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Prince Research Excerpts on Gay Rights & Mormonism – “08b – Equal Rights Amendment”

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08b – Equal Rights Amendment


“What would be the impact of the ERA on homosexual marriages?

In hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Paul A. Freund of Harvard Law School testified: ‘Indeed if the law must be as undiscriminating concerning sex as it is toward race, it would follow that laws outlawing wedlock between members of the same sex would be as invalid as laws forbidding miscegenation [interracial marriages]’ (Senate Report 92–689, p. 47).

Passage of the ERA would carry with it the risk of extending constitutional protection to immoral same-sex—lesbian and homosexual—marriages. The argument of a homosexual male, for example, would be: ‘If a woman can legally marry a man, then equal treatment demands that I be allowed to do the same.’ Under the ERA, states could be forced to legally recognize and protect such marriages. A result would be that any children brought to such a marriage by either partner or adopted by the couple could legally be raised in a homosexual home. While it cannot be stated with certainty whether this or any other consequence will result from the vague language of the amendment, the possibility cannot be avoided.…” (“The Church and the Proposed Equal Rights Amendment: A Moral Issue,” Ensign insert, February 1980)


“[p. 90] The Church objected to the Equal Rights Amendment in part because its language prohibiting sex discrimination might be interpreted as relating to psychosexual orientation, rather [p. 91] than gender, creating a basis for arguing that the Constitution required approval of same-sex marriage.” (Edward L. Kimball, Lengthen Your Stride: The Presidency of Spencer W. Kimball, Working Draft, Salt Lake City: Benchmark Books, 2009)


“In the mid-1970s, the Mormon Church launched an unprecedented campaign against the Equal Rights Amendment, saying its passage would promote lesbianism and degrade the American family.” (“LDS Church Opposing Gay Marriages,” Deseret News, March 30, 1994)


[20] “Recognizing how deeply rooted opposition to gay marriage was, opponents of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) argued that by abolishing all sex classifications, the ERA would necessarily legalize gay marriage.”  (Michael J. Klarman, From the Closet to the Altar: Courts, Backlash, and the Struggle for Same-Sex Marriage (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013))

Claudia: I forgot something and I need to tell you this, because I’m ashamed of it. Back when Braden was just a toddler, and the Church came out against the Equal Rights Amendment and it came down through Relief Society, Claudia volunteered right away, not thinking logically or anything about it. I read their literature and I thought, “I’d better do what the Prophet says.” You know, this was in the 70s, so I was out there doing that. Then as soon as Braden said the words to me, years later, I thought, “Oh, my gosh! What did I do?” because in the Equal Rights Amendment literature they really demonized gay and lesbian people like they were going to destroy the world.  This was in the 70s and it struck fear into my heart and I thought I was doing something good for my family when I was doing that.

Greg: The Church was linking its stand against ERA to homosexuality as well?

Claudia: Oh, absolutely.  Absolutely.  I learned hate and homophobia from the literature that I’d picked up on that, when they were against the Equal Rights Amendment, because they kept saying that it would get the gays the right to get married, like it was going to be the worst thing that ever happened. I was so young and so I didn’t know how to do critical thinking, I guess.  This whole thing has taught me to say, “What?  Think again.”  But I did that, and then that era kind of passed for me and I was just going on doing my thing.…

Greg: And how is the second girl with this?

Claudia: Oh, she’s just totally an advocate for gay rights.

Greg: And has she withdrawn from the Church as a result?

Claudia: Yes.  What happened with her—it wasn’t long after Braden came out—was that she went to get her temple recommend and the bishop asked that one question, “Do you belong to any organization that disagrees with the Church?” She said, “Well, my brother is gay and I think he deserves equal rights.”  He wouldn’t give her a recommend, so she went home, took her garments off and never went back.

(Claudia Bradshaw, March 4, 2012)