Thursday, September 2, 2010

Musing on Proposition 8

I was thinking about California's Proposition 8 passed in 2008. I decided to look up how much the LDS Church actually donated to the campaign. I found a letter originally written by Kevin Hamilton and modified by Elizabeth Ogden Agle. Here is that letter:

  1. Yes On 8 - Protect MarriageMormons make up only 2% of the population of California. There are approximately 750,000 LDS out of a total population of approximately 36 million.[1] [2]
  2. If one estimates that 250,000 LDS are registered voters (the rest being children), then out of a total of 5,661,583 yes votes, LDS voters made up 4.4% of the Yes vote and 2.3% of the total Proposition 8 vote (11,050,301).[3]
  3. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) donated no money to the Yes on 8 campaign (only spending legal, non-monetary, in-kind donations totaling $189,903.58, to cover the travel expenses of leaders, website creation and management, YouTube videos, and negligent publicity - a letter and a satellite broadcast). Individual members of the Church were encouraged to support the Yes on 8 efforts and, exercising their constitutional right to free speech, donated whatever they felt like donating.[4]
  4. The No on 8 campaign raised more money than the Yes on 8 campaign. Unofficial estimates put No on 8 at $38 million and Yes on 8 at $36 million, making it the most expensive non-presidential election in the country.[5]
  5. Advertising messages for the Yes on 8 campaign are based on case law and real-life situations. The No on 8 supporters have insisted that the Yes on 8 messaging is based on lies. Every Yes on 8 claim is supported.[6] [7] [8] [9] [10]
  6. The majority of our friends and neighbors voted Yes on 8. Los Angeles County voted in favor of Proposition 8. Ventura County voted in favor of Proposition 8. San Diego County voted in favor of Proposition 8. Orange County voted in favor of Proposition 8. San Luis Obispo County voted in favor of Proposition 8. Sacramento County voted in favor of Proposition 8. Fresno County voted in favor of Proposition 8. And the list goes on and on: Merced, San Bernardino, Riverside, Mariposa, Tulare, Imperial, etc.[11]
  7. African Americans overwhelmingly supported Yes on 8. Exit polls show that 70% of Black voters chose Yes on 8. This was interesting because the majority of these voters voted for President-elect Obama. No on 8 supporters had assumed that Obama voters would vote No on 8.[12]
  8. The majority of Latino voters voted Yes on 8. Exit polls show that the majority of Latinos supported Yes on 8 and cited religious beliefs (assumed to be primarily Catholic).[13] [14]
  9. The Yes on 8 coalition was a broad spectrum of religious organizations. Catholics, Evangelicals, Protestants, Orthodox Jews, Muslims - all supported Yes on 8. It is estimated that there are 10 million Catholics and 10 million Protestants in California. Mormons were a tiny fraction of the population represented by Yes on 8 coalition members.[15] [16] [17] [18] [19]
  10. Though the Church urged its members to "do all [they] can to support the proposed constitutional amendment," not all Mormons voted in favor of Proposition 8. Our faith accords that each person be allowed to choose for him or her self. Church leaders have asked members to treat other members with "civility, respect and love," despite their differing views.[20] [21]
  11. The Church did not violate the principal of separation of church and state. This principle is derived from the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, which reads, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . ." The phrase "separation of church and state", which does not appear in the Constitution itself, is generally traced to an 1802 letter by Thomas Jefferson, although it has since been quoted in several opinions handed down by the United States Supreme Court in recent years. The LDS Church is under no obligation to refrain from participating in the political process, to the extent permitted by law. U.S. election law is very clear that Churches may not endorse candidates, but may support issues. The Church has always been very careful on this matter and occasionally (not often) chooses to support causes that it feels to be of a moral nature.[22] [23] [24]
  12. Supporters of Proposition 8 did exactly what the Constitution provides for all citizens: they exercised their First Amendment rights to speak out on an issue that concerned them, make contributions to a cause that they support, and then vote in the regular electoral process. For the most part, this seems to have been done in an open, fair, and civil way. Opponents of 8 have accused supporters of being bigots, liars, and worse. The fact is, we simply did what Americans do - we spoke up, we campaigned, and we voted.

Yes On 8Written by: Kevin Hamilton and edited by Elizabeth Ogden Agle: "[While] I do not know [Kevin] personally...I decided to research them (and tweak a few since I believe they were written before the final vote count) list of sources that concur with the statements [are at] the bottom of the facts...Thank you for any interest. If the media wants to use these facts, they would need to contact Mr. Hamilton. Please also note Mr. Hamilton's disclaimer that accompanied the original text: 'Any errors are mine and in no way reflect official Church policy or doctrine.'"


  6. Parker v. Hurley
  9. Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association v. Bernstein and Pester

I knew most of the information above though it was nice to see it all put together in one place. This was posted on a Facebook Group about Proposition 8.

Be tolerant.

1 comment:

  1. That was very informative. Thanks. Just catching up on my blog reading. I have a friend who has a son named Kevin Hamilton, I'll have to ask her if he's the one who wrote this.