Appearing Monday at a book signing in
San Diego, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney steered clear of
a small but vocal pro-gay marriage demonstration led by Californians
Against Hate founder Fred Karger said he organized the
demonstration to send Romney, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ
of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons), a message.
“We are appealing to Mitt Romney,
through online ads and Monday's demonstration, to use his vast
influence with the Mormon leadership to ask his church to take a vow
of political neutrality,” Karger said. “According to the
official Mormon Church website, 'The Church's mission is to preach
the gospel of Jesus Christ, not elect politicians.' Let them
practice what hey preach on ballot initiatives, too!”
Gay rights activists in California
point out that members of the Mormon church – at the behest of its
leaders – donated more than $30 million and thousands of volunteer
hours to the campaign to approve Proposition 8, the 2008 ballot
initiative narrowly approved by voters that defined marriage as a
heterosexual union in the California Constitution and trumped a state
Supreme Court ruling that briefly legalized the institution.
Karger also says the church has been
heavily involved in outlawing gay marriage in 30 other states over
the past 15 years.
“Our mission is to get the Mormon
Church out of the gay marriage business, and back to helping
earthquake victims,” Karger added.
Early talk about Romney as a 2012
Republican presidential candidate is being flamed by his increasing
“Mitt Romney running for president is
a pretty scary concept because he's very beholden to the Mormon
Church,” Karger told Fox 5 New's Jennifer Musa. “There's
something called obedience, which is a little different than any
other religion. And the fact that his church is so dead set against,
you know, marriage equality for us that it scares me if he's going to
be in the White House.”
Romney was welcomed in San Diego by a
large crowd looking to have their copy of No Apology: The Case for
American Greatness signed by its author at the Mormon
Church-owned Deseret Bookstore.