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Op-ed: An Open Letter to Mitch Mayne on Living Openly 

Op-ed: An Open Letter to Mitch Mayne on Living Openly 


First, Mitch, congratulations on being appointed to a high-ranking position in your church. I was impressed last fall to hear that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon Church) had actually called on an openly gay member to serve. So of course I read with great interest your op-ed, "Gays and Mormons, Do Unto Others," in The Advocate on January 6.

I take some credit for the Mormon Church's new ways toward gays. I am not sure if you are aware, but I was the person who uncovered the fact the Mormon Church had taken over every aspect of the campaign to pass Proposition 8 in California four years ago. I was following the money of all the big donors for my new organization, Californians Against Hate -- now Rights Equal Rights. Suddenly all these huge contributions began pouring in from individuals whom I had never heard of. When we Googled the names, we discovered that they were all Mormons. I gave the information to Mark Schools at TheWall Street Journal, who spent a month researching and broke the story on September 20, 2008, "Mormons Boost Antigay Marriage Effort."

Then we tracked all the money, which jumped from a few thousand dollars per day to over $500, 000 per day. It turned out that the members of the Mormon Church, at the urging of church leaders, gave 75% of all the money raised or roughly $30 million! I wrote many op-eds, did several press releases, and talked to lots of reporters about this, all to shine a spotlight on the LDS Church. One you should read is "Mormon Power Grab: Tearing Families Apart."

Then, after its successful campaign to take away the right to marry for millions of LGBT Californians, the Mormon Church filed its final campaign report with the California secretary of state. The Mormon Church said that it spent only $2,078 to pass Proposition 8.

I didn't believe it. The church did so much, which I detailed in the sworn complaint that I filed with the California Fair Political Practices Commission. I was brutally attacked by church leaders and spokesmen who called me a liar. Well, guess what? The commission decided to investigate my complaint. It was the first time a church had ever been investigated for possible illegal campaign activities. The Mormon Church was investigated for 18 months, prosecuted, and found guilty on 13 counts of election fraud and fined.

I took many more actions against the church and some of its big-donor members with one goal: to get the Mormon Church out of the anti-gay marriage business.

Then lo and behold, I was given hundreds and hundreds of official Mormon Church documents that showed that the LDS Church was not just running the Yes on Prop. 8 campaign in California but had taken the lead on all the other 27 campaigns around the country to ban gay marriage in those states and gay-bash, beginning in 1995 in Hawaii. Check out our website:

The church didn't stop with California either. It was were heavily involved in the successful campaign one year later in Maine to repeal that state's recently passed marriage equality law. So off to Augusta I went and filed a complaint against the National Organization for Marriage for money laundering there. That investigation is in its third year.

So maybe, just maybe, the terrible PR the Mormon Church gets constantly now has opened the door ever so slightly to allow you to serve the church and live a complete life as a gay man like I am able to do. Sadly for you and all other gay members of the Mormon Church, you can never have a boyfriend again or get married to a man. I read the CNN story by Jessica Ravitz where you and a church official said just that. As Utah gay activist Eric Ethington pointed out, "If he [you] falls in love again and wants to be with that man, he won't be allowed to serve."

The LDS Church finally supported a law that would prohibit discrimination against LGBT individuals in the workplace and even testified in its favor at a Salt Lake City hearing. Hurray, real progress. The church's reaction to a crisis: Try to do a few things to mute all the criticism.

I would love to sit down with you and talk, Mitch. Let's see if we can't work together to get the LDS Church to then sit down with us and negotiate an end to its hurtful ways regarding the LGBT community. My goal is to keep the pressure on the church until it changes its practices. Then young lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people will be welcome in the LDS Church and be able to love whomever they wish.

FRED KARGER is a Republican candidate for president.

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