Why do you get ten wives and I can't even have one? Protest outside a Mormon temple on Santa Monica Blvd, LA. Posted on Flickr by Evan Jacobs 6 November 08.

Since same-sex marriage was banned in California last Tuesday, gay activists have rallied against the vote with daily protests, blaming the Mormon Church for swaying the electorate with a cash-crammed campaign. One blogger is calling for a "boycott of the State of Utah" and all business owners who donated to the cause.

On the same day that the first ever black American was elected to the White House, gay couples were banned from getting married in California. Since May this year, gay Californian couples had been enjoying the same rights as heterosexual couples, but in a poll on Tuesday, just over half of the state (52.5%) voted to take them away. Coming from the country's most liberal state, which is considered a groundbreaker on the matter, the decision came as a shock. So shocking in fact, that even Republican state governor Arnold Schwarzenegger spoke out against it on Sunday, encouraging gay rights activists "not to give up". MSNBC's comic presenter Keith Olbermann also condemned the decision, calling it "horrible". On Monday, 43 Democrat legislators went even further by signing a petition urging the Supreme Court to void Prop 8.

Meanwhile, gay rights activists have been protesting daily from Sacramento to San Diego, targeting in particular the Mormon Church (LDS), which poured over $15m into the ProtectMarriage campaign according to the Mormons for Proposition 8 website, which lists donors and amounts given.


Protestors chant "shame on you" outside a Mormon Temple in Westwood, Los Angeles. Posted by "Jaromellz" 8 Nov. 08.

Demonstrators marched to and from a Mormon temple in Silverlake, LA on Saturday. Posted by "wojo4hitz" 10 Nov. 08.

"A lead donor to Prop 8 in fact runs a series of hotels, including Marriott"

John Aravosis is a blogger and gay rights activist who's running the campaign to boycott Utah and Mormon businesses. He writes for Americablog.

This is in response to the Mormons who dumped millions into Proposition 8, which just revoked the marriages of nearly 20,000 gay newlyweds in California, instantly making their children bastards. I think the Mormons, and Utah more generally, have created a massive public relations disaster for themselves.

This is not the first time the Mormons went beyond their borders to promote hate and intolerance of gays and lesbians - it's been happening for years. Enough is enough.. It's time to stop funding those businesses and individuals who promote hate. (...) We could use a little research help. It's been said that as many as 4 out of 5 dollars donated to the anti-gay Prop 8 forces came from Mormons, especially those in Utah. (...)

[For example] Our friend Brent Andrus, who is a lead donor to Prop 8 [he donated $20,000], in fact runs a series of hotels, including (big surprise here), Courtyard Marriott, Fairfield Inn Marriott, Residence Inn Marriott, and Spring Hill Suites Marriott. Never, ever stay at a Marriott again."

"The American tradition of church-state separation has never meant that religious beliefs or interests have no right to be expressed in political behaviour"

Armand Mauss is a Mormon sociologist from Salt Lake City who now lives in California. He supported Proposition 8. (We also spoke to a Mormon who opposed the LDS Church's involvement in Proposition 8, but he refused to have his comment published for fear of excommunication). Armand sent us his comment by email:

As one interest group among many, the LDS Church has simply exercised its right to contend for its vision of "the best interests of the state" in this matter. (...)

Some, but not all, of the LDS Church's interests in this matter are religious, but that does not disqualify the Church from participating, as one interest group among many, in the political process, any more than a labour union's special economic interests would be disqualifying. In other words, there is no "church vs. state" issue. The American tradition of church-state separation has never meant that religious beliefs or interests have no right to be expressed in political behaviour. (...)

We sympathize with the disappointments felt this time by the opponents of Prop. 8, but the Church is not responsible for those disappointments, and they do not justify the hostility and bigotry against the Church that we have seen in the wake of this election.

The 18,000 gay couples married after the narrow ruling of the California Supreme Court against Prop. 22 are the main victims in this election outcome, and we truly commiserate with the frustration that they must feel. However, they are not victims of Prop. 8 (or of the LDS Church) but of an ill-advised action by the Court action by the Court, which had been strenuously petitioned by the Prop. 8 campaign to delay implementation of its 4-3 decision until after the November election. Had the Court agreed to that delay, we would not now have 18,000 couples in a sort of marital limbo."