Mormons recruit out-of-state for same-sex marriage ban
Followers have given more than $8.4 million to Prop 8
Published Thursday, 16-Oct-2008 in issue 1086
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) – Mormons living outside California have been asked to volunteer for a telephone campaign to help pass a ballot initiative on marriage there.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is part of a coalition of conservative groups backing Proposition 8, which would ban same-sex marriage in California’s constitution. The measure will appear on the Nov. 4 ballot.
Church elder L. Whitney Clayton said in a statement that members could be asked to call friends and family at home in California to encourage their support. The campaign would be on an “if-needed” basis and will be tested, but may not be fully implemented.
The organizational effort comes at the request of the Protect Marriage coalition, Clayton said.
Clayton also says many students attending church-owned universities have asked how they might help and could be enlisted to make calls. The church has branches of its Brigham Young University in Hawaii, Idaho and Utah.
Church officials said no calls have been made so far and the coalition had not yet decided whether to activate the inter-state phone network, the statement from Clayton said. It’s unclear what would trigger it.
There are about 770,000 Mormon church members in California.
A June letter from church President Thomas S. Monson asked California Mormons to give their time and money to pass Proposition 8. The church holds up traditional marriage as a sacred institution ordained by God.
Mormons have been active participants in the campaign both as volunteers and financial contributors, giving an estimated 43 percent – some $8.4 million – to the Proposition 8 campaign, according to the Web site mormonsfor8.com. The site is tracking campaign finance reports and trying to identify Mormons making individual contributions of $1,000 or more.
The church planned a satellite broadcast on Wednesday night to church buildings in California, Utah and other select locations so leaders can speak to members. Topics will include participation in the coalition campaign and church marriage doctrine.