(Updated) Following the passing of Proposition 8 in California, the Church released statements urging civility and reaffirming its position on the issue. The Church also noted that two Roman Catholic bishops released statements decrying religious bigotry against Mormons. The Church today points to additional third-party voices that provide useful insights into the reaction following the vote. Some of these individuals supported Proposition 8, and some were against it.
These materials may be helpful to the news media, bloggers, Church members and the general public in gaining a broader view of the aftermath of the Proposition 8 vote. All people of faith have cause for concern when others try to remove their legitimate voice from the public square.
“Religious groups can’t claim some sort of special immunity from criticism,” the advertisement stated. “Nevertheless, there’s a world of difference between legitimate political give-and-take and violent attempts to cow your opponents into submission. Violence and intimidation are always wrong, whether the victims are believers, gay people, or anyone else.”
“The U.S. bishops offered "prayerful support and steadfast solidarity" to the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints in the face of attacks on the church and its members for working to pass California's Proposition 8, which bans same-sex marriage. The support was offered in a November 21 letter from Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, chairman of the bishops' Ad Hoc Committee for the Defense of Marriage, to Thomas S. Monson, president of the Mormon Church.”
"Although we strongly opposed Proposition 8, its passage does not justify the defacement and destruction of property. We urge Californians to channel their frustration and disappointment in productive and responsible ways to work towards full equality for all Americans. To place anyone in fear of threat to their houses of worship or their personal security because they have expressed deeply held religious views is contrary to everything this nation represents. Our Constitution's First Amendment protects freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and freedom of religion for all of us."
“But a vicious minority is not satisfied with that. Some gay rights protesters have voiced sentiments about Mormons, whose church was active in advocating Prop 8's passage, that if said about gays would be condemned as hate speech. Vandals have struck a number of Mormon temples. Bash Back, a pro-gay group in Olympia, Wash., trashed a Mormon temple there, then issued a statement saying, ‘Let this be a warning to the Mormon church: Dissolve completely or be destroyed.’
“Gay rights extremists should ask themselves the same question. A cause, no matter how just, can only be harmed by thuggish tactics. Our pluralist democracy depends on a citizenry committed to working out differences with civility.”
“… we found it appalling that in the final days of the campaign, opponents of Proposition 8 ran an ad in which Mormon missionaries were presented as barging into a same-sex couple’s home, gleefully rummaging through their personal possessions and violating their rights. The ad attempted to ridicule people of the Mormon faith, even implying that it was wrong that they contributed money to the election. As a Catholic school, we stand beside our friends in the Mormon Church and of people of faith who work tirelessly to preserve the freedom of religion in America. We also strongly oppose any attempt to ridicule another person’s faith, even faiths with which we have strong historical and theological disagreements.”
"To date, 30 states have voted on initiatives addressing same-sex marriage, and in every state traditional marriage has come out on top. But somehow the fact that Mormons got involved during the latest statewide referendum constitutes a bridge too far? In truth, Mormons are a target of convenience in the opening salvo of what is sure to be a full-scale assault on much of America’s religious infrastructure, which gay activists perceive as a barrier to their aspirations. Among religious groups, Mormons are not the biggest obstacle to same-sex marriage — not by a long shot. But they are an easy target. Anti-Mormon bigotry is unfortunately common, and gay-rights activists are cynically exploiting that fact."
“Mormons are taking the biggest hit from the opposition. But as protests, boycotts and blacklists targeting Mormons proliferate, it’s worth pausing to think about where this collision is headed. … Before this clash escalates further, both sides should exercise caution and reconsider their battle plans going forward.”
“Two days after the election, 2,000 homosexual protesters surrounded a Mormon temple in Los Angeles chanting ‘Mormon scum.’ Protesters picketed Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church, holding signs reading ‘Purpose-Driven Hate.’ Calvary Chapel in Chino Hills was spray painted. Church members’ cars have been vandalized, and at least two Christians were assaulted. Protesters even hurled racial epithets at African-Americans because African-Americans voted overwhelmingly in favor of traditional marriage. What hypocrisy from those who spend all of their time preaching tolerance to the rest of us!”
“Now is the time for traditional Christians — Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox — to come to the aid of our Mormon friends. They put themselves on the front line of the traditional marriage battle like no other church group. And now individual Mormons are paying a terrible price for standing up for something we all believe in. I don't know how we can stand with them from afar, but at least we can thank them, and speak out when we see them being abused. We might also think again about how we view them. … I have deep disagreements with Mormon theology. But they are our friends and allies and fellow citizens, and they deserve our thanks and support.”
“In the battle for the family, however, traditional Christians have no better friends than the Mormon faithful. It would be wrong if that support were taken for granted. We are intolerant of the false attacks on Mormon faith and family. We stand with our Mormon friends in their right to express their views on the public square. We celebrate the areas, such as family values, where we agree. A heart felt thank you may not win points from other friends who demand one hundred percent agreement from their allies, but it is the decent and proper thing to do. Thank you to our Mormon friends and allies!”
“Here's my advice to righteously furious gay-marriage supporters: Stop the focus on the Mormon Church. Stop it now. We just lost a ballot fight in which we were falsely but effectively portrayed as attacking religion. So now some of us attack a religion? People were warned that churches would lose their tax-exempt status, which was untrue. So now we have (frivolous) calls for the Mormon Church to lose its tax-exempt status? It's rather selective indignation, anyway, since lots of demographic groups gave us Prop 8 in different ways — some with money and others with votes. I understand the frustration, but this particular expression of it is wrong and counter-productive.”
“The argument is that Mormons used illegitimate power, in this case money, beyond their numerical standing in the population to secure victory for the measure. … No, it's just that Mormons are the most vulnerable of the culturally conservative religious denominations and therefore the easiest targets for an organized campaign against religious freedom of conscience.”
“Surely we don't have to be Mormon to be outraged. I make no statement about their recruitment strategies when I say, watching California, ‘We're all Mormons now.’ … Now I know why Mormons were so nervous. They were warning the rest of us. Our freedom to believe is at hazard, and it's time we all had the Mormons' backs.”
“Religious minorities (Mormons and members of black churches) are bearing the brunt and too few voices are being raised to say this is wrong. … I also sat next to Joe Solmonese, head of the Human Rights Campaign, when a young Mormon in the audience asked him, ‘Why are you singling out my faith when so many other people supported Prop 8?’ … I sat silent, dumbfounded, next to Joe when he pointed at the young man and cried, ‘We are going to go after your church every day for the next two years unless and until Prop 8 is overturned.’”
“Those, though, who were unhappy with the electorate's decision wasted no time in taking to the streets of dozens of American cities and towns to rail against the audacity — the bigotry, as they proclaimed it — of considering gender germane to marriage. … A San Francisco area group launched a campaign to revoke the tax-exempt status of the Mormon Church because of its support of the marriage initiative. Graffiti was spray-painted on a Mormon church near Sacramento.”
“We are living in an era of insanity. Witness the latest attempt to remake the nature of our country, founded and established on certain principles that have been the envy of the entire world. The latest assault on our country and its values comes in the form of vicious and criminal violence against the Mormon church in Westwood, California. … We who are friends of the Mormons, their patriotism, their family values, will not falter in our continued support of these dear Americans.”