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."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.
(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.)
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...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.)
(Stuart Matis, a gay Mormon who tragically committed suicide.)