“In March 2000, California voters passed Proposition 22 to specify in state law that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California. In May 2008, the California Supreme Court ruled that the statute enacted by Proposition 22 and other statutes that limit marriage to a relationship between a man and a woman violated the equal protection clause of the California Constitution. It also held that individuals of the same sex have the right to marry under the California Constitution. As a result of the ruling, marriage between individuals of the same sex is currently valid or recognized in the state.”
The proposal of Proposition 8 “…amends the California Constitution to specify that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California. As a result, notwithstanding the California Supreme Court ruling of May 2008, marriage would be limited to individuals of the opposite sex, and individuals of the same sex would not have the right to marry in California.”
Proposition 8 in the state of California has been in the news a lot lately when the voice of the people overturned a Supreme Court ruling to eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry. The passing of this legislation has spawned protests of gays and gay activists all across the country…specifically targeting The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (a.k.a. Mormon). These protests, in some cases have been violent, is disconcerting to me because I am a proud member of this religion and am not ashamed of it.
Marriage between a man and a man or between a woman and a woman is directly contrary to the beliefs and doctrines of the LDS Church. The Church has previously issued two statements in support of a constitutional amendment on marriage – only July 7, 2004, and on October 19, 2004.
The October 2004 First Presidency (highest governing body of the Church) statement reads: “We of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints reach out with understanding and respect for individuals who are attracted to those of the same gender. We realize there may be great loneliness in their lives but there must also be recognition of what is right before the Lord.
“As a doctrinal principle, based on sacred scripture, we affirm that marriage between a man and a woman is essential to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children. The powers of procreation are to be exercised only between a man and a woman lawfully wedded as husband and wife.
“Any other sexual relations, including those between persons of the same gender, undermine the divinely created institution of the family. The Church accordingly favors measures that define marriage as the union of a man and a woman and that do not confer legal status on any other sexual relationship.”
Source: http://www.lds.org – Gospel Library > Magazines > Ensign > July 2006
Read the LDS Church’s publication: “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.”
The LDS Church is now being targeted by protestors because it urged its members to call friends, family, and fellow citizens in California to urge support of the effort to defend traditional marriage. In addition to this, members of the Church – not the Church itself – raised over $21 million in favor of Proposition 8. The Church and its members are now being persecuted for their religious beliefs and doctrines, which was the reason this country was founded in the first place.
As one of the core beliefs – The Thirteen Articles of Faith of the LDS Church, number eleven reads: “We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.”
Protestors are in fact protesting that their civil rights are being violated and demand equal rights as the same given to a man and woman given in marriage. When we speak of equal civil rights we often think of the civil rights movement of the 1960’s directly affecting African-Americans. In California, African-American voters rejected gay marriage 70% to 30%, which has created some racial tension. Obviously many people do not equate gay marriage with civil rights and that is the crux of the battle. Bill O’Reilly on his show The O’Reilly Factor quoted Larry Elder of KBAC, an African-American radio show host said: “It’s not the same thing. You are born with a skin color. Homosexuality is an action. Tradition and history clearly says marriage is between a man and a woman. The Constitution doesn’t deal with the issue. So to break down the traditional definition of marriage you’ve got to have a compelling constitutional reason. If you get civil partnerships there is no compelling civil reason.”
Does the civil rights of African-Americans equate with the civil rights of gay Americans? “If you look at the basic rights that were denied to African-Americans over the course of so much of American history whether it was the full voting rights, whether it was the right to own property, education rights, the right to eat in the same restaurant as white people, to ride in the same part of public transportation, public accommodations, hotels…all of it. To equate that with this great discussion and this great debate over marriage I think is quite off base to put it lightly.” (Laura Ingram, The O’Reilly Factor, November 13, 2008). 70% of African-Americans from diverse backgrounds chose to come out and vote for Proposition 8.
O’Reilly finished up the debate with this statement: “Religious Americans have a right to their opinion and they have a right to express it and they have a right to vote it. They exercised that right. They lost in California, that was the will of the people…it’s as simple as that.” To actively protest and target The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for also exercising that right and holding them responsible is wrong. It was the voice of the people to pass Proposition 8…not the voice of the LDS Church.
Next blog post: Where does Barack Obama stand on gay marriage and his view on Proposition 8?