This post is part of Mombian's Annual Blogging for LGBTQ Families. Check out all the posts HERE!
I happen to be a woman who married another woman. It also happens that one of us was raised catholic (moi) and one of us was raised Mormon (her)
When we met neither of us was practicing any sort of specific religion as we felt alienated from our respective faiths and just really weren't sure where we fit in that whole smorgasboard.
As our relationship progressed however there were quite a few stumbling blocks relating to our past religious affiliations. Neither Catholics or Mormons condone "homosexual behavior." My parents, although initially surprised, were incredibly supportive (it is fair to note as well that while my mother was raised catholic she's a pretty free spirit and my father is an atheist so I had a pretty open religious upbringing) My church home on the other hand - thats an ancient work in progress. One that I have currently decided is moving too slow for me to participate in.
My wife, however, had quite a few hurdles to jump with her family - as the majority are practicing Mormons. So on top of the initial surprise that I would say is typical in the continuous coming out process, there were some religious tightropes to be walked by all.
I won't sugar coat it - when my wife came out to her family the response was anything but good (barring a few family members we had already confided in). In fact it was almost a year of back and forth hurtful comments, religious dogma, and oceans of tears.
This story, however, ends well (I think.)
While my wife's family are still very much practicing Mormons (and we are currently attending a Methodist church...) the ability to change, grow, forgive and love have mended some broken hearts. There is still plenty of room for improvement (a life-long journey I'm sure) but I'd like to think we are all approaching these relationships in the true spirit of the same God we all worship - with openness, and tenderness, respect, and ultimately love.
I truly hope that one day my family can choose whatever religious institution we feel called to attend, and while it will never be Mormon for us because I love my coffee too much - I'd like the options to always be there.
That being said, I'm also open to your religion not accepting me. Because that my friends is called religious freedom. However, I do have the expectation that you will treat people as they wish to be treated and respect and LOVE them as they are. Tolerance is a cop out I am unwilling to accept. Especially from those who claim to worship all loving, all merciful, all knowing Gods - I would assume a perfect being such as that would expect more from you as well...
But that's not the point. The point is, times are a'changin. And Love is an amazing power that we all possess. It builds bridges and fortresses and kingdoms. Love is so strong that it can build bridges where nothing (absolutely nothing) stood before. In fact Love is so strong it can build bridges between happy lesbian wives and one big Mormon family.
And if that's not a victory, I don't know what is!
Great contribution!!! I have walked that religion tightrope many a many of times. It gets easier. Or maybe I just stopped caring what others had to say about MY relationship with God and religion.ReplyDelete
PS-You married a REALLY CUTE Mormon ;)
I absolutely love this. I am still walking a tightrope sometimes with my father, who I refer lovingly as a "jailhouse convert" which is exactly like it sounds. Its probably partly why I'm an atheist now ;) I'm glad your wife's family is coming around, my father is better at accepting, keeping his own opinions to himself and loving us - all three of us - but it took a good six years to get to the awkward stage of our relationship! I think my point with this comment, wow, I really rambled, is that this really resonated with me, so thanks so much to you for sharing it, and to your wife for being brave enough to let it out there in the world wide interwebs!ReplyDelete
Excellent post! We have extended family members who are Mormon and have been extremely supportive of our family. We're also very lucky to be part of a Catholic faith community that welcomes us. I love your point about being ok with some religions not accepting you. I always prefer it when faith communities (or businesses, schools, etc.) are upfront with their disapproval ... saves us all a bunch of time!ReplyDelete
Great post, Sarah. My family is very similar to yours as far as unconditional acceptance goes but my wife's family was not always so accepting. Both my wife and her brother are gay and their mom had a really hard time with it initially. She grew up catholic and her mom would throw holy water on them when they would get home from nights out with friends... This all happened 10+ years ago and in the 8 years G and I have been together, I've only known her as a super supportive PFLAG mom. Just goes to show how time can mend and change people. I'm happy to read that your wife's family has grown and changed too. One day at a time, right? :)ReplyDelete
Excellent post, Sarah. My background is also catholic; I even went into the convent since, growing up, I knew no lesbians and being gay wasn't even a possibility. (Gay? What's that mean?) At 4, I had my first female crush. I didn't know what I'd done wrong, but my parents acted as if I'd killed someone. I learned to hide who I was.ReplyDelete
Needless to say, I wasn't made for religious life. Fortunately, I was coming of age during the women's movement. It wasn't exactly welcoming of lesbians, but even negativity afforded visibility.
I was your age and in law school when the US Supreme Court announced Bowers vs. Hardwick, which affirmed the GA anti-sodomy laws. It was heartbreaking for all of us who were young, gay and working for LGB rights. (Transgender people weren't as visible then). Back then, if anyone had told me then that marriage equality would happen in my lifetime, I never would have believed it. These changes came too late for many...
All I can say is this: don't ever take each other for granted. Safe and legal abortion became a reality when I was a teen. Unfortunately, many people born after Roe took it for granted that reproductive freedom was a "done deal" - a fight we that had been won. Recent history shows us there are forces that will always work to restrict or rescind the rights of others. Don't forget that.
We worked so hard and sacrificed too much to get to this point. Now your generation picks up gauntlet. Stay strong, never, ever get complacent. Love each other; don't take your marriage for granted. Don't allow the sun to go down without saying the words: "I love you".