Gay Mormon couples marry in CaliforninaJul 1st, 2008 | By Jody May-Chang | Category: Uncategorized
Affirmation co-founder Paul Mortensen married his partner of 30 years, Robert Jacob, in a small ceremony on July 21st in West Hollywood.
Raised in Riverton, Utah, a fourth generation Mormon, Mortensen married a woman in the Salt Lake Temple, in an attempt to follow the LDS leaders’ counsel to “overcome” his homosexuality. He and his wife moved to Los Angeles. For several years Mortensen made genuine efforts to “become straight” but could not.
Mortensen divorced his wife in 1968 and was excommunicated from the LDS Church. After making the decision to accept himself as a gay man, he became involved with the Los Angeles gay community.
In 1978, Mortensen and five other gay Mormons met in West Hollywood apartment and organized the Los Angeles chapter of Affirmation where their membership quickly grew.
He hoped through this new group, he would meet and settle down with a nice Mormon man. However days before th first LA Affirmation meeting he met Jacob, who was not LDS and it was love at first site.
After 30 years as a loving couple dedicated to one and other ther were finally able to legally marry with a small group of friends and relatives in attendance. The ceremony was conducted by West Hollywood city council member, Abby Lane.
â€œI know of other couples in Affirmation getting married in California, but they are waiting a few weeks to have a big wedding and reception,â€ wrote Paul. â€œWe wanted to do it right away because we are leaving to go to Europe for a few weeks and we want to tour Europe as a legal married couple. And that is a pretty neat honeymoon.â€
â€œMost of you know that California has a ballot initiative on the November election to repeal marriage equality, but we really believe it can and will be defeated,â€ Mortensen added. â€œI would also like to ask that everyone who can contribute against this ballot measure do so by supporting Equality California.
Chris Allen and Pat Warnick, another Affirmation couple, were also married in California in Walnut Creek on June 22. The couple have been together for over 11 years.
“We are very grateful to all the Affirmation members who have provided loving support to us throughout our ‘engagement.’ Can you all believe how far weâ€™ve come?” says the newly weds.
Gay Mormons are often systematically rejected from their families and their church when they come out, leaving them without the community support they always known. Affirmation, with chapters all over the world, has been a critically important source of love, acceptance and support for many LGBT people, whether they remain in the faith or not.
On the Affirmation website they state, “We reject the tyranny that would have us believe that who we areâ€”gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgenderâ€”is evil. We view our sexual and gender orientation as a blessing, not a curse. Although many of us are no longer members of the LDS Church we celebrate being part of the great Mormon tradition. We are a family that consists of active members of the LDS faith, former members and non-members. Our membership consists of individuals situated all over the sexual mosaic.”
Jody May-Chang now writes on "As I See It...Reporting from the front lines