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My view: Balancing personal conviction and compassion for same-sex couples

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  • RFLASH Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 1, 2014 11:06 a.m.

    I have been with my partner 15 years. We didn't have a chance to be married because I was ill, but it doesn't matter. My relationship is not decided by those who don't believe. I have had one neighbor threaten me with a gun. someone came and busted out all of my windows of my car. The neighbors across the street just laughed. I did get to know my 89 year old neighbor next door. One day I helped her in her yard. The next day, the entire ward was there. I got the message. They didn't want me there. The next time I went to talk to her, she turned her head. It wasn't her fault. I think that others in the ward scared her. She knew I had a partner but I never discussed the gay issue with her. She needed a friend. We talked about her husband, who had died and her family and genealogy. People should consider what gets included in " I don't believe... ". It can mean something terrible to some people. I grew up Mormon. I know how I should treat others and so do my neighbors!

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    July 30, 2014 7:04 p.m.

    JoeCapitalist2 - Joe... where did you get the "couple hundred" partners number from? I personally know several people who are gay, and none of them represent that kind of number... not even close. In fact two of them - former church members - have been with their "partners" for a couple of decades.

    Now I might be hanging out with the outlier crowd here.... but a "couple hundred" is a shocking number. What is the source for this?

    I honestly can say I see inappropriate behavior by hetro couple far more often.... That said, the day we showed up to Universal Studios accidentally during gay week, I was a bit taken aback by some of the things being worn, and statements on their shirts. I think it took my boys weeks to get over what they saw. Then again, I've been to Sturgis as well during bike week, and what I saw there left me poking out my minds eye for weeks too.

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    July 29, 2014 7:21 p.m.

    @ wrz

    "Please identify 'unsupported belief.' I might like to do some unsupporting."

    Supported by your commenting history, I don't believe you're interested at all. I don't think you're even all that interested in how this issue turns out. I think that, regardless of the subject, you come to these pages for something unrelated to the topic at hand.

  • Laura Bilington Maple Valley, WA
    July 29, 2014 3:08 p.m.

    wrz/Alfred/Bean:

    My father, like Karen's, was forced to write with his right hand. His penmanship was terrible. He did everything else with his left. This is a poor compensation, not a new "talent" learned.

    "And, if you're a member of a religion that condemns homosexual conduct as immoral and sinful, you may have improved your chances of going to heaven and inheriting all that the Father has. "

    This is only true if the same God who created gays also thinks that their expressing their sexuality (which you believe is a "gift" when married straights express it) is bad / immoral / sinful. I don't believe it is. If there is a God, I don't think he thinks so either.

    "You'll always have to consider yourself a bit abnormal".

    I'm older than the average American woman, a little taller than the average, am healthier than the average, married longer than the average, and have WAY more children than the average. That makes me different than the average. It does NOT make me abnormal.

  • wrz Phoenix, AZ
    July 29, 2014 11:49 a.m.

    @Karen R.:
    "My uncle succeeded in overcoming his 'affliction' of left-handedness. Didn't make him any less left-handed. Or afflicted."

    Your uncle has gained a talent. He can now write with both hands. And he likely found that moving to right-handed writing improves his writing skills and penmanship. It did mine. You don't end up smearing the ink with the writing hand as you write across the page.

    No one is saying that same-sex attraction will immediately diminish or even eventually totally go away. It simply means the person can carry on with a 'normal' family life having a spouse and children. And, if you're a member of a religion that condemns homosexual conduct as immoral and sinful, you may have improved your chances of going to heaven and inheriting all that the Father has. Of course, you have to want these things. If you don't want these things then carry on. But you'll have to always consider yourself a bit abnormal.

    "Now, clinging willfully to an unsupported belief? That is something that can be overcome."

    Please identify 'unsupported belief.' I might like to do some unsupporting.

  • let's roll LEHI, UT
    July 29, 2014 11:26 a.m.

    Isn't understanding that all are sons and daughters of God and thus my brothers and sisters all I really need to know to treat everyone with the dignity and respect they deserve.

    It always has been for me. Not sure why we think there needs to be any "balancing."

  • Understands Math Lacey, WA
    July 29, 2014 10:29 a.m.

    @Mr. Bean wrote: "They do it to themselves with labels such as 'same-sex attracted.'"

    No, they don't. That is actually a label that conservative religious people use to describe LGBT people without using the words "gay" or "lesbian." I've never heard a gay, lesbian or bisexual person refer to themselves as "same-sex attracted."

  • Mickie SLC, UT
    July 29, 2014 10:18 a.m.

    @JoeCapitalist2

    You overstate the discrepancy. Do studies show that homosexual couples have more sexual partners on average compared to their heterosexual counterparts? Yes. Is it a discrepancy of hundreds? No.

    You hold a very stereotyped view of your fellow human being who just happens to be homosexual. I would encourage you to further educate yourself by involving yourself in real life interactions to truly learn what they are like instead of relying in studies that feed into your stereotypical view.

    On the topic of those studies, the prevalent explanation for increased relationships and sexual partners is that homosexual couples cannot marry. Research shows that marriage is a large deterrent from a relationship ending. People have too much vested once married that offenses that would cause the relationship to end without marriage are worked through instead. Add children into the mix and the relationship ending becomes even less likely. The more obstacles placed in the way of a break up, the less likely it is to occur.

    If you want homosexual couples to have fewer sexual partners you should encourage them to marry and to have children.

  • freedomingood provo, Utah
    July 29, 2014 7:52 a.m.

    It has nothing to do with your convictions or your compassion. Constitutional rights are not our to deny on conviction or give in compassion.

    I'm not gay nor even know anyone openly gay. I simply have no idea how you can legally deny equal rights without a theologically driven anti-constitutional amendment based on ONE popular religion in the USA.

    Shall we really implement sharia law?

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    July 29, 2014 6:18 a.m.

    @ wrz

    "And when overcome the folks so afflicted become stronger and can say with confidence and assurance 'I did it... I succeeded!'"

    My uncle succeeded in overcoming his "affliction" of left-handedness. Didn't make him any less left-handed. Or afflicted.

    Now, clinging willfully to an unsupported belief? That is something that can be overcome.

  • Mr. Bean Phoenix, AZ
    July 28, 2014 9:57 p.m.

    Bob K
    "In 2014, mormons ought to be allowing equal marriage rights to all of their children."

    Perhaps you may not understand the Mormon concept and purpose of marriage. It's for time and eternity for eternal increase. Two guys or two gals would fall way short of that concept.

    @Ranch:
    "Our reasons are no different than those of our straight counterparts."

    So, Ranch supposing SSM is legal, does that mean I can marry my brother, but not my sister? Inquiring minds wanna know.

    @2 tell the truth:
    "Those who diminish their lives down to mere sexual acts are guilty of demeaning, debasing, diminishing real people's real lives."

    They do it to themselves with labels such as 'same-sex attracted.'

  • Stormwalker Cleveland , OH
    July 28, 2014 9:52 p.m.

    @JoeCapitalist2: "Well, if the "average" heterosexual has just a couple partners in their lifetime and the "average" homosexual has a couple hundred partners, then I would say that there is a pretty wide gap between the two groups."

    So what? Some couples are married and monogamous, some are not. In some cultures it is considered quite acceptable for a man to have a wife and a mistress. In some countries it is accepted that men and women will have affairs. In some countries polygamy is practiced.

    So what?

    The fact some people or some couples may do things you don't like is not part of this discussion.

    The question at hand is "do laws banning gay marriage violate the Constitution?"

    Not "can gays have kids" or "what do gays do in the bedroom" or "will people marry goats" or "what do kids call their same-sex parents" or even "what do paleo-Hebrew myths say about marriage."

    Are the bans constitutional? The only question.

  • wrz Phoenix, AZ
    July 28, 2014 9:03 p.m.

    @ordinaryfolks:
    "In fact, I make the argument that making a same sex couple's life more difficult, only strengthens their resolve."

    Then SSM couples should encourage and welcome being shunned and dissed... is that your point?

    @Karen R.:
    "The concept is nonsense and it's harmful. IMO, the fact that some believe they've overcome their 'SSA' probably says more about the power of their religious indoctrination and the 'obey or lose everything' position it creates than any real 'repairing' done."

    Almost all humans are plagued with some sort of foibles or peccadilloes. The purpose of this life is to do our best to overcome. And there are no imperfections that cannot be eventually overcome with the proper level of effort and determination... including same-sex attraction. And when overcome the folks so afflicted become stronger and can say with confidence and assurance 'I did it... I succeeded!'

  • wrz Phoenix, AZ
    July 28, 2014 8:20 p.m.

    "If you believe that marriage should only be between a man and a woman, what should your attitude be toward same-sex couples who may be neighbors, coworkers, or family members?"

    I think these people will be shunned. If not by the family, by much of the community for sure. It is difficult to call a couple of guys personal friends who are sexually attracted to each other and to be accepted by folks who think such attraction and subsequent intimate conduct is unacceptable and even bordering on sinful.

    "Tony is a professor at the University of Utah and Paul has been a stay-at-home-dad since the day their twin boys (conceived through in-vitro fertilization) were born."

    This is astounding. I have long thought that two men could not create a baby... let alone twins.

  • pavioc16 Avon, CT
    July 28, 2014 2:32 p.m.

    As a gay guy, I just wanted to post my thanks to you! I have huge respect for those that may have personal convictions, but recognize that others have differing beliefs and that's perfectly alright. I know some in my "community" are a little more... well, emotional. But you have to understand, that most often is a response to society treating them badly and internalized comments people heard as a child/adolescent, when sexuality starts.

    Sure, people will disagree with me, or my "lifestyle" (whatever that is. I'm not exactly sure what this lifestlye thing is.) But I think we all can agree that it's annoying (and that's an understatement) when someone gets involved in private matters which simply do not concern them.

  • JoeCapitalist2 Orem, UT
    July 28, 2014 1:23 p.m.

    There are obviously many examples of sexually promiscuous heterosexuals out there. There are also public exhibitions by them (Mardi Gras, Spring Break, MTV, etc.). But those are the exceptions rather than the rule. It seems that for the GLBT crowd it is the rule instead of the exception.

    The GLBT community wants everyone to believe that they are just like the rest of us with respect to their behavior, their attitudes, and desire for marriage and family - with the sole exception that they are attracted to their same sex instead of the opposite sex.

    Well, if the "average" heterosexual has just a couple partners in their lifetime and the "average" homosexual has a couple hundred partners, then I would say that there is a pretty wide gap between the two groups. What the exact number is, I don't know...but I have seen a number of studies that show that GLBT members have many, many more partners than do straight people on average. If true, then why would the bulk of such a group want to "settle down" with a spouse and kids?

  • 2 tell the truth Clearwater, FL
    July 28, 2014 12:52 p.m.

    @ joe Capitalist,

    Re: "Average straight people don't parade around in public in their underwear"

    You've obviously never seen footage of any Mardi Gras Parade then. (And you won't want to know what girls do to 'earn their beads', either.) Nor seen any coverage of March Break in Florida.

    Re: "They don't have nearly as many "partners"."

    You won't want to google "Wilt Chamberlain" I guess. (Nor Bill Clinton, nor Rush Limpbaugh, nor Newt Gingrich, nor Mickey Rooney, nor Larry King, nor Elizabeth Taylor, nor ... well the list of promiscuous heterosexuals is long indeed!

  • 2 tell the truth Clearwater, FL
    July 28, 2014 12:43 p.m.

    @ higv,

    Re: "why should a baker or photographer be required to do business for a lifestyle they don't agree with."

    Because, as Erika points out, it ISN'T a "lifestyle". Gay people have lives.

    Re: "It's not like they can't find someone willing to accommodate them."

    Actually, going by the comments here alone, it seems a very probable likelihood that they WOULD have difficulty finding someone willing to accommodate them - especially in uber-religionist states like, um, UTAH!!!

  • 2 tell the truth Clearwater, FL
    July 28, 2014 12:40 p.m.

    Re: "Paul and Tony would not describe their family as a lifestyle; they would describe it as a life."

    That's because they ARE lives. Those who diminish their lives down to mere sexual acts are guilty of demeaning, debasing, diminishing real people's real lives. It seems to be their goal to do so, instead of treating others as they, themselves, would like to be treated.

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    July 28, 2014 12:08 p.m.

    @JoeCapitalist2
    Who cares if a particular gay person has 10 sexual partners in 5 years, it doesn't change the fact that other gay/lesbian couples want to marry. Should we just ignore the gay couples that want to marry and the straight people that sleep around with whoever? Regardless of what an average is, it's stereotyping to brand everyone in a demographic with an average.

  • Noodlekaboodle Poplar Grove, UT
    July 28, 2014 11:23 a.m.

    @Irony Guy
    I find such hypocrisy in this stance. How many sinners do you think these bakers make cakes for every day? You think those bakery owners never provided a wedding cake for an adulterer, or someone who lusted after another persons spouse, or a thief, or a liar, or a drug addict? Unless they make you fill out a specific sin questionnaire before they make your cake, they are helping sinners all the time. So to me is hypocritical to pick out this one "sin" that is easy to see, while ignoring all of the other people who commit what they consider a sin because it's not outwardly obvious.

  • nycut New York, NY
    July 28, 2014 10:18 a.m.

    @JoeCapitalist2:
    I question your understanding of "average" gay people: your comments equate them with drug-using law breakers who have sex in violation of moral codes (which, btw, quite accurately describes and enormous portion of the average heterosexual population.)
    Repeating negative '50s stereotypes-- "the promiscuous, over-sexualized homosexual"-- shows ignorance.

    You invoke sensationalized pride parade footage, but I wonder if you been to one? An event where a despised, misunderstood, physically threatened, legally oppressed minority celebrates the simple fact of their existence and the progress they've made toward NOT being despised, misunderstood, threatened and oppressed as much as they used to be? You know, with marching bands, blue collar workers, professionals, middle-aged bowlers, theatre troupes, sports teams, parents pushing strollers, and senior support groups?

    Where do get your information about the "average" straight person? I doubt it's from MTV's Spring Break, or one of the other venues where "promiscuous over-sexualized heterosexuals" dance around in their underwear and celebrate their libidos while inebriated.

    When someone says they don't "hate," then dishes ignorant stereotypes, the effect is the same.

    Open-heartedness and the reality of gay people's lives will carry the day.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    July 28, 2014 9:55 a.m.

    @JoeCapitalist2;

    How many "average gays" do you know? Being gay myself, I can assure I know quite a few.

    Our reasons are no different than those of our straight counterparts.

  • JoeCapitalist2 Orem, UT
    July 28, 2014 8:32 a.m.

    Schnee: "Um... average gay people are pretty much the same as any old average straight person."

    I don't think that is true with respect to sexual practices and attitudes towards marriage and family. Average straight people don't parade around in public in their underwear (and worse) to show everyone their sexual preference. They don't have nearly as many "partners". It isn't rare (although becoming more so) for heterosexuals to want to get married and have children. SSM advocates want to portray the notion that most in the GLBT community want to get married and raise children. I think that it is a tiny minority within that community that actually want those things.

    You are also wrong about who started this debate. It was the GLBT community that wanted to change long established laws that govern marriage. Those states that passed amendments or strengthened current laws did so as a preventative measure to prevent marriage from being redefined. No one outlawed something that was previously legal.

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    July 28, 2014 8:13 a.m.

    @ A Quaker

    "Don't you think a little applause and encouragement are warranted for editorials like this?"

    I considered this because I understand that Ms. Munson means well. But I couldn't ignore the undertone of condescension or abide the furthering of an odious and baseless belief ("SSA"). And to respond with, "Well, this is pretty good for a Mormon" would've been a condescending pat on the head itself.

    Similar to Bob K, I think this organization's true agenda is to bring gay Mormons back into the fold in order to "save" them. What they are saying, just in less overtly judgmental terms is, "We offer acceptance as long as you don't accept yourself."

    Nonetheless I do hope their effort continues. Continued interaction with gay people and their families offers small doses of reality with each meeting. I am hopeful that this will serve as a corrective to the mistaken notions Ms. Munson and others hold and that, in time, they will come to understand that it isn't the gay people that are being saved.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    July 28, 2014 7:37 a.m.

    care4usa asks:

    "Why should someone asked to provide such services be condemned for politely refusing?"

    --- Well, for one thing it isn't "polite". It's rude, condescending (you're an evil sinner, I'm a righteous saint...), and bigoted. That's why.

    "Equality does not include demanding services that another person is forced to perform against their will."

    --- If you won't follow the law (public accomodation laws), then you have no business being in business.

    "Ever heard the expression, "live and let live"?"

    --- Ever heard the expression "do unto others as you would have them do unto you"? You can't claim to be Christian and refuse to follow this express commandment of your god.

    @JoeCap2;

    Yes, you are wrong.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    July 28, 2014 7:24 a.m.

    I'm actually stunned that the DN printed your OP-Ed, Erika. Thank you for your words.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    July 28, 2014 5:09 a.m.

    "The Mormon settlers did not invade Mexico but driven to territory Mexico soon lost."

    Oh... that's how it works. If someone is about to "loose" something, then it is alright to take possession of it while that process is happening. Because the Saints knew this was going to be part of the treaty, right? That makes it all good then...

    ... and then there were also the local indigenous peoples too.... but they were going to loose their lands too, so no harm, no foul.

    I love sugar coated history in the morning, makes the whole day go down nicely. Only through understanding real history, the sometimes uncomfortable decisions that were made that we can learn. Novel-ized history creates all kinds of justifications.

  • A Quaker Brooklyn, NY
    July 27, 2014 9:23 p.m.

    As IronyGuy says, this is a "useful and compassionate appeal." I echo his wish that more Utahns will open their minds and their hearts, and that editorials like this should help.

    @LauraBillington and @BobK: I understand your impatience and anger at the ingrained Mormon attitude towards LGBT citizens in general. But, please... Don't you think a little applause and encouragement are warranted for editorials like this? Erika Munson's organization may not be everything you'd like it to be all at once, but opening Mormon hearts and minds on this subject seems like no small matter, and everything has to start somewhere.

    Good work needs to be acknowledged. This editorial is good work.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    July 27, 2014 9:03 p.m.

    I am not sure why this is all that hard. Even my own kids, the do things I wouldn't do, and wish they wouldn't do, but I still love them to death. Loving someone, caring for someone and not condoning all they do are not mutually exclusive. Thank heavens... there are many people I know think my religion is not Christian, and yet they treat with with friendship and respect.

    I really struggle with why this is a difficult concept for anyone.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    July 27, 2014 9:00 p.m.

    FYI --
    Myth #2 busted...

    100% of the Gay/Lesbians I know all grew up from hetero-sexual parents.

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    July 27, 2014 4:44 p.m.

    @JoeCapitalist2
    " If the stories really want to be unbiased, find some people who represent the "average" gay or lesbian person and report on their behaviors and attitudes towards this issue"

    Um... average gay people are pretty much the same as any old average straight person.

    "I think that a tiny minority of an already tiny minority even want marriage for themselves and their partner(s)...outside the motivation to make a political statement. But...I might be wrong."

    They aren't trying to make a political statement at all, the only reason this is a political issue is because you all passed laws banning and in some states even criminalizing performing same-sex marriage.

  • Bob K Davis, CA
    July 27, 2014 4:03 p.m.

    higv
    Dietrich, ID
    "@Owen why should a baker or photographer be required to do business for a lifestyle they don't agree with. It's not like they can't find someone willing to accommodate them."

    Answer: Because it is the Christian thing to do.

    Businesses do not have signs asking that only those sharing their strict version of Christian beliefs should pass through their door. Thus, a Gay couple innocently walks in, only to find their love negated and their dream devalued, because they cannot tell in advance who will turn them down.
    --- In the New Mexico case, 2 Lesbians in a small city picked the only woman wedding photographer, which seems a natural choice, and were insulted by the photographer.

    Imagine you lived in a area with few mormons, went for a photo or a cake, and were told "Sorry, I will have nothing to do with any mormon since Prop 8, and I am against what you believe anyhow, because you are not my kind of Christian. You are not welcome."

    Many fundamentalist Christians like to brag about being the only true Christians, and do not see that they insult other Christians? That has happenned to me.

  • Bob K Davis, CA
    July 27, 2014 3:54 p.m.

    "Taking a gay coworker out to lunch" -- Oh yes! Just as a lady in the South would lunch with her Black maid, to feel liberal.

    “As Utahns who cherish traditional ideals about marriage get to know their gay and lesbian neighbors” -- Yes, let us forget that "traditional marriage was like this:
    --Son, it's time you take a wife. Farmer Jones is giving me 3 cows, a pig, and 4 bags of wheat, and you will marry his daughter, Josie.

    I am glad this lady is encouraging politeness, in a State having a history of unkindness and persecution toward its Gay kids and adults, but:

    A-- "Mormons building bridges" is a false name, as the group seeks to build moats around Gay mormons, to keep them in the fold.
    B-- Present mormon doctrine seeks to keep the Gay members born into mormon families in a status even lower than Black men endured up until 1978. At least the Black men could marry the woman they loved and bring her to stake meetings.

    The article is a start, but it should have been written 25 years ago. In 2014, mormons ought to be allowing equal marriage rights to all of their children.

  • higv Dietrich, ID
    July 27, 2014 2:35 p.m.

    @the Real maverick The saints were driven out of there homes in bitter cold weather. The US was in the process of the US Mexican war when the Saints were driven here. In what is now the US the majority of people in Mexican territory were already Americans anyway. Settlers. The us acquired that territory when the Pioneers came by. The Mormon settlers did not invade Mexico but driven to territory Mexico soon lost.

  • Laura Bilington Maple Valley, WA
    July 27, 2014 2:26 p.m.

    Ms. Munson, although your essay is, for the most part, inclusive and caring, you have, probably inadvertently, repeated the actions of the anti-SSM crowd. Three lines jump out at me:
    “As Utahns who cherish traditional ideals about marriage get to know their gay and lesbian neighbors”---Traditional “ideals” about marriage are things like caring for each other, honesty and fidelity toward each other, commitment to the relationship. These are, and should be, present in opposite sex marriages and same-sex marriages. A policy which restricts marriage to opposite genders is just that--a policy. It is NOT an “ideal”.
    “Utah’s definition of marriage”. Correct me if I am wrong, but I don’t think anything in Utah law “defines” marriage. The law simply restricts it to couples who meet certain requirement.
    “Balancing personal conviction and compassion”. I can’t speak for all gay couples, but I suspect the majority do not want compassion--they want respect and they want to be treated as equals.

  • LifeInChapters VIENNA, VA
    July 27, 2014 2:14 p.m.

    I can understand the confusion and conflicted feelings about businesses that - given the option - would not provide their services for a particular type of wedding or any other event that was outside their personal comfort zone. The owners or managers might feel pushed or pressured into supporting something that they could not condone.

    The problem is this was exactly the situation faced by the manager of the Woolworth's lunch counter in Selma, Alabama. Had we, as a country, taken the easy way out we would still be providing separate store entrances, drinking fountains and restrooms.

    Can you picture a world in which we label separate schools, shops and services for "Straight" and "LGBT"? Leaving a side exit for businesses to discriminate against any one group cheapens us all.

  • Laura Bilington Maple Valley, WA
    July 27, 2014 1:27 p.m.

    @care4usa: If you are going to work as a wedding photographer or wedding cake baker, you can discriminate all you want for non-bigoted reasons--as long as you are consistent. If you want to restrict your services to a radius of ten miles, fine--as long as you service every wedding within that limit and refuse any over that limit. Or if you want to do only daytime work. If you demand to ALL your clients that they pay up front, still good. Or if you refuse to work on Tuesdays, no matter who the client is, that's OK, too.

    Now if you want to refuse to provide services to a couple because they're Mexican or Jehovah's Witnesses or gay or previously married, you are going to be running afoul of the law. Knowing this, don't go into the wedding cake / wedding photography / rental business.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    July 27, 2014 12:47 p.m.

    ‘My view: Balancing personal conviction and compassion for same-sex couples’

    ===

    Balance is impossible to the "All-or-Nothing", "Black or White", "My-way-or the-highway" extremists.

    Balance is the very essence of "compromise".

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    July 27, 2014 12:41 p.m.

    "We need to ask ourselves: is there anything I have said that could contribute to an atmosphere of fear, anger, or polarization--however unintentional? Are we paying attention to our tone when we discuss LGBT issues, or issues of same-sex attraction?"

    I for one will be grateful when the made up affliction of "same-sex attraction" is finally abandoned. It is demeaning and immediately places gay people in an inferior position to straights, who somehow don't suffer from the "opposite-sex attraction" that naturally flows from their sexual orientation.

    The concept is nonsense and it's harmful. IMO, the fact that some believe they've overcome their "SSA" probably says more about the power of their religious indoctrination and the "obey or lose everything" position it creates than any real "repairing" done.

    The idea is hideous and it's no different than what we put lefthanders through when we thought there was something wrong with that. Well, there's one difference: It's worse.

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    July 27, 2014 12:10 p.m.

    @ higv

    "why should a baker or photographer be required to do business for a lifestyle they don't agree with. It's not like they can't find someone willing to accommodate them."

    Because you wouldn't like it if people refused to serve other minorities, such as Mormons. When Mormons didn't like being discriminated, they ran away and invaded Mexico. Luckily, for them, Mexico allowed them to invade and stay in Mexican territory.

  • JoeCapitalist2 Orem, UT
    July 27, 2014 12:02 p.m.

    Members of the GLBT community should be treated the same way we should treat every other person who does things we disapprove of. We should not hate them. We should not call them names.

    Just like people who use drugs, cross the border illegally, or commit various sexual acts against moral codes, we should treat them as human beings but without condoning their behavior.

    Unfortunately in today's PC climate, that is not enough. If you think drugs and alcohol are bad; if you think people who sneak across the border should be sent back; or if you think the laws of marriage should not be changed to suit a tiny minority of Americans; then you must be an irrational hater.

    These stories alway pick the most sympathetic gay couple to present that side of the SSM issue. If the stories really want to be unbiased, find some people who represent the "average" gay or lesbian person and report on their behaviors and attitudes towards this issue.

    I think that a tiny minority of an already tiny minority even want marriage for themselves and their partner(s)...outside the motivation to make a political statement. But...I might be wrong.

  • Wonder Provo, UT
    July 27, 2014 11:25 a.m.

    This piece expresses my views perfectly. I think there is a fear among some people that if children are exposed to same sex couples they will decide they are going to be gay. I don't know why they think that will happen. If you don't feel attracted to the same gender, there's nothing that will make you decide that you are. I mean really, can any of you heterosexuals who are worried about this imagine yourselves choosing to be attracted to the same gender? Of course not. Exposure to these couples will not affect your family in any negative way (any more than exposure to every other person who in your belief system breaks some commandment -- which if you are honest, is everyone.)

  • care4usa Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 27, 2014 10:10 a.m.

    When did taking photographs or baking wedding cakes become forced labor? Why should someone asked to provide such services be condemned for politely refusing? Surely the individual asked to perform the service has the freedom to decline for any number of reasons other than being discrimatory. I realize that our Constitution has been shredded and is on life support but last I time I looked we still had freedom of association under the law. Equality does not include demanding services that another person is forced to perform against their will. That, my friend is tyranny. Ever heard the expression, "live and let live"?

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    July 27, 2014 10:05 a.m.

    This example is the exception, not the rule.
    MOST gay couples are raising their OWN children from previous hetero-sexual marriages.

    The root cause of the lack of compassion and intolerance,
    it the "icky" factor.

    i.e., bigotry.

  • Really??? Kearns, UT
    July 27, 2014 9:53 a.m.

    Thank you. I, like too many other people, have postponed living an authentic, love-filled life because I was too concerned that some of my neighbors and extended family members were offended by my love. After years of prayerful introspection, I realize that I don't need to hide who I am to be happy. No, I don't announce this to everyone I meet; I just announce it here in the hopes that others will realize that we deserve to be treated better than we have traditionally been treated.

    I believe that attitudes are changing because people like Ms. Munson have prayerfully asked how they can be better neighbors. Thank you so much to those who are reaching out. Your kindness will be returned in many unexpected ways. I am working with a group of friends to find a way to return the kindness.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    July 27, 2014 9:44 a.m.

    If you don't want to engage in same sex marriage, you don't and won't have to. Your convictions are satisfied. If others engage in same sex marriage, it can be seen to be compassionate to you if you'd like. If, however, you wish to extend your convictions to others without compassion, it's overstepping conviction and needs explanation.

  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    July 27, 2014 9:42 a.m.

    @higv
    "Why should a baker or photographer be required to do business for a lifestyle they don't agree with?"

    Um, because it's the law? Not in Utah, of course, where we are free to discriminate and shame people to our heart's content, but in other states such as New Mexico.

    Or is the law only law when you "agree with" it?

  • higv Dietrich, ID
    July 27, 2014 9:10 a.m.

    @Owen why should a baker or photographer be required to do business for a lifestyle they don't agree with. It's not like they can't find someone willing to accommodate them.

  • Stormwalker Cleveland , OH
    July 27, 2014 9:05 a.m.

    "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you" is too often ignored in favor of the attitude "god doesn't like you, so I can be horrible to you."

  • Spark44 MIDVALE, UT
    July 27, 2014 7:51 a.m.

    Great job, Erika! Your kind soul shows through in your thoughts.

  • E Sam Provo, UT
    July 27, 2014 7:46 a.m.

    Excellent letter. Absolutely. And when marriage equality becomes the law, accept it. It won't affect straight marriages at all.

  • ordinaryfolks seattle, WA
    July 27, 2014 7:30 a.m.

    If Utah wishes to continue the naively believe that it can vote away the gay, they ought to forget about it. These two gentleman, and many like them, make a life for themselves and possibly for children. To think they will magically disappear is a fool's errand.

    In fact, I make the argument that making a same sex couple's life more difficult, only strengthens their resolve. Given the hurdles to establishing themselves make gay couples all the more committed to their relationship and their children. Utah's obstinate refusal to acknowledge the validity of same sex couples rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness may indeed have the opposite effect. It may be that Utah same sex couples are more committed than their heterosexual siblings, and will show the better way to conduct their marital lives.

  • Owen Heber City, UT
    July 27, 2014 4:00 a.m.

    "Taking a gay coworker out to lunch, asking Ashley’s two moms to help out at school, organizing a play date for your daughter and theirs: there are hundreds of ways to engage in the satisfying work of getting to know someone different from you without betraying your principles."

    All good ideas. Others would include politely providing the same commercial services for that gay neighbor that you would for any other sinner (read: person)?

  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    July 27, 2014 1:51 a.m.

    This useful and compassionate appeal, I fear, will go unheeded by my neighbors who simply despise "the gays" and always have.

    I grew up watching effeminate boys tortured and bullied beyond belief in our Mormon community. I regret to say I did nothing to prevent it. One of them is an old acquaintance who now lives contentedly on the East Coast with his partner. He tells me he will never return to Utah even to visit. Too many bitter memories of his treatment at the hands of the "saints."