mememiner

a blog by wallace winfrey

The election and everything, pt. 1: Proposition H8 and the Mormons

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Well, I purposely avoided blogging right after election day, mostly because I wanted it to sink in for a while before I posted something.
I’ll be straight up honest with you: I find myself more saddened by the passage of Proposition 8 in California than I find myself elated by Obama’s win. I know that might seem odd to some, and my sadness should, in no way, be a reflection of any lack of enthusiasm I have for President-elect Obama. I just felt really strongly about defeating Proposition 8, and in fact, it was the only political campaign I gave money to (I gave $50.00).
Why would I, a straight, married, father of two in Colorado, give a shit about the legal status of gay marriage in California? Well, it’s pretty simple: I believe that discrimination against people because of their sexual orientation is wrong. Writing it into the California state constitution, of all places, strikes me as a great moral failure. The fact that the “Yes On Prop 8” campaign was [massively funded by the Mormons](http://mormonsfor8.com/), of all people, disgusts me.
I’ll come right out and say it. I hate Mormonism. I think it is a false religion, a cult of the worse kind. I *do not hate* individual Mormons. I feel pity for them, mostly — because they are brainwashed. I am also *not saying* that they should not be able to practice their religion; I am a firm believer in freedom of religion. However, I will say that I disagree with their faith and the practice thereof, and that I would like to see the Mormon Church lose their tax-exempt status.
The really sickening thing about the Mormon Church underwriting Prop H8, I mean, besides their own extremely fucked-up views and history with marriage to begin with, is that, in my opinion, it didn’t really have anything to do with California residents.
I think the Mormon Church would not give two shits if the gays were marrying each other in California, if they could be ensured that *Utah* would never be forced to recognize gay marriage. But, as they say, “As California Goes, So Goes The Nation”. They (correctly) viewed legal gay marriage as a threat to their theocracy in Utah.
Yes, I said theocracy. Anyone who doesn’t believe that the Mormon Church controls the state of Utah lock, stock and barrel is delusional. They see Utah as the “holy land”, and California’s legalization of gay marriage would eventually force Utah to recognize it as well, and given the importance they place on marriage in the Mormon religion, that was just too scary a thought to contemplate.
Non-Mormons probably don’t understand how important marriage is in the Mormon religion, but really, in many ways, it is the absolute centerpiece of their spiritual beliefs. When a Mormon couple are “bound together in the temple”, it’s for this life and the next. Mormons believe that when they die, they’ll be given a planet to rule over, and their earthly wife will be “First Wife” in the afterlife (I’m pretty sure plural marriage is accepted in the Mormon afterlife). The whole religion is extremely patriarchal, and the marriage contract puts the man firmly in charge.
Now, given that one can be excommunicated from the Mormon Church for being openly gay, why would the Mormons give a shit about non-Mormons marrying each other? Again, it’s because Utah is a theocracy, and if (when) the state is forced to recognize the social contract of gay marriage, it will be seen by the powers that be in that state as an abomination; a defacement of the temple, so to speak.
Most people think Utah is just one of 50 states, but really, while they pledge fealty to the United States and the federal government in Washington DC, a Mormon’s first allegiance is not to the US, but to the Mormon Church. If Utah were it’s own fucked-up little country — hey more power to ’em. But they’re not — they’re part of the United States, and subject to our laws and constitution. The fact that they are meddling in the business of neighboring states to protect their religious beliefs is disgusting, especially when the net effect is to enshrine discrimination into the state constitution.
There are three lawsuits proceeding: [According to New York Law School Professor Arthur S. Leonard](http://newyorklawschool.typepad.com/leonardlink/2008/11/proposition-8-challenges-filed.html),

All three suits proceed on essentially the same theory – that because the amendment alters the fundamental equal protection rights guaranteed by the state constitution, as they were identified by the Court last spring in the Marriage cases, it constitutes a “revision” of the constitution rather than a simple amendment. Under the California Constitution, a voter initiative can lead to a simple amendment, but not to a revision. In order for the initiative to revise the constitution, supermajorities of the legislature must propose it to the people for enactment. The idea behind this is that there should be a broad political consensus in the state before revising the fundamental charter of government, not merely a simple majority vote of the electorate as a result of a measure placed on the ballot through the petitioning process.

Let’s hope our gay brothers & sisters in California find some relief with these petitions.
And to the Mormon Church, and it’s believers I say: you are welcome to practice your religion as you so see fit, but when the free practice of your religion becomes a threat to what I believe is a fundamental right for all Americans, that’s when we must say there are limits to how you will be allowed to protect your theocracy.
That’s the bottom line: the Mormon Church’s opposition to gay marriage in one of the US’s most liberal states has nothing to do with “protecting marriage”, and everything to do with preserving their right to run Utah as a semi-theocratic state.
I doubt it will happen, but I would love to see the Mormon Church lose their tax-exempt status over this shit.

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