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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 February, 2013

Meg Whitman’s reversal

Timothy Kincaid

February 27th, 2013

In 2009 Meg Whitman expressed her opposition to marriage equality:

“So as you know I am pro-civil union and not for gay marriage. And just for me, that term marriage, for me needs to be between a man and a woman…I do not feel it is a slap in the face. I had a terrific record at eBay, an excellent work environment for people of all different backgrounds and all walks of life. And as I said I am pro-civil union.”

In August 2010, Federal Judge Vaughn Walker found Proposition 8 to be a violation of the US Constitution. The campaign office for Meg Whitman, then the Republican nominee for California Governor, released a statement:

Meg supported Proposition 8 and believes marriage is between a man and a woman. Meg also strongly supports California’s civil union laws. Today’s ruling is the first step in a process that will continue.

And when Governor Schwarzenegger and Attorney General Brown declined to defend the amendment, Whitman said that were it her decision, she would choose to allow it to go forward.

“I think the governor of California and the attorney general today have to defend the Constitution and have to enable the judicial process to go along … and an appeal to go through,” Whitman said. “So if I was governor, I would give that ruling standing to be able to appeal to the circuit court.”

Well, the appeal did go through and the ruling was in ‘a process that continued’. So, it appears, was Meg’s thinking on the issue.

Yesterday we told you that her name was among those who have signed an amicus brief in favor of overturning Proposition 8 on constitutional grounds. Today she explained how her views came to evolve on this issue and why she now believes that marriage equality is good for society.

Marriage is the fundamental institution that unites a society. It is the single greatest contributor to the well-being of adults and children because it promotes eternal principles like commitment, fidelity and stability. It makes no difference whether the marriage is between a man and woman or a woman and woman. Marriage makes society better.

…we now know that children who grow up in intact, married families are much more likely to do well in school, achieve professional success and enjoy the benefits of stable, adult family lives.

In contrast, children who live with unmarried, cohabitating partners encounter significant challenges in their lives due to the higher separation rates of their parents and lower household incomes. Laws like California’s Proposition 8 do not fortify traditional marriage, they merely prevent hundreds of thousands of children of same-sex couples from enjoying the benefits that accrue from marriage.

At it’s core, it’s a conservative argument. And let’s hope it is as effective on Kennedy and Roberts (and possibly even Alito or Thomas) as it was on Whitman.

Hey, Geoff Kors, don’t lie to me and try to use my orientation for your partisan agenda

This commentary is the opinion of the author and does not necessarily reflect that of other authors at Box Turtle Bulletin.

Timothy Kincaid

September 16th, 2010

I’m gay. That means that my romantic, affectionate, and sexual attraction are towards persons of the same sex. It does NOT mean that the Democratic Party has the right to expect my loyalties, my money, or my vote. And it especially does not mean that self coronated gay leaders have the right to lie to me and try to use my affiliation with my community as a tool to advance their own personal power or the candidate of their choosing.

I am annoyed to the point of venting (obviously) with leaders of gay organizations who think that they can “deliver the gay vote.” But I’m a bit used to it.

What I am not used to, and refuse to become used to, is being lied to in the process.

But that is what Geoff Kors, the Executive Director of Equality California, is doing. A few weeks ago I got this from Kors:

Yes on 8 supporter Meg Whitman has stepped up her anti-marriage equality campaign.

Late yesterday, she joined Attorney General Candidate Steve Cooley by saying that, if elected, she will use the state’s vast resources to defend Prop. 8 in court.

But it simply isn’t true. Whitman did NOT say that ” if elected, she will use the state’s vast resources to defend Prop. 8 in court” and what is more, she couldn’t if she wanted to. The date to appeal Perry v. Schwarzenegger has passed and the court has said that it will not be making exceptions to its deadlines, so unless Whitman has a hot tub time machine she can’t do anything about it.

The case will be heard in early December and Whitman would not be sworn in until late January. My prediction is that the appeal will be dismissed due to lack of standing. But assuming that it goes forward, and assuming that it drags on for two months, the most Whitman could do is file an amicus brief, something she can do today if she wishes.

What Whitman actually said is:

“The issue right now is, as I understand it, is ‘Will Proposition 8 have the appropriate support to actually make an appeal to the Circuit Court of Appeals?’

“I think the governor of California and the attorney general today have to defend the Constitution and have to enable the judicial process to go along … and an appeal to go through,” Whitman said. “So if I was governor, I would give that ruling standing to be able to appeal to the circuit court.” [emphasis mine]

But that is a long long way from “if elected, she will use the state’s vast resources.” And while I disagree that the governor and attorney general have an obligation to appeal, that is hardly an outrageous, homophobic, or bigoted position. And further Whitman made no reference to resources but only to “give that ruling standing.”

While Kors is stretching the truth there, it at least has a passing relationship to the facts. But then yesterday this showed up in my email:

Dear Timothy,

Meg Whitman made history today in her attempt to buy herself the governor’s office. She has now spent more of her own money than any candidate in our nation’s history: a whopping $119 million!

We have to fight back!

Not a dime of this money is going to our schools, to healthcare or to advance equality. In fact, she is spending all this money so she can then spend your and my taxpayer dollars on a lawsuit to overturn the Federal District court decision that declared Prop. 8 unconstitutional.

Equality California Political Action Committee is working to defeat Whitman, Cooley, Fiorina and all candidates who would stand in the way of full equality. We can win these races if we can turn out the vote. But we can’t do that without your support.

Help us fight Whitman’s checkbook by contributing today.

The cost of having Meg Whitman as our next governor is too great.

In solidarity,

Geoff Kors
Executive Director
Equality California PAC

What a great big pile of steaming partisancrap.

First off, not a dime of ANY CANDIDATE’s election fund is “going to our schools, to healthcare or to advance equality.” Not Jerry Brown’s campaign, not Kamala Harris’, not even a cent of the money that he raises through this email will be “going to our schools, to healthcare or to advance equality.” But while that’s deceptive and petty, at least it isn’t a blatant lie.

This is:

In fact, she is spending all this money so she can then spend your and my taxpayer dollars on a lawsuit to overturn the Federal District court decision that declared Prop. 8 unconstitutional.

Really, Geoff? That’s why she’s running?

When, exactly, did Whitman say that she was seeking “a lawsuit to overturn the Federal District court decision”? Oh, she didn’t.

And when did she make opposing Prop. 8 a central part of her campaign? Oh, she hasn’t.

And will she be spending a cent of taxpayer dollars to defend Prop. 8? Oh, she can’t. Nor did she say that she would if she could.

But Kors feels perfectly entitled to try and deliver my vote and my dollars by lying to me.

Look, I don’t mind when a partisan group (which EQCA clearly is) seeks to support their party’s candidate. That’s expected (though it annoys me to no end when they pretend to be a non-partisan gay group rather than a partisan advocate).

If Kors wants to promote Jerry Brown on his merits, then he should do so. If he wants to oppose Meg Whitman due to inadequate support for gay Californians, more power to him. But don’t piss on my leg and tell me it’s raining.

I am suffering from no delusions. There is no question that Jerry Brown is more supportive on marriage equality than Meg Whitman. But let’s be truthful about what she has said, what she has done, and what she can and will do.

Here is how Whitman describes her position:

So as you know I am pro-civil union and not for gay marriage. And just for me, that term marriage, for me needs to be between a man and a woman.

And while “Yes on 8 supporter Meg Whitman” did not campaign for Proposition 8 or in any other way support Yes on 8, she did vote for the initiative. And when Proposition 8 passed, she took a bit of a middle stance. (LA Times)

Explaining her support for Proposition 8, the November measure that banned same-sex marriage, she called it a “matter of personal conscience and my faith.”

But Whitman, a Presbyterian who supports gay civil unions, said the thousands of same-sex marriages that took place last year before the ban should be legally recognized — a sentiment opposed by many Proposition 8 backers. Moreover, she said, gay and lesbian couples should be able to adopt children.

When Perry v. Schwarzengger found Prop 8 to be unconstitutional, her response was rather bland:

Today’s ruling is the first step in a process that will continue.

What I see is a woman who is less supportive than Jerry Brown, but not an ardent foe of gay equality. She has pandered to the right in her statement on the appeal, but has not made anti-gay positions a part of her campaign. She was the most preferable of those running in the Republican primary, but falls short of seeing gay people as fully equal in society. She is not (as some partisan hacks have taken to calling her) homophobic, but her views are not as evolved as they should be and she is not an ally of our community.

Based on her positions on the issue of marriage equality, I could not endorse Meg Whitman.

But let me be perfectly clear: while I know that I’ll be accused of “defending” Meg Whitman, that is not my intent. Really, this commentary isn’t about Whitman at all; rather, it is about being lied to.

I hate being lied to, I really do. But I especially hate having my sexual orientation manipulated dishonestly by “gay leaders” for partisan gain.

It’s almost enough to make me vote for a third party candidate.

Meg Whitman Would Defend Prop 8 If Elected Governor

Jim Burroway

August 23rd, 2010

Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman, who is running for the GOP nomination for California Governor, announced that if she were elected governor, she would defend Prop 8 in Federal Court:

Whitman’s first definitive statements on how she would handle the issue as governor came hours before she spoke at the opening of the three-day state GOP convention in San Diego, where she is facing open hostility from conservatives over her positions on illegal immigration and climate change.

“I think the governor of California and the attorney general today have to defend the Constitution and have to enable the judicial process to go along … and an appeal to go through,” Whitman said. “So if I was governor, I would give that ruling standing to be able to appeal to the circuit court.”

The two named defendants, California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Attorney General Jerry Brown, have refused to defend the constitutionality of Prop 8 in Federal District Court. U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker then invited the Alliance Defense Fund to defend Prop 8 as intervener. Following Judge Walker’s ruling declaring Prop 8 unconstitutional, it is unclear whether ADF has standing to appeal the case to the Ninth Circuit Court. A hearing to decide the issue is scheduled for December 6. The same hearing will also hear arguments on the appeal itself.

Because both the issue of standing and the appeal will be heard before the next governor takes the oath of office in January 3, it is unclear whether the new governor or attorney general could join the case at that later date:

UC Hastings College of the Law professor Rory Little said Whitman’s ability to defend the proposition would hinge on several factors – the biggest of which, of course, is whether she becomes governor.

It would also depend on whether the 9th Circuit decides the standing issue before January 6 and how the court decides.

“There are a lot of ifs,” Little said. “If the 9th Circuit hasn’t decided the matter by December, she could attempt to file a brief to say, ‘Now, the state of California enters the case.’

The state GOP is holding its annual part convention this year at the Manchester Grand Hyatt, which is subject to a boycott by LGBT advocacy groups over owner Doug Manchester’s $125,000 donation to the pro-Prop 8 campaign.

California politicians weigh in on Prop 8 ruling

Timothy Kincaid

August 5th, 2010

Unsurprisingly, the Democratic and Republican responses to Judge Walker’s rulings were different.

In the Senatorial race, Democratic incumbent Barbara Boxer released the following statement:

This historic decision is a step forward in the march toward equal rights and reflects a growing legal consensus that marriage equality is protected by the U.S. Constitution.

Carly Fiorina, the Republican nominee, is quoted by AP as disapproving of the decision.

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Carly Fiorina says she disagrees with a federal judge’s decision overturning California’s gay-marriage ban.

Fiorina says California voters spoke clearly against same-sex unions when a majority approved Proposition 8 in 2008.

In the gubernatorial race, Jerry Brown – who at Attorney General refused to defend the proposition – released the following statement:

In striking down Proposition 8, Judge Walker came to the same conclusion I did when I declined to defend it: Proposition 8 violates the equal protection guarantee of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution by taking away the right of same-sex couples to marry, without a sufficient governmental interest.

Republican Meg Whitman’s campaing, on the other hand, released the following statement:

Meg supported Proposition 8 and believes marriage is between a man and a woman. Meg also strongly supports California’s civil union laws. Today’s ruling is the first step in a process that will continue.

Hunh? A process that will continue?

So everyone has now made their statements. But with California voters so evenly split over marriage and not one breathing fire over the decision, I think it extremely unlikely that Whitman – or even Fiorona – will make gay marriage an issue in their campaigns.

Meg Whitman’s Slap

Jim Burroway

September 29th, 2009

Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman is seeking to become the GOP nominee for California governor. Hank Plante of KPIX/CBS 5 in San Francisco interviewed interviewed her about her opposition to marriage equality. She said:

“So as you know I am pro-civil union and not for gay marriage. And just for me, that term marriage, for me needs to be between a man and a woman…I do not feel it is a slap in the face [to millions of gay and lesbian Americans].”

Whatever Whitman may wish to believe, I think we can all agree that the recipient of a slap is in the best position to judge whether he or she was slapped or not.