On Prop 8 in California: I Hope The Church Does Not Support This

October 24, 2008 at 12:36 pm | Posted in American politics | 6 Comments

Boy, this sure looks bad:

Leaders of the campaign to outlaw same-sex marriage in California are warning businesses that have given money to the state’s largest gay rights group they will be publicly identified as opponents of traditional unions unless they contribute to the gay marriage ban, too.

ProtectMarriage.com, the umbrella group behind a ballot initiative that would overturn the California Supreme Court decision that legalized gay marriage, sent a certified letter this week asking companies to withdraw their support of Equality California, a nonprofit organization that is helping lead the campaign against Proposition 8.

“Make a donation of a like amount to ProtectMarriage.com which will help us correct this error,” reads the letter. “Were you to elect not to donate comparably, it would be a clear indication that you are in opposition to traditional marriage. … The names of any companies and organizations that choose not to donate in like manner to ProtectMarriage.com but have given to Equality California will be published.”

The letter was signed by four members of the group’s executive committee: campaign chairman Ron Prentice; Edward Dolejsi, executive director of the California Catholic Conference; Mark Jansson, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; and Andrew Pugno, the lawyer for ProtectMarriage.com. A donation form was attached. The letter did not say where the names would be published.

This is called blackmail. What is Mark Jansson, a member of the church participating in this for? This is not what the church stands for. And I won’t have any of it. I thought people and businesses were in their right to support legislation as they so see fit, without the threat of retaliation of any kind. This kind of pressure is un-democratic.

I hold the same standard to those on the left using any similar tactics. It besmirches the good name of democracy. However, individuals and groups on the left are not a religious organization, whose theology sets a very high standard of living and behavior. I expect far better from people who believe in this religion. And I ask, does the church support such blackmail?


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  1. It looks like Brother Jansson represents the Church on ProtectMarriage.com’s executive committee. Whether he thought of this, went along with it on his own, or got the green light from Salt Lake, this just simply looks bad.

  2. Looks “bad”?

    Mr. Taber, I hereby award you the “Understatement Of The Year” trophy. May it adorn your mantlepiece gracefully forever.

    Or until the shame that is Prop 8 is voted down.

  3. Well, I am at a loss for words over this – other than a few choice words I could type here, but won’t.

    I thought a few years ago after the whole Prop 22 deal, that the Church would have learned not to overplay its hand again. Apparently I was wrong.

  4. Looks like Mormons won’t be buying Apple computers anymore.

  5. You haven’t met my father: a former bishop and high councilor; Apple/Mac fanatic (he got one of the first iMacs); and supporter of gay marriage (to the point that he thinks I’m disloyal for simply being willing to go along with civil unions.)

    As for the question of support, I see several possibilities here:

    1) This idea was kicked around and Brother Jansson didn’t think to check with Salt Lake to see if it was appropriate for him, the Church’s representative on the executive committee, to sign off on it.

    2) Brother Jansson didn’t bother to check with Salt Lake because he thought the rhetoric (such as “Were you to elect not to donate comparably, it would be a clear indication that you are in opposition to traditional marriage”) was in line with what the Brethren are saying.

    3) Brother Jansson did check with Salt Lake and they approved of this action.

    4) This was Salt Lake’s idea.

    None of these make sense. In fact, sending the letters out less than two weeks before the election doesn’t make sense either.

  6. “… sending the letters out less than two weeks before the election doesn’t make sense either.”

    Both sides are trying to raise as much money as they can for this last blitz of advertising right before people vote on the matter. I’m not sure who’s ahead according to the polls, and I don’t think either side wants to let the other grab the victory at the last moment by way of effective ads.

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