It was never the intention of the intolerant Witness religion to grant any freedom of expression outside their own narrow view. Any attempt to practice freedom of expression in act or speech within the ranks of Jehovah’s Witnesses is dealt with KGB-like control and punishment.
Engardio, who is openly gay himself, argues Walker used the Witness precedent of their Constitutional right to unpopular religious practices to support his order to quash Prop 8. “Will anyone thank Jehovah’s Witnesses for their role in getting the law declared unconstitutional?” USA Today
Like many fundamentalist religious, Jehovah’s Witnesses doctrine is based on literal interpretation of bible texts. In the official Awake magazine article of April 8, 2005 Jehovah’s Witnesses come out strongly against same sex relationships
“Our Creator established rules governing marriage long before governments began regulating the institution. The opening book of the Bible tells us: “A man will leave his father and his mother and he must stick to his wife and they must become one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24)
The well-known Biblical account of Sodom and Gomorrah reveals God’s feelings about homosexuality. God declared: “The cry of complaint about Sodom and Gomorrah, yes, it is loud, and their sin, yes, it is very heavy.” (Genesis 18:20) The extent of their sinful depravity at that time was apparent when two guests visited the righteous man Lot.
“The men of Sodom . . . surrounded the house, from boy to old man, all the people in one mob. And they kept calling out to Lot and saying to him: ‘Where are the men who came in to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may have intercourse with them.’” (Genesis 19:4, 5) The Bible says: “The men of Sodom were bad and were gross sinners against Jehovah.”—Genesis 13:13.
The men became “violently inflamed in their lust toward one another, males with males.” (Romans 1:27) They had “gone out after flesh for unnatural use.” (Jude 7) In countries where homosexual rights campaigns are pervasive, some may object to using the word “unnatural” to describe homosexual behavior. However, is not God the final arbiter when it comes to nature? He commanded his ancient people: “You must not lie down with a male the same as you lie down with a woman. It is a detestable thing.”— Leviticus 18:22.” Awake
The matter is not just personal choice for a Jehovah’s Witness. Any witness who admits to homosexual or other non male-female sex inside a marriage will be disfellowshipped, which is the Jehovah’s Witness version of excommunication.
A disfellowshipped ex-Witness is cut off from the congregation and will be shunned by their own family. They are not allowed to associate any further with their former families or church members.
“If detected, gays and lesbian (Witnesses) who refuse to remain celibate are expected to repent of their actions and to refrain from same-sex behavior in the future. Those who refuse are almost inevitably disfellowshipped. The WTS expects all of its members to agree with and follow all of the requirements of the organization, which are based on the WTS’ interpretation of the Bible.”
“While disfellowshipped, fellow members are required to shun him/her completely, avoiding all contact. If the disfellowshiped person is a family member, then they are treated normally within the family, except that they are made to understand that their actions are disapproved of. There is no discussion about church matters in their presence. This can have a devastating effect on a person whose entire religious, family and social life were grounded in the Society.” Jehovah’s Witnesses & homosexuality behavior
The confidential guide for local elders to determine who should be excommunicated or disfellowshipped states that same sex acts are dealt with in a “judicial hearing”, the official process of disfellowshipping.
The number of sexual acts that will result in disfellowshipping is quite broad including “oral and anal sex or mutual masturbation between persons not married to each other, homosexuality, lesbianism, [sic] fornication, adultery, incest, and bestiality”. Evidence of immoral sexual activity can be as little as “the accused stayed all night…with a known homosexual…under improper circumstances, is acceptable proof.” Jehovah’s Witnesses & homosexuality behavior
While making his arguments, I wonder if Engardio is hoping for some relaxed religious tolerance from Jehovah’s Witnesses that would allow him acceptance with his Jehovah’s Witness family. That would be a “faint hope”.