July 5th, 2008
The message below, by public relations leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS, a.k.a “the Mormons”), was sent to Orange County LDS Public Affairs personnel and other church leaders in California.
A brief introduction of some the names mentioned below is in order. Elders Russell M. Ballard, Quentin L. Cook, and Dallin H. Oaks are members of the church’s Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, the second highest presiding group under the direction of the First Presidency. Elder Lance B. Wickman is a member of that church’s First Quorum of the Seventy, a leadership group beneath the Quorum of the Twelve. L. Whitney Clayton is also a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy as well as the Presidency of the Seventy.
To: All OC Public Affairs Personnel
Cc: Other Interested Persons
By now many of you serving in Public Affairs may have been invited by your Stake Presidency to join other stake priesthood and auxiliary leaders in attending a special meeting. That was to discuss points that originated last Sunday, June 29, with a historic live interactive telecast emanating from SLC among Elders Ballard, Cook, Wickman and Clayton with CA Stake Presidents.
We have been asked to study out the above issue -– starting with the First Presidency letter that was read in Church last Sunday and the Proclamation on the Family. [That letter is available here (PDF: 1,08KB/2 pages) — ed.] You should all have copies of these items. As the year goes on, Public Affairs is apt to get ever more involved, under proper Priesthood direction. This will be especially true after Labor Day, when getting out the vote will be crucial. Meanwhile we are asked to use “our best efforts” and to do “all we can” to support this initiative with both our “means and time.”
To help you get prepared, here are some pertinent materials I have gathered on this issue, for your summer reading.
1. In Re Marriage Cases. See attached PDF summary of these consolidated cases, as issued by the Cal Sup. Ct. on 5-15-08. The majority decision is 121 pages long plus concurring and dissenting opinions. Essentially, the court has determined that any classification based on sexual orientation is a “suspect classification” that requires “strict scrutiny” under the “equal protection” clause of the CA Constitution. It also found that the CA Constitution has granted a “fundamental right to marry.” In 1948, that enabled the court invalidate statutory restrictions on interracial marriage. On these grounds, the court then proceeded to invalidate the existing statutory restrictions on same-gender marriages that were passed as Proposition 22 in 2000.
2. The Protectmarriage.com website. This is the key website of the central coalition of churches and other organizations that have been promoting what is now Prop. 8 for over a year. You will first see a list of member organizations and sponsoring individuals belonging to this coalition. Also see links on the left-hand side for “FAQS” and some good talking points under “Why it is needed.”
3. LDS.org Website. See this long but exceptionally important and well articulated 2007 interview by Public Affairs with Elders Dallin H. Oaks and Lance B. Wickman on “Same-Gender Attraction.” It is at: http://newsroom.lds.org/ ldsnewsroom/ eng/ public-issues/ same-gender-attraction
4. Meridian Magazine. “What difference will same-gender marriage make to you?” See this link: http://www.ldsmag.com/ familyleadernetwork/ 080627marriage.html Also see http://www.ldsmag.com/ familyleadernetwork/ 080619ignore.html These articles explore some of the possibly unintended consequences of this recent Cal. Supreme Court decision.
5. NB Stake Talking Points. See attached PDF with some key talking points created by my own Newport Beach Stake President Weatherford Clayton. More official talking points will are being prepared and will be provided through proper channels by LDS Church HQ in Salt Lake City.
6. Church News Article. From 2004 issue on the benefits of families raised within male-female marriages
HISPANICS AGAINST PROP 8. See first email attached above.
HISPANICS WHO SUPPORT IT. See email #3 attached above.
As the June 20th First Presidency letter said, more information will be made available to you from time to time through local priesthood channels.
You may also be aware that the new Managing Director of LDS Public Affairs in SLC will be Michael Otterson. He has been serving as assistant to Bruce Olsen and is originally from Australia. Brother Olsen will be the new San Diego Temple President.
Joseph I. Bentley, Director
Orange County Public Affairs
[Personal contact information redacted — ed.]
[Hat tip: Nick Literski]
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