Gay Mormon In Straight Marriage Announces Divorce, Encourages LGBTQ Self-Acceptance

"We’re sorry to any gay Mormon who received criticism, backlash, or hatred as a result of our story."

Back in 2012, Seattle-based couple Josh and Laurel "Lolly" Weed made headlines after Josh came out as a gay Mormon man in a straight marriage. Josh announced his sexuality in a now-deleted but re-posted blog post and revealed that his wife knew he was gay long before they got married. Josh explained that the couple married in spite of his sexuality to prove their commitment to the Mormon church and their "dedication to God." At the time, he wrote that he was "very happily married to a woman and have been for ten years now" and that they "have an extremely healthy and robust sex life." The couple has four daughters together. 

"I am gay, I am Mormon, I am married to a woman," Josh announced on his blog. "I am happy every single day. My life is filled with joy. I have a wonderful sex life. All of these things are true whether your mind allows you to believe them or not."

Recommended

Their story went viral and caused anger and pain for other LGBTQ people and, in particular, LGBTQ Mormons. Many believed what they were hearing from the couple was internalized homophobia. As a result of their story, other gay Mormons were subjected to criticism, backlash, and hate. Some families used the couple's story to pressure their gay loved ones to marry a person of the opposite gender despite their sexuality, implying "if they can do it, so can you."

Now, after 15 years of marriage and five years since their story went viral, the couple has announced their divorce and issued an apology to the LGBTQ community.

In a lengthly blog post published last week, Josh explained that his former approach was a "manifestation of lingering internalized homophobia born of decades of being told this part of me was evil." 

"Our marriage was absolutely beautiful but it contained an undercurrent of pain that we were not able to see clearly or acknowledge for many years, which made continuing it impossible," he wrote. 

Josh listed his love for the LGBT community, his love for himself as a gay person, and the death of his mother, which effectively ended the couple's sexual intimacy, as the reasons he ultimately decided to consider divorce.

Lolly, too, realized the best decision for their family would be to end their marriage. 

"For me, giving my whole heart to Josh while knowing that he did not love me the way a man loves a woman has always been devastating. We were best friends, but he never desired me, he never adored me, he never longed for me," Lolly wrote. "Josh has never looked at me with romantic love in his eyes. He has never touched me with the sensitive touch of a lover. Whenever he held me in his arms, it was with a love that was similar to the love of a brother to a sister. That does eventually take its toll on your self-esteem." 

Their platonic love and being "mechanically good at sex" was simply not enough. It's not a substitute for mutual romantic love and sexual attraction.

"When we wrote our viral post five years ago, we were still stuck in this delusion, thinking that our relationship had no deficits, and that choosing to love was enough," Lolly explained. "But eventually we realized what we were missing. We realized the thing that so many people had tried to tell us: that we didn't have romantic attachment. That romantic attachment was essential to a functioning marriage. And that it was something that we never had and, hauntingly, that we never would."

Despite their separation, Josh explained in the blog post that he and Lolly are planning to buy a homestead together. The large property will allow them to keep their family together and "add future partners to it when the time comes."

In the post, the couple also emphatically apologized for the pain their 2012 post caused others.

"We're sorry for some of the things we said in our original coming out post in 2012. There are several ideas in that post that, though well-meaning, we now realize stemmed from internalized homophobia. We're sorry, so incredibly sorry, for the ways our post has been used to bully others," Josh wrote. 

The couple apologized to any gay Mormon who "had a moment's pause" about coming out and being their true selves because of their post. 

"We're sorry for any degree that our existence, and the publicity of our supposedly successful marriage made you feel 'less than' as you made your own terribly difficult choices. And we're sorry if our story made it easier for people in your life to reject you and your difficult path as being wrong," Josh wrote. "We're sorry to any gay Mormon who received criticism, backlash, or hatred as a result of our story."

Josh shared that he and Lolly received many messages from the LGBTQ+ community that explained how their blog post was being used to discredit their feelings or experiences. 

"It wasn't long after our post that we began to get messages from the LGBTQIA community, letting us know that their loved ones were using our blog post to pressure them to get married to a person of the opposite gender — sometimes even disowning them, saying things like, 'if these two can do it, so can you.' Our hearts broke as we learned of the ways our story was used a battering ram by fearful, uninformed parents and loved ones, desperate to get their children to act in the ways they thought were best.

One person wrote — and I'll never get the horror of this out of my head for the rest of my life — saying that he went to see his family for Thanksgiving during his second year of college, where he was an out gay man who openly had a boyfriend. When he got home, his father pulled up our story on the computer and then physically assaulted him, beating him as he had often done during his childhood, saying 'if this guy could avoid being a faggot, so could you!' 

Think of that. If we heard about our story being used in that way, I cannot even imagine the stories, all along the spectrum of manipulative horror, that we have never heard." 

It's clear the couple has learned a lot in the years since their 2012 post went viral. One thing Josh has learned? "There are some things you can choose in life, and some things you can't." 

Going forward, he's focusing on the things he can choose — his faith, being there for his daughters, and love. 

"I can choose to love Lolly with every ounce of love a gay man can have for a woman. And I can choose to find a partner and love him as well, adoring him and attaching to him in the beautiful way I was always intended to," Josh wrote. "And I can choose to support Lolly as she does the same. And we can support one another and our children, together in our homestead, watching the years tick by." 

GET SOME POSITIVITY IN YOUR INBOX

Subscribe to our newsletter and get the latest news and exclusive updates.