Gay Parents

By: Stephen Marsh
November 15, 2013

Elder Oaks  has given two talks (Protect the Children and No Other Gods) that have caused me to rethink some of my positions. We know gay parents will have children. We know children are better off with their parents. We know it is better for children to have married parents.  The end of that logic chain is that we should encourage gay parents to marry each other for the sake of their children.

What do you think?

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48 Responses to Gay Parents

  1. pdoe on November 15, 2013 at 1:31 PM

    I think you’re over-simplifying it. It’s better for children to have both their birth mother and their birth father and that is what Elder Oaks was referring to.

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  2. Howard on November 15, 2013 at 2:00 PM

    Oh oh, I think Stephen is (pragmatically) becoming progressive!

    Sure! If marriage is good for straights how can it be bad for gays?

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  3. Will on November 15, 2013 at 2:27 PM

    Stephen,

    Your logic is faulty and a perfect example of an improper application of a categorical syllogism. Illustrated as follows:

    All halibut are fish; all salmon are fish; thus, all salmon are halibut.

    I’m sure Elder Oaks does not appreciate you butchering his logic or doctrine.

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  4. hawkgrrrl on November 15, 2013 at 3:15 PM

    pdoe – that’s been proven to be wrong in many cases. Being with parents who love the child and provide for its care outweighs the need for a biological connection to the parents. Some birth parents simply aren’t fit. I guarantee you that E. Oaks, with his judicial background, would agree with me on that one. The church is in favor of adoption when it’s the better alternative.

    Stephen – Maybe I’m unclear in what you are saying. Are you saying that two homosexuals in a homosexual relationship should marry or that two different sex homosexuals who are not in a relationship should marry (e.g. a lesbian and a gay man) to tie up the loose ends left by not allowing gay marriage? Oddly, I think the latter would actually be acceptable to the church, but the former would not be. Additionally, I hope we are not far from the day where the church will cease to encourage gay men to marry straight women and vice versa. Those arrangements often end in heartache and disappointment all around.

    I was also interested in an analysis of Orson Scott Card’s position against gay marriage that I think is close to the church’s position, if not the same. The analysis showed that he valued homosexuals as individuals, but that society was built on breeding partnerships because marriage was a partnership between two individuals but ALSO and more importantly with society. IOW, he felt that personal happiness in marriage came last, after the contribution the couple made to society, and after establishing a stable marriage.

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  5. Dave K on November 15, 2013 at 3:27 PM

    Interesting thoughts. An important point of reference in this discussion is heterosexual adoptive parents. How do we view them? Should they be supported? Even encouraged? The church certainly supports and encourages such families for situations where the child cannot be with their birth parents. So why not also support homosexual adoptive parents? In fact, in many (most?) cases of homosexual adoptive parents, one of the parents is a birth-parent. So if birth parents are prefered over non-birth parents, logic would say such that gay parents are “better” for a child than heterosexual adoptive parents.

    What the debate really boils down to is (i) what is parenthood and (ii) what is gender. On those two questions hang our understanding of whether there is something inherently superior about a family relationship where parents are of different genders. The more we focus on parenthood being about sacrifice, example, love, etc. and *not* about passing along genes, the more accepting we become of gay families. The more we state that genders are inherently indifferent but fail to ever point out exactly how, the more accepting we become of gay families.

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  6. Stephen M (Ethesis) on November 15, 2013 at 5:08 PM

    This is a micro economic analysis. I am saying that the parenting provides in a household should be married, whoever they are.

    The logic criticisms would get you failed in a logic class. They are not even cute.

    Card is addressing macro issues. Are queer theorists like Gessen correct when they state that gay marriage willl deconstruct and destroy traditional marriage?

    Beyond me. That is macro analysis. Why we need prophets and why counter intuitive things are sometimes true.

    But on a micro scale there are are clear examples of kids who will not be adopted if not by gays and households with gay parenting units. In such a case the individual children are better off if those parenting units are married to each other.

    The same for when the parents are straight.

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  7. jks on November 15, 2013 at 5:14 PM

    I think it is proven statistically that kids who are raised in a family with married biological parents fare better than being raised with mom plus a stepdad. That doesn’t mean that individuals raised with only one biological parent don’t do well. That doesn’t mean that some stepdads are so much more awesome that some birth dads. It means that ideally every kid has both and both parents are committed to being the best they can be.
    Thank goodness many people who aren’t in “ideal” circumstances do the best they can. THank goodness there are some wonderful single moms, single dads, some wonderful adoptive parents and some wonderful step parents.
    However, it is a problem when society encourages people to intentionally go outside of the ideal so the ideal becomes rare. People nowadays intentionally become pregnant without plans for a kid to have a dad. People intentionally plan to parent without a coparent. They intentionally plan to not be married to their coparent. They intentionally plan to coparent with someone who isn’t biologically related to the child. All of these choices are considered valid by society. Anecdotally these can work out well. But the long term implications of all of this encouragement of alternate families (making it a choice rather than a “making the best of the situation”) are unknown. Those in the “traditional” values camp think that it will have some serious long term negative implications that are impossible to reverse.
    There are some things you just can’t reverse. There are generations of young people in certain parts of the country who grow up without a father in the home and since that is the norm in their corner of the world those kids grow up without an example of what marriage and fatherhood can be, so they do what they know and they don’t have a real chance to learn about marriage and parenting within a marriage and what it might be like to have a biological father around every day.
    Sure, there are stories of a kid who grew up with a deadbeat dad and became a great dad. Sure there are stories of girls who grow up without a father but manage to only have healthy relationships with men who treat her right. Those kids who turn into adults have to beat the odds, which means there are so, so many that don’t.
    The sky isn’t going to fall. But something is still lost and it deserves some acknowledgement that our new/improved ways have a real cost.

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  8. Will on November 15, 2013 at 8:23 PM

    “The logic criticisms would get you failed in a logic class. They are not even cute.”

    Your logic is flawed. More importantly, you have taken Elder Oaks name in vain. This action frustrated God to the point he issued a command not to use his name in vain. I’m sure you have been likewise flustered when people have taken your words out if context to use them for their own gain or benefit. Argue your point straight up and keep it defendable.

    I am strongly in favor of opposite genders being married. I strongly believe they are fundamentally different beings, with fundamentally roles. They are designed by our creator to be at enmity with one another . Yes enmity. A plan that requires constant effort and adjustment to properly function as a whole. A test. This conflict is less evident with two beings that are effectively the same. The children grow through the conflict and corresponding bond that forms over time when properly applied.

    In short males and females are designed to different as part of the test. If you can make it through the test and actually love your spouse and really want to be with them (which I think is rare if both parties are completely honest) then you are on the path to celestial glory.

    The premise missing in your argument is what is the real test?

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  9. Stephen M (Ethesis) on November 15, 2013 at 9:02 PM

    Will, it appears we do not share the same reality then.

    Ah well.

    Otherwise, mine remains a micro analysis. As a result, what might benefit individuals could well harm a group.

    Much like dessert can be enjoyable but nothing but dessert a disaster (that is an analogy not a corrrespondence).

    Anyway, appreciate everyone’s comments.

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  10. Thomas A. Leek on November 15, 2013 at 10:14 PM

    What you write is putative.

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  11. Stephen M (Ethesis) on November 15, 2013 at 11:11 PM

    ?

    1.
    generally considered or reputed to be.
    “the putative father of a boy of two”
    synonyms: supposed, assumed, presumed; M

    ?

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  12. nate on November 16, 2013 at 3:44 AM

    Will says: “They (man and woman) are designed by our creator to be at enmity with one another.”

    This is a great point. Gottman and Beulman did studies of gay couples and found they had much fewer communication problems than heterosexual couples, and even suggested hetros could learn something from homosexual communication techniques. But this is obvious when you think about it, because men and women are from different planets and are destined to misunderstand each other. God set us at enmity with each other, like Will says, and learning to live within that conflict is part of the test of life and helps us grow and mature.

    So gay marriage is bad because it is too easy, and the children won’t be able to pit one against another as they do in hetro families, which is probably another essential life skill they will miss out on.

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  13. Brian on November 16, 2013 at 7:11 AM

    Hawk-I would be interested in reading the analysis of Card’s position on gays. Link?

    While the Josh Weed story had some legs in the media, Including the DesNews, I think the church has moved beyond encouraging gays to marry straight women. I would give citations but using big fingers on the iPhone gets old quick.

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  14. MH on November 16, 2013 at 9:26 AM

    I don’t know if anyone saw this on the sidebar, but a Canadian study (where same-sex marriage has been legal longer than the U.S.) found that children of same-sex couples graduate high school at a lower rate that straight couples. See http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865588297/Fathers-and-mothers-both-matter.html

    Will, I think enmity is the wrong word, though I understand what you’re saying. God placed enmity between Satan and the seed of the woman (Eve). That’s a different relationship altogether than Adam and Eve’s relationship.

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  15. Sherry on November 16, 2013 at 9:39 AM

    Read this article before you throw out the good that can come from gay couples marrying. I have the utmost respect fro these men caring for special need kids. They are saints in my book.
    http://www.today.com/news/superdads-couple-adopts-14-kids-foster-care-4B11187918

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  16. Will on November 16, 2013 at 11:17 AM

    MH,

    The natural man is Satan in its extreme form and both are an enemy (and corresponding enmity) to God. The spiritual man is God in its extreme form, which is what we are commanded to become.

    Lust is the natural man and building a relationship of trust is the spiritual man. In the long run, these events are mutually exclusive. Bridle your passions THAT you might be filled with love.

    We are commanded to lust aside and build a relationship of trust with member of the opposite gender.

    Same gender sex is pure lust.

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  17. nate on November 16, 2013 at 11:54 AM

    Will, it is of course OK to disapprove of same-sex marriage as it is contrary to God’s commandments, but you don’t need to resort to mischarechterizations of homosexuality, which is as complicated and multi-faceted as strait sex is. It comes accross as desperate and homophobic. Genuine love and unselfishness exists among gays just as it does among straits.

    Obedience to commandments is often about sacrificing something good for something better. Such is sometimes the case with homosexuality. We don’t need to twist reality in order to retain our simplistic predjudices about the evilness of homosexuality, constantly straining to find evidence that “wickedness never was happiness.” If you knew more gay couples intimately, I think you would understand this intuitively.

    You introduced the idea that marriage is about sacrifice, because man and woman are at enmity. I think this is a brilliant point. But the same applies to the commandment to give up homosexuality. It is also about sacrifice, sacrifice of a good life, well lived, double income, best friends, two detail oriented, contientious and sensitive men, who love each other and are genuinely happy in their impeccably designed, peaceful home filled with objects d’art. Give that up, and go live with a nagging woman? It’s a sacrifice of Abrahamic proportions.

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  18. Will on November 16, 2013 at 12:05 PM

    Allow me to re-phrase; anal and oral sex are pure lust.

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  19. nate on November 16, 2013 at 12:28 PM

    Will, you might think that appealing to cultural sensibilities about bodily orfices will help you feel better about your abhorrence of homosexuality, but this same visceral abhorrence existed in yourself as a child about vaginas, and was only overcome because God happened to give you a sexual attraction to this otherwise disgusting urinal orfice. For gays it is no different, just a different orfice.

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  20. Will on November 16, 2013 at 1:52 PM

    Nate

    Wrong.

    One is naturally lubricated; has the acids to neutralize the semen and break it down to be fertilized; and has a similar sensory organ (clitirois) that can allow shared climax. The other oriface is designed to drop a turd.

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  21. hawkgrrrl on November 16, 2013 at 2:32 PM
  22. Nate on November 16, 2013 at 5:12 PM

    Will, ha ha, I have a love for frank scatological dialogue! I thought your description was quite funny!

    Of course you are right that human anatomy is not designed to accommodate homosexuality, and additionally, we all seem to have an instinctual disgust of all things fecal. Homosexuals have to find ways to get around that.

    But that doesn’t exactly support your thesis. On the contrary, it’s evidence of just how powerful their feelings of inborn sexual identity are, that they are able to surmount quite extraordinary anatomical and psychological difficulties. How else could you explain this? Do they really have this burning lust for turds, and rolling around in blood and excrement? Is that what real lust is? Poop? Of course not. Gays are the most fastidiously clean people you will ever meet. They are sensitive and conscientious, as God endowed them with more than their fair share of feminine attributes. These are not filthy yahoos, like the Book of Mormon describes the Lamanites. Maybe some of the clubbing, promiscuous urban gay culture is like that, but that is not the reality for the majority of gays.

    Additionally, given that they can’t experience shared climax the easy way, they have to patiently help each other in turn, which needs an unselfish sharing of time, and sharing the unpleasant duties. So they deal with the difficulties, because that is all they can do. God did not make them attracted to women, but He gave them strong sexual desires for other men, so they make do with less than perfect hardware. If they are Mormons, they have to make do with no sexual outlet at all, if they are not bisexual.

    I don’t think we hetrosexuals think through all of this from their perspective. We resort to feelings of instinctual disgust to rationalize our dismissive attitudes about their dilemma, without recognizing just how powerful their feelings must be in order to surmount that instinctual disgust that we all feel. Instead, we see them as “other,” as foreign, worthy of contempt because they to dirty things we don’t understand, perverse, evil. But this is all wrong. What gays experience is very real, as real as anything sexual we’ve ever felt for members of the opposite sex. Dealing with that is not something you can lightly dismiss. It is wrong because God says it is wrong. It is an Abrahamic test for them.

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  23. Douglas on November 16, 2013 at 6:27 PM

    One can nuance whatever arguments and cite whatever “study”, never mind the actual academic rigor that said study was conducted under. For purposes of arguing whether LGBT folks should procreate in context of LDS society, the only germane question is:
    What have the leaders said in any official capacity?
    A reading of the Proclamation on the Family, issued almost 20 years ago, should clarify the issue. Anything else is denial and deviance from what the Prophets of old and today have said. If you reject their counsel, you do so at your own spiritual peril.

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  24. Geoff - A on November 16, 2013 at 7:12 PM

    I had 2 responses to Elder Oaks talk. First that his God seems to be Conservative culture. He is willing to place his cultural views on Gay Marriage and marriage in general, above the lords admonition to love all of our neighbours, which he even quotes.

    Second, again because of his culture he can not see that the solution of love is to encourage our ay brothers and sisters to marry the person they love. No enmity, no breaking of the law of chastity. There is no revelation, or eternal law opposing this just conservative culture.

    Like opposition to inter racial marriage, birth control, etc that were the subject of conference talks, but have since been accepted this will too. We will see gay couples in the Temple, in the future, just like we now see interracial couples now.

    This culture and talks like this are the biggest problem for missionary work in the developed world. In Australia for example 95% of people under 40 are OK with gay marriage. Are they going to join a church where Elder Oaks and others effectively say, to be a member here you must oppose gay marriage. So we are left with the ultra conservatives who believe all sorts of other strange things, some of them expressed above.

    Nate and Will, heterosexuals can have anal sex as well.

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  25. Will on November 16, 2013 at 7:34 PM

    Nate,

    My son is one of the most decent people that I know, or have ever know, That is saying a lot given my positions in the church, business and community. He is amazing and I have enormous respect and love for him. He has been tormented by his same gender attraction, Thus far he has remained celibate and worthy. I don’t know what the future holds for him. Having riden in the raft with him in this journey I can honestly say it would be THE single greatest challenge you could face as a Mormon boy with a right wing nut as a father. I hope he finds peace and I pray for him nightly with tremendous and love and respect. He is a great young man.

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  26. Will on November 16, 2013 at 8:34 PM

    “Nate and Will, heterosexuals can have anal sex as well.”

    But shouldn’t

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  27. Nate on November 17, 2013 at 5:29 AM

    Will, thank you for sharing how personal this is for you. I hadn’t realized. God bless you and your son. You are a good man.

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  28. Brian on November 17, 2013 at 8:00 AM

    Hawk–thanks for the link to the article on Card. The article quotes an introduction to one if his books as follows, “To marry according to the law of the community is to become a full citizen.” A lot of gays believe at least one thing he does.

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  29. Stephen M (Ethesis) on November 17, 2013 at 11:51 AM

    Glad the discussion came full circle.

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  30. KT on November 17, 2013 at 1:06 PM

    If life has taught me anything, it’s that not many grow up in ‘ideal’ circumstances, even if they have both biological parents married. Every family has their issues. I know a lot if biological, married parents of the ‘faithful’ sort who have messed their kids up royally with their own dysfunction. I think it’s most important yo have loving, involved parent/s, and I think their are a number of studies on that too.

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  31. Ryan on November 17, 2013 at 1:20 PM

    Stephen, you are equivocating on the word “married” in your sentence “We know it is better for children to have married parents.” Clearly Elder Oaks is referring to “married” individuals as being a man and a woman. Of course, there are those who have attempted to redefine “marriage” to include members of the same gender. However, the Church is unequivocally opposed to that “definition” of marriage. Therefore, it does not follow that we should encourage gay parents to get married.

    Also, your post seems to imply that you are opposed to same gender marriage, or at least were before you employed the above-described faulty logic. For what it’s worth, I would encourage you to not give in to the admittedly strong peer pressure to change your position to supporting same gender marriage.

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  32. Geoff - A on November 18, 2013 at 2:19 AM

    The real question is whether Elder Oaks is expressing the Gospel of Jesus Christ or his conservative culture when he opposes gay marriage.

    As there is no revelation on the subject, and as Christ said to love one another (and that’s not what I see in this opposition), I believe he is expressing his culture and it has nothing to do with the Gospel.

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  33. ji on November 18, 2013 at 5:08 AM

    Geoff (no. 32) — No, he isn’t teaching just his culture — that marriage is between a man and a woman has been a reality for all the world’s cultures, through all history, forever and everywhere.

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  34. Stephen M (Ethesis) on November 18, 2013 at 7:33 AM

    My last comment got eaten by the spam filter. Guess that happens sometimes.

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  35. Stephen M (Ethesis) on November 18, 2013 at 7:38 AM

    Well, it is out of the filter now.

    I am addressing only a single microeconomic style issue. There are more than that one , and of course, hosts of macro style issues.

    But I trying to give that one some honest thought and pondering.

    I think we get answers when we fully consider things, element by element, not when we gloss over or short circuit thought.

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  36. IDIAT on November 18, 2013 at 8:24 AM

    I still don’t understand members who claim there has been no revelation on this subject. You mean something set forth in the Standard Works? Anyway, I’m wondering whether the “marriage is good for society” argument only applies while children are young, or even up through the time they turn 18. What is the social value of a husband and wife staying together once they are empty nesters? I understand it from an economic standpoint – we wouldn’t want to suddenly cast a SAHM into the work force. But for some couples stuck in a “roommate” marriage, it seems like they are staying together simply for the societal benefit. That may not be the worst thing in the world, but a sad reality nonetheless. If we were to take children out of the equation, would there be any problem with SSM of couples over the age of child bearing and/or adoption? Why would we care if two 60 year old gay men or women marry? I know the answer from a theological perspective. But I do have a hard time arguing against it from a secular viewpoint.

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  37. Will on November 18, 2013 at 9:53 AM

    Geoff,

    With my connection to this issue, I have spent a lot of time trying to reconcile this issue with the doctrine of Jesus Christ. Admittedly, I am not as well versed as an Apostle, but I have served in various leadership positions and taught at all levels. I will say, being the parent of a son tormented by this issue is significantly different than sitting behind a desk in consolation; or addressing the issue from the pulpit or class room.

    First off let’s stop the attack on me and others, including an Apostle, insinuating our positions are purely political; or, worse stem from a lack of love for our fellowman. My sole objective is to do right by those that I love.

    Same gender attraction is different than any of the other issues you cited; including the pigmentation of one’s skin. Since the beginning of time all of God’s sons have been able to hold the priesthood (regardless of pigmentation) when it was on the earth; including just after the priesthood was restored. But, as I have mentioned in previous posts, we had a significant event in the United States (the focal point of the gospel in the beginning) that dramatically impacted racial issues – the Civil War. Tensions were so high over this issue, fellow countrymen (including saints on BOTH sides) were willing to take up a gun, point it at another man and pull the trigger. Not just once, an estimated 625,000 times. Think about what it would take for you do to that. Even church leaders made some flippant remarks and improper judgments about blacks. Think about how that would make you feel towards those on the other side as you see more and more and more causalities. Do you really think they could worship together with love? The obvious answer is no. It took 100 years for the tensions to ease to the point where we could start to have a national dialogue and heal some of the wounds. The church withheld full membership for one group until these tensions were eased and implemented it at the time it would best succeed. It has been successful. Giving blacks the priesthood was not a new thing as they held it in the past; it was simply an administrative decision until tensions eased and bitter feelings died down. The Savior withheld membership and priesthood blessings to certain groups when he was on the earth for the very same reason. Was he racist? No, absolutely not.

    In contrast, same gender marriage has never been accepted as part of the gospel. Ever. Just 15 years ago all 15 members of both presiding quorums stated the Lord’s stance on the issue. It was not a flippant remark by one Apostle, it was a well thought document signed by all prophets, seers and revelators. I don’t see it ever changing. For my son and those like him with these feelings, it is definitely their Gethsemane. As mentioned, I can’t think of a harder task. We are to love them as Christ loves us. We are to encourage them to press on. We are to encourage them to carry their cross with courage. It is my witness, that God will bless those that make the right choice.

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  38. Frank Pellett on November 18, 2013 at 11:18 AM

    Idiat – from a secular viewpoint, I’ve seen two points take on the problem of couples who cannot procreate. The first is that they are able to procreate in potentia. There are plenty of cases where couples who thought they could not have a child did anyway, and medical advances continue to help couples who could not conceive or bear children to term. Unless we get to a point where we can do genetic mixing without the parts needed from each gender that is automatically provided in a heterosexual pairing. (and that’s already way beyond my genetics knowledge, if anyone wants to challenge it). The second is that couples who no longer can or desire to procreate serve as examples of what marriage can be. The success/lesson stories we can use to show children what they should strive for in their marriage. Yes, there are plenty of examples of same sex couples who have good marriages and can be good examples, but as has been mentioned before, the difference in gender makes for far different dynamics in a marriage.

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  39. Brian on November 18, 2013 at 1:47 PM

    Will-I empathize with you and your son’s situation. Our outlooks on that situation could not be more different, however, and since we are “witnessing”, I share my completely heartfelt belief that my son is happier and more well-adjusted having left the church in the rear view mirror and finds himself in a monogamous relationship with a loved one with whom he can share his life.

    For those few LDS gays who weather the storm and loneliness that celibacy brings, I laud and honor their choice if it is what they want to do within themselves and their choice is made not because of peer or familial pressure. I feel that way whatever the religion.

    If done for any other reason, I feel sorry for them not being true to themselves. But then I don’t share your religion uber alles beliefs.

    I doubt my son and his partner will adopt. They both would be good parents but when they are out in public they definitely look the part and receive abuse. They are both very private and don’t want any potential child of theirs to feel ” less than” in any way. Shame on those who continue to marginalize gays. That includes many of the religious right who, try as they will to be accepting, are handicapped in this regard because of beliefs. (i e don’t be too tolerant).

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  40. Will on November 18, 2013 at 2:22 PM

    Brian,

    As I indicated, thus far he has remained celibate and I don’t know what the future holds.

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  41. Geoff - A on November 18, 2013 at 5:12 PM

    Will, My support to your son too. in 37 you point to the proclamation on the family as if it says gay marriage should be opposed. It says marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God, and this may be code for opposing gay marriage, but it says nothing about gay marriage. It could say and so is gay marriage, ordained of God, or it could say but gay marriage is only a civil matter. It doesn’t say anything about gay marriage.

    Then there is the question of the difference between a proclamation, of which there have been 5, and a declaration, of which there are 2 and they are in the scriptures. The church says the declarations are revelation. The church does not claim the proclamations are revelation. It says they are advice. When a prophet is not speaking by revelation, Joseph Smith said he was expressing his opinion/culture and that has the weight we want to place on it, but it is not revelation, and therefore not Gospel. It has a different weight.

    That is why I believe Elder Oaks is expressing his cultural views. If you look up the 1949 proclamation by the first presidency about negroes and the priesthood it is almost completely wrong and contradicted by declaration 2 – so what value proclamations?

    I believe this culture in the church against gay marriage will be gone in another 10 years, just like the opposition to inter racial marriage has disappeared. The problem is in the church the leaders rarely say we have now changed our position they just stop saying something, so there is not a clear change point unless there is a declaration, and I don’t expect that. I expect that when Elder Oaks and co die off so will the issue.

    But then I believe it has nothing to do with the Gospel which tell us to love our fellows, which to me is the opposite of how we treat gays. Did you notice in the last conference no one said “Obedience is the first law of heaven” (you can discriminate out of obedience), and a number including Oaks quoted the scripture that says “Love is the first law of heaven” difficult to discriminate lovingly. To me this indicates the change is happening.

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  42. IDIAT on November 19, 2013 at 1:37 PM

    Geoff — FWIW – You might want to read up on Handbook Two, 21.4.5, 21.4.6. Elder Oaks, in introducing the latest version of the handbook and on other occasions, has referred to the handbook as scripture.

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  43. Jon on November 19, 2013 at 3:21 PM

    1.The institution of marriage has traditionally been defined as between a man and a woman. In the Oct. 15, 1971 decision Baker v. Nelson, the Supreme Court of Minnesota found that “The institution of marriage as a union of man and woman, uniquely involving the procreation and rearing of children within a family, is as old as the book of Genesis.” [49]

    2.Allowing gay couples to wed will further weaken the institution of marriage. Traditional marriage is already threatened with high divorce rates (between 40% and 50%) and with 40.6% of babies being born to unmarried mothers in 2008. Allowing same-sex couples to marry would further weaken the institution. [50] [51] As argued by Ryan T. Anderson, William E. Simon Fellow in Religion and a Free Society at The Heritage Foundation, “In recent decades, marriage has been weakened by a revisionist view that is more about adults’ desires than children’s needs… Redefining marriage to include same-sex relationships is the culmination of this revisionism, and it would leave emotional intensity as the only thing that sets marriage apart from other bonds.” [70]

    3.Gay marriage could potentially lead down a “slippery slope” giving people in polygamous, incestuous, bestial, and other nontraditional relationships the right to marry. [10] Glen Lavy, JD, senior counsel with the Alliance Defense Fund, argued in a May 21, 2008 Los Angeles Times Op-Ed, “The movement for polygamy and polyamory is poised to use the successes of same-sex couples as a springboard for further de-institutionalizing marriage.” [11] In April 2013, Slate published a plea for legal polygamy by writer Jillian Keenan: “Just like heterosexual marriage is no better or worse than homosexual marriage, marriage between two consenting adults is not inherently more or less ‘correct’ than marriage among three (or four, or six) consenting adults.” [71]

    4.People should not have their tax dollars used to support something they believe is wrong. Gay marriage would entitle gay couples to typical marriage benefits including claiming a tax exemption for a spouse, receiving social security payments from a deceased spouse, and coverage by a spouse’s health insurance policy. On Dec. 17, 2009, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that the cost to the federal government of extending employment benefits to same-sex domestic partners of certain federal employees (making no mention of additional costs such as Social Security and inheritance taxes) would be $596 million in mandatory spending and $302 million in discretionary spending between 2010 and 2019. [37]

    5.Gay marriage may lead to more children being raised in same-sex households, which are not an optimum environment because children need both a mother and father. Girls who are raised apart from their fathers are reportedly at higher risk for early sexual activity and teenage pregnancy. [52] Children without a mother are deprived of the emotional security and unique advice that mothers provide. An Apr. 2001 study published in American Sociological Review suggesed that children with lesbian or gay parents are more likely to engage in homosexual behavior. [53] In the 1997 book Growing up in a Lesbian Family: Effects on Child Development, Fiona Tasker, PhD, and Susan Golombok, PhD, observed that 25% of sampled young adults raised by lesbian mothers had engaged in a homoerotic relationship, compared to 0% of sampled young adults raised by heterosexual mothers. [13]

    6.Gay marriage will accelerate the assimilation of gays into mainstream heterosexual culture to the detriment of the homosexual community. The gay community has created its own vibrant culture. By reducing the differences in opportunities and experiences between gay and heterosexual people, this unique culture may cease to exist. As M.V. Lee Badgett, PhD summarizes, “marriage means adopting heterosexual forms of family and giving up distinctively gay family forms and perhaps even gay and lesbian culture.” [14]

    7.The institution of marriage is sexist and oppressive; it should not be expanded but weakened. Paula Ettelbrick, JD, Professor of Law and Women’s Studies, wrote in 1989, “Marriage runs contrary to two of the primary goals of the lesbian and gay movement: the affirmation of gay identity and culture and the validation of many forms of relationships.” [15] The leaders of the Gay Liberation Front in New York said in July 1969, “We expose the institution of marriage as one of the most insidious and basic sustainers of the system. The family is the microcosm of oppression.” [16]

    8.Same-sex marriage has undermined the institution of marriage in Scandinavia. Sweden began offering same-sex couples benefits in 1987, followed by Denmark in 1989 and Norway in 1993. According to a Feb. 29, 2004 report by Stanley Kurtz, PhD, from 1990 to 2000, Norway’s out-of-wedlock birthrate rose from 39% to 50% and Sweden’s rose from 47% to 55%. Unmarried parenthood in Denmark rose 25% during the 1990s, and approximately 60% of first born Danish children have unmarried parents. As Kurtz states, “Marriage is slowly dying in Scandinavia.” [17]

    9.Marriage is a privilege, not a right. Society can choose to endorse certain types of sexual arrangements and give support in the form of benefits to these arrangements. Marriage was created to allow society to support heterosexual couples in procreation and society can choose not to give the same benefits to same-sex couples. [18]

    10.Marriage should not be extended to same-sex couples because they cannot produce children together. Allowing gay marriage would only further shift the purpose of marriage from producing and raising children to adult gratification. [19]

    11.Marriage is a religious rite between one man and one woman. According to a July 31, 2003 statement from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and approved by Pope John Paul II, marriage “was established by the Creator with its own nature, essential properties and purpose. No ideology can erase from the human spirit the certainty that marriage exists solely between a man and a woman…” [54]

    12.Gay marriage is incompatible with the beliefs, sacred texts, and traditions of many religious groups. The Catholic Church, Presbyterian Church, Islam, United Methodist Church, Southern Baptist Convention, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, National Association of Evangelicals, and American Baptist Churches USA all oppose same-sex marriage. Expanding marriage to include same-sex couples may lead to churches being forced to marry couples and children being taught in school that same-sex marriage is the same as opposite-sex marriage. [12]

    13.Same-sex marriage is not a civil rights issue, and conflating the issue with interracial marriage is misleading. Matthew D. Staver, JD, Dean of the Liberty University School of Law, explained: “The unifying characteristics of the protected classes within the Civil Rights Act of 1964 include (1) a history of longstanding, widespread discrimination, (2) economic disadvantage, and (3) immutable characteristics… ‘Sexual orientation’ does not meet any of the three objective criteria shared by the historically protected civil rights categories.” [62]

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  44. Frank Pellett on November 19, 2013 at 3:38 PM

    Oh good, a copy-paste paper. Just what is needed here. /sarcasm

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  45. Geoff - A on November 20, 2013 at 4:25 PM

    Jon 43. A whole list of arguments that are impressive to ultra conservative Americans but meaningless and offensive to 95% of the population of the world.

    And hence the reason the missionary work will not proceed until the church and this kind of stuff are disconnected.

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  46. Geoff - A on November 21, 2013 at 6:09 PM

    Jon 43,

    This list is probably impressive to those who agree with you. To others it is a load of ultra conservative (by world standards) propaganda.

    Until the Church disconnects its self from this culture it has very limited appeal in the world. 95% of people under 40, in Australia are Ok with gay marriage and most would not join a church with ideas like this that are opposed to the Gospel of Jesus Christ that we love one another.

    Again I see both you and Elder Oaks (sure you are happy to be in such company) saying my god is ultra conservative culture. Sadly for the acceptance of the Gospel you are in the majority.

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  47. Jon on November 25, 2013 at 7:40 AM

    The best explanation as to why society should not embrace homosecuality or gay marriage

    http://carm.org/gay-marriage-harm

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  48. Will on November 25, 2013 at 3:39 PM

    “Until the Church disconnects its self from this culture it has very limited appeal in the world’

    Thus, the scripture… “straight (no pun intended) is the way and narrow the gate and FEW be there that find it…”

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