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Where homosexuality and Mormonism collide

Under CC license from Flickr user A.Davey

Recently on Crosscurrents, we aired a profile of Oakland’s Mormon Temple – an aesthetic icon in the city – and a place that’s very special to a man who was married there.

“Also, it is a place where a temple marriage can be performed, a marriage performed in a Mormon temple is not said to be ‘til’ death do you part, but also to carry on into the eternities,” Jay Pimentel said in the piece.

The discussion of marriage hit a nerve with listeners. We received dozens of comments on the story, many of which called attention to the Mormon church’s role in opposing same-sex marriage during the fight over Proposition 8. One commenter called the church “the epicenter of anti gay political activity dedicated to demeaning and marginalizing homosexuals.” A self-described Mormon responded, “ I do nothing of the sort and have a great love for ALL people, regardless of their sexual orientation.”

The Mormon church – officially known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints – has played a big role in opposing same-sex marriage in California. Its members contributed heavily to anti-Proposition 8 causes, and continue to do so.

Mitch Mayne is executive secretary of the Mormon’s Bay Ward – that’s the local chapter of the LDS church. He’s been doing everything he can to combat the bad feelings the Proposition 8 battle brings up – even bringing a group of straight Mormons to last year’s Pride parade.

“I was scared to lead a bunch of straight Mormons marching down Market Street,” says Mayne, “because this is the hotbed, right, this is where Prop. 8 hit home the hardest. And I’ve felt the heat from the LGBT community personally.”

Clearly, Mayne is not what we think of as a typical Mormon. He describes himself as an ambassador between the church and the LGBT community. He spoke with KALW’s Steven Short about how he fell into that role, and what it means to him now.

Click the audio player above to listen to the interview.

What do you think about the Mormon church and same-sex marriage? Join the discussion on our Facebook page.