(KCPW News) The Salt Lake City-based gay and transgender advocacy group Equality Utah has come out against a rash of vandalisms targeting the LDS Church, following the passage of Proposition 8 in California. Church members poured millions into the campaign to ban same-sex marriage in that state. But Equality Utah Public Policy Manager Will Carlson says his group firmly opposes these acts toward the church and church members.
"We have no idea what the source is of this vandalism or white envelopes, whatever. But there is no place in this dialogue, in this dialogue that needs to happen, for violence, no place for vandalism and no place for intimidation," Carlson says.
The FBI is investigating an incident that shut down Temple Square on Thursday. A mailroom employee discovered an envelope full of suspicious white powder, though it now seems to be an anthrax hoax. A similar envelope was delivered to the temple in Los Angeles. And earlier this week, a Book of Mormon was set on fire on the steps of an LDS Church in Colorado.
State Senator Scott McCoy says these incidents have gone too far. He says being civil and forging relationships with the Church is the best way to go about changing people's views on same-sex equality.
"It's just simply unacceptable and, you know, I condemn it in unequivocal terms," McCoy says. "And it shouldn't be happening. I mean, everyone has a First Amendment Right to express themselves and engage in the political discourse and dialogue on this issue. But the line is crossed if it crosses into violence, vandalism or intimidation. And there is just no room for that kind of activity in this state. And I hope that it would stop."
Today, the LDS Church once again issued a statement asking people on both sides of the debate to be civil and respectful toward each other. It says, quote, "The end of a free and fair election should not be the beginning of a hostile response in America."