Two weeks ago, on November 4, several Mormons of the US Senate voted for the passing of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) protecting homosexuals in the work environment.
Mormons believe that is is NOT okay to discriminate against celibate gays, but it IS okay to discriminate against gay people that are sexually active?
I have watched the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints -- my church -- in our dealing with people who are different. Gays would be considered different, a minority, a segment of the population of Mormons and non Mormons alike, though I believer that the percentage of Mormon gays in higher than outside of the church.
Felons would be considered another minority. So would smokers, or black people. The French. Pepsi drinkers. People still sporting a Dorthy Hamel hair-doo.
Aside from a natural curiosity, an "I-am-staring-at-you-because-you-are-different-from-what-I-am-used-to" sort of a thing, my experience of us Mormons is that we are more accepting of those who are different -- as long as they are sitting on a pew (read: trying to follow the Mormon way of life).
Homosexuality is not the numeric norm. But if a gay man came to priesthood meeting, his nice shoes really wouldn't stand out from the well-worn, black Stacy Adams utilitarian dress shoes the married R.M. next to him is wearing. If his suit is well fitting and there is a little product in his hair, he can still sit by the man with a bit of dried baby formula on his tie. He might even be asked to hold the baby while daddy searches the diaper-bag for wipes.
If he pickets general conference however, he won't be invited over for family-home evening.
What would we do with a gay couple in sacrament meeting?
Often, when I see that we Mormons have politically mobilized to fight gay marriage rights, its because we believe that granting those rights will someday mean that our own religious freedoms are at stake. Granting the right, or acknowledging that gay men have the right to marry -- depending on your belief -- will threaten LDS marriage and temple practices. Many of us believe that he next logical step, after gays have the rights to marry, is that the LGBT community will demand the right to marry in LDS temples.
Religious freedom -vs- civil rights?
I have seen supporters of LGBT marriage rights actually roll their eyes when the religious freedom card is played by Mormons -- me. They tell me that losing religious freedom couldn't happen. Then I open a history book and get a differing point of view.
The problem with bring up the anti-polygamy crusades by the United States government in the late 1800's is that Mormons have to admit that we believed, abit for a short time, that polygamy was appropriate for that time -- a belief we put much energy into distancing ourselves from. The U.S. government targeted Mormon polygamy and a short time later the practice was effectively eliminated from the body of the LDS church. Could government action affect such a change again?
Okay, so it probably wouldn't happen.
Are Mormon willing to take the risk that allowing marriage rights for all those pursuing happiness will also allow for government to affect their religious belief in celestial marriage that is only achieved in a temple by people following the law of chastity?
At the moment, no. However beliefs (not standards or morals) are changing at lighting speed. All this brings me to the following question: Whether or not we agree with the morality of the practice, does anyone have the right to deny consenting adults the right to marry?