ROBERT SIEGEL, host:
From NPR News, this is All Things Considered. I'm Robert Siegel.
MICHELE NORRIS, host:
And I'm Michele Norris. The passage of a ban on gay marriage in California has brought crowds of protesters in to the streets, one of the protester's primary targets, Mormons who spent millions of dollars to bat the ballot measure known as Proposition 8. And the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints encouraged that support for the gay marriage ban. NPR's Karen Grigsby Bates reports.
KAREN GRIGSBY BATES: Almost as soon as Prop 8 became law, protest began to bubble up from Los Angeles's gay and lesbian communities.
(Soundbite of protest)
Unidentified Man: What do we want?
Protesters: Equal rights.
Unidentified Man: When do we want them?
GRISGBY BATES: Yesterday, over 2,000 people converged on the Mormon temple is West Los Angeles. They were protesting what they saw as the churches enthusiastic support of the ban on gay marriage. Former Mormon, Michele Scott.
Ms. MICHELE SCOTT (Former Mormon): I heard because my parents are still in the church and I'm not. Inside the church, the leaders told them to vote yes on Prop 8 and the pressure was really, really quite terrible.
(Soundbite of protest)
Protesters: Shame on you. Shame on you.
GRIGSBY BATES: The building protesters were circling and chanting in front of - was quite familiar, to former Mormon, Robert Little.
Mr. ROBERT LITTLE (Former Mormon): I actually received my initial Mormon endowments as they call them, your initial initiation in this temple, and my father actually helped to build it.
GRIGSBY BATES: Little says his family from whom he is estranged, contributed $30,000 to Yes on 8 which repelled the right of gay couples to marry. All told, Mormons in and outside California had given more than 45 percent of the total moneys amassed to make sure Prop 8 passed. Little is appalled.
Mr. LITTLE: This is absolutely incomprehensible that in 2008 we're still having this issue where people can't understand the difference between civil marriage and religious marriage. They're separate, and they should be separate.
GRIGSBY BATES: Signs stuck in to the churches fence suggest its IRS tax exemption should be taken away for supporting what protesters see is a political measure. But Diane Winston, religion and media professor at the University of Southern California says politics and religion have always been intertwined in this country.
Ms. DIANE WINSTON (Religion and Media Professor, University of Southern California): For many believers, there's no distinction between what they see as political issues and what they see as social, moral and cultural issues.
GRIGSBY BATES: That's certainly true for many black and brown voters. They turned out in large numbers to vote for Barack Obama but exit polls indicate blacks and Latinos also voted overwhelmingly for Prop 8. Many are religious conservatives and believe the same sex unions are morally unacceptable. Natalia Montero, an African born University professor attended the rally because she feels black and brown voters should have remembered their own civil rights struggles.
Ms. NATALIA MONTERO (African Born University Professor): People are really afraid of the unknown and you cannot discriminate especially if you've been discriminated against and now you turn around and do the same thing. And it's not acceptable.
GRIGSBY BATES: Each new protest in Los Angeles seems to draw a bigger numbers of gay activists and their supporters. Demonstrator Kiran Kapadia says that if people think gay anger that Prop 8 is going to go away, they're wrong.
Mr. KIRAN KAPADIA (Demonstrator, Gay and Lesbian Activist): We are not going to give up, this is going to go on until we win, we get victory and we will eventually.
GRIGSBY BATES: And the protesters aren't limiting themselves to California. Tonight they're marching in front of the headquarters at the Mormon Church in Salt Lake City.
(Soundbite of protest)
Protestors: Yes we can, yes we can, yes we will, yes we will, yes we will.
GRIGSBY BATES: Karen Grigsby Bates, NPR News.
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