Summarized by Kent Larsen
"> Religious Coalition Attacks LDS Church on Knight Initiative
Sacramento CA Bee Capitol Alert 6Jan00 N1
By Aurelio Rojas: Bee Capitol Bureau
SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA -- 77 religious leaders throughout California
released a letter Wednesday that they sent to LDS Church officials
December 23rd asking the Church to reconsider its support of
California's Proposition 22, also known as the Knight Initiative. The
proposition, titled the "Limit on Marriage" act, would bar California
from recognizing marriages of same-sex couples, regardless of where they
originate. The initiative goes to the voters in March.
The religious leaders want to meet with LDS Church officials to discuss
their support for the initiative. "If they are really concerned about
supporting marriage and families, there are many other things that are a
threat to marriage and families," said the Rev. Ed Hansen, pastor of the
Hollywood United Methodist Church. "That includes wages too low to
enable both parents to be home as much as they need to be. It includes a
lack of good child care, a lack of a support system for troubled
families and many others. Why spend all this time and money to support
an initiative that does literally nothing?"
In the letter, which the coalition released to the public on Wednesday,
the leaders claim that the initiative would "foster a climate of hate
toward gay and lesbian persons." In a news conference held Wednesday to
release the letter, the Rev. Don Brown, dean of Trinity Cathedral
Church, said the campaign is "deeply divisive and discriminating" and
will jeopardize the "safety and well-being of gay and lesbian people and
"Here in Sacramento, we are no strangers to hate violence," continued
Brown, "Local synagogues were torched in the name of hate. And the same
men implicated of this hate crime have also been charged in murdering a
gay male couple in Redding -- simply because they were gay."
At the news conference, the leaders also charged that the amount of
money contributed by the Church exceeds the amount raised by other
religious groups and threatens to subvert the democratic process.
The funds raised include money solicited by the Church from church
members. Opponents of the Initiative estimate that church members
accounted for a large share of the $3.1 million in the Yes on 22
campaign bank account at year end. Exactly how much isn't known because
those making donations don't have to list their religious affiliation. A
new financial filing by the campaigns is due on Monday.
Rob Stutzman, director of the Yes on 22 campaign, says that the
coalition's letter is a "political stunt by religious leaders who are
clearly out of the mainstream of religious consensus in California." He
says that it is "disingenuous" to single out the LDS Church when the
Catholic Church, the Assemblies of God and Southern Baptists also made
donations. Stutzman said that the influence of the LDS Church in the
campaign was "negligible," and said that Yes On 22 had received support
from 10,000 contributors from a cross-section of religions.
Stutzman also took issue with Rev. Brown's comments linking the
initiative to violence against homosexuals, calling the statement
"insulting." He says that the measure simply says "that marriage should
be between a man and a woman."
LDS Church spokesman Dale Bills told the Sacramento Bee that he hadn't
seen the letter and declined to comment.
Religious Leaders Question Mormons on Prop 22 Money
Denver CO Rocky Mountain News (Scripps-McClatchy) 5Jan00 N1
By Aurelio Rojas: Sacramento Bee Capitol Bureau
Religious leaders ask LDS to halt support of initiative
Deseret News (AP) 5Jan00 N1
77 Californians worry act would foster hate of gays