When Christ was speaking on earth, someone asked him what was the most important commandment. Here is his reply: Mark 12:30-31
30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.
There are many big questions that I don’t have the answers to, but in the mean time I plan on focusing on loving my neighbor. It seems like this can be translated to mean ‘do good, seek justice, rescue the oppressed, etc.’ Basically ‘Be nice’. As I pointed out he said that there is no commandment greater than loving our neighbor. I believe that loving our neighbors means an absence of bigotry, an absence of hatred, an absence of prejudice, an absence of behaviors that bring sorrow and oppression.
I think that the website Mormonsandgays.org says it well.
“Jesus Christ commanded us to love our neighbors. Whether sinner or saint, rich or poor, stranger or friend, everyone in God’s small world is our neighbor, including our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters. Latter-day Saints believe that our true commitment to Christian teachings is revealed by how we respond to this commandment. This love is tested every day of our lives. We may know individuals with same-sex attraction in our workplaces, congregations and town halls. As people with hopes, fears and aspirations like everyone else, these neighbors deserve our love. But we can’t truly love the neighbors next door if we don’t love the neighbors under our own roof. Family members with same-sex attraction need our love and understanding. God loves all his children alike, much more than any of us can comprehend, and expects us to follow.”
Honestly, I think that gay marriage should be legal. They are people just like you or I. They want to love and be loved. There was a study
of homosexual individuals asking them about their happiness, satisfaction with life and relationship status. Homosexuals who were single and celibate had the lowest self-rated levels of satisfaction. Individuals who were dating were better. Individuals in a relationship did better. Individuals in a civil union did better still. Homosexuals who were in a legally recognized marriage were the happiest on average. If this study were done on heterosexual people, absolutely no one would be surprised at these findings. I feel like if it makes these people have satisfaction in their life, they should be entitled to it. They aren’t hurting me, or anyone else. They should be allowed to pursue their own happiness as they see fit. I have been told my entire life that marriage will make me happier, help me live longer, etc. Doesn’t it make sense that allowing others to marry might make them happy also? I believe that allowing gay marriage helps society for 3 reasons.
1. People who are happy and not feeling persecuted on all sides are far less likely to feel driven to suicide. I think it is a sad, sad thing when someone feels so uncomfortable with who they are that they feel this is their only option. I think as a culture it is a dismal prospect when we are driving people in all kind of situations to suicide because we are not allowing them to be who they are. Homosexuality is not something you choose, it is an aspect of a person that they were born with. I think that homosexuals choose this part of themselves in as much as I chose to be heterosexual, which I didn’t. It is just a part of who I am. I can’t imagine how horrible it would be if people tried to shame me for that, or an aspect of my life that is fundamental to who I am, it is as much a part of me as any other characteristic. To love our neighbor means that we don’t treat them in a way that they are inclined to kill themselves. The statistics about people who commit suicide because of LGBT identity and shame are sad. The individual stories are heart-breaking. If we allow consenting adults to marry as they see fit, I believe it will help many people who are fighting sad and silent battles.
2. I believe that our world and society are made so much better because of the contributions of gay people. Michelangelo
was gay. Alan Turing
was gay. (He was very influential in the ending of WWII. He developed a computer program that was used to crack the Germans code that they sent messages in.) American composer, Aaron Copeland
was gay. Ralph Waldo Emerson
was a gay American writer. When I was growing up I had an Emerson quote on my wall that always inspired me “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters when compared with what lies within us.” I am so glad that he was alive and he said that. Russian composer, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
was gay. He wrote so many pieces of beautiful music that I have found inspiring and comforting. T.H. White
was gay. He wrote the book that The Sword and the Stone
was based on, which I loved as a child. Cary Grant was reportedly gay. (I think if I told my mother this she would never forgive me, she loves Father Goose
and Operation Petticoat
, so much.) The list goes on and on. And these are just a few openly
gay people that I feel have contributed to society. I think that Dieter F. Uchtdorf said it well “We cannot gauge the worth of another soul anymore than we can measure the span of the universe.”
We need these people and they need to be loved.
3. Homosexuals who are in a legally recognized marriage are less likely to be promiscuous (as in having multiple partners). (I’m getting this info from the Brett Bradshaw podcast, as well as the study that is referenced above, and it makes sense to me. He has had one partner his whole life and he said that most of the LGBT’s he has known, who have had the opportunity to marry, have only had 1 or 2 partners in their lifetimes.) Those who have not had this chance are more likely to have multiple partners. This means more emotional stability for the LGBT individual and lower chances of them acquiring or passing on sexually transmitted diseases, like AIDS. Someone who has been infected by the HIV virus will not even test positive for at least 40 days, meaning they can unwittingly share this disease, and it effects everyone. Anyone who receives blood in the hospital runs a small risk of acquiring blood-borne or sexually transmitted diseases. AIDS is only one example. There are others. If we could decrease promiscuity it could mean less of a strain on our healthcare system and better health for the population in general. But if someone feels like they need to hide their relationship or pressure to end it from society, family etc, it seems like it would be less likely to endure, meaning that individual is more likely to move onto another relationship in search of love, acceptance, etc. (And yes, I am aware that a publicly accepted marriage/unions does not equal complete fidelity, even in heterosexual relationships, but it does help.) As mentioned above, when people are not allowed to be themselves they are more likely to be depressed. Depression hurts not just those who are diagnosed with it, but those around them. I believe that legalizing same sex marriage can improve the health of the general population in many ways.
I am well aware that what I am saying is something that may be hard for people with a particular mindset to read or hear, but I don’t think it is harder than for those who are being told that they are inherently evil because of who they are, or that they can never openly live with the person they love and are committed to. I don’t personally know anyone in real life who is openly homosexual, but I don’t have to personally know someone who is suffering to appreciate that their pain is real. I do not believe that Christ would ever tell anyone that they are of less worth because of an aspect of their self that they were born with. He would say things like “I will love you, I will be your friend” That is what we need to do, that is how I hope other people can be like. I understand that is hard because to do so, often means that we are running against the current. It reminds me of another scripture about Christ.
5 Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless?
6 But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple.
7 But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless.
8 For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.
9 And when he was departed thence, he went into their synagogue:
10 And, behold, there was a man which had his hand withered. And they asked him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath days? that they might accuse him.
11 And he said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out?
12 How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days.
In this story Christ was kind to someone and healed him on the sabbath because he believed it to be the right thing to do. He was going against the popular belief of the day, but He acted as if he believed that being kind to his neighbor was more important than that. It takes courage to be different and be kind to others when others around us are not doing so.
“Let us have the courage to defy the consensus, the courage to stand for principle. Courage, not compromise, brings the smile of God’s approval. Courage becomes a living and an attractive virtue when it is regarded not only as a willingness to die manfully, but also as a determination to live decently. A moral coward is one who is afraid to do what he thinks is right because others will disapprove or laugh. Remember that all men have their fears, but those who face their fears with dignity have courage as well.” Thomas S. Monson Oct 2004 General Conference
I believe that having the courage to be kind and loving to others is a principle worth standing for. I believe that loving my neighbor as myself, means allowing them the same privileges that I would hope they would allow me and allowing them to be happy. We need to just love them and let them love one another. Is that really so hard?