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Mormons working to overturn Maryland marriage equality law

CHRIS JOHNSON | Washington Blade
Friday, April 6, 2012

Members of the Mormon Church in Maryland are working to overturn the state’s recently passed marriage equality law, according to an email obtained by the Washington Blade.

In the message dated March 29 sent to D.C. and Southern Maryland-area church members, the writer states that a coalition of inter-denominational Maryland churches has joined to place a referendum before voters in November on the marriage law before it goes into effect.

Mormon Temple in Kensington, Md.

“We need to collect approximately 200,000 signatures by the end of May,” the email states. “We are looking for people to gather signatures within the LDS community.”

LDS refers to the church’s formal name, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Those involved with the effort have told the Blade the message isn’t an official message from church leadership either at the local level or from its headquarters in Salt Lake City, but is rather part of a local ad hoc effort to challenge Maryland’s marriage law.

The email says the “important effort” is being led by Martha Schaerr, an LDS member who’s organizing signature collection within Montgomery County and within the church. Another named organizer in the email is Teressa Wallace.

An informed source said the email was sent to the entire congregation in D.C. and Southern Maryland, which consists of between 500 and 1,500 church members and former members. According to the source, the author is Wallace, one of the named organizers in the email and wife of one of the junior pastors of the congregation.

Only 55,736 valid signatures are needed to force a ballot measure in Maryland. The stated goal of obtaining 200,000 signatures is likely an attempt to over deliver in case the validity of some signatures is challenged.

According to the email, church members interested in organizing training sessions are required to attend a 30-minute training session, “due to the stringent Maryland laws concerning referendums.”

“There will be several training sessions offered, but if transportation to them is a problem for you, a trainer would be happy to meet with you at a more convenient time and location,” the email states.

The email says the Mormon Church is “neutral on matters of party politics,” but asks that members take an active role in civic duties.

“The Church does encourage its members to play a role as responsible citizens, including becoming informed about issues and voting in elections, and becoming engaged in the political process in an informed and civil manner,” the email states. “Please consider helping with this very important effort. Every signature is important and every little bit helps!”

In an email to the Blade, Schaerr said she’s organizing against the Maryland marriage law not out of any guidance or pressure from the church, but on her own accord.

“My understanding of the religious principles taught by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in ‘The Proclamation on the Family,’ the scriptures and numerous statements by church leaders has informed my conscience, and I am seeking to follow my conscience,” the email states.

Schaerr also expressed concern that the same-sex marriage law in Maryland would stifle those who want to speak out against homosexuality.

“I believe the Maryland law extends beyond providing rights to gay couples and actually seeks to silence religious objections to same sex relationships by changing the definition of marriage,” she said.

Continue reading at the Washington Blade

© Washington Blade. Reprinted by permission.

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58 more reader comments:

  1. Fuck them. The world is changing, they are going to have to change with it or just struggle against the tide of change like this until they die miserable and terrified, all alone.

    Posted on Friday, April 6, 2012 at 2:54pm
  2. This just makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck!

    Posted on Friday, April 6, 2012 at 2:54pm
  3. :(

    Posted on Friday, April 6, 2012 at 2:55pm
  4. shouldn’t a law based on religious beliefs be unconstitutional and illegal?

    Posted on Friday, April 6, 2012 at 2:56pm
  5. Oh God these people need to let it be! :(

    Posted on Friday, April 6, 2012 at 2:56pm
  6. that church in the picture would look nice with a few flames on it :DDD

    Posted on Friday, April 6, 2012 at 2:58pm
  7. Pathetic and typical of religion hating on anyone who is different.

    Posted on Friday, April 6, 2012 at 2:59pm
  8. So much hate comes our way.

    Posted on Friday, April 6, 2012 at 3:07pm
  9. see, the cult is breaking the separation of church and state by going into politics. they should have their tax exemption status revoked and start paying taxes.

    Posted on Friday, April 6, 2012 at 3:08pm
  10. DOUBLE-like, Mr. Ellison! EVERY single signature those bastards collect should also be directed to them relinquishing their tax-exempt status!!

    Posted on Friday, April 6, 2012 at 3:12pm
  11. Return to sender!

    Posted on Friday, April 6, 2012 at 3:16pm
  12. F those morons

    Posted on Friday, April 6, 2012 at 3:19pm
  13. Of course they are…

    Posted on Friday, April 6, 2012 at 3:34pm
  14. They are Santans soldiers

    Posted on Friday, April 6, 2012 at 4:00pm
  15. People are so closed minded. I grew up LDS…. Mormon…. And now I am proud to be gay. I think its sad that many people think Lesbians and Gays are ruining the sanctaty of marriage, when actually there is a higher divorce rate with marriages between a man and a woman. So… Who is ruining what?? If we have freedom of religion and everything else…. Why are we condemning the one thing most important in life…. The freedom to LOVE. Why dont we have the freedom to love who we may??

    Posted on Friday, April 6, 2012 at 4:18pm
  16. They should keep their closed minded opinions to themselves.

    Posted on Friday, April 6, 2012 at 5:15pm
  17. We aren’t allowed in thier Temple so why should they be allowed to have a decision in who we marry. Hypocrites!

    Posted on Friday, April 6, 2012 at 5:19pm
  18. Well I may have some useful info for anyone interested: Schaerr or Wallace may have their TEMPLE RECOMMENDS and if so they can have no bad feelings/hate for ANYONE n this is specifically n irrevocably them having bad feelings/hate for others, why would they want to discriminate/harass a minority group such as LGBTQ; also, they can lose their TEMPLE RECOMMENDS/BE EXCOMMUNICATED for their affiliation with any organization that goes against church standards such as this does i.e. KKK, Aryan Nation affiliation, etc.; Idk its a long shot but it may help

    Posted on Friday, April 6, 2012 at 6:16pm
  19. This is not surprising, folks

    Posted on Friday, April 6, 2012 at 6:41pm
  20. That fucked-up cullt needs to stay in Utah where they belong…

    Posted on Friday, April 6, 2012 at 8:32pm
  21. We in Utah would like it moved somewhere else.

    Posted on Friday, April 6, 2012 at 9:50pm
  22. so its okay to marry 10 underage sisters but you can’t marry your same sex partner??

    Posted on Friday, April 6, 2012 at 10:05pm
  23. I dont see what mormons i mean morons have anything to do with this. I could see if this was a country founded on mormanism but this is a free country and has no founding religion. seperation of church and state.

    Posted on Friday, April 6, 2012 at 10:05pm
  24. Go back to Utah.

    Posted on Friday, April 6, 2012 at 10:29pm
  25. Hateful cult.

    Posted on Friday, April 6, 2012 at 11:33pm
  26. Yes, supposedly Mormon saints were persecuted in the European countries so they came here n joined saints here then they were all shuttled to Utah after being persecuted in New York/Illinois n Las Vegas started by a mormon; with all this ‘persecution’ u would think that they would not persecute anyone else

    Posted on Saturday, April 7, 2012 at 2:41am
  27. Busy those Mormons. When they’re not out knocking on the door, they’re knocking down equality legislation. Maybe they’re frustrated demolition experts.

    Posted on Saturday, April 7, 2012 at 6:12am
  28. :

    Posted on Saturday, April 7, 2012 at 10:25am
  29. There are no good Mormons didn’t I warn you mother fuckers

    Posted on Saturday, April 7, 2012 at 10:29am
  30. hmm…

    Posted on Saturday, April 7, 2012 at 10:31am
  31. oh fuck off, stupid religious bigots. their gayness is not harming you

    Posted on Saturday, April 7, 2012 at 10:33am
  32. as a reformed….married in the temple…mormon….not sure how to feel

    Posted on Saturday, April 7, 2012 at 10:34am
  33. They did it in California, then got all in a snit when people reported that fact and claimed “religious persecution!!”

    Posted on Saturday, April 7, 2012 at 10:36am
  34. it’s time to tax the churches if they want to be political.

    Posted on Saturday, April 7, 2012 at 10:43am
  35. This is part of why I don’t want much to do with my faith anymore. Christianity is supposed to be non-judgmental & love everyone even if your don’t agree with them for whatever reason. Who they hell are they to decide if homosexuality is wrong?! This literally enrages me!

    Posted on Saturday, April 7, 2012 at 10:56am
  36. Perhaps the magic hat will have some answers.

    Posted on Saturday, April 7, 2012 at 10:57am
  37. FUCK MORMONS

    Posted on Saturday, April 7, 2012 at 10:58am
  38. So can we get their tax-exempt status revoked already?

    Posted on Saturday, April 7, 2012 at 11:06am
  39. Aren’t these the people that believe in “magic underwear” & that black people are cursed?

    Posted on Saturday, April 7, 2012 at 11:08am
  40. Mormon is a crock of shit!

    Posted on Saturday, April 7, 2012 at 11:15am
  41. How can anyone take Mormons seriously? The only recognition they deserve is that of cult status.

    Posted on Saturday, April 7, 2012 at 11:35am
  42. Morons. Oops I meant Mormons. Oops, I was right the first time!!

    Posted on Saturday, April 7, 2012 at 11:39am
  43. LDS church needs to worry about its members and quit pushing its beliefs on others – separation of church and state, remember that one

    Posted on Saturday, April 7, 2012 at 11:47am
  44. I wonder how many homes they could provide for homeless people and displaced workers with the millions they spend on ads attacking ME!

    Posted on Saturday, April 7, 2012 at 11:50am
  45. Separation of chuch and state anyone?

    Posted on Saturday, April 7, 2012 at 11:53am
  46. So lemme get this ‘straight’, they’re fine with marrying several wives, but hold that it is somehow immoral for me to marry only one…???
    Yup, makes perfect sense in today’s radical religious world.

    I thought we would be so much further advanced and evolved as a society than this by now.
    But instead, many are driving backward evermore blindly, perpetuating the push of religion into government and legislation.
    Soooooo very disheartening, and frankly, quite frightening, as sadly, these fanatics do have a certain amount of power over politicians.

    “…We will make great pets…”

    ~Perry Ferrell~

    Posted on Saturday, April 7, 2012 at 12:00pm
  47. Mormons are fucking morons

    Posted on Saturday, April 7, 2012 at 12:14pm
  48. Burn in hell you ignorant, bigoted, racist, xenophobic, UNCHRISTIAN bastards. You realise that straight ppl bring about gay children and that you have gay children and closet gays within your own ranks. We are everywhere and we will NEVER go away.

    Posted on Saturday, April 7, 2012 at 12:17pm
  49. “I am Not”. Can someone start some billboards like this all over the country?

    Posted on Saturday, April 7, 2012 at 12:24pm
  50. Tax that church now!!!

    Posted on Saturday, April 7, 2012 at 1:22pm
  51. We all need to work to have the Mormon church’s tax exempt status overturned. They need to stay out of politics as do all churches. Separation of church and State all the way.

    Posted on Saturday, April 7, 2012 at 1:41pm
  52. This makes me sad since I am a part of that church and know that the ones doing this are not practcing the doctrine correctly. As an inactive member I am reminded why I am inactive.

    Posted on Saturday, April 7, 2012 at 1:57pm
  53. Why, why, why preach hate?

    Posted on Saturday, April 7, 2012 at 2:42pm
  54. Mormon men, my two mom’s could beat up your 8 wives.

    Posted on Saturday, April 7, 2012 at 4:19pm
  55. Posted on Saturday, April 7, 2012 at 4:20pm
  56. Pro-Marriage Equality Marylanders can counter this by standing up for our rights! Go to Marylanders for Marriage Equality’s web site (www.marylandersformartiageequality.org) and sign the pledge saying that, if this is on the ballot in November, you pledge to vote in favor of Marriage Equality for LGBT people.

    Posted on Saturday, April 7, 2012 at 5:07pm
  57. *www.marylandersformarriageequality.org

    Sorry for the misspelled link

    Posted on Saturday, April 7, 2012 at 5:08pm
  58. Run Dorothy Run! is that still written on the bridge with the background of this “building”

    Posted on Saturday, April 7, 2012 at 8:12pm