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Monday, November 10, 2008

Seattle’s Anti-Prop 8 March This Saturday

posted by on November 10 at 15:06 PM

Is being organized by a Mormon.

Kyler Powell, 21, was raised as a non-denominational Christian in Boise, Idaho. But at the age of 16, after his parents divorced, he voluntarily converted to Mormonism and got baptized. “The Mormon Church’s stance on abstinence, dating, and the clothes you wear resonate with my personal morals,” says Powell.


But as a gay man, having lived in Seattle for three years, he’s protesting the actions of his own moral institution. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints led the charge to pass California’s Proposition 8, which stripped nearly 20,000 same-sex couples of their marriage recognition last week. “I was kind of outraged with Prop 8, which inspired me to start a protest,” Powell says.

A rally will begin in Volunteer Park at noon on Saturday as part of a national day of action. Dave mentioned it here. (The national protest site,, has been overwhelmed with traffic, Powell says, so another sister web site was launched to handle the overflow.) Marchers in Seattle will leave Volunteer Park at about 1 p.m. and hoof it down to Westlake Park for another rally. Powell is trying to recruit local elected officials, including state Rep. Jamie Pedersen and Congressman Jim McDermott, to speak at the event. (We’re told that another event, previously scheduled at city hall, has been combined with this march and rally.)

Mormons turning on the LDS church for supporting Prop 8 isn’t just a local phenomenon. makes the case for gays getting married, these Mormons say that Prop 8 is contrary to scripture,” and this high priest risks excommunication for opposing Prop 8.

But the church’s local leadership is in denial about its role in passing the measure—even after yesterday’s protest outside a Mormon chapel in the University District.

“The Catholic Church was also involved in it, so I don’t know how they can single out the LDS church,” says Thomas Olson, president of the Mormon’s Seattle North Stake.

However, national church leaders sent this memo to members of the church this summer, stating, “We ask that you do all you can to support the proposed constitutional amendment by donating of your means and time to assure that marriage in California is legally defined as being between a man and a woman.” Members of the church contributed an estimated $22 million to the campaign, making up two-thirds of the money for the pro-Prop-8 campaign. Seattle-area donors contributed huge sums.

“I’m not sure what [the protest] accomplishes, based on they are targeting our places of worship based on a vote taken in the State of California,” says Olson. “We certainly don’t condone bigotry or targeting gays or lesbians,” he says. “I guess people would say … that we have done that, but that is not out intent.”

When repeatedly pressed for an example of the harm that same-sex marriages would cause Mormons, Olson couldn’t name one. Instead, he cited the church’s own morality. “It gets back to this basic view about God’s intent for his children,” he says. “I don’t know I can give you any more clarity without sitting down and talking to you about this.” (I declined)

Powell’s commitment to the LDS, meanwhile, is waning. “After putting in so much time and effort [to the church], it is hard to accept them because they are saying that—for what I have been born with—they would excommunicate me, ” He says the church doesn’t know he’s gay (well, they might know now), so he hasn’t been excommunicated.

“I honestly am ready to write my resignation letter to the church,” Powell says.

RSS icon Comments


So he isn't a Mormon?

Posted by mmkay` | November 10, 2008 3:09 PM


Mormons are pretty black/white about their theology. The church will tell you every time that if you don't believe homosexuality is a sin, you don't believe scripture and therefore are -=NOT=- a Mormon. PERIOD.

"If you're not with us, you're against us."


Posted by stealingzen | November 10, 2008 3:13 PM

You're saying noon at Volunteer Park. Schmader and the website say 10:30 at City Council. The overflow site says both, but not in conjunction with each other. This could get confusing.

Posted by Garth | November 10, 2008 3:14 PM

You can walk, it's not very far, Garth.

Posted by Will in Seattle | November 10, 2008 3:18 PM

What Powell has said is the plan from the two organizing groups working together -not confusing at all - one event, one starting point, one ending point.

Be there, Sat. Good signs are important. Dress warm, suit and tie not required. Nice to see 5,000/10,000 people.

I think info sites will soon be updated. Permits are processing from the city, will be approved on Wed.


Posted by Eric | November 10, 2008 3:24 PM

I'm so excited for this that I can't sit still!

Posted by Lee | November 10, 2008 3:33 PM

I'm so excited for this that I can't sit still!

Posted by Lee | November 10, 2008 3:34 PM

I'm so excited for this that I can't sit still!

Posted by Lee | November 10, 2008 3:36 PM

I wrote my resignation from the LDS church last week and I am filing a 503C tax exemption complaint. Fuck them and their hater politics. They need to focus on keeping LDS marriages intact and stop worrying about gays and lesbians getting married.

Posted by Suz | November 10, 2008 3:37 PM

There is a great deal of misinformation out there leading many to conclude that Mormons have some sort of vendetta against gays.

Fortunately, this is not the case. Even church leaders have officially stated that they have no opposition for domestic partnerships which will afford gays the rights they deserve.

I respect the right of gay marriage supporters to peacefully protest, but they should do so with an accurate understanding of the LDS church's position on gay rights.

Posted by will | November 10, 2008 3:40 PM

yes the times are confusing! the websites say start at 10:30 on the west coast, 1:30 east coast.

Posted by onion | November 10, 2008 3:44 PM

"for what I have been born with"

Does anyone find that phrasing a bit odd in context? Whenever I hear someone talk about something they're "born with", it's always something bad, like a heart defect or partial deafness.

Posted by Hernandez | November 10, 2008 3:48 PM

no do overs Kyler....sorry.

Posted by michael strangeways | November 10, 2008 3:49 PM

I think I've got to agree with the Mormons a little bit. They were the main movers behind getting Prop H8 (& 102) passed BUT they are not the only religious institution who backed this. All religious wing-nuts that engage in legislating theology deserve to be boycotted, picketed, and stripped of their tax-exempt status. What about them? Where is the outrage about them? Has anyone started a Baptists-Stole-Our-Rights website for the Arkansas amendment? Has anyone gone after the Catholics (and the Knights of Columbus)?


All the outrage seems to be focused on the Mormons, who're relative lightweights compared to Anglicans and Catholics, "main stream" Christo-fascists.

Posted by yucca flower | November 10, 2008 3:52 PM

I am also confused. I want to participate but there needs to be a coherent plan. Where do we start? When? What route do we march? When? Before or after what?

I hear the 10:30 thing because of time zones but why is marching exactly at the same time so important? Why do East Coast queers get to sleep in and do brunch then march at 1:30 and not us?

Posted by inkweary | November 10, 2008 3:56 PM

I've only been in a Mormon church a few times in the past dozen or so years since I admitted to blowjobs and smoking weed, but I definitely remember them being very careful to maintain a safe distance from politics. It was always a "decide for yourself based on what you believe" type thing. For the First Presidency to put out an official position on a bill targeting people who couldn't even be members of their church is amazing.

Posted by Postum | November 10, 2008 3:57 PM

It seems like a million years ago but I recall that the LDS church fought hard against the ERA (Equal Rights Amendment) back in the late 70s.

Posted by Suz | November 10, 2008 4:02 PM

Kyler is one brave young man. Bravo to you!

Posted by liz | November 10, 2008 4:03 PM

My eyes and ears love you too, Kyler!

Posted by Vince | November 10, 2008 4:08 PM

Wow all this zeal and energy AFTER THE FACT of Prop 8. I just hope you all come to the phone banks, door belling efforts, letter writing efforts and all the other Must do things when we face the Radical Religious Extremists push to deny civil equality to the GLBT Citizens of Washington. Consider this your practice and warm up moves for the serious work coming down the pipe line.

Posted by Sargon Bighorn | November 10, 2008 4:13 PM

I keep hearing from LDS, "Why us? Lots of people supported Prop. 8."

I don't think many would dispute this. Something can have multiple causes. I'm not forgiving Catholic organizations like Knights of Columbus, or bigoted whites, blacks, hispanics, or anyone else who supported Prop. 8. We simply need to pick our battles, and focus on who did the most harm. We can address the various bigots, but I want to start first by addressing the biggest bigots. That's you, Mormons.

When Olson says LDS doesn't condone bigotry, he's equivocating on "bigotry" to mean something other than discrimination for sexual-orientation. No get out of jail card on that one, bigot.

"It gets back to God's intent for his children." Stop hiding behind your religion. We see what you did there.

I have to confess, protesting next to someone who shares the "Mormon Church’s stance on abstinence, dating, and the clothes you wear" doesn't sit well with me. However again--biggest targets. Powell is talking about doing exactly what I require from Mormons to redeem themselves--divorcing themselves from the bigoted Church. No more funding, no more supporting the name (assuming he carries through with his words). He and I obviously have a lot of difference, but I can overlook that for the moment, I think.

Posted by lusk | November 10, 2008 4:15 PM

California voted. Not the Mormon church. Blame it on democracy if you want, but protesting against another belief system that is opposed to yours is hypocritical.

Posted by Logan | November 10, 2008 4:15 PM

I hate sequestering ourselves off in the park and then westlake park... let take this downtown, where all can see...

Posted by Womyn2me | November 10, 2008 4:15 PM

It's Westlake Center which is downtown

Posted by Lee | November 10, 2008 4:22 PM

@22: Cool, I'm gonna spend my fake $billions$ to pay for misleading TV commercials and flyers and church organization to pass a constitutional amendment to get Logan sent to Guantanamo Bay. Blame democracy amirite?

Posted by jrrrl | November 10, 2008 4:28 PM

Yay! I'll be there.

And noon is a much more civilized hour than 8:00am. I should even be fully awake by then.

Posted by Reverse Polarity | November 10, 2008 4:29 PM

Nice choice for an LDS poster child.

The Mormon Church’s stance on abstinence, dating, and the clothes you wear resonate with my personal morals,” says Powell.

BWAAAHAHAHAHA! Yeah right. Wolves who wear fleece are still wolves.

Posted by chaosbound | November 10, 2008 4:29 PM

Why are gay Mormons always so damn cute?

Posted by Gitai | November 10, 2008 4:43 PM


We'd rather not moderate your comments, but off-topic, gratuitously inflammatory, threatening, or otherwise inappropriate remarks may be removed, and repeat offenders may be banned from commenting. We never censor comments based on ideology. Thanks to all who add to the conversation on Slog.

Posted by Comment Deleted | November 10, 2008 4:43 PM

Has Jamie Pedersen done ANYTHING for the 43rd the past two years?

Posted by DOUG. | November 10, 2008 4:53 PM


“The Mormon Church’s stance on abstinence, dating, and the clothes you wear resonate with my personal morals,” says Powell.

Posted by reddick | November 10, 2008 5:02 PM

Well...Kyler didn't say anything about the his stance on the clothes you *don't* wear. :P

Posted by lusk | November 10, 2008 5:09 PM

@10, if the Mormons have so little problem with gay rights/civil unions, why did they invest so much money in a law designed to deny gay people the civil union rights? Because of the word marriage?

If that is the case, then the LDS are completely, totally, and horribly stupid. Since they're rich as all get out, I'm going to assume it has a lot more to do with them wanting to deny gay people equal rights.

Posted by dwight moody | November 10, 2008 5:11 PM

Rally Times in Seattle:

Festivities start at 10:30am


A March to Westlake will commence directly after rally, approx 1pm.

Posted by Scooter Lowrimore | November 10, 2008 5:11 PM

mormon views on clothing resonate with him? Last i checked mormons weren't too keen on wanting to have your photo taken nude and put up for the public. He's been photographed (and very well i might add) by the same photographer who has pictures of myself as well.

I mean to each his own....but call it like it is.

Posted by Hunter | November 10, 2008 5:14 PM

My feet work quite well, Will. Two separate protests don't work quite as well as one big one, though.

Posted by Garth | November 10, 2008 5:26 PM

@ 36) Organizers canceled the event at city hall to combine their efforts with this event. Hurrah!

Posted by Dominic Holden | November 10, 2008 5:30 PM

Dom, sitting down with him for 20 minutes, you could have written down everything he said to strengthen your position. Gotta be Sun Tzu in these battles, man.

Posted by P to the J | November 10, 2008 5:54 PM

While I consider the protests outside of the LDS centers completely appropriate (as is an investigation on their tax-exempt status), at this point I think it's more important to move forward.

I'll be marching on Saturday FOR marriage equality, not against the LDS or

Granted, if anyone wants to start organizing sit ins on the lawn of every married couple in Arkansas that voted to strip adoption/foster rights from perfectly good families...I'm all about it. We'll agree to leave when every one of the thousands of children in the AK foster system (and the nearly 3000 in Utah's) is adopted by those loving, loving married couples.

Posted by Karla | November 10, 2008 6:14 PM

Jamie Pederson was listed in Advocate Magazine a couple of months ago as a potential contender for 1st openly gay President of the United States in 20 years or so.

Go Girl!

Posted by HL | November 10, 2008 6:16 PM

Unofficial Slogan: "Oh, MARRY!" (look it up, young-uns)

Posted by Andy Niable, Ancient Queer | November 10, 2008 6:37 PM

@31 @35
Isn't it possible that his views changed exactly because of that?

Your personal morals are built as much or more on the mistakes you make as on your correct choices. Most people have done things they are not proud of (unfortunately especially young gay men), lord knows I've made plenty of mistakes. That's how you grow.

I don't know the situation, but do either of you really know all of it either? So why judge, why exclude the possibility of someone's morals evolving?

Posted by Alex | November 10, 2008 6:38 PM

Request for a story, blog entry, something...

How many times have civil rights for other minority groups actually been put to a popular vote? WHY are the civil rights for this minority group being put to a popular vote???? If the constitution says that all are created equal, and our interpretation of that is to give all individuals equal protection under the law, WHY is this even a QUESTION?

And how can I translate that whole idea into a succinct and clear protest sign?

Posted by L | November 10, 2008 6:42 PM

I viewed the pics before the link and profile came down and wow are they amazing. Very well done, very simple and classy and he has nothing to be ashamed of. I don't think they discredit anything that was said in this post about him. Now let's move on.

Posted by liz | November 10, 2008 6:44 PM

"Before 1967, my interracial marriage would have been outlawed. For how much longer will same-sex marriages be outlawed?"

Posted by L | November 10, 2008 6:47 PM

Yes the Mormon Church excommunicated several feminists.

Posted by James | November 10, 2008 8:09 PM

@44, does he have an enormous whozeewhatsit?

Posted by Jubilation T. Cornball | November 10, 2008 8:18 PM
Posted by Andy Niable | November 10, 2008 8:32 PM
Posted by Andy Niable | November 10, 2008 8:44 PM

With five or six Mormon boys like him, God could make me a very happy Elder. :)

Posted by NapoleonXIV | November 10, 2008 9:47 PM

I'm glad they got rid of the city hall protest. It seemed silly to have a thing on Saturday when the mayor and council wouldn't even be there, and Westlake Center seems much more visible for political activities than Pioneer Square.

Posted by Nellie | November 10, 2008 11:46 PM

Westlake Center Park is a free speech zone by design ... well known ... tons of resources like food, bathrooms, etc near ... and ... people. There are masses of traffic and people in that area on Sat. Mucho bus service as well.

Love taking Volunteer park again for Queer stuff.

Very good plan all in all. Saw a sign I like from NY -"this is not a parade" - talk it up to friends and family.

Posted by Jackie | November 11, 2008 3:20 AM

More posters for this weekend:

'Separate Church and State' means 'Separate your Religious Values from my Civil Rights'

All families are afforded equal protection under the US Constitution.

1967 - Protection for Interracial Couples
2008? - Protection for Same-Sex Couples

Posted by L | November 11, 2008 7:27 AM

It seems like everyone who writes for the Stranger is gay, or Jewish, or a gay Jew.

Posted by huh | November 11, 2008 10:00 AM

It seems like everyone who writes for the Stranger is gay, or Jewish, or a gay Jew.

Posted by huh | November 11, 2008 10:06 AM

Anybody who thinks the LDS Church isn't against gay rights has a serious issue. The LDS Church actively teaches that parents with gay kids should not allow their gay children's partners into their homes (see their own press releases). Documents recently released show that they even oppose the right of gay couples to visit one another in the hospital, or inherit property.

So, when they say they're not anti-gay, they're lying. And, in LDS mythology, it's okay to lie, as long as you lie for the Lord.

Posted by Klint Kendrick | November 11, 2008 11:14 AM

It's abhorent to me, a gay man raised in the LDS church, that the church has done this. My problem with the church on this issue is less that they spported it, and more that they supported it in opposition of their own doctrine.

The Doctrine & Covenants - one of the mains books of scripture for the church - states "We believe that religion is instituted of God; and that men are amenable to him, and to him only, for the exercise of it, unless their religious opinions prompt them to infringe upon the rights and liberties of others…" (D&C 134:4)

Their very own Book of Mormon states "it is strictly contrary to the commandments of God that there should be a law which should bring men on to unequal grounds." (Alma 30:7)

THAT is why I have a problem with the LDS Church on this issue. I expect biggotry, sexism, racism, and worse from the Catholic church, but Mormons - who at one point in history were tarred and feathered for their own differences - should know and act better.

Posted by Dave | November 11, 2008 11:16 AM

I've long believed that the Stranger is home to many armchair activists and reading this blog, I see my beliefs reinforced. When was the last time you saw a 20-something gay man organize a political action? Quit acting like lazy consumers, criticizing the way others are fighting for your rights, and ask how you can help. If you're one of the middle class white gay folks who don't want to rock the boat or who think change comes from writing a check to a non-profit or a politician, stay here on the Slog. If you think we are the change we've been waiting for, let's work together.

Posted by Lonnie | November 11, 2008 11:42 AM

Gay, Straight, Black, White: Marriage is a Civil Rights. Keep it in the realm of politics. We're not going to convince rabid religious zealots to change their beliefs, but we can restrict their ability to force their beliefs on the rest of us. Did you know that in 1961 when Obama was born, his parents marriage would have been illegal in 16 US states? This is a civil rights issue and we should argue it as such.

Gay rights pioneer Frank Kameny: “We cannot ask for our rights from a position of inferiority, or from a position, shall I say, as less than WHOLE human beings… I do not see the NAACP and CORE worrying about which chromosome and gene produced a black skin, or about the possibility of bleaching the Negro. I do not see any great interest on the part of the B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation League in the possibility of solving problems of anti-semitism by converting Jews to Christians. . . We are interested in obtaining rights for our respective minorities AS Negroes, AS Jews, and AS HOMOSEXUALS. Why we are Negroes, Jews, or Homosexuals is totally irrelevant, and whether we can be changed to Whites, Christians, or heterosexuals is equally irrelevant.”

Posted by Lonnie | November 11, 2008 11:48 AM

I will be there. It's not fair Love is Love regardless

Posted by True | November 11, 2008 3:20 PM

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