Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Relief and Gratitude

It was such a relief this morning when Steve (Who got up at six because "my body told me to." Gee, I wish mine would do that.) told me that Proposition 8 had passed. Despite all the efforts we as members of the Church, as well as many other supporters of traditional marriage, made to educate people about this and warn them of the repercussions of it not passing, I was still surprised that we won. Barely. I think it passed by 52%, with a large number of absentee ballots yet to be counted. I think because of our proximity to San Francisco, I was a bit pessimistic about the likelihood of success, but our efforts weren't in vain.

I was thinking about this as I was reading a conference talk this afternoon. I'd been reading them in order the last couple of weeks, and I got to M. Russell Ballard's talk today about the work of the Lord moving forth. He talked a lot about the early development of the Church, how it overcame struggle after struggle and how its members sacrificed for their faith. He compared they're trials to ours and he made a comment that I thought was appropriate for today.

"Of course, our challenges are different today, but they are no less demanding. . . . Instead of families being uprooted and torn from their homes, we see the institution of the family, including the divine institution of marriage, under attach as groups and individuals seek to define away the prominent and divine role of the family in society."

I'm just really grateful right now.

8 comments:

Charlie said...

Maybe I'm just overly liberal (though I consider myself moderate), but it seems like trying to legislate morality isn't something that our country can keep doing for much longer. I mean, wasn't gay marriage passed in California before? So now it's just being overturned by a small margin? If laws can just be passed and overturned like that, what's to say prop 8 is gonna stick? It seems like we want to have our cake and eat it too: legislate immorality out of existence, while still waging unjustified war (by that I mean Iraq, not Afghanistan).

Of course, I'm writing this from Oklahoma, where not a single district voted for Obama, so my opinion is definitely given without your same perspective.

You know when you bring up politics I just can't stay away. :D

Natalie said...

Charlie,

I'm actually glad you brought it up. I wasn't sure how much info was publicized outside of California about all of this. I thought about laying it all out as its own post a few weeks ago, but didn't. I try not to delve too much into politics on my blog. (Mostly because I don't know enough about other issues to sound like I have an educated opinion, but I do know about this.)

Here's what happened: A few years ago they tried to legalize same-sex marriage by vote. It failed at about 60/40. Earlier this spring a few judges in San Fran decided it was unconstitutional, so they overturned it, legalizing same-sex marriage. There was such a fuss made over this that petitions went around to put it on the ballot for this election. Only this time, the law would be part of the California constitution and not just in the family code section of the laws -- making it unable to be overturned except by another vote.

You're right, though. If we vote on it again in a few years, who's to say it's gonna stick? I hope and pray that it does and here's why...

The reason why there was such a fuss on the pro-traditional marriage side (and that the church got so heavily involved), is that most people don't realize the legal consequences of changing the definition of marriage. Gay rights activist solely talked about us "eliminating rights" and compared this issue with the civil rights movement of the 60s, which I think is ridiculous. (and a whole other argument, I think...)

Domestic partnerships have all of the same legal rights as a marriage in California. They just wanted to change the definition of marriage in the CA constitution so they could call their relationships "marriage". If this slight change only affected the gay community and no one else, it wouldn't be such a problem. People can do what they please as far as I'm concerned. Here's what would happen if gay marriage became a "civil right" (and we know because many of these things has already begun to happen in Massachusetts, where gay marriage is legal)...

1. Children would be taught at school that same-sex marriage is a perfectly acceptable lifestyle and option for them if they choose. Parents would have no right to be informed ahead of time or take their children out of school. I think parents should have the right to teach their children morals in the home and not leave it up to the school system. (And why are we discussing marriage, much less same-sex marriage with elementary school kids anyway?)

2. Lawsuits would pop up all over the place all for the sake of civil rights. Doctors would get sued for not performing artificial insemination for a gay couple, priests and Bishops would get sued for not performing gay marriages, and orphanages would get sued or force to close because they choose not to adopt children into gay families.

3. This is purely speculation, but if it starts at gay marriage, who's to say what's next? Polygamy? Incest? If two people honestly love each other and want to get married, why should the government stop them? That sounds ridiculous, but so did gay marriage 50 years ago.

Then there's the whole religious/moral side of it and what legalizing gay marriage would do to society as a whole.

So it's really more about religious freedom than about civil rights as far as I see it. And it must be a big deal if the Church got involved. They've never taken an official political stand on anything before.

Lorraine said...

Hey, Natalie! Thanks for your post. I really was more interested in what happened in Prop 8 in California than in the Presidential election.

Charlie said...

Very informative. And for having just said that you try not to talk politics too much, you did an excellent job explaining that to me. I knew there was some big hoopla made about it a while back, but I didn't realize it was just in the courts. So thanks for setting the record straight.

Actually, nothing that I take issue with has anything really to do with the arguments you just presented. But I do have issues with the gay marriage debate in our country, and it has more to do with hypocrisy on the side of many conservatives and the disregard for the other side's perspective. I also take issue with the church's involvement in the whole thing. We say that the founding fathers were inspired men. That is, I guess, up to the point that they wanted as little involvement by the churches as possible. For a long time it seemed like the LDS church was the only one that never got involved in the dirty business of politics, but that's not the case anymore.

Let me just preface my statement by saying that I'm a complete cynic when it comes to politics. No side is going to get what it wants, and try as we may, we can't legislate standards upon the rest of society. I should also say that I don't understand why gays want to get married anyway, if there are already rights granted under "civil unions".

That said...

First, I totally agree that the definition of marriage should remain as it always has. But the big thing I take issue with is the assumption that "my marriage is under attack" or that we need to "save marriage" by not allowing others of different beliefs the same right to it. Society and its laws, even if gay marriage were legalized nationally, have no sway over the success or failure of my marriage. Only my wife and I do.

Second, the only thing that I might disagree with you on is the idea that by legalizing gay marriage our children are going to all the sudden go to school and come home transformed into flaming homosexuals.

Quite frankly, if parents are so concerned about homo-matrimony affecting their private marital relationship, or the quality of education that their kids are getting, then perhaps they should actually work to strengthen their homes, take part in their education, and give their children good examples.

Maybe my logic doesn't make sense, but we as a society far too often blame the world around us for our own indifference, laziness, and stupidity. We whine about the low quality of education, but we do nothing to help our kids with their homework. We don't go to PTA meetings because we're too busy watching "Lost". We turn the TV into the babysitter and then wonder why our kids watch too much of it. No wonder society is so screwed up! We yell and scream about evolution being taught in school when we're not having family home evening in our homes. Half of us who get married in this country end up getting divorced, and yet we think that we are somehow qualified to dictate our own marital values to others. We simply wine too much, do too little, never go outside, never read a book, hope our kids will teach themselves, blame others for influencing them where we don't, and then expect that politicians and lawyers will make it all right in the end.

How's that for cynical? This of course is only one side of the broader argument. And again, I agree with all your other points and am glad you took the time to write it so it made sense. I just have this view that society is becoming too indifferent, too lazy, and too stupid, and that these types of laws give people an easy way to blame the world for their failure in the home.

If it makes you feel any better I think abortion should be illegal. :)

Natalie said...

I agree with you about doing more in the home, and I loved what you said about parents being lazy, etc. If I'm doing my job as a mother, then my children won't turn into flaming homosexuals (hopefully). I just don't like the idea of the schools bringing it up at such a young age (or at all). Plus it wouldn't have equal teaching time as traditional marriage. You know it wouldn't. I think just the fact they want to bring it into the schools is to make a statement, which I think is the reason for a lot of things they do. It's just one more thing on the list (drugs, sex, violence, porn, etc.) that we as parents have to straighten out when our kids get home from school.

I didn't like the idea of the church getting involved, either, until I realized that this issue is a huge, moral stab at the foundation of our beliefs. They must have had a good reason for intervening. Sad that some people probably lost their testimony over it.

Actually, I wondered about the supporters' slogan "protect marriage", and I feel the same way you do. Our marriage, with or without the legalization of same-sex marriage, is ultimately our responsibility to hold together. They were probably referring to traditional marriage as a fundamental and divine unit of society.

Charlie said...

Well, I'm glad this conversation hasn't gotten heated. Even though I'm a political science major, I hate politics, mostly because it makes people forget to look at other viewpoints as valid and valuable. But I love my major for other reasons. Anyway, I've gotten really tired of getting into conversations with people, especially during the election season, who seem to think that politics can only be discussed in high-toned argument rather than respectful conversation.

Anyway, I agree with what you just said. Our whole school system is messed up in many ways. It's the biggest institution that is still organized along racial and economic lines, is well underfuded and undervalued. If there was one reason only to vote against McCain, for me it would be on his policy to keep the "No (white/rich) Child Left Behind" program around. I always thought that no matter what Sharon and I would put our kids in public school out of principle, because I even went to ghetto schools and turned out okay. But now I'm not so sure, not unless we have some serious change in the system. And the fact that teaching moral standards has to be regulated just makes the whole system worse.

Natalie said...

I'm glad, too.

Here's a statement the church put out yesterday...

http://newsroom.lds.org/ldsnewsroom/eng/news-releases-stories/church-responds-to-same-sex-marriage-votes#continued

Cassia said...

I was watching that pretty closely, too. I am glad that it passed, though the margin of passing does say a lot about how divisive an issue it is.