A Husband, A Father, A Mormon... And Gay?
So I don't think we should be so quick to scoff at those who come together as a result of the "powerful chemicals of infatuation and obsession." Just as we should accept Josh's choice to de-prioritize sexual attraction in his marriage, we should accept those who forge their relationships in the biological fires of passion. That is what acceptance is all about: not enshrining something as ideal, but accepting all the possibilities.
The second concern raised by this story is that it does nothing to further the rights of same-sex couples. A valid concern raised by Savage is that many in the anti-gay camp may see Josh's story and hold it up as proof that there is no need to recognize same-sex couples under the law. It's a valid concern: while Josh asks everyone love and accept gay people in their lives and fight the urge to pressure them to live in a way that is not genuine to them, he doesn’t say anything about gay marriage. It’s clear that in his mind, in accordance with his faith, marriage between anyone other than a man and a woman is not acceptable.
But there is something valuable, if distasteful in that message, too, because it shows privileged groups (in this case monogamous heterosexual couples) that being anything but monogamous and heterosexual frequently requires people to make really painful, sometimes completely alienating choices in their lives. Not often are the heterosexual, monogamous types, forced to choose between everything we know and who we are.
But within Josh's choice, which I have said is valuable to consider, I also see something that is of particular concern: the expectation that children must be born of a man and a woman within the bond of marriage.
I understand that this is a question of faith and appreciate that Josh made a point to clarify that he doesn't think of children born outside the bonds of matrimony between a man and wife to be "counterfeit," but I nevertheless worry about the trend in various religion toward reproductive oppression.
Only a few months ago the Pope spoke out against in vitro fertilization, calling fertility treatments a sin, telling Catholics worldwide that creating a child outside the act of sex between a man and a wife is inhuman and undignified. One more moderate Lutheran paper on the topic warned that many see the donation of sperm or eggs as adultery, even if no actual sexual act occurs to conceive the child. The same, it should be noted, is believed of surrogacy and embryo transfer. In “A Biblical Response to Baby-Making,” Dawn McColley writes:
Not only is it permissible that only married couples attempt to have a baby, but because of the exclusivity of the relationship, it is important that only those two be involved. Some call the use of third party donor gametes (i.e., sperm and ova) adultery, even though there has been no physical unfaithfulness. Regardless of the name given to it, the use of donor gametes is an act that includes a third party in an event that was meant to remain strictly within the marriage covenant.
Because of the special union in marriage, problems such as infertility are shared by both spouses and should be borne by both. Our traditional marriage vows say, "for better for worse… in sickness and in health." By using the gametes of a donor, the fertile spouse refuses to share the burden. This refusal to share burdens is not a Biblical response to God's will, nor is it the way Christian spouses ought to treat each other. Children are not the sole, sacred purpose of marriage. If God has chosen to withhold that blessing from one spouse, He necessarily chose to withhold it from the other.
Adoption may be viewed as a Christian act of charity, and children may be welcomed into the fold, but recent emphasis on reproductive policy among various faiths has made it painfully clear to me that acceptance is not always a given. Just last week I was told a terrible story of a woman who stopped speaking with her brother because he and his wife, who could not conceive, had decided to adopt a little boy. Instead of being glad to see her brother finally starting a family, the woman asked him and his wife to look into themselves and question whether they were doing the right thing. Clearly, God didn’t see fit to bless them with children. How could they so openly defy Him?
It’s a very complicated issue, and deeply troubling, for rarely within the arguments will you find anything resembling love for one another, gentleness and kindness -- only shame and judgment.
I don't think that was Josh Weed's intention when he decided to sit down and share his inner truth with the world, but his truth does raise some very important questions about what our choices signal to other people. It is my hope that those who read this will take away his message about how important it is to accept one another and love, and not hold his story up as something to further oppress and hurt the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, or anyone who doesn't fit into the perfect, cookie-cutter mold that, somewhere along the history of our species, we decided was the only combination worthy of rights and acceptance.