As I’m sure you already know, last Sunday the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints sent an official letter to congregations throughout California asking the members of the church to “do all you can to support the proposed constitutional amendment by donating of your means and time to assure that marriage in California is legally defined as being between a man and a woman.” The full letter is available on the official church website.
In an interesting contrast, the presumptive Democratic Party nominee for President of the United States, Barack Obama, has issued a letter of his own addressed to the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club which was read at the group’s annual Pride Breakfast. In the letter, not only does he express strong opposition to the California amendment, but he goes even further and advocates “repealing the Defense of Marriage Act and the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy.”
The Defense of Marriage Act is the law that protects states that do not allow same-sex marriage from having to recognize such marriages enacted in other states that do. So essentially, Barack Obama is saying that not only does he oppose efforts to amend the California constitution to ban same-sex marriage, he also wants to ensure that all other states recognize those marriages.
This position makes him the most pro-same-sex-marriage candidate ever. Last election’s democratic nominee, John Kerry, like his predecessors, while in favor of homosexual rights, was opposed to same-sex marriage. Al Gore, when running in 2000, said that he opposed “changing the institution of marriage as it is presently understood—between a man and a woman.” Gore has since changed his position.
This puts LDS members who support Barack Obama in an uncomfortable position. A vote for Obama, despite whatever other merits he may have in other realms of policy, may not be easily reconcilable with the Church’s exhortation to “do all you can” to pass the California marriage amendment. Some fringe members who support gay marriage have said that “all they can do” is stay silent. But refraining from publicly advocating against the amendment is nullified by both a negative vote on proposed amendment as well as a vote for Barack Obama.
The ballot is ultimately the most important form of speech in political matters.
I realize that many of the commentators here came via a link from another blog with which I have a long history of strong disagreement and even antipathy, despite the fact that I have a number of friends who are bloggers there.
The link from that blog was made with the title “A vote for Obama is a vote against God.” This unfortunate, hyperbolic caricature of my thoughts unfairly predisposed readers to read a sentiment into my words that is not there. More clarification in the comments.
I have been delisted from ldsblogs.org as a result of the conversations around this post.
UPDATE 3: This post contributed, in a round about way to this