Thousands protest Mormon involvement with Prop 8
Andrew McLemore
Published: Saturday November 8, 2008

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SALT LAKE CITY -- More than 2,000 people protested outside the headquarters of the Mormon church Friday night for the organization's heavy support for Proposition 8, the Associated Press reported.

The proposal was passed by a thin margin Tuesday and adds an amendment to the California constitution banning gay marriage. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints encouraged members to donate money and time to aggressively pushing the passage of Proposition 8.

"Separate church and state," or "I didn't vote on your marriage," protesters said as they marched around the headquarters.

Many held signs with messages including "Mormons: Once persecuted, now persecutors," "Proud of my two moms" and "Protect traditional marriage. Ban divorce."

The measure overturned a California Supreme Court ruling earlier this year that legalized gay marriage within the state, allowing thousands of gay couples to marry.

The fight surrounding the definition of marriage was the most expensive in the country with both sides raising $70 million, CBS reported in a video available below.

Although the Mormon church does not officially endorse political leaders or parties, it speaks out on moral issues important to the church's beliefs.

"With the L.D.S. church’s vast involvement in the passage of Proposition 8, we are seeing a repeat of a tragic and deplorable history," a former Salt Lake City mayor, Rocky Anderson, said.

Church officials said they were "disturbed" that the Mormon church is being "singled out for speaking up as part of its democratic right in a free election," said LDS spokesman Scott Trotter earlier Friday.

Trotter said millions of people of all creeds and backgrounds voted for Proposition 8 that were not being criticized by the gay rights movement.

The African-American community, which saw the election of the first black president Tuesday, voted overwhelmingly for the measure, CBS News reported.

But activists remained livid that the measure was passed and were intent on blaming the Mormon establishment.

"The main focus is going to be going after the Utah brand," John Aravosis, an influential Washington, D.C.-based blogger, told the Associated Press. "We're going to destroy the Utah brand. It is a hate state."

Another protest against Proposition 8 drew up to 10,000 in San Diego on Saturday, as gay rights activists hit the streets in a peaceful, 90-minute demonstration.

The following video was broadcast Saturday by CBS News: