Anti-Gay Coalition Meets Near Washington DC
Mormon Leader Compares Gay Rights Movement to the
Rise of Hitler
March 14, 2004
The escalation of anti-gay rhetoric and actions reached another high
as leaders of Family Action Council International,
a conservative religious coalition, met February 28 near Washington
DC in a visitors center belonging to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Saints (LDS or Mormons).
In one of the most hate-ridden moments of the event, Sheri Dew, President
of LDS-owned Deseret Book, likened those who do not oppose gay marriage
to those who did nothing to oppose Hitler's rise to power. Ms. Dew,
who is unmarried and has never raised children, also described a picture
of a same-sex couple with infants which she saw in Newsweek magazine
(see 1 March 2004, pp. 40-41). She said, in disgust, "I just can't stomach
this—the thought of those girls being raised in that kind of a
setting." Meridian Magazine later reported her remarks as being
that she was "heartsick"—a more genteel version of her actual
remarks. The offensive article was eventually removed from the Meridian
Magazine site, but it is still available online.
(In an ironic twist, one of the grooms Dew was decrying turned out to
be Eric Ethington, a fellow Mormon who served an LDS mission in Korea.
Explaining why he and his partner decided to marry, Ethington said,
"It wasn't about the politics, or the civil disobedience, or the social
activism... It was about our love for each other and our love for our
Sheri Dew says she can't "stomach" this: Returned missionary Eric Ethington, left, with twin Sophia and partner Doug Okun with
twin Elizabeth, are married at the San Francisco City Hall, February
Some of the comments made by other speakers had sexist or racist overtones.
Rabbi Daniel Lapin presented this explanation of why men must marry:
"Without marrying women, males form gangs and steal hubcaps. Men raised
with no faith become either savages or wimps." Patrick Fagan, of the
Heritage Foundation, noted that while "inner city" women are having
lots of babies, mostly out of wedlock, "white" births are below the
Observers find it ironic that LDS leaders, who in the past have been
so persecuted and excluded for practicing an alternative family model
(polygamous families), could be now so invested in condemning and making
illegal another alternative family model (same-sex couples). This irony
became apparent in the comments of Gerald McDermott, professor of theology
at Roanoke College, who remarked that one should not use the love between
two people to justify same sex marriages. "If love were the only test,
one could justify polygamy," he said to a largely LDS audience.
In the past, LDS leaders have mobilized aggressively in opposing pro-gay
legislation in Texas, New York, New Mexico, Nevada, Colorado, Hawaii,
Alaska, California, and other states. Their actions have divided families,
prompted hundreds of LDS members to remove their names from the Church's
records, and have even been a factor in a number of suicides by gay Mormons.
Last Christmas, LDS President Gordon B. Hinckley turned a Christmas
devotional service into an anti-gay tirade. Hinckley used part of his
address to condemn homosexuals and to remind his audience that "the
traditional family is under attack."
"Sodom and Gomorrah, and the sinful practices observed therein, became
examples of that which was evil and abominable in the sight of God,"
said the nonagenarian leader. "It was Jehovah, speaking through his
prophets, who decried evil and pleaded for righteousness. When there
was no repentance, it was his withering hand that destroyed them."
Affirmation: Gay and Lesbian Mormons Responds
James Morris, Alyson Bolles, and Olin Thomas
March 14, 2004
As members of Affirmation: Gay and Lesbian Mormons, we want to express
our outrage at recent comments made by Sheri Dew, president of LDS-owned
Deseret Book, during a February 28 meeting near Washington DC.
We agree with LDS Church president Gordon B. Hinckley when he says that
families are under attack. But when we see LDS leaders provoke disgust
at our families, spend millions of dollars so that we will never be
able to marry, and lobby so that our children will never have two legal
parents, we arrive at a different conclusion about who is the aggressor
and who are the victims.
We encourage the Church to strengthen families by counseling members
to create happier marriages resulting in fewer divorces, by combating
spousal abuse, and by other sensible means. But we challenge any religious
leader to demonstrate how same-sex marriage will be detrimental to the
Olin Thomas, Alyson Bolles, James Morris, and Hugo Salinas
Affirmation: Gay and Lesbian Mormons
For more information about Affirmation, visit <www.affirmation.org/newsroom>.
For more information about anti-gay actions carried out by the LDS Church,
Disgusting, hate-mongering statement SLMetro.com,