Becket Fund Launches Full Page Ad in NYT Condemning Anti-Religion Violence Over Prop 8


On Tuesday I reported that the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty was preparing a full-page ad for the New York Times condemning violence against religion, which they claim occurred during protests following the Proposition 8 in California. Proposition 8, which was funded to the tune of over $20 million in Mormon contributions solicited by the Church of Latter Day Saints, revoked the civil rights of millions of Californians by effectively banning same-sex marriage in the state. The Becket Fund’s ad ran today and you can read it above.

HassonThe ad is attached to a website,, and solicits signatures endorsing a campaign to”expose and publicly shame anyone who resorts to the rhetoric of anti-religious bigotry — against any faith, on any side of any cause, for any reason.”

The ad makes reference to envelopes containing white powder sent “to terrorize places of worship.” Those envelopes were under investigation by the FBI at last report and the incident was condemned by LGBT leaders, among them Equality Utah’s Public Policy Manager Will Carlson, who said: “We have no idea what the source is of this vandalism or white envelopes, whatever. But there is no place in this dialogue, in this dialogue that needs to happen, for violence, no place for vandalism and no place for intimidation.”

The ad is signed by Kevin J. “Seamus” Hasson – The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, Nathan J. Diament – Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, Rick Cizik – National Association of Evangelicals, Ronald J. Sider – Evangelicals for Social Action, Chuck Colson – Prison Fellowship, Chris Seiple – Institute for Global Engagement, Dr. Alveda King – civil rights activist, William A. Donohue – Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, Robert Seiple – Former U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, Douglas Laycock – University of Michigan Law School, Marvin Olasky – The King’s College, New York City, Roger Scruton – writer and philosopher, Armando Valladares – former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Human Rights Commission.”

Said Becket Founder Kevin “Seamus” Hasson in a letter sent to Towleroad regarding the ad placement: “This is a lesson America had to learn the hard way, overcoming bigotry against Jews, Catholics, and other religious minorities, and we are committed to not letting the country forget it.”

UPDATE: HRC responds

UPDATE II: GLAAD calls for letters to the NYT


  1. Matt says

    Where is the response from Geoff Kors of Equality California, or Lori Jean of the L.A. LGBT Center, or any of the ‘leaders’ of No on 8 campaign? Missing in action as usual.

  2. Dave says

    I fully support that stance and I look forward to hearing statements from the Catholic Church that homosexuality is not a choice and is not grounds for discrimination, not just in states that outlaw it, but anywhere in the world. I look forward to LDS’ renunciation of its orientation conversion torture. And I look forward to invitations from Evangelical leadership for speakers on gay rights to meet with their congregants in an official and non-confrontational setting.

  3. JohnInManhattan says

    Shouldn’t they be concerned with far more serious matters like the war on Christmas?

    Seriously, this ad is a joke. Offensive, yes, but a joke full of bogus violence claims while ignoring the elephant in the room. No, I don’t mean Donohue but rather the anti-gay bigotry these freaks thrive on.

  4. FASTLAD says

    The bullies who oppress us are concerned about their own rights. That’s rich, but Proposition 8 kind of tipped us off to the fact. Shame they won’t extend the courtesy to others that they insist on for themselves.

    What this letter says, in effect, is: they’re not like other people, they don’t like it when they’re attacked, because it hurts their feelings, and it wounds them, and it’s just wrong, you know?

    But if you’re queer, it’s still hunting season, naturally.

  5. says

    I wrote about the LDS church’s attempts to distance themselves from the anti-gay marriage amendment here in Arizona on my blog. The very, very Mormon community of Mesa- 739 people and businesses gave to the “Yes on 102″ campaign and 4 gave to the “No on 102″ campaign.

    Mr. Hasson and his groupies are just big crybabies. If you don’t want attention shined on your bigotry, then stay out of politics.

  6. says

    Since when are protest considered violent. I’ve the “victims’ provoked the “violence” against them. This is their way of saying, what we did we know was wrong but don’t get mad at us.

    How do we know some crazy mor(m)on didn’t send the church some white powder for sympathy or ignite a true culture war.

    There is a bigger problem with them committing violence against us. The people who follow their rhetoric and killing and hospitalizing gays but that seems to be OK. It seems to me they don’t quite know what violence is and for some reason we always seem to be the bad guys

  7. says

    There is just a little irony in claiming religious discrimination in this setting.

    When religious groups, as they have been numerous times in the past, are racist/segregationist/terrorist/supporters of pograms/genocide/and other forms of discrimination they richly deserve criticism.

  8. ggreen says

    In the mean time followers of these “organizations” are being foreclosed on, laid off, fired and losing their pensions. The children of these same followers are being abused, lied to about sex and the benefits of abstinence, misled about the reality of modern heterosexual marriage. What exactly has nomobvote done for them except collect money and case fear?

  9. MikeinSanJose says

    Let me see if I get this right…

    Hate, Bigotry, Verbal and Physical Abuse by the church or in the name of the church directed at any other human or group of humans on the planet that don’t believe as they do is acceptable and indeed, a constitutionally guaranteed right to free speech and exercise of religion.

    Any response by those unbelievers attacked by the church – ANY church (Cathlicks, Mormons, Scientologists, Westboro Baptists), whether a defense or a counter-attack is religious intolerance and a condemnable act that must be stopped.

    That seems fair to me!

  10. peterparker says

    It is interesting to me that these people can’t see that Prop 8 and all the other anti-marriage laws are acts of violence and intolerance of a monumental scale.

  11. mike says

    So, what do we do about it? Will we counter their blatant hypocrisy with our own ad? Will someone be able to point out the absolute hypocrisy of a group that is actively and blatantly using their Constitutionally-guaranteed right to free speech and the free exercise of their “religion” to deny the Constitutionally-guaranteed rights of other American citizens? This is the typical “bait and switch” of the wing-nut evangie/fundies and the Republicons: they scream that they are being persecuted by the very people they spent $40 million to promote a voter initiative that denied their alleged “persecutors” the right to be full and equal citizens of the United States of America. What do we do about this? How do we fight back? We simply cannot let The Becket Foundation and its bigoted supporters get away with this without a response from our community.

  12. says

    You may want to pop to their website and tell them your story. I challenged them to take good look at themselves and what their religions really stand for. Their religions advocate violence against people in their holy scriptures

  13. says

    So when I saw the ad’s headline, “No Mob Veto” I thought it referred to the CA mob’s veto of marriage rights. Huh. This is typical right-wing tactic: turn the charge on its head and blame the victims.

    Like RP said, cry me a river.

  14. says

    You’ve got to be effing kidding me.

    Unreal. These same religious stole the rights of glbt Californians and now they claim to be the victims. I’m gobsmacked.

    Where is our response? We need a leader like yesterday. And Joe Solmenese, Neil Guilino, and Geoff Kors are not it. The time for “sit and be patient” way of thinking from the HRC, GLAAD and EQCA respectively has long since passed.

    Let’s not get lulled back into apathy. We need to keep fighting.

  15. says

    OK, I’m fed up with the idea that religious charities can contribute tax-free to taking away our rights, but our opposition is taxed.

    Can’t we start our own religious charity that will support all gay political causes and be a 501(3)c? If they can do it, why can’t we? Maybe something through MCC or UU Churches?? Somebody? Any ideas?

  16. g_whiz says

    Would they take out a full page ad “shaming” people who engage in anti-gay violence? Doubtful. Its perfectly defensible for people of their ilk to make our lives uncomfortable, for the bible tells them so. Fuck that and fuck them.

  17. Erik H. says

    Through the wonder of Facebook, I’ve had some interesting conversations with a long-lost grade school friend who is Mormon and supported Prop 8. The exchanges were very enlightening for me.

    Let me be clear when I say that I opposed Prop 8 as virulently as any gay man, but I think many of us are failing to recognize that under the current environment members of LDS (the Mormon Church) do feel in harm’s way. Just because we’ve gone through persecution and violence doesn’t mean we have a right to inflict it on others.

    This ad has merit. We need to elevate our message or risk further alienating those who oppose us.

  18. Iko says

    Simple solution: Revoke all churches’ tax exempt status so they can campaign harder to fight the homosexual agenda. They will no longer be held back by IRS regulation.

    Disregard the 90% that will be bankrupt by the end of next year because churches are little more than state sponsored scams.

  19. Darren says

    The signatures at the bottom are a veritable “Who’s Who” of enemies, aren’t they?

    So, where is the HRC ad? Where is the GLAAD ad? Hell, where is Are they asleep at the wheel on this one?

    The backlash has been coming for a while because we all didn’t sit down on the back of the bus when Prop 8 told us to. Heh.

    It’s going to get darn ugly before this crap is all over folks. Buckle up. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

  20. Jeffrey says

    Anyone remember the reaction to the Rodney King verdict when African Americans were fed up with being mistreated by the system? And these Religious bigots are calling for us to be more gentle. Wow.

    But I think we need to take action to stop this lie from getting any more traction. The idea that “violence” has been done to any religious folk is completely bogus. I googled ‘violence and prop 8′ and the only stories of violence that I found are being reported in the CHRISTIAN media!! I could find NO plausible reports of any kind that gays were committing acts of violence on poor, helpless Christian victims. They are trumpeting this meme to try to paint us as violent thugs (in addition to being perverts and sinners) who are less than civil and therefore not deserving of civil rights. We know it’s a lie, but if they go unchallenged on this, a lot of the public will believe them just like they believed the ‘yes on 8′ advertising smears. I think a lot people, including glbts, accept that there were some violent incidents after prop 8 passed, when there were virtually NONE.
    I would like to see Keith Olbermann or Rachel Maddow or the NYT to do an in depth report on these bogus charges.

  21. SFshawn says

    Tax the church!,Tax religious dogma!,Tax the church! They obviously have tons of money to throw around on POLITICAL campaigns so why shouldn’t they pay their fair share into the federal tax,state tax and local tax structures for the benefit of all citizens? Tax the fucking church already. It’s the ONLY way to really be fair.

  22. Bob says

    Oooh, they’re going to shame me! I can’t wait! And then maybe we can talk about priests who fuck little kids, polygamists who marry pre-pubescent girls, religious groups who believe African-Americans are black because they carry the mark of sin … oh so many topics we can discuss! Can’t. Fucking. Wait!

  23. says

    Bogus on so many levels.

    The so-called violence they’re talking about is small-scale and mostly unproven. It pales in comparison to routine violence and hate crimes against LGBT people. As for intimidation, having rights stripped away is rather more intimidating than being rightly targeted for your public bigoted actions.

    What the straight religious people refuse to understand is that it is not belief vs. belief. We can protest outside their churches (and only are because they refuse to stay out of our lives), but they are still free to practice their religion and believe what they want to believe. They are free to marry. Their rights are unaffected. Meanwhile, their actions–which seek to inflict their personal religious views on a minority within secular society–have actual consequences in our lives and deprive us of rights. They are, of course, the ones overstepping their bounds, yet they’re crying victim. The scary part is their tactics may work better on the ignorant majority than ours, unless smart people on our side (our 21st century Milks) start taking the lead. This ad is nothing if not an act of intimidation.

  24. Bob says

    Oooh, they’re going to shame me! I can’t wait! And then maybe we can talk about priests who fuck little kids, polygamists who marry pre-pubescent girls, religious groups who believe African-Americans are black because they carry the mark of sin … oh so many topics we can discuss! Can’t. Fucking. Wait!

  25. Rafael says

    Let them spend big! Lets see how much more people really believe in their cause and how far they are willing to support it.

    I know that we are on the right side of history, and that alone empowers us far beyond their bigotry and hate.

  26. psgoodguy says

    if you take away the rights of a whole class of people you are an idiot to think you aren’t going to face some criticism over it or suffer some consequences.

    no one has determined who the white powder came from. some suggest that they may have even sent it to themselves. but to LEAP to the conclusion that it must have come from the LGBT community and therefore condemn us wholly is slanderous.

    fuck them and the angel moroni they rode in on. if you can’t stand the heat get out of the kitchen.

  27. Ed says

    I think this is GREAT!- It is the perfect response for a number of reasons.

    1. It will cause more people to investigate what issues are at stake and what the circumstance is behind this ad.

    2. It will cause more of our progressive allies in the responsible media to critique this letter and shame it for its blatant hypocrisy and carefully guided misrepresentation of facts (similar to their pro-Prop 8 campaign.)

    3. It will further galvanize the glbt community.

    4. The assertions implicitly leveled against the glbt community can be exposed for its baseless attacks. Those of our fellow Americans who wish to see us as mob attackers are simply adopting a new line of prejudice. It’s becoming less and less acceptable to express outright bigotry because the framework has changed. But that doesn’t mean that bigotry isn’t still alive and well. Which brings me to my next point.

    5. Does Kevin Hassom expect the average American to now view the glbt community as a intimidating mob-like group? ???? So, first the general stereotype is that glbt persons are weak, feeble and without the ability to stand up for themselves. Suddenly now we’re a threat? Which diction I guess depends on the range of political gullibility but one cannot have it both ways. Puh-leaze- next!

    Of course, the letter only mentions a white powder being sent to the church which even were the story to be credible (meaning it’s not an insight plant), says little to nothing about the glbt community and its supporters. The fact that Hasson implicitly draws a relationship to glbt tactics and unidentified powder with no clue or claim to responsibility from anyone is like the Bush regime drawing a relationship between Iraq and 9/11. (*sigh* some people never learn.)

    Here’s another good thing about this letter.

    5. Hasson has now given the glbt some mighty fine prominence and political might. If any church publicly cries out that they are a victim they have already handed over their power. That this power has been handed over to the glbt community is all the more amusing. (It would be hysterical if it were not so dangerous.)

    & here’s my last line of reasoning>

    6. They’re scared and for good reason.

    Thank you Kevin Hasson for validating that we are indeed a political force and when focused and determined can majorly change the political landscape. And we have only just begun…


  28. alguien says

    erik h:

    if members of LDS feel in harm’s way so be it. the brought it on themselves. it would be totally disingenuous for them to think that the people whose lives they affected would simply accept being oppressed or living in this country as 2nd or 3rd class citizens.

    as far as elevating the message? fuck that shit! it matters not what sort of message we put out there. the religious right is not going to like no matter how elevated it is. besides, elevated messages are not something these people understand anyhow. in fact, they’ve basically demonstrated over the past 3 decates that they’re not educable in the first place. i’d say it’s time for a good ass whompin instead.

  29. Ed says

    p.s. I know all of my many muslim, jewish, baha’i, hindu, “whatever” friends are eagerly awaiting his show of support whence the next time comes around that they are experiencing hate for their religion.

    Since it’s clear that Hasson is an honest person I know they look forward to his presence in their time of need.

  30. says

    KEVINVT: I certainly empathize with your anger on the tax topic, but it’s pretty tricky. You have to show that the political advocacy is NOT a substantial portion of your operation to stay tax exempt [501(c)(3)]. The problem there is that “substantial” is somewhat subjective.

    But if you focus on education (not on specific candidates and not on specific votes), you can stay Kosher and avoid the gray area.

  31. says

    Also, I encourage everyone here to participate in the PFLAG Speakers Bureau program. I’m not sure how it works in other areas, but here in the Seattle area, 3 or 4 of us (GLBT and Parents of) go talk to college and middle school students a ~4 times a year. We talk about our lives and families and answer questions. It’s a fantastic way to combat ignorance at the grassroots level.

    [Sorry for the many/disjointed posts, but I’m on childcare duty today.]

  32. Michael Bedwell says

    That voice you hear is Harvey Milk shouting:



    [and behind him is a chorus shouting the same thing made up of Harry Hay and Del Martin and Leonard Matlovich and Matthew Shepard and Gwen Araujo and Barbara Gittings and Vito Russo and Bruce Voeller and Jean O’Leary and Allen Spear and Lawrence King and Brandon Teena and PFC Barry Winchell and Sylvia Ramirez and Allen Schindler and and and and and and……….


  33. says

    What a crock of shit and spin. Considering the amount of people and protests there has been ittle to NO Violence. The Ad was placed just to make people think there has been ALOT MORE going on than there has and to make us look like the bad guys.

    Maybe they could take out a Full Page Ad asking their wingnut followers not to fagBash and Murder us as many have done in the past and will probably in the future.

  34. dbzeag says

    Erik H,

    While wishing hate and fear onto someone is wrong, I think it is a good lesson to teach Mormons. You said your friend is fearful of being in harms way. Maybe he can realize this is how homosexuals feel on a daily basis, vulnerable and the target of hate and discrimination.

    I am not condoning to illicit fear on someone, but your friend’s argument that Mormons are in harms way needs to be rebutted with the fact the other side feels the same way because of what LDS has done.

  35. Erik H says


    I think we can learn from other civil rights causes: all involved civil disruption and violence, but it were the peaceful protests and rational minds that influenced real change.

  36. MAJeff says

    Erik H,

    those peaceful protests produced disruption. Indeed, disruption was one of the only tools the Civil Rights movement in the South had, as is the case with most groups that have little economic or political power.

    Disruption is exactly what we should be doing. Making the bigots–and that includes those lovely LDSers–feel uncomfortable is NECESSARY.

  37. Erik H. says

    Rafael and ChrisDC:

    As far as examples, I think it’s ludicrous to say the white powder was not the result of someone angry over the church’s support of Prop 8. Let’s not be blind to that by offering up conspiracy theories. Anything else is failing to recognize the truth of how some in our community are responding.

    Other examples are not of violence but more the results of mocking and hateful protests. They view protesting their churches with offensive signs and mocking religious clothing like we view Fred Phelps. And how effective has the Phelps message been other than galvanizing our side?

    Let’s be smart here, folks.

  38. Michael Bedwell says

    Here’s what you might do, David:

    Look up the e-mail addresses and telephone numbers of the two main national groups, HRC and NGLTF. Do the same for your largest state organization. [If you live in CA, don’t bother with EQCA that has proven its cluelessness.] Do the same for any local groups you might have.

    E-mail and call them with the following question:

    “How much are you contributing to a full-page ad in the NY Times denoucing their ad, labeling them as bigots, and demanding a separation of Church & State, and and when will it appear?”

    If they give you an affirmative answer, say Thank you, that you’ll continue monitoring their performance, and Goodbye.

    If they reply, “Nothing,” or that they don’t know, or hem and haw, say, “Please pass onto your superiors that I will never contribute another cent to your worthless organization, and will lobby everyone I know to do the same.”

    Repeat above with question, “When are you protesting at a symbol of religious fascism such as a Mormon Church, major Catholic churches [e.g., NY’s St. Pat’s] and Archdiocese offices across the country, and at the homes/businesses of the signers of this Naziesque libel?” Repeat response, as necessary, and it probably will be.

    Then contact the “Join the Impact” people and say, “I’ve heard that your leader Amy is against condemning religious fascism. What are you doing about the NY Times ad demonizing us in the name of religion?”

    I guarantee you’ll get a worthless answer that translates into encouraging us all to sing “Kumbaya” and hug, because Amy and her girlfriend [male and female] have not yet been politically potty trained. So tell them to fuck off and stop wasting our time.

  39. dbzeag says


    But what of the religious woman that beat herself up and blamed a homosexual that he caused injuries?

    And Fred Phelps clan did more than just hold protests. Much of the time they broke laws of proximity as well as inciting violence and violent actions toward people.

    None of the signs I have seen have said anything like “Kill Mormons”, which is exactly what his groups has for homosexuals.

    It is fearful to have hundreds of people yelling and chanting with signs waving in front of a place you go to and trust for solace and good news. Then again it is fearful to have 52% of the population actively believe something about you is so wrong that it is fair to be discriminated against. What else can they take away? Every other right seems like target practice to the opposition. That seems pretty scary to me.

  40. Erik Howell says


    Who’s heart will be changed by you protesting a national day of bar crawling?!? Protesting at St. Pat’s day will only greater alienate the gay community. Although I suppose it may also get your face in the newspaper, which may be your goal.

  41. says

    “Jewish, Christian, Hindu… whatever”

    I noticed they couldn’t quite get themselves to put Muslim in there. Those religious nuts really do hate the Muslims more than the gays. So much so they can’t even say the name of the religion, it just falls under the category of “whatever.”

  42. says

    They did take a cardboard cross out of her hand and stomp on it in anger. This “elderly lady” had balls big enough to take it To a “NO” on Prop 8 rally by herself. Spewing Anti Gay Religious comments. Its not like she was sought out and did not provoke it. Much akin to something the Westboro Church would do. They did take a foan cross from her hands However, they didn’t “attack” her.

  43. Brett says

    Oh, I see.
    The church is the victim here. Gays are subjected to violence everyday, everywhere yet somehow the church is crying victim for itself.

    We had our RIGHTS takne away from us here in California and yet the church is the victim.

    Yes, its time for all of us to fight back in everyway we can. Everyday.

    We deserve equal rights, as do all Americans, even these people who like to call themselves Christian but have completely forgotten the teachings of Christ. Christ preached tolerance for all, championed the opressed, and fought for peace among all sects, orders and peoples. And these peole have lost touch with the meaning of the Word. Love for all, not love for some. God made gays too.

    We will win this fight. Not with violence but persistance, peaceful protest, and endurance for our RIGHTS. The bible, the true word is on our side. We just have to keep fighting forward, never stopping till we are heard and treated equally.

    God bless all of us.

  44. Sean says

    It seems appropriate to use the bible in answering their accusations.

    PSA 5:9 Not a word from their mouth can be trusted; their heart is filled
    with destruction. Their throat is an open grave; with their tongue they
    speak deceit.

  45. MAJeff says

    Shorter Erik.

    Don’t protest. Don’t confront. Don’t call them out for their attempts to make gay life worse. Make nice while they fuck us over. Be a good Uncle Mary, and let the bigots be comfortable in their bigotry.

  46. Erik Howell says

    Good point, David R.

    I’m a huge fan of a group in my state of Ohio – Equality Ohio. They’ve recently been promoting the visibility of faith leaders who support gay rights and making moves to show that gay and faith are not mutually exclusive.

    On November 13th nearly 100 faith leaders from around Ohio representing most mainline denominations gathered in Columbus to voice their support for equality of opportunity for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender citizens of Ohio.

    Additionally, this year they will be hiring their first full-time Faith Organizer to strengthen our visibility in the communities of faith throughout Ohio and to develop the much needed resources on welcoming and affirming places of worship in our state.

  47. Jeffrey says

    Erik- it was me, not Rafael who asked for examples. The name of the poster appears at the BOTTOM of the post.
    I am still waiting.
    The white powder has not been traced to anyone yet. You can no more assume that it was sent by a gay person than you can that it was sent by a Mormon. Can you not conceive of the possibility that was sent by someone on the inside as a way to gain sympathy for their side?? It certainly works very conveniantly for them in their plan to portray themselves as the victims…
    And you can’t equate chants and protest signs and mocking with VIOLENCE. The first three are protected forms of free speech and the last one is not.
    So, again, do you have any ACTUAL examples of violence?

  48. Henry K. Pittsburgh PA says

    So after I wrapped my head in duct tape, I could finally read this letter. Before any organization goes against a group they should realize there will be back lash. Too bad.
    Enough of this licking our wounds….lets take some action. Boycott Sundance. Boycott Ski Utah. Any Conservative owned Corporation that even looked at PROP 8. DO NOT give them our gay dollars. Hit them where it hurts…..Idle threats and sobbing does not a movement make. Standing thee with a sign is only a small part….

  49. Erik Howell says

    Jeffrey – I was responding to ChrisDC who claimed he was seconding Rafael’s question. The disrespectful manner in which you start your message is not the type of dialogue I’d like to enter.

  50. Chris says

    Erik — Mormon rank and file feel victimized because right-wing talking heads have taken a couple of incidents and blown them out of proportion because they lost the general and have nothing else to talk about. Having said that, let’s all condem violence — which never really existed. And press the mormons and other religious groups for recogition of our basic rights including civil unions.

    Acknowledge their position but press for our rights.

  51. Jeffrey says

    Erik- oh, then it was Chris who got mixed up about who posted what. Sorry about that.
    I believe you don’t want to answer my question because there is no good answer. The point I am trying to make is that it is very dangerous to let THEM frame the debate. They have proven themselves to be a little untrustworthy doncha think?
    If we start criticizing ourselves over some non-existant violent acts that their team has fabricated, well then they have succeeded mightily, haven’t they?

  52. D says

    Each person, and religious group, has the right to their own personal beliefs but Propostion 8 and those who support it are guilty of religious bigotry.
    My church allows and performs marriage cerimonies for their entire congregation regardless of sexual orientation. Proposition 8 and its supporters are fighting to ensure that those marriages, performed by my church and others like it, are not legally recognized. By working to ensure that only certain religious groups are entitled to marriage recognition is, unfortunatley, religious bigotry.
    Hopefully Americans will heed your call to end all religious bigotry by calling out those who support Propostion 8 and its religiously bigoted supporters.

  53. dbzeag says


    Also with the power of Facebook, I have found you are from Cleveland, as am I.

    Your Mormon friend is scared of harm because of peaceful protest in front of his church, but are you not afraid of getting fired because you love someone? That you will be evicted from your apartment or denied a loan because you care about someone in a way that 95% of the population can’t understand?

    I personally am, which is why I am looking for employment in Canada.

    I am tired of giving this city/state/country money and getting nothing in return. My partner just got laid off and I cannot lawfully add him to my insurance plan, leaving him vulnerable if he is injured, perhaps in some gaybashing attack just like happened 2 months ago in front of Bounce.

    That terrifies me.

  54. MAJeff says


    Excluding us from marriage is NOT religious discrimination. The state does not recognize religious marriages. It allows clergy to serve as state proxies. Religious “marriages” performed in any church–or other religious context–are legally recognized only so far as they adhere to state policy. Whether or not your religious group supports the blessing of same-sex relationships is irrelevant to state policy. Religious marriages are NOT the same thing as civil marriages. There are two ceremonies occurring simultaneously in religious weddings. The religious blessing, and the civil ceremony. Only those that meet state requirements are civil ceremonies, while religious groups can bless any old type of relationship they want. I think we should be working to separate the two.

  55. leschuck says

    We are being swiftboated. If we fail to respond forcefully, we’ll spend the next decade trying to make up lost ground in public opinion.

    Why are we being swiftboated? Because our protests are working. A recent Survey USA poll shows our protests changed the minds of 8% who voted for Prop 8 in California–that’s enough to win the next referendum, if it were held today.

    So–they lie in order to neutralize our ability to gain equality. Just like they did before the election in their Prop 8 smear campaign (harmful to children!).

    We must not underestimate the threat of failing to respond immediately, with facts and with righteous indignation. Just look at what happens when one fails to respond to swiftboating (Kerry 2004) and when one responds properly (Obama 2008).

    Gay Americans have nothing for which to apologize, and our peaceful struggle for equality shall continue.


  56. Peter says

    Since the NYT chose to accept and run this “ad” I am hoping they have the balls to address its lies and hypocrisy about the “violence” perpetrated the “ad” discussed in an article. That is where our letters of outrage should start. I took one of the above poster’s suggestions and wrote to the website about two gay men who were killed in my county by two religious zealots solely because they were gay. Compared to some white powder, murder is much more heinous. Demand equal representation in the NYT!

  57. Michael Bedwell says

    Let me try to make it simpler for you, Eric in Ohio.

    We are [long overdue] at the point blacks were in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1955 when, after decades of protest rallies and meeting with politicians and with sympathetic but balless white religious figures, brought the racist city to its knees with their bus boycott.

    Yes, it, and the lunchroom/theatre/bus station/etc., sit-ins, ENGRAGED overt racists and many whites who would deny being racist, just as you claim protesting at, e.g., St. Patrick’s would. As gay black icon pointed out it was neither their goal to get bigots to love them, nor should it be the goal of the gay movement, I don’t give a flying fuck if we change their hearts. I just want to change their BEHAVIOR. I want to make them “EX gay” bashers, and bashing us legally is just as morally wrong and even more ultimately hurtful, this side of murder, as bashing us literally.

    Or think of it as 1987, and after trying every other way but still failing to get the government and medical profession and drug companies to respond adequately and fairly to the fact that tens of thousands of gays were dying of AIDS, Larry Kramer, et al., formed ACT UP, and the people they confronted, the businesses and daily routines they disrupted HATED them, too.

    But the government, and every other institution, was forced to begin taking the disease seriously in funding and respect [the reporter who asked the White House spokesman the first press conference question about AIDS in 1982 was literally laughed at]. As imperfect as they are, we would not have the “AIDS cocktail”—and blacks would still be sitting at the back of the bus, etc., had it not been for nonviolent civil disobedience.

    Hooray for the gay-friendly faithful in Ohio. Their hearts might be in the right place but their understanding of what must be done—IF it is LIMITED to simply increasing mutually pious “visibility”—is 30 years behind the times.

    Even an Upright Citizen has gotten that approaches to sucessfully effecting change must be expanded. “If you’re a young person looking at the future of this planet and looking at what is being done right now, and not done, I believe we have reached the stage where it is time for civil disobedience to prevent the construction of new coal plants that do not have carbon capture and sequestration,” [former Vice President Al] Gore told the Clinton Global Initiative gathering [in September].

    Out of the blogs and into the streets…and the churches and the TV networks and the businesses and anywhere else where gay hatred is preached, taught, justified, or ignored.

  58. Erik Howell says

    DBZEAG — It’s good to hear from a fellow Clevelander, and I couldn’t agree more with your sentiments.

    Peter — I also agree with you. The level of fear members of the LDS face is not comparable to that of the gay community. We’ve been oppressed and shamed and abused our entire lives. Aside from misinformation thrown around about polygamy, many of these folks are used to being held on pedestals as becons of virtue. They’re an often isolated group who aren’t used to such a negative spotlight. That said, it doesn’t take more than reading many of the posts in this comments section (see “ass whompin”) to see the undercurrent of violent feeling among our ranks. I certainly empathize with the emotion, but the improper expression of it only provides fuel for the supporters of Prop 8.

    I do hope many people take this ad to task.

    And I hope this ad does not become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

  59. D says

    I disagree, at least in part. I was referring to myself, as a gay Christian. You are right that there is a difference between civil law and religious blessing. Nevertheless, these groups are insistant that their religious beliefs opposes my right to marry under civil law. They can not prevent me from religious marriage but they seek to prevent my civil marriage recognition based on their religious beliefs about marriage and the assumption that those beliefs are superior to my own. That IS discrimination, and that is, in their own words, religious bigotry.

  60. Jeffrey says

    C’mon Erik, that’s like saying we should take the Yes on 8 ads to task that depicted us as a danger to children. This ad is a smear ad in the guise of asking for ‘civility’ in our response to THEIR unAmerican attacks on our rights. It is a SMEAR based on LIES and you should be figuring out how to combat these tactics instead of trying to figure out how to make them seem legitimate.

  61. JohnInManhattan says

    Check out the homophobic filth that one of the signators of this ad, ROGER SCRUTON, published on 01/28/07 in The Telegraph titled “This ‘right’ for gays is an injustice to children”;jsessionid=K5OYULNBRUHURQFIQMFSFFOAVCBQ0IV0?xml=/opinion/2007/01/28/do2804.xml

    Scruton’s website:
    Scruton’s blog:
    Scruton’s email:

  62. says

    “Other examples are not of violence but more the results of mocking and hateful protests. They view protesting their churches with offensive signs and mocking religious clothing like we view Fred Phelps. And how effective has the Phelps message been other than galvanizing our side?”

    Erik, first of all, I agree with your praise of the group in OH working with leaders of faith who support us to get that message out. We’ve been doing the same thing in VT since CUs became law, networking on a grassroots level with our allies to sway public opinion. And it’s worked, in part because people understand that CUs have harmed no one. That’s all good.

    BUT, we have every right to be angry with the power and money behind Prop 8, and we have every right to engage in boycotts and protests. If they find that offensive, too bad. (What they are doing to us IS BEYOND offensive.) I don’t support violence, but the right is vastly exaggerating the intimidation and violence (there hasn’t been much, and the little there has been is largely unsubstantiated or claimed by notorious manipulators like the “cross lady”) to falsely portray us as the aggressors and them as the victims. The reverse is true. It’s a purely political ploy, and I’m sure they understand that.

    Please, quit with the Phelps analogy. We are nothing like Phelps. Phelps goes after people who have caused him no harm. We are protesting the Mormons, among others, because their actions have caused us direct harm. There is no comparison, however much they (and you, it seems) may want to draw one. If religious zealots stayed out of our lives and away from our rights–while privately believing whatever they choose–then we would not be protesting them. They leave us alone, we leave them alone, simple as that. They want us to be intimidated by their ad, so that they can meddle freely in our lives, while believing their bigotry should remain off-limits to the minority they want everyone to despise. Don’t buy their propaganda.

  63. says

    that last paragraph really struck me.

    first, the fact than Hindu was used and no mention of Muslim or Islam comes across as a deliberate choice.

    second, as usual, they see themselves as the “victim” because of anti-religious “bigotry”.

    third, there is no distancing from their own “believer” violent behaviours like Fred Phelps and his Westboro bunch, nor from the hate that is fomented by the “christian word” they so easily espouse. they hold fast to Leviticus 18:22 and ignore Leviticus 19:18 – “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. I am the Lord.”

    hypocrisy should be it’s own mortal sin.

    by the way, if you are not familiar with the correct Gaelic pronunciation of Hasson’s name “Seamus”, it’s pronounced “shame-us”. little irony there…

  64. Erik Howell says

    Jeffrey – “take to task” means to criticize. We are in agreement.

    Ernie – The Phelps analogy is admittedly a stretch. However, I still strongly feel that we need to carefully plan our protests and boycotts keeping in mind how we are perceived. This could be viewed as a PR war as much as anything, and news like the following link doesn’t help our cause:

    I don’t know about others reading this, but in the wake of Prop 8 I was left feeling intensely sad. Sure, there was anger, but the strongest emotion by far was one of isolation and depression. I was voted by a majority to have less rights than a heterosexual. I felt less than human.

    I believe expressing the emotions of pain and sadness to those who have hurt us would be far more effective than expressing the anger. My two cents.

  65. Chris says

    You are right Jeffrey.

    We can’t let them frame this debate with the ridiculous idea that they are being discriminated against. Yes, religion has a place in civil discourse, but not at the expense of individual civil rights. We need to say it with a smile — we could ue from Rachel Maddow’s persona.

    She gets her point across better because she shows very little anger but is laser-like in making the point.

  66. says

    Oh screw you so-called “Christians”. Go find yourselves a mall to save “Christmas” or something.

    You people were disgusting before Prop 8 and you are disgusting now AFTER Prop 8.

    Making false claims about so-called violence is not looking good under your so-called “lord”. Something about not bearing false witness or some crap like that. Well apparently, that went out the window with your other lies.

    The IRS should investigate each and every single so-called “Church” to see if they abused their tax-exempt status.

  67. Mr. E says

    Erik, I am so tired of apologists like you. It is people like you that do more harm to our community that those who participate in civil disobedience because you’re more willing to roll over and say, “Come on guys, can’t we all just get along?” Civil disobedience is just as American as ‘peaceful protest.’ Grow a pair will you?

  68. Mr. E says

    Erik, “I believe expressing the emotions of pain and sadness to those who have hurt us would be far more effective than expressing the anger.”

    Are you serious!? Do you honestly believe that the bigots who wrote this ad give a flying fuck about our tears and sadness? You think that if they see a group of men literally crying about it it is suddenly going to change their minds? You’ve got to be kidding!

  69. KJ says

    Denying people the ability to live a full life is an act of violence. The first cry of a disciplined bully is that he’s a victim, “boo hoo, why are you picking on me?” I’ve long ago stopped listening to such moronic pleadings.

  70. says

    When they stop using their religion to push us down, we’ll stop attacking. Plain and simple. I just got back from watching Milk and I can’t believe an army of Antia Bryants is regrouping even today.

  71. Mr. E says

    Erik, there’s a difference between civil disobedience and peaceful protest. Civil disobedience by definition must involve a breach of law. From the sound of your arguments today it seems clear to me that you really aren’t for it. You whole tone has been nothing but a criticism of what the queer community has been doing since prop 8, prop 2, and prop 102 passed (remeber, it wasn’t just here in CA where I live that this shit happened). And it has happened with minimal violence. That crap with the cross lady was actually in response to HER attacking and pushing over a disabled person!

    And Ghandi? Never herd of him. Please enlighten me.

  72. MO says

    I am the friend. I am Erik H’s long lost Mormon friend. Trust me. Erik H. and his beliefs have done far more to change my mind, or at least make me seriously consider my position on gay marriage and my personal beliefs, than any of the comments and arguments that have been laid out here, however valid. Why? Because he approaches my beliefs with compassion–he doesn’t threaten or intimidate–he doesn’t try to change me or tear me down. He opens a productive dialogue where we can both discuss how we feel and what we think and believe without fear of being attacked. Keep it up EH. You know I love you.

  73. SLM says

    I wrote this in their tell me a story section:
    It is regrettable that the God of Love is being manipulated and perverted in this way by your organization. The ceasless harrassment and cruelties to which the GLBT community is subjected by your psuedo-Christianity rightly have their antecessors in the Early Christian Movement and in the Civil Rights era. Much like the Presbyterians in the mid-19thC who split over the supposed God given and inalienable right provided by scripture that justified slavery, your organization chooses to pervert the New Testament to your own aims. I am confident that the God who will stand in judgement of you will be far more merciful to you than you are to us: and that is the true hope of scripture

  74. Rob Lll says

    Erik, your post at 6:15 was interesting to me because it speaks to a subtext in this conversation that hasn’t been addressed so far. Basically, I think that often a person’s politics are as much a product of his/her individual temperament as ideology or interests.

    Your reaction to the Prop 8 was sadness. Mine was pure rage. So much so that a friend I’ve known for years said that the intensity of it was genuinely frightening to see. It was a little scary for me too — I’m a generally even-tempered, easy-going person and I don’t anger easily.

    Nevertheless, I have no complex about having felt that way. It was (and is) a perfectly legitimate reaction to an evil act. As was yours.

    The point I’m getting to in this admittedly long-winded post is this: yeah, it’s important to discuss what’s effective, to think before we act, and to avoid things that are stupid and/or wrong. I’m totally against violence, vandalism, etc.

    But not everyone is suited to follow the gentler path you advocate — it just isn’t in a lot of people. Anger can also be a powerfully productive force *when properly channeled* and directed at the right targets (as per the post on ACT UP above). There’s a time and place for everything and to a lot of us right now is an appropriate time for harsher rhetoric and tactics. We fully understand that there’s risk involved, but I think you should also consider that there’s a risk involved in being too nice and letting people think they can walk all over you without reprisal. A lot of this is about letting our adversaries know that their actions have consequences — a concept which is surprisingly unfamiliar to many of them given that the Bible says you reap what you sow.

    If you don’t have the stomach for it and want to try another approach, that’s fine. That’s who you are. I don’t judge that, I’m not going to call you names. You go your way and I’ll go mine and hopefully we’ll meet further up the road somewhere. We’re working for the same thing but just on two different paths.

    And they don’t necessarily have to be at cross-purposes. You know, there’s a reason the classic “good cop/bad cop” technique is still used in police stations all over the world. It works.

  75. Chris says

    Erik and MO are right in that that is way to preseude people on an individual basis.

    On the other hand, I know personally how angry I am — depressed a bit too — by Prop 8, my partner and I were going to get married in March in LA, now we can’t. More importantly, I am stunned that anyone could vote to overturn an existing civil right, especially in California — this hasn’t happened in about 100 years in this country — the last times I know of were when women had their right to vote overturned by a ballot props in some states before 1920. I do feel concerned that other rights are on the table to be voted upon now too. My partner and I are seriously thinking about leaving California because of it, and relocating my business and the jobs it creates, back to the east coast.

    While we need to find the most helpful ways to channel the anger we feel, we do need to educate people on why this vote was so important. That everyone’s civil rights are fragile and need protection and the gay community particularly have cause for alarm when rights are in question. 30 years ago we were banned from teaching in schools in some states, 50 years ago we banned from Federal employment, today in 29 states we can still be fired for being gay, etc.

    We can’t let Huckabee tell people we “haven’t met the violence threshold” to merit civil rights.

  76. Rob Lll says

    Mo, I think you’re gutsy for posting here. And I’m glad to hear that you’re thinking about this issue. Thank you.

    But let me just give you a couple things to ponder:

    1) If it hadn’t been for the anti-LDS backlash, just how likely is it that you would’ve had these conversations with Erik?

    2) Isn’t it possible that your possible evolution on this issue says more about you as an individual and your relationship with Erik than it does about the inherent validity of any given approach or argument?

    I work with college students all day and I’ve found that when there’s a problem, there’s no “one size fits all” approach. Some people are amenable to reason and little bit of gentle coaxing. And sometimes you just have to come down like a ton of bricks when people get out of line. Maybe you’re one of the former group. Just something to think about…

  77. Jerry says

    I’m plagiarizing a comment I just saw on Pam’s House Blend, because it’s so apt:

    Prop. 8 itself was a “mob veto.”

    This ad shouldn’t stop our efforts ONE IOTA. It’s bullsh*t.

  78. Jerry says

    Also: If homophobes are being compelled to buy a full-page ad in the NYT (not cheap!), that tells me that what we are doing is effective — it’s making headway. They are on the defense. Let’s keep on the offense. We can make a great deal of progress without doing a single thing that is either illegal or violent.

  79. peterparker says

    @MO: I would argue that Erik is able to cause you to reconsider your position on homosexuality and marriage equality not solely because of how he goes about confronting your beliefs but because of the fact that there is a personal connection to him. You care about him on some level, therefore you don’t want him to suffer. An angry confrontation from him would probably bring about hurt feelings because of a disruption in the relationships between the two of you.

    On the other hand, an anonymous protestor, employing the same tactics as Erik has employed, likely would not elicit the same response from you. You don’t know them. You don’t care as much about them. And the relationship is basically meaningless to you so calm, rational, even-tempered appeals don’t do much to cause you to consider that perhaps your actions are hurting people. However, an anonymous protestor freely expressing their anger would probably cause you to re-examine your treatment of homosexuals.

  80. Jeffrey says

    @MO- You said “or at least make me seriously consider my position on gay marriage and my personal beliefs..”

    So after considering it, do you think that Erik is an equal to you or not? I mean in all things, marriage included. Fully equal to you and deserving of the same things that you are. What do you think?

  81. Jeffrey says

    Here’s the thing. These are the people who:

    attacked us

    have been attacking us for decades

    stripped us of our civil rights

    lied and cheated to achieve their ends

    dictated from their pulpits that their congregations should spend as much money as possible to persuade others that we are less than fully human

    Why on earth would we let THEM tell us how to respond??????

  82. David Craig says

    I AM OUTRAGED by this. And went to the site and wrote the following…

    When I grew up, I went to Hebrew School and Baptist Church. In both places, I was told I was a sinner and immoral for being gay. When I went to public school, I was called a “faggot” and physically threatened. In my neighborhood, I was cornered by a group of kids and called “Gay”.

    When I came out, my Southern Baptist grandmother disowned me and never spoke to me the rest of her life. My father’s response was Love the Son, Hate the Sin, but then he threatened to “blow up” my commitment ceremony with my partner. When my partner died, he didn’t even send a condolence card.

    Is that the kind of story you mean?
    Sorry about those eggs.
    David Craig

  83. MO says


    I have always, even before I talked to Erik, felt that we are all loved the same in God’s eyes–that we are all equal and should be under the laws of this nation. I think Erik is a great guy. To me, I don’t see his value as being any different because he is gay. I have been taught that equality and love AT CHURCH. However, this is where I have a problem. Because I also believe that homosexuality is wrong. I believe that marriage is a relgious institution and in MY religion marriage is between a man and a woman. I’m sure it makes him and you ill to hear that and I’m sorry. I’m not trying to be a bigot. I’m not trying to be offensive. I’m simply trying to explain my beliefs…that they are sometimes at odds with eachother and that there are a lot of people out there struggling with this issue. They are trying to reconcile the things that they believe…to work them out within themselves so that they can sleep at night. No matter what has been happening in the struggle for gay rights and equality, I’VE only been struggling with it for about 6 months…when I heard about Prop 8 and started trying to figure out how I would vote. I understand that this is something you have been struggling with much longer than that but I don’t think it’s fair to expect me to vote your way simply because you tell me to. I haven’t gotten there yet. I don’t know if I will. I’m working on deciding for myself what I should do.

    I have to say I completely disagree. If I were approached by an angry protester…I would be scared. I don’t respond well to physical intimidation. I am a woman (in case that wasn’t clear) and I would just get away as quickly as possible. If I had my kids with me I would be even less receptive because of their presence. I simply don’t think that violence or threats is a way to get the message across. I know that when I am approached by someone who is antagonistic and aggressive…I don’t listen. I tune them out because they freak me out.

    ROB LLL-
    Erik and I were in touch before the vote. I raised the issue with him because I knew he was probably upset. I felt like there was a big fat elephant in the room with us and I wanted to address it. I didn’t bring it up before because, quite frankly, its a difficult issue and one I haven’t entirely figure out. I’m an enormous chicken and it’s hard to say to someone the things that we said to eachother.

    Also, though we don’t recieve the same types of prejudices and abuse as you currently…it doesn’t mean we haven’t. The history of the LDS church is full of people who were fired, driven from their homes and towns, beaten, and murdered simply for what they believed. Their temples were destroyed and they were told to leave Missouri or be killed BY THE GOVERNOR. Our current reaction, or over reaction, to threats of violence or actual violence is rooted a great deal in the violence in our past. It’s not just about a “brickload” of protestors.

  84. Chris says

    Mo — just curious and asking respectfully, do you draw a distinction between what you believe is right and wrong and what other people in our country have the right to do in thier own lives?

    Do you believe gay people deserve anti-discrimination laws in terms of employment, housing, etc? Do you believe in civil unions as opposed to marriage?

    Just to let you know, and I’m sure you’ve heard this before, I did not chose to be gay. If I had had a choice I would have picked the easier option. I have been with my partner eight years now, and he has seen me thru stage four Lymphoma (or we went thru it together) along with the death of my mother and helping my dad after, until his death last year — if that is not worth recognition I don’t know what is.

    I am also a Christian — Roman Catholic — I would fight for my church’s right to “not recognize” my relationship (they’ll come around in a few hundred years — they just admitted 25 years ago that the earth revolves around the sun and not vice versa)– that is their right, but I would fight as hard for the state’s responsibility to give me the same civil rights as any other citizen.

    If you accept that being gay is not a choice does that make it clearer to you? I believe God made me the way I am, and I am a decent worthy man. Btw, my mother (Catholic and 83 when she died two years ago) called my partner (I have three brothers/no sisters) “number five son” (though I think he was really number 3 with a bullet), which pretty much says it all for me.

    Honestly, I expect people who have been discriminated against, gay people included, to be more tolerant of others — look at the forward thinking of most Jewish communities.

    Also, with respect, the discrimination against Mormons happened over 100 years ago, gay people are beaten, murdered, harassed, fired, adn discriminated against every day in the US simply because they are gay.

    Thanks in advance for the dialog.


  85. MO says

    I’ll make this short since I’m technically supposed to be watching The Grinch w/ my kids right now.

    –I do realize that my beliefs of right and wrong are just that, my own.
    –I do not believe in employement, housing discrimination based on orientations.
    –I’m not sure of the differences between a civil union, domestic partnership, and a marriage. What does each entail in terms of the rights given? To be quite honest,
    I don’t know if I accept being gay as a choice. I just don’t know. I don’t pretend to understand how God works or why we are the way we are.
    –Yes, the violence towards those of the LDS faith happened a very long time ago. I wasn’t trying to compare our two situations…I merely wanted to point out that when we react to what we see as a threat to our temples…it is coming from some place far deeper than just concern over a building.

    Thanks for not dragging me through the mud. I’m trying to be respectful and I appreciate your comments.

  86. Burke says

    For close to 200 years Mormons have continually borne the brunt of misunderstanding, jealousy, envy, hatred, ignorance and the like. Its founding Prophet and his brother were massacred for teaching what hey were commanded to. The early members of the Church of Jesus Christ had to give up everything and travel 1500 miles to a desert wasteland to achieve a life of peace and harmony. No one but the Mexicans and the Ute Indians fought over this desert. Now look what the LDS people have built from nothing until what it is today. And they have invited others over time to join them and live in a beautiful land, whether they wee Mormons or not. What the Church has accomplished in those short 170 years is a modern day miracle, and they will never give it up unless told to by God through the Prophet. More and more Mormons are getting tired of being pushed around by those who don’t want to understand them.
    To those who hate us, for whatever reason, you had better ge used to us because we are going no where, do you understand that NO WHERE. We are proud Americans, loyal citizens, have all the resources we need and if threatened will protect our neighbors and families. The recent witch hunt of a variety of left wing radicals headed by the homosexual wing will never NEVER succeed. Dmocracy is great unless you lose a vote and then it kind of sucks, Well life sucks for you as the people said no to gay marriage. Now live with it!!!!!!!!!!!!

  87. MO says


    BURKE – I am Mormon and heterosexual and I voted Yes on Prop 8 and I really HAVE to say this to you. STOP. Please stop. You’re being a jerk. Please remember that you have been asked to be civil and respectful by no less than your own PROPHET. Your hatred and frustration is no more productive than theirs. No matter what you think they did to you, taunting them with the loss of something that they hold dear (regardless of whether you do or not)is inexcuseable. I apologize guys and I am sorry that I came here and brought well…others, into your space. He did, however, illustrate my point quite well. There is hatred, anger, and frustration on both sides and while both sides might feel justified. What does spewing it really accomplish? Nothing.

  88. Jeffrey says

    Mo- thank you for answering my questions with great detail and depth of feeling. I don’t doubt that you are a good person at heart. I will try to help you understand the situation a little better and maybe it will do some good.
    You said “we are all equal and should be under the laws of this nation”.
    If you REALLY believe that and aren’t just saying it because it sounds nice then you would have no other choice but to have voted ‘NO’ on prop 8.
    You would have respected the Supreme Court’s ruling that said that gay and lesbian people should not be treated differently under the laws of California and should be granted full marriage rights. That ruling made you and me and Erik equal, as you say we should be. Prop 8 made us less than equal. So do you really believe we are equal or not? You have to make that clear to yourself. You can’t have it both ways. You simply cannot say ‘we are equal in all things…except marriage’. As soon as you say ‘but’ or ‘except’ then things are no longer equal. Do you see that?
    You said you “also believe that homosexuality is wrong”.
    I am sure you believe that because your bible tells you so. But the bible also says eating shellfish is wrong and wearing cloth made of two different kinds of fiber is wrong. It says that touching the skin of a pig is wrong.
    We have become enlightened enough to ignore what the bible says on a whole bunch of subjects. Why can’t we do the same with the rants on ‘men lying with men..’?
    It was written by human beings a long time ago who didn’t have all the knowledge that we have now and who added their own prejudices of their time.
    And what about the bible verse that says “do unto others..”?
    Or “love thy neighbor..? Or “judge not..” Or “let he who is without sin cast the first stone..”
    Don’t these lessons from the bible take precedence over whatever is said about homosexuality???
    Virtually all credible scientific studies that have been done on the subject have come up with evidence that points to homosexuality as being something that is an immutable characteristic that is determined before birth. And each new study finds more and more evidence of this. I and nearly every gay person I know, realized they were gay (or at least wired differently than heterosexuals) from a very early age….like 5 or 6 years old. Well before puberty and well before we had any idea what being gay even meant. Sexuality is not a choice. I am sure you don’t feel that you had any choice in being attacted to males, you just were. Same with me. Being gay is like being left handed or having blue eyes or dark skin. Some of us are just born that way.

    You said you “believe that marriage is a religious institution…”
    Well, the thing is, marriage is sometimes a religious institution and sometimes not. There are plenty of straight people who get married in civil ceremonies. You know that, right? That you can get married at city hall or wherever and religion doesn’t have to play any part? That atheists and agnostics and everyone can still get married? That you don’t need a church to do it? That it is the contract recognized by the government that we are asking for?

    And “in MY religion marriage is between a man and a woman”.
    That’s fine. Your religion can continue to only marry men to women. No one is going to change that. No one is going to make you have a same-sex wedding ceremony in a Mormon Temple. So no conflict there, right?
    And you realize that lots of other churches DO recognize same-sex marriage and DO want to perform those wedding ceremonies. What about their religious freedom? To do what they please in their churches? Why should your church have the final say on this? They are not telling you that you have to have the same rites as they do. Why are you telling them that they have to limit who they marry according to what YOU do??

    I got married to my partner of 14 years on June 27th of this year, at 7 pm. It is shameful that we had to wait so long for the legal right to do it. I bet you and your church didn’t know that we got married, did you?
    I bet it didn’t change your lives one bit did it? Did you feel any different that day at 7:05 pm? I really doubt that you did.
    Well, you should have. You should have felt a little smile unexpectedly come over you. A little joy that two more people in the universe who are very much in love wanted to commit their lives to each other in sickness and in health, for richer, for poorer, so long as they both shall live. That is something to be encouraged and celebrated! Not prevented at any cost.
    But your church and others like it want to rip that away from us. Can you even imagine what it would be like if that happened to you? Is that really what you want to do to me? Remember that “do unto others..” stuff? Try it!

  89. peterparker says

    @ MO: You seem like a very nice person. I appreciate the fact that you are posting here, sharing your thoughts/feelings on this subject and doing so in a respectful way. I would imagine most of the other people here echo my sentiment. And there is no reason whatsoever for you to be embarrassed by BURKE’s ignorant, hateful rant. We know that you are two different people even though you might share the same faith.

    When I said an anonymous protestor freely expressing anger might have a bigger effect on you than an anonymous protestor who was trying to interact with you in the way your friend Erik does, I did NOT mean to imply that anger equals physical violence or intimidation. I was thinking more of a protestor holding a sign with a frank, angry message or perhaps a protestor standing outside a temple chanting. It is interesting to me that you jumped to the conclusion that I meant physical threats. I have to wonder if that is because the ad in the New York Times implied that we have been violent in the wake of the passage of Prop 8. For the record, MO, I have attended numerous No On 8 protests (and 1 Yes on Proposition 8 rally…I was a counter demonstrator) and the *only* violence I have seen was directed at us. One of our protestors was beaten by three construction workers (the protester did provoke the incident by trying to remove a Yes on 8 banner from their truck, and his actions were wrong…but he did not deserve to be physically assaulted). I was also witness to a woman pelting us with eggs from the balcony of her condominium. I have not witnessed a No On 8 protester physically intimidating or assaulting anyone from the Yes On 8 side.

    Regarding your comment that you don’t know if homosexuality is a choice or not: leading researchers who study sexual orientation (ie: people with PhDs and MDs who spend their lives studying this stuff) believe sexual orientation is a complex interaction between genetics and exposure to hormones while in the womb. According to this theory, if a fetus carries genes that code for homosexuality and that fetus is also exposed while in the womb to unusually high (or possibly low) levels of hormones such as estrogen or testosterone, structures in the brain that govern sexual arousal will develop in such a way to wire the fetus’ brain to be attracted to same gender partners. I’ll be happy to explain that in more detail either here on towleroad or in a private email to you. But for now, let’s just say that what the researchers are saying is that sexual orientation is an innate, immutable and uncontrollable characteristic. Given that, is it still okay to disallow GLBT couples from receiving the same legal protections as heterosexual married partners?

    Finally, MO, all marriages start out as a civil contract between the couple and the state with absolutely no acknowledgement from a church/ religious organization. Some couples choose to go one more step and have their commitment recognized and consecrated by their church. Gay people are seeking access to the first form of marriage. It has nothing whatsoever to do with churches. It does not affect your ability to worship or believe as you see fit. And it does not force any church to involve itself in any marriage ceremony. It simply creates fairness under the eyes of the law.

    I hope you will continue to post here, Mo!

  90. Mike says

    Oh brother! This ad is such a bunch of bullshit. As others have pointed out it’s OK to discriminate, harass and take rights away from Gay people, but don’t dare attempt protest against the bigots hiding behind the cloak of religious freedom. This has just pissed me off even more… I’m certainly not advocating violence but see absolutely nothing wrong with picketing and staging peaceful protests against these idiots. They are running scared because they are finally being called out for what they
    really are…

  91. says

    No one chooses to be gay, the choice is simply whether to honor or to deny one’s true gay self and soul. Why would any religious person expect their earthly neighbors to dutifully follow another’s personal chosen beliefs, or deny anybody else the right to love another? If personal chosen religious beliefs dictate law, then how about passing laws based on Jewish beliefs making foreskin illegal. And let’s ban shrimp. And let’s dictate that all women wear head coverings. And let’s televise Satanic rituals. And let’s legislate according to Tom Cruise’s personal chosen religious beliefs.

    If one has a religious objection to homosexual sex, that’s their private view, and that private view has no bearing in a public discourse regarding marriage… unless marriage is simply a contract of fornication and a resulting pregnancy… in which case marriage vows need to include vows promising sex and production of children, and if one partner is unable to either put-out or procreate then they should also be unlawful in the state of marriage. Fortunately marriage is not about sex, and that’s exactly why religious objection to gay marriage holds no ground.

    Marriage is a contract of love between two people, and chosen personal religious beliefs are inappropriate in a civil rights debate.

  92. says

    This Wednesday, December 10, is the “Day Without A Gay”. Take the day off–call in “gay”–and demonstrate how many of us there really are out here. This seems to me a particularly effective statement to make in light of this vicious ad. We need to remind everybody how much gays and lesbians are interwoven into our society. When advertisements like this are placed into our newspapers by religious organizations whose goal should be inclusiveness, not hate, we should recignize that this is a sign that we need to do more.

    I have long been an advocate, and a firm beliver in nonviolent protest. The problem is, we need to be more vocal, more visible and more insistent in our call for equality. Freedom of speech means we have it within ourselves to gain freedom from hate. Most of the people who have commented before me have it right: where are our public voices, in the face of this blatant homophobia?

  93. says

    “Marriage is a contract of love between two people, and chosen personal religious beliefs are inappropriate in a civil rights debate.”

    I agree, A.J.

    Mo, clearly you are sincere in your convictions and compassion, but your struggle on this issue is just that, YOUR struggle. I’m glad you are thinking about what your YES vote means, because with that vote you decided that discrimination should be written into the CA constitution, that your disapproval of same-sex marriage is more important than the ruling of the CA Supreme Court (which studied the case at length), and that gay couples who have been committed to one another for years, perhaps decades, have a relationship that is inferior to the one between you and your husband.

    You should be free to oppose same sex marriage and homosexuality, as should your church. (Just as other churches should be free to support same sex marriage, whether or not it is legal.) But you should not be able to vote to take away anyone’s civil rights based on your personal religious or moral convictions. They are yours, they are not mine, and civil marriage (which has nothing to do with the church) in a secular society should not be yours to decide.

    As for Burke, take your hate and ignorance elsewhere.

  94. RB says

    “This is a lesson America had to learn the hard way, overcoming bigotry against Jews, Catholics, and other religious minorities, and we are committed to not letting the country forget it.”

    WOW…and yet they have NO problem with bigotry towards us! I am amazed at how they believe that allowing us to marry will hurt their marriages. Afterall, divorce is not allowed in the Bible and yet civil law allows for divorce and that hurts the family. Actually, many of us remain in relationships longer than most heteros stay married! But then again that is just an observation from a rational point of view!

  95. Rob LLL says

    Hi Mo,

    I’m actually well aware of the historical persecution of Mormons. My whole family on my mom’s side is LDS (she left the church when she was 19 because of the racial doctrine it held at the time). Obviously, what was done to Mormons in Missouri and elsewhere was awful. Unfortunately, a lot of your co-religionists don’t seem to have learned from their own history and are enthusiastically willing to stick it to another unpopular group — as per Burke’s charming post. They should know better.

    This is NOT a Mormon-specific failing, but a species-wide problem. To begin with, people are generally concerned mostly with their own challenges, not those of others (duh). What’s more, suffering does not necessarily ennoble or make anyone more empathetic — in some instances it does the opposite and hardens you. Years ago, I was involved with a Mexican-American guy whose parents had come over the border illegally in the early 60s and faced plenty of discrimination as they built a life here. They were basically good people and had even accepted their son’s sexuality, despite their Catholic background. But you know what? His dad couldn’t stop talking about how lazy and stupid “the blacks” in the U.S. were. Talk about not getting it — I wanted to bang my head on the table everytime I went over there. :(

    Another example is the stupid, offensive, racist remarks that *some* white gays have made in response to a large portion of the African-American community (apparently) voting in favor of Prop 8. That’s totally unacceptable. No one is immune to this tendency — it’s a *human* issue, not an exclusively Mormon/gay/white/black/whatever issue.

    I understand why rank-and-file Mormons are rattled by the recriminations and protests outside their churches. What’s less understandable to me is why many LDS members (including some of my relatives) are shocked by the blowback. It was an entirely predictable outcome given the extent of Mormon involvement in the Prop 8 campaign. I’m sure you’ve seen the footage of gay couples getting married outside San Francisco City Hall. You can see the joy on their faces. Did anyone seriously expect them or their friends, families, or community to just walk away when that was taken from them? That’s nuts. You don’t walk up to a stranger, punch him in the gut, and then expect to casually stroll off without being pursued. And whatever the intention was, that’s how it feels from our side.

    Finally, I would also like to second what Ernie said above. I appreciate your struggle to work out and somehow reconcile what you’ve been taught about human sexuality by your church with other perspectives that have come into your life. That’s not easy and, unlikely as it sounds, I have a degree of sympathy for your situation.

    BUT at the same time, I really don’t want to be a part of it. It is not an issue for me or my family — please don’t make it one. Keep it in your church and out of civil law and I’ll put down my protest sign and go home.

    Thank you for listening. I appreciate your thoughtful and sincere participation in this discussion.

  96. Ty says

    The Mormon church should not receive any tax benefit(tax exemption is the same as government sanction) from the state because they are a private club. Tax payer money should not be supporting private clubs, period. The tax money collected should pay for anti violence ads, and a gay awareness campaign.

  97. MO says

    TY- a club? really? If the Mormon Church ITSELF donated any money to Prop 8 then they probably should use their tax exempt status…i don’t think, however, that they are prohibited from urging their members to support the measure financially. It still leaves members free to choose. I did not contribute financially, though I did vote. I’m not sure why you think we’re a club as opposed to a church.

    PS. I promise I am not abandoning this conversation. I really want to try to address the numerous comments, suggestions, etc that have been offered me. However, to do so would take me HOURS (as I’m very careful about what I say on this site) and I HAVE to get to bed before 3AM or I am going to, quite literally, pass out some time tomorrow. I’ll be back. Try not to miss me too much 😉

    PPS. I wanted to make sure that no one here was under the impression that I am a Mormon who is struggling with her dedication to her religion. I AM the typical Mormon. I am a family loving, church-attending, temple-going, tithing paying, coffee-eschewing member of my church who honestly just wants to do (and lend my support to) what I feel is right and just and true. I am just trying to figure out what that is.

  98. LA says

    I really appreciate reading some of these comments – rb and mo.

    I am LDS, and consider myself a tolerant person. To those of you who just scoffed at that as an impossibility, I invite you to take just a moment to think that the same contempt you heaped upon me without knowing anything more about me than the first sentence (LDS and tolerant) you read above is the reasoning you are giving yourself for hating me. I agree that the hate will get us NOWHERE.
    I do not believe for a moment that everyone here would hate me immediately, and I guess that’s why I wanted to offer my POV, for whatever it’s worth, after reading yours.
    I don’t pretend to know what you have gone through in your life with persecutions from people like me and even what you feel now with people of my faith – so I won’t patronize you by trying. However, I am an educated person, and in many academic circles I feel I am looked down upon because I believe in a God. Again, right now I’m sure there are some people who deem me mentaly unstable or inept from the mere fact I am Christian.
    From my point of view, though (and I am as sincere as I know how to be right now) the only reason I have to be against Gay Marriage is because I believe the family is ordained of God. That is it – it sums up my belief and opinion on that matter. I believe there is a God, and he has laws he wants us to obey because they will be for our good.
    As for why I concern myself with civil matters in this instance is, if I had a best friend who was taking poison that I thought would kill him – I would do anything in my power, including try and pass laws to make the poison illegal, to save my best friend from destroying himself. I hope that my best friend would do the same for me.
    I know you and I don’t see gay marriage the same, or even homosexuality, I get that. Please don’t reply and tell me that we differ on that point – I think we all understand that.
    Again, though, I would want my best friend to do whatever he could to help me if the circumstances were reversed.
    If you had a crystal ball and could see that my TV set was going to explode a year from now and kill me and my family, I’d hope that you’d start trying to get TVs banned from my neighborhood.
    Also, on another point, I am very sorry if any of this comes across as condescending, or has anything less than a tone of friendship. I know that we Christians can be a “Holier than thou” bunch if there ever were a group to own that title – and again, I apologize for it. If I have sounded rude (or the next time you meet a freak who acts that way) please quote them my favorite Christian scripture because, especially in a Christian’s mind, we’re all in the same boat – 1 John 1:8

  99. MAJeff says

    And, in LA–like MO–we see another person whom all gay people would be better of without in their life. Why should we waste our valuable lives on sanctimonious anti-gay people willing to do us harm?

  100. Erik Howell says

    MAJEFF – because change happens one person at a time.


    To continue your analogy, let’s say you do have a crystal ball that says some form of harm will come to your friend in one year if they don’t abandon their television. But what if there are dissenting opinions? Other people out there have the same crystal ball you have, but they are interpreting it differently. They say great happiness will come to your friend through their current path. In fact, if they get rid of it, they will lose out on living their life in a complete and fulfilling manner, a life of loving and self discovery. And then there are others with entirely different crystal balls that all have different views of the future.

    But the analogy falls apart. One can’t choose whether to throw out their sexuality. Imagine a world where religion and culture and laws force you to be gay.

    Let us live and love. Feel free to spread the word of your religion, but allow me to follow my own path. I assure you that God smiles on the love I share with my partner. God ordained us to be together. I know it to be true.

  101. MAJeff says


    I do that one person at a time work in my classes, and my career working with students.

    In my personal life, outside that setting, though…folks who think “homosexuality is wrong” are anti-gay and jettisoned from my life. I have to deal with enough of that outside my home and my friendships, I don’t need it on the inside. People who will donate and vote to rescind my rights, who will work actively to make sure that I am not treated equally under the law or in society…well, they aren’t worth my time. Life is too short and too valuable to waste on people like that. Fuck ’em.

  102. says

    LA, perhaps your intention is not to offend with your poison and exploding television analogies, but they are offensive. You, and MO, are free to be against marriage equality because of your religious beliefs, but they are your personal beliefs and, as such, should have no place in determining my civil rights. We can discuss it till the cows come home, but, ultimately, religious meddling in the civil institution of marriage, and in the lives of gay people, needs to stop. Leave us alone, and we won’t be fighting back. Yours and MO’s beliefs and thoughts on homosexuality really aren’t of concern to us.

  103. MO says

    I’m sorry that you feel that way MAJEFF an ERNIE. I’ve really tried to be as respectful and understanding of something that I am struggling with. If my beliefs and thoughts on this are unwelcome I apologize. I really just wanted to talk to someone about it and garner a different perspective. You guys have been great but I can see that I’m not welcome here and that my presence is upsetting some people. I appreciate your comments and will try to keep them in mind as I deal with this on my own.

  104. MAJeff says

    Your beliefs and thoughts are unwelcoming. You seem to think that you can be anti-gay and still be entitled to gay people as friends. I’m saying that as an anti-gay person, you’re not entitled to that. You seem to think that your intentional actions to make life worse for gay people should be greeted with, “No harm. You’re still friendly.” No way. You are working to make life worse for gay people through your actions. Your religious beliefs contribute to a society which not only devalues us, but the religious organization to which you belong is a leading ant-gay force in this society. You, and your church, are actively working to make gay life worse, to maintain or reinstate legal, political, social, and cultural exclusions of homosexuality and homosexuals. And yet, I should welcome you into my home and my life with welcome arms? Not a chance in hell.

  105. MAJeff says

    One last thing to consider, MO. When you say, “I think homosexuality is wrong” you are saying, “I don’t think your relationships or your families or your communities or even your gay selves should even exist.” But of course, you want to be seen as “nice” so would be terribly offended if we should attribute anti-gay prejudice or animus to you. It would be unfair to those who seek our elimination and an increase on restrictions on our ability to live gay lives to even hint they might be bigots.

  106. says

    MO, I appreciated your perspective and your attempt to be respectful and open-minded, and I’m happy that you are willing to keep our thoughts in mind. But, as MAJEFF is saying, there comes a point when we reach an impasse, and all the respectful discussion in the world doesn’t change the fact that a Yes vote on 8 was a vote to discriminate against and harm gay people like us, like your friend. Two gay men or two lesbians marrying in CA, or anywhere, will not harm your life in any way. Your Yes vote harmed ours. Respect is fine, but it doesn’t change your vote. I hope you’ll consider that as you wrestle with this issue. Best wishes.

  107. GregV says

    I am glad that you are at least engaging in conversation and expressing your motivations. But I don`t know what “tolerance“ means to you when you are willing to take away the civil rights of others. Imagine someone saying “I am tolerant of blacks but I will vote to take away their right to go to school“ or “I am tolerant of Jews, but I will vote to make them second class citizens in the hope that they will see the light and come to Jesus.
    Indeed, you may believe that homosexuality is “wrong“ but most Americans believe the same thing about Mormonism. Conventional Evangelical Christian theology suggests that Mormons are so wrong that their soul is doomed. Imagine if Mormons were the next target, as they have been in the past. An Evangelical might very well use exactly the same reasoning that you have. Mormonism is wrong and he would save a friend from taking poison, so he should also vote against Mormons. What good you or he would think would come of taking away the rights of either gay people or of Mormons to have the same rights that he (or you} have is hard to imagine. He may think that if Mormons have extra struggles in this life, such as not being able to visit their spouse in the hospital, they will somehow realize that the LDS church is bad. He may imagine that if the Mormon`s children have their health insurance revoked and the child does not get adequate care in the hospital, the child will learn to blame his parents for their Mormonism. Would it be worth hurting Mormons in this life in order to save their immortal soul?
    Indeed, this is how society works toward minorities in a lot of Muslim majority countries and the way most Christian societies treated “the other“ in decades and centuries past.
    What this mindset fails to recognize is that it is impossible for a diverse society to function fairly for everyone when this precedent takes hold. It also seems to fail to recognize that you (or your future grandchildren} can as easily be the victim as the ones you are voting to hurt.
    Voting to take away the civil rights of same sex couples will never in a million years make me heterosexual. Indeed, though I have previously visited the Mormon center in SLC and had sittings with Mormon missionaries in my home, this vote has done more to turn me off of the LDS church than anything its members have ever done at least since the time they were denying equal rights to blacks.
    I spent last night in the home of a friend who is both gay and Mormon. He is a kind and compassionate person and I know the Mormon church can take some credit for helping develop his good qualities. But the way his family treats him is apalling and the hypocrisy and hurt that I see makes it very clear to me that, while the LDS gets some things right, something is very wrong and very damaging in the doctrine as a whole.

  108. LA says

    OK – two things:
    First, I only have my crystal ball and can only know the truth as far as I know it and have sought it out, just as you do. If I do indeed believe my crystal ball, then can you at least grant me that these actions could be conceived out of love – and not the hateful bigotry automatically assigned me?
    Second, I understand that most of the world doesn’t agree with Mormonism – otherwise everyone would be Mormon. That, juxtaposed with some of the historical treatment all minority groups have received, is why I say if there are civil rights missing then we should all be afforded them. I have the right and priveledge of living with the person I love forever, and I wouldn’t take that right away from anyone else. But my marriage isn’t recognized everywhere. I’ve lived in Holland and China, and have found that marriage doesn’t have much of a meaning in a lot of places besides much more than a lable – a stigma.
    I am interested in the heart of the matter (I don’t know what privledges the domestic partnership law denies or grants), but would defend the doctrine of Mormonism, Christianity, or civilized living in general as one day being able to separate the incalcated actions of our species from the lessons of kindness and love we try to teach ourselves sometimes.
    I do appreciate raybob at least suggesting the hopes of non-confrontational dialogues, maybe like what we might have here, but if it generates more ill-will than goodwill, again, I apologize and will not post anymore.

  109. MAJeff says

    “If I do indeed believe my crystal ball, then can you at least grant me that these actions could be conceived out of love – and not the hateful bigotry automatically assigned me?”

    No. Because your “love” desires the obliteration of my life and my community.

    You and MO both want a pass. You want to take actions that harm us, and have some pet faggots to say, “No harm.”

    I’m glad you’re not my friend. Then again, if you were, you’d wouldn’t be anymore.

  110. says

    LA, it comes down to this. I may have personal beliefs re: Mormonism, but I am not about to presume that my personal beliefs should have any say in the civil rights that you, as a Mormon, receive in a secular society.

    Perhaps I believe that Mormonism is destructive, bad for marriage, bad for family, even though I harbor no ill will towards you personally. That doesn’t give me the right to decide what’s best for you or take away your civil rights (dissolve a marriage, for instance, or remove a child from your care) any more than a disapproval of homosexuality and same-sex marriage based on your personal religious beliefs gives you, or anyone, the right to take away my civil rights or determine the worth of my family.

    Tolerance means giving up the arrogance of believing you know what is best for people who don’t share your beliefs. It means not working to deprive people of the same civil rights you enjoy. Same-sex marriage, whatever you may think of it, causes you no harm. Those who are working to prevent it are, by definition, intolerant.

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