Sign in to comment!

Menu
Home

Protests Over Gay-Marriage Ban Escalate in California

Angry gay rights activists in California continue to protest the Election Day passage of Proposition 8, which amended the state constitution to restrict marriage to between a man and a woman.

A diverse coalition of social and religious conservatives campaigned to overrule a state Supreme Court judgment six months ago that legalized same-sex marriage and saw 18,000 gay and lesbian couples marry in the Golden State.

Ballot initiatives to illegalize gay marriage also passed in Florida and Arizona on Tuesday.

Supporters of same-sex marriage are aiming their wrath at the Mormon church, which raised $20 million of the overall $75 million that was spent to promote the California initiative.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints also encouraged its members to volunteer their time for the campaign.

"The vote's been passed and we're happy with that result, obviously," said Kui Gomez, a member of the Mormon church. "And you gotta remember it wasn't just the Mormon church that donated money. Evangelicals, the Jewish synagogues, Catholic churches" also contributed, Gomez said.

A group of protestors plans to rally Friday in front of the headquarters of the Mormon church in Salt Lake City. Protestors demonstrated Thursday outside a Mormon temple in Los Angeles. About 1,000 gay-marriage supporters waved signs and brought afternoon trafficto a halt.

"This is a very disruptive, small group of fanatics protesting because they were unable to persuade Californians of their position," said Frank Schubert, the campaign manager for Protect Marriage, the leading group being Proposition 8.

Gay rights activists produced a commercial that portrayed Mormom missionaries rifling through the home of a lesbian couple and marching off with their rings and their marriage licenses.

Schubert called the commercial a "blatant show of religious bigotry" because the protestors feel comfortable attacking a group that makes up a small percentage of the population.

"They think they can get away with it," he said, adding that other religious denominations are condemning the commercial.

The Mormon church denounced the ad.

"The church calls on those involved in the debate over same sex marriage to act in a spirit of mutual respect and civility towards each other," the church said in a statement. "No one on either side of the question should be vilified, intimidated, harassed or subject to erroneous information."

Gay rights activists accuse the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints of violating IRS rules prohibiting churches from donating to a political cause. The Mormon church says the money came from its members, and not the church as an institution.

More protests are expected to take place in Los Angeles and San Francisco. But gay rights activists acknowledge that their only hope of getting Prop 8 repealed lies with the California Supreme Court, which will consider at least three lawsuits seeking to keep gay marriage legal in the state.

FOX News' Anita Vogel and The Associated Press contributed to this report.