I have a lot of Mormon friends. It’s where I come from. It’s where I’ve spent the past several years. It’s who I’m related to. There’s just no way around it–I have a lot of Mormon friends.
I met a lot of my Mormon friends as a missionary. I was really close to a lot of other missionaries. Like Elder C. He was a new missionary who lived in my last apartment. We got along great. We were friends. He didn’t get back from his mission until a few months ago. When he got back, I added him on facebook. He didn’t accept my invitation. Today I went on his profile to decide whether I should try again. I noticed that he is a “fan” of “Protect Marriage: One man, One woman.” I decided not to add him again.
It’s not that I don’t think we can’t be friends anymore because he opposes my future marriage. In fact, I’d say it’s more that I assume he doesn’t want to be friends because he opposes my future marriage. And the problem is going to get bigger. I have a lot of Mormon friends who oppose my future marriage. These friendships are clearly strained. I don’t hide my political beliefs by any stretch of the imagination. But friends can disagree about politics and still be friends.
What happens when I announce an engagement or when I get married? What happens to these friends? Some of them may take the initiative and terminate our friendship. That will hurt. But what about those that don’t? Can I be friends with someone who opposes my marriage? If I were a straight, active Mormon who married in the temple, would I be able to be friends with people who opposed temple weddings and thought they were of the devil? Is this the same? Unlike that scenario, the friends I have who oppose gay marriage actually have the power to outlaw my marriage in states like California.
So is it fair for me to delete (facebook makes it all sound so clinical) friends who are against my way of life? That would be hard for me. But can I justify being friends and maintaining acquaintanceship with people who want to deny me what will make me happy? I don’t know, but I think it is sad that I have to ask these questions. I wonder what things would be like if I had gone to the Art Institute of Boston and made friends with people who support me. What if my newsfeed reported on people who were like me instead of people who hate people like me?