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Prop 8 Trial Today Called 'Explosive' as Efforts by Mormon Church to Hide Involvement are Revealed

A document from the Church of Latter Day Saints to the Proposition 8 campaign was revealed at the trial today, and contained this instructive:

Mormon With respect to Prop. 8 campaign, key talking points will come from campaign, but cautious, strategic, not to take the lead so as to provide plausible deniability or respectable distance so as not to show that church is directly involved.

Julia Rosen, blogging for the Courage Campaign notes: "Get that? The LDS Church intentionally worked to hide behind the scenes to disguise their involvement in the public realm. The LDS Church is well aware that the general public does not have the most favorable opinion of them. Attention on their involvement could have hurt their cause, namely passing Prop 8."

Rosen called the afternoon "explosive" as the attorneys battled over what documents could be revealed as evidence of the coordinated efforts between Prop 8 campaign and Catholic, LDS, and Evangelical churches.

It elicited this statement from Judge Walker: "Not to make light of this, but the reason people want to produce documents is that they are revealing."

Hear, hear.

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  1. Caught with their hand in the cookie jar!!

    Posted by: Edd | Jan 20, 2010 7:29:46 PM

  2. LDS = POS

    Posted by: New Jersey Girl | Jan 20, 2010 7:55:57 PM

  3. Surprise!

    Posted by: rich | Jan 20, 2010 7:58:31 PM

  4. LDS = LSD

    Posted by: Stephen | Jan 20, 2010 7:59:54 PM

  5. Andy, be careful here -- I've been trying to get confirmation that the document actually said that. My fear is that it's either the witness' statement or an editorial one by the person doing the liveblogging. We're stuck here, thanks to SCOTUS, with this kind of confusion.

    Posted by: freddie | Jan 20, 2010 8:01:01 PM

  6. sounds big... do you think we'll hear about it in mainstream media?!

    Not a f'n chance.

    Gays have accomplished the impossible- we're invisible!

    Not even a 14th Amendment challenge can bump a fascinating story about... the rain. :(

    Posted by: stephen | Jan 20, 2010 8:20:50 PM

  7. Oh lord. I can't wait to read the Deseret News tomorrow. As a recovering Ho(Mormon) I can tell you this: The next best thing to strong testimony is an over-the-top persecution complex. Even the faintest hint of criticism is tantamount to persecution.
    Moism is truly the Carrie Prejean of religions.

    Posted by: B | Jan 20, 2010 8:32:40 PM

  8. LA is carrying this story...

    Posted by: Steve | Jan 20, 2010 8:54:06 PM

  9. What is the Church of Latter Day Saints? Never heard of it.

    Posted by: YooHoo | Jan 20, 2010 8:54:53 PM

  10. This is one of the reasons heterosexual-only marriage supporters didn't want cameras in the courtroom.

    Posted by: Bill | Jan 20, 2010 9:02:37 PM

  11. When will lawsuits be brought against the LDS and catholic churches for violating separation of church and state.

    Posted by: sean | Jan 20, 2010 9:19:50 PM

  12. Rescind their tax exempt status.

    Posted by: NancyBoyDrew | Jan 20, 2010 9:40:55 PM

  13. what's the status of people moving to rescind their tax-exempt status:
    1) is there actually a case here
    2) is anyone doing it
    3) if not, why not
    4) if so, what's the case called so i can look it up. :-)

    Posted by: me | Jan 20, 2010 10:26:54 PM

  14. in looking at the LA Times story, they say that the email(s) presented point to both the Catholic and Mormon churches being involved. So can the tax-exempt status of both be revoked? Or, if there's a case here, would the judge just say "ok don't do it again?"

    Posted by: me | Jan 20, 2010 10:39:02 PM

  15. The Mormons are the White Shirt Gestapo in America.

    Posted by: Alex M. | Jan 20, 2010 10:49:05 PM

  16. The image of cockroaches running for a dark corner when someone turns on the light comes to mind. Well dressed, well-heeled cockroaches.

    Posted by: jessejames | Jan 20, 2010 11:14:55 PM

  17. I was there in the courtroom today in the front row right in front of the screen when they published the demonstratives from these documents... needless to say, my jaw hit the floor. I'm glad the truth finally made it out (if only part of it--the lawyers kept fighting over submitting them as evidence and the plaintiffs had to agree to redact them).

    Posted by: CD | Jan 20, 2010 11:37:32 PM

  18. The email was from the executive director of the Conference of Catholic Bishops, the official leadership body of the Roman Catholic Church in the United States.

    Here is their position on same-sex marriage:

    Posted by: JeffNYC | Jan 20, 2010 11:48:57 PM

  19. Any religious organization (church, temple, mosque, coven, etc...) is allowed under the U.S. tax codes to engage in political discourse so long as A) the organization does not invest 'significant funds' in the course of their political endeavors and B) the organization does not endorse a CANDIDATE.

    In other words, The Church of Latter Day Saints is within its rights to advocate on either side of any political issue, be it abortion, gun control, defense, or marriage equality. Furthermore, they must have hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars in assets, therefore it would be difficult to make the case that the monies they invested in Yes on 8 represented "significant funds" to their organization.

    Unfortunately, I don't see any way in which they would lose their tax exempt status over their Proposition 8 activities.

    Posted by: peterparker | Jan 21, 2010 12:20:01 AM

  20. @CD: Did the email actually use the phrase "plausible deniability" or "respectable distance?" Or did that get added in by one of the livebloggers?

    Posted by: freddie | Jan 21, 2010 12:39:38 AM

  21. I am not an attorney and should have begun my post with the phrase "It is my understanding that any religious organization..."

    Posted by: peterparker | Jan 21, 2010 12:56:00 AM

  22. please post the document so the truth can be spread...

    Posted by: scdaddyo | Jan 21, 2010 2:07:26 AM

  23. @ FREDDIE:
    The document stated that leadership should be left to the Yes On 8 campaign as to distance the church from responsibility. However, it claimed that the church would invest significant resources in the effort. I wish I had my laptop to record it verbatim, but that's the gist of what it said. Note, "significant" is not the word it used, but it was the general idea.

    The documents are "FOR ATTORNEY EYES ONLY" so I doubt they'll be released to the public. It was hotly debated in court today as to whether even let it be shown on the TV as demonstratives.

    It was clear that the LDS church had a significant role because they (the author of the email) boasted in the documents that they had over 20,000 volunteers walking precincts and contributed a sizable amount of money. There were apparently also several conference calls among religious leaders with participating numbers of up to 3500 (I think the goal was 5000) on how to plan and execute prop 8.

    Posted by: CD | Jan 21, 2010 3:18:23 AM

  24. Shame on the church.

    Posted by: sunset10086 | Jan 21, 2010 6:50:48 AM

  25. Don't let the black churches off the hook, guys. Black churches are notorious for their constant sermons against homosexuality. You need to call black churches for what they are: bigoted.

    Posted by: jason | Jan 21, 2010 7:17:55 AM

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