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“Now you must raise your children up in a world where that union of man and box turtle is on the same legal footing as man and wife…”
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Posts for November, 2008

Protest In NYC

Jim Burroway

November 13th, 2008

Huge numbers of people — estimates range widely from 3,000 to 10,000 — converged at the Mormon Temple in New York City to protest the passage of California’s Proposition 8. JoeMyGod was there, and he has a great roundup.

One good question which has arisen out of these protests is this: where were all of these people before the election? I think I have one piece of an answer that I will set about to put into words this weekend. But Dan Savage, who was also at the NYC protest, has a very different perspective that I had never thought of before:

Gay people generally aren’t the placard-waving, bomb-throwing, chaps-wearing, communion-wafer-stomping radicals we’re made out to be by the Bills O’Reilly and Donohue. Most gays and lesbians are content to be left to alone; many gays and lesbians go out of their way to ignore political threats and political activism and political activists. Only when gays and lesbians are attacked—only after the fact—do gays and lesbians take to the streets. Remember: the Stonewall Riots were are a response to a particularly brutal and cruelly-timed (we’d just buried Judy!) police raid on a gay bar in New York City; ACT-UP and Queer Nation were a response not to the AIDS virus, but to a murderous indifference on the parts of the political and medical establishment that amounted to an attack.

Most gay people grow up desperately trying to pass, to blend in; most of us flee to cities where we can live our lives in relative peace and security. We don’t go looking for fights. And most gay people walk around without realizing that they’ve internalized the dynamics of high school hells some of us barely survived: it’s better to pass, to stay out of sight, to avoid making waves, lest you attract negative attention, lest you get bashed.

But once you get bashed, once someone else throws the first punch, then you fight back—what other choice do you have?

Protests Continue This Week

Jim Burroway

November 12th, 2008

The protests against Prop 8 continue. Here are some more scheduled for this week:

Wednesday, November 12
Encinitas, CA
4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Corner of Saxony and Encinitas Blvd.
Phone: 5305759264

West Hollywood, CA
7:00 p.m.
Santa Monica & San Vicente

New York, NY
6:30 p.m.
Manhattan Mormon Temple
125 Columbus Ave at 65th Street

San Diego, CA
7:00 p.m.
St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral
2728 Sixth Ave.
For more info, contact Chris Harris at (619) 298-7261 or

Sacramento, CA
11:30 p.m. to 7:00 a.m.
Meet on the West Steps of the Capitol (10th Street Side)
March will end up back at the West Steps at 4:30 am
For those that can ONLY participate in the morning’s performance piece – arrive no later than 4:30 am.

Thursday, November 13
UC Riverside
11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
UC Riverside Bell Tower

Irvine, CA
4:30 p.m.
Corner of Campus & Culver Drive, Irvine
Marching to Culver & Alton.

State, College, PA
5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Allen Street Gates
Corner of College and Allen Streets

Friday, November 14
Tucson, AZ
5:00 p.m.: Assemble at El Presidio Park (155 N Church St)
5:30 p.m.: March to La PLacita Village
5:45 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Rally
See Wingspan for details.

UC San Diego, La Jolla
11:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
9450 Gilman Drive

Vanguard College
12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Lawn in front of Heath @ Vanguard

Hermosa Beach, CA
5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
The Intersection of Pier and Hermosa Ave.
Hermosa Beach Pier

San Francisco
6:00 p.m.
At the San Francisco Chronicle, 901 Mission St.

Saturday, November 15
Nationwide rallies. See Join the Impact for details.

Nationwide Protests Called for Saturday

Jim Burroway

November 11th, 2008

This thing is now going viral, complete with its own Facebook page. Ordinary folks, disillusioned by our “professional advocates,” have shoved them aside and are now taking matters into their own hands. The web site they’ve set up, Join the Impact, is calling for protests in more than 125 cities across America on Saturday November 15, at 1:30 p.m. EST / 10:30 a.m. PST.

Their web site has been had trouble staying online because of the heavy traffic. So I’m re-posting the information below after the jump.

Update: I’ve updated the post above to reflect the more active and most current web site. I’ve also updated the information below.

Click here to find a city near you.

More Protests Yet To Come

Jim Burroway

November 11th, 2008

The protests against Prop 8 continue without any apparent letup. Here are some more scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday, including one in St. Paul, Minnesota:

Tuesday, November 11:
Rancho Cucamonga, CA
1:00 p.m.
Corner of Haven and Foothill.

Redlands, CA
4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Redlands Mormon Temple
1761 Fifth Avenue

Santa Monica, CA
5:00 p.m.
321 Santa Monica Pier

Fresno, CA
5:00 p.m.
Fink-White Playground
Amador St and B St.

San Francisco, CA
5:00 p.m. – 10:00p.m.
San Francisco City Hall
1 Dr Carton B Goodlett Pl

San Diego, CA
5:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
San Diego Mormon Temple
7474 Charmant Drive

Los Angeles, CA
6:00 p.m.
La Cienega Blvd and Centinela Ave

Saint Paul, MN
3:00 p.m.
State Capitol (Meet on Old Main Lawn)

Wednesday, November 12
Encinitas, CA
4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Corner of Saxony and Encinitas Blvd.
Phone: 5305759264

West Hollywood, CA
7:00 p.m.
Santa Monica & San Vicente

New York, NY
6:30 p.m.
Manhattan Mormon Temple
125 Columbus Ave at 65th Street

San Diego, CA
7:00 p.m.
St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral
2728 Sixth Ave.
For more info, contact Chris Harris at (619) 298-7261 or

Mounting Protests Against Prop 8

Jim Burroway

November 9th, 2008

Protests continue to mushroom across California in the wake of last week’s passage of Proposition 8, which eliminated the right to marry for gay and lesbian couples.

In Los Angeles:

Police estimated that 12,500 boisterous marchers converged about 6 p.m. at Sunset and Santa Monica boulevards in Silver Lake near the site of the former Black Cat bar, which the city recently designated a historic-cultural monument for its ’60s role as home of the local gay rights movement.  Police guided the demonstrators through the streets for more than three hours without major confrontations. No arrests were reported.

…Steering the crowds, several hundred officers were on scene, riding horses, motorcycles and bicycles. Others on foot were sprinkled through the crowd. Mario Mariscal, 20, and his mother, Delia Perez, a 45-year-old Guatemalan immigrant, stood on the Sunset Boulevard sidewalk. Mariscal came out to his mother as gay when he was 16. She held a sign saying, “Give my son his rights.”

In San Diego:

An estimated 8,000 to 10,000 people marched from Hillcrest to North Park behind a giant rainbow flag in protest of Proposition 8. The measure, approved Tuesday by 52 percent of voters, overturns the state Supreme Court ruling in May that legalized gay marriage.

“I don’t want anyone to take away my right to marry,” said Ken Hagen, a University City newlywed who marched down University Avenue alongside his partner, John Young. Chants for equality were sometimes drowned out by drivers honking their horns in support of the passing crowd. Signs waved and bobbed in the air with slogans such as “We Shall Overcome” and “Not Gay, Love You Anyway.”

In San Francisco:

Thousands of demonstrators marched down Market Street in San Francisco on Friday night to protest the passage earlier this week of Proposition 8, which effectively bans same-sex marriage in California.

The march began around 5:30 p.m., as the group worked its way west toward its final destination of Dolores Park. A large group remained around Ninth and Market streets, holding signs, chanting and jamming traffic. About a dozen Muni buses were stuck in the traffic mess.

In Oakland:

Backlash to the passage of an anti-gay-marriage law continued to sweep across California on Sunday, with hundreds of protesters rallying outside the Mormon Temple on Lincoln Avenue in the Oakland Hills. Same-sex marriage supporters carried signs, blew whistles, and passing cars honked in support outside the largest temple in the Bay Area. The Mormon church was among the top contributors to the effort to pass Proposition 8.

…The California Highway Patrol was forced to shut down the nearby Joaquin Miller and Lincoln on and off-ramps to the freeway due to the Oakland protest. A CHP dispatcher said the highway ramps were closed to protect pedestrians from traffic.

In Orange County:

About 300 people gathered in front of Saddleback Church protesting the recently-passed gay marriage ban this morning. Holding signs reading “Shame on Rick Warren” and “Preach Love not Discrimination,” the crowd chanted “Equal rights now.”

…In Orange County, hundreds protested without incident in Laguna Beach and Huntington Beach yesterday. Protests were planned in Lake Forest, Laguna Niguel and Rancho Santa Margarita today.

In Sacramento:

Thousands of Prop 8 opponents demonstrated at the State Capitol Sunday for the latest rally against the measure banning same-sex marriage in California.

By 2:00 p.m., thousands of people had massed in front of the California statehouse. The event was the latest demonstration in Sacramento and across the state since the passage of Proposition 8 Tuesday, which amended the state constitution to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

In Santa Barbara:

Many people at a rally in Santa Barbara Friday night not only oppose Proposition 8, they oppose the fact that it was on the ballot to begin with. “This should not have been a ballot measure, the basic fundamental human rights shouldn’t be voted on by the electorate,” said David Selberg with Pacific Pride Foundation.

In Long Beach:

More than 2,000 demonstrators marched through Long Beach on Friday night, protesting the passage of Proposition 8, the ban on same-sex marriage in California. Fifteen people were arrested.

The march started about 7:30 p.m. and within an hour had taken over Broadway, with protesters shouting and holding signs with such messages as “Did we vote on your marriage?”

See also:
LDS Church Can’t Hide Behind A Temple
Thousands Protest In Salt Lake City’s Temple Square
Protesters Target Mormon Temple in Westwood

Thousands Protest In Salt Lake City’s Temple Square

Jim Burroway

November 8th, 2008

 An estimated 3,000 people gathered in downtown Salt Lake City to protest Mormon involvement in the campaign for California’s Proposition 8:

A sea of signs in City Creek Park, where the march began, screamed out messages including, “I didn’t vote on your marriage,” “Mormons once persecuted . . . Now persecutors,” and “Jesus said love everyone.” Others read, “Proud of my two moms” and “Protect traditional marriage. Ban divorce.”

Former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson and three openly gay state legislators, Sen. Scott McCoy and Reps. Jackie Biskupski and Christine Johnson, spoke out in support. At one point, the crowd took up the mantra made famous by the country’s new president-elect: “Yes, we can!”

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.]

More Protests This Weekend

Jim Burroway

November 7th, 2008

Andy Towle has been keeping track of all the protests over Prop 8 anticipated this weekend:

PROTESTS – this WEEKEND. I’ve UPDATED the list of demonstrations taking place this weekend. There are now events in San Francisco, Mission Viejo, Palm Springs, Long Beach, Santa Barbara, San Diego, Salt Lake City, Laguna Beach, Sacramento, and Los Angeles. I’ve added an event for tonight in San Jose, and updated the San Diego protest information. This will be the first non-pride gay rights march in San Jose history.

Friday Protests Planned at Salt Lake City Temple and Several California Cities

Jim Burroway

November 6th, 2008

A protest is planned for 6 p.m. Friday at the LDS Temple in Salt Lake City. The protest is intended to show solidarity with those protesting in California over the Mormon church’s heavy involvement in Prop 8.

The Utah protest is being organized by Jacob Whipple, a 29-year-old former LDS Church member who served a mission in Argentina. Joining the protest will be Valerie Larabee, executive director of the Utah Pride Center.

Update: Other protests are planned for Friday night, including:

  • San Francisco: 5:30 p.m., from the San Francisco Civic Center (Market/7th), with a march to Dolores Park.
  • Long Beach, CA: 6:45 p.m. – 9:00 p.m., Broadway and Redondo.
  • Santa Barbara, CA: 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m., 700-756 De La Guerra Plaza St.

Update: San Diego: 9 p.m., at Laurel and Sixth, with a walk to City Hall.

If you know of any more protests, please let me know either by email or in the comments.

Protesters Target Mormon Temple in Westwood

Jim Burroway

November 6th, 2008

A crowd of protesters, variously estimated at between 500 to 3,000 strong, gathered outside the Mormon temple on Santa Monica Boulevard in Westwood, CA to protest the church’s involvement in Tuesday’s passage of Proposition 9.

The protest began at about 2 p.m., as people stood in front of the temple, waving banners and screaming “Shame on you” to church members behind the temple’s gates. Police closed portions of Westwood Boulevard, Wilshire Boulevard and Santa Monica Boulevard around the temple, leading to massive traffic jams.

There were reports of more protests near the UCLA campus, in which protesters sat down in the middle of Wilshire Boulevard. Another protest is expected at the Los Angeles Federal Building, with possibly additional protests continuing on into the night.

This follows a night of protests in Hollywood and West Hollywood, where thousands of protesters effectively shut down Santa Monica Boulevard. The massive protest caught L.A. police off guard, requiring them to call a tactical alert. At least seven people were arrested. Television cameras caught one protester being struck by batons.

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