On the Mormons and Gays website, Elder Cook is quoted as saying this:
“As a church, nobody should be more loving and compassionate. Let us be at the forefront in terms of expressing love, compassion and outreach. Let’s not have families exclude or be disrespectful of those who choose a different lifestyle as a result of their feelings about their own gender.”
That sounds nice, doesn’t it? Well, talk is cheap. Especially when you make policies like excommunicating gay members for getting married, and barring their children from being blessed or baptized. Then that kind of stamps baloney on all the nice and conciliatory things you might have said.
I really do have high hopes for the Church. I always expect that leaders will do better than they have done before and progress toward accepting a wider and wider circle of people as fully people. (Perhaps one day, even women.) But changes like this are just tremendously discouraging. Church members married to a spouse of the same sex were already excluded from the temple. By not being able to get a temple recommend, they were already excluded from many callings. They already faced plenty of stigma in the Church. And of course this goes double for their kids, who get to go to primary and hear over and over that there’s an approved version of family, and theirs isn’t it. But all this was not good enough! No. It appears that the Q15 decided that they had to take a few extra steps just to be sure that gay people know how much we hate them. Now we’re going to bar them–and their kids!–from even being members. I guess maybe Church leaders were concerned that members in gay marriages who still braved all the exclusion and stigma to make a go of it in the Church were just having too easy a time of it.
Really it’s the part about the kids that gets me the most. Excommunicating gay members who want nothing more than a marriage relationship–the very thing we trumpet over and over in the Church as the most wonderful thing in life–is bad enough. But at least it’s not surprisingly in that it’s consistent with all the Church’s political work opposing gay marriage. But in what world does it make sense to borrow this absurdly draconian policy aimed at the children of polygamists and hit the children of gay people with it? Children don’t catch “the gay” from their gay parents. Why exclude them? Why require them to reach adulthood, move out, and renounce their parents’ relationship to join the Church? Does this just reveal that there’s some ridiculous belief about gay contagion among the Q15?
I think there are two ways forward for the Church in a world that is rapidly moving toward accepting gay people as people. One is to begin to walk back harmful and absurd policies like this. The other is to just accept that we’re going to become like the Westboro Baptist Church. I’m afraid we just took a big step in the direction of Westboro Baptist.