The Salt Lake Tribune reports:
In a meeting with gay-rights activists last week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid criticized the LDS Church for backing a ballot measure banning same-sex marriage in California, saying the leaders of his faith should have stayed out of the contentious political fight.Speaking of initiatives in California, moderate Republican California Chief Justice Ronald M. George, who ruled in favor of upholding Proposition 8, criticized California's initiative process, saying it has "rendered our state government dysfunctional."
Reid, a Democrat from Nevada, is the highest ranking elected official who is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He previously has not commented on the flood of Mormon money and volunteers who helped propel Proposition 8 to victory in November.
But three organizers of the past weekend's National Equality March said Reid brought up the topic during a conversation in his office.
"He said that he thought it was a waste of church resources and good will," said Derek Washington, a Nevadan who worked as the outreach director for the march. "He said he didn't think it was appropriate.
He spoke on the damage of Prop 8:
"Chickens gained valuable rights in California on the same day that gay men and lesbians lost them," George said.The injustice of Prop 8 seems more and more glaring each day, especially with more and more allies speaking up louder and louder. Hopefully they'll be there when we go back to the ballot to restore marriage equality here in California.
George was the swing vote in the historic May 2008 decision to end a ban on same-sex marriage. Legal scholars said the 4-3 ruling he wrote would define his legacy. The George court is considered moderately conservative and, until the marriage ruling, cautious. The court has only one Democratic appointee.
After voters approved Proposition 8, it was challenged in court. George again wrote the majority opinion, this time upholding the initiative that overturned a critical part of the court's ruling against a novel legal challenge. The 6-1 decision said Proposition 8 was a limited constitutional amendment rather than a more sweeping revision that required legislative involvement.
George's opinion read in parts as a lament. He said the court's hands were tied by precedent and California laws that gave voters wide freedom to amend the state Constitution. At the time, opponents of same-sex marriage were threatening to oust justices at the ballot if they voted to overturn Proposition 8.
Image from ehoyer on flickr.