SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The Mormon

church has revealed in a campaign filing that the church spent nearly

$190,000 to help pass Proposition 8, the November ballot measure that

banned gay marriage in California.The disclosure comes amid an

investigation by the state's campaign watchdog agency into whether The

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints violated state laws by not

fully disclosing its involvement during the campaign.While many church members had donated directly to the Yes on 8 campaign — some estimates of Mormon giving range as high as $20 million — the church itself had previously reported little direct campaign activity.But in the filing made Friday, the Mormon

church reported thousands in travel expenses, such as airline tickets,

hotel rooms and car rentals for the campaign. The church also reported

$96,849.31 worth of "compensated staff time" — hours that church

employees spent working to pass the same-sex marriage ban.Roman

Porter, executive director of the FPPC, confirmed that the agency was

investigating the complaint against the church but declined comment on

specifics.The Yes on 8 campaign filed its own expenditure

reports over the weekend revealing that the main arm of the campaign

spent more than $39.2 million. Total spending among the various

proponents topped $41 million.Opponents of the measure had not

filed their disclosure statement as of Saturday. The deadline for

year-end statements is midnight Monday.The Mormon church's involvement in Proposition 8 touched off controversy both during and after the campaign.Many

gay marriage advocates saw the church and its membership's efforts as

crucial to the passage of Proposition 8. The measure won with 52

percent of the vote, a margin of 600,000 votes.Following the election, church leaders in the Sacramento region hired extra security to guard a Mormon temple in Folsom. Ten local church buildings were vandalized in the two weeks following the Nov. 4 vote.Some individual Mormons

were targeted for their support of Proposition 8, as well.Scott

Eckern, an LDS member, resigned as artistic director of the California

Musical Theatre in Sacramento in November after a $1,000 donation he

made to the Yes on 8 campaign was made public. There were similar cases

elsewhere in the state.The Yes on 8 campaign petitioned a

federal court to withhold disclosure of late donors, citing such

harassment. But the judge ruled last week the donors must be disclosed."The

court finds the state is not facilitating retaliation by compelling

disclosure," U.S. District Judge Morrison England Jr. said in his

decision Thursday.Jeff Flint, a strategist for the Yes on 8 campaign, downplayed the latest financial filing that details the Mormon church's efforts to ban gay marriage."I don't think anybody beyond rabid opponents of Proposition 8 will consider it newsworthy to find out that leaders of the Mormon church spent time on the campaign," Flint said.He noted that the church was both public and vocal about its support for the same-sex marriage ban.Flint said the Mormon church's reported direct spending amounted to "half of 1 percent of all campaign expenditures."All

told, Proposition 8 was the most expensive ballot fight last November.

It is considered the most expensive campaign over a social issue in

View Comments

history.And it could all be repeated as early as next year, as

some gay marriage advocates are pressing efforts to legalize same-sex

marriage in a 2010 ballot campaign if court efforts to overturn

Proposition 8 are unsuccessful.

Join the Conversation
Looking for comments?
Find comments in their new home! Click the buttons at the top or within the article to view them — or use the button below for quick access.