LDS Temple Targeted for Prop 8 Rage Protest in Westwood
Gay and lesbian ‘No on proposition 8’ demonstrators gathered at the LDS Temple in Westwood tonight to protest the will of the people in passing proposition 8, singling out the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints for their support of proposition 8. The swelling crowd of loud and sometimes riotous protesters spread across Santa Monica Blvd, blocking traffic and forcing the temple to close.
A website established by Proposition 8 opponents used campaign data to specifically track Mormon political contributions to the Yes-on-8 campaign. Opponents estimated that members of the church had given more than $20 million dollars to the effort church officials promoted as crucial for the preservation of the family.
Critics of the website noted that Mormons had been unfairly singled out since the religious affiliations of other political donors were not researched.
Los Angeles interfaith leaders voiced their support for the LDS church this afternoon, saying: “The peaceful faiths, families, educators, activists, and community servants who make up the protect Marriage Coalition are saddened to hear of the continued targeted attacks on the Mormon people during and after the conclusion of this fair and certified election. Like many churches, the family is the anchor of the LDS faith and it is no surprise that its members in California joined other faiths in giving everything they had to Proposition 8.”
Mormon church spokesman Keith Atkinson said individual members were encouraged to support proposition 8, but the church made no institutional donations.
Police Department spokeswoman April Harding estimated that about 1,000 people came to the Westwood protest. Some estimates were over 2,000 as the evening wore on. Sign-waving demonstrators spilled into the lanes of Santa Monica Boulevard, bringing rush hour traffic to a near halt.
Threats to the temple abounded online as angry activists advocated burning it to the ground. One observer who was filming the event, talks about overhearing plans to burn the temple as she films protesters climbing the walls and waving their arms from high atop the temple property. The temple here in Westwood is the largest LDS Temple in all of California, second only to the Great Salt Lake Temple in size. Police were able to keep tight control of the event which had no permit or permission from the city for a demonstration. Temple property was trashed and defaced along the outside wall, but the main structure was protected. Seven arrests were made during the course of the event.
5 November 2008
Since Proposition 8 was placed on the ballot in June of this year, the citizens of California have considered the arguments for and against same-sex marriage. After extensive debate between those of different persuasions, voters have chosen to amend the California State Constitution to state that marriage should be between a man and a woman.
Voters in Arizona and Florida took the same course and amended their constitutions to establish that marriage will continue to be between a man and a woman.
Such an emotionally charged issue concerning the most personal and cherished aspects of life — family, identity, intimacy and equality — stirs fervent and deep feelings.
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.
It is important to understand that this issue for the Church has always been about the sacred and divine institution of marriage — a union between a man and a woman.
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.
Channel 4 News Coverage–The Voice of the People