Lea Christensen-Martin, Grand Blanc, MI – letter

Fifteen years ago I had a brother. He was funny, creative, talented, intelligent and handsome. But he was suffering. He never shared with his family the fact that he was homosexual and had AIDS. He suffered in silence because we were Mormon. He would come home to visit sometimes when he was sick. He told us he had Epstein-Barr disease. My mother took care of him. He needed our support, but was afraid if he revealed his secret, he would be shunned.

One evening fifteen years ago my brother swallowed an overdose of prescription medication, put a plastic bag over his head and duct taped it to his neck. Then he lay down on his bed to wait for oblivion. He was thirty-three years old. He left a note in which he explained how he could not longer bear the burden of guilt and sickness he was carrying. He told us he was sorry about the anguish his death would cause us, but that since the end was inevitable for him anyway, he chose to take his life now rather than to prolong his suffering.

I understand that the Mormon Church considers homosexuality to be immoral. Allowing same sex couples to have the same marriage rights as heterosexual couples would be an act of complicity in that immorality. (In their view) Mormons might argue that if our government grants immoral homosexuals the same rights to marriage as righteous heterosexuals, then we are ripening in iniquity and becoming ready for destruction as a nation. This may explain the political involvement we see from so many Mormons in the passage of proposition 8.

Then, I think of my brother. His life, and the lives of so many others like him, could have been so much happier and full of love and acceptance if that homophobic bigotry did not exist in the church. How can unconditional love make our country worse? Which sin is worse, excluding a section of the population from social acceptance and civil rights, or having a sexual preference that differs from what a certain group considers normal? It is bigotry. Mormons consider other practices to be immoral as well, but they do not try to pass laws prohibiting pre-marital sex between consenting heterosexual adults, for example.

Mormons, get your noses out of other people’s bedrooms, and start practicing some of that Christ-like love you preach about so much. Two people no matter what race, religion, or sex, who want to make a life-long commitment to their partner, will benefit us as a society. They should have the civil right to do so.