An article today via the Associated Press is expressing the idea that the Mormon church's fight against gay marriage, particularly its role in the successful passage of Proposition 8 in California last year, has extremely damaged the church by putting it at odds with many of its own members:
Last year at the urging of church leaders, Mormons donated tens of millions of dollars to the "Yes on 8" campaign and were among the most vigorous volunteers. The institutional church gave nearly $190,000 to the campaign — contributions now being investigated by California's Fair Political Practices Commission.
After the vote, many gay rights advocates turned their anger toward the church in protests and marches outside temples that singled out Mormons as the key culprits in restricting the rights of gay couples.
That constituted a setback for the faith, argued Jan Shipps, a professor of religious history and a Mormon expert from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.
. . . Church representatives don't discuss public relations strategies or challenges publicly, but at a semiannual conference in April, church President Thomas S. Monson seemed to be clearly feeling a post-Prop. 8 sting.
In an era of "shifting moral footings," Monson said, "those who attempt to safeguard those footings are often ridiculed, picketed and persecuted."
That argument doesn't wash for Linda Stay, whose ancestors were early Mormon converts. Stay said she was doubly transformed by Prop. 8. She and her husband, Steve, finally quit the church — along with 18 other family members and a few close friends — and became gay right activists.
The St. George woman's family, which includes two gay children, will play a central role in a documentary film, "8: The Mormon Proposition" currently in production. Stay's son, Tyler Barrick, married his boyfriend in San Francisco on June 17, 2008, the first day gay marriage was legal in California.
The entire article is here and is an excellent read.
Personally, I can't say that I feel sorry the Mormon church. Ethically and legally, it had every right to interject itself into the Proposition 8 battle.
It's obvious that the church didn't think that it would have to deal with a backlash. But with all things you do, there are consequences. And when you move to take rights away from people (especially solely on the grounds of your religious beliefs), you really should expect a backlash.
In short, the Mormon church is getting what it deserves.