Sunday, October 12, 2008

Support Equal Rights, Freedom? Don't support Prop 8!

I am writing this from a Religiously Neutral standpoint, which means that i am keeping my religious beliefs altogether separate.

I am pretty alarmed as a resident and native of Utah, home of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, at their decision to advise the members of their church to support California's Proposition 8, a proposed amendment of the California state constitution that would ensure that only a marriage between a man and a woman would be legally recognized.

The LDS Church claims Political Neutrality, and on their website they state:

The Church’s mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, not to elect politicians. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is neutral in matters of party politics. This applies in all of the many nations in which it is established.

I would claim that their recent actions have violated this neutrality claim, but they presented some guidelines proceeding this statement of political actions the organization does and does not condone. One of these guidelines states:

We Reserve the right as an institution to address, in a nonpartisan way, issues that we believes have significant community or moral consequences or that directly affect the interests of the Church.

Therefore, they obviously state under their neutrality, that when an issue conflicts with their moral beliefs, they will then address their congregation of their political standing, so i can not claim that they have violated the neutrality statement. Nonetheless, I just can't agree with their actions. One of the things i have long admired about the church is their decision to claim political neutrality, and although they have followed their own guidelines i am afraid they have failed to follow mine.

The Following is a quote from a former member of the LDS church, born and raised in UT, who is now an Openly Homosexual human being, not living in UT.

"i find it interesting that the Mormon church started out tiny- oppressed and pursued by people and the government mostly because they condoned and practiced what most people considered to be a sexual perversion but they felt it was their right to worship- and they fought and fought to be recognized as a legit organization and now look at them fighting against the very thing that allowed them and chance to not be obliterated."

The tables have turned, The church is oppressing, discriminating the people who are fighting for freedom, the very thing we came to america for in the first place.

This is not merely an attack on the LDS church, but on a coalition called Protect Marriage. The Church accepted an invitation to participate in ProtectMarriage, a coalition of churches, organizations, and individuals sponsoring a November ballot measure, Proposition 8, that would amend the California state constitution to ensure that only a marriage between a man and a woman would be legally recognized.

On May 15th, 2008, California became a state that grants equal protection and equal rights to same-sex couples. Regardless of how people feel about marriage itself, many people from across the political spectrum are lining up against Prop 8 ,the marriage ban. From the left, the right, and the political center, a lot of folks just don’t like the way Prop 8 singles out one group to be treated differently. After all, our California Constitution, the law of our land, guarantees the same freedoms and rights to everyone. America itself was founded on the principle of equality, and equal protection under the law is as American as apple pie.

My question is, Where has our free agency gone? Throughout my own involvement with the church this is one thing i recall hearing about many times. My free agency, my right to choose, my freedom of choice, given to me by my "Heavenly Father" and "Jesus" and their eternal sacrifice. Isn't this the very thing the church is supporting stripping an entire group of people of? Their rights as human beings to enter into a legal, binding contract with one another? Wait a minute, a Legal contract? This is where i get really confused. Why does the church even care about people's Legal right to marry? The church has their own institution of marriage, in their temples and churches, that is marriage for time and all eternity, that will not be affected by any change in one's legal rights. Legal marriages are seperate from religious marriages.

Therefore it seems that a church should be allowed to limit marriage rights to fit their own beliefs, and people can enter in to a religious marriage recognized by a church and it's beliefs.
A legal marriage, in a country where freedom of choice, equality, and one's rights are so important, should include any two people who wish to enter into a legal contract of marriage with one another.

My personal Belief is that the supreme court decision to recognize same-sex marriage was a huge step towards the real freedom this country proclaims. We should not be taking a step backwards now, after such an accomplishment. Regardless of how you feel about marriage we should not eliminate fundamental rights for any Californian. Let us move forward, and claim truthfully that the country we live in is free.

NPR-When Gay Rights and Religious Liberties Clash
LDS church-The divine Institution of Marriage
LDS church- first presidency letter to congregation about supreme court decision to recognize same-sex marriage
Facts and Fiction about Prop 8
List of who Opposes Prop. 8
LDS Church Readies Members on Proposition 8

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