The Arizona Daily Star reports that the backers of Proposition 102, the state's ballot initiative to ban same-sex marriage, have raised $3.34 million so far. The queers have raised $80,000.
So Arizona Together has turned to some, um, more creative campaigning:
[State Rep. Kyrsten] Sinema said the ballot measure is a reflection of the Mormon church "working hard to convince the public that they are mainstream." She said her background, being raised Mormon in Tucson, gives her the credibility to make the charge.
"I don't think Arizonans are interested in having the Mormon religion dictate public policy to them," Sinema said.
Sinema contends that at least three-quarters of the individual donors to the campaign are with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, based on her group having Googled donor names along with "LDS" or "Mormon."
While that method of verifying the religion of donors may be questionable, Sinema points to top backers with ties to the Mormon church: $100,000 from philanthropists Rex and Ruth Maughan, and $40,000 from Kristen Cowley, an organizer of the LDS Easter pageant.
Jim Burroway points out that back in July the LDS Church sent a letter to its California temples asking followers to "do all you can to support the proposed constitutional amendment by donating of your means and time."
While I don't have the background in Mormonism that Sinema has to be claiming that the LDS Church is involved at this level because it's worried about its image related to polygamy, its obviously providing a breadth of support for this ballot initiative that simply hasn't been matched by the queer side of this measure.
While Sinema says that Arizonans don't want the Mormon religion to dictate policy to them, I can't really see the difference between the LDS Church telling its congregants to donate time and money to this initiative and a protestant church asking the same thing. These initiatives are always backed by religious groups, and it shouldn't really matter if it's Mormons, Catholics, evangelicals, the Hindus, Scientologists, or a really rich group of snake-handlers who are behind a measure - it's a scary violation of the Separation of Church and State to have people, in church, be told specifically how to act politically.
This just doesn't seem like a good strategy though. There's no reason to rile up the 4% of Arizona's population that's LDS and get them out to vote for a measure that some of the church's more moderate members would be willing to vote against or that some of their less political members would be willing to ignore. Especially bringing it up as directly related to polygamy....
What it does show, though, is that marriage advocates in Arizona need some support. Consider doing what you can to help fight this initiative in Arizona.