What do Prop. 8′s Mormon supporters want? Boston Globe
Posted on November 29, 2008
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When Mormons light their massive and colorful Christmas displays tonight on the Mesa Arizona Temple grounds, thousands of candles may burn across the street in a vigil in Pioneer Park.
Vigil organizers call it a demonstration of solidarity for gays and lesbians seeking full civil rights. They say their vigil was precipitated by Mormons’ staunch opposition to same-sex marriage with passage of amendments to constitutions in Arizona, California and Florida in the Nov. 4 general election.
“We are not going to march. It is not a protest. We will have our candles,” said an organizer, Robert Parker, an outspoken gay Mormon from Mesa. Parker hopes to get 5,000 people to assemble in the park “to stand in solidarity with gay Mormons who are stuck in the closet and need to know that we are working to help secure their civil rights.”
The dollars and votes of Mormons are viewed by the gay community as the deciding force for passage of state ballot propositions to amend constitutions to limit marriage to one man and one women.
Mormons contributed about $3 million of the $8 million raised in the “Yes on 102″ campaign to amend the Arizona Constitution, according to media reports. That proposition won with 56.2 percent approval. In California, where the state Supreme Court had ruled May 15 that gays and lesbians could legally marry, a fierce battle was waged over Proposition 8 to ban same-sex marriage. It won with 52.3 percent. The Los Angeles Times estimated that about $20 million of the $35.8 million raised in support of Proposition 8 came from Mormons. More than $37 million was spent in California to oppose the amendment.
“We find it surprising that our church has been singled out” for harsh criticism, said Don Evans, spokesman for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Arizona. “This constitutional amendment was supported by the Catholic Church, which is far and away the largest church in Arizona, and it was also supported by the various evangelical congregations.”
All of those churches consistently opposed same-sex marriages, but “our church has taken the lion’s share of the protest,” Evans said.
Parker said he hopes that most of the 4,000 who took part Saturday in a march from Phoenix City Hall to the state Capitol will turn out in Mesa today.
It has been spontaneously coming together through a flurry of e-mails, blogs, texting, MySpace, FaceBook and other communications, said Annie Loyd, a community organizer, who has helped to plan today’s event.
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