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Mormons for Marriage Equality

Dressed in our Sunday best, my hands gripped the handle of Abby’s stroller just a little bit harder as we turned the corner. I wore my new white skirt, a rainbow bracelet and a freshly pressed blouse. Abby wore her prettiest church dress, her pigtails adorned with brightly colored ribbons.

Heidi, my nanny turned closest friend, walked beside me carrying the signs we had made the night before. She walked with a bounce in her step, a broad smile of excitement. I walked with trepidation. The signs loudly proclaimed we were Mormons, and we were about to walk in a gay pride parade.

Weeks before, I had written a blog post about my support for gay marriage. The comment section exploded, and I felt the scourge of people from my own faith. It was truly painful, and I wrote about that pain in a post where I committed to walk in the Capital Pride Parade with the Mormons for Marriage contingent.

I knew why I was there, and I felt strongly about it. Shouldering the pain of rejection from many from my own background, I went before a group of people I feared would also reject me; this time from the outset because of my religious affiliation.

Mormons for Marriage contingent

From the first step I took out on the parade route, my fear disappeared. Tears fell down my face as I looked into a crowd that broke out into cheers.  I walked by an older gentleman who had tears in his eyes. He held his hand over his heart and mouthed “thank you.”

And then there was this: the defining moment in the entire parade for me. As we walked a man ran into our group crying. He was cheering, “I can’t believe you’re here! I’m Mormon too! Thank you for coming! Thank you for being here for ME! Thank you! Thank you so much!” and then he went through and hugged everyone in the group.

pride paradeAnd so on this day where we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights movement I say this:  I am here for you. There’s a spot saved for you in the pew next to me at church (though you’ll have to be comfortable being climbed all over by my kids), and a place at my dinner table. I’ll be there for you at the rallies and the marches, I will be there for you as we work now in Rhode Island to get marriage equality passed as we did in Maryland and Washington State this last year.

I am a married, straight, Mormon mom. I could not have been more different than most of the people who were celebrating that day, and yet, I was immediately embraced. My daughter, who’s differences are written in the shape of her eyes, was loved and fawned over. If you can’t support gay marriage, I hope that you will rethink it. But at the very least, you can embrace people who are different from you in the way that this group of people did me that day.

Strawberries-0146

 

27 thoughts on “Mormons for Marriage Equality

  1. I will have to send this to a friend of mine, she is a PFLAG member and she worries everyday about her son! Wonderful post!

  2. Great post, great pictures, GREAT movement!! I am sure your little group of Mormons for Marriage equality turned a lot of heads, but I hope it also made people really stop and THINK. You can’t put people in a box, just because they are mormon or gay or black or white. We are all people, and we all want love and understanding.

    Thanks for sharing this inspiring story!

  3. First, I just have to say that I love your blog, Lexi. We’ve never met but I have two siblings with Downs and a friend sent me a link to one of your awesome posts. I’ve been following ever since.

    I love that you are who you are, no matter what others think. I look up to you for it. You are a beautiful, passionate person. I love that you bring up tough issues, too. It’s not easy, but I do think you are making a positive difference in this world, truly.

    It might not be appropriate to share how I feel – and if so, delete this comment – but I am also a mormon mom and I have a tough time allowing something as sacred as marriage to be redefined. I feel it’s disrespectful to redefine marriage (something I hold such a high respect for) to fit into a gay or lesbian lifestyle.

    On the same note, I don’t feel that anyone who is gay or lesbian should be without the same legal privileges that marriage has to offer. Why can’t we just call it something else? Why must we tarnish what those with strong religious views of marriage feel so strongly about by allowing such a sacred covenant to be tweaked rather than creating a new institution that will provide the same rights to people who are gay or lesbians?

    I would love to echo your sentiment that there is always a spot next to me in church for anyone in this group, and at my dinner table for that matter, too. Still – I just wish we didn’t have to change the definition of marriage, as it is something I hold very dear.

    Right on for showing love and support, Lexi. I wish more mormons could be accepting and supportive even when they disagree.

    1. This is a difficult issue for so many whose religions appear to hold that marriage must be between a man and a woman. I also applaud you for your beliefs that from a legal perspective that persons who are gay should have the same legal protections as those who are not. The thing is that if the government creates two classifications, marriage between a man and a woman and civil union for people who are gay, that isn’t equal. I think the way to look at it is the difference between religious marriage that each religion is and should always be able to define and for you marriage is sacred (a religious belief) and should be between a man and a woman in your church. The government, which only deals with laws in this world, then defines marriage from a civil/legal perspective — there is only one kind and what matters is the legal rights it gives not the religious rights.

    2. Brin, Thank you for your comment and for saying such nice things. I also very much appreciate you standing up for your beliefs. That is never inappropriate, and I feel it leads to thoughtful discussion.

      If you go to my post about why I support gay marriage, it talks about why I feel like this is a civil issue, and not a religious one. Long story short, I don’t feel like any one religion should dictate what everyone should do. What if Islam became the dominant religion? Would you be okay with following their moral standards?

      The LDS Church redefined marriage in our history, too. And though polygamy is not practiced right now in the church (aside from men being able to be sealed to another woman after their first wife passes away), it’s still a doctrine of the church.

      I firmly believe that allowing gays to get married, to use the word “marriage” does NOTHING to “tarnish” the sacred institution of marriage. I love being married. It’s just the greatest. Why wouldn’t I want everyone to have that kind of happiness? How does someone who is gay getting married affect your marriage? If we want a more moral society, wouldn’t we want for people to be able to have access to the same commitments as us? In every state that marriage equality has passed, no religion has been forced to perform or recognize those marriages, and LDS Social Services has not had to allow gay couples to adopt.

      Going back to what you were saying. I have a hard time when anyone says that we should separate someone because of the way they were born. There is no equality when you believe that a group of people does not deserve the same as majority. They separated the blacks from the whites. This was not equal. They separated the people with disabilities from those without. This was not equal. And now with gay people. This is not equal.

      Thank you for your comment. I took no offense to it and i hope that I have not offended you in my position.

  4. This post makes me happy and blows away some of my preconceived notions. In a good way. I found you blog not long ago because I was looking for ASD related blogs after my sons diagnosis. I’m happy I found your blog and I’m happy there are people like you standing up for the rights of others. Maybe someday my sister who just moved to UT with her partner of 12+ years will be able to legally marry.

  5. Thank you for your post and your participation in the march. In this country civil rights are only won when brave people take unpopular stands within their community. I also love the photo, I used to work in the building behind you and the Gay Pride parade was always a bright spot on a Sunday in the office.

  6. I love this so so much. I admire your strength for standing up for something you believe in. I have fear from both sides and instead of facing the fear I usually shirk in the corner. You are truly inspirational!

  7. Yay, Yay, YAY! As I look at my gay friends who have been together even longer than my straight ones, who have loving, beautiful relationships, it just makes me happy to know that people support them. So thank you.

  8. I appreciate what you said. I am Mormon and struggle with some gay related issues. I love people. Gay, straight, black, white, LDS, non-LDS. I also have an autistic son. I know this is a hard issue. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Thank you for standing up for what you believe and not regurgitating the same “love the sinner, hate the sin” nonsense. We left the church several years ago over this issue (and others) and I couldn’t be more proud of what your group is doing from inside.
    Thank you for taking the flack and being the example. You are doing to the right thing and years from now nobody will question that!

  10. Thank you.

    I reposted your post with the following comment: “We can’t wait for April 6 for the Phoenix Pride Parade.

    Tucson beat Phoenix and had the first (tiny) Arizona Mormons for Marriage Equality contingent in October 2012.

    It’s a painful and difficult task to be open about something like this in the Mormon community, because our community –for all of its wonderful, wonderful qualities–tends to use very critical language to demean people who deviate from the norm. I have been the recipient of such criticism-it can be very cutting and alienating. Which is all the more reason to be vocal in support of my gay brothers and sister–to help shield them from much harsher rhetoric.

    However, to use Mormon language–the worth of a soul is great–and my family supports and loves our gay brothers and sisters.”

  11. Lexi,

    You may not know me, and I’ve never met you, but you’ve touched my heart in a big way. This posting brought me to tears, just as the sight of a large group of Mormons marching in the salt lake gay pride parade brought me to tears that day. I am gay and Mormon, and growing up that way has been difficult. I remember standing on the streets as the parade began, and fighting back tears as the first group came marching down the street. At that moment my heart began to heal. Seeing a representation of the people belonging to the church I love standing up for ME was one of the best and most beautiful experiences of my life. Every night I thank my heavenly father for people like you. From the bottom of my heart, Thank You. You’ll never know how much your efforts mean to me.

  12. Dearest Lexi
    I came looking for this post to remind myself why I am marching tomorrow in SLC. I remember, I remember how I felt the first time I read this. Thank you. xox

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