Mormon Church wins on gay marriage


Swayed by an alliance of the Mormon Church, evangelicals and Catholic bishops, voters decided yesterday to use two states' constitutions to ban marriage for gays and lesbians …

… even though, I'll interject, constitutions are normally intended to ensure the civil rights of minority groups.

California's Proposition 8 was the most intense gay-marriage battle ever -- and the most expensive ballot measure in any state this year. More than $70 million was spent on it. Exclamation point.

The Proposition 8 battle continues, though -- already there is talk of a lawsuit challenging the vote. In my High Country News take on how the battle involves many Westerners, I reported that Mormons had donated more than 30 percent of the total war chest for Prop 8. More recent estimates have the Mormons donating more than 75 percent. And the Daily Kos blog has uncovered an internal Mormon Church memo that shows Mormon leaders have quietly planned to ban gay marriage since the late 1990s.

Meanwhile, in Arizona, with a Mormon push, Proposition 102 writes the denial of civil rights into the Arizona Constitution.

The Mormon Church has paid a higher price than dollars, though. The battle split Mormons into camps for and against gay rights, as many stories report, here and here and here and here and here and here and here and … well, you get the idea.

The California vote is especially harmful to gays and lesbians (including many in Mormon families). The California Supreme Court ruled in May that a previous ban on gay marriage violated the California Constitution's guarantees of civil rights -- and that opened the door for a rush of gays and lesbians from many states getting married in California. Now, the marriage certificates of some 16,000 gay and lesbian couples are in "legal limbo," says the LA Times.

In the heart of Mormon country, Salt Lake City, where the church has its headquarters, a Salt Lake Tribune columnist says the battle "oozes irony."

An LA Times opinion says the Prop 8 campaign used deceptive ads to persuade voters. A Huffington Post columnist sketches out possible tactical mistakes by those battling against Prop 8.

It does seem clear the public is edging toward acceptance of gay marriage -- in California anyway, and in a couple of other states Back East that continue to allow it. When California voters passed their initial ban, in a 2000 Mormon push, it was a lopsided margin, with fewer than 40 percent supporting gay marriage. Yesterday, nearly 48 percent supported gay marriage. That's bitter progress.

Now most Western states have bans on gay marriage, either through legislature actions or ballot measures. Where the bans are written into state constitutions, it prevents state courts from tossing out the bans. It seems the only way gay marriage might be widely accepted is with a legal battle going to the U.S. Supreme Court. Expect that sometime in the near future.

The Facts
Dec 02, 2008 07:21 PM
Here are some hard facts to consider:

Fact: Barack Obama - who was overwhelmingly supported by homosexuals - does not support gay marriage.

Fact: The LDS Church only has 800,000 members in California. More then 52% of people voted “yes on 8″. At best 250,000 mormons are eligible to vote and one in five mormons voted against proposition 8. The LDS Church members alone could not have passed proposition 8.

Fact: Catholics and other Christian groups were just as involved in the effort to pass prop 8 as the LDS Church. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Sacramento released this statement: “Catholics stand in solidarity with our Mormon brothers and sisters in support of traditional marriage — the union of one man and one woman — that has been the major building block of Western Civilization for millennia. The ProtectMarriage coalition, which led the successful campaign to pass Proposition 8, was an historic alliance of people from every faith and ethnicity. LDS were included — but so were Catholics and Jews, Evangelicals and Orthodox, African-Americans and Latinos, Asians and Anglos. Bigoted attacks on Mormons for the part they played in our coalition are shameful and ignore the reality that Mormon voters were only a small part of the groundswell that supported Proposition 8.”

Fact: The fact that other Churches and organizations that participated in the “yes on 8″ movement are not being targeted by protesters proves that this is a bigoted assault on the LDS Church and not a protest against the passage of prop 8.

Fact: Opposition against prop 8 in California was centered mainly in the bay area. The rest of the state leaned toward passage of the proposition. Many civic leaders - including the mayor of San Diego - supported the passage of prop 8.

Fact: The LDS Church supports some rights for homosexuals. The Church stated: Allegations of bigotry or persecution made against the Church were and are simply wrong. The Church’s opposition to same-sex marriage neither constitutes nor condones any kind of hostility toward gays and lesbians. Even more, the Church does not object to rights for same-sex couples regarding hospitalization and medical care, fair housing and employment rights, or probate rights, so long as these do not infringe on the integrity of the traditional family or the constitutional rights of churches.

Fact: Californians have now voted against gay marriage twice in the last eight years.

Fact: Without the support of the Black and Latino community, prop 8 would not have passed. Obviously many minority group do not view homosexual rights as a civil right (I would like to see the gay groups protesting outside the LDS Temple in L.A. take their protest to the minority neighborhoods of south central L.A. I wonder how that would go over?).

Fact: Not all members of the LDS Church supported Prop 8 and some declined to participate in the “yes on 8″ effort. Fact: The LDS Church has a constitutional right to participate in the political process. There is absolutely no violation of the separation of church and state and those who believe there is are uneducated regarding the issue of the separation of church and state. Again, the LDS Church has stated: “Some, however, have mistakenly asserted that churches should not ever be involved in politics when moral issues are involved. In fact, churches and religious organizations are well within their constitutional rights to speak out and be engaged in the many moral and ethical problems facing society. While the Church does not endorse candidates or platforms, it does reserve the right to speak out on important issues.”

Fact: The “no on 8″ movement raised more money than the “yes on 8″ movement, including out of state money, yet the proposition still passed. This proves that donations in support of the proposition alone could not have been an overriding factor in passing the proposition.

Fact: Mormons are being unfairly targeted by the hate of the homosexual left. This group is now advocating taking away the rights of a Church that is protected by the Constitution of the United States. Attacks directed exclusively at Latter Day Saints over Prop 8 constitute a form of bigotry perpetuated by a group that makes the loudest arguments against bigotry. Vandalism and some forms of protest directed at the LDS Church constitute a form of violence against a religious minority. The LDS Church issued this important statement: It is disturbing that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is being singled out for speaking up as part of its democratic right in a free election. Members of the Church in California and millions of others from every faith, ethnicity and political affiliation who voted for Proposition 8 exercised the most sacrosanct and individual rights in the United States — that of free expression and voting. While those who disagree with our position on Proposition 8 have the right to make their feelings known, it is wrong to target the Church and its sacred places of worship for being part of the democratic process. Once again, we call on those involved in the debate over same-sex marriage to act in a spirit of mutual respect and civility towards each other. No one on either side of the question should be vilified, harassed or subject to erroneous information.

The facts don't support the claim, the LDS Church voted on what it believed, and instead of finding a compromise that works for all groups, you discriminate against a minority religion. What a shining example for 'tolerence and equality' you set. This is not the black rights movement, where the law opressed every aspect of another cultures life, it is a clash of opinions, and everyone, white, black, hispanic, Jew, Mormon, gay or strait, has the right to voice their opinion, even if that opinion doesn't match your demands. The no support of Prop 8 benefits gays, gays, and only gays, instead of seeking revenge for not passing a gay only law, you should be pushing for a peaceful compromise that can work for all groups, religions, and cultures.