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Did LDS Church violate tax exempt status with stand on gay marriage?

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - Is the LDS Church violating its tax exempt status by supporting the anti-gay marriage amendment in California? That's the question being asked by one of California's most prominent gay leaders.
SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - Is the LDS Church violating its tax exempt status by supporting the anti-gay marriage amendment in California? That's the question being asked by one of California's most prominent gay leaders.

Kate Kendell is the executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights in San Francisco.

The group was the lead counsel in the case before the California Supreme Court, the one which lead to legal gay marriage there.

Kendell is also a former Utahn who grew up in a Mormon household.

She told ABC 4 over the phone, "When I grew up Mormon, I had a sense of the Church as being very much about justice of people, wanting to take care of those less fortunate."

This is why Kendell is upset over the LDS Church's position outlined in a letter sent last weekend to leaders and congregations in California.

It asks LDS members there to get involved in the California November election fight to once again ban gay marriage.

Kendell said, "It is certainly not, in my perspective, the Church's finest moment, especially a Church with a history of persecution itself."

So, Kendell asked a lawyer to look into the LDS Church letter to see if the Church is violating its tax exempt status as a religious organization.

Kendell added, "I’ve had many, many people and when I first looked at it myself I think it goes right up to the line."

Kendell and her attorney concluded the LDS Church can't endorse a political candidate but can take a position on the anti-gay marriage amendment in California, but added that there may be certain restrictions on the Church contributing directly to the California anti-amendment forces.

Still, Kendell remains disappointed by a Church she grew up with.

"It's always troubling when an organization that has essentially an unfettered voice and a unilateral control over a whole bunch of people decides to be so aggressive in their position."

And according to recent polls, the California gay marriage amendment is shaping up to be a close election.
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