Dear Victims of Prop 8,
Even 4 months after Prop 8 passed, I am still so deeply ashamed. I was born Mormon. I lived as a practicing Mormon until November 2008. I wasn't always 100% active, but I tried to be good and I felt the Mormons taught love and understanding. I was so very, very wrong.
I am at a loss for words. My husband and I knew that Prop 8 wouldn't pass. How could it? We are living in a modern society and I felt the American people had learned so much from the Women's Suffrage movement and the Civil Rights movement, that Prop 8 didn't have a snowballs chance in Hell. My husband and I voted NO by mail and didn't think much of it. I had NO idea that the church I paid tithing to, was spending my hard earned money on something I didn't support.
Apologies aren't enough, though I am so very glad I found somewhere I could voice myself. I could sit here all day writing the words "I'm sorry" over and over. As apologetic and ashamed as I am, the emotion I mostly feel is angry. Maybe I am immature, weak or impressionable, as I was raised in a pacifist religion, but I am more angry than I am sorry. I had no idea that the Mormons were the force behind all those stupid signs about religious freedom and family. I didn't know any of that until I was listening to 97.1, Tom Leykis opened my eyes to the astounding amount of money that was being used to pass Prop 8 and like 70% was from the Mormon church. What a bunch of hypocrites. That sealed the deal for me. The moment I knew that an organization that I thought taught the love of Christ and God and the idea of family, didn't, I was out. I want my tithing back. I want to donate it to whomever is in charge of righting this wrong.
Anger, frustration and being tired of the nonsense is what changes the world. Check, check and double check... so what do I do now?
I sat through the week prior to the vote, knowing in my heart that Californians would vote NO in astounding numbers. I was so wrong. I was so disappointed to be Mormon, to be Republican, to be a Californian, to be straight, knowing that I did nothing. I didn't put up a sign, I didn't hand out fliers, I had no reason to believe that we as a people could vote to deny people equal rights. I want to go back, I want to preach the truth like how I was taught all my life. Gay marriage will not take away religious freedom. Gay marriage will not diminish the relationship I have with my heterosexual partner, who I married. Gay marriage will not tarnish families, it will make them stronger. I want to put on a name tag, I want to go door to door. I want to stand across the street for those Holier than Thou religious folk holding their Yes on 8 signs with my one No on 8 sign. They wanted people to honk if they supported them. I would have my 2 year old hold a sign that says "Honk if you're bigoted". That was all they were really doing.
What are we going to do next? Have separate drinking fountains for gays? Is that the way we want to move as a country? Is that what we want to teach our children?
I feel so stupid for having faith in my fellow man. I feel so stupid for not doing more. I want to do more than just sign petitions. I want to explain to everyone that was so easily scared by the religious propaganda, that they prey on your fears to make you feel superior.
I AM sorry. I am so very very sorry that "my church" was the force that made so many marriage certificates legally useless. I cannot believe, nor can I fathom the inequality that gets passed off as okay because of God. So many bad things happen in the name of God. If God is our father, and he loves us anywhere near as much as I love my two little girls, I know that he loves ALL his children unconditionally. White, yellow or black. Gay, straight or bi. We need to separate Church and State. We need to make the rights of individuals equal and not put it in a vote.
I hope with all my heart that equality becomes federal law, that two consenting adults can marry each other in any state, even UTAH.
I was so ashamed, that I no longer consider myself Mormon. My parents and three younger brothers no longer speak to me because of my decision. But I have to live with myself, and I cannot live with raising my children in such a hypocritical church. I will not teach my children to believe they are better than others because they are Mormon, straight, white, religious or anything else. Families are what you make of them, and they don't have to be the married straight couple with 2-10 kids whose names all start with the same letter.
I hope that we as a people can right this wrong and give gays the same rights. And I hope when the right wing nuts try to discriminate against Atheists, saying that since they don't believe in God that they shouldn't be able to enter into such a sacred union, that we all learned an important lesson. People have so much faith in church leaders and what they say God wants, that people are willing to vote to discriminate and deny people rights and civil liberties the law protects.
The saddest thing of all is that my mom, dad and three younger brothers all still feel like they did the right thing.
With love and humility,
Leilani (Mascio) Pearce
Brea 1st Ward
Brea, CA 92821