On the heels of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ new policy regarding the children of same-sex married couples, a state judge ruled that a gay married couple were not fit parents because of their same-sex status. Ruling on the three-month old child’s foster care status, Seventh District Juvenile Court Judge Scott Johansen cited research indicating that children are worse off in the care of same-sex couples than in the care of heterosexual couples.
Of course the ruling has ignited a wildfire of protests across the nation. While this is a complicated issue, Judge Johansen is correct in his findings, even if politically incorrect in his ruling. But this problem is not Judge Johansen’s alone. The brunt of this problem sits at the feet of the Utah Legislature and the LDS Church.
For many years in Utah, single people have been allowed to adopt children and provide foster care. After the United States Supreme Court ruling in favor of same-sex marriage, Utah added same-sex married couples to the list of people who could provide foster care. I argued all along that single people should not be able to adopt children or provide foster care for this very reason – single people can form couples, not an issue for traditional marriages but a big problem in same-sex marriages. So many of the families of gay couples were formed by once heterosexual men or women with children, divorcing, gaining custody of the kids and then forming a same-sex relationship. It’s like the state turned a blind eye and grandfathered these kids into those relationships.
So now we have a state juvenile court judge who says no. And it’s a stunning decision given the current state of law and culture regarding same-sex relationships. Add to this controversy the recent policy by the LDS Church about kids in the homes of same-sex married couples and Utah is headed into another difficult public relations nightmare.
Following its long-standing policy on the children of polygamous relationships, the LDS Church updated this policy to include the children of same-sex relationships. It makes perfect sense if you’re a faithful Latter-day Saint. It’s an effrontery if you’re not.
But let’s take a step back for a second. The criticism of the LDS Church is very telling on a couple of levels. First, for a critic who has feigned assurance that nobody’s religious freedom will be harmed in the culture war between people of faith and the gay community, these recent criticisms of the LDS Church show your true colors. Either the Church has the right to set its own policies or not. If it does, you might not like the policies but the problem is you not the policies. Next steps are yours, not the Church’s.
Second, the LDS Church calls its members apostates who are in same-sex marriages, including the children in those marriages, until and unless they renounce their lifestyle. It’s funny to me how critics use LDS doctrine to try to defend their apostasy by saying that “children are not accountable for the sins of their parents.” That’s the first time I think I’ve heard the gay community say what they do is a sin.
Third, we could have predicted all of this – and some of us did – when the LDS Church went way out of its way to coddle the gay community politically after Proposition 8 and went to extreme lengths to buy into the pseudo-science of sexual orientation and embrace something called same-sex attraction. That move alone softened the beachhead for everything Utah society now suffers legally, politically and culturally from the gay rights movement. There were better ways to show compassion for all of God’s children than by telling some that God made you that way but He won’t allow you to live that way.
Folks, the showdown – and the sifting inside the LDS Church – has begun. The period of euphoria the state experienced after passing a couple of gay rights related bills is over. The storm clouds are on the horizon. As it always has been the case, it’s time to pick a team.
Originally broadcast on KVNU for the people. Reposted with permission.