In the immediate aftermath of Tuesday's election, social media exploded. I saw many posts with cheers of victory. I also saw posts full of complaining... predicting the Second Coming of Christ, and declaring President Obama to be the Anti-Christ. I also saw posts of people threatening to move to Canada... and I urge them to grow a pair, and do it. Good freaking riddance.
I was on the winning end of the ballot. President Obama was reelected, Jim Matheson (D) edged out Mia Love (R) for reelection in the House of Representatives, and Ben McAdams (D) won election for Salt Lake County Mayor. Although Orrin Hatch (R) beat Scott Howell (D) to keep his seat in the Senate, and Governor Gary Herbert (R) won reelection against Peter Cooke (D) for Utah Governor, I still finished at 3-2, and I'm counting that as a win. I gave my fair share of hoorays. I also played a lot of defense... A LOT of defense. A friend of mine went as far as to call me an apostate for my liberal political leanings, and suggested that, "because I support legislation that kills an innocent baby, that I deserve to be killed simply because I am a lesbian... that that would be a step in the right direction for this country to return to its former glory. (Or back to the 1950s).
Needless to say, I told him to go fuck himself, and I went on with my day.
But this post isn't about all of the asshole Republicans I know. This is about compassion.
Everyone who's LDS, knows that Church Doctrine states that marriage is between one man and one woman. Most Mormons will confirm that in their own testimonies. Melissa and I went to dinner with her mom Monday night. At the end of the meal, she said that she had prayed long and hard about homosexuality and the Church's Doctrine. She studied in the Standard Works (Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine & Covenants, and The Pearl of Great Price), and studied articles and talks from the Ensign and General Conference... specifically from the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. She said that she has an overwhelmingly strong testimony of marriage being between one man, and one woman. That anything else is against the Lord's sacred Plan of Happiness. And that it makes her very sad for Melissa and I, because we can never achieve the Celestial Glory that is promised to us.
But she acknowledges our relationship. She acknowledges that we are dating. She expressed that she enjoys my company, and she enjoys it when I come to family functions. I am currently there as "the roommate"... because she, and Melissa's step-dad are not yet ready to "come out" as the parents of a gay child (and her girlfriend). Its not ideal... I really am not a fan... but... I know that she needs space. She needs time to process.
I worried that once Melissa and I get married, she still won't be ready to acknowledge us for what we are. I'm worried that when we have children, she won't acknowledge our family as legitimate. I worry that I'll be "the roommate" for the rest of my life. But, she likes me, and she loves her daughter unconditionally. And for now, that's what counts.
Mormons are not hateful bigots (OK... some are...). Mormons do not blindly follow the council of the First Presidency, Quorum of the Twelve, and the rest of the General Authorities (OK... fine... those people exist too...). Sure, the Church has a dirty political history with Proposition * in California in 2008. But the Church was curiously absent in the Maryland, Washington, Minnisota, and Maine ballot measures. There are many Mormons out there who support "the liberal agenda" (as Melissa's Mom calls it). There is even an emeritus General Authority, Elder Marlin K. Jensen, who spoke very lovingly about the gay Mormon community.
There are groups such as, Mormons Building Bridges, and Mormons for Marriage Equality that all support the legalization, and recognition of same-sex marriage. Mormons Building Bridges has marched in countless Pride parades this summer, I hope will continue to do so year after year. USGA (Understanding Same Gender Attraction) is an unofficial group at BYU, that consists mostly of LGBT students, but has a significant group of "straight allies"... people who believe in us... believe that we are just the same as everyone else, and that we deserve the exact same rights as everyone else.
Thats why I voted in this election. I voted for equal rights. President Barack Obama, Jim Matheson, and Ben McAdams are my best shots at achieving equality. Defeating candidates like Richard Mourdock, and Todd Akin gave me my best shot at achieving equality. Defeating Mitt Romney gave me my best shot at equality. Reelecting President Obama, who signed the Lilly Ledbetter "Equal Pay for Equal Work" Act, repealed "Don't Ask, Don't Tell", will give me my best chance at equality.
I can only hope that this country will begin to realize that my sexual orientation does not cause natural disasters. That it does not cause global warming. And that I will not tear down the sanctity of marriage, simply by getting married. I will not be hurting anyone.
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness." - The Declaration of Independence
"I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: `We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.`" - Dr. Martin Luther King "I Have A Dream" speech