“The Divine Institution of Marriage”: An Overview of LDS Involvement in the Proposition 8 Campaign

I’ve just posted to SSRN my article in the forthcoming St. John’s Journal of Civil Rights and Economic Development. This article is part of the recent Symposium on Same-Sex Marriage at St. John’s.

My article is largely descriptive, setting out in some detail the LDS (Mormon) church’s actions and statements relating to Proposition 8. It chronicles a significant amount of factual material that has not been discussed at all in the existing legal literature. It may be especially relevant to people who have an interest in Proposition 8, same-sex marriage issues, gay rights issues generally, or LDS church issues generally. Full abstract follows past the jump:

“The Divine Institution of Marriage”: An Overview of LDS Involvement in the Proposition 8 Campaign

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS or Mormon church) was heavily involved in the passage of Proposition 8 in California in November 2008, which restricted marriages recognized under state law to those between a man and a woman (as construed by the California Supreme Court, it prospectively denied legal sanction for same-sex marriages while not interfering with such marriages previously recognized under state law). Church members participated in the Proposition 8 campaign a variety of ways, including extensive fundraising and various publicity efforts such as door-to-door get-out-the-word campaigns. Statements by the church and its leaders were a central part of the LDS Proposition 8 strategy. The church issued three official statements on Proposition 8, which combined theological and religious content with specific political, sociological, and legal claims. For instance, in their support for Proposition 8, LDS church leaders (most of them not legal professionals) made a series of detailed predictions about the legal consequences of same-sex marriage. These official declarations were supplemented and reinforced by a variety of unofficial statements from church leaders and members.

This Article tells the story of LDS involvement with Proposition 8, in particular the legal claims made by the church and its leaders. It assembles the statements made by church leaders and church members during the Proposition 8 campaign, briefly examines the accuracy of some of the most broadly circulated claims, and discusses implications.

I welcome any feedback that readers may have on the Article.

(Image: Wikicommons.)

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