Saturday, November 8, 2008
The Prop 8 Protest Beat
[Civil Disobedience] Like my co-worker, Ted McDonough, I got well-mashed between throngs of Proposition 8 protesters who demonstrated in front of the LDS Church headquarters at 50 North Temple in downtown Salt Lake City last night.Organizers of the rally put the number of protesters at more than 3,000. Around 7:15 p.m., a police officer I talked to estimated crowd size at 2,000. Conventional wisdom among reporters who cover such things is you land somewhere in the middle of those two sources. So I'll go with 2,500.
No matter. It was a mess 'o humanity.
The official church statement in reaction to the event showed the sect's typical shock and dismay that people might actually take to the streets to fight the church's deep involvement with political issues like this one . Church spokesman Scott Trotter, in the statement, said in part:
...it is wrong to target the church and its sacred places of worship for being part of the democratic process.
Since I was there for the entire evening, I can tell you with certainty that the church's main symbol of sacredness and worship-- the temple--was not targeted in any way. I walked the parameter outside Temple Square twice while interviewing people. The temple was not targeted. At all. The event was peaceful. Many of the marchers I stood around took great pains NOT to trample the church property gardens, for instance. The area surrounding Temple Square is open to the public and maintained through tax dollars. Everyone had a right to be there. And there were 50 or so counter-protesters, as well.
Anti-8 protesters did, in fact, stop outside the Church Office Building for several minutes each time they circled the area. They chanted, shouted and waved signs outside the building--which is where the church officials do their work, including crafting strategies to advance an anti-gay agenda--and the HQ building is a legitimate symbol of protest. The marchers I witnessed and the dozens I spoke with had no intention of singling out the temple, and for the church p.r. staff to paint the protest that way is simply a lie. (Holly Mullen)