In 2008 the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS) won the effort to pass California’s anti-gay Proposition 8, but suffered a major public relations disaster in the process. Since then, the LDS has stayed out of the public eye as marriage equality bills and ballot measures have been debated in numerous other states.
This week, however, the LDS has re-engaged with a letter to its congregations in Hawaii. The Hawaii legislature is scheduled to take up a marriage equality bill during a special session beginning Oct. 28.
By reading the letter to their congregations, The Salt Lake Tribune reports, “LDS leaders across the state urged Mormons to ‘study this legislation prayerfully and then as private citizens contact your elected representatives in the Hawaii Legislature to express your views about the legislation’”.
It all sounds so fair and balanced, until you get to this part (emphasis added):
Whether Mormons favor or oppose the potential change, the letter said, they should push for “a strong exemption for people and organizations of faith” that would protect religious groups “from being required to support or perform same-sex marriages or from having to host same-sex marriages or celebrations in their facilities; and protect individuals and small businesses from being required to assist in promoting or celebrating same-sex marriages.”
Apparently the LDS leadership has calculated that it will suffer another public relations disaster if it engages in an all-out effort to block the marriage equality bill, so it’s going for second best. It wants Mormons in Hawaii to gut the state’s public accommodations law so that businesses can discriminate against gays planning to marry.
Same anti-gay bigotry, different packaging.