Open season on Mormons in California?

posted at 8:15 am on November 14, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

Mormons have been under attack in California since the passage of Proposition 8.  The LDS church backed the winning measure that restored the “one man, one woman” definition of marriage to the state constitution after the state Supreme Court overturned it as a statute.  From profane billboards to violent protests, the anti-8 demonstrators have focused their ire on Mormons, and now two envelopes of white powder have turned up in the mail at the Mormon Temples in Los Angeles and Salt Lake City:

The FBI says a letter containing a suspicious white powder sent to a Mormon temple in the Westwood area of Los Angeles was not hazardous.

The temple was evacuated Thursday while a hazardous materials crew tested the substance and determined it was non-toxic.

A temple in downtown Salt Lake City received a similar envelope containing a white powder that spilled onto a clerk’s hand. The room was decontaminated and the envelope taken by the FBI for testing. A spokesman for the Salt Lake City Fire Department says the clerk showed no signs of illness, but the scare shut down a building at Temple Square for more than an hour.

It was depressingly predictable that the fringe of the protestors would eventually move towards terrorism.  They’ve assaulted old ladies and threatened more violence, all because they lost on a ballot proposition.  In fact, they lost by over 500,000 votes and almost five percentage points, 52.2% to 47.7%. Of California’s 58 counties, only 16 of them carried a majority of voters opposing it. It wasn’t just the old ladies and Mormons who opposed Proposition 8.

I have no problem with gay marriage, as long as the recognition comes through legitimate political means — either through referendum or legislative action.  California voters have now twice stated by referendum that they do not want to grant government recognition of marriage to same-sex couples.  That’s a pretty clear message that the people of California do not want a public policy that gives official recognition to same-sex couples, outside of partnership contracts.

This fortnight-long temper tantrum certainly won’t help the anti-8 cause when the inevitable referendum appears to reverse the constitutional amendment Californians added in this election.  I’d expect to see that on the ballot every two years from now on, but if its backers keep acting like lunatics, they can expect to lose by greater margins in the future.

Update: I should address a few points in the comments.  First, the reason I support the legitimate process of referendum or legislative action is because they won’t produce nutty results like polygamy or “interspecies marriage”, as someone accuses me of tacitly endorsing.  How many people would vote to allow polygamy or adult incest?  5%?   Judicial fiat, on the other hand, can produce some very strange results.

Also, recognition of marriage is already public policy.  No one has proposed any laws barring two consenting non-related adults from cohabitating, nor should they.  This isn’t a federal question, but a question of what types of relationships will get state recognition, and that’s an issue legitimately resting with the electorate.

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