Mormon stars face backlash after gay marriage ban

Gladys Knight and Donny Osmond under fire after church lobbies for California's 'despicable' new law

When Brandon Flowers leads the Killers on stage at the Warfield Theatre in San Francisco next month, he may not get the ecstatic reception to which six years of rock superstardom have made him accustomed.

It could be a similar story when Gladys Knight plays New Orleans in a fortnight, or Donny Osmond returns to the Flamingo in Las Vegas in January, or American Idol star David Archuleta does the rounds of Hollywood chat-shows to promote his debut album this week. Each singer is a committed member of the Mormons, or Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Unfortunately, that's a spiritual calling that in the eyes of California's suddenly vociferous gay rights movement makes them public enemy number one.

"This Mormon church has just taken away one of our fundamental rights, and shown itself to be a nasty church with bigoted beliefs," said John London, a student from West Hollywood, at an equality protest last week. "So when Brandon Flowers, or David Archuleta or any of its other celebrity members show up in a gay neighbourhood, they should know how we feel."

At issue is the church's role in bankrolling Proposition 8, which outlawed gay marriage in California after it was backed by 52.5 per cent of the state's voters on Tuesday, leaving 18,000 recently married gay and lesbian couples in legal limbo. On the instructions of their church leaders, Mormons provided up to $40m (£25.6m) in support of the proposal, and travelled in their thousands from Utah, where the religion has its headquarters, to lobby on its behalf.

On Thursday, 2,500 gay rights protesters marched to LA's largest Mormon temple, in Westwood, where they decried what chants and placards billed as "Mormon hate" and "Mormon scum" and promising "no more Mr Nice Gay". Campaigners plan to picket temples across the US and have launched a letter-writing campaign against Thomas Monson, president of the Mormon Church. Much anger will also be directed at the "Mormon economy", which helped to finance the Proposition 8 campaign. That could have serious implications for acts such as Osmond, Knight and the Killers, who boast a strong gay following. Many have recently tried to play down their church's anti-gay stance.

Flowers has said his religion is "very important" in his life, but told a recent interviewer that he took a liberal position on gay rights. Osmond opposes gay marriage, but claims on his website that this doesn't make him homophobic. "I do support our church leaders who say that we can accept those with gay tendencies in our church, as long as they do not act upon their temptations."

Jim Key, a spokesman for the LA Gay and Lesbian Centre which organised last week's protest, said he hoped followers would distinguish between Mormon businesses that did not donate to Proposition 8 and those that did. "Our complaint is not against all Mormons," he said. "Many moderate members of the church did not support Proposition 8. Our issue is with the church's leadership, which ran a despicable campaign to deny us fundamental rights."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
tennisLive: Follow all the updates from Melbourne as Murray faces Czech Tomas Berdych in the semi-final
Arts and Entertainment
'The Archers' has an audience of about five million
radioA growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried
Arts and Entertainment
Henry VIII played by Damien Lewis
tvReview: Scheming queens-in-waiting, tangled lines of succession and men of lowly birth rising to power – sound familiar?
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift is applying to trademark song lyrics from 1989
musicYou'll have to ask Taylor Swift first
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
News
Joel Grey, now 82, won several awards for his role in Cabaret
people
Sport
Harry Kane celebrates scoring the opening goal for Spurs
footballLive: All the latest transfer news as deadline day looms
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: Maths Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: Our exclusive client in St Albans Hertfords...

Tradewind Recruitment: KS2 Primary Teachers

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: Key Stage 2 Teachers needed in Hertfordshir...

Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - ACCA/CIMA - St Albans, Hertfordshire

£55000 - £58000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A truly exciting opportunity has ari...

Ashdown Group: Credit Controller - London, Old Street

£25000 - £28000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Credit Controller - Londo...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness