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Posts for November, 2008

1997 Mormon Memo Emerges, Revealing Longstanding Strategy

Jim Burroway

November 12th, 2008

An eleven year old internal LDS memo has emerged which proves that the Mormon church has been plotting against same-sex marriage for more than a decade.

The memo, dated March 4, 1997, provides insight into the late LDS President Gordon B. Hinckley’s strategy for opposing same-sex marriage. It describes a meeting in which Hinckley gives the go ahead, but urged caution. According to the memo, “he (President Hinckley) also said the (LDS) Church should be in a coalition and not out front by itself.”

In fact, the LDS church has been way out front in its battles against gays and lesbians, both in California and in Arizona.

The memo was addressed to Elder M. Russell Ballard, who has played a central role in the LDS’s fight in Arizona and California. He appeared on several closed-circuit satellite broadcasts to Mormon churches with specific instructions on the California campaign for Prop 8. In one such broadcast in late October, he reminded the faithful that the central doctrine of Celestial Marriage was propelling the church’s drive to impose its theology on state constitutions:

“We know that it is not without controversy, yet let me be clear that at the heart of this issue is the central doctrine of eternal marriage and it’s place in our Father’s plan,” Ballard said.

Parts of the 1997 memo were first published on the DailyKos web site on November 3. Those portions reveal that the LDS leadership has been strategizing for California even back then.

Update: You can see the entire memo by clicking here (PDF: 260KB/8 pages).

LDS Church Can’t Hide Behind A Temple

This commentary is the opinion of the author and may not necessarily reflect those of other authors at Box Turtle Bulletin

Jim Burroway

November 8th, 2008

The Mormon church doesn’t like the attention it’s getting in the wake of California’s Prop 8. Church leaders released this statement yesterday:

It is disturbing that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is being singled out for speaking up as part of its democratic right in a free election.

Members of the Church in California and millions of others from every faith, ethnicity and political affiliation who voted for Proposition 8 exercised the most sacrosanct and individual rights in the United States – that of free expression and voting.

While those who disagree with our position on Proposition 8 have the right to make their feelings known, it is wrong to target the Church and its sacred places of worship for being part of the democratic process.

Once again, we call on those involved in the debate over same-sex marriage to act in a spirit of mutual respect and civility towards each other. No one on either side of the question should be vilified, harassed or subject to erroneous information.

Well, the Mormon leadership is right on their last sentence. If only they had heeded that advice during the campaign. Gay couples throughout the state were vilified, harassed and subject to dump truck loads of erroneous information during the campaign that the Mormon church itself played an enormous role in waging. There was no sense of civility during their campaign. Why should they not expect to reap the seeds that they sow?

The leadership of the LDS Church has their hand prints all over the campaigns in Arizona and California:

  • We know Arizona state Senators who didn’t want to be present for the vote to place Prop 102 on the ballot, but were coerced and harassed by their bishops and other church members into cutting short their vacations to cast their vote.
  • Once on the ballot in California and Arizona, we know that Mormon prophets called on their followers to give of their “time and means,” and that this call went out to all Mormons in California and Arizona, as well as in Utah.
  • We also know that the Arizona anti-gay campaign was under the direct leadership of some of the most prominent LDS members in the state.
  • By some estimates, more than $20 million of Mormon money went to fund the $36 million California campaign, while an additional estimated $3-7 million funded Arizona’s $8 million campaign.

One thing must be made clear: the leadership of the LDS church has every right to do this. Churches are barred by IRS regulations from endorsing political candidates, but they are fully free to participate in the political process on the issues — including ballot propositions. To claim otherwise would be to deny the LDS Church’s right to speak out on what it sees as important moral issues. It would also deny the rights of LDS members to fully participate in the democratic process.

But exercising those rights in the democratic process brings with it public scrutiny and criticism. That, too, is an integral part of the democratic process from which no one is exempt.

When the Mormon church chose to enter the political sphere, the fact that they are a religious institution became irrelevant. They led non-Mormons in their political campaign, and they exhorted everyone –  regardless of their religious affiliation — to vote on amendments which affected everyone, Mormons and non-Mormons alike. This was a democratic political campaign, not a religious one. We were voting on constitutional amendments, not theology.

Mormon leaders were acting in their role as citizens in the democratic process, a role that they have every right to be proud of — at least from their particular point of view. After all, their political campaign was successful. I don’t like how it all turned out, but such is politics. There are always, by the nature of the beast, winners and losers. And their side won this time in the end.

But as citizens leading a political campaign, they cannot escape public accountability for their public actions, especially when their political actions were seen by many as dirty, degrading, dishonest, and most definitely un-Christian. After all that, the leadership of the LDS cannot suddenly change roles, toss up their hands and say, “You can’t criticize us! We’re a religion!” They forfeited that right when they threw themselves enthusiastically into a non-religious, political campaign. They forfeited that right when they left the temple and entered the world of Caesar. They are politicians now, and they deserve the same scrutiny and criticism due to any other political leader or movement.

It is not scapegoating to point out the facts, nor is it Mormon-bashing to criticize their agenda and tactics. This is all fair game in politics — politics which the Mormon church eagerly entered. Andrew Sullivan is right: gays and lesbians now have every right to regard the LDS leadership as their enemy. After all, gays didn’t wage a campaign to strip Mormons of their civil rights. It was the Mormon leaders who have successfully removed a civil right which had already been granted to gays and lesbians.

This is not bigotry or discrimination against a religion. It is criticism leveled against what is now seen as a powerful political organization. That is perfectly legitimate.

Welcome to the world of politics, LDS. There’s no hiding behind a temple now.

[Updated to attribute the final point to Andrew Sullivan.]

Prop 102 Exit Polling

Jim Burroway

November 5th, 2008

Here are some figures I found interesting from CNN’s exit polling on Prop 102:

Women were more supportive than men:
Men: Yes: 57%; No: 43%
Women: Yes 55%; No: 45%

The youth vote was in our camp, which bodes well for the future:
Age 18-29 Yes: 48%; No: 52%

The political party divide was stark in a state that McCain carried for President:
Democrat: Yes: 35%; No: 65%
Republican: Yes: 81%; No: 19%

The Catholic vote was surprisingly close:
Catholics: Yes: 51%; No: 49%

Also opposition to Prop 102 increased with education and income. Truly the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. The young, the less economically vulnerable, and the better educated were all less fearful.

A Few Silver Linings

Jim Burroway

November 5th, 2008

As we continue to watch California’s results trickle in, there are some silver linings to report. Arizona State Sen. Tim Bee (R-Tucson) lost his congressional race against Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, 55% to 43%, with 73% of precincts reporting. Bee is the guy responsible for casting the crucial sixteenth vote which put Prop 102 onto the Arizona ballot. His political career is now, fittingly, over.

And perennial Federal Marriage Amendment sponsor Marilyn Musgrave (R-CO) has lost her bid for re-election. With 67% of precincts reporting, Betsy Markey is thumping her 57% to 42%.

Update: With 99% of the precincts reported, Bee is down 56% to 43%. The Arizona Daily Star is reporting that Bee has still declined to concede as of 1:30 am. What a loser.

Update: After the lights went out and the cameras left, Bee finally conceded via email this morning.

Election Day Update Live Blogging

Jim Burroway

November 4th, 2008

As of 2:12 pm EST/11:12 am PST:
Okay, one last update. The Los Angeles Times declared Prop 8 as passed, and so will we. I hope we’re premature.

Now, this ends the live blog.

Arizona: Proposition 102: (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 1,040,122 (56%) – Projected winner
No: 801,437 (44%)
99% of precincts reporting.

Arkansas: Initiative 1 (Gay Adoption Ban)
Yes: 573,873 (57%) – Projected winner
No: 434,406 (43%)
96% of precincts reporting.

California: Proposition 8 (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 5,235,486 (52%) – Projected winner
No: 4,800,656 (48%)
97% of precincts reporting.

Florida: Amendment 2: (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 4,710,928 (62%) – Projected winner
No: 2,877,193 (38%)
99% of precincts reporting.
* The Florida constitution requires 60% for an amendment to pass.

As of 1:35 pm EST/10:35 am PST:
At this point, there has been no substantial movement in the election results for the past several hours — just a few tweaks here and there as the last precincts report in. There may be more changes as absentee and provisional ballots are counted over the next few hours and perhaps days. We will continue to update these figures periodically in other posts, and put this particular marathon “live blog” to an end for now.

Arizona: Proposition 102: (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 1,039,845 (56%) – Projected winner
No: 801,346 (44%)
99% of precincts reporting.

Arkansas: Initiative 1 (Gay Adoption Ban)
Yes: 573,873 (57%) – Projected winner
No: 434,406 (43%)
96% of precincts reporting.

California: Proposition 8 (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 5,220,694 (52%)
No: 4,792,873 (48%)
96% of precincts reporting.

Florida: Amendment 2: (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 4,674,662 (62%) – Projected winner
No: 2,855,432 (38%)
99% of precincts reporting.
* The Florida constitution requires 60% for an amendment to pass.

As of 1:20 pm EST/10:20 am PST:
Just a few minor tweaks to the Arkansas and Florida counts. No change on Arizona or California. The No on Prop 8 campaign called a hastily organized press tele-conference refusing to concede, saying that 3 million to 4 million ballots remain uncounted statewide.

Arizona: Proposition 102: (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 1,039,792 (56%) – Projected winner
No: 801,315 (44%)
99% of precincts reporting.

Arkansas: Initiative 1 (Gay Adoption Ban)
Yes: 573,873 (57%) – Projected winner
No: 434,406 (43%)
96% of precincts reporting.

California: Proposition 8 (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 5,220,694 (52%)
No: 4,792,873 (48%)
96% of precincts reporting.

Florida: Amendment 2: (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 4,674,662 (62%) – Projected winner
No: 2,855,432 (38%)
99% of precincts reporting.
* The Florida constitution requires 60% for an amendment to pass.

As of 12:20 pm EST/9:20 am PST:

Arizona: Proposition 102: (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 1,039,792 (56%) – Projected winner
No: 801,315 (44%)
99% of precincts reporting.

Arkansas: Initiative 1 (Gay Adoption Ban)
Yes: 573,774 (57%) – Projected winner
No: 434,344 (43%)
95% of precincts reporting.

California: Proposition 8 (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 5,220,694 (52%)
No: 4,792,873 (48%)
96% of precincts reporting.

Florida: Amendment 2: (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 4,674,626 (62%) – Projected winner
No: 2,851,966 (38%)
99% of precincts reporting.
* The Florida constitution requires 60% for an amendment to pass.

As of 11:30 am EST/8:30 am PST:

Arizona: Proposition 102: (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 1,039,792 (56%) – Projected winner
No: 801,315 (44%)
99% of precincts reporting.

Arkansas: Initiative 1 (Gay Adoption Ban)
Yes: 573,873 (57%) – Projected winner
No: 434,406 (43%)
95% of precincts reporting.

California: Proposition 8 (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 5,195,136 (52%)
No: 4,779,297 (48%)
96% of precincts reporting.

Florida: Amendment 2: (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 4,674,654 (62%) – Projected winner
No: 2,855,427 (38%)
99% of precincts reporting.
* The Florida constitution requires 60% for an amendment to pass.

As of 10:00 am EST/7:00 am PST:
It’s time for me to head to work, so updates may be sporadic.

Arizona: Proposition 102: (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 1,039,606 (56%) – Projected winner
No: 801,279 (44%)
99% of precincts reporting.

Arkansas: Initiative 1 (Gay Adoption Ban)
Yes: 573,774 (57%) – Projected winner
No: 434,344 (43%)
95% of precincts reporting.

California: Proposition 8 (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 5,163,908 (52%)
No: 4,760,336 (48%)
95% of precincts reporting.

Florida: Amendment 2: (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 4,662,558 (62%) – Projected winner
No: 2,851,598 (38%)
99% of precincts reporting.
* The Florida constitution requires 60% for an amendment to pass.

As of 9:35 am EST/6:35 am PST:
Interesting exit polling results for California’s Prop 8. The present is difficult, but the future is ours. Hang in there.

Arizona: Proposition 102: (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 1,039,606 (56%) – Projected winner
No: 801,279 (44%)
99% of precincts reporting.

Arkansas: Initiative 1 (Gay Adoption Ban)
Yes: 571,392 (57%) – Projected winner
No: 432,512 (43%)
95% of precincts reporting.

California: Proposition 8 (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 5,125,752 (52%)
No: 4,725,313 (48%)
95% of precincts reporting.

Florida: Amendment 2: (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 4,662,558 (62%) – Projected winner
No: 2,851,598 (38%)
99% of precincts reporting.
* The Florida constitution requires 60% for an amendment to pass.

As of 9:15 am EST/6:15 am PST:
Interesting exit polling results for Arizona’s Prop 102. Things will definitely be different in another decade or so. Despite these losses, time and history are clearly on our side.

Arizona: Proposition 102: (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 1,039,606 (56%) – Projected winner
No: 801,279 (44%)
99% of precincts reporting.

Arkansas: Initiative 1 (Gay Adoption Ban)
Yes: 571,392 (57%) – Projected winner
No: 432,512 (43%)
95% of precincts reporting.

California: Proposition 8 (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 5,019,930 (52%)
No: 4,656,291 (48%)
92% of precincts reporting.

Florida: Amendment 2: (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 4,662,558 (62%) – Projected winner
No: 2,851,598 (38%)
99% of precincts reporting.
* The Florida constitution requires 60% for an amendment to pass.

As of 8:45 am EST/5:45 am PST:
None of the networks are calling California’s Prop 8 yet.

Arizona: Proposition 102: (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 1,039,606 (56%) – Projected winner
No: 801,279 (44%)
99% of precincts reporting.

Arkansas: Initiative 1 (Gay Adoption Ban)
Yes: 571,392 (57%) – Projected winner
No: 432,512 (43%)
95% of precincts reporting.

California: Proposition 8 (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 5,010,855 (52%)
No: 4,650,469 (48%)
92% of precincts reporting.

Florida: Amendment 2: (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 4,662,558 (62%) – Projected winner
No: 2,851,598 (38%)
99% of precincts reporting.
* The Florida constitution requires 60% for an amendment to pass.

As of 8:00 am EST/5:00 am PST:
Well, we’re back. Let’s see where things stand right now.

Arizona: Proposition 102: (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 1,039,606 (56%) – Projected winner
No: 801,279 (44%)
99% of precincts reporting.

Arkansas: Initiative 1 (Gay Adoption Ban)
Yes: 571,392 (57%) – Projected winner
No: 432,512 (43%)
95% of precincts reporting.

California: Proposition 8 (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 4,948,765 (52%)
No: 4,597,609 (48%)
91% of precincts reporting.

Florida: Amendment 2: (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 4,632,316 (62%) – Projected winner
No: 2,832,236 (38%)
98% of precincts reporting.
* The Florida constitution requires 60% for an amendment to pass.

As of 2:15 am EST/11:15 pm PST:
I’m afraid this will have to be my last update for the night. My partner has rolled over and turned off the light, and our two dogs are staring at me with that look that says, “aren’t you done yet?” And there’s the fact that I still have to get up early in the morning for my real job.

So here is where things stand right now. We’ll pick it up in the morning. Feel free to add your updates in the comments.

Arizona: Proposition 102: (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 1,008,420 (56%) – Projected winner
No: 776,896 (44%)
92% of precincts reporting.

Arkansas: Initiative 1 (Gay Adoption Ban)
Yes: 544,197 (57%) – Projected winner
No: 544,197 (43%)
90% of precincts reporting.

California: Proposition 8 (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 2,457,023 (53%)
No: 2,202,737 (47%)
39% of precincts reporting.

Florida: Amendment 2: (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 4,632,316 (62%) – Projected winner
No: 2,832,236 (38%)
98% of precincts reporting.
* The Florida constitution requires 60% for an amendment to pass.

As of 2:00 am EST/11:00 pm PST:
California is still hanging in there.

Arizona: Proposition 102: (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 1,007,350 (56%) – Projected winner
No: 776,264 (44%)
92% of precincts reporting.

Arkansas: Initiative 1 (Gay Adoption Ban)
Yes: 509,879 (57%) – Projected winner
No: 379,606 (43%)
84% of precincts reporting.

California: Proposition 8 (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 2,282,644 (53%)
No: 2,055,774 (47%)
35% of precincts reporting.

Florida: Amendment 2: (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 4,632,316 (62%) – Projected winner
No: 2,832,236 (38%)
98% of precincts reporting.
* The Florida constitution requires 60% for an amendment to pass.

As of 1:40 am EST/10:40 pm PST:
As we continue to watch California’s results trickle in, there are some silver linings to report. Arizona State Sen. Tim Bee (R-Tucson) lost his congressional race against Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, 55% to 43%, with 73% of precincts reporting. Bee is the guy responsible for casting the crucial sixteenth vote which put Prop 102 onto the Arizona ballot. His political career is now, fittingly, over.

And perennial Federal Marriage Amendment sponsor Marilyn Musgrave (R-CO) has lost her bid for re-election. With 67% of precincts reporting, Betsy Markey is thumping her 57% to 42%.

Arizona: Proposition 102: (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 1,004,467 (56%) – Projected winner
No: 774,471 (44%)
91% of precincts reporting.

Arkansas: Initiative 1 (Gay Adoption Ban)
Yes: 501,385 (57%) – Projected winner
No: 373,806 (43%)
83% of precincts reporting.

California: Proposition 8 (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 2,252,980 (53%)
No: 1,983,079 (47%)
32% of precincts reporting.

Florida: Amendment 2: (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 4,614,855 (62%) – Projected winner
No: 2,816,930 (38%)
98% of precincts reporting.
* The Florida constitution requires 60% for an amendment to pass.

As of 1:20 am EST/10:20 pm PST:
The web site for California’s results is extremely slow right now. It’s been slow all evening, but right now I’m really having a hard time getting the results to come up.

Arizona: Proposition 102: (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 1,003,365 (56%) – Projected winner
No: 774,034 (44%)
91% of precincts reporting.

Arkansas: Initiative 1 (Gay Adoption Ban)
Yes: 481,397 (57%) – Projected winner
No: 361,804 (43%)
77% of precincts reporting.

California: Proposition 8 (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 1,996,918 (53%)
No: 1,810,938 (47%)
29% of precincts reporting.

Florida: Amendment 2: (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 4,614,855 (62%) – Projected winner
No: 2,816,930 (38%)
98% of precincts reporting.
* The Florida constitution requires 60% for an amendment to pass.

As of 1:00 am EST/10:00 pm PST:
It’s official; Florida has fallen. California is still standing — and the gap is beginning to close.

Arizona: Proposition 102: (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 998,429 (56%) – Projected winner
No: 771,350 (44%)
91% of precincts reporting.

Arkansas: Initiative 1 (Gay Adoption Ban)
Yes: 475,310 (57%) – Projected winner
No: 356,953 (43%)
75% of precincts reporting.

California: Proposition 8 (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 1,867,373 (53%)
No: 1,633,120 (47%)
24% of precincts reporting.

Florida: Amendment 2: (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 4,589,831 (62%) – Projected winner
No: 2,800,945 (38%)
98% of precincts reporting.
* The Florida constitution requires 60% for an amendment to pass.

As of 12:40 am EST/9:40 pm PST:
I’m back home now, keeping an eye on Arizona and California. It looks like Arkansas and Arizona are lost. I can however take consolation that Pima County (Tucson), my home, has stayed true to its better nature and is trending against Prop 102. California and Florida are still too close to call, although I think we’ll be able to call Florida soon, unfortunately.

Arizona: Proposition 102: (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 973,264 (56%) – Projected winner
No: 747,932 (44%)
85% of precincts reporting.

Arkansas: Initiative 1 (Gay Adoption Ban)
Yes: 446,081 (57%) – Projected winner
No: 337,638 (43%)
67% of precincts reporting.

California: Proposition 8 (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 1,682,717 (55%)
No: 1,407,141 (45%)
22% of precincts reporting.

Florida: Amendment 2: (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 4,479,514 (62%)
No: 2,719,369 (38%)
92% of precincts reporting.
* The Florida constitution requires 60% for an amendment to pass.

As of 12:20 am EST/9:20 pm PST:

Arizona: Proposition 102: (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 930,710 (56%)
No: 728,183 (44%)
81% of precincts reporting.

Arkansas: Initiative 1 (Gay Adoption Ban)
Yes: 415,261 (57%)
No: 317,625 (43%)
61% of precincts reporting.

California: Proposition 8 (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 1,451,505 (55%)
No: 1,213,319 (45%)
17% of precincts reporting.

Florida: Amendment 2: (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 4,414,880 (62%)
No: 2,678,415 (38%)
91% of precincts reporting.
* The Florida constitution requires 60% for an amendment to pass.

As of 11:35 pm EST/8:35 pm PST:

Arizona: Proposition 102: (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 877,204 (56%)
No: 684,143 (44%)
71% of precincts reporting.

Arkansas: Initiative 1 (Gay Adoption Ban)
Yes: 378,764 (57%)
No: 288,143 (43%)
54% of precincts reporting.

California: Proposition 8 (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 1,053,742 (54%)
No: 894,081 (46%)
6% of precincts reporting.

Florida: Amendment 2: (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 4,249,773 (62%)
No: 2,591,180 (38%)
86% of precincts reporting.
* The Florida constitution requires 60% for an amendment to pass.

As of 11:07 pm EST/8:07 pm PST:

Arizona: Proposition 102: (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 754,526 (56%)
No: 585,886 (44%)
49% of precincts reporting.

Arkansas: Initiative 1 (Gay Adoption Ban)
Yes: 287,692 (57%)
No: 218,441 (43%)
40% of precincts reporting.

California: Proposition 8 (Marriage Amendment)
No results yet.

Florida: Amendment 2: (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 4,184,771 (62%)
No: 2,558,175 (38%)
84% of precincts reporting
* The Florida constitution requires 60% for an amendment to pass.

As of 10:00 pm EST/7:00 pm PST:

Arizona: Proposition 102: (Marriage Amendment)
No results yet.

Arkansas: Initiative 1 (Gay Adoption Ban)
Yes: 90,920 (59%)
No: 63,362 (41%)
3% of precincts reporting.

California: Proposition 8 (Marriage Amendment)
No results yet.

Florida: Amendment 2: (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 3,623,476 (62%)
No: 2,179,355 (38%)
62% of precincts reporting
* The Florida constitution requires 60% for an amendment to pass.

As of 9:30 EST/6:30 PST:

Florida: Amendment 2: (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 3,388,335 (62%)
No: 2,066,794 (38%)
50% of precincts reporting
* The Florida constitution requires 60% for an amendment to pass.

Arizona: Proposition 102: (Marriage Amendment)
No results yet

Arkansas: Initiative 1 (Gay Adoption Ban)
Yes: 21,273 (57%)
No: 16,366 (43%)
3% of precincts reporting.

California: Proposition 8 (Marriage Amendment)
No results yet.

Florida: Amendment 2: (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 3,388,335 (62%)
No: 2,066,794 (38%)
50% of precincts reporting

* The Florida constitution requires 60% for an amendment to pass.

New York Times on Proposition 102

Jim Burroway

November 1st, 2008

The New York Times looked into Arizona’s Proposition 102, noting that this is the second time in two years in which Arizona voters are being asked to vote on a so-called “marriage amendment.”

Religious conservatives were deeply embarrassed when Arizona became the first in the nation to say no to divisive politics, so they’re throwing everything they have to keep from being embarrassed a second time — turning this year’s attempt into an almost wholly Mormon-funded and managed campaign, driven by their rather unique beliefs in “Celestial Marriage.”

Prop 102 supporters claim that the marriage amendment is needed to “protect marriage from activist judges.” What they fail to say however is that Arizona’s “activist judges” already ruled on this. The Arizona Supreme Court, as recently as 2004, already ruled on Arizona’s 1996 state law which already defines marriage as being between one man and one woman, and unanimously upheld that law. From the Times article:

“Their claim that we have to protect marriage from attack is ridiculous, because there’s no such attack,” said State Representative Kyrsten Sinema, a Phoenix Democrat and chairwoman of Arizona Together, which opposes Proposition 102. “It’s a fake threat.”

The LDS church has played a predominant role in fundraising for the “yes” campaign, and their massive coffers threaten to completely re-shape politics in Arizona. Opponents to Prop 102 are being outspent by more than 10-to-1. While many activists are feeling abandoned by national LGBT activists in this second battle, many of us are still optimistic:

Still, many gay rights activists in Arizona are hoping for a repeat of 2006, when most everyone was surprised by the defeat of the effort to bar same-sex marriage.

Jason Cianciotto, the executive director of Wingspan, which serves the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community in Tucson, said he vividly remembered watching the 2006 returns come in.

“I called a colleague and I said ‘I think we might pull this out,’ and she said, ‘If we do, I’ll eat my hat,’ and lo and behold we won,” Mr. Cianciotto said of the 2006 vote. “And I look forward to skeptics eating their hats this time as well.”

People often dismiss Arizona as a backwards, conservative state. They don’t know Arizona. The Arizona brand of conservatism is best exemplified by Mr. Conservative himself, former Sen. Barry Goldwater. He was conservative to his core, a conservatism that valued individual liberty above all else. Remember him saying, “extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice”? He lived it, and was an ardent supporter of equal rights for everyone — and LGBT rights in particular.

“The big thing is to make this country, along with every other country in the world with a few exceptions, quit discriminating against people just because they’re gay,” Goldwater asserts. “You don’t have to agree with it, but they have a constitutional right to be gay. And that’s what brings me into it.”

That is Arizona.

A Personal Plea Against Prop 102

Jim Burroway

October 30th, 2008

Karen Kressley live in the retirement community of Green Valley, AZ. She and her husband raised four children in what she calls a “heterosexual home environment.” Except one of their boys wasn’t heterosexual. At age 16, he tried to take his own life. He survived, and in counseling a few weeks later, he came out as gay, and had felt this way since he was five or six:

My mind flashed back to little girl crushes I’d had on boys in the early 1950s. I did not have to keep these feelings a secret. Now, I realized, our son had been holding his feelings secret for a long time, while trying to pretend to himself and to us that he could be straight.

Our ignorance nearly cost us the life of our child. Regrettably, the message our son received in his “heterosexual home environment” was a distinct “Only Straight People Accepted Here.” My husband and I had so much to learn and unlearn.

The tragedy of Prop 102 is that it reinforces that same message on a wider scale: only straight people accepted here.

I am appalled by Proposition 102, a second attempt (a similar initiative failed in 2006) to single out our GLBT citizens of Arizona for exemption from living out their dreams… The sin is not in whom one loves. The sin is with those who want their narrowly defined religious beliefs enshrined in the Arizona Constitution.

Proposition 102, if passed, will set a dangerous precedent and will only further serve to marginalize our equally deserving GLBT citizens.

We are down to our last week. Please give as generously as you can.

Arizona - Vote No On Proposition 102 - Again!

Marriage Amendments Tearing LDS Congregations Apart

Jim Burroway

October 26th, 2008

According to a recent Salt Lake Tribune article, the church’s marriage campaigns are taking a heavy toll on local congregations.

The Mormon Church’s campaign to pass so-called “marriage amendments” in California and Arizona is the most vigorous political campaign they have ever waged. LDS leaders have tapped into every resource: their member’s income data from tithing rolls, phone trees, e-mail lists, and other appeals. With continued urging from among the highest prophets of the church, many LDS members consider their calls a directive from God and a test of their faith.

Those who disagree with the church’s stance on these propositions say that they are made to feel unwelcome in their wards. Some have avoided church services during the election campaign, and some have resigned, while others face excommunication. Others still are actively opposing their church’s activities because they believe the church’s active campaign mocks their church’s theology.

Even some of those who favor the ballot measures are put off by their church’s zeal:

“I do expect the church to face a high cost – both externally and internally – for its prominent part in the campaign,” said LDS sociologist and Proposition 8 supporter Armand Mauss of Irvine, Calif. He believes church leaders feel a “prophetic imperative” to speak out against gay marriage.

“The internal cost will consist of ruptured relationships between and among LDS members of opposing positions, sometimes by friends of long standing and equally strong records of church activity,” Mauss said. “In some cases, it will result in disaffection and disaffiliation from the church because of the ways in which their dissent has been handled by local leaders.”

Californians Against Hate: LDS Bankrolling CA, AZ Marriage Amendments

Jim Burroway

October 22nd, 2008

Californians Against Hate released figures yesterday that members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS, aka the Mormons) have contributed $17.67 million (77%) to support passage of Proposition 8 in California. Additionally, the group reports that Mormons have contributed almost all of the $6.9 million to pass Proposition 102 in Arizona. The group did not give an exact figure for Arizona.

According to the Advocate:

[Fred] Karger said Californians Against Hate came up with the figures by cross-referencing donor information from the California secretary of state with Brigham Young University alumni lists, church memberships, and other personal documentation that could identify Mormon Church members. He said the surge in support has been an attempt to boost the church’s social standing among the greater religious community.

“For whatever reason, they’re trying to get some respect from other religions,” he told The Advocate Tuesday. “They’ve always been looked down upon by the Christians, the Catholics, and evangelicals.”

Success with the marriage amendment would give the church credibility, Karger said.

We are in a very tough fight against a formidable opponent. Please give as generously as you can today.

Florida and Arizona Anti-Gay Activists Use Same Media Company

Jim Burroway

October 20th, 2008

Remember those nearly identical television commercials running in Arizona and Florida in support of those states’ proposed “marriage amendments”? The Miami Herald has noticed them as well:

Bloggers have pointed out that new ad uses many of the same images and the same format as an ad running in Arizona. Arizona and California are also deciding whether to pass a constitutional amendment that would define marriage as between a man and a woman in November. Both the backers of Florida’s Amendment 2 and Arizona’s Proposition 102 hired the same media company, Stemberger said, but he said the fact that the ads were similar is “irrelevant.”

We posted both of those “irrelevant” ads alongside each other so you, too, can marval at the coincidences.

Arizona Republic Says No to Prop 102

Jim Burroway

October 20th, 2008

This is huge. The Arizona Republic is the state’s largest, most influential newspaper. It is also generally a conservative one. But in this morning’s edition, the editorial board of the Republic strongly urges that Arizona voters reject Prop 102. And they did so in surprisingly strong terms:

One of the best arguments against a proposed state constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage is this: Secretary of State Jan Brewer blocked ballot language that would have told voters that state law already prohibits such marriages.

If voters were clear on existing law, many might decide there’s no reason to adopt the amendment.

The Republic also doubts the sincerity of the “Yes” side’s claim that this is a “simple” amendment:

Refusing to recognize another state’s contracts brings up federal constitutional issues. What about other types of same-sex legal partnerships?

Lawyers could use up a lot of billable hours parsing the exact meaning of “union” and “marriage.”

Arizona must get beyond the acrimony fueled by the fight over Proposition 102.

Arizona could use strong advocates of marriage. They should spend their time and energy hunting for real ways to shore it up. Proposition 102 is a needless distraction. Voters should reject it.

The Republic joins these other Arizona newspapers in urging Arizona voters to reject Prop 102:

The fight isn’t over, nor is it won. We can defeat this so-called marriage amendment again, but only with your help. Our opponents are on track to raise more than ten million dollars, and if they win this time, they will most assuredly decide to go after California again in a couple of years. We need to send a message: when voters say no, they mean it. They’re not dumb.

Please give as generously as you can today.

Arizona Daily Star Endorses No on Prop 102

Jim Burroway

October 19th, 2008

The Arizona Daily Star this morning urges its readers to vote no on Prop 102:

Proposition 102 is a divisive, discriminatory initiative that would threaten to erode the rights of same-sex couples if approved.

Arizona voters rejected a similar — though more far-reaching — proposition in 2006.

Furthermore, this proposition isn’t needed because state law already defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman. The state law has been challenged and upheld in court.

We see Proposition 102, fundamentally, as an attempt by conservatives to legislate morality. We urge a “no” vote on Proposition 102 and hope we don’t see a similar measure in 2010.

The Arizona Daily Star joins these newspapers in opposing Prop 102:

Yuma Sun Opposes Prop 102

Jim Burroway

October 19th, 2008

The Yuma Sun recommends voting no on Prop 102:

For a shameful period of time in our nation, interracial marriage was forbidden. We now know that was abominably wrong. That illustrates, however, the dangerous path one treads when you allow the government to define “proper” marriage.

It is best to keep the government as far removed from marriage as possible, and we therefore cannot support Proposition 102, or the statutory limitation that currently exists.

The Sun joins these Arizona newspapers in opposing Prop 102:

Arizona and Florida Anti-Gay Forces Sharing TV Commercials

Jim Burroway

October 19th, 2008

The video at top is the pro-Amendment 2 ad that has been unveiled for Florida. The video on the bottom is the pro-Prop 102 ad which has been running in Arizona for the past three weeks. Just for grins, click to play both of them at about the same time (as quickly in succession as you can at least) and see if you can spot the differences. There are a few, obviously reflecting the geographical and ethnic differences between the two states, but the similarities are startling.

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[Hat tip: Tucson Observer blog]

Mormons Petition LDS Leaders Opposing Anti-Gay Political Activities

Jim Burroway

October 18th, 2008

A group of about fifty Mormons presented stacks about 300 letters and a petition to officials of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints yesterday opposing the church’s efforts in support of Proposition 8 in California.

The letters were bundled in fifteen stacks and wrapped in pink ribbons, to be split among the Mormon Church’s three-man First Presidency and twelve apostles. The group sang the Mormon hymn “As I Have Loved You, Love One Another” during the event.

The protesters also deposited several manila envelopes containing signatures on the petition. It asks the LDS Church to stop “political organizing efforts and financial support of attempts to use the government to restrict the secular and religious rights of gay and lesbian individuals and publicly retract their request that members of the LDS Church support such measures.” The group also delivered bunches of carnations representing people they say have lost their lives in the gay marriage debate. They were referring to suicides by gay Mormons.

“We urge LDS leaders to read these letters and listen to their words,” said Andrew D. Callahan, an LDS high priest in Nebraska, who organized an Internet petition drive for Mormons who oppose the amendment known as Proposition 8.

Callahan, you may recall, faces a disciplinary hearing for charges of “conduct unbecoming a member of the church and … apostasy.” That hearing was originally scheduled for September, but has been put off until after the elections. Callahan runs the web site Signing For Something, which features several statements from fellow Mormons opposing the church’s efforts on behalf of so-called “marriage amendments” in California and Arizona.

No Longer Silent: Arizona Clergy Against Prop 102

Jim Burroway

October 17th, 2008

A large coalition of Phoenix-area clergy called No Longer Silent has released this video urging Christians to vote against Proposition 102, Arizona’s so-called “marriage amendment.”

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Damaged “Yes on 102″ Signs in Phoenix Area

Jim Burroway

October 13th, 2008

I got a phone call last night from a reporter from Phoenix’s ABC15, telling me that a spokesperson for the ’Yes” side for Prop 102 says that more than a hundred of their campaign signs were vandalized. Obviously, everyone here at No on Prop 102 condemns such vandalism. While we are happy to engage in a vigorous debate on the issues, vandalism has no place in rational debate.

University of Arizona President Emeritus Opposes Prop 102

Jim Burroway

October 12th, 2008

An op-ed by University of Arizona President Emeritus Peter Likins appeared in Saturday’s Tucson Citizen urging everyone to vote against Prop 102:

We are at a critical juncture in time, nationally and in Arizona, obliged to confront crucial problems relating to such fundamental issues as the economy, education and health care.

These problems will not be solved until we learn to work together throughout society, especially in our governing bodies. Until our elected officials learn to search out common ground and build from a shared foundation, we will continue to founder on the rocks of conflicting ideologies such as those that divide and destroy the effectiveness of the Arizona Legislature.

Proposition 102 commits to the state constitution the definition of marriage that already exists in Arizona law as a union between one man and one woman. Passing this proposition will do nothing to change the law or to protect the sanctity of marriage.

(After nearly 53 years of a beautiful marriage, my wife and I are beyond the reach of state law.)

A similar proposition was rejected in 2006, but we are back again in angry conflict over an issue that seemed settled then.

You can read the rest of the op-ed here.

Arizona Together’s TV Ad Against Prop 102

Jim Burroway

October 12th, 2008
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Arizona Together has begun showing these ads around the state to drum up opposition to Prop 102, the so-called “marriage amendment.” It costs about $375 to air one ad on one television station. So by my calculation, this means that:

  • $375 pays for one television spot,
  • $750 pays for two spots,
  • $1875 pays for five spots…

Okay, so you get the picture. And even if you can’t afford a triple-digit contribution, every little bit helps. Even a tenth of a television spot will make a difference when bundled with nine others.

Arizona became the first in the nation to defeat one of these so-called “marriage amendments.” We can do it again, but only with your help. It’s important, because if we lose in Arizona, then they will have gotten the message that they can take other victories away from us simply by coming back again and again.

Please don’t let that happen. Give generously to Arizona Together today.

AZ State Senator Blasted For Role In Prop 102

Jim Burroway

October 8th, 2008

In a debate held in Southern Arizona yesterday, two candidates for Congress sparred over one candidate’s role in placing Proposition 102, Arizona’s so-called “marriage amendment,” on the ballot.

First-term Democratic incumbent Rep. Gabrielle Giffords blasted her challenger, State Sen. Tim Bee (R-Tucson), over his role in the contentious final night of the legislative session when he cast the sixteenth, deciding vote to put the proposition on the ballot. According to the Arizona Daily Star:

Giffords’ sharpest attack on Bee, the outgoing president of the state Senate, was blaming him for a blowup on the last night of the 2008 legislative session, when several pieces of legislation died in the wake of a combative debate about sending a measure to define marriage to the November ballot.

“The individuals that I know that work at the state Legislature reported that the end of the session was the worst end that anyone could remember in the history of the state Legislature,” Giffords said. “Crying. Tears. Bills that were left undone.

“When we talk about leadership as the Senate president there’s an opportunity to really lead,” she said, declaring her opposition to what is now Proposition 102. Specifically, Giffords pointed out a solar-energy bill and guest-worker proposal failed to get a final vote.

Arizona has the most sunshine of any state in the union, yet Bee and his cronies shoved aide a badly needed solar-energy bill. Arizona has one in four schools that don’t meet federal standards, and we have more than a million Arizonans without access to affordable health care. Oh yeah, there’s also a widening state budget deficit of $3 Billion, and that will only get worse with a state economy that has been shedding jobs over the past several months.

But what does Bee think is more important? A proposition that Arizona voters already said no to two years ago.

Please help us tell them to trust the people and to work on issues that are really important. Please give generously today.

Arizona - Vote No On Proposition 102 - Again!

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