Sunday, November 23, 2008

Proposition 8: the aftermath

There's been a tremendous amount of backlash against the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints for their vocal support and for their members vocal and monetary support of Proposition 8 in California. It has at times gotten ugly. I am confused as to why it has gotten so bitter and why opponents feel so justified in making unjust accusations of bigotry. I guess it is still OK to defame the Mormons, while most other groups have become almost overprotected by the "doctrine of political correctness". I wonder why that is?
I find the following to be a good defense:

Dear Friends,

In the aftermath of the recent election, we may find ourselves oddly on the defensive regarding our support for the Yes on Proposition 8 cause. Our young people have been especially subject to mean-spirited comments by high school friends and teachers. We have nothing to be ashamed of. We did nothing wrong. In fact, we did everything that a civic-minded American can and should do. I have put together a few facts that help me to appreciate our position better. For example:

1. Mormons make up less than 2 percent of the population of California. There are approximately 800,000 LDS out of a total population of approximately 34 million. Mormon voters were less than 5 percent of the yes vote.

2. If one estimates that 250,000 LDS are registered voters (the rest being children), then LDS voters made up 4.6 percent of the yes vote and 2.4 percent of the total Proposition 8 vote.

3. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) donated no money to the Yes on 8 campaign. Individual members of the church were encouraged to support the Yes on 8 efforts and, exercising their constitutional right to free speech, donated whatever they felt like donating.

4. The No on 8 campaign raised more money than the Yes on 8 campaign. Unofficial estimates put No on 8 at $38 million and Yes on 8 at $32 million, making it the most expensive non-presidential election in the country.

5. Advertising messages for the Yes on 8 campaign are based on case law and real-life situations. The No on 8 supporters have insisted that the Yes on 8 messaging is based on lies. Every Yes on 8 claim is supported.

6. The majority of our friends and neighbors voted Yes on 8. Los Angeles County voted in favor of Yes on 8. Ventura County voted in favor of Yes on 8.

7. African-Americans overwhelmingly supported Yes on 8. Exit polls show that 70 percent of black voters chose Yes on 8. This was interesting because the majority of these voters voted for President-elect Obama. No on 8 supporters had assumed that Obama voters would vote No on 8.

8. The majority of Latino voters voted Yes on 8. Exit polls show that the majority of Latinos supported Yes on 8 and cited religious beliefs (assumed to be primarily Catholic).

9. The Yes on 8 coalition was a broad spectrum of religious organizations. Catholics, evangelicals, Protestants, Orthodox Jews, Muslims -- all supported Yes on 8. It is estimated that there are 10 million Catholics and 10 million Protestants in California. Mormons were a tiny fraction of the population represented by Yes on 8 coalition members.

10. Not all Mormons voted in favor of Proposition 8. Our faith accords that each person be allowed to choose for him or herself. Church leaders have asked members to treat other members with "civility, respect and love," despite their differing views.

11. The church did not violate the principal of separation of church and state. This principle is derived from the First Amendment to the United States' Constitution, which reads, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof?" The phrase "separation of church and state", which does not appear in the Constitution itself, is generally traced to an 1802 letter by Thomas Jefferson, although it has since been quoted in several opinions handed down by the United States Supreme Court in recent years. The LDS Church is under no obligation to refrain from participating in the political process to the extent permitted by law. U.S. election law is very clear that churches may not endorse candidates, but may support issues. The church as always been very careful on this matter and occasionally (not often) chooses to support causes that it feels to be of a moral nature.

12. Supporters of Proposition 8 did exactly what the Constitution provides for all citizens: they exercised their First Amendment rights to speak out on an issue that concerned them, make contributions to a cause that they support and then vote in the regular electoral process. For the most part, this seems to have been done in an open, fair and civil way. Opponents of 8 have accused supporters of being bigots, liars and worse. The fact is, we simply did what Americans do -- we spoke up, we campaigned and we voted.

Hold your heads up high -- you did a great job on this most important cause. We will have more opportunities in the future to participate in our democratic process. Let's remember the lessons learned and do an even better job next time.

These are my personal opinions and thoughts; any errors are mine and in no way reflect official church policy or doctrine.

Thanks,
Kevin Hamilton

5 comments:

Inlookout said...

I am so tired of the arguments that Mormons make up a small percentage of the population who voted and the church itself did not donate. Mormon leaders did more than just encourage its members to donate, they demanded it. I've heard and read from many that refusing to donate "would" jeopardize their placement in the afterlife. Otherwise why would people deplete their life-savings and mortgage their home and their children's future for a this cause?

The LDS has a history of inserting itself into the political process. The Equal Rights Amendment in the 70s. Alaska and samesex marriage in the 90s. Prop 22 in California in 2000. California, Arizona and Florida in 2008.

No on 8 was leading into the last week, until an influx of money from the LDS members and supporters was used to promote fear and lies about the proposition in minority communities, which ultimately lead to the margin of victory.

It seems "Do unto others as they would have them do unto you." doesn't have any meaning in the Mormon faith. Especially among those that helped take our rights away.

Carmen said...

"Mormon leaders did more than just encourage its members to donate, they demanded it. I've heard and read from many that refusing to donate "would" jeopardize their placement in the afterlife."
UMMM...THAT'S RIDICULOUS. MORMON LEADERS DID NOT AND WOULD NOT MAKE THIS STATEMENT. AND DEPLETING THEIR LIFE SAVINGS?...GIVE ME A BREAK, THAT RIGHT THERE WOULD GO AGAINST TEACHINGS OF THE PROPHETS. YOU ARE CREATING DRAMA OUT OF NOTHING.

"The LDS has a history of inserting itself into the political process. The Equal Rights Amendment in the 70s. Alaska and samesex marriage in the 90s. Prop 22 in California in 2000. California, Arizona and Florida in 2008."
CONSISTENCY, DO YOU GET IT? WE BELIEVE MARRIAGE IS SUPPOSED TO BE BETWEEN A MAN AND A WOMAN.

"No on 8 was leading into the last week, until an influx of money from the LDS members and supporters was used to promote fear and lies about the proposition in minority communities, which ultimately lead to the margin of victory."
WHAT LIES? PLEASE, FEEL FREE TO POINT ONE OUT.

"It seems "Do unto others as they would have them do unto you." doesn't have any meaning in the Mormon faith. Especially among those that helped take our rights away."
DID YOU NOT NOTICE THE SIDE AGAINST PROP 8 SPENT MORE MONEY? FUNNY THING ABOUT THAT. WHY ARE YOU NOT ANGRY AT THE MOVIE STARS THAT INDIVIDUALLY CONTRIBUTED VERY LARGE AMOUNTS OF MONEY TO GO TOWARDS THE "NO ON PROP 8"? OH, THAT'S RIGHT, BECAUSE INDIVIDUALS CAN APPARENTLY CONTRIBUTE TO A CAUSE YOU BELIEVE IN, BUT THEY ARE BIGOTS WHEN THEY CONTRIBUTE AGAINST. WHO'S THE UNREASONABLE ONE?

AT ANY RATE, THANK YOU UNKNOWN BITTER PERSON...I LOVE ME A GOOD DEBATE.

Carmen said...

By the way, in the previous comment I am not shouting, just differentiating what is my comment and what is quoting.

Inlookout said...

Carmen, I also enjoy a good debate. But have a hard time debating people whose arguments are based on faith as opposed to reason. You and your husband look like a nice couple. Why you would deny me and my husband the same rights is beyond me. Do you want to make a difference? Focus on divorce. Divorce ruins more families than two dads or two moms.

Google mormon life savings and you'll find an article about one such couple in the Sacramento Bee. I feel sorry for their kids.

The ads in support of prop 8 frequently cited examples from Mass. where children were forced to learn about gay marriage. Laws here in California are different, surprisingly enough. Any parent that disagrees with curriculum can remove their children from class, assuming gay marriage was even taught. The ads failed to show that. And really, let's be honest here. Playing the fear card about gay marriage and children in school, was the implied fear of teaching gay sex. That may not have been what people heard, but it's what they thought.

There was another ad showing kids on a field trip to a teacher's same-sex wedding. This was especially dishonest as it implied the children nor the parents had a choice. Guess what. Every parent of every child who was there gave their permission.

And if Mormons had not donated in force, directed by an out of state directive, neither would have Hollywood. The threat of an outside influence dictating California rights and laws became too strong not to act.

Yes, you could say I am bitter. And angry. Your faith is a choice, but my homosexuality is not. And your choice makes it okay to take my rights away, in a situation where I never had a choice to begin with. I am who I am. Let me be that person. Let me marry the person I love.

Carmen said...

FIRST OFF, THESE ARE MUCH BETTER ARGUMENTS THIS TIME INLOOKOUT. NOT AS EASY TO COUNTER.

"Carmen, I also enjoy a good debate. But have a hard time debating people whose arguments are based on faith as opposed to reason. You and your husband look like a nice couple. Why you would deny me and my husband the same rights is beyond me. Do you want to make a difference? Focus on divorce. Divorce ruins more families than two dads or two moms."
I AGREE THAT DIVORCE IS TERRIBLE AND ONE OF THE WORST THINGS IN SOCIETY. IT IS RUNNING RAMPANT AND IS ONE OF THE LARGEST FACTORS IN WRECKING UP FAMILIES. MY OWN PARENTS ARE DIVORCED...AND TO BE HONEST I THINK IT WAS WRONG. BUT HERE I AM WITH ONLY MY OPINIONS, I CAN'T CHANGE THEIR CHOICES, AND I LOVE THEM BOTH DEARLY. BUT, THE FACT REMAINS THAT I THINK BOTH DIVORCE AND GAY MARRIAGE IS WRONG.

"Google mormon life savings and you'll find an article about one such couple in the Sacramento Bee. I feel sorry for their kids."
IF SOMEONE RANSACKED THEIR LIFE SAVINGS THAT WAS UNWISE AND UNCALLED FOR. MY PREVIOUS STATEMENT STANDS, CHURCH LEADERS WOULD NEVER GIVE COUNSEL TO DO THAT.

"The ads in support of prop 8 frequently cited examples from Mass. where children were forced to learn about gay marriage. Laws here in California are different, surprisingly enough. Any parent that disagrees with curriculum can remove their children from class, assuming gay marriage was even taught. The ads failed to show that. And really, let's be honest here. Playing the fear card about gay marriage and children in school, was the implied fear of teaching gay sex. That may not have been what people heard, but it's what they thought."
THIS IS A VALID ARGUMENT IN MY EYES. MAYBE I WOULDN'T CHOOSE TO PLAY THESE COMMERCIALS, BUT I ALSO THINK THAT THOSE CONCLUSIONS ARE NOT WAY OFF BASE. I DO THINK THAT REDEFINING MARRIAGE WOULD OPEN A CAN OF WORMS OF REDEFINING OTHER THINGS, LIKE HAVING IT BE LEGALLY ACCEPTABLE TO PREACH THAT HOMOSEXUAL RELATIONS ARE WRONG. I DON'T LIKE THE SHAKY GROUND.

"And if Mormons had not donated in force, directed by an out of state directive, neither would have Hollywood. The threat of an outside influence dictating California rights and laws became too strong not to act."
I DON'T BELIEVE THIS IS TRUE. I DON'T THINK THAT HOLLYWOOD'S INVOLVEMENT DEPENDED ON OUTSIDE STIMULUS...THAT STIMULUS COULD HAVE SPURRED SLIGHTLY LARGER DONATIONS, BUT I DON'T THINK IT AFFECTED ANYTHING THAT MUCH. AND LIKE I SAID BEFORE, THE "NO ON 8" GROUP SPENT MILLIONS MORE THAN "YES ON 8", YET WAS STILL UNABLE TO CONVINCE A MAJORITY TO VOTE NO.

"Yes, you could say I am bitter. And angry. Your faith is a choice, but my homosexuality is not. And your choice makes it okay to take my rights away, in a situation where I never had a choice to begin with. I am who I am. Let me be that person. Let me marry the person I love."
YES, MY FAITH IS A CHOICE.
I ALSO BELIEVE THAT HOMOSEXUAL ACTS ARE A CHOICE. I AM VERY SORRY THAT IT LOOKS LIKE YOU WILL NOT RECOGNIZE THAT I COULD COME TO THAT CONCLUSION BY REASON, ONLY BY SOME BLIND, FAITH BASED DIRECTIVE. BUT I HAVE THOUGHT A LOT ABOUT THE NATURES PEOPLE HAVE BEEN BORN WITH AND I HAVE CONCLUDED THAT PEOPLE HAVE A SAY IN WHAT THEY ARE. WHEN I WAS YOUNGER I HAD WHAT I WOULD CALL AN EXPLOSIVE, UNCONTROLLED ANGER PROBLEM. I HAD A TENDENCY TOWARDS THE VIOLENT...AS I WAS THE OLDEST I THINK MY YOUNGER SIBLINGS WERE HONESTLY FEARFUL OF ME. I HAD TO TAKE THAT IN HAND TO PROGRESS AND BE A GOOD PERSON. WAS THE TENDENCY NOT REAL?...SOME FIGMENT OF MY IMAGINATION? NO. NOR DO I THINK THAT HOMOSEXUAL TENDENCIES ARE NOT REAL. THEY ARE REAL AND FOR SOME PEOPLE VERY STRONG. BUT THE POINT YOU AND I DIFFER ON IS THAT YOU THINK YOU JUST ARE THAT WAY, CAN'T CHANGE, AND THAT IT IS NOT WRONG.
I THINK THAT IS JUST WHERE WE ARE GOING TO HAVE TO LEAVE IT. I WISH YOU GOOD LUCK IN YOUR STRUGGLE, AND I WILL CONTINUE WITH MINE...ALWAYS HOPING THAT THE STRUGGLE WILL BE CIVIL AND NOT VIOLENT. DO I THINK THAT HOMOSEXUAL MARRIAGE WILL BE MADE LEGAL OVER TIME...UNFORTUNATELY YES. WILL I GO BALLISTIC WHEN/IF THAT HAPPENS. DEFINITELY NOT. MY HOPE IS THAT MY BELIEFS WILL STILL BE SPEAKABLE WITHOUT DANGER TO MYSELF, BECAUSE I SINCERELY BELIEVE THEM TO BE TRUE.

AGAIN, THANKS FOR SPEAKING UP.

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