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BrandSanderson Fri Jun 03
Pemberly is flying in to London tomorrow. Our hotel's in the West End. We should catch a show or two while here, eh?
NOTE: NEW CONTENT HERE
I'm adding a note here in August of 2011, four or five years after writing and posting this essay. It draws attention now and then, and so I thought it was time for an update.
I will leave the entire essay, unchanged, below as I don't feel it is usually appropriate to go through and purge things like this. It has been linked around, and forcing all of those links point to a blank wall is hardly the right thing to do.
However, I have not spent the years static on this issue. I've done a lot of thinking, partially because of the well-reasoned responses I've gotten. And so, I want to leave three notes here at the beginning.
1) Please keep in mind that this essay was not intended to be an argument for or against homosexuality, or gay marriage. It was directed at members of my own community (I wasn't nearly as well-known outside of that community when I posted this as I am now) whom I felt were being overly critical. In doing so, I had to define some of my feelings and positions, for those who did read the essay and were not part of that community.
2) Looking back on it now, I find that—in speaking from a position of privilege—I speak of some things in a way that is likely offensive. These sorts of tones are very hard to avoid when speaking about a minority class from the perspective of one in the majority. I'm not certain I could write it now in a way that cut out that tone entirely, but I could probably do far better. If I casually offend, I apologize. Over the years, I've grown more and more aware of how the tone and biases of one like myself (white, male, straight) can itself be part of the problem.
3) I have changed my stance on gay marriage somewhat. After a great deal of soul searching, thought, and discussion, I now believe that the best way to approach this is to push for ALL state unions to be civil unions. I believe we should establish what the state grants a union—whether it be straight or gay—and apply those rights universally to all.
Marriage, I believe, should become an entirely religious term. Marriages should be performed by churches. In short, I believe that we should "Render unto Caesar that which is Ceasar's, and Render unto God that which is God's."
This would mean a great overhaul of civil code, but I find it the only solution my conscience will allow me to advocate. I cannot be deaf to the pleas of gay couples who want important things, such as hospital visitation rights, shared insurance, and custody rights.
At the same time, I accept and sustain the leaders of the LDS church. I believe that a prophet of God has said that widespread legislation to approve gay marriage will bring pain and suffering to all involved. I trust those whom I have accepted as my spiritual leaders. I feel that what they have said is God's will.
I believe that moving to a government civil-union-only system would appease both sides. Religiously, I have heard no opposition to the idea of gay couples gaining the rights they demand—the argument is over the term 'marriage.' There is worry (some would say unfounded, but the worry is there) that legalizing gay marriage would lead to anti-discrimination suits against the church for not being willing to marry same-sex couples. We believe that marriage itself is something holy, something God must seal. Letting the rights be sorted out by the government and the religious aspect be sorted out by the churches seems the best way to truly separate church and state on this issue.
And now, the original essay (which has a different focus.) As I said above, it is unchanged from how I originally wrote it. Thanks for reading, and hopefully we can continue to work together on this issue and both sides can abandon vitriol and actually TALK to one another. (And, please note, my position on this issue could change in many directions as the years pass. So maybe we'll get another update in five years.)
August 29th, 2011
I'm not on the cutting edge of the blogosphere. Like many of us, I read about Rowling's statements when they were said earlier this week. However, I usually like to think about things for a time before I write an essay about them. With this issue, I was tempted to simply let it go, since others have covered it quite well, and I worried about offending people.