Protesters demonstrate in front of Latter-day Saint temple in L.A.

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

More than 1,000 protesters showed up to demonstrate in front of the Los Angeles temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Friday, November 7, to protest the church's involvement with the passing of Proposition 8. The proposition passed with 52% support, and would amend the California constitution to ban gay marriage, which was recently made legal by court order. The temple is located in Los Angeles, California.

According to a member of the Los Angeles Police Department, the Temple grounds were vandalized by protesters, and a group of apparently non-LDS Hispanic women attempting to remove critical signs from temple grounds were attacked and beaten before police stepped in and arrested those involved.

A breakdown of support for Proposition 8 in California

Protesters have claimed that the church's institution made small cash donations to the Proposition 8 campaign, though no evidence has yet surfaced to corroborate the claims. It appears that many members of the church (also known as Mormons) donated to the "Yes on 8" campaign.

Jeff Flint, a strategist for Yes on 8, has criticized the protest and related negative media placed on those Latter-day Saints who supported Proposition 8: "I am appalled at the level of Mormon-bashing that went on during the Proposition 8 campaign and continues to this day. If this activity were directed against any other church, if someone put up a website that targeted Jews or Catholics in a similar fashion for the mere act of participating in a political campaign, it would be widely and rightfully condemned."

In addition to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the proposition was supported by other Christian groups, the Hispanic population of California by a slight majority, and overwhelmingly by California's African-American population. Protests have targeted these communities as well. F. Damion Barela, who had obtained a gay marriage to his husband five months ago, said, "I'm disappointed in the Californians who voted for this." In particular, he was bothered that some ethnic groups supported the ban: "To them I say, 'Shame on you because you should know what this feels like.'"

Protests of up to 20,000 people were held in other cities throughout the country in opposition to Proposition 8, and some Latter-day Saints have left the church over the matter. Several other churches have been vandalized by protesters since its passage.

Similar constitutional provisions were passed in Florida and Arizona during the election, and such provisions already exist in 27 other states, with a further 15 featuring statutory bans on same sex marriages.