Complaint department

Rejected.

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.

Ask the LDS Church to support LGBT rights legislation in Utah.

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.

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2 Responses to Complaint department

  1. James Nimmo says:

    Close, but no cigar!

    by James Nimmo

    (OKLAHOMA CITY) The recent release of the bio-pic “Milk” about the life and death of San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk revivified interest in Milk’s most famous phrases such as “Come out, come out , wherever you are,” and “Don’t blend in.”

    Another openly gay activist to have his speeches and writings dusted off is Bayard Rustin, an openly gay African-American who was a colleague of Dr. M.L. King and who was given behind-the-scenes credit for organizing the March on Washington in August, 1963 where Dr. King made his iconic and forward looking “I Have a Dream” speech. Mr. Rustin was forced to take a back-seat due to fears that his orientation and arrest record would undoubtedly be used against the civil rights movement.

    From the book Time on Two Crosses: The Collected Writings of Bayard Rustin by Bayard Rustin (Cleis Press, Carbado and Weise, editors) we get the succinct gay agenda, if there ever was one, that I think most of us gay/lesbian activists can agree on–

    “…the job of the gay community is not to deal with extremist(s) who would castrate us or put us on an island and drop an H-bomb on us.

    The fact of the matter is that there is a small percentage of people in America who understand the true nature of the homosexual community. There is another small percentage who will never understand us. Our job is not to get those people who dislike us to love us. Nor was our aim in the civil rights movement to get prejudiced white people to love us. Our aim was to try to create the kind of America, legislatively, morally, and psychologically, such that even though some whites continued to hate us, they could not openly manifest that hate. That’s our job today: to control the extent to which people can publicly manifest anti-gay sentiment.”
    (http://tinyurl.com/5w77yr)

    What we should continue to be doing is proving our gay/lesbian equality of citizenship to the broad range of the valuable demographic known as the undecided, who politicians always court. For our purposes it’s those people who all have gay and lesbian family members or friends, who wouldn’t think of hurting them but somehow aren’t connecting the dots that if some of us gays and lesbians are getting hurt, all of us get hurt.

    Dr. King said it in a more engraved style: “It may be true that the law cannot
    make a man love me, but it can keep him from lynching me, and I think that’s pretty important.” ( http://tinyurl.com/6b6rbz )

    Laws don’t prevent crime or change the minds of the incorrigible, but laws do provide a way to legally make it uncomfortable for prejudice and violence to be acted out against minorities.

    This is one reason our enemies are very anxious that hate crimes bills that include language for the protection of sexual orientation and gender presentation are not passed either at the Federal or state level. Our opponents claim such laws would limit speech and hamper the free exercise of religion. But as Rep Barney Frank (Mass.) said earlier in December, 2008 at a Victory Fund luncheon, these laws are directed at actions of violence not at words; expression is not the target of hate crimes laws, but physical behavior is. (http://tinyurl.com/5963au)

    Yes, we truly live in the age of Orwell where words can be wolves in sheep’s clothing. We read of Mormon and Catholic spokespeople offended by the peaceful protests of gay/lesbian supporters in reaction to loosing the November Prop. 8 vote in California.

    It seems these two denominations that gave much of the money fueling the theft of a civil right in California were surprised by the backlash to the imposition of their religious dogma on the non-member citizens of California ( http://tinyurl.com/6qp2xz ), ( http://tinyurl.com/62l5gd).

    To me, it looks as if the First Amendment establishment clause is being ignored because there are some denominations that will perform same-gender marriages yet their religious freedom is being abridged by the passage of Prop 8.

    And just why does prejudice and discrimination seem to originate with bible-trumpeting homo-haters?

    Could it be because they already live in a delusional world of superstition and make-believe, of fairy stories about sky-based good things, and dark-and-dirty ground-based bad things?

    Could it be because they still live in the world of Bronze Age nomads who had no science and no concept of a world beyond the horizon they could walk toward in a day?

    The current (I hesitate to call them “modern day”) generation of fundies lives in a world of technology and communication that would seem like godly magic to their Abrahamic ancestors. They use this science to disperse their simplistic balderdash that’s rooted in dessert-wandering myths and witch-doctoring and think nothing of the plain evidence and contradictions that shows them to be deeply deluded and ignorant. The last hundred years have passed them by and disproved the ancient runes and cabals they so desperately need to explain their conflicting childhood dreams of omnipotent, omniscient super heroes rescuing them from death and oblivion.

    Personally I don’t care what they do as consenting adults in the privacy of their religious establishments or even on the public street corner. However, no group has the legal power to impose religious dogma in the law books of any state or Federal code. There continues to be a principle of separation of church and state, equality and liberty for all, that is paramount to the continuation of this country as it was founded. African-Americans, Native Americans, and women have gained their civil equality in spite of the restrictions originally written in the Constitution and later remedied by Amendments.

    So far, 30 states have amendments or laws forbidding same-gender marriage in addition to the alleged “Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA). Two states have understood the rights of gays and lesbians to have civil marriage, Massachusetts and Connecticut, with a handful of states having various marriage-like rights available but not the real thing. Close, but no cigar!

    Just as Plessy v. Ferguson was overturned by Brown v. Board of Education ending educational segregation; just as Bowers v. Hardwick was overturned by Lawrence and Garner v. Texas removing sodomy laws from enforcement, just as Colorado’s Amendment 2 was overturned with Romer v. Evans, we can look forward to our day in a courtroom as well as the court of public opinion.

    Although Frederick Douglass was disappointed by the 1857 Dredd Scott decision that refused full citizenship to free blacks as well as slaves, he found a reason to look forward, saying, “My hopes were never brighter than now.” Slavery was brought to forefront of the country and the unsavory ownership of people could no longer be ignored.

    Though we gay citizens are not owned physically, our social and economic prospects are curtailed. And so, thanks to our enemies, our own equality prospects been brought to the forefront and our equality will be won.

  2. David says:

    Now they have been caught in their lie. The LDS church claimed that they had no intention of imposing divorces on the 18,000 couples married since May. That was their basis for claiming that this ad was a smear. Now we see that the proponents of Prop 8 have filed a motion to have those 18,000 marriages declared null and void – which is exactly what the ad shows: Religious activists rudely shoving their way into our homes and ripping up our marriage licenses. Have you ever seen such a flagrant, bald-faced lie? It’s just stunning. What a stain these people have left on their church.

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