“Valentine marriage”

In light of everything that’s been going on my life recently, I’ve been thinking long an hard about what I believe. I know many things I don’t believe in, but up to this point those things have been amorphous blobs on the horizon in my brain; I disagreed with something someone else said, but I never really thought about why in a way I could articulate to someone who disagreed with me. Most of my arguments with boyfriends, etc., in high school and college were primarily rhetorical and/or I just became “too emotional” to properly put into words what I was trying to say.

Now, this is something I can agree with, and it gives me hope for my (admittedly dim) outlook on the Church of Latter-Day Saints. The vlogger, melodramatization, (re)posted this short video (only two minutes, ten seconds) on St. Valentine’s Day this year (transcript below). In the section underneath, she wrote:

I put this video on MormonsforMarriage.com during the Prop 8 debate. At the time, speaking out via this video threatened my temple recommend and calling, and I chose to take it down to protect my standing in the church. I regret that decision and put it back up as a tribute to the legend of Valentine: http://www.dovesandserpents.org/wp/2011/02/first-comes-love-then-comes-marriage/

Transcript:

(A white woman with brown hair in her thirties* wearing beige clothing sits in a beige sofa chair in front of a white bookcase filled with books. She speaks directly to the camera:)

*Not sure of her age; “in her thirties” is really just a guess

My son, Wally, came home from nursery this Sunday with this picture. (She holds up a picture of four children inside a heart with a child’s scribbles on top.) Underneath the scribbles, you can see four children of different ethnicities holding hands in a heart, and at the top it says, “I will love others.” Wally learned an important lesson; he learned the second great commandment given to us by our Savior: to love others as we love ourselves.

Pictures like these are the reason that I go to church, the reason we wake up early on Sunday morning, and drag our children, and fight them through meetings. I want us to learn that we love others; not just those who don’t look like us, but those who don’t believe like us, either. Wouldn’t it be cool if in that picture there was a woman in a burqa, a Catholic priest, or even a man with a cigarette? “I will love others.”

So why is this church, who’s taught me so much about my Savior, asking its members for their time and their money and their votes [to] deny other people marriage? And why should I not follow them? This question has caused me a lot of time—a lot of reflection, and I had to figure out who I really am.

I’m Melanie Selco; I’m a wife; I’m a mom of five; I’m a loyal member of this church. But, I’m also a member of the community at large, and most importantly, I’m a disciple of Christ. And that last characteristic is what makes me obligated to follow my own conscience on this matter.

I still believe in these pictures that Wally drew, and in the primary lessons we teach in the simplest form. I know my church as good intentions in this legal debate; I know they’re trying to protect marriage. But I think my marriage can only be protected as much as the marriage that is least respected in our society right now, and that would be a gay marriage.

My church tells me there’s a slippery slope for allowing gay marriage rights, but they don’t talk about the slippery slope of not allowing it. What happens if we give our government the power to decide who can be married based on morality? Who’s to say they won’t come around in ten or twenty years and say that my marriage is immoral, that they don’t like the church that I belong to, or that they think I’ve over-populated the world, or whatever their reason?

I want to decide what a moral family looks like for me and try and live up to that. And I think that loving others is allowing them to do the same.

As if that wasn’t enough by itself to make me believe again that people are good, she later responded to a comment on her blog entry about it. The comment was:

PLJ
Posted February 15, 2011 at 9:55 AM

It’s a decent video and I support your freedom of expression. Too bad you can’t show the same amount of tolerance for polygamists as for just about every other lifestyle on the planet.

And she responded:

Mel
Posted February 15, 2011 at 1:48 PM

PLJ – I agree that polygamy is a difficult thing for people to show tolerance toward. You could substitute polygamous for gay in my video and I would stand behind it. Happy Valentine’s Day.

OMG I literally cried from happiness. My faith in humanity restored once again! Hallelujah.

Viannah E. Duncan

Viannah E. Duncan is a writer and activist hailing originally from Los Angeles. She lives outside of Baltimore, Maryland, and holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Wilkes University. She has a cat, Cleo.

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