Thursday, January 21, 2010

LDS Church documents used in Prop 8 trail

Excerpt from Being Gay Not A Choice, Judge Hears, By Carlos Santoscoy-- On Top Magazine
In one email, church officials acknowledge they have 20,000 volunteers supporting Proposition 8. And for the first time, the communications reveal that the church actively attempted to hide its involvement in the campaign: "With respect to Prop. 8 campaign, key talking points will come from campaign, but cautious, strategic, not to take the lead so as to provide plausible deniability or respectable distance so as not to show that church is directly involved."

Excerpts of Prop. 8 challengers highlight religion's role in campaign, LA Times, Maura Dolan

Documents unveiled later revealed the Catholic and Mormon churches played a major role in passing Proposition 8.

An e-mail from the executive director of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to the bishops and a cardinal said Catholics were crucial in providing money and volunteers to qualify Proposition 8 for the ballot.

The e-mail also praised the Mormon Church, saying it had provided "financial, organizational and management contributions" for the measure.

A memo by a Mormon Church public affairs officer said the Proposition 8 campaign was "entirely under priesthood direction," and the minutes of a Mormon Church meeting said members should not take the lead in promoting Proposition 8 but should work through

The church document said a teleconference had been held in Salt Lake City with 159 of 161 Mormon leaders in California. The leaders were told to encourage members to contribute $30 each for Proposition 8, toward a projected goal of $5 million, in addition to general fundraising.

Andy Pugno, a lawyer for the Proposition 8 campaign, said in an interview that it was "astonishing" that the court allowed into evidence internal communications of churches.

"Today has been a major expression of religious bigotry," Pugno said of Wednesday's testimony. "The gloves have clearly come off, and religious voters are in the cross-hairs."

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