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Prop 8 Description Upheld in Court

Timothy Kincaid

August 8th, 2008

When the proponents of Proposition 8 distributed petitions to change the California Constitution to ban same-sex marriage, the title and summary prepared by the Secretary of State rightly noted that such an initiative would impose a limit on marriage to exclude same-sex couples from being added to the classes recognized.

Limit on Marriage. Constitutional Amendment.

Amends the California Constitution to provide that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: The measure would have no fiscal effect on state or local governments. This is because there would be no change to the manner in which marriages are currently recognized by the state.

However, in May the California Supreme Court ruled that the state cannot restrict its recognition of marriage to opposite-sex couples and offer a separate and lesser recognition to same-sex couples. By doing so, they changed the fact pattern.

It is no longer true that “there would be no change to the manner in which marriages are currently recognized by the state.” It is no longer true that this proposed amendment would place a limit on which classes can have their marriage added to recognition status but rather it removes recognition from a class already recognized.

So the Attorney General rewrote the description to reflect the current situation:

ELIMINATES RIGHT OF SAME-SEX COUPLES TO MARRY. INITIATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT.

Changes California Constitution to eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry. Provides that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California. Fiscal Impact: Over the next few years, potential revenue loss, mainly sales taxes, totaling in the several tens of millions of dollars, to state and local governments. In the long run, likely little fiscal impact on state and local governments.

Gays and anti-gays both recognized that this change of description worked in the favor of those who oppose the initiative. The public is much less likely to remove a right from a class of citizens than it is to deny extending such a right in the first place.

Proponents of the amendment sued to have the language changed. They argue that “eliminates” is a “negative verb” and thus should not be used. They wanted language that did not discuss married same-sex couples at all or make any reference to the change in circumstances that would occur to such couples.

They did not succeed. Today Judge Timothy Frawley ruled that the language can stay (SF Chronicle):

“The attorney general did not abuse his discretion in concluding that the chief purpose and effect of the initiative is to eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry,” Fralwey right. “The attorney general’s title is an accurate statement.”

The judge also restricted the language of arguments that Prop 8 supporters wish to place in the election pamphlets, though not as far as opponents sought. Supporters wished to state

“In health education classes, state law requires teachers to instruct children as young as kindergarteners about marriage … If the gay marriage ruling is not overturned, teachers will be required to teach young children there is no difference between gay marriage and traditional marriage.

“We should not accept a court decision that results in public schools teaching our kids that gay marriage is okay,”

According to the Bay Area Reporter

In his ruling, Frawley said, “As petitioners have established, current state law does not require school districts to teach anything about marriage or same-sex marriage at any grade level. Moreover, for those school districts that choose to include instruction about marriage as part of a health education curriculum, Education Code [section] 51240 requires that they allow parents to excuse their children from any such instruction conflicting with the parents’ religious or moral convictions.”

But the judge allowed the Proposition 8 supporters to claim that such conditions “could” or “may” occur. He also required other minor language changes.

Anti-gays have indicated that they will appeal the judge’s decisions.

UPDATE: (SF Chron)

The state’s official description of Proposition 8 on the November ballot will remain as is, a statement that the measure would eliminate same-sex couples’ right to marry in California.

Sponsors of the measure argued that the title and summary drafted by Attorney General Jerry Brown were argumentative and designed to encourage voters to oppose Prop. 8. But after two defeats in court last week, the Yes on 8 campaign said today it would not appeal to the state Supreme Court.

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Ben in Oakland
August 9th, 2008 | LINK

This was published by the chronicle:

The conservative backers of Prop. 8 are understandably upset by the title given to their anti-marriage proposition: it “eliminates the right of same-sex couples to marry.” Given the Supreme court decision, it’s clear that this is exactly what it does. They can’t hide behind generalities, obfuscations, and fears, such as defend marriage, definition of marriage, protect the children, special rights, sinful lifestyle, or gay agenda.

They fear it will prejudice the voters against the initiative. Since they so fervently believe that both God and the voters think that marriage is not for their gay fellow citizens, I don’t understand what the problem is. Surely, such clarity could only be of help.

Personally, these are titles I would favor: “How would you like it if you had to ask 30 million people for permission to marry the person you have shared your life with for the past 20 years?” Or perhaps, “How would you like it if you came home one day and someone, not your spouse, informed you that your marriage was over?”

Emproph
August 9th, 2008 | LINK

Oh, that’s all you militant homosexual activists ever have to say…

AJD
August 9th, 2008 | LINK

I hate to say this, but I have a little bit more respect for the Phelps cult than I do for these people. Not that I’m excusing the Phelps’ bigotry, but at least they come right out and “say what they mean and mean what they say.”

Nobody would support Prop 8 if its proponents were saying “We need to restrict marriage to a man and a woman because God hates fags!” So, they have to cloak it in sweet-sounding “protect the children” BS, and it’s not surprising that they would sue over an honest description of their amendment.

These Proposition 8 people are far more dangerous because they’re more able to lead people to think they really mean well and thus persuade them to support these amendments.

robert
August 10th, 2008 | LINK

So this blog was posted from an LDS (Mormon) couple called nine moons in California. Anyone find this VERY disturbing, but me?

“We wholeheartedly agreed with the prop and already indicated we’d be happy to throw some money at it to help out. What we were dreading, though, was to be asked to make “get out the vote” calls or put up a sign on our lawn (the worst part about being asked by the Church to do something is you really can’t say no– and if you do, you just don’t get it). One of my wife’s best friends is a gay man (with a monogamous partner) with whom she already shared her feelings on same-sex marriage. Surprisingly he agreed, and even called the whole issue “ridiculous.”

As it turned out, when the SP sat down with us, it was actually about making a contribution– a rather sizable contribution. He already had a figure in mind. Interestingly, the Mrs. and I both heard the figure in our heads before he said it. I asked if all the members were being asked for the same figure, and he admitted they weren’t. We told him we’d talk about it and would let him know if we’d send it or an alternative amount. He agreed and left a donation form for ProtectMarriage.com which asks you to submit, among other things, your name, and the name of your ward and stake.

Different thoughts ran through our minds after the visit. My wife wanted to know how they came up with the customized figure and stewed over the notion that they probably reviewed our tithing records. The alternative would have been to pray over each family name, which seemed a painful, time-intensive exercise considering we were talking about the whole stake. Meanwhile, I didn’t like the idea of tallies being made for each ward. The SP said they’d be getting back lists of the donors and how much they paid. I didn’t like the idea of my faithfulness being gauged so. I also didn’t like contributing to a coalition of churches, many of which I suspect are Huckabee fan clubs. Plus, let’s face it, it was a huge chunk o’ change they were asking from us.”

They made the donation…and within minutes they got the dream home they had been praying for. They believe it is for their obedience to the Lord…?

I wanted to vomit after reading this. There were so many things wrong with this entire episode that I could not begin to fathom how far from Christianity this fellowship has strayed…from political fund raising, to church reporting on donor contributions, to the belief that this sizeable contribution was answered by God with the arrangement of financing for a new dream house. I have had it. This is just plain wrong.

Tom
August 10th, 2008 | LINK

It’s worse than you think. Check out this quote from another Mormon blog:

“I personally don’t have a problem with same-sex marriage (although I do believe that it is immoral), and I don’t understand why the Church is so adamant in asking members to support the proposition. It seems to me that they are trying to legislate a moral issue; why not try to outlaw adultery?

However, I’ve been blessed in the past for obeying my priesthood leaders. They know things that I don’t. This issue must be important for some reason that I don’t understand. Since I don’t live in California, the directive to “do all you can to support the proposed constitutional amendment by donating of your means and time to assure that marriage in California is legally defined as being between a man and a woman” doesn’t apply to me, I guess. But I’d like to think that if I did live in California, or if a similar situation were to take place here in Nevada, I’d have the faith to sustain the Prophet and First Presidency and make good on the covenants I’ve made to consecrate all I have to the Church.”

Tavdy
August 10th, 2008 | LINK

Worse? It sounds to me like grass-roots Mormons have serious doubts about what their church is doing in covertly supporting the Proposition 8 campaign, even if they themselves don’t see gay marriage as healthy and right.

That’s a good thing, isn’t it?

John
August 10th, 2008 | LINK

If the effort is as organized as it might seem from the above comments, and enough documentation can be generated to demonstrate arm twisting and coercion using Church resources (down to tithing tallies), it could seriously endanger the Mormon Church non-profit status. We can only hope.

Timothy Kincaid
August 10th, 2008 | LINK

Churches are free to involve themselves in propositions without threatening their tax status.

Alas, a blog » Blog Archive » Court Issues Ruling On Transitive Verbs In Gay Marriage Case
August 11th, 2008 | LINK

[...] California Court has ruled that proposition 8 — which, if passed, will change the California constitution to eliminate [...]

Various links that I’ll just throw around « Stuff
August 23rd, 2008 | LINK

[...] while we’re on that issue, I really liked this (again Alas, a blog): A California Court has ruled that proposition 8 — which, if passed, will change the California constitution to eliminate the [...]

Chino Blanco
August 24th, 2008 | LINK

According to Frank Schubert, ‘Yes on 8′ campaign manager, the mobilization of LDS (Mormon) volunteers could save his campaign up to $26 million in costs related to micro-targeting persuadable voters.

Micro-Targeting Mormons:

http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2008/8/24/61932/7927/663/573944

So much for campaign finance rules.

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