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Posts for October, 2008

Council of Churches Ad

Timothy Kincaid

October 27th, 2008

The Santa Clara County Council of Churches is so committed to the Christian principle of justice and compassion that they ran a full page ad in the San Jose Mercury News giving their brothers, sisters, neighbors, and parishioners the following message:

As people of faith,
We believe that all people are made in the image of God.
We believe in loving, faithful and committed relationships.
We affirm everyone’s right to the freedom to marry.
We urge you to..
VOTE NO ON PROPOSITION 8.
Don’t eliminate marriage for anyone.

The ad was signed by 23 member churches. There is also an accompanying videowith statements from ministers from Unitarian Universalist, Disciples of Christ, MCC, Baptist, Presbyterian, Methodist and Jewish congregations. The Council is also running phone banks for No on 8 out of local churches.

Too often anti-gay activists coopt the name Christian or Religion in the same way they seek to control the word Marriage. It is encouraging to see people of faith willing to stand up for principles that are inclusive and based on love, compassion, and a deep desire to treat their neighbor as they want to be treated and declare to the world that neither faith nor Christianity is any barrier to equality and decency.

Prop 8: The End of the World

Jim Burroway

October 27th, 2008

If California’s Proposition 8 fails, it’ll be Armageddon, and all that — according to Charles Colson and Tony Perkins:

“This vote on whether we stop the gay-marriage juggernaut in California is Armageddon,” said Charles W. Colson, the founder of Prison Fellowship Ministries and an eminent evangelical voice, speaking to pastors in a video promoting Proposition 8. “We lose this, we are going to lose in a lot of other ways, including freedom of religion.”

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, a conservative Christian lobby based in Washington, said in an interview, “It’s more important than the presidential election.”

“We’ve picked bad presidents before, and we’ve survived as a nation,” said Mr. Perkins, who has made two trips to California in the last six weeks. “But we will not survive if we lose the institution of marriage.”

Why the doom and gloom? Prop 8 proponents are now raising the scare tactic that Prop 8′s passage will mean that churches that refuse to marry same-sex couples will be sued, or ministers will be jailed if they preach against homosexuality.

This, of course, is not possible in the United States because of the First amendment. Christian Identity churches are free to preach White Supremacy and anti-semitism, and fundamentalist protestant extremists are free to call the Pope the Anti-Christ. Nobody gets thrown in jail for any of that. And the Catholic Church has been free to refuse to marry anyone who has been divorced, no matter how many divorce papers or civil marriage licenses a couple can waive in front of the priest.

Mormon Childhood Neighbor Update

Daniel Gonzales

October 27th, 2008

Earlier in the week I’d posted about mailing a two sentence note to my Mormon neighbor at my childhood home. I have an update for y’all — Yesterday I got word from my mother that her yard sign has come down (we hope it was voluntary and not simply a result of vandalism).

Amendment 2 Debate with Westboro Baptist

Jose Gabilondo

October 26th, 2008

The following is a guest post by Associate Professor José Gabilondo, faculty adviser to the Stonewall Legal Alliance at Florida International University’s College of Law, which recently hosted a debate on Florida’s Amendment 2 with Marge and Shirley Phelps, of Westboro Baptist Church.

Hi there. I’m the faculty adviser to the Stonewall Legal Alliance and the person who debated Marge and Shirley Phelps today, whom I had never met before. As it turned out, today was no circus and, instead, obeyed the ordinary rules and expectations of university exchange. Although I plan to write a more extended essay about the debate and the underlying issues and am, in fact, presenting on it at Wake Forest Law School next week, the commentary on this blog is so thoughtful that I did want to share some preliminary thoughts.

First of all, the Stonewall group really did reach out to several local and national proponents of Amendment 2, so let me reject in the most strenuous way the idea that their inviting Westboro was a crutch for what Stonewall or I feared would be a weak argument against Amendment 2. The students had no money to pay the expenses of any speaker, so their choices were limited. It was very important to them that the event include some kind of juxtaposition of views, in addition to the panel scheduled for the afternoon. The Stonewall students worked very hard on this event and it pained me (and them) to see them criticized and, at times, even ridiculed in this way. I was willing to participate in the debate because it relates to my research on the role of law in how heterosexuals come to see themselves (heterosexual subject formation) and a current article on how new Right operatives have made what are really reactionary views come to seem “conservative” by co-opting liberal ideas like “balance” and “diversity” for their ends. And Nate Phelps is right about his family. I have never followed the Phelps but what I saw today reflected experience and savvy with debate formats and traditional legal arguments, although of the more theocratic variety.

Second, and more disturbingly, what the debate brouhaha showed me was how poorly many people understand the function of a public university, the culture of intellectual exchange, and the rules of the game, as far as U.S. speech culture is concerned. Except on those rare occasions when a public university is addressing a question about its own corporate identity, the speech that goes on at a public research university is that of the many people and institutions that make up the rich mosaic which is a public university. To suggest some kind of vetting or oversight by administration officials of student activities, as some have, is the kind of prior restraint that Anglo-American legal culture long ago decided was repugnant to what we think of as freedom.

Moreover, the function of the academic enterprise is truth-seeking, not balance, although I realize that I am violating post-modernity’s Nicene Creed against the possibility of truth. The organizer of a speech event – students or otherwise – have the freedom to pursue their vision of its content and participants. To argue that the presence of “mainstream” institutions (whatever those are) is a proxy for the kind of intellectual rigor needed for truth-seeking is a big mistake: what this argument is really saying is “Please confine the scope of your inquiry to the existing consensus, as I have more faith in that than in having to think for myself about new material.” One of the most important decisions that a GLBTQ person must make is whether to see himself through his own eyes or through the perspective of straight society which, in case you hadn’t noticed already, IS the mainstream . A little original thinking on this score is not such a bad thing.

Finally, we are experiencing an important moment of openness and realignment in how we think about the gay-straight question. As I see it, it is an age of schism and cleavage in the heterosexual community, in the sense that faith communities are splitting on this issue (for Heaven’s sake! they should – what could be more important to a faith community than bearing witness to truth?) and that legal developments like the Defense of Marriage movements are calling the question, allowing people to take clear, public positions, so that we can see where people stand and act accordingly. (It’s about time.) A key thing that is happening is that heterosexuals are becoming increasingly aware of their individual and collective role in majoritarian abuses against sexual minorities. Some heterosexuals embrace the new consciousness; some object vigorously, trying in vain to put the toothpaste back in the tube; but most are still undecided and would benefit from a clear exposition of what is at stake when a supermajority works at erasing the existence of a minority. If you care about helping people to make choices that serve their core values (be they the values of old time religion and majoritarian overreaching or those of the secular human potential movement), you can help most by revealing the truth of what is at stake in these so called “marriage protection” amendments. In my opinion, today’s debate did that in spades, making a contribution not just on this issue but to speech generally as a way of finding and affirming your values.

Just for the record – the last two weeks have probably been the most stressful 2 weeks of my professional life due to intense hostility and scrutiny over this event, but now that it’s over, I feel relieved, proud of the courage and integrity of our Stonewall Legal Alliance and its leadership, grateful that I had the opportunity to bear witness to my truth on the question, and more convinced than ever about the value of open exchange on questions of faith and public policy.

(After I submitted this last night, Jim Burroway kindly gave me this forum, so I want to use it point you to material on my blog that some of you will like.  Start with the “Straight Question” essay on heterosexuality.  The first part especially was designed to be accessible and healing.  If you’re a visual type, go to the concept map.  Cheers.)

Yes on 8 Campaign Desperate, Disgusting, Abusive of Children and Families

Timothy Kincaid

October 26th, 2008

The Yes on 8 Campaign must be feeling desperate as a result of a recent poll showing that the initiative is behind. Their behavior has become erratic, verging on criminal, and truly reprehensible.

On the 23rd we reported that the highest level of leadership in the campaign had engaged in efforts that might well fall under the legal definition of blackmail or extortion. On Friday, Ken Mettler, the head of the Bakersfield area Yes on 8 Campaign was videotaped punching and kicking an opponent to the initiative. And now the campaign has engaged in activity that should give any parent pause.

In their newest television ad, the Yes on 8 Campaign focuses on the field trip that some San Francisco children took to celebrate their teacher’s wedding. It goes without saying that they distort the story; dishonesty is the hallmark of the Yes on 8 efforts. And although this lack of integrity is worthy of indignation, what truly reveals the immorality of their efforts is that they chose to exploit images of the children that attended.

It is one thing to criticize the decisions of the parents and the school’s administation. It is quite another to plaster the face of children across the television screens of all California households and present them for ridicule.

The parents are furious.

They are sickened to find that their own children are being used as a prop to advance a cause which they do not support. And they have requested that Yes on 8 take down the ad that uses the video of their children. (ABC7)

“I’m horrified that her image is being used this way and I want it taken down,” said Jennifer Press referring to the new ad. Her 6-year old daughter Lucy was part of a field trip to City Hall two weeks ago to see her teacher married to her same sex partner. Now pictures from that field trip have made their way into a Yes on Prop 8 ad.

Laura [Hodder], whose son Ben is also in the ad, told reporters Sunday, “You can’t use children’s images in political statements like this. No one asked us to use our children. No one talked to us about this. And I feel like my children are being manipulated.”

From their press release

“We are absolutely outraged that you have chosen, without permission, to shamelessly hijack the images of our innocent children to promote a cause that we in no way, shape or form support. It is even more maddening that you have willfully and calculatingly edited the images of our children, with menacing music in the background, in a way that is completely contrary to their nature and harmful to them.”

Ah, but these “good moral people” who believe that “parents and not liberal schools should be the protectors, guardians and ultimate teaches of their own children” seem to have no respect for parents when they don’t support their anti-gay agenda. They have told these parents that they have no intention of stopping the exploitation of their kids.

“The images of the children wouldn’t be in the public domain if they hadn’t called the press and publicized it. It’s been on national TV.”

Now, I don’t know what legal recourse these parents have. Whether they have any ability to stop Yes on 8 from making the face of their son or daughter into the mascot of the Yes on 8 Campaign is something for better legal minds than mine.

But I do know evil when I see it.

And choosing to subject a very young child to ridicule and notoriety against the expressed wishes of their parents is unquestionably evil. I did not think that the Yes on 8 Campaign could stoop lower than their extortion efforts, but this new act of theirs is beyond contemptious.

I hope and pray that Californian parents are disgusted by this abuse and through it come to recognize the Yes on 8 Campaign for its true nature: selfish, evil, arrogant, and mean.

Twenty Florida Newpapers Oppose Amendment 2

Jim Burroway

October 26th, 2008

The count of Florida newspapers opposing Amendment 2 has now reached twenty, including all of Florida’s top papers.

Update: Add to that the Pensacola News Journal.

Marriage Amendments Tearing LDS Congregations Apart

Jim Burroway

October 26th, 2008

According to a recent Salt Lake Tribune article, the church’s marriage campaigns are taking a heavy toll on local congregations.

The Mormon Church’s campaign to pass so-called “marriage amendments” in California and Arizona is the most vigorous political campaign they have ever waged. LDS leaders have tapped into every resource: their member’s income data from tithing rolls, phone trees, e-mail lists, and other appeals. With continued urging from among the highest prophets of the church, many LDS members consider their calls a directive from God and a test of their faith.

Those who disagree with the church’s stance on these propositions say that they are made to feel unwelcome in their wards. Some have avoided church services during the election campaign, and some have resigned, while others face excommunication. Others still are actively opposing their church’s activities because they believe the church’s active campaign mocks their church’s theology.

Even some of those who favor the ballot measures are put off by their church’s zeal:

“I do expect the church to face a high cost – both externally and internally – for its prominent part in the campaign,” said LDS sociologist and Proposition 8 supporter Armand Mauss of Irvine, Calif. He believes church leaders feel a “prophetic imperative” to speak out against gay marriage.

“The internal cost will consist of ruptured relationships between and among LDS members of opposing positions, sometimes by friends of long standing and equally strong records of church activity,” Mauss said. “In some cases, it will result in disaffection and disaffiliation from the church because of the ways in which their dissent has been handled by local leaders.”

Apple’s Tasty Contribution

Timothy Kincaid

October 24th, 2008

On their website, Apple Computers is listing the following news:

No on Prop 8
October 24, 2008

Apple is publicly opposing Proposition 8 and making a donation of $100,000 to the No on 8 campaign. Apple was among the first California companies to offer equal rights and benefits to our employees’ same-sex partners, and we strongly believe that a person’s fundamental rights — including the right to marry — should not be affected by their sexual orientation. Apple views this as a civil rights issue, rather than just a political issue, and is therefore speaking out publicly against Proposition 8.

Thank you, Apple!!!

Lee Baca Opposes Proposition 8

Timothy Kincaid

October 24th, 2008

Los Angeles County’s Sheriff Lee Baca, a Republican, has announced his opposition to Proposition 8:

The gay men and lesbian women of the law enforcement community are some of the most responsible and virtuous people I know. To deny them their ability to further responsible lives outside of the job is inconsistent with the core values of public service.

Republicans Against 8 is reporting

Other prominent California Republican elected officials opposed to Prop. 8 include Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders, San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, San Diego City Councilmember Jim Madaffer, Redondo Beach Mayor Mike Gin, Laguna Beach Mayor Pro Tempore Cheryl Kinsman, Los Angeles City Councilman Dennis Zine, Laguna Beach Councilman Kelly Boyd, Laguna Beach Councilwoman Elizabeth Pearson, Cathedral City Councilman Chuck Vazquez, former Assemblyman Jim Cunneen and Los Angeles Businessman Steve Soboroff.

People from all walks of life and all political persuations are coming together to oppose this effort to write discrimination into our Constitution.

Tom Campbell Opposes Proposition 8

Timothy Kincaid

October 24th, 2008

Tom Campbell is a distinguished professor with a high profile in Republican politics. He worked in the Reagan White House and was a clerk to US Supreme Court Justice Byron R. White. He served five terms in Congress, a term in the California State Senate, and was the Republican nominee for US Senate in 2000. He was Stanford’s youngest tenured professor, has served as the director of the California Department of Finance, and currently is the dean of the Haas School of Business at UC, Berkeley.

Writing in Reason Online, Campbell explains why Republicans should vote No on Proposition 8.

  • Republicans believe deeply that government should be limited. Government has no business making distinctions between people based on their personal lives.
  • Republicans also care about jobs; and as a business proposition, it makes no sense to support Prop. 8. Discrimination at any level is bad for business.
  • Gay couples are asking for a chance to play by the rules. We can give them that chance. For those of us who are proud of our party’s and our state’s reputation for fairness and against discrimination, our choice is very clear: No on Proposition 8.

To those who became Republican for the conservative values of independence from governmental interference and the notion that all citizens should be equal and judged by one’s efforts and abilities, these may be compelling arguments.

Yes on 8 Launches Blackmail Campaign

Campaign leaders seek to shake down small businesses.

Jim Burroway

October 23rd, 2008

CBS8 and the Associated Press are reporting that the Yes on 8 campaign has sent out threatening letters to several small businesses in an attempt to shake them down for contributions.

San Diego realtor Jim Abbot received one of those letters featuring a Yes on 8 letterhead demanding that he contribute $10,000 to the Yes on 8 campaign, which is equal to the amount that he had given to the No on 8 campaign. That letter read, in part:

Equality California is advertising on its website that it has received a contribution of at least $10,000 from you. … Make a donation of a like amount to ProtectMarriage.com which will help us correct this error and restore Traditional Marriage. … Were you to elect not to donate comparably, it would be a clear indication that you are in opposition to traditional marriage. You would leave us no other reasonable assumption. The names of any companies and organizations that choose not to donate in like manner to protectmarriage.com but have given to Equality California will be published.

Here is the entire Yes on 8 threat letter (PDF: 4KB/4 pages).

The letter was signed by four members of Yes on 8′s executive committee: campaign chairman Ron Prentice; Edward Dolejsi, executive director of the California Catholic Conference; Mark Jansson, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; and Andrew Pugno, ProtectMarriage.com’s lawyer. A donation form was included with the letter.

Jim Abbot, who married his same-sex partner at the end of August, refused to buckle:

We’re not caving, no. No, we’re going to support our employees. We’re going to support the freedom to marry. We think that’s a fundamental right to do what we can to make sure its not taken away.

When Yes on 8 was first asked about the letter, a spokeswoman denied that their campaign would use such tactics. The campaign later admitted to sending about thirty-five letters to California businesses. The spokeswoman defended the action, citing the boycott of the San Diego Manchester Grand Hyatt after Doug Manchester donated $125,000 thousand to the Yes campaign. At least one very large group canceled their reservations as a result.

All large donations to either campaign are a matter of public record. There is no evidence however, that anyone from the No on 8 campaign demanded money from Manchester or the Grand Hyatt in exchange for silence. That boycott was organized by Californians Against Hate, which is not affiliated with the No on 8 campaign.

Update: Yes on 8 complained that at least one very large group canceled their reservations at the Machester Grand Hyatt because of publicity over donations to the Yes campaign. I wonder if that group they’re referring to was GLAAD?

Small Town Editor Makes Personal Plea to Voters

Timothy Kincaid

October 23rd, 2008

Editorial boards in every major newspaper in the State of California have encouraged readers to vote no on Proposition 8. They have sat and listened to presentations from both sides, weighed their arguments, checked their facts, and without fail came to the same conclusion: Proposition 8 should not pass.

The Editor of the Desert Dispatch in the small town of Barstow has taken a different approach. Most know Barstow, if they know it at all, as a small city on the road between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. But Scott Shackford knows it as his home. And he knows his readers as his neighbors, an independent, but often powerless, bunch who respect individuality.

Today I’m shedding the more impersonal “authoritative” voice of one of my typical editorials: Proposition 8 means something more personal to me. It directly affects my rights. As such, I want to make a more direct appeal to try to convince Barstow residents to vote against Proposition 8.

Scott finds common cause with the frustration that Barstow residents have – no local representation, a state districting plan that leaves them powerless to the whims of a city 200 miles away. And he acknowledges their fear of government interfering in their religious rights and recognizes the seriousness of their concerns.

But then Scott takes a very brave and very touching step, an approach that may be pointless in an urban center. He admits his vulnerability and asks for support.

You have the power to control an important part of my future. You can control my independence. Is that something you’re truly comfortable with?

I ask you to vote in favor of our tradition of independence. Vote no on Proposition 8.

Newspaper Positions

Anti-Gay Students Keep Control of Student Government at Sacramento Area Junior College

Timothy Kincaid

October 23rd, 2008

ABC News 10 is reporting

Nine members of American River College’s student association survived a recall effort this week staged in protest of their votes to support a ballot measure seeking to ban gay marriage in California.

You will recall that these students representatives are part of a coalition of Russian evangelicals and Mormons that are using the college’s student government to serve their religious goals. Following an endorsement of Proposition 8, students concerned about their agenda collected enough signatures for a recall. Nine percent of students voted.

For a fascinating narrative of the anti-gay efforts of Russian evangelicals in the Sacramento area, one that features at least one of those students under recall, read Kel Munger’s article Things to do in Sacramento with a megaphone in the Sacramento News and Review.

These are not your usual collection of College Republicans or Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

A partial list of the protests over the last half-dozen years is impressive. The Dividers have protested at Wal-Mart (for saying “Happy Holidays!” instead of “Merry Christmas!”); at theaters that screened Brokeback Mountain, the “gay cowboy” movie; and at other churches, with signs that read, “This is a fake church” (for sins such as offering free gasoline to new members or being too nice to gay people). Luke’s father has dressed up in a devil costume, complete with pitchfork, to make sure people know where they’re headed for not doing things the Divider way.

But this small band of Dividers have focused with laserlike intensity on protesting at gay events, where that “Sodomy is Sin” banner functions as both a calling card and a demand for gays to return to the closet.

And why does this matter?

What conclusions have I come to out of all this? It seems pretty clear that a small group of committed activists—the usual suspects—can stir up a ruckus and attract attention. But it’s also clear that they can alter the climate in a pretty serious way. At ARC, both students who identify as Christian and students who are members of the gay community have told me that they feel targeted. Young men and women there told me in tears that they no longer felt safe at school. A transgender student told me she’d transferred to another community college because she didn’t feel safe on ARC’s campus.

Mormon Church Calls Off Out-of-State Phone Banking

Timothy Kincaid

October 23rd, 2008

Per the Salt Lake Tribune

On Sunday, leaders in several Mormon wards in Provo and Springville read a letter from Elder Donald J. Butler, an LDS Seventy over Utah South Area, saying that all those who were “called” to help with the initiative were “released” immediately.

LDS spokesman Kim Farah said the Coalition to Protect Marriage’s request for help prompted the initial plea for volunteers in California and later in Utah, but “the church has since determined that such phone calls are best handled by those who are registered California voters.”

Analysis: A Closer Look At Those Prop. 8 Poll Numbers

Gregory Herek

October 23rd, 2008

Ever since California county clerks began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples last June, Proposition 8 ­- the proposed constitutional amendment to eliminate marriage equality ­- has appeared likely to lose at the ballot box. Throughout the summer, statewide surveys from the Field Research Corporation and the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) consistently found that the measure lacked majority support. In fact, it was opposed by more than 50% of likely voters.

But earlier this month, a new poll of Californians’ voting intentions on Proposition 8 was released, sponsored by several CBS local affiliates and conducted by SurveyUSA. Here’s a section of the news report on the poll findings:

“According to the poll, likely California voters overall now favor passage of Proposition 8 by a five-point margin, 47 percent to 42 percent. Ironically, a CBS 5 poll eleven days prior found a five-point margin in favor of the measure’s opponents….”

This was a surprising shift, and the poll results have received a lot of media attention.

In my latest post at Beyond Homophobia, I analyze those recent polling data. I conclude that the SurveyUSA polls probably are more or less accurately stating the number of likely voters who support Prop. 8, but are undercounting the number who oppose it. The statewide polls conducted by Field and the PPIC -­ both of which show Proposition 8 losing ­- are probably more accurate.

Nevertheless, marriage equality supporters can’t afford to be complacent. The race is likely to tighten in the next two weeks, and the outcome will ultimately depend on voter turnout. So it’s important to continue to donate to the No On 8 campaign, to speak out against the measure, and to make sure that your family and friends vote.

Jewish Weekly News Opposes Proposition 8

Timothy Kincaid

October 23rd, 2008

The Jewish Weekly News of Northern California strongly opposes religion-based marriage discrimination

If Prop. 8 passes, what a terrible precedent to set, especially in a state that so often leads the country into the future.

As Jews, we cannot help being sensitive to this encroachment on liberties. It’s the slipperiest of slopes, far worse than any perceived moral breakdown due to same-sex marriage.

Don’t let it happen here.

Let us as a community speak loudly and clearly. Please vote “No” on Proposition 8.

This is a community very familiar with what happens when religious values are given higher priority than civil rights.

Newspapers Endorse

Republican Ex-Mayor of Conservative Town Comes Out and Opposes Proposition 8

Timothy Kincaid

October 23rd, 2008

Folsom, CA is probably best known for Folsom Prison, made famous by a Johnny Cash recorded concert. But Folsom is also a upper-middle class suburb of Sacramento, one that is strongly Republican.

Naturally, local elected officials tended also to be Republican family men, like Glenn Fait. (Sacramento Bee)

Fait was married for 40 years and raised two daughters. He was on the Folsom City Council from 1994 to 1998, serving as mayor from 1995-1996. He was also president of the Folsom Historical Society.

But five years ago, Fait came out to his family. And now he has taken the step of coming out to his neighbors – in a quarter page ad in the local newspaper.

In the ad, he appealed to his neighbors, business associates, and friends to oppose Proposition 8. Although Fait has no intention of marrying, he believed so strongly that no one else should be able to make that decision for him that he was compelled to take the step.

“I hope that some of the people who know me might take that into consideration when they vote,” said Fait. “People often have stereotypes of gay people. It helps sometimes when they realize that someone they have a business or community relationship with is gay.”

I admire Fait’s decision. He has put a face on the issue for some who would only think of gay people as “them”. Now when they vote, they are voting on Glenn’s rights and perhaps his public appeal will make some difference in Folsom.

LDS Elder: “Central Doctrine of Eternal Marriage” At Heart of Political Activities

Jim Burroway

October 23rd, 2008

Do you want any more evidence that a powerful religious minority is bent on imposing its theological doctrines on the state constitutions of Arizona and California? Look no further than the words of LDS Elder M. Russell Ballard.

Ballard is a member of the Mormon Church’s Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, which means that the church accepts him as a prophet, seer, and revelator. This gives his words special meaning among church members. In a special satellite broadcast to the church faithful, Ballard was clear about what they were really trying to do:

“We know that it is not without controversy, yet let me be clear that at the heart of this issue is the central doctrine of eternal marriage and it’s place in our Father’s plan,” Ballard said.

The doctrine of Eternal Marriage is unique to Mormonism. An Eternal Marriage is one that is “sealed” in secret ceremonies in an LDS temple (a sealing, by the way, which can occur by proxy on behalf of deceased non-Mormon couples as well). Once sealed, the couple are permanently married on earth and in the afterlife in the Celestial Kingdom. The Celestial Kingdom itself is subdivided into three “heavens or degrees”, and only those who are sealed in eternal marriage in a temple while alive (or after death by proxy) will be permitted to enter into the highest degree of celestial kingdom. Once there, they will eventually become “exalted” and live “the kind of life God lives” — and some will even become gods themselves.

In yesterday’s hour long broadcast to churches in California, Utah, Hawaii and Idaho, church elders exhorted members to embark on a week-by-week strategy before the Nov. 4 election. In speaking of the church’s efforts to impose its theology onto state constitutions, Ballard reiterated, “What we’re about is the work of the Lord, and he will bless you for your involvement.”

PPIC Survey: Prop 8 is Behind

Timothy Kincaid

October 22nd, 2008

At the end of August the Public Policy Institute of California released a survey showing that Proposition 8 was trailing among likely voters by 54% to 40%. A new poll released today shows that while the supporters of Prop 8 have made some progress, at two weeks out the initiative is still likely to fail.

Proposition 8, a constitutional amendment that would end same-sex marriage in California, is losing among likely voters, 52 percent to 44 percent, according to a statewide survey released today by the Public Policy Institute of California.

Although this is encouraging news, their polling shows that the Yes on 8 Campaign ads are being effective in reaching certain populations, particularly Republicans. The proposition has picked up eight points among Republicans since September (from 62% to 70%).

Demographic turnout could impact the final vote

At least half of men, women, Latinos, and whites oppose Proposition 8. Regionally, majorities of likely voters in the San Francisco Bay Area (67%) and Los Angeles (55%) are opposed. But majorities in the Central Valley (54%) and in the “Other Southern California” region that includes Orange, San Diego, Riverside, and San Bernardino Counties (52%) favor the measure.

More on ARC Student Recall

Timothy Kincaid

October 22nd, 2008

We told you about the efforts to recall the coalition of Russian immigrants and Mormons in student government at American River College who endorsed Proposition 8. Kel Munger at the Sacramento News and Review has been tracking the story.

He reports student protests and electioneering, a huge turnout, and blatant homophobia printed in Russian. Check out the site for the latest on this fascinating story.

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