Mormons Targeted for Role Supporting Prop 8

Protestors, angry about California ban on same-sex marriage, blame the Mormons.

ByABC News
November 12, 2008, 1:24 PM

Nov. 12, 2008— -- In Connecticut today, a judge cleared the way for same-sex couples to marry, creating a day of truly remarkable contrasts on one of the most divisive cultural issues in America: gay marriage.

The ruling comes just over a week after voters in California passed Proposition 8, a state constitutional amendment to limit marriage to between a man and a woman, putting an end to same-sex couples marrying in the state and spawning protests from activists nationwide.

In New York City this evening, protesters gathered outside a Mormon church, to show their support for same-sex marriage, and express anger about what they dubbed "religious-based bigotry" in America.

These protests are not isolated, but rather, a wider trend of demonstrations from New York to Los Angeles targeting Mormons. Groups are focusing on the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints because its members poured in tens of millions of dollars to defeat gay marriage in California.

Mormon leadership, normally reluctant to engage in politics, sent a letter calling for the preservation of what it called traditional marriage and families, to be read aloud in every Mormon congregation in California.

"The Church's teachings and position on this moral issue are unequivocal," the letter said. "...We ask that you do all you can to support the proposed constitutional amendment by donating of your means and time to assure that marriage in California is legally defined as being between a man and a woman."

Opponents say that church leaders went too far in organizing their members and asking them to donate time and money to getting the proposition passed. Those critics of the church even started an online campaign to identify and embarrass Mormons who supported the amendment.

They launched, a Web site that lists the name and hometown of each Mormon donor, in an attempt to expose how much influence the LDS church played in the campaign.

Critics charge Mormons with hypocrisy, given their troubled history with polygamy.