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Liveblogging Day 7: Part III Afternoon begins


By Rick Jacobs

1:10PM. We’re baaaaaaaaaack!

[The judge said he’d referred Mr. McCarthy’s motion to quash (the documents that are public by the two pastors) to Magistrate Judge Spiro.]

Back to Boutrous examining Prof. Segura.

B: Asking questions carefully about documents. Wants to be careful not to mention anything that B does not direct him to do.

S: Document subject line: Go to Confession. November 4, 2008 at 9:20AM.

B: I propose that this document be entered into evidence subject to redaction. I still believe this document is not covered by privilege.

Judge: Mr. Pugno?

P: Thank you for pronouncing my name correctly. Everyone gets it wrong. This is correspondence between executive director of Catholic Conference of Bishops and we think it’s privileged, but we are willing to put redacted version.

Judge: Okay.

B: Puts up redacted version with lots of stuff blacked out.

S: Reads part that says that this has been the longest presidential campaign in history and now we are almost done with Prop. 8. The direct involvement of the Catholic Conference (CCC) has been unusual—although not unprecedented.

The CCC has played a substantial role in inviting Catholic faithful to put their faith in action by volunteering and donating. Leg by the Knights of Columbus national donation of $1.5 million, other million dollar donors, and the countless major donor and with a significant percentage of the 90,000 online donors, the Catholic community has stepped up. Of course this campaign owes an enormous debt to the LDS Church . I will comment specifically at a later time (under separate cover) about their financial, organizational and management contributions to this success of this effort.

[UPDATE] 2:28

B: Puts up document that is marked highly confidential, attorneys’ eyes only. This document shows that Ron Prentice is saying that the main funding to put 8 on the ballot was from Auxiliary Bishop Corleone of San Diego’s efforts, other Catholics.

B: Puts up email from Prentice showing that Prentice is CEO of California Family Council and volunteer chairman of Protect Marriage.

S: Never seen a coalition of this sort arrayed against a minority group. Only similar thing is anti-abortion.

Pugno: Fighting over whether a document that was at one time a church official communicating with other church officials. Very troublesome to say that church loses ability to communicate with each other because of communication with other churches.

Judge: But this document was in that person’s file?

Pugno: Yes, but he was both a member of the executive committee of the campaign and he communicated with his own church. This is not a document from

Judge: How can this document have some kind of privilege attached to it if it was in the file of someone from Prop. 8? It falls outside of the 9th circuit’s definition of 1st amendment.

Pugno: But it is a church official.

Butrous: I don’t think that he has standing to object.

Judge: Well he can object on behalf of a client, in this case Mr. Janssen [He’s the one who wrote the blackmail letters to Sal Rosselli and others saying that if they did not give the same amount of money to yes on 8 as they gave to no on 8, Janssen would publish ads about their lack of support for families.]

Boutrous: I think I can read this first sentence without bringing down the first amendment. Jansen communicates about public relations for campaign.

Pugno: But he was a member of the LDS organization at the time so this is not to be made public.

Judge: Jansen intervened to serve as party in the case. The document discusses messaging of campaign. I’m not aware of any privilege that attaches to his religious affiliation. This is material to the case. Your objection is overruled.

[Again, Prop. 8 is desperate to hide their machination]

S: Reads document from Jansen who says since first Presidency of LDS church wrote letter, what will be our role? “As you know from the First Presidency this campaign is entirely under the direction of the priesthood…”

“What is the next step in this campaign? I understand all grassroots organizing efforts in OC will be led by Gary Lawrence, who will report directly to the Protect Coalition leaders. He has also been hired…

Pugno: Object. Lawrence is protected.

Judge: 9th circuit protects core group. The mere fact that individual is in core group does not mean that the name cannot come out in another way. This is not one of his protected communications.

Pugno: Well, Judge Spiro protected Lawrence Research.

Boutrous: Lawrence is publicly associated with this campaign. Fact that religious organizations participate in campaign is perfectly fine, but once they do, they are public in that involvement. I see no 1st amendment issue here.

Pugno: His company played a role. He did not play that role.

Judge: This was a public campaign, out in the open. The people who were out front on it inevitably subject themselves to public scrutiny and to litigation that follows. There is no privilege that attaches to this document as distinct with communication among core group. Continue, Mr. Boutrous.

S: Continues reading. “Priesthood leaders will call each stake and leaders by zip code within each ward—potentially working not only with LDS but also non-LDS volunteers.”

S: Very close coordination with church, with statements like “this entire campaign is under priesthood direction” is notable. Customary within LDS for volunteers to be approached for support, but here it appears that there is an LDS volunteer in every zip code which is an enviable political organization.

[The Mormons actually rank this campaign with the Catholic Church! It’s here. It‘s clear. They worked the church to beat the queers.]

Pugno: Standing objection; it’s a church meeting document.

Judge: Can witness lay a foundation for this document?

B: This was produced by defendant interveners after they complied with Spiro’s order.

Judge: Does appear to be the minutes of a stake meeting. I gather, Mr. Pugno, it is correct that this document came from files of or one of the defendant interveners.

Pugno: I’m also sure that this came from Mr. Jansen’s file. He’s the only one of the interveners who was part of the Mormon. There really is no 1st amendment protection here if your correspondence is available.

Judge: That’s rather like attorney client privilege. If it’s outside of the mutual possession, that privilege is abrogated.

Pugno: Only reason it’s here is because Mr. Jansen took it out of his shoebox to comply.

Judge: Shoebox? (Laughter).

Pugno: Illustrates the point.

Judge: Appears to deal with Prop. 8. No one is questioning the right of public association.

Pugno: Object then on lack of foundation.

Boutrous: I can lay that foundation. Remaining portions of this document can be redacted. This is the key part. Mark Jansen reported on campaign activities.

Judge: Very well, the objection is overruled.

S: Reads document. Says Brother Jansen said LDS not to take lead, but to work through Protect Marriage. SLC had teleconference with 159 of 161 stake leaders in CA. Goal is $5million at $30 minimum donation per head.

S: Director Holland highlighted the luxury of having Mark Jansen key committees and that eh will received direct communicate (sic) from him.

S: With respect to Prop. 8 campaign, key talking points will come from campaign, but cautious, strategic, not to take the lead so as to provide plausible deniability or respectable distance so as not to show that church is directly involved. We might look at religious belief as source of opposition and think that some folks would vote their religious conscience, but we would not know that this sort of direct church power is engaged. I have never seen this level of coordination in a political campaign.

Pugno: Objects because document will be revealing.

Judge: Not to make light of this, but the reason people want to produce documents is that they are revealing.

Boutrous: It’s from an outsider to the core group. We are attempting to show the level of coordination with groups that Protect Marriage says were not even affiliated with the campaign.

Pugno: This is from a member of the core group.

Judge: This is a post-campaign trial and defendant represents it’s from a core group member, so objection is sustained.

Boutrous: Document not under objection.

Judge: Music to my ears.

S: “You may know that Mormons have been out walking neighborhoods with about 20,000 volunteers.” Speaks to breadth and size of power arrayed against gays and lesbians.

Boutrous: Another document produced by proponents over the past week.

S: Document appears to be an email from Chair of to others with some issue of how designated gifts to campaign are to be made.

B: Anything caught your eye about expression of political power?

S: 1. Teleconference calls:
1,700 participants in June/
Nearly 3,000 in July in CA alone.
5 more teleconferences planned with goals for training and final call of more than 5,000 CA pastors participate in one of these calls.

Shows huge array of political power.

[If you thought there was no vast right wing conspiracy, look again. HERE IT IS!]

S: Appears to be fundraising letter to someone who has given generously to Family Research Council in the past. Interesting because it is a sharing of donor bases to get people who can give to give to the campaign. “We have Arlington Group, FRC, Focus on the Family and others. “

Taken together or separately, these are extremely powerful groups.

B: Based on seeing all of this, what is your opinion of the relative powerlessness of gays and lesbians?

S: Taken together we see the absence of legislative victory, lack of ballot measure success, clear array of integrated power against, gays and lesbians have relatively little power.

B: You compared gays and lesbians with relative political power of AAs or women in the 1970s?

S: Relative to women in the 1970s, gay men and women are far more disadvantaged today than women then, because so many women. Being a woman is not inherently controversial. Women are loved by very many people. (Laughter). Certain provisions of 1964 civil rights act extended to women, so they enjoy statutory protection.

S: Comparison with AAs more complicated to explain. Let me begin by saying that being an AA before civil rights act passed was very difficult. Life in the south was terrible. At the time that suspect classification was extended to racial and ethnic minorities, there were three constitutional amendments that extended equality. Granted that there was lots of legislative nonsense. Immediately prior to WWII, Exec Order 8802 by Roosevelt prohibited war department from discriminating against AAs and 1948, Truman integrated military.

Lives of blacks was bad, but there was a number of constitutional and legal protections. The civil rights movement was an attempt to bring full equality.

In 1990, there was not a single state law that discriminated against gays. Now, 35 states have them. Opposite of what happened with AAs.

AA population 13%, some states 40%. Some jurisdictions have AA majority. No jurisdictions, except for small resort town, in which g and l are majority.

60 people of color have served in Congress; 4 in senate, although some have left to join administration. Significant that there is the first Hawaiian president (laugh). Huge that there is an AA president.

B: Comment on Prof. Miller (the would be witness for Prop. 8 who has been destroyed and dropped out).

Thompson: We have not had a chance to depose S about this and why is he familiar with Miller?

B: He attended Miller’s depo!

Judge: Overruled.

S: Miller had no idea about history of gay and lesbian history. Unfamiliar at all with political science work on prejudice of which there is a great body. I thank it’s fair to say that Prof. Miller did not look beyond the boundaries of California. When asked about other states, he had no knowledge. He even said he would be shocked if he learned that a majority of states have no protection for gays and lesbians, which is true. He also did not know about history of CA legislation. In starkest terms, in 29 states there is no protection for gays and lesbians and Prof. Miller said gays and lesbians have political power without being aware of that fact.

Couple of problems with Miller’s definition of political power. Vague definition. In case of statutory enactment, he did not know that court cases forced legislation. Attorney on his side asked if court cases can be considered political power and he said yes. Impossible to say that court rulings for a minority are an example of political power.

Miller said in his research that ballot initiatives are bad legislation because there is no time for reflection and bad for minorities. I agree with him.

[Brian is taking over now and will start on a new thread.]

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  • 1. Mairin  |  January 20, 2010 at 6:32 am

    I am Catholic. I swear we're not all like this. And I'm sorry that so many of us are.

    Anger at the church is justified. I am angry too.

  • 2. David Kimble  |  January 20, 2010 at 6:33 am

    Thank you, Mairin, this goes to the quesiton of separation of Church and State, unless I am wrong.

  • 3. Andrea  |  January 20, 2010 at 6:35 am

    And to whether LDS, the Catholic Church, Skyline, et al. are in violation of campaign finance laws, and way behind on their taxes.

  • 4. michael  |  January 20, 2010 at 7:09 am

    oh they are alright. No doubt about it.

  • 5. Marlene Bomer  |  January 20, 2010 at 7:56 am

    Technically, churches are 100% legally permitted to campaign for and against ballot measures such as Prop 8 because it's non-partisan.

    I *do* agree that their participation pulls ALL their activities into the glaring light for scrutiny, and should be required to file campaign finance forms as required by law.

    The LDS royalty should also be looked into for what seems to be a conspiracy to avoid certain finance laws and should be investigated.

  • 6. Kevin  |  January 20, 2010 at 6:37 am

    I am of Catholic descent, though my parents left the Church a few months after I was born. Still many people in my family are still practicing Catholics and *all* of them, even my 90 year old grandmother, support same sex marriage. You're right, not all Catholics are like these ones.

  • 7. Loren  |  January 20, 2010 at 7:40 am

    I am part of two large Catholic families and four of my father's eight siblings (for real Catholic, yeah?) are gay. So our family culture is a mish-mash, and as such I agree with the gay Christians here who point out that Jesus said nothing about homosexuality being a sin.

  • 8. Patrick Regan  |  January 20, 2010 at 6:39 am

    mairin, I mean this without any offense or animosity, but this is just one reason why I left the CC all-together. I figured that I couldn't be a part of any organization that feels this way about people. I know that many followers don't believe this, but these documents point out the "Official" Catholic doctorine. I couldn't support that.

    there were other reasons too. I'm an Atheist, and have been for as long as I can remember. I'm not trying to patronize anyone here (as I am not gay), but my "coming out" as an Atheist sounds somewhat similar to g and l's coming out. By which I mean, I realized that I never really believed, I just pretended. Although, that is probably where the similarity ends.

    All that said, I believe you. I know you are not the only Catholic that is accepting. Thank you.

  • 9. Alan E.  |  January 20, 2010 at 6:44 am

    Patrick, I have had many civil discussions about the coming out and concealment of atheism/agnosticism. I agree that they are in fact very similar, with different aspects, of course. The main opposition for both, however, is religion. Being a gaytheist, I get to see the "best" of both worlds.

  • 10. Alex O'Cady  |  January 20, 2010 at 6:45 am

    Patrick, I have to agree with you. I am an atheist/pantheist and a lesbian, and my experiences coming out as both are similar, yet very different.

    I had the same realization, that I had just been pretending before, and now I was figuring out who I really was, but my immediate family was very supportive of my coming out as a lesbian. It was as though they expected it, and were just waiting until I was ready to say something.

    My disbelief in God, however, came as more of a shock to my family. They struggled to understand it, and to this day my Gramma still tells me "You were still baptised Methodist, so you're safe either way". No one in my family ever said anything that made me think they didn't take my sexuality seriously. It's harder, for me, to be a nonbeliever. Of course, I was raised in and around San Francisco, so I realize my experience is going to be radically different from many others, but I think it's worth mentioning.

  • 11. Patrick Regan  |  January 20, 2010 at 6:51 am

    @ Alan E.

    I've been told it's similar by some gay friends, but I would never mean to imply direct analogy to it, due to the fact that I know that there are differences. I want to make sure people know that I want to draw on similarities does in no way make them the same. Hence the careful wording above.

    Luckily, my coming out was fairly easy. My parents are pretty liberal (both believers) and my fiancee' was not an Atheist at the time, but has since "seen the light" (haha).

    I still have to defend myself a lot to people, but it is also a lot easier to avoid the problem. I'm still allowed to marry, and it can be argued fairly easily that I retain all my rights. It can't be said of LGBT's. I morn for the loss/lack of LGBT rights.

  • 12. sarah  |  January 20, 2010 at 6:58 am

    There are alternatives. I too am Catholic, very much so – still practicing, still a member of the Church, still very much believe – and I am out, as well (and have been forever). However, I no longer give any money whatsoever to anything that could possibly go to supporting anti-gay initatives. It means no offertory donations, because even if the parish is welcoming, a "tax" is assessed that goes to fund diocesan operations, some of which also goes to the USCCB.

    There are plenty of alternative agencies and places that can use the resources, thankfully. Among others, I donate to New Ways Ministry, which is an organization of and for LGBT Catholics.

  • 13. Bill Seaton  |  January 20, 2010 at 7:14 am

    As a gay atheist, I never really realized how similar the two conditions are, in terms of social acceptance. Being an atheist in the gay community has not been difficult (go figure), but at work, it's murder. It's one thing to be an abomination to the Lord, but then to find out that I am also a Godless heathen is more than some co-workers can take.

    It used to upset me, but I've now turned it into an opportunity for "reverse conversion". I figure if they are going to tell me that I can be cured and attempt to get me to "see the light", it's only fair that I get to try and educate them. Try asking a Christian how it can be that you've somehow lived a life free of God and also been charitable, loving, compassionate, generous and faithful. Then ask about the latest fall from grace in the Church (Ted Haggard is my favorite example) and ask how God could have let that happen to his #1 guy).

    Reverse conversion almost never works, as a closed mind learns nothing, but it makes me feel better and reaffirms the self worth they seem determined to destroy. Never forget, Christians love everyone….

  • 14. Jenny O  |  January 20, 2010 at 9:27 am

    Interesting. I guess that makes me a closest atheist. I was raised Catholic, but have recently had a falling out with the church. I think they are so backwards on their position on many things, gays and women among them. That got me thinking about all their teachings and I realized I don't really believe any of them and never did. I believe in the general message of Jesus that we should love one another and care for one another, but not much beyond that. I haven't told anyone yet and I still go to Mass every week because I'm afraid of what my family will think if I stop. Also many of my friends I met through the Church and I'm afraid to loose them if we don't have that in common anymore. But, although the similarities are there, I think that does sound sort of wrong though to compare. I'm not gay, so I can't compare from my own experience, but based on what I know two of my friends went through (and go through), it seems a dim struggle.

    Anyways, I agree that I can't support an organization who has a stance on homosexuality that the Catholic Church does. While they don't directly advocate hate and encourage that "they must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity" (Catechism of the Catholic Church), their positions indirectly provoke discrimination and prejudice which leads to hate crimes, ballot initiatives like Prop 8, and other hurtful acts against the gay/lesbian community. Just like their stance on women can lead to dominating men.

    But it is very true that there are many good Catholics who do not agree with that position. The church I went to at Ohio State was a great, liberal church. When they said "All are welcome" they meant it. The priests there are fantastic and if the Church ever recognized same sex marriages (not any time soon, sadly), I believe those guys would be enthusiastically handing them out.

  • 15. Patrick Regan  |  January 20, 2010 at 11:24 pm

    @ all above,

    Sorry, I couldn't come on anymore yesterday. I had a 5 year anniversary to celebrate 🙂

    I'm glad to hear that I'm not the only one. For those looking for more info, I would suggest reading lots of different books on the subject. Dawkins approaches it from a very scientific point of view, while Hitchens does more from a philosophical point of view. If you you want, I would suggest looking up Freuerbach. He's a pretty cool guy. He basically said that belief in "God" isn't necessary to have community.

    Also to Jenny O. Not trying to destroy your worldview or anything, but Jesus wasn't as good of a guy as a lot of people think. He was better than the Old testament, but he was actually ok with only Jewish men going to heaven. No women. While he though that det. and lev. were bad books, he still didn't extend his love to Gays.

    Jesus was a step up (if he even existed which is highly debatable right now), but we have evolved, ethically, beyond Jesus.

    Again, I'm glad I'm not the only one. For any more "Closet Atheists" out there, it's ok to come out. We all support each other.

  • 16. Lies  |  January 20, 2010 at 6:52 am

    I am semi-Catholic, as in, I was born Catholic and kind of sort of raised Catholic by parents who really didn't care one way or the other, LOL. I still think Jesus delivered a message worth listening to, but I just can't understand the church on so many issues. This is not the 12th century, people. Progress is a good thing. And most of my family, though Catholic, fully support same-sex rights and same-sex marriage.

  • 17. Frank  |  January 20, 2010 at 6:58 am

    No, we're not all like this. I'm pretty much a lapsed Catholic. Funerals & Weddings only, don't do Chistmas & Easter like some lapsers . There's a large Catholic gay community at a couple of the parishes here in San Francisco. I just can't participate with all the bs coming out of Rome. I don't feel like it's my church any more, but don't at all condemn those that choose to continue participating.

  • 18. Sandy  |  January 20, 2010 at 7:43 am

    Not an anti Catholic statement, but I went to a funeral the October before the election at a Catholic Church.
    When I entered the main foyer, there was a bulletin board with a bright yellow Yes on 8 flyer.
    Just thought I would testify what I witnessed.

    I do not blame Catholics for what the Church does, but I am glad to see there are some open eyes and ears on this issue. I would like to see Catholics, Baptist and Mormons talk to other Catholics, Baptist and Mormons about your feelings, perhaps consider hungry or neglected children are a priority over this issue.
    That is hard to do when your Church says we must do this or it will be awful. I am of the opinion that hunger, disease, orphans, etc. are still not eradicated, so what is the rush to prioritize this and spend so much money?

    I know the LDS Church requested their members to donate as much money as they can to Prop 8, even in Utah and other States. Well, that was about a different state's election, so do not complain when Supreme Court deems States should follow federal laws.

    We need to reconcile the Church doctrine with the laws of the country, not eliminate doctrine, but enlightenment may be in order to see both are valid. We cannot make our laws based on a religious doctrine. I know it's not easy to see the other side, especially if you are told a bunch of untruths about "them", they are the problem from a place of authority.

    The country has a foundation of liberty.
    Someone being "exposed" to someone else's liberty or right does not suffer from being denied their rights. The question is how are you harmed, when a law is made. Straight marriages are not harmed.

    Your beliefs are your beliefs, a right is a right. It is not free to make everyone comply with your beliefs.

    The Civil Rights movement encountered much resistance, but the law was changed even with the "disagreement" of quite a few people.

    It took 100+ years from Emancipation to have Supreme Court overturn interracial marriage ban in the remaining states that hadn't already done so.

    The Churches would do better to accept people than call them evil and try to make everyone "be the same" by law. Order is good, but how can we have laws tell us how to be free?

    We have so many other problems such as joblessness, hunger, homelessness, addiction, taking a toll on marriages and children.

    There is no doubt anger at these Churches are going to have lasting affect, not gaining more parishioners this way.

    This is not making meth or "other" addicted parents take care of their kids. This does not make things better, it wastes money and stirs up anger.

    It is not what the country was founded upon, it limits liberty and equality.

    It is illegal to be married if you are already married, so let's not fool ourselves about polygamy.
    I don't think anyone would be given a license for a three or more party marriage.

    It hurts children in families that already exist to say your marriage is not allowed and there's something about yours that is invalid.

    Pointing to bad examples of family is not limited to "the gays". I have seen many stable same sex parented families and many very unstable traditional families.

  • 19. fiona64  |  January 20, 2010 at 7:52 am

    It was beyond *asking.* LDS Church members were called into the bishop, who had their tithing records, and *told* how much to donate.

  • 20. truthspew  |  January 20, 2010 at 8:55 am

    You may not all be like that but you share the guilt for not pushing within your own church to steer the church out of this fight. It takes YOU the congregants to steer the church on the proper course of action.

    And as to Pugno, it obviously isn't P-uh-g-no it's probably P-You-No. Italian names are funny like that, I know. I have a name that ends in a vowel too.

  • 21. Susan R Barnes  |  January 20, 2010 at 9:30 am

    Yes,Truthspew, I agree that church congregants must begin to speak out. I also believe that GLBT folks themselves need to come out of their closets and speak out. Doing so involves risks for everyone involved, however, nothing will change if we remain too timid to speak out within our own families, churches, and communities. We all may be a part of this change; we just need to start telling our stories and speaking up.

  • 22. HH  |  January 20, 2010 at 9:37 am

    I resent being told that I share the guilt for Prop 8 simply by virtue of being a true Catholic, who follows my conscience as Catholicism teaches as one of its oft-ignored but central tenets, and therefore OPPOSED Prop 8 and advocated on behalf of same sex marriage rights. As a matter of fact I did push within my own church to steer clear of this fight, and continue to do so. Our pastor did not allow campaigning for Prop 8 to take place on our church grounds.

    However the Catholic Church is in no way a democracy, and the archbishop couldn't care less what I think, or that many of my fellow congregants agree with me.
    That's why I, like other Catholics in this thread, refuse to give any money to the church any longer. I also resigned from the volunteer positions I held in my church because of Prop 8 and the shoddy way that gay Catholics were treated by the Catholic Church in its wake.

  • 23. Bill  |  January 20, 2010 at 9:24 am

    Don't be sorry to us, be sorry to God. For it is God who Catholics are TRULY offending. And it is from him alone that you will receive forgivness.

    For what you do to the least of his people, you do directly unto him.

    The Catholic Church has a responsibility to correct itself.

    On a personal note, I was fortunate enough to journey to South Africa last year. While I was there, the Pope was there to meet with the people of South Africa. And to inform them that condoms were sinful. And that they did not help to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS. I saw, with my very own eyes, the leader of your church stand before the human beings hardest hit by HIV/AIDS (some areas have an 80% HIV rate) and I watched the leader of your church tell them that the very thing that would save their lives was sinful and against God.

    And it was at that very moment that I finally got it. I finally saw through 17 years of my own religious upbringing.

    The Catholic Church is evil incarnate. I do not say that lightly. But when I watch, with my own eyes, THE LEADER OF YOUR CHURCH direclty cause the spread of fatal disease in order to advance twisted Catholic dogma, it creates a crystal that is so clear, you simply can not live your life looking through the hazy goggles of religion any longer.

    Evil. Truly evil.

  • 24. John  |  January 20, 2010 at 4:44 pm

    Don't be silly. There is no god.

  • 25. Michael Herman  |  January 20, 2010 at 10:27 am

    Extremists of any kind leave a bad name for the moderates.

  • 26. yeyeo  |  January 20, 2010 at 11:35 am

    thanks for that.

  • 27. Patrick Regan  |  January 20, 2010 at 6:34 am

    mmm… the RCC is under the table again.

  • 28. Ben  |  January 20, 2010 at 6:34 am

    I've wondered for years why activities such as this don't endanger churches' (or their subsidiary orgs) tax exempt status?

  • 29. holcombe  |  January 20, 2010 at 6:36 am

    indeed, what is required to revoke tax exemption for a church? if they mobilize huge amounts of dollars for political initiatives?

  • 30. JefferyK  |  January 20, 2010 at 7:14 am

    What is required is enforcement — which will never happen.

  • 31. fiona64  |  January 20, 2010 at 6:37 am

    The Knights of Columbus is organized as a separate entity from the church, in the case of the RCC. It gets trickier with churches like LDS, because then the burden of proof has to do with overall percentages of income expended.

    The LDS came close to losing their tax-exempt status in 1978 over their refusal to allow full membership to black men. When the IRS started ringing them up, the prophet had a very convenient "revelation" that it was all okay now. Some particulars here:

  • 32. Kevin  |  January 20, 2010 at 6:50 am

    Tax deductible, tax exempt nonprofits *can* use a certain amount of their resources for nonpartisan political campaigns (that is, for or against ballot measures but not for or against candidates). But the amount is limited. Tax exempt, non-tax deductible nonprofits can use even more. But it's still restricted.

  • 33. David Kimble  |  January 20, 2010 at 6:56 am

    Yes, Kevin, but there is a huge difference between "tax exempt nonprofits" and Churches "non-tax status."

  • 34. Kevin  |  January 20, 2010 at 6:59 am

    Yeah, I know, but I don't know the details of the legal differences.

  • 35. David Kimble  |  January 20, 2010 at 6:35 am

    "OF course this campain owes and enormous debt to the LDS Church" – I can hardly wait.

  • 36. fiona64  |  January 20, 2010 at 6:35 am

    I've mentioned this link before, but want to direct folks' attention to A lot of people have stood up for civil rights against the leviathan that is their church, and are suffering for it.

    My Nice Mormon Parents(TM) wrote a letter to the Quorum (basically the board of directors) saying that this was a wrong use of church time, etc., because it was violating the church's own doctrine of remaining apolitical. They do not agree with gay marriage, but they *do* agree with separation of church and state.

  • 37. holcombe  |  January 20, 2010 at 6:37 am

    i want to thank your parents!!! it is so rare to have religious people appreciate the notion of separation of church and state, i feel!!! or to be fare, it is not a common enough notion- yay for your parents.

  • 38. Rayfo  |  January 20, 2010 at 6:36 am

    Martha, we KNOW all Catholics aren't like this. Thank you for your support but you have nothing to feel bad about.

  • 39. Rayfo  |  January 20, 2010 at 6:38 am

    Oops. Better put my glasses on. I called Mairin "Martha".

    Sorry about that.

  • 40. David Kimble  |  January 20, 2010 at 6:38 am

    Thank you, fiona64, yet it has been shown in recent stories in the news (SLC Times, I think) that Church's involvement in this issue came from the First Presidency of the Church.

  • 41. fiona64  |  January 20, 2010 at 6:40 am

    Oh, I know it came from the "highest authority." I have read the "special comment" that was attached to the quarterly "all-hands meeting" (I forget what they call those all-church meetings) for the folks in CA, mobilizing them. It was sickening … and when I sent that transcript to my dad, that was when he wrote his letter. Until then, he didn't believe the church was involved in Prop 8 because they make such a big deal about remaining apolitical.

  • 42. ron  |  January 20, 2010 at 6:43 am

    In all due fairness- the question becomes- Are these churches really worth belonging too. Should their existence be questioned. Some are simply persecution complexis.

  • 43. fiona64  |  January 20, 2010 at 6:50 am

    These churches (and their right to exist) are protected under the 1st Amendment — whether we like it or not.

    If it was in my power to turn back time, I would convince my parents never to let the missionaries into the house. (They converted when I was an adult.) They were lied to left and right — I would bring up issues, they would ask the missionaries and be told "Oh, no, we don't do that anymore."

    One of the notable arguments was about the so-called "garments." Any religious organization that controls what you *wear* by demanding that you wear certain things underneath (and thus cannot wear certain clothes at all) is not one to which I wish to belong. Anyway, they were told "Oh no, we don't do that anymore.' Next thing you know, there're my folks with their "garments."

    The excuse? "Oh, they didn't want us to learn about them out of context." Then why not say that in the first place instead of flat-out dishonesty? That's just one of the host of reasons I would never join the Church of LDS, despite my parents' cajoling.

    I wound up coming out as Wiccan to them when my grandmother died; she had specified that she did NOT want her funeral in the Mormon church, but my parents had it there anyway "because so many of our brothers and sisters in the church liked her." I asked if that was what I could expect if I predeceased my parents — a complete lack of respect for my wishes.

    It was *ugly,* I tell you what.

    I consider myself interfaith now, and that's only because of Rev. Mike at my local MCC. He showed me what *real Christians* really are, by being one. I digress, though.

    Even so, Catholics and LDS have a right to their belief systems. What they do NOT have is a right to force those belief systems into law and thus onto those who do not hold the same belief systems. The 1st Amendment goes both ways.

    (Sorry about the rant; I still get mad when I think about my Grandma's funeral …)

  • 44. michael  |  January 20, 2010 at 7:14 am

    I'd be mad too!

  • 45. Bob  |  January 20, 2010 at 6:45 am

    Sure, ALL Catholics (Jews, Muslims, Protestants, whatever) aren't rabidly anti-gay. Yet they ALL profess faith in a belief system whose highest leaders ARE rabidly anti-gay, and whose tenets and the majority of whose followers cause irreparable harm to gay people. It's high time we stopped affording automatic respect to people because of their religious affiliations. We should and must stand up and reject these kinds of antiquated, unscientific beliefs that demand respect and deference based on unproven, unprovable, and untenable traditions, and that elevate blind unquestioning faith to a status it does not merit.

  • 46. Colt  |  January 20, 2010 at 7:19 am

    I agree with you 100%! And I would argue that religions (though obviously not all people who believe in religions) cause irreparable harm to practically everyone. As one commenter quoted earlier, religion is one of the only things that can motivate good people to do evil things.

  • 47. Nick  |  January 20, 2010 at 6:45 am

    …and I worried I was pronouncing pug nose wrong….

  • 48. nightshayde  |  January 20, 2010 at 6:50 am


    I may now need a ShamWow.

    *wipes tea from monitor and keyboard*

  • 49. Susan R Barnes  |  January 20, 2010 at 9:36 am


  • 50. John  |  January 20, 2010 at 6:46 am

    I thought churches that donated money to political causes like this lost their "tax exempt" status…..hmmmm somebody needs to do some checking on that…maybe start charging them taxes might wake them up…

  • 51. pearlheartgtr  |  January 20, 2010 at 7:06 am

    It can be checked out but do you really think anything will come of it?

    As an Atheist, I personally feel that no religious organization should be exempt from paying taxes.

  • 52. Liz  |  January 20, 2010 at 6:50 am

    There's a little more up right now at Firedoglake.


    "As you know from the first Presidency letter, this campaign is entirely under priesthood direction – in concert with leaders of many other faiths… all of us working in Public Affairs will simply stand by and wait to be engaged as the time comes."


  • 53. Rebecca  |  January 20, 2010 at 6:51 am

    Go to Firedoglake

    Read the back and forth about internal church memos. This is fascinating stuff and shows how much opposition we face in our battle for equality.

  • 54. fiona64  |  January 20, 2010 at 6:55 am

    Holy guacamole. They think that political action committee documents are protected under the establishment clause?


  • 55. Rebecca  |  January 20, 2010 at 6:59 am

    This morning I was in tears at the testimony and recounting my Mom throwing me out of the house at age 18.

    Now I am just angry at the ugly, hideous, bigoted "Churches."

    I hope they are right about their religion because then we know they will be in Hell.

  • 56. Nick  |  January 20, 2010 at 7:08 am

    I agree, thanks to whomever suggested following both yesterday or maybe it was last week-all makes more sense when seen thru 2 keyboards!

  • 57. Warren  |  January 20, 2010 at 6:53 am

    Curiously the adf twitter feed has been silent for the last 30 minutes…

  • 58. sugarbritches  |  January 20, 2010 at 6:54 am

    Watching both this and the FDL blog. It appears Walker is doing a good job of allowing things into evidence, which presumably can only help our side. Of course, he'll need to make the same accommodation to the defendants, in order not to appear biased, but it's hard to imagine they'll come up with anything terribly worthwhile.

  • 59. Marcia  |  January 20, 2010 at 7:01 am

    With all due respect, IMO it's totally irrelevant whether or not "all of us" aren't anti-gay, aren't this, aren't that. What's relevant is that the Roman Church and others have become instruments for maintaining an unjust status quo. Time to start taxing them.

    And I have to wonder what Jesus would have said to the leadership of these churches — and many of their members. They're starting to look more and more like the religious establishment that Jesus was at odds with; complete with loving "the high places."

  • 60. fiona64  |  January 20, 2010 at 7:04 am

    Rabbi Yeshua ben Joseph would have chucked them right out of the temple.

  • 61. michael  |  January 20, 2010 at 7:17 am

    Hypocrites and Pharisees the lot of them!

  • 62. JPM  |  January 20, 2010 at 7:04 am

    Whatever happened to the Trial recreation Youtube videos that were supposed to be coming out?

  • 63. michael  |  January 20, 2010 at 7:18 am

    Here's the link but it hasn't been uploaded yet:

  • 64. David  |  January 20, 2010 at 7:04 am

    I'm so angry about this. Churches can conduct political campaigns and claim a right to keep associated documents secret? WTF?

  • 65. nightshayde  |  January 20, 2010 at 7:11 am

    It looks like they can try to claim a right to keep the documents secret — and then get their tails all fluffy when the judge overrules their protests.

  • 66. Josiah  |  January 20, 2010 at 7:05 am

    So how do you pronounce "Pugno"? I'd assumed that it sounded like "repugnant".

  • 67. Nick  |  January 20, 2010 at 7:09 am

    I am guessing pooneeohh (forgive my spelling out of sounds…LOL)

  • 68. Alan E.  |  January 20, 2010 at 7:11 am

    could be a silent G and the N sounds like

  • 69. Scott W  |  January 20, 2010 at 7:22 am

    The "gn" is pronounced as in "poignant", "gnocchi" and "lasagna".

  • 70. DonG  |  January 20, 2010 at 7:16 am

    If it's Italian, it's pronounced: pun yo.

  • 71. richard  |  January 20, 2010 at 8:31 am

    poo-nyo gn is y sound
    pugno noun is fist in Latin (Italian)or first person singular pugno–I fight
    pugno-pugnare-pugnavi, pugnatus, -a, um
    So there you have it. He is quite a fistful—just don't know of what.

  • 72. ron  |  January 20, 2010 at 7:08 am

    WOW this is BIG. Religon at work-behind the scenes.

  • 73. The Reverend Susan R  |  January 20, 2010 at 7:09 am

    If EVER there was an argument for mobilizing progressive faith voices to neutralize the bias of reactionary religion THIS IS IT!

    And as far as the "coming out" theme … as an Episcopal priest and pastor I deal all the time with folks who tell me it was easier to come out as gay to their families than it is to come out as Christian to their community … precisely because of the kind of views we're seeing in this trial represented as "faith values."

    The more of us who can stand up and speak up and say "they don't speak for us" the better. California Faith for Equality has made a great start at getting our voices out there. and there's so much more work to do!

    Thanks again for this invaluable blog.

  • 74. Nick  |  January 20, 2010 at 7:10 am

    Can't we just call the Pope and get this over? Where are the Tudors when you need em?

  • 75. nightshayde  |  January 20, 2010 at 7:18 am

    Would that be the same pope who said on Christmas Eve that pagans, by virtue of being pagans, can not know what "love" is?

    Not that I ever had any use for him… but that comment really ticked me off.

  • 76. michael  |  January 20, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    The pope also said that Homosexuals were a grave threat.

    PS. Love the Tudors

  • 77. richard  |  January 20, 2010 at 9:00 am

    you mean like Pope
    Bennie dicked us??

  • 78. Cindy  |  January 20, 2010 at 7:16 am

    Wow, I just can't believe what's coming out (reading over at If this makes it to SCOTUS and is still deemed constitutional, it will be a sad, sad day for America…

  • 79. Nick  |  January 20, 2010 at 7:22 am

    Amazing stuff–just amazing-they always catch em when they keep notes–did you see the stuff about one in every zip code?

  • 80. David Kimble  |  January 20, 2010 at 7:19 am

    Yes, I agree with all of those, who see this as I do, a clear violation of Separation of Church and State – I am happy this argument has been raised in the trial, since I believe, when and if it gets to SCOTUS, this will be a determining factor in their decision.

  • 81. Clay  |  January 20, 2010 at 7:21 am

    No trial blog update in last hour? What's up?

  • 82. David Kimble  |  January 20, 2010 at 7:21 am

    BTW – what's going on , there have been no updates here or on for sometime now.

  • 83. Nick  |  January 20, 2010 at 7:24 am

    Wait-firedoglake went to a diff thread, maybe that is your prob -

  • 84. David Kimble  |  January 20, 2010 at 7:28 am

    Yeah, I know and same thing there – nothing coming out fo the courtroom for over an hour now.

  • 85. Pearl  |  January 20, 2010 at 7:27 am

    For those of you who are impatient like me and craving updates. Out Front Colorado has a live blog up with twitter updates and it's auto scrolling!

  • 86. Rebecca  |  January 20, 2010 at 7:28 am

    I love this Judge!!! Found this on FireDogLake

    "Pugno objects, it’s a post-election document, relevance is a problem. This is a revealing document.

    Walker: We should want revealing documents in court."

  • 87. Nick  |  January 20, 2010 at 8:00 am

    Heh, that made me chuckle as well, Rebecca. Good spot!

  • 88. Peter  |  January 20, 2010 at 7:32 am

    Speaking of the Mormons, this year's Sundance Film Festival (which starts up tomorrow) is premiering Reed Cowan's documentary "8: The Mormon Proposition." The film looks at the Mormon Church's history of anti-gay activity and its role as both a church and a PAC.

    Cowan had previously gained notoriety for obtaining footage of Utah state senator Chris Buttars finding gays and lesbians little different from extremist Muslims.

    The screenings may get protested by upset Mormons…especially since Park City is located in Utah.

  • 89. ashleyfmiller  |  January 20, 2010 at 7:33 am

    I hope hope hope that these documents start a major lawsuit against the LDS and Catholic churches, because it's clear that they're directly involved in politics and therefore have to pay taxes and disclose everything.

  • 90. Nick  |  January 20, 2010 at 8:01 am

    I am sure there are plenty out there who will love to take them on now!

  • 91. Dieter M.  |  January 20, 2010 at 7:34 am

    at there are very fast live as it happens tweets.

  • 92. Rayfo  |  January 20, 2010 at 8:03 am

    Holy Cow!!!!! Of all the days of the trial, this is the one in which I've just had to get up and go breath in a bag. Segura his just bringing up one horror after another. I remember all through the Prop 8 campaign while I was blogging about it, I had this sense of simply being overwhelmed by the sheer VOLUMN of the anti-gay people blogging in favor of Prop 8.

    Honestly. It took me several months to recover emotionally from the results of Prop 8. I just felt like that guy in Queens who got bashed by those thugs. I felt beaten and left for dead. This testimony by Segura just takes me back to all those emotions.

  • 93. Marci Walley  |  January 20, 2010 at 8:03 am

    "Miller said in his research that ballot initiatives are bad legislation because there is no time for reflection and bad for minorities."

    That pretty much sums it all up, doesn't it? Oh and who's counting? I think that makes at least 3 defense witnesses discredited before they even took the stand.

  • 94. Anaguma  |  January 20, 2010 at 8:06 am

    My head just keeps on going 'splodey with all these new revelations. I mean, it was always suspected, but with hard evidence being shown in court….wow.

  • 95. Lisa  |  January 20, 2010 at 8:06 am

    "In 1990, there was not a single state law that discriminated against gays. Now, 35 states have them."


  • 96. sideon  |  January 20, 2010 at 8:12 am

    I love how Mormons are such fierce defenders of 'traditional marriage.' It's so cute. So admirable.

    What Mormons don't like telling non-Mormons is that 'traditional marriage' in their belief system is doctrinal. 'Good' Mormons practice and believe in polygamy, either in this life or the next life.

    As Betty Bowers says best: ""Being lectured about what constitutes a traditional marriage by a Mormon is a bit like being scolded for loitering — by a crack whore."

  • 97. Allison  |  January 20, 2010 at 8:27 am

    One only has to read I believe the Manhattan Doctrine that was put together in October from many members of the Catholic Diocese across the country that truly shows the ugliness of the Catholic Church.

  • 98. Michael Herman  |  January 20, 2010 at 10:10 am

    " Fact that religious organizations participate in campaign is perfectly fine"

    Objection. Religious organizations should not be allowed to donate to political causes. This in itself is a violation of the Separation between Church and State.

    Motion to draft a California Constitutional Amendment.

  • 99. James  |  January 20, 2010 at 10:33 am

    quick question for any of my (former) LDS friends….
    I grew up in a community with many LDS, and tithing was well known…Question: If you are a Mormon, do you have to file a "tax return" to the "church," so they are sure to collect all?

  • 100. David  |  January 20, 2010 at 12:27 pm

    Pugno: Objects because document will be revealing.
    Judge: Not to make light of this, but the reason people want to produce documents is that they are revealing.


  • 101. activecitizen54  |  January 20, 2010 at 12:51 pm

    The Cults of Jesus hard at work. No surprises but, as always with Athe Theocrats, disappointment. Do as I say, not as I do, seems the rule of the Church….
    I wonder if those men in all those lovely embroidered gowns and smoking purses have had their alter boys today?
    The greatest Terrorist Threat in the USA is the Cults of Jesus. Documentation above. Who will be next?

  • 102. An Explosive Afternoon: L&hellip  |  January 20, 2010 at 3:42 pm

    […] tried his darnedest to get Judge Walker to exclude it, but failed. From Rick’s liveblog: Pugno: Objects because document will be […]

  • 103. Box Turtle Bulletin &raqu&hellip  |  January 20, 2010 at 5:53 pm

    […] for Democracy read some key memorandums from LDS leaders to the Prop 8 campaign. According to Prop8TrialTracker: S: Reads document from Jansen who says since first Presidency of LDS church wrote letter, what […]

  • 104. Tim 12 of 13 (kids)  |  January 20, 2010 at 8:28 pm

    As one of 12 of 13 Irish Catholic kids, I can tell you that NONE of my siblings or I participate in the Catholic Church on a regular basis anymore. There are of course the Obligatory Weddings, Funerals, and rare instance of Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve.

    The hideous punishments of the 1960's and 1970's church we attended, toward the school students and parishioners alike, was enough to turn us ALL against the church. St Joan of Arc in West LA was one of the LAST churches to adopts the requirements of the Vatican II conference, and continued Masses in Latin, facing AWAY from the congregation well past the deadline set by Rome. All Churches do NOT abide by Rome. St Joan of Arc finally closed their school in June of 2008, because of lack of attendance. I guess they never go the message. You can't interfere in peoples lives and treat them like subjects, and expect their undying support.

    Fast Forward 20 + years. Christmas Eve at St Monica's Church in Santa Monica California. My best friend Jim (Who attended Catholic Seminary for several years,) confronted the Monseigneur after Mass, where he'd stood at the pulpit and said "EVERYONE is welcome in our parish. Go out and invite your friends and neighbors to join you here at St Monica's.”

    Jim said to the Monseigneur …. "There is still a group that ALWAYS responds internally to THAT Statement: with the words, "HE MEANS EVERYONE, EXCEPT ME!!" The Monseigneur was mortified and said "WHO could possibly think that? We welcome EVERYONE, Catholic or not!"

    Jim Said "EVERY GAY PERSON" in your Parish, including ME… There was a LENGTHY Discussion. After Several Meetings, they together, began the Gay and Lesbian Outreach Program at St Monica's Catholic Church.

    Shortly after, that outreach program was one of the most wildly successful and contributory organizations within the Parish.

    After several years Jim invited me to Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. I thought sure lighting would Strike, as I hadn't set foot in a church since I left High School there in 1978. I couldn't have been more uncomfortable, but I knew Jim well, and he promised me I would be surprised. AND I WAS.

    During his sermon, Monseigneur stood at the Pulpit and said again: “EVERYONE IS WELCOME IN OUR PARISH. GO OUT AND INVITE YOUR FRIENDS CATHOLIC OR NOT. Share with them how proud you are to belong to St Monica's.”

    And with that he said he wanted to acknowledge ONE SPECIFIC GROUP, who had done more to bring new parishioners to the church, than any group in the churches history. Right from the high point on the Alter, he openly acknowledged the GAY AND LESBIAN OUTREACH PROGRAM, AS THE MOST SUCCESSFUL PROGRAM THEY HAD. I ducked Immediately to avoid the gigantic lightning bolts I was SURE would shoot thru the windows. I actually had to sit down to be sure I'd heard what I THOUGHT I'd heard. There was a STUNNED SILENCE, and the an eruption of applause. (Completely unheard of in a church!)

    For the FIRST time in my entire life, I was PROUD to be Catholic. I NEVER THOUGHT I'd have that feeling.

    The Future "Govenator", Arnold Schwarzenegger and his Wife Maria Shriver, were sitting front row, left side, closest to the Pulpit. Yes, They are regular Parishioners at St Monica's.

    NOT all churches are the same, and this is ONE PARISH that flies directly in the face of ROME, regardless of the consequences. They hold true to what Christ preached, and don’t succumb to the agenda’s of the Modern Day Pharisee’s running the majority of Catholic and other churches around the world.
    While I would agree that 99% of the Roman Catholic Organization should be TAXED, penalized, disbanded, discredited, and prosecuted for crimes against humanity… St. Monica's remains a shining example of what Catholicism COULD be, if the tired old hateful FARTS in Rome, would pull their heads out of their asses, and wake up to the realities of the REAL WORLD.

    Now the Mormon/LDS??? That's a "Whole 'nother EVIL Story!"

  • 105. Tim 12 of 13 (kids)  |  January 20, 2010 at 8:32 pm

    And P.S. Don't get it twisted. I think the CONCEPT of RELIGION can be very comforting, empowering, guiding and a source of security/safety for many, the MANIFESTATION of it physically by humans, (aka Pharisees who use it for their own agendas) is the down fall and WILL lead eventually to the full and complete destruction of our civilization and planet.

  • 106. Plausible deniability | T&hellip  |  January 20, 2010 at 8:35 pm

    […] Initial reports from hearings in the Prop 8 case today discuss an internal campaign document with the following language: With respect to Prop. 8 campaign, key talking points will come from campaign, but cautious, strategic, not to take the lead so as to provide plausible deniability or respectable distance so as not to show that church is directly involved. […]

  • 107. Mormon Involvement Presen&hellip  |  January 20, 2010 at 11:34 pm

    […] The Prop 8 Trial Tracker live blog reveals a document showed the church advised that all “talking points” come from the campaign so the church could have “plausible deniability or respectable distance” keeping the church from being seen as “directly involved.” […]

  • 108. Ero  |  January 21, 2010 at 1:18 am

    it's amazing how often The Onion seems to be reading my mind:

  • 109. Tangled Webs « Quee&hellip  |  January 21, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    […] tried his darnedest to get Judge Walker to exclude it, but failed. From Rick’s liveblog: Pugno: Objects because document will be […]

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