I received the following response from my neighbor and I feel the battle is just beginning:
Thanks for your reply. I don't agree that homosexuals are being treated unfairly. There are legal mechanisms already in place to address each of the issues that were the subjects of proposed laws during the last legislative session. Can they have hospital visitation rights? Certainly they can! Homosexuals have the same rights as the rest of us have with respect to jobs and housing. As far as I understand, there have been no instances of loss of a job or an apartment based on sexual orientation, so the proposals for these 'rights' are proposals to fix problems that don't exist. What they wanted to do was to have special protected status and inequality, not equality. The laws they proposed implied that they were being denied rights that other people had. This was dishonest and manipulative on their part. Deception is part and parcel of their approach.
Regarding the Church position on the Utah legislation, there has been nothing said so I can't comment. I am surprised, however, that you presume to speak for the Church on this matter when they have chosen not to.
We have attended three meetings on the homosexual legislative agenda sponsored by Sutherland (SI) and we did not hear one derogatory or insulting comment. We heard love and concern for individuals, both homosexual and heterosexual. We also heard frank statements of the views of the speakers, but straightforward, clear, and to-the-point comments are a refreshing change from the mushiness of much of the discussion on this subject. There has been nothing unfair or unloving in any of the presentations we have attended.
I am confident that, if this type of legislation is passed and anyone who considers himself 'gay' can claim protected status (how else do you establish their status but self-selection, there is no physical test), as these laws would allow, it would not stop there. In fact, when the previous California law prohibiting homosexual marriage - passed by popular referendum - was nullified by the California Supreme Court, one of the bases for overturning the law and allowing homosexual marriage in California was the fact that California had the types of laws that were later proposed here in Utah.
This is an issue that should be carefully considered. Passage of such laws in Utah gives leverage for further 'protections', including homosexual marriage, as happened in California. And then it is just a small step from homosexual marriage to the requirement for all churches that accept tax exempt contributions to perform homosexual marriages - or loose their tax exempt status. If you think this is absurd, just investigate the coercion that has already taken place. Churches and private individuals have been required to comply with the requests of homosexual couples when identical alternative services were available. There was a Christian photographer in Arizona who, when he found out that it was a homosexual couple that had requested his services, referred them to another photographer but found himself reported to the Arizona civil rights commission. E-Harmony (founded by a Christian) was required by a civil rights commission in New Jersey to establish a separate business for homosexual matches as well as pay compensation and provide some significant number of free memberships to kick it off even though there were numerous homosexual matching sites, all because E-Harmony didn't provide matches for homosexuals on their site. An LDS OBGYN who provides fertility services referred a same-sex couple to another provider in his office when he found out their status, but that was not good enough for the couple, who sued him. This is not all, but it is enough to demonstrate that, even though there were alternatives to the services offered by these companies and individuals, the homosexual couples insisted to the point of getting the government involved and forcing them to comply with their wishes.
I recognize that much of this is pushed by radicals and activists but that doesn't change the situation because they are the ones we have to deal with.
I don't think opposing a group's attempts to get preferential treatment is treating that group 'unfairly'. To eject (or worse) a burglar from my house wouldn't be 'unfair', would it? Perhaps you have a more loving alternative to opposing the burglar. And I wouldn't suggest you accuse anyone who disagrees with you of being unloving or behaving contrary to what the Savior would do. Such an accusation doesn't show love and understanding and is certainly not what the Savior would do. Is it?
But how do you know what the Savior would do in this situation? Apparently He wouldn't let an unrepentant homosexual into the Kingdom of Heaven; nor would He allow a same-sex couple to marry or be sealed in the temple, nor even allow them in the temple; nor does He allow them to have Church membership, or allow them to take the sacrament or offer prayer in public meetings. So, I don't think it's a stretch that He would reject special and preferred treatment for homosexuals, especially when that treatment would almost certainly lead to challenges to Church practices in the future. By the way, where would you draw the line? Why not same-sex marriage? Why not temple attendance? Why not Church membership or taking the sacrament or prayer in public meetings? Where would you draw the line? And wherever you draw it, someone could challenged you by saying "I feel that we need to use a much more loving approach, as the Savior would use, toward our brothers and sisters (gay or otherwise). Don't you?" Why, after all, did the Church oppose same-sex marriage in California? In what way did it hurt the Church?
And this brings me to my last point. The response of the homosexuals to the Proposition 8 vote in California was very telling. It reminded me of Satan's response to Moses in Moses 1. When Moses cast Satan out of his presence, "Satan cried with a loud voice, and ranted upon the earth, and commanded, saying" approve of my sexual behavior and accept me as equal to heterosexuals. (That last part was mine.) The people who are making these demands have lost the Spirit and are enraged, literally enraged, because they can't have what they can never have: not guaranteed jobs or apartments, not hospital visiting rights, not even marriage; they want approval of their actions and acceptance of their behavior. They seem to know in their heart-of-hearts that what they are doing is wrong and they're desperately seeking validation in an impossible effort to get from others what they can't even get from themselves. Somehow they must feel that our acceptance and approval will make their behavior right, or at least livable for them. And they will do anything they have to do to gain that acceptance, even if it means forcing us, through government power, to accept them and their behavior. If you think those 5 propositions they presented to the legislature are the end, you are sadly mistaken. There were originally 6 propositions, the sixth one being a modification of the marriage amendment to the state constitution. They dropped that one, probably because it prematurely tipped their hand. But that's still on their agenda and they think they are making great progress in convincing the citizens of Utah to support their cause. That's why a grassroots effort such as the one (SI) is pursuing is so important.
The position (SI) is taking is to challenge all propositions that would give homosexuals 'protected' status and preferential treatment, because it is always harder to get things back into the bottle than it is to keep the lid on in the first place. I agree with this approach. Homosexuals should have no more rights than any of the rest of us have. Avenues are open to them, and everyone, to secure the provisions they wanted passed into law for homosexuals alone. These proposals were only the beginning and just a means to hidden ends.
Edmund Burke said: "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." I'm afraid that the Rodney King plea of "can't we all just get along" will not cut it when the other side is at war with basic American values and is enlisting our government in the fight on their side. Please join us in opposition to the homosexual agenda, which, if enacted into law, will ultimately lead to legal challenges to LDS Church practices and to further loss of our freedom.
So, now what? I don't want a debate. I just want him to know that others (within the Church and neighborhood) have an alternate viewpoint. I want him to understand this isn't a self-proclaimed selection (a nice word for "choice"). I want him to think about if his son came to him revealing the same-sex attractions that have always been part of him - that he didn't choose them - what then would be his reaction and stance?
But, I need your help. I need to be factual. I haven't been as diligent in this debate as I should have and I feel negligent in not having quick references and backup to statements at my fingertips. I need to find the official quote / source that gives the Church's stance on civil unions and their approval / no opposition of legal "gay rights" that were already in place in California, where they stated they were fighting for the definition of "marriage" and not the intent of taking away "rights" already in place... which comments led to the Common Ground Initiatives. I can't have it be hearsay or implied. Can anyone help?
Any other thoughts or approaches you'd recommend? Or should I duck and hide and get my gun locked and loaded before those gay-burglars enter my house and destroy my temple marriage? You know, maybe I'm just being deceived by all of you, and I am self-selected, and you want to do nothing more than destroy my marriage, my family, my religion, my faith so that I can be equally miserable like you!