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LDS Church defends itself against new allegations

The LDS Church is taking issue with new allegations by a California gay-rights activist who has said The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints understated the financial backing it gave to help pass a gay-marriage ban in California.

A church spokesman says the accusations by Fred Karger, founder of Californians Against Hate, who alleges that the LDS Church played a role in establishing the National Organization for Marriage, are baseless.

"The church is unconcerned about Mr. Karger's newest complaint," said LDS Church spokesman Scott Trotter. "Mr. Karger has again made claims that have no basis in fact, and this newest round of allegations follows the same pattern. As we have said before, he is entitled to his opinion but not to his own version of the facts."

The National Organization for Marriage, a New Jersey-based group that opened a California office last year, was the largest contributor to Proposition 8, a narrowly approved November 2008 California election measure amending the state constitution in defining and recognizing marriage as only between a man and a woman.

Karger filed his supplemental complaint Thursday with the California Fair Political Practices Commission, which is investigating his earlier allegations against the LDS Church.

Trotter said the LDS Church did not establish the National Organization for Marriage. He said the LDS Church has reported its entire contribution to the ProtectMarriage Coalition and that the contributions, none of which were cash donations, are a matter of public record.

The value of the LDS Church's in-kind, or non-monetary, contribution of $190,000 is less than one-half of 1 percent of the approximately $40 million raised for the "Yes on 8" campaign in support of Proposition 8, he added.

"The Church has been consistent in its support of traditional marriage, realizing the value to society of this divine institution," Trotter said, citing the LDS Church's position as outlined in 1995 in "The Family: A Proclamation to the World."