I spent much of the past several days restraining myself from writing posts that formed themselves in my head. As I did so, I discovered that if I just wait long enough someone else will say what I was going to say.
First, here is a faithful Mormon's explanation of why she opposed Proposition 8. It's good to remember that the question of gay marriage is not the war between homosexuality and religion that it's been made out to be. As this woman eloquently reminds us, we are all "alike unto God," and there are people of all faiths on all sides of the issue.
This is particularly pertinent in light of the protests at LDS churches and temples that have taken place since last Tuesday's passage of Prop 8. Presumably in response to these protests and other understandable demonstrations of anger at the forces behind Prop 8, the No on 8 campaign issued a statement reminding their supporters that "We only further divide our state if we attempt to blame people of faith, African American voters, rural communities and others for this loss."
The LDS church, of course, has issued its own response to the protests, claiming that "It is wrong to target the church and its sacred places of worship." Many bloggers have responded to this press release, but my favorite response so far is that of Chanson at Main Street Plaza: "If you open up a grocery store in the middle of your chapel, you can hardly complain that people are disrespecting your 'sacred places of worship' by shopping there." (Not to mention, I would add, that the church-supported Yes on 8 campaign has been stomping all over the sacred ground of other peoples' marriages and families for the past six months.)
Meanwhile, Andrew Sullivan at The Daily Dish implores angry anti-8 protesters to "chill." He notes the fact that young voters overwhelmingly voted against 8 as evidence that this is only a temporary setback for marriage equality. This view is further supported by Gallup polls Scot has posted at Isocrat.org showing how rapidly public opinion is swinging toward support of gay rights in general and same-sex marriage specifically. Those who oppose marriage equality must recognize they're fighting a losing battle.
Dale Carpenter at The Volokh Conspiracy recognizes the right of people to express their anger at the LDS church's involvement in Prop 8, but notes the danger of picketing their places of worship and calling for tax audits:
Stop the focus on the Mormon Church. Stop it now. We just lost a ballot fight in which we were falsely but effectively portrayed as attacking religion. So now some of us attack a religion? People were warned that churches would lose their tax-exempt status, which was untrue. So now we have (frivolous) calls for the Mormon Church to lose its tax-exempt status? It's rather selective indignation, anyway, since lots of demographic groups gave us Prop 8 in different ways — some with money and others with votes. I understand the frustration, but this particular expression of it is wrong and counter-productive.He suggests instead that gay couples lead sit-ins at marriage license bureaus in California, peacefully demanding their constitutionally guaranteed right to be treated equally until the government steps in and does what it must.
The absolute best response to Prop 8 and the LDS church I've heard all week comes from Equality Utah and Utah Senator Scott McCoy. In a news release today they've invited the church to back up its statements that it "does not object to rights ... regarding hospitalization and medical care, fair housing and employment rights, or probate rights" by supporting proposed legislation that would grant these specific rights to same-sex couples in Utah, who currently do not enjoy these legal protections. I see this proposal as a win-win situation: gay rights takes a major step forward in Utah, and the LDS church gets a chance to prove to the world that they are not the bigots many people believe they are. Most importantly, it's a chance for the church and the LGBT community to find common ground and work together rather than against each other, which is what I wish would have happened six months ago. Regardless of your faith or your stance on same-sex marriage, I urge you to sign your support to this effort to bridge a gap that just days ago looked unbridgeable.
Finally, I want to mention a couple things that have touched me in the past few days. First, I was grateful to get calls from family members who likely disagree with my position on the LDS church and Prop 8, but were nonetheless concerned for me personally because they knew this has been hard on me emotionally. I've made it clear before that Prop 8 has no legal impact on me or my family, and I don't pretend to suffer in the same way as my friends whose legal rights have been taken away, but I would be lying to say that my experience has been that of the concerned straight liberal who cares about gay rights from a purely intellectual standpoint. In a less-than-rational way, I have felt personally attacked by the church I was raised in, and I appreciate those loved ones who have expressed genuine empathy for this feeling, irrational as it may be.
Perhaps related to that sentiment, I was touched to discover yesterday that one of my brothers-in-law, who I've never before heard express much of an opinion about anything, has been very vocal on Facebook about his anger at Mormons' support of Prop 8. I don't know whether his fervor has anything to do with me or if it's just your basic liberal indignation, but regardless I'm happy to feel that solidarity with him. Tonight he shared a video of commentator Keith Olbermann making a powerful case for why everyone--everyone--should support marriage equality, even if you don't know a single gay person. It just about brought me to tears.