A new ad launched in California just as voters prepared to decide on a state constitutional amendment that would define marriage as being between one man and one woman depicts two missionaries from the Mormon church invading a home belonging to two lesbians.

The fictional scene shows the missionaries confiscating the womens’ rings and finding and tearing up their marriage certificate.

The Most Rev. Stephen Blaire, bishop of Stockton and president of the California Catholic Conference, called the ad “a blatant display of religious bigotry and intolerance.” He said he was dismayed any media outlet would agree to run it.

The issue of marriage has been in the headlines in California since May when the state Supreme Court, ignoring a warning from one of its own members that the decision eventually could be used to legalize incest and polygamy, ordered marriage instituted for homosexuals and lesbians.

The court opinion rejected the expressed will of California voters, who in 2000 approved a legal definition of marriage as between only one man and one woman.

According to the Catholic News Agency, the commercial suggests Mormon missionaries would invade the homes of lesbian couples.

Produced by the “Courage Campaign Issues Committee,” the video is available here:

In the ad, two missionaries identify themselves as Mormons and say, “We are here to take away your rights.”

They go into the house, take the rings and hunt through drawers for a marriage license, which they tear up.

Rick Jacobs, of the pro-homosexual marriage campaign, told KUTV television in Salt Lake City the ad literally is a message the houses of Californians are being invaded by the Mormon Church.

But Scott Trotter, a spokesman for the LDS Church, argued members are working with others in a broad-based coalition “in defense of traditional marriage.”

“While we feel this is important to all of society, we have always emphasized that respect be given to those who feel differently on this issue. It is unfortunate that some who oppose this proposition have not given the church this same courtesy,” he said.

The Catholic bishop Blaire contended the campaign to pass the marriage measure “is not about discrimination and intolerance; it is about restoring the traditional definition of marriage for the good of society and children.”

“All individuals and groups, whether religious or not, have both a right and a responsibility to participate in a civil debate about this important issue,” he said.

On the CNA forum page, an opponent of defining marriage as between a man and a woman said at least one vote would change because of the ad.

“I am a No on 8 supporter but this video is ridiculous. If the No on 8 campaign supports this add (sic) I will be forced to change my vote. Lying is not the way to win.”

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