Many of you may be aware of an ongoing case in Utah involving Peter and Mary Danzig. I’m not going to summarize here, as you can read about the details on various sites, but I’ll post links to the back-stories below. This post is just about opening a conversation. The core issues I feel are under debate are about how much involvement the LDS church officially has in the opposition of same sex marriage. The Danzigs resigned their membership because they felt the church was pressuring them to act against their own consciences. The church says (in a very unusual press response to a personal case) that it does not encourage one position or the other, but rather to be active in politics to support your values.
Obviously the topic is loaded with a lot of personal emotion. Hopefully we can keep this civil and respectful and get to the real issues worthy of discussion. I think the issue is much bigger than this one case, and it might be better to approach it from a high-level view. In my view, here are the pertinent questions:
- Does the LDS church influence its members to oppose same sex marriage?
- Is the influence explicit from top leaders, explicit-but-rogue from local leaders, or is it a cultural perceived thing from members? (Any arguments that it is explicitly taught would best be supported with actual quotes.)
- If it is a cultural thing, is there a reasonable basis for a member to perceive that voting to oppose same sex marriage is considered equal to choosing good over evil, in an LDS perspective?
- Perhaps tangential, but do you feel there is more or less latitude for a member to support civil unions as opposed to SSM, since civil unions do not impinge upon the concept of the sanctity of marriage?
As promised, here are the back-story links:
- Initial story from the SL Tribune
- A response to the story from FAIR
- The Danzigs’ personal story
- Official press release from the LDS Church
- Commentary on the issue at Messenger and Advocate