Marchers in the Streets, Boycotts of Businesses, A Travel Ban to Utah, and a Review of Tax Exempt Status of the LDS Church, This isn’t going to end until we get our rights back. All my West coast reads have been reporting one march after another. The churches have overstepped themselves in a really big way. I think the Catholic Church should loose their tax exempt status as well.
From the L.A. Times report on the rally I didn’t make it to last night (after getting home from the Integrity Board Meeting in Nevada):
Police estimated that 12,500 boisterous marchers converged about 6 p.m.
at Sunset and Santa Monica boulevards in Silver Lake near the site of
the former Black Cat bar, which the city recently designated a
historic-cultural monument for its ’60s role as home of the local gay
Police guided the demonstrators through the
streets for more than three hours without major confrontations. No
arrests were reported.
Other demonstrations, including one that
attracted up to 10,000 people in San Diego, popped up across the state.
At each rally, participants vented frustration and anger over the
ballot item that amends the state Constitution to declare that “only
marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized” in
Steve Ramos, 46, of Los Angeles carried a banner
through the streets of Silver Lake with the spray-painted words “Teach
tolerance, not hate.”
Supporters of the ballot proposition, he
said, mixed “religion with politics” and missed the main point.
“Everyone should have equal rights.”
Others carried candles and
posters of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and his famous quotations.
Henry Thach, a 26-year-old information technology worker from West
Covina, held a placard that read, “I have a dream too.”
community, he said, has clearly failed to persuade blacks, who voted
heavily in favor of Proposition 8, that theirs is also a struggle for
The Silver Lake rally began with fiery speeches from the bed of a pickup.
the speakers was Robin Tyler, half of the lesbian couple who were
denied a marriage license in 2004 and challenged that rejection all the
way to the California Supreme Court.
The pair married after the court cleared the way for gay weddings, but the legal status of such marriages is now uncertain.
expressed frustration over the leadership of the unsuccessful campaign
to defeat the ballot measure and lashed out at those who supported it.
No on 8 people didn’t want us to use the word ‘bigots.’ But that’s what
they are, bigots, bigots, bigots,” Tyler said, bringing a round of
cheers from the growing crowd. “We will never be made invisible again.
Never again will we let them define who we are.”
organizers, the L.A. Coalition for Equal Marriage Rights and the Answer
Coalition, did not apply for a permit, police said. The protest closed
Sunset between Fountain and Sanborn avenues for about two hours as
marchers moved west on Santa Monica, north on Vermont Avenue, then east
on Hollywood Boulevard back to Silver Lake. Later a smaller group
headed toward Hollywood.
Steering the crowds, several hundred
officers were on scene, riding horses, motorcycles and bicycles. Others
on foot were sprinkled through the crowd. Mario Mariscal, 20, and his
mother, Delia Perez, a 45-year-old Guatemalan immigrant, stood on the
Sunset Boulevard sidewalk. Mariscal came out to his mother as gay when
he was 16. She held a sign saying, “Give my son his rights.”
feels the No on 8 campaign spent little energy and money in the Latino
community, which tilted for the ballot item. He said he was “very
fearful for my future. When will they start treating me like an equal
A handful of counter-protesters were also on the
scene, separated from the marching crowds by police on horseback. One
man held up a large sign: “God does not love you just the way you are.”
I signed the petition “Review the 501(c)(3) status of The Church of Latter-day Saints (The Mormons)”. I’m asking you to sign this petition to help us reach our goal of 10,000 signatures. I care deeply about this cause, and I hope you will support our efforts.
On Wednesday 5 November, there was a protest march which ran through West Hollywood, CA. On Thursday 6 November there was another protest march on the Mormon Temple in Los Angeles. Today, 7 November there will be a protest rally in front of City Hall in Palm Springs, CA. On Sunday 9 November there will be a protest march on the State’s Capitol in Sacramento at 1 PM. Other protest marches are occurring in San Francisco and throughout the state. This is reminiscent of the tumultuous times of 1968.
On the evening of 4 April 1968, while he was standing on a balcony of his motel room in Memphis, Tennessee, where he was to lead a protest march in sympathy with striking garbage workers of that city, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. That it turn prompted mass civil disobedience by African Americans throughout America. The assassination of Dr. King was not simply the assassination of one person, it was an attempted assassination of hope. Hope that America could fulfill her mission and be an inclusive society with liberty and justice for ALL.
The decision by 52% of the electorate of California to deny equality for ALL this past week, was also an attempted assassination of hope. Hope that our State was somehow, better than that. That we would not vote for discrimination. That we would stand with minorities in our society and protect their rights. That did not happen. As in 1968, the forces of bigotry, hatred and smug supremacy prevailed. Then, this prompted an out pouring onto the nation’s streets of those who were oppressed by an unjust majority. That is happening now again. Dr. King once observed that: “A riot is the voice of the unheard.” Unlike then, violence has thus far thankfully been averted.
Many in society in 1968 hoped that African Americans would simply calm down and that society would return to “business as usual” once the blacks were put back in their place. I’m sure that many of those who voted “yes” on Prop 8, as well as the Architects and chief patrons of Prop 8, hope that once the “fags” calm down, it will also be “business as usual”. Well, it wasn’t the case in 1968 and it is not the case now.
So, where do we go now? Now, is a time for those who voted NO on Prop. 8 to do several things.
Here’s a starter list:
1) Find out what business gave money to “yes” on Prop 8 and cease doing business with them. Ask your friends and families to boycott those businesses. This includes not only corporations but, Realtors, contractors, lawn services, any business, no matter how small. Send them an economic NO when you use one of their competitors, send them a copy of the receipt and let them know this is business you would have given to them if not for their bigotry.
2) If you are a Catholic who’s parish actively supported “yes” on Prop 8, here are some things you can do. Do not put your contribution into the collection basket at Mass. The collection is assessed (taxed) by the bishop. In my Diocese, the tax amounts to 17%. That means that 17 cents of every dollar you put into the basket goes to the bishop. Instead, make out a check to your parish and drop it by the church office as a “special gift.” If the bishop starts taxing “special gifts” then, offer the parish to pay for part of the utilities bill, etc. with your check made payable directly to the appropriate company. Thus by passing church hands altogether. In this way, you help your parish and send the bishops a message. Oh, don’t forget to write your bishop a letter and let him know that a) you are doing this, b) why and c) that this will continue until a public apology is issued for having supported “yes” on Prop 8.
3) Press your bishop continually and publicly about equal employment protection and domestic partnership health benefits for gay/lesbian church employees.
4) Do not donate to Diocesan Appeal campaigns but, only to funds with restricted application. For example, a hospital, an orphanage, a school, etc.
Any other suggestions? Let me know and I’ll be happy to pass them along. As one reader said, this is not over. It won’t be over until we have liberty and justice for ALL.
SALT LAKE CITY – Utah’s growing tourism industry and the star-studded are being targeted for a boycott by bloggers, gay rights activists and others seeking to punish the Mormon church for its aggressive promotion of California’s ban on .
It could be a heavy price to pay. Tourism brings in $6 billion a year to Utah, with world-class skiing, a spectacular red rock country and the film festival founded by Robert Redford, among other popular tourist draws.
“At a fundamental level, the Utah Mormons crossed the line on this one,” said gay rights activist John Aravosis, an influential blogger in Washington, D.C.
“They just took marriage away from 20,000 couples and made their children bastards,” he said. “You don’t do that and get away with it.”
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which counts about 62 percent of Utah residents as members.is the world headquarters for
The church encouraged its members to work to pass California’s Proposition 8 by volunteering their time and money for the campaign. Thousands of Mormons worked as grassroots volunteers and gave tens of millions of dollars to the campaign.
The ballot measure passed Tuesday. It amends the California Constitution to define marriage as a heterosexual act, overriding a state Supreme Court ruling that briefly gave same-sex couples the right to wed.
The backlash against the church — and by extension Utah — has been immediate. Protests erupted outside Mormon temples, Facebook groups formed telling people to boycott Utah, and Web sites such as mormonsstoleourrights.com began popping up, calling for an end to the church’s tax-exempt status.
Church spokeswoman Kim Farah said in a statement about the temple protests Friday that it is “disturbing” that the church is being singled out for exercising its right to speak up in a free election.
“While those who disagree with our position on Proposition 8 have the right to make their feelings known, it is wrong to target the Church and its sacred places of worship for being part of the democratic process,” Farah said.
The church had said in a statement after Tuesday’s vote that “no one on any side of the question should be vilified, intimidated, harassed or subject to erroneous information.”
Aravosis is the editor of the popular americablog.com, which has about 900,000 unique monthly visitors.
He is calling for skiers to choose any state but Utah and for Hollywood actors and directors to pull out of the Sundance Film Festival. Other bloggers and readers have responded to his call.
“There’s a movement afoot and large donors are involved who are very interested in organizing a campaign, because I do not believe in frivolous boycotts,” said Aravosis, who has helped organize boycotts against “Dr. Laura” Schlessinger’s television show, Microsoft and Ford over gay rights issues.
“The main focus is going to be going after the Utah brand,” he said. “At this point, honestly, we’re going to destroy the Utah brand. It is a hate state.”
Gay rights groups did not immediately weigh in on calls for a boycott. Jim Key, spokesman for the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center, said he had heard little about such an effort.
“It’s not something that we have called for, but we do think it is important to send a message to the Mormon church,” Key said. He noted an effort run by the center to overturn Proposition 8 that sends a postcard to the Mormon church president with each contribution made.
A Sundance spokeswoman didn’t return messages. Leigh von der Esch, managing director of the Utah Office of Tourism, said that she’s aware there’s been discussion of a boycott, but that her office hadn’t received any calls about it Thursday. State offices are closed Friday.
“We’re respectful of both sides of the equation and realize it’s an emotional issue, but we are here promoting what we think is the best state in the country,” she said.
What kind of economic, religious or political impact, if any, a boycott might have is unclear. The Mormon church has members all over the world and no plans to change its stance on gay marriage.
Aravosis is not calling for a boycott of California, though that state’s voters actually approved the ban.
“At this point, the Californians are the victims and theare the persecutors,” he said. “We had won this until they swept in. … We need to send a message to Utah that they need to stop trying to inflict their way of life on every other state.”
Bob Malone, CEO and president of the Park City Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau, said it is unfair to try to punish certain industries or parts of the state over an issue it had nothing to do with.
“It’s really not athing, and I don’t see it as a state thing. That was more of a religious issue,” he said. “To sweep people in who really have nothing to do with that issue and have no influence over religious issues — it’s sad that people kind of think that and say, ‘We’re going to bury you.’ It’s sad to hear people talk like that.”