Mormon aid on gay marriage ban sparks complaint - East Valley Tribune: Nation / World

Mormon aid on gay marriage ban sparks complaint

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Posted: Thursday, November 13, 2008 8:51 pm | Updated: 11:45 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

SAN FRANCISCO - A California gay rights activist filed a complaint Thursday accusing the Mormon church of failing to report the full value of the work it did to support the state's new ban on same-sex marriage.

Fred Karger, the founder of Californians Against Hate, submitted the complaint to the enforcement division of the California Fair Political Practices Commission, the agency that regulates campaign activity.

Karger alleges that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ran out-of-state phone banks, produced commercials and provided other services that must be reported as contributions to the Proposition 8 campaign.

"Let's be transparent here. If they are going to play in the political process, they need to abide by the rules like everyone else," he said.

Karger also notified the attorneys general of California and Utah, where the Mormon church is based.

Church spokeswoman Kim Farah said the church has complied with all campaign finance laws and is confident an investigation would prove that.

Last month, the church reported making an in-kind donation of $2,078.97 to the coalition of faith organizations and conservative groups that sponsored Proposition 8, a constitutional amendment that overturned the state Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage. It's the only donation listed under the church's name in support of the measure.

Based on in-kind contributions reported by other religious groups, Karger estimates that the Mormon church actually spent hundreds of thousands of dollars backing the marriage ban.

The Fair Political Practices Commission has 14 days to respond to Karger's allegations. The agency could decide to open an investigation, to warn the party named in the complaint or conclude no action is needed, according to commission spokesman Roman Porter.

Protests in the wake of the amendment's passage have focused largely on the Mormon church, which encouraged its members to support the ban.

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