Saturday, November 24, 2012

Mormons and Marriage Equality: Testimony from Salt Lake Tribune

Writing in the Salt Lake Tribune, gay ex-Mormon Johnny Townsend finds that some Mormons have made a graceful transition to a world in which gay and lesbian human beings increasingly enjoy the same right to marry that straight people enjoy.  Other Mormons?  Not so much.

Townsend writes:

A few weeks ago a friend in Salt Lake reported a rumor that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was soon going to make some announcement about homosexuality. I thought: They’d hardly call a press conference to say they were against gays. Maybe they’ll say that gay members who are legally married will no longer be excommunicated. 
When the state of Washington voted for gay marriage on Nov. 6, my partner, Gary, proposed to me. I announced this on the Facebook page "Mormons for Marriage Equality" and received lots of congratulations from other Mormons. 
Maybe my perception that most Mormons hate me is no longer valid, I thought. So I announced my engagement on my Italian mission’s Facebook page. After all, Gary and I had served in the same mission. 
The response was venomous. People said they wouldn’t congratulate me because what I was doing was vile and unholy. Some compared me to a pedophile. Some said my books on being a gay ex-Mormon "exploited" the church for my "sinister agenda." 
I realize now that there will be no announcement anytime soon. I really want Mormons to be better than they are, but that’s simply not realistic. 
Johnny Townsend 

And sad to say, this is a letter many of us who are Catholic and gay or in solidarity with those who are gay could write about our experience contributing to Catholic blogs--though, thankfully, in the case of the Catholic church in the U.S., a growing number of Catholics now support marriage equality, and this number will almost certainly increase as the older Catholics who continue to stand in the door as LGBT citizens demand their rights exit the stage.

The graphic is a photo by Steve Silberman from PLOS blogs.

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