For awhile the Mormon church tried to appear like less of a malicious hate-driven institution, but now that Romney has not been elected president it’s decided the hell with that, at least in Hawaii. It’s back to the old project of trying to repair the gayness, according to Mother Jones.
This week, the Hawaii state legislature began a special session to consider a bill that would legalize gay marriage in the state. The church is actively working to kill that measure.
One Sunday in September, local Mormon bishops read a letter from top Hawaii Mormon leadership instructing churchgoers to contact public officials about the same-sex marriage bill.
The letter was not the full-throated call to action the church issued during the fight over California’s anti-gay marriage measure, Proposition 8, when church leaders read letters directing members to “do all you can to support the proposed constitutional amendment by donating of your means and time.” The September Hawaii letter was far subtler, and even acknowledged that some Mormons might actually be in favor of the marriage bill. Nonetheless, it urged members to “review” the church’s “proclamation to the world,” a 1995 speech given by church president Gordon Hinckley that spelled out the church’s belief that marriage can only be between a man and woman. This latest letter also recommended members donate time and resources to groups working on the bill, though it didn’t say on which side they should be working.
The church also suggested that regardless of how members felt about the marriage bill, they should advocate for an exemption that would protect religious organizations from having to perform same-sex marriages and to allow individuals and small businesses to refuse to cater to such marriages (a nod to the famous cases of photographers and bakeries that have refused to serve customers celebrating a same-sex wedding in states where it’s now legal). The language the Mormon church favors mirrors the religious freedom argument the Catholic Church has adopted in its fights over everything from contraceptive coverage to gay marriage.
Because that’s the important thing. Interfering with people who aren’t like them, meddling with people’s ability to be happy together, defending the “freedom” to interfere with and poke at and torment people for no good reason.
But Salt Lake City’s focus-grouped language didn’t sit well with Hawaii church leaders, who wanted a more forceful message. On October 13, Hawaii church leaders read another letter to their flocks, this time stating flatly that the church’s position on same-sex marriage had not changed and that the church “is opposed to the proposed legislation in Hawaii.” The state church’s letter argues that traditional marriage is “fundamental to successful families and a strong society,” and directs members to actively oppose the legislation.
Dear flocks: let us all persist in being tiny-minded and spiteful and interfering, forever and ever, amen.