Standing Up For the Traditional Family
Standing up for the traditional family is looked on by many who are fighting for same-sex marriage rights as intolerant, old-fashioned, and even narrow-minded. It is hard for me personally as a faithful member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (which church is often inadvertently called the “Mormon Church”) to feel I am the target of many hard feelings when I feel quite strongly about letting others make their own choices without being judged.
This issue is a very complex one, though, and I realize that. I have a sure knowledge that the family, as defined by God, is made up of a man and woman who are legally married and who honor their marriage vows. They consider their marriage permanent. They raise their children in a loving atmosphere and give them a foundation of values. This definition is being forcibly stretched and altered by those who dislike it, though.
We Can’t Change God’s Commandments
The issue of homosexual lifestyle choices is one to me of free will. Though doctrinally I do not believe it fits in with God’s plan for families, I also recognize the individual’s right to choose how to live his or her own life. I do not believe that being attracted to someone of the same gender makes a person evil. Same-sex attraction is not a sin; living a homosexual lifestyle is, according to Mormon doctrine. Still, a sinful act does not necessarily make someone a bad person. I know many good people who are practicing homosexuals. However, this does not give them the right to change God’s laws governing the family.
I also realize the issue is complicated regarding same-sex parenting. There are many good, loving people who would make wonderful parents to children who have no home. The fundamental issue, though, goes back to the traditional family, which God has declared is His plan for all of His children. This issue is further complicated by people who do not follow God’s law. This extends to include people who have children out of wedlock and people who get divorced. (There are certainly instances where divorce is necessary and is, indeed, the best option given the circumstances, but for the most part in today’s world, divorce results from selfishness and leads to torn homes.) People’s poor choices in failing to follow God’s commandments do not give us the right, nor the ability, to change His commandments.
So, is it better for a child to bounce around in foster care, to live in single-parent homes, or to feel unloved and unwanted than for that same child to go to a loving home with two parents of the same gender? This is a question that I have been asked, and it is not an easy one. The doctrine of The Church of Jesus Christ, however, states that none of these is a solution. The only real solution is to follow God’s plan in the first place. All research shows that the absolute best environment for a child to be raised in is a family where his or her biological parents are married and honor their covenants, providing a loving home. Thus, the question is not simply same-sex parenting versus traditional parenting; it is every other option versus God’s plan. People may argue that this stand is unrealistic; it isn’t.
The more I see the Judeo-Christian values upon which Western society has been based torn down and replaced with “new, enlightened” values, the more I see chaos and heartache taking center stage. In such an environment, it is not always easy to stand up for one’s beliefs when they go against the torrent of society’s determination to flow in the other direction. It is always encouraging when people do take a stand in the best possible way, defending good values and showing the benefits of following God’s plan.
One Million French Represent the Family
At the end of May 2013, the third protest of the year against same-sex marriage and adoption was held in France.  One million people showed up to represent the traditional family. It is important to remember that those who stand in opposition to same-sex marriage and adoption are not therefore also necessarily opposed to the individual’s right to practice homosexuality. Many of these individuals do feel, however, that it is important to protect the institution of marriage and to protect the family.
I have had the privilege to grow up in a loving family. It is certainly not a perfect family, but the older I get and the more heartache and pain I see in the world that can be caused by not living God’s laws, the more grateful I am for the family I grew up in. Having such an environment in which to grow and develop protected me from a lot of bad influences that would have brought me pain. It also gave me the opportunity to learn a great deal, to focus on an education, and to enjoy my childhood without having to stress about parents fighting, divorcing, cheating on each other, doing drugs, or myriad other things which many children do deal with today.
Why Is the Traditional Family Important?
The Church of Jesus Christ teaches that gender is an eternal characteristic. Males and females have inherent qualities and characteristics which complement each other.  Thus, a man can be a wonderful father, but he cannot be a mother. The reverse is also true: no matter how wonderful a mother a woman is, she cannot be a father. This is why having a father and a mother provides the best possible environment for a child to develop. Certain skills are learned from each and unique benefits come from each.
We need to protect our families as well as the traditional institution of the family. This can be done in simple ways, but however it is done, it is important to defend a child’s right to the best possible opportunities. This struggle involves a great deal more than same-sex marriage and adoption. It requires a return to fundamental values.