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Prince Research Excerpts on Gay Rights & Mormonism – “13 – HLM Committee: Alaska et al.”

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13 – HLM Committee: Alaska et al.


“BYU President and later Regional Representative Rex E. Lee allowed by LDS headquarters to serve as a legal counsel to aid the state of Colorado in its defense of its recently passed constitutional amendment forbidding laws which grant civil rights protections based on sexual orientation.” (Richley H. Crapo, “Chronology of LDS Involvement in Same-sex Marriage Politics,” 1997)


“Jan 1997: North America Northwest Area Presidency (Glenn L Pace, William Kerr, and C Scott Grow) send a letter to be read in all Washington state wards, urging members to express their support to government leaders for legislation against the recognition of same-sex marriages being considered in the state. The letter uses the same boilerplate as the 28 Jan 1996 letter mailed in California, indicating coordination of the action from a higher level than the Area Presidencies.” (Richley H. Crapo, “Chronology of LDS Involvement in Same-sex Marriage Politics,” 1997)


“MONTANA: Reached our contact, Stanley Stott, in St. George where he is vacationing until Feb. 8.…

NEVADA: There is no legislation pending in Nevada as of Jan. 29.  Our contact, Ashley Hall, reported that Senator Rawson (LDS Stake Pres.) has agreed to introduce a bill.  Bro. Hall asked for suggested wording.  Lynn Wardle sent us information which we faxed to Bro. Hall, advising him that a bill specifically designed for Nevada will be ready Jan. 30.…

NEW MEXICO: Our contact, Bill Sego, met with Republican State Committee Chairman Jan. 29.  He will work to have bipartisan SSM bill sponsored.  Asked for suggested draft.  Sent Lynn Wardle’s information to him, advising him that a bill specifically designed for New Mexico will be ready Jan. 30.…

OREGON: Our contact, Marie Bell, says that the Right To Life group, the Catholic Conference, and other groups that would be our natural allies in an anti-SSM effort are totally consumed with the task of reversing a law already on the books in Oregon that permits assisted suicide.

Marie does not think there is adequate support in the Legislature or in the general populous to pass a law prohibiting the recognition of SSM.…

TEXAS: Our contact, Ken Dickensheets, is still quietly investigating things.  He asked for a suggested bill.  He is trying to find someone to submit. Says all is quiet, but has found other religious people who recognize the need to pass a bill this year.…

VIRGINIA: Identical bills to not recognize SSM from other states have been introduced in the Assembly (HB 1589 1-8-97) and the Senate (SB 884 1-15-97). Both bills are in committee in the House and Senate Courts of Justice as of 1-29-97. Larry Tolpi reported 1-29-97 that he was working to get these passed.…

WASHINGTON: Pam Roach is our new contact, working under Area Authority Steven Pond. She is a Senator and is on the Senate Judiciary Committee.… 

Steven Pond faxed us a copy of the proposed letter to go to Stake Presidents (1/24/97) to urge church members to write or call their senators and representatives to voice support for the pending bills.…

WYOMING: Our contact, Anna Marie Hales, reported that HB 0094 (to prohibit SSM recognition) was introduced and is out of committee.…

Brent Kunz (an LDS attorney) is working on it as well as his former wife, April Brimmer Kunz.  Their viewpoint is good: ‘We’re not against anything, only want to preserve marriage.’” (“Status Report on Ten [sic – only eight listed] Target States, Jan. 30, 1997,” Joseph Jay collection from LDS Archives)


“Lawmakers in at least 23 states this year are expected to address the controversial issue of whether unions between homosexual couples should be legally recognized. The state legislative battles have taken on new importance because of the unfolding legal drama in Hawaii over the issue.…

The already-contentious debate drew new fire in December when a Hawaii judge voided a state prohibition on issuance of marriage licenses to homosexual couples.

Hawaii Circuit Court Judge Kevin S. C. Chang ruled that the state had ‘failed to present sufficient credible evidence … that the public interest in the well-being of children and families or the optimal development of children would be adversely affected by same-sex marriages.’ Chang’s decision became the first judicial ruling in the nation to allow legal homosexual marriage.” (Kim A. Lawton, “State lawmakers scramble to ban same-sex marriages,” Christianity Today, 41(2):84, February 3, 1997)


“Attached is a summary of the current status of things in each of the ten targeted states.…

  1. Nevada:  Proposed bill from Lynn Wardle was sent to Ashley Hall and Senator Ray Rawson (LDS stake president). Rawson will introduce it.
  1. New Mexico:  Proposed bill from Lynn Wardell was sent to Bill Sego. Sen. Billy Kibbens will see that it’s introduced. Considerable opposition from the gay community is expected. Governor will likely veto if it passes. Elder Dean Larsen appointed President Stan Hatch (Albuquerque Stake) priesthood leader for HLM.
  1. Oregon:  Marie Bell will try to get bill introduced, but needs a proposed bill to give to contacts.  Lynn Wardle preparing that bill.…
  1. Texas:  Ken Dickensheets faxed to the Andersons the bill to be introduced in Texas Legislature by Senator Warren Chisum.  Lynn Wardle reviewed and approved bill, suggested minor modification.
  1. Virginia:  HB1589 out of committee, vote was 15 to 3 in favor.…
  1. Washington:  No updates since Jan. 30.  Hearing will be today, Lynn Wardle testifying.
  1. Wyoming:  … Attorney General’s office will examine state law to determine if legislation is necessary. Lynn Wardle holds that it is, is submitting his opinion in writing.…
  1. Montana:  HB323 has been assigned to the House Judiciary Committee.…
  1. California:  Elder Richard Wirthlin’s survey indicates passage of an anti-HLM referendum is feasible.  Elders Dunn and Wirthlin will meet soon with Catholic leaders in California to assess the possibility of forming a coalition.
  1. Florida:  An anti-HLM bill has been pre-filed in the state Senate.  Tony Burns is monitoring the situation and advises to remain behind the scenes at this point.”

(Marlin K. Jensen to Domestic Area Presidents, February 7, 1997, “Status of Anti-HLM Legislation in Ten Targeted States, February 7, 1997”)


“Massachusetts law does not provide much protection from homosexual intrusions into traditional family legal status.  Legislation banning same-sex marriage and same-sex marriage recognition is recommended.…

In December, {1996}, Massachusetts Gov. William Weld became the first governor to say his state would recognize same-sex ‘marriages’ legalized in Hawaii.…

In addition to permitting adoption by homosexuals and same-sex couples in some cases, Massachusetts law provides that sexual orientation is an impermissible basis for discrimination in employment decisions.…

Because of the non-existence of laws prohibiting same-sex marriage and recognition of out-of-state same-sex marriages in Massachusetts, legislation regarding both issues should be promulgated.” (Lynn D. Wardle to Marlin K. Jensen, Loren C. Dunn, Lance B. Wickman, Richard B. Wirthlin, Arthur S. Anderson, Jan Anderson, Bill Evans, Von Keetch, and Eric Andersen, “SSM-Related Statutes and Case Law in Massachusetts and Proposed Legislation,” February 19, 1997)


“Attached, for your information, is an update giving the status of anti-HLM legislation all across our great land.…

SUMMARY: 32 States have been active in [19]97: 2 have already passed legislation, 14 other bills are in progress, 10 others have been introduced without further action, 1 more is expected, 3 are dead, and 2 other States have non-legislative initiatives underway.…

This update was prepared by the Marriage Law Project.” (Marlin K. Jensen to Domestic Area Presidents, March 19, 1997, “Same-Gender Marriage Legislation”)


“In a demonstration of common interest in the family, representatives from 41 nations gathered in Prague March 19-22 for the World Congress of Families.

Among participants were official representatives of the Church: Elder Charles Didier of the Seventy and president of the Europe East Area, who was the presiding Church leader of the LDS delegation; Elder Bruce C. Hafen of the Seventy and a member of the Pacific Area presidency; Elaine L. Jack, general president of the Relief Society; Lucie L. Didier and Marie K. Hafen.…” (“LDS join world emphasis on families,” GospeLink 2001, March 29, 1997)


“If current levels of divorce, childbearing out of wedlock and family violence continue, said Lynn D. Wardle, experimentation with alternative family structures will continue, even increase, in the coming decades.

On March 19, during the World Congress of Families in Prague, Dr. Wardle, a professor at the J. Reuben Clark Law School at Brigham Young University rehearsed, then countered, the legal claims for same-sex marriages. He then concluded: “It is unrealistic to expect any reduction in the rate or size of the population that sees same-sex unions as an alternative to traditional marriage and family if the disintegration of the nuclear family continues at recent rates. “While no state legislature has yet legalized same-sex marriage, Dr. Wardle said, same-sex marriage is the goal toward which a number of smaller developments may point, taking what one advocate says are “baby steps” toward recognizing same-sex unions.

“There is strong support for same-sex marriage in certain subgroups of society,” he explained. Two of the most important are the entertainment media, where same-sex couples are portrayed in appealing perspectives; and academic communities, where tolerance of “gay rights” is a litmus test for academic credibility and where opposition is treated as proof of narrow-mindedness.

“The bias of the general media and academic communities is significant because they shape perceptions,” he said. “And perception of reality . . . provides the basis for the setting or reform of public policy.

“The answer,” continued Dr. Wardle, “is that heterosexual marriages have been given special legal preference because they make uniquely valuable contributions to the state, to society and to individuals.

“Heterosexual marriages have been singled out . . . for preferred status because they are so important and valuable to society and to the stability and continuity of the state.”

Committed heterosexual marriages, he said, provide the best setting into which children can be born and reared. Duel-gender parents show children how to relate to other people, provide the safest and most stable compassionate unit of society, and offer the most secure setting for the sharing of social knowledge and skills.

But there is good news despite all of this, he concluded. Never before have there been more sources of support for marriage, more economic abundance, education, health and knowledge of how to nurture successful marriages.

“Claims for same-sex marriage challenge us and our entire generation to re-examine the importance of the institution of marriage.

“We need that challenge. For too long our societies have taken marriage and the family for granted. . . . With our blessings comes the responsibility to defend marriage and the family.”” (“Failure in home fosters trends to alternatives,” Church News, Week Ending March 29, 1997)


“[Ohio law] 2.  Why Legislation Forbidding Recognition of Same-Sex Marriage is Needed Now

When Hawaii or any other state (or some other nation) legalizes same-sex marriage (we will call that state Hawaii, for purposes of this example), advocates of same-sex marriage in other states will attempt to slip same-sex marriage through the back door. When same-sex marriage becomes legal anywhere (let us say Hawaii, for purposes of an example), many same-sex couples living in Hawaii will be married there. In time, will move to other states, including Ohio, and will demand recognition of their marriages by the other states. Also, it is likely that immediately many same-sex couples would fly there to be united in ‘marriage.’ They will then return to the states they came from, and other states, including Ohio, and demand recognition for their marriages (for purposes of marriage, divorce, adoption, custody, guardianship, visitation, health, welfare benefits, education, alimony, property division, state taxes, probate, wills, trust and estate law, etc.).

Lawsuits will be filed by same-sex marriage advocates demanding that the courts of Ohio order Ohio to recognize same-sex marriages from Hawaii even if the second state explicitly prohibited same-sex marriage. They would argue that the full faith and credit clause of the U.S. Constitution compels those states to recognize a same-sex marriage even if such marriages are legal in the state of celebration. They will similarly argue that principles of marriage recognition in Ohio will compel recognition of same-sex marriages validly performed in other countries.

Some advocates of gay and lesbian marriage have openly declared their intention to use marriage recognition and full faith and credit principles to force same-sex marriage upon all of the states. In law review articles, and widely circulated policy papers, leading advocates for same-sex marriage and influential law professors and legal advocacy groups have explicitly stated that their strategy is to obtain judicial legalization of same-sex marriage in one state (any state will do, but most of the recent efforts focus on Hawaii), and then to try to force all other states to recognize those same-sex marriages under choice of law and full faith and credit principles. In recent years, especially since 1990, quite a number of same-sex marriage advocates have written law review articles asserting that if Hawaii or any other state legalizes same-sex marriage, all other states would be required by the full faith and credit clause of the Constitution to recognize same-sex marriage.…

The concern that states may be forced to recognize same-sex marriages performed in some other jurisdiction is so great that in the past three or four years, more than half of the states have enacted laws intended to prohibit same-sex marriage and/or to clarify that even if legal elsewhere, same-sex marriages will not be recognized in the jurisdiction.…

Moreover, Congress was so concerned about the effort to force states to recognize same-sex marriages from other states that it enacted a law to prevent mandatory same-sex marriage recognition. The Defense of Marriage Act passed by Congress in 1996 and signed by President Clinton does not eliminate the need for nonrecognition legislation in the states. DOMA only clarifies the federal full faith and credit principles do not compel any state to recognize same-sex marriage. Nor does federal law  any state from recognizing same-sex marriages performed where such are valid. DOMA simply protects the rights of each state to decide that issue for itself—that is, whether to recognize same-sex marriages.…

Finally, it should be noted that the legalization or recognition of same-sex marriage would have enormously burdensome effects upon a state’s economy. The same-sex spouses would be entitled to costly employment and other legal benefits that previously only had to be provided to traditional (opposite-sex) spouses.…

Lawsuits seeking to legalize same-sex marriage are proceeding actively in four states. In Hawaii, a trial court already has ruled that state officials must issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. While that ruling has been appealed to the state supreme court, the Hawaii Supreme Court has already expressed its sympathy and support for that position. In December, 1996, the Hawaii Circuit Court in Baehr v. Miike, ruled that Hawaii must issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The case has been appealed to the Hawaii Supreme Court, which indicated its sympathy for gay marriage in 1993 when it held that Hawaii’s marriage license law allowing only heterosexual couples but not homosexual couples to obtain a marriage license constitutes sex discrimination under the state constitution.…  In the remanded case, Baehr v. Miike, the Hawaii trial court held that the state had failed to show a compelling state interest for denying marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and ordered the state to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

In 1997, the Hawaii Legislature passed a proposed amendment to the state constitution which is intended to overturn the Baehr decision, if it is ratified by the people of Hawaii in November of 1998.…

Additionally, there is no guarantee that the Hawaii Supreme Court will not rule in the pending appeal and affirm the order for same-sex marriage before the November election. The appeal is fully briefed. If the Hawaii Supreme Court affirms the Miike decision before November, Hawaii could be forced to issue marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples months before the people of Hawaii even have the chance to ratify the constitutional amendment.

Advocates of same-sex marriage generally believe that the chances are very good that the Hawaii Supreme Court will order the legalization of same-sex marriage if it decides the Baehr case. As Deb Price, a pro-same-sex-marriage newspaper commentator recently wrote, ‘This is probably only months away.… Count on the Hawaii Supreme Court to make {same-sex marriage} a legal reality.’ She quotes Dan Foley, the attorney for the plaintiffs seeking same-sex marriage licenses, as saying: “I don’t think there’s any question – when the decision comes down—what it will be,” Foley adds with well-placed confidence.’…

Another lawsuit is pending in Alaska. In February 1998, in Brause v. Bureau of Vital Statistics, Alaska Superior Court Judge Michalski held that the privacy provision of the Alaska Constitution protects as a fundamental right the right of two persons of the same sex to marry, and that the denial of marriage licenses to same-sex couples constitutes sex discrimination, and that denial of same-sex marriage may only be upheld if it is justified under the very strict ‘compelling state interest’ test. While that ruling is not a final ruling (the factual trial remains), it establishes a legal standard and principle as a matter of Alaskan constitutional law. If upheld by the Alaska Supreme Court, it will make it very difficult to prevent same-sex marriage in Alaska, as the compelling state interest standard is very hard for states to meet (as the Baehr v. Miike ruling in Hawaii illustrates).…

The movement for same-sex marriage is not just in the courts. In the fall of 1996, at the annual meeting of the California State Bar, delegates approved a resolution calling for repeal of the California law prohibiting same-sex couples from marrying.…

No nation of the world permits same-sex marriage today, but the trend of legal developments in several influential (affluent) nations seems to be moving in that direction.…” (Lynn D. Wardle, “The Need for Legislation in Ohio Declaring that Same-Sex Marriages Will Not Be Valid or Recognized in the States,”  manuscript ca. Spring 1998)


“Because of the time you spent working on gay & lesbian marriage issues, and the associations you have with so many well-informed and alert individuals, you have probably given some thought to strategy, direction and gay/lesbian legal and political issues that are evolving and are likely to be significant in the next two-to-three years. Now that classes are over, I thought I would do a little brainstorming on paper, and pass it on to you in hopes that a ‘stream of consciousness’ might be of some use to you or others in strategic planning, even though my ideas are only preliminary and have not been fully explored or carefully developed.

First, the proposal of a constitutional amendment in Hawaii seems to have the potential to derail or set back the movement for same-sex marriage. The work is far from over, and the battle is not yet won; the same-sex marriage fire still smolders dangerously in many areas and could flare up at any time, anywhere. We must work to achieve overwhelming voter approval in Hawaii, and to consolidate and complete legislative success in other states while we are not under the stress of another pending disaster-case. So it is not time to ‘rest on our laurels.’ However, I think a significant victory has been achieved in Hawaii, and an important corner has been turned.

The Hawaii action together with the adoption in a short time-period in many states of laws rejecting same-sex marriage and denying recognition to same-sex marriages formed elsewhere (now Congress and at least 24 states have such laws, all but two adopted in the past 16 months), sends an unmistakable message that the people of the United States overwhelmingly and deeply oppose legalization of same-sex marriage.  Elected government officials in those states (and in neighboring jurisdictions) cannot blithely ignore that message.  Some insulated government officials (especially judges and agency civil service employees) who support gay-lesbian legal goals may still feel that they can legalize same-sex marriage with more impunity.  Thus, litigation and rule-making is an area where we must be vigilant.  But those developments will be discouraged (and, if necessary, may be effectively overridden by legislation or legislative-initiated amendments) by good, keystone policy-making legislation rejecting same-sex marriage such as that which already has been enacted.

I doubt that many elected officials will get on the same-sex marriage bandwagon right now.  Next year being an election year, it might be a good opportunity to make a vigorous push to pass state legislation in 1998 in many of the remaining states to forbid and deny interjurisdictional recognition to same-sex marriage.  However, this should be done with care, to avoid undermining or compromising corollary legislative issues.  That is, we do not want to give moderate gay/lesbian supporters ‘political cover’ of an easy issue to conceal their votes in favor of gay/lesbian positions on other closely-related family issues.

Second, if any state legalizes same-sex marriage (for instance, if the Hawaii Supreme Court rules in the pending case to affirm the trial court Miike ruling), the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), and the state counterparts, will be center stage.  The marriage recognition issue will become very important.  Advocates of same-sex marriage will do all they can to have those laws invalidated.  I think it is important to lay the foundation now in legal scholarship to support those laws.  A good legal symposium on the issue involving good legal scholars supporting DOMA-like nonrecognition laws would both generate good scholarship (to counter the body of existing scholarship that argues that same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions would or should have to be recognized) as well as draw attention to those favorable arguments. However, for marriage recognition purposes, we need to carefully link same-sex marriage and marriage-like domestic partnership status, and take care not to focus the public policy arguments so exclusively on rejecting same-sex marriage that advocates of same-sex domestic partnership come back and say ‘you have succeeded in proving that marriage is unique and the public policy protecting marriage is unique; domestic partnership is not marriage, so it does not violate strong public policy to recognize same-sex domestic partnerships.’ Thus, we must not argue that protecting marriage is the only strong pubic policy that justifies nonrecognition of legal relations from other jurisdiction.

Third, if I were a politician, I would want the same-sex marriage issue to go away.  I do not think that many politicians—even those who are supportive of gay/lesbian political agendas—will want to have the ‘albatross’ of support for same-sex marriage around their necks.  I think they will want to shift the focus of the gay/lesbian political battles in 1998 to one (or more) of three other areas: (1)(a) specific benefits or (b) general domestic partnership status for same-sex couples; (2)(a) employment benefits and protections for gays and lesbians (ENDA and traditional domestic partnership employment benefit programs), and perhaps (b) extension of other civil rights laws to include gays and lesbians (amending laws forbidding housing discrimination, etc.); or (3) custody, visitation and adoption by gays and lesbians. I think that issue (2)(a)—employment issues—is the one I would want to push the most if I were promoting gay/lesbian politics because I think it seems the least threatening to most people and is easiest to characterize in terms of tolerance, fairness, nondiscrimination that are easy to sell to the public

Our HLM committee probably does not cover employment issues and the Church may view those issues as beyond the core or ring of primary family-related issues. However, they employment issues indirectly impact upon marriage and family formation, and, more importantly, the Church itself has a direct interest in the employment issues for itself (as an employer) and for its members (tens of thousands of whom are employers, trying to integrate gospel principles in the ways they run their ma-and-pa small business). Some persons who have tried to preserve an atmosphere of respect for traditional values have been penalized under some overbroad state civil rights laws for  discriminating against practicing homosexuals (the newspaper Tuesday cited a case in which a woman who refused to rent a room to a lesbian to share as a roommate lost her appeal to the US Supreme Court from a state court decision punishing her for violating a state civil rights law). If not the HLM committee, some other committee or division of the Church should not only monitor carefully these ENDA-like proposals, but should begin now to consider strategies and coalitions to protect our interests.

I think that the key to successfully protecting our interests and the principles we espouse in the employment context will be to insist on a strong conscience clause protecting the rights of individuals and institutions to decline to act in ways that violate their consciences. A conscience clause might be added as a politically supportable exception to an otherwise dangerous bill. Some good models (and some bad examples, also) for conscience protection clauses exist in the medical field (e.g., laws protecting believing doctors, nurses, Catholic hospitals et al., against being obliged to perform or being punished for not performing sterilizations or abortions). Protection for rights of conscience has a nice civil rights ring to it, and might be more effectively pursued then head-on opposition to ENDA-type legislation. It might be good to begin now to promote grassroots and professional/scholarly support for a position like a conscience clause in employment rights bills.

Fourth, the fastest growing area of family law in which gays and lesbians are winning battles to validate homosexual family relations concerns homosexual parenting—adoption, custody and visitation by gay and lesbian men and women. The rule they are pushing is that sexual behavior (specifically homosexual behavior) by an adult is irrelevant to parenting, and may not be considered by a court in adoption, custody and visitation cases unless an immediate harm to the child is proven. This is a delicate area to debate for in some cases a gay man or lesbian may offer in some ways a better parenting option at a given time than is otherwise available to a child (e.g., if the other parent has on reformed child abusing habits, or if the child has special needs no one else is willing to assume), and because the circumstances can vary so widely from case to case. Likewise, gay and lesbian couples raising children can be very appealing and passionate. I think the best approach is to promote a rule that, in the long run, homosexual behavior by a parent should be presumed (rebutably) to have a potentially detrimental effects upon the life of the child. We should classify homosexual behavior as a form of extramarital behavior, and link homosexual behavior to heterosexual adultery and nonmarital cohabitation. In most states, the issue will be fought and decided in the courts and the policy (usually in favor of the no-consideration-of-homosexual-behavior rule) will be adopted as a matter of case law. But, where possible, it would be good to have this rule adopted legislatively, supported by a strong legislative record.  If the issue is framed in terms of doing what’s best for children, it will be in the best posture, and if a key, credible children’s group would support this kind of legislation on that basis, it would help a lot.

Putting all of these foreseeable strands together so that one is not played off against another, the most important are not compromised to achieve the least important, and the less-pressing are not given priority over the more urgent, are the challenges. I think marriage is still the key issue—conceptually and practically the linchpin. It has the greatest potential to create a positive ‘wake’ in the political lake, and it is where our clearest, strongest political support lies. We should continue to work primarily on getting strong support-of-marriage-as-a-union-of-man-and-woman and rejecting-recognition-of-same-sex-marriage laws enacted in all states for the protection of the institution of marriage as well as for the pedagogical effect.  But we should be careful to do so in ways that do not ‘set us up’ for defeat on other important issues.” (Lynn D. Wardle to Marlin K. Jensen, May 13, 1997)


“Several of you have heard about my colleague Richard Wilkins’ experiences last summer defeating efforts to include pro-abortion and pro-same-sex marriage language and documents at a UN-sponsored conference for Non-Governmental Organizations In Istanbul [sic – Nairobi].…

Because it pertains indirectly to the subject of our committee I attach copies Richard’s most recent report, as well as a published article describing his experiences last summer in Istanbul.

NGO Family Voice, an international pro-family information and lobbying organization sponsored by the J. Reuben Clark Law School and the David M. Kennedy Center for International Studies, send a five member team to a conference held by the United Nations Commission on Human Settlements in Nairobi, Kenya, from April 28 through May 8, 1997. The NGO Family Voice team, composed of BYU faculty members Richard G. Wilkins and Cory Leonard, assisted by BYU students Michael Lee, Carrie Taylor and William Perry, accomplished three significant tasks. The team, with the direct and obvious guidance of our Heavenly Father, (1) prevented the expansion of the UN Commission on Human Settlements to include 12 radical feminists; (2) prevented formal recognition of a seven-member left-wing (and anti-traditional family) ‘Huairou Commission;’ and (3) inserted pro-family language into the ‘implementation resolutions’ adopted to carry out the international mandate set by the Habitat Agenda.…

In addition, the Habitat Agenda specifically called upon all nations to recognize same-sex marriage and provide abortion on demand. As a direct result of the efforts of many groups, including the David M. Kennedy Center and the Law School, the Habitat Agenda was amended in several significant respects.”

(Richard Wilkins to Merrill Bateman, May 12, 1997)

(Lynn D. Wardle to HLM Committee Members – Marlin K. Jensen, Loren C. Dunn, Lance B. Wickman, Richard Wirthlin, Jan & Art Anderson, Bill Evans, “Professor Richard Wilkins & NGO Family Voice Experience at UN Conferences,” May 13, 1997)


“It seems that marriage recognition issues are very likely to become very important before long, as persons ‘married’ in some jurisdiction will seek recognition of that status and some American states.” (Lynn D. Wardle to HLM Committee Members, “News from Europe about Same-Sex Marriage,” May 16, 1997)


“At the direction of Elder M Russell Ballard, I report as follows on a recent meeting of the SGM Advisory Committee:


The plan approved by the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve is in place. A letter from the Area Presidency to the Hawaiian Saints in support of the super coalition will go out after October 14. Elder David E. Sorenson will meet and make fund-raising assignments with the Hawaiian stake presidents during area training in early November. Elder Ballard will be available for follow-up during an early December visit to Hawaii. Stephen Covey is committed to a fund-raising dinner on November 20. Mainland fund-raising efforts will be determined in early January.


Elder Lance B. Wickman and Elder David E. Sorensen will meet with a select group of LDS attorneys in Pasadena on Sunday, October 12, to organize a lobbying effort designed to dissuade the board of governors of the California State Bar from promoting legislation legalizing SGM.


With First Presidency approval, Attorney Thomas McCormick has been retained to represent our interests in the Vermont suit. Elder Wickman and I will be in Vermont in late October to meet with key individuals, including the Catholic Bishop, with the intent of forming a coalition. Elder Richard B. Wirthlin is investigating the best approach to obtain a sampling of current public opinion. Elder Wickman’s office is researching the legal process involved in amending the state constitution. It appears that obtaining the assistance of a professional lobbyist maybe necessary in due time. We intend to keep our Church an inconspicuous part of the coalition and to have the undertaking to be ‘local’ in nature.

Twenty-four Remaining States

Under Art and Jan Anderson’s direction, we now have coordinators in place in twenty-one of the remaining twenty-four states in which we are seeking to pass anti-SGM legislation. We are now in the assessment phase in these states and will be making a state-by-state determination soon of the appropriate approach to take for the 1998 legislative session.” (Marlin K. Jensen to The Public Affairs Committee, “SGM Update,” October 9, 1997)


“States with contacts in place and at work:

Alabama Bruce and Deborah Smith

California Bill Campbell

Colorado George Dibble

Iowa Robert K. Wagstaff

Kentucky Chris Wakild

Maryland Thomas Ladd

Massachusetts Mark Rosbach

Nebraska Robert Y. Valentine

New Hampshire Jill Hadaway

New Jersey Gary Carter

New York Michael Young

Ohio Judy Keyees

Vermont Mary Schroyer

Washington Perrin Walker

West Virginia Mark Atkinson

Wisconsin Frances Staub

States where Legislature does not meet in 1998 or where only budget matters are considered:

Connecticut Joseph Cook

Louisiana Stephen Cutler

New Mexico Bill Sego

Nevada Ashley Hall

Oregon Paul Clayson

Texas Ken Dickensheets

Wyoming Anna Marie Hales

States with no contacts:

Rhode Island (Elder [Robert] Wood has someone in mind.)



After attending the temple and talking the issue over, the Smiths decided to arrange a meeting with Dan Ireland (Baptist lobbyist/minister) before proceeding further.… The Smiths feel that perhaps the best thing will be to give key support to more broad leadership in getting anti-SGM legislation passed.…


Bill Campbell reports that the California legislators don’t intend to do anything on the SGM issue until at least after the election results in Hawaii are on record this fall.  If the constitution change fails, he doesn’t think California legislators will do anything—just let SGM happen. If Hawaii makes the constitution change there may be a possibility of passing some legislation.


Dr. Joseph Cook reinforced his original opinion that an attempt to pass anti-SGM legislation in Conn. should wait until the 1999 election.…


Bob Wagstaff has visited with the chairman of both the Senate and House Judiciary Committees.  They are both Republican and both houses are predominately Republican and want an anti-SGM bill passed.  They think it will be a vote-getter for the 1998 elections.

We sent the proposed bill, HF 382, to Lynn Wardle for analysis and suggestions.  Lynn and Eric Andersen reviewed it and both feel the bill will ‘probably do the job.’ They feel it could be clearer in some respects, however, and sent some alternative language.  Their recommendations were forwarded to Bob Wagstaff Jan. 21.

Bob has a call to be a mission president starting July 1.


Lynn Wardle’s review of the two pre-filed bills and his recommendations were sent to Chris Wakild.  Lynn felt the bills are very adequate, but made several suggestions to improve them.  We suggested that Bro. Wakild either join an existing coalition or organize one.

Bro. Wakild has contacted Jane Childs who was recommended by his Catholic contact.  Jane is very knowledgeable about lobbying.  Together they decided that, at least for now, they will meet with legislators quietly rather than form a coalition.…


Tom Ladd is checking with the legislator who presented the anti-SGM bill in ’97 to see if he plans to present it again in ’98.  Survey is in progress.  He sees no need for a coalition until survey is in and legislator decides if he will present a bill.


Mark Rosbach was sent the survey kit on Dec. 5 and he has agreed to do the survey.


Robert Valentine has been waiting to see if Sen. Douglas Christensen would be elected Speaker of the unicameral legislature.  He was elected the first day of the session which means that LB280 is likely to move forward.…

New Hampshire:

Lynn Wardle’s analysis of the existing NH law has been sent to Jill Hadaway.  His recommendation is that the law be amended to clarify that SGM from other jurisdictions will not be recognized.  Lynn feels a more specific law is needed ‘because the existing statutes are vulnerable to misuse by advocates of SGM.’

We suggested that Jill work toward organizing a coalition.  She agreed there is a definite need for one and is now working on it.

New Jersey:

Pres. Gary Carter has felt that a new bill and a new sponsor are needed for 1998.  Lynn Wardle was asked to formulate a bill.  Lynn feels A2193 is very adequate, but he did suggest three alternative wordings which were sent to Pres. Carter on Dec. 29.  He will find a sponsor and they will decide what to do about the wording. Lynn is also working on a review of NJ statutes and case law which we will send to Pres. Carter.

New York:

A short conversation was held with Michael Young, the new contact in New York, before he left for a trip to Hawaii.  The survey kit was mailed to him and further discussion will be held when Bro. Young returns Feb. 2.


Judy Keyees reports that the feeling in the Ohio Legislature is that the anti-SGM issue isn’t urgent and isn’t likely to be brought up soon.  Most legislators feel a bill isn’t necessary.  However, in the House, 70 of the 90 members are against SGM but there isn’t unity on whether a bill is needed.…


The coalition will hold a press conference in the next two weeks to announce its formation.  At the same time, it will release the results of the poll prepared by Elder Wirthlin and done by California firm.…

Mary Schroyer spoke to the High Council in Pres. Baldwin’s stake on Jan. 22.  He asked her to come back this week and speak to the Stake Preisdency and Bishoprics. She feels these meetings are giving her a good opportunity to educate Church leaders.

Lynn Wardle’s analysis on the current law in Vermont was sent to Mary and to Tom McCormick.


The Area Presidency sent a letter to all Stake Presidents, Bishops, and Branch Presidents in Washington to be read in Priesthood and Relief Society Meetings on Jan. 24, 1998. The letter encouraged Church members to write or call their legislators and urge them to pass HB 1130 which will be introduced as a referendum in the 1998 session. The letter also advised the leaders and members in Washington that Perrin Walker has been called to coordinate efforts on this issue.

The governors secretary reports that the governor has not changed his views on an anti-SGM bill and would likely veto it.  Nevertheless, he is encouraging Rep. Thompson to go ahead with the presentation of a bill.  Perrin thinks it will pass.  The success of the effort will then hinge on putting enough pressure on the governor that he will not veto. For this reason it was important that the Stake Presidents be alerted to get the members ready to act.  Because this is a short session, the bill must succeed on the first push and having the ‘citizens’ ready to act on short notice is very important.…

West Virginia:

On Dec. 29, Mark Atkinson reported that Rep. Steve Harrison will present a new bill in the House this session. (A bill passed both Houses last year and was voted down after it was included in other legislation.) Mark thinks prospects are good for this new bill to pass if it can get out of committee.

Mark also reported that there is a rumor that the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee might hold up an anti-SGM bill.  So he is organizing a pressure group to call on the chairman to urge him to move the bill along.


Frances Staub reports that the Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman who held the bill up last year has resigned.…

A special election is scheduled for April 7 to elect a new senator. Chances are good that a Republican will be elected and create a 17-16 majority in the Senate.  Frances will organize letters and calls to the new chairman and to a new woman Senator who has been appointed to the committee.  She replaced a Democrat who was very against our cause. Things are looking up.” …


(“SGM Report,” January 26, 1998, item 1 on the agenda of the January 29, 1998 SGM Advisory Committee Meeting, held in the Church Office Building)



Bill Campbell reported this morning that Sen. Pete Knight is going ahead with the legal matters that need to be done in preparation for gathering signatures for an initiative.  Bill doesn’t think Sen. Knight has enough backing to get the signatures.…


… Chris Wakild is notifying all of the stake presidents and asking them to have 15 people in each ward call the members of the Judiciary Committee telling them they have an interest in seeing that this bill is passed out of committee for a vote.  This is good news because Chris was being told by his contact in the House as well as in the Senate that he should lay low and not stir up any controversy.  He feared they would lay low until it is too late to get the bill out of committee.…


… Bob [Valentine]’s plan is to wait until after the ‘final reading, probably in April and see if pressure is needed.  If so, they would contact members in the four stakes in Nebr. And the wards in W. Nebr. That belong to the Cheyenne, Who. Stake to help put pressure on wavering legislators.…

New Jersey:

Pres. Gary Carter reports that the New Jersey legislature is just now convening.  He is having a meeting Feb. 12 with a strategy group to decide who might be the best legislator to present a new anti-SSM bill.…

West Virginia:

Mark Atkinson reported Wed. that he has formed a loose coalition with the Catholics and the So. Baptists.  They have agreed they are with him on this issue and will testify or do whatever needs to be done.…” (“SGM Report,” February 12, 1998)


“The attached article from the gay magazine The Advocate was written by Andrew Sullivan.  In recent years he has been perhaps the most reasonable and thoughtful advocate of SGM, and the attached article will help all of us better appreciate the epic struggle in which we are engaged.” (Marlin K. Jensen to The Public Affairs Committee, February 17, 1998)

“We should be clearheaded about one thing: The right to marry is denied us for one simple reason. It is denied because we as gay men and women are deemed incapable of real love, unworthy of real commitment, incompetent to achieve what every heterosexual in this country and indeed the world regards as the most important and satisfying and significant thing in their lives. And by acquiescing in such a judgment, by greeting its denial with ambivalence, by asserting with greater and greater vehemence that other issues are somehow more pressing or more relevant, we assert more eloquently than anyone in the religious right that their calumnies are true, that we are indeed incapable, wounded so deeply that such commitments and responsibilities are beyond our reach and even beyond our desire.

This is so much deeper an issue than whether marriage is somehow a good thing or whether everyone should be encouraged to enter into it. The truth is, when gay men and women say they are “rejecting” marriage, they are simply in denial. Gay people are not rejecting marriage, because we cannot reject marriage, because marriage has never been offered to us. We are deemed below even being given the choice to marry, below even the most elementary political and emotional right every heterosexual takes unthinkingly for granted.

And this is so much more fundamental a matter than workplace discrimination, which remains our leadership’s issue du jour. Constitutionally, the right to marry is vested prior even to the Bill of Rights, prior even to the right to vote, let alone prior to the issue of workplace discrimination. It is, according to the Supreme Court, “one of the basic civil rights of man, fundamental to our very existence and survival,” vested in the Declaration of Independence itself. It cannot be taken away, the court has reasoned, by any civil authority without violating human rights at their most basic level. If you do not believe this, ask yourself this question: Has any heterosexual in America ever contemplated for one second that he had a right to the pursuit of happiness if he didn’t have the right to marry the person he loved? Of course not–no more than he would think himself a full citizen if he were denied the right to vote. But constitutionally the right to marry has been granted more weight and significance than the right to vote! Do you think that if gay men and women were turned back from the ballot box, our leadership would not be up in arms?

And yet so many of us remain ambivalent. Such ambivalence might be forgivable in ordinary times. But these are not ordinary times. We are, after all, winning the right to marry. In Hawaii, in all likelihood, for the first time ever, two men and two women will soon be able to marry legally in America. The religious right appreciates the significance of this event, even if Washington’s gay elite often hasn’t. The forces of fundamentalism well know that if they lose in Hawaii, then their entire project of pathologizing and marginalizing gay people will falter. In the islands themselves an epic struggle has already been launched by the fundamentalists to sabotage the court’s ruling in a referendum in the fall, easily the most significant electoral test of strength in the history of the gay rights movement. We cannot let Hawaii fail, as the Human Rights Campaign has now understood. But regardless of the outcome in Hawaii, the battle is, not over. The struggle will merely pass to Vermont, where another suit is making its way through the courts and may well have a better chance of success. If not Vermont, then elsewhere. The battle over marriage, in other words, is not coming. It is already here.” (Andrew Sullivan, “The Marriage Moment,” Advocate, January 20, 1998)



Bruce [Smith] asked that the Area Presidency send a letter to the stake presidents in Alabama as has been done in other states, so that he can request the help he needs from Church members to put pressure on their legislators.… Their letter asking for the help of stake presidents was mailed Mar. 11.…


Lynn Wardle received word from Sen. Knight’s office that they are going ahead with the refilling of the initiative petition. They will not try to get the petition signed in time for the 1998 general election, but will plan to get the signatures and the initiative qualified this spring and summer for the next election (the 2000 primary election unless the governor calls a special election before then).


We sent Lynn Wardle’s review of Mass. Law on SGM to Mark Rosbach with the subbestion that he take it to the chairman of the judiciary committee of the House or the Senate and see if there is any interest in sponsoring an anti-SGM bill. Same-sex marriage is not explicitly forbidden by either statute or case law in Mass.…

New Hampshire:

No new bills will be presented for consideration for the next six months because of a full legislative agenda. Pres. David Ostler of the Concord Stake is taking a hands-on position with respect to seeing that a law is written and introduced.  We have sent him Lynn Wardle’s sample legislation. Pres. Ostler is in contact with Brad Cook, an attorney and professional lobbyist (free of charge so far). He is well connected with (the temporary) Catholic Bishop Christensen who is very much in favor of anti-SG legislation. It appears that Pres. Ostler can successfully support the Catholics and other religious leaders in this effort without taking strong leadership.…


Judy Keyees cannot get anyone interested in presenting a bill because they feel the current law is adequate.  Lynn Wardle did an analysis of the current law in Ohio and he says the legislators feel there isn’t a problem with it because the judges rule favorably on it. Lynn feels the current law can’t be relied upon as is. We received Lynn’s recommendations this morning and will send them to Judy today. She is trying to use the Alaska situation to arouse some interest in the legislators.


…Dave Coolidge has copies of all the briefs filed by the opposition in the court case and these will go to Lynn Wardle and Von Keetch who are writing amicus briefs in connection with this case.

West Virginia:

… If the House and Senate don’t pass the same bill it will go to a joint committee made up of two Democrats and one Republican. Mark [Atkinson] is already working on one of the Democrat members of the joint committee in case that influence is needed.…



Monday (Mar. 9) with a boost from testimony by Lynn Wardle in person and Michael Johnston by phone, the Senate Judiciary Committee in Juneau reported a proposed state constitutional amendment that says that a marriage to be valid in Alaska ‘may exist only between one man and one woman.’ It also says ‘No provision of this Constitution may be interpreted to require the State to recognize or permit marriages between individuals of the same sex.’” (“SGM Report,” March 12, 1998)


“Church officials won’t estimate how many of the church’s 10 million members are gay, and Don Lefevre, church spokesman, insist that homosexuality ‘isn’t really an issue’ and is rarely mentioned at church headquarters in Salt Lake.” (Sam Francis, “A Mormon paradox: fellowship in the shadow of intolerance,” Advocate, April 28, 1998)



New Hampshire: 

Pres. David Ostler reports this week that he and Bishop Bryson Cook in the Concord Stake have met with a lobbyist member of the Church (Brad Cook who is working at the moment free of charge) and Monsignor Bulduc.  Brad Cook is next going to meet with Donna Sytek, the Senate Pres. and Majority Leader to lobby for her support and ask her to initiate an anti-SGM bill.… If these meetings are successful, they will build the coalition further by getting grass roots support from other organizations such as the Boy Scouts and YMCA etc.…


Mary Schroyer and the coalition in Vermont continues to raise money and to recruit new members so they will have an impressive enrollment to announce to legislators in the fall.… There is very little financial support from local LDS members.” (“SGM Report,” May 21, 1998)


“At the last meeting, it was proposed that we design an instruction manual that would help the contact people in the 20 remaining states to organize a coalition.…

… it is proposed that a well organized, active coalition be formed in all states where there is not an adequate law in place that defines marriage as a contract between one man and one woman and that states that so-called marriages of people of the same sex will not be legally recognized if performed within the state or in other jurisdictions.

These are the steps that need to be taken to accomplish the above purpose:

  1. Determine what needs to be accomplished such as: a lot passed by the legislature, a change in the state constitution, the defeat of proposed legislation to legalize same-sex marriage, etc.
  1. If it has not already been accomplished, conduct a public opinion survey to determine the public sentiment as regards the preservation of traditional marriage (for future use in press releases and in conversations with legislators).
  1. Organize a coalition.
  1. Attend to the legal and administrative matters related to organizing a coalition.
  1. Make a public announcement about the formation of the coalition and its purpose.
  1. Move ahead with the procedures necessary to accomplish the goals of the coalition and to raise the necessary funds to carry out plan.

(Arthur S. Anderson to Marlin Jensen, Loren Dunn, Lance Wickman, Richard Wirthlin, Lynn Wardle; “Design and content of Coalition Organizing Instruction Book,” June 1, 1998)


“The Salt Lake City-based Mormon church has donated $500,000 to the campaign for an amendment to the Alaska constitution that would ban same-sex marriages, a group seeking passage of the measure said Thursday.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints made the pledge last week and the money arrived Wednesday, said Kristina Johannes, a spokeswoman for the Alaska Family Coalition, a group campaigning in favor of the constitutional amendment.” (Yereth Rosen, “Mormons join Alaska campaign to ban gay marriage,” Reuters, October 1, 1998)


“The Mormon Church has pledged $500,000 to the campaign for a constitutional amendment aimed at banning gay marriage in Alaska.

The single contribution makes up most of the nearly $600,000 that the Alaska Family Coalition has raised, Karsten Rodvik, the group’s campaign manager, said Friday.

Ballot Measure 2 would amend the Alaska Constitution to define marriage as the union of one man and one women. The Legislature put the amendment on the ballot after a state Superior Court judge ruled against a similar definition in state law.

Alaskans for Civil Rights-No on 2, the group formed to oppose the measure, accused the Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints of trying to push its beliefs on Alaskans.

“It’s outrageous that a group based in Utah would flood our state with money to try to purchase a change to our constitution,” said Allison Mendel, the group’s co-chairwoman. “We absolutely know we don’t need religious leaders from Outside spending $500,000 to tell us what to do with our constitution – and our private lives.”

An Alaska Family Coalition spokeswoman said her group solicited the contribution from the Mormon Church and said that about 24,000 Mormons live in Alaska.

“It is totally without any strings, they put no restrictions on how we can use it in the campaign,’ said Kristina Johannes, a spokeswoman for the coalition. “We contacted them because we thought that they were a natural ally.”…The Legislature put the amendment on the ballot earlier this year after Superior Court Judge Peter Michalski ruled in favor of two gay men who challenged a 1996 law banning same-sex marriage. Michalski did not strike down the law or legalize gay marriage.

Instead, he ruled that the choice of a life partner is a fundamental right and ordered the state to prove a compelling reason to regulate that right – a standard legal experts say the state would have trouble meeting.” (“Gay marriage advocates slam Mormon contribution,” JuneauEmpire.com, October 4, 1998)


“For years, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, owner of BYU, has been outspoken in its opposition to gay marriage, believing it is not a civil-rights issue but rather a protection of traditional marriage.” (“2 law professors square off at BYU over same-sex unions,” Deseret News, October 13, 1998)


“[With reference to his appearance on “Larry King Live”] What is your Church’s attitude toward homosexuality?

… People inquire about our position on those who consider themselves so-called gays and lesbians. My response is that we love them as sons and daughters of God. They may have certain inclinations which are powerful and which may be difficult to control. Most people have inclinations of one kind or another at various times. If they do not act upon these inclinations, then they can go forward as do all other members of the Church. If they violate the law of chastity and the moral standards of the Church, then they are subject to the discipline of the Church, just as others are.

We want to help these people, to strengthen them, to assist them with their problems and to help them with their difficulties. But we cannot stand idle if they indulge in immoral activity, if they try to uphold and defend and live in a so-called same-sex marriage situation. To permit such would be to make light of the very serious and sacred foundation of God-sanctioned marriage and its very purpose, the rearing of families.” (Gordon B. Hinckley, “What Are People Asking about Us?” Ensign, November, 1998)


“In the wake of last month’s Vermont Supreme Court decision that gay and lesbian couples are entitled to the same benefits enjoyed by married couples, the Vermont Legislature held hearings [about?] what legislation should be enacted to implement the decision. 

Opponents of same-sex marriage, including the LDS Church, testified before the Vermont House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, arguing that the legislature should either ignore the decision or try to enact a constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex marriage.

The LDS Church was represented by Burlington lawyer Thomas McCormick, who helped write a brief to the Vermont Supreme Court for its recent decision, now called the Baker decision.…

McCormick told the committee that he thinks permitting same-sex marriages will lead to other forms of marriage. “What is going to mean if you redefine marriage today that says, yes, the very attractive couples in the Baker case can be married? What are you going to say tomorrow when three or more people want to get married? If you say yes to same-sex couples, what do you say to two sisters or two brothers who want to be married?”” (Ross Sneyd, “LDS Representative Tells Vermont Legislature to Amend Constitution,” Boston Globe, January 13, 2000, p. N1)


“On 7 May 2000 a writer to a Mormon e-mail list reports that he receives an e-mail from his sister in Las Vegas reporting that church meetings in her area were canceled so LDS Church members could spend more time going door to door collecting signatures for a defense of marriage ballot proposition in Nevada.” (David Combe compilation, May 7, 2000)


“The president of the Coalition for the Protection of Marriage said that his group has collected ‘significantly more than’ the 44,009 petition signatures needed to put the proposed constitutional amendment on the November [Nevada] ballot.…

The Coalition for the Protection of Marriage is heavily supported by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, whose members were central to anti-gay marriage efforts in Hawaii and Alaska, and most recently, in California.…” (Stacy J. Willis, “Anti-gay marriage petition nears filing,” Las Vegas Sun, June 8, 2000)


“A report on 22 August 2000 on a Mormon e-mail list states that in a stake in Las Vegas all temple recommend holders are assessed $1000 each to contribute to the committee in Nevada organized to support the anti-gay marriage ballot measure on the November ballot.” (David Combes compilation, August 22, 2000)


“The group that worked zealously—and successfully—to put the defense of marriage amendment on Nebraska’s ballot may not be the group leading the advertising campaign in the weeks before the general election.

Instead, a new coalition is working with an Omaha advertising firm, Lovgren and Associates, and soon will launch its own campaign supporting Initiative 416.

If passed by Nebraska voters Nov. 7, the amendment would ban same-sex marriages and unions within Nebraska.

The original group—The defense of Marriage Amendment Committee—turned down an offer of $600,000 from members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, saying the source of funds would violate the group’s principles.…

The proposed amendment is designed to keep outside jurisdictions from determining Nebraska policy on marriage.  So the group felt it would be dishonest to raise money outside the state, Vaughn said.…” (Nancy Hicks, “Mormons Offer Huge Donation for DOMA in Nebraska,” Pillar of the Gay and Lesbian Community, October, 2000, p. 15; this is an article republished from the Lincoln Journal Star)


“Nebraskans will vote this Election Day on the country’s most sweeping effort to bar gay unions, a proposed amendment to the state Constitution that not only bans gay marriages but also declares same-sex civil unions and domestic partnerships invalid.

Supporters of the proposed amendment have been helped by a coalition of national Roman Catholic, Mormon and evangelical groups and out-of-state contributors.” (Pam Belluck, “Nebraskans to Vote on Most sweeping Ban on Gay Unions,” New York Times, October 21, 2000, p. A9)


“With the November US elections less than a week away, campaign finance disclosures show that the pro-Defense of Marriage forces in Nebraska have raised five times that of the state’s anti-DOMA group. The LDS Church-supported Coalition for the Protection of Marriage reported that it has raised the most, about $730,000 so far, most of which appears to have come from out-of-state LDS donors.” (“LDS-backed Coalition Raised Most Funds for Nebraska DOMA Vote,” www.mormonstoday.com)


“Ballot measures in both Nevada and Nebraska calling for a constitutional amendment that would ultimately outlaw same-sex marriage were approved by a wide margin in both states Tuesday, due in some measure to grassroots support from members of the LDS Church and other religious groups.…

“It’s been very wide-ranging, all the way from the Muslim faith and obviously LDS support. Most Protestant churches have banded together to help the effort as well.”

Ziser said he had “no idea how many of our coalition members or volunteers are LDS,” and that the LDS Church did not make any financial contribution to the coalition’s efforts.…

Coalitions opposed to legalizing same-sex marriage in both Alaska and Hawaii received $500,000 and $600,000, respectively, from the LDS Church, but the move was criticized by opponents who accused the church of trying to influence the outcome of the election through large contributions.

The church’s efforts to oppose a ballot measure last spring regarding same-sex marriage in California focused on mobilizing thousands of LDS Church members through a letter from LDS area authorities in that state. The letter was read from the pulpit in church meetings throughout the state, asking for volunteer support and individual financial donations from members to the effort.

That move, too, sparked controversy, particularly in San Francisco where a member of the Board of Supervisors publicly questioned the church’s tax-exempt status.

This time, it appears the church has worked through grassroots channels.

Guyla Mills, leader of the state’s Defense of Marriage Amendment Committee, which led the petition drive to place the constitutional ban of same-sex marriage on the ballot, told the Omaha World Herald last month that her group would not join with a group of LDS Church members, Catholics and Protestant evangelicals on the issue because of “philosophical differences.”

She said she refused an offer by two Nebraska members of the LDS Church to join the coalition, even though they told her they would be able to raise $600,000 to promote the amendment.

“The package presented to me was outside the parameters set by the DOMA committee,” Mills said. “It would be an entity apart from the DOMA committee; it would be funded by outside money and it would be controlled” by the LDS Church.

Initiative 416, as it is known in Nebraska, gathered 160,000 petition signatures statewide in order to be placed on Tuesday’s ballot. Mills, who did not return phone calls from the Deseret News Tuesday, acknowledged to the Omaha paper that about one-fourth of the petition drive’s 3,200 volunteers were LDS Church members, and that they collected about half the 160,000 signatures.

“There’s no doubt about it, the Mormon folks worked very hard,” she told the paper.” (Carrie A. Moore, “Church backing helps measures in 2 states,” Deseret News, November 8, 2000)


“The January issue of Harper’s Magazine’s Harper’s Index reports:

Percentage of the funds spent fighting Alaska’s gay-marriage initiative last year mat came from the Mormon Church: 79.”

(David Combe compilation, January 2001)


“Later on 9 January, a writer to an e-mail list reports that Allan and Sherry Brady, members of the Shoal Creek Ward in Austin, Texas, have been called and set apart by a General Authority to coordinate the ”defense of marriage” effort in the state of Texas for the Mormon church.” (David Combe compilation, January 9, 2001)


“On 12 January, a friend writes me:

BTW, a friend in Dallas (we were in the dorms together at BYU long ago) told me about the joint adult priesthood/RS meeting he attended down there recently when the church outlined how they would oppose gay rights in Texas and (most the chilling part) how members were to conceal the church’s involvement in this.” (David Combe compilation, January 12, 2001)


“On 15 January the following was posted to a Mormon-related e-mail list

I want to share with you information I obtained about an initiative the Church has begun in Texas to marshal support for yet-to-be-introduced legislation that would ensure that non-traditional unions would not be recognized in Texas.

On December 31 we attended the Allen 2nd Ward in Allen, Texas (a suburb of Dallas) with dear friends of ours.  I stayed with my friend for all three meetings, but [name deleted] left after Sacrament meeting. Instead of Priesthood meeting, they had a combined Melchizedek Priesthood/Relief Society meeting. The first item on an agenda that was handed out was a presentation by a member of the stake high council.

The presentation began with citations of excerpts from the 1995 First Presidency Proclamation on the Family, and it quickly became clear that same-sex marriage was going to be the topic.  The presenter spoke of the Vermont law allowing same-sex unions, claimed that 26 Texas couples had entered into such unions, and raised concerns that these unions would have to be recognized m Texas unless a law was passed to deny them recognition. The presenter then explained that the area presidency under the direction of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve has asked the members of the Church in Texas to actively join an effort to support the fight against civil unions and to support the concept of traditional marriage.…

After explaining that the Church authorities wanted the members to contact their legislators and newspapers, etc., the presenter tried to bring the topic to a close, saying that no other comments would be taken.  However, he quickly yielded the floor to the Stake President who happened to be in the audience. The Stake President cheerfully explained that this direction had been given at a regional leadership conference in Houston by Apostle Neal A Maxwell and other general authorities, and that since we believe we are led by prophets of God, the members could rest assured that this course of action was correct.”

(David Combe compilation, January 15, 2001)


“[Lynn Wardle] co-wrote Utah’s anti-gay marriage statute and helped author a Nebraska brief opposing gay marriage in the Vermont Supreme Court, which ruled in 1999 that gay couples are entitled to the same benefits and protections as wedded couples of the opposite sex.” (Greg Burton, “Gay Marriage Showdown May Be Inevitable in Utah,” Salt Lake Tribune, February 18, 2001, p. A18)


“During the original petition drive to get Question #2 on the ballot many of the signatures were collected by individuals making use of their church (or ‘Ward’) directories and existing social venues.

‘I was attending the singles ward at the University,’ commented Jacki Keys (sister to Out Las Vegas Bugle Editor Jere Keys) who volunteered with Equal Rights Nevada during the 200 campaign and now lives in Utah, ‘and the bishop would encourage us to walk the streets for the “Coalition for the Protection of Marriage.” He never said we had to do it, but there was definitely a push to get us to support {Question #2}.’

Additionally, fundraising requests have been sent to Mormon Church members on LDS letterhead throughout the campaign, quoting the church position on marriage and asking members to volunteer and donate money to the ‘Coalition for the Protection of Marriage.’” (Jere Keys, “Saints & Sinners: Can the Gay Community and the Mormon Faith Understand Each Other?” Out Las Vegas Bugle, August 30-September 13, 2002, p. 18)


“At a 1998 general conference of the Mormon Church, its President, Gordon B. Hinckley, declared, ‘we cannot stand idly by if they {gays and lesbians} indulge in immoral activity, if they try to uphold and defend and live in a so-called same-sex marriage situation.’ According to noted Mormon writer, Ken Ward, who writes in his book Saints in Babylon – Mormons and Las Vegas, this seems to have set the stage for taking the fight against gay marriage into the political arena.

The book then details the Church’s strategy employed in Nevada. ‘Leaders in Salt Lake called Anna Peterson, a retired court administrator in Las Vegas and longtime political activist, to launch the Nevada campaign. She gathered fellow members and set up a network to raise money and get out the vote. But Peterson and the brethren didn’t want the Church to become a lightning rod on the issue, so it was decided that a non-Mormon would serve as point man and spokesman. Richard Ziser, a Las Vegas businessman and a conservative Christian minister, was selected for the job.’ The strategy worked well in the 2000 election, producing a 70-30% win in Question 2 for opponents of gay rights.” (Ed Fuhling, “The Mormons Fight Against Civil Rights: The Mormon Church is the Driving Force Behind Question #2,” Out Las Vegas Bugle, August 30-September 13, 2002, p. 22)


“As it did with similar initiatives in California, Hawaii, Alaska and other states, the Mormon Church is actively promoting Nevada’s ‘Protection of Marriage’ act.

‘We are part of that coalition’ backing the proposed ban on recognition of single-sex marriage, confirmed Dale Bills, spokesman for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.…

Coalition leader Richard Ziser, who is not Mormon, said the issue for him is primarily one of a state’s right to make its own laws without having to defer to statutes elsewhere.

‘Secondarily, obviously, the majority of the groups are faith-based groups who have moral reasons,’ Ziser said. The Mormon Church is a ‘very, very big supporter,’ he said, but the coalition includes many other churches.” (“Mormon Church backs bill against single-sex marriage,” Las Vegas Review-Journal, September 10, 2002)


“As it did with similar initiatives in California, Hawaii, Alaska, and other states, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is actively promoting Nevada’s Protection of Marriage Act. ‘We are part of that coalition’ backing the proposed ban on recognition of same-sex marriage, church spokesman Dale Bills confirmed.…

Nevada’s ballot drive for the Protection of Marriage Act began two years ago and passed its first general election vote with 70% support. Amending Nevada’s constitution requires approval in two consecutive elections, so the Coalition for the Protection of Marriage is gearing up again for the November 5 election.” (Mormon Church backs Nevada DOMA,” Advocate.com, September 10, 2002)


“The ballot measure has also divided Nevada’s clergy. The Catholic Dioceses of Las Vegas and Reno and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are among the supporters of Question 2.

‘We support Question 2 because the issue associated with it goes to the very foundation of our society,’ Ace Robison, Southern Nevada spokesman for the Mormon church, said. ‘God’s plan for us involves the family, which consists of a mother and father and children. Anything that would condemn that we should beware.

‘We are accused of bigotry and so on but I hope it’s not true on an individual basis and I know it’s not true on an institutional basis as far as the church is concerned. This is just about preserving the sanctity of marriage.’…” (“Marriage initiative has divided clergy,” Las Vegas Sun, November 1, 2002)


“Nearly 500 members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also known as the Mormons, attended a committee meeting of the Texas house of representatives Monday to discuss legislation that proposes to ban recognition of same-sex marriage in the state, the Houston Chronicle reports. The Mormon Church members were there to show their support for the bill, which would recognize only heterosexual unions as legal marriages.…” (“Hearing held on proposed marriage ban in Texas,” Advocate.com, March 20, 2003)


“Same-Gender Marriage in Canada

As you know, a significant effort is underway to legalize so-called ‘same-gender marriage’ in Canada.  Courts in Ontario and British Columbia have ruled that same-gender couples be allowed to marry; and the Parliament of Canada is reportedly considering legislation that would define marriage as the union of two ‘persons,’ including persons of the same sex. Priesthood leaders and members across Canada have inquired as to how they—and the Church—should respond to these developments.

We have repeatedly urged Church members, who have a voting franchise in their respective countries, to study the merits of public issues and then on the basis of conscience to make their views known to their elected representatives and at the ballot box.  In that spirit, we ask that you read the First Presidency Statement on Same-Gender Marriage and Same-Gender Attraction in sacrament meeting.

We ask that at this time Church leaders not go beyond these instructions by attempting to organize any other response on behalf of the Church or Church members on this issue.” (First Presidency Circular Letter to units in Canada, September 5, 2003)


“Same-sex couples who live outside Massachusetts will not be able to marry in Massachusetts when gay marriage becomes legal here next month, Gov. Mitt Romney said.

‘Massachusetts should not become the Las Vegas of same-sex marriage,’ Mr. Romney said in an interview on Friday. ‘We do not intend to export our marriage confusion to the entire nation.’…

Mr. Romney said he was basing his decision on a 48-word law, adopted in 1913, which says that the state cannot marry an out-of-state couple if their marriage would be ‘void’ in their home state.…” (Pam Belluck, “Romney Won’t Let Gay Outsiders Wed In Massachusetts,” New York Times, April 25, 2004)


“Struggling with his gay sexual orientation several years ago, Aaron Cloward sought help from the leaders of his local Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He didn’t get any.…

Cloward, who served on a church mission to Southern California, quickly left behind the church and its antigay doctrine…

Last year, Cloward stood on a downtown Salt Lake City street corner during Utah’s battle over a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. He handed out fliers and carried picket signs urging passersby to vote contrary to the church and defeat the amendment. “People will say, ‘No, no, the church doesn’t tell me how to vote,’ ” says Cloward. “But I will say that in church I did hear the message: ‘These are the values we stand for. Vote accordingly.’ ” What has become clear to Cloward and tens of thousands of other GLBT Mormons is the harsh fact that although they may have left the church, the church won’t stop meddling in their lives. While the Roman Catholic Church and the Southern Baptist Convention have grabbed the most headlines with calls to “save traditional marriage,” the Mormon Church has quietly become one of the most powerful forces opposing any changes that offer gays and lesbians equality under the law.…

“You will not see Mormon [Church] leaders go in front of legislators,” says Olin Thomas, executive director of Affirmation, a growing international network of gay and lesbian Mormons. “But they will suggest members act individually. It’s somewhat low-key.”…

Low-key action doesn’t yield low returns. It only takes a gentle reminder—a statement from LDS headquarters, a few words at Sunday service, a church bulletin—criticizing same-sex marriage to yield Election Day votes and big money for antigay groups.…

By the end of 2006 as many as 15 states—including New Mexico, Arizona, Alabama, Iowa, Kansas, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, Tennessee, and of course Massachusetts—are expected to debate constitutional amendments outlawing same-sex marriage. LDS spokeswoman Kim Farah tells The Advocate, “There are no efforts under way for or against these proposed amendments” and that the church was not actively involved in the 2004 ballot initiatives outlawing same-sex marriage that passed in 11 states in November. 

That’s not strictly true. In the midst of the state ballot battles, the office of the LDS First Presidency—Hinckley’s office, charged with relating God’s own messages—issued a brief statement in July 2004 about President Bush’s push for an antigay federal amendment: “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints favors a constitutional amendment preserving marriage as the lawful union of a man and a woman.” Three months later, on October 19, the church issued another statement: “As a doctrinal principle, based on sacred scripture, we affirm that marriage between a man and a woman is essential to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of his children. The powers of procreation are to be exercised only between a man and a woman lawfully wedded as husband and wife. Any other sexual relations, including those between persons of the same gender, undermine the divinely created institution of the family.” 

Less than a month later, voters in Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Utah approved constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage. “The church is an incredibly private organization. There’s no annual report. You’ll never know how much money they have or where it is going,” says Michael Mitchell, executive director of Equality Utah, a gay rights group. “But the church came out with the statement and the voters responded.” Gay rights advocates in the new battleground states who are familiar with the church’s tactics anticipate that LDS leaders will get involved in their fights—perhaps, as in 2004, late and without warning. 

“We know they have been involved in initiatives in other states and that they tend to get involved later in the game,” says Steve May, a former state lawmaker and co-chair of the Arizona Human Rights Fund. May is a former LDS Church member, whom the Army Reserves tried to expel because he’s gay. Arizona lies in the Mormon Belt, which stretches across the vast American West from the Colorado Rockies to the Pacific Ocean, reaching up into the Canadian prairie provinces and down into Mexico. It’s in this belt —especially Utah, the big buckle—that Mormons are most influential in U.S. politics. “The church has significant numbers there,” says Affirmation’s Thomas. “They can sway a close election.”

The church’s strategy and motivation in fighting against gay and lesbian equality appears to be modeled on its campaign against the Equal Rights Amendment in the 1970s, the passage of which the church said would result in “encouragement of those who seek a unisex society, an increase in the practice of homosexual and lesbian activities, and other concepts which could alter the natural, God-given relationship of men and women.” The church employed an effective top-down chain of command in that battle, from headquarters to church leaders in 20 states, and that remains the approach in the LDS fight to support antigay discrimination, says Mormon scholar Quinn. “The organizing power of the church is such that it can produce incredible numbers in states, even where it only has 1% or so of the population.” Even where its voters are far outnumbered, the church may still exercise the power of the purse.” (Lisa Neff, “Mormons on a Mission,” Advocate, March 22, 2005)


“In 2006, Mormon officials had begun making the media rounds, prepping for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s expected try for the Republican presidential nomination. This protective measure stood out.…” (Kathryn Lopez, “Mormons in the crosshairs over Prop. 8,” TheKansan.com, December 12, 2008) [NOTE: WAS THIS WHY THE CHURCH SAT IT OUT IN 2004?]


“James Ord, a gay Mormon living in California who describes his status with the church as ‘inactive,’ graduated in 2004 from BYU’s law school, where he worked alongside professors Richard Wilkins and Lynn Wardle. The two have been prominent players in the anti–gay marriage movement and, according to Ord, began crafting the legal strategy to oppose same-sex marriage almost immediately after Canadian courts in Ontario issued a series of rulings in 2002 that laid the groundwork for marriage equality in the province and, eventually, the country. For the next two years Ord ‘attended meetings, forums, and academic discussions where the language for these amendments was floated and debated.’” (James Kirchick, “The New Religious Right,” Advocate, December 3, 2008)


“A tag-team effort by the Religious Right and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) to add an amendment to the Wyoming Constitution banning same-sex marriage failed last month.…

Mormon Church leaders in Wyoming insist they do not take a stand on legislation in the state, but the Star-Tribune pointed out that church officials in 2006 worked to kill a bill establishing a state lottery.…” (“Mormon-Led Push To Ban Same-Sex Marriage In Wyoming Fails,” Church & State, March 2009)


“This message has been authorized for sending by Bishop [Christ] Church [of the Nauvoo 3rd Ward]:

The Civil Union Bill (HB2234) has been scheduled for a hearing in the Youth and Family Committee this week on Thursday, March 5, 2009 at 9:00 a.m. in Springfield.… As has already been seen in Massachusetts, this will empower the public schools to begin teaching this lifestyle to our young children regardless of parental requests otherwise.  It will also create grounds for rewriting all social mores; the current push in Massachusetts is to recognize and legalize all transgender rights. (An individual in Massachusetts can now change their drivers license to the gender they believe themselves to be, regardless of actual gender, which means that confused men and women are now legally entering one another’s bathrooms and locker rooms. What kind of a safety issue is this for our children?) Furthermore, while the bill legalizes civil unions, it will be used in the courts to show discrimination and will ultimately lead to court mandated same-sex marriage.

To help defeat this bill, please call your state representative and state senator and ask that they support traditional marriage and vote against the civil unions bill.…” (Email to all members of the Nauvoo 3rd Ward, March 3, 2009)


“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said Wednesday that an e-mail authorized by the bishop of an Illinois congregation did not reflect the church’s position on a bill before the Illinois Legislature and is not part of a larger campaign.…

‘An e-mail was sent from a local Illinois church leader to his congregation—one of 129 congregations in the state—who was free to express his own views.’” (“No LDS campaign in Illinois,” Deseret News, March 5, 2009)


“Concerns have been raised regarding the proposed legislation which would change the definition of marriage in Argentina. The doctrine of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is absolutely clear: Marriage is between a man and a woman and is ordained of God. We recommend that together as families you review The Family: A Proclamation to the World to understand more fully the doctrine of the church in regards to this topic.


The First Presidency

Thomas S. Monson

Henry B. Eyring

Dieter F. Uchtdorf”

(First Presidency letter to Area Seventies, stake presidents, district and mission presidents, bishops, branch presidents and Buenos Aires, Argentina area president, July 6, 2010)


“As Argentina moves closer to allowing gay marriage, the LDS Church is reminding members where the faith stands on the issue with a letter that may be significant not so much for what it says as for what it doesn’t say.…

Still, LDS spokesman Scott Trotter said Friday, the Utah-based church ‘has taken no official position on the legislation being considered.’…

Nor does it ask members to contact their lawmakers or give their all to the opposition cause, adds University of Utah law professor Clifford Rosky, who serves on a legal panel for the gay-rights group Equality Utah. ‘And that’s significant.’…” (Peggy Fletcher Stack, “LDS leaders take different tack on Argentina’s gay-marriage push,” Salt Lake Tribune, July 9, 2010)


“Despite the LDS Church’s claim last week that it had not taken a stand on Argentina’s move to allow gay marriage, a high-ranking church official did join other religious leaders there to plan opposition to the bill.

Carlos Aguero, LDS public-affairs director for Argentina and a former Area Authority Seventy, attended a July 7 meeting with leaders from several conservative Christian churches and traditional family organizations, according to a Buenos Aires newspaper.

Aguero did not respond to phone or e-mail queries Thursday, but LDS spokesman Scott Trotter said Aguero’s participation in the protest planning should not be seen as a church endorsement of the opposition.

‘The [LDS] Church has made its support of traditional marriage clear but it does not involve itself institutionally in every same-sex election contest,’ Trotter said. ‘The church took no official position on the marriage legislation in Argentina and did not organize its members to participate in opposing the legislation.’

Instead, Mormon leaders in Argentina on Sunday read a letter from the Utah-based church’s governing First Presidency, reiterating its support for traditional marriage, to all congregations in that South American country. The letter did not ask members to contribute time or money to the opposition, as it had in California’s Proposition 8, which opposed gay marriage.…

With the bill’s passage, Argentina became the first country in Latin America to allow gay couples the same marital rights as heterosexuals, including marriage, adoption and inheritance rights, according to the New York Times .

Mexico City became the first jurisdiction in Latin America to legalize same-sex marriages last year, the Times reported. Two other countries in the region, Uruguay and Colombia, allow civil unions for same-sex couples.” (Peggy Fletcher Stack, “LDS Church denies involvement in Argentina’s gay-marriage battle,” Salt Lake Tribune, July 15, 2010)


“Members of a support group for gay and lesbian Mormons are criticizing the involvement of the LDS Church in trying to prevent marriage equality from passing in Argentina.

Church members have denied playing an official role in opposing the law before it passed last week, but Carlos Aguero, the church’s public affairs director for Argentina, attended a meeting earlier this month with other conservative church leaders in an effort to plan protests.

‘This is another appalling example of the LDS trying to dominate government decisions being made by democratically elected officials,’ David Melson, executive director of the support group Affirmation, said in a statement.” (“Gay Mormons Slam LDS Action in Argentina,” Advocate, July 21, 2010)


“[LDS Spokesman Scott Trotter] ‘A local Church representative attended some interfaith meetings where the subject was discussed and a letter was read in local congregations reemphasizing our position on marriage but the Church took no official position on the marriage legislation in Argentina and did not organize its members to participate in opposing the legislation.’” (“LDS Official Attends Argentine Anti-Gay Marriage Rally,” Q Salt Lake, July 22, 2010)


“Last Sunday, January 15, in LDS congregations across Minnesota, LDS Church leaders read a statement over the pulpit encouraging Church members to support a November 2012 ballot initiative that would amend the Minnesota state constitution to restrict the right to marry to heterosexual couples. (State law already bans same-sex marriage.)

According to LDS Church data, there are about 30,000 members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Minnesota, constituting less than .5% of the state’s population. It is unclear at this time whether LDS congregations will be activated as volunteer and fundraising units, as they were during California’s Proposition 8 campaign in 2008.

One Minnesota Mormon blogger reported, ‘The letter did not come out and say which way to vote but the underlying message was clear. We were advised to remember the family is a fundamental unit of society and to read the Proclamation on the Family and prayerfully consider how to get involved. It concluded with a reminder that church buildings and directories are not to be used for political purposes—with this caveat—unless otherwise directed.’…” (Joanna Brooks, “LDS Church Calls on Members to Back Minnesota Anti-Equality Initiative,” Religion Dispatches, January 18, 2012)


“Dear Joanna,

I just talked over the phone with Joshua Behn. We removed the story & press release from the Affirmation website; Affirmation will write a retraction tonight. I believe there has been no letter from Church headquarters to members in Minnesota but just the letter from a stake presidency in Minneapolis, which happens to be also John Wrathall’s stake. So the letter was not read ‘across Minnesota’ but in that stake.” (Hugo Olaiz to Joanna Brooks, January 18, 2012)

[Look up Marlin Jensen’s email saying the Church was not going to do anything political during 2012, per President Monson.]


“Members of the Mormon Church in Maryland are working to overturn the state’s recently passed marriage equality law, according to an email obtained by the Washington Blade. 

In the message dated March 29 sent to D.C. and Southern Maryland-area church members, the writer states that a coalition of inter-denominational Maryland churches has joined to place a referendum before voters in November on the marriage law before it goes into effect. 

‘We need to collect approximately 200,000 signatures by the end of May,’ the email states. ‘We are looking for people to gather signatures within the LDS community.’…

The email says the ‘important effort’ is being led by Martha Schaerr, an LDS member who’s organizing signature collection within Montgomery County and within the church. Another named organizer in the email is Teressa Wallace.

An informed source said the email was sent to the entire congregation in D.C. and Southern Maryland, which consists of between 500 and 1,500 church members and former members.…

In an email to the Blade, Schaerr said she’s organizing against the Maryland marriage law not out of any guidance or pressure from the church, but on her own accord.…

Carrie Evans, executive director of Equality Maryland, said she isn’t surprised that Mormon Church officials are playing a role in the effort to rescind the Maryland marriage law, but doesn’t think the LDS Church is the lead organization in the effort.…

The Mormon Church is disavowing any involvement in the organizational effort proposed in the email. 

Dale Jones, an LDS spokesperson, said the church has no direct involvement in the effort to overturn the marriage law in Maryland. 

‘While the Church’s position in support of traditional marriage is well established, the effort in Maryland is not being organized through the Church’s headquarters in Salt Lake City,’ Jones said. ‘Members, of course, will make their own decisions regarding their involvement in local issues.’…

An LGBT rights supporter, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said he’s spoken to senior church leaders and was told they want no involvement in future initiatives on marriage.…” (Chris Johnson, “Mormons working to overturn Md. marriage law,” Washington Blade, April 6, 2012)


“If Referendum 74, ‘The Washington Same Sex Marriage Referendum,’ does make it to the ballot Mormons who support marriage equality will be ready to act. Sara Long and Scott Holley are LDS Church members and founding members of Washington Mormons for Marriage Equality. I spoke with them this weekend about the campaign season ahead.…

[Holley] I became really concerned about Church involvement. I called the group leading the charge against marriage equality and asked them if the LDS Church was getting involved, and the staffer on the phone said, ‘We’re meeting with church leaders right this minute; they’re at lunch with Focus on the Family and [National Organization for Marriage-sponsored] Preserve Marriage Washington.’

To this day, we don’t know whether it was local or general church leaders who met with Preserve Marriage Washington—we believe they were local leaders. But a reporter for the Boston Globe was able to confirm that the meeting took place.

A letter about Referendum 74 has been read in some Washington stakes—but not all, so we’re not sure if it came from Salt Lake City or not—and the letter encouraged members to vote for the initiative but instructed them not to use ward contact lists for campaigning or to say they were campaigning or voting on behalf of the LDS Church. The letter even specified that the letter itself should not be printed or distributed, only read by the bishop to congregations.…” (Joanna Brooks, “Mormons Prepare for WA Marriage Equality Fight,” Religion Dispatches, May 21, 2012)


“Cynic that I am, I look at the Mormon ‘It Gets Better’ videos or the groups planning to march in Pride parades, and I wonder: How much do they owe to Mitt Romney? In other words, is church leadership leaving them alone, creating a space for them to operate, because the leaders know that the Romney campaign has heightened media scrutiny and public interest in Mormon controversies? If Romney loses and the media’s attention drifts elsewhere, will we see the institution start applying pincers?…” (John-Charles Duffy, “Mormons at Gay Pride,” LiberalMormonSpirituality.blogspot.com, June 3, 2012)


“SSM questions in England:

Public Affairs

11 June 2012

To Be Read in Sacrament Meetings…

On June 11 2012, in reponse to a request by the UK Government for comments regarding the definition of marriage, the Church filed an official submission confirming the need to protect and promote marriage, as the union of one man and one woman as husband and wife.…

Additional note for Priesthood Leaders, not to be announced over the pulpit: If individual members ask what they can do to support the issue, they should be invited to study the issue and determine the best way they can participate individually.…” (Clifford T. Herbertson, Area Seventy, Europe Area, June 11, 2012, Mormons for Marriage timeline)


“As the British government debates proposals to legalize same-sex marriage, the LDS Church’s area authority in Europe has issued a letter to be read in all Mormon congregations there, confirming the ‘need to protect and promote marriage, as the union of one man and one woman as husband and wife.’

The June 11 letter, signed by Elder Clifford T. Herbertson, area seventy for the Utah-based faith in Europe, says that it comes in response to a request from the British government, asking ‘for comments about the definition of marriage.’…” (“Mormon church weighs in as Brits debate gay marriage,” Salt Lake Tribune, June 19, 2012)


“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints filed a response to the government’s public consultation on how to introduce marriage equality, saying gay couples should be excluded for the ‘good of society’ and warning that the move will have ‘negative implications for the nation, both legal and social’.…

It continues: ‘The interference with the religious freedom of those who continue to affirm the true definition of ‘marriage’ – warrants special attention within our faith communities and throughout society as a whole. We believe that changing the definition of marriage would have far‐reaching negative implications for the nation, both legal and social.’…” (Stephen Gray, “Mormons say equal marriage would have ‘negative implications’ for UK,” Pink News, June 20, 2012)


“Maryland activists working to overturn same-sex marriage have had to get used to one surprising absence from their religious coalition: Mormons.…

Mormon leaders in Maryland have been silent on the ballot measure to affirm or toss the state’s new same-sex marriage law. Activists in other states voting next month on the issue (Maine, Minnesota and Washington) say they see the same thing. The dramatic turnaround from 2008 reflects the tightrope the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is walking as it tries to maintain a generally apolitical church culture while in the global spotlight of a presidential campaign.…

But experts and even church officials say Mormon officials are being especially cautious this year because of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s campaign and the danger of their strongly evangelical faith becoming too closely associated with one party.

This year, for the first time in decades, church officials didn’t meet at the start of the legislative session with Utah state lawmakers.

‘It’s the political climate we’re in. There was just too much over-interpreting,’ said Michael Otterson, church spokesman.…

Sensitivities were clear right away in Maryland, when in March two Mormon women working to gather petition signatures sought volunteers on an unofficial church e-mail group list for a congregation in Chevy Chase. The posting was quickly taken down, and the congregation had a meeting about proper use of the e-mail group and not using it for political outreach.

Neither woman responded to requests for comment.…” (Michelle Boorstein, “Mormon church is conspicuously absent in Md. same-sex marriage referendum,” Washington Post, October 28, 2012)


“11/6/2012 – Maine, Maryland, Washington and Minnesota voters all affirm same-sex unions as legal in their states. No sign of public involvement by LDS church leaders.” (Mormons for Marriage timeline)


“A coalition of Roman Catholics, Muslims, Mormons, Missouri Synod Lutherans and conservative Anglicans has written to Illinois lawmakers, urging them to reject any legislation that would extend marriage to same-sex couples.

In the letter the bishops and ministers from about 1,700 congregations and ministries across Illinois say the attempt to alter the state’s definition of marriage threatens the fundamental institution of marriage that society counts on as the ideal environment for raising children and teaching adult men and women to depend on each other.…” (Manya A. Brachear, “Interfaith clergy coalition opposes gay marriage bill,” Chicago Tribune, January 2, 2013)


“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was one of the most visible Prop 8 supporters. The Prop 8 campaign garnered over 1,000 donations from the Mormon-dominated state of Utah, and the initiative passed by nearly five percentage points.

But the image-conscious Mormon church came under fierce attack from gay rights supporters nationwide. Now, Mormon leaders speak about the need to respect all individuals and established a website, www.mormonsandgays.org, to help gays stay in the church.

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.

Church spokesman Eric Hawkins said it would be inaccurate to link the fundraising issues of other groups with any supposed softening of the Church’s commitment to exclusively heterosexual marriage.

‘We believe that marriage is defined as between a man and a woman and that sexual activity outside of marriage is wrong,’ he said. ‘Our deep desire to be sure that all people know they are loved and valued does not define a shift in our position on marriage.’…” (Dan Levine and Peter Henderson, “Gay Marriage Opponents Suffer From Fundraising Shortfall,” Huffington Post, January 29, 2013)


“While the Mormon Church has backed ‘traditional marriage’ in Supreme Court briefs, it has been silent in recent ballot battles and has not promoted fundraising as it has in the past.…

Pro-gay marriage groups have routed their opponents financially, outraising them three-to-one in November 2012 ballot races that legalized same-sex marriage in three more states, bringing the total to nine states and the District of Columbia.

The single biggest fundraising change between 2008 and 2012 was the disappearance from the political arena of the mightiest foe of gay marriage – the Mormon Church.

While the church has petitioned the Supreme Court in favor of Prop 8, it has focused its public messages about gays on personal issues of respect and love rather than politics.…

More than 800 Utahns gave $2.7 million to support Prop 8 in 2008, state campaign finance records show. In 2012, a total of 16 Utahns gave $1,264 to the main ballot committees against gay marriage.

‘The Mormon Church left as a major funder,’ concluded Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the biggest gay rights group.…” (Peter Henderson, ‘Insight: Silent or supportive, conservatives give gay marriage momentum,’ Reuters, March 25, 2013)


“[Evan] Wolfson is cautiously optimistic. He thinks it’s too soon to know whether the LDS church has unilaterally withdrawn from the marriage fight or whether this is just a temporary cease-fire: ‘In 2012, part of their tactical reason for pulling back was to avoid any muddying the waters for Romney. That was a higher priority for them than even attacking gay people.’…” (Stephanie Mencimer, “How the Mormons Ensured Victory for Gay Marriage,” Mother Jones, May 10, 2013)


The Idaho State Journal reports that the Mormon church arranged for a carefully-timed lobbying effort with Pocatello City Council members a few weeks prior to the lawmakers rejecting an ordinance that would have protected members of the LGBT community from discrimination.

The Journal reports that LDS Regional Public Affairs Director Larry Fisher convinced Pocatello Mayor Brian Blad and five Council members to meet with Jacki Pick of the American Religious Freedom Program. Pocatello city attorneys also met with the lobbyist. The Journal reports that the meetings were held over five sessions and no notes were taken.

Ultimately the Council split 3-3 on the Add the Words ordinance. Mayor Blad cast the deciding ‘no’ vote, killing the proposal.…” (George Prentice, “Mormon Church Arranged Lobbyist to Push Against LGBT Protections in Pocatello,” Boise Journal, May 18, 2013)


“On Sunday, LDS apostle Dallin H. Oaks delivered another strongly worded sermon on the essential role in society of ‘traditional marriage’ uniting one man and one woman.

But this time, the speech was directed at Mormons where same-sex marriage is now legal: New Zealand.…

This address came via satellite during a regional conference in New Zealand, which legalized same-sex marriage last year.…” (Peggy Fletcher Stack, “Mormon apostle decries gay marriage where it’s legal: New Zealand,” Salt Lake Tribune, May 19, 2014)


“The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) and four other members of a diverse coalition called Feb. 23 for the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis to uphold the right of the citizens of Missouri to define marriage as only a heterosexual institution. In November, a federal judge struck down a state constitutional amendment limiting marriage to the union of a man and a woman.…

The ERLC joined the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, National Association of Evangelicals, Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints on the brief.…” (“ERLC joins brief at 8th Circuit defending marriage,” Baptist Press News, February 24, 2015)


“5/22/2015 – Irish voters approve civil marriages for same-sex couples, making their country the first to vote for marriage equality.…” (Mormons for Marriage timeline)


[66] “At the same time, similar events were unfolding in Alaska. In August 1994, Jay Brause and Gene Dugan, a gay couple who had been partnered for eighteen years, applied for a marriage license. When it was denied, they filed a lawsuit in the summer of 1995.…

[67] A few months before the lawsuit was filed, a Republican state legislator sponsored a bill to specify that marriage in Alaska was limited to the union of a man and a woman. The legislature passed that bill in 1996.  In February 1998, the trial judge in Brause ruled that law presumptively unconstitutional.… Further hearings were required to determine if the state had a compelling justification for barring gay marriage.

The state appealed to the Alaska supreme court, which denied review at that point in the proceedings, and the trial proceeded to discovery. Given the liberal reputation of the state supreme court, gay activists believed they were likely to win on the appeal that would presumably follow the trial.

But the political process outpaced the legal process.  Constitutional amendments in Alaska require a two-thirds vote of each house of the legislature followed by a referendum at the next election. The day after the trial court’s decision, the senate majority leader introduced a resolution for a constitutional amendment providing that ‘to be valid or recognized in this state, a marriage may exist only between one man and one woman.’ An opinion poll showed that 65% of Alaskans disapproved of legalizing gay marriage. Within three months, both houses of the legislature had passed the amendment in largely partisan votes, putting it on the fall ballot.

The Alaska referendum campaign did not receive the same national attention as the one in Hawaii, but it was nonetheless well financed and contentious. The state’s Catholic bishops issued a pastoral letter endorsing the amendment. Gary Bauer, president of the family research Council, traveled to Alaska to raise funds for it. The Mormon Church in Utah contributed $500,000 to the pro-amendment campaign— the vast majority of that side’s funding. By contrast, amendment opponents were able to raise only about $100,000.…

After conducting opinion polling, amendment opponents decided not to defend gay marriage on the merits. Rather, they criticized the amendment is unnecessary because state law already barred gay marriage and because the state Supreme Court was unlikely to mandated for years, if ever.…

[68] In November, Alaskans approved the amendment by 68% to 32%. The Brause plaintiffs decided not to bring a federal constitutional challenge against it, and their lawsuit was eventually dismissed.

Even in states as liberal as Hawaii and as libertarian as Alaska, voters had overwhelmingly rejected gay marriage. A working paper prepared for the human rights campaign in the fall of 1998 contemplated ‘declar[ing] defeat on the freedom to marry for this generation (5 years? 10? 20?).’”

(Michael J. Klarman, From the Closet to the Altar: Courts, Backlash, and the Struggle for Same-Sex Marriage (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013))


[84] “That same year [2000] in Nebraska, opponents of gay marriage easily collected the 105,000 petition signatures needed to put a constitutional amendment banning it on the November ballot. It provided that ‘the uniting of two persons of the same sex in a civil union, domestic partnership or other similar same-sex relationship shall not be valid or recognized in Nebraska.’ This initiative was [85] among the broadest anti-gay-marriage measures in the country and was drafted directly in response to developments in Vermont.

Supporters raised three-quarters of a million dollars, most of it coming from national Catholic, Mormon, and evangelical groups. Their adversaries raised only about $150,000.…

In November, Nebraskans passed the amendment by 70% to 30%.…”

(Michael J. Klarman, From the Closet to the Altar: Courts, Backlash, and the Struggle for Same-Sex Marriage (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013))


Anderson: I was in Reno for a few years, and they had a proposition there, and the Church was involved there, too, with that one.  We went door-to-door for that one.

(Paul Anderson, July 21, 2014)

Evans: Since Prop 8, various of these issues have arisen in states regarding gay marriage, either in the legislature or by popular vote.  The Church’s approach has been to make it clear that members are encouraged to be involved and do as they see fit.  But that has been the extent of it.  That seems to be the model now, Greg.

Prince: And that’s fine, but a headline like this doesn’t help us.

Evans: When it’s not deserved, you’re right, it doesn’t help.  If we were doing that, then that would be different.  The Brethren just have not engaged since Proposition 8.  There have been a number of times they could have, in areas as close as Nevada.

Prince: We’ve been watching for two years in Maryland, and there hasn’t been a blip there.

Evans: Yes.  And everything that happened in the Northeast following Proposition 8, and that has happened elsewhere, the Brethren have just chosen not to be engaged.

(William Evans, February 8, 2012)

Evans: I was assigned fulltime to Prop 8.

Prince: You won the lottery!

Evans: I wanted it.

Prince: Really?

Evans: Yes, and I’m glad I got it.  It was a great experience, one of the great experiences of my working career here.  As you know, the Brethren haven’t been involved in every marriage issue.  In fact, if you line them all up, we have been involved in very few.  For example, in the November 2004 election there were about twelve marriage issues on the ballot across the United States.  If you take Prop 8 as a model for active involvement, we weren’t actively involved in any of them.  The only hint of involvement was a First Presidency letter that came out a couple of weeks before the election, affirming the Church’s commitment to marriage.  There were people pushing on us pretty hard in various states to get involved, and the Brethren said, “No.  We’re not going to do it.”  As you might imagine, they don’t ever give reasons; the answer is either yes or no.

(William Evans, November 18, 2012)

Bill Evans met me at Little America this morning for breakfast.…

He said there are those who allege that the Church had a consistent, strategic plan for defeating gay marriage nationally, but differed with them.  As examples, he said that the Church sat out 2004, when gay marriage was used effectively by Karl Rove as a wedge issue in the presidential election, and again in 2012, when there were ballot measures in four states.  He also noted that in 2004 members of the Utah Legislature attempted to get an endorsement by the Church for Amendment 3, but none was forthcoming.

(William Evans, April 1, 2015)

Karger: They were involved in all the various states along the way, up and through Prop 8—that was their biggest gambit—and then still even after that, in Maine a year later, where Gary Lawrence was going the polling and the Wirthlin’s were in the commercials.  It was a repeat of the Prop 8 campaign.  I contend that they were players in every single marriage election, successfully, before Prop 8 as well.

(Fred Karger, June 18, 2014)

Sainz: When the Governor of the State of Maryland was championing a marriage bill in the state legislature, there was a Listserve for the LDS members in Maryland.  We had met privately with the church leadership, who had told us that they were not going to be doing anything more that was marriage related.  They said that if asked, they would have an opinion on it, but that they were not going to be involving themselves in political activities.

So this marriage bill was before the state legislature, and it came to our attention that there was an LDS Listserve that was trying to organize members of the Church, on church property, against this marriage bill.  I reached out to the Church’s director of communications, who I have had a traditionally good relationship with, and I said, “Hey, this is going to become an issue for you—not because HRC is going to make it an issue yet, but because a reporter at one of these gay publications has a copy of this Listserve email that is going around, and they are more than likely going to try and say that the Church is at it again.”  To his great credit, they immediately mobilized, and literally took down all of the emails related to that subject from the Listserve.

Prince: Was this the article in the Washington Blade?

Sainz: Yes, exactly.…

Sainz: Chris Johnson sent me the Listserve, and I immediately, without Chris Johnson’s knowledge, sent it to Michael Purdy.  I was like, “Hey, heads-up!  This is about to become an issue.”

Prince: A couple of days later I was in Salt Lake, and I laid a copy of the Blade article on Bill’s desk.  So we had double coverage, it turns out.

Sainz: Yes.  They got it very, very quickly.

(Fred Sainz, August 15, 2014)

Waite: After it passed, it seemed to die away fairly quickly—so much so that it kind of surprised me that it got so quiet so quickly.  And then, it wasn’t long after that that it started popping up in all these other states, and I started noticing the Church didn’t seem to get involved at all in those, or very little.  So I’m thinking, “Hold on!  I had to stand up and really hurt people, and give money, and spend my weekends, and make phone calls, and do all this stuff; and they’re not doing that in the other states?  What happened?  This was a big deal.”  It really surprised me how uninvolved the Church was after that.

Prince: I live in Maryland, and it was on the ballot here four years later.  Not only was the Church a complete no-show, but there were two well-meaning LDS women here who decided that they wanted to fight the referendum on the ballot, and they started using ward lists to try to get their message out.  Salt Lake shut them down real fast.  So it was not just being a no-show; it was that they didn’t want anybody from the Church trying to represent that the Church was involved in it.  But you’re right, that’s a very interesting and significant turn of events.

Waite: Yes.  I wish I were in Maryland.  That would have been better.

(Sherod Waite, July 18, 2014)