Guidance for Mormons in Interacting with Gay Family Members

Unconditional Love Can Transcend Any Barrier!

Lesbian couple and two children
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The Commandments Leave Us Free to Love Them and Enjoy Them!

Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have commanded us specifically, and in detail, to not judge others. They reserve judgments to themselves. Where does that leave us?

It leaves us free to love all people and enjoy our association with them!

We can treat them like all of our other family members and friends. We can spend time with them, correspond with them, exchange gifts and celebrate all major life events with them.

Celebrating life events usually involves getting together at someone's home and eating.

Like everyone, their eternal salvation is between them and Heavenly Father. We will be held accountable for how we treat everyone; so treat them as Jesus Christ would.

Does Attending a Same-Sex Marriage Show Approval of Same-Sex Marriage?

Not really, no more than attending a heterosexual marriage conveys approval for a marriage type, a marriage venue or any of the people getting married.

This notion of approval should stop. You do not attend a birthday party because you approve of people aging or what age they have attained. You do not attend a graduation because you approve of what people majored in or what school they attended.

Most of us have attended a variety of weddings for a variety of people. Why not use the same criteria for attending same-sex weddings as you do for any other wedding? If any of the people are family, close friends or people important to you, then go.

Marriage is a significant life event. Your presence will mean a lot to them. It will mean a great deal to you as well. We support each other with our love and friendship. This love and friendship can transcend any of these barriers and it should.

Should I Attend a Same-Sex Wedding Reception or Open House?

Why not?

Married people are conscious of their guests. They often take steps to ensure everyone they invite will feel welcome and included. This extends to receptions, open houses and other celebrations.

Consider that, when invitees are Mormon, Non-Mormons often include nonalcoholic refreshments and other courtesies. We should extend these courtesies to others. Celebrations often include a wide variety of people. We can all take steps to make everyone comfortable.

Some celebrations may become a little raucous and unruly. Leave when you feel you need to. The fact that you came will mean a great deal to the married couple, not when you choose to leave. Everybody has to leave at some point. Show up early before any serious drinking or partying occurs and you will probably be fine.

How Should I React When the Same-Sex Couple Acquire Children?

This is a significant life event; celebrate it as you would any adoption or birth! Treat these new little family members with all the love you can offer and the parents as well. Every child deserves to have a loving home, a loving family and loving relatives. We are all children.

Not all actions that produce children are righteous. How a child arrived on this earth should not be our concern.

Every child came from Heaven and from His presence. How children are conceived should not make any difference in our behavior towards the children or their parents.

If sinning has occurred, the children are certainly the most innocent parties. Deciding to treat people on the basis of how they were conceived is certainly not Christlike. Heavenly Father loves us all unconditionally. We should too.

As Mormons There Will be Some Awkwardness and Questions For Us

Some societal conventions can be difficult, but as long as courtesy and thoughtfulness drive our actions, we should be able to overcome these difficulties.

You may need to ask family members how they would like to be referred to or be introduced. They may refer to each other as wives or husbands. Pick up on these clues. Be willing to introduce them as full family members; such as daughters or sons-in-law, nieces, nephews, grandchildren, etc.

Do not do anything to make them feel or look like second class family members. Take and post pictures as you would any others. Friend them on social media. Like their posts you can. Celebrate their life events with them and show your love for them. Treat them as you would like to be treated. You will find any perceived barriers vanishing away.

Be Conscious of Unique Circumstances

There are differences in how traditional families operate as opposed to same-sex unions. We should try to anticipate and adjust our behavior to these differences. For example, Mother's Day is doubly important for a lesbian union with children just as Father's Day is to a gay couple. Remembering both partners on their special day is important.

These and other situations should not be difficult for us. We have ample instruction from the scriptures, as well as Jesus Christ's loving example, on how we should act and treat others. The only real difficulty is in conscientiously applying them.

Simple Precautions and Simple Guidance

Some of the best guidance we have on these painful subjects come from Elder Jeffrey R. Holland in a Ensign address in 2007:

Above all, keep your lines of communication open. Open communication between parents and children is a clear expression of love, and pure love, generously expressed, can transform family ties. But love for a family member does not extend to condoning unrighteous behavior. Your children are welcome to stay in your home, of course, but you have every right to exclude from your dwelling any behavior that offends the Spirit of the Lord.

Adult family members who were once inside the Church will know what your values are. Some others you may have to explain your values to in more detail. Simply emphasize that you expect them to respect your values when they are in your company and especially when they are in your home.