Protest on Temple Square in SLC, Utah against the passing of Proposition 8 and the LDS church’s involvement

Between 2000 and 5000 people protest against the passing of Prop 8 and the LDS church's involvement on Temple Square tonight

Between 2000 and 5000 people protest against the passing of Prop 8 and the LDS church

Tonight, supporters of Gay Rights stage a massive protest on Temple Square in SLC, UT against the passing of Proposition 8 in California, and the LDS church’s involvement.

The rally was spearheaded and organized by Jason Whipple, and began at a park just to the northeast of Temple Square, and as the crowd grew quickly several speakers spoke about the need for equality for all. Speakers included Jason Whipple, former Salt Lake Mayor Rocky Anderson, and several members of the State Legislature, including Christine Johnson. The speakers spoke passionately about the need for the church and the predominately Mormon law makers in Utah to begin to open their eyes to the world and see the causes of their actions. Former Mayor Rocky Anderson spoke of his childhood growing up as an LDS boy, and recognizing then that he believed the Church’s claims for love for all were only skin-deep, and masked a darker side.

Following the speakers, the crowd (which is now being estimated at almost 5,000) marched several times around the 2 blocks that make up Temple Square, and house the Salt Lake Temple and headquarters of the Church. Chants of “Separate Church and State” and “Equal Rights” rose and echoed off all the local buildings. The SL police department was on hand, and had traffic blocked off to allow the peaceful protest access on the roads. The Church however had all of it’s properties closed off, and Secret-Service looking security (I make the comparison from the long black winter coats, white shirts, black ties, and earpieces), ensured that no protesters entered inside the Temple Square gates, or walked through the Church-owned piece of main street.

Several people, mostly of non-LDS denominations were on hand protesting against the protest. Most had signs, which read things like “Repent or Burn” and “God hate Fags!.” As far as Mormon protesters, some were on hand, most watching in silent protest, or singing. One group of “Young Women” sang “We Thank Thee O’ God for a Prophet” as the rally passed.

I spoke with several members of the church who stood in the entrances of the LDS Conference Center, and asked them their opinions of what was going on. Kristine (26) of Provo said that she thought it was “weird to see this in Utah, this isn’t the sort of thing you see here. Why aren’t they (the protesters) doing this in California?” and, “I think it’s a waste of time.”

Matthew (28) of Salt Lake was downtown with a few of his friends, and wasn’t expecting to see such a huge demonstration. “The Church has million of members in these states (California, Arizona and Florida), so they have a right to act in a political way as long as they don’t cross tax lines.” When asked if he thought the Church had crossed any of those lines, he replied, “No way, it’s a non-profit religious entity. It’s almost impossible to cross that line in our case.” I spoke with Matthew at length, and he was of the opinion that it was important what the Church had done, saying that “they (the Church) educated their members about the dangers of this moral issue, and at the same time encouraged them to get involved politically… the Church has always been involved with immoral activity, including gambling and pornography. What makes this any different?” I asked Matthew and his friends if they had any concern about the Church using it’s own local leaders to push a political agenda, and they agreed that they didn’t, “have a problem with it, but it may have been better to restrict that to California, where the issue was.”

Most of the demonstrators felt differently of course. I spoke with several people who expressed frustrations that in this day and age they were still being denied equal rights to their heterosexual neighbors. One woman remarked that, “I’ve been in a committed relationship with my partner for 37 years, much longer than the average Utah wedding, so why isn’t that given the same status of these young kids who get married and divorce so quickly?” Roya (10 years old) and her younger sister Mia (8) marched along in the crowd with their mother, holding signs and chanting. “I want to make a difference!” said Mia, while Roya followed her up with “All love is equal.”

The Church released an official statement today, claiming that they were being unfairly targeted and singled out since they were part of a broader coalition for the passing of Proposition 8. However, it’s not hard to realize why they were singled out, as they donated the majority of the funding for the cause, and it’s members are credited with having done more than every other group combined.

Similar protests have been staged all over California, including a day-long march around the LDS Temple in Los Angeles yesterday.

 

**photo courtesy of www.KSL.com

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11 responses to this post.

  1. It is awesome to find out there was such a huge turnout!

    Reply

  2. Posted by prop8discussion on November 8, 2008 at 2:30 pm

    The response to marriage being weakened by divorce and an individualistic society is not to make it completely meaningless by extending the definition to make it genderless.

    gender matters. it especially matters in parenting.

    i voted for prop 8 because i see traditional marriage as our society’s ultimate expression of equality: it takes one woman and one man.

    i think this is important especially when it comes to parenting. as a woman, the issue of families and children is really important to me. it’s important to me that my state do everything it can to protect families.

    a mom and a dad create the best possible situation for children. the government has an interest in promoting and providing incentives for this situation.

    facts about LDS church involvement:
    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=38669132820&ref=nf

    facts about history of religious separation:

    http://preservingmarriage.blogspot.com/2008/11/prop-8-american-history-lesson.html

    Reply

  3. i think this is important especially when it comes to parenting. as a woman, the issue of families and children is really important to me. it’s important to me that my state do everything it can to protect families.

    Then why are you supporting Proposition 8, which ensures that some families aren’t entitled to equal protection under the law? If children are important to you, why argue that some children deserve to be legally discriminated against because of their parents’ sexual orientation?

    And why call your blog “prop8discussion” when you censor dissenting opinions from it?

    Reply

  4. Posted by prop8discussion on November 10, 2008 at 1:01 am

    i actually don’t censor dissenting opinions. i do censor comments which are hateful/uninformed/unhelpful to the discussion.

    if you write an argument that actually contributes to the discussion instead of simply using derogatory words and ignorant arguments–then i will post.

    are children from unmarried heterosexual couples legally discriminated against?

    Reply

  5. Posted by Bill on November 11, 2008 at 1:45 pm

    It’s seems like such a sensible argument to make, that all people deserve equal rights to marry whomever they wish. But right now every American has the right to marry, as long as the other person is someone of the opposite sex. No one is denied that right even if they belong to a certain religion or race.

    Reply

  6. Posted by ethingtoneric on November 11, 2008 at 1:57 pm

    Bill;

    That is true, right now people have the right to get married heterosexually. But what about the right to marry the people that they love? What about the happiness that people can have in life by proclaiming their love for their partner?

    The argument that they can marry, as long as they marry who society tells them to marry, is still discrimination wouldn’t you say?

    Reply

  7. prop8discussion: if you write an argument that actually contributes to the discussion instead of simply using derogatory words and ignorant arguments–then i will post.

    You know, trying to claim I used “derogatory words” (I didn’t) and made “ignorant arguments” (I didn’t) as an excuse for censoring a comment that you didn’t agree with, is such a standard excuse, isn’t it?

    I didn’t censor your comment on my blog, nor remove the link. I did add an editorial note, when it was clear you would not allow dissenting opinions in your discussion, to make that clear to others so that they wouldn’t waste their time writing a comment that you would not allow to appear.

    are children from unmarried heterosexual couples legally discriminated against?

    Now you’re trying to argue that legal marriage makes no difference whatsoever to children? That’s not what you say on your blog, is it?

    Either you believe having married parents makes a positive difference in the lives of their children, or you don’t. On your blog, you seemed to be arguing that it did, and arguing from there that the children of same-sex couples couldn’t be allowed to have any part of that benefit.

    Reply

  8. Posted by ethingtoneric on November 11, 2008 at 11:20 pm

    Authors Note to prop8discussion and jesurgislac.

    Up to this point I have approved all comments from both of you. However, at this point I’m going to have to insist that your discussion remain civil. I am not saying that you are not making good points, I just want to make sure that nothing gets out of hand. Thank you so much for reading, and I’m thrilled that these discussions are going on!

    -ethingtoneric

    Reply

  9. Posted by Philip B Kirschner on February 27, 2009 at 8:58 am

    The Gay and Lesbian Community are just as biggoted towards us, as the KKK is against African Americans and Jews. The Gays and Lesbians need to wake up and remember that we in the mormon church were a part of a coalition of religious organizations. The bible new and old testament describes marriage as being in a relationship between a man and a woman.

    I for one am sick and tired of my tax dollars going to suppliment anything that goes against my moral beliefs. Proposition 8 is a marriage bad, and thats it. It does not go against the gay and lesbian relationship, just against marriage.

    Why don’t you guys protest the catholic archdioces or the southern baptists who gave money. Why are you protesting the Latter day saints? I guess your just as biggoted as the Klan.

    Thank you,
    Philip B Kirschner
    Brooklyn, NY

    Reply

    • Posted by ethingtoneric on February 27, 2009 at 12:17 pm

      Philip;

      Interesting thought process my friend 🙂

      Always amusing to hear people say, “You’re prejudiced against us just because we donated millions of dollars towards denying you of the civil rights we already enjoy!” Do you really think your arguments ever work? Do you think they’re actually reasonable? How can you justify acting like a bigot towards another person, and then act surprised when there’s a backlash?

      Eric Ethington

      Reply

  10. Posted by Philip B Kirschner on February 27, 2009 at 8:30 pm

    Thank you…..

    Reply

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