘marriage’ can be preserved without infringing upon my pursuit of happiness and legal representation and treatment under the law. I can support this. I do demand it and I will get it, now or later.
These are my thoughts. I do not speak on behalf or in representation of any other person or movement. Just thought I would clarify.
I hope my fellow Christians can join me in loving Terry for his honesty and humanity (and for me, a million other reasons). He is wonderful. I don’t doubt that God has marvelous things in store for him.
Love does solve everything. Not necessarily our love, though. At least not by itself. This week, Christians worldwide are honoring the suffering, crucifixion, and glorious resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. His sacrifice was one of love, and one that continues to manifest itself in my life daily. He loves us perfectly—every last one of us, and in all our stubbornness and our failure and our weakness. He loves freely.
He also heals freely. He fixes broken things and rejoices in their mending. Everything will be made right in the end through His atoning power, which is nothing more or less than a perfect Love.
This I believe.
This I believe.
These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
(John 16:33, KJV)
(John 16:33, KJV)