Gay activist Fred Karger, founder of Californians Against Hate, has filed a complaint against The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons) with the California Enforcement Division of the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) alleging numerous contribution violations to the campaign to ban gay marriage in California by the Mormon Church. Karger says the Mormon Church is hiding its direct contributions to the Yes-On-8 campaign.

Californians Against Hate was the first group to call for protests and boycotts against large donors supporting Proposition 8, the California ballot initiative that revokes the right of gay and lesbian couples to marry in the Golden State.

In September, the group launched a website and a call-in campaign against San Diego businessman Terry Caster, owner of A-1 Self Storage, after the California Secretary of State verified that the Caster family's combined anti-gay marriage contribution of $293,000 (in September) was the largest from San Diego County.

The group also led the boycott against Doug Manchester's two San Diego hotels, the Manchester Grand Hyatt and the Grand Del Mar, and his McCall, Idaho resort, the Whitetail Club, due to the hotelier's reported $125,000 donation in support of the gay marriage ban.

A boycott and demonstrations against juice manufacturer Bolthouse Farms was called off late in the campaign after the company proved William Bolthouse Jr., who donated $100,000 to the campaign against gay marriage, was no longer associated with the company.

But the news that members of the Mormon Church had donated a large majority (some estimate as much as 77%) of the money used to wage war against gay marriage in California has drawn the ire of gay activist who continue protesting in the streets and on the Internet against the church.

Californians Against Hate tallied the Mormon involvement and kept up-to-date totals of their giving throughout the May-to-November campaign at the website But five days after the election, as gay activists began protesting Mormon churches – some even calling for a boycott against the Mormon stronghold of Utah – Don Eaton, a spokesman for the Mormon Church, denied any monetary involvement in passage of the gay marriage ban.

“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints put zero money in this [the passage of Prop 8],” Eaton told KGO TV, an ABC affiliate.

Mormon leaders say individuals of the Mormon faith donated their personal time and money, but never did the church itself donate to the campaign against gay marriage.

Karger's complaint conflicts with that assertion; it says the church spent lots of money communicating with voters in California.

The complaint claims that the Mormon Church violated California's Political Reform Act when it failed to report massive non-monetary contributions to the Yes-On-8 campaign.

Among the violations cited are the costs of get-out-the-vote phone banks in Utah and Idaho, various mailings to voters, transportation services, marketing materials – professionally produced commercials hosted on websites available to the public included – and at least two satellite broadcasts over five western states.

Election law states that non-monetary contributions exceeding $100 that do not constitute “member communications” must be reported. Karger contends that Mormon non-monetary contributions to, the primary backer of the Yes-On-8 campaign, clearly do not constitute “member communications.”

“In 1998, the Mormon Church directly contributed $1.1 million to ban same-sex marriages in Alaska and Hawaii, and received widespread criticism for that,” Karger says in a cover letter accompanying the formal complaint. “So this year in California, it appears that the Mormon Church was trying to avoid any direct contributions to Yes on Prop 8, and instead raised millions from its member families. That is legal, but all the money spent to communicate with nonmembers must be reported if it exceeds $100. Clearly the Mormon Church has vastly exceeded that threshold.”

Karger also notified the attorneys general of California and Utah.

“Let's be transparent here,” Karger told The Associated Press. “If they are going to play in the political process, they need to abide by the rules like everyone else.”