Larry Miller follow-up and clarification

Looks like I stepped in it just a little bit in my last blog entry. On the subject of gays vs. straights, I said this:

Religious people, meanwhile, often want the gay community to understand that they (they religious people) have every right to consider gay conduct sinful. And they do have that right. But when those beliefs are being used to champion secular laws restricting gays’ rights, then a line has been crossed. Preach what you want in your churches, but leave the laws out of it. [Emphasis added.]

This led some people, knowing my LDS background, to wonder: Am I saying I think the LDS Church is wrong when it urges its members to vote against legislation that would legalize gay marriage?

My thoughts can be summed up thus: Doh!

The line originally read, “But when those beliefs are being used to champion secular laws restricting gays’ rights, then maybe a line has been crossed.” Note the word “maybe.” I was covering both sides of the argument in that post, and this paragraph was addressing the gay community’s point of view. I didn’t necessarily mean for it to be a statement of my own feelings, but simply a summary of one argument: that maybe, in some people’s view, a line has been crossed.

Late in the writing process, I took out the “maybe.” It’s an old journalism-school habit, where weasel words like “maybe” and “I think” and “in my opinion” should be used sparingly, and only when necessary. I removed this “maybe” carelessly, though, without stopping to consider how it changed the tone of the sentence.

My own opinions on this topic are evolving, not to mention irrelevant to what this Web site is all about. It’s a complicated, thorny issue. Even if one opposes gay marriage, should one campaign for legislation against it? Even if one supports the church leadership generally, must one agree with every single point? If one believes gay marriage should be banned, does that mean one is anti-homosexual or bigoted? Where is the line, discussed in that Larry Miller blog entry, between “understanding” and “tolerance”?

Finally: Gay marriage is a controversial subject, with good arguments on both sides. Unfortunately, the same good arguments (as well as the stupid ones) keep getting repeated back and forth, to where you could make a template of what Every Gay-Marriage Discussion sounds like. It’s always rancorous and headache-inducing, and I don’t like it. And thus, since this is my blog and I can do whatever I want, I’m not going to allow this or any other thread to turn into a debate on the pros and cons of gay marriage. Any comments submitted that do address the pros or cons of the issue will be deleted. Trust me, this is a necessary preemptive measure. If I let it, these threads would become overloaded with posts debating gay marriage, and it would make me irritable.

In lieu of that, please read these previous message board discussions. Whatever your feeling is, I can almost guarantee someone expressed it in one of these threads, and hence there is no need to reiterate it here. If you’re reading along, and you think of a great rebuttal, keep reading: I promise, somebody else made the same rebuttal.

About the LDS Church’s official statement on gay marriage (SPOILER ALERT: They were against it)
About the LDS Church’s subsequent, more specific statement, about gay marriage legislation
About a BYU professor being fired for speaking out against the LDS Church’s position
About the Larry Miller/”Brokeback” thing