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Dave, Jennifer is AP's Salt Lake reporter, not a DesNews employee.

The Bloggernacle probably made it easy for her to collect the websites, doncha think?

Thanks for the correction, Ardis. I've seen her byline at both papers -- this clears things up.

It seems to me the story is that there are some (many?)within the LDS Church who are uncomfortable with the Church's call to arms on Prop. 8. And that they are using the web as a forum for expressing their views, probably because they see it as a more productive, or at least friendly, place for doing so. It is really not necessary to get supporters of Prop 8 to weigh in on that angle. The story is not Prop 8 itself, it is that there is an undercurrent of discontent among some Mormons about the Church's position. Prop 8 supporters, as valid as their opinions may be, don't really add anything to that story.

In addition, the Church's position is clearly stated by a church PR spokesperson.

So, cyberspace is a gay haven ... and this upsets you?

Would you rather it be the last refuge for bigots?

Or maybe it is that, too. Just nobody bothers to report on that aspect of the Bloggernacle.

Which strikes me as a blessing, rather than something to complain about.

I think you missed the focus of the post, Chino. Note that the gay haven label comes from the headline, not me. I assume it's being used descriptively rather than pejoratively.

In that case, apologies. It's 6 am where I am and I've just got done reporting on Mike Huckabee's latest interview - in which he throws Mitt Romney under the (gay) bus:

http://chinoblanco.blogspot.com

I think you'd find it interesting - in a non-infomercial kind of way.

I think that Dobner's story is an example of news, not PR fluff. The LDS church has come out prominently on one side of a huge political argument and, while most of the world views church members as one bloc, here's a story of something unusual - LDS members who don't agree with the church's stance.

Who knows, perhaps this publicity will turn out to be good for the church in the long run, since there's a history of non-members being afraid that the church will come into a community and take over the town government by voting as a bloc. And if some members can be opposed to the stance of the church as a whole, perhaps one-politician-member-to- remain-unnamed would also be believed when he told the press that he would be under no due pressure to follow leaders in SLC when making presidential political decisions.

Does it seem to anyone else here that the MSM appears awfully eager to find a reason to paint the Mormons sympathetically?

Maybe their discovering that Mormons are a common whipping-boy for a lot of folk in the hated Christian Right. With Romney newsworthy again, maybe they're hoping for Mormons-as-victims angle and Proposition 8 kind of messed the narrative up for them. Thus the need to report in ways that soften the Mormon image.

In response to Seth R. above, yes.

I think the MSM has been extremely gentle in their reporting of LDS involvement in the Prop 8 contest. I would caution anyone who cares about the LDS Church to avoid taking comfort in that. It's still early days in this unfortunate contest.

Church members like Gary Lawrence, the California LDS Grassroots Director, are spreading ugly lies with "Yes on 8" campaign gems like "Six Consequences if Proposition 8 Fails" ... and I don't see anyone other than a few random non-Mormon bloggers calling him on it so far - but that is going to change.

Please google "Six Consequences if Proposition 8 Fails" ... it's a lovely bit of fearmongering that's now been posted on dozens of Mormon family blogs.

I fired off an email today to Gary's assistant with these questions and comments from my side:

---------------------------

In terms of your religious commitments, is it acceptable for a member of the LDS faith to lie in order to achieve political objectives?

In terms of your responsibilities as a citizen, aren't you betraying your civic duty as an American by resorting to lies to scare up votes for your side?

In terms of your church's own self-interest, this election will be over in November, but the memory of your shameful "Yes on 8" campaign tactics will linger much longer ... don't you worry about the damage your false witness is doing to the public image of the LDS Church?

Win or lose, you guys really oughta consider putting a lid on the obvious scare tactics ... Some of the lies are so outrageous, I really believe you’re doing yourselves some long-term damage with the way you’re running the campaign.

---------------------------

The MSM *will* start asking similar questions in the months ahead.

Anyway, I'm hereby officially registering my disappointment that more LDS bloggers aren't openly taking the "Yes on 8" campaign to task for its failures.

And in any case, if you're gonna complain about the glowing coverage of the LDS "No on 8" sites, it'd seem like a good opportunity for you to point your readers in the direction of some great LDS "Yes on 8" sites. But you didn't. And you can't. Because they don't exist.

Bottom line: your church needs your help. The leadership made a bad call and got onboard with a political strategy that seemed to make sense at the time, but that time was last year.

This is now.

Even Mitt Romney never managed to turn a profit on every investment he ever made. This Prop 8 business happens to be one of those bad investments that needs to be walked away from sooner rather than later. Otherwise - and this is a sincere heads up - this story does not end well for the group whose interests you hold dear.

I know I sound like a concern troll. So be it. The bloggernacle needs to get real about what's going down here because it's not only Prop 8 that's being put in jeopardy in all this.

A "concern troll" -- what a pleasant term, Chino. Actually, LDS blogs have been on all sides of the Prop 8 issue. I've read criticism of the Six Consequences memo in email exchanges with bloggers. I'm sure it will make it to the public sites before long, if it hasn't already.

Wow, there's even been email exchanges on the subject?

So sanguine.

I'll have to work on that.

Chino,

I find it curious you accuse the Yes on 8 folks are lying, but you fail to articulate or back up your accusations.

Would you also accuse NPR of "fearmongering" and like to see them called out? See their story on "When Gay Rights and Religious Liberties Clash": http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=91486191

Manny,

I'm not sure if I'm still allowed to comment here, so I won't address each of the points in that NPR article right now, but if it looks like my comments are being posted, I'd be glad to engage.

In the meantime, having read the Barbara Bradley Hagerty article you linked to, here's a link that identifies the POV that Ms. Hagerty brings to this discussion:

http://betterangels.blogspot.com/2004/05/ballad-of-barbara-bradley-hagerty.html

Manny -

Wow, Ms. Hagerty has compiled quite a list:

Adoption services
Housing
Parochial schools
Medical services
Psychological services
Wedding (photography) services
(Public use) Wedding facilities
Youth groups

I was going to reply to each case, but it looks to me like these are ALL situations where folks ran afoul of anti-discrimination laws.

There is NOTHING about Prop 8 that is going to change the outcome of cases like these.

And, yes, I would accuse the author of this NPR piece of "fearmongering." If you followed the link I provided above, it looks like she's bringing her personal agenda to work with her. Unfortunate, but it happens.

That said, in that long list, she did bring up a topic under the header "Civil servants" that's kind of interesting for a Mormon audience.

In a 4-3 decision issued on Nov. 18, 2003, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry in Massachusetts. The court gave the state legislature until May 17, 2004 to enact legislation to allow such marriages to take place.

In the intervening time, the Massachusetts legislature did not enact a law codifying same-sex marriages. Before the May 17, 2004 deadline, however, then-Gov. Romney directed that the words “bride” and “groom” on Massachusetts marriage applications be changed to “Party A” and “Party B.”

Romney’s chief legal counsel, Daniel Winslow, told justices of the peace in Massachusetts that they should carry out the decision of the court and perform same-sex marriages or resign.

"My message was: 'You took an oath, and you don't have to agree or disagree with the law, you took an oath to uphold the law. Your only job is to follow the law,’” Winslow told Pete Winn of CNSNews.com in January. “We'll leave it to the courts to litigate what the law is, but once the courts have ruled, if you've taken an oath under the constitution, you have to follow your oath.”

On this point, I'm gonna go with what Romeny's guy Winslow said on the subject.

Re all those other examples, folks are dreaming if they think California is going to start rolling back anti-discrimination laws that are designed to protect everyone. Like I said, that's all got absolutely nothing to do with Prop 8.

Here's why - try a little experiment: Take all those anecdotes that Ms. Hagerty lists and substitute "black" for "same-sex" ... makes for pretty offensive reading unless you think it's OK to deny services to clients based on the color of their skin.

For those of us with gay friends, do you think I want to hear about them getting discriminated against? For those of us who don't share Ms. Hagerty's anti-gay prejudice, we're repulsed by the bigotry on display in her article.

Chino, your comment wasn't in a mod queue, it's just that Typepad has been posting slow the past few days.

Thanks, Dave. I appreciate you allowing me to vent on your site.

Chino,

Do you really believe a Constitutional amendment will do nothing to address the concerns listed? That is a very broad statement with which I couldn't disagree more. Time will tell. The "anti-discrimination" laws you believe the parties ran afoul with will suffer a major blow when the people's voice is heard (again) and the voice reaffirms what they statutorily stated several years ago: We don't endorse, sanction, or legitimize homosexual behavior/lifestyle.

As for your criticism of Ms. Haggerty, it appears if you can't respond to the message, you are going after the messenger. Is it not OK for a traditionalist to serve in the media? NPR is not necessarily a bastion of traditionalist thought. If she is such a biased right winger, certainly NPR wouldn't keep her around, right?

As for bigotry casting of anyone who believes in traditional sexual values, I invite you to consider finding a less polarizing argument. Homosexual behavior is FAR different from race, although I recognize it is part of the gay agenda to believe it is not. Your/Their attempt to silence dissent from anyone with differing beliefs by crying bigotry serves the purpose of alienating a significant portion/majority of the American population. Hopefully civil discussion can occur without making such accusations.

Many of the parties in the litigated cases are PRIVATE parties who apparently are not allowed to conscientiously object to sexual behavior or lifestyles they disagree with. I believe Constitutional amendments defining and clarifying marriage have gone a long way toward protecting many citizens ability to establish their own sexual mores and values. I can only hope the gay thought police will not arrest others in our society and litigate anyone and everyone who dares disagree with them.

Manny -

You and I are both familiar with the text of the amendment. How does it differ from Prop 22? Did Prop 22 accomplish anything like what you're suggesting here? If not, why do you expect Prop 8's impact to be any more significant? Isn't one definition of insanity the tendency to do the same thing over and over in the expectation of a different result?

In any case, if what you're attempting to do with your vote is send a message that you "don't endorse, sanction, or legitimize homosexual behavior/lifestyle" ... well, carry on, then. You'll send your message. And if your side manages to eke out a Prop 8 victory, you'll be preventing gay marriage in California. That's it. Nothing more. Gay couples will continue to settle down into long-term commitments, gay parents will continue to raise their children, and me and my wife and kids will continue to have a good life.

Good luck with accusing me of silencing dissent. I'm just an average joe who would've been prevented by law from marrying my lovely wife if the courts hadn't seen fit to strike down unconstitutional (majority-backed) laws regarding interracial marriage. Could I have counted on you to support our marriage 30 years ago? Or would our marriage have seemed "icky" and wrong to you, as it did to most Americans at the time?

The PRIVATE (not sure why we're using ALL CAPS here, but I'll go with it) parties you refer to had all hung out their shingle offering public services for money (churches that rent out their facilities to the public for parties, doctors that are in the business of providing insemination services, photographers who take wedding photos, etc.). Years ago, I'm sure there were folks who would've just as soon turned my wife away when she showed up in their place of business, but here's a newsflash: That's no longer acceptable behavior in America, and the folks it still happens to have every right to seek remedies because it's just plain ol' discrimination.

I know that calling people out on their bigotry makes me sound belligerent, but belittling your fellow Americans with terms like "gay thought police" makes you sound small and petty.

Chino,

I'm enjoying the discussion...but I must say I believe I and most Americans see things much different than you do.

In terms of insanity...the more the gay lobby tries to do the same, (i.e. coerce the rest of the world into endorsing and legitimizing their lifestyle) the more the rest of the world has to ratchet up the laws. First resolutions, then laws, and then State Constitutional amendments, and finally, a Federal Constitutional amendment (it's coming, trust me). It appears to me, that the insanity is simply the gay lobby failing to get the message that their behavior is reprehensible to most. Do they really think they are going to get a different result when the people have spoken over and over again? The difference is that once an amendment is passed, then a judge can't rule that a law that defines marriage consistent (i.e. IDENTICAL a la Prop 22 as you highlight) with the Constitution is "unconstitutional." End of argument until the gay lobby then tries it again in federal court...

You are right. If Prop 8 passes, life will go on. I think most Americans have accepted the reality that we have many good friends, family members, and neighbors who live in homosexual relationships. We love them, we accept them, however WE DON'T SANCTION OR ENDORSE THEIR BEHAVIOR. What I and many others are saying is stop trying to coerce endorsement of your behavior.

Nice try playing the race card again... Sexual orientation (despite years of effort by the gay lobby) has NEVER been found to be immutable or innate. Twin studies, developmental research, and other research has born out the reality that there is no known genetic link to being gay. No matter how much one tries to change their race, they can't. There are thousands and thousands of people who have experienced fluidity in their sexual orientation. In addition, the gay activist Robert Spitzer who had homosexuality removed from the manual that psychologists use to diagnose mental disorders in 1973, opened his mind, did some research, and found that sexual orientation can be changed (by some, not all). How many people can change or experience fluidity of their race? I would like to meet one person.

Let's be honest...the gay agenda is to force our culture to endorse or sanction their behavior/lifestyle. Playing the race card is just their attempt to create sympathy.

As for your mixed race relationship, I am the product of a mixed race relationship. I love my ancestors and appreciate their sacrifice. However, they did marry before having conceiving children. For that reason, I will sanction their behavior. I wish you and your family the best.

Sincerely,

Manny

Manny -

In terms of endorsing behavior, you do realize that you already have a fairly powerful tool at hand, don't you? Your church is under no obligation to perform same-sex marriages and its refusal to do so will send a clear message.

Since the issue we're talking about here is civil marriage and the ability (or not) to get a marriage license, the church's involvement looks like attempting to dictate your morality on folks who don't share your religious beliefs.

According to comments I've gotten over at my place (from folks on your side of the argument), there were roughly 415,000 children living in same-sex households as of the 2000 census.

Do you really think that these kids and their parents represent some kind of "gay agenda" ??

It's nice to hear that your ancestors were allowed to marry before beginning the process of raising a family.

You can keep your beliefs about homosexuality, but if you'd deny the opportunity to marry to folks with no agenda other than to raise their kids, you've really got no place to talk about how you "sanction" your ancestor's behavior. Do you mean, if they had not been allowed to marry, you would condemn their behavior?

It strikes me as an incredibly arrogant and heartless way to talk about those who gave you life and love.

Chino,

Time to end...

Let me summarize:

1)You allege Prop 8 supporters of lies, but don't back it up with fact.
2) I produce facts, which seem to substantiate concerns of Prop. 8 supporters, that you dismiss as "fearmongering."
3) You don't like the facts provided to substantiate the threats created by the gay marriage agenda, so you attack a messenger.
4) You don't like/agree with my points, so you attack with the race/bigot card.
5) I refute the race argument with fact, you focus on my "arrogance and heartless[ness]."

You now shift to accusing "my church" of dictating beliefs.... Let me punctuate with one more point of clarification. My church teaches a principle and allows people to choose to follow or not. There has been no threat, no coercion, no hate. My church encourages simple participation in the civil democratic process. It teaches simple moral principles: Life is sacred; the means (sexual relations) by which human life is created is sacred; sexual relations are therefore appropriate within a framework that provides the natural product of those relations (children) with the best opportunity for success - a committed family headed by a parent of both genders; fathers and mothers both play a vital role in raising a child. I understand you and others may not agree with those beliefs or principles. We'll just leave it as a disagreement. My church makes provision for that as a tenet faith.

I think my church has done a reasonable job of "living and let live." I don't think my church has taken any person to court in attempt to undo their relationship, coerce their belief system, or even dictate their sexual behavior. Now the gay agenda tries to force an entire culture to endorse and sanction their behavior and lifestyle by demanding the legitimation of an unprecedented marriage tradition. It is the gay agenda that is now imposing their belief system and agenda on the rest of the culture.

Finally, which is more coercive and imposing on our society, legislation or litigation? Who is litigating and who is legislating? If the answers to those questions are not obvious to you, we will NEVER agree on facts.

I appreciate your perspective and the opportunity to clarify my beliefs and position through this discussion. You have done me a great service and that is a great thing about this nation we live in. I simply ask that this process be allowed to continue, however the gay agenda seeks to silence my perspective by labeling it hate speech (thus my reference to thought police in a previous post. My sincere apologies if that statement was offensive.). The attempt and threat to silence me, and others like me, is real. There is obviously more at stake than marital rights for the gay and lesbian culture. Religious liberty, freedom of thought, and freedom of expression are just a few things that come to mind immediately. It seems obvious to me that my church and many others are responding to the gay agenda's attempt to "dictate your morality on folks who don't share your ... beliefs."

Sincere thanks. I wish you and the rest of our friends, family, and neighbors well, regardless of sexual orientation. My hunch is that if you and I met in person, we might get along quite well. We would just disagree a lot with one another. :-)

Sincerely,

Manny

We'd probably get along, but we'd have a hard time deciding who gets to have the last word.

Cheers.

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