When It Hits Home

Leave The Light On

I was privileged today to witness a speech given by the Mayor of San Diego, CA, Jerry Sanders.
You can watch the speech for yourself here. I suggest you do, it’s very moving. In a heartfelt declaration, he announced that after searching his heart, he decided that he would be signing a resolution in support of gay marriage. He campaigned under the banner of “civil unions”, feeling that was a fair alternative to marriage for ‘the gays’. He knew that several members of his staff were gay, but after learning that his own daughter was a lesbian, he was moved to change his position because, he said, he could not see himself denying members of his community the same rights as everyone else.

I applaud the mayor’s change of heart, but it brought me back to home, here in the Land of Zion. Personally, I never (never) plan on remarrying. I don’t think marriage is for me. But it’s something that I have taken for granted, and wonder what it would be like to have a love for someone and be denied the privilege of declaring that love to them and the world via that particular ceremony/ritual.

I think about own neck of the woods. If Gordon B. had a daughter or son who was gay, would we see him on a podium, in earnest and open humility telling the world not only that he had a gay child, but that from here on out, the LDS Church will embrace people in the gay community?

At the risk of projecting, I venture a resounding ‘no’. It causes me to wonder how many GA’s have gay children who have either been ousted from the family, or kept in check by fear. My heart aches for those who are simply….who they are, and are shamed and vilified for it. God created us all, according to conventional Christian teachings, so why would God make a ‘boo-boo’ such as homosexuality? Oh that’s right, it’s a choice. But wait, Gordon and some others have come right out and said that they don’t know if it’s genetic or not. So which is it guys?

The most hurtful thing that the contemporary church has done, in my opinion, is actively campaign against gay marriage. How many lives, children, relationships have been destroyed by their fear and hate mongering? No, families are not forever; only families who fit under a certain blanket of behavior fit in that mold. Those who are outside of it are made to know it early on.

I know how it feels to be on the outside of a family, a community. But I don’t know how it is to be openly gay in my family or community. I do know, however, how the treatment of gays can be. To live under that kind of yoke is beyond unbelievable. Even though the gay community has found a community, they are still actively demoted in the eyes of ‘Christians’ and churches everywhere.

I am glad the mayor of San Diego has changed his mind. It’s just too bad it had to hit close to home for him to see the light. Unfortunately, homosexuality has hit home in the LDS Church, and the Church has chosen to shut off the porch light.

It’s a crying shame.

Labels: community, family, gay marriage, LDS Church, Mormonism, Mormons

posted by JulieAnn Henneman from Ravings of a Mad Woman


My name is JulieAnn Henneman. I am an author living in Draper, Utah. My first novel, 2000 dollar loan online. Always Listen to the Ravings of a Mad Woman: a Story of Sex, Porn and Postum in the Land of Zion, is a fictional story about a suburban Mormon housewife who discovers that her husband of 17 years is a sex and pornography addict. I am also a poet and enjoy writing short stories with an erotic bent. You can find my poetry online, and probably some erotic shorts. I will be performing my poetry in the Utah Arts Festival this year, among other venues. I was born and raised in the LDS faith and left several times throughout my life; however, I left for good in 1995. Currently, I am a full-time writer and parent. Beginning next month, I will reprise my role as a creative writing workshop facilitator for Art Access of Utah. Through Art Access, I teach creative writing workshops to adults and teens with disabilities and addiction issues. Oh, and I really, really love coffee.

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6 Responses

  1. Hellmut says:

    Yes, that speech was pretty amazing. Much to his credit Barry Goldwater was an ardent defender of his gay grandchild much earlier. I think that gays benefited a lot from coming out of the closet. Suddenly many people know someone they love who is gay.

    What amazes me is that Gordon Hinckley admits his ignorance but feels perfectly justified to assault other people’s rights. He knows that our children are dying over his behavior. Yet he keeps carrying on.

  2. chanson says:

    Yeah, it’s a shame that the LDS church has chosen gay marriage as a central issue.

    Considering the fact that possibly as much as 90% of the population feels no significant temptation from same sex attraction, this stance in practice amounts to commanding a majority to judge and condemn a minority. But many people (even in the church) have experiences like the Mayor’s experience described in this moving speech: you know people who are gay, you can see that it’s not a question of sinfully rebelling against their heterosexual desires, and you can’t justify treating them like crap for it…

  3. Seth R. says:

    I’d personally like to see government get out of the marriage license business altogether.

    I didn’t marry my wife when we went down to some cheesy unvacuumed courthouse in Utah County. I married her in the American Fork temple, and I don’t give a damn what some judge did or didn’t think about it.

    Let there be laws protecting contractual relationships between informed and consenting adults. Let’s protect the vulnerable. But enough of this government stamp of approval on what is essentially a religious device anyway.

  4. Michael says:

    Thanks for letting me know about this video. It was very moving. I’ll add it to the list of reasons why I’d rather live in San Diego than in this forsaken town I’m in now, decades behind the times.

  5. chanson says:

    Seth R. — My problem with the solution of taking the government out of marriage entirely is that in cases like mine, I wouldn’t be legally allowed to live in the same country with my husband. So either we need to recognize marriage legally, or people are basically de-facto not allowed to marry foreigners. Plus I think there are other compelling reasons to grant legal status to this relationship.

    That said, I agree about religious marriage having a different meaning. I like the system here in France where they’re completely separate: The priest doesn’t sign the marriage license. If you want to be legally married you have to have a legal ceremony at city hall, and if you want to be married in the eyes of God, you have a separate ceremony in the church.

    There’s some confusion over the fact that the two have the same name: “marriage.” Mormons have proactively corrected this problem by defining a separate type of marriage: “eternal marriage” (which makes it all the more weird that they care at all whether non-Mormon gay people can get a civil/legal marriage). But Mormons aren’t the only ones who see civil marriage as separate. As I recounted in my post standing up for your (former) beliefs, my husband’s aunt told us she prayed we’d “get married” (in a church) since she didn’t recognize “civil marriage” as the same thing…

  6. Hellmut says:

    I agree with Chanson. Obligatory civil marriage is the solution. American churches should not be able to resort to the coercive powers of the state in matters of conscience.

    Obligatory civil marriage was an important tool to restrain Catholicism to the private realm in Europe and Latin America. In the United States that did not used to be a problem because there was always more religious competition.

    For example, in 1968 no one cared that George Romney was Mormon. After twenty years of Christianist hysteria, however, Mormonism is suddenly a deal breaker.

    And to some degree, it’s our own fault. Our leaders created the mess when they joined the Christianists fighting the ERA, maligned Democrats as godless, and scapegoated a tiny minority for imaginary problems of the family.

    We thought that we could stick it to someone else but now it comes to bite one of our own as liberals distrust us and conservatives consider it virtuous to discriminate against religious minorities.

    That’s the nature of human rights. When you deny them to someone else you can never know when the precedent will apply to yourself.

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