Wednesday, November 11, 2009

What's Up with the Mormon Church?

This week the Mormon Church -- yes, the same church that spent millions of dollars depicting LGBT people in the most unflattering light during the Prop 8 debate -- endorsed a proposed law that would ban discrimination against LGBT people in Salt Lake City.  The council then approved the measure.

Yes, you might need to read that sentence again.  Light the fireworks.  Unpop the champagne.

Or should we?  Call me cynical, but I'm having a hard time believing that the church suddenly realized it wasn't okay to slam LGBT people.  Indeed, if you read the fine print of the church's statement, you'll see that the church finds the measure acceptable because it "does not do violence to the institution of marriage." Strange that I don't really see myself as doing violence as I sit here with two lazy basset hounds while my husband drinks tea.  I tend to think of violence as fear-mongering campaigns to break up families.

No matter.  The filmmakers who documented the Mormon Church's role in Prop 8 said that after seeing their film, Mitt Romney asked the church to "extend an olive branch to the gay community and to try to deflate the anticipated negative press" the film will bring upon its release.  Let's see.  Could this have anything to do with Romney's presidential ambitions in 2012?  Is he afraid that he may not want to be associated with a church that spent so much money on nixing gay marriage, but got bad PR afterwards?

Yet even if the motives of the church are calculated moves to restore its image, there are two pieces of good news in this story.  Most important is the fact that LGBT people will be legally protected from discrimination in Salt Lake City.  A second piece of good news is that our demonstrations and letters worked.  The church responded to them because they were doing damage to a church that relies heavily on recruitment and proselytizing.  Could it be that it was harder to reach people after the church's image had taken a beating?

So ultimately this is good news.  Even if it scares me that the mere nod of a religious group ensures a law's passage.  And even if no one has still revealed who the anonymous million-dollar donor was to the "yes on 1" campaign in Maine.  In that, too, we might find hope: at least the donor considered it bad PR to support such a cause.


  1. Or maybe opposing gay marriage and hating gay people isn't the same thing.

    I suppose that couldn't be a possibility, could it?

  2. Of course it could, and in many cases is. But the nature of the church's attack, the millions spent, the ads that were simply not true, seemed to go beyond a mere opposition to same-sex marriage. I'm actually one who doesn't use the word hate lightly and I don't think I used it in this entry.