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Standing with Mormons regarding Proposition 8

Karen England, spokesperson for Capitol Resource Institute, recently advised that thousands of traditional marriage supporters have been victimized by the self-described 'tolerant' opponents of California's Proposition 8, which constitutionally defined marriage as one man and one woman. During the campaign, reports poured in from across the state of voters' Yes on Proposition 8 signs being vandalized or stolen. Yes on Proposition 8 staff members' homes as well as many churches continue to be targets of vandalism, theft and demonstrations across the country.

'Destroying and stealing personal property-this is tolerance?' questioned Karen England, with Yes on Proposition 8. 'What are our opponents so scared of that they are attempting to intimidate and silence us? Opponents of Proposition 8 claim that we have nothing to fear about government-mandated same-sex marriage; it won't impact our freedom of speech or religion. How can we believe them when they're stealing our freedom of speech from our own front lawns? This is the type of intimidation and true intolerance we can expect without Proposition 8. This should be a wake-up call for every voter concerned about our precious First Amendment freedoms …'

Since the election, the blogosphere and American cities have echoed with threats of violence against Prop 8 supporters. ABC News reported that these protests are not isolated, but rather, a wider trend of demonstrations from New York to Los Angeles targeting Mormons in particular. Opponents say that church leaders went too far in organizing their members and asking them to donate time and money to pass the initiative.

Pro-homosexual critics of the church even started an online hate campaign to identify, embarrass, and intimidate Mormons who supported the amendment to preserve traditional marriage. The Web site lists the name and hometown of each Mormon donor, in an attempt to expose the influence of the LDS church in the campaign. Richard Raddon, the director of the Los Angeles Film Festival, has already lost his job and possibly his livelihood because of his privately held religious beliefs. Homosexual activist Fred Karger has filed a nuisance lawsuit claiming that the Mormons violated election laws and calling for the revocation of their tax-exempt status.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the person who initiated the Web campaign is Dante Atkins, an elected delegate to the state Democratic convention who said he's the vice president of the Los Angeles County Young Democrats. Atkins said his goal was to 'embarrass the opposition by pointing out and publicizing any contributors they may have.' He said focusing on Mormons made sense. 'If one religious group is putting close to the majority of the money and the effort into passing this proposition, it is fair to single them out.'

While California's small population of Mormons (2 percent) played a vital role in Prop 8, other churches were also involved in the battle to protect marriage - including Catholics, Protestants, and Orthodox Jews. Several nationally known leaders have expressed their support, including Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family, Charles Colson of Prison Fellowship, Tony Perkins of Family Research Council, Paul Weyrich of Free Congress Foundation, Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention and Gary Bauer of American Values, the American Family Association and others. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has offered 'prayerful support and steadfast solidarity' to the LDS church for its efforts on behalf of Proposition 8.

According to the Associated Press exit polls, 70 percent of black voters and more than half of Latino voters backed Prop 8, while whites and Asians were split. Ninety percent of voters who said they had no religious affiliation opposed the measure. Of the 70 percent of voters who described themselves as Christian, two thirds backed the initiative, which passed by 52 percent.

The Mormons have shown great courage, conviction and self-sacrifice on behalf of all pro-marriage and pro-family Americans. Rather than allow the Fred Kargers, Dante Atkins and the Young Democrats to 'single out' the Mormons for exercising their constitutionally protected rights, I urge all freedom-loving Americans to stand united against these kinds of tyrants. Intimidation and threats of retaliation have no place in an American election, and are contrary to our cherished principles and values. Posing as victims does not excuse victimizing others or demanding special rights at the expense of others.

The Preamble of the U.S. Constitution emphasizes unity, justice, domestic tranquility and the 'general welfare.' Those who resort to anarchy for simply not getting their way on Election Day are traitors to everything America stands for, and the liberty and justice they are destroying is their own.

Craig Myers, Salem, is executive director of Concerned Oregonians.