Sunday, October 26, 2008

CA Proposition 8: Yes, No, Maybe so, and the Mormon Role

While this blog is intended for a national and international audience, the site is being built out of Los Angeles, California, a state facing some major issues on the ballot this coming November 4.  One major issue is Proposition 8, where the people of California will vote on whether marriage should be defined in the CA constitution as just between one man and one woman--overturning the decision of the CA Supreme Court ruling that the ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional.

This blog entry contains three videos and the arguments on both sides about why you should vote yes or no on Proposition 8.  If you are receiving this blog post as an email, please click *here* to link to the main Obama IS America! blog.  Type No on 8 in the search to find this blog entry.   

Below the videos you can find an article from *The California Majority* about the huge role being played by the Mormon church in trying to pass this Prop, including reader commentary.  Below that, you can find information from  *Mormons for Marriage*, which is a group of Mormons who support gay marriage and oppose Prop 8.

Thank you.

Yes on 8:

Yes vs. No on Proposition 8:

NO ON 8!!!

Prop 8: Mormon Influence on Yes Campaign Now a National Story
October 23, 2008 @ 3:11 PM

The Atlantic Monthly's Andrew Sullivan picked up on the staggering influence the Church of Latter Day Saints has had on the Yes on Prop 8 campaign in his piece, "Mormons v. Civil Rights".

"People may be unaware that the top leadership of the LDS church has made banning gay couples from having any legal rights in California a supreme issue, part of a determined political campaign of unprecedented ferocity and organization," he writes.

Indeed, while figures on Mormon giving vary from around 40 percent to 80 percent, whatever the exact number, the influence clearly goes far beyond their actual population in California, which hovers below two percent.

Why are out-of-state members of a minority religion very familiar with state-sponsored discrimination so interested in spreading the wealth to California's gay and lesbian populations? Sullivan has a theory:

"This is about consolidating the Mormon church into the wider Christianist movement. If the Mormons can prove their anti-gay mettle, they will be less subject to suspicion from evanglicals."

With Senator John McCain's imploded presidential campaign leaving many Republicans scratching their heads wondering what could have been done differently to save the sinking GOP ship, perhaps there's some forward thinking involved in favor of Mitt "Almost the First Mormon President in U.S. History" Romney. Or maybe they, like the Christianist Alliance Defense Fund and Focus on the Family, just want to impose their religious dogmas on those with different faiths. Why should the Episcopalian, United Church of Christ, and Unitarian Universalist denominations, which all back marriage equality, be denied the ability to wed the couples of their choosing? Because James Dobson and Mormon Elders said so? To dozens of faith communities, that's not sufficient.  

Whatever the LDS chuch's motivation, it's a moot question. Their dollars and volunteers are here, and evangelical churches that not too long ago considered them fringe heretics have called at least a temporary cease fire. It's up to all Californians who oppose writing specific religious doctrines into our state constitution, friendly LDS members included, to fight back against this alarming blurring of church-state separation.

Image courtesy Americans United.

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Comments on Prop 8: Mormon Influence on Yes Campaign Now a National Story

Posted by: Jed Merrill on October 23, 2008

I am very proud to stand with the Church on this issue. In my mind it is the gay movement that is seeking to blur the line between civil rights and morality.

The Church has every right to speak on moral issues.

I am disappointed that in this article you pit one Church against another. I very much doubt that every Unitarian, Episcopalian, and member of the United Church of Christ is proud of gay marriage. It is a significant deviation from basic morality. I refuse to have my conscience dulled and that of my children, let alone the definition of marriage as established by God, to make a few people happy.

If God didn't make the pattern of marriage clear enough when he married Adam and Eve, he certainly displayed his distaste for a gay society when he destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. Historians also contend that the downfall of the Greek and Roman Empires started with a similar decline in morality.

I think the Church is concerned, among other things, that eventually the laws of the United States might require Mormons to allows gays to marry in their temples, which would make a complete mockery of God's plan and promises.

I am proud to stand for something that I value above nearly all else, the preservation of traditional marriage.

Finally, why do gay people demand to be given rights as a separate class when they already have the rights that matter as part of the human class?

I would sooner take away the right of judges to marry (which is questionable) than give gay people alternative marriage that dilutes the entire institution.

Prop 8: Mormon Influence on Yes Campaign Now a National Story

Posted by: Mbicus on October 24, 2008

I really don't think most gay couples have any interest in being married in a LDS Temple. Anyway, not even all LDS members can be married in their temples. Only certain members who meet specific criteria. They certainly never marry, or "seal", non-LDS members in their temple. I've never heard of complaints. Many churches only marry members of their church. It's fairly typical.

The thing is, everyone has a different definition of morality. Look how many versions of it you get just from the Jews, or the Christians. So, instead of changing the Constitution to capitulate to the LDS church, how about we focus on the civil rights issues, and let the churches govern themselves, and marry whom they like ? Prop 8 doesn't change churches tax exempt status or their exemptions from discrimination laws. They can marry whomever them like.

Separation of church and state

Posted by: david_t on October 24, 2008

The claim that Prop 8 could somehow lead to churches being forced to marry same-sex couples is utterly bogus. The civil law does not and cannot control church law, including who a church will recognize as married. It only deals with who the state will recognize as married under civil law.

The civil law has recognized interracial couples for many years, and yet there is no civil legal requirement that churches *must* marry interracial couples, or recognize them as married under church law. Nor could there be, because we have separation of church and state. (Most churches do recognize interracial couples; but that is their own choice, not something that the civil law has forced upon them.)

Mormons for Marriage:

For more videos of LDS church members’ opinions of California’s Proposition 8, see this post.

Why We as LDS Church Members Support Marriage Equality

For all its failings in particular cases, and for all the stress it has borne lately, marriage isthe great civilizing institution. No other institution has the power to turn narcissism into partnership, lust into devotion, strangers into kin. What other force can bond across clans and countries and continents and even cultures? In Romeo and Juliet, it was not the youths’ love which their warring and insular clans feared; it was their marriage. (Jonathan Rauch, Gay Marriage: Why It Is Good for Gays, Good for Straights and Good for America)

The days when homosexual unions - marital or nonmarital - were invisible are gone, and gone for good. If you can never accept same-sex marriage as just or moral, I ask you nonetheless to consider: If gay marriage is outlawed, what will come in its place? The world is changing, and marriage, like it or not, is changing, too. (Jonathan Rauch, Gay Marriage: Why It Is Good for Gays, Good for Straights and Good for America)


With these ideas in mind, here are some of the reasons we support marriage equality:

Quality marriage (monogamy) is ideal for all parties involved

Homosexuality is not a choice

Homosexuality does not go away

“It is not good for man (or woman) to be alone.”

What about the children?

Why should LDS members care?

Gay marriage does not harm heterosexual marriage

We have been taught by prophets to never blindly obey


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Amol said...

The Democrats support the separate-but-equal measure of civil unions with hospital visitation rights, while the Republicans merely 'tolerate' gays. All 4 candidates (Pres. and VP) have gone on the record as opposing gay marriage.
He may be the first (half) black Presidential candidate, Obama is still a politician.

Obama IS America! said...

The lack of politicians to come out in support of gay marriage and therefore TRUE equal rights for all is quite sad. But this is part of the reason that this blog (Obama IS America!) was created--to bring to people's attention how times have changed and what that means. In California, there are many people (at least 50% of the state, based on polls taken so far of people who are opposed to Prop 8) who openly support equal rights for all, including the right of all to enjoy the rights and privileges of marriage. But we must be vocal about what this means to everybody. What makes someone a 'politician', as used in Amol's comment above, is the need to relax one's personal beliefs to accomodate the preferences of one's voters. Up until now, it has been politically dangerous to say you openly support gay marriage. Well it is time for all Americans to start communicating to others what it means to support gay marriage--not that your morals should change or that children should be taught about homosexuality or anything of that sort, but instead that all people should have the same rights. Marriage is marriage and if someone wants to marry his or her partner, he or she should be able to make that decision privately and freely. This is the future--Equality for all. If it does not happen, we as a human species will never reach our full potential of progression into the future.