Friday, September 20, 2013

Mormon Church now lobbying for carve-outs to let businesses and individuals in Hawaii deny service to gay couples

As the Aloha state moves toward marriage equality, the Church of Latter Day Saints sent out the following letter to its Hawaiian followers:
We have received a number of questions in the last few months regarding proposed legislation that would redefine the relationship and nature of marriage in Hawaii.
      As members of the Church we should be actively engaged in worthy causes that will affect our communities and our families. This legislation will directly affect both. Members are encouraged to study this legislation prayerfully and then as private citizens contact your elected representatives in the Hawaii Legislature to express your views about the legislation. As you do so, you may want to review “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” and other Church publications available on the Church website at You may also wish to consider donating your time or resources to one of the community organizations addressing this issue.
      Whether or not you favor the proposed change, we hope that you will urge your elected representatives to include in any such legislation a strong exemption for people and organizations of faith. Such an exemption should:
      — Protect religious organizations and officials from being required to support or perform same-sex marriages or from having to host same-sex marriages or celebrations in their facilities; and
       — Protect individuals and small businesses from being required to assist in promoting or celebrating same-sex marriages.
      This is an important issue. As you stake presidency, we urge every family to discuss this issue together and then respond as you feel appropriate. Thank you for your support and faithful service. We pray that the Lord will bless and protect you and your families always.”
     What this means is that the Mormon Church wants a loophole to let wedding photographers and cake bakers to discriminate against gay couples. Of course no such loophole exists to allow, say, gay wedding planners to discriminate against homophobic Mormon couples as LDS followers remain a protected class within the law.
     In Nebraska, gay couples have been strangers to the law for 12 years due to the dominant role the Mormon church played in passing 416, a constitutional amendment which outlawed gay marriage, domestic partnerships and civil unions in Nebraska. LGBTs in the Cornhusker state, even if legally married in other states, have no next-of-kin rights to visit their partners in the hospital or to bury them. Nor may they adopt each others' children, thanks to well-funded Mormon political activism.

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