Okay, so I'm usually the last person to have anything to say politically, but on this issue, I find it hard not to feel passionate about my personal convictions.
Everyone's talking about how this issue is key in California right now. However, what's not getting a lot of attention is that it's on the ballot in 3 states this year (California, Arizona, and Florida). We had a special meeting in church a few weeks ago to talk about the implications of the proposition here in Arizona. Again, this weekend in our (regional) stake conference, we had Elder Ballard, Elder Cook, and Elder Packer reminding us of the church's stance on this political issue.
In 27 years of attending church, I have not once ever heard anything political endorsed within the walls of a church building, and yet, on this issue, our church is speaking up. Here are the reasons:
- These propositions have nothing to do with the rights of same-sex partners (benefits, etc). They are measures to amend the state constitutions to include a formal and legal definition of marriage as being the union of a man and a woman.
- 45 of the 50 states either have a constitutional amendment or a statute (as exists in Arizona) that defines marriage as such. This shows that the people as a whole still believe in the traditional nature of marriage.
- In a few legal cases in states where the law exists as a statute rather than a part of the constitution, the state supreme courts have had the power to overrule that law and declare it as unconstitutional--this just happened in Connecticut a few weeks ago and, shy of supporting a proposition on their ballot to rewrite their constitution, there is nothing they can do in this election to defend the family. These propositions take that power away from the state judiciary or legislatures and give it to the people, to whom it belongs. These propositions let the people define marriage. If the people ever decide to repeal their law, that is their collective prerogative, and I pray that Heavenly Father helps us if that day ever comes.
So here in Arizona, church volunteers have been encouraging all members to be registered to vote and receive early ballots. Additionally, we've been instrumental in putting up signs, making calls at call centers, and applying some of our missionary zeal to discussing the issue with our friends, neighbors, and coworkers -- not to preach sin and repentance but to explain the intent of the proposition. And yes, that is a political sign you see in my front yard (I never thought that day would come)! It's actually sign number 2, as sign number 1 disappeared a few nights ago. We had ward volunteers delivering door hangers and in our neighborhood, the volunteer was apparently shadowed by someone taking down the fliers as they were being put up, probably the same guy who took my sign.
I've seen videos, read articles, and heard a lot of scary stories about basic parental and moral rights being challenged as consequences of legalized same-sex marriage. Parents have been denied prior knowledge of "diversity" lessons in public schools introducing children to families of all types. A bill in California calls a reference to a "father", "mother", "husband", or "wife" in a public school discriminatory. School bathrooms can be utilized by the opposite sex if that individual most associates "itself" (because I clearly can't "legally" use himself or herself) with the opposite gender. Textbooks would have to spend equal time discussing same-sex relationships or relations as any others. Churches could lose tax-exempt status if they refused to allow same-sex marriage ceremonies to be held in their places of worship. The list goes on.
It's a little scary as a father to think about the implications of public education and what morals are being legally taught these days. If my child's class can't hold birthday or "Christmas" parties because of the beliefs of religious minorities that may be in class, I can't imagine the school system not allowing parents to opt out of any moral / diversity / or sex-educational teaching that is taking place. Regardless of the world's education, the ultimate responsibility of teacher for our children lies with us as parents.
I know that there are a lot of good people out there who may not live with the same standards we embrace. God, however, will not change the standard. He laid it out clearly in a proclamation to the world a decade ago in which, almost as a prophetic warning, the Lord called upon "responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere" to promote measures to strengthen the family. Heavenly Father says, 'Hate the sin, love the sinner'. That was Christ's way and we should all emulate His example. But that does not mean that we should stand idly by and let the world around us define our morals and standards. Hence, in this case, the Lord does take a stand and has called us to actively support the legislation.
President Hinckley said, "No one need tell you that we are living in a very difficult season in the history of the world. Standards are dropping everywhere. Nothing seems to be sacred anymore... I do not know that things were worse in the times of Sodom and Gomorrah. … I think our Father must weep as He looks down upon His wayward sons and daughters."
We are living in a day where there is no evil that was practiced in the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah that is not practiced or widely accepted in our society. If you remember the story, Abraham asked the Lord to spare the city if he found 50, 45, 40, 30, 20, and even 10 righteous living with the wicked. And the Lord could not find even 10 who had not embraced the evils of that world. The difference today is that there are many more than 10 who have not accepted the standards of Gomorrah. When the people as a whole vote to define marriage differently or to embrace any other unrighteous standard we may be ripe for destruction. But until then, we should not allow the media or the judges or anyone other than the collective people as a whole tell us what we must accept as diversity and acceptable morals. Even if that day comes, we can still safeguard our families and fight "in memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children". God bless us as we strive to wave our Titles of Liberty high.