According to the 2007-2008 Almanac of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the “Church”) there are about 770,000 Church members in California. In a letter dated June 29, 2008, the Church’s leaders asked members to “do all [they] can to support [California’s Proposition 8] by donating of [their] means and time to assure that marriage in California is legally defined as being between a man and a woman.”
[T]he No on Prop 8 folks told me recently that the “Protect Marriage” campaign has raised $30 million dollars — over half of it from the Mormon Church. Now, I have nothing personally against The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. . . .
But when the church and its members invest millions of dollars in an attempt to write discrimination into my state’s constitution … there will be hell to pay.
So what am I asking you to do?
Some distributed research.
There is a list of a bunch of Mormon donors to the Yes on Proposition 8 campaign (in case that one goes down, here’s a mirror with slightly worse formatting.
Here’s what I’m asking for:
This list contains information about those who are big donors to the Yes on 8 campaign — donors to the tune of at least $1,000 dollars. And, as you can see, there are a lot of them. It also indicates if they’re Mormon or not.
If you’re interested in defeating the religious right and preserving marriage equality, here’s how you can help:
Find us some ammo.
Use any LEGAL tool at your disposal. Use OpenSecrets to see if these donors have contributed to … shall we say … less than honorable causes, or if any one of these big donors has done something otherwise egregious. If so, we have a legitimate case to make the Yes on 8 campaign return their contributions, or face a bunch of negative publicity.
There are a crapload of donors on this list — so please focus on the larger ones first. $5,000 or more is a good threshold to start with.
Feel free to use Lexis-Nexis searches as well for anything useful, especially given that these people are using “morality” as their primary motivation to support Prop 8 … if you find anything that belies that in any way … well, you know what to do.
If you find anything good, please email it …
Here’s the bottom line for me: if someone is willing to contribute thousands of dollars to a campaign to take away legal rights from some very dear friends of mine, they had damn well make sure their lives are beyond scrutiny — because I, for one, won’t take it lying down.
In his exhortations to smear and embarrass Mormon donors to Prop 8, the Daily Kos post relies heavily on a web site that is deceptively named “Mormons for Proposition 8.” The casual reader might think the site favors Prop 8, but he would be wrong.
Disclosure of religious association is a matter of constitutional protection and a privilege held by the congregant against disclosure. (Church of Hakeem v. Superior Court, 1 Cal. App. 3d 184 (1980)). Your forced outing to intimidate others would be a violation of civil rights if committed with the color of authority. That you are private and anonymous doesn’t make what you are doing any more commendable.
In other words, these people are just like the Daily Kos writer: They no doubt consider themselves very progressive, but nevertheless want to silence their opponents in the public square.
That sounds an awful lot like this political system.
Apart from those repulsive efforts, how else is the opposition to Prop 8 playing out in the lives of ordinary Mormons? Well, here’s a story you won’t read about in the mainstream news media. I received it in a private email:
This weekend we have stake conference. [Ed.: A “stake” is a geographic unit of LDS congregations, and is the rough equivalent of a Catholic diocese.] Our stake conference always begins with a stake temple session on Friday or Thursday night. Early Friday morning I received a call from the second counselor in our bishopric to let me know that there would be numerous protesters outside the temple, and to remind everyone to stay calm and to drive carefully. The beautiful Oakland Temple is located right across the bay from San Francisco , very close to the city of Berkeley . Apparently the opposition to proposition 8, the amendment that seeks to make marriage in CA between a man and a woman again, has realized the deep involvement of the [LDS] church and begun to protest right outside of the temple and harass temple patrons. The fastest way to get to the temple from our house is to take the 680 freeway, but the exit is a bit tricky. The off ramp is extremely short and straight uphill. You then make an almost blind left turn, an immediate right and another left into the parking lot.
As we approached the off ramp, I realized there would be trouble. There was a backup onto the freeway from cars stalled on the off ramp. As we moved forward inches at a time, we realized this was due to a large group of loud protesters who were standing on both sides of the street, yelling, screaming and waving signs. When we got to the top of the offramp, ready to make our turn, one protester jumped out right in front of our car. It took my husband all his self control to carefully maneuver around him to the left and proceed to the temple. I tried not to listen to all they were shouting at us, but I was shaking as I got to the temple front door.
Several of the sisters, especially the ones driving on their own, were crying …
Another email correspondent tells me the Oakland police did not respond to requests for help.
Yes, it is.
Full disclosure on Lowell Brown: I am a Prop 8 grassroots worker myself. My wife is Deputy Communications Director for the Yes On 8 Campaign. She had no awareness of this post prior to my publishing it, and the views expressed here are my own.