Gay Mormons Criticize Church Over Calif. Ballot Measure

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AP
    Gay marraige picture

    Leaders of a support group for gay and lesbian Mormons on Saturday criticized their church for its efforts to ban gay marriage in California.

    Olin Thomas, executive director of Affirmation, says The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is using fear to sway voters. His remarks came during the group's annual conference in Los Angeles.

    On Nov. 4, California voters will decide whether to ban same-sex marriage in the state's constitution. The Mormon church is part of a coalition of conservative groups working to pass Proposition 8, which would overturn the California court ruling that legalized gay marriage.

    Thomas said church leaders were wrong in saying last week that failing to pass the proposition would force churches to sanction same-sex marriage and force schools to teach children to place gay and heterosexual marriages on equal footing.

    Proposition 8 only effects civil marriages, won't require changes in school curricula and is a matter of civil rights, Thomas said.

    "Nothing in the issues related to Prop. 8 imposes anyone else's morality upon any person, church or other religious institution," Thomas said.

    Three senior church leaders on Wednesday addressed members in a satellite broadcast to church buildings in California, Utah, Hawaii and Idaho. They called on Latter-day Saints to step up efforts to pass the proposition.

    Mormons, who believe traditional marriage is ordained by God, have joined with other faiths to do grass roots volunteer work and donate funds to the Proposition 8 campaign.

    Affirmation asked the church last spring not to demonize gays by using its resources to promote the measure