International Pages        Visit Us on Facebook     Visit Us on Twitter     Check Out Our Videos     Visit Our Blog    

Affirmation: Gay & Lesbian Mormons

Anti-Gay Coalition Meets Near Washington DC
Mormon Leader Compares Gay Rights Movement to the Rise of Hitler

Sheri Dew
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.

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 13, 2004.
(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 family.")

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 replacement level.

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."

James Morris, Alyson Bolles, and Olin Thomas
Affirmation: Gay and Lesbian Mormons Responds

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 American family.

Olin Thomas, Alyson Bolles, James Morris, and Hugo Salinas
Executive Committee
Affirmation: Gay and Lesbian Mormons

For more information about Affirmation, visit <>.

For more information about anti-gay actions carried out by the LDS Church, visit <>.

See also:

Disgusting, hate-mongering statement,