Can’t help wondering: Where was this three-plus decades ago when the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (the Mormons) derailed the Equal Rights Amendment?
The wanna-be theocrats from Utah now face a backlash over their church’s starring role in derailing same-sex marriage in California by funneling millions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of votes in support of Proposition 8.
This outraged response is more than just street protests. A group of Bay Area residents has organized a drive to close the loophole that permits religious organizations with the 501(c)(3) tax exemption to support ballot initiatives even while not allowed to back specific political candidates or directly lobby on political issues.
Better late than never. When state legislatures were considering whether to ratify the ERA back in the early to mid-1970s, the Mormon leadership told church members from the pulpit to lobby against it, and defeated the ERA in Arizona, Nevada, and Utah. This killed any chance for the amendment to become part of the U.S. Constitution and guarantee women’s rights.
Apparently, taking away women’s chance of full equality under the law was no big deal, but times have changed, and the opponents of Proposition 8 have come out swinging.
One note of caution. Sounding too bitter or angry is a good way to prompt a negative reaction to the backlash.
State our cause firmly yet dispassionately, without rancor or venom. Don’t unwittingly stir up sympathy for the Mormons–especially among those unfamiliar with LDS church history, or its continued refusal to take the same kind of active stand as it did against gay marriage toward (supposedly excommunicated) Mormon extremists who engage in repeated child molesting through “spiritual marriage” to numerous girls barely in their teens.
Remember the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., who supported full equality before the laws for GLBT people: “The moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”