I was raised to be homophobic. I didnt realize I was homophobic until I went to collage and found that I had gay friends. I had to choose to either shun them (like I was taught) or befriend them. I chose the latter.
It wasnt until I took a psychology class at BYU, during which we discussed **homosexuality, that I realized that I really didnt agree with the Mormon view that homosexuality is a choice, and can therefore be "cured."
This brings me to what caused me to write this. One of my (many) cousins recently made a comment (spurred from a women's conference of some sort where a speaker touched on homosexuals in the Mormon Church) where she said "I dont see what the big deal is. We dont ask gays to do anything different from any other singles in the church. Just obstain from premarital sex. It has nothing to do with being gay."
The problem is that the statement isnt true. Gays in the church are not asked to do the same thing as heterosexual singles in the church. Here is the difference: because gays can not marry (which is what the Church wants) they have to live their entire lives in celebacy in order to remain in good standing with the Church. Whereas heterosexuals are taught to marry and have a healthy sex life with a spouse. Celebacy is not the same thing as abstinance ...at all. Just ask any number of returned missionaries who have bible-bashed with a catholic about the celebacy of priests.
Now, if the church changed its position on gay marriage to allow them to have a civil marriage (not an eternal marriage in a Mormon temple) then it would be asking the same thing. Or at least a similar thing. But the Church has made it clear that they have no intention of changing that policy.
The notion of a cure for the "disease" of homosexuality has been prevelant in the Church pretty much since the beginning. LDS social services use "reparative therapy" to cure homosexuality. This method is based on the idea that, with enough prayer and scripture study, one can overcome homosexual thoughts and urges, thus becoming heterosexual again.
This in turn implies that anyone who does not overcome these thoughts is not working hard enough and should read more and pray harder. When this does not work (and really, how often has it worked?) people become distraught and have to make a choice: choose a life of celebacy in a church that does not fully accept them; or leave the church and live a life among people who embrace them.
For many the choice isnt a choice at all. It is more of an epiphany, really. As a social worker, I see teens who seem to be unable to make that decision (usually due to family pressure) and too many of them either leave home or kill themselves. The truly terrifying thing is that this is a growing trend in Utah and a sign that something needs to change.
Personally, I think it is high time for Mormons to get off the soapbox that homosexuality is a choice (and therefore a sin) and let gays get married. Afterall, "two dads are better than none" (I realize this is a separate topic--get over it).
Current polls on the subject show that younger generations are overwhelmingly in favor of gay marriage. This means that it is just a matter of time until the older generations die off and gay marriage is passed. When this happens, expect to see an "official statement" by the Church... The same thing happened with blacks in the Church having the priesthood. The difference is that blacks didnt kill themselves...
**For a long time homosexuality was actually considered a mental disorder by psychologists. But this was partly because scientists had yet to differentiate between homosexuality and gender identity disorder (which is still considered a mental disorder). Once the distinction was made, however, they withdrew that section from the DSM IV and have ever since quelched the sentiment that it is abnormal.
Keep in mind that one of the main reasons a distinction was made was because studies showed that homosexuality did not cause disfunction (or an inability to lead an otherwise normal life). All mental disorders (potentially) cause disfunction that extends to many aspects of the persons life. Homosexuality does not fit this discription.