In 2008 the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (The Mormons) declared war on the gay community. They probably didn’t intend to, and they certainly didn’t want it to be known, but nevertheless that year the Mormon leadership decided that it would throw the church’s weight and political influence into the battle to deny marriage equality in California.
And they won. Proposition 8 passed.
But this success has proven to be a pyrrhic victory, one that threatened to set back much of the church’s public image campaign. Having spent decades on a message that Mormons make good neighbors, suddenly they were painted as haters and destroyers of happiness.
And the church discovered – to what must have been their amazement – that people in California are more suspicious of Mormons than they are of gays. While they may not have favored marriage, they were disturbed at the idea of a California proposition being funded and controlled from Utah by a church that many still see as a cult.
And then the church took a series of missteps in public confrontation with gays. Efforts to paint gay people as deviants that had to be slapped down (how dare they kiss in this Mormon-owned park) only gained sympathy for gay folk in the public eye. And even members revolted when a leader declared that gay people must choose to be gay because Heavenly Father wouldn’t have made them that way.
I’ll admit that it has been amusing to see the panic and meltdown over gay issues since the church’s involvement in Prop 8 was exposed. But it has also been encouraging that there are obviously many in the Mormon Church who have been awakened by the scandal and who are seeking to act admirably.
And some are really seeking peace, a detente, and if not agreement then at least a cease fire. It shows up in some amusing ways. (ABC)
ABC 4 News has learned that the Church invited several prominent gay leaders to its Christmas concert this weekend, including Oscar winner Dustin Lance Black.
Black, a screenwriter, won an Oscar for the movie, “Milk.”
Saturday, at the LDS Church’s Christmas concert, he and a handful of Utah gay activists were VIP guests.
ABC 4 News is also being told that the Church has met previously with both Black and Bastian, one of the founders of WordPerfect.
This, reportedly, to get more information about gay issues.
I’m not ready to forgive the church for the damage they did in my state. It truly was an act of selfish bullying and it will take more than a Christmas concert invitation to a select few before I see this institution as other than a committed enemy of my civil rights and freedom.
But it does give me hope. Maybe the church has learned a lesson.
There is a strong likelihood that there will be a proposition on the 2012 ballot to reverse Proposition 8, and if the Mormon Church doesn’t want to pay for half of the advertising and 80-90% of the volunteers, then our chances are significantly increased.