Posted tagged ‘Mormon’

Hollywood Stars Join the Fight Against Gay Marriage Ban

November 9, 2008

As seen in the streets of San Francisco and San Jose last night, thousands of protesters are angry about California’s ban on gay marriage. Now, even Hollywood stars are getting more involved.

From the Associated Press:

Many celebrities grieved the passing of Proposition 8 in California this week. Some — such as Wanda Sykes, Rose McGowan and Lance Bass — attended a Wednesday protest criticizing the state’s gay marriage ban. Others — like Ellen DeGeneres, Rosie O’Donnell, Samantha Ronson and Melissa Etheridge — vented their frustrations online, on TV, and onstage.

Blocks away from the Thursday rally of more than 2,000 gay-rights advocates outside the gates of a Mormon temple, several stars — including James Cromwell, Patricia Clarkson, Anjelica Huston and Sean Penn — said they supported the protesters while walking the red carpet at the BAFTA L.A. Brittania Awards at Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel.

“I think it might be an idea to go out and join them shortly,” Penn said. “It was a shameful decision that was made.”

Etheridge, who exchanged vows with her longtime partner in a 2003 ceremony, declared she wouldn’t pay her taxes in a blog entry posted Thursday on TheDailyBeast.com. The gay Oscar- and Grammy-winning singer-songwriter said without the right to marry in California, she didn’t think she should have to pay taxes because “I am not a full citizen.”

“I don’t mean to get too personal here,” Etheridge wrote. “But there is a lot I can do with the extra half a million dollars that I will be keeping instead of handing it over to the state of California. Oh, and I am sure Ellen will be a little excited to keep her bazillion bucks that she pays in taxes, too.”

DeGeneres posted a brief message of support for President-elect Barack Obama and the gay-rights advocates protesting against Proposition 8 on her show’s Web site Friday. The talk show host, who married actress Portia de Rossi in August, previously donated $100,000 against the ballot initiative and starred in a commercial lamenting the measure.

“So there was a demonstration here on Wednesday night,” DeGeneres wrote, “and just before I walked out here, I was watching the news and there is a huge, huge, peaceful demonstration going on in the streets, and I say, good for you, and I support you, and if I weren’t here, I’d be out there with you.”

Activists Blame Mormon Church for the Passing of Proposition 8

November 7, 2008

Gay-rights advocates are criticizing the role of the Mormon church’s role in a new California statewide ban on same-sex marriage.

From the Los Angeles Times:

Outside the gates of a Mormon temple, Kai Cross joined more than 2,000 gay-rights advocates in a chorus of criticism of the church’s role in a new statewide ban on same-sex marriage.

Once a devout Mormon who graduated from Brigham Young University, the 41-year-old Cross was disowned by his family and his church after he was outed as a gay man in 2001.

“They are on the losing side of history,” Cross said Thursday of the church’s opposition to gay marriage. Cross and other protesters blame leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for encouraging Mormons to funnel millions of dollars into television ads and mailings in favor of Proposition 8.

The ballot measure passed Tuesday, which was sponsored by a coalition of religious and social conservative groups, amends the California Constitution to define marriage as a heterosexual act. It overides a state Supreme Court ruling that briefly gave same-sex couples the right to wed.

The protest came amid questions about whether attempts to overturn the prohibition can succeed and whether the 18,000 same-sex marriages performed in California over the past four months are in any danger.

For Cody Krebs, 27, four months was not enough time to fulfill his “intense hope” to marry one day; he and his boyfriend have been together for little more than a year, so they aren’t ready to wed.

On Thursday, Krebs dodged eggs hurled at protesters from an apartment building. He said he’d seen worse growing up in Salt Lake City.

“It’s important to come out like this because it gets the gay community into the public eye,” Krebs said. “I feel like this has started a lot of conversations that had to get started.”

The demonstration began outside the temple in the Westwood section of Los Angeles and noisily spilled through the western side of the city, with chants of “Separate church and state” and “What do we want? Equal rights.” Some protesters waved signs saying “No on H8″ or “I didn’t vote against your marriage,” and many equated the issue with the civil rights struggle.

Why Proposition 8 Passed in California…

November 7, 2008

There are a lot of people who continue to fight the outcome of the vote on this issue on Tuesday night in California. The question on half the state’s mind is this: Why did voters pass this proposition in quite possibly the most liberal state in the nation? John Cloud of TIME Magazine has written an interesting piece which discusses what happened over the final few weeks of the campaign to cause a shift in the vote.

From TIME:

Nov. 4 may have been a joyous day for liberals, but it wasn’t a great day for lesbians and gays. Three big states – Arizona, California and Florida – voted to change their constitutions to define marriage as a heterosexuals-only institution. The losses cut deep on the gay side. Arizona had rejected just such a constitutional amendment only two years ago. It had been the first and only state to have rebuffed a constitutional ban on marriage equality. In Florida, where the law requires constitutional amendments to win by 60%, a marriage amendment passed with disturbing ease, 62.1% to 37.9%.

And then there was California. Gay strategists working for marriage equality in this election cycle had focused most of their attention on that state. Losing there dims hopes that shimmered brightly just a few weeks ago – hopes that in an Obama America, straight people would be willing to let gay people have the basic right to equality in their personal relationships. It appears not.

The California vote was close but not razor-thin: as of 10 a.m. P.T., with 96.4% of precincts reporting, gays had lost 52.2% to 47.8%. Obama did not suffer the much-discussed “Bradley effect” this year, but it appears that gay people were afflicted by some version of it. As of late October, a Field Poll found that the pro-gay side was winning 49% to 44%, with 7% undecided. But gays could not quite make it to 49% on Election Day, meaning a few people may have been unwilling to tell pollsters that they intended to vote against equal marriage rights.

Gays are used to losing these constitutional amendment battles – as I said, Arizona was the only exception – but gay activists cannot claim they didn’t have the money to wage the California fight. According to an analysis of the most recent reports from the California secretary of state, the pro-equality side raised an astonishing $43.6 million, compared with just $29.8 million for those who succeeded in keeping gays from marrying. The money the gay side raised is surprising for two reasons: first, the cash-Hoover known as the Obama campaign was sucking down millions of dollars a day from the nation’s liberals. Many gays expected it to be difficult to raise money to fight Proposition 8 and its plan to outlaw same-sex marriage from Democrats eager to give to Obama and to the outside 527 groups supporting him. As recently as August, one of the nation’s top gay political givers told me that he expected the gay side to raise no more than $25 million.

A symbolic low point for the gay side came on Oct. 13, when the Sacramento Bee ran a remarkable story about Rick and Pam Patterson, a Mormon couple of modest means – he drives a 10-year-old Honda Civic, she raises their five boys – who had withdrawn $50,000 from their savings account and given it to the pro-8 campaign. “It was a decision we made very prayerfully,” Pam Patterson, 48, told the Bee’s Jennifer Garza. “Was it an easy decision? No. But it was a clear decision, one that had so much potential to benefit our children and their children.”

You could argue that marriage equality has little to do with children, but Patterson seemed to speak to Californians’ inchoate phobias about gays and kids. On the Friday before the Bee story appeared, a group of San Francisco first-graders was taken to city hall to see their lesbian teacher marry her partner. Apparently the field trip was a parent’s idea – not the teacher’s – but the optics of the event were terrible for the gay side. It seemed like so much indoctrination.

That news came around the same time the pro-amendment forces were running a devastating ad showing a self-satisfied San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom shouting wild-eyed at a rally that same-sex marriage was inevitable “whether you like it or not.” The announcer then said darkly, “It’s no longer about tolerance. Acceptance of gay marriage is now mandatory.” Many fence sitters were turned off by Newsom’s arrogance; blogger Andrew Sullivan attributed mid-October polls against the gay side to the “Newsom effect.”

Gays came back in some polls, but they couldn’t pull out a win. Part of the reason is that Obama inspired unprecedented numbers of African Americans to vote. Polls show that black voters are more likely to attend church than whites and less likely to be comfortable with equality for gay people. According to CNN, African Americans voted against marriage equality by a wide margin, 69% to 31%. High turnout of African Americans in Florida probably help explain that state’s lopsided vote to ban same-sex weddings.


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