Opinion: The Mormon missionaries and the lesbians

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The Yes on 8 campaign is doing its best to spread its outrage -- outrage!! -- over the latest ad against Proposition 8, which would amend the state constitution to take away the right of gay and lesbian couples to wed.

The ad, which debuted on YouTube and is going out on television today, is certainly the most attention-getting TV spot to criticize the proposition. Most of the ads against Proposition 8 have been extraordinarily tame, unlike the fear-mongering rumors spread by the Yes side.

Not any more. The new ad -- a skit in which two actors playing Mormon missionaries visit the home of a married lesbian couple -- is clearly intended to signal viewers that the Mormon church has been a major player in the Yes campaign. Its message is that the religious right is claiming the power to strip others of their rights, starting with marriage and heading into any other arenas the movement finds immoral.

Having viewed the ad, I can’t see what the big deal is. Skits like this are common fodder for campaign ads. Were opponents of Prop. 8 supposed to never touch the religious aspect of this? Is it supposed to be unfair to play the Mormon card, considering the role Mormonism has played on the Yes side (e.g., pressing its members to donate and work for the campaign)? Surely the Mormon church and its members never expected to leap into a campaign with this much vocal and financial might, funding it in large part and pushing for it relentlessly, without expecting that they would be viewed as a force that is trying to roll back the clock on gay rights in California. And considering that the Yes on 8 campaign has tried to depict gays and lesbians as attempting to take over elementary schools and force themselves on religious weddings, it’s not in a great position to claim bigotry and intolerance, let alone misleading advertising, coming from the other side.


The ‘missionaries’ show up at the front door .... but watch and judge for yourself.