Ever since Prop 8 opponents woke up on November 5 and realized they had lost, much commentary has focused on the “unfairness” of the Mormon Church’s involvement. Even though activists are still seeking to enforce gay marriage through the courts, they don’t appear to want to talk about it. Instead, the post-election discussion has suggested that the Mormon Church went “too far.”
Much speculation has been made that Mormons individually donated perhaps half of the pro-Prop 8 funding. Â Despite misleading reporting, as Mormon Inquiry points out, the LDS Church itself donated “less than one half of one percent of the total funds” to support Prop 8. Â And that was only considering the non-monetary, in-kind support to the ProtectMarriage.com coalition. Â Despite false accusations and faulty reporting, the LDS Church support has been transparent and above the board.
If donations and transparency must be considered, then include the following:
- Catholic and Evangelical groups gave many times more money than the LDS Church’s in-kind donation of $190,000
- efforts are being made to strip the LDS Church of its tax-exempt status
- NPR reports that while CA teacher’s unions gave $1.25 million to fight Prop 8, its members individually gave 2:1 to support the measure
- Prop 8 opponentsÂ out-raisedÂ its supporters,Â $43.3 million to $39.9 million
- an online map (with a convenient link for Salt Lake City) identifies pro-Prop 8 donors and their locations
- Prop-8 donors haveÂ receivedÂ death threats, lost jobs, and been subjected to general harassment
- despite exploiting the transparency of pro-Prop 8 supporters and holding its leaders “accountable,” theÂ leaders of the “No on 8″ campaign have consistently refusedÂ to name its 16 principal officers
So why are Mormons facing the brunt of criticism? Â Is it unfair that the church was too successful inÂ encouragingÂ and organizing those Mormons who supported Prop 8? Â Are they just a convenient scapegoat? Â Despite having more money, the “No on 8″ crowd is content to direct its rage on others rather than ask themselves what they did wrong.
Aside from death threats, most of the behavior appears to be legal but is still downright creepy. Â I don’t think criticism of Mormons or the LDS Church should be considered a hate crime and I do believeÂ campaignÂ donations should be more transparent than not. Â But it’s difficult to comprehend that thereÂ wouldn’tÂ be more outrage if gay marriage activists were being listed on web sites or black-listed. Â While there has been some attention paid to this harassment it would be nice to see some investigations into who is behind it and ask them to justify these tactics.
Who knows how the courts will rule on the validity of Prop 8. Â But is there any doubt that if and when the issue returns to the ballot box (for the the third time), that gay marriage supporters are now laying the foundation to discourage anyone who considers opposing them again? Â
Traditional marriage may have won for now but trends suggest that may not be the case for long. Â Rather than demonizing those who disagree with them, gay marriage supporters should show some patience and continue the debate. Â As they have made quite clear, it’s not going away.