Could I have picked a more tense time to come to California?

Nope.

Want to see the formal Church response to all this “stuff?” Go here.

Cody is well versed in the laws that are in question as far as the church being a not for profit organization, and a religion’s legal right to get involved in politics. Also an individual’s legal right to be involved in politics. And I’ll let him explain that at a later date if needs be.

As much as I want to scream and yell about this, I’m not going to because I know it’s gut reaction to all the hate that is floating out there in the news and on the internet. I can see both sides. Really, I can. I’m writing this from the dining room of my cousin who has been with his partner for over 10 years.

I have seen plenty of GLBT families who have their crap together WAY more than hetero married couples.  If I had it my way, no one, gay or straight would be allowed to get married unless they were going to take their vows seriously.

I realize a lot of my readers look to me as the token Mormon in situations like this.

Yes, members of my church were involved in the “Yes on 8″ campaign. So were the Catholics.

“The Catholic bishops ask that you offer your support for restoring the definition of marriage in California by volunteering your time for the campaign or by donating money to the campaign to pass Proposition 8.”-From California Catholic Conference

However, there have been Anthrax threats, mysterious envelopes with white powder sent to two LDS temples. Protests and attacks (not just at churches of my faith either.) There are letters to editors in multiple papers calling for the harm of members of the LDS/Mormon faith.

Had “No on 8″ been the winner, I’d like to think that hoards of Christians (especially people of my faith) wouldn’t be hanging out in West Hollywood, Hillcrest and Castro shouting mean and horrible things or sending letters with potentially deadly contents to places held near and dear to those of the GLBT community.

How would you feel if that situation were reversed?

We (the Mormons) are not the reason “Yes on 8″ went through. Some (members) did help with donations and volunteer efforts (on their own time with individual donations), but 52% of voters in California are not LDS. In fact, according one one site, less than 2% of Californians are LDS.

Did you know that “No on 8″ actually raised more money than “Yes on 8?” Of the $73 million raised, $55 million came from Californians, the remaining coming from out of state donations,

“About 30 percent,or $22 million, of the donations reported by supporters and opponents of Proposition 8 have come from outside the state, according to an analysis by The Associated Press.”

$3.6 million of that money came from Utah.

So despite the way the media wants you to see it, the state of Utah and Mormons didn’t exactly mortgage out their houses to support Prop 8.

I’m not saying either party is right.

I’m just saying it’s no one organization’s fault that “Yes on 8″ passed either.

I’m just asking that we stop pointing fingers and start getting along.

I know my cousin and his partner are embarrassed by the displays put on by SOME of the GLBT community and their supporters. Just as I have been embarrassed by SOME members of the Christain community when it comes to certain issues.

Just because many members of the LDS church chose to support “Yes on 8″ doesn’t mean that we want to throw all the gays into a volcano.

Just because one group of gays called “Jesus a Homo” doesn’t mean that all Gays hate Christians, or Jesus for that matter.

It’s the redneck philosophy.

The media is going to choose the most fanatical crazy people to show on TV because that’s what gets the ratings. They’re not going to show normal people like my cousin and myself.

Crazy sells.

I’m really not trying to say anyone is right.

But I am saying that all this hate is wrong.

From both sides.

(Including my comments section.)

Comments

  1. Sheesh.

    Just to add my two cents, which clearly aren’t needed at this point…

    Marriage is not a civil right. Here’s what the government has to say about civil rights:

    http://www.hhs.gov/faq/policies/civilrights/86.html

    I’m beginning to come around to my husband’s idea that marriage — gay, straight, biracial, whatever — shouldn’t even be a government institution. It’s a religious institution, one of the sacraments of many denominations. The notion of a civil union — again, for gay, straight, biracial, whatever — for legal reasons makes a lot more sense. This would result in legal equality, and would leave the debate about marriage where it belongs (in the chruch).

    Anywho, hope you’re having a great time in CA despite the drama. Indy is cold and wet and oh-so-dreary today, so you’ve just got to be better off out there!

    Kets last blog post..Saturday morning post

  2. Very well said!

  3. I’m mormon, active, and I’ve gotta say – what on earth did the church EXPECT would happen?

    You can’t serve as the chief fundraiser for a political movement and then disavow involvement. After raising millions and millions of dollars, and exerting TREMENDOUS pressure on CA members to get involved, it’s a little disingenuous for the church to now cry, “Hey – why are they singling US out?” Well – because we served as the primary fundraiser. Without the church’s involvement, it would not have passed. Period.

    While it of course saddens me to see the anger and hatred and violence (I agree that it’s sad and out of control), I also think we reap what we sow, unfortunately. And what we’ve sown is a whole lot of anger and hatred. I wonder if the church is happy with it’s purchase.

  4. I didn’t get a chance to read through all the comments, but I’m so glad you posted about this. I think there are a lot of strong feelings on both sides of this issue, but respect and love for family are at the heart of both sides as well. I would posit the question, do protests and threats and sweeping generalizations about any group of people accurately represent the values of respect and love?? I think not!

    Barb @ getupandplays last blog post..Kate’s New Job

  5. Thanks for your thoughtful post on this subject.

    I wasn’t able to get past my anger and disappointment with the passage of Prop 8 sufficiently to blog about it until after today’s nationwide protest.

    Thanks for providing a post I could happily link to in support of my argument that we the frustrated GLBT community need to distinguish between individual believers and our concern that the organized church may have overstepped its bounds. (Allegations which seem both sufficiently serious and sufficiently well grounded as to deserve investigation by an appropriate governmental fact-finding body.)

    Lizas last blog post..Opposing Prop 8 and Supporting GLBT Families In Georgia

  6. It is an amazingly tough issue and I applaud you for not taking a side officially (at least on your blog). I did not have the same restraint at all, but I’d like to think (she says with great modesty) that I did it fairly civilly.

    I think that both sides of this proposition have or are doing themselves great discredit by promoting some level of hatred or intolerance. On the one hand, the yes-on-prop-8 folks, whether intentionally or not, are being intolerant and in some cases, hateful towards homosexuals. On the other hand, the no-on-prop-8 are doing the same towards the yes-on-prop-8 people.

    I vehemently opposed prop 8 and am deeply saddened by its passage because even as a Christian, I cannot understand how we can deprive American citizens of basic rights. I just can’t. But that said, trying to combat hate with hate isn’t the answer.

    I just hope we figure out what it is soon.

    (And also, I really found this clip profoundly eloquent and it articulated the way I’ve felt about prop 8 better than I’ve been able to. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cVUecPhQPqY)

    Overflowing Brains last blog post..The box is overrated

  7. And also, just really quickly, not getting on a soapbox (okay, but kindly and just for a second), but for those who spend so much time and energy pointing out that the California Supreme Court went against the “will of the people” in overturning a previous vote, there are just a few details you’re overlooking.

    1) The Supreme Court is not responsible for paying any attention to the will of the people. In fact, it’s kind of their job not to. Their only job is to interpret the constitution as it relates to legal issues. They are a completely separate branch of government (they are judicial, laws are legislative) altogether.

    2) The Supreme Court was interpreting the California constitution, which until prop 8, did not deny gay marriage. Their decision was a proclamation of what the constitution already said.

    3) Many important Supreme Court cases have been won by a slim majority. That does not make the decision any less important or reliable and it’s a little unfair to imply that.

    Okay, I’m done. I promise.

    Overflowing Brains last blog post..The box is overrated

  8. Kami's Love says:

    The ‘sign of the times’ sista.

  9. Hi Casey -

    I came here from Liza’s and really appreciated your post. I do have one bone to pick though… you say: “For me, the piece of paper I signed after my wedding was a mere legality. I literally only did it to save money when it come time to change my name, since a marriage license is easier to do so with than hiring an attorney to have it changed.”

    A lot of us gay and lesbian folks would love to have the FREEDOM to make that choice. That civil marriage license may have been insignificant to you emotionally, but it gave you the right to sponsor your spouse for immigration. It gave you the right to collect your spouse’s social security benefits. It gave you the right to see him in the hospital.

    The religious folks can keep “marriage” as far as I’m concerned. Let’s just make the state sanctioned part of it, which will cost me literally tens of thousands of dollars over the course of my lifetime and which treats me as a second class citizen by denying me the RIGHTS that legally wed people have, completely separate from the word marriage. You – and I – pick up our union licenses and get the same rights and privileges as a result. Then you go off to your church and get married. Your church doesn’t have to marry me, and my synagogue doesn’t have to marry you.

    But to dismiss those rights as not being significant to you tells me that you – and many others – don’t understand what is being denied us when we’re denied the right to wed.

    Here’s here’s a list from the U.S. General Accounting Office of the CIVIL benefits that marriage provides (pdf file).

    http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d04353r.pdf

    artsweets last blog post..Many Pictures, Few Words

  10. The hardest part I think for people to understand is that Prop 8 goes way beyond seeing gays and lesbians as equals to regular heterosexual couples. First of all the people’s right to vote on a matter was taken away because a of 4 supreme court justices who overturned the “people’s” decision to say same sex marriage is illegal (the first time being vote, 60% voted against same sex marriage) in the state of California. 2nd of all, same sex relationships are already given civil unions rights which include, hospital visitation, medical, even tax benefits as the rest of us. 3rd of all, because of the overturning of the people’s vote, this could be taught in our schools (starting in Kindergarten) telling and teaching children the same sex relationship are normal, taking away the right from the parent to make that decision as to whether or not that should be taught to their child. Which again is taking freedom away from parents to educate their own children on sexual orientation. A gentlemen was arrested in Massachusetts due to this issue and the school not having to inform the parents of this type of education. 4th of all, the way that the law stood in the state of California you could marry your daughter, your dog even if you wanted to. But somehow this has been turned into a hate for same sex marriages and while I have relatives and good friends who are gay, and I love them dearly. My first priority is the sanctity of marriage remain between man, wife and God no matter the irresponsibilities of people who do not take it seriously. That’s like having your child telling you they can do something because everybody else is doing it and telling “why, your right, then do what you want”. I am so thankful to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and I’m thankful that Prop 8 passed and for awhile America stands on the side of righteousness.

  11. Good for you for sticking up for your rights. I live in Sugarhouse and the anger at any religious group that is being poured out is extremely sad. I have LDS and gay/bi/lesbian friends alike since I am in this neighborhood, and the one thing that most reflects Jesus Christ was His commandment to love God and your neighbor. We may not agree, but can’t we have at least SOME respect for one another? That doesn’t mean boycotting David Archuleta’s album. For goodness’ sake, the guy is barely 18! It’s not his fault Prop 8 came out the way it did, right? Neither is it yours. People need to understand that.

    Emily the Utah transplant from the Midwests last blog post..Ripples

  12. Sigh.

    I am so glad you wrote about this Casey, since like others, you were the “token” Mormon I first thought of, too. I had an email open to you for weeks, but never finished writing it, since I didn’t want to “tokenize” you. But I knew you to be of good heart.

    So many folks upthread on the comment stream here have repeated falsehoods about the proposition, but then many others have corrected them. And then the falsehoods come back again. I am very fatigued over the whole thing, and saddened. Very. Doesn’t seem worth it anymore to repeat what *I* believe to be the truth, when the falsehoods are so powerful.

    Still, I have to say:

    (1) We are currently goverend by a constitutional republic, not a direct democracy, and the court’s job is to interpret the constitution, regardless of majoritarian sentiment. (Folks should look up all those terms on Wikipedia — constitutional republic, direct democracy, majoritarian — if any seem unfamiliar.)

    (2) In 1964 Californians voted on a proposition (Prop 14) 2:1 to overturn the Rumford Fair Housing Act (which ensured landlords and realtors couldn’t deny people housing on the basis of ethnicity, religion, sex, marital status, physical handicap, or familial status). Two to one. That’s a lot more than the less than 500,000 votes that cleared Prop 8. (For non-Californians: 500,000 votes = a mere 1.3% of our state’s population.) Back in 1967, the CA Supreme Court found proposition 14 to be unconstitutional, even though it was *then* the “will of the people. That “will” now looks breathtakingly narrow-minded and mean-spirited, and I’m sure many are grateful that the Supreme Court kept their eyes on the constitution, rather than the masses outside their windows.

    (3) I agree, many Mormons and other people of faith took exception to the position of their church leadership; I expect many Catholics as well. One of the petitions filed against Prop 8 was filed by the California Council of Churches and a whole host of other faith groups. Americans United for the Separation of Church and State is filled with people of faith who believe that the church/state separations urged by America’s founders were put in place to protect the church as much as the state. That our voting populace continues to have a hard time drawing the distinction between public, civil issues and private, religious ones is a long, longstanding one. And this issue is a prime example of that blurred line.

    (4) Fortunately, a vast overwhelming majority of LGBT individuals and organizations swiftly and decisively condemn the most extreme expressions of frustration (e.g., sending a suspicious — even if ultimately harmless — white powder in an envelope to an organization is utterly absurd and abominable). All official statements, and the bulk of the mass sentiment, have tried to redirect anger toward education and outreach. I read on one comment stream a good point: no one who feels strongly anti-abortion would like their entire cause to be judged by the extreme actions of clinic bombers or those who have killed doctors who have performed abortions. What’s important to look at is the language (and the effectiveness) of the leadership of any given movement.

    After all’s said and done, what’s not so debatable is my personal experience. To me, and my heterosexual sister, and many others who are either gay or have gay people in their families, the Yes on 8 campaign felt like a very personal attack. On our families. Very, very personal. I have never harbored ill will against Mormon people, nor had a strong opinion of its leadership. (Neither would it occur to me to want to pass a proposition limiting their exercise of the right to practice their religion.) But it sure as heck felt like a very, very powerful attack, and its orchestration seems to be well enough documented by now. (NY Times piece of Nov 15, “Mormons Tipped Scale in Ban on Gay Marriage” outlines the comprehensiveness of the campaign).

    Folks out of state probably don’t really know how visceral and personal it was, and that visceral, personal feeling of being attacked is very much behind the strong reaction against the outcome now. I daresay it’s proportional: to the feelings of being attacked during the campaign, and collectively, the feelings of being under attack for so very, very long.

    As many have said, the calls for “both sides” to be kind does impose a kind of false equivalence to the situation. Kind of like when a bully takes a swing at a kid on the playground, and the kid gets up, dusts him/herself off, and then pushes back at the bully. Was it fair to push back? No. Was it understandable? Probably. The yard duty teacher should lecture both parties. But in my view, the bully who initiated the fight is the one who needs to stay after school and write “I will love my neighbor as myself” over and over again on the chalkboard.

    Pollys last blog post..Breaking: Court will hear challenges to Prop 8*

  13. Oh! And Casey! Welcome (back) to California! I do hope you enjoy your stay, in spite of all the fur flying. :)

    Pollys last blog post..Breaking: Court will hear challenges to Prop 8*

  14. Okay okay! Last kibbitz: I just saw this report: Anti-Same Sex Marriage Amendments Spark Psychological Distress Among GLBT Adults and Their Families, According to New Research. From the American Psychological Association. Might be of help for those trying to understand the depth of feeling to the response.