Gay-rights activists protest outside Mormon temple in Mesa

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MESA -- Demonstrators outside a Mormon temple in Mesa Friday evening were reacting to the passage of Proposition 102, which defined marriage as a union strictly between a man and a woman in the state of Arizona.

Protesters want civil rights
azfamily.com

Gay-rights activists know that Proposition 102 has passed, still they say they won't give up the fight to educate and maybe change some minds.

The annual lighting of the lights at the Mormon temple in Mesa was Friday night. It draws thousands every year -- an audience gay-rights activists came out to reach.

The crowd of more than 100 was upset with the Mormon Church's opposition to same-sex marriage.

Once Mormon himself, Paul Brusstar now stands by his friends he says the church discriminates against.

"I feel the church and their political influence has really made it difficult for members of the gay and lesbian community," he said.

Louisa Valdez is Mormon and couldn't agree more, working to bring the two sides together.

"We're out here to educate them on who we are and educate our own community about how to heal that anger, how to heal that pain and how to create positive dialogue," Valdez said.

The group was targeting the LDS community, which supported Proposition 8 in California and Proposition 102 here in Arizona banning gay marriage.

"The church didn't make any contributions per se," said LDS spokesman Don Evans. "Members of the church made contributions."

Evans says it's a matter of church doctrine.

"The church doctrine is the church doctrine and we believe it is divine doctrine, it comes from God, and so that is what we believe," he said.

"We're not looking to change any church doctrines," said Human Equality Rights organizer Meg Sneed. "We do just want to open hearts and minds because we're not asking for religious marriage we just want civil rights and civil marriage."

There was a police presence, but the protest remained peaceful. In fact, many people left to go look at the lights across the street and enjoy all the festivities. After all, they say the goal is to reach out and find common ground.