But I couldn't have predicted how I would feel.
There was no sense of celebration in my heart, no feeling of victory or vindication. I am grateful, yes. I am relieved the vote is over...just anticipating that day was hard!
But this isn't like a sports game, where I feel like running around the house screaming, "We won!" I know this issue has caused deep pain and confusion for many, and that very fact has made taking a stand on this issue very difficult. And it makes the fact that it passed difficult, too. I have no desire to rub this in anyone's face. My feelings are deep and complex.
I feel sobered by all that has happened. Even after a vacation, I feel drained. I feel sad that this issue has been (and continues to be) so divisive. Even as I took a stand on this issue because of my concerns about the future, I still have many concerns about what the future will hold, at many levels.
The statement by the Church that was issued today reflected many of my feelings, thoughts, and concerns.
Most likely, the election results for these constitutional amendments will not mean an end to the debate over same-sex marriage in this country.I had this realization hit me hard a few weeks ago. This is not the end of this issue. I have a feeling we've only just begun.
Such an emotionally charged issue concerning the most personal and cherished aspects of life...stirs fervent and deep feelings.
Indeed. There is both an intensity of emotion and a lot of pain -- on both sides -- that exists because of this issue. As such, there is much required of all of us as we move forward:
We hope that now and in the future all parties involved in this issue will be well informed and act in a spirit of mutual respect and civility toward those with a different position. No one on any side of the question should be vilified, intimidated, harassed or subject to erroneous information....
As we move forward from the election, Church members need to be understanding and accepting of each other and work together for a better society.
There is a call there for unity, for forgiveness, for love and charity and understanding and suspending judgment. My heart is heavy with the feeling that this has to some degree caused a rift of sorts in the Church and in our nation. There are things we can and must do to help heal that rift -- even as we will continue to have varied and strong opinions on this topic.
I am reminded of Pres. Eyring's talk about unity from this last Conference. I just skimmed it and found this:
Happily I am seeing more and more skillful peacemakers who calm troubled waters before harm is done. You could be one of those peacemakers, whether you are in the conflict or an observer.
One way I have seen it done is to search for anything on which we agree. To be that peacemaker, you need to have the simple faith that as children of God, with all our differences, it is likely that in a strong position we take, there will be elements of truth. The great peacemaker, the restorer of unity, is the one who finds a way to help people see the truth they share. That truth they share is always greater and more important to them than their differences. You can help yourself and others to see that common ground if you ask for help from God and then act. He will answer your prayer to help restore peace, as He has mine.
What an invitation, what a reminder, at a time like this.
Back to today's statement from the Church:
Allegations of bigotry or persecution made against the Church were and are simply wrong. The Church’s opposition to same-sex marriage neither constitutes nor condones any kind of hostility toward gays and lesbians.
This is so important to understand. Neither the Church nor individuals who supported prop 8 should be accused of hateful motives.
I do not mean to ignore the real fact that prop 8 has felt personal to many. I also know that among supporters on a broad scale, there were some whose motives were not good. But the Church does not condone such behavior! And neither do I.
I know tears have been shed because prop 8 passed. Tears have been shed by those who supported it, too. This has been hard for all of us.
I believe in many ways, the future will give all of us some significant -- and likely difficult -- opportunities to really consider and practice what it means to be Christlike -- to be sensitive to the pain of those with whom we disagree, and to learn to love, accept, and forgive those who have made choices that have hurt us.
I believe there is pain for people on both sides of this issue that needs the healing power that only the Savior and following His teachings can provide. At some point, we must allow each other to believe what we believe, but strive (again as was said today) "to be understanding and accepting of each other and work together for a better society."
A sobering charge indeed.