LDS Church and Same Sex Marriage Timeline

Same Sex Marriage Timeline courtesy of /u/KrampusonaShelf from Reddit

-August 7, 1984 newly called apostle Oaks writes memo to church: “Principles to Govern Possible Public Statement on Legislation Affecting the Rights of Homosexuals.” In it he advises against church trying to increase criminal penalties on homosexuality, as that will only create martyrs. Nor should church push against “condition” of homosexuality as “the public will see the debate as a question of tolerance of persons who are different…and those who oppose may well be seen as unmerciful prosecutors of the unfortunate.” Instead, church should focus on promoting “exceptions” to job-discrimination laws in order to protect the youth from those that would “proselyte and promote” homosexuality, such as teachers, coaches, scoutmasters, etc.. since this would be “more persuasive to the public and less subject to counterarguments…” He also stated that “In my opinion the interests at stake in the proposed legalization of so-called homosexual marriages are sufficient to justify a formal church position and significant efforts in opposition.”

-1988 church hired PR firm to monitor and lobby homosexuality stance in Hawaii (church ends up spending $400,000–SLTrib 3/26/09, B1)

-Dec 1990 three homosexual couples in Hawaii were denied marriage licenses, initiated lawsuit Baehr v. Lewin

-1992 Colorado passes Amendment 2 preventing sexual orientation from being used to define a protected class–not put into effect as it is immediately challenged

-May 1993 meeting of all-church coordinating council Packer identifies feminists, homosexuals, and intellectuals as three chief dangers to church

-Feb 1994 1st presidency letter urges all U.S. members to contact legislators to preserve “sanctity of marriage”

-1994 PEW reports that for first time less than half of all children now raised in traditional family

-Feb 1995 church petitions to become codefendants in Baehr v. Lewin (rejected)

-Mar 1995 Utah passes first DOMA act in country recognizing only “traditional” marriages

-Sept 1995 Proclamation issued in general RS session (Richard G. Wilkins, law professor at BYU and director of World Family Policy Center, appears to have been the primary author–drawing on his own briefs and writings (though Nadine McCombs claims firm of Kirton & McConkie were primary authors–others claim their role was limited to reviewing Wilkins’ draft for church)–in attempt to establish that family was “central” to LDS doctrine—shoring up argument for standing in future cases). RS upset that they were not consulted and per Okazaki interview would have insisted on “a few changes.”

-October 1995 SCOTUS hears challenge to Colorado Amendment in Romer V. Evans

-Oct 1995 Oaks article “Same-Gender Attraction” in Ensign says idea of “homosexual” person incompatible with LDS doctrine as it “implies that a person is consigned by birth to a circumstance in which he or she has no choice…”, “homosexual, lesbian, and gay” should only be used as “adjectives” to refer to “thoughts, feelings, or behaviors.” (He traces gender claim in preexistence to 1912 1st presidency statement–yet that statement doesn’t directly address gender issue in preexistence: “…all people who come to this earth and are born in mortality has a pre-existent, spiritual personality, as the sons and daughters of the eternal father”. Is the term “sons and daughters” an assertion of gender, a poetic substitution for “children,” or referring to their later gendered state? The article says nothing else to indicate that it is introducing, defending, or revealing anything about gender in the preexistence other than that one line (regarding gender see note #2). Oaks also references 1922 Talmage article “The Eternity of Sex” that says that we “doubtless” had gender (only scriptural source Talmage used is logical conclusion that male/female “spiritually” created in Gen 1:27 (actually the E creation account), before being placed on Earth in Gen 2:4-7 (J creation account). Context: Women had gained suffrage in 1920 and 1922 Supreme Court upheld women’s vote)) -1996 Baehr (now called Baehr v. Mike) trial judge rules that state has failed to provide compelling interest in banning same-sex marriage and instructs state to issue licenses (though stays it for appeals)

-May 1996 SCOTUS issues ruling in Romer v. Evans, striking down Colorado Amendment 2

-September 1996 US passes DOMA–which House Judiciary Committee characterizes as a response to “a redefinition of marriage in Hawaii to include homosexual couples could make such couples eligible for a whole range of federal rights and benefits”

-1998 Corporation of the President donates $500,000 to Alaska Family Coalition to promote Alaskan Ballot Measure 2 (passed but ruled unconstitutional in 2014)

-November 1998 Hawaii passes Amendment 2 “reserving” power to define marriage to legislature–which promptly restricted it to opposite-sex only

-1999 Baehr ruling reversed on basis of Amendment 2 (in 2013 legislature reversed itself and legalized same-sex)

-March 2000 California passes DOMA (Proposition 22), estimates are that more than half of funding came from LDS members (members told of donation forms being distributed in foyer after sacrament meeting).

-February 2004 San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom directs city clerk to issue same-sex licenses

-August 2004 California Supreme Court nullified licenses

-2007 Coalition of Catholics and Mormons (Matt Holland on board supported by Oaks) form the National Organization for Marriage (NOM). 2012 leak of internal memos shows that group intends to drive “wedges” between gays, blacks, and latinos as a way of undermining LGBT momentum. Church denies direct connection to/control of NOM.

-May 2008 California Supreme Court rules in In re Marriage Cases that access to same-sex marriage is a fundamental right, overturning Proposition 22

-June 2008 proposition 22 is re-proposed for Nov ballot as constitutional amendment Proposition 8

-Nov 2008 with massive push by NOM, California passes Proposition 8 (ruled unconstitutional in 2010–Investigative journalist Mark Schoof’s WSJ article and follow-up publicity revealed church was not only the primary coordinator of support for initiative (77 people at Church HQ working full-time on issue–leaked documents in 2017 reveal Elder John C. Dalton of the 70 was state chairman and L. Whitney Clayton was supervisor under Apostles Cook and Ballard), but also had directly contributed to campaign (mostly in-kind donations). Legal complaint filed by Fred Karger led church to report $189,903–California fined church $5,539 for failure to comply with election disclosure laws. See Youn 2013 G.W. Law Review 81:2108)

-2013 United States v. Windsor strikes down US DOMA

-June 2015 SCOTUS rules in Obergefell v. Hodges that gay marriage is a fundamental right and cannot be forbidden by any state.

-Nov 2015 Church Handbook changes are leaked to the public. People living in same-sex relationships are to be considered apostates and their children cannot be blessed, baptized, ordained to the priesthood, or serve missions unless, after age 18, they “disavow” gay marriage and receive permission from the 1st presidency.

-2015 Church backs passage of Utah “Fairness for All” law (stylized as a “RFRA-lite” law), prohibiting discrimination of LGBT, but carving out “exemptions” for religious objections (bill co-written by Becket Fund and Alliance Defending Freedom?).

-2016 Church sends letter to Mexican saints urging opposition to President Nieto’s initiative to legalize gay marriage–church also participates in the group Consciencia Nacional por la Libertad Religiosa (Mexican papers claim church is primary financial support—no figures available).

-Sept 2017 Church files amicus curiae (Christian Legal Society, et al.) in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. How supportive of Alliance Defending Freedom has NOM or church been?

This entry was posted in Timelines. Bookmark the permalink. Last edited by Mithryn on July 5, 2018 at 7:50 pm

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