Search Bunsnip.com

bunsnip (at) gmail (dot com)

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Second Civil Rights Movement

Thanks to Pants for recommending Carol Lynn Pearson's collection of true stories called No More Goodbyes: Circling the Wagons around Our Gay Loved Ones. This is a very timely book to read following California's recent passage of Proposition 8. Actually, it would have been a more timely book to read BEFORE the election. Maybe if more people had read this book, the results of the vote would have been different.

The book is written primarily from an LDS perspective. Pearson is an LDS woman who years ago married a gay man in a traditional Mormon temple ceremony. The story of that marriage is not the subject of this book, but of her previous work Good-bye, I Love You, published in the 80's. This book, rather, is a collection of stories by and about gays in the Mormon church. Many of the stories are heart-breaking, but just as many are heart-warming. I was glad to be able to glean some understanding of why some gays choose to remain faithful to Mormonism even after recognizing their sexuality and coming out. It seems that religious belief and spirituality can be as much a part of one's identity as one's sexuality. So while to me homosexuality and Mormonism are mutually exclusive, I can now understand why some people are not willing to give up religion just because of the reality of their sexuality.

One line from the book I think sums up the gay marriage issue beautifully:

"They drew a circle that left me out. I drew a circle that kept them in."
(Spoken by Frank Matheson, Chair of Equality Utah just before the 2004 vote to amend the Utah Constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman.)
To me, that says it all. Opponents of gay marriage want a definition of marriage that excludes gays. Proponents of gay marriage want a definition of marriage that includes straights. The more noble of those goals is obvious.

Another notable bit in the book is this quote about "traditional marriage" and the irony of Mormons taking an anti-gay marriage stance:
When anti-gay advocates use the term "traditional," I always wonder what tradition and what time. Do we support early 19th-century traditional marriages when married women had no legal standing, could not own property, sign contracts, or legally control any earned wages? ... I also find it somewhat hypocritical for the Church to appeal to people's emotions and use the "tradition" argument when it was on the receiving end of such abuse during its polygamy era. The Church more than anyone in this country should know how persecution feels...
(Stuart Matis, a gay Mormon who tragically committed suicide.)
Finally, unrelated to the book, but related to the gay marriage issue, here's a video that employs the same arguments Yes-Prop-8ers used against gay marriage, but substituting "divorce" for "gay marriage". (It's rhetorically satirical, in case that escapes you.)



Subscribe to Bunsnip

8 comments:

sovknight said...

That video was the greatest thing I've seen in support of equal rights. It should be shown in schools, broadcast on television, and every LDS ward house, Catholic church, and Sunday school class in the nation should have to watch it and write a report about it. They should show it at the next General Conference. It hits the issue spot on and offers no quarter for the haters.

The issue isn't about gay vs straight, it's about equal rights. Rights that are GUARANTEED BY THE DOCUMENT THAT GOVERNS THE LAWS OF THIS COUNTRY. There should have NEVER been a "vote" by the common folk of California over this issue. It should have NEVER been an issue. The United States is a democratic republic. The common folks don't make the laws that govern it, we elect people to do that. An issue like this should have NEVER hit the ballot. This new "law" will be struck down as unconstitutional, because it is.

Sorry for the rant, but you know how I am about this. You got me all riled up again.

Sra said...

Hmm, my reply comment got swallowed by the interwebs. And it was perfect too. Damnation!

Basically I said this issue isn't going to be swept under the rug anymore, people are going to become more vocal about change and equality. As my title suggests, I believe this is the second Civil Rights movement. One day people will read about prop 8 in the history books and wonder "What were we thinking?" much like we do now when we read about Rosa Parks, for instance. One day we will recognize that gays are not second class citizens relegated to second class rights, but that they are just like the rest of us, and deserve the same rights.

Anyway, that was the gist.

Nilsa said...

Wow. That book looks REALLY interesting. While I have no connection to the Mormon church (though, I did date a Mormon long ago), my brother is gay. And I have a feeling there are stories that transcend the Mormon faith and relate to all faiths. This Jewish girl just might put that Mormon book on my Christmas list. Go figure. Thanks!

Sra said...

Yes, it's an interesting book, and it does transcend just the Mormon faith. In fact, there are a few stories from Jewish and Baptist people, and maybe even a few other faiths. It's just primarily Mormon. I think it's a book for anyone, though. I enjoyed it even as an atheist.

jess said...

substituting the word "divorce" for the word "gay marriage" has long been an argument of mine - but the anti-gay peeps (and they aren't just anti gay marriage, i think many of them are truly anti-gay) disregard my argument. didn't feel it was valid.

i think it totally is.

Miss Pants said...

I'm glad you liked the book!

And I'm really liking the video, thanks for sharing.

Nilsa said...

Wow. That book looks REALLY interesting. While I have no connection to the Mormon church (though, I did date a Mormon long ago), my brother is gay. And I have a feeling there are stories that transcend the Mormon faith and relate to all faiths. This Jewish girl just might put that Mormon book on my Christmas list. Go figure. Thanks!

sovknight said...

That video was the greatest thing I've seen in support of equal rights. It should be shown in schools, broadcast on television, and every LDS ward house, Catholic church, and Sunday school class in the nation should have to watch it and write a report about it. They should show it at the next General Conference. It hits the issue spot on and offers no quarter for the haters.

The issue isn't about gay vs straight, it's about equal rights. Rights that are GUARANTEED BY THE DOCUMENT THAT GOVERNS THE LAWS OF THIS COUNTRY. There should have NEVER been a "vote" by the common folk of California over this issue. It should have NEVER been an issue. The United States is a democratic republic. The common folks don't make the laws that govern it, we elect people to do that. An issue like this should have NEVER hit the ballot. This new "law" will be struck down as unconstitutional, because it is.

Sorry for the rant, but you know how I am about this. You got me all riled up again.

Post a Comment