This commentary is the opinion of the author and may not necessarily reflect those of other authors at Box Turtle Bulletin.
November 6th, 2008
The voters of California have spoken twice about whether gay citizens are to be considered full citizens of the State, regarding marriage. In 2000, the voters declared with a majority of 61.4% that the state would only recognize marriages between opposite sex couples. And just this week they declared by 52% that the decision of the Supreme Court be overturned to exclude gay couples from marriage recognition.
But the voice of the people need not be silent at this point, never to change their view. And polls show that time is working in favor of marriage equality. Both a growing comfort with gay couples and a sharply different attitude between youth and seniors suggests that without unanticipated circumstances it is inevitable that soon a majority of California voters will believe in marriage equality.
So I propose that we, as a community, consider the following strategy:
We place a constitutional amendment on the ballot of every statewide election until Proposition 8 is overturned. Such an amendment would be written to do nothing other than reverse the language that was inserted on Tuesday night.
An amendment to the state constitution can be placed on the ballot by means of valid signatures totaling 8% of the previous gubernatorial votes. This means that as few as 694,324 valid signatures need to be collected. A serious effort combining No on Prop 8 and HRC lists along with pride parades and festivals and Universal Unitarian, United Church of Christ, Episcopal, and some United Methodist congregations should make this a relative inexpensive project. Even if signature gatherers are required, the cost should be less than a million dollars in total.
I propose that beyond the cost and effort to collect and submit signatures that we do nothing towards passing the amendment. Nor should we go in with any expectation of success. Our community cannot well afford either the financial or emotional cost of a battle like the one we have just gone through.
But we should make it clear to the voters that we can and will continue to place this issue before them until they side with equality.
There are a few possible negative results of such a plan.
If we spend nothing to pass such an amendment, it may fail by a larger than 52% to 48% margin. This will embolden those who seek to oppress us to claim that California is moving in their direction.
This might even cause some of our allies to become disheartened. We must make it clear that we know it will take time for Californians to come to our aid but that we will be unrelenting.
Also, it may give some voters the impression that they’ve “already answered this”. Why are we back when they said “No” once, twice, three times, etc.? That is an irritation that we will just have to withstand.
But this approach also has some positive sides.
For what we spent on Proposition 8, we could fund 35 amendments. And the cost could be spread over several years allowing us to recover financially and emotionally without giving up a constant pressure.
Repeatedly having to choose discrimination is emotionally distressing to those persons who like to think of themselves as decent and loving. You can always tell yourself, “gosh, how did I vote?” on one or two amendments and “remember” that you just must have sided with decency and love for your neighbor. But after the third time, it’s pretty hard to lie to yourself.
And if we spend no money to front this, the enemies of freedom will have to expend increasingly large amounts to fight against us which keeps that money from doing evil elsewhere.
And finally, if we do decide that the time is right to make another large stand and that we could win, we already have the apparatus in place to raise funds, run ads, and make our claim on the promises of equality that will still stand in the Constitution ready to be freed from the shackles of bigotry, religious intolerance, and heterosexual privilege.
In this original BTB Investigation, we unveil the tragic story of Kirk Murphy, a four-year-old boy who was treated for “cross-gender disturbance” in 1970 by a young grad student by the name of George Rekers. This story is a stark reminder that there are severe and damaging consequences when therapists try to ensure that boys will be boys.
When we first reported on three American anti-gay activists traveling to Kampala for a three-day conference, we had no idea that it would be the first report of a long string of events leading to a proposal to institute the death penalty for LGBT people. But that is exactly what happened. In this report, we review our collection of more than 500 posts to tell the story of one nation’s embrace of hatred toward gay people. This report will be updated continuously as events continue to unfold. Check here for the latest updates.
In 2005, the Southern Poverty Law Center wrote that “[Paul] Cameron’s ‘science’ echoes Nazi Germany.” What the SPLC didn”t know was Cameron doesn’t just “echo” Nazi Germany. He quoted extensively from one of the Final Solution’s architects. This puts his fascination with quarantines, mandatory tattoos, and extermination being a “plausible idea” in a whole new and deeply disturbing light.
On February 10, I attended an all-day “Love Won Out” ex-gay conference in Phoenix, put on by Focus on the Family and Exodus International. In this series of reports, I talk about what I learned there: the people who go to these conferences, the things that they hear, and what this all means for them, their families and for the rest of us.
Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word "Change" Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"
Using the same research methods employed by most anti-gay political pressure groups, we examine the statistics and the case studies that dispel many of the myths about heterosexuality. Download your copy today!
And don‘t miss our companion report, How To Write An Anti-Gay Tract In Fifteen Easy Steps.
Anti-gay activists often charge that gay men and women pose a threat to children. In this report, we explore the supposed connection between homosexuality and child sexual abuse, the conclusions reached by the most knowledgeable professionals in the field, and how anti-gay activists continue to ignore their findings. This has tremendous consequences, not just for gay men and women, but more importantly for the safety of all our children.
Anti-gay activists often cite the “Dutch Study” to claim that gay unions last only about 1½ years and that the these men have an average of eight additional partners per year outside of their steady relationship. In this report, we will take you step by step into the study to see whether the claims are true.
Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council submitted an Amicus Brief to the Maryland Court of Appeals as that court prepared to consider the issue of gay marriage. We examine just one small section of that brief to reveal the junk science and fraudulent claims of the Family “Research” Council.
The FBI’s annual Hate Crime Statistics aren’t as complete as they ought to be, and their report for 2004 was no exception. In fact, their most recent report has quite a few glaring holes. Holes big enough for Daniel Fetty to fall through.