Wait a Minute – Is That Really True?

Folks watching 8:The Mormon Proposition for the first time this week have been coming up with questions and concerns about the movie’s claims.  Here’s a little bit of fact checking and contextualization for those of you looking for it.

Satellite Broadcast Training

Reed Cowan begins this movie with clips from a satellite broadcast which originally aired October 8, 2008 from Salt Lake City to every stake center in California.  He uses a (probably) surreptitious audio recording of the broadcast, so the audio is not great.  It is accurate, however, and the text is subtitled for ease of viewing.  A transcript of the whole meeting can be found here or here.  The video for these clips is based on the short video clips once publicly available from the church’s website, www.lds.org and www.preservingmarriage.org.  Since the officially available video clips did not include much of what Cowan used in his movie, he elected to use clips of the video, edited to obscure the details, as background for the audio quotes he wanted to include.  The visual effect is a bit ominous.

“Secret” Documents and Hawaii

A good portion of the early part of the movie includes references to LDS Church documents received by Fred Karger.  The documents are correspondence between Elder Loren C. Dunn and several other LDS General Authorities.  Elder Dunn served in the LDS Area Presidency for the North America Northwest Area, which included California and Hawaii in the mid-1990s when the LDS Church involved itself in Hawaii’s same-sex marriage struggles.  Church involvement in this campaign has been documented here and in The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power by historian D. Michael Quinn.  Karger’s documents expand on what was already known and provide even more depth and details of the Church’s Public Affairs Committee actions.  Documents cited in the movie include  the documents here.

Mormon Financial Contributions

Karger suggests that individual Mormons donated 70% of the money contributed to the Protect Marriage coalition.  [Other sites here and here don’t attribute quite that much to LDS donors, but neither do they say their information is complete or exhaustive.  Karger hints that some of those he identified as being LDS were people who (a) contributed to Mormon Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign and (b) sent in large sums of money to the Protect Marriage coalition after the First Presidency letter was read in Sacrament Meetings across California at the end of June, 2008.  Notations about BYU attendance were also likely indications that donors were Mormon as well.  And, in reality, Mormons are not particularly quiet about their religious affiliations online – they talk about wards and stakes and Relief Society and FHE and home teaching/visiting teaching and callings on a regular basis, so it’s not too hard to identify them.

Total donation information can be found at the California Secretary of State’s page, and Mormonsfor8.com includes a breakdown of donations by state, indicating that the majority of donations came from California residents.

There were special PO Boxes for receiving LDS donation forms to the Protect Marriage coalition.  Forms from the general public were sent to P.O. Box 162657, Sacramento, CA and those from LDS members were sent to P.O. Box 819, Placentia, CA.  Assessments were made for stakes, as had been done in Hawaii and previously in California during Prop 22.  Individual members were contacted with suggested donations as was done in this blog post.

Certainly the Church knows how much its members gave, and if the media reports were way over the top and completely inaccurate, the Church could certainly provide correct numbers.  Thus far, it has not.

Church Discipline and Excommunications

While it’s possible that one or two members may have been directly threatened with church discipline as strict as formal excommunication or loss of salvation when they were asked to donate, the vast majority of potential member donors did not receive overt, explicit pressure like that.  Many were told that donations to support Proposition 8 should be given the same importance as tithing (which is necessary to pay in order for a member to be worthy to enter the temple).  Many were told that supporting Proposition 8 was the same thing as supporting the prophet (implying that non-support of the initiative was the same as non-support of the prophet).

More than a few members were subject so some form of ecclesiastical pressure regarding their involvement (or lack thereof) in the campaign.  Several had temple recommends revoked and others were unable to get renewed recommends.  Others were released from callings within the church, and others were asked to stop speaking out against the proposition if they wanted to continue to serve in callings.  Some members resigned from callings on their own, or turned down callings, citing their lack of support for the Church’s actions during the campaign.

There is no doubt that members were given a not-so-subtle message that supporting Proposition 8 was a righteous, obedient and holy thing they needed to do as good members of the Church.  As ecclesiastical leaders hold the ability to judge whether their adherents are worthy of eternal salvation or not, those leaders must be very, very careful what they ask of their followers.  When using this lever to move the Saints, Church leaders need not exert much effort at all before members are enthusiastically picking up the banner and moving forward with gusto.

National Organization for Marriage

Karger suggests that the National Organization for Marriage is a Mormon-instigated and/or controlled “front group” to fight SSM across the nation, much like Hawaii’s Future Today or Save Traditional Marriage-’98 were when they were created in Hawaii.  Certainly, Matthew Holland is LDS and was one of the early founders of the group.  It’s also no secret that Mormon author Orson Scott Card is now serving as Holland’s replacement on the NOM Board.  The jury is still out on the details of Mormon involvement in NOM, but it’s clear that Proposition 8 would not have gotten onto California’s ballot without NOM’s involvement.

Electroshock Therapy at BYU

The film discusses electroshock therapy at BYU a couple of decades ago, and a more complete account may be found here.

Gay Suicides and Stuart Matis

Stuart Matis committed suicide at an LDS church building in Los Altos, California, in March 2000, just before Californians voted on Proposition 22, the predecessor to Prop 8.  Information about his suicide has been discussed here and here.

In a couple more days, we’ll examine some more things like accounts about:
—Training members to be election volunteers walking precincts, supervising efforts in every ZIP code
—Political Tactics/fearmongering arguments/6 Consequences
—LDS Church official reporting of Non-monetary contributions and fines assessed
—Homelessness/Rejection of Gay Youth
—Quotes by church leaders about homosexuality cited in the film

Comments
44 Responses to “Wait a Minute – Is That Really True?”
  1. Mel Tungate says:

    Well done, as usual, Laura.

    Mel

  2. Sheri says:

    This is such a great, unbiased and comprehensive article, I put a link to it on my Facebook account. Like Mel said, well done – again – Laura.
    Sheri

  3. Laura says:

    With regard to LDS member donations, there’s this little point I neglected to include above:

    There was a special conference call (at least one, perhaps a series of them over a few days) between wealthy church members and GA-level church authorities. How these members’ ability to donate was determined is currently not known, but past experience suggests that local leaders likely helped identify potential donors to attend the conference call.

    These members were asked to give a significant amount of money. Some people spoke of relatives who were asked to donate a 5-figure sum; others referred to it as “the price of a small car”.

    Whatever the amount requested, there was a surge of $10,000 – $25,000 donations in mid-September, a few days immediately following reports of the rumored call, and most of those donations were from LDS members according to reports at mormonsfor8.com.

  4. Sheryl says:

    Okay, saw 8: The Mormon Proposition. Thanks to your commentary, Laura, and all I have read on Prop8 Trial Tracker, there was only 1 surprise to me in the movie. Definitely did not portray Mormons in a good light. Although they did interview some pro equality Mormons, but we are so in the minority. I loved Carol Lynn Pearson’s comments and think that the comments of her daughter Emily went a long way to explaining Mormons following their prophet. Although, to me, I have to look myself in the mirror every day and there is no way I could vote to take rights away from a group. Nor do I see any way that same sex marriage cheapens “traditional” marriage. And for those people who throw their kids out because they learn they are homosexual, there is no way I can condone that behavior, truly cannot understand doing that to your own child. My son is ready to have his name removed from the church, which considering how the church views him is fine with me. We talked a lot about why I remain active (or at least semi-active). Not sure I really have solid answers for that question.

    All in all it was an excellent movie and I’m glad that we went to see it together.

    Once again, Laura, thank you for this site.

  5. Sheryl says:

    Laura, I’ve been reading some of the links you provided. Last night was the link to electroshock therapy. Sickening, truly sickening. How could this possibly be condoned? (realize you do not have answers). Tonight I read some of the transcript from the Oct. broadcast. Do these leaders not see the bigotry in their words. Do they not see the harm in a religion forcing it’s belief on others in society who do not share those same beliefs?

    Sheryl, who really is wondering about remaining a Mormon.

  6. Laura says:

    Sheryl,

    I don’t have answers, and I don’t have apologies on their behalf. It’s heartbreaking to see what people – all of us – are capable of doing when we are led to believe our lives and livelihoods are being threatened. It’s a shame that when there are no other seemingly good enough reasons for doing something that the trump card can so often be “God Says So.”

    I wish there were a way to convince people there’s no reason to be so terrified of something that’s different. We all love our children, we all want better lives for them than what we’ve had. Nobody really wants to live in the middle of a war, despite the rhetoric about battles and crusades.

    I was with a friend a few days ago and was reminded that sometimes what we all need most is a loving Mother who will wrap her arms around us, kiss our tears away, sing us to sleep and wake us in the morning pointing out the wonders of the world and of each of the people in it. Perhaps, then, if we all felt totally loved and accepted, we could spend time noticing the unique gifts we each bring to the world and share them freely without feeling like we have to do or be better than everyone else and jealously guard what we have and what we believe is The Way.

    I’d like to believe we all act out of the goodness of our best intentions, but I’m afraid we all fall short way too often.

  7. Sheryl says:

    So well put, Laura. I know that none of us has the answer, except the follow the admonition of our Savior — love thy neighbor as thyself. That certainly is not happening enough on this issue.

    When the “God said so” reason is given, we have to wonder whose God. All Christian religions believe that the God they worship is the only true God, and yet, We all believe so differently.

    I was going back and reading some of the very first posts on this board. Don’t believe I have ever done that, I just came in and started with the what would you say in Relief Society post because of a Sunday School class. As I’ve said before, I wish I would have found this site early in the campaign.

    Sheryl

  8. fiona64 says:

    Robert F. Kennedy said it best: For when you teach a man to hate and to fear his brother, when you teach that he is a lesser man because of his color, or his beliefs or the policies that he pursues, when you teach that those who differ from you, threaten your freedom or your job or your home or your family, then you also learn to confront others not as fellow citizens, but as enemies. To be met not with co operation but with conquest, to be subjugated, and to be mastered.

  9. j says:

    “Certainly the Church knows how much its members gave, and if the media reports were way over the top and completely inaccurate, the Church could certainly provide correct numbers. Thus far, it has not.”

    How on earth would they know this? You didn’t have to disclose that you’re LDS when you donated and you didn’t turn around and report your donation to the church. They had no mechanism for collecting this data apart from what was publicly available.

  10. Laura says:

    J –

    Church members sent contributions to their own P.O. Box using forms where they could indicate which stake and ward they were in. Members were highly encouraged to use those special forms and indicate their ward and stake membership information. They were even encouraged to send the forms to family/friends outside of the state so family and friends could contribute on behalf of the California member’s ward/stake. After that money was tabulated by church coordinators and after proper credit was given to the contributor’s ward/stake, the funds were sent in to the campaign committee.

    Stakes (and presumably wards within stakes) had contribution goals to meet and stake presidents received regular reports notating how much money their stake members donated, based on forms and contributions turned in using LDS contribution forms at the LDS P.O. Box. At the fireside in early October, General Authorities praised members for their successful monetary contribution campaign and told us it was time to focus on donating time, not money.

    The Church certainly has a very good and accurate estimate of how much money its members contributed. It certainly has a very good breakdown of money contributed by each stake, and probably by each ward.

  11. Joshua says:

    I made my contribution directly to the Protect Marriage site. The Church did not know my contribution. Mormons for 8 identified me as a Mormon, probably by googling me, so I could be more easily targeted. The Mormon Church hasn’t hounded down the supporters, so they cannot verify the claims of the film. They do not know who contributed directly to the Protect Marriage site.

  12. Laura says:

    And because the Church did not track donations that were not sent in to its own Post Office Box and credited toward specific stake and ward goals, I did not say it knew exactly how much money was contributed by members, only that it had a very good estimate.

  13. Joshua says:

    Many people did not send contributions to the Church’s Post Office. They do not have a very good estimate.

  14. fiona64 says:

    Give me a break, Joshua. The names of all who donated more than $100 are available on the State Attorney General’s website; it’s the law that such donations to political causes be made available in that fashion. Are you now trying to pretend that the Church does not know which names on that list are members?

    My late mother-in-law was a walkaway from the Church of LDS and she’s been gone for more than 10 years. Yet, somehow the church continues to send letters of solicitation to her.

    They have a *very* good estimate of how much money was donated by members, both from California and from elsewhere.

  15. Joshua says:

    Do you think they spent the time to match the State Attorney General’s site with their Church records? Even if they did, it would probably be smart of them not to reveal that to Mormons for 8. I’m sure they would love the church to double check on their investigations so they can more precisely focus on torturing us.

  16. fiona64 says:

    I think that the church did exactly that, Joshua.

    But the church isn’t focused on torturing (your words, not mine) the people who followed the prophet’s demands for money and time to take away the rights of law-abiding citizens, Joshua.

    In fact, I think that they may be trying to track some of you down to give you 30 pieces of silver. But that’s just my opinion.

  17. Sheryl says:

    Joshua, if the church was not going to keep track of the funds donated by members, why would they have special forms and a different P.O. Box for members to send money to? If Stakes had goals to meet, then by all means the church kept track of the donations and who did and did not donate. Now, because, as you’ve noted, not all members (but I’d be willing to bet that most) sent thru the church PO Box they do not have an accurate but a very good estimate.

    I personally see no reason why the church would cross match the names with the Attorney General’s office (but then I see no reason why for a lot of things the church has done surrounding Prop 8), but I’m sure that it wouldn’t take long at all to cross match, it isn’t like someone would have to do it manually. Good old technology speeds things like that up.

    And, Joshua, I’m wondering what you mean by: “I’m sure they would love the church to double check on their investigations so they can more precisely focus on torturing us.” Who is being tortured and how?

  18. Joshua says:

    I am sure you are aware their is a web site meant to identify Mormon donors to Prop 8. People have used this list to torture Mormons who have donated. People have lost their jobs because of this list. Others have gone around the neighborhood handing out fliers that make false accusations against people on the list.

  19. fiona64 says:

    19Joshuaon 26 Jul 2010 at 2:11 pm

    I am sure you are aware their is a web site meant to identify Mormon donors to Prop 8. People have used this list to torture Mormons who have donated. People have lost their jobs because of this list. Others have gone around the neighborhood handing out fliers that make false accusations against people on the list.

    —–
    Please share your sources that prove the “torture” of Mormons who donated. Seriously. “Torture” is a pretty big accusation. Were any of the Mormons who donated in favor of Prop 8 beaten to death? Hung up on barbed wire to die? Correctively “raped” to cure them of their lesbianism?

    Didn’t think so.

    By “torture,” perhaps you mean “their businesses were boycotted.” Well, guess what, Joshua? That’s perfectly legal. People have a right to vote with their dollars and their feet.

    BTW, that website to which you refer? It’s called the State Attorney General’s Office. Like I said, the law requires that donations over $100 to any political cause be published — regardless of which side they are on. If you want to “torture” the people who stood up for marriage equality, you too can go to the State Attorney General’s Office and look it up.

    Be sure to “torture” PG&E by having your electricity shut off, just for starters.

  20. Sheryl says:

    I agree with Fiona that torture is a very, very strong word to use for what you have described. As you are so fond of dictionary definitions, from the Merriam-Webster on-line dictionary:

    1 a : anguish of body or mind : agony b : something that causes agony or pain
    2 : the infliction of intense pain (as from burning, crushing, or wounding) to punish, coerce, or afford sadistic pleasure
    3 : distortion or overrefinement of a meaning or an argument : straining

    So, in the sense that the loss of a job would cause mental agony, torture would be applicable. But, do you have statistics as to how many straight people have lost their jobs because they donated to Yes on 8? Wonder if anyone has statistics on how many people lost their jobs because they donated to No on 8?

    And, Joshua, you are aware that the Yes on 8 campaign people sent a letter to corporations that donated to No on 8 and Equalitiy California requesting a like donation or they would publish their names. Now the only reason to publish their names would be for the Yes on 8 segment to boycott them. I call that blackmail, what would do you call it?

    People should be aware that when they donate to a political campaign in the state of California that their names may/will be made public if their donation is over $100. If you are business owner, you should understand that people who disagree with your position my no longer do business with your company and, most likely, will spread that word to their friends and associates. Be advised, Joshua, that this goes both ways. The Yes on 8 people were/are not the only ones that in your terms are being tortured.

    As for real mental anguish, how do you think it feels to go thru each day knowing that you and your family do not have the same rights and protections that (even if you have the pre-requisite legal documents in place, see this article for an example, http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/07/24/BARH1EJA0S.DTL) married couples have.

    Because you have chosen to live a straight life-style, doesn’t make that the answer for every member of the GLBT community. There is no logical reason to take the right of marriage away from a law-abiding, tax-paying segment of California’s population. This is a CIVIL issue NOT a RELIGIOUS issue. To me, Mormon belief on marraige (although why Mormons would want to define marriage as between one man and one woman when we still believe in polygamy (just not in this life) is interesting.

  21. Joshua says:

    Perhaps torture is a strong word. Some level of boycotting is appropriate. I admit both sides contributed. I think what has happened went beyond that. Both sides have crossed the boundaries.

    The California Supreme Court spoke out against my lifestyle. That puts me in a dangerous position. Future court cases will look at their ruling. That puts organizations like Evergreen and NARTH at risk. It makes it harder for me to get psychological care. Many mixed-orientation couples are forced into the closet. The closet is a horrible place to be, and no one deserves to be in it.

    Don’t act like because I chose a straight lifestyle, my life is a peace of cake. All I want is to protect my family.

  22. Laura says:

    Please, oh please, provide us with the citation information for claim that the Supreme Court spoke out against your lifestyle. And, perhaps you can tell us which lifestyle they spoke out against, while you’re at it, because I can’t remember if you are talking about your gay past, your ex-gay present or your mixed-orientation/straight lifestyle.

    Especially if the court spoke out against your straight family, I’d be pleased as punch to know what they said because if your straight family was threatened, so was mine. If my life – or my way of life – is in danger, I’d truly, TRULY, want to know about it. Maybe if it’s that dangerous I’ll just extend my vacation longer so as to protect my poor little straight family and their children.

  23. fiona64 says:

    I second Laura’s request for a citation — for exactly the same reasons. I guess I missed the news that straight families were under attack by the Supreme Court.

    Stop with the hyperbole and outright lies, Joshua. It’s unbecoming at the very least.

  24. sheryl says:

    I, also, would like the exact wording in the California Supreme Court’s decision that, to quote you, “spoke out against my lifestyle.”

    And, how will legalizing same-sex marriage put organizations, such as NARTH, at risk. Do people only use their services because they wanted to get married and couldn’t? As long as religions teach that homosexuality is sin, there will be homosexuals who will want to learn how to live a straight life.

    And, Joshua, perhaps it would help us all to better understand you if you could provide us with some insight on the issues surrounding a mixed-orientation marriage.

  25. Laura says:

    For those of you waiting for Joshua’s reply, here are links to the California Supreme Court decision in the In re: Marriage cases. Both .pdf links are to the decision issued in May 2008.

    caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/data2/californiastatecases/s147999.pdf

    http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/courts/supreme/highprofile/documents/S147999.pdf

    And for those of you who don’t want to wade through 174 pages of legalize, here’s the official news release from courts summarizing the opinion (again, it’s a .pdf): http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/presscenter/newsreleases/NR26-08.PDF

    Now, if Joshua was not referring to this landmark case which was being heard while traditional marriage proponents were gathering signatures for Prop 8, he’ll have to come up with the case information himself.

  26. fiona64 says:

    Thanks, Laura. I’ve read those items many times and, interestingly, I see no place in them where “traditional marriage,” whether it’s between two straight people or “mixed-orientation” is attacked, demeaned, etc. I likewise saw no reference whatsoever to Evergreen and the oft-debunked NARTH, let alone “threats to their existence.”

    So, I’ll be waiting patiently for Joshua’s sources — unless, of course, he is just making things up.

    Again.

  27. Laura says:

    I’ve been thinking about this as I’ve watched cousins playing with grandparents this week, and it seems to me that rights are kind of like Grandma’s kisses. She’s got as many kisses as each person wants, and even though a 4-year-old might feel proprietary over “my grandma, not yours,” the fact that somebody else is getting kisses doesn’t mean you get any less. And just because she’s kissing a cousin you’ve never met before – a stranger to you – doesn’t mean she can’t kiss you too.

  28. Sheri says:

    I know I’m getting in on the conversation late, and this may be totally out of context (one of my flaws:-) but when I read your last post, Laura I had to share a tiny story. My 81 year old uncle, whom I hadn’t seen in over 35 years, just spent a few days with us. He had a distinguished military career and then worked for Rathian on the Hawk missile system until his retirement about 20 years ago, mostly in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Kuwait. His wife of 47 years passed away in 2005 and he lives alone in El Paso, TX. I didn’t know much about him since he was never around while I was growing up, but he’s the last living member of my dad’s family and I had to get to know him and have him fill in some pieces of my family puzzle. Little did I know when I tracked him down that we would end up being kindred spirits as well as blood relatives. During one of our conversations he said “I just can’t figure out how anyone could believe that gay marriage would threaten straight marriage, it just doesn’t make sense to me. And not allowing gays to be open in the military is a huge mistake.” I got tears in my eyes and went over and hugged him. Just had to share:-)

  29. fiona64 says:

    In a related question to the “Grandma’s kisses” analogy (which I really like) — in Joshua’s blog, he states that if the prophet has a revelation allowing same-sex couples to marry in the Church of LDS, that he will leave.

    I have been wondering why that is. How is Joshua’s marriage threatened by anyone else’s, even if it is inside the church? Is Grandma only permitted to kiss certain of her grandchildren lest one of them stomp out in a huff?

  30. Sheryl says:

    Haven’t read Joshua’s blog (guess I missed the post where he gave the url to it); however, while I don’t understand how people who believe in modern day revelation and that the Prophet receives revelation, I do know that people have left the church over polygamy, over blacks being allowed to hold the priesthood, and, of course, over the church’s stand on same-sex marriage. So, while I don’t understand it and I don’t think that revelation will happen (however, I am optimistic that there will come a time when the LDS Church will approve same-sex civil marriages), I imagine that Joshua will not be alone in his decision to leave the church.

  31. fiona64 says:

    Sheryl, I actually suspect that, much like the (rather convenient) revelation that it was okay for black men to hold priesthood after the church received bad press in the 1970s over the matter, that there will eventually be a similar (rather convenient) revelation about same-sex marriage.

    I just don’t understand people who believe that their happiness is somehow diminished by another person’s happiness. My friend Lucy, in the UK, put it like this: “Is the Ferrari in your drive blighted because the fellow down the road gets one as well?”

  32. sheryl says:

    You know that I agree with you about allowing same-sex marriage will in no way harm or diminish opposite-sex marriage. As for the Ferrari analogy, there are some people who have to be the only one to have something or they have to have something better than their neighbors. Don’t believe this is the case with those who voted against Prop 8 here in California and other constitutional amendments in other states.

  33. fiona64 says:

    Gosh, no response from Joshua on how the CA Supreme Court is allegedly attacking his straight marriage.

    I wonder why that is …

  34. fiona64 says:

    Hey, Joshua? I noticed you had time to drop in and tell lies about me and what I said … but that you still haven’t provided the references/citations that several people asked of you.

    Where is the citation that the CA Supreme Court has spoken out against your “straight” marriage?

    Inquiring minds want to know, Joshua.

    Unless, of course … you’re lying again. In which case? Man up and admit it.

  35. fiona64 says:

    Well, at this point I can only surmise that Joshua is embarrassed at being called out for his dishonesty (again), since there is no evidence whatsoever to back up his assertion that the CA Supreme Court has spoken out against straight marriage.

    Joshua, it’s a lot easier to remember your stories if you stick to the truth.

    Just something to consider.

  36. Joshua says:

    Sorry, I didn’t respond because I didn’t see these posts.

    Anyway, here is the quote from
    “California law does not literally prohibit gays and lesbians from marrying; however, it requires those who do to marry someone of the opposite sex. As a practical matter, of course, this requirement renders marriage unavailable to gay and lesbian individuals, whose choice of a life partner will, by definition, be a person of the same sex.”

    It says, by definition, my choice of a life partner will be a person of the same sex. The California Supreme Court has NO right telling me the gender of my life partner.

    It doesn’t end there, they then dabble with what my identity should be:

    “Having endured the often long and difficult process of claiming their true identities, gay men and lesbians are now asking to be recognized as the equally loving and committed partners and capable family units they are, and to be afforded the same responsibilities and protections available to other families.”

    My TRUE IDENTITY is to be with my sweetheart, and I don’t need the Supreme Court telling me otherwise.

    The problem is that Supreme Courts look at other rulings, and can use that in law. The Iowa Supreme Court looked at California’s ruling, and said:

    “Viewed in the complete context of marriage, including intimacy, civil marriage with a person of the opposite sex is as unappealing to a gay or lesbian person as civil marriage with a person of the same sex is to a heterosexual. Thus, the right of a gay or lesbian person under the marriage statute to enter into a civil marriage only with a person of the opposite sex is no right at all. Under such a law, gay or lesbian individuals cannot simultaneously fulfill their deeply felt need for a committed personal relationship, as influenced by their sexual orientation, and gain the civil status and attendant benefits granted by the statute.”

    Who are they to say my marriage is unappealing? Who are they to say that I don’t have the ability to fulfill my deeply felt need for a personal relationship in a marriage to someone of the opposite sex?

    Then of course, Judge Walker said my marriage was “unrealistic” and by getting married to someone of the opposite sex, I was compelled to deny my identity.

    Same-sex couples have never had their identity challenged, their love questioned, or their deeply felt needs dictated by a court like I have. I am worried about my rights and those of my family. Saying what people’s “true identities” should be is so unAmerican, and sets a dangerous precedent when it comes to the constitutionality of ex-gay groups.

    Laura, I hope I have answered your question. Will please answer mine about this group’s use of scare tactics on mixed-orientation marriages?

  37. fiona64 says:

    Joshua wrote: Same-sex couples have never had their identity challenged, their love questioned, or their deeply felt needs dictated by a court like I have.

    Joshua, in short: you are full of it.

    Your straight marriage has never been questioned by ANYONE the way that gay and lesbian couples’ love, deeply felt needs, etc., have been question. Let alone how their rights were dictated by the court — and by people like you giving them a Judas Kiss because you are so full of self-loathing that you would do ANYTHING to pretend you’re something you are not: a gay man.

    It’s not all about you, Joshua. Just stop it.

  38. fiona64 says:

    PS to Joshua: You quoted this:

    “California law does not literally prohibit gays and lesbians from marrying; however, it requires those who do to marry someone of the opposite sex. As a practical matter, of course, this requirement renders marriage unavailable to gay and lesbian individuals, whose choice of a life partner will, by definition, be a person of the same sex.”

    If you read for comprehension (I know, it’s tricky), you will see that nothing is said about straight marriage. What it says is that marriage is unavailable to gay and lesbians individuals whose choice of a life partner will be a person of the same sex. If you know how to read for comprehension, you know how the subordinate clauses work.

    So, again … you lied. The CA Supreme Court said nothing about straight marriages.

    And it’s still not all about you.

  39. Dr. Bones says:

    Are there logic classes available on the internet? I think we’re in need of a link to one here.

  40. I would just like to say reading this was like a breath of fresh air.

    Although I do not live in California, and thus didn’t have to deal with priesthood holders abusing their priesthood (Bishops cannot ask someone for a donation other than what is directly listed in the Bishop Handbook. AKA: Unless it’s tithing they have no say in how you spend your money. Any bishop that threatens excommunication/revoking temple recommends over a donation to a political campaign should be reported to the stake president. If the stake president does the same, just continue on up the list. You’re also *deeply* encouraged to leave political campaigns out the door when you enter the chapel.), during the span of this trial. But I am aware that chances are, once the issue reaches other states nearly all members will have to address the same-sex marriage sooner or later.

    But if I may, I would like to debunk a common myth:

    There’s the idea that if same-sex marriage is legal, it would then have to be done in the temple according to the laws of the land. Thus, if gay marriage is allowed it makes an easy connection to see polygamy also being allowed.

    This is simply not true. Religions, Pastors, and Bishops have the right to deny a religious ceremony to any couple they do not approve of. This is how those who have premarital sex with their significant others are not allowed in the temple, even though they could legally get married in a courthouse. (bad example, I know but it was the only one I could think of)

    I believe if the church really has an issue with gay marriage being allowed, and members confusing civil marriages with temple marriages (as seem to be the case in this debacle), the church would change the marriage policy and have civil marriages done first then a temple sealing like they do in some countries (I’ve heard of ‘countries in Africa’, but can’t deny or suggest that the same laws occur elsewhere).

  41. fiona64 says:

    Newly Housewife wrote: I believe if the church really has an issue with gay marriage being allowed, and members confusing civil marriages with temple marriages (as seem to be the case in this debacle), the church would change the marriage policy and have civil marriages done first then a temple sealing like they do in some countries (I’ve heard of ‘countries in Africa’, but can’t deny or suggest that the same laws occur elsewhere).

    This is the case throughout the European Union. One can have 50 church weddings if one so desires, but unless and until one is married at the local civil bureau/registrar, the wedding has no legal status. I have become a staunch advocate of removing the courtesy right to perform legally binding weddings from churches (that courtesy must be cited in the ceremony, with “by the power vested in me by the State of XYZ”) to truly preserve separation of church and state. Prop 8 was the deciding factor for me.

    Churches have always had the right to pick and choose those for whom they perform liturgical marriage, as you point out. Prop 8 trod all over the religious freedom of those denominations that practiced marriage equality.

  42. Newly Housewife says:

    Sorry for the lack of references. My thoughts come from my experiences as a member (19 years and counting) and the few classes I’ve taken in college that deal with religion, sociology, and/or law.

  43. Sheryl says:

    welcome, Newly Housewife. You are so right that allowing same-sex marriage will not mean that any church must perform a marriage ceremony if that ceremony goes against the teachings of the church.

    As for the idea that priesthood leaders were abusing their authority when going door to door passing out the donation slips and (not church donation slips and envelopes) and should be reported to those in authority above them, the directive to this came from the General Authorities, and, so, they were only doing as directed and there would be no one to report them to. So many things about the Church’s involvement in the campaign was so wrong.

    This is a wonderful site, especially for those of use who feel/felt so alone on the issue.

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