Borough Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual and Transgender (LGBT) couples upset at the success of California’s Proposition 8 are taking their fight to the source of their opposition: the Mormon Church.
As this paper was going to press, hundreds of Brooklynites are expected to join LGBT residents from all over the city in a peaceful demonstration outside the Manhattan Mormon Temple, 125 Columbus Avenue.
LGBT protestors said that the Morman’s Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was the biggest financier to supporters of Proposition 8 in California, which called for banning gay marriage in the state.
The religious organization reportedly gave supporters of Proposition 8 $22 million for advertising and “get out the vote” initiatives.
As the nation saw Barack Obama win his 2008 bid for President last Tuesday, LGBT residents of California also watched Proposition 8 pass with 52 percent of the vote.
It’s success came as a bad omen for gay marriage supporters in Brooklyn, who are still fighting to have the measure passed in New York.
Last year, the New York State Assembly passed a gay marriage bill, but the bill never made it through the State Senate.
Now with the State Senate in Democratic hands, supporters of gay marriage are hoping that the bill could make it all the way to Governor David Paterson’s desk.
Yet there are those who are concerned that a Proposition 8-like bill may find its way into ballot boxes come 2010.
“[The Mormons] are plotting right now to bring their money and influence to bear against LGBT communities everywhere in this country, including trying to prevent marriage equality in New York and New Jersey,” organizers for Wednesday’s protest said in a statement.
“Luckily, we don’t have an amendment process in New York, but we’re in solidarity with the California LGBT community,” said Alan Fleishman, Park Slope’s Democratic District Leader. “We have to show the folks behind Proposition 8 that we deserve the rights and privlidges that we don’t have.”
Fleishman, a former co-president of the Lambda Independent Democrats, the borough’s leading LGBT political club, said that he wasn’t too surprised by Proposition 8’s results.
“I’m not naïve,” he said. “There is still bigotry in the world. But one would have thought that, with the country having the ability to elect it’s first African American president that the citizens of California would have passed gay marriage.”
Here in New York, the State Senate’s new Democratic majority isn’t even two weeks old and gay marriage is already becoming a hot button issue, advocates said.
Earlier this week, Bronx State Senator Ruben Diaz, a Democratic holdout in the vote to elect Queens State Senator Malcolm Smith said that he would not support Smith for majority leader unless he’s assured that the same-sex marriage issue won’t be brought to the Senate floor.
Diaz is also pushing for a statewide referendum on the gay-marriage issue, which would let New York voters voice their opinion on the issue instead of legislators in Albany.
That, advocates say, sounds a lot like Proposition 8.