It seems that no matter how hard I try to not flood my social media outlets with topics of politics, I never can do it. And the reason I fail at keeping my thoughts to myself is because in many situations, I have been on each side of the fence at some point, so I feel I can safely say that I understand 100% of you. Your thoughts, your reasonings, your distaste for something, and your passions. Today's topic? Gay Marriage. A couple of posts ago I wrote about the extreme silliness of the Chik-Fil-A feud happening across this country. Seems like something to laugh about now. But in all seriousness, these topics affect people. They are people's lives. And I'm out to show people how gays are human, just like the rest of us.
(This is Joe on the right- my friend and brother's long time friend from childhood.)
I have often been at a fork in the road when it comes to Gay Marriage, asking myself if I support it, asking myself if I oppose it, asking myself if maybe I've just been culturally/religiously influenced by it all. Off the top of my head, I can think of at least 7 people in my circle of friends and family who are homosexual and openly so. I cannot imagine the amount of harsh judgments they have received and continue to receive on a regular basis because their lifestyle is not yet 100% socially acceptable. My religious beliefs teach that God has reserved the sanctity of marriage for one man and one woman. And although I have chosen this path for my family, it does not mean that everyone will. Nor does it mean that anyone with a different opinion than myself should be subject to criticism.
I used to be afraid to think of the possibility of Gay Marriage being legalized, being taught about in our schools to our young children, being on television shows and so forth. Now I realize that it doesn't matter what I think. The world will continue forward without my opinions (which can be incredibly closed minded, and they usually change over time) and all I can do is teach my children what I want them to learn within the walls of my own home. I want to teach them love. I want to teach them sacrifice. I want them to know that charity knows no bounds and that when someone needs their help, they have an obligation to do everything they can to lift them up, without any regard to their gender, religion, social status, or sexual preference. Just the fact that we are citizens of the most envied nation on Earth makes us amongst the few to be as lucky as we are to have what we have. Why not take that energy and channel it towards positivity and productivity?
(My childhood friend Jaymes with his boyfriend and my friend Johnny)
With all of these wishy washy thoughts on Gay Marriage, I decided I was tired of not being certain of how I felt. So, I turned to prayer. I pleaded with God very plainly, "Please help me to know what to feel about this." And do you know what He said to me? He asked me, "Well...how do you feel?" It was as if He was telling me to exercise my right to think for myself, using the knowledge and life experiences under my belt to make an educated and wise decision. Then it clicked. The feeling hit me like a ray of sunshine to my chest. I am embarrassed it took me so long to realize this simple truth. I realized that many times we forget that people with same sex attraction are PEOPLE. They are human beings with needs like any other human being. Food, water, clothing, shelter, love, compassion, hope. They are not a different breed. They are not lesser or greater than any of the rest of us. We are the same. And the Lord told me, "These are your brothers and sisters. Will you deny them of their freedoms because they don't live like you do? To belittle them and ostracize them would be inhumane." And that was that.
I love that. Because guess what? People who are gay will live together. They will share finances, pets, groceries, mortgages, cars, friends and family. They will do this without any regard to laws. And why shouldn't they be allowed to? I can live with my best friend, can't I? I can live with my cousin, my neighbor, my co-worker and who would complain about it? No one would. But when it's out in the open that these cohabitators may be more than friends or blood relatives, it is immediately shunned and relationships crumble. However, laws do not disallow gays from cohabitating. No one is telling them they cannot enter into a mortgage together. No one is saying they cannot be a co-signer on a vehicle for their partner. So what good is it to take away their ability to share medical records, to wear wedding rings with purpose to the symbolism instead of just hope, to have to file for divorce like the rest of us, to be considered "next of kin" to their partners in the case of an emergency? These are trivial things in the eyes of the Lord. They are MAN'S laws. Not His. The only thing we take from these people is freedom. We don't fight them being able to cohabitate. So why fight them on the things that affect us zero percent, yet affect them one hundred percent? To not be recognized as human in the eyes of the law is a disgraceful thing. Whether you aren't recognized because you are a woman, because you are of a certain ethnicity, because of your sexual orientation, or what have you. All I know is, I will not stand at the feet of the Lord and say that I treated my fellow brothers and sisters with disrespect because we didn't live our lives the same way.
(My cousin Shamron with her girlfriend, Beth.)
You may wonder about that post I mentioned earlier, the one regarding Chik-Fil-A and the gay community. In that post, I mentioned why members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints feel they cannot vote in favor of same sex marriage. The issue has not changed. Legalizing same sex marriage has the potential to crumble the very foundation our ancestors have labored to build. Essentially, it could dissolve separation of church and state. Some advocates of same sex marriage have suggested that any religious organization that does not honor gay marriage to have their tax exemptions withdrawn. This is the part where I say that I hope neither party will infringe on the other party's right to live freely and happily. I'm saddened there is so much grey area on this topic, but the concrete principles of humanity remain the same with or without it. And all I can do is live my life the way Christ would have me do.
The best part of changing your way of thinking is, it should take very little effort and you will be a much happier person. How can expanding your circle of love ever be a bad thing? You may ask, "What will this mean for me? How can I treat them differently?" The answer is easy. It means that you will treat them like you treat everyone else. You don't treat your red-headed friends differently than your blonde ones. It's the same type of simple kindness. Do unto others. You'll be glad you did. And the very last question I have for you is, did any of these people look threatening to you? Because these are some of the happiest faces I have ever seen.
Information on my very normal friends:
Austin and I grew up together in Albuquerque, NM. Austin is one of the sweetest, kindness, most gentle people I know, and I am glad to call him my friend. We have so many awesome memories together.
Joe has been a life long friend of my older brother, who is just 18 months ahead of me in life. Joe is an awesome person with a huge spirit and loves to have fun, just like the rest of us. : )
Jaymes and I have known each other since we were young kids. He comes from a large family who I am blessed to know. Jaymes is a certified nurse's aide and med tech. He and Johnny reside in St. George, UT. Johnny is a designer with incredible talent, selling his products at johnnyvegasoriginals.etsy.com. They live on 2.5 acres with their chickens and dog. They have been together just over 4 years and consider themselves, "a normal, boring couple."
Charlie's father and my grandfather are brothers. She is a very kind, loving, and big hearted person who makes a difference in the lives of young kids each and every day.
Shamron is the daughter of my mom's oldest brother. She is gorgeous, and so is Beth. They have a business sewing the ever so famous boob scarf. They are excellent examples of kindness and love to all people.
I am so lucky to be in this incredible circle of people.