My Husband’s Not Gay

TLC will air a special on January 11 titled “My Husband’s Not Gay.” It follows the lives of several different Mormon men who experience ongoing same-sex attraction but who have also chosen to be married to women. They have families, and they are trying to live out the teachings of the Mormon faith, which prohibits homosexual conduct and encourages conjugal marriage. Watch ABC News’s report about the program above.

As you can imagine, there has been a significant backlash against the show from gay activists. In fact, Change.org has started a petition to pressure TLC to cancel the program before it even airs next week. Why? There are at least two reasons cited in the petition:

(1) “[The] show… promotes the false and dangerous idea that gay people can and should choose to be straight in order to be part of their faith communities.”

(2) “TLC is… sending the message that being gay is something that can and ought to be changed, or that you should reject your sexual orientation by marrying someone of the opposite sex.”

There is more to the petition, and you can read the rest here. I am a little surprised by the sloppy thinking and the open intolerance cited in this petition and in the ABC News coverage above. A few thoughts:

First, it is an incontrovertible fact that many “faith communities” require chastity outside of marriage and fidelity inside of marriage. I myself am a member of a church in which one cannot remain a member in good standing while openly defying the clear teaching of scripture on this point. There are countless other Christian churches like ours. Why? Because that is what Christianity has understood to be the biblical norm for its entire 2,000-year history. To label this norm “false” and “dangerous” is to label Christianity “false” and “dangerous.” It is essential to our identity as Christians. To be sure, the protest is aimed at Mormon families, but the implications go far beyond Mormonism.

Second, the program does not indicate that being gay is a choice. In fact, one of the men said the exact opposite in the preview! Moreover, all of the men profiled in the program say that they continue to experience ongoing same-sex attraction. They didn’t choose to have those attractions. In fact, they apparently wish that their attractions were otherwise. Nevertheless, they have chosen not to act on those attractions so that they might pursue conjugal marriage and remain faithful to their religious beliefs. Again, these men do not deny that they experience gay attractions. They simply do not wish to indulge them because doing so is incompatible with Mormonism.

Third, why are gay activists outraged by this? Shouldn’t people have the freedom to pursue the dictates of their own consciences? Why must they be shamed and marginalized until they submit to the norms of the gay rights movement? Must every person experiencing same-sex attraction act on those attractions or be shamed? Surely this is not the kind of society that we want to cultivate. If it is, it is a society that will not tolerate real live Christians. It will be a society in which any mention of Christianity will have to have a “not safe for children” label affixed to it. That is precisely the point that Robin Roberts makes at the end of the ABC News piece above. She is a reporter. Nevertheless, she warns viewers that a show like this one harms children.

In short, the “backlash” against this television program is a bald display of intolerance. Either get with program of the sexual revolutionaries, or find yourself marginalized and stigmatized in the culture. It is one thing for Change.org to have this view. It is another thing entirely for the anchors at ABC News to promote this view as well. That’s not journalism; it’s propaganda. This kind of intolerance of traditional viewpoints is absolutely toxic, and I hope that viewers will see it for what it is.

13 Responses to My Husband’s Not Gay

  1. Sandra Stewart January 6, 2015 at 11:51 pm #

    In this instance I tend to agree, air the program. But folks have to understand just how repressive and judge-mental the LDS church is and just what effect it has on their culture, it is bone deep. The are from birth fully immersed in one of the largest cults in the world.
    This also ignores that there is a certain percentage that are bi-sexual and outside a binary. One bi-sexual women I knew said “I love the person and do not care what the outside is”, she was married and in a monogamous relationship with her husband.
    I know of those who at one time said they had changed their sexual orientation or gender identity and later receded that or were caught.

  2. Esther O'Reilly January 7, 2015 at 11:13 am #

    First of all, these men appear to be bi-sexual, not homosexual. This is better than if there was no romantic attraction at all with their wives (which I’ve also read about in Mormon contexts and which I strongly disapprove of). However, I still question the wisdom of marriage in this case, because the temptation to homosexual promiscuity tends to be stronger than the temptation to heterosexual promiscuity.

    • Sandra Stewart January 7, 2015 at 3:08 pm #

      When divorce rates are slightly higher for those that identify as evangelical Christians than the general population… I know of a number of gay and lesbian couples who have been in committed relationships far longer than some of my church friends. One thing to remember is that for G&L the places they meet have traditionally been bars because of cultural barriers.
      Not having access to the program I can not speak from actually have seen it.

      • Esther O'Reilly January 7, 2015 at 3:23 pm #

        Yes, and among those “loving, committed” homosexual “marriages,” how many of them are actually monogamous, as opposed to the culture’s redefinition of monogamy (which is to say, polygamy)?

      • Doug Dittmer January 13, 2015 at 1:58 am #

        These men are not bisexual. A person’s sexual orientation is based on their attractions, not behavior. They all admit they are primarily attracted to men. However they married women because the did not want the stigma of being labeled ‘gay’, so they use SSA to avoid the gay label and hide behind a hetero marriage. My problem with the premise of this program is that there is collateral damage. These marriages have a very high rate of divorce – 85% – and the kids become the collateral damage having to deal with Dad’s coming out as gay. One of the main characters, Pert, runs an organization based on the ex-gay raparative therapies which have been renounced by several professional organizations. In fact many of the founders of that movement have come out as gay. One of the main characters, Pert, runs an organization based on the ex-gay raparative therapies which have been renounced by several professional organizations. In fact many of the founders of that movement have come out as gay and recanted their previous positions on ex-gay therapy. The real life stories of men who faced this issue are contained in a book entitled “Over the Cliff: Gay Husbands in Straight Marriages.”

  3. Dal Bailey January 7, 2015 at 9:14 pm #

    Considering that the doctrine of the Mormon Church is that in time they too shall one day be gods, makes me doubt this is a religion at all. Speaking as a former deacon also…

  4. Paul Reed January 8, 2015 at 12:43 am #

    Just for a second, contemplate what being married to one of these “non-gay” persons must be like. These people prefer the intimate company of the same sex, but out of the fear of hell-fire, they agree to stay married to their spouses. So while they consider their spouses far from desirable, it still beats an eternity of suffering. Wouldn’t anyone who isn’t a complete psychopath would want their marriage partner to desire them?

    • James Bradshaw January 8, 2015 at 5:46 pm #

      “Why are gay activists outraged by this?”

      I honestly don’t know. Perhaps it’s because people with contrary beliefs on this issue made life miserable for them personally. Those days are mostly gone, though.

      I, for one, am quite interested in watching this. Folks abstain from all sorts of things because of religious convictions, and many times these things are not even considered intrinsically bad in themselves. Some fast. Some don’t marry at all. Some give up worldly possessions.

      I know why gay or bisexual men would marry a woman. What I’m more interested in is the perspective of the wives. As Paul suggests, it makes little sense for a woman to marry someone who is only somewhat (if at all) interested in them as romantic partners. There are so many other potential mates out there. Why throw this very difficult situation into the relationship from the onset?

      Esther: the rate of unfaithfulness amongst committed partners has declined over the years for both heterosexual and homosexual couples.

      “Twenty-eight percent of straight men in 1975 had sex with a woman outside of their marriage, but in 2000, it was only 10 percent. For straight, married women, the rate dropped from 23 percent to 14 percent. For gay men, 83 percent to 59 percent, and for lesbians, 28 percent to 8 percent

      (From the Slate)

      Note that gay women had the *lowest* rate of infidelity. While the rate for gay men is higher, an almost 30-percent decline in infidelity since 1975 is noteworthy because it contradicts the notion that a greater acceptance of homosexuality would lead to an increase in promiscuity.

  5. Esther O'Reilly January 8, 2015 at 9:30 am #

    In fairness, they seem to make it clear that they are in fact romantically attracted to their wives. At least the one guy does. So it sounds like they may be bi-sexual. However, I agree with you that it’s a horrible idea for someone who has exclusive SSA to get married.

  6. Nathan Cesal January 8, 2015 at 11:56 pm #

    I find it interesting that you would take such a political stance. I was waiting for you to say that these men’s actions are in vain until they have true faith in the true God. Maybe that’s not the party line any more.

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