Mormon Inquiry

Mormon Inquiry


Mormonism as a symbol whose meaning is changing

posted by Dave Banack

At Get Religion, “The Mormons are coming!“, taking issue with aspects of a Washington Post article of the same name. I would summarize the general problem in simpler terms: some journalists in the mainstream press believe their own propaganda, which they use to frame most stories and to select friendly facts. Let’s look at an example from the Get Religion post, then hit the larger issue of what the post reveals about the evolving use of Mormonism as a symbol.

Is widepsread legal recognition of gay marriage inevitable? The press certainly thinks so, and typically assumes this view as fact when reporting. Here is the critique from the GR post:

While the number of states legalizing same-sex marriage is slowly increasing, so is the number of states banning it. California, Arizona and Florida were the last three — bringing the total to some 30 — states to ban it. They did so just this past November.

And is the disparity narrow and shrinking? What about the Gallup poll that came out earlier this week showing that Americans are not becoming more accepting of same-sex unions? In May 2007, 53 percent opposed same-sex marriage and now 57 percent oppose. Two years ago, 46 percent supported same-sex marriage and now only 40 percent do according to the poll.

The media really like to run with the narrative that same-sex marriage is inevitable. They have repeated it incessantly. But is it true?

Is it true? If you are reporting facts, that question makes sense. If you are just broadcasting opinions, it doesn’t. The “same-sex marriage is inevitable” claim, as a factual assertion, is obviously false, yet the media, as noted in the Get Religion piece, likes to “run with the narrative.” Don’t let facts interfere with the preferred narrative.

The larger issue in the post and the article is the evolving use of Mormonism as a symbol. Prop 8 opponents and same-sex marriage supporters are depicting the LDS Church as a mean, hateful organization that “stole our rights.” Those behind the new PR campaign using the slogan “The Mormons are coming!” seem to think that particular depiction of Mormonism (1) is credible enough to be effective; and (2) is going to resonate with a lot of voters.

That’s a risky strategy. The Washington Post article noted, “The strategy carries risks for a movement grounded in the concept of tolerance.” Another press faux pas: the movement claims to be grounded in tolerance, and reporters accept that claim at face value, but most people aren’t that naive. The fact that half of the newspapers asked to run the ads rejected them ought to be a sign that there’s something wrong with the claim. The ads weren’t rejected because they were too tolerant. As noted in the Get Religion post:

I’m extremely surprised that in the story we don’t hear from anyone pointing out that going after Mormons for their opposition to same-sex marriage might backfire big time, to put it mildly. There’s also no discussion of some of the anti-Mormon protests and vandalism that erupted following California’s Proposition 8 vote.

The bottom line: the next time same-sex marriage is on the ballot, a debate on the meaning of Mormonism might be part of the campaign.



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Your Name

posted June 3, 2009 at 1:36 pm


As a former member of the Mormon Church and as a former missionary for the Church, I studied at length the religion….at least what they taught, or should I say brainwashed, me. Did you know that the Mormon Church got in cahoots with the Catholic Church in Proposition 8. It also used the Catholic Church as a front for the defeat of gay marriage in Hawaii…so the Mormons didn’t look bad. All along the Mormon Church calls the Catholic Church “The Whore of all the Earth.” And yes this is a documented fact in Mormon Discourses. Did you know that the Mormon Church vehemiently objected to Civil Rights in the 1960′s and several Mormon “prophets” said that Blacks were inferior and unintelligent? Did you know the the Mormon Church was against the Equal Rights Amendment for women and when some women objected to the “Prophet’s” confirmation in a conference they were quickly silenced? (Yes, I was there)
Those of you who say you have family members and friends who you love that are gay so there is no way you could possibly be a bigot and a hater please do the following. Go to them, look them in the eye and tell they that they don’t deserve the same rights and happiness as you have because they are gay. If you can do that great at least you can admit that you are a bigot and hater, if you can’t, not only are you a bigot and a hater but you are a hypocrit too. Saying you love someone and acting on it is one thing and discriminating in the name of God is another. Think about it, how proud will you be when you get in front on God on judgement day and say that you discriminated in his name. You can lie in posts, you can lie in church, you can lie to those you call your friends, but you can’t lie to God. Have fun on judgement day. I may be gay but I am sure I have more love for my fellow man in my little finger than you can ever possibly have. I may call you a bigot, a hater, a discriminator, however is all I am doing is telling the truth. But believe it or not I can understand how easy it is to make yourself feel better by saying you love someone you actually despise…Because I love all you haters.



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New Age Cowboy

posted June 3, 2009 at 3:53 pm


Davy Banack,
This obsession with gay marriage. The fact is that Prop 8 denied people rights. Mormons should ask why theology based on our own free agency would result in restricting choices for non-Mormons, especially in a pluralistic society.
The Mormon Church has proved to be way behind the curve on tolerance and diversity. Black/African American men were not allowed full participation in the priesthood til 1978. That’s way after Brown vs. Board of Education, Martin Luther King, etc.
Sorry dude, it’s not gonna be that difficult to paint Mormons as bigots and agents of intolerance. Mormon leadership has already had a definite hand in helping to symbolize the church in the worst sort of way.



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Jana

posted June 3, 2009 at 6:31 pm


The post-Prop 8 hate-fests against Mormons advanced the cause of gay marriage. The lower numbers supporting gay marriage (a decrease of 7%, I believe) can at least partly be attributed to the ugly tactics of gay marriage activists, who choose demonization as their path to attaining marriage equity. I don’t think this works at all in the long run, because it undercuts the entire message of tolerance that their argument is based upon.
Not to mention that plenty of non-Mormons are opposed to marriage equity, and demonizing Mormons is certainly not going to change say, the minds of Black Americans and hispanics, majorities of which are opposed.
This is a bad strategy.



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Jana

posted June 3, 2009 at 6:32 pm


That is meant to be a ? not a . in the first sentence.
“The post-Prop 8 hate-fests against Mormons advanced the cause of gay marriage?”



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Rick M

posted June 3, 2009 at 7:34 pm


The backlash has been towards the LDS church and the initial request of the Catholic church to them has been thoroughly glossed over. That’s fine. The LDS church didn’t have to get involved but it did. Another thing overlooked is the possibility of legal action for discrimination if LDS churches refused to permit or perform gay or lesbian “marriages”. It was heard on a radio show in the SF Bay area that if gay marriage was supported then that particular caller was going to sue the LDS church for discrimination if they refused to perform the ceremony.
It would have opened many doors to the extremists to bring about costly litigation. Loopholes would have been found and it could have been the state infringing upon the legal protection the U.S. Constitution was supposed to provide (just as the Edmunds-Tucker Act).



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Ryan J

posted June 3, 2009 at 10:02 pm


I consider myself somewhat of a cyber-missionary: responding to blogs and posts that get the facts wrong about the Church (I was way busy when the word hit the street that Obama’s mom was baptized by proxy!). The Supreme Court has held that marriage is a fundamental right. But they have never held that Gay marriage is a fundamental right. I am glad that the California Court got it right and listened to the People. Proponents can say that marriage is a civil liberty, but it has never been held as such. Let the states decide the issue, let us have traditional marriage states and Gay-Marriage states! And what they fail to remember is that we challenged the right to polygamy under the freedom of religion, not as a civil right. I doubt any Saints would claim that they have a civil right to polygamous marriage. And I doubt any gay-activist can prove that being gay is part of their religion.



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Chino Blanco

posted June 3, 2009 at 10:20 pm


Rick M – Somebody called into a radio show with a ridiculous and incendiary comment? Shocking.
Anyway, what to make of this from Mormon pollster Gary Lawrence quoted in that WaPo piece:
” … favorability ratings declined for Mormons over the last year, Lawrence said, from 42 percent to 37.”
Any comments on that 5 point drop?



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Andrew S.

posted June 4, 2009 at 2:06 am


re: Ryan J
Your comment is troubling to me, because it seems to gloss over things as much as you might say the other side might.
The issue in California was that marriage was a fundamental right, and because the California legislature had found gay citizens to be worthy of a legal institution that was materially identical to marriage (e.g., civil unions), it was discriminatory and unconstitutional wrt the California constitution to continue to withhold the name marriage from gay relationships. What California citizens did in Proposition 8 was they essentially made marriage not a fundamental, constitutional right. That way, the court can’t strike a gay marriage ban as unconstitutional, because gay marriage is no longer constitutional. Obviously, the CA Supreme Court case against Prop 8 was rather poor (counting on the judges thinking it was a revision rather than an amendment…an argument that was weak to begin with, and so it naturally failed.)
But…that’s not what is most troubling about the comment. Instead, this kind of states’ rights idealism has reared its head before in history. “Let the states decide the issue, let us have slave states and free states!”



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PI

posted June 4, 2009 at 8:35 am


The ridiculous comparisons between the gay-marriage movement and the plight of African Americans in this country are flat out wrong. This includes the recent asinine comparison between states rights with regard to slavery and gay marriage.
Q, In California, what *rights* are being denied?
A. None. Domestic partnerships in California convey to same sex couples benefits rights, hospital visitation rights, and other benefits of legally sanctioned marriage relationships. What California voters rejected was an institutional (state) mandate to refer to formalized same-sex unions as “Marriages”.
Q. What rights have been denied to african americans?
A. The right to vote, own property, be counted as a single person (instead of 1/3), to be free, to use the same drinking fountain as caucasians.
And this isn’t just me: *SEVEN OUT OF TEN* african americans in California also categorically rejected this comparison between gay americans and african-americans by voting in favor of prop 8. And it was the VOTE of the african americans that was decisive in California. And people are still blaming the Mormons. Get over it.
Interestingly, I have been hard-pressed to find any list of people and organizations who donated to NO ON PROP 8, despite the ease of finding “YES ON PROP 8″ donors.



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Andrew S.

posted June 4, 2009 at 4:41 pm


Q: What rights are being denied?
A: The right to the word marriage. The question is whether or not this matters, but the hubbub related to the word clearly shows that it does. If it did not, then people would not care so much about making such a distinction between “marriage” and “domestic partnership” or “civil union.” In fact, this is the challenge that led to the entire issue in the first place. Since CA does recognize that gay partnerships should have all of the rights and privileges of marriage at a state level (which allows you to say what you say), then how does it make any since to discriminate by calling these identical unions something else other than marriage?
This is clearly and intuitively a case of, “Separate, but equal” where…as we learn from history, doesn’t go over too well. PI, you want to establish that two separate institutions can be equal in every way, but the very fact that they have different names (and that people care so much about giving them different names) makes them inequal. The very fact that people get so up in arms about using marriage for gay couples is because they hold marriage to a higher regard than civil unions. This is the most obvious sign of the inequality.
At least in other states, the citizens are more intellectually honest, because when they say no to gays, they ban marriage *and* marriage-like unions. But California has enshrined into its constitution separate but equal. And I mean, if the California citizenry is going to do that, then fine. But it just shows how tyranny of the majority and democracy are at ends with freedom and liberty.
You bring up in your next question that African Americans were denied the right to use the same drinking fountains as whites…and of course you know that this extended to schools, etc., etc., But you confuse the issue by combining it with other things.
At some point, as you should realize, blacks did have the right to vote, they were citizens, etc., etc., but still, segregation was in place. And many people argued, “Blacks have all the rights of whites…they just do not have the right to do it in white institutions…but this is ok, because separate is equal.” When the courts ruled against separate but equal, they meant just that. They meant to rule against the idea that you could somehow have legal equality when you have separate institutions…and this has obvious parallels today. Gays argue against the idea that you can have legal equality when you have separate institutions (marriage for straights, civil unions for gays.)
The answer is one of two possibilities. In fairness, the government should make marriages available to all…or in fairness, the government should recognize that marriage is a discriminatory institution that it has nothing to do with it and abandon it. In its place, the govt should only recognize civil unions and then dispense these fairly.
You raise the point that 7 out of 10 blacks in California also rejected this comparison, but you classically use a racist analogy and tie it to the race instead of the true culprit. I’ll explain, since you probably don’t understand.
People who overwhelmingly voted for prop 8 and against gay marriage did so because of religious considerations. When you consider that black people tend to be overwhelmingly religious, then you can understand why 7 out of 10 would vote against marriage. When you understand that the civil rights movement was propelled with the black church (the doctors involved with the civil rights movements were doctors of theology or philosophy, I would note), then you can easily see how they might reject a comparison between homosexuality and civil rights for blacks.
Personally, this tells me something…it tells me that religiosity is a big problem. This is the reason for the post — people see what the Mormons, the Catholics, the Baptists, and all of these coalitions did as encroaches of religion onto the rights of civil society. You simply agree with it, and obviously, as America is a majorly religious country, many people agree with it. But this represents a danger of society — now people are voting against the interests of minority groups and using as justification their common religious sentiments. Mormons should be ESPECIALLY suspect of this because it’s not like the LDS church is in the clear or has historically been in the clear. While Prop 8 did have a wide coalition of support for it, Mormons should acutely realize that that does not mean other Christian groups view Mormons positively. Remember, as certain organizations were willing to accept Mormon aid in the fight against gay marriage, they would not let Mormons join their organizations because they did not believe them to be Christians.
In the end, I don’t know why I should care enough to tell you about this if you can’t see it. If you’re willing to accept politics of this sort, then when people knock on your door trying to take your rights away because they can get a plurality or majority of people to vote against you (and if you look through history, even recent history, you will find that STILL, people are willing to vote against Mormons), then perhaps you should enjoy the bed that you’re digging for yourselves.



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Bull Moose

posted June 4, 2009 at 4:55 pm


Andrew S., speaking of troubling comments, your freudian slip describing the activist California supreme court was ironic to say the least: “because the California legislature had found gay citizens to be worthy of a legal institution that was materially identical to marriage…”
You are partially correct; it was the California supreme court unconstitutionally playing the role of legislature.



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Andrew S.

posted June 4, 2009 at 5:50 pm


Bull Moose…
No, I didn’t make any Freudian slip. Let me try to explain the history to you.
The California ****legislature**** voted for the Domestic Partnership Act of 1999, and the California ****legislature**** voted for amendments to this 1999 up through 2007..
So, the California ****legislature****, by allowing for domestic partnerships that were legally and materially identical on a state level to marriage, validated things in the first part. Not only that, but the California ****legislature**** established marriage as a fundamental right (california constitution, amendment 1, section 7) and the California ****legislature**** found that sexual orientation was a protected class in its constitutional Equal Protection Clause. All the California Supreme Court noted was that it was discriminatory to have this separate, but equal system with differing names (e.g., marriage for straights, domestic partnerships for others) especially with regards to a protect class (gay citizens).
So, LITERALLY, all California’s court system was doing “In re Marriage Cases” was connecting constitutional dots that had been established by California’s legislature and preserving rights that had been established for gays but which were being challenged by Prop 22. This was in the scope of their authority. The Courts are *supposed* to use judicial review to strike down unconstitutional laws.
Prop 8 was a sidestep of this process by changing the constitution (particularly, to make only marriage between a man and a woman constitutional). The court can’t find gay marriage bans unconstitutional because now the constitution lacks those protections.



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Keat

posted June 5, 2009 at 10:28 am


You suggest that the comparison between black civil rights and gays rights is not valid. It is very valid …a principle of Freedom is at stake. There are few issues in our nation or the World that emerge more critical to the condition of humanity that equality. With the exception of poverty which ultimately is interwoven into the freedom issue, For a gay Mormon, not having the right to a family is huge. It means everything in this life and the next. Why do you think so many gay Mormons commit suicide? They do not have a place at the table of the church. The church at least has finally decided that gayness is not a choice and have given some dignity to the issue. These previous change therapy practices were destructive and devastating. As a practicing believing married Mormon, it is time that we practice inclusiveness as Christian conduct demands. Gay married is not a threat to traditional marriage. It is a path away from prejudice, hate, suicide and promiscus behaviors and a path to loving committed partnership and the eternities. Why is my condition of love with my wife any different that their condition of love. Our perception as a society is the only limiting factor. Let God be the judge. Someone needs to step up to the plate as Spencer Kimball did for black people.



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PI

posted June 8, 2009 at 8:18 pm


Andrew S: Thank you for taking the time to (reluctantly) articulate your opinions on this important issue.
If I understand your position correctly, the fundamental right behind efforts toward same sex marriage is the *right* to use the word “marriage” to describe legally-recognized same-sex unions. That is, to formally expand the operating definition of marriage to include same-sex unions.
This goes beyond the property rights and hospital visitation rights that married people and same-sex couples in California (and other states) enjoy. And I agree that, as a point of personal liberty, people should be free to deal with most of these issues as they see fit with as little government meddling as possible.
I disagree that classifying same sex unions as something other than marriage creates a situation comparable to the repugnant segregation of the early part of the 20th century. This comparison between the current gay rights movement and the historical civil rights movement falls down on two levels. The first is scope. The oppression suffered by African Americans up until the civil rights act of 1964 was pervasive; affecting virtually every aspect of their lives, including which bathroom they used, which hotels they could book, where they sat on the bus, which bad schools they had to go to. To compare the challenge of the legal use of the word “marriage” to the legal situation pre-1964 of african-americans is a real stretch, at best.
It is a fact that african-americans voted 70% in favor of Prop 8 in California. Andrew argues that this is because of their religiousity rather than their views on civil rights, then argues that THIS is the real reason african-americans rejected gay marriage in California. Maybe he’s right. Regardless of the reason, the people poised to be most sympathetic to the civil rights argument in favor of gay marriage, rejected that argument decisively.
The second reason separate-but-equal comparisons are inaccurate here is because same-sex marriage and traditional marriage are, in fact, not equal. Traditional marriages between a man and a woman are sanctioned by the State because there is a vested State interest in raising the next generation of citizens. Traditional marriages afford children the right to both a father and a mother, ideally parents that are both blood related to them. Same-sex marriage does not afford these important advantages to children. Instead, it enshrines an untested social structure without these advantages as “maybe just as good”. (Spare me the “progressive” European marriage statistics. We won’t see the full effects of state-sponsored same sex marriage for at least a full generation). For me, “maybe just as good” is not good enough for our children.
Andrew believes the California decision places us precariously on a slippery slope: one of majority tyranny that leads to taking away rights. But I don’t see the right to redefine a word to suit the minority as an unalienable one.
The fact that Mormons have become the lightning rod for criticism after the failed No On 8 campaign is the price to be paid for standing for something. Still can’t find that “who contributed to No on 8” list. I wonder how many contributors were from out of state? Out of the USA?



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Andrew S.

posted June 10, 2009 at 12:43 pm


Re PI: This is correct. And pre-Prop 8, 1) marriage was a right guaranteed to all CA citizens, 2) CA’s constitution had constitutional protections for sexual orientation as a suspect class and 3) California already recognizes that gay couples were worthy of all other rights and privileges of marriage (as you say, domestic partnerships facially are identical to marriages in CA on a state-rights level, but for the name). So, I posit that the reason the courts struck down prop 22 is that it saw the law as undue discrimination (it did not pass strict scrutiny, which is required for laws that propose to discriminate against suspect classes…which CA Legislature established sexual orientation as).
So I mean, you may personally disagree…but CA legislature and CA courts agreed enough to make the precise case they did in In Re Marriage cases.
let me try to narrow your argument. What you are trying to suggest (but I think you don’t want to suggest that) is that if segregation were of a lower scope, it would not be repugnant. Let’s focus on one aspect of the Civil Rights Movement (an aspect that actually DID become very prevalent in the arguments used): separate but equal. If we do not pay attention to any single other equal, then even separate but equal was a sticking point for civil rights activists. Because this was the argument: “It’s not like blacks are being deprived of schools, water fountains, etc., They have their separate water fountains, schools, movie theatres, etc., and look at our laws! They are equal in every way.”
The argument in court was the separate is inherently unequal. And it is demonstrably unequal furthermore because people obviously valued “white” water fountains and “white” schools so much that they wanted to keep blacks out. They wanted to preserve it from blacks. So no matter what they said, this was the issue.
This is the comparison I’m making. No matter what we say about how facially similar and “equal” gay couples have it, it is inherently unequal, but that’s not all — it is ALSO demonstrably equal because people value marriage over civil unions/domestic partnerships SO MUCH that they want to keep gays out. They want to preserve marriage from the gays, because they find something valuable…something that makes marriage inherently better than…civil unions.
Next, you continue positing the 70% of blacks who voted for Prop 8, as if this can still make valid conclusions about civil rights vs. gay rights, when actually this makes a conclusion about religion. When you normalize the results for the impact religion could have as a lurking variable, you see that conservative religious attitudes had much more of an impact on who voted for prop 8 than anything else.
Now, for your second argument: your argument only works in states that do not find gay couples fit to have any kind of legalized union. Obviously, this is different in CA, where CA finds gay couples to be worthy of every right and privilege (save one: the name) that married heterosexuals are: including the right to parent and adopt. CA legislature obviously does not buy your argument that there is an “ideal,” whereas other states, which do not allow gays to adopt or civilly union or do anything, might.
Finally, this argument is incompassionate for all of the children who *are* trapped in the abysmal foster care system. You call gays adopting and raising children “not good enough for our children,” but I’d say it’s DARN better than the alternative of them degrading in orphanages or being shuffled around foster care. And I’d argue that gay parents who care are darn better than straight parents who don’t. I’d argue that gay parents have exactly the same merits as straight parents — because again, you’re confusing the issue. What makes you a good parent is not being straight, one man and one woman. It’s any number of factors that utterly do not matter your sexual orientation. We cannot continue to blindly assert “straight couple parents are better because they are straight.”
Obviously, when the CA Constitution had marriage as a right for all citizens, and this was changed to limit just for one man and a woman, this was the obvious limiting of what CA considered an unalienable right (which is why the courts struck down Prop 22). Just because you are unfamiliar with CA’s legal structure, so you feel you can just say you “don’t see the right,” doesn’t change what CA’s legal thinkers alternatively thought.



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PI

posted June 14, 2009 at 8:12 am


Andrew: I still think you are missing the point of my original post. For many people (not just me) the african americans’ vote of support for prop 8 has become as important and symbolic as the involvement of Mormons in the yes on 8 campaign.
My point is this: when 7 of 10 african americans voted on prop 8, something trumped their buy-in to the civil rights argument by same sex couples. So, even if they saw this as a civil rights argument, something was more important to them.
Maybe religion played a role in this, but to assert that religion was the ONLY factor (I don’t know if you’re suggesting that, but it sure sounds like it) is a gross oversimplification. Is it that hard for you to admit that there may actually be arguments against same sex marriage that are NOT rooted in old testament scripture? Logical arguments based in state interests? Not everyone voted in favor of prop 8 is a blind sheep or a hate-filled religious bigot. That campaign may work well in the short term, but not in the long term.
The reason the voting statistics are so symbolic is that, for me personally anyway, it makes a difference how african americans voted because LGBT activists keep trying to guilt the voting public into thinking that this is a civil rights issue. If anyone could understand that, it would be african americans. The fact that by and large they did NOT buy in to this civil rights argument, whatever the reason, is comforting.
This fact kinda makes slogans like “gay is the new black” sound contrived and patronizing. It also weakens, in my mind, the already dubious comparison between physical “separate-but-equal” legislation that affected african americans and supposed “separate-but-equal” treatment towards same-sex couples today, because they can’t use a word that frankly doesn’t describe their formalized same-sex relationships “that are just like marriage”.
That was my point. Now you may disagree, but hopefully I’ve been clear.



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Andrew S.

posted June 14, 2009 at 4:44 pm


I do not deny that for many people, African Americans’ support of prop 8 has become symbolic.
I simply assert that this symbol is a symbol of race-consciousness and racialism whereas it should be a symbol researched deeper within to find that the true culprit, again, is conservative religion and conservative religiosity.
I’d assert that focusing on the blackness is a gross simplification, while again, controlling for religion makes it clear that socially conservative religious values are more telling. I’m not saying that there aren’t secular arguments. I’m saying that what pushes propositions like Prop 8 to pass are not the secular arguments, but the gut religious ones.



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PI

posted June 14, 2009 at 11:10 pm


Referring to conservative religion as the “true culprit” presumes that (1) this is an established fact and that (2) I should be disturbed by this fact. Furthermore, this assertion attempts to reduce opponents of same sex marriage to barbaric religious hatemongers devoid of reason, while at the same time painting supporters as enlightened beyond measure. I don’t see much difference between the passionate religious grounds against same sex marriage and the passionate grounds in favor of it. Both are rooted in deeply held, but essentially unprovable claims. Unfortunately, this ultimate oversimplification is a great distraction from the truly compelling arguments on either side of the issue.



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Andrew S.

posted June 15, 2009 at 12:29 am


1) When you look at the prop 8 vote results and control them statistically for what kinds of religions different parts of the population are what kind of religion, it is clear. http://www.thetaskforce.org/press/releases/pr_1_06_09
“The study finds that after taking into account the effect of religious service attendance, support for Proposition 8 among African Americans and Latinos was not significantly different than other groups.”
However, this is not reducing it to just religiosity.
“The study found that four factors — party identification, ideology, frequency of religious service attendance and age — drove the “yes” vote for Proposition 8.”
All I’m saying is that you’ve got two of these in particular — ideology and frequency of religious service attendance — that speaks more for blacks than race.
2) Absolutely not. Obviously, you and everyone else has every right to believe in conservative religious values and you and everyone has every right to vote according to your conscience. The CA voters did just that. Don’t think I’m trying to say one group is devoid of reason, barbaric, etc., I am not the other commenters, even if we may have had a similar position on Prop 8. I recognize the Prop 8 side did a spectacular show of their values.
What I’m saying referring to *this* point is that Mormons should be very cautious because such a spectacular show of values could backlash against us. Mormons are not as buddy buddy with the rest of conservative Christianity as we’d like to be. Ideologically, we are seen as cultists. So, by setting precedents of voting away minority rights based on common ideology, the LDS may find themselves on the other side fighting a majority of non-Mormon Christian Americans who want to limit Mormon freedom. I speak out of compassion.



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Bill Kilpatrick

posted June 19, 2009 at 2:14 pm


Dave, if Prop 8 redefines “the meaning of Mormonism,” that will be tragic. It wasn’t that long ago that the Mormon narrative was about a small group of faithful, kicked and driven from state to state, till they braved the hardships of the westward trek to Utah – and founded a place where they could live in freedom and dignity.
If that narrative becomes the one about a billion-dollar church pouring dollars and volunteers into other states, to restrict the civil rights of another hated minority, it will be a huge loss. As the gay community becomes a kind of David, the Church has become a kind of Goliath in the eyes of many. This has drawn more than just negative coverage from the press. The entire popculture seems to be drifting toward a hostile view of Mormons, one where the LDS Church might as well be a masked villain straight out of Lucha Libre. But unlike the silly caricatures of 19th-Century cartoonists, this one is grounded in observable facts.
In much the same way scientists are warning us about the effects of Global Warming, it seems a prophetic utterance to suggest that this whole Prop 8 drama threatens to do the kinds of damage it could take generations to limp away from. Whether it’s standing for something, or just falling for something, if this love affair between church and state does change the narrative, I’m not sure you’re going to like the next chapter.



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Rick M

posted June 19, 2009 at 4:19 pm


We are literally at the doorstep. We are standing face-to-face with the next phase of this world’s progression. The lines are being drawn.



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Your Name

posted June 20, 2009 at 1:54 pm


58% of african-americans voted for prop. 8, not 70%. Quit with the racial stereotypes, already. 58%.



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PI

posted June 22, 2009 at 6:39 pm


Your Name: Exit poll data indicated that 7 out of 10 african americans voted in favor of prop 8. That is not a racial stereotype. It is data from an exit poll published in the Sacramento Bee. You can find the rest of the results here:
http://media.sacbee.com/smedia/2008/11/05/18/prop8.source.prod_affiliate.4.pdf
Admittedly, a report by Egan and Sherrill (funded by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, by the way, which sort of smells like a paper disputing climate change put out by Exxon-Mobile) put that figure closer to 58%, still significantly higher than any other ethnic group.
Not exactly how that turned into a “racial stereotype”. Is it because it’s easier to think that people who disagree with you – and use widely publicized data from mainstream media sources – are racist bigots?



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Your Name

posted June 23, 2009 at 4:45 pm


“Prop 8 opponents and same-sex marriage supporters are depicting the LDS Church as a mean, hateful organization that “stole our rights.” “
That is an accurate description of what happened.



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Your Name

posted June 23, 2009 at 4:47 pm


“The bottom line: the next time same-sex marriage is on the ballot”
You simply do not (will not) understand: It. Should. Never. Have. Been. On. The. Ballot. In. The. First. Place.
Or, should we get to vote on your rights next?



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Your Name

posted June 23, 2009 at 4:54 pm


Ryan J.
“Let the states decide the issue, let us have traditional marriage states and Gay-Marriage states!”
Too bad the U.S. Constitution has a little thing called the Full Faith & Credit Clause. Oh, and it has the Equal Protections Clause too. Why do you think those should not be applied to gay citizens?
“I doubt any gay-activist can prove that being gay is part of their religion.”
You are correct. We couldn’t because it isn’t. One’s religion is a choice. One’s sexuality isn’t. OTOH, being ‘religious’ is most definitely a part of many gay people’s lives.
Thanx 4 playing anyway.



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Your Name

posted June 23, 2009 at 5:12 pm


Bull, er, Moose,
No, Andrew S. was not wrong. In response to his:
“speaking of troubling comments, your freudian slip describing the activist California supreme court was ironic to say the least: “because the California legislature had found gay citizens to be worthy of a legal institution that was materially identical to marriage…” you typed:
“You are partially correct; it was the California supreme court unconstitutionally playing the role of legislature.”
Let me correct you – the California Legislature voted – TWICE! in favor of equal marriage. The Governator refused to sign it and left it to the courts to decide if the Legislature’s legislation was Constitutional. It was.
Unfortunatey, the CA Constitution can be changed with only a majority vote. (It has been more than 500 times, apparently.) Thus – and only thus – the action to take away an established right became ‘Constitutional’.
It was never just to do so, however.



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Your Name

posted June 23, 2009 at 5:26 pm


PI,
“I disagree that classifying same sex unions as something other than marriage creates a situation comparable to the repugnant segregation of the early part of the 20th century. This comparison between the current gay rights movement and the historical civil rights movement falls down on two levels. The first is scope. The oppression suffered by African Americans up until the civil rights act of 1964 was pervasive; affecting virtually every aspect of their lives, including which bathroom they used, which hotels they could book, where they sat on the bus, which bad schools they had to go to. To compare the challenge of the legal use of the word “marriage” to the legal situation pre-1964 of african-americans is a real stretch, at best.”
Not at all. Like blacks, gay people are still beaten up, raped and killed for no other reason than they’re gay. Or, for that matter, – thought to be gay. Like blacks, their businesses have been arsoned. Gay people have been denied the right to freedom of assembly. They were rounded up in ‘gay bar raids’ (have there been any ‘black bar raids’?), incarcerated and have lost jobs because of it when their names were published in newspapers (think Eightmaps). Some people lost their jobs because they were seen coming out of a gay bar – which they were at supporting their gay friends. There are still 37 States where you can lose your job for being gay. (And yes, even being thought to be gay!) They cannot serve their country in the military. Blacks now can.
And here’s another kicker – gays have been (and still frequently are) kicked out of their family for being gay. How many blacks got kicked out of their family for being black? Can you feel the ‘Christian’ ‘love’?
“It is a fact that african-americans voted 70% in favor of Prop 8 in California.”
That is not a “fact” as has been explained above.
“Traditional marriages between a man and a woman are sanctioned by the State because there is a vested State interest in raising the next generation of citizens.”
Then explain, please, why “The State” (TM) Hasn’t made procreation a requirement of marriage? Or, do you actually think that the 13,000 children of LGBT couples in CA don’t deserve that same “State interest”?
Get better arguments.



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PI

posted July 1, 2009 at 8:14 am


Your Name (June 23, 2009 4:45 PM):
“Prop 8 opponents and same-sex marriage supporters are depicting the LDS Church as a mean, hateful organization that ‘stole our rights.’
“That is an accurate description of what happened.”
No, it is not. While I can’t say the same for a minority of ignorant and imperfect members, the LDS church is not a “mean, hateful organization”. Thank you for illustrating the point that some gay marriage supporters seek sympathy for same-sex marriage throwing around words like “bigot” “homophobe” “hateful”. You may disagree, but fanning the flames of passion (rather than reason) using (or agreeing with, in this case) emotionally charged words is not a sustainable means to an end.
As for ‘stolen rights’, this is also a mischaracterization. The use of the word ‘marriage’ to describe same-sex marriage isn’t even a right. It’s a wreckless misuse of a word.



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PI

posted July 1, 2009 at 8:32 am


Your Name (June 23, 2009 4:47 PM)
“You simply do not (will not) understand: It. Should. Never. Have. Been. On. The. Ballot. In. The. First. Place.
Or, should we get to vote on your rights next?”
Yes it should have. It was. It passed. And what exactly are you suggesting to vote on with regard to “your rights”? Does this refer to the rights of *anyone* that opposes same-sex marriage? Or just to Mormons? And what *rights* do you think would be vulnerable? How about the right of Mormons to vote in elections, to own property, to live? Voting might be a little too efficient though. Maybe we could just rustle up a mob, paint our faces black, kill their leaders and run them out of the county or even the country? That sounds familiar. More to the point, how about we vote to regulate the marriage practices of Mormons? I think it’s an interesting case study here: when Mormon’s were faced with opposition to their peculiar marriage practices, they appealed as far as they could. When appeals failed, they abandoned these practices (though it took a few years) and followed the law. I’m not advocating a return of these practices, but the approach to their marriage conundrum is worth noting.
Before you get too huffy,



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PI

posted July 1, 2009 at 8:36 am


(finishing the thought) Before you get too huffy, I realize there are huge differences between outdated LDS marriage practices and same-sex marriage. But from the perspective that both of these are controversial departures from conventional practices, the comparisons in terms of pursuit of legal acceptance are still valid.



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PI

posted July 1, 2009 at 8:52 am


Your Name (June 23, 2009 5:26 PM):
“Like blacks, gay people are still beaten up, raped and killed for no other reason than they’re gay. etc. etc…”
And all of those things are *still* illegal. But you don’t *have* to, by law, go to a bar for “your people”. And it is a real tragedy that some gays and lesbians are kicked out of their families because of their embracing of (or struggle with) their same-sex attraction. I won’t make excuses for violence or unfair treatment against anyone, and while this does garner sympathy, it does little to garner support for the use of the word “marriage” to describe committed lifelong same-sex relationships.
In a surprising twist of irony, thanks for bringing up “Eightmaps”. In confirms exactly Dave’s later thought about proponents of same-sex marriage “equating themselves with civil rights crusaders while acting like people who would burn crosses in your front yard.” Now we know where to send the rest of the poison pens letters.



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Your Name

posted July 2, 2009 at 2:09 pm


http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/localnews/columnists/jfloyd/stories/063009dnmetfloyd.3bddb2c.html
A kid was just about killed by police in a raid of a gay bar. Apparently, you can still beat the crap out of someone if they are gay, without it being illegal. Big difference between that and someone writing fifty dollars worth of grafitti on a building, or holding a protest. Oh, and a gay soldier was just killed in San Diego. Yeah.



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Sacramental Bea

posted August 11, 2009 at 12:11 pm


PI,
“Yes it should have. It was. It passed.”
Please explain why some people’s rights should be put to a vote, rather than just stating your opinion that “it should have”.
“And what exactly are you suggesting to vote on with regard to “your rights”? Does this refer to the rights of *anyone* that opposes same-sex marriage? Or just to Mormons? And what *rights* do you think would be vulnerable? How about the right of Mormons to vote in elections, to own property, to live?”
California law is such that any measure may be put on a ballot if enough ‘signatures’ are garnered. So, in effect, that actually does mean that all of your list items actually could be put to a vote. That is why it is unjust. Tell us who’s next? If it ain’t the Mormons, maybe it will be the right to marry someone of another race or religion.
It is relatively simple to change the State’s Constitution (it’s been done more than 500 times) – and therein lies the problem.



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