Worried About Marriage in California

Frankly, I'm worried about Proposition 8 on the November California ballot. That's the initiative that would end marriage for same-sex couples.

There are reasons to feel good. The latest California Field Poll shows us ahead by a very respectable 55 percent to their 38 percent. But when you look beneath the surface, the situation is a little more complex. All of the in depth research appears to show: 1) we have a solid 40 to 42 percent; 2) they have a solid 38 to 40 percent; 3) we're both chasing the remaining 16 to 20 percent. That remaining 16 to20 percent is made up of voters who are deeply conflicted; they don't like marriage for same-sex couples, but they also don't like the idea of voting to take someone's rights away.

What the Field Poll and some other polls like it suggest is that we are getting most of those conflicted voters right now. But it doesn't tell us that we've completely convinced them — just that at the moment they are resolving the conflict our way. That may well reflect the fact that almost all of the news coverage so far has been positive, and the other side hasn't even begun to hit yet on television.

But they are going to start hitting soon. We made a great television ad buy early on. But they have now bought a week ahead of us. More ominously, they're now out-fundraising us significantly. They've taken in over $16 million compared to our $11 million (and they only pulled ahead after Labor Day). And the stuff is pouring in, mostly in $1,000, $2,500 and $5,000 chunks, mostly driven by the Mormon church .

The kinds of gifts the Mormons are bringing in are just not coming in on our side . We've already raised more than has ever been raised on a progressive issue campaign in California. But the forces of intolerance see this as the Waterloo of the "culture war." And they are backing up what they say with money.

If they keep outdoing us on money, they'll get up on television first, they will saturate, and they may well redefine the issue for those conflicted voters. If they do, our lead will evaporate. And our chances of winning will become remote.

We can still win this, but our community has got to start supporting the effort in a big way now, or we are done for. Please, give as generously as you can. Here's a link where you can do so .

I don't have to tell you how important it is that we defeat Prop. 8. With marriage secure in California, we will be poised to win marriage in critical states like New Jersey and New York in a year or two. We could have the fight for equality more or less finished in less than a generation. But if we lose the largest and most economically important state in the nation, and if we lose because the voters reject marriage, winning will be at least an additional generation away.

Want to learn more about how to fight for relationship recognition and other LGBT rights in your hometown, county, or state? Visit the ACLU LGBT Project's online toolkit, Get Busy, Get Equal!

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The LDS church is clearly over-stepping its bounds as a tax-exempt religious institution and engaging in activities appropriate only to a PAC. As reported in two articles in the Salt Lake Tribune today, they held a satellite broadcast to all their churches in California as well as in Utah, Idaho and Hawaii to EXPLICITLY "ask Brigham Young University students and other Californians living in Utah to participate in phone trees in support of Proposition 8."

Another quote:

"At the [Protect Marriage] Coalition's request, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is [please note the following explicit action:] making arrangements for Californians living in Utah 'to call friends, family and fellow-citizens in California to urge support of the effort to defend traditional marriage,' spokesman Scott Trotter said Tuesday."

And another:

"The goal is to get as many members as possible who would be willing to make phone calls for two to four hours a week from now through election day," Robert Chambers, an LDS area authority for Pocatello, Idaho, wrote in a letter to stake presidents in the Rexburg area. "We ask you to commit initially to a minimum of 150-200 volunteers from your stake."

The LDS church is NOT just "speaking out" on a "moral issue" here. They are engaged in POLITICAL ORGANIZING!

They are NOT limiting themselves to the kind of free speech to express their moral position that is unarguably afforded them under the law. They are taking POLITICAL ACTION!

They should be held, therefore, to the same standards that would place them on an equal footing with other PACs, and NOT be allowed the unfair advantage of "church" status while they involve themselves in "PAC"-like activity.

It's one thing for people to make phone calls for a political cause they believe in -- on their own, or as part of a recognized and duly regulated PAC.

But for the LDS church to allocate its immense resources to call them all together through its satellite broadcast system, and tell them that it is their religious duty to do it (and you know how Mormons, like no other religion, feel duty-bound to do WHATEVER their "leaders" tell them to do!) AND THEN to organize them and "make arrangements" for them to "participate" in this sophisticated "phone-call system", that even requires "a small test" to assure it's working properly -- well, don't you think that's just a tad bit out of bounds for a tax-exempt religious institution?!?

Isn't there some kind of judicial relief that can be brought to bear here?


The two Salt Lake Tribune articles referred to above are available at:





Agreed with "RD". This appears to be illegal politicking by a tax-exempt church. Is it time to sue for removal of the tax-exempt status of those branches of the LDS involved in this? I think it is, regardless of the results on November 4th. This illegal politicking under cover of tax-exemption is getting to a serious and recurring problem with right-wing "churches".


The LDS church is NOT a right wing church. It has members from all over the world that share different political views, from Communists to extreme right. They are fighting for Proposition 8 for other reasons. If you want to really know then go to http://www.newsroom.lds.org/ldsnewsroom/eng/ not a newspaper that is Anti-mormon like the Salt Lake Tribune. That´s like trying to get a positive comment on Obama from sean hannity.

Patrick Flaxington

Shortly after securing a legal domestic partnership with my fiance in CA. we moved to NV. This has in no way inhibited us from voicing our opinion that our friends and relatives must vote against this hateful piece of legislation.
The demise of this bill will give hope to those of us who live in less progressive states.
Pray to God proposition 8 crashes and burns, just as those who support it.

No on Prop 8

Can the ACLU sue the Mormon Church? They have been over stepping their bounds and their tax exemption should be taken away.

Sara Moore

I'm one of those couples in CA who got married. I'm overjoyed at the presidential election results and devastated with the Prop 8 results I'm seeing right now.

Is there going to be some sort of lawsuit?

Pissed off In S...

Well, it looks like Prop 8 is going to pass.

Now what? I feel like all of us lower class Gay people should stop paying our state taxes. Why should they take our money, if we don't get equal rights? It is absurd!

I am pissed at the people of California. I really thought that we were better than that. I was sure that prop 8 would be defeated.

So now that the California's Constitution will be ammended, where do we go from here? Is there a next step? Do we have any recourse to get this changed in the future?

We are not second class citizens, but are continually being treated as such! We gotta do something, we gotta all stick together and come up with the solution.


How can people pass state laws/amendments that are blatantly discriminatory? I don't get it. Isn't it unconstitutional? I mean what if some state passed a constitutional amendment banning interracial marriages? Shouldn't that be struck down on a federal level?


ACLU, we're all looking to you. What can we do? How can we get involved now that prop8 has passed? What's the next step for us in this long fight for equality?

Marching orders, please.



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