Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Prop. 8, Four Years Later

We all knew this day would come.

Even as the votes were tallied and California voters opted to pass Proposition 8, defining marriage as between a man and a woman, those of us on the fight's frontlines knew it wasn't over. A sigh, perhaps, of temporary relief - we cleared one hurdle, won one battle. But we knew the fight wouldn't end until the case was ruled on by the Supreme Court.

And that time is now.

Prop. 8 is a tender subject for me. In many ways, being as involved hands on as I was really, truly changed my life for the better - but it wasn't about marriage, then or now.

For me, it was about integrity.

I believe in prophets. I believe in continuing revelation. I accept that while I may not see what lies ahead for us, and I may not understand what the consequences of varied courses of action may have, I do know that God has called men to be prophets, seers, and revelators. They are watchmen on the tower, and they receive guidance from God regarding how to act and advise for the best of God's children.

It's easy to follow the prophet when his requests aren't all that demanding. But what do you do when they truly test your soul and commitment and endurance?

As my hero Neal A. Maxwell put it, "Not shrinking is more important than surviving."

Well, I've never been one to shrink.

And so, while I know it's an unpopular stance, and while I know I may lose friends over this, I want to once again reaffirm that I support Proposition 8. There's a plethora of reasons I could give, supported and driven by hours upon hours of research I pored into the issue in 2008, but at the end of the day, it comes down to this: men who I sustain as prophets, seers, and revelators specifically asked my peers and myself via satellite broadcast in October 2008 to get involved in support of Proposition 8. I personally walked out of that fireside with strong, bold, clear direction about how specifically I was supposed to engage. My friend Heather and I hopped online immediately upon returning home and set up Preserving Marriage, springboarding from the LDS Church's website PreservingMarriage.org, as a group blog for several of our friends and ourselves to share insights and reasons for supporting traditional marriage. I spent hours of my evenings making phone calls; I spent Saturdays walking the streets of San Juan Capistrano to go door to door, explaining why the proposition made sense.

It wasn't easy. For one thing, some of my dearest, favorite, cherished friends are gay. I love them. I want them to be happy, and I know that they want marriage. I support them in their relationships. For another thing, getting involved in this made my friends and me targets of hatred and vitriol. Some even lost their livelihoods over it; goodness knows we all lost friends over the issue. Clearly "tolerance" only applies when you're arguing on one side of the issue. For those of us on the other side, no holds were barred in mocking, shaming, scorn, and insults.

But still, I knew that I aligned my actions with my belief in following the prophets, and regardless of what anyone else thinks on the matter, I know in my heart that I did what God asked. And I know that my life has been enriched immeasurably for acting with faith, integrity, and courage.

Meanwhile, I wish people could see the issue from my side of the line. It's not about hate or fear or homophobia or any negative emotion. It's about a firmly rooted belief in God and trust in His word. He is not a fickle God, and what He declares, He does for a reason. Yes, I understand that that line of reasoning doesn't hold up in today's forum of ideas -- in fact, the irreligious would argue it isn't "reasoning" in the first place. I don't care. I believe that respect is a two-way street. I would never shun or shame someone for taking a stand because I understand and respect that they reached that conclusion from a life experience that differs from mine. I would hope others would permit me the same space and freedom.

And so, honestly, when it comes to the court ruling... I'm ambivalent. I will be shocked to see Prop. 8 upheld. I just plain don't think it will happen. But regardless of that, I am proud to have taken a stand when it wasn't easy or popular because I knew it was right according to the beliefs I profess. I don't expect others to understand, but I hope they will appreciate that integrity, and I hope they will understand it's possible to unfailingly love all of God's children, regardless of their actions and choices, while still toeing the line God has drawn.