One of the current arguments for Same Sex Marriage (SSM) is that children can be raised just as well by two men or two women as they can by a woman and a man. It is essentially saying that in matters of parenting, gender does not matter. This seems to me to be directly contrary to feminism, since if gender did not matter, why should it matter if women are or are not in the same leadership positions as men? I can understand the attraction of connecting homosexual marriage and feminism; both have a desire to see that everyone is treated equally and fairly. However, to me, the persual of gay marriage undermines the feminist ideas that women cannot be served just as well by having only male leadership.
In LDS belief, men and women have always been and always will be men and women, respectively. Your gender, whatever it is, is eternal. No, this does not answer the state of those who have ambiguous gender, but for the majority it is simple enough – the gender you were born with is the gender you always were and always will be. Could we be wrong? Absolutely. I could get to the next life and find that I really am female, and that would take some getting used to, but I can leave that dilemma for then, rather than worrying about it now.
We do not react to men and women in the same manner, no matter who we are. If we are in a situation where the gender is ambiguous, we automatically assign one gender or the other until we can determine otherwise. If we discover we were wrong in our assignment of gender, our reactions to and perceptions of that person change with some difficulty, because we have so closely connected that particular gender to that particular person. Even in reading this post, you are making different judgements based on both my gender and yours. Men and women are different. They have physical, mental, and spiritual attributes that <i>in general</i> conform to their specified gender. Can these attributes be found outside of the given gender? Certainly, but as an exception, not as a rule. Do we know what these differences are? Very, very rarely. Even with our instinctual knowledge of the differences between men and women, these differences are very difficult to quantify and define.
Studies show (forgive my lack of links) that there is a difference in the general outcome of raising children in homes with both a mother and father committed to marriage, as opposed to a mother or father alone, two fathers, two mothers, or a mother and father with an unstable marriage. As children, we look to our fathers and mothers to see how we should react to others of that same gender, which cannot be accomplished as well as a single or same sex parent. It certainly <i>can</i> be done, but it is not accomplished as easily as it would be in a stable two-parent, two-gender home.
Some of the pains often pointed out by feminists are that it would be more preferable for women to be able to confess to other women (rather than male-only Bishops), pray to their Mother in Heaven who would be able to empathize with women better, and that women leaders would be more sensitive to womens issues. Men and women are not the same, but they should be treated equally, have equal opportunity for advancement even in those areas where men and women are seperated by those physical, mental, and spiritual differences. Even though equality of treatment is an important aspect of both feminism and advocating for the LGBTQ amoung us, the loss of gender roles in marriage and parenthood desired in same sex marriage are in direct opposition to feminism – that even though women and men are different, they should both be treated and respected equally.