Monday, November 10, 2008

On Prop 8

The Los Angeles Times reported, here, that “as of Saturday morning [November 8th], the [California] secretary of state reported 5,661,583 votes in favor [of] and 5,154,457 opposed [to Proposition 8].” That’s a total of 10,816,040 votes.

According to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, there are 749,490 Californian members of the Church, ages 8 and up. (See here)

Let’s pretend all those Californian Mormons are of voting age (which they aren’t), and that all of them voted yes on Prop 8 (which they didn’t). What percentage of all who voted on Prop 8 (either for or against) could have been Mormon? 6.9%. What percentage of all who voted yes on Prop 8 could have been Mormon? 13.23%.

That’s hardly a majority in either case, yet those are the maximum percentages of Mormon participation if (1) all 749,490 Californian Mormons were of voting age, (2) all Californian Mormons voted, and (3) all Californian Mormons voted in favor of Prop 8.

So why is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints being “being singled out for speaking up as part of its democratic right in a free election”?

“Members of the Church in California and millions of others from every faith, ethnicity and political affiliation who voted for Proposition 8 exercised the most sacrosanct and individual rights in the United States — that of free expression and voting.

“While those who disagree with our position on Proposition 8 have the right to make their feelings known, it is wrong to target the Church and its sacred places of worship for being part of the democratic process.

“Once again, we call on those involved in the debate over same-sex marriage to act in a spirit of mutual respect and civility towards each other. No one on either side of the question should be vilified, harassed or subject to erroneous information.” (Church Issues Statement on Proposition 8 Protest)

The day after the citizens of California decided on Prop 8, a majority of which were not Mormons, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued the following statement:

“Most likely, the election results for these constitutional amendments will not mean an end to the debate over same-sex marriage in this country.

“We hope that now and in the future all parties involved in this issue will be well informed and act in a spirit of mutual respect and civility toward those with a different position. No one on any side of the question should be vilified, intimidated, harassed or subject to erroneous information.”

“...Allegations of bigotry or persecution made against the Church were and are simply wrong. The Church’s opposition to same-sex marriage neither constitutes nor condones any kind of hostility toward gays and lesbians. Even more, the Church does not object to rights for same-sex couples regarding hospitalization and medical care, fair housing and employment rights, or probate rights, so long as these do not infringe on the integrity of the traditional family or the constitutional rights of churches.

“Some, however, have mistakenly asserted that churches should not ever be involved in politics when moral issues are involved. In fact, churches and religious organizations are well within their constitutional rights to speak out and be engaged in the many moral and ethical problems facing society. While the Church does not endorse candidates or platforms, it does reserve the right to speak out on important issues.” (Church Responds to Same-Sex Marriage Votes)

I fully respect others’ right to entertain different opinions, and I hope others would respect my right to the same. Angry marches, vandalism of church buildings, or attempts to revoke the tax-exempt status of churches which exercise their “right to speak out on important issues” but do not cross the line to endorse candidates or parties do not bespeak love or tolerance on the part of those who speak so much of deserving love and tolerance.

If my math is correct, the Mormons as a group did not swing the vote in favor of Prop 8 at the ballot boxes by any stretch of the imagination. That many, many other people of all faiths, races, and creeds supported Prop 8 indicates that the traditional definition of marriage is not important to Mormons alone, but to a much larger percentage of California citizens.


Nate said...

I checked the California General Election results page ( to see if my math was any good. It was good as far as the numbers reported in the LA Times.

But here is the recalculation of the percent of Mormons who supported Prop 8 (again, if all 749,490 California Mormons were of voting age, voted, and voted yes for Prop 8): 13.19%.

Close to my original calculation of 13.23%, and still not a majority of the votes cast.

JoJo said...

Amen amen amen. Thank you so much Nate. Someone needed to say this.

sans auto said...

I read that it was the fact that Latinos and Blacks strongly supported prop 8 that lead to it's passing. This was the group that Obama was able to get to the voting booths and the groups that, in large part, lead to his successful campaign. Oh the irony.

Rog said...

Amen brother nate!

Anonymous said...

I don't necessarily think it's the "Mormon vote" that people are so upset about. It's more about all the money the Church poured into the Yes on 8 campaign.

Nate said...

For a good sum up of the involvement of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the passage of Prop 8, follow the link below.

FAIR on Prop 8