Sunday, November 9, 2008

Mormons and Prop 8: The facts

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% of the yes vote. 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.

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.

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.

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.

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).

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.

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

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 has always been very careful on this matter and occasionally (not often) chooses to support causes that it feels to be of a moral nature.

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.

This has 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.


lisa said...

thank you for this post. i'm upset with the hate and intolerance we've seen from every side, and it's refreshing to see some honesty.

Ophidimancer said...

Hateful attacks are never warranted, of course. They don't really accomplish anything except shut down communication and hurt people. I'm sad that many gay people have chosen to express their hurt in such negative ways.

On the other hand, I do think it goes to show just how hurtful Proposition 8 really is. It accomplishes nothing except to denigrate certain people and their families. "Your family is not worthy of being a family" it says, "therefore it doesn't deserve the same privileges and protections."

Take my family, for instance. My husband is not a citizen of the Unites States and we cannot secure his right to stay here based on our marriage because federally we are not considered kin. All this because of an accident of birth which we had no control over; our sex.

The fact that a woman can enter into a marriage contract with my husband and I cannot is sex discrimination, plain and simple. The fact that the discrimination is two-way in no way makes it valid.

And for this my family is threatened with separation? For shame.