Mormon Inquiry

Mormon Inquiry


Big Love producer sounds off on Prop 8

posted by Dave Banack

And that producer is none other than Tom Hanks. Here’s Hanks, as quoted by Fox News:

The truth is this [show] takes place in Utah, the truth is these people are some bizarre offshoot of the Mormon Church, and the truth is a lot of Mormons gave a lot of money to the church to make Prop-8 happen. There are a lot of people who feel that is un-American, and I am one of them.

For a freewheeling response to Hanks, go read “Is Tom Hanks Un-American?



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Your Name

posted January 18, 2009 at 11:16 am


I see you’re busy stirring the pot. I took the bait and read the link to what you called a “freewheeling response.” “Freewheeling” must be a euphemism for jerky, but I should have expected as much from somebody who put his name to a book titled “Under the Clitoral Hood: How to Crank Her Engine Without Cash, Booze, or Jumper Cables.” Why do you give a forum to such cranks? Don’t you feel any sense of shame, if not for yourself then for the LDS Church when you show up as a “Mormon” blogger and then link to somebody like this?
Tom Hanks wasn’t saying that Mormons are un-American. He was saying that discrimination is un-American. As for the comments about the characters in Big Love (a cable soap about polygamists), Hanks was simply distinguishing those characters (radical offshoots) from actual members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (who no longer practice polygamy). I’ve seen the show, though I couldn’t stay with it because I found it boring. Its twist is polygamy, but instead of demonizing its characters, the show more or less normalizes them. If anything, the show draws connections between the strange world of polygamy and the familiar issues that comes up in monogamous relationships.
As for whether marriage is a right or a privilege, your “freewheeling” pundit has it wrong. Marriage is a right. When that right was denied African-Americans during the days of Dred Scott, it was a human-rights abuse, not merely a policy that would someday go out of fashion. By the way, citing FoxNews as a source says more about you than it does about Tom Hanks. Let me know when you decide to broaden your horizons beyond the yellow press.



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Your Name

posted January 18, 2009 at 2:36 pm


“Your Name”‘s defense of Hanks is on target, but the third paragraph is bunk. The Dred Scott decision held that black slaves were property. By definition, property can’t marry. The case has zero relevance to legal arguments over SSM. Moreover, today laws discriminating against blacks would be evaluated under a strict scrutiny test because race is a suspect class. Sexual orientation is not, so using race as an analog for it isn’t your best argument.
I hold no water for Fox News, but it’s a little juvenile to bonk Banack over the head for simply citing to a basic news story, hardly the stuff O’Reilly, Hannity, etc put out.
As to the Hanks statement, I’m trying to figure out how he leaps from Mormon polygamists to LDS support for prop 8, and wish there was more context. Seems to be a non sequitur.



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Nick Literski

posted January 18, 2009 at 4:05 pm


Moreover, today laws discriminating against blacks would be evaluated under a strict scrutiny test because race is a suspect class. Sexual orientation is not, so using race as an analog for it isn’t your best argument.
Actually, sexual orientation IS a suspect class under California law, so according to your logic, race is a very good analog in this case.



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Real American

posted January 18, 2009 at 4:39 pm


Tom Hanks may be a great actor but his prejudice is disturbing. Although it may be easy political sport to take aim at Mormon participation on Prop 8, I doubt Hanks would be willing to make this statement about other groups. If it is un-American to support Prop 8, then… The elderly are un-American (67% supported Prop 8), Hispanics are un-American (59% supported Prop 8), and Blacks are un-American (58% supported Prop 8). It’s ironic that these statements would be considered politically incorrect, but when Hanks takes a shot at a religion it is viewed as acceptable and even praised.



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NightLad

posted January 18, 2009 at 8:20 pm


“Real American”
I believe Mr. Hanks was referring to the spirit of Prop-8 itself as being un-American. I am certainly not trying to speak for him, but that is what I read his comments to mean.
Stripping a segment of the population of their civil, secular rights by a ‘majority rules’ lynch mob is terrifying. Of all I’ve been told of the spirit of America, Land of the Free, With Justice and Liberty for all… yes, the spirit of Prop-8 was un-American to its core.
Bigotry won the day. The GLBT community was hung high. And the crowd rejoiced.
But history will be the ultimate judge.



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RickLDS

posted January 18, 2009 at 9:04 pm


People find it odd that Hollywood types are as ignorant as anyone else? …odd.



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Husband

posted January 19, 2009 at 10:29 am


Your Name,
“The Dred Scott decision held that black slaves were property. By definition, property can’t marry. The case has zero relevance to legal arguments over SSM.”
Sorry, but I disagree. Once the case determined that blacks were actually people, then it followed that people have a right to marry.
Here’s a clue: gay people are people too.
“race is a suspect class. Sexual orientation is not”
The courts (you know, the division of government that is responsible for interpreting the Constitution and determining the Constitutionality of laws made by Legislators – which happened TWICE! in California) disagree with you.



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C Jones

posted January 19, 2009 at 12:32 pm


Un-American huh. For voting? Well, perhaps Hanks etal can form a committee to investigate.



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Your Name

posted January 20, 2009 at 10:26 am


No, C Jones, not for merely voting, but for voting to take rights away from some. Get a clue.



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Your Name

posted January 20, 2009 at 12:17 pm


Your Name,
I believe C Jones has a clue. He/She also has a right to his/her opinion on this or any issue. I think tone here should be civil on this issue, no matter your position. Attempts at intimidation are not helpful convincing someone of your point of view.
To me the issue boils down rights. I fail to see in the Constitution nor the Bill of Rights any right to any type of marriage. There is no “right” in this area. We have a number of laws that restrict a number of elements of marriage (each state has some differences). Laws by their very nature are restrictive. There is always someone who has their perceived “rights” refrained by laws that we pass.
Marriage is not something that courts should decide. What is interesting is the number of states that have passed such ammendments. Even in California–when people truly have the right to vote–and voice their opinions on such matters, there is always someone who want’s to overturn the vote of the people by going back to the courts.



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Real American

posted January 21, 2009 at 12:11 am


Night Lad,
The core of the debate on Prop 8 was whether gay men and women have a fundamental civil right to marry. Legally, civil rights are granted through law with the constitution being held as the highest arbiter of these rights. The provisions of the California Constitution constitute the ultimate expression of the people’s will. Through Prop 8, Californians have declared that legally a marriage is between a man and a woman.
One can argue that fundamental civil rights transcend the laws of nations. However, to make this argument, you have to appeal to a higher sense of humanity and existence beyond the reality of government. If one was religious, the answer to the question of Prop 8 was evidently clear (70% of “religious” voters supported 8). It would appear that these voters did not believe that marriage for gay men and women was a fundamental civil right. Voters that did not describe themselves as religious obviously disagreed. How can society arbitrate disputes of the supernatural? In America, we have developed a constitutional government to help give order to these types of discussions.



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Your Name

posted January 21, 2009 at 1:41 pm


Your Name,
Jes, he has a right to his opinion. And I, equally, have the right to mine, and to point out that his ‘answer’ was misinformed and misdirected. All citizens of age have a right to vote. No citizen has the right to vote to take away rights from other people. That is simply unconstitutional.
As for your own comment, “I think tone here should be civil on this issue, no matter your position.”, perhaps you could explain what is ‘cvil’ about such a vote in the first place.
“Attempts at intimidation are not helpful convincing someone of your point of view.”
And having one’s own rights taken away is somehow not ‘intimidating’?
“To me the issue boils down [to] rights.”
So? To me it boils down to liberties. America is known as the “land of the free”, not the ‘land of rights (for some)’. It’s “sweet land of liberty”, not ‘sweet land of heterosexuals’ rights’. Speak to me of the inalienable right to liberty, and to the pursuit of happiness. Speak to me of the right to be treated equally before the law. Of justice for ALL. Of the Full Faith and Credit clause. Of the Equal Protections clause. Of freedom of religion, specifically for the ever-growing legion of religious faiths that do perform same-sex marriages.
“I fail to see in the Constitution nor the Bill of Rights any right to any type of marriage. There is no “right” in this area.”
Correct. Not even for you betterosexuals. So let’s shift the focus to the freedom to marry the person of your (mutual) choosing.
“Marriage is not something that courts should decide.”
Courts decide on the Constitutionality of laws passed. That is their very job. The CA Legislature – TWICE! passed laws permitting same-sex marriage. The CASC decided that the previous voter-passed initiative was UN-Constitutional because it prevented the guarantee of equal treatment before the law.
“What is interesting is the number of states that have passed such ammendments.”
You find it “interesting”; I find it appalling. And UN-Constitutional to boot. That people’s rights should ever be put to a vote in the first place is a despicable usurpation of the Constitution. Further, perhaps you should look up the history of voting on inter-racial marriage. Lots of States had laws forbidding that, too. (I believe Alabama did not actually rescind their law until 1999, though I could be wrong on either the State or the date.) Didn’t make it right.
“Even in California–when people truly have the right to vote–and voice their opinions on such matters”
That is where you and I disagree. I do not think people should have (or even really do have) the ‘right’ to vote to take rights away from any particular minority. If you believe otherwise, kindly inform us as to which minority should be next on the list.
“there is always someone who want’s to overturn the vote of the people by going back to the courts.”
Someone (i.e. people who believe in the promise of equality for all) and something – namely the U.S. Constitution.
If you think I’m wrong, just ask the Lovings.



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Your Name

posted January 21, 2009 at 1:46 pm


Real American,
You defeated your own argument.
“Legally, civil rights are granted through law with the constitution being held as the highest arbiter of these rights. The provisions of the California Constitution constitute the ultimate expression of the people’s will. Through Prop 8, Californians have declared that legally a marriage is between a man and a woman.”
You were correct in your first sentence. As noted above, the California Legislature passed laws – twice – in favor of same-sex marriage. And the CA Supreme Court found that the original voter-passed initiative did not stand up to Constitutional scrutiny under the Equal Protections clause.
Your 2nd sentence is merely a statement of popularity. Back when laws were passed permitting inter-racial marriage, neither were they popular. But they were just.



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Your Name

posted January 21, 2009 at 1:54 pm


“If one was religious, the answer to the question of Prop 8 was evidently clear (70% of “religious” voters supported 8).”
Again, merely a (false, imo) statment of popularity. If one is a member of the United Church of Christ, or the Universalist/Unitarians, or the Metropolitan Community Churches, or the Reformed branch of Judaism, or the Conservative branch of Judaism, or the Quakers, (“religious” voters all, no?), that statement is simply, blatantly false, since all of those religions (and others too) are in favor of same-sex marriages. Speak to me of what is right and just, not what is merely popular.
“It would appear that these voters did not believe that marriage for gay men and women was a fundamental civil right.”
So what? Doesn’t America proomise freedom of religion to all citizens anymore? And those voters are at odds with the guarantees in their own Constitution. And at odds with their own (largely conservative/certainly Republican-appointed) Supreme Court. And their Legislature.
“Voters that did not describe themselves as religious obviously disagreed.”
As did many voters of other religious persuasions. You are missing/evading/ignoring the very premise that citizens’ rights ought not be put to a popular vote in the first place.
“How can society arbitrate disputes of the supernatural?”
HUH???
“In America, we have developed a constitutional government to help give order to these types of discussions.”
And the CA Supreme Court used their Constitutin to determine that gay citizens have the right to equal treatment before the law. Prop 8 shat on that promise, which is why I oppose it so vehemently.



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C Jones

posted January 21, 2009 at 7:31 pm


Your name ( the getaclue advocate)
You have completely missed the point of my comment. Perhaps you could take a minute and very slowly and carefully reread it. Then ask yourself a few questions.
Did I say anything at all about Prop 8 itself?
Have you ever heard of McCarthyism?
I was just pointing out the irony of the Hollywood types being on the other side of the table so to speak when it comes to calling others Un-American. And we all know how effective that strategy turned out to be.



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Your Name

posted January 22, 2009 at 2:07 pm


C Jones,
I took a moment (it wasn’t that long: “Un-American huh. For voting? Well, perhaps Hanks etal can form a committee to investigate.” is its entirety) and missed nothing at all. You proposed that “For voting?” was what was un-American. I pointed out that is was not voting that is un-American, but voting to eliminate the rights of some that is demonstrably un-american (i.e. UN-Constitutional).
You didn’t type the word Prop 8, but it is the vote on Prop 8 that we are discussing and that Hanks referenced. If I’m wrong, your communications skills are lacking far more than my reading comprehension skills. And if I’m wrong, please tell us what you were discussinng if not voting on Prop 8, ‘cuz it still ain’t clear.
(P.S. Your take on McCarthyism is somewhat out of whack too, since it was actors [and screenwriters, and producers, and directors, etc. – ALL “Hollywood types” – spit] – that were labelled Un-American by right-wing politicos.)



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C Jones

posted January 22, 2009 at 5:43 pm


“Your take on McCarthyism is somewhat out of whack too, since it was actors [and screenwriters, and producers, and directors, etc. – ALL “Hollywood types” – spit] – that were labelled Un-American by right-wing politicos”
Exactly. This is where the irony come in.



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@ Husband

posted January 24, 2009 at 1:06 pm


“Sorry, but I disagree. Once the case determined that blacks were actually people, then it followed that people have a right to marry.’
You fail to see the point, which is that Dred Scott is irrelevant to SSM. Dred Scott determined that black slaves were chattel, which has nothing to do with marriage other than the logical extension that property cannot marry. Anti-miscegenation laws in the 60’s were not based on Dred Scott, so that particular gruesome entry in American history has no place in the Prop 8 debate. Introducing its spectre into the conversation has only inflammatory value.
“The courts (you know, the division of government that is responsible for interpreting the Constitution and determining the Constitutionality of laws made by Legislators – which happened TWICE! in California) disagree with you.”
Yes, but if Prop 8 truly affects the Constitution of California, then the courts have the obligation to adhere to “marriage” as defined in the Constitution. Thank you for proving the argument. As for things happening TWICE, plebescites in California have TWICE voted to reject SSM.
If, as Nick Literski indicates, California courts recognize sexual preference as a suspect class, that alters things because the CA courts will examine claims of discrimination under strict scrutiny. However, until other states (and I don’t know whether other states share California’s embrace of sexual orientation as a suspect class) and the US Supreme Court agree that it falls under the list of suspect classifications, then I’m not sure how widespread a victory even in California (whose “progressive” ideas are hardly welcomed by the much of the country) would be for the pro-SSM movement.



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Husband

posted January 26, 2009 at 10:16 am


“if Prop 8 truly affects the Constitution of California”
It actually doesn’t. The Constitution can only be changed by a 2/3 majority vote in the Legislature, not by mere majority plebiscite. That is why it, too, will be struck down by the courts. That, and the UN-Constitutional nature of Prop 8.
“then the courts have the obligation to adhere to “marriage” as defined in the Constitution.”
Marriage is not defined anywhere in the Constitution. Not even for you betterosexuals.
“As for things happening TWICE, plebescites in California have TWICE voted to reject SSM.”
And both were UN-Constitutional.
“If, as Nick Literski indicates, California courts recognize sexual preference as a suspect class”
1. It isn’t a “preference”. (My orientation dictates that the persons I am sexually attracted to are all men.My preference is for hairy, heavyset men.)
2. THe CASC did determine that sexual orientatino is a “suspect class”, not “if”.
You probably don’t agree with the Full Faith and Credit clause either.
I wonder how come heterosexually married couples who come to America have their “marriages” recognized, but legally married gay couples (heck, even withinn America) don’t?
It would be interesting if that Saudi Prince that W. welcomed into the White House were to move to America. I wonder how many of his legal wives would be recognized?



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Your Name

posted February 6, 2009 at 6:07 pm


What? Can’t anyone (on a Mormon site, no less) answer the question about the Saudi King’s multiple (but legal) wives?



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