I actually wrote this post a while back for Mormon Matters, but for some reason I was waiting to post it on my own blog. After the latest Church vs. Gay controversy on Main Street Plaza in Salt Lake City, I think the time is right to discuss it again. (GayLDSActor did an excellent post about "the kiss" here for those who are interested.)
This post isn't about marriage. It isn't about sex.
It's about love: something that we all desire, crave, yearn, seek, and strive for. I have, and so have you.
Romantic love is not sex. Neither does it necessarily involve or lead to marriage or sex. It's that feeling of being captivated by another human being and caring for them, as well as expressing our emotions for them verbally or physically, often in a non-sexual manner such as holding hands, embracing, caressing, and innocent kissing: behaviour that is appropriate, according to LDS tradition, even between a couple that is not yet married. In other words, it's not like loving your mom.
It's not unheard of for people to live their entire lives and, if they never enter into marriage, never go beyond the non-sexual displays of affection that I just mentioned. Contrary to what some may think, most human beings are capable of living and functioning without sex, without suffering any "damage." I'm not sure, however, that the same would be true for all who desire and yearn for romantic love, but are denied that opportunity. Can you imagine life without love? If you are not currently in a romantic relationship, you probably have it as a hope or are always on the lookout for an opportunity, even subconsciously. Right?
A sexual relationship between two unmarried adults is immoral. Sex is, in this case, sinful. But is their love also a sin?
Look at the picture above. If the two people were of the same sex, how would you feel about it? Would you feel differently about it? Would you see their behaviour as immoral and something to be avoided? Why or why not?
The following "compromise," if you want to call it that, will not satisfy all. It will not satisfy those who demand no less than equal marriage status within the Church, heterosexual or homosexual, as well as Church-sanctioned homosexual sexual relations; neither will it satisfy those who believe that two members of the same sex who even sit together like that couple in the picture are treading down a wicked path. The term "compromise" is, actually, misleading in my opinion, because the way I see it, the Church would not be compromising anything in regards to the doctrines or policies related to marriage, families, or the Law of Chastity. The only thing that would change would be that heterosexual and homosexual members of the Church would truly be held to the same standards of chastity and morality outside of marriage. That would mean that a couple, such as depicted in the photo, sitting on a bench on BYU campus or outside the Tabernacle, would face no disciplinary action for their innocent display of romantic affection -- whether heterosexual or homosexual.
We know that we have a problem in the Church with homosexuals feeling alone, ostracized, without real purpose, and some even resorting to suicide.
- Would acceptance of non-sexual same-sex relationships within the Church help to ease the burden of those who struggle and help them to remain in the Church?
- What if gay members of the Church were truly held to the same standards of the Law of Chastity when it comes to expression of love and dating relationships?
- Do gay members of the Church need to be celibate AND alone in order to be chaste?
- What, if anything, would the Church be sacrificing or compromising on in order for gay members to be able to date openly, in the same way as heterosexual couples, without facing discipline?
- Why is/isn't this a good idea?
"Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins."