New documents reveal that the Mormon Church was heavily involved in the anti-gay marriage movement and played a key role in passing Proposition 8 in California.
Training documents and organisational charts obtained by whistleblowing site Mormon Leaks show that senior leaders of the church were involved in the campaign to make same-sex marriage illegal.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has always maintained that its involvement was limited to grassroots volunteering.
A training manual from 2008 reads: “Proposition 8 protects marriage as an essential institution of society. Although death and divorce may prevent the ideal, the best situation is for a child to be raised by a married mother and father in the bond of marriage. “
The document explicitly states a number of times that the campaign is “pro-marriage not anti-gay.”
“It is not our goal in this campaign to attack the homosexual lifestyle or to convince gays and lesbians that their behaviour is wrong. The less we refer to homosexuality, the better,” it reads.
The PowerPoint presentation also contains scripts that volunteers can use to persuade constituents to vote for Prop 8.
The heading of one section reads: “These points work well if the person believes God created marriage” and details the consequences same-sex marriage would have on children.
“If they gay marriage ruling is not overturned, teachers will be required to teach young children there is no difference between gay marriage and traditional marriage,” it says.
“We should not accept a court decision that results in public schools teaching our kids that gay marriage is okay. That is an issue for parents to discuss with their children according to their own values and beliefs. It should not be forced on us against our will.”
The second document uploaded by Mormon Leaks is riddled with inaccuracies and claims that: “If same-sex marriage is legal, it will become illegal not to perform a marriage for them.
“A school cannot be accredited if it does not teach, professional licenses will not be issued to those who do not agree, tax exempt status could be lost, and our tax dollars would be used to support the education that taught these values.
“Gays have the right to live the lifestyle they choose, but they do not have the right to redefine marriage for everyone else. Proposition 8 respects the rights of gays while still reaffirming traditional marriage.”
The Mormon church has continued to hold conflicting views about homosexuality—releasing an overwhelmingly positive video about a gay son in the same week as it published an article condemning the LGBT+ community.