For many Californians, as well as gay people around the world, the wounds are still fresh and the minds still boggled that the anti-gay marriage Prop. 8 could have passed in California. Was it complacency and a lack of minority outreach from gay/progressive groups? Did too many people take their eye off the ball with such a huge presidential election at stake?
While all of these share some responsibility, perhaps the biggest factor was the flood of money and manpower that deluged California as a result of a call to action by Utah's Mormon Church. Using their members' unquestioning belief that their leaders' words represent the will of God -- along with the church's considerable skills for organizing, fundraising and PR -- the Mormon Church caught anti-Prop 8 forces off guard and unorganized. By the time it became clear that Prop. 8 might actually pass, it was too late.
But now, two years later, the Mormon Church's (often illegal) involvement in the Prop. 8 campaign has been revealed in the new documentary, 8: the Mormon Proposition. Watch my ReThink Review of 8: the Mormon Proposition and my discussion with Cenk Uygur of the Young Turks about the Mormon Church's involvement and why they see gay marriage as such a threat below.
After seeing the film, I had the opportunity to interview two of its major participants. Linda Stay is a former Mormon, founder of Moms for Equality, and is the mother of Tyler Barrick, who married his boyfriend, Spencer Jones, on June 17, 2008 -- the first day that gay marriage was made legal in California. Fred Karger founded Californians Against Hate and was the first to obtain evidence that the Mormon Church was illegally interfering in anti-gay marriage campaigns (leaked memos can be found at MormonGate.com).
In this clip, Linda explains how taking a stand and publicly supporting her son's right to marry his boyfriend was a lot like "coming out" to her Mormon family, friends and business associates.
Linda and Fred talk about the Mormon Church's reaction to 8: the Mormon Proposition.
On whether the Mormon Church has had a change of heart about equal rights as a result of the bad publicity they received for supporting Prop. 8.
Linda explains her strategy for talking to Mormons about gay marriage.
Fred explains why he believes the Mormon Church will not get involved in future gay marriage campaigns.
For more about 8: the Mormon Proposition, visit MormonProposition.com.
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