The signs on the front lawn of former 49er quarterback Steve Young's Peninsula home say "No on Prop. 8," which normally wouldn't be much of a story in the Bay Area, a gay-friendly region which is the center of opposition to the effort to ban same-sex marriage in the state.
But Young isn't only a Hall of Fame quarterback. He's also the great-great-great grandson of Brigham Young, the second president of the Mormon church. The church has pushed hard and publicly for Prop. 8 and Mormons have pumped millions into the campaign.
Young also isn't just any church member. During his years in the NFL, he was one of the nation's most visible Mormons. He graduated from BYU, which was named for his ancestor, and received his law degree there. In a 1996 "60 Minute" interview, he said that he still had plans to go on the church mission he missed in college and had no problem tithing 10 percent of his earnings to the church. He retains close ties to Utah, married his wife, Barbara, at a temple in Hawaii and even served as narrator for a short video on the Mormon church and its history, done for the 2002 Winter Olympics in Utah.
Given all that, it's surprising to see him lining up on the opposite side of the church, especially after Mormon leaders in Salt Lake City sent a letter last June that asked all California church members to do all they could to support the Prop. 8 effort by "donating of your means and time to assure that marriage in California is legally defined as being between a man and a woman."
Instead, the Young family has given $37,000 to beat Prop. 8. While it's Barb Young's name that appears on the checks, she made it clear in a statement issued today through Equality California that the contributions are a family affair.
"We believe ALL families matter and we do not believe in discrimination, therefore, our family will vote against Prop. 8," she said.