Rally opposing Prop 8
Original post made
on Oct 15, 2008
Several community leaders in San Mateo County, including Supervisor Rich Gordon, will speak at a rally to oppose Proposition 8 at 10 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 16, at the Redwood City Courthouse Square at 2200 Broadway Street.
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posted Wednesday, October 15, 2008, 5:34 PM
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Posted by Lies and the gullible voters
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Nov 8, 2008 at 9:42 pm
This election saw a number of specific, legal claims made about Prop 8 and gay marriage:
Churches will be closed. Ministers will be jailed. Gay marriage will be taught to kindergarteners as "just as good as traditional marriage." Adoption agencies will be forced to kowtow to gay couples. Churches will be forced to perform gay weddings, contrary to their doctrine. Photographers will be forced to chronicle gay weddings. Churches will lose their tax exemptions. IAnd to top it off, of course, cute little girls will be sent home with copies of _King and King_. "Think it can't happen?," asks one commercial. "Think again!"
It seems clear that a number of greatly exaggerated, misleading, or downright dishonest legal claims are being advanced by Prop 8 proponents. This is particularly disappointing since some of these arguments are being made by individuals linked to religious organizations which have a stated institutional commitment to honesty and integrity as a religious value.
These arguments come from lawyers who support the proposition, and who are willing to mislead in order to advance their political views. And these arguments are circulated by often well-meaning, but underinformed laypeople.
Let's look at a few of these claims. We'll start with the religious freedom claims.
These claims are certainly attention grabbers. It would be reasonable to be concerned if the Marriage Cases opinion actually forced churches to change their doctrines. But nothing in the _Marriage Cases_ decision will result in forcing churches to perform same-sex marriages in their churches or temples. In fact, the court opinion itself says exactly the opposite. The _Marriage Cases_ majority opinion actually states:
"No religion will be required to change its religious policies or practices with regard to same-sex couples, and no religious officiant will be required to solemnize a marriage in contravention of his or her religious beliefs. (Cal. Const., art. I, Â§ 4.)"
This statement is linked to the court's holding, too, so it won't easily change. That is, it is partially _because_ no church will be forced to perform same-sex marriages, that the court comes out the way it does; if it were otherwise, the court would have had to examine that interest, in its strict scrutiny analysis.
So the _Marriage Cases_ opinion does not force churches to perform same-sex weddings. Nor will it result in churches being shut down if they oppose same sex marriage. Thus, claims that the decision will close churches or force priests or bishops to perform gay weddings, are flat-out wrong. That claim is one of the more pernicious lies about Prop 8.
A second major category of lies about Prop 8 relates to antidiscrimination laws. For instance, one widely circulated document lists as various "consequences" if Prop 8 does not pass: "photographers cannot now refuse to photograph gay marriages, doctors cannot now refuse to perform artificial insemination of gays even given other willing doctors."
The claim is in part based on actual facts. It's true that there was a case in New Mexico involving a photographer who refused to photograph a civil union; and it's also true that there was a case involving doctors who were unwilling to perform artificial insemination for a lesbian couple.
The problem is, that these are claims that come from anti-discrimination law, not from Proposition 8 or the Marriage Cases opinion. And regardless of whether Prop 8 passes or fails, those antidiscrimination laws will not change.
What are those laws? Let's take a look:
Cal. Civ. Code. 51(b): All persons within the jurisdiction of this state are free and equal, and no matter what their sex, race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, disability, medical condition, marital status, or sexual orientation are entitled to the full and equal accommodations, advantages, facilities, privileges, or services in all business establishments of every kind whatsoever.
Cal. Civ. Code 51.5(a): No business establishment of any kind whatsoever shall discriminate against, boycott or blacklist, or refuse to buy from, contract with, sell to, or trade with any person in this state on account of any characteristic listed or defined in subdivision (b) or (e) of Section 51, or of the person's partners, members, stockholders, directors, officers, managers, superintendents, agents, employees, business associates, suppliers, or customers, because the person is perceived to have one or more of those characteristics, or because the person is associated with a person who has, or is perceived to have, any of those characteristics.
Thus, it's legally incorrect to claim that businesses in California cannot discriminate against gays and lesbians because of the Marriage Cases opinion. In fact, businesses in California cannot discriminate against gays and lesbians because of state antidiscrimination law. It is _that_ -- not Marriage Cases -- which requires doctors to offer their services to lesbian couples. (Note that the infamous wedding-photographer case happened in New Mexico, which is not a gay marriage state at all.)
A common claim is that Catholic Charities was forced to stop doing adoptions after Massachusett's gay marriage decision. This claim is overwrought in its details -- Catholic Charities voluntarily stopped adoptions, and was not forced by any state agency, but it is true that Catholic Charities was under investigation for state law violation. However, that investigation dates back to 2000 -- four years prior to Goodridge. It is misleading to imply a causal connection between Goodridge, and Catholic Charities's decision to stop adoptions because of the ongoing state investigation and their unwillingness to comply with state antidiscrimination law.
As a descriptive matter, it is very misleading to point to some application of antidiscrimination law, and then say, "this is what _Marriage Cases_ leads to" or "this is what happens if Prop 8 fails."
On the bright side for same-sex marriage advocates was the drastic decrease in public support for the limitation. In the past ten years, support for this kind of ban has dropped precipitously, from 61% (Prop 22) to a bare majority of 52% (Prop 8). If that trend continues, advocates won't need to go to court. They can simply bring their own proposition ten years from now, and watch it pass with flying colors.