Mormons Emerge as Dominant Force in California Marriage Discrimination Fight
While fire-brand evangelicals routinely make headlines for their support or opposition to various political issues, the Mormon church has largely remained on the sidelines.
Not this year. Mormon's believe they know what's best when it comes to the issue of marriage and are at the forefront of the effort to pass California's Proposition 8- the first ballot measure that would rescind an existing constitutional right to marry.
Campaign finance reports have disclosed that Mormons are substantially funding the marriage discrimination ballot initiative in California, Proposition 8.
As of October 21st, out of the $25 million-plus raised by the supporters of the gay marriage ban in California around $10 million or 44% of total funding has come from Mormons. According to the website, mormonsfor8.com, over $9.7 million in Mormon funding has come from those making contributions of $1,000 or more.
By comparison, the Connecticut based Catholic Church group, the Knights of Columbus, has dumped $1.25 million into California and Focus on the Family, based in Colorado and run by right-wing activist James Dobson, has weighed in with $400,000.
Mormons are also being told to support the marriage discrimination measure in Arizona. In 2006 Arizona became the first state in the nation to reject a ban on same sex marriage. This year's constitutional amendment, referred to the ballot by forty nine Republican state legislators, would change the Arizona constitution to define marriage as a union between one man and one woman. Proposition 102 would needlessly tamper with the state constitution in order to discriminate against the LGBT community. Arizona voters made their views known on the issue of marriage just two ago. Forty nine Republican politicians should not be able to overturn the voters on this issue.
In Attacking Gays, Mormons Join Forces with Peddlers of Anti-Mormon Propaganda
According to Hans Johnson, President of Progressive Victory, "the most politically volatile fact about the overwhelming LDS (Mormon) contributions is that it opens up vulnerability in the anti-equality coalition."
Several producers of antigay propaganda also market anti-Mormon propaganda, materials labeled by Mormon Church leaders as slanderous and hateful. These include titles by California-based video company Jeremiah Films such as "The God Makers," which calls Mormonism a cult bent on global domination.
That several far-right organizations, including California-based Traditional Values Coalition, who are lead proponents of antigay measures such as Prop 8, promote Jeremiah Films' materials is a potentially damaging revelation to California's Yes-on-8 campaign.
The antigay-anti-Mormon linkage proved particularly explosive in Idaho in a 1994 ballot measure fight. There the sponsors of the state antigay ballot measure (Prop 1) actually used an antigay video made by Jeremiah Films as an organizing and fund-raising tool in their campaign. The revelation that their campaign resources helped bankroll the leading manufacturer of anti-Mormon propaganda detonated following the No-on-1 campaign's release of a carefully researched white paper on the subject. The report generated news coverage in the 10 days prior to the election and denunciations from the leaders of Mormon stakes in five heavily Mormon counties in Idaho. Mormon voters tipped against the measure and defeated Proposition 1 by about 3,000 votes statewide.
Will the Mormon Church Re-Write the California Constitution?
Proposition 8 seeks to embed wording in the Constitution that would eliminate the fundamental right to marriage, since the only way to deny marriage to gay and lesbian couples is by rewriting the state constitution.
With the Mormon Church leading the charge to re-write California's constitution the choice is clear for voters.
Do you believe the Mormon Church shares your values on marriage or do you believe the constitution should treat everyone equally?