Lesbian politics: Dude, Mormons--Why the $H8?

(Before I say anything else, I would like to point out that you can make "No on Prop 8" phone calls from home, no matter where you live in the U.S. Save marriage equality in CA; click on that link above to find out how.

Do you really want to live in a country where voters get to decide who has inalienable rights and who doesn't? On November 5 will you be patting yourself on the back for having done all you could for your fellow queer brethren, or will you be kicking yourself that you failed to stand up for queer rights? Make phone calls today!

I don't really know very many Mormon people, so I'm hoping I can get an education here in the comments section. Here is what appears to be a spreadsheet with all the "Yes on 8" donors (source: mormonsfor8.com). 46% of them are Mormon. I ask you: why? These are people who themselves had to redefine their own "traditional" marriage to "Marriage is between a man and a woman" from "Marriage is between a man and a woman and another woman and another woman and another woman," and it wasn't that long ago. Their church founder advocated for plural marriages back in 1831 and had one himself in 1835, and the church had to restructure its traditional marriage system back in 1890 to get rid of that. Are the Mormons overcompensating now to prove they're the man-and-wifeiest? Or are they just mad that we can get wife-on-wife action today, and they can't?

Carlos Santoscoy at ontopmag.com writes: "Mormon leaders say gay marriage is incompatible with Mormon theology. According to church doctrine, Mormons must be married to achieve 'exaltation' – the ultimate state in the afterlife – where they retain their gender and give birth to spirit children."

O.K., so you need male/female interaction in the afterlife; let's assume that is true. But LGBT folks typically receive excommunication from the Mormon church when they're outed--hell, the LDS church will excommunicate people merely for supporting "No on Prop 8" even if they aren't gay--meaning (as far as I understand) that they are no longer Mormons. So if they aren't Mormons anymore, they do not go to a Mormon afterlife; is that correct? And if they're not going there, it doesn't really matter if they get married, does it?

Well, I'm attempting to apply logic to literalist religion, which is just going to frustrate everybody, so let that lie. Let's instead take a peek at the lengths to which the LDS community has gone to beat up on us so far:
  • technological firebombing (texts, blog posts, videos, podcasts, Twitter, Facebook) mostly by young people (how sick is that?)
  • traditional methods of political organizing (1,000,000 yard signs distributed by mob LDS crews)
  • collaboration with James Dobson, the Focus on the Family shithead (who says a father can teach his son not to be gay by doing the following:

  • He needs to mirror and affirm his son's maleness. He can play rough-and-tumble games with his son, in ways that are decidedly different from the games he would play with a little girl. He can help his son learn to throw and catch a ball. He can teach him to pound a square wooden peg into a square hole in a pegboard. He can even take his son with him into the shower, where the boy cannot help but notice that Dad has a penis, just like his, only bigger.

    Sure, James, keep up your pitching/catching, hole-pounding, and prominent penis contests . . . that's not gay at all.)
Almost $27,000 came from these Mormon lawyers alone all from the same law firm in Irvine, CA (contact info taken from firm website):

Brent M. Dougal
Prop 8 Donation: $500
Douglas B. Espenschied
Prop 8 Donation: $1,500
Nathan S. Smith
Prop 8 Donation: $1,000
Marc Morley
Prop 8 Donation: $1,000
Ted M. Cannon
Prop 8 Donation: $5,000 (extra douchey)
Philip M. Nelson
Prop 8 Donation: $1,100
Glen Nuttall
Prop 8 Donation: $150 (mini-douche)
Curtis R. Huffmire
Prop 8 Donation: $1,000
Paul Conover
Prop 8 Donation: $500
Christian A. Fox
Prop 8 Donation: $1,500
Bill Bunker
Prop 8 Donation: $5,000 (megadouche)
Ned Israelsen
Prop 8 Donation: $3,000
Jason J. Jardine
Prop 8 Donation: $500
(unpictured)Michael Erickson
Prop 8 Donation: $5,000

These are lawyers--you know, those people who are supposed to defend the Constitution? The ones who are supposed to promote equal rights for all free from religious persecution? The ones who sometimes grow up to be judges? My justice-seeking perennial heroes? Does the fact that lawyers are putting up big money for this terrify you as it does me?

I applaud the efforts of groups like Affirmation, the coalition of queer Mormons that has been admirably and bravely standing up for our side. (That is the link to their main site, but they also have a blog.) Unfortunately, many of Affirmation's members have to practice a sola scriptura, sola fide strain of Mormonism due to their rejection by the church proper.

I'm so curious why the LDS church is so LGBT-unfriendly! I mean, even the fundamentalist Christians let you stick around (although I'm not religious and never have been, so I would have to ask all you Lesbiatopia readers, "What's worse--excommunication from the church, or being allowed to stay but having to go through reparative therapy?") As always happens with whatever the evil kind of anti-gay garbage, devout and well-meaning people wind up hating and/or hurting themselves.

There is a really terrific autobiographical one-man show about these types of issues called Confessions of a Mormon Boy. The show's protagonist mires through unceasing struggle from beginning to end, confronting faith, upbringing, family, addiction, and hate on his passage to coming out. He does get excommunicated, though not for lack of trying. I highlight this show because I know there are thousands of people out there with similar stories--people the LDS church has gone out of its way to shame into silence. Now the church is trying to extend this into government policy, because, sure, look how well it works to hurt people.

I'm a, well, fairly tolerant person so long as no one is attacking me and mine; sometimes even under attack I can forgive if I can understand from whence the attack comes. I just don't get this one, though, especially because it seems like we have so much in common, me and Mormons. I mean, c'mon, we both like choral singing, genealogy, soda . . . well, the list just keeps going. Can't we be friends?


Teresita said...

hell, the LDS church will excommunicate people merely for supporting "No on Prop 8" even if they aren't gay--meaning (as far as I understand) that they are no longer Mormons.

If that's true, then they lose tax-exempt status. The voters who shoot down Prop 8 might not be Mormons, but if the Mormons go beyond merely "educating" their flock and enforce that in some way, they are aren't a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization anymore.

Queers United said...

they are ridiculous and its ironic considering they are all about changing the definition of marriage.

Anonymous said...

In answer to the article's question: because they are told to. The leader of the church has spoken, directing that the members act, and the members act. In this case, in complete opposition to one of the fundamental tenants of their faith: http://scriptures.lds.org/a_of_f/1/1-13#11 .

As that answer begs the question: why did the leader of the church direct them to do so, I'll attempt to answer that as well. I believe it is a simple case of homophobia. Because they believe that homosexuality is a choice - a temptation, no less - they fear any form of acceptance as it might lead to everyone turning gay. Until such time as they realize that, unless you were born bisexual, you can't chose your sexual orientation, the root of their homophobia will remain. And, so long as they are afraid, they will continue to fight this "tool of the devil" in every way they can think of.

I hope that helps in at least a small way.

Anonymous said...

Religion is all about controll. If they cant controll you then you are a threat.

Anonymous said...

Please consider another perspective... http://yesonpropositioneight.blogspot.com/
The Mormon's really aren't that bad! They're just trying to hold onto the traditional definition of marriage, while allowing everyone the freedom to choose their ownlifestyle.

David Stoker said...

The LDS church has put out a lot of information to explain itself and why it is supporting the issue with such vigor. I think it is important to remember also that the LDS church is always acting as part of coalitions with other faiths that have similar moral and doctrinal definitions of marriage, the LDS Church has simply been more able to mobilize its members to take action themselves. This is not a matter of intolerance or hate, it is a legal battle with an eye towards the legal ramifications of the decision.


A couple excerpts:

"The Church does not object to rights (already established in California) 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 family or the constitutional rights of churches and their adherents to administer and practice their religion free from government interference."

The legal outcomes of this decision could very well threaten the freedom of religion in the U.S.:

"Legalizing same-sex marriage will affect a wide spectrum of government activities and policies. Once a state government declares that same-sex unions are a civil right, those governments almost certainly will enforce a wide variety of other policies intended to ensure that there is no discrimination against same-sex couples. This may well place “church and state on a collision course.” [16]

"The prospect of same-sex marriage has already spawned legal collisions with the rights of free speech and of action based on religious beliefs. For example, advocates and government officials in certain states already are challenging the long-held right of religious adoption agencies to follow their religious beliefs and only place children in homes with both a mother and a father. As a result, Catholic Charities in Boston has stopped offering adoption services."

"Public accommodation laws are already being used as leverage in an attempt to force religious organizations to allow marriage celebrations or receptions in religious facilities that are otherwise open to the public. Accrediting organizations in some instances are asserting pressure on religious schools and universities to provide married housing for same-sex couples. Student religious organizations are being told by some universities that they may lose their campus recognition and benefits if they exclude same-sex couples from club membership. [18]"

"Many of these examples have already become the legal reality in several nations of the European Union, and the European Parliament has recommended that laws guaranteeing and protecting the rights of same-sex couples be made uniform across the EU. [19] Thus, if same-sex marriage becomes a recognized civil right, there will be substantial conflicts with religious freedom. And in some important areas, religious freedom may be diminished."

A quote from one of the members of the leadership group of the LDS church:
"Tolerance obviously requires a non-contentious manner of relating toward one another’s differences. But tolerance does not require abandoning one’s standards or one’s opinions on political or public policy choices. Tolerance is a way of reacting to diversity, not a command to insulate it from examination."

Anonymous said...

i use to be mormon and a very similar vote (in hawaii) was one of the reasons i left the church in the 1st place. when i joined the church as a teen, they said you could believe what you wanted politically. they would not interfere in politics, and yet they did. they were advising us to protest downtown and encouraging everyone to vote yes. i didnt. i told everyone i could that it was ridiculous and against their own doctrine to judge others.

anyway, i remember a specific teaching of the church...we must obey the laws of the land. maybe they are more worried about the changes they will have to make within the church if this is passed. they can't keep gays out of their church or out of their schools (they have more than byu at stake) because it would be discrimination. i was almost kicked out of school for being a lesbian.

Prince Gomolvilas said...

Hey, thanks for your post. I want to point out there are a handful of Mormons on the right side of the issues. Check out:


Anonymous said...

Read the 11th article of faith again. It's not about law. It's about religion - specifically the Mormon church's belief in freedom of religion. If a religion wishes to marry a man to a man, or a woman to a woman, or even many women to a single man, that is the right of the religion. The 11th article of faith is very clear on the Mormon stance on this: they claim to allow others the right to worship as they see fit. Reality is obviously different.

The only reason gay marriage is an issue at all, legally, is because homophobic religious people constitute(d) the majority of people in the US and so freedom of religion has been ignored for those in the minority. Instead, the state only recognizes marriages performed by religions intolerant of their fellow man.

Renee Gannon said...

And that's exactly why separation of church & state is so important

Summer said...

I'm not going to try and educate you on the facts of my church- you can go here to do that. You were wondering about Mormon thinking, though, and I'm a Mormon. I wrote a little of what I think on my blog. Feel free to visit. :)

Anonymous said...

The mormon church is going to support whatever position they believe is going to benefit them the most. Not too many years ago blacks were not allowed to join the church until a large group of wealthy blacks moved into Salt Lake, then the president of the church had a "vision" and wow now they are accepted with open arms.
The biggest reason the church is even involved with prop 8 is that back in the late 80's they invested in a lot of companies and their home offices are in California. And they would do anything to protect those investments.

FYI Renee, in Utah there is no such thing as separation of church and state!!!!!!!

Seth R. said...

Well, I'm a Mormon. And I oppose Prop. 8. I've even blogged to that effect. I don't see why mere opposition to it would get you ex-ed. Those who have been talking about disciplinary action have, as far as I can tell, been crossing the line in more ways than mere opposition to Prop 8.

I oppose my Church's stance on this issue. But not for the same reasons that others are. I do not support gays being "married." If they choose to live together, it will not be something I recognize as "marriage." This has nothing to do with whether I "hate" gays or not. Honestly, I don't consider their problems any worse than my own. I wouldn't keep my kids from playing with your kids. I wouldn't be opposed to voting for you or denying you any protections or privileges under our government.

But I don't consider what gays have to be "marriage." It's a religious concept for me and same gender doesn't work there.

So why do I oppose Prop 8?

Because I don't really think it's any of the US or State government's business who gets the marriage label. "Marriage" is a social prestige marker and government cannot give it out to one group yet deny it to others and still be "fair." Either it has to give the label to all or none.

I choose none.

When I married my wife, it was in a Mormon temple. At that point, I considered her my wife. Sure, we went through the motions and got a marriage license down at the courthouse. But that was mere formality. In my eyes, the marriage license had nothing to do with whether she was my "wife" or not. If the judge had refused to sign it, she STILL would have been my wife as far as I was concerned.

That's because marriage, for me, is not a government function but an eternal and heavenly function. I honestly don't ultimately care if my relationship is recognized by the government or not. As long as fair protections and benefits are given (like hospital visitation, tax status, legal rights, etc), I don't care what they think about my relationship and neither should you.

If a gay couple wants to grab a minister and have a wedding, bully for them. I'm happy for them, and wish them the best. But I do not agree with the government calling it "marriage."

But I don't agree with the government officially designating my "marriage" either! In my mind, the government needs to be out of the marriage license business ENTIRELY. We should have a comprehensive domestic partnership body of law that covers all such relationships, regardless of gender to make sure that vulnerable parties are protected. But the label of "marriage" is none of government's business. That label is a personal and religious matter and government needs to keep its nose out of it.

So, I may not support gay couples marrying in Mormon temples. But if they want to hold their own ceremonies, I think that's just fine. But I don't like the idea of government coercion telling you to accept my "marriage" or telling me to accept your "marriage."

Pugs said...

Whoa. Of all the blogs and opinions I've read, this one scares me the most. Excellent, excellent question - why are those Mormon lawyers so against us? And yes! They (and all the Mormons fighting so hard against us) scare the pee out of me. Dude! Look at those guys! They could be poster boys for the Aryan Nation.

Thanks for the info. It gives me a lot to think about.