Protect Everyone's Civil Rights

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Californians, make sure that you get out and vote this November. Besides the presidential election, there are some really important measures and propositions, on things like abortion, public housing, and yes, gay marriage.

Voting "yes" on proposition 8 would put a constitutional ban on gay civil marriage. Voting "no" would allow the unions to continue as they have since the CA supreme court voted to legalize them.

There are more and more ads on TV about this one, and the pro-marriage ban ones are very troubling to me. Not only because of their stance, but also because they do not tell the truth. Just about everything in the adverts that I've seen has been false. I don't understand why there are truth in advertising laws for products, but political campaigns can lie all they want. That makes no sense whatsoever.

Let's be absolutely clear:

1. Keeping gay marriage legal would not in any way change the laws on the tax-exempt status of churches.

2. Keeping gay marriage legal would not force churches to perform same-sex ceremonies. We're talking about civil marriage. You know, court house, justice of the peace, being treated equally before the law.

3. Schools would not in any way change their sex-ed curricula or somehow start teaching the "gay lifestyle" as some ads are claiming.

None of these things is true. They are lies. If you want to know what the Supreme Court actually said, Lamda Legal has it here.

The pro proposition 8 ads are trying to scare people. They're lying to California's citizens and twisting the dialog so that it becomes about religion.


Those of us who oppose proposition 8 are striving for civil rights and equality. We are striving to protect everyone equally before the law. Proponents of proposition 8 are somehow threatened by the civil rights of others. They somehow feel that if other groups get rights, they will no longer be all powerful or they will feel threatened.

We've heard that kind of rhetoric before. On racial equality, on inter-racial marriage, on women's rights. There have always been some who fight and drag their feet because they can only see themselves and the privilege, or sense of superiority, that they might lose.

That's not valid. We CANNOT keep discriminating because someone might lose his sense of superiority. That's ridiculous. If you honestly feel threatened by the rights of some couple somewhere else in the state to live their lives together, you have a problem. Your problem is your insecurity with yourself and your own relationships. They will not change in the slightest, I assure you.

I can't stress enough that this measure needs to be defeated. I'm appalled that a constitutional amendment can be written in based on a simple majority. If something passes with 50.5%, it will become a constitutional amendment, even though half of the state disagrees or is harmed by the measure.......

Again, say it with me: This measure must be defeated!!!!!

Here are some things that you can do to help. And please, please, please help:

1. Phone bank to get people out to vote no. Thursday, October 16th (and the two following Thursdays), 6:30-9:30 in the Fireside room at St. John's Presbyterian Church in Berkeley. 2727 College Ave, Berkeley 94705. They will provide training, but bring your cell phone and charger.

2. Give money (if you can). The pro-prop. 8 crowd has vastly more money than the opposition, much of it coming from churches, much of it coming from out of state. Even though our finances all suck right now, we need to give what we can. Here's some info sent to me by my neighbor:

A little history:
I've been on the Board of Directors at the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) for the past 5 years. On May 15th the case that NCLR brought before the California Supreme Court changed history and granted same-sex couples the right to marry. Shortly thereafter, opponents of LGBT rights were able to put Proposition 8 on the November ballot to amend the constitution to take away this hard-won right.
The request:
I am asking you to make a significant financial contribution to defeat Proposition 8.

Right now in California:

  1. Same-sex couples can legally marry.
  2. The California constitution treats all of its citizens equally.
  3. Sexual orientation has the same legal protection given to gender, religion, race, and national origin (i.e., LGBT people are full and equal citizens under state law).

If this initiative were to pass, 1 and 2 are no longer true and 3 is in extreme jeopardy.

While the words of Prop 8 are limited to marriage ("Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California"), it intends to undermine the broad protections recently given to all LGBT Californians.

This week, we found out that Prop 8 is ahead in the Polls 47% to 42%. That's probably a direct result of the fact that last week, 60,000 people donated more than $25 million to the opposition. With all that money, they're trying to "swift boat" and smear us with television ads that tell lies -- that we are attacking children and churches. We can win. But we must match them ad for ad and dollar for dollar.

If ever there were a time to give all we've got to a fight, this is it!

So, if you're ready to stand with me to defeat Prop 8, I need you to make a donation today. If you can't give a lot, please give whatever you can. Please also forward this email for me to other people in your address book. You can donate at the No on Prop 8 website ( or follow in the footsteps of Ann Rostow (a local lesbian journalist) see below:
Show Them The Money

By Ann Rostow
Published: August 14, 2008

I've been exhorting readers to send money to the California campaign against Proposition 8 for weeks and weeks, but to be honest, I haven't gotten around to contributing myself because I've been too "busy" and I've been on vacation. It is now Aug. 13, and I swore to myself I would put my money where my fingers were before I wrote another column. Yet here I am, about to start this week's GLBT news update, and still I have not pulled the trigger on this donation.

So here goes! I'll go first and any of you who have procrastinated along with me can take inspiration in my bold action.

Step one. How much? I've gone back and forth between "painfully high donation" and "enough to clear my conscience donation." In fact, this has been one of my stumbling blocks. Late at night after a couple glasses of wine, I'm ready to mortgage the house for The Cause. Sifting through a pile of bills at three in the afternoon, a modest sum seems more than generous. This morning, I am going for painful. How painful? Worse than a blood donation, but short of major surgery. I am aiming for the mild sprained ankle level. Hey, I'm not talking about the "almost sprained ankle" where you just miss turning it over, hop around for a few minutes and recover in 15. I'm talking about something you have to ice down for a day and a half.

Step two. Where to donate? I am going to donate through the NCLR's political action fund. Every dime ends up in the coffers of the campaign against 8, but I take symbolic pleasure in routing money through the National Center for Lesbian Rights, a terrific organization and the leaders of the legal fight for marriage in California. In fact, I just read that NCLR legal director Shannon Minter won a big national gay legal award, as did San Francisco Chief Deputy City Attorney Therese Stewart, his partner in the successful litigation. Just checked. It was the 2008 Dan Bradley Award, to be presented next month by the National Lesbian and Gay Law Association at the annual gay legal convention.

Step three. Remove credit card from wallet. Small twinge accompanies this gesture.

Step four. Access web site. Click on "No on 8." Go down and click on "donate."

Step five. Fill out information. A simple process except for the incessant demand to name an "honoree." I solved that by typing "no honoree," but only after I was repeatedly rapped on my cyber knuckles.


Goodbye, sweet cash. Hello even sweeter feeling of joining the swelling ranks of my GLBT brothers and sisters and our straight allies who are taking some kind of action to win what is surely the most critical battle in our history as a civil rights movement.

Your turn.

We need to be doing whatever we can to oppose this bill and protect everyone's rights!
Right? Right.


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