Archive for the ‘LDS/Mormon Issues’ Category

NOM Doesn’t Care Judge Is Gay, But It’s Wrong

NOM's infamously bigoted commercial "Storm Coming"

In an update to Sunday’s story about Prop 8 Trial Judge Vaughn Walker being gay, NOM  (people from the “storm is coming” commercial) has released a statement that it doesn’t matter he’s gay.. he’s just incredibly biased.

While both official sides in the Prop 8 Trial case are both claiming that they don’t care about the orientation of Judge Walker and that it has not impacted the case, the far right asshats are flying in with their nonsensical rhetoric. NOM (LDS Inc. controlled National Organization for Marriage) released a statement saying, “We have no idea whether the report [of Walker’s orientation] is true or not. But we do know one really big important fact about Judge Walker: He’s been an amazingly biased and one-sided force throughout this trial, far more akin to an activist than a neutral referee. That’s no secret at all”

Queerty has some opinions on that, saying “..this move is true to form for the National Organization for Marriage.. It’s the “smiling bigot” phenomenon, where religious beliefs are slyly substituted for important secular responsibilities like “family and children,” hoping nobody notices. It’s imperative for NOM, and the defendants in Perry, to put distance between their goal (banning gay marriage) and their reasoning for it (it goes against religious teachings), because courts regularly shoot down arguments tied to the cross. And Brown’s statement repeats NOM’s earlier positions: They don’t have anything wrong with gay people, they just don’t want them screwing with their sacred institution.”

Of course these days anything NOM says is almost inconsequential as they’re under federal investigation for their ties to the Mormon Church and their direct and illegal involvement in the passage of Maine’s Anti-Gay Marriage law in 2009.

Mormon Hate Group Attacks Prop 8 Film

America Forever strikes again! The self-stylized righteous warriors of the group America Forever ( led by the ever loony Sandra Rodrigues) sent out thousands of faxes to Utah condemning the upcoming film “8: The Mormon Proposition.”

The flyer attacks not only Sundance in general, but most directly the film’s creator and director, Reed Cowan. Among the many lies is the claim that he wore a BYU shirt to the now-infamous “pig-sex” interview with Senator Chris Buttars in order to put Buttars at ease. But, in the photo below taken during the interview, it’s obvious that is not the case. The flyer also claims that without knowing it, Reed was victimized by the “homosexual movement” and is now a puppet moving at the whims of others.

America Forever has become the laughing stock of Utah, and even the ultra-conservative LDS (Mormon) Church has tried to separate from them. America Forever used to protest at almost every gay event with their “Shame On You” signs, but not lately. Insiders reported that Sandra Rodrigues’ Bishop (pastor in the Mormon Church) pulled her aside and asked her to stop protesting because she was “embarrassing the church.” Either way… these nutjobs make Gayle Ruzicka look good!

Reed’s film opens this weekend at the Sundance Film Festival, amidst international excitement that the truth of the ’cause and effect of the Mormon Church’s involvement in Proposition 8 is being revealed. See the trailer here.

Reed Cowan and Senator Chris Buttars during the infamous "pig-sex" interview. Note: Reed is NOT wearing a BYU shirt.

Flyer Sent Out By America Forever

BYU Mormon Prof Says Gay Couples Inadequate To Raise Children

SLC – Last week the University of Utah hosted a debate on LGBT Rights And Family Law. But what started as a healthy conversation quickly set many teeth in the audience grinding as BYU Professor Lynn Wardle attacked Gays, Gay Families and Women in general.

UofU Professor Cliff Rosky

The debate was sponsored by the UofU club the “Outlaws,” and featured Professor Cliff Rosky (University of Utah law professor and board member of Equality Utah) and Professor Lynn Wardle (BYU Professor and Co-Author of Utah’s Amendment 3). The two started things off amiably, both stressing that they wanted this to be a “conversation” rather than a debate. However the tension in the room built almost immediately as Lynn Wardle mentioned in his opening remarks that “Traditional Marriage is the same across all cultures and times.”

Funny, but I seem to recall every history book telling me different, but who am I to argue?

Professor Wardle also showed a rather glaring lack of knowledge on the subject when he spoke of civil unions as being equivalent to marriage, despite the overwhelming evidence of the 1100+ rights that are given to married couples but denied to partners living with civil unions.

The evening really took a downturn from there, as Wardle made veiled (barely) comparisons between gay relationships and incest. “Strong morality usually comes from a traditional family,” Wardle says, “Is it possible to have a strong incestuous family, is it possible to have a strong polyamorous family or a strong same-sex family? Yes, but it’s not likely.” Lynn surmises that gay couples cannot have the strength of commitment or love for one another as a

BYU Professor Lynn Wardle

heterosexual couple, and therefore cannot have a strong family.

Rosky pushed Wardle on the issue, asking why gay couples cannot have as strong a family as straight couples? Wardle replied that there are inherant traits to women and men in families, and only a man and a woman can fulfill those traits. Almost every female in the room gasped (remember most in the audience are law students) as they listened to a BYU professor tell them that the 1800’s gender roles should still be in place.

Yeah…. don’t think I’ll be rooting for BYU anytime soon.

Mormon Prop 8 Involvement Exposed During Prop 8 Trial!

In an explosive afternoon in California, internal memos within the LDS (Mormon) Church have been introduced!

Even after Pro-8 counsel fought furiously to keep them hidden, documents from within the LDS/Mormon hierarchy were ruled as valid by Judge Walker today. The first was an email describing the Prop 8 Campaign as “entirely under direction of the priesthood.” As the email was read it covered incredible details, such as the fact that the Mormon church had a “key-leader in every zip code in California,” organizing the efforts of pro-8. The document also describes plan for grassroots organizing based on church wards led by ward priests. Apparently, the LDS church had an average of 20,000 volunteers walking neighborhoods at any given time.

The 2nd document is a record of the minutes in a meeting of the LDS officials. It details that Mormons were “not to take the lead, but to work within the coalition” in order to minimize negative impact on the church. In other-words, the documents make it clear that 2 way flow of info between the campaign and the church was regular, but church pretended to lay low. The LDS church pushed for the campaign to provide the talking points, and it would provide the volunteers.

With the documents, we now know that Prop 8 was primarily coordinated between the Catholic Church, the Mormons and Focus on the Family. Expert witnesses describe this kind of coordination as “unprecedented” in the taking away of civil liberties of citizens.

The documents were found by “8: The Mormon Proposition” director Reed Cowan.

Prop 8 Trial! Day 4 Mid-Day Summary

Mid-day Summary for Day 4 of Prop 8 Trial. As reported by Lisa Keen:

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It was mostly a numbers game in the courtroom this morning during Day 4 of the federal trial challenging Proposition 8—how many couples got married, how many dollars did they spend, how much tax revenue has been lost as a result before and after the ban on same-sex marriage.

Plaintiffs opposing the same-sex marriage ban in California put on evidence to show that preventing same-sex couples from marrying hurts the local government by costing millions in revenue and commercial business. And, said San Francisco Chief Economist Edmund Egan, it costs in terms of public funding the city and county must spend to provide health coverage for gays without insurance, enforce a law to require employers to provide coverage for domestic partners, and provide for increased behavioral health care needs.

Egan testified that about 5,100 of the 18,000 same-sex couples who married between June and November 2008 were in San Francisco, that they spent at a rate of about $21 million per year on wedding expenses, to which would be added another several hundred thousands of dollars in associated taxes. Because of the same-sex marriage ban, said Egan, the city’s hotels are losing at least $2.6 million a year in business.

The purpose of such testimony, said Therese Stewart, Chief Deputy City Attorney for San Francisco, was to counter defendants’ efforts to claim that there is rational need for the governmental to ban same-sex marriage.

On cross-examination, defense attorney Peter Patterson tried to combine interim Census data on the number of same-sex households in San Francisco with Egan’s testimony to suggest he had vastly overestimated the costs. The Census data Patterson referred to showed 9,624 same-sex households in San Francisco; and by extrapolating from Egan’s data, Patterson said Egan would be predicting 14,599 weddings.

But on re-examination of Egan, plaintiff attorney Christine Van Aken enabled Egan to point out that every same-sex couple does not live together before marriage.

After Patterson tried to show only a small number of same-sex couples sought marriage licenses after November 2008, Van Aken had Egan point out that the November 4, 2008, vote approving Propostion 8 made it essentially pointless for any same-sex couples to apply for marriage licenses.

Testimony with two more witnesses is expected to be completed during the afternoon session, which begins at 1 p.m. Pacific time. Judge Vaughn Walker, who is presiding over the trial, acknowledged in court this morning the U.S. Supreme Court ruling which prohibits him from making taping or closed-circuit broadcast of the proceedings available beyond the courthouse itself. He announced he was, therefore, withdrawing his request that the Perry v. Schwarzenegger trial be part of the federal appeals court’s pilot program for making proceedings more widely available to the public.

Check back this evening for the full report of today’s testimony.

Prop 8 Trial! Day 3 Summary

Ok, today’s post is again from LIVE updates so start at the bottom and work your way up! Coverage courtesy of Howard Mintz:

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4:20 p.m.: Day 3 testimony ends

The third day of the Prop 8 trial is in the books. Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker quickly commented on the Supreme Court’s order banning broadcast of the trial, suggesting there are issues yet to be resolved as far as posting video of the trial on the federal court Web site. It seemed to be a reference to the fact that Walker’s larger plan to webcast via YouTube was never approved by the 9th Circuit’s chief judge before an appeal went to the Supreme Court on part of his order, which would have allowed simulcast of the trial to five other federal courthouses. But Walker made it clear he doesn’t want the issue to sidetrack the trial.

Meanwhile, UCLA prof Letitia Peplau finished her testimony. Tomorrow’s plaintiffs witnesses include Edmund Egan, San Francisco’s chief economist, and Helen Zia, a lesbian woman who married before Prop 8 went into effect.

3:36 p.m.: Bizarre exchange of the day

As the Prop 8 trial gets close to the end of the day, bizarre-question exchange of the day just took place. Prop 8 lawyer Nicole Moss was trying to ask plaintiffs expert Letitia Peplau, a UCLA prof, whether gay couples could “accidentally” have children out of wedlock. “If your question is whether two lesbians can, accidentally, spontaneously, impregnate each other, not to my knowledge,” she said, prompting laughter in the courtroom. “I would agree that same-sex couples do not have accidental pregnancies.”

3:29 p.m.: A closer look at the Supreme Court ruling on broadcasting the trial

A closer look at the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling indefinitely barring any broadcast of the Prop 8 trial shows the difference between the majority and dissenters boiled down to two things. The majority (Justices Roberts, Alito, Thomas, Kennedy and Scalia) concluded that Chief Judge Vaughn Walker did not follow federal law in changing rules to allow cameras in his courtroom for the trial, in large part because they believe he didn’t allow enough time for public comment on changes to local federal court rules. And the justices also determined that Prop 8 supporters demonstrated there could be harm to their fair trial rights because certain witnesses could be intimidated by broadcast exposure, reason to keep the stay in place.

The dissenters (Breyer, Ginsburg, Sotomayor and Stevens) couldn’t have disagreed more. They said Walker easily followed the rules, and rejected the idea Prop 8’s defense would suffer any harm. They called the decision an unprecedented attempt to “micromanage” a district court’s administration.

Same-sex marriage advocates can only hope the justices don’t break down along the same party lines if the main issue reaches the high court.

Meanwhile, Letitia Peplau, the plaintiffs expert, is sparring with Prop 8 lawyer Nicole Moss under cross-examination, feuding over data about gay marriage in Belgium.

2:44 p.m.: UCLA prof says 2 percent of marriages would be same-sex

UCLA prof Letitia Peplau has completed her testimony under questioning from plaintiffs lawyers. By trial standards, her testimony moved pretty quickly as she told the judge her opinion that allowing same-sex marriage would not damage the institution, as Prop 8 supporters suggest. She noted that even if gay marriage is allowed, only about 2 percent of all marriages in the nation would be same-sex. “I think it would have no impact on the stability of heterosexual couples,” Peplau testified.

Prop 8 attorney Nicole Moss is now cross-examining Peplau. It appears she will question whether there is sufficient evidence to back up Peplau’s conclusions about same-sex couples and the importance of marriage to their relationships.

2:25 P.M.: Supreme Court indefinitely blocks YouTube broadcastts

With a 5-4 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court has decided to keep the Prop 8 trial dark on the Web, rejecting Judge Vaughn Walker’s attempt to broadcast the proceedings on the federal court’s Web site by using YouTube., as well as allowing it to be circulating for viewing at various federal courthouses around the West. The majority opinion said that Walker and officials with the 9th Circuit Judicial Conference, including Chief 9th Circuit Judge Alex Kozinski, did not follow proper procedures in changing federal court rules that would allow the broadast. The majority stressed that it was not “expressing any view on whether such trials should be broadcast.” Justice Stephen Breyer, writing for the four dissenters, decried the decision, saying there was no reason to interfere with the broadcast and that there would not be any harm in allowing the webcast.

Meanwhile, UCLA prof Letitia Peplau, a plaintiffs expert, is testifying on research she says shows that same-sex couples enjoy the same benefits from marriage as heterosexual couples. She also said he will offer an opinion that allowing gay marriage will have no impact on heterosexual marriage

1:48 p.m.: Next witness is UCLA prof

The Prop 8 trial has resumed for the afternoon session. Letitia Peplau, a UCLA professor, is taking the stand for the plaintiffs as a social-psychology expert who is expected to testify to the benefits of marriage for same-sex couples.

Meanwhile, everyone is waiting for the U.S. Supreme Court to decide the issue of allowing the broadcast of the trial on the Web. The Supreme Court had stayed Judge Vaughn Walker’s order allowing cameras until 1 p.m. today, but that time came and went. The nation’s high court apparently moves on its own time.

12:15 p.m.: UCLA professor to testify on positives of same-sex marriage

The Prop 8 trial is on lunch break until 1:40 p.m. Yale professor George Chauncey is done testifying after about a full day on the stand. Next up for the plaintiffs is Dr. Letitia Peplau, a UCLA professor being called to testify on the positive benefits of marriage for same-sex couples, and the impact on them of denying the right.

11:54 a.m.: Video of Prop. 8 supporter William Tam played in court

The plaintiffs continue to play the videotaped deposition of William Tam, one of the leaders of the Proposition 8 campaign, as Yale Professor George Chauncey remains on the stand (almost as an afterthought at this point). In the depo, Tam answers a variety of questions about why he opposed gay marriage, including what he perceived as a threat to children. He testified that children would opt to be gay if they know same-sex marriage is permitted. “Since it’s in the air, then they think, why not?” Tam said in his deposition.

The plaintiffs are expected to call Tam as a witness in the trial Friday. A thrust of the lawsuit will be an attempt to persuade Walker that Proposition 8 was driven by animus against gays, and Proposition 8 supporters are certain to be grilled on that topic.

11:35 a.m.: Letter from Prop. 8 backer likens same-sex marriage to legalizing sex with children

Therese Stewart, San Francisco’s chief deputy city attorney, shows Yale Professor George Chauncey a letter authored by leading Proposition 8 backer William Tam during the campaign. Tam likens allowing same-sex marriage to efforts to legalize prostitution and legalizing sex with children. Stewart asked Chauncey if the letter “reflects a lower hostility level” toward gays and lesbians.

“This is consistent in tone with a much larger history of anti-gay rhetoric,” Chauncey replied.

A reminder that the plaintiffs have Chauncey on the stand to establish a history of discrimination against gays. The legal importance is for plaintiffs to try to get gays and lesbians deemed a “protected class” that warrants greater protection under the federal constitution. The U.S. Supreme Court has given that status based on race, religion and gender, but not for sexual orientation.

11:27 a.m.: Yale professor winding down testimony

As Yale Professor George Chauncey winds down his testimony, plaintiff lawyers have decided to roll out some fresh artillery to try to undercut the Proposition 8 legal team’s effort to argue that gays and lesbians face a diminishing threat of discrimination. Proposition 8 attorney David Thompson used that approach in cross-examining Chauncey, who now is back under questioning from plaintiffs attorney Therese Stewart.

To set up some questions for Chauncey, Stewart is playing video of a Dec. 1 deposition of William Tam, one of the leading Proposition 8 sponsors and one of the intervenors in defending the law in the federal court case. Tam just last week asked to be let out of the case as a defendant because of concerns he faces threats and harassment from same-sex marriage advocates, and Walker has yet to rule on that attempt.

Tam, in the deposition, describes his role in mobilizing rallies during the Proposition 8 campaign, often through churches, and spurring support for the measure in the Asian-American community.

10:06 a.m.: Former Miss California Carrie Prejean mentioned

The judge has taken his morning break, but not before the inevitable happened: mention of defrocked beauty queen Carrie Prejean, who drew controversy last year for opposing same-sex marriage. Proposition 8 lawyers played a clip of San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom saying Prejean was being unfairly maligned for speaking her mind, planning to question Yale Professor George Chauncey about it. Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker, however, agreed with plaintiff lawyers that the line of questioning was irrelevant and spiked the idea of asking Chauncey about the Newsom comment.

Chauncey is close to winding up his stay on the stand.

9:51 a.m.: Yale professor on hot seat during cross-examination

Yale Professor George Chauncey remains in the hot seat under cross-examination from Proposition 8 lawyer David Thompson. Thompson continues to pound on the theme that gays and lesbians no longer face widespread discrimination, and in fact are gaining in political power. Chauncey is not buying entirely in that argument. “The bottom line is that there has been a significant shift in public opinion toward acceptance of gay rights, correct?” Thompson asked.

“There has been a shift in public opinion and growing support for gay people, and gay people continue to encounter enormous hostility,” Chauncey replied.

Interestingly, the Proposition 8 legal team is leaving much of the cross-examination of the plaintiffs experts to Thompson, a studious-looking lawyer in lead attorney Charles Cooper’s law firm, Cooper & Kirk. Thompson, in fact, is managing partner in the firm and has no problem questioning academics from the Ivy League: He’s a Harvard law grad himself. Thompson is no stranger to conservative legal fights, either. Among other cases, he aided in defending a legal challenge to California’s Proposition 209, which banned public affirmative action programs.

9:17 a.m.: Cross-examination of Yale professor

Day 3 of the Proposition trial is rolling with the resumption of testimony from George Chauncey, a Yale history professor and plaintiffs expert on the history of discrimination. He is under cross-examination from David Thompson, a Proposition 8 lawyer who is trying to undercut the professor’s testimony that gays and lesbians have been the target of unrelenting discrimination through history, including in modern times. Thompson has asked about television and movies on gays and gay issues, such as the TV show “Will & Grace” and the 1993 movie “Philadelphia.” And he is asking Chauncey about presumed improvements in the political arena, with gains in gay rights through ordinances around the country and in the California legislature.

The trial day will be expert-intensive. The plaintiffs will later put on Edmund Egan, chief economist for San Francisco; Ilan Meyer, a mental health expert from Columbia University; and Letitia Peplau, a UCLA expert on the benefits of marriage.

The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to decide later today on the issue of broadcasting the trial on YouTube.

Before The Prop 8 Trial Starts Again

I wanted to say this before the trial starts again this morning. I don’t know about you, but I cried several times today as the two historians for the plaintiff reviewed past injustices against the LGBT community. If you weren’t watching my feeds on FB or Twitter, here are a few of the updates, these are quotes from the historians, mostly Prof. Chauncey:

Anita Bryant who also said.” Homosexuals cannot reproduce so they must recruit to refresh their ranks”

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Bryant campaign focused on gay people’s supposed threat to children as teachers, to “force themselves” on other people by being open

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1500 hate crimes per yr against lgbt people, more thn 200 thousand ca school kids harassed fr being lgbt or perceived as such

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“the homosexual …is ever seeking younger victims” from ca attorney general in 1950s

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1930s to 50s, police campaigns saying gay people were child molestors. Press campaigns around country

1950 rpt on gay people in civil service, recommnded tightening procedures to identify & discharge gay people from civil service


Public accommodation example: In 1933 when prohibition was repealed, laws were passed that prohibited lesbian and gay people from being served in restaurants or bars with alcohol. This had a profound effect on lesbian and gay people because they could not meet each other (or legally anyone else) in a bar or restaurant. When people went to bars, they had to hide their sexuality.

This was the first time (that I recall) that all of these evil injustices were all talked about at once, on a national public stage with this kind of attention. How great have been the horrors on those who came before us. But we are still here. We are still fighting. And we will not back down or ever stop fighting until we have achieved that glorious goal.. to be the same as everyone else under the eyes of the law.

*note. If you do not have a live source for coverage of the trial. Find me on facebook here, or follow  me on twitter here. I’m doing my best to provide next-to-live updates.