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The sanctity of marriage

I need to be really careful in discussing this particular issue. There is a whole class of people I could end up offending, and I truly do not mean to. A year ago, I didn't even know what a mixed-orientation marriage (MOM) was, even though I had been in one. Now I know several people who are in MOMs. In most cases, the man is gay and the woman is straight. Also in most cases, the woman did not know prior to the marriage. There are two cases I am aware of where the husband truly understood his orientation and disclosed it fully to his wife prior to their marriage. As far as I know, those two couples are happily married. Also, many of the couples I know of where the husband did not inform his wife until after marriage are still happily married. Having been in that situation myself, and knowing how dearly I loved my sweet Karen, I must say that I would find divorce a very distasteful option. I do not mean to disrespect those in MOMs who decide to divorce--certainly there is just cause in such a thing. I merely mean to say that I can empathize well with those who have decided that staying together is the best option, in the face of all the opposition there is (largely from the gay community) in taking such a path. Any couple who tries to overcome every obstacle that gets in the way of a healthy relationship (including the obstacle of homosexuality in a MOM) has my respect. I hope that nothing I say in this pos comes across as disrespectful to those people. 

Now that I've got that disclaimer out of the way, let me move on to the matter at hand. I have heard, as probably the most common argument against either specifically gay marriage or just homosexuality in general that it is bad because it destroys the sanctity or marriage. So, I would like to explain how I feel that the opposite is true. I mean to say that gay marriage actually supports the sanctity of marriage. 

First of all, let us ask ourselves what is marriage? I was talking to my mother the other day and she said that the best marriage advice she ever got was from her dad. He told her not ever to marry someone she didn't truly love. It may be a very modern and very American idea to marry someone out of love, but I believe it is the only real reason that two people should marry. I believe that most people who claim to be proponents of traditional marriage (ie, those that fight against gay marriage) would agree with me on that issue. I have never personally had anyone tell me that love is not paramount in deciding who to marry. So, I will now answer my question. I feel like marriage is, or at least should be, the ultimate expression of commitment and love (excepting perhaps intercourse itself) between two people who love each other. I feel like the reason it is sacred is because it is based on love, and as Paul is so keen to point out, God is love. That is to say that love comes from God, so any expression of it is sacred. 

Again, I feel a need to return to my disclaimer so as to avoid spitting in the face of those who have decided to enter/remain in MOMs. I do not mean to say that a gay man is incapable of loving a woman and therefor such a marriage cannot work. It would be contradictory of me to do so, since I have on countless occasions affirmed my deep love for Karen. It is of course possible for a person to love any other person that he/she wishes to love. And I still believe that if each party is humble and dedicated enough, any two people could be happily married to each other. However, I feel that asking two people to marry when there is a lack of sexual attraction on the part of one or both parties is not preserving the sanctity of marriage , but rather trodding it in the mud. If two people wish to enter such a relationship (or remain in one) and feel that is the right thing to do, then I will certainly not criticize. What I mean to criticize here is the hypocrisy of people encouraging others to protect the sanctity of marriage by marrying someone to whom they are not attracted--that is, asking a gay person to enter a straight relationship. 

I do not blame my marriage on other people pressuring me into it. In fact, I do not see my own marriage as a bad thing, so I don't even feel like "blame" is the right word to use there. And I am sure that many people in MOMs would feel the same way. While I did feel pressure to marry a woman, it certainly was not the deciding factor in whether I should marry Karen. I merely mean to point out the illogical stance of "Marriage is an expression of commitment between two people who are in love with each other. It is ordained of God and therefore sacred. So, you should be dishonest by marrying someone that you are not in love with because marrying someone that you do love would destroy the sanctity of marriage." 

So, the way I see it, asking someone to marry in a MOM is what is destroying the sanctity of marriage. I know of many such marriages which have, quite understandably, failed because one partner is incapable of thinking of the other as a lover. 

I would actually like to quote from an interview conducted with Dallin H Oaks, one of the leaders of the Mormon church. The reason I want to quote this is because from my experience a vast majority of members don't believe it and are not aware that it is the church's current official policy on the matter. 

PUBLIC AFFAIRS: Is heterosexual marriage ever an option for those with homosexual feelings?

ELDER OAKS: We are sometimes asked about whether marriage is a remedy for these feelings that we have been talking about. President Hinckley, faced with the fact that apparently some had believed it to be a remedy, and perhaps that some Church leaders had even counseled marriage as the remedy for these feelings, made this statement: “Marriage should not be viewed as a therapeutic step to solve problems such as homosexual inclinations or practices.” To me that means that we are not going to stand still to put at risk daughters of God who would enter into such marriages under false pretenses or under a cloud unknown to them. Persons who have this kind of challenge that they cannot control could not enter marriage in good faith.

So, Elder Oaks himself is saying that a person who cannot truly love their partner (and in this context, he is talkin about a gay person trying to love someone of the opposite sex) then they should not marry. I believe that is good counsel, and I mean to follow it. Doing otherwise, in my opinion, would spite the sanctity of marriage. 

And so, I conclude by saying that I feel like any two people who truly wish to marry (whether they be gay or straight, both of the same orientation or of different orientations) should be allowed to marry, and having that mindset abound in society is the best way to protect the sanctity of marriage.  A society that attempts to dictate to its members who should marry and who should not seems to me to be attacking the sanctity of marriage. 

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