What is your earliest memory of working for marriage equality? My own recollections go back to 1998, when I learned that the LDS Church was sending $500,000 to Alaska to fight same-sex marriage. At that time my Mormon friend David Combe was involved in what he called “MormonAid”–a group of progressive Latter-day Saints who supported marriage equality. Although I was struggling financially as a student, I felt compelled to send a very modest $10.00 check to the “No on 2” campaign in support of MormonAid and marriage equality. I even included a note that said, “I’m a Mormon and I support your cause.” Today I wonder: If it hadn’t been for that LDS assault on marriage, and my friend David’s courageous defense, would I have felt the call to take sides on the issue?
Fast forward 14 years. Today six states and the District of Columbia in the U.S., along with 10 other countries, allow LGBT people to marry. By the time we gather in Seattle in October, the list may include Washington state. We no longer have MormonAid, but we have organizations like Mormons for Marriage and people like Laura Compton and Brad Carmack. Just like David Combe did in 1998, these modern pioneers look you in the eye and tell you, with conviction: “I support marriage equality, and I am a Mormon.”
It is profoundly ironic that at a time when the LDS Church continues to attack our families, Mormons everywhere are finding out that their Mormonism actually inspires them to support equality. But how could they not? We know what it is like to be persecuted for our belief in marriage; we know that “whoever forbids to marry is not ordained of God” (D&C 49:15); we know what it means to be “anxiously engaged in a good cause” (D&C 58:27). The road is winding and bumpy, yet the cause of marriage equality will prevail—not because this nation is in “moral decay,” as many religious leaders want you to believe, but because this cause is on the side of justice.
Whether you’re single, partnered, or married, on this upcoming Valentine’s Day, let’s reflect on how much progress we have made on this important cause, and how crucial it is at this time that we continue to proclaim: “I support marriage equality—and I’m a Mormon.”
Affirmation: Gay & Lesbian Mormons