With the slogan, “Family: It's about Time!” (a play on commercials of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) some 25 people from Mormon backgrounds, along with family members and friends, gathered on Saturday, August 29 at a park in Cupertino, Calif., to share food and trade stories about recent LDS Church efforts to amend California's constitution.
The picnic was sponsored by Mormons for Marriage, a coalition which opposes Proposition 8—a measure that would revoke from same-sex couples in California all the civil rights associated with marriage. Mormons for Marriage feel that marriage will be strengthened rather weakened if gay couples are allowed to have the same civil rights as heterosexual couples.
“Our stake asked members to spend extra time walking precincts to support Proposition 8, then canceled its annual Labor Day family picnic,” says Laura Compton, one of the organizers. “So my husband and I felt that we needed to use that day working in support of all California families.”
Inbetween socializing and water-gun fights led by the younger generations, attendees heard the latest campaigning strategies by both the “No on 8” folks and the Protect Marriage coalition. Group consensus seemed to be that there are several ways to successfully present the message about same-sex marriage:
- First, find common ground with others and don't use language that automatically sets up defensiveness.
- Second, share personal stories. Several folks told of how they spoke up in church meetings and that, while scary at first, they found others in the meetings agreed with their stances (or at least didn't want the speakers to be cut off from the group).
- Third, acknowledge the fears proponents have for the safety and security of their society, and especially for the education of their children. Encourage them to think about the reasons for those fears and educate them about the chances of the things they fear actually coming to pass.
Several websites have been set up or are currently in development to create networks of people in and out of the church; to disseminate information; to showcase volunteer opportunities; and to collect donations of time and money.
Those attending the party were eager to have another gathering or two in the greater San Francisco Bay Area before the election, hopefully with a bit more lead time than this party had. Party hosts are more than welcome to advertise their events at the Mormons for Marriage Political Action and Education Page.