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

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Published: Sunday, July 27 2014 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Irony Guy
Bountiful, Utah

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."

Heber City, UT

"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)?

seattle, WA

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.

E Sam
Provo, UT

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


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

Cleveland , OH

"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."

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.

Irony Guy
Bountiful, Utah

"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?

American Fork, UT

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.

Kearns, UT

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.

LDS Liberal
Farmington, UT

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.

Cottonwood Heights, UT

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"?

Provo, UT

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.)

Orem, UT

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.

The Real Maverick
Orem, UT

@ 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.

Karen R.
Houston, TX

"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.

LDS Liberal
Farmington, UT

‘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".

Laura Bilington
Maple Valley, WA

@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.


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

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.

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