The leak of a decade-old internal memo of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is providing insight into how deeply involved the church has been in the fight against same-sex marriage in California and causing some to question the assertions of a Mormon couple from Massachusetts who thrust themselves into the California marriage equality debate.
From Equality California:
Hate Groups Backing FAIR Education Act Referendum Must Be Exposed
(San Francisco) Last week the Family Research Council, a virulent anti-LGBT organization with ties to the Ku Klux Klan and recognized as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, joined the effort to overturn the FAIR Education Act in California and released a video message to fundamentalist churches on behalf of the campaign. In it, the group's executive director, Tony Perkins, blatantly lied about and grossly misrepresented the FAIR Education Act, which requires California schools to include factual, age-appropriate information about the contributions, social movements and current events of, people with disabilities, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT), and Pacific Islander people in already existing social studies lessons.
In response, Equality California Executive Director Roland Palencia released the following statement:
"California voters have a right to know the truth about those most backing the effort to overturn the FAIR Education Act and that racist and homophobic organizations have no intent to protect families and children but instead hurt them with their bigotry.
Let's be clear: it's the anti-gay, racist rhetoric, dogma and attacks of these organizations that harm children, families and our society, not movements for equality, truth, inclusivity and dignity for all people.
Many fair-minded Californians--especially parents--may not yet know how they feel about the FAIR Education Act. But I don't believe any fair-minded parent would find friends of the KKK a trustworthy protector of their children. It's critical that these groups are exposed for what they really are: fear-mongers who prey on good parents' deep, instinctive desire to protect their children in order to advance a hateful, anti-equality agenda."
Meanwhile, StopSB 48 sent out this email to recruit new signature-gatherers:
Bessi and Sandi are two retired women, one is a retired registered nurse, mother of four and grandmother to 10 the other is a former state employee.
These ladies first heard about Stop SB 48 from an email sent by one of our coalition members, Pacific Justice Institute. Upon learning that Governor Brown signed the bill and about the referendum effort to stop SB 48, Bessi forwarded her email to her pastor. In it she offered to assist in the efforts to gather signatures for the referendum. Her pastor emailed her back and asked her to spearhead the effort.
Sandi and Bessi teamed up to assemble a well-oiled signature-gathering machine. They visited their County Registrar's Office to pick up voter registration forms for those who moved, or where of age but not registered, assembled pens, signs, clipboards, binders with information about SB 48. They had long form 10-signature and short form petitions. In addition to spearheading the signature gathering efforts, Bessi and Sandi printed extra instructions and briefly trained people who took additional petitions to their respective communities, workplace, neighborhoods, etc.
Bessi says, "Our pastor put an announcement in the church bulletin [alerting church members about Stop SB 48]. After the service, people looked for the signs to find our table outside in front of the church and flocked to us for signatures. We had no less than 5 copies on the table at a time for signing and we simply asked, "Are you a registered voter in this county?" If they replied yes then we just pointed to the 5 spaces and said "Print, sign your name, your street, city and zip." If they said "No" then we had them do the short form and put in whatever county they were registered in and do the same. If a change of address had happened since they had registered then we had them fill out a new voter registration form and took the red numbers (affidavit) on the registration form and put them on the referendum after their signature."
If Sandi and Bessi could tell other volunteers something, what would they say? "In order to answer the questions, one needs to be informed quite well and know what you will say before you begin. So familiarize yourself first with appropriate probable questions and answers until you feel comfortable with the verbiage."
Sandi and Bessi, on behalf of the Stop SB 48 coalition, concerned citizens, and California school children, thank you for your time, your commitment to stopping SB 48, and your willingness to spearhead the effort at your church. Volunteers like you will ensure victory!