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Prince Research Excerpts on Gay Rights & Mormonism – “19 – The Backlash”

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19 – The Backlash


“After receiving the news this morning that Proposition 8 passed in California, I sat here at my desk and sobbed. Hours later I am still crying.

As a little girl I marched with my gay father and gay friends on Castro Street in the rallies and parades and was filled with pride and love. At the same time, I was filled with confusion because I write just little Mormon girl and I was taught that homosexuality is evil and wrong. That it is a sickness.

I am here to scream from the mountaintops that I am no longer a righteous little Mormon girl who can be scared and manipulated and I’m certainly no longer confused. I have learned to recognize evil when I see it and I am abundantly clear on where the sickness is coming from.…”  (Emily Pearson to Carol Lynn Pearson [her mother], November 5, 2008)


“To use a metaphor, the Church now has a pot overflowing and burning on a stovetop. It’s not going away. And it is their pot, and they are the ones who turned up the flame. It will make bad smells and a lot of smoke and make a whole lot of people angry. The thing will probably burst into flames at some point, and probably the fire department (the United States Supreme Court) will have to be called to put out the conflagration before it ruins any more of the house. It will be an interesting time.” (Larry Mann to Family Fellowship, November 5, 2008)


“The Mormon Church has paid a higher price than dollars, though. The battle split Mormons into camps for and against gay rights…

When California voters passed their initial ban, in a 2000 Mormon push, it was a lopsided margin, with fewer than 40% supporting gay marriage. Yesterday, nearly 48% supported gay marriage. That’s bitter progress.…

Catholics and other Christian groups were just as involved in the effort to pass Prop 8 as the LDS church. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Sacramento released this statement: ‘Catholics stand in solidarity with our Mormon brothers and sisters in support of traditional marriage, the union of one man and one woman, that has been the major building block of Western civilization for millennia. The ProtectMarriage coalition, which led the successful campaign to pass Proposition 8, was an historic alliance of people from every faith and ethnicity. LDS were included, but were so were Catholics and Jews, Evangelicals and Orthodox, African-Americans and Latinos, Asians and Anglos.…’” (Ray Ring, “Mormon Church wins on gay marriage,” High Country News (Paonia, Colorado), November 5, 2008)


“Salt Lake City gay activists are organizing a protest over the passage of California’s Proposition 8…

The event is being organized by Jacob Whipple, who wrote an op-ed piece in the October 23 issue of Q Salt Lake.…

Thousands of gay marriage supporters rallied on the steps of San Francisco City Hall, chanting marriage, the quality, USA.…

‘It is a shameful day and it is a day the state will live to regret,’ Kate Kendell, executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, told the crowd in San Francisco.

Salt Lake protesters will march around the blocks of Temple Square and the Church Office Building. Several speeches are also expected.

Whipple said that not since the Stonewall Riots of 1969 in New York City have gays and lesbians as a community stood up for their rights in a determined way.…

‘This week the religious activists in California decided to take our civil rights, which they take for granted, and they put it up for a majority vote. Even more despicable than voting to take away rights of a minority is the fact that major religions, especially the Mormon Church, dedicated, and in some instances mandated, that their members spend time and money to passing this discriminatory cause,’ he continued.…” (“Protest Against Proposition 8 to Target Temple Square,” Q Salt Lake, November 6, 2008)


“Thousand marched in downtown Salt Lake Friday night to protest the passage of California’s Proposition 8. Like their counterparts in California, the Utah protesters targeted the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.…

It began with the rally the police tell us grew in size from dozens to somewhere between 2,000 and 5,000 men, women and children carrying their signs around Temple Square.…” (“Thousands of Prop. 8 opponents protest LDS Church at Temple Square,” KSL.com, November 7, 2008)


“(This news release was issued by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sacramento) The following statement was released today by Bishop William Weigand, head of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sacramento and former Bishop of Salt Lake City, in response to attacks on (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) for supporting California’s Proposition 8, defending the traditional definition of marriage:

‘Catholics stand in solidarity with our Mormon brothers and sisters in support of traditional marriage – the union of one man and one woman – that has been the major building block of Western Civilization for millennia.…

The ProtectMarriage coalition, which led the successful campaign to pass Proposition 8, was an historic alliance of people from every faith and ethnicity. LDS were included – but so were Catholics and Jews, Evangelicals and Orthodox, African-Americans and Latinos, Asians and Anglos.

Bigoted attacks on Mormons for the part they played in our coalition are shameful and ignore the reality that Mormon voters were only a small part of the groundswell that supported Proposition 8.

I personally decry the bigotry recently exhibited towards the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints…’” (“Catholic Bishop Decries Religious Bigotry Against Mormons,” LDS Newsroom, November 7, 2008)


“It is disturbing that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is being singled out for speaking up as part of its democratic right and a free election.…

While those who disagree with our position on Proposition 8 have the right to make their feelings known, it is wrong to target the Church and its sacred places of worship for being part of the democratic process.…” (“Church Issues Statement on Proposition 8 Protest,” LDS Newsroom, November 7, 2008)


“Members of the Mormon church, who were strongly urged by church leaders to contribute to the Proposition 8 campaign, had an undeniable role in the measure’s victory. Opponents of Proposition 8 have accused the church of discriminating against homosexuals, but the backlash against the denomination has also sparked accusations of discrimination.…

Opponents estimated that members of the church had given more than $20 million, but the amount is difficult to confirm since the state does not track the religious affiliation of donors.…

Jeff Flint, strategist for Yes on 8, called the ad ‘despicable’ and said it ‘crossed every line of decency.’

‘I am appalled at the level of Mormon-bashing that went on during the Proposition 8 campaign and continues to this day,’ he said. ‘If this activity were directed against any other church, if someone put up a website that targeted Jews or Catholics in a similar fashion for the mere act of participating in a political campaign, it would be widely and rightfully condemned.’…

Leaders of the No-on-8 campaign said they did not believe they were engaged in Mormon-bashing. ‘This is not about religion,’ said Jacobs. ‘This is about a church that put itself in the middle of politics.’

Kate Kendell, executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, said she had grown up in the Mormon Church and thought it was ‘very disappointing what the church has done and the alliances they have made with churches that don’t even like them and have called the church a cult.’…

Lorri L. Jean, chief executive of the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center, which organized the rally outside the temple, announced the launch of a new website, invalidateprop8.org, which will raise money to fight for same-sex marriage rights in California.

For every $5 donated, Jean said, a postcard will be sent to the president of the Mormon church condemning ‘the reprehensible role the Church of Latter-day Saints leadership played in denying all Californians equal rights under the law.’

‘It is a travesty that the Mormon Church bought this election and used a campaign of lies and deception to manipulate voters in the great state of California,’ she said.…” (Jessica Garrison and Joanna Lin, “Mormons’ Prop 8 aid protested,” Los Angeles Times, November 7, 2008)


“I just talked to the LA Temple president about half an hour ago.…

He told me there had only been about $100 dollars in damages and then spent a few minutes telling me that he felt that overall the protestors had been very well behaved and there had only been a very few people who were problems. He indicated they did not need any monetary donations to help cover the cost of cleanup.…” (Peter Danzig to MormonsForMarriage.com, November 7, 2008)


“Outside the gates of a Mormon temple, Kai Cross joined more than 2,000 gay rights advocates in a chorus of criticism of the church’s role in a new statewide ban on same-sex marriage.…” (Lisa Leff, “Thousands in Los Angeles protest gay-marriage ban,” Newsweek, November 7, 2008)


“The following are my complete comments from the November 7th rally [in Salt Lake City]:

… Mr. Monson, the LDS church is on notice! We will no longer be shamed and we will no longer be silent. After years of being told that we were deviants—that we were perverts, that we were abominations before God—we have found our voice. We are politically organized, we are angry and we are going to continue to work for the freedom and equality of all people!…

Mormon men can today—in this temple right here—be seale3d to multiple women in heaven. In fact, three members of the Quorum of the Twelve who have denounced gay marriage are, right now, polygamists in heaven. Their first wives died and they have been sealed to their second wives for time and all eternity.

Russell M. Nelson is a polygamist in Heaven.

Dallin H. Oaks is a polygamist in Heaven.

L. Tom Perry is a polygamist in Heaven!

Russell, Dallin, and L. Tom: Don’t speak to us about defending traditional marriage! You are polygamists—and you are all hypocrites.…

We will not hide our faces and we will not silence our voices any longer.…”

(Troy Williams, remarks at Salt Lake City rally, November 7, 2008; “Queer Children of Zion,” Q Salt Lake, November 12, 2008)


“ACLU’s Statement on Same-Sex Marriage:

… As an organization long dedicated to protecting and promoting religious liberties and equal rights, even when those rights appear to be in tension with one another, the ACLU of Utah asserts that it is misleading and inaccurate to claim that recognition of same-sex marriage by the state of California in some way infringes on the religious liberty of the LDS Church or any other religious institution.

State recognition of same-sex marriage in no way requires a church or religious institution to recognize or even perform such ceremonies. Legalizing same-sex marriage in California never would require the LDS Church to perform same-sex marriages in its temples against its religious principles – just as Catholic priests never have been required to married persons who are divorced and Orthodox rabbis have never been compelled to perform interfaith marriages. The ACLU would be the first to defend a religious institution from being forced by the government to perform a marriage ceremony in violation of its religious tenets.” (Kerry Kinsey and Brent Hunsaker, “Same-sex marriage protest held near LDS Temple Square,” ABC4News.com, November 7, 2008)


“An estimated 3,500 members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community gathered at City Creek Park to speak out against the LDS Church for encouraging its members to support Proposition 8.…” (Jared Page and Clayton Norlen, “Prop. 8 protest draws thousands in Salt Lake City,” Deseret News, November 8, 2008)


“It took Utah resident Jacob Whipple just 36 hours to put together a protest of Proposition 8 that drew thousands of protesters and all of Salt Lake City’s major news outlets to the LDS Church’s headquarters on the evening of November 7.

‘I saw momentum started in California and I didn’t want it to end,’ said Whipple, a gay man and a former Mormon who served a mission to Argentina.…” (“Thousands Protest Prop. 8 in Salt Lake City,” Q Salt Lake, November 8, 2008)


“Daniel Ginnes carried a banner declaring: ‘No More Mr. Nice Gay.’ Brian Lindsey held up a sign billing Joseph Smith, founder of the Church of the Latter Day Saints, as a ‘prophet, polygamist, paedophile.’ Hundreds of others simply chanted: ‘Mormon scum.’

More than 2,000 gay rights protesters marched on a Mormon temple in Los Angeles on Thursday, throwing the church and its followers on to the front line of the battle over California’s decision to ban same-sex marriage.…

‘It’s taken something like this to make us relies the need to be more aggressive and angry and active, said Mr. Ginnes, a graphic designer from West Hollywood. ‘People didn’t think they were going to lose the vote, so they didn’t realize it was worth fighting for.’…

For the Mormon Church, it threatens a PR nightmare. The gay rights lobby boasts scores of prominent celebrity supporters who have already pledged vociferous support to the campaign to overturn Proposition 8.…” (Guy Adams, “’No More Mr. Nice Gay’ as Mormons face vote backlash,” The Independent (London), November 8, 2008)


“The Mormon church doesn’t like the attention it’s getting in the wake of California’s Prop 8. Church leaders released this statement yesterday:

… No one on either side of the question should be vilified, harassed or subject to erroneous information.

Well, the Mormon leadership is right on their last sentence. If only they had heeded that advice during the campaign. Gay couples throughout the state were vilified, harassed and subject to dump truck loads of erroneous information during the campaign that the Mormon church itself played an enormous role in waging. There was no sense of civility during their campaign. Why should they not expect to reap the seeds that they sow?

The leadership of the LDS Church has their hand prints all over the campaigns in Arizona and California:

We know Arizona state Senators who didn’t want to be present for the vote to place Prop 102 on the ballot, but were coerced and harassed by their bishops and other church members into cutting short their vacations to cast their vote.…

We also know that the Arizona anti-gay campaign was under the direct leadership of some of the most prominent LDS members in the state.

By some estimates, more than $20 million of Mormon money went to fund the $36 million California campaign, while an additional estimated $3-7 million funded Arizona’s $8 million campaign.

One thing must be made clear: the leadership of the LDS church has every right to do this. Churches are barred by IRS regulations from endorsing political candidates, but they are fully free to participate in the political process on the issues — including ballot propositions. To claim otherwise would be to deny the LDS Church’s right to speak out on what it sees as important moral issues. It would also deny the rights of LDS members to fully participate in the democratic process.

But exercising those rights in the democratic process brings with it public scrutiny and criticism. That, too, is an integral part of the democratic process from which no one is exempt.

When the Mormon church chose to enter the political sphere, the fact that they are a religious institution became irrelevant. They led non-Mormons in their political campaign, and they exhorted everyone —  regardless of their religious affiliation — to vote on amendments which affected everyone, Mormons and non-Mormons alike. This was a democratic political campaign, not a religious one. We were voting on constitutional amendments, not theology.…

But as citizens leading a political campaign, they cannot escape public accountability for their public actions, especially when their political actions were seen by many as dirty, degrading, dishonest, and most definitely un-Christian. After all that, the leadership of the LDS cannot suddenly change roles, toss up their hands and say, ‘You can’t criticize us! We’re a religion!’…

It is not scapegoating to point out the facts, nor is it Mormon-bashing to criticize their agenda and tactics. This is all fair game in politics — politics which the Mormon church eagerly entered. Andrew Sullivan is right: gays and lesbians now have every right to regard the LDS leadership as their enemy. After all, gays didn’t wage a campaign to strip Mormons of their civil rights. It was the Mormon leaders who have successfully removed a civil right which had already been granted to gays and lesbians.…” (Jim Burroway, “LDS Church Can’t Hide Behind A Temple,” Box Turtle Bulletin, November 8, 2008)


“’Millions of others from every faith, ethnicity and political affiliation who voted for Proposition 8 exercised the most sacrosanct and individual rights in the United States – that of free expression and voting,’ [LDS Spokesman Scott] Trotter said. ‘While those who disagree with our position on Proposition 8 have the right to make their feelings known, it is wrong to target the church and its sacred places of worship for being part of the democratic process.’” (Peggy Fletcher Stack, “Thousands in Salt Lake City protest LDS stance on same-sex marriage,” Salt Lake Tribune, November 8, 2008)


“An estimated 2,000 people disrupted traffic in downtown San Francisco on Friday night, and another protest is panned for Oakland at noon today at the Mormon Temple.…

The protest echoed others held statewide over the past several days. Sunday’s even in Oakland targets the Mormon church, which supported Proposition 8 by donating more than 70 percent of the money raised to support the measure.” (Dani Gomez, “Prop. 8 protests block S.F. streets,” The Mercury News (San Jose, CA), November 8, 2008)


“The following statement was released today by the Most Reverend John C. Wester, Bishop of Salt Lake City, in response to recent events relating to the passage of Proposition 8 in California.

In light of recent events, I wish to express the support and solidarity of the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City with our brothers and sisters in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  Recently, both of our churches took a strong stand in California to support Proposition 8 which sought to maintain the traditional definition of marriage as between man and one woman.  Like our friends in the Mormon faith, the Catholic Church has long championed and promoted the sacredness of traditional marriage and the importance of the family in our society.…”

(Press Release, Diocese of Salt Lake City, November 8, 2008)


“A Mormon church in Orangeville, California was sprayed with ‘No on 8’ graffiti on sidewalks and the church sign.  ‘Hypocrites’ was also sprayed on the church’s sidewalks

In San Luis Obispo, the LDS church building had adhesive glue on the doormat, window and security keypad and the Assembly of God church was toilet-papered, egged and trash was strewn through the parking lot.

Three LDS churches in Layton, Utah had windows shattered by a BB gun, causing about $2000 in damage

It is unclear that all of the vandalism was done by opponents of California’s Proposition 8 to amend the state constitution to declare marriage as only between a man and a woman. Pastor Triggs of the Assembly of God called the timing of the vandalism ‘a little too coincidental.’

Layton Stake President Kirk Bitton called the vandalism of his churches ‘disappointing’ the told ABC 4 News, ‘We don’t know if it was anything more than some teenagers, some local vandalism.’” (“Vandals Strike LDS, Assembly of God Churches,” Q Salt Lake, November 9, 2008)


“11/9/2008: Peaceful protesters gather in front of the Oakland temple.

From an attendee at the tail end of the demonstration: The several thousand people that had shut down the nearby freeway had dwindled to several hundred. I found the leaders of the demonstration and with about a dozen others volunteered to stay to the bitter end and clean up. I found the few hundred people left to be really well-mannered. There were no epithets being yelled, no ‘hate speech,’ no wall climbing, etc.

When the crowd dwindled to less than about 60, the 40 or so police officers that were there decided they could leave as well. I asked who was the officer in charge and I then asked him how it had gone. He said he had no complaints whatsoever, that we had all been completely law-abiding, peaceful, compliant, etc. I did stay until the end about 3:30. And our cleanup crew looked around and there was not a single bit of trash for any of us to clean up. The only act of ‘vandalism’ was that someone had stuck a small red valentine hearts sticker on the Temple sign at the gate. I left it there.” (Mormons for Marriage timeline)


“When Brandon Flowers leads the Killers on stage at the Warfield Theater in San Francisco next month, he may not get the ecstatic reception to which six years of rock superstardom have made him accustomed.

It could be a similar story when Gladys Knight plays New Orleans in a fortnight, or Donny Osmond returns to the Flamingo Las Vegas in January, or American Idol star David Archuleta does the rounds of Hollywood chat-shows to promote his debut album this week. Each singer is a committed member of the Mormons, or Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Unfortunately, that’s a spiritual calling that in the eyes of California’s suddenly vociferous gay rights movement makes them public enemy number one.

‘This Mormon church has just taken away one of our fundamental rights, and shown itself to be a nasty church with bigoted beliefs,’ said John London, a student from West Hollywood, at any equality protest last week. ‘So when Brandon Flowers, or David Archuleta or any of its other celebrity members show up in a gay neighborhood, they should know how we feel.’…

Osmond opposes gay marriage, but claims on his website that this doesn’t make him homophobic. ‘I do support our church leaders who say that we can accept those with gay tendencies in our church, as long as they do not act upon their temptations.’” (“Mormon stars face backlash after gay marriage ban,” The Independent (London), November 9, 2008)


“Protesters marched around the headquarters of the Mormon church Friday night, criticizing the church’s support for a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage in California.…

An estimate from Salt Lake City police, who blocked downtown streets for the march, put the number of participants of more than 2000.…” (“Mormon Church Draws Protest Over Marriage Act,” New York Times, November 9, 2008)


“A large protest against the measure, Proposition 8, at the Mormon Temple in Oakland led the California Highway Patrol to close two nearby high ramps.…” (In California, More Protests Over a Vote on Marriage,” New York Times, November 10, 2008)


“’At a fundamental level, the Utah Mormons crossed the line on this one,’ said gay rights activist John Aravosis, an influential blogger in Washington, DC.

‘They just took marriage away from 20,000 couples and made their children bastards,’ he said. ‘You don’t do that and get away with it.’…

Aravosis is the editor of the popular americablog.com, which has about 900,000 unique monthly visitors. He is calling for skiers to choose any state but Utah and for Hollywood actors and directors to pull out of the Sundance Film Festival. Other bloggers and readers have responded to his call.” (Brock Vergakis, “Utah faces potential boycott after LDS push for Prop 8,” Deseret News, November 10, 2008)


“Scott Trotter, speaking for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, says ‘it is wrong to target the church and its sacred places of worship for being part of the democratic process.’

For four months, the church’s ‘sacred places of worship’ have been turned into Prop 8 precinct offices, its members ‘called’ as campaign workers, its ward lists used as motor rosters. And it is ‘wrong’ for those whose civil rights they helped revoke to ‘target’ them?…

Mormons raised the lion’s share of the money, provided the vast majority of the organizational structure in support of Prop 8, canvassed the neighborhoods, staffed the phone banks, held a huge satellite broadcast pep rally, and got out the vote for Prop 8’s narrow victory. If Trotter and those for whom he speaks wonder why Mormon ‘sacred places of worship’ have become the focal point for the backlash, look in the mirror.” (Nadine R. Hansen, “Look in the Mirror,” Letter to the Editor, Salt Lake Tribune, November 10, 2008)


“More than 40 people demonstrated in front of a Mormon church in Seattle’s University District on Sunday morning, expressing anger at the role the national church played in the passing of Proposition 8, banning gay marriage in California.…

‘I don’t tell them what to do in their religion. They shouldn’t tell me what to do in my life,’ said Chris Campfield, 27, of Seattle.”  (Janet I. Tu, “Mormon church targeted for Prop. 8 support,” Seattle Times, November 10, 2008)


“The aftermath of the Prop 8 vote goes on and on.  It is not going away.  It will die down, I think, but there is an energizing of a very significant civil rights movement here.  I believe our brethren really had no idea what they were opening up.  They ‘won,’ but what?  A little time.  Maybe five years at the most.  In five years more older people (most of whom were against gay marriage) will have died and more younger people will be voting (who overwhelmingly vote for gay marriage).  And in those five or less years, the LDS Church will experience a public relations debacle perhaps even worse than their reluctance to see black people as full human beings.  It boggles my mind that the brethren felt they could really ‘win’ in a long-term way.  But, they are true to their demographic.” (Carol Lynn Pearson diary, November 11, 2008)


“John Rich told me their missionary son Nick in San Diego reported a carload of missionaries downtown had been rocked by passers by and policemen broke it up.” (Carol Lynn Pearson diary, November 11, 2008)


“Some might conclude given my family’s membership in the Mormon Church that our company supported the recent ballot initiative to ban same sex marriage in California. This is simply untrue.… Neither I, nor the company, contributed to the campaign to pass Proposition 8.…

I am very careful about separating my personal faith and beliefs from how we run our business.…

We were among the first in our industry to offer domestic partner benefits, and we’ve earned a perfect 100% score on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index for two years in a row.…” (Bill Marriott, “The Facts About Marriott and California’s Proposition 8,” www.blogs.marriott.com, November 11, 2008)


“The windows of two more LDS ward houses have been shattered—the latest in a string of seven buildings targeted by vandals across the Wasatch Front since Saturday.…

[Sandy Sgt. Justin] Chapman said the Sandy incident could be something as simple as a teenage prank, though he acknowledged the timing matches up with the controversy over California’s Proposition 8. The LDS church has seen a lot of backlash for its support of the proposition, which one the statewide vote and banned same-sex marriage in California.

‘We’re not looking at that link now,’ Chapman said.…” (Vandalism reported at more LDS buildings,” Salt Lake Tribune, November 12, 2008)


“Mormons continued to register their resignations with, and post resignation letters to Signing for Something this week, citing ‘hatred’ and ‘discrimination’ among their chief reasons for quitting the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.…” (Andrew Callahan, “Mormons Resigning Despite Strong Heritage, Citing ‘Hatred’ by LDS Church,” Daily Kos, November 12, 2008)


“In New York City this evening, protesters gathered outside a Mormon church, to show their support for same-sex marriage, and express anger about what they dubbed ‘religious-based bigotry’ in America.

These protests are not isolated, but rather, a wider trend of demonstrations from New York to Los Angeles targeting Mormons. Groups are focusing on the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints because its members poured in tens of millions of dollars to defeat gay marriage in California.…

Opponents say that church leaders went too far in organizing their members and asking them to donate time and money to getting the proposition passed.…

Mormons say they’re being unfairly singled out since many different faith-based organizations, including Catholics, evangelicals and black Protestants, banded together to help pass Proposition 8.

Denying accusations that the church stepped outside of its traditional role, Otterson said it’s wrong to target a place of worship for speaking up on what it considers an important issue.

‘This is not about being anti-gay. This is not about being unfair to another minority,’ Otterson said. ‘This is about protecting an institution that has been the bedrock of society for millennia, and the idea of having that redefinition of marriage on the part of a minority forced on the majority of our society was just not palatable to many people in California, including our own members.’…” (Dan Harris, “Mormons Targeted for Role Supporting Prop 8,” ABCNews.go.com, November 12, 2008)


“The artistic director of the California Musical Theater [Sacramento] resigned Wednesday, after gay lesbian artists threatened to boycott for his support of a ban on same-sex marriage.

‘I am leaving California Musical Theater after prayerful consideration to protect the organization and to help the healing in the local theater-going and creative community,’ Scott Eckern said in a statement.

Campaign records show Eckern contributed $1,000 to a campaign supporting Proposition 8…

California Musical Theater is the state’s largest nonprofit musical theater company and Sacramento’s oldest performing arts company.…

‘I understand that my choice of supporting proposition eight has been the cause of many hurt feelings, maybe even betrayal. It was not my intent.’…

Eckern, who spent 25 years with the company, has served as its chief operating officer and was its artistic director since 2002.…

The company’s executive producer, Richard Lewis, … said Wednesday that in no way was [Eckern] forced to resign.…” (“Gay, Lesbian Artists Sought Boycott Against Venue,” KCRA.com, November 12, 2008)


“The sense of disappointment over the [Prop 8] vote extended to Broadway.  Jeffrey Seller, a producer of the show ‘Avenue Q,’ which is scheduled to be part of the 2008-9 seasons at the California Musical Theater, said he had been shocked when he heard about Mr. Eckern’s donation.

‘That a man who makes his living exclusively through the musical theater could do something so hurtful to the community that forms his livelihood is a punch in the stomach,’ Mr. Seller said. ‘He didn’t just vote for it. One thousand dollars is a lot of money for an artistic director of a nonprofit.’…” (Jesse McKinley, “Theater Director Resigns Amid Gay-Rights Ire,” New York Times, November 13, 2008)


“About 70 people gathered at the legendary El Coyote Café in Los Angeles’ Fairfax District Wednesday morning for a community sit down/brunch to hear Marjorie Christoffersen speak about why she gave $100 to Yes on 8 via the Mormon Church. Marjorie, a lifelong Mormon, is the niece of El Coyote’s founder and daughter of the current owner. She receives a salary as a floor manager. El Coyote has 89 employees, many of whom are gay.…

Then Marjorie herself spoke, shaking and barely able to stand, literally supported by her daughters who helped hold her upright as she read from a prepared statement. And it was sickening and saddening to see how her faith had leveraged her salvation and forced her to disconnect her love for her customers, and allowed her, despite that professed love, to deny them a civil right:

I am sick at heart that I have offended anyone in the gay community … You are treasured to me.… I’ve been a member of the Mormon church all my life and I responded at their request. This was a personal donation, not the El Coyote’s.…

Marjorie took only one question, asked by Sam Page, an ex-Mormon: Would she personally make an equal donation to the campaigns to repeal Proposition 8? Before Marjorie could answer, manager Billy shopper announced that El Coyote would make two $5,000 contributions, one to the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center and the other to the Lambda Legal Defense Fund.…

Page persevered, asking his question again, and Marjorie replied:

I cannot change a lifetime of faith.…”

(“El Coyote Boycott? Mormon Manager’s Faith Overrides ‘Love’ For Customers,” fdlactionfiredoglake.com, November 13, 2008)


“For months, the Mormon church sought to portray itself is just one member of the coalition of Catholics, evangelicals, black Protestants and other supporting proposition eight, a measure to stop gay marriage in California.

Some opponents of the measure sought to dispel that in the campaign’s final weeks, pointing to extensive Mormon organizing in the staggering amount of money donated by individual Mormons at the behest of church leaders in Salt Lake City.…

The backlash against Mormons has ignited a debate over whether the church deserves to be singled out for what opponents believe was a dishonest campaign or is an easy political target is a minority religion that has taken plenty of lumps.

‘I think it is a purely tactical reaction from those who are supporting gay marriage because if it can be made to appear the opposition is essentially one religion that is, frankly, an often misunderstood religion, it’s easier to make the case that the other side is reasonable,’ said Michael Otterson, spokesman for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or the Mormon church.

Proposition eight opponents denounced vandalism and violence, and some have spoken out against anti-Mormon rhetoric. But they also say Mormon money funded irresponsible ads, like one suggesting young children would be required to learn about homosexuality in schools.…

[Lindi Ramsden, Unitarian Universalist minister] ‘The part that saddens me is that money donated by people of faith was used to finance advertising that is as close to blatant lies as you can get.’” (Eric Gorski, “Anger over gay marriage vote directed at Mormons,” USA Today, November 13, 2008)


“Carrying signs reading ‘Love not H8’ and ‘Did you cast a ballot or a stone?’, a large crowd of gay-marriage supporters gathered outside a Mormon temple [NYC] to protest the church’s endorsement of a same-sex marriage ban in California.…

Church spokesman Michael Otterson said that while citizens have the right to protest, he was ‘puzzled’ and ‘disturbed’ by the gathering since the majority of California’s voters had approved the amendment.

‘This was a very broad-based coalition that defended traditional marriage in a free and democratic election,’ Otterson said, referring to the numerous religious and social conservative groups that sponsored Proposition 8.…” (Marcus Franklin, “Gay activists rally outside Mormon temple in NYC,” Associated Press, November 13, 2008)


“The Mormon temple in Westwood was closed Thursday afternoon after an envelope filled with an unidentified white, powdery substance was delivered to temple employees, Los Angeles police said.” (Tami Abdollah, “L.A. Mormon temple closed after suspicious envelope arrives in mail,” Los Angeles Times, November 13, 2008)


“During the weekend following Proposition 8’s passage, vandals targeted seven LDS ward houses in Layton, Sandy, Ogden and South Ogden, shooting out windows and glass doors with BB guns.

On November 13, FBI agents and the Salt Lake City Fire Departments Hazardous Material crew descended on the Salt Lake City LDS Temple after an employee in the recorder’s office opened an envelope containing an unidentified white powder. He and two other workers were briefly quarantined in the temple’s annex and were released when officials determined that they were unharmed.

At press time investigators in the vandalism and white powder cases have not uncovered any evidence linking any of the crimes to Proposition 8 opponents.” (“Pride Center, Equality Utah Decries Anti-Mormon Vandalism, Threats,” Q Salt Lake, November 14, 2008)


“In the aftermath of the vote, opponents of Proposition 8 have picketed at LDS temples in Oakland and Westwood, Calif., and in New York. A Book of Mormon was set afire on the steps of a Colorado LDS chapel. Activists have called for boycotts of Mormon businesses such as Marriott international and Utah ski resorts.…” (Peggy Fletcher Stack, “LDS leaders, gay activists condemn attack on churches,” Salt Lake Tribune, November 14, 2008)


“Signs critical of the LDS Church posted in front of a Salt Lake home were set on fire early Thursday.…

The sign that was burned read: ‘LDS – Stay out of other people’s lives.’ A sign next to it that was not damaged read: ‘Tax Lobbyist Churches.’…” (Pat Reavy, “Fire destroys sign critical of LDS,” Deseret News, November 14, 2008)


“Matthew Lawrence, 28, Santa Ana, California is just one of approximately 500 people who contacted signing for something in the last few days to announce his resignation from the Church of Jesus Christ of latter-day Saints because the Mormon church’s handling of and involvement in the gay marriage. Matthew is gay and is the son of Gary Lawrence, 67, who is the ‘State LDS Grassroots Director for the Yes on 8 Campaign’ for the state of California.…

The elder Lawrence was also the Mormon Church’s point man for the Prop 22 campaign in 2000. Matt says, ‘I love my family so much, but it’s hard to not take this personally. We had a brief falling-out over Prop 22, but that got mended. But two anti-gay initiatives in eight years, it’s impossible not to feel attacked.’

Matthew was particularly hurt when ‘my father said that opponents of Prop 8 are akin to Lucifer’s followers in the pre-existence.’ Matthew’s plea to his father and others is ‘We can all agree to disagree and respect each other’s informed opinions and decisions, but don’t put me and Satan in the same sentence please.’…” (Andrew Callahan, “Son of Prominent Yes on 8 Leader Quits Mormon Church Over Prop 8,” Daily Kos, November 14, 2008)


“Hundreds of protesters converged on El Coyote on Beverly Boulevard on Wednesday night, and the picketing got so heated that LAPD officers in riot gear had to be called.

All because Marjorie Christoffersen, a manager there and a daughter of El Coyote’s owner, had contributed $100 to the Yes on 8 campaign.

Christoffersen, who is Mormon, met with protesters Wednesday and at one point broke down in tears, said Arnoldo Archila, another El Coyote manager. But the activists were not satisfied with her explanation and continued to post protests about her on the Web.

‘She had a chance to make nice and blew it. I was almost feeling a tiny bit of sympathy for her. Not no more!!’ wrote one blog poster, who also listed competing Mexican restaurants where diners should go instead of El Coyote.

By Thursday, Christoffersen had left town, said Archila, who said El Coyote employees — some of whom are gay — were left staggered by the protests, including more than 50 calls a day criticizing the restaurant.” (Tami Abdollah, Cara Mia DiMassa, “Prop. 8 foes shift attention,” Los Angeles Times, November 14, 2008)


“Today the First Presidency issued this statement about the democratic process:

… ‘Attacks on churches and intimidation of people of faith have no place in civil discourse over controversial issues. People of faith have a democratic right to express their views in the public square without fear of reprisal.…’” (“First Presidency Urges Respect, Civility in Public Discourse,” LDS Newsroom, November 14, 2008) [HOW DOES ‘WITHOUT FEAR OF REPRISAL’ RELATE TO ANDREW CALLAHAN AND THE THREAT OF EXCOMMUNICATION?]


“Matthew Lawrence, in an e-mail interview with this diarist, said that although he is ‘extremely upset and frustrated’ with his family and that he has ‘cut off communication with them,’ that ‘at the end of the day, I do love them.’ The elder Lawrence was also the Mormon Church’s point man for the Prop 22 campaign in 2000.  Matt says, ‘I love my family so much, but it’s hard not to take this personally.…’

Matthew was particularly hurt when ‘my father said that opponents of Prop. 8 are akin to Lucifer’s followers in the pre-existence.’…

‘This issue isn’t about gay marriage,’ writes Matthew. ‘This is about certain religious factions that believe homosexuality is disgusting, immoral and wrong and needs to be stamped out.… It’s a problem to be “fixed.”’…” (Andrew Callahan, “Son of Prominent Yes on 8 Leader Quits Mormon Church Over Prop 8,” Daily Kos, November 14, 2008)


“The brunt of the backlash has been aimed at the Mormon Church, which called on members to support the ban. According to Frank Schubert, the campaign manager for the initiative, those church members provided $15 million to $20 million of the estimated $40 million raised to support the effort.…

‘It’s very clear that we’ve been singled out,’ said Michael Otterson, a church spokesman.

Otterson said church members have been hurt by assertions that their support of the ban translates into hatred for gays, who are welcomed to worship in the church. The notion that the church dominated the election from out of state is equally wrong, he said.

‘[W]e’re talking about 750,000 Californians who are Latter-day Saints,’ he said. ‘These are California families. They are registered voters. They have the right and the obligation to express themselves on a major social issue. To imply that there was an attempt to manipulate the election from outside the state is bizarre and absolutely ridiculous.’

Church members ‘have a right to speak, they have a right to vote and to do so without this kind of reaction and without this kind of intimidation,’ Otterson said.

But others say the Mormon Church exercised unfair influence. Fred Karger, founder of Californians Against Hate, filed a complaint with the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission on Thursday, asserting that the church did not report numerous non-monetary contributions to ProtectMarriage.com, the coalition behind Proposition 8.

Karger contends, among other things, that the church organized phone banks from Utah and Idaho, transported people to California for several weeks, and produced 9 commercials, 4 videos and 2 satellite simulcasts seen in 5 Western states.

In Utah, gay rights advocates hope to turn the outcome of California’s election into expanded rights for gays in their state. Equality Utah, an advocacy group, has seized on a post-election statement from the church that noted that ‘the Church does not object to rights for same-sex couples regarding hospitalization and medical care, fair housing and employment rights, or probate rights, so long as these do not infringe on the integrity of the traditional family or the constitutional rights of churches.’

Equality Utah supports the introduction of five bills that would expand those rights for gays in the state.

Otterson said the church’s statement was based on civil unions in California and that no decision has been made regarding similar rights in Utah.

‘I don’t want to give the impression that the church is saying civil unions in all cases are okay,’ Otterson said.” (Ashley Surdin, “Protesters Target Supporters of Gay Marriage Ban,” Washington Post, November 15, 2008)


“’I am thankful to our Mormon brothers and sisters,’ Salt Lake City resident Dominique Storni told the crowd. ‘I am thankful they have awakened our sleeping giant.’…” (Arron Falk and Ethan Thomas, “Hundreds rally in Salt Lake City to voice opinions on gay marriage,” Deseret News, November 15, 2008)


“Diversity trainer Dominique Storni told the crowd she was grateful that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had ‘wakened our sleeping giant. We finally have a civil rights movement equal to that of the ‘50s and’60s.’

As she listed other countries where same-sex marriage is legal, the crowd responded, ‘The sky did not fall, Chicken Little,’ to each name.

‘The sky will not fall when marriage for gays is legalized in the United States of America,’ she concluded.…” (Stephen Hunt and Brian Maffly, “Utah gay marriage supporters predict surge of activism,” Salt Lake Tribune, November 15, 2008)


“[Shawn Cunningham, a former Utah resident now living in California] ‘I have a theory about Obama that we would have never had an Obama without a Bush,’ he said. ‘And if you follow that same line of thinking, perhaps we’d never be having this conversation without Prop. 8 happening and some of the other legislation that passed in other states. Maybe sometimes it has to be so bad that people stop and say, “Wait, what’s going on? This isn’t right.”’…” (“Activists Plan ’09 March on Salt Lake City,” Q Salt Lake, November 16, 2008)


“It took Jacob Whipple just 36 hours to assemble a thousands-strong protest on the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ headquarters to protest the church’s involvement in Proposition 8.

It took Elaine Ball just a little bit longer to put together a second action—a demonstration against the controversial amendment banning gay marriage in California’s constitution.

An estimated 1,000-2,000 demonstrators assembled at the City Council Building on the crisp morning of Nov. 15 carrying colorful signs and flags, U.S, Gay Pride and a mixture of the two.…” (“Second SLC Demonstration Draws Thousands,” Q Salt Lake, November 16, 2008)


“The Mormon sect still argues that they are being singled out unfairly, in spite of having the members provide the bulk of the funding.…

Michael Otterson, managing director of public affairs for the Mormon sect, told the [New York] Times that while the Mormons have spoken up previously on some issues ‘we don’t get involved to the degree we did on this.’…

A strategist for one of the proponent groups ‘estimated that Mormons made up 80% to 90% of the early volunteers who walked door-to-door in election precincts.’…

There was one other area where the Mormon-led campaign was intentionally dishonest, one of many I might add. The campaign said that they had no desire to strip gay couples of some rights. Even the Mormon church magnanimously announced that they were not opposed to gay people being allowed to visit their partners in hospital. But documents on how the Mormon church had been planning to assault the rights of gays for over a decade show this is merely strategy and not the recognition of rights for gay people at all.

A Mormon document prepared in 1997 for Elder M. Russell Ballard mentions ‘a preliminary meeting at Church headquarters to discuss strategy at how to prevent gay couples from receiving legal rights regarding their relationships. Ballard is told:

Elder Oaks was the first to recognize that in the political process that in order to win this battle, there may have to be certain legal rights recognized for unmarried people such as hospital visitations so opponents in the legislature will come away with something. This is proving to be the case.

Mormon ‘recognition’ of the right of gay people to visit their partners in hospital has nothing to do with actual rights retained by individuals. It is clearly a strategy meant to placate ‘opponents in the legislature’ so they will come away with something so that the Mormons can ‘win this battle.’…

Apparently even something as fundamentally decent as allowing people to visit their sick or dying partners in hospital, is not a right according to Mormons. It is only a necessary concession to prevent gays from obtaining other rights.” (“More Prop 8 fallout,” FreeStudents.blogspot.com, November 16, 2008)


“In June, leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints made a fateful decision. They called on California Mormons to donate their time and money to the campaign for Proposition 8, which would overturn a state Supreme Court ruling that permitted gay marriage.

That push helped the initiative win narrow passage on election day. And it has made the Mormon Church, which for years has striven to be seen as part of the American mainstream, a political target.…

As an indication of how seriously the Mormon leadership takes the recent criticism, the council that runs the church — the First Presidency — released a statement Friday decrying what it portrayed as a campaign not just against Mormons but all religious people who voted their conscience.

‘People of faith have been intimidated for simply exercising their democratic rights,’ the statement said. ‘These are not actions that are worthy of the democratic ideals of our nation. The end of a free and fair election should not be the beginning of a hostile response in America.’

Jim Key, a spokesman for the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center, said barbs by gay marriage activists were directed at church leadership, not individual Mormons.

‘We’re making a statement that no one’s religious beliefs should be used to deny fundamental rights to others,’ he said.…

‘The backlash is going on all over the country,’ said Jan Shipps, a prominent scholar of modern Mormonism who is an emeritus professor at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. ‘There are people who had a lot of respect for the Mormons who now say, “Well, they’re just like the Christian right.”‘…” (Nicholas Riccardi, “Mormons feel the backlash over their support of Prop. 8,” Los Angeles Times, November 17, 2008)


“I asked what had been going on in the ward around prop 8 recently and they said not much; the bishop had gotten up before testimony meeting and said there would be no commentary about politics.” (Carol Lynn Pearson diary, November 19, 2008)


“Proposition 8, because it is an unjust cancellation of rights people had, will galvanize the country in favor of gay marriage as nothing ever could. It is the ‘Mission Accomplished’ of the culture war on gays. In that mysterious way, the [LDS] Church may have done God’s will.…

This is not going to go away like the ERA did. The times have changed and people are tired of the politics of discrimination, hate, fear, lies, and smears.…” (Lee Anne Walker to “Editor,” November 21, 2008; “Received Fair Political Practices Commission, 9 Dec.”)


“The Mormons seem shocked by the angry reaction by the gay community to the huge support for Proposition 8 in California by members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They call for ‘respect’ and ‘civility.’

Such protestations fall flat since the complainers exercised considerable muscle to use the California legislative process to oppress the people. This battle is not simply political. It is an act of aggression against a minority that has been too long oppressed.

We are fighting to reverse hundreds of years of legal homophobia. The marriage victory in California was a sign of social progress. Fighting to take away marriage protections from our elderly and our children is an act of hatred deserving retribution.

The gay community and our allies must respond appropriately. If Mormons and other sewers of hate want civility from us, they must stop trampling upon our civil rights.” (Marc Levine, Letter to the Editor, New York Times, November 21, 2008)


“LDS Church apostles declined to be interviewed for this story, but the public affairs office did respond to questions.

‘All in all, 2008 has been a particularly good year for the church,’ LDS spokesman Scott Trotter said. ‘The church dedicated four temples and announced eight more. Membership topped 13 million worldwide with over 52,000 missionaries in the field. While some of the protest activity we have seen has been deplorable, there are others who have taken the time to fully understand the church’s position on marriage and home to respect this principled stand.’

Gary Lawrence added his own optimistic view.

‘These protests will help us. It puts a spotlight on us,’ said Lawrence, a leader in the Proposition 8 campaign and author of How Americans View Mormonism: Seven Steps to Improve Our Image.

‘Which is worse — antagonism or apathy? I believe apathy is our bigger enemy.’…

The Mormon push for Proposition 8 reinforces what people already think of Mormons, he said, ‘that they have a lot of money and are willing to work for a socially conservative cause.’

That image may hurt the LDS Church with a wide swath of the American public.

Mark Silk, professor of religion in public life at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., thinks the visceral opposition to Proposition 8 is much more consequential for the LDS Church than either the Romney campaign or the perceived association with polygamy.

LDS officials decided to inject themselves in the fight to protect traditional marriage ‘in a big money way,’ Silk said. ‘That raises the specter not just of Mormon weirdness but also Mormon power as far as cash on the barrel.’

Mormons could be forgiven for underestimating the opposition, he said. They likely thought they were on the winning side. After all, marriage initiatives have passed in about 30 states. But California is not an average state.

‘People expect anti-gay referendums to pass — and they do — but it’s California, for crying out loud,’ Silk said, ‘. . . not Zion.’

Benefits of battle » On the opposite side, are observers such as Kirk Jowers of the University of Utah’s Hinckley Institute of Politics, who think the LDS Church actions may help it win friends among Evangelicals.

‘Other members of this coalition may realize the significant role that LDS Church members played,’ and see that it took a disproportionate share of the opposition’s arrows, he said.…” (Peggy Fletcher Stack, “Prop 8 involvement a P.R. fiasco for LDS Church,” Salt Lake Tribune, November 22, 2008)


“In Film Independent’s case, the board has defended the continued employment of Richard Raddon, the Mormon director of the L.A. Film Festival who donated $1,500 to support Proposition 8.…” (Rachel Abramowitz and Tina Daunt, “Prop. 8 rifts put industry on edge; Hollywood is at odds over whether to shun supporters of the ban,” Los Angeles Times, November 23, 2008, p. A1)


“Otterson said the protests are counterproductive. ‘If gay activists want serious discussion, they have to reach out to religious people, and right now all they’re doing

is alienating them. Nobody likes to see protesters, their buildings vandalized, their members intimidated or forced from their jobs,’ he said. ‘But there’s no sense of second thoughts on the part of church members. We can’t take any other position and be consistent with her deeply held beliefs.’” (Michael Paulson, “Gay-marriage debate roils, unites Mormons,” Boston Globe, November 24, 2008)


“It’s unusual for an institution to shrink from responsibility for a victory at the ballot box.…”  (Stephen Stromberg, “Mormons’ Uneasy Victory,” WashingtonPost.com, November 24, 2008)


“Richard Raddon, the director of the Los Angeles Film Festival who has been at the center of controversy ever since it was revealed almost two weeks ago that he had contributed $1,500 to the campaign to ban gay marriage in California, resigned from his post over the weekend.…

After Raddon’s contribution was made public online, Film Independent was swamped with criticism from ‘No on 8’ supporters both inside and outside the organization. Within days Raddon offered to step down as festival director, but the board, which includes Don Cheadle, Forest Whitaker, Lionsgate President Tom Ortenberg and Fox Searchlight President Peter Rice, gave him a unanimous vote of confidence.”  (“L.A. Film Festival head resigns over Prop. 8 donation,” latimesblogs.latimes.com, November 25, 2008)


“Perhaps after a few years, we will look back at this and be appalled and dismayed just as the old screeds against interracial marriage leave us appalled and dismayed today.” (Frances Lee Menlove, Letter to the Editor, Sunstone, December 2008, p. 2)


“Many Californians are angry. They resent the fact that a church based in Utah was able to meddle in state politics. Some gay rights activists are calling on the Internal Revenue Service to revoke the church’s tax- exempt status. 

Such demands are unlikely to bear fruit. If the Mormon leadership had used church money or resources to endorse a specific candidate for office, the 1RS would probably be interested. But church-based issue advocacy is broadly protected. In this case, the hierarchy simply activated its membership.

Having said that, it’s perfectly understandable that many people in California don’t want to live under the rules of someone else’s church. It doesn’t seem to pass the theocratic smell test. 

Consider what happened in California: A group of powerful religious traditions banded together, raised a lot of money and used it to persuade a majority of the voters to take away the civil rights of a minority group. The pro-Prop 8 ads may have been divisive and deceptive, but they worked.…

What these organizations fail to grasp is that the United States was never intended to be an anything- goes, majority-rules nation.…

Our government, however, exists within the framework of our Constitution, which protects the rights of minorities from overweening majority tyranny. The Constitution is our founding document, and its Bill of Rights enshrines a list of freedoms that are beyond the reach of any popular vote.…

The people who opposed interracial marriage in the ’50s felt passionately that they were right. Some even made arguments based in the Bible and religion. God did not intend for the races to mix in this way, we were told. Interracial marriage, it was argued, was bad for children. Such unions were called ‘unnatural.’ 

Many of these arguments sound familiar because they are now being used to block same-sex marriage. If anything, this time around the religious objective of the drive is all the more obvious. The leaders of Religious Right groups talk openly about same-sex marriage being an affront to the Bible and spout lines (which they mistakenly think are clever) like, ‘God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.’ 

The Religious Right does not like it, but the United States separates religion and government. Our laws are based not on scriptures and religion but on a Constitution that guarantees religious freedom for all. That guarantee does not include the right of any religious group to use the power of government to impose its specific theological tenets on others.…” (“Marriage Law and Mormons: The California Vote and Creeping Theocracy,” Church & State, December 2008, p. 14)


“You might think that an organization that for most of the first of its not yet two centuries of existence was the world’s most notorious proponent of startlingly unconventional forms of wedded bliss would be a little reticent about issuing orders to the rest of humanity specifying exactly who should be legally entitled to marry whom. But no. The Mormon Church – as anyone can attest who has ever answered the doorbell to find a pair of polite, persistent, adolescent ‘elders’ standing on the stoop, tracts in hand – does not count reticence among the cardinal virtues. Nor does its own history of matrimonial excess bring a blush to its cheek.…

‘MORMONS TIPPED SCALE IN BAN ON GAY MARRIAGE,’ the Times headlined the week after Election Day, reflecting the views of proponents and opponents alike. Six and a half million Californians voted for Proposition 8, and six million voted against it – a four-point margin, close enough for a single factor to make the difference. Almost all the early canvassers for the cause were Mormons, but the most important contributions were financial. The normal political pattern is for money to get raised in California and spent elsewhere. This time, Salt Lake City played the role of Hollywood, rural Utah was the new Silicon Valley, and California was cast as flyover country. Of the forty million dollars spent on behalf of Prop. 8, some twenty million came from members or organs of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Some conservative commentators, who didn’t have much else to gloat about, dwelt lingeringly on what they evidently regarded as the upside of the huge, Obama-sparked African-American turnout. ‘It was the black vote that voted down gay marriage,’ Bill O’Reilly, of Fox News, insisted triumphantly – and, it turns out, wrongly. If exit polling is to be believed, seventy per cent of California’s African-American voters did indeed vote yes on Prop. 8, as did upward of eighty per cent of Republicans, conservatives, white evangelicals, and weekly churchgoers. But the initiative would have passed, barely, even if not a single African-American had shown up at the polls.

Still, this was a fight that should have been won, and after the initial shock – which tempted a few gay and lesbian voices to blame blacks for what O’Reilly credited them with – California’s gay activists and their straight allies, judging from their online postmortems, have begun to direct more criticism at themselves than at their opponents. They were complacent: early polls had shown Prop. 8 losing by double digits. Their television ads were timid and ineffective, focussing on worthy abstractions like equality and fairness, while the other side’s were powerfully emotional. (Also dishonest – they implied that gay marriage would threaten churches’ tax exemptions, force church-affiliated adoption agencies to place children with gay couples, and oblige children to attend gay weddings – but that sort of thing was to be expected.) Barack Obama, like Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, had come out against Prop. 8, yet the No-on-8 forces let Obama’s popularity be used against them: a mass mailing suggesting that the Democratic nominee was for it went essentially unanswered.

The defenders of equal access to marriage, in other words, think their problem was tactical – ‘messaging,’ not substance. They are probably right. In the days after the election, tens of thousands of people, gay and straight, took to the streets of cities and towns throughout the country in spontaneously organized protest. But the mood at these gatherings, by all accounts, was seldom angry; it was cheerful, determined, and hopeful. From 1998 to 2006, bans on same-sex marriage were put on the ballot in one state or another thirty times, and twenty-nine times the people voted for them. This year, in addition to California, Florida passed a ban; Arizona, which in 2006 had been the one exception, reversed itself and did the same; more cruelly, Arkansas approved a ballot measure depriving gay men and lesbians of the right to adopt children. But all this has about it the feel of a last stand.…

A couple of days before the California vote, the San Francisco Chronicle ‘s John Wildermuth noticed a ‘No on Prop 8’ sign on a front lawn. The lawn and the sign belonged to Steve Young, the football Hall of Famer and former 49er quarterback, and his wife, Barb. Steve Young is a graduate of Brigham Young University, which is named for his great-great-great-grandfather. The Youngs still belong to the Mormon Church. ‘We believe all families matter and we do not believe in discrimination,’ Barb Young said. ‘Therefore, our family will vote against Prop 8.’ It wasn’t enough this time. But the time is coming.” (Hendrik Hertzberg, “Eight is Enough: Proposition 8,” New Yorker, December 1, 2008, pp. 27-8)


“More than 4,000 people have signed an online petition thanking the LDS Church for its Proposition 8 efforts. Those who signed the letter include Charles Colson of Prison Fellowship, James Dobson of Focus on the Family, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, and Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention.” (Sarah Pulliam, “A Latter-day Alliance,” Christianity Today, December 2, 2008)


“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints expressed appreciation today for a full-page advertisement in The New York Times that decries the ‘violence and intimidation’ directed toward the Church because of its support of Proposition 8.…

The ad was sponsored by The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.…” (“Prop 8 Backlash Is ‘An Outrage that Must Stop,’ Group Says in Support of Church,” LDS Newsroom, December 5, 2008)


“On Nov. 6, more than 1,000 protesters gathered in Westwood, Calif., near the Los Angeles Mormon temple to protest the passage of the measure.  The next day, more than 3,000 protesters marched past the Mormon temple and church headquarters in Salt Lake City, and on Nov. 12, around 10,000 protesters gathered in front of the Mormon temple in New York City.…” (Chris Johnson,  “Calif. Officials investigate Mormon role in Prop 8,” Washington Blade, December 5, 2008)


“The dramatic visuals were designed to call attention to two issues: Proposition 8 sought to take away the legal rights of same-sex couples all across California, and members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had contributed an enormous amount of money and manpower to the campaign.

Since the election, this ad has drawn the ire of religious groups and pundits across the country, including Times Op-Ed columnist Jonah Goldberg (‘An ugly attack on Mormons,’ Dec. 3). But amid the uproar over the ad, there was very little discussion about something very important: the truth.

And the truth is very simple: Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints campaigned vigorously to strip rights from gays and lesbians. They contributed a staggering amount of money to pass Proposition 8 — a figure estimated to be at least $20 million (and potentially much higher) to fund a fear-mongering, truth-distorting campaign whose only objective was to outlaw same-sex couples from getting a marriage license. Proposition 8 now threatens to invalidate the same-sex marriages already in existence, pending future rulings from the California Supreme Court. There is an old saying: Truth can’t be libel.

Goldberg claims that the ad focused on the Mormons because they were an easier target, one of many faiths that supported Proposition 8. In reality, the Yes on 8 campaign might as well have been a wholly owned subsidiary of the LDS Church. Many estimate that members of the LDS Church gave more than half of the total amount raised by the Yes on 8 campaign. In addition, the LDS Church ran large call centers supporting Proposition 8 and encouraged its members to travel to California to support the campaign. These efforts were only scaled back after California voters started to become more aware of the massive role that the LDS Church was playing in the campaign. They may also be putting the LDS Church into some legal peril as well: It is being investigated by the California Fair Political Practices Commission for failure to report expenses related to these, as well as other, campaign activities on behalf of Proposition 8.

Unfortunately, this failure to take public responsibility for leading the fight against same-sex marriage, as well as the masking of its efforts behind the shroud of an interfaith coalition, is nothing new for the LDS Church.

An LDS Church internal memo from 1997 regarding strategies to oppose same-sex marriage explains that although the LDS Church may be able to put together the funding for a citizen referendum in California, ‘The public image of the Catholic Church [is] higher than our Church. In other words, if we get into this, they are ones with which to join.’ This is exactly the strategy the LDS Church used to mask its involvement in Proposition 8 until the final weeks before the election.

The LDS Church or any other organization has every right to use its power to influence elections to any extent that is legal. What it doesn’t have a right to do is claim persecution when other organizations do nothing but expose the church’s forays into the political arena before a discerning public.

While the backlash against the LDS Church has made some of its members uncomfortable, they have nobody to blame but their leadership who dragged them into this mess. In an effort to repair its public image, the church has said that it wants to begin a ‘healing process’ and has claimed support for equal rights for gays and lesbians, except for using the word ‘marriage’ to describe unions between same-sex partners. The church now has an opportunity to demonstrate that support: Utah state Sen. Scott McCoy has introduced legislation that would provide gays and lesbians in his state with all rights that straight people enjoy except marriage.

If the LDS Church were to support McCoy, it would show that it really does believe in love, compassion and equal rights. If it does not, the church’s supposedly conciliatory stance would simply be one more obfuscation in support of truly bigoted intentions.” (Rick Jacobs, Op-Ed, “Why we’re mad at the Mormon church,” Los Angeles Times, December 8, 2008)


“The Proposition 8 fallout continues: A beleaguered manager of El Coyote, a Los Angeles restaurant popular with gays and lesbians, has quite after she came under fire for donating $100 to support the proposition.…” (“L.A. Restaurant Manager Who Donated to Prop. 8 Resigns,” Advocate, December 9, 2008)


“When new Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints President Thomas S. Monson signed the now-infamous letter urging California Mormons to  do all you can’ to support efforts to pass Proposition 8, he could not have anticipated the effect that signature would ultimately have.…

As strange as it may seem, we at Q Salt Lake believe that Monson and the Mormon Church are somewhat responsible for this resurgence in U.S. gay rights activism now known as ‘Stonewall 2.0.’…” (“Person of the Year Thomas S. Monson,” Q Salt Lake, December 15, 2008)


“In response to the online petitions and protests outside LDS temples and meetinghouses in California and other states, Catholic bishop William K. Weigand of Sacramento, who once headed the Salt Lake City diocese, said the Protect Marriage coalition behind the ballot initiative included Catholics, Latinos, Jews and members of other faiths and ethnicities.

‘Bigoted attacks on Mormons for the part they played in our coalition are shameful and ignore the reality that Mormon voters were only a small part of the groundswell that supported Proposition 8,’ he said in a statement.…” (“Gay advocates angry about Mormon political activism,” Christian Century, December 16, 2008)


“… the Mormon Church didn’t offer me the same courtesy. The millions of people who voted to rescind our civil rights on November 4 (and the millions of others from out of state who sent their tithes to California to support the antigay ballot initiative) did so out of ignorance. If they’d really taken the time to meet any of the 18,000 gay couples who were married in California during the narrow five-month window of legality, they’d have learned that our equality does nothing to threaten theirs.” (Jon Barrett, “The Age of Ignorance,” Advocate, December 16, 2008)


“Even though that narrow vote stripped loving couples of their legal right to marry, some religious leaders would have us believe that gay America is targeting religious freedom in protesting the outsized role of the Latter-day Saints Church.

There have been nationwide protests, but nearly everyone has been peaceful. In any case, how do a few isolated incidents of spray paint equate with losing a constitutional right to equality given under the law? How does one incident of white powder in one church building — a horrible act everyone condemns — suddenly turn gay Americans into terrorists? It does if your singular goal is to block equality for one group of Americans.

And when did the LDS Church become the victim? Is this the same church that conducted a national broadcast to Mormon chapels calling on members to organize and write checks to the Prop 8 campaign? The same church that donated more than half of the $40 million behind Prop 8, even though California Mormons represent just two percent of the state’s population?…

Finally, I believe many are missing the fundamental rub here: the Prop 8 campaign was based on fears and lies. Fears that homosexuality would become elementary school fodder, and lies that churches would be taxed, and priests or ministers refusing to marry gay or lesbian couples would be arrested.

They knew, and certainly the LDS Church knew, that what was taken away in California was the right to a civil, legal marriage. It had nothing whatsoever to do with religions which remained free to either open or close their doors to same-sex ceremonies.

So, yes, people are mad. And that anger is fueled not just by the towering role of the LDS Church, but the fact that a religious institution which promotes truth would, in this case, promote and fund lies. That doesn’t sit well, whether you’re a former Mormon as I am, or simply a gay American who sees one religion intent on taking his legal rights away.” (Bruce Bastian, “Prop 8, a Campaign Based on Fears and Lies,” Huffington Post, December 16, 2008)


“Referendum proponents known as the ‘Protect Marriage’ coalition on Friday took their campaign one step further, petitioning the Supreme Court to annul the gay marriages officiated so far in California.”  (Associated Press, December 20, 2008)


“At the rally in SF, several of the speakers said, ‘Thank you, Mormon Church.  You have done something we could never do.  You have mobilized the greatest civil rights movement in the last forty years!’  God moves in mysterious ways, Her wonders to perform.” (Carol Lynn Pearson diary, December 27, 2008)


“The California result was something of a surprise. Polls taken prior to the election showed the same-sex marriage ban trailing. Analysts say a last-minute advertising blitz may have made the difference–along with an infusion of $20 million donated by members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 

Church officials summoned the faithful to get involved in the California battle in June. ‘Marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and the formation of families is central to the Creator’s plan for His children’ church leaders asserted. 

Individual Mormons answered the call and donated time and money to the effort. Add to this a grassroots organizing effort aimed at churches conducted by religious right groups and the Catholic hierarchy and you see the result: a rollback of civil rights for gays and lesbians in California.

Gay-rights advocates are understandably upset. From their perspective, a church based in Utah meddled in California politics, resulting in a loss of rights for a certain segment of the population.…

Few Americans today would accept that argument. Yet if you ask leaders of the religious right to explain the difference between state bans on interracial marriage and bans on same-sex marriage, they hem and haw and eventually fall back on claims that the latter is ‘unnatural’ or ‘unbiblical.’

The problem is, that’s exactly what many people thought when Mildred and Richard Loving were found guilty of violating Virginia’s ban on interracial marriage. In fact, Judge Leon Bazile, who pronounced the sentence, invoked a specifically religious rationale. ‘Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, Malay and red, and He placed them on separate continents’ Judge Brazile intoned. ‘And but for the interference with His arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that He separated the races shows that He did not intend for the races to mix.’

Today we’d roll our eyes at such an absurd ruling. Yet consider the religious right’s arguments against same-sex marriage today: It’s against God’s law. God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve. The Bible says it’s wrong. Judge Bazile would have felt comfortable with any of them.…

We simply can’t have a situation where people in certain states, prodded by religious groups with regressive views, are permitted to strip a certain segment of the population of an increasing number of rights. Sooner or later, the federal courts will have to step in and put a stop to this. Given the current right-wing tilt of the Supreme Court, I wouldn’t take this case up just yet. If, in a few years, the court is more progressive in character, it may be time to strike. Failure to do so leaves too many rights at the mercy of well-funded religious groups. It leaves a cold and harsh theocracy creeping in through the back door.” (Rob Boston, “Freedom for Me but Not for Thee: Marriage and Mormons in California,” Humanist, January/February 2009)


“Four years ago, marriage was used to rile up a right-wing base, and we were branded as a bigger threat than terrorism. In 2008, most people know that we are not a threat. Proposition 8 did not result from a popular groundswell of opposition to our rights, but was the work of a small core of people who fought to get it on the ballot.…

Justice Lewis Powell was the swing vote in Bowers, the case that upheld Georgia’s sodomy law and that was reversed by Lawrence v. Texas five years ago. When Bowers was pending, Powell told one of his clerks ‘I don’t believe I’ve ever met a homosexual.’ Ironically, that clerk was gay, and had never come out to the Justice. A decade later, Powell admitted his vote to uphold Georgia’s sodomy law was a mistake.…” (Joe Solmonese, “You Can’t Take This Away From Me: Proposition 8 Broke Our Hearts, but It Did Not End Our Fight,” Q Salt Lake, January 4, 2009)


“[Linda Schweidel] is friends with Dean Criddle, our stake president, and called to talk with him.  He agreed with everything she said.  Linda said to him, ‘You have to tell the people, Dean.  If we don’t, whose going to?  They deserve to know that this is wrong.’  She said Dean hoped to be able to contain it in our stake and turn it into a better thing.  Said he gave his five thousand in the hopes it would take the pressure off the bishops under him to give.  (To my mind it increases the pressure by providing an example.)  I’d already been told that he suffered enormously in his law practice.  A front-page article in the law paper covered those who gave to prop 8, his prominently.  He would get on an elevator and people would get off.  Someone called out to him, ‘Bigot!’  Awful, awful, awful.  I love Dean and want to protect him.  But somehow I understand the responses.  Historically it is like the anger of black people and their supporters against those who insist on maintaining slavery.  In fact I have an image of the prop 8 passion being the last hurrah of the slave owners.  ‘We can’t give up our lifestyle!  It can’t function without our slaves.  If there’s not “us” and “them” our lifestyle will die!’…

Linda continued to go to church until the election.  And she said the Berkeley ward suffered terribly.  Lines were drawn.  Friendships affected.  She has not been back since.” (Carol Lynn Pearson diary, January 4, 2009)


Nightline did a very interesting segment last week on the Church’s PR campaign and interviewed two of the twelve Mormon apostles, Russell Ballard and Quentin Cook.

In this first of a kind interview, these two top Mormon leaders defended the Church’s role in Prop 8. Apostle Ballard even continued to gloat about their success by smugly saying ‘when something needs to get done, we know how to do it.’” (Fred Karger, “The Mormon PR Campaign on Prop 8,” Huffington Post, January 12, 2009)


“Got a wrenching email from Clark Pingree.… ‘The church is a monster,’ he said.  ‘And at one time I would have given my life for it.’” (Carol Lynn Pearson diary, January 13, 2009)


“In response to nationwide protests staged outside Mormon temples, the church released a statement bemoaning that it had been ‘singled out for speaking up as part of its democratic right in a free election.’ Church members feel ‘genuine alarm’ at the hubbub created by their efforts, according to Damon Linker, a former editor of the conservative Christian public policy journal First Things and the author of The Theocons: Secular America Under Siege. And that’s not surprising, considering that Mormons have long been involved in the movement to ban same-sex marriage — and yet are only now facing massive scrutiny for it.” (James Kirchick, “The New Religious Right,” Advocate, December 3, 2008)


The Salt Lake Tribune poll finds that 69 percent of Utahns overall see the LDS Church’s backing of Prop 8, a ballot measure that eliminated gay marriage in the Golden State, as appropriate.

Perhaps not surprisingly, Mormons overwhelmingly back that view (85 percent).…

‘It is absolutely appropriate for churches to speak out on moral issues,’ writes LDS Church spokesman Scott Trotter in an e-mail. ‘Maintaining traditional marriage is a vital moral issue with broad societal consequences.’…” (Rosemary Winters, “Utahns split about post-Prop 8 temple protests,” Salt Lake Tribune, January 17, 2009)


“The 29-year-old [Jacob Whipple] is part of a national phenomenon Proposition 8 backers likely didn’t see coming. The ballot measure, eliminating the right of gay couples to marry in California, succeeded, but it also ignited a furor among gay-rights supporters, forging and fortifying a new generation of activists who could fuel the movement for years to come.…” (Rosemary Winters, “Prop 8 inspires new army of Utah activists,” Salt Lake Tribune, January 17, 2009)


“‘Some gay activists have organized Web sites to actively encourage people to go after supporters of Proposition 8,’ said Frank Schubert, the campaign manager for Protect Marriage, the leading group behind the proposition. ‘And giving these people a map to your home or office leaves supporters of Proposition 8 feeling especially vulnerable. Really, it is chilling.’

So chilling, apparently, that supporters have filed suit in Federal District Court in Sacramento seeking a preliminary injunction of a state election law that requires donors of $100 or more to disclose their names, addresses, occupations and other personal information. In particular, the suit seeks to stop the final filing for the 2008 election, which is due Jan. 31. That filing includes donations made in the closing days of the campaign, when the proposition surged to victory.…

In one instance, a supporter found a flier in his neighborhood calling him a bigot and listing his employer. In another, white powder was sent to a Mormon temple and a facility run by the Knights of Columbus, the Catholic group, which contributed more than $1 million in support of Proposition 8. Other supporters, including the director of the Los Angeles Film Festival, Richard Raddon, have been forced to resign because of their backing of the measure, while some businesses have been boycotted because of Proposition 8.

Mr. Bopp also said that the level set under California’s campaign law for public disclosure, anything above $100, was too low.

‘There certainly would be an amount that would influence more than a few voters,’ he said. ‘But it’s way above $100.’

Opponents of Proposition 8 have condemned any attacks on supporters, but noted that those claiming harassment are already protected by laws. ‘Violence and vandalism are illegal, and those laws should be enforced,’ Ms. Pizer said. ‘And sadly people on both sides of this issue have experienced some of that.’” (Jesse McKinley, “Marriage Ban Donors Feel Exposed by List,” New York Times, January 19, 2009)


“The state also noted that most of the activity the plaintiffs called harassment was actually protected free speech, such as threats of boycotts.…

Opponents of Proposition 8 said it was hypocritical for anti-gay marriage backers to cite fear of harassment. Fred Karger, founder of gay-rights group Californians Against Hate, said the initiative’s backers had threatened boycotts against businesses that failed to donate to their effort during the campaign. ‘Now they complain of harassment.’…” (“Prop. 8 supporters must be identified,” Deseret News, January 31, 2009)


“Thrust into a league they apparently had no desire to join, Christoffersen along with former California Musical Theatre artistic director Scott Eckern and former Los Angeles Film Festival director Richard Raddon all said they were acting only as devoted members of the Mormon Church when they donated to the Yes on 8 campaign. But after November 4, when the proposition passed and angry supporters of marriage equality took to the streets, the trio found they’d dragged themselves and their workplaces into a bit of a mess. The controversy prompted Christofersen, Eckern, and Raddon to step down from their positions after their institutions felt the heat from Prop. 8 opponents.…” (Christopher Lisotta, “The Agony of Success,” Advocate, February 10, 2009)


“Californians Against Hate will also announce a national boycott of all 40 of Ken Garff’s Automotive Group owned car dealerships in 4 states. Katharine Garff, the wife [of] CEO and Board Chairman Robert Garff contributed $100,000 to the Yes on 8 campaign.…

Californians Against Hate has called for three previous boycotts of major funders to Yes on Prop 8. The first was back on July 18, 2008 against the hotels owned by Doug Manchester (Manchester Grand Hyatt and the Grand del Mar Hotels, both in San Diego) who gave $125,000 to Yes on 8. The next boycott was called against Bolthouse Farms of Bakersfield, CA whose founder gave $100000 to Prop 8, but was settled 3 weeks later. And the most recent boycott began on November 19, 2008 against A-1 Self Storage, whose owner Terry Caster and his family gave $693,000 to Yes on 8.…” (Fred Karger, “Help Fine the Missing Mormon Money,” RightsEqualRights.com, February 10, 2009)


“Garff’s son, John Garff, said the contribution was a personal decision made by his mother, and not a contribution from the company, which is politically neutral.

John Garff said the company has gay and lesbian employees, has a zero tolerance policy for harassment and discrimination in the workplace and offers a benefits package that is favorable to those in same-sex partnerships. In Utah, the automotive group is also a longtime contributor to the Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights advocacy and education organization.” (Jennifer Dobner, “Gay rights group filing complaint in Prop 8 battle,” Associated Press, February 11, 2009)


“In addition to having a nondiscriminatory policy on hiring and employment, Garff Automotive is an annual donor to the pro-gay rights Human Rights Campaign and has donated vehicles to the Utah Pride parade, along with a range of other diversity-promoting causes, [John] Garff said.

‘Fred [Karger] learned some things I don’t think he knew,’ Garff said.’…” (Tony Semerad, “Gay-rights group, Garff Automotive meet; boycott goes on,” Salt Lake Tribune, February 12, 2009)


“Soon after the California Supreme Court declared same-sex marriage constitutional, Catholic Bishop of San Francisco George Niederauer asked the LDS church to join a multifaith coalition against gay marriage. By June, Elder Lance Wickman, a top LDS official, called Prop 8 ‘The Gettysburg of the culture war.’ Church members fell in line, ready for a fight.…

One strategist for Protect Marriage, Jeff Flint, estimated that Mormons made up 80 to 90 percent of the early door-to-door volunteers.…

The combination of political strength Mormons demonstrated in the campaign and their perceived suffering afterwards has bonded them to other religious conservatives. ‘They wanted to show other religions that they saved them,’ Hart says. ‘When we get beat up in the press, it is a badge of honor. And in the conservative movement, it has endeared us to a lot of different groups. They say, ‘Wow, thanks to the Mormons for making it happen.’’

After Prop 8, evangelical opinion leaders exhorted their audiences to stop worrying and learn to love the Latter Day Saints. John Mark Reynolds, a professor at evangelical Biola University wrote, ‘In the battle for the family…… traditional Christians have no better friends than the Mormon faithful.’ A petition to thank the LDS church for its participation in the Prop 8 campaign circulated on conservative websites, and James Dobson signed it.…

Mormons have a continuing revelation, one that many orthodox Christians believe to be flexible in the face of political exigencies. Polygamy was suspended in the LDS church once statehood was offered to Utah, and blacks were allowed to enter the Mormon priesthood not long after protests made Mormon beliefs in the origin of racial differences a national embarrassment. Christians may ask: will the LDS church eventually leave behind its current social commitments?…

Political realities have made social conservatives open to co-operation with Mormons. Without the LDS church, gay marriage would remain settled law in California. Losing ground among the young and the educated, social conservatives need to be creative in building a constituency for their ideas. But inviting the LDS into the movement will test the limits of co-belligerence. There is something amiss about a mutable and pluralistic coalition claiming to stand against the dictatorship of relativism.” (Michael Brendan Dougherty, ‘Mormons at the Door,’ The American Conservative, February 23, 2009)


“A group that opposed California’s Proposition 8 has called an end to a boycott against one of Utah’s largest car dealers.…” (“Ken Garff Boycott Ends,” Q Salt Lake, February 28, 2009)


“A federal judge has denied a request to keep the names of donors to California’s anti-gay marriage initiative secret, saying the public has a right to know who’s giving money to state ballot measures.…” (“Prop 8 Donors: Find Out Who Backed California’s Anti-Gay Marriage Amendment,” Huffington Post, March 5, 2009)


“Dean [Criddle, Oakland Stake President] said that two weeks after the election he spoke at stake priesthood meeting and talked about all the bodies on the battlefield and how we have to turn our attention to healing. (He sent me his talk.)  ‘You’d think that would not be a controversial thing, but it was.  I was surprised how many people told me what they deserved was a big congratulations for having accomplished it.’…” (Carol Lynn Pearson diary, March 30, 2009)


“Michael Thompson, executive director of Equality Utah, sees the movement gaining ground. Each action by the Mormon church against same-sex marriage and each maligning statement from a lawmaker only serves to strengthen the cause, he said.

More people — of all sexual orientations — are turning out for community organizing meetings, want training as citizen lobbyists and showing up for events like the post-Prop. 8 election protest march around the Salt Lake City Mormon temple that drew an estimated 3,000.” (Jennifer Dobner, “Utah prime location for gay-rights movement,” Associated Press, May 3, 2009)


“Since the passage of Proposition 8, gay marriage has gained momentum around the nation. Iowa, Maine and Vermont have joined Massachusetts and Connecticut in recognizing same-sex couples. Similar proposals are under way in New Hampshire and New York.…” (Susan Donaldson James, “California Upholds Gay Marriage Ban,” ABCNews.go.com, May 26, 2009)


“Mormon watchers were surprised, then, when the church hierarchy took such an active role in the passage of Proposition 8 in California, limiting marriage to a man and a woman. Gay Americans were surprised as well. They didn’t expect the church to embrace gay marriage, but neither did they predict that the Mormon Church would emerge as a resolute and politically-active foe, whose support for Prop 8 was perhaps determinative. Some of the resultant anti-Mormon rhetoric has been vicious.…

Opposing gay marriage in Utah (as the church did in 2004) is one thing, but taking a lead public role in a national campaign to deprive a persecuted minority of a right shared by all other Americans is another. It would be seen as a sign that the days of low-key tactics are over, and that the current Mormon leaders are prepared to give, and get, the political bruising that occurs when religion mixes with politics in America.” (John Aloysius Farrell, “How Far Will Mormons Go to Fight Gay Marriage?” U.S. News and World Report, May 29, 2009)


“Mormons account for just 2 percent of the U.S. population, and they are scarce outside the West. Nearly eight in 10 Americans personally know or work with a gay person, according to a recent Newsweek survey. Only 48 percent, meanwhile, know a Mormon, according to a Pew Research Center poll.

Many Mormons also acknowledge a problematic public profile that could make it difficult for them to lead the fight against same-sex marriage. A 2008 poll by Gary Lawrence, author of ‘How Americans View Mormonism: Seven Steps to Improve Our Image,’ found that for every American who expresses a strong liking for Mormons, four express a strong dislike. Among the traits widely ascribed to Mormons in the poll were ‘narrow-minded’ and ‘controlling.’…

Mormon officials have tried to stay out of the controversy that followed the California vote, when the church’s prominent role in the marriage fight became clear. A spokeswoman in Salt Lake City declined to say whether the church is involved in debates going on in states such as New Jersey and New York, except to say that leaders remain intent on preserving the ‘divine institution’ of marriage between man and woman.”


“Mormons ‘exist and flourish in this country because of the concept of equal protection,’ [Rick] Jacobs said, noting the persecution that drove members of the church to Utah in the 19th century. ‘I find it just an irreconcilable hypocrisy that a group that rightly thrives within the essence of the American system would seek to repress and deny rights to another. And it’s even a little worse, because I certainly didn’t choose to be gay. People make choices to be Mormons, or any other religion.’…” (Karl Vick, “The Mormons Are Coming!” Washington Post, May 29, 2009)


“What the Mormons did and what they continue to do against gay people needs to be a matter of record, because it is spiritually criminal. When these young people sitting in the pews grow up, I hope they can turn to my film and get the message that it’s OK to leave the organization that pulls them to its breast tenderly, while choking the spiritual life right out of them through assaults on their very civil rights.…” (“8: The Mormon Proposition: An Interview with Director Reed Cowan,” Q Salt Lake, June 4, 2009)

2029, 2030:

“The passage of Prop 8 was the church’s latest display of its power: individual Mormons contributed half of the proposition’s $40 million war chest despite constituting only 2% of California’s population. LDS spokesman Michael Otterson says, ‘This is a moment of emergence.’…

And though the Prop 8 victory was a high-water mark for Mormon political advocacy, it also sparked a vicious backlash from gay-rights activists, some of whom accused Mormons of bigotry and blind religious obedience.…

By championing the California traditional-marriage initiative so forcefully and successfully the first time, the Mormon church has stepped onto America’s next big cultural battleground. But in figuring out if it should pick up the gauntlet again, the Mormons, who feel they have so much else to offer, must consider whether the issue is becoming a referendum on Mormonism itself.…” (David Van Biema, ‘The Storm Over the Mormons,’ Time, June 22, 2009)


“‘What I hear from my community and from straight progressive individuals is that they now see the church as a force for evil and as an enemy of fairness and equality,’ said Kate Kendell, executive director of the San Francisco-based National Center for Lesbian Rights. Kendell grew up Mormon in Utah. ‘To have the church’s very deep and noble history telescoped down into this very nasty little image is as painful for me as for any faithful Mormon.’…” (Jennifer Dobner, “Gay marriage fight, ‘kiss-ins’ smack Mormon image,” Associated Press, August 15, 2009)


[Matthew] Lawrence’s troubles escalated at age fifteen, when his father caught him kissing another boy. Soon thereafter, he was chauffeured to three different counselors in rapid succession. Hoping to discover a curable illness, Lawrence’s parents poured thousands of dollars into therapists who were themselves ‘recovered’ homosexuals. Pharmaceutical treatments were also used. ‘I had all sorts of chemicals pumped into me: Ritalin, Depakote, Paxil, Lithium, and others I don’t even remember,’ he said.

Lawrence’s home life turned into a prison sentence. He was only allowed to leave for school; a security alarm was installed, windows were magnetically locked, and an intercom system was installed. At night, his father even patrolled the house. ‘I was a rat in a cage.’ But the lockdown only encouraged his attempted escapes, as did his parents’ punishments. He was eventually shipped off one night to Salt Lake City, where he was supposed to stay with relatives until further notice. The drastic move was a shock, one that left the confused teen ‘listless and dazed.’ He lost fifteen pounds after only a few weeks of that, and was also forced to sleep in a back room with no heating for months.

The exile ended after a year, and Lawrence returned to California to graduate from high school. He even invited a boy to his prom. Later, he studied geography at California State University at Fullerton and now enjoys a career as a certified GIS (geographic information systems) technician and lives on his own. His relationship with his family is strained, as is his faith. Disillusioned with Mormonism, he no longer practices it; to do so would be a form of emotional masochism. He describes his current state as one of ‘religious limbo.’…” (Steven Surman, “Disenfranchised Mormons Speak Out,”  The Gay & Lesbian Review, September/October 2009)


“In a meeting with gay-rights activists last week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid criticized the LDS Church for backing a ballot measure banning same-sex marriage in California, saying the leaders of his faith should have stayed out of the contentious political fight.

Reid, a Democrat from Nevada, is the highest ranking elected official who is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He previously has not commented on the flood of Mormon money and volunteers who helped propel Proposition 8 to victory in November.

But three organizers of the past weekend’s National Equality March said Reid brought up the topic during a conversation in his office.

‘He said that he thought it was a waste of church resources and good will,’ said Derek Washington, a Nevadan who worked as the outreach director for the march. ‘He said he didn’t think it was appropriate.’

Reid spokesman Jon Summers would not discuss the private meeting, but he didn’t deny the conversation took place.

‘While Senator Reid agrees with his church that marriage is between a man and a woman,’ Summers said, ‘he also believes that the resources that went into the Proposition 8 effort could have been put to better use.’…” (Matt Canham, “Reid rips LDS Church’s Prop. 8 support,” Salt Lake Tribune, October 12, 2009)


“Gay-rights activists say that in a private meeting with them, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., criticized the LDS Church for working to ban gay marriage in California.

‘The senator mentioned that he felt the church should use its resources on other good works instead of getting involved in such a divisive campaign,’ Derek Washington, who helped organize last weekend’s National Equality March, told the Deseret News.

‘It really was said pretty much in passing. I was surprised at the press it got,’ Washington said after stories about the statement appeared in press nationally after initially appearing in the Salt Lake Tribune.

Reid currently is the highest-ranking member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the federal government as the Senate majority leader.

Reid spokesman Jon Summers told the Deseret News, ‘We don’t discuss Sen. Reid’s private meetings.’

However, Summers added, ‘While Sen. Reid agrees with his church that marriage is between a man and a woman, he also believes that the resources that went into the Proposition 8 effort could have been put to better use.’” (“Reid criticizes LDS Church’s Prop. 8 involvement,” Deseret News, October 13, 2009)


“The anti-Mormon backlash after California voters overturned gay marriage last fall is similar to the intimidation of Southern blacks during the civil rights movement, a high-ranking Mormon said Tuesday.

Elder Dallin H. Oaks referred to gay marriage as an ‘alleged civil right’ in an address at Brigham Young University-Idaho that church officials described as a significant commentary on current threats to religious freedom.…

Oaks’ address comes as gay-rights activists mount a legal challenge to Proposition 8, the ballot measure that overturned gay marriage in California. His comments about civil rights angered gay rights supporters who consider the struggle to enact same-sex marriage laws as a major civil rights cause.

‘Blacks were lynched and beaten and denied the right to vote by their government,’ said Marc Solomon, marriage director for Equality California, which spearheaded the No on 8 campaign. ‘To compare that to criticism of Mormon leaders for encouraging people to give vast amounts of money to take away rights of a small minority group is illogical and deeply offensive.’

Solomon said the Mormon church hierarchy has every right to speak out, ‘but in the public sphere, one should expect that people will disagree.’

In an interview Monday before the speech, Oaks said he did not consider it provocative to compare the treatment of Mormons in the election’s aftermath to that of blacks in the civil rights era, and said he stands by the analogy.

‘It may be offensive to some — maybe because it hadn’t occurred to them that they were putting themselves in the same category as people we deplore from that bygone era,’ said Oaks, a former Utah Supreme Court justice who clerked for Chief Justice Earl Warren at the U.S. Supreme Court.…

Fred Karger, founder of the gay rights group Californians Against Hate, said Oaks’ speech is part of a public relations offensive to ‘try to turn the tables on what has been a complete disaster for the Mormon church … They are trying to be the victim here. They’re not. They’re the perpetrators.’…” (Eric Gorski, “Mormon leader: Religious freedom at risk as church faces backlash for funding anti-gay-marriage vote,” Associated Press, October 13, 2009)


“Much of the hostility directed against Prop 8 supporters has been facilitated by a California law that requires the disclosure of certain personal information of individuals who donate $100 or more in support of or opposition to a ballot measure. Information subject to disclosure includes the donor’s full name, occupation, and employer.…

Many reports of hostility toward Prop 8 supporters involve acts of vandalism. An elderly couple who put a Yes on 8 sign in their yard had a block thrown through their window.  A senior citizen who placed a pro-Prop-8 bumper sticker on her car had her car’s rear window smashed in.  Some individuals with pro-Prop-8 bumper stickers had their cars keyed.  One woman with a ‘One Man, One Woman’ bumper sticker had her car keyed and tires deflated while she was in a grocery store.  One man who placed signs in his yard and stickers on his cars and motorbike reported that someone egged and floured his home three times and egged, floured, and honeyed his car twice.  Someone also pushed over the man’s motorbike and scraped the bumper stickers off the back glass windows of his cars.  Several other individuals reported that Yes on Prop 8 bumper stickers were scraped or ripped off their vehicles or defaced.…

Vandals also hit houses of worship. Perpetrators used orange paint to vandalize a statue of the Virgin Mary outside one church.  Offices at the Cornerstone Church in Fresno were egged.  Swastikas and other graffiti were scrawled on the walls of the Most Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in San Francisco, a parish known widely as being ‘gay-friendly.’  In San Luis Obispo, the Assembly of God Church was egged and toilet-papered, and a Mormon church had an adhesive poured onto a doormat and keypad. Signs supporting Prop 8 were twisted into a swastika at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church in Riverside.  Someone used a heavy object wrapped with a Yes on 8 sign to smash the window of a pastor’s office at Messiah Lutheran Church in Downey.…” [NOTE THAT ALL BUT ONE WERE NOT LDS] (Thomas M. Messner, “The Price of Prop 8,” Heritage.org, October 22, 2009)


“There’s a post at Mormons for Marriage which examines the recently released CA Attorney General’s report on hate crimes in 2008.

Some interesting gleanings from the 62-page report:…

There were, at the most, 75 anti-Mormon hate crimes (with, at the most, 41 individual incidents and 30 institutional incidents such as vandalism or property destruction) compared to 304 anti-GLBT orientation/gender hate crimes or 184 anti-Jewish hate crimes (out of about 1400 total hate crimes).” (Laura Compton to Mormons for Marriage, November 21, 2009)


“A $26,000 contribution to the initiative that banned same-sex marriage in California appears to have cost a 96-year-old former Mormon temple president his seat on the board that oversees Oakland’s historic Paramount Theatre.

Amid rising criticism from the gay community, Mayor Ron Dellums said Tuesday that he was putting on hold the reappointment of Lorenzo Hoopes, most likely signaling an end to Hoopes’ 30-plus years on the Paramount board.…” (Pahilip Matier, Andrew Ross, “Prop. 8 aid puts Paramount board member on hold,” San Francisco Chronicle, January 20, 2010)


“Oakland Stake President Dean Criddle, a respected lawyer and gentle leader, sensed the ripples of collective pain and wanted to reunite his flock, says Matt Marostica, bishop of the Berkeley Ward.

So Criddle and his counselors assembled quotes and speeches from LDS general authorities that stressed love and compassion for those with same-sex attraction. They then asked each of the 10 wards in the stake to hold a joint meeting of adult members during church services on either Aug. 30 or Sept. 6 to hand out the quotes and listen to personal stories from area members.

The response in Oviatt’s suburban Moraga, Calif., ward was electric, Oviatt says. ‘Everyone in the audience was weeping. Men came up to my husband, crying, and hugged him, saying, “We love you and we love your son.”’…” (Peggy Fletcher Stack, “Gay rights: Oakland LDS Stake tries to heal post-Prop 8 rifts,” Salt Lake Tribune, February 4, 2010)


“Several months ago LDS Apostle Dallin Oaks gave a speech at BYU-Idaho in which he compared the backlash against the church to the backlash against civil rights leaders in the 1960s. I don’t think I need to explain just how ridiculous that analogy is, but suffice it to say I find it disturbing that a leader of an organization that has committed itself to oppressing the civil liberties of a group of people would have the audacity to play the victim.…” (“LDS Hypocrisy,” Q Salt Lake, April 8, 2010)


“I attached a copy of the transcript from the Proposition 8 fireside I mentioned to you. I heard portions of this fireside was used in ‘8: The Mormon Proposition.’ This is the whole thing, complete and in context. This fireside was targeted at the appointed coordinators assigned in each ward to get prop 8 passed and all young single adults. As such, there was quite a bit of pressure for everyone in my YSA ward to attend and I did. I ended up walking out of it and had an emotional breakdown. I felt disenfranchised by the whole thing. I’ve thought about writing about my whole experience with it but doubt it would add anything useful to the conversation. Prop 8 nearly killed me. I remained active but I felt completely abandoned by the Church. They got Prop 8 passed by any means necessary, even if that meant ignoring blatant homophobic bigotry from the pulpit that had absolutely nothing to do with gay marriage. When I tried to go back on my mission I was required to do a local mission and though the Church is downplaying the effects of prop 8 on missionary work, I saw it firsthand. There were angry people when we tracted, people who went inactive over the issue, people who left the Church over the issue, and members who though they supported prop 8 felt like their Stake President strong armed them by questioning their temple worthiness to get money for the campaign to meet fundraising goals set by Salt Lake. It’s not as pretty or innocent as Public Affairs makes it out to be.” (John Hayes to Gregory A. Prince, June 22, 2010)


“11/12/2010: A new version of the Church Handbook of Instructions (in two volumes) is released. Language surrounding same-sex marriage and homosexuality is somewhat modified. Notably, the following language from a First Presidency letter from February 1994 is removed completely:

Marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God. The Church accordingly opposes same-gender marriages and any efforts to legalize such marriages. Church members are encouraged ‘to appeal to legislators, judges, and other government officials to preserve the purposes and sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman, and to reject all efforts to give legal authorization or other official approval or support to marriages between persons of the same gender.’” 

(Mormons for Marriage timeline)


“Former Mormon Kerry Rutz, 51, a landscape architect who moved to San Francisco in 1998 and recently relocated temporarily, says anger has not died down regarding Proposition 8.

‘On a scale of one to 10, with 10 being angry, the gay population in the Bay Area is running an anger level of about 100 against the Mormon church,’ says Rutz, who is gay. ‘I don’t think that anger is likely to change, and I certainly hope it doesn’t.’…” (Michelle Beaver, “LDS church push benefited Prop. 8, but Mormons say they’ve been unfairly targeted,” Contra Costa Times, March 13, 2011)


“[p. 366] Goeffrey Stone of the University of Chicago Law School said that the Proposition [8]:

[W]as a highly successful effort of a particular religious group [i.e., the Mormons] to conscript the power of the state.… This is a serious threat to a free society committed to the principle of separation of church and state.… [T]hey are not free—not if [367] they are to act as faithful American citizens—to impose their religious views on others.  That is, quite simply, un-American.…”

(Robert D. Crockett, “Religious Free Speech and Somebody Else’s Civil Rights: Reviewing an Old Conflict in Light of California’s Proposition 8,” Rutgers Journal of Law & Religion 13, 2012)


“Back in California, Rick Jacobs, the Courage Campaign chief, thinks Prop 8 was the best thing that ever happened to his movement. People sat up and started paying attention when liberal California overturned its own state Supreme Court and took away the right to marry, he said, and the court fight has kept the issue alive.

‘It not only galvanized a lot of people who didn’t really care about it before that – gay people – but it also galvanized straight people,’ he said. ‘People said, “wait a minute, we don’t like voting on people’s rights.”’” (Peter Henderson, ‘Insight: Silent or supportive, conservatives give gay marriage momentum,’ Reuters, March 25, 2013)


“Last month, hundreds of boisterous protesters converged in Washington, DC, as the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Hollingsworth v. Perry, the lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of California’s anti-gay marriage initiative, Proposition 8. Faith-based groups were on prominent display: the Methodists supporting marriage equality, the Westboro Baptists suggesting (per usual) that ‘God hates fags,’ the Catholics both for and against gay marriage, clergy of all stripes. But one group that wasn’t there in any official capacity was the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—a.k.a. the Mormons—which perhaps more than any other religious group was responsible for getting Prop. 8 passed in the first place.

In the five years since the LDS church sent busloads of the faithful to California to canvass neighborhoods, and contributed more than $20 million via its members to support the initiative, it has all but dropped the rope in the public policy tug of war over marriage equality. The change stems from an even more remarkable if somewhat invisible transformation happening within the church, prompted by the ugly fight over Prop. 8 and the ensuing backlash from the flock.

Although the LDS’s prophet hasn’t described a holy revelation directing a revision in church doctrine on same-sex marriage or gay rights in general, the church has shown a rare capacity for introspection and humane cultural change unusual for a large conservative religious organization.…

The church has been credited with almost single-handedly getting Prop. 8 passed, despite a well-funded opposition with backing from Hollywood.…

The LDS church had always struggled for public acceptance, and the negative press wasn’t helping. One poll, conducted a year after Prop. 8 passed, showed that the church’s favorability rating had fallen from 42 percent to 37 percent. But its image problem was nothing compared to the internal rifts the Mormons were experiencing. ‘The church probably deserved the black eye we got from Prop. 8,’ says Mitch Mayne, an openly gay Mormon leader in the San Francisco area. ‘What the non-Mormon world didn’t get to see was how destructive that was inside the faith.’…” (Stephanie Mencimer, “Mormon Church Abandons Its Crusade Against Gay Marriage,” Mother Jones, April 12, 2013)


“Mitch Mayne, a gay Mormon who serves in the church’s San Francisco bishop’s cabinet, said the trauma of the Prop 8 debate, which divided families within the church, ‘blew the lid off the church’s approach to LGBT individuals. Your average Mormon on the street favors acceptance of all, and the church is coming to terms with that.’…” (Marc Fisher and Michelle Boorstein, “Long road to Boy Scouts’ shift on gay policy,” Washington Post, June 1, 2013)


“[p. 2126] Post-Election Backlash 

After the election, as the news coverage of the Mormon/LDS financial backing of Proposition 8 peaked, the LDS as well as individual Mormons experienced a high degree of hostility and criticism, especially from members of the gay community who blamed Mormons for the measure’s passage. Even prior to the election, Proposition 8 opponents singled out Mormons for their role in backing the initiative. Proposition 8 opponents picketed Mormon Church services and boycotted prominent Mormon donors. Activist Dante Atkins, posting on the liberal blog Daily Kos, published a link to a list of Mormon donors and encouraged readers to ‘use OpenSecrets to see if these donors have contributed to . . . shall we say . . . less than honorable causes, or if any one of these big donors has done something otherwise egregious.’…

[2127] To be fair, in the heated atmosphere prior to the election, both sides engaged in questionable tactics. In television advertisements, billboards, and phone banks, Proposition 8 supporters claimed that if the measure failed to pass, churches that refused to perform same-sex marriages would lose their tax-exempt status and that ministers would be jailed for preaching against homosexuality. Supporters of the Protectmarriage.com campaign also contacted businesses that had contributed to the ‘No on 8’ campaign, threatening to ‘out’ these businesses as supporters of gay marriage unless they made equivalent contributions to the ‘Yes on 8’ campaign.…

In one particularly disturbing incident, envelopes containing a powdery white substance (which the FBI later determined to be nontoxic) were sent to two LDS temples and to a Knights of Columbus facility.…

[2128] The artistic director of Sacramento’s California Musical Theater and the director of the Los Angeles Film Festival both resigned after opponents of Proposition 8 learned of their monetary contributions to the Yes on 8 campaign. (It may be worth noting that both of these individuals had also received signals of support from the community, and the board of the Los Angeles Film Festival initially attempted to block the director’s resignation.) Additionally, anonymous activists created a website called ‘eightmaps.com,’ which combined the SOS Website Proposition 8 contributor lists with Google Maps information, creating markers indicating a contributor’s name, approximate location, contribution amount, and employer.…

[2129] As is evident from this chart, news momentum did not really start to build until early October, a month before the election— hardly surprising given the more intensive attention and coverage of election-related issues in the weeks immediately preceding the election. But, somewhat surprisingly, coverage of Mormon/LDS involvement peaks only after the election, in a series of electoral postmortems punctuated by coverage of anti-Mormon reactions by same-sex marriage advocates.

Indeed, only a small fraction of news stories referencing Mormon/LDS involvement in Proposition 8 were published prior to or on the date of the election: 205 out of a total of 1,876 news articles, or less than eleven percent. This pattern plays out in coverage by major California newspapers. Of these articles, only eight of the 55 published in the Los Angeles Times were published before November 5, 2008, only four of the 21 articles in the San Francisco Chronicle, only three of the 28 articles in the Sacramento Bee, and only five of 14 articles in the San Diego Union Tribune.…

[2130] Even years after the passage of Proposition 8, in certain months as many as sev[2131]enty or eighty news articles would reference its LDS/Mormon financial backing.…

[2150] As we saw with Proposition 8, the mere fact that the LDS sup- ported Proposition 8 was far from newsworthy. Instead, it was only once it came to light that Mormons had contributed a major percent- age of the campaign’s funds that the story gained traction—and notoriety—in the local and national press. Of course, five years later, and without the benefit of contemporaneous exit polling, it is impossible to tell whether this information would have caused voters to change their vote or would have affected voter turnout or vote drop-off on the measure. But other studies have suggested that where a group provides a major portion of the financial support for a measure, this fact could cause a decline in voter support for a measure. For example, after a sample of California voters was informed that more than sixty percent of the funds used to place Proposition 226 on the 1998 ballot came from out-of-state interests, support for the measure declined by fifteen to twenty percent.…” (Monica Youn, “Proposition 8 and the Mormon Church: A Case Study in Donor Disclosure,” The George Washington Law Review 81:2108-54, November 2013)


“A rating of 0 degrees means you feel as cold and negative as possible. A rating of 100 degrees means you feel as warm and positive as possible…”

The three lowest-rated groups were: 48 (Mormons), 41 (Atheists), 40 (Muslims). (Pew Research Religion & Public Life Project, “How Americans Feel About Religious Groups,” www.pewforum.com, July 16, 2014)


“A nationwide poll conducted last year by the Public Religion Research Institute found that 53 percent of respondents considered the Mormon Church ‘unfriendly to L.G.B.T. peole.’ (Among religious denominations, only the Roman Catholic Church, at 58 percent, fared worse.)…” (Samuel G. Freedman, “Social Worker Spreads a Message of Acceptance to Mormons With Gay Children,” New York Times, September 12, 2014)


“After mentioning to my husband some of what I shared, he clarified with me, that our daughter, Michaela, did stat to us that one of the reasons for her resigning her membership was based on Prop 8 and how the church became involved and also the church’s treatment of the LGBT members.…” (Cosette Blanchard to GAP, June 24, 2015)


Balken: After the election occurred—the first election of President Obama as well as the passage of Proposition 8, which repealed the ability of same-sex couples to marry in California—incidentally, this is a side-note, but my wife and I were actually married in that window in California, so there is an interesting personal connection there as well—the community here on the ground in Utah experienced such a profound schism.  It wasn’t just between, as they like to say, a “self-identified LGBT” and self-identified LDS people.  This was really through level of our community.  It was in the workplace, it was in neighborhoods, it was in community centers; and it was also being played out in families.  Right after that election we had Thanksgiving and Christmas, and I can’t tell you how many friends I had that didn’t want to go home, that didn’t go home, that didn’t invite their families to their homes because there was really no room at all for conversation.  It seemed like so many of our doors had just been completely shut.  There was no wiggle room; there was no opportunity for dialogue; there was no opportunity for any kind of commonality post-Prop 8.…

I don’t know if I can say this factually or not, but I profoundly believe that Prop 8 did more to open the dialogue between LDS and LGBT people than anyone could ever imagine.  While it is seen by many as a great mistake, or one of the greatest tragedies, I think it truly has been an incredible tool for building understanding and building conversation.  It sort of was really the thing that made us pay attention.  That tension had been there for so long and things had been happening for so long, on both sides, that were demeaning and hurtful.  Prop 8, in that one vote, really provided a focal point for people to say, “Something is really wrong.  We need to pay attention to this.”  It took us some time to mourn and tend to our wounds, and then we began the process of looking at each other as community members, as family members, and beginning to figure out how we can build a future together.

(Brandie Balken, April 11, 2013)

Bastian: When Prop 8 passed, you saw the massive demonstrations here, around Temple Square in Salt Lake City, which was probably the biggest demonstration against the Church that I have ever seen.  Thousands of people were in a circle around Temple Square.  They totally surrounded it.  That happened also in Los Angeles and Oakland, and other places where demonstrators took to the streets to protest what the Church had done.  That was a huge deal.  That was a wake-up call.  That turned the LGBT community very much against the Church.  They should have been against it anyway, in my opinion, but passing Prop 8 really made the LGBT community stand up and say, “You are our enemy!”

The Church suffered.  I’ve sat down with church P.R. people—not anyone of authority, but the highest P.R. people in the Church—and I think it was generally accepted that it was a mistake.  What they did with Prop 8, they accepted as a mistake.  It backfired on them much more than they had ever imagined.  Their new membership drive went down—they started to get fewer new members than they had in the past.  Their tithing rolls went down.  I would have to check, but they went down 5 or 6%, which is a lot.

(Bruce Bastian, July 30, 2014)

Prince: So that’s the run-up to Prop 8.  Talk about the aftermath.

Blanchard: Oh, that’s where it really got nasty in our community.  Obviously, once the names started coming out about who donated, basically peoples’ homes were egged, signs were painted on some of the members’ garages.  And, of course, during the campaign signs would disappear off of peoples’ lawns.  Members would be angry: “Oh, they took our signs!”  There was a lot of negativity about things like that.

But afterwards, peoples’ cars were damaged, homes were egged or toilet-papered.  A couple of people had something spray-painted.  There was lot of verbal engagement if someone knew someone who had done it.  Of course, a lot of these folks would whine at church over it.  I have to say that I was saying to myself, “I knew this was going to happen.”  My husband and I chuckled—we weren’t pleased that they got hurt, but in my mind I was saying, “I knew this was going to happen.  I knew there was going to be a backlash.”  My husband and I talked about it multiple times.

Prince: But there wasn’t a backlash after Prop 22.  What was the difference?

Blanchard: The difference was the escalation in the Church.  The Church, I believe, played a huge part in really pushing the members to become actively involved in a variety of ways—obviously financially, and a lot more support of being out on the streets, participating in events and things to help.  Even in the local community they would encourage members to go.  We had a fair downtown, and they were actively encouraging members to go and be outspoken.  “State your views.  Support the Church on this.”  It was more than the signs on the lawns.  I felt like Prop 22 was a little bit more low-key—signs on your lawn, going door-to-door but not engaging.  But this time they really wanted us to engage, to vote, to contribute money.  There was a huge amount of pressure.  That’s my perspective.…

I remember hearing a comment at a social event.  We were doing a dinner for the Young Men and Young Women, and I was in the kitchen.  I was trying to stay under the radar, because these were some pretty big names in the ward.  I already knew we were somewhat the shunned family, so I was mostly listening.  I didn’t contribute.  But one of the persons was very upset.  He used to be on the San Francisco 49ers.  He was really, really upset, and made comments about the Church not having his back.  [Cosette sent me an email with the following addendum: “The contributor from my previous Ward In Pleasanton, CA that I was referring to, was Greg Clark, former 49er tight end and graduate of Stanford University.  I believe he currently owns a private Mortgage company in Northern California.”]

Prince: That he wrote out the big check and the Church didn’t give him cover later?

Blanchard: Yes.  I remember him talking to someone else in that kitchen.  He said, “I’m pretty upset.  They don’t really have our back now.”  I didn’t ask him questions; I just remember hearing it and taking note.  Then, the other person said, “Yeah.  If I had known it was going to be like this, I would never have contributed.”  There were people saying things like that.  “If I knew my family was at risk”—people were pretty upset.…

One lady did say, “Now that it’s all over, I’m really wishing that the Church hadn’t taken such a political stand with the members of the Church.  We really weren’t protected.”  That’s what she said.  In other words, “We didn’t know this was going to happen to us.”  I do remember one may saying, “How could you not have thought that was going to happen to you?”  Some people seemed naïve, and when this one guy said that, I was thinking to myself, “Yeah, exactly!  I knew this was going to happen.”  I had lived in California for a long time, and I knew there was going to be backlash.

(Cosette Blanchard, June 11, 2015)

I believe the church was greatly damaged by their own success.  They were condemned for their secretiveness.  They were condemned for interjecting themselves into a political issue.  They brought about untold damage to families with LGBT family members.  They sparked an exodus from the church of members who disagreed with the church stand, or had gay or lesbian loved ones who were harmed.  They were the target of a barrage of negative publicity and adverse demonstrations.

I also happen to believe that the church’s success, along with all the negative publicly it received, gave a great boost to the marriage equality movement. Suddenly, many people who were indifferent to the issue, became interested. Many took the side of fairness with respect to marriage equality.  I actually wonder if the great swing we have seen towards support of marriage equality would have been as significant had it not been for the publicity generated by Proposition 8.

(Alan Blodgett to GAP, December 2, 2014)

Jeff: I grew up in California, and when I was younger I never felt it was what I call litmus test Mormonism, where you have to check all these boxes.  With this Prop 8 thing, that just came back in force.  Even in Tokyo, we had a couple of situations where people would be visiting or had just moved from the U.S.  I remember a Sunday School class where we were discussing an Old Testament prophet.  This woman was talking about the persecution she felt—which amounted to people throwing eggs at her house for having put a Prop 8 sign on her front lawn—as being the same level of persecution that Joseph Smith and the Old Testament prophets experienced.

(Jeffrey Bohn, September 1, 2015)

Boyer: I think the Church lost its credibility—I can’t imagine how many people actually took their names off the rolls after Prop 8.  I know there were a lot of them.  They stopped going to church long ago, but then they wanted their names removed because they didn’t want to be associated with that kind of hatred.

Prince: So Prop 8 had a big backlash within the State of Utah, and not just in California?

Boyer: Oh, yes.  Huge.  I know of literally hundreds of people who had their names removed. 

(Nikki Boyer, July 25, 2015)

Bradshaw: I went to see Jeff at his office in the Church Administration Building, maybe four years ago.  I talked about the issue with him.  He was genuinely sensitive about it, caring about it.  He mentioned, without anyone’s name, gay Mormon kids who had been in his office seeking counsel.

I sent to him all of the documents that you have seen, that I also sent to Marlin Jensen, and asked if I could speak to him.  Jeff wrote back and said, “Bill, I’ll read everything you send me, but it won’t be possible to talk to you about this.”

I have an interpretation about this, which has the same level of credibility as what you said to me about your interpretation of why Boyd Packer is the way he is.  I have the sense that they were totally taken aback by the Prop 8 backlash.  They didn’t see this coming, although I don’t see how they didn’t.

Prince: It is because they live in a bubble.

Bradshaw: I guess.  Because of that, there has been something of a closing of the ranks.  That is to say, they have made the decision, or somebody told them, “We are not talking about this publicly.  We may talk about it ourselves, but you will not talk about this to anybody else outside of the Twelve.”

Prince: Even in private.

Bradshaw: Yes.  Two things substantiate that view.  One is that in response to the Oaks-Wickman piece on the Church’s website—what an unusual way to talk about church policy, in a Q&A session through the Public Affairs Office—our group wrote a response.  Bob Rees was the primary author.  We submitted the response through a family named Peterson—Marvin and Geneva Peterson.  They live in Farmington.  One of their daughters is married to the son of Marlin Jensen.

A little side story.  Marv told me that after Elder Jensen’s meeting with the Oakland Stake people—my son was there, along with his partner Jeff—because they have children in common, the word got communicated to Marvin Peterson that after it was made public on the Internet about the Oakland meeting—and initially, what he said was not quite accurately portrayed, but Carol Lynn Pearson reported it correctly—Elder Packer was walking down the hall.  He saw Marlin and said, “I heard what you said in California,” and walked past him in a huff.  That fits what we know.

The reason I am telling you this is to explain my hypothesis about the closing-the-ranks thing on the gay issue.  We sent, to Dallin Oaks, a response to the Oaks-Wickman article, and we funneled it through the Peterson’s.  He responded and said, “Thank you.  This is very thoughtful.  This is not an invitation for us to have a continual dialogue about this.”

Prince: So he and Jeff are saying the same message.

Bradshaw: Yes, they are saying the same thing.  And I am getting the same thing also from a friend of mine who is a psychotherapist in Salt Lake.  He has been talking to missionaries with psychological problems, for a long time.  He has been close to Dallin Oaks.  He says the same thing happened to him.  Whereas he used to have this open, accessible relationship on this issue with Elder Oaks, it is no more.  I don’t know if you can say the door was closed, but it was something like that.  It was not the same anymore, and he has the same sense that there has been this conspiracy of silence, or whatever the right words are; this intentional effort not to talk about this in public.  I guess it is to try to reduce the publicity and to let the thing die down and cope with all of the problems that have happened in the aftermath of Prop 8.

(William Bradshaw, June 4, 2011)

Evans: Now, having come out of that, and having been aware of Prop 22 eight years earlier, which was a statute instead of a constitutional amendment, following the passage of Prop 22, everyone on both sides shook hands, figuratively speaking, and went home.  So that was the paradigm that we were operating from going into Prop 8, that it would be hard fought, and whoever prevailed, it would be over and we would go our separate ways.  Well, as you know, that wasn’t the outcome.  The pushback was substantial.

Prince: And prolonged.

Evans: And prolonged, and Prop 8 has become a household word, part of our lexicon almost.  Were there casualties along the way?  Absolutely.  There is no question.  Have there been unanticipated outcomes that are a plus?  Yes.  Number one, in the religious world we are seen differently than we were before by people who are on our side of the marriage issue.  We are certainly seen differently by people who didn’t pay much attention to us before, on the other side of the issue.  But the most unexpected and unanticipated consequence is that we now have growing relationships, to one degree or another, with some of the very significant people in the LGBT community.  Those would not have happened but for Prop 8.

Prince: Rick is only a plane ticket away.  Keep that in mind.

Evans: I know.  You keep that open.

(William Evans, February 8, 2012)

Prince: We’re just trying to figure out which end is up after the election and inauguration.  Just as a heads-up, I talked to Paul Monteiro and he said, “I want you to know that we initially had asked Elder Perry to be a speaker at the prayer breakfast the day after the inauguration.  But we had to rescind that invitation.”

Evans: Oh, wow.

Prince: He said, “The reason was that when Louis Giglio, the man who was going to give the prayer at the inauguration, was found to have preached some homophobic sermons years earlier, he withdrew from the program.  The Administration got thinking about it and thought, ‘We don’t want to risk people protesting because we have a Mormon participating in this, and them saying this is a homophobic church.’”  So they diplomatically withdrew the invitation, though he and Elder Cook and a few others attended the service.  But we weren’t represented on the program, and that is the reason why.

(William Evans, February 5, 2013)

Evans: This is a poor comparison, but let me make it anyway: coming out of Prop 22 when that passed in the year 2000—and as you know, the language is exactly the same language as Prop 8, except the one was a law and the other was a constitutional amendment—there was nary a whimper on the part of the gay community.  I was close enough to get a reading of the feelings, and the expectation from the Church and others was that if Prop 8 prevailed, which it barely did, the response of the gay community would be similar to what it was eight years earlier.

(William Evans, November 19, 2015)

Evans: We scared a lot of people with Prop 8.  We talk about the unintended consequences of Prop 8, and this—these relationships with real people—these connections with people who are prominent in the LGBT community, to me was the most unintended and yet the most gratifying consequence that has come out of it.  It wouldn’t have happened otherwise, Sharon.…

Groves: When our side looked at the result of that, one of the first things they did was to recognize that part of why we lost was because we had such an intractable, “religion is the enemy” response.  When we worked at all with clergy, which was the most progressive clergy in the country, they were just backdrop, what we called “rent-a-collar.”  You kind of Photoshop them, but no engagement.

So there was a whole rethinking about, “We can’t do this if we are not actually engaging religious leaders.”

Prince: Was this discussion within HRC?

Groves: A little bit within HRC, but more within the larger movement.

Evans: What were you doing with HRC then?

Groves: I was at the University of Maryland, and I was working at a journal called Feminist Studies, which was an interdisciplinary journal that was devoted to women’s studies.  I was teaching too, trying to figure out what I was going to do.  I wasn’t supposed to end up where I ended up—I was supposed to be an English professor.  But I’m so glad to be doing this.

What’s interesting is that so much happened around Prop 8.  It really shifted the conversation.  This conversation today was possible.  The LDS Church shifted.  The movement changed.  We have a president at HRC [Chad Griffin] who has his job because he pulled together the Dream Team lawyers that then ended up winning.  So much centers around that Prop 8 work.

But I think that work was a battle between sides.  In the aftermath of that battle came something different that needed to be born, which was this reconciling work.  I don’t know that our old institutions are the right institutions to actually take us to that next space.

(William Evans, Sharon Groves, November 19, 2014)

Jacobs: After the election, I think some unfortunate things happened—really unfortunate.  First off, the people who ran the anti-Prop 8 campaign didn’t acquit themselves well in terms of just saying, “We did the best we could.  It didn’t work out.  We’ve learned a lot of lessons, and let’s move on.”  They were very defensive, which I get.  People had worked hard, and they were defensive.  So what they did, which I think was unfortunate and inappropriate, was that they actually blamed the Church, completely, for Prop 8 and for the loss.  The election had been on Tuesday, and I think on Thursday the head of the L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center, who had been on the campaign committee, had a press conference in front of the temple in West L.A., pointed up the hill and said, “That’s the reason we lost.”  You may remember the pictures.  There were police at night—it wasn’t a good outcome for anybody because it wasn’t fair.  I think vilifying the Church itself in that context, to that extent, was not appropriate.  Now, I would take a lot of responsibility because we had started this effort.  But I certainly would not have had a press conference in front of the temple and said, “See those nasty people?”  I wouldn’t have done that, but anyway, there it is.

Well, the loss on Prop 8—or the victory, depending on whose side you were on—led to an explosion of interest by the LGBT community and allies that we maybe saw in Stonewall time, but I wasn’t around and there wasn’t the Internet; and now, it exploded.  Hundreds of groups popped up overnight.  Hundreds!

Prince: All post-election?

Jacobs: All post-election.  The Courage Campaign, itself, decided on Election Night, in the early hours of the morning, that we would do an online petition to repeal Prop 8.  We did, and MoveOn.org joined us.  We probably had 500,000 signers.  We had an enormous number of people who we angry.  They didn’t know what to do.  They didn’t know where to go.

There were marches down Sunset Boulevard, people just spontaneously marching.  They went to an event Wednesday night in West Hollywood where some of the traditional leaders of the community started speaking, and people just walked away.  They just started marching.  They wanted to march, and they marched up La Cienega all the way to the CNN Building in Hollywood.  They didn’t know where they were going or why.  I joined them at one point.  There were no leaders.  It was just a spontaneous anger.  “We want to march,” and they did.  Thousands of people.

Prince: Did it remain peaceful?

Jacobs: Yes, very much so.  Oh, some people banged on the door at CNN.  Nobody knew what they wanted.  Nobody knew what anybody wanted.  It was just an expression of frustration. 

Then, the next night was the thing that was organized to blame the Church.  That led to a march into West L.A., up to the corner of Westwood and Wilshire, probably the busiest intersection in the country.  Again, that remained peaceful.

There were a lot of consequences, some of them not so good.  There were a lot of unfortunate, racist things that happened, maybe more talked about than actually done, where people said, “We elected your president; why didn’t you help us?”  Also, the African-American community was unfairly blamed for the loss.  I say unfairly because the numbers show that African-Americans voted in some number for Prop 8, but the numbers weren’t big enough.  That wasn’t the answer.  So a lot of really bad things happened.  And again, people wanted to march.…

For the Courage Campaign, that was the cause of our massive growth.  We had 125,000 online members on November 4th, 2008, and by December 31st we had 350,000.

(Richard Jacobs, January 19, 2014)

Jansson: Remember the backlash at the temple in Santa Monica?

Prince: Yes.

Jansson: There were several packages of an unidentifiable white powder mailed to the Salt Lake Temple, to the Los Angeles Temple, and to a bookstore in Hartford, Connecticut.  I don’t know if you remember the Associated Press story on that.

Prince: I remember the two temples, but I don’t recall the bookstore.

Jansson: The bookstore was the headquarters of the Knights of Columbus.  Isn’t that interesting?  When I looked it up I thought, “Wait a minute!  What is this?  This is duplicitous that the media would elect to tag the Salt Lake Temple, Los Angeles Temple, and a ‘bookstore in Hartford, Connecticut,’ conveniently leaving the focus of the story on the Mormons.”  They knew where that bookstore was, but that just goes with the territory when you recognize that the media can couch language any which way it wants and maintain the focus of a particular event on a specific organization.  When I realized it, I called the committee and said, “Hey, guys, did you see the story?”  Ned Dolejsi went, “Yes, it’s the headquarters of the Knights of Columbus.”  I said, “Oh, my land!”  He said, “Yes, we thought that was interesting that they would elect to run that story that way.”

Within days of when we won the election, a lawsuit was filed to overturn the decision, and it went to the California Supreme Court.  I know you’re aware of that.  I was in that courtroom.  I was at every event I could possibly attend that dealt with any of the legal activities.  We won that case by a 6-3 vote, on the basis that the California Supreme Court determined that the right of the people to modify and amend the constitution is a sacred right, regardless of how they feel about the decision.

(Mark Jansson, November 16, 2015)

Jones: I had an interesting experience during the street protests that were occurring throughout the state after the election.  As I am sure you are aware, a great many of them targeted Mormon churches.  Where I live, in fact, a couple of nights after the election in my little, tiny town, there were close to 1,000 people who marched around, and then ended up surrounding the local Mormon church.  It is such an easy target.  The Mormons are not understood, and a lot of people enjoy making fun of them.  But I’ll tell you, I felt so uncomfortable that night that I started telling people, “Never, ever, ever again should there be a protest outside somebody’s church.”  A lot of people disagree with me on it, but it made me very uncomfortable.  My approach to faith communities I that I consider all people-of-faith potential allies in this struggle for equality, if we can keep those lines of communication open.

(Cleve Jones, in Richard Jacobs interview, June 22, 2010)

Karger: Yes.  I finally saw, on the weekend before the election, that the campaign allowed people to go out and do things.  They were so scared to let people volunteer, because they were afraid of what the reaction might be.  But the last weekend, they had a volunteer operation.  I happened to be in West Hollywood, and there were a bunch of people out there with “No on 8” signs, waving them above their heads to passers-by, which is a common campaign practice in California.  I could see the passion these kids had, which now had finally been allowed to be unleashed.  I turned to my friend who was with me and said, “Boy, if we lose this thing, there are going to be a lot of angry people around.”  This was the first time that had happened, and it turned out that there was a hundred times more anger than I had anticipated.  We saw what happened when everyone took to the streets, all over the world, ten days later.

So history will record that this was the turning point, and it really backfired on the planners of the Prop 8 campaign.  Had they just left it in the statute, which it was with Prop 22 in 2000, they would have been fine.  But I think the fact that California got so much attention, because they were expected to do down in defeat but didn’t, made it even more of a shock to people.

So in hindsight, I think it was a gigantic mistake on the organizers’ part.  I’m sure if they had been able to undo it, they might have.…

Then on top of that, I decided to do a boycott of Garff Automotive Group, which was to be my third boycott.  Also, since I was getting so many tips and had so much information, I decided to be a little more bold about it.  I was convinced at that point that the Church was covering up its massive involvement by saying, “Oh, it’s $190,000 that we spent.  We reported it, so we’re done.”  But that was not quite the case.

So I went to Salt Lake City on February 7, 2009.  I did two things.  I did a press conference, which was completely filled with every media outlet in Salt Lake City.  I did it at the Marriott Hotel that was closest to Temple Square.  I was setting up a website called mormongate.com, because I truly believed there was a cover-up.  The website had a phone number and an email address for tips.  I asked people to send information to me through the website.  And also, I announced the boycott of Garff Automotive Group, because one of the tips I had gotten was that part of the $3 million that came into Prop 8 from Utah was $100,000 from Katharine Garff, and it said “homemaker” on it for occupation.  Somebody said, “You need to understand that her husband owns 52 car dealerships.”  So I thought here was a chance for a boycott, because they gave $100,000, and that was my minimum that I would boycott a company for.  I thought this would be a good wakeup call for other donors, that if they thought they could mask their contributions by sending them through their wives, that I would do that.

Unlike my first boycott of this guy in San Diego, Doug Manchester, who was very unpopular, very much despised in San Diego, the Garff family was the opposite.  They are revered in Utah.  So I knew it would going to be a very contentious boycott and press conference, but I had no idea it would go an hour.  A friend of mine came to help hand out the press kits.  His jaw dropped about five minutes into it and he never quite recovered, because the press were very aggressive in their questioning, as they should be, because this was pretty outlandish, taking on the Mormon Church and taking on one of its most prominent members.  But I felt it was absolutely necessary.

Then, that was the day that I was also to receive all those documents from the Church.  I had been in touch with that individual, who had suggested a way to get them to me, but I decided that I would be happy to come to Utah, and we could get together at the end of the press conference later that day, and I would receive the documents.  That’s exactly what happened.  So it was quite a day for me.

One thing that happened at the press conference was quite interesting.  One of the reporters, not from KSL, said, “I have a question and I’m not sure how you will respond.  I have been in touch with John Garff, Robert Garff’s son, who is with the car company.  He would like to meet with you today, if possible, and I have been given his cell phone number.  If you are willing to meet with him, I’ll be happy to give you his number.”  I said, “I’d be delighted to meet with him.”

She gave me his number, and within an hour or two I was up in his office on the top floor of the Garff Tower.  We had a very productive meeting, although a little awkward, that went on for a couple of hours.  That’s when we basically settled this boycott against them, which was reported on the news that night.

Prince: What were the terms for dropping the boycott?

Karger: The same terms I had given everyone else, which was a similar amount of money, or more, to LGBT organizations.  It was $100,000 that John’s mother had given to the campaign.  The campaign was over, of course, but I said, “If you would give $100,000 to LGBT organizations to Utah and elsewhere, I will drop it.”  I suggested GLSEN—the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network—which helps at-risk youths in high schools.

We talked about a loose arrangement, but he said, “The car business is in a panic.”  It was early in 2009 and the recession was just kicking in.  “We can’t afford $100,000 now, but I could do it over five years, at $20,000 a year.”  I said, “I will go along with a four-year payment, at $25,000 a year.”  He agreed to that.  He said, “Get me a proposal, and as far as I’m concerned, we have a deal.”  We shook on it.

I started working with my attorney and put a proposal together.  I put the website on hold—I had a Boycott Garff Automotive Group website with all their dealerships listed—and I was getting concerned because I hadn’t heard back.  Well, he ended up bringing Bruce Bastion into the negotiations.  I had always been a huge admirer of Bruce, because he was the first one to give a million dollars to “No on 8” and challenge others to do the same.  I was asked by John Garff it that would be OK, and I said, “Absolutely.”  Bruce didn’t like phone calls, which I preferred, so we ended up negotiating this whole thing by email.  I thought, “Who better to negotiate than Bruce Bastion?”  So we worked it out, and Bruce said he would make sure that the money was given to these organizations.  He met with Robert Garff twice, and received assurances from Robert Garff himself that they would never, ever give money to any anti-LGBT organizations without letting Bruce know—which, to me, is tantamount to saying they would not give money to anti-gay elections organizations.

We considered that a great victory, and we worked out a joint statement from the three of us.  It was a win-win-win.  I know the Garff family had been somewhat involved, through Bruce, in supporting the Human Rights Campaign, but as I understand it, they have been much more involved in HRC and other organizations.  Being so prominent—Robert Garff is a member of the Quorum of Seventy—I think it sent a very important message to other donors that maybe they should be working with the LGBT community, instead of fighting them.

(Fred Karger, July 8, 2014)

Kendell: I definitely think that the unintended consequences of the Church’s massive overplay on Prop 8 were a tarnished reputation for at least another generation, as a firebrand, anti-gay, politically-polarizing entity, all of which the Church does not want to be seen as; and the fact that Prop 8 passed galvanized a national movement that had been, if not moribund, at least complacent.…

That move contradicted everything the Church had done up to that point—not contradicted; it just put it on steroids.  Everything they had done before was low-key, “We are going to exhort our members to abide by doctrine as we see it.”  But then, they jumped into the middle of the political fight.  It would be the biggest issue on the ballot, other than Obama, in 2008. 

Prince: And it became synonymous with marriage equality.

Kendell: It did.

Prince: Where nothing else had.

Kendell: And the Mormon Church became synonymous with haters and anti-gay.  It was something that the Church never, never should have done.  The Church is not equipped, genetically, to be in that role.  It is so contrary.  It was hard for me to travel around and have people castigate the Mormon Church and lump them in as haters with everybody else.  It was just so contrary to everything I ever knew, and it was contrary to what I believe the Church really stood for and really was.

Prince: In the aftermath of Prop 8 the Church commissioned a national survey of attitudes towards Mormons.  Distilled down, they had twenty descriptors that people had used, ranked by frequency.  Nineteen of the twenty were negative.  The only one that was a positive was, “Mormons care about families.”  And that was ironic, because in a sense they really didn’t—they were trying to stop a different type of family unit from happening.

Kendell: Yes.  It was a bigger public relations debacle than New Coke.  It was the worst thing they could have possibly done.  I don’t have a dog in that hunt—the Church can take whatever position it wants.  But you are right, the irony of it is that it was such a catalyst when Prop 8 passed, that everything the Church was fighting against has now come to pass, and in a much quicker way.

(Kate Kendell, December 3, 2014)

Kern: I can speak more to what followed, because I continued to live in San Francisco for four years.  I have a couple of anecdotes related to fallout or effect of the whole episode.  Are you interested in hearing those?

Prince: That’s exactly what I’m interested in.

Kern: I started work, and the place I was working at, I was doing consulting.  I was at a client’s business and there was an employee of the client who was gay, and older man who lived in the Castro with his husband.  He had been married during the window when it was legal.  I wasn’t actually there for this event, because I hadn’t started at that client until a few weeks later.  But one of my co-workers talked about the very day, Tuesday, that the vote went down.  He kept checking the news, saying, “I’ve got to see if I’m still married.”  I’m sure he knew that Prop 8, itself, didn’t invalidate standing marriages, but still it was an important thing for him to stay connected.

Anyway, I ended up meeting him later and I ended up working with him.  At the time, I was riding my bicycle to work.  He saw me riding one day and said, “Where do you go to?”  I would actually bike to a bus stop, and I’d take the bus into the city.  He said, “If you ever need a ride to the city, that’s where I go.”  The workplace was in North Bay, across the Golden Gate Bridge.  So he had a standing offer to give me a ride home if I had bike trouble.  This would have been in February or March of 2009.

I had some bike trouble—I can’t remember how I got to work—and I was in a pinch to get back, so I went up to him and said, “Is that offer still good?  Can you take me into the city?”  He said, “Oh, yes.  Sure.”  So I had a nice car ride home with him.  It was about a 40-minute ride, and we got to talking.  I had said that I had come from BYU, and he said, “So are you one of those good-old Mormon boys?”  I said, “I am.  But just so you know, I didn’t really have much to do with Proposition 8.”  He said, “OK.  Whatever.”

Then he mentioned that one of his hobbies was family history, and that he, in previous years, had been a very active patron of the Family History Center at the Oakland Temple.  He had done family history work and research both for him and for his husband.  He said he still had some work to do, but he felt conflicted, that he could not, in good conscience, go back to the Family History Center as a result of Proposition 8.  That gave me a moment of reflection.  If this was kind of a “Teach My Gospel” training video, what would be the proper response?  It seemed like a pretty classic situation with a non-member co-worker, the Gospel comes up, you start speaking about common interests, and he mentions family history.  “Oh!  Well, we have a wonderful Family History Center.”  That seems like a very correlated role-play.  But then you hit up against this, “But I can’t, in good conscience, participate in this because, even though I value my family to the extent that I’m doing all this family history work”—despite the resources that the Church is providing, the overlying message was that he felt that the Church was on a mission to bastardize his family.  I didn’t have a response to that.  So that, for me, was a very visible example of the effect that Proposition 8 had, that somebody who was eager to participate in family history work at the LDS Family History Center was now going out of his way to avoid it, on no other grounds than Proposition 8.

Another story was that we had several members of the ward who were gay.  Some of them were recently out, some were semi-closeted, and some of them were open to whoever cared or wanted to ask.  In most of the singles wards there groups of friends and cliques, and some of the cliques seemed to have more of an awareness that there were gays in our ward, and others were more oblivious to it.  That came through when people taught a lesson or bore their testimony.  You could tell, for those who were more plugged into it, the different levels of sensitivity that people would use when they would speak in church.  Some would try to use inclusive language, and not say things that would be extremely off-putting to people in the congregation that they knew were gay.  But at the same time, some people had no idea and spoke the party line.  Some went even beyond that and said things that would be considered quite offensive, assigning motives to gay people in general.  “They want to destroy society and destroy the family.”  Things like that.  That was difficult, but it certainly illustrated the divide in understanding and compassion.  Those who had close friendships with gay folks in the ward had a spiritual dimension as far as developing compassion and charity and understanding, and even from a theological side trying to come to know Christ, and if Christ descended below them all, coming to the awareness that this was something that God and Christ are aware of and know of, and are not aloof from.  That really did add a spiritual dimension to the issue.  I can speak for myself and for others in the ward.

An interesting twist of events occurred with one of the gay brothers in our ward.  He was active in the ward; he wouldn’t partake of the sacrament, but he was committed and active and would come to the events.  He had started dating this guy who he had met in the city.  He was very open with him and said, “I’m going to a church activity.”  Sometimes it was just the picnics or barbeques.  He had had past relationships where he had brought up church activities, and there was no interest at all.  But this guy was interested.  “Do you mind if I come along?”  “OK.”  So there we had a gay ward member and his boyfriend showing up, keeping a low profile but certainly present.  His boyfriend would show up to more and more activities, until the missionaries started noticing him and got to know him.  I think he had come from a Catholic background.  He still had some faith and religiosity to him, although he was unaffiliated.  So the missionaries picked him up as an investigator.

At the time, I was the ward mission leader and I knew what was going on.  I was very close friends with the gay ward member and was aware that it was his boyfriend who was coming.  So the missionaries started teaching him.  He started progressing, and he would start coming to church.  He even went to General Conference in April 2010.  As the ward mission leader, I was coordinating with the missionaries.  They said, “We’ve got this great investigator.  His name is Mark, and he is doing really well.  He is coming to the church.”  To the missionaries, he was a golden investigator.  I was like, “Great!  But how does this work?”  I couldn’t see how, and I felt a little bit uneasy.  This wasn’t in relation to Proposition 8 directly, but just the whole LGBT issue within the Church was really coming to a head in our ward, with me as ward mission leader having a gay member’s boyfriend on-deck to be baptized.

As it turned out, the gay ward member and his boyfriend were dating, but they were chaste.  It would be like a heterosexual couple that were dating, and that wouldn’t be an inhibition to be baptized.  He had a baptismal interview, and I don’t know how that went down.  I don’t know what questions got asked or what answers got delivered.  But I did get a call that said, “Mark needs a baptismal interview with the mission president.”  They didn’t tell me why, and I didn’t tell them that I already knew why.  So there was this disconnect between me and the missionaries, just for the sake of discretion.

Anyway, I drove him to the mission office and sat outside the president’s office.  At the time, I think President Wade was the mission president of the Oakland-San Francisco Mission.  It was a relief for me, because I knew what was going on, on both sides.  I was with the missionaries who were saying, “We have this golden investigator,” and then I was friends with the ward member who said, “This is my boyfriend, and he is coming to church.”  I was afraid that there was going to be a disconnect somewhere, and so I was very relieved that the mission president was the one who was signing off on this and that I was going through the front door.  I didn’t feel any lingering responsibility to be like, “Hey, does anyone know what’s going on here?”

I was sitting outside during the interview and I didn’t hear how it all went down, but it was fairly lengthy.  I don’t know exactly what conversations were had and what was said, but I am confident that the mission president, knowing the circumstances of that baptismal interview, said whatever needed to be said and was satisfied with whatever response he got, to sign off on his baptism.

As we drove back he spoke to me a little bit.  I was like, “OK, what does this mean for your future?  What does this mean for you and Craig?”  Because of the nature of their relationship at that point, it wasn’t of no consequence.  He did get baptized, and I conducted the baptism.  He became an active member of the ward and was excited about doing missionary work.  It was really surprising to see.

The Oakland Mission did these monthly firesides called “Why I Believe,” where recent converts from the mission came to bear their testimony.  Mark got invited to speak at one of those.  As he was waiting in line, there was another recent convert who got up and talked about his conversion experience.  This is where Prop 8 came in again.  He said one of the main draws for him—I don’t want to say he was a redneck, but he was a little more, I don’t know what the right word is, but I seem to recall a little bit of a Southern drawl—anyway, he talked about how he was so upset in California that gay marriage was happening.  When he met the missionaries and they started teaching about the family, and he found out about the Church’s activism, that was actually a very appealing thing to him.  He said, “Finally someone is standing up to this!”  So that was his lead in.

So here, in this fireside, we had this guy basically bearing his testimony about Proposition 8 and how that was what brought him into the Church; and then a few people later we had the guy from our ward, Mark, who got up and bore his testimony of how he came into the Church and how it was a positive thing in his life.  He didn’t bring up anything related to Prop 8 or LGBT issues.  For those of us from our ward who had come to the fireside to support him, and who were aware of what was going on, it was a very tense moment.  We were squirming in our seats, and hoping he would sit down quickly.

I guess that underscored the underlying tension that I sensed in the Church in California at the time.  In the same functions and the same forums we had these disconnects.  We were all trying to get along, but there were these moments of discomfort that were bred out of different perspectives, different experiences, different life paths and ways of having arrived to the point that they did.  In some sense, it was encouraging to see how people could have the Gospel, and how the Church could unify and bring together people from such polarized positions.  But it was also a source of some discomfort.

We had a few incidents in the ward where there were openly gay people who had moved in and had announced in a very public setting, either in Testimony Meeting or speaking in church, that they were gay.  One of them was David Baker.  He was just in San Francisco for a few months.  He was one who spoke in church and worked it in in a more-or-less appropriate way.  But he certainly let us know.

(K. C. Kern, July 31, 2014)

Knox: I don’t know what else I can say to you about the Church, per se, Greg.  I did have one other insight to pop up there for you.  One of the challenges that we had in organizing people of faith to speak out during the Prop 8 campaign, and even in its aftermath—and maybe even especially in its aftermath, because you’re aware that a lot of us felt that religious voices were marginalized in the campaign itself, in inappropriate ways; we pushed back against our leadership on that score after the fact, and subsequent campaigns, particularly the one here in Maryland, were very, very different as a result, Minnesota, Maryland and other places.  One of the big challenges that we had was that our own movement had not been taught how to contend with other faith actors without seeming to denigrate that faith.  So our own people were, in the first few months until they found their voices, either hesitant to say anything at all because they didn’t want to be guilty of that, or they said broad things about the Mormon Church that may or may not have been true, in ways that they might have regretted later on.  I would shudder to go back through my own quotes, probably, if I went back through the record at this point.  This is why I never keep anything.  People like you frighten the mischief out of me—historians.  I throw everything away and delete all emails, because I don’t want to be reminded of the horrible things.  If you Google me, you will see a debate that I did once in Philadelphia with a black pastor, that has been a viral thing over the years.  You’ll see that I did things both well and poorly that night.  I, of course, only see the ones that I did poorly, and everybody else says, “You were great!  You were great!”  And I say, “Yes, but oh, my God, what about this?”

But anyway, that time was a seminal and important time for the LGBT communities, and particularly faith organizers, because we began to get our chops around how to do that work, how to be assertive and powerful on behalf of the moral convictions that we held, without making enemies of our opposition.  We did that both well and poorly, and learned a lot in that process.

(Harry Knox, October 27, 2015)

Wendy: I remember once the vote was read—and we won by a very small margin—I remember not feeling this “Yay!  We won!” excited feeling, but almost a bit sick.  And then the news had pictures of picketing the temple and people crying, and I remember having a moment where I thought, “Why are they so upset?  Don’t they know that this is wrong?  Don’t they know that they can’t have marriage?  Marriage is for us.  Marriage is for straight people.”  Now I think, “Why was I thinking those things?”  I’ve done such a complete one-eighty in my thinking on this that I’m just embarrassed even admitting some of these thoughts.  But I remember not feeling happy when we won.

(Wendy Montgomery, July 16, 2014)

Greg: What would your estimate be, among people you have known, of people who have walked away from the Church because of Prop 8?

Wendy: Oh, gosh.  Stories we have heard, or people we know personally?

Greg: Just give an estimate of both.

Wendy: Three or four hundred.

Greg: That you know of personally?

Wendy: Yes, either I have met them through Facebook or they are in our community.  They are part of LGBT groups or they are family members or friends.  Some of them are just allies.

(Wendy Montgomery, March 14, 2015)

Greg: Did you have any sense, both running up to the Prop 8 election and then in the aftermath, what happened to the Church’s reputation within California?

Lee: Yes.  It was just what we saw in the news, and what everyone else saw.  It was funny, because the Catholic Church was very involved in it too but they didn’t seem to get the backlash that the Mormon Church had.

Greg: Nor did the Evangelicals.

Carol: Right.  “The Mormons were the bad guys.”  That’s the impression I have.

Lee: Maybe, for some reason, they knew that that’s where the money came from.

Carol: I don’t think the Catholics and Evangelicals made such a difference monetarily.  People in our ward were told, “Can you give this much?”  They asked the rich people to give a certain amount.  It was coming from the authority of the Church, and they did it.

(Lee and Carol Oldham, January 14, 2015)

Prince: There was an immediate backlash after Prop 8 that caught them totally off-guard.  You were dealing with them shortly after that.  Do you think it’s an overstatement to say that they were in shock?

Pappas: No, I don’t think so.  I think they were completely shocked.  I know they did not anticipate that wave of support for the LGBT community and how much they were put in the forefront of really creating this whole thing.

Prince: Tell me what happened in Utah, even though it was a California thing.

Pappas: People started banding together.  People like Bruce Bastian—he pledged a million dollars.  How painful for him that his former business partner also pledged a million dollars for the other side.  These are people we know intimately.

Prince: And it’s a wound that hasn’t healed.

Pappas: A total wound, absolutely.  And I think that’s the other piece—the wounding and the way people were so hurt.  Then you see those situations were people are facing off in the streets of California, looking at each other from across the street and yelling back and forth.  It was so hurtful.

Prince: But what happened up here?

Pappas: I think there was so much disappointment, so many disenfranchised feelings, people feeling like, “Wait a minute.  This is my church, but what about those people whom I love?”  There were a lot of people during that period of time who had fallen away from the Church.  I knew person after person who was writing letters to say, “Take me off your records.”  The Church doesn’t ever want that.…

After Prop 8, families were breaking up.  It was so sad, because families were literally being torn apart.  Parents were torn between loving their children and loving their church.

Prince: Were you two together at that point?

Pappas: Yes.

Dalzen: It was also breaking wards apart.

Prince: In Utah as well?

Dalzen: Yes, but more so in California.  There were ward members within the Church who had terribly conflicted feelings, and people were being ousted and sort of blacklisted.  It was impassioned on both sides.

(Stephanie Pappas and Kristen Dalzen, April 9, 2015)

Rosky: But the way the Prop 8 campaign mattered here was very different, and the impact had nothing to do with marriage.  It’s not as if suddenly the Utah Legislature had to repeal Amendment 3.  It’s not as if a lawsuit was filed here.  There were no lawsuits filed on marriage.  But what happened is that the Church began issuing statements, I believe as early as July of 2008.  I think the general message was, “We’re not anti-gay.  We are opposed to gay marriage, but we are not anti-gay.”

Prince: We saw how well that one stuck.

Rosky: Yes.  Between 2008 and 2010, that space disappeared.  You used to be able to be pro-gay rights but not pro-gay marriage.  There was a space for a period of time.  Bill Clinton was such a person.  But that space evaporated, and they began to see that evaporate in 2008.

(Clifford Rosky, March 31, 2015)

Prince: Was there an immediately pushback amongst your colleagues prior to the election, or did most of the pushback come after the election?

Ryan: By “pushback,” what do you mean?

Prince: Well, there was a backlash against the Mormon Church because of Prop 8.

Ryan: Oh, people were horrified.

Prince: Were they horrified even going up to the election?

Ryan: Absolutely.  The strong-arming of it, there was a lot of media coverage.  It seemed as if anybody who was trying to speak up against it would be silence, like Bob Rees, who was sanctioned by the Church because he wrote a letter to the editor [of the Salt Lake Tribune], immediately.

Prince: And it was a pretty tame letter.

Ryan: Exactly.  Bob is very tame.  He is respectful.  He knows how to make his point without crossing a line that people would consider to be inappropriate.

Prince: He never speaks in a shrill voice.

Ryan: No, and it wasn’t shrill.  But anybody who took similar measures was heavily sanctioned at that time.  That was pretty clear, and especially in California, where the society as a whole is not authoritative, to see that kind of authoritative exercise of power in the public sphere took a lot of people aback.…

Prince: The Church Elders tried to frame this, privately at least, as, “It’s only about gay marriage.”  Comment on that, in terms of the public perception.

Ryan: First of all, anyone who thinks that you can control the media or what the media says or how the media frames it, that’s naïve.  The media is a giant maw, and it will change and shape and frame and tell the message any way it wants to.  By that time we had cable television, and we had all kinds of vehicles to get this information out, unlike what happened in earlier generations where maybe television was your only recourse.

I think the way it came across was exactly as you heard in our Mormon film, that the children and the adults were hearing, “Mormons hate gays.  The Church hates gays.”  As Tom Montgomery says of what his young, gay son was internalizing, he was internalizing a message of hate for him and other people like him.  I think that message was ubiquitous.  I think everybody heard it.  It has been part of the reason why I think people are blown away by our film, by its message of compassion and humanity, and showing the evolution of young Mormon parents to a young gay son who comes out and is struggling and is in great distress, and them really having a great deal of misinformation, but mobilizing as fast as they could to be able to be there and support him.  I think the perception of Mormon parents by religious leaders and civil leaders, whoever they may be, was not only one of intransigence around these issues, but of hate and anger, and anything but compassion.…

Prince: Michael [Purdy] was not in the crucible during Prop 8.

Ryan: Although he was very distressed that the Church was attacked as a result of that.

I don’t think they realized what they unleashed.  I don’t think they thought, for a minute, that they were going to be unleashing the forces of hate.  When you are unleashing hate in one way or another, it can have terrible ramifications for people.

(Caitlin Ryan, March 15, 2015)

Sainz: Fast forward, Prop 8 passes, unfortunately, and we come to find out that the Mormon Church, in this unholy alliance with the Evangelicals and the Catholics, were really the ringleaders of this.  Luckily, it horribly backfired on the Mormon Church.  While I have no proof of this, I have heard anecdotally from church leadership that they started seeing its effect virtually immediately in the doors that were being slammed in the face of their missionaries—not just in the United States, but around the world.…

The point that I am making is that whosever brand is going to be affected by the negative messaging, which is the denial of a right, is going to have an awful lot more to lose as a result of a close election.  For example, the position of Apple and Facebook and all of those—they were aspirational in nature.  They were towards marriage equality, and they suffered absolutely no downside—I would argue that they “suffered” great upside by being companies that were supporting the enhancement of equality in the State of California.  Whereas, on the opposite side, the brand of the LDS Church was seen as suborning discrimination, as wanting to take something back that a court had already given.  So as a result of that, even people that were not necessarily supporters of marriage equality, well beyond California’s boundaries, who had not really given it an awful lot of thought, came away with a negative opinion of the LDS Church.

Because the model of the LDS Church is different than an evangelical church or the Catholic Church—they have these missionaries and they are looking to grow their church—their brand was immediately going to take a hit.  I think that there has been a fair amount of reflection in the Church on behalf of that.

(Fred Sainz, August 15, 2014)

Anon.: I just don’t think anyone thought through the consequences.  They didn’t really anticipate the backlash.

Prince: No, and yet they could have gamed that.  They could have sat around a table and said, “What is the scenario and what is the likely outcome?”

Anon.: Yes, but they were not prepared for the enormous backlash.

Prince: And I think there are still ripples of that out there.  If you say “Prop 8,” a lot of people will say, “Oh yes, that was the Mormon thing.”

Anon.: Yes.  It hurt us.  And it really hurt us with the young people.  We got portrayed as gay-bashers out of the whole thing.

Prince: Yes.  I think there were some of the Brethren who sincerely thought, “This is just a marriage thing.  We’re not anti-gay.”  But that didn’t sell.

Anon.: There’s no way you can come out on that argument.

Prince: But they thought they could.

Anon.: Yes, they thought they could.  It was very interesting to watch.

(Anon., March 3, 2015)

Joe: It’s interesting that you say that, because now I’m remembering all of it.  I think that’s all true.  Those of us who work in communications would say, “You’d think there would be somebody in the Mormon Church who would say, ‘Of all the things that we could be out there trying to impact, whether it’s immigration or racial issues of abortion or gay rights”—this is sort of P.R. 101—“is there any vulnerability that we have that we would want to pay attention to?”  It is common sense to me that the Mormon Church, on the question of marriage, that somebody might say, “If we go stick our head up and have something to say about marriage, we’d better be prepared for the fact that there are an awful lot of people who have a lot to say about our own policies on marriage.”  So there was a common sense thing there that I think a lot of communications people would have thought, “Of all people, what are the Mormons doing getting into the business of wanting to have something to say about marriage?”

Greg: And traditional marriage in particular.

Joe: Right.  It was just an oddball thing.  “What were they thinking?”  It’s the world of social media.  It wasn’t just marriage.  Look at the dentist who shot the lion on Africa.  The way social media can change things and the way we are able to create the storms that we do, that had changed, too.  There was such a fight in California.  We always thought we were going to win, and the crushing reaction to the defeat was something that everybody was taken by surprise by.

There was the Mexican restaurant in West Hollywood, and the sister gave money.

Greg: $100.

Joe: Yes, and that was like the end of it!  There was a visceral rage about the loss, but the ability to create such a firestorm had everything to do with social media, and the ability to run a social media campaign and say, “We are going to punish those people until they feel it and they regret it.”

I always sort of imagined that the Church must be thinking, “Oh, my God!  What the heck did we do here?”  But it’s also important to remember that in the LGBT movement, we were really smarting from that.  Obama got elected and it was a great year for progressive issues.  It was a great year for Democrats.  And yet, we still lost the biggest, most expensive fight we had ever taken on, and there was an awful lot of finger pointing and an awful lot of blame.  We had invested almost $4 million in this $40 million campaign.  It showed a lot of the dysfunction in the movement.  It was a state effort run by state people, and they were pressuring the national groups to put money in, but keeping the national groups at arm’s length.  So there was a lot of turmoil within the movement in the aftermath of that, and a lot of internal focus.

The other thing that happened was—I want to say there is an LDS Church on Wilshire Blvd. in Los Angeles.  There was some vandalism happening.

Greg: It was the temple on Santa Monica Blvd.

Joe: OK.  That was starting to reverberate across the country.  I used to do the same round of TV shows with the same round of characters like Maggie Gallagher, so I would start to see that all of them were saying the same thing.  Whenever all of them started to say the same thing, I got the internal narrative that they were starting to use.  They were being very forceful—they weren’t being gracious winners.  They were coming right back out again and saying, “Now, we are afraid.  You may lose an election in this country, you may lose a fight; but it’s no excuse to damage synagogues and temples.”  I felt like we were in a bad spot, that this was an argument we were not going to win.

Greg: Yes, and the LDS Church began portraying itself as a victim.

Joe: Exactly.  They were very much a part of that narrative.  It was Maggie Gallagher and three or four other people that I would routinely debate.  Right after Prop 8 we did the Dr. Phil Show, and we were on TV a lot.  I felt like, “Every single time I come up against these people, they are the victims.”  I would have done the same thing if I were them.  It was a pretty smart narrative to be running.  That’s what prompted those moves to not make the donor lists public.  “We should privatize the donor lists, because in America you should be able to be against marriage and give money against marriage, and it’s your right to have that opinion and not fear for your safety.”  I almost felt like I was never able to get to the point where I could appreciate the P.R. disaster and the backlash that the LDS Church was feeling, because I was trying to walk this very delicate line, looking down the road and saying, “We are in a bad spot here.  We lost and there may be a negative backlash, but not only did we lose—we cannot let them win this now-continuing narrative that portrays them as the victims and us as these radical hoodlums who are going to go damage their buildings.”  The American people were not going to side with us on that one.  Regardless of the LDS Church and what people might think about the various tenets of the Church, were not ever going to win that argument.  I felt that it really hurt us in the months afterwards, because it was pretty pointed.

(Joe Solmonese, January 12, 2016)

Prince: Have the fissures caused by Prop 8 remained in some wards?

Thurston: Yes, but not on the surface.  I think our ward is probably a good example.  It’s a very conservative ward.  I know there are people in the ward who view me with a great deal of suspicion.  We also have those who are grateful for the stand that I took.  There are a number of gay children who grew up in the Young Men and Young Women programs in our ward, and their parents are still in our ward.  It’s interesting how that goes.  

We have one set of parents who essentially rejected their child.  When Prop 8 first came out I went and talked to them.  I said, “You’re probably going through some real problems now regarding your son, and I want you to know that I sympathize with you.  If there is anything I can do, or if you’d like to talk to me at all, I’m happy to talk.”  The response from the father was essentially, “We’re fine with what the Church is proposing.  After all, it’s his choice to be gay.”  I said, “You’re kidding me!  Do you really believe that?”  He said, “Oh yes.  Look at prisons.  People go there as heterosexuals, and they turn into homosexuals while they are in prison.”

But another couple who were very active in the Church—she was a nurse and worked a lot with gay people—their daughter was a lesbian.  They said, “When she came up through Young Women she was just like everybody else, in terms of being a faithful member of the Church.  If that’s who she is, we support her entirely.”  Since that time, both of them have become less active, although the father is one of the ward clerks.  So when I say less active, I mean that they feel like they are not that welcome in church because there are a lot of things they don’t go along with.  Their daughter met another woman and went to Iowa to get married.  That was during the time when they couldn’t get married in California.  The father told the bishop, when he went in for tithing settlement, that he was not a full tithe-payer that year because he deducted the cost of their trip to Iowa to be with their daughter for her wedding, because he felt like the Church was responsible for their not being able to have the wedding in California.

Their daughter and her partner wanted to have a child, through artificial insemination, but it wasn’t working well with one, and so they then tried it with the other.  The upshot of it is that both are now pregnant, so they are going to have twins in the family.  They are ecstatic about it.

Another woman who is very, very down-the-line has a daughter who is a lesbian.  Just recently she came and told Dawn, “You know, I finally sat down with my daughter and said, ‘Let’s just talk about it.  I’d like to meet your partner.’”  Up until they she had kept the partner out of the family, but this woman had read the Church’s website, mormonsandgays.org, and decided that it was all right to love her daughter and to bring her partner in and get to know her.  Those kinds of things are helpful.  It’s not the end of the game, but they’ve been very helpful.  It’s changed a lot of peoples’ minds.…

As some people put it, a lot of Mormons consider Prop 8 to be their version of being driven out of Missouri by the mobbers.  This was their trial-by-fire, and the ones who were adamantly in favor of Prop 8, and campaigned and gave money for it, regard everyone else as heathens.…

I’m sure the Church didn’t think that there would be as many people who left the Church.  We got all these petitions that were dumped on the Church’s doorsteps, all these people who resigned their memberships.  This all happened just as the Internet was expanding beyond anyone’s wildest beliefs.  There were hundreds of testimonials online from people saying, “I cannot abide this anymore that the Church is behaving this way.”  I’m sure that was totally unexpected.  I would be surprised if very many of the Brethren, especially at the time Prop 8 was happening, were all that Internet-savvy.  When do they have the opportunity to be on the Internet?  They don’t know what’s going on.

(Morris Thurston, January 17, 2014)

Prince: So then there was Election Night, and it won by four points.  What did you experience in the days and weeks afterwards?  In some areas there was a backlash against the Church, and in other areas there was none.

Waite: There wasn’t a lot of backlash here locally, but there was in Los Angeles.  It didn’t make national news, but it was all over the news here.  People were spray-painting the gate around the L.A. Temple.  My grandpa is a sealer in the L.A. Temple, and he was pretty upset about the reaction of people in L.A.  So we knew people were upset, but we were more insulated here in Bakersfield.

A lot of people were emboldened by the election.  “Look who we defeated!”  It dehumanized the other side.  I felt bad, and I struggled through the whole thing, even with what I felt like was sort of a spiritual confirmation, that this is what I should be doing, there was still a pit in my stomach.

(Sherod Waite, July 18, 2014)

Gary: When it became public who had given money and how much they had given, it really created a lot of animosity and hurt feelings.  We have friends who gave significant amounts of money, and that drove a wedge within their families.  One of my medical partners and I hardly spoke to each other for six months, because their son had given $5,000 to the campaign.

(Gary Watts, August 8, 2014)

Williams: There were all these pressures coming on them.  I think they were stunned at the negative backlash that they received from Prop 8.  What they didn’t realize is that America likes gay people more than it likes Mormons.  And it knows gay people more than it knows Mormons.

(Troy Williams, March 30, 2015)

Prince: And then the backlash.  Talk about that.  How much of that did you feel locally, versus what Salt Lake certainly felt and was surprised to feel.

Criddle: First of all, it’s astonishing to me that there would be surprise in Salt Lake.

Prince: But there was!

Criddle: Well, it’s astonishing.  I can only imagine that my feedback as a stake president up through channels and apart from normal channels was at least somewhat representative of what others were doing around the state.  I wonder if those who were responsible for receiving that feedback simply didn’t pass it on.

Prince: Protecting the king.

Criddle: Maybe.…

Prince: If we can get back on the record, what was the effect of the post-Prop 8 backlash on your stake, and on the missionary work within your stake?

Criddle: Those are two very different questions, so let me take them one at a time.  I think the backlash was episodic and idiosyncratic, depending on the particular individuals involved.  I think some people found themselves vulnerable and exposed, and the vast majority of other people just went along with their normal business.

On a personal level, I felt that as president of the Oakland Stake, I could not, in good conscience, invite members of the stake to respond to the First Presidency letter, financially or otherwise, unless I was willing to do it myself, regardless of my own reservations.  So I determined that I had to make a financial contribution.  It didn’t have to be huge, but it had to be more than de minimus so as to be out there.  And I had to do some level of door-to-door activity, and I did.  I made a $5,000 cash contribution, with full understanding that that was at a level that would have to be reported, and let the chips fly where they may.  Indeed, among the things I forwarded to you [an email chain within his law firm], when I came to my current law firm, I became a member of the tax department.  There were two partners in that department who were essentially my mentors, one of whom is also a neighbor.  He has two gay children, out of three.  He had just retired but was still active as off-counsel.  When the list came out of contributions, he sent me a personal note expressing his grave disappointment and displeasure.  He never spoke to me personally.  Then, he sent this email to all the partners in my law firm.  Our law firm has over 1,000 lawyers.  I guess he sent it to all the partners in California, expressing his outrage.

Later the same evening, another of my partners responded, saying, “Hold on.  You can’t say that.  It was Dean Criddle who did that.”  Great!  That, in turn, got leaked to the press in an industry blog, and I found myself identified, and it led to this huge controversy that has put me ever since in a difficult spot, both within my own law firm and amongst the broader community and clients.  I received several bits of correspondence from people around the state who said, “Way to go, standing up for traditional marriage!” including a superior court judge in Orange County whom I had never met.  But there were people in my law firm, particularly in the immediate aftermath of the election, who would not get in an elevator with me.  There are still people who don’t speak to me, clients who simply don’t come back for repeat business.  It was a major hinge in my professional life.  I have to think that is true of many members around the state.  I took those actions, made that contribution, understanding full well that that was possible, perhaps the likely outcome.  But that’s what you do if you sign up.  The alternative, I thought, was to resign as stake president.  I couldn’t do both.  I couldn’t ask other members of the stake to do what I was not willing to do myself.

Prince: Were there any in leadership positions in your stake who did resign their callings?

Criddle: No.

Prince: Were there any members who resigned their membership post-election?

Criddle: I don’t recall that.  There have been, post-November 2015.  There were some who resigned their membership in the Oakland Stake.  There were members who felt that the Oakland Stake presidency was not handling the Proposition 8 situation with sufficient vigor, and they asked for permission to transfer their records to a neighboring stake.

Prince: So the other kind of protest.

Criddle: Yes.  And we accommodated them.  There weren’t many—two that I can think of.

Prince: What about the effect on missionary activity?

Criddle: There is a background story here.  When I was called as stake president, shortly after I was called our high councilor who was responsible for missionary work moved.  I called a new high councilor who just returned from being mission president in San Diego, to take the assignment of missionary work, Robert Packer.  Shortly after that, he was asked to take on an additional assignment to be one of the two lieutenants to Elder Dalton on Prop 8.

I had this interesting relationship with Bob Packer.  As high councilor, he reported to me; but in his other hat, I reported through him.

After the Proposition 8 experience, he was called to be an area authority, so I had to replace him as high councilor.  In consulting with him as to who the best candidate would be, we settled on a man who was serving as an embedded missionary in the Spanish ward, Ted Fairchild.  The Spanish ward had had amazing missionary success throughout the period I had been serving as stake president.  Forty or fifty baptisms a year.  Really amazing missionary success, and it was, to a significant extent, due to the efforts of this one, amazing person, Ted Fairchild.  I extended the call to him to serve as high councilor with the responsibility to take over the missionary activity.

Now, there is a backstory to Ted Fairchild.  Ted is an openly gay, full-blown AIDS-suffering man.  He had been married, obviously in a mixed-orientation marriage, years earlier.  He served as a missionary in Central America, came back, married, had several children, one of whom lived in our stake.  Then he divorced, and had a long-term relationship with a man.  He contracted HIV, full-blown AIDS, and after receiving a priesthood blessing from Elder Richard G. Scott, he gave up that relationship.  He was a temple recommend-holding ordinance worker in the Oakland Temple.  That’s pretty rare.  He was fond of saying that he was a Mexican trapped in a Caucasian body.  He insisted on participating in the Spanish ward and had been serving as ward mission leader there.  He is a man with simple faith, and yet is highly educated and thoughtful.  He has a PhD in anthropology.  He just worked wonders with missionaries, investigators and members alike.

He was serving as our high council representative for missionary work, ironically, through this post-Prop 8 era.  There were members of our stake who were appalled that a single, very vocally homosexual man would be called to serve on the high council.  There was one bishop who asked that this man not ever be assigned to come to the ward to speak as a high councilor.  I had some very interesting counseling sessions with that bishop.  In the aftermath of Proposition 8, this man’s assignment from the stake presidency was not to be bashful about sharing his life experience and his life story, because that’s who he is.  If you’re going to share a testimony, it’s got to be based on personal experience, and that was his experience.  It was a set of facts that members of our stake needed to know about, whether they wanted to know about it or not.

So I probably got more pushback on that than on Proposition 8.  But Ted Fairchild worked his magic, and we had an explosion of baptisms, but during the Prop 8 campaign and in the immediate aftermath.…

(Dean Criddle, September 4, 2016)

Our family has still not recovered from the horrible turn of events caused by the Prop 8 campaign.

The truth is that Church’s illegal political involvement a campaign that we so opposed was just the final straw in a series of disappointments that led us to ultimately abandon the church. When we moved away from that ward, we left no forwarding address and never attended church again, which is a dramatic turn for a former Bishop and his former Relief Society President wife. 

We are now in our 60’s and so is our gay brother. We are all very tired. The church has made our family so damned tired.” (Anonymous to GAP, August 3, 2014, Prop 8 Gmail account)

Anderson: Right after, something that really had an impact on me and that really bothered me was that in California people were saying, “This is great!  Prop 8 passed!”  Everybody kind of celebrated for a second, and then there were protests; and everything that we read here, and the statements out of Salt Lake seemed to be the Church backing up and saying, “Whoa!  We didn’t have anything to do with it.  It was all the members; it wasn’t us.”  I was really bothered that the Church wouldn’t stand up and say, “Yes, we did this and we are proud of this.”  Instead, they backed up and acted like they had nothing to do with it.  I felt kind of used at that point.  Even though I didn’t do much, it was still an issue that I had to face and my wife had to face.  All of a sudden I felt used.  “What do you mean you didn’t have anything to do with it?  Of course you had something to do with it.  You had a lot to do with it.”

Then down the road, as these other states would have these propositions and the Church totally wasn’t involved, it felt bad.  It felt like I had been used.  That only added to my questions and concerns with the Church.…

Prince: It reminded people why they hated Mormons.

Anderson: Exactly!  That’s exactly right.  And it was so evident here in California.  It became OK to say negative things about Mormonism, because you weren’t being bigoted; you were fighting bigotry by saying something negative about the Mormons.  It is viewed as a bigoted organization.

(Paul Anderson, July 21, 2014)

Jansson: The aftermath of Prop 8 was unexpected.  Andy [Pugno] warned us that if we won there would be a good chance that there would be a vindictive mindset and attacks, but figured most of them would be verbal.  We had no idea it would become as physical as it did.  Regardless of what they say about the incidents of anti-gay versus anti-Prop 8, it was about 250-to-1.

(Mark Jansson, November 16, 2015)

Jeppson: I had a brother in Southern California who had been very accepting, but was pressured very hard to donate during Proposition 8.  That was a real problem, because the donor names were all publicized.  He came up to the surface and I asked him about it.  I said, “This doesn’t sound like you.”  He said, “Well, I was asked to do it, and we follow our leaders.”  That put him on the defensive.  Everything was just awful.  My family has not recovered from it to this day.  My mother is fine with it.  I have a younger brother who has had two sons come out over the years since then, so things in some ways have calmed down a bit; but in other ways the divisions are irreparable.  Some things just can’t be bridged at this point.  It’s really tough.

(Buckley Jeppson, October 5, 2015)

Mifuel: Wards were divided!  It was awful!  Even now, it is the elephant-in-the-room that nobody wants to talk about.

Prince: Do some of those divisions remain?

Mifuel: Oh, absolutely!  Absolutely.  There are Facebook groups, not necessarily in our area, people who stand in defense of marriage for the future, if this fight comes up again.  There are alliances for this type of thing, and it’s absolutely ridiculous.

Our stake is in San Francisco.  Ward members are going to be two steps away from being directly involved in one side or the other.  It was extremely polarized.  A lot of friendships were lost, and I saw a lot of people leave.  It was a dynamic where if you weren’t voting Yes on Prop 8, you felt estranged.  You felt like you were in unfriendly territory.…

(Carina Mifuel, July 30, 2014)

Wendy: All the times that we speak, whether it’s in a Mormon congregation or before a non-Mormon group, in three years I have yet to be able to talk about our work with Prop 8 and not gotten emotional and started crying.  I’ve done a lot of stupid things in my life, but if I could have just one do-over, it would be for that.  I have such shame and regret over that, and the pain that I caused my son.  He was nine, turning ten through all of this with Prop 8.  He didn’t know he was gay at that point.  He said he always felt different, but didn’t have the vocabulary.  He wasn’t starting to be physically attracted to boys at this point.  He was still a little boy.  But when he realized he was gay, he remembered Prop 8.  He remembered the sign we had in our yard.  It was talked about so much in church.  They passed out yard signs and bumper stickers in Gospel Doctrine class.  You signed up for your route if you went walking.  Some of the most atrocious things I have ever heard about gay people were in that time period.  I sat there silently; I don’t think I ever said anything negative about gay people, but I didn’t defend them.

(Wendy Montgomery, March 14, 2015)

Pappas: During that time, we knew of young adults who were banished from their households.  People were in such turmoil about “how do I adhere to what the Church is saying?”  So there was a rash of homeless youth that were coming out of homes.

Prince: With Prop 8 being the catalyst?

Pappas: Yes, with that whole conversation that happened and with the Church’s involvement with Prop 8, it really created unrest here.  It was a huge time for people to have their names taken off the records.  People were writing letters—“For anybody who wants to do this, this is what you have to say.”

(Stephanie Pappas, April 9, 2015)

Prince: All right, put on a different hat.  You are a Californian and you are living through Prop 8.  Talk to me about the Mormon Church role in it, as you saw it.

Ryan: I thought it was really painful and startling to see a large, well-funded institution take such a public stand on a policy issue, and to push it with every lever that they had at every level of the system, both in terms of having families go door to door, giving that message from the pulpit, using families to pay for this, to fund it.  I had never seen anything as blatant, in terms of the insertion of a social, cultural, religious group into the public policy arena.  It was pretty staggering, because it was constant and didn’t stop.  It just kept escalating.

Prince: But the Catholics were also involved.

Ryan: The Catholics were involved, too, but the most visibility on it was the Mormon Church.  The Catholics were very involved, but the Mormons were raising more money.

(Caitlin Ryan, March 15, 2015)

Solomon: When, however, the Mormon Church moved beyond not wishing to support the acceptance of gay people within the Mormon Church, and it became a matter of the Mormon Church trying to prevent anyone else from accepting gay unions, as happened most visibly in Proposition 8, it was very hard for me after that not to think of the Mormon Church as an evil organization without which the world, as I see it, would be better off.  It was hard for me not to feel a real suspicion of anything that was attached in any way to Mormonism, because I thought that to insistently and so aggressively pursue those policies when there are people who are starving, there are people who are dying of AIDS, there are people who have no education, there are people who have no drinking water—I thought, “All of those resources?  Really?  So that people like John and me can’t have the kind of life that we have?  Is that really the priority of a church?”  I read the Old and New Testaments many times.  I know there are those various lines that sort of get called in, but essentially I feel like the message is of love and mercy and turn the other cheek.  All of that seems to be so central.  I just thought, “How does that engage with financing Proposition 8 in California, to take away marriage rights where they have already been established?  What is the harm that these people who are getting married are doing?”

We are sitting here because of Helen Whitney.  Helen is one of my closest, closest, best friends in the world, and I have real problems with the fact that she was doing that Mormon film, because I really saw the Mormon Church as an evil force in the world, and she didn’t.  She persuaded me, over time, in our conversations, in her film, in introducing me to you.  We are morally complicated, and we all do good and bad things.  Every organization there is does good and bad things, and she certainly allowed me to see a lot of what was really good and beautiful and wonderful in Mormonism.  I found her film incredibly powerful.  It certainly shifted my understanding enough so that I was eager to meet you, and so that I’m sitting with you now and trying to speak as much from my heart as I possibly can.

Despite all of that, I really feel that the church leaders have blood on their hands.  I feel that there are Mormons who have committed suicide or have destroyed lives because of the attitude of the Church.  But I also think that when you get Proposition 8 through, it sends a message to all kinds of people who were tentatively thinking that maybe this was an OK way to be, and that they were going to have an OK life.  It makes them think, “Everyone hates us.  It’s not just my mom, my church, my family; the kind of person I am is repulsive to the world.”  Some of those people end up killing themselves even if they’re not Mormons, even if they’re not religious.  Whatever it is, the pervasive atmosphere that is created by that is to say, “These people are lesser.”  It takes a lot resilience to hold your head up and say, “I am not lesser!”  Some people can do it, some people can’t do it; and some of those people who can’t do it will be destroyed.…

 (Andrew Solomon, March 28, 2011)

Williams: Nadine Hansen was publishing all the donors, although I didn’t know until after the election, with Fred Karger’s work, that they were the principal force behind it.  But it was clear when Prop 8 passed, because we gathered 3,000 angry people around the Salt Lake Temple.  We knew where the money came from, and we were embarrassed and shamed by it.  Here there was this beautiful moment in history where the first African-American President was elected, and yet gay America was just struck in the gut.  It was devastating, and we were angry.  We circled temple, they shut the gates, and we just marched around and around.  That was one of many times that we did that.  It was happening all over the place too, but it was happening here in Utah.

(Troy Williams, March 30, 2015)

Kendell: My sister is a very devout Mormon.  She and I were having this conversation last month when I was in Salt Lake.  She is very supportive of me.  My oldest daughter is a lesbian and married her partner in Utah during that window, and my sister and her husband, both very devout Mormons—my brother-in-law is a branch president—were the witnesses on their marriage license.  So she is very supportive.  We had this conversation—we kind of had talked about it before, but you have to keep having these conversations—and Sharon said, “Kathy”—my family all call me Kathy—“what do you think about the church doctrine?  Does the Church need to change its doctrine around marriage and how it regards marriage?”  I was like, “No.  First of all, that would be impossible.  I don’t see how that could happen.  The changes you would have to make would be so Herculean, in terms of the whole doctrine around marriage and relationships, that I don’t think that could happen.  No gays are clamoring to be married in the temple.  There is a doctrine difference.  I get it.  I don’t care if the Church even believes that I am an abomination and that I will be two or three levels below the Celestial Kingdom.  That does not bother me at all.  The issue is that the Church blocks the civil law from recognizing our relationship.  That is the problem.”  It was so great, because my sister had this amazing insight.  She said, “You’re right.  Why can’t the Church shift on its approach to the civil law?  We allow liquor stores; the Church doesn’t allow drinking, and yet we find a way to license liquor stores and allow people to buy liquor in Utah.”

That’s sort of an interesting analogy.  The point was that the Church has found way to accommodate non-believers without changing its own doctrine.…

(Kate Kendell, December 3, 2014)

“Today I phoned Joan Moss… Joan is very, very upset at what the church is doing around this amendment business.  She has a gay son, whom she adores, and who has been a great blessing to her.  In 2000 her son had his name taken off the records of the church.  She had two gay nephews (brothers) who committed suicide a few years ago.  And she has many gay friends.  She told me she went in to see Bishop Bain and told him how deeply upset she is, that she will not be able to support the effort of the ward around this, that she will not be able to pay tithing until after November if she thinks any of her money is going to this effort. (Carol Lynn Pearson diary, July 19, 2008)

The church’s action in respect to Proposition 8 in California has forced me to face the stark reality that the church no longer reflects many of my core values. (Gary Watts to Member Records Division, LDS Church, October 9, 2008)

“Enclosed is a copy of my letter to the Member Records Division of the church resigning my membership.…

I can’t begin to express my disappointment in you and the church for the shameless and inappropriate assault on the civil rights of our dear brothers and sisters and two of my own children. This action will bear bitter fruit that will pop you and the church for decades to come. (Gary Watts to Quentin L. Cook, October 9, 2008)

Chipman: When Prop 8 happened, it was the worst fight I have ever had with my parents—screaming, swearing.  I never swore at my parents until that day.  It was bad and violent.

Prince: Because they were actively supporting Prop 8?

Chipman: Oh, yes.  I was just going at them.  I said to my dad, “So do you support me or do you support the Church on this?”  He said, “Well, if it comes down to it, I have to support the Church.”  I said, “Fine.  Then you have a church, and you’ve lost your son.”  And I walked out, and that was that.  I didn’t talk to him for probably a couple of years after that, or anyone in my family.  Prop 8 was really divisive and painful, because they sided with the Church.  He explicitly said, “I choose the Church over you.”

(Michael Chipman, April 9, 2015)