This openly gay Mormon wants the world to know he’s proudly and ‘happily’ married to a straight woman
Skyler Sorensen, an openly gay Mormon man, has described why both he and his straight wife Amanda Sorensen are “happy” in their “mixed-orientation marriage”.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS), commonly known as the Mormon church, has time and time again oppressed in LGBT+ members.
But gay Mormon Skyler Sorensen told the New York Post that despite him and Amanda both being attracted to men, they have a happy marriage and an active sex life, both believing that “celestial marriage” can only be between a man and a woman.
The 25-year-old said: “That sexual attraction came from, I mean, trial-and-error and a lot of practice.”
He added: “We have our struggles of course, like every marriage, but me being gay hasn’t been … the biggest issue in our marriage. It’s been communication, normal marriage things.”
Skyler and Amanda’s “mixed-orientation marriage” has recently received a lot of attention after a screenshot from Skyler’s Twitter account went viral.
His tweet read: “Being in a mixed-orientation marriage is like going to Disneyland and having some people tell you you’d be better off at Six Flags.
“Six Flags may have more rollercoasters, but it’ll never beat the happiest place on earth.”
Hi! My marriage with my wife is very happy for both of us. Might I suggest your intolerance for different life choices is the real problem, not my wife’s and my decision to love each other.
— Skyler Sorensen (@_skyler_austin_) May 27, 2020
The couple live in Utah, where 68 per cent of the population is Mormon, greater than the proportion of Utah women who have jobs.
They met less than five years ago after being assigned to the same ward, or Mormon congregation, but Amanda did not find out that Skyler was gay until they had been friends for six months.
However, when he made it clear that he intended to spend his life with a woman to abide by LDS teachings, they began to discuss marriage.
Amanda said: “Do I wish that Skyler wasn’t gay? Yeah, sometimes. But I wouldn’t want to be with anyone else other than him.”
— Skyler Sorensen (@_skyler_austin_) February 12, 2020
She added: “He grew up always knowing that he was never going to be with a guy. That was always his conviction and his belief and his desire.
“Skyler is just so kind and sensitive and loving and giving. Growing up, he probably thought, like, ‘Oh, this makes me different than other guys.’ But I love those aspects of him.”
Mormon doctor says it’s better to be in a ‘mixed-orientation marriage’ than to be single.
While trying to make their marriage work, the couple consulted a Mormon counsellor who specialised in “mixed-orientation relationships”.
Another specialist, Dr Ty Mansfield, a private practice therapist in Utah and adjunct professor at Brigham Young University, the anti-LGBT+ Mormon-owned university where Skyler is currently a student, told the New York Post that the arrangement is not uncommon.
Mansfield – who is also attracted to men, but married to a woman – said that between 40 and 60 per cent of his clients were “navigating sexual or gender-identity questions”, and added: “Whatever path you choose, there are healthy ways and unhealthy ways to navigate that path.”
The options for couples like the Sorensens, said Mansfield, are either a lifetime of celibacy or a “mixed-orientation marriage”.
The therapist said he and his colleagues conducted a survey of Mormons and ex-Mormons “who experience sexual attractions to same-sex adults”.
According to Mansfield, 80 per cent of those in “mixed-orientation marriages” said they were generally satisfied, a far greater proportion than those that were single and celibate (42 per cent) or single and not celibate (40 per cent).
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However, the study inadvertently made an important point about Mormon teachings on sexuality – the happiest couples were those who were gay or lesbian and in same-sex relationships, with a satisfaction rate of 95 per cent.
In 2015, the Mormon church brought in an anti-LGBT+ policy stating that all children of same-sex parents were barred from being baptised or becoming Church members for the entirety of their childhood and until they “disavowed” their parents’ relationship.
Russell M Nelson, the church’s current president, strongly supported the policy, and said that it was “God’s will”, however in 2019 the church ditched the policy after widespread protests.
In February, 2020, the LDS church released a new “general handbook” in which it detailed harsh punishments for trans members.