Apparently, the Mormon Church (the regular one, not the fundamentalist splinter that arranges the rape of young girls and calls it “marriage”) is quite upset about the ad below, claiming that it constitutes “religious bigotry.” I’m afraid that this complaint doesn’t pass the laugh test. The fact is that the leadership of the Church of Latter Day Saints, much more than any other organization, funded and otherwise facilitated the dirty Prop 8 campaign. The ad is a perfectly accurate portrayal of their intent.
Hostility toward lesbian and gay couples is now indelibly part of LDS identity and history. They made their bed, and now they must lie in it. Behavior has consequences, and they have forfeited the right to complain about being criticized, even mocked. However, having said that, LDS leadership should have the opportunity to back up their claim that their campaign was not motivated by animus toward gay and lesbian people, only by their desire to maintain the exclusionary nature of civil marriage. They are being given that opportunity in their home state of Utah, where a number of bills protecting the basic rights of GLBT people will be considered by the legislature.
These are the words of Bruce Bastian, who grew up in a conservative Mormon family in Utah. He knows that world from the inside. He is now on the board of directors of HRC.
If Mormon leaders really aren’t “anti-gay,” then they should have no problem publicly signing on to these five bills, which include:
- Providing domestic partnership rights and responsibilities for same-sex couples;
- Adding sexual orientation and gender identity to Utah’s anti-discrimination laws for employment, housing, and health care;
- Giving domestic partners of public employees insurance and retirement benefits;
- Giving domestic partners access to the courts if their loved one is killed because of negligence or malpractice; and
- Repealing the second clause of Utah’s Anti-Marriage Amendment which is used to prevent gay and lesbian couples from receiving any kind of relationship recognition in the state.
Clearly, these are measures that the LDS Church should support, since they’ve said they’re not opposed to LGBT relationship recognition, health care, housing, or employment rights. And the Church has no reason to be shy about entering the political arena – it did so loudly and boldly in California, raising more than half of the $40 million that funded the campaign to pass Proposition 8.
Clearly. This is exactly what LDS leaders have said in complaining that it’s unfair for the GLBT community to call them anti-gay. In fact, it’s very encouraging that they object to this; it shows an awareness that anti-gay animus is morally wrong. From the LDS website:
Allegations of bigotry or persecution made against the Church were and are simply wrong. The Church’s opposition to same-sex marriage neither constitutes nor condones any kind of hostility toward gays and lesbians. Even more, the Church does not object to rights for same-sex couples regarding hospitalization and medical care, fair housing and employment rights, or probate rights, so long as these do not infringe on the integrity of the traditional family or the constitutional rights of churches. [Emphasis added.]
Let’s see those words put into action. Ask the LDS Church to support LGBT rights legislation in Utah.
We expect the full, enthusiastic participation of the LDS church in getting these measures passed, so that gay families and individuals in Utah can have some of the same security their heterosexual counterparts automatically enjoy.
I’d also like to make it clear that this unpleasantness is not the fault of regular members of the Church. In many cases, individuals in California have been ostracized or even hounded out of their faith communities if they failed to make the “recommended” donation of money or time to the Prop 8 campaign. There wasn’t much room for neutrality, from what we’ve heard, let alone dissenting voices. We have a sizable Mormon community here in Loudoun. No one should assume that because someone is a member of that community that they agree with the behavior of LDS leadership. This is a painful time for many people.