THE MORMON CURTAIN
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"PROPOSITION 8 COMMENTS".
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PROPOSITION 8 COMMENTS
The Mormon Church's role in Proposition 8.
| I'm so sad for the poor kids being sent off to BYU (probably parents hoping their kid will get "fixed" ) and committing suicide. I did not realize TSCC is saying there is no such thing as gay or homosexual. You are only tempted to be such. I am now even more embarrassed that I have a degree from BYU. It must be pure hell to be a TBM gay at BYU. And the idea that you can be turned in and treated like shit for admitting the truth while the kids that just lie get ignored. They always have treated liars better than the honest. That's why I could no longer stand working at Ricks College. I do think lying is the only way to get through that institution if you are gay unless there is any possible way to get transfered out.
To any gay BYU students reading this, life outside the Morg is far different. If it is destroying you to be there please leave. Nothing is worse than being treated like you are damaged or sick. You aren't. You are not sinning because you are gay. Please know that. There are plenty who will love you for who you are if you just get out of that insane environment.
| That really pissed me off. My ward devoted sacrament meetings and combined Sunday school and PR/RS in to two hour combined blocks devoted to solely to Prop 8. They passed out bumper stickers, signs etc in church, held donations during the same time and passed out sign up sheets to actively participate in call centers, door to door, or rally/protest groups really pissed me off as well. The idea that all of this was occurring because of an outside influence in Utah really pissed me off.
Funny enough I knew that even if prop 8 won it would eventually be overturned in one way or another, the church's massive involvement was horrible PR and would eventually sway future voters in the opposite direction as well. In other words the church lacked any foresight into the issue. Their heavy involvement would guarantee that in the near future anything like prop 8 would not pass and they were really screwing up their image they had been trying so hard to alter and mainstream. It was a lose, lose even if prop 8 won.
With that said, I agree that gov't should get out of marriage entirely. I felt that way then and I still do. I still believed the prophet to be just that and supported prop 8 at the time even though I was really pissed at SLC involvement. The fact that I knew quite a few people personally that had homes vandalized because of the prop 8 signs in their yard didn't help sway me to the "no" cause (obvoiusly this was not meant to describe the general actions of those against prop 8). I almost voted no just because of the church meetings devoted to "yes on 8." Anyway I vote yes, because I believed Tommy boy to be a prophet of God even though I realized the vote wouldn't matter in the near future.
| I was fortunate enough to attend both marches regarding Prop 8 in Salt lake, the protest when prop 8 was passed and the celebration when it ruled unconstitutional.
Today's celebration was slightly smaller, a lot less rowdy, but more fun then the first march. The Salt lake police were more accommodating, closing the streets from the Utah State Capitol down to and all the way around the temple for over an hour!
As mentioned in another thread, a beautiful rainbow appeared right before the rally inspiring lots of shouts "Thanks for the rainbow, god!" In addition to any significance of rainbow to Christianity, the rainbow flag is one of the most recognizable symbols of the gay rights movement. The rainbow lasted though the rally.
The MC got up and said they were going to keep it short with only a few speakers because he wanted to do "a lap around the temple" which drew a huge cheer from the crowd. Another loud cheer went up when it was announced that Taylorsville, Utah passed protections for gays in housing and employment. The most moving moment of the rally came when a speaker that had married his lover in an unofficial ceremony 3 years ago but did not make it to CA in time to get officially married, proposed to his husband.,asking to marry officially.
Then we marched. It seems SLCPD learned some lessons from the earlier prop 8 march and had the street closed to traffic from the capitol to and around the temple/COB complex. Yes, instead of trying to keep us on the sidewalk as in the past, we had the whole street to march down! The crowd stretched from the capitol grounds nearly to the COB. It was an impressive number of people considering the short notice. This time we did not stop and shout at the COB building, instead we would just cheer to anyone we saw. The cheer was especially loud when we knew we were cheering to Mormons. None of the antagonism so prevalent in the first march but a lot of good loud cheering.
It has been a good day.
| I find myself wondering what the fallout will be within the LDS church as a resut of the Prop 8 decision.
Almost certainly, the brethren will have to release a statement to be read from ward pulpits about this. The spin will be interesting and predictable. Perhaps some interesting discernments are on the horizon concerning gays and lesbians?
Treating blacks equally since 1978?
Treating gays and lesbians equally since 2010?
Respecting all forms of marriage since 2010?
What I am most curious to see is what this will do to the brethren's already overzealous probing during worthiness interviews and how they will now cross personal boundaries anew to root out and purge all possible gay and lesbians from their ranks.
Something is about to hit the rotating oscillator...
| We've all heard the denials from Mormon friends or family members that the Mormon church wasn't really that involved in the Prop 8 fiasco. Or at least I have. However, the people who donated big bucks to the cause remember the fight and they know what they were told.
I've heard stories of people donating tens of thousands of dollars to the Mormon church's Prop 8 effort, including some giving retirement funds and childrens' college funds. Timothy is right when he said the Church "has some 'splainin to do" to these people. How are they going to explain to them how God lost a fight with their money? I may not understand the mind of the true believer, but I do know that people in general aren't very pleased when they lose a lot of money to broken promises. If I was one of these big donators, I would be having major testimony problems right about now. I'd be saying things like "Kirtland Bank" and "Bernie Madoff" and "What the @#$% happened to my money?"
That's what I'd be saying. Just saying.
| Walker is a very good judge.
One argument against same sex marriage is that it will lead to polygamy, marriage between man and beast, and other bizarre stuff.
In his summary, Walker talked about state interests in restricting marriage. He said that one example of a state interest might be if there were not enough county clerks or not enough marriage licenses available for people who wanted them. (Same idea as not building houses where there isn't enough water). Gov't could restrict in those cases.
So, same sex marriage doesn't hurt the state, its resources or cause any problems of any kind. Pretty cool, right?
So, what about polygamy? Well, it seems that the gov't would have an interest in stopping polygamy. Obviously, the pool of people to marry would become imbalanced (don't say that the extra guys could just marry each other...most are straight and want to marry a woman). This is a type of imbalance that has already caused harm:
a) girls are sought for marriage too young
b) boys are cast out from polygamous groups because they compete for marriages with older guys
c) resources for large families are scarce
d)...plenty more stuff "actually" wrong with polygamy.
So, the differences aren't about the morality of polygamy versus gay marriage. But differences do exist. Same-sex relationships have been studied a lot, and they are not better or worse than straight relationships. Gay marriages clear a very high bar.
Polygamous marriages probably don't clear such a high bar. I think the slippery slope argument falls apart here. If polygamous relationships were put under the same scrutiny as same sex relationships, I think the court would find lots of gov't/societal interest in not legalizing.
Just my opinion.
| Probably for the same reason that they regret the fact that blacks were given rights equal to those of their Caucasian counterparts. Although the Mormon Church could still refuse to allow blacks to have the priesthood or keep them from getting married in their temples (which they did until 1978, by the way), such discriminatory segregation has become increasingly intolerable as more and more social reforms have been made. The continued ban of blacks' equal rights within the church eventually got to the point that the Mormon Church had to have its prophets and apostles receive "divine revelation" in which god suddenly told them that blacks were to be treated equally. The Mormon Church, with its bigoted views, has told others how to marry for a long time now. On Augst 27, 1954, the Mormon Apostle Mark E. Petersen said the following at the Convention of Teachers of Religion on the College Level held at Brigham Young University:
"What is our advice with respect to intermarriage with Chinese, Japanese, Hawaiians and so on? I will tell you what advice I give personally. If a boy or girl comes to me claiming to be in love with a Chinese or Japanese or a Hawaiian or a person of any other dark race, I do my best to talk them out of it. I tell them that I think the Hawaiians should marry Hawaiians, the Japanese ought to marry the Japanese, and the Chinese ought to marry Chinese, and the Caucasians should marry Caucasians, just exactly as I tell them that Latter-day Saints ought to marry Latter-day Saints."
If more and more people start supporting gay rights, the Mormon Church is going to be stuck in the same boat it was in 1978; its leaders are going to have to receive another "revelation" in which god tells them to stop discriminating against gays, or else face being called backward bigots by the rest of society. Homosexuality goes against everything the Mormon Church teaches, such as righteous males becoming polygamist gods in the Celestial Kingdom with many wives who give birth to the countless spirit children of their new worlds. Gays have no place in such a heaven.
The Mormon Church recently stated the following:
"The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day? Saints has consistently made plain that in matters of public policy it is not opposed to responsible consumption of alcoholic beverages by informed adults."
Although Mormonism considers drinking alcohol a sin, it nevertheless "is not opposed to responsible consumption of alcoholic beverages by informed adults"; accordingly, why should it not also recognize responsible marriage by informed adults? I can think of a lot more problems that come from people drinking alcohol than I can from two people who are in love getting married. :-/
| As most here probably know, I have been a gay activist for about two and a half decades, longer if you count simply attending rallies as activism. I have watched and studied the gay rights opponents, their mood and tactics very closely. Here are some observations from that journey (these observations are not about what is happening on RfM).
When I first started my activism Christianity, the most dominate religious beliefs in the USA, was virtually united in its opposition to gay rights. Virtually all affective opposition to gay rights was from Christian churches or other Christian organizations. I'm sorry to all the "but some churches support gay rights" crowd, but that is NOW, those churches did not do so THEN.
Long after I started my activism journey, I started seeing reports of fighting over gay rights within religious groups and thought "well, that is the beginning of the end of affective gay rights opposition". When they stop being united in their fight against gays and start fighting each other, they burn their energy infighting. I think I was right. The infighting has eventually lead to some churches changing their doctrine and and switched from opposing gay rights to supporting at least some gay rights.
Now, I think I am seeing another watershed moment. I have never seen the anti-gay activists being so frantic while the anti-gay politicians remain so quiet. I'm dumbfounded. Usually the anti-gay politicians are out their kissing up to the anti-gay activists to make political allies. Perhaps that is why the anti-gay activist feel the need be so frantic. It seems the political landscape has changed and everyone including the most ardent anti-gay rights activist, can sense it.
How many of the anti-gay activists reference God seems to have changed. It seems there is much more of a "how dare you even think of questioning God [or the bible]" arrogance. The shift away from the pleasant "well, its in the bible" to a more hostel tone represents an increasing fear that the gay rights opponents are not just losing battle but losing the war.
The real kicker is that there now seems to be infighting everywhere. I point to the tiff between Glenn Beck and Bill O'Reilly as an example. O'Reilly seemed to be attacking Beck for not doing his conservative duty, almost a "how dare you not oppose gay rights" stance. It seemed to me that O'Reilly senses the battle against gay marriage is about to be lost and is starting to place blame on other conservatives for not doing enough.
Another example I have seen is anti-gay activists not wanting the prop 8 decision appealed. "Discussing the likely reaction of the Supreme Court, influential evangelical minister and Republican activist David Barton said that 'the odds are 999 out of 1000 that they'll uphold the California decision,' with worrying consequences" http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/richa... . There is no longer a sense that we will win in the SCOTUS.
All in all, it seems that the Prop 8 verdict has brought about a profound change in the battle over gay rights. I think that in the past, many gay rights opponents thought that they could indeed prevail, they might lose but they could win. Now, there seems to be a collective realization among the opponents of gay rights that gay rights are inevitable, that they are going to lose. The most fanatical see this and are going berserk.
It will take time, but hopefully we will be able to look back at this time in gay rights history and say, yes, this indeed was a major turning point.
| I doubt TSCC would be able to mount the same sort of effort.
The people willing to clean out their savings already have.
TSCC now knows that every thing they do in this issue is being closely watched. They know that if they try to mobilize the faithful from the pulpit, conference, or any sort of communication via regular church channels the allies of gay marriage will make it public knowledge. TSCC also knows that the reaction will not be limited to California. They know full well that significant protests will happen at Temple Square in Salt Lake. I think TSCC would be willing do deal with protests if they were limited to California, but they seem particularly frightened of protests in Utah.
TSCC mobilized a lot of faithful to donate money so TSCC did not have to contribute directly or trough NOM. If TSCC can not use regular public channels and even private communications may become public, TSCC has no way to mobilize its faithful to donate money and time without exposing itself protests at temples across the USA.
If TSCC does mount the campaign trough NOM, the LDS faithful probably won't respond because it is not TSCC telling them what to do. It would be unlikely that the faithful would donate the large sums of money at the request of NOM. TSCC would be stuck footing the bill, not the members.
This time around, gay marriage supporters are well aware of the LDS involvement, they probably will not wait until after the election to protest Mormon involvement.
Unless TSCC wants to truly get down in the mud to duke it out with gays and their supporters, then it is unlikely that they will do anything like a Prop 8 campaign again.
It does not seem to me that California gay marriage supporters are willing to mount an expensive referendum as long as there is a very good chance that the ruling overturning prop 8 will stand. I have read several prominent anti-gay marriage political strategist ask that prop 8 not be appealed. It seems that many of the more competent anti-gay marriage strategist feel the ruling was too strong and stands a good chance of making gay marriage legal across the USA. Until the court case is resolved, it is unlikely that TSCC will have another chance to mount such a campaign in California.
| LDS General Authority Lance Wickman recently clarified that it was not really the LDS Church that campaigned for Proposition 8 in California back in 2008, it was the members:
The First Presidency of the Church sent a letter that was read in Sacrament Meeting urging members to get involved and that's all that was needed and they were galvanized by it.
Indeed they were. Prompted by nothing more than hearing a brief letter read once in church, Mormons donated a staggering $20 million to the anti-gay cause. And a non-trivial share of that came from Mormons living in other states (primarily Utah) where the letter was never even read, which really shows the extent of the galvanization.
Now in the four years since then, it's often been noted that the LDS have been conspicuously absent from all of the state legislative and referendum fights over gay marriage. The usual explaination we've heard for this apparent neglect of "the work of the Lord" (as Russell Ballard called it during Prop. 8) is that these battles occurred in the Eastern states where very few Mormons live, and in states so socially liberal that there was little chance of success. That seems reasonable -- Mormons do make up less than 1% of the population in states like Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, and New York, whereas they are a whopping 2% in the more moderate state of California.
But in 2012 the fight over marriage equality returned to Mormon country in the West....
In the great state of Washington nearly 4% of the residents are Mormons -- roughly double the proportion found in California! And while Washington is not considered a conservative state, it's certainly more conservative than nearby California where the Mormons prevailed just 4 years ago. Polling in early 2012 expected the vote to be close. And there were early signs of a possible appeal to the Brethren from underfunded anti-gay groups operating in the state.
So this past year there was every reason to suspect that the First Presidency would send another letter to be read from the pulpit (maybe even the same letter, lightly edited) and again trigger a flood of cash donations from galvanized members both in Washington State and beyond, which would trigger in turn a flood of blessings (as Ballard promised in 2008)....
Mormon fundraising to oppose gay marriage has plummeted. In Washington state, for example, gay marriage opponents netted just four donations from Utah, for $197.50. Utahns donated $2.7 million to back California's Prop 8 four years earlier.
What happened? Was there perhaps some kind of clerical error? Did the First Presidency's letter to the wards in Washington get lost in the mail? Did the Secretary to the First Presidency send it to the wrong fax number?
Or could we be looking at startling evidence that the First Presidency itself "now shuns the fight" when it comes to defending the sacred and eternal principle of post-Manifesto marriage?
| My favorite part is that the whole first half is entirely devoted to, essentially, "yes we ARE rational!"
Marriage defined as the union of one man and one woman is an axiom of Western civilization - not an attack on the civil rights of gays and lesbians.
Firstly, the two things are not mutually exclusive. Western civilization has historically been oppressive to gays and lesbians (as well as women, non-Europeans, and the disabled). Secondly, this argument is a fallacy called argumentum ad antiquitam (appeal to tradition). Just because something is old or traditional does not make it good or right.
Reframing the people's considered decision as an attack on civil rights employs a narrative of majority oppression that is powerful, resonant, and wrong.
The phrase "majority oppression" is immensely amusing. That aside, human rights issues under American law are not, in principle, subject to majority opinion. Constitutional rights are considered inalienable and not subject to change because of majority disapproval.
On the contrary, our members supported Proposition 8 based on sincere beliefs in the value of traditional marriage for children, families, society, and our republican form of government. Only a demeaning view of religion and religious believers could dismiss our advocacy of Proposition 8 as ignorance, prejudice, or [anti-gay] animus.
Um... yeah, sure.
no law is invalid simply because it happens to coincide with particular religious beliefs.
Nobody's argued that. The reason why the court found Prop 8 invalid was because there is no legitimate reason for Prop 8 to exist that is not religious in origin. For instance, most religions agree that theft is morally wrong, and theft is also illegal, but you won't find religious reasoning for that on the law books.
simply restoring one of the axioms of Western civilization
There's that phrase again--"axiom of Western civilization." Argumentum ad antiquitam.
We supported Proposition 8 because it offered the narrowest available means of recovering the time-tested definition of marriage as the union of a man and a woman.
This entirely ignores the fact that modern society has already redefined "traditional" marriage almost beyond recognition. It has changed from a business transaction between two men to a social contract between the people being married. Hell, the Mormon church hardly has room to gripe about "traditional" marriage, given its own history of redefining it. (Yes, I know that was an ad hominem.)
From our perspective as religious organizations, several of which actively supported its adoption, Proposition 8 was a moderate response to the California Supreme Court's decision overturning Proposition 22 - the initiative statute limiting marriage to male-female couples. See In re Marriage Cases, 183 P.3d 384, 453 (2008). Before that decision, we and many other religious organizations generally had supported, or at least refrained from opposing, the expansion of legal rights for same-sex couples in California, including their formal recognition as domestic partnerships. See id. at 397-398 (describing California's domestic partnership laws). But marriage is different. Issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples necessarily entails the redefinition of marriage itself.
Given the fact that marriage, like all social institutions, has already evolved significantly, why is "redefining marriage" such a problem? Why should the (in principle) secular US government care?
traditional marriage is conceived in terms of a man and a woman bound in a legal union oriented toward the bearing and rearing of children for the benefit of society. On the other is a genderless conception of marriage whose principal focus is on affirming adult relationship choices.
WON'T SOMEBODY THINK OF THE CHILDREN?!?! This has been gone over so many times that I won't bother here--gay couples can adopt, what about infertile/elderly couples, etc.
Seriously though, can I just point out that the tiger is showing its stripes here? The church sees marriage as existing for the sole purpose of reproduction. Marriage, like a woman, is a baby factory.
Yet for us and our members, traditional marriage is also indispensable to the material welfare of children, families, society, and our republican form of government. To be sure, these beliefs are nourished by the teachings of our respective religions. But the value we place on traditional marriage is also influenced by rational judgments about human nature, the needs of individuals and society (especially children), and by our collective experience counseling and serving millions of followers over countless years.
If gay marriage is to be made illegal, then those who oppose it will have to demonstrate, not merely claim, that gay marriage has a detrimental effect on society. The Mormon church cannot possibly have any insight from its history of counseling on how straight marriage compares to gay marriage vis-a-vis childrearing, because the church doesn't have any experience with gay marriage. It has no experience besides straight marriage and can have no contribution on the matter.
This tight connection between the age-old conception of marriage and the welfare of children "makes marriage a public good that the state should recognize and support,"... Defenders of traditional marriage are sincerely concerned that " `a society without the institution of marriage, in which heterosexual intercourse, procreation, and child care are largely disconnected processes, would be chaotic'
Now this is patently absurd. Legalizing gay marriage is the opposite of getting rid of marriage as a legal and social institution. Give me a fucking break.
These competing visions overlap in some respects but are nevertheless in deep tension. One is inherently intergenerational; the other, primarily interpersonal. One is focused on children's and society's needs; the other, on the desires of the couple.
Here the church is assuming that gay marriage is inherently worse for children than straight marriage. Evidence strongly suggests otherwise. It ignores the fact that outlawing gay marriage (and disallowing gays from adopting) will harm more children than it will help, because more children will be obliged to remain in the foster care system instead of in a loving home.
The question before this Court is whether the Constitution imposes on the Nation a novel conception of marriage over the one that has endured in all societies for nearly all of human history.
This is a bold claim, and ignores the fact that many societies have sanctioned same-sex marriages and unions.
Essentially, the court of appeals found Proposition 8 offensive to the Equal Protection Clause because it reflects religious beliefs supposedly hostile to same-sex couples.
Again, this is not true. The court found Prop 8 inadmissible because its only justifications were either unsupported (see "same-sex marriage will destroy the American family") or rooted in religious reasoning. There were absolutely no reasonable, secular supporting arguments for it. This is very different from claiming that legislation that happens to coincide with religious beliefs is inadmissible.
Most disturbing to us, the decision below falsely insinuates that our support for traditional marriage amounts to hostility toward gays and lesbians.
"We can't possibly be bigots--we love gays and lesbians!"
Proposition 8 is not invalid merely because it reflects the people's moral judgment - that is, their collective sense of what is right, just, and prudent - about the nature of marriage. This Court has long held that States possess broad authority under the police power to regulate public morality.... Of course, Proposition 8 takes sides in the moral debate over same-sex marriage, but value judgments are unavoidable here because every definition of marriage implies one: there is no values-neutral ground in this area of social policy.
Here the church is conflating morality with religious reasoning. They are not the same. Religion does not have the privilege of dictating morality. No, there is no "values-neutral" ground on the matter, but we can refrain from privileging religious reasoning over that of everyone else. There is no reason why religion should get to dictate how those not under its jurisdiction can live, and this is what the church is arguing. They are claiming that religious morality deserves special consideration and that morality in government allows religion in government. This is not true.
Oh wow, that got longer than I expected. There's more to go, but I'm going to stop now because I think I've covered most of the brief's main arguments and this is already a big-ass comment. To anyone who read this far, thanks for reading!
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