Today I read an editorial in which owners of a wedding chapel in Idaho face fines and possible jail time for refusing to perform same-sex marriage. The husband and wife owners are both ordained ministers and believe same-sex marriage to be contrary to their religious beliefs. But the recent court rulings on same-sex marriage now make it legal in Idaho. As a result, they are in potential violation of local non-discrimination ordinances because their wedding chapel is registered as a business, not a church.
So it begins.
In reality the battle lines have been forming for quite some time now and the Church has anticipated this fight. To those that are in favor of same-sex marriage–and even those that are completely indifferent about it–the Church’s position is difficult to understand. “Why not concede on this one issue and then everyone can get along with no further quarrel?”
148 years ago, critics were asking the same question of the Church regarding it’s position on marriage. Brigham Young’s response then is something that would work pretty well today–if we simply substitute ‘polygamy’ for ‘same-sex marriage’:
[If] we would give up polygamy . . . would they be satisfied with this? No; but they would next want us to renounce Joseph Smith as a true prophet of God, then the Book of Mormon, then baptism for the remission of sins and the laying on of hands for the reception of the Holy Ghost. Then they would wish us to disclaim the gift of prophecy, and the other gifts and graces of the Holy Spirit, on the ground that they are done away and no longer needed in our day, also prophets and apostles, etc.
They want us to yield all these points, transgress the laws God has revealed for the salvation of the world, and change all the ordinances of God’s house, and conform to the dogmas of modern Christianity and to the corruptions of the age. Will the Latter-day Saints do this? No; they will not to please anybody. Shall we have a warfare? We shall; we will war and contend for the right, and trust in our God until righteousness is established upon the earth, until peace shall reign everywhere, until the children of men shall lay down the weapons of their warfare and cease to exhaust their ability and ingenuity in forming weapons of destruction to slay their fellow men, until the minds and affections of mankind shall be turned unto the Lord their God, and their energies be directed to beautifying the earth and making it like the garden of Eden. We calculate to struggle on, and continue to exercise faith and enjoy our religion, keeping all the commandments of God, observing the ordinances of his house, trying to fulfill all his words, trusting in him, and we shall see what this course will come to. (Brigham Young – Journal of Discourses 11:239)
His words are eerily prophetic. Were the Church to concede on the issue of same-sex marriage, it wouldn’t end there. There would be “just one more thing”. I think we are in for a fight no matter what.