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Mormons and "Yes on 8"
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or "Mormon Church," has been the brunt of the backlash resulting from the passage of Proposition 8 in California, November 2008, which amends the state constitution to prohibit same sex marriage. Here are some facts regarding the involvement of the Mormon Church:
1. Mormons make up less than 2% of the population of California. There are approximately 800,000 LDS out of a total population of approximately 34 million.
2. 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% of the Yes vote and 2.4% of the total Proposition 8 vote.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. African Americans overwhelmingly supported Yes on 8. Exit polls show that 70% 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.
7. 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).
8. 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.
9. 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.
10. 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.
The Church's stance is explained on LDS Newsroom:
- "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.
- "Some, however, have mistakenly asserted that churches should not ever be involved in politics when moral issues are involved. In fact, churches and religious organizations are well within their constitutional rights to speak out and be engaged in the many moral and ethical problems facing society. While the Church does not endorse candidates or platforms, it does reserve the right to speak out on important issues.
- Before it accepted the invitation to join broad-based coalitions for the amendments, the Church knew that some of its members would choose not to support its position. Voting choices by Latter-day Saints, like all other people, are influenced by their own unique experiences and circumstances. As we move forward from the election, Church members need to be understanding and accepting of each other and work together for a better society." 
May 2009 California Court Decision
In May of 2009 the California courts decided to uphold the vote of California citizens to support Proposition 8, defining marriage as a legal union between a man and a woman. This is the official response of the LDS (Mormon) Church to the court's decision:
- SALT LAKE CITY, 26 May 2009
- Today’s decision by the California Supreme Court is welcome. The issue the court decided was whether California citizens validly exercised their right to amend their own constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman. The court has overwhelmingly affirmed their action.
- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recognizes the deeply held feelings on both sides, but strongly affirms its belief that marriage should be between a man and a woman. The bedrock institution of marriage between a man and a woman has profound implications for our society. These implications range from what our children are taught in schools to individual and collective freedom of religious expression and practice.
- Accordingly, the Church stands firmly for what it believes is right for the health and well-being of society as a whole. In doing so, it once again affirms that all of us are children of God, and all deserve to be treated with respect. The Church believes that serious discussion of these issues is not helped when extreme elements on both sides of the debate demonize the other (LDS Newsroom).
A Prophetic Discourse from Elder Neal A. Maxwell, 1978
- Time Magazine: "The Church and Gay Marriage: Are Mormons Misunderstood?"
- Catholic Bishop Decries Religious Bigotry Against Mormons
- Church Issues Statement on Proposition 8 Protest
- LDS Church responds to same-sex marriage votes
- The Divine Institution of Marriage
- Same-sex Marriage and Proposition 8
- A good explanation of the legalities of same-sex unions in various states
- The Church's response to gay civil rights legislation in Utah