This article was recently published in the Deseret News. I have cut out some parts, because it is pretty long, but there was so much said so well I just had to leave it. I added some emphasis for those of you who just want the meat.
Disagree but don’t be unkind
By Orson Scott Card
Published: Thursday, Oct. 23, 2008
Some people have misunderstood the LDS Church’s position on Proposition 8 in California, and its opposition to gay marriage. They think that we are “against homosexuals” — that we think of “them” as our enemies, and that individuals who have entered into “gay marriages” pose a direct personal threat to us.
So let’s set the record straight.
… So our concern in this legal struggle is not for the church, but for the health and well-being of society at large, of which we are only a part.
2. We do not believe that homosexuals, by entering into a “marriage,” are personally hurting anybody. Where the law makes such a thing available, even temporarily, those who “marry” are not our enemies. We believe the law is wrong and the marriage is not, in any meaningful way, what we mean by marriage.
…My family and I have close friends who are gay, some of whom have entered into lawful marriages. They know we don’t agree that their relationship is the same thing or should have the same legal status as our marriage, but we all accept that strong and clear difference of opinion and move on, continuing to respect and love each other for the values we share.
Only when a gay friend demanded that I agree with his or her point of view or cease to be friends has the friendship ended. What is odd is that in every case they called me intolerant. They misunderstood the meaning of “tolerance.”
Tolerance implies disagreement — it means that even though we don’t agree with or approve of each others beliefs or actions, we can still live together amicably. When we agree, we aren’t being tolerant, we’re being uniform.
It’s uniformity or submission these former friends wanted, not tolerance at all.
4. Only those who try to use the force of law to promote homosexual behavior and homosexual marriage to our children, and who would forbid us to publicly teach and express our belief that marriage is only meaningful between heterosexual couples, move into the category of enemies of freedom. And that will be because of their attempt to suppress religious freedom, freedom of speech and press, and the right of parents to control their children’s moral education.
We do not think that any belief system, whether it calls itself a religion or not, should be imposed on other people by law — we won’t impose ours on them, and we won’t let them impose theirs on us or our families.
There is no place for any Latter-day Saint to be unkind to, or speak slightingly of, those who disagree with us. Just because someone else is engaging in conduct that we believe is wrong does not give us the right to hate them or mistreat them. We preach the gospel of Christ to any who are willing to listen, but we will force our beliefs on no one.
We would never try to force our beliefs on an unwilling majority, and we hope that our opponents on this issue will have the same respect for democracy and the Constitution.
In fact, I believe that even those who absolutely believe in gay marriage should join us in opposing any law that is forced on an unwilling majority by the dictates of judges. For those that are wise will recognize that once judges are given such power, that power has as much chance of being used against them as for them.
What are the reasons that we, as citizens, oppose gay marriage?
Legalizing gay marriage has huge legal implications far beyond letting same-sex couples enter into marriage contracts. Once “marriage” has been so radically redefined, it will become unlawful and discriminatory for schools or any other public facility to favor, for instance, heterosexual dating or dancing.
Since our culture (like all human cultures throughout all of history) is oriented toward promoting the maximum opportunity for reproductive success for all members of the community, but channeled in a way that will best promote the survival of the community, such a radical change should not be entered into lightly.
Yet serious examination of scientific, historical, and legal issues has been all but drowned out by name-calling and demands for “rights.”
Why do we oppose legalizing gay marriage?
…Growing up with opposite-sex parents, but in a society that has normalized and actively promotes one-sex marriages, will certainly affect the children of opposite-sex parents, potentially tipping the balance for children whose sexual identity is still formable.
No serious attempt has been made to consider anything more than a general feeling that “tolerance is good” and “discrimination is bad.” Yet we are proceeding headlong into a vast social experiment whose consequences, as far as we can see, risk serious damage to many in order to create only the most marginal benefit for a few.”
This actually cleared up a few things for me, and said what I was trying to say on my last post on this topic. I know this subject can get heated, and is highly controversial, please let this be a place to share your voice respectful of everyone’s differing opinions.