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Sunday, November 9, 2008

Prop 8 Protesters Confront Seattle Mormons

posted by on November 9 at 12:55 PM

The streets in the University District were mostly empty when the first cars began rolling up for a morning service at the Seattle North Stake Center, a chapel of the Mormon Church on 8th Avenue Northeast and Northeast 57th Street. But the sidewalk was lined with about 40 protesters.

Young gay men in designer jeans and preppy college women—a strikingly different crowd from the rag-tag regulars at most Seattle protests—were chanting and waving signs at the luxury sedans pulling into the driveway. They decried the Mormon Church for supporting California’s Proposition 8, which stripped about 20,000 same-sex couples of their marriage recognition. The Church of Latter-Day Saints had strongly supported the measure. And church members, including several from the Seattle area, contributed an estimated $22 million dollars to the campaign. Protesters chanted, “Tax the church,” a call for the IRS to repeal the church’s tax-exempt status.


Corianton Hale under the spire of the North Seattle Stake Center.

Realistically, though, ambiguous IRS rules make repealing the Mormon Church’s tax exemption a long shot (.pdf), and activities in Seattle may not have a big impact on California. But the early-morning enthusiasm could indicate a renewed push, and foreshadow more confrontation, for the gay-rights movement in Washington.

Valerie Tariko held a sign that read, “Shame on You,” which faced the driveway. A woman in a peach-colored suit drove past, slowing down to take both hands from the wheel and give Tariko the shame fingers.

“I can’t sit by when my rights are being taken away,” says Matthew Wilson, 26, who announced the protest yesterday and immediately received support, including from several people who had never attended a protest before.


George Durham, a member of the church, came out to address the crowd.

“Being quiet is not an option anymore,” says Phyllis Penland, who attended with her 46-year-old gay son, Todd. “What we’ve been doing so far hasn’t had much of an impact,” she says, wearing an Obama button, two rainbow pins and a string of pride beads. “They have overstepped their bounds this time and hopefully this will be the beginning of stopping them.” Penland then began by stopping a member of the congregation, explaining that gays Americans deserve equal rights.

That churchgoer, 31-year-old Heather Carman, who looked more like she was headed to Phish concert than a service in her flowing brown dress, says, “Hate,” a common term on the signs, “is the wrong word. There is no malice.” She encouraged people to review the CLDS’s written statements as evidence.

But can a protest impact any meaningful change in Washington’s legislature?

“You can look at protests as a thermometer of interest in a cause,” says Josh Friedes, a spokesman for Equal Rights Washington, a statewide advocacy and lobbying organization for marriage equality that has expanded rapidly in the last few years.


No dirty hippies at this protest.

“This protest puts electeds on notice that [defending a ban on gay marriage] is untenable,” Friedes says. Anti-gay incumbents came close to losing seats in Tuesday’s election, and the advent of a growing gay-rights movement warns them to support marriage equality or risk being voted out of office, he says.

Friedes plans to contact the leaders and participants of today’s protest to collaborate with them.

“Washington must recognize that it is truly one of the leaders of the marriage quality movement,” says Friedes. Washington’s constitution cannot be modified by initiative—it requires a two-thirds majority in the state House and Senate. “This is one of the most likely states to approve and hold marriage equality.”

RSS icon Comments


too bad protest signs dont have spellcheck!

Posted by bobcat | November 9, 2008 1:03 PM

No dirty hippies, but at least two illiterates.

Posted by Churh Marrige | November 9, 2008 1:03 PM

Right on, Corianton. I'm sorry I was asleep at that hour.

Posted by Fnarf | November 9, 2008 1:05 PM

I still want to know why the Constitution of California is being taken so seriously. It's as easy to amend as any ordinary voter initiative. If it were on of those constitutions that is hard to change I would see this as a big deal, but you just need a simple majority and one vote to change it back, right?

Posted by elenchos | November 9, 2008 1:08 PM
Posted by hyperlinker | November 9, 2008 1:09 PM

@1 and 2:

Give 'em a break, it was early and on short notice. Being vertical was hard enough. Proper use of English is for afternoon protests.

Posted by violet_dagrinder | November 9, 2008 1:13 PM

Wasn't Churh Marrige the name of the villain in "No Country for Old Men"?

Posted by Doctor Memory | November 9, 2008 1:13 PM

Does the Bible or the Mormon addendums actually call upon the congregation to force their beleifs unto others?

I mean, ok fine, just for argument's sake, let's suppose God really isn't going to let those icky gays into heaven. Sorry, gays - no soup for you.

Do His books also say that beleivers need to go out of their way to torment non-beleivers on Earth?

Is there a line in there that says: " Not only can you not be gay and married.. but you also need to prevent others from being gay-married. Them's the rules. "


Posted by SeanD | November 9, 2008 1:16 PM

I'm making calls to get several community meetings organized as well. If people are serious about civil equality in Washington it won't be enough to just get mad.

Posted by Sargon Bighorn | November 9, 2008 1:28 PM

SeanD... no shit. We have something called freedom of religion, if you don't like gay marriage then don't have one. I mean there are Catholics that don't believe in divorce right? But even those nutters don't really seem to care if Jews or Mormons or atheists get divorces do they?

Posted by daniel | November 9, 2008 1:54 PM

In case you did not know...And this has nothing to do with your sexuality or whatnot, this is the ugly of ugliest politics in play, as well as a theological war in which homosexuals are both pawns and operatives.
Christian Orthodoxy VS. Talmudic Judaism and political Zionism. First, chew on this short clip of Dave Chapelle talking to Oprah Winfrey, it helps outline what i am referring to.
Simply put, Jews push homosexuality on the gentiles.
Now, what percentage of homosexuals are Jewish, and what percentage of these Jewish homosexuals voted for Barack Obama? Are you Jewish?

Posted by Shootingsparks | November 9, 2008 1:57 PM

Ooo! Anti-semitism. Now we are REALLY getting somewhere in this discussion!!

Posted by olechka | November 9, 2008 2:03 PM

So you put the pix up of John Durham but don't reference anything he had to say??

Posted by drone5969 | November 9, 2008 2:17 PM

1. Good protesting. Keep it up. The love everyone/value all marraiges/leave hate behind message rocks!!

I think this could grow and gets lots of protesters.

3. Perhaps boycott California ? Lots of gays/friendlies go their on mini trips, but perhaps could shift to Vt. instead. Arnold is all over TV saying come find yourself in CA, when can you start? NOw, WTF? Come find yourself unless you're gay, then come find yourself officially hated??

Some creative dude needs to make a You tube video spoof ..."We work hard in CA, hating gays. It's a tough job, but if you hate them too we welcome you here. Our only question is, 'when can you start?'"
(with computer-faked Arnold voice, etc.).

Hit them in pocketbook, hearts and minds will follow.


Posted by PC | November 9, 2008 2:20 PM

Ban together this Saturday at noon in Volunteer park to protest the Mormon Church and marriage inequality. We will gather in Volunteer Park at noon and march to Westlake center. Following the march a protest outside the Bellevue LDS Temple will commence at 5pm.

Posted by Kyler | November 9, 2008 2:21 PM

My favorite part was the woman who cried and thanked us as she went into church.

Posted by Alan | November 9, 2008 2:26 PM

Remember change starts with one person, by planting the seed.

The real critcism needs not to be within our group, but outside of us. Signs with words misspelled should be the least of your worries. How about the Mormon corporation putting 50% of the funding to pass prop 8. That doesn't bother you more?

or the black and mexican voters who votes for prop 8. How about the hypocricy in that. The asked for our votes gay or straight during their civil right battles and now that they have achieved it, they forget those of us who helped along the way. Gay voters alway lean toward granting all groups equality. To give blacks the right to vote and helping the hispanics and the citizenship issues, we have been there. Marched side by side. But on prop 8 they forgot about us. On this issue they no longer wanted to be side by side. A state that can have affirmative action AND a law banning a minority a civil right is shocking.
I am saddened by the ethnic vote. I hope they are all ashamed of themselves and see that their vote for prop 8 is no better then the votes used to keep black as second class citizens.

Shame on you! SHAME ON YOU!!!

Posted by fire back | November 9, 2008 2:35 PM

I was there and was really moved by the woman who cried and thanked us before going in, as well as the man who defied the wishes of his "brother" and briefly stood in line with us. Earlier, a Mormon man holding a baby thanked me and my fella and told us he wanted us to know that he did not support the proposition himself and was ashamed of his fellow congregation for doing so. Meeting those people alone made the small protest worthwhile. Hopefully they will voice their views from the inside as well.

Posted by Baxter | November 9, 2008 2:51 PM

Thanks protesters! The tax thing may or may not work (probably not) but I think protesting is the BEST way to make sure the Mormon church knows taking away other people's rights does NOT benefit them.

Washington is about #3 behind Vermont and Massachusetts in the number of gay people in the state (or at least somewhere in the top 5, depending on what stats). Seattle is the #2 city behind San Francisco. We have about a 2/3 majority in the both the state House and Senate, we have a Democratic governor and lt. governor, and our Republicans are more economically conservative than socially conservative. There's NO PLACE BETTER to lead in gay marriage than Washington.

Vermont got a huge boost economically when they legalized civil unions. Massachusetts got a huge boost with gay marriage. Imagine the number of gay and gay-friendly Californians (with all their delicious money) swarming to Washington if we enacted strong gay marriage. We're already a gay mecca, we'd become THE gay mecca.

How do we get this done?

Posted by jrrrl | November 9, 2008 3:14 PM

I saw this on Pam's House Blend. We so should be protesting at all the wing-nut churches.

Posted by yucca flower | November 9, 2008 3:15 PM

@17, you give yourself too much credit.

There was no Civil Rights vote. The right to vote was granted by the Supreme Court.

Also, lets break this down a bit. 10% of California voters were black. 70% of blacks voted yes on 8. That's 7% of voters. 49% of whites voted yes on 8. Had blacks voted similarly to whites, the difference made would have only been 2% but prop 8 passed by 4.6%. Blacks did not cause 8 to pass! The rest of the electorate is just as culpable.

Posted by cmaceachen | November 9, 2008 3:18 PM

Kyler - how are you getting the word out? Is there a site to go to with information, vision, community forum, etc. I want to take action, I want to be prepared but don't know where to find information. What local organizations are championing this and organizing the masses? How can I help?

Posted by liz | November 9, 2008 3:20 PM

@20: Westboro Baptist Church is coming to Longview, WA on 12/5/08. I hate to link here but...

I think it would be useful (in protests, or whatever) to point out the similarities between Westboro Baptist and the Mormon church. They differ in tactics, but the Mormon church is MUCH more damaging to gay rights.

Posted by jrrrl | November 9, 2008 3:40 PM

@ 13) I didn't include quotes from Durham because I only caught the end of his few remarks, and he asked me not to quote him. But I don't think you missed anything--what I heard was all platitudes.

Posted by Dominic Holden | November 9, 2008 3:45 PM

i am a former seattle resident who is now living in california. it feels like a battleground here. it is as if someone ok'd verbal hate crimes here! it has divided the state and is nothing more than legalized discrimination.

november 15th! national day of protest!
help us fight!!

Posted by dezert | November 9, 2008 3:45 PM

I think it is the frustration coming out and the Mormons and blacks are an easy target. They played a huge part in this. However, a huge part was played by NONfar-right people that either did not vote or voted pro-8. We are reaching more and more straight people every day. We need to keep coming out and showing the world we are not a threat. Gay people are the one minority that can hide. We can pick and choose who sees us as gay. For this reason, the world has a very skewed view about gay people.

We need to keep letting people know we are gay. Not announcing it but just letting it out like it is no big deal. These anti-gay people don't realize how many gay people they know. When people know gay people they rethink these discrimination laws. Yes vent at the ones who purposely engineered this whole proposition: The Utah Mormon church, Hyper Evangelical Christian James Dobson of "Focus on the Family." But don't let it eat you alive.

It does give them power. They are nut cakes and giving them fuel to rile up their churches is letting them win. Let's beat them like Obama beat McCain. McCain still got 47% of all votes in this country. But Obama got more. Let them be evil. All we needed to do is persuade 2% more of California that it is about our rights.

Lets film a commercial with the 22,000 couples that are caught in the middle. How about we fill up a football field with the caption "WE MATTER". Not many commercials against prop 8 showed gay people. Just politicians and celebrities. This is a human rights issue and gays need to be seen as human.

Public opinion comes our way more and more. Why? because we come out more and more. We will win this war. There are blacks and Mormons out there who are on our side. Let's not make this about them.

Here are some quotes for the pro-8 crowd...

“Whoever, therefore, thinks that he understands the divine Scriptures or any part of them so that it does not build the double love of God and of our neighbor does not understand it at all." (Christian Doctrine 1.35.40)41 Let us be true to the double love of God and neighbor, for that is what we are called to do for the sake of the love of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." Augustine

"As Mankind becomes more liberal, they will be more apt to allow that all those who conduct themselves as worthy members of the community are equally entitled to the protections of civil government. I hope ever to see America among the foremost nations of justice and liberality." George Washington, First president of US (1732 - 1799).

"All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression." Thomas Jefferson

"An honest man can feel no pleasure in the exercise of power over his fellow citizens." Thomas Jefferson

"The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others." Thomas Jefferson

"Because religious belief, or non-belief, is such an important part of every person's life, freedom of religion affects every individual. State churches that use government power to support themselves and force their views on persons of other faiths undermine all our civil rights. Moreover, state support of the church tends to make the clergy unresponsive to the people and leads to corruption within religion. Erecting the "wall of separation between church and state," therefore, is absolutely essential in a free society." Thomas Jefferson Founder of United States 3rd President (1743-1826)

Here is a quote for everyone who understands what this country stands for...

"I fear not, I see not reason for fear. In the end we will be the victors. For though at times the flame of liberty may cease to shine, the ember will never expire."
Thomas Paine US patriot & political philosopher (1737 - 1809)

Chins up people This website explains everything Gay

Posted by value ALL Families | November 9, 2008 3:59 PM

It's useless to protest outside a random Mormon church...especially on a sunday (saturday's are the busy days for mormons)

And obviously no one was bright enough to pick up on this, judging by the rampant misspellings of words like Church and Marriage.

Posted by Hunter | November 9, 2008 4:01 PM

The State Constitution requires 2/3rds of both Houses and then a majority in an election. This is one of the reasons that the Washington State Constitution is one of the best in the country. No political party or campaign can change it at a whim. Many liberals and conservatives have mixed feelings on this. Many conservatives don't like it because it prevents them from banning same sex marriage. But many liberals also don't like it because it makes gun control impossible in the state (since it explicitly defines the right to bear arms as an individual right). In any case, it is exceptionally good at maintaining individual liberties.

A couple of things that are really impressive and useful in our State Constitution for the LGBT crowd are the right to privacy, the prohibition of divorce by legislature, prohibition of discrimination by class (including transportation discrimination), and complete sex equality. San Francisco will always be the center of the LGBT rights movement on the West Coast, but Seattle has a lot more potential in the short term to make significant gains. I see no reason why there shouldn't an initiative to allow same sex marriages during the next election. The worst that could happen would be that it would fail. At that point it would just be rinse and repeat. Demographic changes are on our side. In 15 years there will probably be a 2/3rds majority of Democrats in both Houses which will allow a positive same sex marriage State Constitutional amendment.

Posted by bzishi | November 9, 2008 4:01 PM


You cant't - not now, will be 12-15 years of education and political work.

Neither pro or con can amend the constitution except via the legislature. Queers do NOT have the votes there on this issue. After an amend attempt, a vote by the public, statewide.

And, we could not defeat the right at the ballot box anytime soon. So Washington DOMA stands, the Supremes did not rule for us, QUEERS IN WA ARE LOCKED IN A BOX FOR YEARS>

There you have it. Keep working, education, generation change, keep your eyes on a long time strategy.

Posted by HENRY | November 9, 2008 4:02 PM

The LDS Church spent zero tithing money on Prop 8. Don't use lies to argue.
Could someone please clarify how this is a "civil rights issue." In reality, homosexuals are not being denied the right to marry, only marry someone of the same sex. This right is not different for me. As a man, I cannot legally (under current law) marry a man. Thus, a homosexual has the same right to marriage, it just has to be to a member of the opposite sex.
Also, I don't see the comparison to prior civil rights movements that were based on race or sex. A black man can't choose to no longer be black, but a homosexual can choose to no longer be homosexual, or at least practice as a homosexual. If this is the case, aren't we just protecting sexual preference.
I'm asking these as a serious questions and don't hear them being talked about at all. Are we operating under the assumption that human sexuality is as static as race. I can say that it is not, at least for me and others I’ve known.

Posted by B-Cat | November 9, 2008 4:07 PM

WA is going to face a referendum the second that marriage legislation (or anything closer to it) passes. You are part of the majority that will vote on our rights. Only by you coming out as LGBT allies do we have a hope for success. Now is the time to start bringing up the topic with YOUR friends, family and coworkers, not 10 minutes before the next election.

Ok, you have your marching orders, now GET BUSY! :D

Posted by Lurleen | November 9, 2008 4:12 PM

Put a gay initiative on the ballot in an off year when old people vote and - if - the biggest hurdle - if you could get the signatures - THEN lose by 20 points to show how little real political clout you have with voters.

Bad, bad, bad idea. But I love the militant fever, just need better tactics.

This isn't going to be easy or done quickly.

Posted by Eric | November 9, 2008 4:13 PM


Could someone please clarify how this is a "civil rights issue." In reality, African-Americans are not being denied the right to marry, only to marry someone of the opposite race. This right is not different for me. As a white man, I cannot legally (under current law) marry a black woman. Thus, a African-American has the same right to marriage, it just has to be to a member of the same race.
There, fixed it for you.
Posted by bzishi | November 9, 2008 4:15 PM


The CA Supreme Court addressed that very question and many others. You can inform yourself by reading their decision here:

Posted by Lurleen | November 9, 2008 4:16 PM

@30, you haven't fixed anything. I get it in racial terms. My question is: Is sexuality the same as race? Are homosexuals a different race?

Posted by C-Cat | November 9, 2008 4:18 PM

Could someone please clarify how this is a "civil rights issue." In reality, African-Americans are not being denied the right to go to school, only they have to go to a school for black people. This right is not different for me. As a white man, I cannot legally (under current law) go to a black school. Thus, a African-American has the same right to public education, it just has to be in a black public school.

Posted by separatebutequalreally! | November 9, 2008 4:22 PM

#30 (again)

But I guess I can put it into perspective for you. What if the law were reversed, and only same-sex marriages were allowed? Assuming you are heterosexual, how would you feel if I said to you that it's not a civil rights infringement on you that you can't marry a woman, since I (a lesbian) can't marry someone of the opposite sex either? See how ridiculous that is?

Posted by Lurleen | November 9, 2008 4:24 PM


Most people I know find that their sexual orientation is in fact quite fixed. They either like men, or they like women, or they like both.

I've known very few people that changed their mind about their sexuality as an adult. Yes, I've known people that came out as adults, but almost with exception those people knew they were gay at a very young age and were simply denying it.

Let's switch things around, how about a law that prevented people from different religions from marrying, you think that would be reasonable, since religion is a choice?

Posted by bob | November 9, 2008 4:26 PM

Really, if everyone is done being cute, could someone then answer the question? As someone who is literally confused about this issue, I would like to understand. Showing disrespect does nothing. I'm not trying to stir the pot here. Is race and sexual orientation the same thing? At least in the sight of the law. Anyone mature enough to have a dialogue?

Posted by B-Cat | November 9, 2008 4:27 PM


Lurleen has a good take on it, how about if only gay marriages were allowed, using your logic that wouldn't actually discriminate against straight people, right?

Posted by bob | November 9, 2008 4:28 PM

Also, nobody has talked about the second question about comparisons being drawn.

Posted by B-Cat | November 9, 2008 4:29 PM

This is called imposing your religion on others.

If the Mormon church wants to restrict marriage to heterosexuals, then fine. But why do they insist on imposing their policy on all Americans? Why? I just don't get it.

It's not like I chose who I'm attracted to. Why should I be forced to live life alone?

Posted by Mike | November 9, 2008 4:29 PM

Kisses to the guy holding the tithing sign!

Posted by mary jo | November 9, 2008 4:31 PM

I wonder if Bruno made it to any rallies around here?

Posted by obamanation | November 9, 2008 4:35 PM

Thank you for the serious response. I get what you're saying. Do you think there is a way to change the language of what is being argued to incorporate the choice aspect. Perhaps the entire language of marriage needs to be changed or at least only handled by civic government. Then churches could recognize the marriages they choose. I happen to know that certain churches do have special recognition for marriages performed by them and can only be obtained by two members of that faith, i.e. Catholic, Muslim, and Mormon, I believe.
Could the argument be shifted away from the current one and toward a civil marriage only? Does that make sense?

Posted by B-cat | November 9, 2008 4:35 PM


And is race important? The reason that there are no current laws restricting cross racial marriages are because there is no social value in preserving the purity of any race and because it was very socially destructive to make those distinctions. The main arguments for supporting same sex marriage are the same. There is no social value in preserving an exclusive man-woman marriage definition and it is very destructive to say that two people of the same sex can't marry.

The arguments against this are 1) that marriage is a religious sacrament, 2) that same-sex marriages will devalue opposite-sex marriages, 3) that same-sex marriages will devalue the definition of family, and 4) that adopted children or biological children in a same-sex married family will learn the wrong values growing up. Responding to these points: 1) the government has no business getting involved in religious affairs, and same sex marriages will not somehow mean that opposite sex marriages can't be done in a religious ceremony; 2) that marriage should be based on love and mutual affection, which is only strengthened by allowing lovers of the same sex to marry; 3) the definition of family is only being expanded to allow a small minority to form legal families, it is not interfering nor can it interfere with the standard nuclear family; and 4) that same-sex couples have raised great children and have been very supportive of adoption. Expanding on point 4): it is a moral imperative for us to allow orphans and discarded children to live in a stable home. Allowing same-sex marriage and full adoption rights would save the lives of thousands of children and greatly reduce a lot of human suffering.

Overall, my argument for same-sex marriage is that it is moral in that it treats all members of society justly, it doesn't deny anyone the right to fully express their love and affection with another, and that it will be very beneficial to society as a whole. I feel that it is a moral imperative to allow same-sex marriage and that to do otherwise would be an act of great injustice.

Posted by bzishi | November 9, 2008 4:38 PM

Nicely said.
I guess I was only bringing up the issue of race because I hear and read some much of the same-sex marriage conversation begin compared. I agree with what I interpret you to say, that marriage, unions, or whatever they will be called, need to be handled in civil terms only. I find it hard to think that someone would argue with civil recognition of a contractual union. I think religious types could get on board with that if they were guaranteed to not have to recognize the union as a spiritual marriage. I think this could be a compromise that could please both sides. Thoughts?

Posted by B-Cat | November 9, 2008 4:47 PM


Churches *already* recognize only the marriages they want, when's the last time the Catholic Church was forced to marry someone?

You didn't really address Lurleen's question anyway, lame.

Posted by carl | November 9, 2008 4:47 PM

@46, and in fact a further response to argument 1 is that wingnut churches won't be forced to perform same-sex marriages, since as you noted, the government's definition has no say in the religious realm.

This is of course regardless of what nonsense the clergy of said wingnut churches spew about being taken over by the government.

Posted by rococo | November 9, 2008 4:50 PM

I didn't address Lurleen's question except that I understood what she was trying to get across. She put it so eloquently I thought it was obvious. Unless I misunderstood the question. No need for name calling.

Posted by B-Cat | November 9, 2008 4:51 PM

Why stop outside? Mormons love it when people show interest in their church. Do you know how hard it is for them to get new people to actually come to church? Go inside!

Posted by Steagle | November 9, 2008 4:57 PM

Look, people, the plain and simple is the people have spoken, fake marriage is against the law, real marriage is protected, it's one man one woman, GET OVER IT and move on with the rest of your lives!

Everybody knows that it is common knowledge that the fact of the matter is those four activist judges who tampered with the law that 61 percent of the people approved and thus tampered with the definition of marriage behaved in an illegal, fraudulent, and wrongheaded fashion. Allowing fake marriage was the BIGGEST mistake of their careers hands down, because we the people spoke up and we the people told the radicals abusing the marriage issue as an excuse to tamper with the definition of marriage in the name of four percent of the population to BACK OFF and LEAVE MARRIAGE ALONE!

Real marriage is ONE MAN ONE WOMAN.
ANY OTHER type of marriage is FAKE MARRIAGE.

What part of that did you NOT understand?

Anyone who calls me a bigot or a homophobe after reading this is a retarded traitor who can go straight to HELL!

Posted by Brian Mora | November 9, 2008 5:01 PM

B-Cat @ 45

I'm not sure I follow you. But I get the feeling that you don't understand that only the state government provides marriage licenses. Church ministers act as agents of the states when they solumnize a civil marriage conducted in a church. When that happens, it isn't the church that is providing the legal marriage, it is the state through the very limited powers vested in that church official. A church can conduct a religious marriage ceremony or bless an existing civil marriage, but if a state-issued marriage license isn't signed, the marriage is not legal and won't be recognized by the state.

Posted by Lurleen | November 9, 2008 5:03 PM


So answer the question. If only same-sex marriages were legal that wouldn't discriminate against straight people. Do you agree?

Posted by carl | November 9, 2008 5:08 PM


To your comment: "I think religious types could get on board with that if they were guaranteed to not have to recognize the union as a spiritual marriage. I think this could be a compromise that could please both sides. Thoughts?"

But what if my religion is okay with recognizing the union between two men or two women a spiritual marriage? Why should your religion be able to trump mine?

So, no. I don't think this is a possible compromise. Separate but equal is not a compromise. It's not a compromise to say that straight people can have "a spiritual marriage" under the law and gay people can have a civil union under the law. Why can't both groups have a marriage under the law. And then whatever they want to call it at church on Sundays (or Saturdays) is up to them.

In other words, whatever you call marriage on Sundays is your business. But under the law, gay people should not be discriminated against with respect to "marriage."

Posted by Mike | November 9, 2008 5:10 PM


All you have done is repeat your definition. You have completely failed to give an argument why your definition should be correct. Political discourse needs to be more nuanced than simply one person shouting louder than another (or writing in all caps).

The LGBT rights groups have working hard to convince people to support their rights based on moral and logical arguments. And they have had great success. Less than a generation and a half ago, homosexuality was considered a mental disorder. Today there are several countries and States in the US that support full LGBT rights. In 1980 Jimmy Carter was too afraid to use the word 'gay' in any of his speeches. Today we have a President-elect that has made gay rights a major issue.

I tell you this because momentum is on our side. We have made enormous gains in the last 30 years and your shouting match arguments are no longer working. Unless you and other anti LGBT rights groups come up with a compelling argument that carries moral weight, we will completely win the argument. Spouting hate and lies will work in the short term, but in the long term it only works to undermine your credibility. While LGBT groups have lost in the short term, they have laid the foundation for the long term.

Posted by bzishi | November 9, 2008 5:23 PM

@55 - very well said, Mike.
@52 - I dunno if you're a bigot or homophobe, but, I'm certain you're a 'real' asshole. Close enough?

Posted by SeanD | November 9, 2008 5:27 PM

@30 "B-Cat" you are exactly the kind of "nice" bigot I despise most of all. So far, responses to you have not addressed another part of your insidious screed: "Are we operating under the assumption that human sexuality is as static as race. I can say that it is not, at least for me and others I’ve known."
Really?! So please, tell the world when you made the choice not to be gay or bisexual and/or when you knew that choice was available to you. After all, you unequivocally state that for you sexual orientation is not static. Apparently, it's like a light switch for you.
One of the biggest insults put forth when the discussion of same-sex marriage comes up, are the knuckledraggers who come out from under their rocks and say, "well, gays can still marry, just to someone of the opposite sex." So let me help you and your fellow "nice" knuckledraggers understand exactly what you are saying when you make such intentionally offensive statements, by providing you a quote from the California Supreme Court's ruling this past June: "It is sophistic to suggest that this conclusion is avoidable by reason of the circumstance that the marriage statutes permit a gay man or a lesbian to marry someone of the opposite sex, because making such a choice would require the negation of the person's sexual orientation."
Of course this is the whole point of the religious puke in our society--to make gays and lesbians not exist.
"B-Cat", if I met you in person I'd spit in your face.

Posted by Mark in Colorado | November 9, 2008 5:57 PM

@52 Brian Mora-- You are a bigot, homophobe, knuckledragger, a waste of oxygen, and taking up valuable space on this Earth for which someone of real value could be using.

Posted by Mark in Colorado | November 9, 2008 6:03 PM

To Mark in Colorado (#58):

I sort of agree with what you're saying. But "spit in your face"? That may be a little unnecessary.

Then again, I understand your emotion. I see a lot of religious people (e.g., the Mormons who funded Prop 8) stripping away my rights and then trying to act civil and even friendly.

There are a lot of people who think this is just a difference of opinion.

But this is threatening my ability to have a life and a family! And it's not just the marriage issue. Now at least six states ban gay people from adopting. That's an even bigger issue for me. I want a life and a family. And if I don't get a little angry (like Mark in Colorado), I'll never have that.

So, I understand the emotion. This isn't just a difference of option. It's not just politics. It's our lives we're talking about here!

Posted by Mike | November 9, 2008 6:32 PM

B-Cat get a better handle, this ones already taken bub.

Posted by bobcat | November 9, 2008 7:33 PM

I wish all these protesters had decided to come to California and campaign with me. Where were you on November 3rd?

Posted by Papayas | November 9, 2008 7:47 PM

Well, frankly I live in New York. Sorry, I'd be there for you if I could.

Posted by Mike | November 9, 2008 8:23 PM

I am LDS and saw the protesters this morning outside the Seattle building. I support those who are against Prop 8 and think you would be surprised how many Mormons do here in Seattle. In my 2 years of attending this congregation, the only times I have heard reference to gay individuals have centered around love and respect as friends and neighbors. Seeing signs that said "hate" in front of the building this morning were very saddening to me. I cherish the gay relatives and friends I have as do many of my fellow worshipers. I want them to every right I enjoy. Even referring to those who are against gay marriage, "hate" is certainly an incorrect term to use. Some Mormons might be ignorant or victims of fear-mongering perhaps, but not hateful. It is certainly painful and misguided to be compared with the hideous "godhatesfags" church.

I support your efforts but ask you to not lump all Mormons in one pile. We are individuals with varying opinions and most would shake your hands with the desire of fellowship-especially here in Seattle! Next time you "confront Seattle Mormons," as the headline reads, please keep that in mind.

Posted by Art | November 9, 2008 8:46 PM

To Art (#64) --

See my previous comment (#60).

I agree with you in one sense: the word hate as used by the protesters may be unnecessarily inflammatory. And it seems to even be a barrier to the protesters' real message.

That said, you must understand that they use the word "hate" because that is just how hurt we all feel. There are a lot of gay people (like me) who feel hurt and scared. Yes, you're right that we shouldn't use aggressive rhetoric like "hate," but we feel that taking our rights away is a very aggressive act itself.

Which brings me back to your comment: "In my 2 years of attending this congregation, the only times I have heard reference to gay individuals have centered around love and respect as friends and neighbors."

We are tired of this. I frankly don't care if Mormons have only the best intentions. Regardless of your motivation, you are imposing your religion on everyone else, and you're hurting people. Stop telling me that you love me and start standing up for me.

In Utah, as well as in at least 5 other states (2 new ones as of Nov 4), gay people can't adopt children. They can only marry in two states. This is threatening my chance to have a life. This is what the Mormon church stands for.

My ultimate point is that if you really supported my rights, you'd stand up for me. And I wish that meant something more than to go to church every week and stay silent.

Posted by Mike | November 9, 2008 9:16 PM

Carl @54, yes I do agree. I thought that is what I was saying.
Mike @55, Yes, that is basically what I meant, you said it better.
Mark in Colorado @58, I'm sorry for being "nice," I'd like to think it is civil. The other things you say speak more to your assumptions of people than anything else, but really, you are the type of person that stops dialogue and are part of the problem of why we are having trouble moving forward on this issue.
Lurleen, thank you. You strike me as a wonderful person.
Mike @60 and others, thanks for being a voice of reason.
Bobcat @61, get over yourself.
Art @64, another voice of reason. Sorry you've been drug into the middle between your church officials and protesters. Your religious right should be respected as well.
That's it for me. I'm looking for a better place to have dialogue. The anger and cynicism here is too much for me. Good luck.

Posted by B-Cat | November 9, 2008 9:23 PM

To B-Cat:

With all respect, I think you'd understand the anger and cynicism if this was more than just abstract for you. Because a lot of this anger is really fear. The fact is that many of us will suffer from the consequences of these decisions in a very real way.

So, as much as I want to be civil with people, I also understand the tendency to be angry.

I live in New York. The state of New York recognizes gay marriages performed elsewhere, but doesn't allow gay marriage. If this issue were on a referendum (especially with the deep pockets of the Mormon church), chances are that we would lose this one right we have. In New York, gay people can adopt children. Again, many of us feel that this right is tenuous, and that we could lose the ability to have a family easily. It's happened to friends of mine in Miami and it's the law in other states.

You see my point?

Posted by Mike | November 9, 2008 9:59 PM

B-Cat @ 30:

The government can't tell anyone who they may and may not marry, period. If two people are both taxpaying citizens of the state, they can marry whoever they want to, same sex or not, as long as it is not incest. If not, then they are being denied the equal protection of the law, which is an inalienable right, under the 14th Amendment.

Get that? Inalienable. If we are to deny gays -- or straights -- the right to marry whoever they want to, then they have a tax break coming, because they are paying taxes like everyone else, but not getting their full tax dollar's worth.

Lurleen @ 31:

You ask for straight allies to speak up? I'm here for you, period. If I wasn't, why would I expect you to be here for me?

Posted by ivan | November 9, 2008 10:55 PM

First of all, the LDS church does NOT support taking away the CIVIL rights of anyone. This means that the church approves and supports civil unions between gay couples, hospital visitation rights, insurance benefits, etc. The idea of marriage itself began as a religious ceremony and is therefore not a "right". The civil rights associated to the idea of marriage are not being withheld. The reason the LDS church has become involved as of late is because this definition of marriage brings the issue back to the religions who would be expected to uphold the law. The LDS church believes that citizens should support the government and abide by the law, so if there is a movement to pass laws that the church feels it could not support, they are going to encourage the members of their faith to use their agency and the democratic process to prevent that legalization to take place. It's not a hidden or back-handed agenda. It's supporting the laws of the land and using the process as intended.
In all other campaigns, parties and politics, the church has only told its members to vote according to their own conscience. This issue has brought politics into religion and that's why the LDS church felt compelled to defend their position. . . .and just as an added side note, Mormons make up about 1-2% of the population. They may have possibly been the percentage to tip the majority . . but there was another 50% of the people voting right along with the Mormons. Also, the money spent on the campaign was not from the LDS church, it was contributed from individuals and not paid from the tithes of the church members.

Posted by Esther Perry | November 10, 2008 12:01 AM

And just FYI, I was at the protest this morning (as a member going to attend church) and I wanted to say that this protest was very amicable. The protesters were very polite and courteous to the members going inside and we were happy to let them use the bathroom. . . all in all, it was a very low key protest.

Posted by Esther Perry | November 10, 2008 12:07 AM

Since when has separate but equal ever been equal? Everyone knows the answer to that.

Posted by James | November 10, 2008 12:32 AM

The Church did a lot more than encourage the members to vote their conscience:

After reading that are you going to find another way to rationalize away the obvious guilt?

Posted by James | November 10, 2008 12:35 AM

To Esther Perry (#69) --

What you're saying is simply not true.

According to the Associated Press: "The [Mormon] church encouraged its members to work to pass California's Proposition 8 by volunteering their time and money for the campaign. Thousands of Mormons worked as grassroots volunteers and gave tens of millions of dollars to the campaign."

The fact is that the Mormon church and its leadership actively worked for the passage of Prop 8. Mormons were responsible for about 80% of Prop 8's funding and much of its organization.

I'm not sure what to make of the rest of your argument, especially where you say, "The reason the LDS church has become involved as of late is because this definition of marriage brings the issue back to the religions who would be expected to uphold the law."

If you're implying that the church would be forced to marry gay people, that's not true. The church is a private organization. Like the boy scouts, they have the right to discriminate. And like the boy scouts, the Mormon church will be welcome to do so without risking their tax-exempt status under the IRS. Any argument to the contrary is fear mongering. This point of law is well settled.

Yes, Esther, the Mormon church does support taking the civil rights away from gay people. Facts are facts, Esther. You may not like to see it that way, but I'm calling a spade a spade.

Posted by Mike | November 10, 2008 12:44 AM

Discrimination is not traditionally voted away in this country.

And if you watch the Rachel Maddow video on the main slog you'll know when the last time it was popular to use the terms "Activist Judges" and "Legislating from the bench"

You talk like a duck, I guess you must be a duck.

Posted by James | November 10, 2008 12:56 AM

Exactly, we have never forced a Catholic priest to marry divorced people in this country, we are'nt about to do it for gay people.

Posted by James | November 10, 2008 12:58 AM

Seeing the photo of George "Troy" Durham takes me back in time. He was in some of my classes at Harvard when we were undergrads. He distinguished himself as a greedy, self-promoting, self-righteous d-bag back then. Too bad none of his comments at the rally were printed here so that I could see if anything has changed over the years. Cheers Troy.

Posted by Harvey Mans Field | November 10, 2008 1:42 AM

I have listened to the news about the protests in CA, Utah and now in Seattle. I am reading these commentaries. I am a member of two ethnic racial minority groups and honey childs this is not even on the same plane of "discrimination".
This proposition 8 was voted on by the voters of CA. The gay community did not get their way. It was a democratic process that spoke and made the message clear. Marriage in California will be defined as one man to one woman.
This is not what the gay community wanted to hear. Now how come it was okay for the gay community to launch grass roots efforts in an attempt to get their agenda to pass? Why does the gay community think that society in general has to be accepting of their choice of lifestyle and normalize it in society?
Why are some in the gay community responding with "hate" because their grass roots efforts in California failed?
It is not the fault of the "Mormon" church. The people of California voted. If anything the gay community had higher profile advocates representing them from the entertainment community and major corporations.
There are many Religions who hold to the teaching that marriage which is sacred is only between one man and one woman, this is not something new or discriminatory. It is in the BIBLE and a teaching since the beginning of time for those who prescribe to religious teachings using the BIBLE.
If you are not a person of any religious faith, so be it.
If you do not believe marriage is between one man and one woman, okay. You are making life choices.
Those who do subscribe to the ongoing thread of teaching of marriage is between one man and one woman are also making a life choice.
Just as you have the right to campaign for gay rights and marriage
we have the right to campaign for the protection of the traditional union of one man and one woman for those who have this standard.
Now you are condeming a church because your agenda lost?
The voters spoke. Democracy played out.
You talk about hate and it is those who are out in with the gay community being viewed in the media who are demonstrating and behaving hateful because they did not get their way. It is like watching spoiled children having tantrum fits and does not show well at all.
Some have compared this to racial issues. No Way. Racial strife in this country was handled with class.
Look back at Martin Luther King and his eloquence. Cesar Chavez etc. True leaders in causes of discrimination based on race.
Being gay is not a racial issue because gay individuals are from all ethnic backgrounds.
Our society has had a norm since the inception of this nation under God, we have also had a norm for marriage.
As the gay population is more open, you are wanting for more and that is understandable. I know most people would support you in insuring that insurance benefits are accesible etc. and even perhaps state civil unions. But don't go church bashing and then demanding in your cause to be recognized to be married in the eyes of God too.
The Mormon Church is not alone in their stance. Most churches but not all churches prescribe to the teaching of marriage being between one man and one woman. Why hate that.......
Go about your own lives....don't be shoving your agenda down those who do not share your way of life...find a civil way to commemorate your unions if this is your goal.
One person indicated that a hate sign might have been a bit much,,,ya think? It is disappointing to have something important to you not go your way but you are giving the Mormon Church way to much credit and you are just looking for a target to vent your loss.
I will tell you this venting at the Mormon church will do you no good. You should be working on your next grass root effort for the next election year instead.
The Mormon church is one of the fastest growing religions in the US. You are giving them fabulous publicity and more and more will actually join the church who feel strongly that one man and one woman constitute a marriage.
It was odd to see the Seattle news tonight and one of the protestors was bragging about trying to take the Mormon churchs tax exempt status away, yet he was a pastor of a church. Irony?
It is okay for him to be working his agenda what about his tax exempt status?
There seems to be so many double standards coming across from the gay activists shown on tv.
As for protesting and the call to boycott Park City and the Sundance Film Festival, it will not cause any damage at all.
While these venues do bring in money to the state of Utah, this is not the most important thing to Utah. I have much respect for people from Utah because while a good portion of the rest of the world may be controlled fear of losing money, Utahs don't care about this because their standards of faith are more important.

I hope they do boycott. It will more welcoming for alot of folks to hit the great slopes there!

Posted by amicable | November 10, 2008 4:19 AM

@76 -- lame. I was there yesterday, and Mr. Durham actually got out of his car to speak with the protesters to express some solidarity and discussed what a difficult issue this has been for so many church members here in seattle and around the country. he shared some great perspective and remarks, and it's too bad dominic was not sharp enough to pick up on that. platitudes my a@@. i was very impressed with all the church members who expressed sympathy, solidarity, and understanding.

Posted by visitor | November 10, 2008 7:03 AM

To Mike (#73)

I did not deny the fact that the LDS church encouraged its members to become involved in the passing of Proposition 8. In fact, I said that the church had encourage members to become involved in the democratic process in order to maintain the traditional definition of marriage. All I'm saying is that your arguement in saying that the LDS church is responsible for passing the prop is giving us a lot of credit and implying that many of the voters were somehow duped into voting a certain way.

In fact, many people continue to talk about the money raised by the Mormon church to support this prop . . .well according to the LA Times, "supporters of Proposition 8 had raised $27.5 million, with about 19% of the money coming from outside California. Opponents have raised $31.2 million, with 34% of the money coming from outside the state." I'm tired of hearing just how much the LDS church swayed the vote in CA when the opposing group raised more money and had more outside assistance.

Also, I do understand that the church would not be made to marry gay members . . . but the church would not be able to recognize the gay marriages performed elsewhere and that would become a double standard in supporting the laws of the land, which is a big deal to the Mormon faith. As a faith, we are going to do our best to uphold the laws of the land and that may mean that we're going to use the democratic process to keep from instituting laws which we cannot morally support.

Posted by Esther Perry | November 10, 2008 8:42 AM

I would like to add too, that this proposition was passed once before by the voice of the people (you know that democracy thing) and the court overturned it . . . let's give them credit and say that the court really felt like they were maintaining their position as a proper balance of the government. Now this last vote has outlined that the people (some Mormon, some not) have supported it twice and as a democracy (and until this comes up for vote again) the law should reflect the voice of the people. I think the time and energy of those frustrated with the end result need to go back and rethink the strategy for the next vote. . . . and just as a thought, when you're fighting a cause you call intolerance and you use "Hate" signs and group targeting to plead your case . . . . well, you're definitely not going to recruit many people who really understand what intolerance is.

Posted by Esther Perry | November 10, 2008 9:01 AM

We know that we are losing the battle and that Satan is winning. Gay marriage will be legal soon. We didn't vote yes on Prop 8 as a vote against gays, but rather as a statement that we believe in traditional marriage.....between one man and one woman. We are not trying to force our beliefs on anyone. We are just standing up for what we believe.

Posted by A Mormon | November 10, 2008 10:21 AM

What a troll-infested waste of Slog.

Posted by Greg | November 10, 2008 10:40 AM

Just have to add my voice here. I attended both protests yesterday and will be there next Saturday as well (see:

If, as so many of the responses indicate, the "traditional" definition of marriage is a religious one, then the government has no business defining it or supporting it. In many other countries, couples are united by the State (civil unions) to obtain recognition by the State and married by the church (if they desire that). In these countries, church marriages have no legal authority outside the church and, in my opinion, that's they way it should be in the United States as well.

Posted by Todd | November 10, 2008 10:56 AM

To amicable @77 --

What can I say to you? You have so much personal growth in your way before you can understand my point of view that I feel it's almost pointless to respond. But I will to a couple of things:

To your comment: "If you do not believe marriage is between one man and one woman, okay. You are making life choices."

No. No, I'm not making a life choice. Just as you didn't make a life choice to be straight, I'm not making a life choice to be gay. Why would anybody ever choose to be gay, anyhow? Answer that for me. We get a lifetime of abuse. The fact is that I am who I am. I could try to hide it and repress it. But that would be worse on everybody. Can you say Reverend Ted Haggard?

To your comment: "Now you are condeming a church because your agenda lost?"

This isn't about "my agenda" or some mythical "gay agenda." This isn't an "agenda" at all. For God's sake, this is my life. I know it's abstract and political for you, but these decisions have real impacts on people. This isn't about my agenda vs. your agenda. It's not politics. Your decision to vote against Prop 8 is a vote against my chance at having a normal life.

"I am a member of two ethnic racial minority groups and honey childs this is not even on the same plane of "discrimination"."

Hmm. This is one I'll never win. And it's not an argument I wish to have. Gay people overwhelmingly believe in civil rights for black people and other minority groups. And I wouldn't for a second want to diminish what such people have been through. Certainly, gay people haven't been enslaved. But then again, gay people have been oppressed and discriminated against. During the holocaust, thousands of gay people died in concentration camps. For centuries, being gay has been an offense punishable by imprisonment (e.g., Oscar Wilde) and even death. So, yes -- in many ways, gay people have suffered the level of oppression and discrimination that black people have. If you know your history, you'd realize that.

But like I said, that is an argument that is impossible to win. The fact is that throughout history there has always been a group of people who've acted as society's punching bag. At various times, Jewish people, black people, gay people, etc. have been in that role. And to varying extents a lot of groups are still in that role. Comparing discrimination and trying to trump each other isn't the way to make it stop. The only way to make it stop is for the victims to support each other. Unfortunately, this rarely happens. In fact, it seems like the oppressed will readily become the oppressor. Sad.

Posted by Mike | November 10, 2008 11:08 AM

Just out of curiousity . . . what is it that these protests are trying to accomplish? As an LDS member in the Seattle area, I'm not sure what I would be expected to do. If you want the church to have tax investigation, shouldn't you be protesting the IRS? And last I checked, I don't have any sway in California, so I can't help pass any California laws. As for getting LDS members to renounce their faith or anything like that, I'm predicting the protests won't make much of an impact on that end . . . so really, I'm honestly just interested to know what the expectation is for those protesting. . . I'm glad people are using their rights to protest and will happily smile at them on my way to church as long as they're not violent or invasive. . . I just don't see it changing a lot of minds that weren't there in the first place. Sorry, just my own thoughts.

Posted by Esther Perry | November 10, 2008 11:22 AM

"Amicable" emphasizes something we all need to take a look at:
1) the people voted. The democratic process did this.
2) the Founding Fathers thought democracy was a very bad idea
3) Prop.8 is an example of why
4) Anger about the Mormons, and religious Blacks, and all the money used to gen-up demogoguery takes our eyes off the ball
5) the ball is: democracy is a really bad idea. It produces no gas-taxes, no vehicle taxes, no taxes, and civil liberties for "us" not for "them."

Posted by nathan kirk | November 10, 2008 11:24 AM

To Esther Perry (@ 79, 80) --

One reason why people blame the Mormon church and its leadership is that they feel that the Prop 8 campaign was designed to stir up fear and ill will toward gay people. There were a lot of ads funded by Mormons that engaged in fear mongering. For instance, all those ads about teaching gay marriage in schools. That doesn't even make sense. We don't teach straight marriage in schools, so why would we teach gay marriage. But it makes uneducated people feel afraid and stirs up prejudices and homophobia.

I'm not sure I understand your comment here, by the way: "but the church would not be able to recognize the gay marriages performed elsewhere and that would become a double standard in supporting the laws of the land." I really don't understand what you're trying to say here.

"I would like to add too, that this proposition was passed once before by the voice of the people (you know that democracy thing) and the court overturned it . . ."

At the risk of comparing homophobia to racism (and opening up that can of worms again), it might be worth noting that Jim Crow laws were also passed in a democracy and they were overturned by courts. Segregation in schools was widely supported by the public in southern states and it took courts to reverse it (Brown v. Board of Ed). Was that just an activist court?

Sometimes courts need to uphold the constitution against the tyranny of the majority. That's part of the reason that America's fathers created the court as the third branch of the government.

Posted by Mike | November 10, 2008 11:26 AM

To Todd @ 83 --

I agree with you on this. There is no reason that the state should be in the business of sanctioning or not sanctioning marriage. Perhaps it would be best if marriage was reserved for a religious context. Then a gay couple could get a civil union under the state and go to a church that supported gay marriage and get married. And a straight couple could do the same. Perhaps that would be a good answer to all of this fighting. And then straight people and gay people would have the same rights: a civil union under the government and a marriage under a religious authority.

Posted by Mike | November 10, 2008 11:40 AM

The only problem with what I just wrote, however, is that it ignores the fact that marriage is not only a government status and a religious status, but a social status as well. So, what happens if you want to get married (whether you're straight or gay) and you're not religious. You still want that social status of being married -- even if religion doesn't matter to you. So, perhaps this wouldn't work in reality. I'm just not sure.

Posted by Mike | November 10, 2008 11:45 AM

To Esther Perry @83

Church members are only one of the intended audiences. Protesting at the site of a church also puts the protest in a context where passers by can see it and immediately grasp its meaning. It also encourages supporters - not to abandon their faith but to speak out against injustice within it.

To Mike @88, 89

The social context will change over time. People are remarkably adaptable when they want to be.

Posted by Todd | November 10, 2008 11:53 AM

I hope that the voters of California get to decide to ban the Mormon church from the state in the next election. Really, if its okay for a the civil rights of a minority to be put up for a vote, then why not put it all up there?

I am sure that those who argue that gays should not have the same rights as others, based on something innate, then a choice such as being a Mormon is far less defensible, isn't it? Is it even really a religion when so much of its sacred text can be easily proven as totally bunk? Last I checked, religious affiliation was protected under the constitution, but perhaps we can have a ballot measure that the majority decides - its only fair, right?

Then, we'll see how you feel, you mormon apologist dickheads! Then I can sit and write dispassionately about how the voters have decided and that you should get over it.

Posted by rsg_1969 | November 10, 2008 12:06 PM

I hope that the voters of California get to decide to ban the Mormon church from the state in the next election. Really, if its okay for a the civil rights of a minority to be put up for a vote, then why not put it all up there?

I am sure that those who argue that gays should not have the same rights as others, based on something innate, then a choice such as being a Mormon is far less defensible, isn't it? Is it even really a religion when so much of its sacred text can be easily proven as totally bunk? Last I checked, religious affiliation was protected under the constitution, but perhaps we can have a ballot measure that the majority decides - its only fair, right?

Then, we'll see how you feel, you mormon apologist dickheads! Then I can sit and write dispassionately about how the voters have decided and that you should get over it.

Posted by rsg_1969 | November 10, 2008 12:07 PM

What happened in California is sad, but shouldn't all this local energy be put into legalizing gay marriage and adoption in Washington State?

Posted by elswinger | November 10, 2008 12:10 PM

To elswinger @93

Like our new President, most of can do more than one thing at a time. Too many of us are too quick to criticize and not quick enough to do anything else. I'm not saying you fit in that category by the way. I'm just commenting on some of the responses I've read here and elsewhere.

Posted by Todd | November 10, 2008 12:17 PM

To rag_1969 @92 --

I agree. I'm tired of Prop 8 supporters acting like this is just politics. For them, this whole argument is abstract. It's far too easy to be dispassionate when it's somebody else's life on the line.

Posted by Mike | November 10, 2008 12:45 PM

I'd also like to see new life pumped into the Washington marriage equality movement. In fact, I'm going to look into volunteering to help make this happen later today. I'm also interested in any effort to organize targeted boycotts of the State of Utah and of specific California locations/businesses where support for Prop 8 was highest. If anyone knows of such an effort, please post it here. I'll do the same.

Posted by Todd | November 10, 2008 12:56 PM

To Todd #90

I appreciate that the intended audience was not only church goers, but honestly, picking the church up by Ravenna is a poor choice to get the message out. It's quite residential and on an early Sunday morning, I would imagine there were only a dozen or so people that went by (other than members going to church) who saw what was going on.

Posted by Esther Perry | November 10, 2008 1:24 PM

To Esther Perry @97

Honestly Esther, after reading your previous posts I'm convinced there's nothing we could have done, and no location we could have chosen that would have earned your approval. As you may have noticed, the message got out anyway.

Posted by Todd | November 10, 2008 1:33 PM

To amicable @77. Boycotts can be quite a karmic thing. Take for example the following recent news:
From John Aravosis at Americablog--
"...there's a BIG musical theater in Sacramento, California called the California Music theater. It's been around for decades and, you might be shocked by this, but apparently there are gays who work in musical theater. Well, anyway, word got around in the past few days that the Artistic Director of the theater, one Scott Eckern, a nice Mormon boy, donated $1,000 to the hateful bigoted Yes on 8 campaign that repealed marriage for gay couples in California. And I checked the database of every donor (it's quite fun, check it out and look up your neighbors), and what do you know - Scottie did give a $1,000 to the hatemongers....And what do you know. It seems our friend Scott has, um, angered the gays, to put it lightly. Marc Shaiman, composer of HAIRSPRAY, called Scott's theater, I'm told, and said he is pulling the rights from any of his shows, and is talking to other colleagues about doing the same. And a well known musical actress is now urging her friends to boycott working at the theater. Gosh, sounds like it's going to be hard for that theater to survive with Scott working there."
Americablog URL:

Proposition 8 Contributions database:
Cool database. Check to see if any bigots live near you or whether you might be unknowingly supporting them.

Posted by Mark in Colorado | November 10, 2008 1:58 PM

I discovered my accountant of many years standing on this database about a week ago. Guess who isn't getting any more of my business? Plus, I was referred to him by lesbians who have been with him even longer than I have. I've passed my little discovery on to them. Boycotts do work. We just have to pay attention where we're spending our money.

Posted by Todd | November 10, 2008 2:04 PM

Todd, you are absolutely right. However I would like to see a gay right's initiative on the ballot because most of us would like to believe that we are more progressive than the rest of the country (though fear we are not).

Posted by elswinger | November 10, 2008 3:55 PM

This is exhausting. The amount of hateful comments left here is mind boggling. Furthermore, the stereo typing / targeting of one religious organization for a point of view further demonstrates a double standard that stinks. You show up at a church with signs throwing incendiary accusations of bigotry and then you spew out the same bigotry coupled with your accusations. What kind of people are you! I'm completely floored. One person calls for boycotts of Mormons. What the hell! You're exhibiting the very behavior you so sanctimoniously disparage with your sign waving. All I can say is lets try some bridge building and a little common ground. There's hate occurring on both sides here. Slow down folks. Breathe a little and try and remember we're all people trying to get along in this world. Furthermore, I still think this is pretty misdirected. You punish Mormons in Seattle for what happened in California? What?! I'm sorry but I think logic has been thrown out the window.

Posted by James Kimball | November 10, 2008 5:18 PM

To James Kimball @102

Members of the LDS (Mormon) Church raised as much as 77% of the funds used to support Propostion 8*. LDS Churches in Washington joined in the coordinated attack against gay and lesbian Americans and we have chosen to expose this. You seem shocked that we would react to this attack on our families and our civil rights. The LDS church blew up the bridge and now you're asking us to rebuild it? Be the peacemaker you seek James. If you're a member of the LDS church, work from within it to undo the damage your church has done. Pray for a new revelation that allows you to support our families. Show us that our families matter too and then we can talk about trusting you. Until then I'm not buying your outrage or your kindness (both of which are suspect). *(see

Posted by Todd | November 10, 2008 8:10 PM

Mike @65:
Don't know if you are still reading or not (I probably won't anymore) and I appreciate your response. Yes, I attend a LDS church and feel my life is better for doing so. However, I strongly disagree with the Church getting politically involved and I am sorry you are hurt and scared. I voiced my opinion through petitions to Church leaders, letters, and dialogue. You might not believe me but...whatever. Please don't assume that I and others are all talk and "go to church every week and stay silent." Accusations and misunderstandings are adding fuel to this volatile fire. I would have voted no on Prop 8 and would do the same if faced with a similar situation in WA.

Posted by Art | November 10, 2008 8:59 PM


Thank you. If you really do advocate through petitions, letters, and dialogue to Church leaders, that's great. And I'm sorry that I assumed otherwise.

Posted by Mike | November 10, 2008 9:11 PM

to Todd @ 103

Sigh. I have many gay friends and actually worked in a situation where I was the minority while living in New York City (I was one of the only "straight fellows"). I felt like we all got along very well and respected one another. I'm conflicted deeply on this issue and am most definitely in favor of civil unions. I'm examining more closely the issues surrounding marriage and trying to reconcile both my religious persuasion to my political persuasions. You might say I'm on the fence. But I feel like I'm getting yanked in both directions now. Not a lovely feeling. And by no means have I felt any invitation of mutual understanding from comments left on blogs recently examining the topic. I guess I'm mostly frustrated and a little saddened by signs that read things such as "Bigots" and "H8ers". That seems pretty personal to me, but I guess that is simply first amendment rights and some very frustrated, angry feelings spilling out. And I'm sure many gay and lesbian people have experienced hateful gestures and name calling in their lives. I guess I'm just being a whimp. So, conflicted would sum up everything about how I feel. I guess maybe the lets be friends things might not work for awhile.

Posted by James Kimball | November 11, 2008 8:37 AM

To James Kimball (#106):

You say that you feel pulled in two directions: in one way toward your political persuasions and in another toward your religious persuasions.

But I see it a slightly different way. It is not your politics vs. your religion, but rather your personal beliefs vs. your religion (I assume that you don't merely believe in gay rights because your political party tells you to do so). And I think this distinction is important.

To understand why, I invite you to see it from my perspective. I have no religion. I'm not an atheist either, though, because the fact is that I just have no proof about the presence of a god or gods or the lack thereof. The fact that I have no religion is important because my decisions are based entirely on what I personally feel is right and moral.

The problem with religion is that it leads us to take positions that we otherwise wouldn't. People change otherwise well-thought-out perspectives merely because their religion says so. Or people never go to the trouble of thinking out their own perspectives in the first place because their religion provides a ready-made perspective for them.

Consider for just a moment, however, that your religion might be wrong. I know, I know -- you're going to say that you know it's not. But just consider for a second that either some totally separate religions (e.g., shintoism) is the "right" religion or that there is no "right" religion or that no religion on earth exists that accurately reflects the reality of god(s).

You might think I'm nuts, but let's face it, there are about 4,000 religions in the world and they all claim to teach "the truth" and only one (or none) can be right. Maybe, just maybe, Mormonism isn't the one.

If that turns out to be the case, then what? Especially if you've abandoned your better judgment for the perspective of your religion.

So, I would recommend that you look into your heart and do what you think is right and fair. Just my opinion, and it's probably worth what you're paying for it.

Posted by Mike | November 11, 2008 1:48 PM

So what, yes the Mormon church was responsible for most of the funding, Yes they were responsible for making aware of what was going to happen.

But the PEOPLE were the ones who voted.

The amount the mormon church funded, yes obviously had an impact on making the voters aware of this topic, but the Mormon church did not press the button for everyone!!!! The PEOPLE were the ones who made the final decision, and you just have to accept that!

THE PEOPLE, do not want gay marriage, thats that, they have said what they want, and you have to live with it.
There is no hate involved here, Every body is welcome to the same health treatment etc etc.
Marriage has always been between a man and a woman, Even science can prove that it is pretty much intended to be that way!!

Posted by Jeff | November 11, 2008 4:02 PM

To James Kimball @106

James, I'm afraid you're right. Speaking for myself alone, I can't accept as a friend someone who financially supports an organization that is determined to deny any of us equality under the law. You seem to be a nice, thoughtful guy and I'll take you at your word that you are deeply torn between your personal desire for equality and the teachings of your faith. Like Mike @107, I would simply ask you to consider the possibility that you're wrong. I know that I never chose my sexual orientation. You and others may choose to believe that I did but you can never know absolutely that you are right about that and although it may seem trite at this late date I urge you to consider as evidence of the truth of my assertion that you didn't choose your sexual orientation either. If we can agree on that then we can possibly take the next step: if our sexual orientation is not a choice, then how is it just to penalize any of us for the natural expression of our love? You say that you support civil unions. Do you support civil unions for gay and lesbian couples only OR do you support civil unions for everyone? If you believe that the government should not be in the business of sanctioning religious rites then we can agree on that as well. I personally believe that the government should only sanction civil unions (without regard to the gender of the partners) and that marriage should remain a religious rite with whatever spiritual significance the partners and their faith community assign to it, but with no legal standing. In closing James, I want to say that I appreciate your thoughtful response. It seems that you are struggling with this and while it may be painful, I'm encouraged to see that you're willing to endure the struggle and that you're willing to seek a principled way through it.

Posted by Todd | November 11, 2008 5:02 PM

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