If Yes on 8 succeeds, it will be largely because of outright lies. As we examined before, Prop. 8 seeks to change the state's Constitution, and has nothing to do with education. California has broad opt-out laws, and parents who object to parts of sex ed, for example, can have their kid pulled out of those classes. Defeating Prop. 8 is important not just for California, but the nation.
I received a "Yes on 8" flyer last week with some interesting spin. The language to "Protect Marriage" is intentionally deceptive, as are the pitches that "A 'Yes' Vote Restores Traditional Marriage" and "A 'No' Vote Means Gay Marriage is Still Mandated." The language implies that "traditional marriage" has somehow gone away, and that people have been forced into gay marriages. It's ridiculous, but this sort of prejudicial language is typical of the right-wing, and it's a deliberately irrational appeal.
But perhaps they have a point. After all, we can all look back to when interracial marriages were made legal. Remember that? Suddenly, whites were no longer able to marry other whites! And who can forget how all those whites who were already married saw their marriages cheapened and sullied, because other people were allowed to marry! Imagine, other people marrying, and without their permission. And sure, they wouldn’t have given their permission, but that's beside the point. Arranging an interracial marriage was terribly rude. Didn't any of those people engaging in unnatural unions think of the children? Especially the impressionable white children, who might get the awful notion that such things were all right? Surely we can all remember how America fell apart from that travesty, never to recover. And that is why gay marriage is the greatest threat our nation has ever faced. (Even worse than that Negro devil music, rock and roll.)
Let's start with a look at the Yes on 8 ads.
"Have You Thought About It?" ad:
Why yes. Yes, we have thought about it. And many of these claims are illogical or false. As we've previously examined, there are churches who support gay marriage, and no church is forced to perform a gay marriage. If there's any conflict with "religious freedoms," it's the Yes on 8 campaign's attempts to ban gay marriage, stopping gay-friendly churches from performing gay weddings. Domestic partners do not have all the same rights as married couples. Your little moppet won't be taught that gay marriage exists if you chose to object – although you're free to teach her it exists and it's evil, evil, evil at home if you want.
I stumbled upon this on YouTube. "Marriage, It's Simple":
So here, your happy, heterosexual white daughter will have her childhood innocence destroyed by gay marriage, will turn into a lesbian, or even worse, play with same-sex dolls. Or, as Blue Gal puts it, "The rationale of this ad is, if we let the homos win, we are denying little blonde girls their natural inclination to play wedding with Ken and Barbie." Oh, for more innocent times, when teen girls practiced kissing. And lost their virginity on their wedding nights to their husbands, who always knew best.
Let's turn to this New York Times account now on Prop. 8:
“This vote on whether we stop the gay-marriage juggernaut in California is Armageddon,” said Charles W. Colson, the founder of Prison Fellowship Ministries and an eminent evangelical voice, speaking to pastors in a video promoting Proposition 8. “We lose this, we are going to lose in a lot of other ways, including freedom of religion.”
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, a conservative Christian lobby based in Washington, said in an interview, “It’s more important than the presidential election.”
“We’ve picked bad presidents before, and we’ve survived as a nation,” said Mr. Perkins, who has made two trips to California in the last six weeks. “But we will not survive if we lose the institution of marriage.”
That would be convicted Nixon felon Chuck Colson. I'd have more respect for him if he wasn't lying here. His freedom of religion isn't infringed upon in any way by gay marriage. He just doesn't like it, and he wants to dictate to other people – and other churches – what they can do. He's happy to attack others' civil rights, and if we adopt his framing, their freedom of religion. Colson either doesn't acknowledge, or doesn't understand, that there are Christians who support gay marriage, and that he has no exclusive claim on piety or godliness.
As for Tony Perkins, his statement is hyperbole as well as illogical. Since gay marriage is (duh) marriage, it cannot erode "the institution of marriage." It just offends Perkins' conception of it. It's extraordinary he would claim that gay marriage is more important than the presidency, and that somehow, equal treatment for gays will destroy America. Of course, the cries of religious persecution are particularly silly:
“The idea that we would be forced as clergy to perform a marriage that was against our conscience, or that a church would lose its tax-exempt status, is ridiculous,” said the Rev. Karen Sapio, the minister of Claremont Presbyterian Church in Southern California. “If you look dispassionately at the record, there are a lot of churches with policies that are at odds with civil law.”
She continued, “I have not heard of a single Catholic church forced to marry someone who has been divorced, or a rabbi forced to perform an interfaith marriage or an evangelical church forced to marry a couple who has been living together.”
Then there's these guys:
Preachers from other parts of the country have dropped everything and moved to California in recent months. Lou Engle, who leads TheCall, a charismatic prayer ministry in Washington and Kansas City, Mo., with a large following among youth, moved with his seven children to California in September. He is holding large prayer rallies up and down the state, urging people to pray and fast for the 40 days leading up to the election. Some people are giving up solid foods; others are giving up clothes shopping or their favorite television shows.
Here's their web spot, via Digby:
Yikes. It goes well with Colson's Armageddon rhetoric and Perkins' survival of the nation blather, doesn't it? Somehow, I find this ad scarier than gays marrying.
Over to the No on 8 crew now. Incertus has a good spot posted making the interracial marriage comparison, and Balloon Juice has video of the Republican Mayor of San Diego giving an emotional speech against Prop. 8. Happily, some of the No on 8 ads I posted before that I'd only seen online have aired on TV now, including the Latino and one of the Mac-PC type ads. Meanwhile, these two ads have also run quite a bit.
While I'm not a big fan of Dianne Feinstein, this is a good spot:
And Samuel L. Jackson really brings it home, in an ad that's been running often:
Make sure to vote!
(Cross-posted at The Blue Herald)