After laying low for some time, the Mormon Church is rearing its ugly head back into the same-sex marriage debate.
Yesterday, Mother Jones reported that the church has been quietly reentering the fight against marriage equality for weeks. This time they have their sights set on Hawaii, where the state legislature just began a special session to consider a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage.
The church sat out on nearly every state same-sex marriage ballot measure in 2012, which helped pass marriage equality bills in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and elsewhere. It also launched a website, mormonsandgays.org, in an effort to encourage better treatment of LGBT members. Some Mormons even marched in pride parades in Salt Lake City.
Turns out that was all a charade.
In September, local Mormon bishops read a letter to their flocks from top Hawaii Mormon leadership urging churchgoers to “study this legislation prayerfully and then as private citizens contact your elected representatives in the Hawaii Legislature to express your views about the legislation.”
Then earlier this month, Hawaii church leaders read another letter, this one affirming that the church’s position on same-sex marriage had not changed and that it “is opposed to the proposed legislation in Hawaii.”
These are the same tactics the church used to successfully pass Prop. 8 in 2008, which stripped same-sex couples of their marriage rights in California.
Owen Matsunaga, a local church leader in Hawaii, insists that the church’s opposition to the legislation “does not reduce our regard for all children of God, including individuals who choose to live by other standards.”
In other words: We don’t hate you or anything, we just don’t think you should be treated equally.
The church’s reappearance in lobbying against LGBT rights has disappointed many Mormons who had thought the church’s position was changing. Openly gay Mormon, Mitch Mayne, told the Huffington Post in an email: “While it’s disappointing that any Mormon would stand against something that for many others is clearly the Christlike thing to do, marriage equality remains a question of when — and not if. Our Savior is watching over this one, too. We need not fear.”
Photo credit: Mother Jones.