Monday, November 10, 2008

On Proposition 8, the Mormons, and more...

The Mormons were successfully forced into accepting the government's domestic rules for their religion. I have always thought this was wrong. If they wanted polygamy, that was their business. I find it shameful that a government founded on the separation of Church and State, would actively interfere with the establishment of (any) church belief.

Isn't it ironic that a US president who was himself likely gay, James Buchanan, is the one who sent the army into the Utah Territory (known to Mormons as "the State of Deseret") in 1857. At this time in history, polygamy was an important matter of doctrine in the Church of Latter Day Saints:

The doctrine of the church basically believed that there were countless number of souls waiting to begin an earthly life. The human soul was united with the body at birth which grew and matured, and eventually created new families which led to more births and more souls beginning an earthly existence. Procreation was therefore a very important part of the Mormon religious doctrine because spiritual souls could be granted earthly bodies. Polygamy or the system of “plural marriages” first appeared in the church in 1841 and by 1870 there were an increasing number of plural marriage families in the Utah Territory.
And after federal intervention, Utah was under the heel of Uncle Sam, much like the Native Americans in that same area of the country. By 1890, the Mormons got with the program and renounced polygamy as LDS doctrine. (Of course, as we know, some people never did.)

Thus, the Mormons have now morphed into the oppressor, and seek to bring the power of the government into other people's domestic choices. Apparently, they were the primary financial sponsors behind California's PROPOSITION 8, which passed.

They didn't learn. (((sigh)))

Actually, some did.

Prop 8: California gay marriage fight divides LDS faithful

The church's effort against gay marriage is its most vigorous since 1970s
By Peggy Fletcher Stack
The Salt Lake Tribune
The thought of going to church in her southern California LDS ward makes Carol Oldham cry. She can't face one more sermon against same-sex marriage. She can't tolerate the glares at the rainbow pin on her lapel.

Oldham, a lifelong Mormon, is troubled by her church's zeal in supporting a California ballot initiative that would define marriage as between one man and one woman. She feels the church is bringing politics into her sanctuary.

It has tainted everything for me," Oldham said, choking up during a telephone interview. "I am afraid to go there and hear people say mean things about gay people. I am in mourning. I don't know how long I can last."

The LDS Church's campaign to pass Proposition 8 represents its most vigorous and widespread political involvement since the late 1970s, when it helped defeat the Equal Rights Amendment. It even departs from earlier efforts on behalf of traditional marriage, in which members felt more free to decide their level of involvement.

This time, LDS leaders have tapped every resource, including the church's built-in phone trees, e-mail lists and members' willingness to volunteer and donate money. Many California members consider it a directive from God and have pressured others to participate. Some leaders and members see it as a test of faith and loyalty.

Those who disagree with the campaign say they feel unwelcome in wards that have divided along political lines. Some are avoiding services until after the election; others have reluctantly resigned. Even some who favor the ballot measure are troubled by their church's zeal in the matter.

"I do expect the church to face a high cost - both externally and internally - for its prominent part in the campaign," said LDS sociologist and Proposition 8 supporter Armand Mauss of Irvine, Calif. He believes church leaders feel a "prophetic imperative" to speak out against gay marriage.

"The internal cost will consist of ruptured relationships between and among LDS members of opposing positions, sometimes by friends of long standing and equally strong records of church activity," Mauss said. "In some cases, it will result in disaffection and disaffiliation from the church because of the ways in which their dissent has been handled by local leaders."

Robert Rees, a former LDS bishop in California, says he has not witnessed this much divisiveness in the church over a political issue in the last 50 years.

Whatever the vote's outcome, Rees says, "it will take considerable humility, charity and forgiveness to heal the wounds caused by this initiative."
Talk about prophecy! Now that the Proposition has passed, outlawing gay marriage, the heat is ON.

Prop. 8 Protests Head To Salt Lake City
Demonstrations Planned At Mormon Headquarters Over Church's Funding Of Gay Marriage Ban
(CBS/ AP) A group of protesters plans to rally in front of the headquarters of the Mormon church over the faith's support for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage in California.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints encouraged its members to work to pass Proposition 8 by volunteering their time and money for the campaign. California voters approved the measure Tuesday.

The Friday evening protest comes a day after people demonstrated outside a Mormon temple in Los Angeles. About 1,000 gay-marriage supporters waved signs and brought afternoon traffic to a halt.

On Thursday, outside the gates of a Mormon temple his father helped build, Kai Cross joined more than 2,000 gay-rights advocates in a chorus of criticism of the church's role in the likely passage of a statewide ban on same-sex marriage.

Once a devout Mormon who graduated from Brigham Young University, the 41-year-old Cross was disowned by his family and his church after he was outed as a gay man in 2001.

"They are on the losing side of history," Cross said Thursday of the church's opposition to gay marriage. Cross and other protesters blame leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for encouraging Mormons to funnel millions of dollars into television ads and mailings in favor of Proposition 8.

The ballot measure was sponsored by a coalition of religious and social conservative groups, would amend the California Constitution to define marriage as a heterosexual act. It would override a state Supreme Court ruling that briefly gave same-sex couples the right to wed.

According to the CBS News Election and Survey unit’s analysis, black voters overwhelmingly voted in favor of Prop. 8 - by a 70 percent to 30 percent margin. Hispanic voters overall favored the measure as well but only by a 53 percent to 47 percent margin. White voters were slightly on the side of approving it, 51 percent to 49 percent.

There is disappointment that the African-American community, which just saw the election of the first black president, voted overwhelmingly against same-sex marriage, reports CBS Early Show correspondent Hattie Kauffman.

The protest came amid questions about whether attempts to overturn the prohibition can succeed and whether the 18,000 same-sex marriages performed in California over the past four months are in any danger.

For Cody Krebs, 27, four months was not enough time to fulfill his "intense hope" to marry one day; he and his boyfriend have been together for little more than a year, so they aren't ready to wed.

On Thursday, Krebs dodged eggs hurled at protesters from an apartment building. He said he'd seen worse growing up in Salt Lake City.

"It's important to come out like this because it gets the gay community into the public eye," Krebs said. "I feel like this has started a lot of conversations that had to get started."

The demonstration began outside the temple in the Westwood section of Los Angeles and noisily spilled through the western side of the city, with chants of "Separate church and state" and "What do we want? Equal rights." Some protesters waved signs saying "No on H8" or "I didn't vote against your marriage," and many equated the issue with the civil rights struggle.

Two people were arrested after a confrontation between the crowd and an occupant of a pickup truck that had a banner supporting Proposition 8. One demonstrator ended up with a bloody nose in the fracas. Seven arrests occurred during Los Angeles-area street marches late Wednesday.

The temple protest was organized by the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center. Its chief executive, Lorri Jean, announced a Web-based effort dubbed to raise money to fight the constitutional amendment.

Gay-marriage proponents filed three court challenges Wednesday against the ban. The lawsuits raise a rare legal argument: that the ballot measure was actually a dramatic revision of the California Constitution rather than a simple amendment. A constitutional revision must first pass the Legislature before going to the voters.

Andrew Pugno, attorney for the groups that sponsored the amendment, called the lawsuits "frivolous and regrettable."

"It is time that the opponents of traditional marriage respect the voters' decision," he said.

The high court has not said when it will act. State officials said the ban on gay marriage took effect the morning after the election.

"We don't consider it a `Hail Mary' at all," said Kate Kendell, executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights. "You simply can't so something like this - take away a fundamental right at the ballot."

With many gay newlyweds worried about what the amendment does to their vows, California Attorney General Jerry Brown said he believes those marriages are still valid. But he is also preparing to defend that position in court.

The amendment does not explicitly say whether it applies to those already married. Legal experts said unless there is explicit language, laws are not normally applied retroactively.

"Otherwise a Pandora's Box of chaos is opened," said Stanford University law school professor Jane Schacter. Still, Schacter cautioned that the question of retroactivity "is not a slam dunk."

An employer, for instance, could deny medical benefits to an employee's same-sex spouse. The worker could then sue the employer, giving rise to a case that could determine the validity of the 18,000 marriages.

Supporters of the ban said they will not seek to invalidate the marriages already performed and will leave any legal challenges to others.

A 2003 California law already gives gays registered as domestic partners nearly all the state rights and responsibilities of married couples when it comes to such things as taxes, estate planning and medical decisions. That law is still in effect.

Regarding the statement that "a majority of blacks voted for Prop 8"--that particular proclamation isn't going over too well in various parts of Blogdonia.

For more on that, and other excellent fulminating on the topic, please check out:

Prop 8: The Rush to blame the Brown People (excellent collection of links at Alas, a blog)

Mark Oshiro: Protesting Proposition 8, Now You Need Your Allies (Womanist Musings)

Okay, the "Black people cost gay people the right to marry in CA ZOMG" meme needs to stop, NOW. (Fetch Me My Axe)

And Rick Warren is being singled out for ire, at long last! Yes, demonstrations in front of Saddleback Church! (CBS News account)

And on the subject of generalized sexual hysteria and Victorian bullshit, Proposition K in San Francisco also failed. Lea Brown described the measure in the SF Bay Guardian:
Prop. K would allow sex workers to organize for their rights and safety. It would enable them to report abuse in the industry without fear of prosecution. It would improve their chances of maintaining their health by lessening the stigma that prevents many from seeking the health care services they need. And it would do all this while still allowing law enforcement officials to investigate and prosecute human traffickers.
My favorite sex-worker blogger, Renegade Evolution, shares her strong feelings about Prop K's failure. (And as usual, a very lively comments section!)

And along these lines, don't forget to have a peep at the 11th Feminist Carnival for Sexual Freedom and Autonomy!

EDITED TO ADD: Join the Impact - Protest Prop 8 on November 15th. Thanks to The Jaded Hippy for the link.


Annie said...

amazing, informative post. honestly, this is why i continue to have big problems with religion in general. how dare they? i totally related to poor carol oldham's feelings~i too am in mourning for my own gay family members and friends who are being force fed hatred and intolerance. this simply cannot stand.

Kaio said...

Hi daisy,
Nice blog!
Have a sextastic week!
Cheers from London

LarryE said...

the statement that "a majority of blacks voted for Prop 8" isn't going over too well in various parts of Blogdonia

Perhaps not, but it doesn't change the fact that it's true: According to exit polls, blacks backed Prop8 by about 70-30 while Hispanics were roughly split and whites voted against it.

However and despite what some seem to be suggesting, saying that is not labeling all blacks as hopelessly homophobic any more than Barack Obama getting 67% of the vote in Vermont labels everyone there as a Democrat.

Moreover, I have not read anyone arguing that gay equality and racial equality are conflicting goals - rather, I have read people insisting that other people have said that and it increasingly strikes me as a straw figure argument, one used (properly) to go after gay rights groups for failing to reach out to potential supporters in communities of color but also used (improperly) to avoid confronting the very real homophobia that exists in those same communities.

If all the struggles for justice are to be seen as a piece, as they should be, it's incumbent on every community to be confronted with and face up to its own shortcomings. No one gets a pass.

Marion said...

I heard Gov. Schwartzenegger (sp?) comment on CNN that all marriages prior to Prop 8 will be honoured. I sure hope so!

This intolerance cannot continue. But it seems it does, over and over.

bryce said...

thnx for the protest link

Anonymous said...

Have any of you ever really considered the ramifications of same-sex marriage being practiced on a wide scale? What if everyone decided to practice it? It would be the end of humanity. I vote for humanity. The Constitution states that we are subject to the laws of nature. There could be nothing more contrary to the laws of nature than individuals of the same gender pretending to form a "family". What a mockery of the word family. There are some things that simply cannot be voted into being right or even okay. There is no imaginable circumstance where the union between individuals of the same sex is okay. That very idea has destroyed societies down through the ages.

Daisy said...

Anonymous: Have any of you ever really considered the ramifications of same-sex marriage being practiced on a wide scale?

Would it be any different than heterosexual marriage on a wide scale? How so?

What if everyone decided to practice it?

Wow, sounds like you have very little faith in heterosexuality!

It would be the end of humanity.

How do all of these gay couples end up as parents?

I vote for humanity.

Ohhhh, me too.

The Constitution states that we are subject to the laws of nature. There could be nothing more contrary to the laws of nature than individuals of the same gender pretending to form a "family".

Do you use antibiotics? Any other drugs? Do you use
telephones, watch TV or wear undies? None of this is natural.

And actually, there is homosexuality in nature.

What a mockery of the word family. There are some things that simply cannot be voted into being right or even okay.

We'll see.

There is no imaginable circumstance where the union between individuals of the same sex is okay.

It doesn't matter what YOU think, this is not about you. And why should it be? Why do you have to approve of what other people do? My (straight) neighbors scream at each other all the time, and I don't approve of their union...but I'm sure they don't give a rats ass what I think.

That very idea has destroyed societies down through the ages.

Gay marriage down through the ages?

Actually, same-sex unions were popular at one time in the Church, and nothing seems to have been destroyed.

sheila said...

OMG, maybe we're related, lol. I see a lot of commonalities in you and I. I could spend all day at your site. I recently posted something about Prop 8 also. The whole issue just pisses me off.