Box Turtle Bulletin

Box Turtle BulletinNews, analysis and fact-checking of anti-gay rhetoric
“Now you must raise your children up in a world where that union of man and box turtle is on the same legal footing as man and wife…”
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Posts for October, 2008

Californians Against Hate: LDS Bankrolling CA, AZ Marriage Amendments

Jim Burroway

October 22nd, 2008

Californians Against Hate released figures yesterday that members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS, aka the Mormons) have contributed $17.67 million (77%) to support passage of Proposition 8 in California. Additionally, the group reports that Mormons have contributed almost all of the $6.9 million to pass Proposition 102 in Arizona. The group did not give an exact figure for Arizona.

According to the Advocate:

[Fred] Karger said Californians Against Hate came up with the figures by cross-referencing donor information from the California secretary of state with Brigham Young University alumni lists, church memberships, and other personal documentation that could identify Mormon Church members. He said the surge in support has been an attempt to boost the church’s social standing among the greater religious community.

“For whatever reason, they’re trying to get some respect from other religions,” he told The Advocate Tuesday. “They’ve always been looked down upon by the Christians, the Catholics, and evangelicals.”

Success with the marriage amendment would give the church credibility, Karger said.

We are in a very tough fight against a formidable opponent. Please give as generously as you can today.

A Smart Protest

This commentary is the opinion of its author and may not necessarily reflect the opinions of other authors at Box Turtle Bulletin.

Timothy Kincaid

August 17th, 2008

Too often issue politics becomes partisan. The problem morphs from a protest against the objectionable views of some Republicans or Democrats into a protest against their party registration.

And far too often activists within our community have fallen victim to such a mindset.

I understand why. It’s far easier to apply a label and assign enmity than it is to listen, consider, and reason why someone may differ with you on some issues. Besides if we pick a side we get to view ourselves as heroes and the “others” as the evil enemy.

It’s the exact same motivation that drives anti-gays.

But it isn’t particularly effective in winning debates or effecting change. And when the outcome is important, we don’t have the luxury of making enemies. We have to build our arguments around shared values, compelling evidence, and an appeal to decency rather than messages of enmity and war.

Which is why I am so very pleased with the approach that Fred Karger and Californians Against Hate took towards a fundraiser organized by the San Diego Republican Party Central Committee for the anti-gay marriage amendment, Proposition 8.

Surely it must have been tempting to stage a protest that would villianize the evil Republicans. And most assuredly some gay activists when planning such a protest would come bearing signs that said ‘Republicans are Haters’ or with a big red circle and a line through the letters GOP.

But Fred recognized that many Republicans in California are open to a message of inclusion and decency and an appeal to vote “No” can be received positively… if they have not already been made the enemy. So he took another approach.

He and his protest team presented signs that spoke of the amendment and of marriage, but not of party affiliation. And he presented those attending the event with a list of quotes from notable individuals who have spoken out against bigotry – all Republicans: Ronald Reagan, Gerald Ford, Barry Goldwater, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Congressman Clair Burgener, and San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders.

When Karger spoke to San Diego 6 he emphasized that the amendment is not something that should be supported by rank and file Republicans but that rejecting discrimination and bigotry is a value that Republicans can proudly share.

“This is truly the fringe element of the Republican Party,” said Californians Against Hate Founder Fred Karger. “These people are out of step with the Republican Party.”

“We hope to inform those attending about the rich history and philosophies of so many Republican leaders who fought for equality and against discrimination and hate,” said Karger

This is, I believe, a very smart approach. It may not change the opinions of any attendees but it does establish that opposition to this amendment is welcome from all voters of any party.