A transplanted California Mormon's perspective on Proposition 8

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2008, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Years ago, as newlyweds and active LDS members of the Wilshire Ward in the Los Angeles California Stake, my husband and I had our eyes opened very quickly about life outside of the milquetoast Orange County neighborhoods where we spent most of our pre-married lives.

Our new friends came from all walks of life and they were easy to like and to love. Now, 23 years later, I can vividly remember what it felt like the first time I didn't think of our neighbors, Dan and Jim, as a gay couple, but just Dan and Jim. It was a poignant and perspective-changing moment for me.

When the leaders of my church requested that its members contribute time and money in the fight for Proposition 8, I, like many of my faith, was surprised. I wondered how this plea fit with my religion's oft-stated position of neutrality. Mostly, I wondered how that announcement would be received in Los Angeles, a place that still has a strong hold on my heart.

One night I started surfing Prop. 8 Internet sites and came across mormonsfor8.com and its list of donors.

With significant familial and emotional ties still to California, I began to scan the names of donors and recognized many. However, none of the names I recognized belonged to the people I knew in Los Angeles. Why were the Los Angeles contributions not representative of the area's significant wealth? Then I noticed something else: Contributions in San Francisco were also surprisingly low.

Now, the LDS community is strong in those cities, so it's not for a lack of membership or testimony. And many of the church members in both areas have very, very deep pockets and astounding influence. So, why the comparative lack of financial support from two of the most homosexually populous pockets of California?

Logically, wouldn't church members in these two areas be the most familiar with any fallout because of same-sex partnering? If the virulent claims are true of homosexual couples storming the LDS temples, school curriculum being amended to include same-sex marriage lessons, and the overall deterioration of the family, wouldn't the saints in these two areas, with a front-row view of the lifestyle, notice and feel the impact first and contribute their affluence accordingly?

But, maybe they have. Maybe the relative absence of donations from Los Angeles and San Francisco says more than the tens of millions from other areas collected so far. If the LDS members in these two cities were to contribute to Prop. 8 they would be actively fighting against the stability that many of their fellow ward or stake members crave.

Maybe it's just impossible to put pen to check because they have each experienced their own Dan and Jim awakening that cannot be altered.


* DOREE ASHCRAFT of Logan is a wife, mother and freelance writer.