Q. Are you going to stay married?
A. Stephanie and I are going to stay family. But we have also come to very painfully realize, that marriage is not an authentic type of organization for us. While we understand that it just is so, we also understand that we are not divided either. Our relationship is changing and evolving and we take all of this one day at a time. When all of these changes will be complete is unknown. Are they ever complete in a healthy, loving relationship through life? There is NO WORD in our language for what to call our relationship. Partners? No...that seems like a business relationship. Co parents? No...our relationship is defined by many more dimensions than our children. Soulmates? Yes...we are ok with that but again, it seems to describe more of a quality than a structure. Siblings? NO...we clearly don't have a relationship that should be associated with sibling structure. You see...our journey and path is unique. So Stephanie and I simply say we are "family." That is the best word we have at present.
Q. Are you both still Mormon?
A. No. I formally removed my name from the church records of my own free good will. I don't believe that the church stand on homosexuality is reflective of God. I will not live wondering at what point they will want to remove me from the church. And I will not live to add fuel to the argument that one can be truly happy by being anything less than fully authentic. And I do not feel aligned with many of the doctrines of the church. I love the church. I love many, many people in the church. I love my history of service, my dear friends, and the memories of serving a mission in London some 20 years ago. But I cannot pretend to be something I am not. That does not work for me.
Stephanie remains a member of the church and while it is not always easy, is happy to do so. She understands that her voice of advocacy and education and her example of knowledge and compassion on this issue will be heard if she remains an active member of the church. She resonates deeply and personally with the doctrines of the church in most cases and her place as a 9 generation member whose relatives on both sides pulled carts across the Great Plains from their homes in Northern Europe is something that she feels deeply, as part of her very physical being. I support her in every way. She supports me in every way. We are presently working to find the balance and achieve peace in the pathways of our lives that cannot remain synchronous.
Q. How are your boys coping with all of this?
A. Well...better than we ever could have imagined and yet exactly as we predicted. Our boys are learning deep, important eternal principles of love and compassion. They are learning about living a non-judgmental and authentic, honest life. It is a journey for them too, of course. They will be on this journey across their lifespans. We understand and have given them permission to feel whatever they feel, whenever they feel it. We understand that there will be times they are proud and feel safe and times when they feel ashamed and fearful. We just continue to love them, be with them, educate them, and honor their feelings. Amazingly, they are the people in my family who responded most resiliently. I am not saying it was easy...my eldest son was 14 at the time and totally found this shocking: "In the movie of my life," he said, "I did NOT see that coming!" But all of our children find that our family...particularly me...is more deeply, richly connected with them. That I am more present, loving, and unhindered in my life such that it has increased their security and, I believe, inspired them greatly to better people who offer their support to their own friends and family in new ways. Times have changed dramatically...my boys have friends who are gay and out and loved and accepted. It has made each of them become better supporters and friends to these young people. It is not the same world in which Stephanie and I grew up.