The United States Supreme Court is hearing evidence on the issue of whether the voters of California had the constitutional right to alter their state constitution and define marriage as between a man and a woman.

Ultimately, they are ruling on the issue of whether it's constitutional to politically oppose or support gay marriage. Whatever they choose will have massive ramifications for political battles and voter ballots for years to come.

The Church released a press release that indicates its official stance - marriage is between a man and a woman, and they hope that the Supreme Court upholds the institution of marriage as between a man and a woman.

I agree with that political viewpoint.

But in the meantime, this issue is causing rifts in the Church. People are allowed freedom to define their own political views in the gospel - hence why we have political leaders in both parties and people who vote on both sides of issues. But there is a difference between political freedom and doctrinal clarity... and some of the people involved in this debate are rejecting the doctrine of the Church. It's okay politically to believe whatever you want. It's not okay to believe that gay men should be allowed to marry in the temple, or that homosexual activity is not a major sin.

I don't need to accept people's actions to love them. I don't need to agree with them, support them, or anything of the sort for them to know that I care. In fact, in many cases, doing that is actually proof that I don't care.

Let's take a metaphor. I know - metaphors cause firestorms in the gay marriage debate. But I'll use the metaphor until it breaks and then I'll assume that you're able to drop it when it stops working.

I'm vegan, which means that I don't eat meat, milk products, eggs, fish, other animal products, or anything that contains dietary cholesterol. I also don't eat sweets or food that has sugar added - whether in the form of sugar, honey, agave, or whatever. I avoid refined carbohydrates like white bread, and typically don't eat food that has been fried. I do all of this for a number of reasons (health, spirituality); the core is that I believe that eating healthily is a principle from God that allows me to be closer spiritually to Him.

My siblings and friends know that I don't approve of their eating junk food. They know why. They also know that I care about them regardless of what they eat. And, in fact, they know I care about them because I care about what they eat. If I were just a mediocre friend, I wouldn't care. But I want them to be healthy and happy, and to experience the blessings I've found from taking care of my body. And they can feel it.

Even though I may not bring it up, there is definitely sometimes uneasiness when I'm in the room with food. People sometimes project their own emotions on to me - and they assume that I'm judging them for what they eat. Am I? I judge what they eat, and wish they would eat better, but I still love them. Some people can't handle the fact that I won't indulge in sweets with them and avoid me. But most just realize that I care.

Turn the metaphor. As a gay mormon blogger, I know a ton of people along the gay spectrum. People who are faithful members of the Church and happily married, people who are single and hopeful to find a spouse, people who are single and committed to the Church as singles, people who don't yet understand how the Plan of Salvation applies to them but are trying, people who have rejected parts of the gospel in favor of something else, people who have denied their testimonies or lost them through trauma, people who have found bliss in a different way of defining happiness.

Even though I may not agree with them, I still care. And people I meet can realize that I care about them regardless of their choices. One guy said it this way: "David, all my friends wonder why I hang out with you. You're the only Mormon I know, and they all get on my case because you oppose being gay. But I spend time with you because I like spending time with you and talking with you. You make me want to be a better person. I know where you stand, but I don't feel like it's personal to me. I know we disagree on beliefs and politics, but that's not an issue to you, and even though my friends may hate you because they don't know you, it doesn't have to be an issue to me."

Love does not mean supporting people in their actions. Love does not mean agreeing with people, even on subjects that are extremely volatile. A love like that is in inferior. God loves us unconditionally - which means that He will bless us to the greatest extent possible and always keep a door open to repentance. It doesn't mean that He will tell us it's okay if we don't repent, or that He will encourage us to walk down a pathway that won't lead to happiness. God's love pushes Him to push us - to do everything in His power to help us find the ultimate peace and happiness that comes only through following the Plan of Happiness. Sometimes that means giving me incredibly difficult circumstances that will teach me to turn to Him and be happy. Sometimes it means not giving me what I think I want, or creating massive inequalities so that different people learn different lessons from life. But everything is designed to help us learn eternal happiness. Anything else will rob us today and in the eternities... and a loving God would never be okay with that.

Love is caring about someone completely and unconditionally and being willing and anxious to do anything in my power to ensure their eternal happiness. Love weighs eternity heavier than today, long-lasting hope over temporary pleasure, meaning and purpose over desires and passion.
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