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

St. John's Journal of Civil Rights & Economic Development, Vol. 26, No. 3, p. 705, 2012

Thomas Jefferson School of Law Research Paper No. 2254634

48 Pages Posted: 22 Apr 2013 Last revised: 21 Nov 2013

Kaimipono David Wenger

Thomas Jefferson School of Law

Abstract

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.

Keywords: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, LDS Church, Mormon, Proposition 8, California marriage law, same-sex marriage, gay marriage, ballot proposition

JEL Classification: K19, K39

Suggested Citation

Wenger, Kaimipono David, 'The Divine Institution of Marriage': An Overview of LDS Involvement in the Proposition 8 Campaign. St. John's Journal of Civil Rights & Economic Development, Vol. 26, No. 3, p. 705, 2012; Thomas Jefferson School of Law Research Paper No. 2254634. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2254634

Kaimipono Wenger (Contact Author)

Thomas Jefferson School of Law ( email )

1155 Island Ave
San Diego, CA 92101
United States
619-961-4347 (Phone)

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