This evening, I was returning home from running a few errands after work (I had enough time after work to change into casual clothes, consisting of a pair of jeans and a t-shirt detailing guidelines for killing and disposing of zombies). It should also be noted that I am a staunch atheist. I was also smoking the last of my cigarette from the drive home, and carrying a plastic bag containing a bottle of vodka. As I got out of my car, I was approached by two Mormons who were traversing the neighborhood (I've seen them before, so I assume they're residents). In the past, being one that practices tolerance for all, I never paid them much mind. The only difference today was that they approached me. The conversation went as follows:
Mormon 1: Excuse me, sir. May we talk to you for a moment?
Me: (looking them up and down) You're Mormons, right?
Mormon 1: Yes sir.
Me: (jovially) Please don't call me sir. I work for a living. (pause) Latter Day Saints?
Both Mormons, almost in unison: Yes sir.
Me: I see. Are you familiar with California proposition 8?
Mormon 2: Yes.
Me: Okay, then you can listen first, before you start talking. Okay?
Mormon 1: Okay...
Me: I am not in the least bit pleased with what your Church did to prevent Prop 8 from passing. While I will not accuse either of you individually, you do belong to an organization that spent millions of dollars to prevent the legal marriage of same-sex couples. I cannot overlook that.
Mormon 2: (interrupting) Sir, we...
Me: (interrupting again) Let me finish. If you want to preach your faith to me, you will hear me out first. Understood?
Mormon 1: I'll listen.
(Mormon 2 nodded in agreement with this statement.)
Me: California Proposition 8 was a bill on the ballot in California during the September 4th Presidential Election that banned same-sex marriages - the same same-sex marriages that had been legalized just a few short months prior to that. You said you're familiar with the Proposition, so I'll assume you knew that.
(Both Mormons nod.)
Me: I happen to have a great deal of gay friends, many of whom are involved in long-term same-sex relationships. As same-sex marriage is still technically illegal here in Maryland, many were hoping to visit California to get married. The powers that be in your church played a significant role in funding the movement to ban same-sex marriages in California, even though most of your members don't reside in California. I see that as an act of hatred, persecution, and prejudice against a segment of people who, outside of their sexual preference, are just as hard-working and an equal benefit to society as anyone else. The way I see it, they deserve the same rights as anyone else. Religion, according to the first Amendment, has no place in government. Having it put that way, wouldn't you agree?
Mormon 2: (almost immediately, without thought) It disobeys God's will.
Me: Quote me a passage from the bible that shows that.
(Both Mormons hesitate, thinking, but ultimately unable to recall any passage or quote that would support their argument. I even gave them a full minute to display their odd looks of thinking, trying to remember, and ultimately confusion.)
Me: Thank you. I'll be going now. I have plans to have protected pre-marital sex, while drinking massive quantities of vodka tonight. This conversation is preventing me from that. Please learn your biblical legends before you accost the next person.
(I walked inside my house.)
Now much of my final statement was false (the safe-sex happens tomorrow night), but it was spoken only to drive the point home, particularly while carrying the bottle of vodka.
As dumbfounded as both of them looked after this conversation, I think they'll either be frantically looking up and memorizing biblical passages (and, knowing the Bible pretty well for an atheist, I'm pretty sure there's no passages specifically prohibiting gay marriage - I can't speak for the book of Mormon, however, as I only read it once, and don't remember much of it).
Ultimately, I came home, took a celebratory shot of my vodka, and wrote this.
I'm sorry, but I believe in true equal rights for *all*, regardless of race, religion, sexual preference, gender, etc. I refuse to entertain thoughts that single out any one group for prejudices against them. I will respect and defend a person's right to practice any religion they want - to the ends of the Earth - but I will not tolerate persecution of any group for any reason.
We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men [persons] are created equal.