One of the largest financial backers of Prop 8, the initiative to take away fundamental rights & set the stage for an entire rollback of equal rights for all, was the leadership of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (aka Mormons, LDS). That’s why civil rights activists took to the streets again yesterday outside the Mormon Temple in Newport Beach to speak up for equality. Let me tell you what happened as we stood outside the gates to the temple.
I’ve been amazed in these last few days by this birth of an organic grassroots movement to complete the promise of full equality made by civil rights leaders many years back. I guess all it takes is a robbing of people’s rights to get them up & active. And again, that’s what I saw at the gates to the temple.
I saw married gay & lesbian couples who are furious that a few powerhungry religious leaders want to disrespect their relationships to grow political influence. I saw ex-Mormons who were disgusted by how church leaders spread outright lies about people to “win” an election. I saw numerous young people, gay and straight, who want to see a California and an America where people are no longer hated for who they love. Out of the ashes of a frustrating and saddening campaign, a new and exciting civil rights movement has been born.
Sure, there were some parishoners who felt “inconvenienced” by our presence. There were a couple of people driving on Bonita Canyon Road who shouted expletives at us. Yes, there were even a couple counter-protesters trying to start an ugly scene. However, they were far outnumbered by all of us… And all those driving by who showed their support! Heck, we even had a group of young women coming out of the temple who loudly expressed their support for our cause!
But above all else, it was great to be out educating people and making our case for equal rights. Believe it or not, we’re not alone. Not even here in Orange County are we alone. We have support and we’re making a difference in speaking out. The courts are noticing, the voters are paying attention, and the entire nation is now watching.
If you’d like to be a part of this new civil rights movement right here in OC, drop a line to firstname.lastname@example.org. Now is our time to make change happen. Overturning Prop 8 and securing marriage equality is just the start. Let’s go out and replace this storm of hate with a spirit of love!