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The likely real reason for Hak-Shing William Tam pulling out of Perry v. Schwarzenegger

Timothy Kincaid

January 9th, 2010

bill tamHak-Shing William Tam was one of five defendant-intervenors who petitioned the court to be allowed to defend Proposition 8 in Perry v. Schwarzenegger. Today he requested that he be allowed to withdraw from the case (pdf).

He listed his reasons as being due to his fears of recognition and reprisals. He claimed that his life, and that of his family, could be in danger.

As evidence, he submitted examples of threats against him during the campaign including vandalism (his car’s tire was punctured while parked on the street without a Prop 8 bumper sticker but in front of a house with a yard sign), theft (some girl tried to steal his yard sign but ran away), death threats (someone left a vulgar comment on a YouTube video which Tam claims to “take very seriously”) and racism (other vulgar comments on his YouTube video).

However, his concerns about being recognized didn’t seem to have dissuaded Bill Tam from giving interviews and making videos and participating in debates during the campaign. And the worrisome issues didn’t give him enough concern to keep him from petitioning the court in May 2009 to be added as a defendant. And Tam provides no instances since May in which anyone recognizing him has been anything other than “friendly”.

He hasn’t even removed from availability the DVD he has called “FAQ: Same-Sex Marriage & Homosexuality” which explains the “Possible Cause of Same Sex Attraction and the Healing” (he has “many friends who went from homosexuality back to heterosexuality“).

But now Bill Tam has suddenly become reduced to a pile of quivering terror. Frankly, I don’t buy it.

However, in his declaration Tam makes a comment that may give us a better understanding of the real reason why the legal team defending Proposition 8 wants him off the case.

A second reason that I want to withdraw as a Defendant-Intervenor is that I do not like the burden of complying with discovery requests. I do not like people questioning me on my private personal beliefs. I do not like people questioning me regarding fourteen year old articles I wrote in the Chinese language to my constituents. I don’t like people focusing on a few articles I posted on my website regarding homosexuality and disregarding the 50 or 60 other articles I posted regarding family values subjects. I do not like the exposure of my history to people who are antagonistic to me.

He doesn’t say what was in the articles that “people” were questioning him about, but the AP gives us a clue:

In the months leading up the trial, lawyers for two unmarried same-sex couples on whose behalf the case was brought complained that Proposition 8′s sponsors were withholding evidence to which the plaintiffs were entitled by citing a letter they had uncovered written by Tam to members of his church during the campaign.

In the letter, Tam outlined what he described as the disastrous consequences for allowing gays to marry in California.

“One by one, other states would fall into Satan’s hands,” he wrote. “Every child, when growing up, would fantasize marrying someone of the same sex. More children would become homosexuals.”

The contents could come up in the trial because one of the issues is whether the measure’s backers were motivated by anti-gay bias.

But even Tam’s public statements during the campaign show clear anti-gay bias. In October 2008, Tam told a reporter with the San Jose Mercury News, “We hope to convince Asian-Americans that gay marriage will encourage more children to experiment with the gay lifestyle and that the lifestyle comes with all kinds of disease.”

That is likely among the tamer of Tam’s proclamations on the subject. I expect that the fourteen year old articles read like the denunciations of Jeremiah. And his website and history would probably provide a very clear illustration of the motivation of those who collected signatures, contributed time and money, and worked diligently to take away the basic rights of their gay neighbors.

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Lindoro Almaviva
January 9th, 2010 | LINK

In other words:

I do not want my past to come bite me in the ass.

I do not want to be held accountable for what I have said and written.

I do not want to go through the time, expense and trouble of pulling every piece of propaganda I migh’ve come up with to have it paraded and made look for the bigot I am.

Did I get anywhere near it?

Evan Hurst
January 10th, 2010 | LINK

It cannot be said enough:

If you have to moderate what you really believe when stating it in public to avoid embarrassment, you have a PROBLEM.

Amicus
January 10th, 2010 | LINK

Perfect write-up! Nothing like going for the details.

Of course, the right-wing faithful – the talk-radio, the Townhall cabal, etc. – will be told he is a martyr.

One wonders how much of the data you presented will filter its way past the “shepherds” of those venues, misleading their flocks, by day and night…

wister
January 10th, 2010 | LINK

“One by one, other states would fall into Satan’s hands,” he wrote. “Every child, when growing up, would fantasize marrying someone of the same sex. More children would become homosexuals.”

Exactly the language of Uganda.

grantdale
January 10th, 2010 | LINK

He has a point.

He joined this campaign to attack OTHER people.

And now he may be asked to answer for all the vile things he’s said about those other people.

Clear cut case of injustice if you ask me.

It’s that, or else he’s simply a typical quivering pile of filthy NOM horse plop.

Decisions… decisions…

Emily K
January 10th, 2010 | LINK

Ok, so it’s clear the things he distributed in writing are a boon for our side. But will they be admitted? Will they be allowed to submit evidence that was “confidential” in the first place? If it’s inadmissible, or if Tam’s leaving affects whether it is, then this is a blow to our side.

Regan DuCasse
January 10th, 2010 | LINK

That’s IT?! THAT’S the extent of incidents from which he’s feeling “threatened”?

Oh….girl PUH-LEEZE!

He can’t even prove it was someone gay that did it.
And as for the puncture in his tire…

I recall a college professor in Fullerton, I think it was, that vandalized her own car and blamed racists or something like that for doing it.

His claims don’t change the color on the smell test.

His public statements ARE evidence and should be held in court as such. Every last piece of information, every bit of propaganda would be rightful to put before the court as exactly what it is.

Anti gay hatred, and incitement to fear and animus.

Tough noogies Tam, o’ boy.
The pitard is poised, let the hoisting begin!

David Farrell
January 10th, 2010 | LINK

“One by one, other states would fall into Satan’s hands,” he wrote. “Every child, when growing up, would fantasize marrying someone of the same sex. More children would become homosexuals.”

If that is the case, then since only heterosexual marriage is the only one allowed and gays are often vilified in churches all over, then wouldn’t or shouldn’t we all have grown up heterosexual. At least according to their own logic.

John Visser
January 10th, 2010 | LINK

This is by far my favorite part: “I do not like people questioning me on my private personal beliefs.”

Tam wants to force his “beliefs” on other people yet does not want do answer questions regarding those beliefs?

Reminds me of certain tyrannical dictators – Do what I say. Why? Because I said so.

What a cowardly hack job. He wants to be a bully but doesn’t want to get hurt in the process. So as usual, bullies are really cowards.

Burr
January 10th, 2010 | LINK

There’s nothing private or personal about beliefs you actively campaign for and shove oppressively onto others.

AJD
January 10th, 2010 | LINK

He was involved in the Prop. 8 campaign, right? Doesn’t that mean that Olson & Boies could use his past statements (which seem largely to be public record anyway) as evidence that Prop. 8 was based on anti-gay animus?

Regan DuCasse
January 10th, 2010 | LINK

I’m not sure if this is off topic or not.
But very recently, the El Coyote situation has been brought up AGAIN as a means of insulting and abusing me and my good name.
This happened between me and columnist Burt Prelusky as well as a character at Indy Gay Forum, and the usual suspects at TownHall.

It occurred to me a while ago that Marjorie’s disappearing act, wasn’t about pressure from gay people, but her own lack of courage to face the consequences of betraying people she publicly called friends and who supported her business and helped her family be prosperous.
Her behavior at the meeting was more like a person facing a firing squad, rather than who she said were her friends.

I felt it was just as histrionic as what Tam is displaying here. VERY histrionic.
And there were complaints that the protests and rallies didn’t stretch towards black neighborhoods…as if MORE of the same was an obligation to spread around!

The point is, the rallies were portrayed by the opposition as if they were riots. The shouting and anger as if manifested into assault and danger and the marriages taking place in CA as threatening children in their schools as if knowing about such a thing was tantamount to Nazi indoctrination.

To hear Marj’s defenders tell it, her business was firebombed, her staff fired and she herself was forced into a bunker because of a war raging outside her door. And as if those of us unsympathetic to her, tried to drag her out and lynch her, therefore it was rightful to call me and everyone who defends marriage equality names and do some vicious character assassination.

W. T. F?!!?

The intellectual disconnect from reality, and the victim mentality HAS reached seriously delusional proportions.
And Tam and the rest are trying to run, and then blame gay people all over again for the actions the opposition takes little prompting OR provocation.

I mean, they were saying all the same things BEFORE gay people got married and WHILE gay people were joyfully doing so.

And when they get their way, there is plenty of shameless gloating.
Did anyone else here see the black woman in the red outfit shouting “Hallelujah!!” after the vote in New Jersey?
She was interviewed and she was such a clod she didn’t see the anguish, tears and pain on the faces all around her in that room.

There ARE Christians like that who will cause immeasurable pain and then ignore and deny that they cause it, rationalize that who they do it to, deserves it.
Yet, want all manner of sympathy from the public just for being challenged and denied full control of someone else’s life.

And they garner that sympathy by the character assassination of gay people and their supporters.
That alone epitomizes a lack of ethics and ethical character. Even in the name of God, or especially in the name of God, that ain’t right.

Ben in Oakland
January 10th, 2010 | LINK

I’ve said it many times. Straight people behave badly and then blame us!

This waste on DNA called me and mine a threat to faith, family, children, america, freedom of speech, freedom of relgion, marriage, hetero-supremacy and on and on and on, and then is surprised that I might possibly be angry about that?

Jason D
January 10th, 2010 | LINK

This is by far my favorite part: “I do not like people questioning me on my private personal beliefs.”

Believe it or not, this is a fairly common belief amonst the anti-gay set.

I had an old school friend pop up on Facebook, added her and that was the beginning of some trouble. She had the same mindset. She did not wish to be questioned on her private beliefs, especially the anti-gay ones. To her thinking, to question her was disrespectful to her beliefs. I pointed out some inconsistencies and leaps of logic on her part (this was during the Prop 8 fiasco) and she freaked. When I asked her if she wanted strangers divorcing her from her husband, if she thought that would be okay and fair she completely shut down. She said “I’m not going to answer that question because there is no answer! You’re trying to trick me! You’re not letting me have my beliefs!”

I had no idea I held the power to keep people from having their beliefs. When you shine the light on those beliefs, sometimes they don’t hold water.

It’s funny, they want to have those beliefs. So far so good. They want to parade them in the public square and make them part of our laws but they don’t want to discuss them honestly and rationally? They want us to have laws based on one particular interpretation of one particular religious belief and they don’t think it’s fair that we talk about it? That we discuss the merits or lack thereof?

Regan said “here ARE Christians like that who will cause immeasurable pain and then ignore and deny that they cause it, rationalize that who they do it to, deserves it.”

Or, what I find more common and dangerous is they put all the blame and responsibility on God. “Don’t blame me, I was just doing what God told me to do” or “Well I don’t have a problem, it’s God who has the problem with you.” a certain Jim Scott was in here dodging and weaving saying the same kind of things.

Somehow people don’t seem to get that no matter who is telling you, no matter what faith you belong to — what you say, what you do is YOUR responsibility. Not someone elses. These are your works, your actions, your beliefs. We do not let serial killers get away with saying “God told me to do it.” why on earth should we let anyone else?

cedlitz
January 10th, 2010 | LINK

This guy doesn’t get it. Does he expect to stand on my tender parts and have me not try to bite his leg to get him off? Somebody should tell him that this is why the Ku Klux Klan wears hoods.

Dan
January 10th, 2010 | LINK

@BTB:

Great post. I read Tam’s filing and thought it was pathetic. Most of it is his unproven assertions and speculation about the dangers he is certain he faces, precisely what an affidavit is not supposed to contain. As you point out, every example of a supposed threat came prior to his motion to intervene. Nowhere does he ever mention having called the police. This cynical use of the “fear of intimidation” to get what one wants is no different from the way AIG used a single nasty email to shield from public view the recipients of hundreds of millions of dollars in ill-gotten bonuses.

Also, if Tam’s public articles are as as bad as your examples, you can only imagine what his not-for-public-consumption emails look like. No wonder the defendants fought tooth and nail over this.

@Regan Ducasse:

How about an update on El Coyote? I haven’t heard anything about the status of the boycott and the state of the restaurant’s business in a long time.

Priya Lynn
January 10th, 2010 | LINK

Jason said “When I asked her if she wanted strangers divorcing her from her husband, if she thought that would be okay and fair she completely shut down. She said “I’m not going to answer that question because there is no answer! You’re trying to trick me! You’re not letting me have my beliefs!””.

Very interesting. Clearly some people such as her know at some level that their beliefs are wrong, unfair and unjust and they’ve conditioned themselves not to examine those beliefs too deeply because they know if they do they can’t maintain their bigotry. In a sense you weren’t letting her have her beliefs by exposing her to reality and the concept of fairness.

Timothy (TRiG)
January 11th, 2010 | LINK

People don’t like asking themselves dangerous questions.

TRiG.

Aaron
January 11th, 2010 | LINK

“Clearly some people such as her know at some level that their beliefs are wrong, unfair and unjust and they’ve conditioned themselves not to examine those beliefs too deeply because they know if they do they can’t maintain their bigotry. In a sense you weren’t letting her have her beliefs by exposing her to reality and the concept of fairness.”

Very true. It appears to be the underlying philosophy of much of fundamentalist thought.

“People don’t like asking themselves dangerous questions.”

Just know that many of us theists do ask ourselves these dangerous questions and have the greater faith for it, albeit a much wiser, mature faith. Our own Bible tells us to test all things.

Peace be upon you.

Chris McCoy
January 11th, 2010 | LINK

If he succeeds in being allowed to withdrawal as a voluntary defendant, can be subpoenaed as an involuntary one? After all, his was a contributor to the Prop 8 campaign – his testimony as to motive is certainly just as relevant as anyone’s.

When will people learn that there is a difference between having an opinion and forcing other people into involuntary compliance with that opinion?

I thought part of the Christian Ethic was to stand up for what you believe in, even when it’s unpopular, inconvenient, and, if I remember “A Man For All Seasons” correctly, even when that same belief might get you killed.

Olsen/Boies should point out to judge/jury/public that even dyed-in-the-wool-Christians find their own position so untenable, they can’t be bothered with the minor inconvenience of fighting for it.

Jason D
January 11th, 2010 | LINK

“Just know that many of us theists do ask ourselves these dangerous questions and have the greater faith for it, albeit a much wiser, mature faith. Our own Bible tells us to test all things.

Peace be upon you.”

Aaron, good for you.

It’s been my observation that those with a weak, immature faith cannot stomach anything that might contradict what they’ve been told. The existence of other philosophies, other ideas, offends them to the core. They lack perspective.
Their faith is a house of cards, terrified of the slightest breeze.

So, they live their life in fear. Thus anything that in any way presents other ideas as equal(or neutral!) must be stopped.

Timothy Kincaid
January 11th, 2010 | LINK

Like I’ve said many times, the opposite of faith is not doubt, it’s certainty.

Harold Howard
January 11th, 2010 | LINK

No, the real reason that Tam pulled out of the trial is that you filthy disease ridden queers have burned down churches and sent anthrax letters to mormon temples after the voters rejected your agenda.

Scott P.
January 11th, 2010 | LINK

Okay, Howard (I know this is going to be useless) which church was burnt down? I know that a Mormon stake-house (their version of a church) had a a small fire lit at it’s front door that caused minor damage, but no church was burnt down. And considering the popularity of Mormons both the fire and the anthrax scare (please note the the powder sent was harmless) could’ve been sent by any number of people. No proof has been presented by ANYONE that either attack was done by Ant-Prop. 8 activists. so provide us with proof, or shut up!

Ben in Oakland
January 11th, 2010 | LINK

And of course, howard, it probably doesn’t concern you at all that there have been 17 arson attacks against MCC churches? Are you at all upset about white supremacists burning down black churches?

And for the record, I have no diseases.

Got hate?

Jason D
January 11th, 2010 | LINK

Ben, I’m also in the disease-free category as well. Not that it makes me a better person, just that it’s not factual to state we’re “disease ridden”.

And as Scott has pointed out, there has been NO PROOF that gays, or anti-prop 8 folks had anything to do with either of those incidents (and many others we’ve been blamed for).

For all we know, these incidents are stunts orchestrated by Pro-Prop 8 forces in order to garner sympathy for their cause. Especially when you consider the fact that there were no casualties and the white powder wasn’t anthrax or any other toxic substance.

Timothy Kincaid
January 11th, 2010 | LINK

Harold Howard’s comments are in violation of our comments policy. They would be removed but the following comments would not make sense.

Folks, please don’t respond to vulgar trolls before we have a chance to remove their abuse.

Timothy Kincaid
January 11th, 2010 | LINK

Scott P,

If I recall correctly, there was no structural damage at all by fire. A Book of Mormon was burned but other than the sacrilege factor there was no other loss.

Scott P.
January 11th, 2010 | LINK

Timothy,

That’s why I called it minor damage. I think they had to do a power wash and some repainting, that’s all. And I think hateful misrepresentations should be confronted with facts, not just ignored and disposed of. Just my opinion.

Priya Lynn
January 11th, 2010 | LINK

Timothy said “Like I’ve said many times, the opposite of faith is not doubt, it’s certainty.”.

Since faith is belief without proof I’d say the opposite is disbelief in spite of proof. For example when someone claims a friend or relative is incapable of dishonesty after having viewed security camera footage of that person stealing.

Priya Lynn
January 11th, 2010 | LINK

Or perhaps to put it another way, the opposite of faith is denial.

Priya Lynn
January 11th, 2010 | LINK

Denial of reality, that is.

Nathan
January 12th, 2010 | LINK

Quoth Priya Lynn:

Or perhaps to put it another way, the opposite of faith is denial.

=====

No, that’s another form of faith. The opposite of faith is doubt – a willingness to abandon beliefs that are either not supported by evidence or those that are contradicted by evidence.

Cheers.

planetspinz
January 12th, 2010 | LINK

I wonder if he can be subpoenaed to testify since he actively participate in getting Prop Hate passed.

William
January 12th, 2010 | LINK

What is it exactly that tempts Hak-Shing William Tam so much about homosexuality? It sounds like it takes the bible and the prayerss of all of China just to hold him and all of his friends — and their children, evidently — from rushing to become gay?!?!? He seems positively salivating over the chance to do that. perhaps resigning from the case is his first step to exploring his true passions so he could be on the down low….or so it seems by his words. Freak.

The Letter Perry Defendant William Tam Doesn’t Want You To See | Asterisk
January 13th, 2010 | LINK

[...] have looked at the “fears for his safety” part. Timothy Kincaid of Box Turtle Bulletin looked at Tam’s claims on Saturday: [Tam] listed his reasons as being due to his fears of recognition and reprisals. He [...]

BobN
January 13th, 2010 | LINK

“I do not like people questioning me on my private personal beliefs…. I just want them enshrined in the law…”

JeffreyRO5
January 16th, 2010 | LINK

I love that this @sshole is getting all sorts of unwanted publicity now. Since his homophobic rantings hurt the defendants’ case, even his erstwhile homophobic allies are abandoning him. Maybe crime really doesn’t pay!

It is astonishing in this day and age that people still cling to this hatred of gay people. I just don’t get it.

SK
February 1st, 2010 | LINK

Christian culture is immersed in self-victimization. While murdering women and gays, the Catholic Church proclaimed how they were the victims of those evil people they were stealing land and wealth from with their witch trail tortures. Today’s Conservative Christian groups routinely rely on the false perception that they are persecuted by non-believers, hence Hak-Shing William Tam’s lame excuse for withdrawing. It’s simply a tricky way to distract the public from the fact that you’re doing mean, nasty work out in the world. If you get your supporters to believe you’re being picked on, they might not notice the dirty work you’re involved in.

In fact, this week’s newsletter from NOM (National Organization for Maintaining the status quo) claims the judge is at fault for driving away key expert witnesses from the trail. Oh, us poor Conservative Christians, we’re always getting picked on, all we want is to make the law support us more than those other people, boo, hoo. PS, send us more money!

These guys are experts at the politics of distraction. Self-victimization is just one of their deceptive tools.

How the Religious Right Manipulated the U.S. Supreme Court « Project Honesty
August 12th, 2010 | LINK

[...] No wonder Tam wanted out of the trial. As he wrote in his motion to withdraw: A second reason that I want to withdraw as a [...]

Law, Unwrapped: Prop 8 Standing Is A Done Deal, What About The Merits? | The New Civil Rights Movement
November 17th, 2011 | LINK

[...] continue to expose the fear and lies about our lives that drive people like the proponents — one of whom, by the way, dropped out rather than face scrutiny for his extreme [...]

Law, Unwrapped: Prop 8 Standing Is A Done Deal, What About The Merits? | Legal Translation and Interpreting Services
November 20th, 2011 | LINK

[...] continue to expose the fear and lies about our lives that drive people like the proponents — one of whom, by the way, dropped out rather than face scrutiny for his extreme [...]

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