In what one Catholic bishop called “a blatant display of religious bigotry and intolerance,” a commercial advocating a “no” vote on Proposition 8 depicts Mormon missionaries invading the homes of a lesbian couple.
The California ballot’s Proposition 8 would restore the legal definition of marriage to being between one man and one woman. Earlier this year, the California Supreme Court imposed same-sex marriage on the state.
In the 60 second commercial, produced by the Courage Campaign Issues Committee, two missionaries knock on a door and say they are from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They tell the lesbian couple “we are here to take away your rights.”
They enter the house, take away the women’s rings, and ransack their home looking for their marriage license. Finding it, they tear it up.
At the close of the commercial, the missionaries walk away, saying “that was too easy, yeah, what should we ban next?”
“The message behind the commercial is the Mormon Church is literally invading the houses of Californians through their TV sets, spreading lies and taking peoples’ lives away from them,” Rick Jacobs of the anti-Prop. 8 Courage Campaign told CBS Channel 2 KUTV. “The church has been hiding behind its secrecy.”
Jacobs said the commercial will air today in various parts of California on MSNBC and CNN.
Scott Trotter, a spokesman with the LDS Church, responded to the advertisement:
“The Church has joined a broad-based coalition in defense of traditional marriage. While we feel this is important to all of society, we have always emphasized that respect be given to those who feel differently on this issue. It is unfortunate that some who oppose this proposition have not given the Church this same courtesy.”
The California Catholic Conference on Monday condemned the ad as “bigoted and intolerant.”
Most Rev. Stephen Blaire, Bishop of Stockton and President of the California Catholic Conference, commented in a press release, calling the ad “a blatant display of religious bigotry and intolerance” and expressing dismay any public media outlet would air it.
“The YES on 8 campaign is not about discrimination and intolerance; it is about restoring the traditional definition of marriage for the good of society and children," said Bishop Blaire. "All individuals and groups, whether religious or not, have both a right and a responsibility to participate in a civil debate about this important issue. From the beginning of this campaign the Catholic Conference has stressed the importance of mutual respect and denounces this type of religious bigotry."The ad is viewable on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q28UwAyzUkE