On September 23, 1995 the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon Church) released "The Family, A Proclamation to the World."
The landmark Mormon one-page document is often framed and hangs in Mormon homes all over the world. It was issued that day by the The First Presidency and Council of the Twelve Apostles of the Mormon Church. Since the First President of the Mormon Church is a living prophet, Gordon B. Hinkley at the time, The Family Proclamation came directly from God.
Mormon Church Declares War on Gay Marriage
It turns out *The Family Proclamation to the World was actually the Mormon Church's declaration of war on gay marriage in this country by the politically savvy, wealthy and extremely powerful religion.
Paragraph six says it quite clearly: "The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity."
The next paragraph is the first indication that the Mormon Church would become the leader in the fight to stop same-sex marriage in state after state for the next 13 years. The Family Proclamation to the World says: "We warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets."
I did not discover just what the Mormon Church had been doing since 1995 until its massive involvement in California's Proposition 8 campaign in 2008. It was well on its way to raising over $30 million from its California and Utah members, when I figured out just what they were doing. I turned my discovery over to the Wall Street Journal, which broke the story on September 20, 2008.
This amazing investigative piece by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Mark Schoofs detailed just exactly how Mormon Church leaders raised all that money.
Mormon Church Investigated and Prosecuted in California
I later filed a sworn complaint against the Mormon Church with the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) 10 days after the November 5th election when I realized just how much money the Mormon Church itself spent to pass Prop 8. I discovered that the Church produced 23 slick commercials, developed elaborate web sites, organized 25,000 door-to-door volunteers for the nine Saturdays leading up to election day, ran massive phone banks out of Utah and Idaho and bused in thousands of Mormon Church members to California during the final weekend before the election to hold up "Yes on Prop 8" signs all over the state.
The Mormon Church had only reported spending $2078 directly on Prop 8, so the FPPC decided to investigate my charges. It prosecuted the Mormon Church, conducted an 18-month investigation into all its activities and in the end the Mormon Church pled guilty to 13 counts of election fraud for all it spent to pass Prop 8 and never reported. Taking unprecedented action, the State of California fined the Mormon Church for all its election law violations CLICK HERE
Mormon Church Began in Hawaii
Soon after issuing its September 23, 1995 Family Proclamation, the Mormon Church hit the ground running in Hawaii to stop the first state that was about to consider legalizing gay marriage. The Aloha State began looking at the issue after the Hawaii Supreme Court opened the door to the possibility two years earlier.
The Mormon Church has a large presence in Hawaii. The Church-owned Brigham Young University -- Hawaii (BYUH) and the Polynesian Culture Center are there, along with enormous real estate holdings and thousands of Church members.
The Mormon Church assembled the coalition which soundly defeated Hawaii's effort to allow gay marriage by placing Amendment 2 on the ballot. On November 3, 1998, Hawaii voters approved the amendment by a vote of 69.2-28.6 percent. The Mormon Church reported spending $400,000 of Church money on that campaign, for which it received a huge black eye.
As a result of that experience the Mormon Church went underground and got others to "front" the campaigns in the next 28 states that voted to ban gay marriage. Instead of giving Mormon Church money directly, it coerced its Church members to give the necessary campaign cash in each and every state that subsequently voted to ban gay marriage just as it did in California.
I know, I received boxes full of secret Mormon Church documents to prove it. These official documents detail exactly how the Mormon Church qualified, ran and funded the elections to ban gay marriage all across the country. We have posted just some of this treasure trove of Mormon Church evidence on our web site at Rights Equal Rights: CLICK HERE
Will the Mormon Church Sit Out Next Hawaii Gay Marriage Vote?
Last week Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie called for an October 28, 2013 special legislative session to move forward on a bill that would legalize gay marriage.
What will the Mormon Church do now? It appears that post Proposition 8 the Church has backed away from leading the fight to stop gay marriage at any cost, because its public image received such a shellacking. Take a look at this Washington Post story from May 29, 2009 "The Mormon are Coming" as a prime example.
In the story the Church's own pollster Gary Lawrence admits that the Mormon Church was badly hurt because of all it did on Prop 8, "We're upside down in our image," he said. "The Church's favorability ratings declined for Mormons over the last year, from 42 percent to 37."
Mormon Church has Changed
The Mormon Church has taken steps to end the discrimination and mistreatment of gays and lesbians in the Church and elsewhere. Through the tireless work of several prominent gay former Mormons, meetings have taken place and the Church has softened its anti-gay rhetoric. It finally now uses the word "gay" and even lunched a web site recently, MormonsandGays.org
The Church led the effort to have the Salt Lake City Council pass workplace and housing non-discrimination laws, even having Michael Otterson its Public Affairs Director, testify at the meeting. Both laws passed unanimously. The Church-owned Deseret News reported on it.
Romney Campaign Kept Mormons on Sidelines
However, I believe that the Mormon Church sat out most all of the gay marriage elections over the last four years because it had a far more important political cause to embrace, the election of the first Mormon president of the United States, Mitt Romney. The Church definitely did not want to become an issue in the Romney campaign. They did not want to do anything that would harm his chances to capture the White House.
Now Mitt Romney is no longer a consideration, and a gay marriage vote is coming back to the state where it all began, Hawaii. What will the Mormon Church do now? Can its leaders resist temptation and sit out next month's special legislative session? Only time will tell. I know that we at Rights Equal Rights http://www.rightsequalrights.com/ will be watching very closely. If the Mormon Church gets back in the game, we will make sure that this time they do so without hiding their involvement and obey all state election laws during the process.
*The Family Proclamation to the World was read by President Gordon B. Hinckley as part of his message at the General Relief Society Meeting held September 23, 1995, in Salt Lake City, Utah.